The Ugly

Archives from Diary
Date : 25th April 2014

I always gaze at these wheat fields while travelling back from work everyday. This is the time of the day when I am at peace with my inner self. It is an insightful time that I like to spend with myself.  I long for this time and this isolation has earned me some bad reputation amongst my colleagues as well. But there are some new collaborations that I have created. I have been seing these wheat fields  since past six months now and have built an unattached association with them.  The vast fields and beautiful sunsets have become a part of my routine now. When I first saw them it was November, they were all lush green, alive, completely full of life, full of colors. The exuberant green had some kind of euphoria which could bring you in a temporary divine state. It just soothed and pleased my eyes every time I glanced at them. Its a picture that shows us how prosperous and beautiful life is. Full of colors, lively and content just like these fields.  

Then came March, the green fields started turning up golden. One day returning from work I realized that everything was turned golden. Where has the color green disappeared? I asked myself. Did I wake up from a dream? Sometimes the transitions are slow but yet they seem abrupt. Now the field had worn a new attire, the golden attire. Green was superseded by Golden, so were the thoughts. Changes are always hard to accept and golden also didn’t seem to be welcoming but it altogether brought a different mood of life. A more harsh yet very bright, more sharp but yet very mature. The color could just instantly catch your attention give you  a sense of reality. It was not a color that would soothe you but a color that stood up straight and self reliant, in those vast fields elucidating its own identity, giving a message of its sheer presence. A catchy presence which could not be ignored. The same green fields which had abundance of life now could also be dry and rough.

It is April now, the to time to harvest the crops. Those green turned golden fields have started disappearing. The fields look now ugly and crushed. The fields have gone bald showing the earthly scalp which is not a good sight to see. In this course of six months I had formed a connection with these wheat fields. And this face of these fields is not engaging and I do not identify them. But I wonder how is it possible that the same fields could be all three. Green, Golden and Ugly. How could something so beautiful turn so terrible. But that is how the nature cycle works. Their disappearance is disturbing yet it shouts out a strong meaning. I think we people are synonymous to these wheat fields. We are green, golden and ugly. Sometimes beautiful and sometime unpleasant. It is like two sides of a coin, we can see only one side but yet the existence of the other side cannot be denied. There is ugliness inside all of us and all the things in the world. Though we do not identify with it but it touches our lives time to time.

There is an ugly face.

The Magic

Archives from Diary
Date : 31st May 2014

I never believed in any kind of Magic, just thought it to be a magicians trick. I think we were so smart as kids that even Jinny from Aladdin didn't impress us and we always knew there is no such thing called magic. For me it only existed in mythological stories or on AXN.

But something has really changed my perception now. Something really incredible happened to me. It was the fourth day of my Roopkund trek and we gained some good elevation that day. Also the melting ice made the whole trail slippery and muddy, with hill on one side and deep gorges on the other. Since I was taking lots of pictures and being a slow person I was far behind the entire group on trail but a fellow trekker chose to accompany me. 

I was panting and full of dizziness. I think the altitude sickness was slowly hitting me, the elevation was around 14000ft. Being exhausted after four days of walking, I didn't want to take even a single step further. In these long treks which span for several days there are some phases when you become a zombie, you are out of energy, motivation and excitement.  So this was my Zombie day. A question, "Why the hell am I here" was crossing my mind continuously, as if my tired body wanted an answer from my mind. When I was in my own shell mourning and dooming, the fellow friend just brought to my notice a tiny cloud in the sky. I looked up, it was bright blue sky with sun shining to its fullest. The sky looked so magnificent and gorgeous that attempting to put it into words would be foolishness.

There was just this one miniature cloud in the whole sky. Just this white cloud. It was too small that if I had to scale it , it would be the 1/1000th part of the visible sky. I looked all 360 degree around, there was no other cloud or for that matter anything in the sky. I looked at it for good 2 minutes through my dizzy eyes and then looked at the whole sky. I didn't realize that the tears started rolling down  my cheeks. It just made me discern something. It made me to admit that we all have to walk alone. That minuscule cloud was making its way and presence in this infinitely big sky. Truly we all make our way alone, irrespective of how infinitely big hurdles are. The moment we start depending on our surroundings, we lose our way. We all are alone in this universe and have to make our own way.
After realizing all this existential stuff, which I sometimes do, I wiped my tears and shared my thoughts with my trek buddy and we both just started to walk. I again looked up towards the sky and I was in a state of complete shock. There was no cloud in the sky. How can a cloud vanish from the middle of the sky in few seconds. I couldn't believe my eyes and asked my fellow thrice that was there a cloud and did he show me one. And if there was one, where did it disappear ? It was a jolt to my senses. I asked him again, was there a cloud few seconds back and now it is not? To which he smiled and replied that it was Magic. I shook my head in disbelief.

Yes it was some magic, the magic sometimes God plays with all of us.

