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.

Conversation Sex

Gautam had been living a mile or two inside the forest away from his kingdom. Well ex-kingdom. Gautam had just turned a ‘seeker’. So, once a week his mother would send a chariot laden with fruits and some of Gautam’s favorite food. Anandini, a maid in the palace known to Gautam, would accompany the food along with chariot driver. She would place the food decently in his hut, generally look around for any cleaning to tidying up to be done, collect brass and gold utensils and leave.

Gautam would breath in deeply and Anand would start checking out the packages. As the cling-clang sounds of the chariot bells would fade out and dissolve into the sound of evening birds and waking night crickets. Other meditating men would emerge from the distant foliage and approach Gautam’s hut for a meal that would support them for one week.

One day when the maid was arranging the food in the hut, she started a conversation with Gautam. She was speaking while going up and down between the chariot and various corners of the hut. Garlands and yellow flowers had been sent from the palace, because of Makar Sankranti. She placed them all around making the hut very pretty, fragrant and misfit for the forest. Gautam neither objected nor appreciated. The conversation kept going. Anadini was very unlike other maids. She seemed much brighter than others. She was inquiring about areas that would make her a seeker herself. Her ideas were being sharpened where they lacked clarity. Gradually she got so hooked that she sat down in front of her ex-master and continued. That would have been impossible in the palace.

Gradually sounds in jungle started changing, from birds to night crickets and then fowls. Sound of wolfs howls and foxes scampering also were heard as the last of sun light bid good bye to red sky and the day. The horse shook his head wildly resulting in loud alarm bells. With a jolt Anandini came out of her trance. She realized Gautam did not remind her to leave earlier. She quickly rose and started walking briskly towards the chariot. Then stopped a moment later, turned back and said, “my lord, this conversation was like having sex. May be better.” Only after her smile and giggle got registered in the ambiance of the forest did the form of chariot faded out in the blackness.

It was too late for the other meditating saints to come up and eat.

The warmth of the summer morning sun made everything refreshing. Everyone arrived at the hut, with cheering of the birds. Gautam was gently pacing outside his decked up hut. Anand promptly indicated everyone to be seated. He then kept all the food in the center. Gautam sat in the middle of the hut door. To his and other’s mild surprise this time there was a woman ‘bhikshu’ also among them. She picked up a guava and ate it with a lot of respect for it. Gautam asked her about herself. She said she was from a kingdom at the distance two days walk from there. She had plans to move further north after few days break. She said she hadn’t eaten well for two days. Since she took a halt, as she noticed lot of fruit laden trees around there. She decided to replenish her body before moving into the unknown. Gradually everyone went their way but she stayed with the conversation that was on, between her and Gautam. They both had shut their eyes and were speaking. Gradually their responses to each other kept getting softer and the gaps between them grew longer. A patch of sun descended and sat on Gautam’s face. His face seemed to emit that light. Bhikshuni felt the flux of light and growing heat. She opened her eyes and noticed Gautam’s face had turned white. She could barely notice his features. The face seemed like a ball of light. She wondered who this person was! She decided to leave the hut and go to her corner of the forest. After Gautam came out of his trance, he remembered the conversation with that unknown ‘bhikshuni’.

A week after ‘Sankranti’ late morning the rhythmic sound of horses hoofs and bells emerged over the bustling forest ambiance. Birds had stopped bothering about the chariot as a foreign object that appeared every week and vanished after a while, leaving behind a load of welcome leftovers for them to feed on.

Next week again, Anandini got down. She did a respectful ‘namaskar’ to Gautam and Anand and started unloading the food baskets. Saints started appearing. This time she noticed a woman too in a white ‘dhoti’. Anandini was surprised, rather shocked. Like clockwork everyone sat, ate respectfully and left, including the female saint. Anandini seemed out of her depth. She collected empty brass-ware and other disposable material and placed them in the chariot. Her steps were feeling heavy as she moved to climb up two steps. She sat in. Gautam was still inside the hut, but could be seen. As driver hinted to the horse to move, Gautam said, “Anandini I had sex with that ‘bhikshuni’, you saw”. Anandini’s face turned white. She tried to find Gautam’s gaze but couldn’t. She couldn’t get off the chariot and ask him what did that mean! Chariot moved and carried with it all its rich sounds…

After a while Gautam felt a pinch of concern about something. I hope Anandini remembers her own words, “my lord, this conversation was like having sex. May be better.”

