Clean Slate

Gautam was strolling alone in garden. It had just finished raining. So the ground was wet and breeze was pleasant. As a wave of that pleasant breeze passed, it unsettled the rain droplets settled on leafs. Most fell on the ground but many found their abode on Gautam’s face, shoulders and hair. He enjoyed it. He also said a quiet inner thanks to the creation for providing such an unbelievable lovely magic. Water, coming down from the sky! It made everything on the earth look bright, 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. But yes it had the unmistakable smell of water meeting the earth. What do we call it? Yes, petrichor! Birds chirped and bees buzzed around. Another strong wave of breeze passed and some leafs took their last part of journey. They fell on him like showering of flower petals. He smiled and thanked the creation once again. He felt as though he was being honored by showering of leafs on him by an unknown entity. He felt that someone pre-planned it, that the shower will occur just when he is just under the tree… it had happened earlier too.

Wave of a thought entered in his mind. It was about a person, who had been very fond of him and of course the feelings 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 a 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.

Yet another cloud appeared over him. It was the cloud of the work he did. 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.

‘Karma Happens’ my first paperback

This book is my collection of short stories, memoirs etc. I have been writing and blogging since 2006. So I had a fairly large collection. Out of 34 stories, at least 6 or 7 have Gautam as the protagonist. This Gautam does not mean the Gautam Buddha at all. But yes he has qualities of a calm person. He does not shout or gets angry or aggressive. In ‘Immortal Side of Life’, there are flashbacks supporting the story that’s running in the present. Story’s end happens with help of spirituality, particle physics and super natural drama. Ringing ears’ is about a person over thinking or even deep thinking.
‘In Myth of freedom’ I have analyzed lives of people and whether anyone is really free in various sense of the word. ‘Karma Happens’; the title story is most lengthy. It is like a regular pot boiler with all commercial elements for a hit film.
‘Hope what hope?’ is set in kind of future. It shows that life has become difficult on earth, due to various problems like Ozone layer, climate change etc. ‘24 hrs. love story’ is based on an incidence that did happen. In ‘Just Think’ I try to tell how badly we are treating this earth and nature generally.
‘Leopard in my dream’ is an interesting experiment that takes off from my own experience of getting bitten by a local dog and then how it merges into a very real sounding story that happens to be a flash-forward. In ‘Soothing night’ I have used emotions that are usually shown on urban populace. So I tried it in a village, a hut with a hole in the roof. ‘Enlightenment of the day’ is my take on a regular morning while I would leave for my Yoga class. On similar lines is ‘Power of letting go’.
‘Absence of presence’ is another one of my experiment. Entire court room scene is only through Gautam’s dialogues, while judge’s dialogues are absent but understood.
‘A mosaic of gloom’ is what I wrote when I had stopped writing after Mumbai terror attacks in late 2008. And then my niece told me if I can’t write then I should write about ‘why I can’t write! That worked.
‘Red eye effect’ is a mad idea. I let them take their own course and go where ever they want to go. My science and cinema background helped me with this short story. ‘That he’ and ‘Escape to death’ is also similar genre. It just flows like my mad thoughts.

Birth of a new Faith (fiction-6)

After Sucharitra’s passing, the new religion took roots; it needed to be propagated well and soon. After all, the king of Amor was supporting it. Rising of Suyesh from his grave had been the most amazing and scariest incidence that any Amoran had ever experienced. To start with on a Friday, they all had brutalized, crucified and finally buried Sucharitra. And now his so called rising and vanishing into thin air on following Sunday, was being termed as an act of god. And this act had put the king and his men in deep thought. Discovering a real body converting into mud; they analyzed, ‘is this why they say dust unto dust?’ No one could think of a more sensible or realistic scenario. King’s ministers made everyone believe, ‘vanishing of a dead man from the grave’, as logical. As though with utter fright, all the subjects of Amor turned into Amoran Sucharitrans…

Well enough of beating around the bush. As the time passed, new faith spread. It went beyond the boundaries of Amor or shall we say Roma or Rome. Followers of this new religion believed in miracles. Of course we are talking about Roman Catholics or Christians. There can be no confusion now. Leadership of this religion has always projected to the followers that the clergy in order of hierarchy has direct links to god. Only way to god is through Fathers and nuns in a church. Only they are qualified to lead you to heaven. The church desperately wanted to hold all rights and routes to god. So, they covered most things with sheets of unexplainable mystery. There are a few examples that can put it in a perspective –

