Life… A divine dance of Isha

It isn’t until you look deeper,  beneath the surface of contradictions, that the real grains of wisdom emerge.  The pursuit of material happiness makes one unhappy;  freedom can be enslaving if wild energy of thoughts are not tamed;  words are spoken by the listener;  solitude brings insight and lends depth to one’s thoughts,  social media makes us unsocial because the human connect is lost;  the only certainty of life is it’s uncertainty. 

How bizarre,  and what an odd faux pas of logic! Life is a paradox and this is so undeniably,  irrevocably true. Which is why life appears a complex maze…..a mystery beyond comprehension. 

Everything in life appears to be a logical slip up but deep down, beyond the veneer of rationale, everything appears right.  

Life in a nutshell is the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva….. The force that is the creator,  preserver and destroyer!
Devapriya 

The dry leaves of times! 

Belonging to my longing…. And the shades of reflections! 

Years into the deep woods of emotions,  feelings,  living and loving have hollowed the soul of my entire being.  For what am I still alive? I ask myself often,  contemplate upon all the illogically complicated answers that fail to shower my inner self with the peace I so desire,  and then I return to the same beaten track of painful days and dense suffocating nights.  
Of all the blessings that the human life so rejoices, life is said to be priceless. But ask a soul like me and the answer too chooses to differ and remain steadfast on the perception that life has no value. What is a life that has no one around?  What is a life that has no value for anyone.  Am I of any good to someone?  Do I mean anything to someone?  Have I ever meant so much to someone that somebody says ‘you are the world to me you see’? To all these and many more,  I find just one answer.  And that is, my existence is of no use to anyone.   To all the numberless times that I feel this ever so strongly,  I concede my hope of living. Why do we need this game of life?  The search continues…..

And while I continue my journey through each day that life is gifting me, I discover strange faces that smile at me as I walk on the streets and then it strikes me that the world too reflects same emotions.  And that the ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam-the entire world is one family’ – is so true.  Every face hides some sorrow but continues to smile because that is the only strength that one can muster, to face life and it’s perils.

As the melancholic evenings set upon the earth,  I smile and say to myself- I just lived yet another day of my life. 
Devapriya 

The Backpacker’s Romance

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The last time we met, we hugged on the elevator of the platform. I had moved to Pink City Jaipur and you visited me while passing through the city. We stood with gazes transfixed and time seemed to have stopped. We held hands and occasionally you touched my hair that kissed my cheeks. I felt sudden upsurge of emotions as they froze me in your adulation of timeless ecstasy. Number of times we parted our lips to say something to each other and then felt that silence has stronger reverberations. The withdrawn silence was broken suddenly by the train as it rushed past and I so wished just that moment to voice my thoughts, weave words in the most exotic and colorful threads of emotions. But then my lips were too parched of the heat of bottled reflections. The jolt of realization broke the silence as it brought the harsh fact to life that we meet to part.
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We met while trekking in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. I was travelling light (as I always prefer to) with my backpack carrying just the minimum essentials, a camera, my diary and my favorite pen. I also carried a trinket that my father gave me. It was my lucky charm. I was travelling alone but had “picked up” friends en route. In the same guest house, one of the guys in our group knew you from his previous organization so you came along to an evening of “kullu trout” and “dham” along with “ankolas”, the local delicacies of the place. Your lean and tall frame with muscular appearance, a rich tuft of hair, dark and deep black eyes, wheatish complexion and suave demeanor stood out announcing the sophisticated lineage. Your easy and gentle manners endeared everyone in the group. I remember noticing how only you and I were not bespectacled while everyone else was. Probably we were meant to be looking into each other’s soul, searching uninhibited for the warmth of love and bliss of togetherness. I liked the new acquaintance. I liked you instantly.
All of them seemed to rejoice in each other’s company. But you carried a distant gaze as if you were trying to feel the pulse of the group while appearing disengaged. I had fixed my sight upon you because I wanted to know the real you behind the nonchalant abandon.

