Enlightenment of the day

‘Pum’, is the first note of wake up alarm in Gautam’s phone, then a silence of a few bars, then ‘pum pum’ and later melody with beats start; but there is no point overloading this space with this extra information. Of course there is a valid reason for this. Reason is that Gautam always manages to gently touch the ‘stop’ button soon after he hears first ‘pum’. Today was no exception. So, after ‘Pum’ at 5.47am Gautam stopped further details of the alarm. You know all that ‘pum pum’ and the melody with beats etc. Phone became quiet and in a few moments withdrew its exited bright good morning smile with a dark huff. Gautam was used to it. His phone always gets upset, if it is not given a decent hearing. But we are not here to discuss Gautam’s love hate relationship with his phone.

Gautam hadn’t slept well last night. There was no one in particular to be hanged for this. No, not getting deep sleep can be attributed to many points. But stupidly all that attribution happens only after he has not slept well. He starts to think of points like, over eating, too much activity before hitting the pillow, too much on his mind etc. Although he had tried to get relaxed when he realized his alertness was still with him, even though its time had long run out. Alertness and sleep have to take turns to be with Gautam. It is more or less like a smooth take over. At one time only one of them can be there.

But in spite of below average sleep Gautam was fine. His ‘yog’ class is at 6.15am. After stopping the alarm, he takes a few moments, just being there. Someone had told him NOT to dive into a new day straight away, but slide into it smoothly and gradually. It made sense to him. He twisted his spine this way and that and in 3 minutes he stood up. He easily fought off his unhappiness at being groggy.

At 6.05 he was walking briskly to Ary Samaj, which about .750 km away. Announcement of winter season has made the sun wake up late. So, exterior wasn’t too bright. His weak eye sight and the distance makes Arya Samaj building seems like a ghost. A faint yellow light in the center indicates some students have arrived.

Inside all the mats were in place. Gautam had to take his place on a mat right in front of the teacher at the center. Everyone avoids that place. It is so in the face of teacher.

“Good morning everyone. Please sit in ‘sukhasan, ardhapadmasan or padmasan. Keep your hands on your knees. Pull in your stomach slightly, throw back your shoulders slightly, keep your neck and shoulder muscles relaxed, gently close your eyes and passively watch your breath. Keep breathing normally. If any thoughts appear in your mind, gently ignore them and bring your attention back to your breath. Normal breathing and watching it passively… Now we will chant Om. Take a deep breath in, Oooooooooooooooooooaaaaaammm…”

After 7 chants teacher continues; this time a little softly: “Enjoy the peace and quiet you gained by chanting Om… and passively… watch your breath.”

From more than 10 years these words have remained unchanged; but Gautam doesn’t mind it. In any case Gautam feels rejuvenated after the class and walks back home briskly.

Gautam’s Enlightenment of the day: ‘You don’t have to be active and reactive for everything that you encounter. Watching it passively also has its own positive use.’

Looking pretty and at peace under any circumstances.

Infectious Goodness

I met my friend Gautam yesterday. Like me he too is very regular in his exercise regimen, especially the walks. His doctor has told him that at his age, one-hour walk everyday is a must. If he wants to go to a gym, do Yoga, learn karate or any other activity, it has to be ‘walk’+ that activity. During one such walk something strange happened with Gautam. He narrated to me the story next day.

Gautam had already completed his daily walk quota in the morning. He had come out again in the evening for a stroll in the park; maybe just to stay a little ahead in life. He was only half way down the track; he spotted a wad of money on the ground. He stopped right next to it, keeping his shoe near the neatly folded notes and looked down directly at it. Watching an awkwardly static person in the jogging park; other walkers too followed his look and also saw the money. Gautam looked up at some passing men engrossed in serious walking.

Gautam: does this belong to any of you? He stayed near the money. But it seemed that those people had already started breaking their carbohydrates into glucose and water. So, no one was in a mood to break the pace for little money that didn’t even belong to them. A tall man just nodded ‘no’ and walked off without slowing his pace. A dark lady in short hair said smilingly, ‘finders keepers’, not bothering to stop. Gautam picked up the money. Watchman from his cabin had also noticed this. Gautam walked to the watchman, showed him the money and told him, “I found it (pointing to the spot) there. Did any one inform you about their lost money?”
Watchman: “no (extending his hand to grab the notes); but I will keep an eye.”
Gautam: “wait, let me count it (he counted the money). It is 110 rupees. Keep it but if I cannot find the owner then I will take it from you before I leave. It is 110, ok?”
Watchman: “ok sir.” But just as Gautam was about to hand over the money to watchman, Gautam noticed a large bunch of women entering the garden. He stood at the edge of walking area and raised his hand with the money.

