Thursday, June 27, 2013


                                           Nandadevi at dusk

Destruction, loss, and pain is not unequal, be it anywhere life exists. It is a perverted and bizarre contention that loss of life and agony is insignificant and matter of trivia when it is borne by others, by people of other denominations, faith or race and is the cruelest extent to which human beings can pursue their ideas. The cataclysm in the Himalayas, the devastation of the tsunami or even the directly man made afflictions like genocides and ethnic cleansing we see and hear about are all matters of distress to people who cannot see the difference in the colour of blood and value of life.

I was trying to put myself in the picture of the devastation in the monsoon torrents brought about in the Himalayas. It hurts! It hurts not because of the loss of life, but because the devastation was asked for- we crossed the threshold Nature has been putting backward.

The Gods, I’m certain, would see the picture of Kedarnath in the aftermath of the deluge in the mountains with stoicism. And so should man, with dispassion. The gods were not wrathful nor did they vent their fury through pelting and deluge, for they may have vanished from Kedar long ago with indifference. Looking at the pictures of the ploughed under township of Kedar and the half inundated entombed temple structure, I wondered why was not the town totally submerged down under the rocks, mud and debris? To vanish from the surface like the grandeur of the Mayans or a Pompey! To perhaps be later discovered and to resurface in an age were man has respect and reverence to the fragile blue planet that is his only home like the rebirth of Machupichu.

It was commerce in the hills, in the mountains. There was no sanctity and calm in the frenzied gathering of mortals in what they call as the abode of Gods. The beeline they made to Kedar, by foot and on miserable mules was in a state of divorce from the God they ventured to seek in the mountains. Eyes wide shut and chanting gibberish invocations they were actually defiling Nature. Remember the Lord of Kedar is a yogi, a hermit and a person who resides in the pristine air of the mountains.

The obscene concrete structures that were put up on the mountains jack sawing trees and vegetation were not only an eye sore but brutal violation of Nature. I wonder if any of the four destinations Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badarinath was equipped with means to dispose tonnes of waste and garbage men threw around with impunity. For many the wailing of Nature is not even a distant whimper.
The rape of Kedar can be seen and understood only by people who go there with their “eyes wide open”. For a supplicant, a petitioner or even a sinner eager to wash away his sins so that he could start all over again and mortals who are anxious of ensuring a star plus afterlife which they expect to ensure from the excursion to Kedar and the mountain shrines, her enchanting self is not noticed. They do not notice the beauty she radiates in the majesty of the snow clad mountains shinning in the noon sun or the crimson ornamental appearance at dusk; the cold gushing water of the rivers; the timid birds that are special to the Himalayas; the silver streaks of waterfalls from distant hills; the lush green flora; besides all that , the music of silence that whiff by if one care to listen, be it day or night and the caress of the cold breeze and the howl of the icy wind at night.

This catastrophe that visited the thousands who went there believing they can buy salvation is not an exception or a misfortune that happened like an uninvited tsunami or a volcanic eruption without forewarning. Similar disasters will be visiting us in other places the Sabarimala for instance or any place where we defile nature and desecrate her.

Closing these parts of the Himalayas for religious excursions or restricting the permissible numbers a year with absolute and impeccable management of the environment must be put forward as possible solutions. Or perhaps we will never learn, understand and take not notice of the foreboding. Such is our arrogance, lust for possessions and selfishness .And in our frenzied mode for salvation we might forget to live the life here and also leave the world an inhospitable place for posterity.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Snippets from a Monsoon Sojourn

“I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.” These are not my words and I must confess to my meager wisdom and wit. That would tell all about why I’m fascinated with quotations.

It was a pleasant stay in Kerala the past two weeks in the skin soaking ambience of the beautiful monsoon rains. When was it last, that I spent about two weeks enchanted by the monsoon spell? Must have been years ago in the past when I was in the teens. The past week, cuddled beneath the sheets in the bed at night sliding into the soothing comfort of sleep, listening to the relentless drops of rain outside was the perfect lullaby even for a middle aged fellow like I. It was then that memories of the many walks, and rides in the rain fleeted in reverse and in time through my mind. The sheer happiness of aimlessly walking about in the rains through the coconut and mango groves caressed by the overflowing ponds in Ambalpuha during the sojourns there on vacation from school; the bicycling in the rains; the ride up the mountains on the JAVA motorbikes and the honey moon ride with C to the hills in heavy rains on the Yamaha 350 cc of yore immediately after our wedding…!