I was sipping on my Sprite can while running my fingers up and down the frolicking condensed beads of cold. I blushed as I saw you get up and move towards my table in the corner of the room. Your masculine voice drove me in a dizzy spell as I fell for every word that you spoke.
“What about you miss…err…”.
“Devapriya!”, I said.
“Ah. Yes! Devapriya! What are you doing here? Do you trek often?”
“Yes I do!” I said proudly.
“Oh that’s great! You sure have stories of your travels to share.”
And with this you raised an eyebrow for an instant which made you appear so adorable.
We talked through the night occasionally stealing glances as we familiarized each other about our previous explorations. By morning we discovered we had the same choices and likes, dreams that beamed with promises of fulfillment. The wanderlust had hit us quiet early on in life and taken us to places. We grew up into explorers, lovers of music and poetry, good food and good talk. We became connoisseurs of all that is good and beautiful.
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We kept in touch over phone calls and SMS’s. Technology proved quiet a boon this way. He was a financial analyst and I, a freelance writer. His fingers moved swiftly on the guitar and violin and I crooned descent rhythms. He loved cars and I loved cooking. He wore ultimate sophistication with branded clothes and I, a wild back packer who completed her wardrobe with street wear and accessories. He was my calm and I, his wild. Distance never mattered and we never thought we will become an integral part of each other’s lives.
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On one such trip to north east India, we decided to explore together. We visited my second home state Tripura where culture and music resided in every home. Typical Bengali culture there! We were greeted with local delicacies in every home we visited. People there were very courteous and since they knew me from my lineage, they accepted Srikant Roy Chaudhary with ease and grace.
We had reached Agartala, the state capital by mid-day and people thronged our mansion to meet me. As every other time of my visit before, they insisted on my staying there a little longer this time around.
In the evening, we explored the city and attended a local fair. Srikant seemed lost, pleasantly though, in his own thoughts and exchanged cheerful glances with me to register his delight. He and I clicked a lot of photographs and we simple enjoyed through each moment at Tripura.
I am no stranger to travel romances but ours was quiet unique. We were not typical girlfriend-boyfriend phoning-texting each other throughout the day kind.
But in a way, we were companions. We understood each other, guessed the page of one’s mind easily, knew each other’s likes and dislikes. We would often sit beside each other gazing up at the sky at night, not once thinking of physical admiration. He would often play his favorite tunes on the guitar and romance nature as I wrote pages of sonnets and pay tribute to god’s creations.
We roamed places in Nagaland and Mizoram too, tasting and toasting the local delicacies and adding to our chronicles with photographs. Our voyage through distant lands ended and we were packing our return when suddenly grief overtook us. We, of course, did not cry and let the world peep into our emotions but yes we were pained to part ways.
We traveled to Delhi together. My heart pumping wildly as I sat on my berth fighting the waves of emotions. Srikant too looked distraught. But he was too humble to say anything to please me, and I, too wild to know what I wanted.
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Our messages decreased into occasional exchanges and we both felt that the world had stopped existing because without each other in our lives, we were turning cold and withdrawn. One evening, it was quite windy and pleasant at Jaipur, when the phone rang. There was something unusual with the ring that day. It sounded too familiar to be from a casual acquaintance. As I picked up the receiver, my ‘Hello’ was promptly answered with “I am going to be in Jaipur by mid-noon tomorrow. Do you want to hang out?”
The rich baritone voice engulfed my entire being and swept me off my feet. The dance of emotions in duet was quiet obvious and to us, the cosmos appeared our own stage. We spent our days together exploring the city as if not only he, but I too was a tourist who tried to familiarize with the place for the first time.
We simply talked too much, our stories appearing to be a reflection of each other. We would often stop for snacks and ice creams. We would simply walk endless distances on foot when we could afford cabs.
Five days later he said “I am going back to Malaysia!” as he caressed my wild and wavy hair, untamed and styled by wind and sun. “It’s good to see you and spend time with you after so long.” He looked away and fought back tears and I sat on the couch, cold and frozen.
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I went to see him off at the railway station. We sat there waiting for almost an hour opposite each other as we tried to push our words, swallowing them, because nothing mattered to us anymore. I wished we weren’t just travellers sailing on the same boat with different destinations but I am happy that travel brought us together.
This is the sad irony of travelling. Two explorers are never meant to be together for an entire lifetime otherwise they would stop exploring. Those five years were the best years of my life and they adorn the walls of my life with pictures of happy moments spent together.