Gautam: “anyone lost this… any one?” Most ladies laughed and passed him by; but a thin woman with graying hair said, “you are giving so much of your time for someone else’s money. Everyone is not so nice.” Gautam: ‘

“that’s no problem; I will give it just a few minutes more.”
Thin woman with graying hair: “good luck to you” (she walked off laughing away).
Gautam: (trying his luck again) “hello any one dropped this right here, any one?”
Next was a group of four women, chatting loudly. Among them there was a fat lady in yellow suit, “Yes, it could be mine. I had a 50 rupee note with me when I was shopping.” She showed her empty handkerchief. So careless! Gautam thought.
Gautam: “you should have at least tied up the money in your handkerchief.”
Fat woman in yellow suit: “yes. I don’t know how it slipped.”
Gautam: (placing money in her hanky) “here, take this.”

Other women started complimenting him and smiling, as they always do. Gautam was hugely relieved; but by now he had lost precious five-minute walk. So he picked up speed thanking women for their complements. The women too continued walking for a while. Gautam paced faster in the next two rounds. That group of women was now sitting on a bench and chatting. So every two minutes Gautam passed them, he knew they were looking at him. He felt very uncomfortable.

Soon there was a surprising twist in the tale. A small made woman had walked to that group of four women and was talking to them. As Gautam passed again, group of women stopped him.
Fat woman in yellow suit: “actually the money belongs to this lady. She has come back all the way from her house trying to find it.”
Gautam: “so now you are giving it to her?”
Fat woman in yellow suit: “yes. I thought it was mine; but it is surely hers.”
Gautam: “but what about your fifty rupee note? Do you have it or is that lost too?”
Fat woman in yellow suit: “no, it is in my bag.”
Gautam: “sure? Otherwise tell me I will keep an eye on the ground for your money too.”
They all laugh aloud. Gautam coolly started his walks again. He was pleasantly surprised at what had happened.

Dark lady in short hair: “you can’t go on finding money in every trip.”
Gautam: “yes I know. But even if I do find more money, it will be a big headache to find it’s owner every time.”
Dark lady in short hair: (laughing) “true. I don’t think anyone thinks like you do.”
Gautam was moving away from her.
Gautam: “oh that’s no big deal. Bye.”
Dark lady in short hair, “bye.”

Gautam and Indriyavijay

Indriyavijay enters the ever open door of Gautam’s hut. Gautam is drinking green tea with a lot of concentration – like always. That kind of concentration comes easy to him. Indriyavijay takes a seat in front of him. Rays of soft morning sun are filtering from the window behind his head. He looks inside the tea cup, lifts it with both his hands. As the cup comes close to his face, the vapor from the cup brightens due to the shaft of sun. Waves of vapour take a few moments hang near Gautam’s face and as if unwillingly move away, then vanishing as they rise beyond his face and sun rays. Gautam sips tea with closed eyes and slowly replaces the cup at the same spot. His eyes followed the cup throughout, Indriyavijay noticed. He knows it is Gautam’s tea meditation. Gautam has this habit of turning any day-to-day activity into a meditation. All his meals, bath, walk or chopping wood looks like slow-motioned Tai Chi. After two sips Gautam looks up. Indriyavijay does not know if he is looking at him or his vision going through him. However, by now he knows Gautam too well.
Indriyavijay: Is something wrong, you are looking a little glum.

Gautam: What is glum?

Indriyavijay: (correcting himself) I mean perhaps a little quieter.

Gautam: Yes I am feeling quieter internally. Isn’t that good.

Indriyavijay: Yes… it is. (Deciding not to ask any more probing questions)

Gautam: you did come to ask me anything. You came to tell me something.

Indriyavijay: we are going to pick wood from forest. Are you coming?

Gautam: Actually my plans are to exercise my feet and legs, touch my toes few times, work on the strength of my fingers and palm and finally do some weight lifting.

