Terminally ill

May 7, 2016

Hassan and I have been friends for ever. We have grown, fought and laughed together. These are the streets where we rode our first bikes. Those are the shops from where we bought our first candies. A lot of time has gone by. We went to different colleges and our jobs took us to different cities. But we never lost touch. Whenever we got a chance to meet up we did. Distances have only made our friendship stronger. Miles indeed have made journeys ever so more worth looking forward to.
All of it has changed since last summer, a dark gloomy mist seems to have settled in. Our houses are 4 blocks apart. But now it’s a tough walk. Toughest sometimes. Disease changes people. I remember when he first fainted right in front of me, i got scared but then as usual made fun of him later that he could not take the sun anymore. As these incidences grew more frequent we all got worried. The diagnosis was heart breaking, i will never forget the blank eyes that had a million questions when the doctor told him. What next, how much time, is there any hope, what about the new car i just bought last month, should I sell it, perhaps i should quit my job, live it out here?. I did not know what to tell him. No one spoke a word on the way back home. Uncle dropped the key twice while opening the door. Didn’t say anything just got his arm around Hassan’s shoulder and patted. Almost saying, you be strong son, we are in this together. Aunty wiped her tears quickly and said should I get some tea for everyone. I saw uncle and aunty sharing a silent long look, one reassuring the other, he nodded after she asked again. Tea didn’t taste the same, it never did ever since.
We all visit Hassan often now, try to take his mind off it, try to be as normal as we could. Sometimes i even manage to make him laugh. He has always enjoyed life and lived it fully but now he seems to treasure the moments even more. All three of them go for long walks now, uncle has started finding time for movies and anuty recently bought another cookbook. Hassan’s loves a good movie with a tasty meal.Tragedy brings us all so close. Nobody gets worried about the future any more, they all seem to take each day in stride. We play cards, tell stories from work and have dinners together. We are trying to fill as much life as we can in every passing day.
It is strange how quickly we forget that we are also not going to be here forever. Time is running out for all of us. If that doesn’t make us value the moments nothing can. As i see each one in their family being strong for the others i wonder by does it take a tragedy like Hassans’s for us to do that too. Why do we get lost in daily routines and matters that look so trivial in the face of death. Why do we stop living. Yes their sorrow is immense and their loss is going to be unfathomable, But today they have decided to not worry about it. can’t we too, and yes my friend is terminally ill, but then, aren’t we all.


December 31, 2014

It has been raining for the past 4 days. Roads have turned into rivers and neighborhoods into islands. Dullness of the weather seems to have seeped into day to day life as well. More often than usual I see people gazing blankly outside their windows. Perhaps awaiting a change only to witness the constancy of a gloomy day. People downstairs are having an even tougher time. Their carpets are drenched their patio is all clogged. But strangely they haven’t asked for help nor have we offered any. The silent understanding of apathy is a bit unsettling. Wonder if we have really turned into islands, metaphorically speaking. Things were different when i was a kid. My mother would just go downstairs and talk with them for hours. That sounds weird by todays standard. Talking to people without any reason wasn’t such a big deal then. Listening was enjoyable too and yeah rains weren’t a cause of worry.
The concrete landscape of the city has left no room for absorbing the water. Sure we can travel much faster but have we come any closer I wonder. As I unmindfully turn the pages of this book sipping in my third coffee, I think haven’t we become impervious too. We don’t absorb life any more rather just let it gush passed us. Fast paced life seems to have made everybody impatient. No wonder then, when we are cornered to our rooms like this we grow restless. To top it all the virtual communities have given us a false sense of companionship. Something that vanishes as soon as you go offline. I myself don’t remember when was the last time I sat in my own company, never realizing when solitude became something to dread than savor.
A part of me therefore wishes that this heavy rain washes away with it some of our advancements too. So that we are more connected directly to each other than through wires.  So that when the sky clears, we would remember again what was it like walking together to the near by park. So that we start smiling and waving hands from the windows again. So that next time it rains we wouldn’t get perturbed and lonely rather grow fonder of each other