Devapriya

Think before you quit

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Pain, grief, sorrow, abuse etc are like pests that afflict our mind and heart. They are like tenants who refuse to go because they get easy access to everything that goes into making them ever bigger and more menacing. Worse is the fact that we get so used to them, that start enjoying the fact of having company with them. So we befriend them. We live with them, into them and carry them in your head just like an emperor wears the crown. We sport them proudly and we fear losing them. As if they decide the course of our lives.

And they do……

We fail to realise that gradually they have drained us of our worth replacing it with constant curses on our own souls. We become sadist in a way. We live abhorrence, and ignominy. But our ignorance does not stop at this. If this was not damage enough, we swirl repeated distasteful feelings about our selves on our own selves diminishing our brilliance even further.
What could have been a life well lived, now becomes an epitome of conscious disgrace.  We live in the quagmire of our own false feelings, heightened ego and self disgrace. Astonishingly, we stay in the morass and quit LIFE! And LIVING!

If only we could realise how brilliantly we can influence people around and flourish, life would become an odyssey of blessed contentment.

Devapriya

You drive just like you live!

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Wishful thinking often leads to mistaken choices and unwanted consequences. Life appears a mosaic of fanciful colours, a parade of aligned and organised arrangements made by God. So a common man easily gets lured into thinking that he/ she is an important catalyst of change. During childhood,  everything appeals to the eye as chocolate cake layered with dollops of cream and topped with crunchy nuts. Therefore, every child creates one’s own eccentric world unadulterated by realities.

But reality knocks sense with the candour canvas of life and what follows is an endless struggle against the self which every man attributes to a fight against the world. That is the problem with the human mind. We know the reality but we move farther from it. We fight our own selves so much that we wear the robe of self denial as a King wears the crown. The misery grows worse because our endless pursuit is not to excel in our true self but to win appreciation from the society. We become hypocrites not only in our dealings of others but with ourselves too.

We try  to hold on to people who do no good to us but do not think twice to demean those who give up everything to see us happy. Probably that serves our short term purposes and satiates our ego. The crux is … Once you fight with someone, you get used to using the same technique of defence otherwise the constant fear of losing wears you down. All the while thinking that the person whom you were fighting and defending your obsession from, is your worst enemy. The enemy might get defeated but by the time, he is defeated , you have become your own enemy.

My observation is very simple in life: Unless the inner fight is resolved, one cannot love the right person, cannot defend the right cause and cannot be at peace ever because the inner fight is reflected outside. And the duality completely shadows the true self. And a DUAL  turns into  a DUEL with ONESELF.

The S-piritually Age-d Sage

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If I were to opt between moksha(enlightenment) and rebirth, I would invariably choose rebirth. And my curiosity would again not be for the material gains but for the strong spiritual veins. I often sit and contemplate how the Divine hands look because replicating such limitless beauty is beyond comprehension of the human brain. I look around and I find innumerable reasons to rejoice. The only anomaly appears to be the complex human nature. It is just this that has humbled the grace of divine beauty and has engaged the entire human community in endless pursuit of power and pelf.
It was during one of my visits to the Assi Ghat that I met this great wise man, an aged sage. Well a sage is always aged…..after all the spiritual rigours that one has crossed. And all those who don’t know about the Assi Ghat, its one of the many ghats that the city of Varanasi, the oldest city that the human civilisation has known, boasts of. Sages, regardless of the ‘way of life’ they profess and lead, are like the inextinguishable flame of wisdom that help man walk the path to divine light.

I quietly sat beside him like a starved child eagerly waiting to be served the most mouth watering dishes. His eyes reflected the priceless knowledge that he had gained over the years. And all the charm of this world seemed useless compared to him. He smiled and his eyes danced with the bliss of pure unadulterated joy. I decided not to ask anything and my childish mind compelled me to test his grace. Childish truly!
He began, ” the problem with human beings is that they use their logic mind whereas logic fails man more than he can ever count. It is only intuition that serves a man his true purpose. But the human brain is so compellingly programmed to heed to logic that he overlooks his intuition. Even then the fiasco can be handled but man damages it further by trying to manipulate his failure in his favour. This move ruin things beyond repair. It is like he takes medicine to fall into sleep and forget the reality. When the affect recedes, he has to take even higher dosage to fall asleep again in order to flee from the reality. But a dream is a dream and a humble heart will accept it. Only a complex mind will reject it.”