Indriyavijay: oh, you have a busy schedule. So, we will carry on. We need wood for making tea and cooking dinner.

Gautam: (picking the cup) fine.

Indriyavijay bows and swiftly moves and starts calling out to others to join him. In a few moments a group of monks are seen collecting dried twigs from the ground. After sometime monks noticed Gautam too was collecting wood and was ahead of them.

A surprised Indriyavijay asked, ‘but you wanted to exercise!’

Gautam: (looking down) see that’s precisely what I am doing; walking, touching my toes, working on my fingers and palms and lifting gradually growing weight…

Essay by an 8 year old

Teacher had asked young Gautam to write an essay on something that is seen in the sky. She meant the sky itself, birds, airplanes, sun, moon, kites etc. Gautam had seen the moon previous evening in the garden. So, he chose to write about it.


I was in the garden. Big round moon was in the sky. It was yellow in color. Papa told me to run for some time. Moon was running with me. It was hiding behind trees. It was following me. It was looking at me. When I was running fast he was little behind. Then I waited. I played hide and seek with him. He is my best friend. He is always looking at me. I also want to look at him. I gave him a flying kiss. His color became dark yellow. He went behind a cloud. Don’t know why was he hiding there? He was not coming out. Then I went home.

Gautam’s research

It was 9 pm. The train was full. Gautam had been checking passenger tickets for nearly two hours. He is in charge of 4 non-AC-3 tier-sleeper compartments and now was at the fag end of the fourth one. No wonder he was tired. His face showed it, even through his beard.

“Ticket, ticket, excuse me, show your tickets please. Where are you going? Ok, here. What about you two? Fine here you go.”

He entered the last section of the compartment. Everyone gave their tickets but a young couple was sound asleep on the same berth. Woman’s one leg was on top of man’s stomach. “Excuse me”, he said rather softly. She had ‘mehdi’ on her hands. Newly married, he mumbled. He could not arrest a little smile escaping his face. Turning away, he switched the night lamp on. He took off his white uniform cap and shook up his mop of hair with his fingers. He felt relaxed. The waiter asked him if he will have dinner now. He nodded yes. He went into the toilet to relieve himself and wash his hands and face. 

Drying his face he looked at himself in the mirror. He wanted to be critical of what he saw, but couldn’t. He organized his hair, beard, shirt, tie… The sound of train changes so dramatically in the toilets. It becomes much sharper or what they say, ‘shrill’. The rhythm remains the same, obviously. It is a part of the same train and compartment. He always enjoyed noticing such changes. He felt it was like a research topic on ‘sound of train in its various parts’; toilets have the potty tube that is open to the railway track or ground. That creates a lot of difference to the sound here. He wondered how it will sound to the person, placed in a hammock tied under the compartment; close to the wheels… he felt it was going to be too noisy. His face showed discomfort due to this sadist thought. It was like a torturous Nazi idea… Someone was knocking at the door. Enough research. He came out. Waiter had kept his vegetarian food tray on his seat.

He sat down, opened the foil and looked at the food. So unappetizing! Same dry rotis, dal and same color gravy in the vegetable. He hesitated. Waiter was waiting.

“Any problem?”

“No, not with the food… But my stomach is not feeling too good.” It was the turn of waiter’s research faculty to wake up, ‘now I know what he was doing in the toilet for so long.’

“I will take it back.”

“Sorry, I think I will have a vegetable sandwich at Jalgaon with tea.” Waiter took the tray back and Gautam lay down with his overnight bag as the pillow. His hair was flying due to strong wind from the open window. Tuk, tuk… tuktuk, Tuk, tuk… tuktuk, Tuk, tuk… tuktuk…

He wondered if the swings for little babies also were as relaxing. Why does he like this sound and this sideways movement so much? Was he born in the train or brought up in trains? Could be. His father was a motor man… His father always wanted him to be a motor man too, follow his steps… Gautam wanted to be a painter. His father couldn’t understand him. He thought of him as weird! Finally with mother as a mediator, they settled for the job of the ticket checker. At least I don’t get black all over; and my lungs must be in much better shape than ‘baba’.

Train stopped at Jalgaon.

Waiter was talking to the sandwich man on the platform.

After 5 min, train started. Waiter jumped in.

Gautam had turned to his side, untangling the numerous knots of his life.