Dialogue in the Dark

Switch off your sight. Switch on your insight. And see a brighter world. That’s what the ‘Dialogue in the dark’ India website says. It actually is a place where you are completely devoid of your sight but deeply enlightened by your insight. I was introduced to Dialogue in the dark, when I was in Hyderabad last year, with my cousin. It was he who insisted on visiting this place and strictly instructed me not to go through the website before actually experiencing it. I didn't had the slightest of the idea that what actually it was, not even upon reaching the Dialogue in the Dark which resides in Inorbit Mall, Hyderabad. 
We purchased the tickets and were being told that it’s an exhibition in the dark and we would be guided by a person. Completely unaware of the fact that what’s going to happen in the next sixty minutes we silently entered this black corridor. We were a group of four. We were gradually parting from the light and slowly entering into a dark area. It was not until reaching the area which was completely dark that we heard a lady’s voice that greeted us. She was Misha, our guide for the next sixty minutes. We couldn't see her but only hear her. Her voice was very gentle and polite. I somehow imagined her to be someone very beautiful who belonged to Assam, as her voice and pronunciation had a lot of resemblance to an Assamese friend.  I was already astounded and fascinated by the fact that how did these people made the area so pitch dark. The initial experiments that I tried upon reaching the place were opening and closing of my eyes repeatedly until I realized that it was one and the same thing. I was just shocked to see or I would say rather not see anything around myself. In fact I was not even able to see my hands, foot, nothing. Nothing!!!! It was completely dark. Now this was the first time in life that I was experiencing such kind of environment. Even in case of power cuts and failures during nights our eyes slowly adjust after a while but this seemed to be an infinite situation. It was a complete loss of sight.
The first fifteen minutes were filled with utter confusion and excitement. Misha directed us through some more corridors as we struggled to move by touching the wall with one hand while holding a stick in the other. Only her voice was the way out from there, everything else seemed obscure. Many a times we bumped into each other, sometimes we lost track from the group ,while the rest of the time was consumed in identifying the direction from where she was giving us instructions. She then took us to a place which she called a garden and made us touch some plants, smell some flowers and touch some water. Then she made us touch some pulses and fruits asked us to identify them. This became a herculean task for us as we were not able to differentiate one from another. This was the moment when I first felt the disability. I realized how hard it is to work without one of our senses. The colorful world suddenly turned black.
After crossing this area we entered into a noisy area, it sounded like as if there was waterfall or river nearby. There was a sudden drop in temperature. She made us sit in a boat and told us that we would be going for a boat ride. There was no other boat ride that I enjoyed as much as this one. The cool air was rubbing my face; splashes of water were wetting me, and we all sat quietly in peace. I was just completely into it and flowing with the mood of the surrounding. It was then I realized that if it wouldn't have been dark and if I were able to see everything around, it would have distracted me a lot and I would have been deprived of this bliss. I think when one of the senses is disabled the others become more alive.
Finally we landed up in section which was supposed to be a cafeteria. The situation became more complicated when we had to pay for our purchase in dark. It was difficult to differentiate a hundred rupee note from a fifty rupee note while a five hundred note was easily identifiable. And to my surprise the women standing on the other side of the counter quickly gave us the change with ease as if she was able to see everything around. I just felt paralyzed and helpless. I was becoming restless and wanted to move out of this place and see everything around me. It was then that Misha guided us towards another corridor and questioned us that whether we wanted to see her. It was pretty obvious and unanimous that everybody wanted to see this lady who dauntlessly mentored us through the exhibition. She was so acquainted by the place that for a moment during the tour I thought that did she had some special glasses through which she could see everything inside. I really wanted to unfold this mystery.
Slowly we were moving towards the illuminated area leaving behind the darker area. We all came out of that gloomy place, the exhibition was over. But then something happened which was beyond my imagination. Misha introduced herself. She was visually impaired. She was far more beautiful than I had imagined and belonged to Kerala, contrary to what I had thought earlier. There were a million thoughts running through my head.I was forced to rethink about my capabilities and my limitations when I saw her sheer confidence and strength.That day I took a lot of contemplation home.
Dialogue in the dark is an exhibition in total darkness led by visually impaired guides. The first exhibition was setup in Hamburg, Germany in 1988 by Andreas Heinecke. Since then it has made its presence in 30 countries. India has only one center that resides in Inorbit Mall, Hyderabad and I highly recommend everyone to visit this place at least once. It is altogether a very unique experience which takes you deep inside yourself. A place where you can feel your own presence and existence, explore and discover your limitations, more than anything else in this world. It made me realize the importance of things I possess, even the smallest of them and I thanked God for giving me such a wonderful life. It widened the dimensions of my thinking. It really was a Dialogue in the dark.

The river of life - Part 1

Ganga has some deeper and hidden connections in my life. It dates back to when I was almost 4 or 5 years old and use to throw coins in the river whenever we crossed the Ganga Bridge at Kanpur. But that was a fun task for me, as my only motive was to ensure that the coin reached the river, from a moving car, without bothering much about the reason. But let’s rewind and know why did I throw coin in the river? Weird!  Actually it’s a belief or you could say a custom in Brahmins to offer some money, out of respect, to the holy river whenever you were in close proximity. At that point in time I was completely unaware of this fact and it was merely a target for me to achieve. But unknowingly I guess these were the values which were automatically imbibed in me as easily as, getting accustomed to touching elder’s feet. But the actual sense of realization came when I visited Rishikesh in 2009. I was completely mesmerized by the grandeur of the river and I just fell in love with Ganga. The river turned into a soulful, lively inspiration for me rather than just a water body. It attracted my imagination and lead me to reach it one of its mystical source, Gaumukh.

