Thursday, March 29, 2007

Being yourself

Yet again I quote from Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho, a poem, which itself is quoted. Originally written by Mitsuo Aida, a Japanese poet and calligrapher, here's what it says...

Because it has lived its life intensely

the parched grass still attracts the gaze of passers-by.

The flowers merely flower,

and they do this as well as they can.

The white lily, blooming unseen in the valley,

does not need to explain itself to anyone;

it lives merely for beauty.

Men, however, cannot accept that 'merely'.

If tomatoes wanted to be melons,

they would look completely ridiculous.

I am always amazed

that so many people are concerned

with wanting to be what they are not;

what's the point of making yourself look ridiculous?

You don't always have to pretend to be strong,

there's no need to prove all the time that everything is going well,

you shouldn't be concerned about what other people are thinking;

cry if you need to,

it's good to cry out all your tears

(because only then will you be able to smile again).

This also reminds me of an old post, and by the way, this chapter in the book, titled Meeting in the Dentsu Gallery also mentions synchronicity: the author is paid a visit by the son of the Japanese poet, whose poem he narrates.

Also an expert from the end of the chapter...

"I want to be someone capable of seeing the unseen faces, of seeing those who do not seek fame or glory, who silently fulfil the role life has given them.
I want to be able to do this because the most important things, those that shape our existence, are precisely the ones that never show their faces."

I don't know what exactly this means to me at this point of time, but I'm sure the mystery will unfold in the days to come. There's something significant about to happen in my life too.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

How one thing can contain everything

[Image taken from]

And this is one of the loveliest explanations I have come across recently:
A meeting in the house of a Sao Paulo-born painter based in New York. We are talking about angels, and about alchemy. At one point, I try to explain to the other guests the alchemical idea that each of us contains the whole universe and that we are, therefore, responsible for its well-being. I struggle to find the right words, but cannot come up with a good image that will explain my point of view.
The painter, who has been listening in silence, asks everyone to look out of the window of his studio.
"What can you see?" he asks.
"A street in Greenwich Village," someone replies.
The painter sticks a piece of paper over the window so that the street can no longer be seen; then, with a penknife, he cuts a small square in the paper.
"And if someone were to look through there, what would he see?"
"The same street," comes the reply.
The painter cuts several squares in the paper.
"Just as each of these holes contain within it the whole view of the same street, so each of us contains in our soul the same universe," he says.
And all of us applaud the lovely image he has found.

Again quoted from Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho. The title of this post is the same as the chapter title.

A synchronicity I felt the urge to mention

This is one of the sleepless nights that I often encounter. To add to it, I have a slightly upset stomach and a slight irritation in my right eye: there's something growing on the inner side of the eyelid. That is besides the usual chain on endless thoughts zooming in my mind like honeybees around a flower, or rather, like horseflies. The fact that I am sleeping next to my mom doesn't help. Ideally, I should sleep like a baby with her around.
So, I quit trying to force myself to sleep, get out of bed, tiptoe to the living room, switch on the lights, and continue reading from where I left off Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho. I'm reminded of something that happened last week with regard to the same book.
It was a regular weekday morning; I got my regular bowl of corn flakes and milk ready, and walked into the living room where I usually relax and have my breakfast. For no specific reason I started thinking about faith, and for no specific reason a scene from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown played in my mind. The scene where Silas goes to the Saint Sulpice Church, destroys the keystone, and then goes on to slay the elderly nun. Then I thought about Jesus and why his teachings were so popular and why would people believe him to be the son of God. It also occurred to me that Jesus existed some 2000 years ago, very close to the estimated period of the Mahabharata. Was it Krishna whose legend spread by word of mouth and is so distorted that people came to know him as Jesus? I know this sounds ridiculous but, as I said, this thought came to me for no apparent reason. Oh, and just a necessary disclaimer: I do not, in any way, mean to demean the legend of either Jesus or Krishna. To me, both are respectable and irrelevant at the same time. Then, inspite of having no plans to read that morning, I picked up Like the Flowing River and started reading a chapter titled Raj Tells Me a Story. I have been reading the chapters in their serial order, though it isn't necessary. Incidentally, the previous night, I was about to read this chapter, but on second thoughts, left it off for the next reading session. I will quote the entire story here. I don't think any further discussion will be required.
A widow from a poor village in Bengal did not have enough money to pay for her son's bus fare, and so, when the boy started going to school, he would have to walk through the forest all on his own. In order to reassure him, she said:
"Don't be afraid of the forest, my son. Ask your God Krishna to go with you. He will hear your prayer."
The boy followed his mother's suggestion; Krishna duly appeared; and from then on, accompanied him to school everyday.
When it was his teacher's birthday, the boy asked his mother for some money in order to buy him a present.
"We haven't any money, son. Ask your brother Krishna to get you a present."
The following day, the boy explained his problem to Krishna, who gave him a jug of milk.
The boy proudly handed the milk to the teacher, but the other boys' presents were far superior and the teacher didn't even notice his gift.
"Take that jug of milk to the kitchen," said the teacher to an assistant.
The assistant did as he was told. However, when he tried to empty the jug, he found that it immediately filled up again of its own accord. He informed the teacher, who was amazed and asked the boy:
"Where did you get that jug, and how does it manage to stay full all the time?"
"Krishna, the god of the forest, gave it to me."
The teacher, the students and the assistant all burst out laughing.
"There are no gods in the forest. That's pure superstition," said the teacher. "If he exists, let's all go and see him."
The whole group set off. The boy started calling for Krishna, but he did not appear. The boy made one last desperate appeal.
"Brother Krishna, my teacher wants to see you. Please show yourself!"
At that moment, a voice emerged and echoed throughout the forest.
"How can he possibly want to see me, my son? He doesn't even believe I exist!"