Gautam’s clouds

Gautam was strolling alone in a garden. It had just stopped raining. So the ground was quite soggy. As a wave of that pleasant breeze passed, it unsettled the rain droplets hanging on tree leafs. Most fell on the ground but many were lucky to find their abode on Gautam’s face, shoulders and hair. He too enjoyed it. He said a quiet inner thanks to the creation for providing such an unbelievable magic. Water, coming down from the heaven! It made everything on the earth look fresh and revitalized. Trees, grass, plants looked greener and flowers brighter.

The air seemed clearer; to look through and to breathe in. It contained no dust or any other impurities. But yes it had the unmistakable smell of water meeting the warm earth. Birds chirped and bees buzzed around. Another strong wave of breeze passed and some leaf fell on him like a shower. He smiled and thanked the creation once again. He felt as though he was being honored by showering of leafs by an unknown entity. He felt that it was planned that the shower will occur just when he is just under the tree… just as it happened earlier.

A wave of a thought entered his mind. It was about a person, who had been very fond of him and of course the feeling were reciprocated by him. The thought played around in his mind. Gautam also played with it. Hundreds of related memories covered his mental space with another quick shower. He looked up at the sky. A cloud was passing by. He smiled and allowed the memory to pass by too. His mind was clean once again.

Another cloud came to hover inside his mind. It was the cloud of all the work he had done. He remembered the last time he got an untimely call from the office, he was worried. What now? He had wondered. What might have happened? So many worrying thoughts had darkened his mental horizon. Same phenomenon had been happening in current monsoon. A thick cloud cover darkens the horizon; but it hardly rains. He found a simile in it. He had allowed that call to make a darkening thought inside him. When you know the source of a problem, it vanishes. And it did.

His mental sheet was spotlessly clear once again. He felt fresh and energetic; not really to break into a run; but into a smile with abandon.

Power of letting go

It was 4am and Gautam had woken up with a strange feeling – a feeling of control. The feeling of control strangely came from the feeling of ‘let go’. During the last few moments in bed, he had let everything ‘go’ mentally. It happened just a few moments ago. He lost interest or rather did not feel interested in controlling anything or anyone. He suddenly felt light as a feather because he had decided to ‘not’ hold reigns of any situation. He was enjoying this new feeling of lightness. It amused him. He might even be having a smile on his face. No, he did not regret that he did not learn it earlier. Everything and everyone has an assigned time and duration to enter the stage to perform an act and exit, exactly after it is over.

Gautam has been underperforming in his family scenario. He was either not interested to act, not expected to or not allowed to act as the decision taker in his family, of which he was the head. He was eldest; but over a long period of time he had allowed the leadership to slip from his hand. It may even have been taken away from him, which too he didn’t care, too much about. Whenever any family discussions took place, he occupied his favorite back seat; that is if he was in that room at all.

But what happened all of a sudden? Gautam just woke up and instead of feeling drowsy, he found himself so comfortably awake. He went to the kitchen, made tea, lit a few lamps and sat down with his palm leaf, peacock feather and the inkpot to write.

He has made up his mind or his mind itself got into this new phase, ‘today when the sun rises; it will show Gautam in a different light’. He was feeling completely renewed. New, lightness, new energy, new thoughts. And new power of control. Now he is not afraid that he might lose. He is not confidant that he will win. All he believes in is that all will be well. Regrets from the past don’t bother him nor do any hopes from the future. He just thinks it’s all right. It’s all fine. He was ready to be a part the natural flow of the universe without altering or correcting it. He felt immensely powerful to ‘be with what is’.

Road Rage and Gautam

It was surprising. A person like Gautam involved in a road rage! He has been known to be very cool and calm. Perhaps times have changed just too much for anyone to be his normal self 😦 you see wisdom of words do not help anyone whose nature is unchangeable… once upon a time there was a saint who lived on the banks of ganga near Haridwar. He was very kind hearted and compassionate being. One morning when he was praying in Ganga water he saw a scorpion being washed away by swift waves. He felt scorpion’s pain and decided to save it. So, he put his hands under the creature and picked up the scorpion with the water. He brought it to safe dry shore and gradually put it down. But sadly as he did so he was stung by the scorpion. It was very painful. Saint fainted. Other sadhus came to his help and asked him about how he got stung. After he narrated the incidence a senior sadhu smiled at him. A few days later similar incidence re-occurred and he again got stung. This time the senior sadhu told him, ‘ I know that you are very compassionate, but it is also important to understand the nature various living beings. It is in nature of scorpion to sting if it feels threatened. A scorpion has no concept of compassion or knowing that is being saved. It may not even realize that it was about to die! So do not waste your good heart in saving such creatures. Gautam understood it and installed it in his mind for all such situations…