I played and replayed his words in my mind and they seemed to slowly solve the labyrinth that this world is. The pieces now fitted perfectly in the jig-saw puzzle and I grew a clearer view of this world.
This is the gift of solitude. It’s  the tool that we are given by nature to help us chart  a smoother trajectory for ourselves. I absorbed everything that the great sage said, touched his feet and moved on. The light has stayed within me ever since. I feel blessed and blissful.

Devapriya

The Prose and Poetry of Life…

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The cacophony of life at times grow so strong that the mind appears a bland canvas of prose. Whereas life is a sheer dance of poetry that God ordained us to enjoy. It’s our innate nature to question the existence of everything without even fairly trying to participate or be just a witness. Because the logic mind compels us to question. But the bigger question is, “how happy or satisfied are we when we question anything at all?”. There’s anyway a constant wrangling of thoughts which does not let man settle himself. A mystic would rather let the songs of life play its tunes and put away all his expertise in syllogism in order to let intuition win over intellect, heart rule over head, because only a heart is closer to mysteries and the essence behind every mystery.
Interestingly, logic protects against reality, dreams, projections and lies whereas man lives his life in a web of lies and illusions. Which is why probably Fredrich Nietzsche had once said, ” Please don’t take the lies away from humanity, else it will perish.” The problem here is that we give space to our mind to act. Whereas the truth lies somewhere else.

Whenever we feel very strongly in our heart, it manifests into action and transforms a human being. That is the beauty. Had man let heart rule, humanity would have flourished better and relationships would not fizzle so easily.

Devapriya

The musical incantation!

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Out of all the ghats that the Holy city of Varanasi is famous for, Assi has enamored hearts for ages. With the foreigners visiting this particular ghat in large numbers, the elegy of human life too wears a beautiful cloak of optimism. Sitting by the banks here is sheer delight. I often find myself a spot from where I can easily click pictures and fill the pages of my diary without being interrupted. The place always appears to be at its merriest. And Assi has worn its happiness as the royal insignia.
Ensconced on a rock is a man who plays the most enchanting tunes on the flute. It’s incantation engulfs even the most forlorn hearts and dispels gloom with the ease that ages ago Lord Krishna did in Vrindavan. The Krishna connection is strong enough to attract a maverick like me over and over again complimenting the spiritual spirit. The rustle of the leaves around,  to the tunes of the flute adds to the allure. Time seizes to exist and its laments wash away in the symphony of musical euphoria.

Devapriya

The Karmic Debt

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Nature has a strange way of awakening people to their higher selves.

I wondered what I should do with my 25 hot summer days of vacation when the explorer within knocked an idea. I decided to explore the woods of the Himalayas. Of course with an over excited spirit that refused to settle for another option, I sealed my decision and booked the tickets to Rishikesh, a hilly abode for the spiritual seekers nestled in the lower Himalayas.

On reaching my destination, the first task at hand was to search for an accommodation. The easiest way would have been a cozy room in a plush hotel. But my instincts made me seek refuge in an ‘Ashrama’ of a spiritual guide famous for his clairvoyance and mastery over Scriptures. My soul sought it and nature gave it. Nature never gives anything without a reason. When we fulfill what is sought of us, nature paves the way for higher potential. The divine surroundings of the place calmed the inner turmoil and attracted me towards seeking the deeper meaning of life.

The room that I was given had a strange metaphysical appeal that aroused my inquisition even further. The years of conditioning of urbane sophistication appeared more of a subterfuge than anything real. It was as if the mask was slowly being taken off to reveal the cleaner, shinier, more transparent self that lay trapped inside shackled for ages. The space was equipped with a table, a lamp and a high stool on one corner and a bed with just a white sheet to lie on. The white appeared supremely pristine. I loved everything in the room and everything that was missing. I did not need anything beyond it. The next morning after bath, paying respects to the holy ‘Guru’ and offering prayers at the temple, I asked my first question to His Holiness. ” What duty have I left unfulfilled towards this world?”
To this He smiled and answered in the most childlike innocence that I was a witness to in years, ‘ To the seeker, the woods have all the answers. Go into it and beyond. All the while that you will walk in search of the truth, keep in mind just one thing; that you are only a particle of the cosmos but you are a very important agent of happiness. The Cosmos has chosen you for something beyond. Accept it when it meets you”.