Buddhist devotee at Mcleod Ganj

Gautam goes shopping

Shop One, Cell City

Gautam was worried about his cell phone battery. He felt it was draining much faster recently. Earlier it would go for more than a day, but now not more than 8-10 hours. He thought in case it suddenly fails, it will leave him in a lurch. Cell City was close to his house. He did not want to buy it straightway, but check out the cost, availability etc.

Gautam: Boss you have battery for MotoG, 2nd gen?

ShopKeeper: Yes we have. Why do you want to change?

Gautam: It is draining very fast.

ShopKeeper: How fast? How much it lasted earlier?

Gautam: Earlier it would last for at least 24 hours. I used to charge it once a day.

ShopKeeper: And now how long it is lasting after a charge?

Gautam: Hardly 8-10 hours.

ShopKeeper: So why do you want to change the battery. It is good enough. Just charge it twice a day, no.

Gautam: Umm, are you sure?

ShopKeeper: Battery costs about Rs 1500. But why do you want to spend even that? Just charge it twice!

Gautam thought how strange was this shop-keeper! While all shops lures customers into buying more; this guy was interested in customer’s interest.

Rightway Stationary (and assorted electronics)

Gautam’s WiFi router was giving trouble. As it would lose connection every now and then. It had been going on for a few months now. He had complained to the ISP many times. They came and did some checking and repairs. Finally one technician asked Gautam how old was the router. Gautam said it was 3 years old, at least. He said these gadgets have life of not more than 2 years. It has lasted way longer. So he connected his ‘testing router’ and removed the old one. He said I will leave it here for 3 days. You see if it works fine that will mean you need to get a new router.

For 3 days ‘testing router’ gave no trouble. Gautam decided to get a new one. He went to Rightway to find out if they keep routers.

Gautam: Do you have WiFi routers.

ShopKeeper: We have two companies. One is D-Link and…

Gautam: Yes I need that one only.

Two models were shown. One had two antennas and another had one, same as his. ShopKeeper said two antennas works well for 2BHK, and single one is good for 1BHK. Gautam said he has 1BHK, so he will prefer it. No point filling home ambiance with stronger digital signal. It was priced 1930.00.

Gautam asked he could pay by PayTM or a debit card.

ShopKeeper: Any way. But I would prefer card.

Gautam: Why is that?

ShopKeeper: Card payment goes directly to my bank account, but in PayTM a major part of it stays with them and only small fraction goes to my account.

Gautam: Okay in that case I will pay you by card.

ShopKeeper: Fine. But just wait. The prices of these I remember had reduced a bit.

He pulled out his calculator and after punching a few keys, he reduced the price from 1930 to 1850!

Gautam once again was amazed. No salesman would say that to reduce the price. Gautam was any way ready to pay what was asked for.

Tiring Day for Gautam

on 6 sep, gautam woke up as usual around 5 and was out for his walk at 6 and returned back after completing his walk, stretches and some strength work outs. after cooling down, he went for bath and got dressed much before breakfast. he was to meet some official in another suburb at 10. after finishing the meeting he returned home around 11.30.

he ate early lunch at 12 and left to see a movie (island city) in a nearby cinema. film was ‘not bad’, but he gave more credit to its experimental nature. film is made up of 3 independent stories. film may be far from great, but it was good cinema.

after film he went back home and rested for a while.

around 5 pm he picked up the cooking utensil, which he had promised a friend to take. but as friend did not reply, he asked another person too, if they would like to use it. after the kitchen was remodeled in gautam’s house, space had become a bit less.

well he left the wide pan like utensil with the security of his friend’s apartment. he had already left a note inside it, which, did not say from who, for who

then he reached the house of a relation who were keeping one and a half day ganapati. today the visarjan day. statue was very pretty and was decorated also well. he clicked some pics. they did aarati and then long process of good bye to ganapati started. everyone danced and danced and danced… in front of ganapati. after more than 30 min or so, the idol was immersed in a plastic tub in the house itself. the statue was a ‘eco-friendly’ one. soon it started to dissolve and disintegrate.

then dinner was served. everything was hot and pooris were being made right then. it was a very tasty and sumptious affair. after dinner there was some more fun was left to be had… they all played housie. it was rather surprising. no one bought any tickets. all were paid for ‘on the house’ and yet there were prizes to be won…

after the last game, gautam left for home. he was tired of stepping in and out of his house many times today.

day seemed satisfying. but today gautam took some major mental decisions.