Gautam was driving to work on an over-crowded road. Although the roads were very wide; the cars were nearly touching each other side ways or bumper to bumper. The traffic moved a few meters only occasionally. There was a cacophony of horns. People cursed under their breath, sometime even openly if cars did not move quickly enough. Gautam got few meters space in front of his car and decided he will move when traffic will actually start moving. But the car behind him started gunning, revving and honking. Some young boys rolled the windows down and asked him to move. Gautam indicated he can see the space but there was no way after that. So they should chill. They could not take it that an old man had not yielded to their demand. One of the four young ones came out. Gautam did not have AC on, so his windows were open and car engine was shut. Gautam said, I don’t mind moving ahead, but what is after that. I will start and shut the engine just for two meters? So relax when it moves we will all move. The boy looked back to his friends and indicated that this person has to be told in another language. He opened Gautam’s car door and asked him to come out. Gautam was fine with it. Other three boys also came out of that car and surrounded Gautam. “what is your problem? Why are you not moving? If you don’t move we will force you. You don’t know us. My uncle is MLA. My friend’s father is a police officer. His father owns a mall and…” Gautam said, “ok ok your uncle, your friend’s father and your father has a mall… but why don’t you tell me who you are and what you do? I will tell you that I am only an ordinary chap. I have this non-ac car and wanted to save fuel by not restarting the car when…” Before he could express himself completely, a blow landed on his temple! The boy in front caught Gautam’s shirt and shook it. Someone else slapped him and they generally started manhandling him. Gautam had fallen on the road and was being kicked by all four… one boy came close his face and picked him up by his collar. Gautam stood up with bleeding lips, bruises on his face and torn shirt. One boy went to his car pulled out a stick and shattered Gautam’s wind screen. Gautam thought, maybe it will give him better breeze in this northern heat. 

When the strongest one held Gautam’s throat and repeated himself, “move your car now” was the first time Gautam’s hand moved, but totally imperceptibly. No one noticed the movement at all. The firm and threatening voice of the boy seemed to have lost. His face looked confused. He was trying look at his friends and say something. But they did not notice it until the boy started slumping down. They left Gautam and held their friend to help him. Someone said he has poisoned him. And he moved to get the gun from the car. They all started moving back to get their own gadgets. In a few moments they were back. The traffic has started moving by now. Gautam had lifted the injured boy to put him in his car for medical treatment. As he opened the door to place him in, a barrel touched his neck. He circled the boy being carried and hit others with his feet. Other two boys were pushed away and banged on a moving tempo. A hit from the tempo had blown the nose of the boy. He sat down instantly. A car reached close to him asked him to move away, “hey you are blocking the road! Move fast.” Only when the car touched him he realized he must move before he gets run over. He staggered to the side. Two other had a knife each. One of them was a Swiss knife and its blade shone in the hot sun light. Gautam said, “see, i want to take your friend to the doctor, so back off.” But they did not listen and simultaneously they did not notice that a sharp blade had passed through the chest of the boy in front. The boy behind noticed the blade peeping out from the other side of his friend. Before he could take a step forward, the blade grew and entered his chest too. Blade had punctured spines of both and their bodies lay like vegetables, disconnected to their brains. Gautam stepped back. The knife that punctured them was not to be seen anywhere. He glanced at the unconscious boy at the back seat, sat in and drove off.

Not Dead Yet

Gautam thinks something is different since morning. He is mentally checking for the changes around his chest, but inside. And also a little higher around his head, around brain, he wondered. What must be happening around these two areas? Brain is an organ, he mentally argued; but mind is not. It is a soft-ware issue. Here he hit a wall called, ‘loss of clarity’. He was still in his hut and these strange blissful feelings had filled inside him in the hut.

He decided, no, nothing has changed in the outside world, but in him… inside him.

