Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Diary vs. Journal

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lone Rangers

Thursday, January 16, 2014

We all chase the ghost anyway.

कभी किसी को मुकम्मल जहाँ नहीं मिलता
कहीं ज़मीन तो कहीं आसमान नहीं मिलता

जिसे भी देखिये वो अपने आप में ग़ुम है
ज़ुबाँ मिली है मगर हमज़ुबाँ नहीं मिलता

बुझा सका है भला कौन वक़्त के शोले
ये ऐसी आग है जिस में धुआँ नहीं मिलता

तेरे जहाँ में ऐसा नहीं कि प्यार न हो
जहाँ उम्मीद हो इसकी, वहाँ नहीं मिलता

निदा फाज़ली

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vaishnav Jan

There is something fiercely reassuring about devotion. Even if you do not believe in God and such things, there is a strange sense of peace that seems to prevail when you give yourself up to a higher being. I have always liked devotional songs. At least since the time I remember listening to them quite unwittingly. It is a bit sad, though, that more often than not I have understood the implication of the words only in parts. Perhaps that is because my faith in God is not as fervent and passionate as the singer. But often, even if only for a moment, we indulge in role play. I sit down beside the qawwal and let him be my guide. That is the experience I enjoy. During the course of it, I am his apprentice. I let his words and devotion wash over me for a few precious minutes. I am ready, then, to be cynical again.

I remember Papa playing Anup Jalota and other Gandhi bhajans every morning before other people in the house woke up. He would get up early, a couple of hours before sunrise, and meditate in the drawing room. Sitting under a blanket in the winters, he would devote himself to the uphill task of trying to communicate with a higher consciousness. It was comforting to see him that way; even my adolescent mind must have understood the importance of someone taking the pains to comprehend that which I could not even begin to grasp. He still does that every morning and over the last couple of years I have gotten the chance to learn from all the wisdom he gained over the course of those cold winter mornings. His ideas and opinions, so many of which have found reflection in my own person, have made me realise how helpless we can be when it comes to trying to fight our conditioning.

Mummy and I would wake up for school later and he would greet every one, tea ready for Mummy. The bhajans would keep playing till we sat down for breakfast, when the grown-ups would start discussing family matters. I would be busy making sure that the shoes were not too dirty and the shirt was ironed alright. That the nails had been clipped last night and Mother had not packed something despicable for tiffin. The rhythmic chanting of Omkara or Gayatri Mantra would be replaced by other conversations. But the bhajans — they were always a good start to the day. Little did I know that a seed had already begin to germinate without my even knowing about it. Recently, I found my sister asking me for some bhajans to play for her children, thereby bringing the cosmic cycle to its conclusion. (I am bound to sympathise with her reluctance to have her boys grow up listening to Yo Yo Honey Singh.) Of late, I have come to associate such headfake with sanskar.

Vaishnav Jan is just one of the legacies left behind by Gandhi and one of my favourite short cuts to a deeper, meditative state of mind. I don’t seem to remember where I first came across it, but I do know that it made an impression sometime during the last three years. For those who would like to give it a try, here is a version of it sung by the ageless Lata Mangeshkar, while if you happen to have a thing for beats and a multitude of other musical instruments, a trendier version should serve the purpose just as well. The bhajan itself is in Gujarati. So, for all the non-existent, non Hindi speakers who do not happen to be reading this post, a rather inept and prescriptive translation in English should help out with the words.

Vaishnav Jan by Narsinh Mehta

वैष्णव जन तो तेने कहिये जे पीड़ परायी जाणे रे ।
पर दुःखे उपकार करे तो ये मन अभिमान न आणे रे ॥

सकळ लोकमां सहुने, वंदे निंदा न करे केनी रे ।
वाच काछ मन निश्चळ राखे, धन धन जननी तेनी रे ॥

समदृष्टि ने तृष्णा त्यागी, परस्त्री जेने मात रे ।
जिह्वा थकी असत्य न बोले, परधन नव झाले हाथ रे ॥

मोह माया व्यापे नहि जेने, दृढ़ वैराग्य जेना मनमां रे ।
रामनाम शुं ताळी रे लागी, सकळ तीरथ तेना तनमां रे ॥

वणलोभी ने कपटरहित छे, काम क्रोध निवार्या रे ।
भणे नरसैयॊ तेनुं दरसन करतां, कुळ एकोतेर तार्या रे ॥
One who is a Vaishnav knows the pain of others,
Does good to others, especially to those in misery, without letting pride enter his mind.

A Vaishnav tolerates and praises the entire world, does not denounce anyone.
He keeps his words, actions, and thoughts pure. O Vaishnav, your mother is blessed!

A Vaishnav sees everything equally, rejects greed and avarice. He reveres every woman and
Though his tongue may tire, he will utter no untruth. He does not covet another person’s wealth.

Material attachments do not occupy a Vaishnav’s mind, it being deeply rooted in renunciation.
He is addicted to the elixir that lies in the name of Ram; for him, all the religious sites exist in the mind.

A Vaishnav has no greed and deceit; he has renounced lust and anger.
Says Narasinh, the sight of such a Vaishnav saves a family through seventy-one generations.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why do an MBA.

Monday, January 06, 2014

In My Mind

“I’ve got this little thing I have learnt to do lately. When it gets so bad, and I think I can’t go on, I try to make it worse. I make myself think about our camp on the river, and Berkeley, and the first time that you took me flying. How good it all was. And when I’m certain that I can’t stand it, I go one moment more. And then I know I can bear anything.”