– he decided he will no longer be rolled over by people

– he was sure he will not be shy of taking strong decisions to correct the situation

– he should spend as little time as possible with such people, whoever they may be

– those people must be made to feel how wrong they have been about him

gautam felt a change inside. he could see it for himself that nothing can remain the same for ever.

Gautam again

After quite long, Gautam had gone to the garden for  a walk. He has been keeping busy with some or the other job. Also it had been raining. So regular walks have been pretty irregular. No it was not a relaxation, spiritual or look at the flowers walk, but ‘work-out’ one. He needed to exercise. Monsoon always makes him a bit flabby. It was natural. What can anyone do if it is raining. He possibly can’t get wet every now and then, just because he needs to go out.

He listened to the musical composition provided by melodies of various birds with support of rustling tree leafs. A soft wave of breeze found him and wrapped around him. The trees shed a layer of yellow leaves. Many of them fell on Gautam. He felt indebted and honored, as he thanked both the tree and the breeze for this beautiful gesture.

He turned a few pages back of his life. How his inner self felt a few month back; not going as far back as even a year. He was satisfied with the changes he noted. He noticed it even more when he realized that he did not get excited when he found things are getting better inside him.

He was becoming more centered.

Unexcitable.

With no visible happiness.

Only quietness.

9 Sep, 2014

Gautam and the Driver

The other day Gautam heard the story of someone taking a long walk in suburban Mumbai. He came to know how upset that poor guy was watching the condition of the pavements under his feet. It seemed to him that authorities have absolutely no empathy for the plight of the citizens, especially senior citizens. They are so vulnerable to trip and fall, hurting themselves seriously. And any fracture in that ripe age can ultimately result in his or her death…

Yesterday Gautam was coming home in an auto rickshaw. It was drizzling. He was thinking about that guy walker. Same sight was playing in front of him right now. People walking hurriedly holding their plastic bags in one hand and the umbrellas in the other but their eyes were focused on the ground. No one dared to look up straight and walk. They all had to be alert to all kinds of bumps, ups and downs, broken tiles etc on the surface right under their feet. The traffic signal had turned red at the last minute. There was going to be a fairly long wait now. Gautam decided to strike a conversation with the rickshaw driver. He does it often. In the bargain he often ends up getting enriched by experiences. So today too, internally a little playfully, but serious outwardly Gautam dragged the driver into a shockingly unlikely topic;

Gautam: If I should leave Mumbai, then where should I go? You have some place in mind?

It took quite a few seconds for the driver to register this strange topic. It certainly was very surprising for a passenger to talk about such deep personal problem to him. People mostly ask them about maps and routes or talk about driver’s village, their land, family etc. But this guy wasn’t a regular one.

Gautam continued: the roads and footpaths are so horrible here. I really feel that we are being given a raw deal by the authorities.

Driver: go to your village.

Gautam: I don’t have a village or a native place. My parents are no more and any ways they had sold everything. So, I have nowhere to go.

Driver: (looking away) go live with your children then.

Gautam: my children are here only.

Driver: then Mumbai only is fine. It is a good place.

Gautam: but look at the city.

Driver: sir, like that every place will have some or the other problem. You can’t keep running away from problems. The best city according to you will also have problems, may be of a different kind. But problems surely will be there.

Gautam: we are being treated like animals here. Can anyone think that our good money has been spent on making such horrible roads and footpaths?

Driver: (with surrender and finality in his tone) sir, as long as we live, problems will live with us. No one can run away from them.

Light turned green. He put the rickshaw in first gear and moved ahead with traffic. Gautam had earned his points.

(24 June 2013)

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