All those regular ideas, thoughts, disturbances… that stayed in his mind and played games in the brain, had disappeared… or so it seems. Gone away for a short while? This could be temporary. But how was Gautam to know that? All kinds of regular clutter, idle chatter, repeats, anxieties and distresses seem to have vanished. His mental space seemed to be glittering and spotlessly clean. His mind was feeling light, as if ready to fly. Brain seems to be idling quietly. Not revved up like it did, till yesterday.

Gautam found himself to be very unusually calm. He had woken up after an amazingly peaceful sleep. He felt no sign of laziness. He had never experienced this state of his mind; where he is not happy; but is blissful. His face has no smile, but his being seems to have blossomed. How a bloomed flower doesn’t smile; but its entire body seems to be smiling.

Something like that was happening to him. He stepped out of his hut. Many leafs fell on him. Whenever that happens, he always looks up and thanks the tree. A little ahead the yellow flower tree had shed numerous flowers. May be it happens every day; but Gautam felt that day it was done especially and purposefully for him. Birds in the sky seemed more noisy, perky and cheerful. The deer, rabbits and foxes had made a group and were huddled together. Small birds were perched on the lowest branches of the trees and seemed to be watching Gautam walk past.

He felt a strange lightness in his feet, in his walk. His body did not seem to exert to move ahead… very unusual. This can’t be heaven… He clearly remembers he hadn’t died… at least not as yet.

Photo for representation only

Sea, it’s easy for you

Gautam was up at 5.30 and in a relaxed hurry he got ready. He changed into his walking attire, wore his sports shoes, a watch and a belt pouch with his specks, phone and house keys. He stepped out sharp at 6 am. It was quite bright. Slowly he moved as per his plan to walk along sea side road to Yari road and then turn around to return. Last time he remembered it took him 50 min. He thinks that’s a fair amount to cover in a day.

He normally does road walks early mornings. Because the traffic is scant. So roads are comparatively less dangerous. It is also less noisy. As he reached near the first turn to the sea on Versova beach, he decided to take a look if there was space to walk on the sand. If the tide is high then one cannot walk there. But the tide was receding. So a large stretch of sand though very wet; was available. He decided it was a better bet to walk here than road.

He tested the sand. The beach was tilted badly. So his feet were very unbalanced, left up and right way down. But he found it better as he moved towards the water line.

Gautam picked up pace after examining the beach till the end. It seemed about 750 meters. One round trip makes it 1.5 km. There were very few people. One young guy sitting cross legged was chanting Aum in various pitches. Other sounds that he heard were of sea gulls, crows and waves.

Waves! He remembered his last meeting with the sea about a month back. He had a conversation with it. Gautam basically does not need anything for himself, as he is totally self-content… And that’s the kind of general perception. Everyone knows that. But he had another responsibility on him and he was not sure if he can handle it by himself.

He started his talk to the sea; “last time I told you that I have met someone very important. She is from the ancient times, when the world was very different…”

He heard a roar of waves.

“Yes, now I have taken this as my life’s sole purpose that…”

Big roar again.

See now I have told you in so many words… You are so strong… You cover and control most of the earth… You can easily help us… I am also in conversation with trees and wind.

Large wave splashed on the beach.

Okay okay. So I take it as we have a deal. I don’t want to see her upset ever again… That I know, but Gautam is just another name for someone who roamed around here. He listened to the waves of your teachings intently and tried his best to figure out what each of those waves meant.

Who me? No, I will be okay. I really wouldn’t consider myself to be one of the greatest souls you met in your life time. So you don’t have to keep any thing for me. This pretty shell will do.

MV PAVIT is the second ship to get stuck at Mumbai’s popular Juhu beach. A large ship bang on the beach makes a very weird sight. It attracts many eye-balls. But it can be a tremendous security hazard too. A large ship moves aimlessly in India waters, without being noticed by coast guard or Indian Navy and lands directly in the financial capital of the country! There is something seriously wrong. Previous ship MV Wisdom was aground vertical to the beach. So its propeller and rudders were in water which helped tugs to pull it away. But PAVIT is parallel to the beach and its propeller and rudders are stuck deep in sand! This one is not going anywhere for a long long time… on August 14 another salvage operation was started and successfully ended on 15 August. The ship was floated away into the high seas and sailed off to Alang port in Gujarat.