“I don’t chase people when they walk away. It is not that they all are not important to me. I just believe that if they want me in their life they will stay. No questions asked.” Again not my words precisely, a quote certainly!

Over the faithful Indian whiskey at a nondescript bar in Thiruvanthapuram, one evening the previous week, I, B and my cousin and B’s name sake, let the spirit of the alcohol sink in us and used the moment to debate on the estranged marriage of the later. Little B, married a pretty lass after a chanced meeting , call it courtship or dating some thirteen years ago. What they did not realize under the unequivocal onslaught of Cupid was that there was bound to be matters of incompatibility that will act like little storms and tempest inside a wedlock. Well that stark realization may have dawned in them after the first few year of wedlock. They have two pretty little girls is a matter apart.The damsel prefers to don the robe of the "damsel in distress"(sic),while the fellow seems to be wearing the cloak of  the innocent and the offended. The fascinating observation came from the advocate who the dame approached to be her counsel in the filing of the petition for divorce. He observed, “She was in my office and went on a monologue that seemed to never stop. She sent me a thirty page official mail citing her points and case for annulling the marriage. But I could not even in the many words she spoke and wrote, notice an iota of  substantial reason for seeking divorce”. 
To me, ironically and rather sadly they seem to be as immature as they may have been in the early days of their marriage and their courtship.

“My wife Mary and I have been married for forty- seven years and not once have we had an argument serious enough to consider divorce; murder, yes, but divorce , never.” Again a quote!

That brings me to the betrothal in the family and wedding bells after many long years. It was astonishing and a matter of amazement how a girl could with open heart accept a person to wed her, someone who she saw and spoke for a while on the phone a little before and after the complete approval from her parents.  Does this expressively rubbish the dating, living together and amorous courtships that precedes betrothal and marriage  and are an accepted aspect in the West , while increasingly replicated in India, these days? It is quite a wonder how the physical law of gravitation and attraction works in the matters of earthlings!

Now the ultimate quote of Osho! ”If you love a person, how can you destroy his or her freedom? If you trust a person, you trust her or his freedom too.”
Osho continues,"One day it happened that a man came to me who was really in a mess, very miserable. And he said, 'I will commit suicide.'
I said, 'Why?'
He said, 'I trusted my wife and she have betrayed me. I had trusted her absolutely and she has been in love with some other man. I will commit suicide' he said.
I said, 'You say you trusted her?'
He said, 'Yes, I trusted her and she betrayed me.'
What do you mean by trust?—some wrong notion about trust; trust also seems to be political.
'You trusted her so that she would not betray you. Your trust was a trick. Now you want to make her feel guilty. This is not trust.'
He was very puzzled. He said, “If this is not trust? I trusted her unconditionally.'
I said, 'If I were in your place, trust would mean to me that I trust her freedom, and I trust her intelligence, and I trust her loving capacity. If she falls in love with somebody else, I trust that too. She is intelligent, she can choose. She is free, she can love. I trust her understanding.'

“And if she finds that she would like to move into love with somebody else, it is perfectly okay. Even if you feel pain, that is your problem; it is not her problem. And if you feel pain, that is not because of love that is because of jealousy. What kind of trust is this, that you say it has been betrayed? My understanding of trust is that it cannot be betrayed. By its very nature, by its very definition, trust cannot be betrayed. It is impossible to betray trust. If trust can be betrayed, then it is not trust. Think over it.If I love a woman, I trust her intelligence infinitely. And, if in some moments she wants to love somebody else, it is perfectly good. I have always trusted her intelligence. She must be feeling like that. She is free. She is not my other half, she is independent. And when two persons are independent individuals, only then there is love. Love can flow only between two freedoms.”

I write this few hours after posting the Post and coming back to read it all over again  I wonder , if Osho's statements have clarity and if I could agree with him perse. The observation on trust seems to be fine. But this acceptance of liberalism in letter and spirit in the name of freedom and individual freedom is rather inexplicable and foggy. Don't you think so?