I accepted His words and set out. I just carried my camera, my diary, my favourite pen and a bottle of water. The woods were deep, mysterious and yet inviting. And the werifesteria armed me with the conviction. I could hear sounds of insects, birds and animals. At times, it did become frightening but the sage’s  benediction overpowered my fears. Overhead, the Sun shone bright and lit the path quite well. I sipped onto the bottle of water to keep my throat wet and energy up. There were huge trees and the dense growth hid in it a lot of creepers. I realised that soon! My throat dried and legs froze at the sight of a full grown well fed hissing cobra. It was right in the middle of the track. I looked around and terror struck me really hard. I could not escape if I took the bushes on either side. There could be even bigger danger inside. Moments passed and the hissing grew louder. I was perspiring badly more of the danger that lay ahead and less because of the heat. It was strange. My body was cold and yet I was perspiring and loud thuds of my heart against the chest jarred my own ear drums. Fear had engulfed me completely when I suddenly recalled of the sage’s  advice. He said, “when you face danger of any kind in the woods, pray to Rishi Agastya. He was a great saint who was blessed with spiritual powers so strong that anyone who takes his name receives his blessings and is saved from danger”.

Rishi Agastya had died ages ago. But my faith compelled me to believe. I closed my eyes and centered my focus on my thoughts and prayed to the Holy Messiah. Soon my senses seemed to get back to normal and my body regained its composure. The clock was ticking away time and with each passing moment my prayer gained strength. I felt a sudden gust of wind calming me and I slowly opened my eyes to find the tail of the huge reptile sneaking into the deep. I waited a few more moments until I gathered courage to walk again. The depths always carry unrevealed truths of the cosmic world. The day was drawing towards dusk now and the Sun decided to control its harshness and let the moon and stars take charge of the firmament.

I reached a stream of clean waters and noticed  big house with a huge lawn where an elderly couple were playing with a few children aged between 2 to 5 years. I leaned and quenched my thirst, refilled my bottle, took off my shoes and crossed the stream to the other side. Taking a closer look I found that the house appeared to belong to the couple but the children did not.

I reached the gate and peeped in. The gentleman noticed me and came over to the gate and asked gently, “Can I help you? Are you looking for something?” And I simply answered ‘yes’. The gate opened and I entered a regally done lawn where beneath a huge umbrella sat the wife rocking a baby in a perambulator. The baby boy was asleep and his eccentric beauty had an angelic appeal. The lady stood up and greeted with humble courtesies and invited me to a cup of tea and sandwiches. I accepted this opportunity gladly also because my inner devil said to me curtly,  “you better eat before you drop dead”. We introduced ourselves and I learnt that the gracious and unassuming duo were Retd. Colonel Aryaman Singh of the Rajputana Rifles and his wife Major Dr. Arundhati Singh.
They had two sons who were both proud commandants; they were martyred in cross border terrorism.
Their grief was too big for ordinary men to accept and embrace but they decided to continue to serve humanity. So they raised abandoned children. We were in the midst of a conversation when the baby woke up. The other children in the vicinity rushed to him and one could easily hear the squeals of delight from the little bundle of joy. We too walked over to him and his gaze locked mine. He smiled and tried to raise his hands as if asking to be picked up. I did just that and he was just too happy to be in my arms. The delightful moments passed into night and Major Singh and I cooked dinner while Colonel Singh attended the children. I sat on the dinner table with the baby in my arms. He was too much of a happiness to let go. We all got talking over morsels when we were stunned into surprise by the baby making ‘ma-ma’ sounds. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I brought his face up and showered him with kisses and he giggled crazily. I could not eat further. It seemed that the time has stopped, and everything around has frozen into timeless ecstasy.