March 3, 2014

हर मायूस  आँखों को 

आज थोड़ी सी आशा मिल जाये 
थक कर लौटते कदमो को 
थोडा ही सही हौंसला मिल जाये 
हर एक डूबते सपने को 
तिनके का ही सही सहारा मिल जाये 
हर अंधेरी रह को 
ढलते सूरज का सही, कुछ और उजाला मिल जाये 
धूप में चलते हर राही  को 
थोड़ी ही सही, छाया  मिल जाये 
लहरों से लड़ती हर कश्ती को 
दूर ही सही, किनारा मिल जाये 
बरसों से राह तकती आँखों का 
मुश्किल से सही, इंतज़ार का पल कट जाये 
हर रास्ते के भटके को 
थोड़े ही सही, कदमो के कुछ निशां  मिल जाये 
काश की  बढ़ने की चाह में 
आज किसी अपने का साथ न छूटे 
हाँ थोड़ी नाज़ुक ही सही पर
आज उम्मीद की कोई डोर न टूटे 



November 24, 2013

Happiness eludes us all. At times we feel its unduly overrated, while at other times we agree that its carelessly ignored. Either way we seldom lose a craving for it. We often force ourselves into believing that happiness can be attained or derived. But to our surprise it remains ever so fleeting. No relationship, no success, no prize seems abundant enough to ensure a perennial supply of happiness. Invariably it fades, inevitably it reappears. For a time it might seem that there exists a direct correlation with affluence, but very soon along the curve the relationship gets fuzzy and sometimes even inverse. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown! nor is it the case, that getting rid of it, makes the former bearer particularly happy.

No matter how unpoetic it sounds but happiness is more like an adoption. A choice with not necessarily a real or compelling cause but a significant and worthwhile intent and purpose. Simplicity of this view of happiness suddenly puts it within reach and immediately attainable. At any moment in time, at any point in space there are enough reasons to be happy. Power of belief has never had a better use or more direct application.

Feeling good need not always be an effect. In its own right it can just as easily be a benign but effective cause. An initiator of sorts. To demystify happiness is important towards its attainment, to treat it distant in time and/or space doesn’t help. Simply circumventing our own relentless pursuit of unhappiness (for whatever reason) wouldn’t of course make us ecstatic (and thankfully so) but would suffice for reasonable perpetual happiness. It’s here, it’s now!


September 4, 2013

During one of my sporadic attempts to read philosophy, I stumbled upon Leibniz interpretation by Rodger Scruton. I was struck by the idea of monads and predefined harmony. Leibniz argues that the entire creation is objective. Frame of reference or observer does not impact existence. The world is as it is. Not as it is observed, making interactions between objects nothing but a byproduct of hidden preexisting harmony. This makes each of us monads fully functional quantum of creation like any other. The possibility of so much autonomy and independence amidst the seeming interdependent coexistence is overwhelming to say the least. First natural reaction to such an analysis is of refusal. But what we cannot ignore is the widespread harmony in nature. How the Sun rises at just the right time. Flowers blossom exactly when they should, tides occur ever so effortlessly. This spontaneous flow of events does indicate an external synchronization, rhythm and yes harmony.

Harmony by definition is pleasing combination of parts in a whole. Interestingly it doesn’t entail for parts to change, only combine specifically. If we agree to Leibniz analysis, being pleasant should also be just as predefined and absolute as is harmony. Even in Plato’s eyes, harmony had a special place. For him justice lied in harmony. So much so that a disharmonious state was unjust. In music, notes that in themselves might sound shrill and loud when combined in a certain manner can produce most pleasant of songs. Notes don’t need to be altered, just juxtaposed nicely. Nature in itself is a harmonious interplay of every element of creation. It also responds differently to harmony. Water (80% of creation) for example crystalizes in beautiful symmetric structures when exposed to harmonious sounds.

Harmony’s existence is undeniable, its importance massive and its earnest pursuit vital. Harmonious combination of parts doesn’t have extremes, is symmetric and unobstructed, makes the whole all absorbing and accepting. That’s why perhaps disharmonious state becomes discriminating and unjust. Disharmonious thoughts become obstructive and non-accepting and hence laden with prejudice. Disharmonious relationships witness frequent extremes and eventually give way to such exhaustion. Harmony in contrast radiates beauty, peace and happiness.

