Sunday, November 28, 2010

The ringing bells..

The train took a sudden stop before Haldwani.

“What is it?” I got up and saw Adi quietly looking out of the window.

“Papa, a station has come but there is no one on it. All I hear some bells ringing?” Adi keeps talking about the voices he believes he hears.

“No and it’s not a station beta, we are at outskirts of Haldwani. Let us start packing. We should reach in few minutes”.

“It’s there Papa. You don’t hear”. Adi shook his head.

“Oh I do beta. But we need to rush”.

I was wrong. And I was lying. The train stood at the outskirts for around half an hour. And I didn’t actually hear anything ringing. Perhaps I wasn’t quiet or open enough.

I found later that on the other side of the train was a temple and actually the bell rang.

Surrounded with past nostalgia, current struggle and uncertain future we end up accumulating and submitting to all our emotions. And in that we fail to hear the sound.

But there are songs to all of them. Songs of an old loss or love, of pain or misfortune, self-inflicted or caused by others, shared or kept within the heart. Songs those help us forgive ourselves as we hear them*.

Perhaps we aren’t as difficult as we pretend to be. We owe a tryst to self acceptance, of whatever we are, however we are and wherever we are. Complains must stop, burdens must go, as we learn to enjoy the present with an open heart and resolute mind.

(* sharing a poem by Wendell Berry, 1987)

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle…

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Father's eyes..

There is little bit of chilliness in westerly winds today. Smells like early onset of winter season.

Remember it was one of these days when the letter came from Kolkata. Sonu had cleared the DMET entrance exam. My father almost cried and said, “May you always be happy”.

I really never cared why elders said ‘be happy’ whenever they had to bless us.

I always looked at happiness as an outcome; like getting a good job, getting rich etc. ‘Be happy’ somewhat, meant ‘be successful’.

A long time has gone by since I joined the race to be successful. Not sure whether I could make it, as the definition of success changed at each turn. But quietly, I kept running.

The rainbows were still far when I heard that my father passed away (last 15 October) unattended. We thought we had taken all care and precautions, but despite that he left us behind. And he took away with him a part of me as well; the happy part of me.

I don’t think life will ever be the same again. This race appears to be meaningless as my youth also appears to be racing ahead now.

But I have learnt that ‘be happy’ doesn’t mean ‘be successful’. Happiness is a state of mind. We cannot plan to ‘be happy’. We all have to recognize and realize it ‘individually’.

Happiness lies in what we enjoy doing; and what we enjoy doing comes inspired by the God. Perhaps that’s why our elders pray to God to inspire us to do what leads to our purpose, our happiness.

Today the world moves on as my father sleeps. In silence, I hear muffled sound of those eternal bhajans and chimes I’ve heard since childhood. I remember what he often used to tell us:

• Life is not a race. We must not get driven by our or anyone’s greed, ego or illusion.
• As we love our lives we must respect death. It can come to us anytime and ‘no one’ can control it. Deathbed mentality helps in moving towards what we enjoy doing, so that when our eyes close, our hearts remain open.