  1. Initially church believed that the earth was flat and no one was allowed to have any other view or version.
  2. Church believed that earth was at the center of the universe and all other planets revolved around it, including Sun. Nicolaus Copernicus had propagated heliocentric theory, which banned for nearly 200 years.
  3. Later Galileo was prohibited from towing Copernicus line. In 1633 Galileo had to face a trial by Inquisition, because he wanted to spread his knowledge of our solar system. He had discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way round. This had angered the Pope. Galileo was brought to Rome to face the trial. The Church banned his book and he was sentenced to house arrest at his own home in Florence. He finally died there after going blind. Finally, as recently as in 1992, the church officially reversed its more than 450 year old belief from illogical to a scientific one. Pope John Paul II, officially reversed church’s stand, ‘earth was not stationary and it revolved around the sun’. But poor Galileo had to suffer insults and lost invaluable time at the peak of his most productive life. What a waste of a great scientific talent?
  4. A few months back BBC did a story on bicentenary of ‘abolition of slavery act’. Modern world was horrified to know that the church owned and used black slaves on their plantations, for more than 300 years. Slaves were not only used, they were also brutalized. The Church apologized for its part in the cruelty and hardship of the thousands of black men, women and children. Somehow now, they are considering compensatory payments to them.
  5. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI was part of an unwarranted controversy, in quoting a 14th century Christian king. The quote, ‘Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things’; started a huge uproar around the Islamic world. There was no need to repeat a 700 year old quote in public, especially when entire world is so sensitive to religion.
  6. Lastly there is an incidence again 0f 2006, when Vatican had invited top scientists for a conference on cosmology. During question answer session after the conference, Pope asked Dr. Stephen Hawking to not study the beginning of the universe before the ‘big bang’. He said it should be left alone as an act of god! Unbelievable! It is sad when some one wants to control people by using their ignorance. Brief conversation became public soon. Vatican later said that Dr. Hawking misrepresented what was said.
  7. A very important negative point is clergy’s sexual abuse of young children. Internet space is crammed with these scandals. Over a few years many feature films have been released on the subject of pedophilia among highly placed clergy. Wave of this has put them very strongly on the back foot.
  8. Only a good Christian would be allowed to live in the ‘heaven up in the sky’, since no one knew anything beyond the solar system. The telescopes then were not powerful enough for peeping into the Pearly gates of heaven.
  9. Church has custom of canonizing clergy with sainthood. Understandable requirements for a person worthy of being conferred ‘sainthood’ are, “you must lead a flawless exemplary life and must inspire faith.” But soon, things turn weird with, “after you are dead, two miracles must be attributed to you, unless you are martyred as a result of your faith.” These miracles can be manipulated by investigating people. If I am a saint then society will recognize me as one and on its own call me a ‘saint’. I can not imagine an external agency deciding whether Kabir or Sai Baba of Shirdi were saints or not. Sainthood is not like conferring doctorate on worthy by a university. No one can become a saint because a powerful organization pronounced, ‘from today onwards you are a saint or you are a saint because I chose to call you one.’
  10. Church is also too paranoid about the numbers of its followers. They know that there is huge power in huge numbers. Initially they had set up missionaries to spread their religion, but later they were used for, conversions. And this luring or forcing people to embrace Christianity has had a few set backs too.

It is a very bad idea to look down upon other faiths to make yours look better. There can be immense problems if you start thinking that other religions are baseless compared to yours. Such an attitude will only establish spiritual shallowness of your thinking. Respect me as me, and I will think high of you too. But if you tell me that shelter inside an enormous church is more spiritual than my own space then it is high time you faced a mirror and asked, “Are you really the prettiest of them all?”

‘Waiting’, the art of procrastination

It has been quite long that

I did something,

Something worthwhile

To talk about

If not to brag… about

Something useful to me

Or anyone

To write a new exciting blog post

To come up with a unique new painting

To read a serious science article

Or a spiritual one or one on health or finance

I am not interested in new friends

At least not from around here

May be in another city or perhaps from a village

People who are not like me

These guys are all like dated boring flop movies

All scratchy, dramatic and staccato

They are far from exciting, in tune

Bright or witty

After meeting with such a friend is over

I do not feel richer…

With a new idea, a new word or thought

I am not interested in friends,

Who are helpful or kind or plain amazing people

Concept of a helpful friend is boring

People who make friends because

One can depend on them in need

Is a very selfish idea

I want friends who are bright,

Spread knowledge and cheer

There are number of people

Who offer never ending flow of advice

And are ever ready to correct me

Improvement me, make me like them…

So very kind of them

But I feel none of these are qualified to improve me

But it would be politically incorrect

To not feel indebted for their genuine concern about me

Their belief that without their help

I might be left behind

I wouldn’t be known

Will not succeed

And will remain in the background for ever…

So I have decided to act on this urgently

There is hardly any time

Procrastination is a terrible activity

Or shall we say absence of any activity?

But waiting for things to happen isn’t

So without any delay I have decided to start ‘waiting’

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

Owning Nothingness

Gautam announced

Today is the best day of his life!

Everyone was surprised, happily

But strangely no one noticed it

They tried to find it on him

In him,

The happiness

In fact he is never happy

He is also never sad

I guess that is not really normal

He is so ‘in between’,

Sadness and happiness

I don’t know what state is that

But it seems it works for him

To be in that ‘in between’ state

But how does it matter to Gautam                       

Or to anyone else for that matter

Is it not a good thing to be happy?

And is it bad to be sad?

But if you are sad and you can find ‘why’

Then you have the reason

And you can work on it

To remove the problems making you sad

That is a good approach

Very practical

Very normal

Everyone should try to improve their lives

And other’s

But… what if nothing is wrong?

That, I guess is a very impractical idea

No one has that kind of life

No one can get it

Anyone who is alive has problems

So if Gautam is in that ‘in between’ state

How does he benefit?

Everyone knows he had his share of troubles

Perhaps much bigger than many of us

His family

Parents, wife

His kingdom

The wars

His search for knowledge

Search for the truth

He is not trying to reclaim his glorious past

He is comfortable with what he has lost

And with what he has today

And also with the thought

That tomorrow there may be nothing

Out of all the nothingness that he owns today

(24 June, 2013)