India is the only place where air and fire, trees and animals, mountains and rivers are depicted as God. And one of these powerful deities is the River Ganga. She is the water goddess who blesses thousands in the Northern India. For centuries she has shaped up the plains and relieved the parched land by its mighty waters. It flows for 2500 km through the gangetic plains before meeting the Bay of Bengal at Gangasagar. The cycles of birth, death and rebirth are endlessly played out around her. And through these two kinds of worlds: the natural and the spiritual world, flows the river of life, Ganga.

India has many sacred rivers, but it is the Ganga which lies in the heart and soul of the people. As goddess, Ganga originally watered the gardens of heavens but its powers were needed on earth to purify and cleanse the souls. The impact of her descent would have destroyed the earth, therefore lord Shiva caught the river in his hairs and channeled the flow into hundreds lesser streams. The source of Ganga is of great significance as in Hindus it is considered to be the crossing point between earth and heaven. River Bhagirathi, originating from the Gangotri glacier is considered to be the source of Ganga in Hindu culture and mythology but some consider Alaknanda to be the true source, geographically. Flowing through the majestic Himalayas, the two rivers meet at Devprayag to form Ganga. Hindus believe a holy dip into the river can wash away all your sins and lead you to Moksha- liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Such is the grandeur of this river. It has some of the holiest places of India along its bank, which draws Hindu pilgrims from all over the sub-continent to celebrate and worship the divine river goddess.

Before coming to Haridwar, the river is wild and its sources and tributaries are full of mysteries. Its only here, that it takes a shape of one powerful river which enters a very different, a very human world. In which her sacred waters cleans cities, irrigate fields and purifies the body as well as the souls of millions. From here it moves into its next stage to start its epic journey to the sea.
Ganga, The river of Life.

Does India really need a 'Satyamev Jayate' to see all the “Satya” around them??

This has been grabbing my attention for quite some time now, and I couldn’t resist myself from writing this blog. “Satyamev Jayate", the most talked about show in the country these days. When I say ‘Satyamev Jayate’, the echoes you’ll hear back is : Great!!, Awesome, Impacting,  Creating Awareness, Its’s about facing reality, Good  show , Great effort  blah blah… It’s the hot topic in the colleges, amongst the women in kitty parties, office cafeterias. When women discuss this, their heart really comes out and you could clearly see that they are completely connected to the other people’s sufferings. When discussed in Offices, this becomes a heated discussion, the youth feels sad about it. All of a sudden everybody has become so sensitive about the issues which persisted since ages. In metro cities this has become a custom to talk about it, to tweet about it, to put up as a Facebook status. I just fail to understand what suddenly made people so concerned about the loopholes of the society. Is it the stardom attached to the show? Like when Aamir will say then only we’ll come to know that the dowry system still exists in the country or how we are polluting Yamuna and Ganga. Where were we when Sunita Narain was shouting at the top of her voice, why it went unheard? Is it so that there was no Aamir or Shahrukh saying it. It’s really sad to see how things are patronized in our country.

Different people have different take on this. For some it’s about awareness, God only knows what kind of awareness is this when you know that something wrong is happening around you and you are just aware about it. How does it really matter, if we are not acting upon it? Let’s say through the show now the ‘Aware’ India knows that few of the medicines sold in the market at very high price are originally extremely low in cost, so have we stopped buying medicines or have we taken any action towards it. Leave apart this, people are not even bothered to collect the bills for the medicines they have bought. Or for that matter, how many of us have stopped polluting the city by not throwing ‘Kachara’ here and there on streets or public places. This is something which should come from within and one should keep his/her eyes and ears open so that he/she can act more responsibly towards their surroundings.

For others it was about an increase in knowledge. Wait !!!!! Increase in knowledge, is it a historical fact like ‘The first battle of Panipat took place in the year 1526’, that needs to be remembered and kept in our heads for the rest of our lives for a historical reference. Weird , it is, to memorize the ills of the society without acting upon it and the saddest part is the solution to every problem is discussion.
The issues brought up by the shows are not alien to us or something we were completely unaware of, be it female foeticide or child abuse etc, they all have their roots intact in the system since long time. The problem is everybody is seeing everything, but chooses to turn their heads around. But now as the show has come up suddenly everyone has their eyes and ears open. I can’t understand when a celebrity is associated to a cause then only people feel attached to the cause, then only all the donations starts pouring in, what about the people who have dedicated half the years of their life working for this. The irony is, if you fast in the centre of the capital with all the media attention, you have people and politicians, both pleading you to end the fast, but if a person who sacrificed his whole life  for a cause and  fasts for seventy three days without any media coverage,…….he dies. That is what an impact of being a celebrity in this country is.

The only point I wanted to make is, bring some action into the picture instead of discussing and trending it on twitter . One should decide for oneself what he feels about the society and what needs to be done, rather than following what a celebrity thinks about the cause.