Thus being a monad is perhaps not that bland, purposeless and lonely after all. In tuned with the universal rhythm, unbridled by bondage and forces of interactions we (equipped with immense autonomy and completeness) are free rather to blissfully follow a harmonious course.

Jonathan and George

May 3, 2013

It is a usual day, sky is quiet, water cold and morning busy. Other gulls have started fetching fish. Looking for food and eating seems to have taken most of their lives. As they briskly dip their beaks inside water, hardly ever missing, they seemed to have ignored their wings. The wish and strength to fly has gone past recall or desire.

Is it odd that when I see the water i see my reflection more vividly than food. That when the ocean wind hits me, I feel it first on my wings then my eyes. That i hear no quacking of gulls  just the gushing of wind and roaring of water. Almost urging me to fly.

I know my wings haven’t been tested nor the strength of my legs ever measured, but would the strength of my heart count for something i wonder. Would power of a simple belief help me glide through the resistance air would offer. I don’t know but shall that stop me from trying. Could it be that the only thing standing between me and flying is the courage to jump from that cliff.

Sometimes i feel that the warmth of the sun, the thrust of the wind is talking to me, When i press my legs against the ground I feel as if its pushing me up. It is possible that I am making all this stuff up. That I am being blinded by my love for flight. But then isn’t it better to be blinded by a dream than prejudice. Jonathan stares at the horizon and then at his friends, George in particular. He had always thought that George was like him more eager to grasp the span of his wings than to  clutch them inside. But George has made a choice. And he seems happy. Happy to be part of a group, and doing what gulls do best. Catch fish.

Then suddenly George looks back. He appears full, but not content. Quiet but not calm, his eyes seem to have lost some spark. Have we all, already made our choices? or can we change them. Do we know which choice is better. Shall we even bother? Amidst this mental turmoil, unknowingly he turns and starts walking, he can not feel his legs anymore until they bring him to the cliff top. So this is it, he thinks, this is my choice.

He looks at the sky, the water and his friends one last time. He knows that if George could see him now, he would be happy, and for sure his eyes would be shining. After all that was a dream they had both shared once. Jonathan closes his eyes and spreads his wings, and spontaneously smiles a little, he doesn’t know why he made the choice he did, or was he destined to make it. But in that moment with his wings spread apart he feels fearless and worthwhile, and with nothing but a dream in his heart he jumps.

Purpose, belief and will

March 10, 2013

He has always been the silent kind. He has feared getting too involved, with people and world in general. For him keeping to himself has been a way to prevent getting scattered away. Besides, sometimes neither people nor the world interest him much. Not because of any arrogance, he just loses sense of reality every so often. From which stems his propensity to stay distant. Not that he bears a grudge against reality, but he does sometimes fail to convince himself that real truly exists.

This questioning of reality takes purpose away from life. If things aren’t real they are also in most likelihood irrelevant. And if world as we know it is irrelevant so is our existence in it. It bothers him so much that our purpose in life rests on an assumption.

It is as if his entire belief system gets shattered away every once in a while and he starts from scratch to rebuild a support system to hold on to. He sees himself and then the sky, and suddenly everything starts to crumble and what remains is just an infinite vastness of nothingness. It is not a happy place to be, it doesn’t have a return point. At least not that is obvious.

Principles are axioms and thankfully can be taken as true, but they are also merciless. They do not bend and they do not allow you to go astray either. Beliefs on the contrary let you be and still give you the much needed support. As a matter of principle world may not be as the way it seems to be, but as a matter of belief it might. It is the belief in this world that compels you to be a part of it. And come back from the nothingness. It is the belief in world that forces you to move on. Purpose justifies and is justified by this belief.

Without purpose and/or belief we are like dangling pointers, powerful but useless. Capable but unnecessary even potentially harmful. Purpose gives a reason (howsoever delusional) to go on. Belief keeps purpose relevant and alive.

If we have to start believing in the world we have to start believing that we have a purpose to fulfill. From which rises the will to perform it. From this will would emanate the strength to stand anything that wants to prove to you that nothing’s for real. Will lets you be a part of the whole and empowers you to play a good part. Whether is real or not, abstract or concrete your function then remains just the same. Because in the end it doesn’t really matter as mind is where everything is, anyway.