Thursday, June 21, 2012
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I am re-publishing this piece of writing, as a blog, years after it was awarded a prize in "Soul Space" in the Deccan Chronicle.
Last month my middle aged father died unexpectedly. He was an excellent doctor but could not get adequate attention in his time of need. When I saw his body after his death, he looked calm and peaceful, as if in a deep slumber. He looked strong, healthy, glowing, and almost divine. I presumed he was comfortable in his new-found abode which in turn explained the beatific expression on his face.
After the initial shock of gross betrayal, separation and untold emptiness which my father’s death left me with, I started wondering about his where-abouts after death. That was when I read about the soul’s tendency to migrate from bodies in a book called The Journey of Self Discovery by Swami Prabhupaada. According to it, death meant only the death of the physical ¬– a body which we nurture lovingly all our life. This body gives us an identity, a name and a face. Our reluctance to die is akin to our reluctance to changing the house in which we have treasured sweet childhood memories. So, only my father’s body has perished. His soul was still alive. When I discovered this eternal truth I found consolation for my suffering.
But, what is suffering? It is only a state of mind. The Bhagawad Gita calls the diseases of the body or mental disturbances as adhyatmika miseries. We, the humans, are destined to suffer all our life because we live in a material world. The whole idea of living is trying constantly to get out of this suffering. We are like fish swimming in the water of suffering. We break the surface of water once in a while to experience some relief. We are ignorant of the fact that our suffering ends only when our spirit mingles with God. It is only then that we attain true happiness.
Life and death are two faces of the same coin. A newborn baby enters this world reluctant to take its first breath, and a dying man leaves this word reluctant to take his last.
The difference between living life and leaving life is so narrow that it almost blurs the margins. It is in this margin that a man can experience the beauty of God. Watching a baby being born or a man breathing his last fills us with untold emotions because we are in the presence of the pure soul – the incarnation of God himself. The experience can renew us; cleanse our hearts and our thoughts. It is a religious experience that is not limited to any single faith. With every life there is a promise of death, and with every death there is a possibility of new life. It is life in death and death in life. All material attributes dwindle in their Holy Presence.
All the religions of the world give utmost importance to life after death. A little child who has taken life only a few years back, and the very old who is just few years behind death are both looked upon with great reverence. We can see divinity, innocence and purity in their behavior. The beauty of the old lies in their wrinkled skins, toothless smiles, silvered hair and the lisp in their speech. Both birth and death are followed by lengthy ceremonies. As a child’s life de-tangles from the Eternal to live as in a birth, the soul unburdens itself from the body to mingle with the Supreme Spirit in death.
In both cases, the soul is an aspect of God to mingle with Him sooner or later, as the case maybe. But if the soul is an invisible thing, what is God?
God is a luminary body made up of millions of souls and has no actual form. If each soul is a firefly then God, who is a collection of millions of these fireflies, is a powerful, limitless form of light energy which we cannot bear to see with our eyes. We can only experience Him.
Man has always been fascinated by the “Beyond Life” and “Beyond Death” question. Some people claim to have experienced a supreme spiritual feeling when they encountered a near-death experience. Some others felt the aura of that “extra” life when they came in contact with saints.
A saint is no ordinary man. He sees life as a passing phase. He has no relationships, no emotions, no ego, no ties with other humans. He owns nothing and craves for God so much that he awaits an early end to his physical self. Material things mean nothing to him. Saints like Jesus Christ and Sai Baba of Shirdi are said to have transcended death and achieved oneness with God even before their actual death. Both were supposed to have died for three days before coming back to life or being resurrected again. They experienced the power of God and received the “after-death” knowledge. This transmigration of the soul also happens to us but only after death. Souls have no bodies and hence, no death. They exist forever.
I dream of my father’s presence in our family sometimes. It is because I recognize his soul. I strongly believe his soul has mingled with God in peace, though he still lives within us. I am one version of him, my brother another. I embody his creative and mental aspects in my temperament and reflexes. My brother is his splitting image. As his progeny, we feel privileged to carry on his life in us, after his death. Somewhere, deep inside, very secretly, we have a faint feeling that his soul will guide us through life’s maze…silently.
Monday, February 18, 2008
So what is it that women want? I can think about only one thing. I remember my dad's friend who was a thorough gentleman. He had many principles and lead a rather humble life in spite of all his wealth. He loved to entertain people at his house every now and then and I remember how proud he felt when anybody complimented his wife's cooking. He would then appreciate how she makes great tasting dishes which are low cal. I knew she could overhear him all the time, and always thought that she was a very deserving wife alright, but an appreciated one too. If I would've been in her position, I would've probably given a big hug and kiss to my husband for making my day. I guess just as men are simple creatures, women too can be awful simple to please. Look at it like this, when you water a plant, take care to water near its roots, not around the plant, as the water should reach where the nourishment is required. So this is to all the men, water the souls of your women, I mean,speak kind words to her, appreciate her where others can notice and best thing of all be demonstratively affectionate, when she is with her friends. Yeah man, you got her there!! Are you listening honey...