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wish I were the Black Mamba of Kill Bill

Sadly, that character so awesomely portrayed by Uma Thurman does not fall under the category of a Superhero.
So, this is what I'm left with being...

You Are The Hulk

Super strong and super scary, you were never meant to be a superhero.
You're not really into saving the world. And the world better get out of your way.

And that shows how thoroughly jobless I am.
Wait a minute! That's not true.
The truth is... I have too many tasks to handle, too many roles to play, and I need a breather. In fact, I wish could brush some of the tasks off my shoulders, but the superhero that I am... I have to get on with it :(

Couldn't say it better than this

The Part of You That No One Sees

You are unique, witty, and even a little snobby.
You're quite proud of who you are, and nothing is going to change that.
You've paved your own way in life, and you've ended up where you want to be.

Underneath it all, you feel very isolated from the rest of the world.
It's hard to find people to relate to you on every level.
The mundane interests of your friends and family often bore or depress you.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

On Women's Day

Oh, just sharing this pic that someone forwarded. Liked it for no particular reason...

The world needs men and women... who cannot be bought; whose word is their bond; who put character above wealth; who possess opinions and a strong will; who are larger than their vocations; who do not hesitate to take risks; who will not lose their individuality in a crowd; who will be as honest in small affairs as in greater; who will make no compromise with wrong; whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires; who will not say they do it because everybody else does it; who are true to their friends through good and bad, in adversity as well as in prosperity; who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success; who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular; who can say no with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says yes and yes with boldness, though all the rest of the world says no.

Going by this requirement, I'm all that's not needed. Useless, in short!

I believe that men and women exist for entirely different reasons and should not be compared. But, to make the moment lighter, here's one I liked: "Women who want to be equal to men lack ambition". Picked it off this site.

Well, I just wrote about two totally unrelated things above, but that's where my mind is these days. Swinging between random thoughts and leaving me in distress!

PS: I did some googling on the aforementioned quote, and found so many instances that were almost alike. People have taken the liberty to change the original wording for some reason or the other... I like this version the best, though.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Musical frustration

I'm constantly humming some tune or the other, though it may inaudible to my nearest neighbor. I can think of a song for almost every situation. Yet, inspite of wanting to do it for so many years, I could not take up singing classes, nor could I make myself learn to play a musical instrument. I so lacked in confidence. I so bolstered my cowardice that I could never attempt anything more than to be a part of a friendly orchestra, or shout my voice out singing in a bus during a picnic. And, of course, there's the bathroom. I never graduated beyond that. I so, so want to take up singing as a hobby and pursue it till the end of my life. I may not be knowledgeable about music in general, but I believe that there's a rhytm in every moment, every movement, every sight, every touch, every word. I cannot explain what makes me feel that way, but, at times, when I'm elated, whethere for any or no reason, I can feel the music around me, in every shred of my being. And at most such moments you'll find me humming a tune, or singing away to glory.

I remember my mom saying once that whenever she heard the strings of a taanpura, she'd get so shaken up that she'd cry. I laughed at her. But, I noticed that the same happens to me! It's like someone stroking the string of your very heart! It's heart-breaking and, at the same time, exhiliarating to hear a strong, clear voice singing an alaap or a cheez, as they are called in Hindustaani classical music.

When, oh, when am I going to drag my sorry ass to a singing class, and get a life? There have always been silly reasons--no money, lack of time, other priorities, it-would-do-no-good-to-my-already-sedentary-lifestyle, and innumerable such excuses behind which I hid myself. And I suffered. Every moment. Becasue I didn't have the guts to sign myself up.

In many such things that I have failed to do in my life (and I remember this very often now-a-days) I have been the only one that holds myself back. If only I could know why I made myself suffer like this. Everything happens for a reason... Really?! Bullshit! What good did I do by locking myself behind the bars of my own cowardice?