Friday, February 15, 2008
Everyday we see thousands of faces in the crowds. We mingle with hundreds of them. Interact with tens of them. And actually connect with a handful. Most connections last a few seconds while some last a few minutes. Among my bookmarked connections, first on the list is my husband, though strangely we have network problems. I don't get a chance to speak with my husband even 10 sentences a day, sometimes. There were times when I really wanted to express immense joy and I got a curt "I will call you in 10 minutes". And I waited for half a day for his 10 minutes to get over. I felt hurt, impatient sometimes angry with myself. Now there are so many unspoken books between us, that I have my own library. I just have to go to rack number, get the year number right, and refer to volume number, chapter number, page number and paragraph number, and I can get the same highlighted lines repeat in all my books," We are living like two strangers sleeping under one ceiling fan, with no time with and for each other. We don't listen to each other anymore we only hear. We don't speak with each other any more, we merely talk. We have adapted to a new busy lifestyle where we placed each other at two far ends of a spectrum and live like robots, mechanically. Sometimes I forget when it was the last time that we really enjoyed the simple things in life which we enjoyed, like each others' company. I still long for some true good days with each other like simply lazing under the canopy of a huge tree on a hot afternoon, cooking up a meal together, talk endlessly about our childhood and youth, so much more... Once in a while, I just see a frightening picture of myself involved in a car crash and pray that such things don't happen. Because I feel that I have invested so much of my time in child rearing that I have still so many things to do with him. What will he do, God forbid, if I suddenly disappear from his life? - "Give me a few minutes of your time simply to sit together even if we don't really have great decisions to take in life....Are you listening to me, or watching the T.V. as you read this?'
Sunday, September 16, 2007
It was raining for the past few days and nights in Bangalore city making it very difficult to come out. Heavy spells of rain suddenly start pouring down from the skies and the sun disappears behind dark grey clouds, making the outdoors go a few shades gloomier. Days of incessant rains create laundry problems at home. As all the wash loads are usually air-dried or sun-dried, the clothes are damp and smelly nowadays.
Rain in Bangalore also creates choked traffic, especially if the streets are flooded with latte-coffee colored water. If I am sitting in a car such times I always wish that I should have been on a motor-bike or an auto-rickshaw. These guys really have a way of getting ahead in the traffic. They squeeze into the smallest space possible and get ahead even if it means breaking, bending or cutting the traffic rules and regulations. Alls fair in the games of love, war and traffic.
Yup, rain also reminds me to make onion pakodas and bread bajjis as I love to see everyone at home lap it up with tomato sauce. I have a different way of eating them with a pickle. Add some great music to this scene and home can be heaven.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
It was early in the morning at about half past four on the 7th of September 2007 that I dreamt of a disturbing air crash. It was followed by another dream - an air attack, very similar to the 9/11 attack in the U.S.A. What surprised me were the graphic details which I saw in my dream. I somehow felt that these were not mere gut feelings. So I pulled myself out of the bed and penned them down. I even did a few sketches to make sure that I don't lose track of the details. I felt funny as I knew that my friends would probably pull my leg in the morning calling me a 'Sunita Menon' (a psychic who forecasts the futures of the Bollywood stars and producers, recommending them numerological changes in their names, their movies and teleserial names.) Braving all this I simply went ahead to share the visions I had.
Air Crash 1: I was on a terrace with some friends when I saw a small aircraft which just took off, and was white in color with a little of red on it circling overhead. Suddenly the engine and body (with wings and tail) were split into two and there was a great noise and the aircraft burst into a smoke and blaze. The engine fell down first followed by the section with wings later on.
Analysis: The dramatic presentation of my dream was listened to with awe. Trilok said that my knowledge actually helped me dream realistically, as during a crash it is usually the engine which hits the ground first due to the weight and gravitational effect. The small craft, he said would be that of a privately owned craft, since I said that it was white with red, he suggested that it was probably a Mallaya owned Kingfisher airlines chartered aircraft.
On the 9th of September, Sunday Times Newspaper carried the headlines "Plane falls into city lake,4 dead." BANGALORE: Four pilots travelling in a six-seater Italian Vulcanair aircraft (P68C) belonging to a well-known jeweller of Kerala, Joy Alukkas, died after the plane plunged into a lake in south Bangalore on Saturday.
I called up my friend Malini and asked to see the Sunday Times. She was shocked as well. Post Mortem of Trilok's analysis: It was not Kingfisher Chartered aircraft, it was a six-seater Italian Vulcanair aircraft, which had a red stripe between two grey stripes running on its white body. The engine was reduced to pieces, and there was smoke and fire according to witnesses. After this incident, I decided to put my second dream on to a blog-site to record my prediction, as I had only a handful of friends who knew about my prediction which came true.
Second Air crash: A big Hindu celebration was going on in an Indian city. I was on a terrace with friends and family. Against the backdrop of the night sky and there was a reasonably tall(could be a dozen or 20 floors high)decorated with garlands of lights. The building was visible, only on the side of lighting, to all of us. The celebration of the festival was in full swing. Suddenly, there was a great noise and we saw the garlands of the building swinging side to side. We then saw a smoking aircraft with an damaged wing go past the building. It was like a US 9/11 scene re-created. I felt that the terrorists (the suicide bombers) will be striking India which is emerging as a major hub for software industry.
Analysis: Ganesh Chathurthi is around the corner and a 11 day celebration is going to begin in the major metros of India. Dussera too is around the corner followed by Diwali.
If it does come true, then I will start taking myself seriously from now on. If it doesn't, then I'll feel happy that I don't need to get alarmed every time I dream about anything negative or dramatic!