It was a story that began there and now five years past, ‘Om’ is growing up quick. He is an obedient son with an extremely inquiring spirit that absorbs all that is good and beautiful around. I named him thus because it translates into the primordial sound that brings a human closer to truth and he called me with the sweetest name attributed to a woman “Maa”. My womanhood flourished with him along. I am growing with him and discovering the beauty of life that it brings along everyday.
Over these years I have realised that Karma teaches you very important lessons of life and unravels a mystery at the right time. Man just has to believe. I now know why I used to get dreams of a little baby calling out to me as I frantically searched which direction the voice came from.
I now have all my answers.

Devapriya

The beautiful cage!

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When I first saw you, I was afraid to meet you;
When I first met you, I was afraid to know you;
When I first came to know you, I was afraid to love you;
When I began to love you, I was afraid to lose you;
When I lost you, I realised the importance of life and togetherness.

The notebook said a lot about “us” as long as he was a part of my life. It all began on a breezy morning. Nature has it’s weird and wicked way to tutor man into humility. Just as early strolls in the lush greens of a walker’s stretch lifts spirit and inspires man to aspire for the higher, it also strangely brings hearts together. Sounds queer but it’s true.

The apartment society  that I live in, has a huge  land intentionally left bare by the builders to facilitate exercise freaks to stretch their sinews and muscles. Every day began for me with a few rounds of badminton followed by a jog around the block and finally taking the flight of stairs to the third floor to my apartment.

Though I saw this young lad sitting on a bench, sometimes with friends and mostly all by himself, it never occurred to me that we will become an escape for each other.
I was jogging one day when he approached and asked if he could join me. He was charming and his humble approach appealed to me. How could I decline him! He asked me what I do and I said that I influence lives because I am a teacher. My enquiry of him were answered when he said that he is a student of law.
We started meeting regularly. His name is Dev. In Hinduism, the word has a very deep connotation. It means “Lord”. Everyday I discovered something new about this young lad as he gradually filled the vacuum of my life and I invested my trust in him just as a mother would in her child. He was an extremely creative soul with a mind that was difficult to quieten. His brain was super charged and he constantly created something new.
His life’s canvas was full of different hues of creativity. He was a brilliant writer and a person so endearing that he appeared an angel to me.
He dedicated some time for me everyday. It was his covenant with me. His trust in me and my faith in him became the reason for our happiness. We both believed each other and shared everything under the sky . I adored him and he loved me. He was my chaos and I became his calm. He became my sleepless nights and I, his relief. If I ever got angry, he would instantly know and his embrace would wash away all the negatives.

He graduated with distinction and was one of the most stellar students that the law academy had. His refined allure instantly won him friends. His sterling performance endeared him.even more to his mentors and juniors. Oratory came naturally to him and his well rounded persona took him places. I watched him grow. And I secretly prayed all the while. Of all the faces, that were a part of my life, he was my most favorite because he intuitively knew the meaning of life.

He soon became the most famous criminal lawyer of the nation. Smart, suave, well read, competitive, fiercely passionate for a cause that challenged him and feared by his counterparts. His busy schedule grew more difficult by the day and he started seeing me less and less. He juggled his profession with freelance writing for law journals and newspapers. Dev became the Lord of the followers who idolized him. His first stint as an independent writer catapulted him to the top three on the ‘most admired’ list.
There were days when he wouldn’t call or text and his voice appeared a sweet memory. I would often cook for him and then feed the urchins, and gladly tell them, ‘it’s my son’s birthday today! One day one of these children asked  ‘how many times is your son born in a year? And I would say, ‘ he is born everyday because he is a liberated soul who redefines his life everyday’. They would laugh and leave. I would love and live because if I stopped loving him I would die.
Dev became a phenomenon.
Years added to my wisdom and I conditioned myself to live without him. I had nothing left in my life. So I clung to his memories.
I recall of one evening when we had a massive fight over his not sparing time for me despite his proclamation that he loved me dearly.  Tired of my complaint, he said, ” You know what Maa, the day I cease to see you, will you realise how much I loved you”. Never did I realise then that he will become so big that I will stop existing for him.
Our conversations became sparse. And gradually he moved on. He was a sensation but his love was the most beautiful cage that I loved to live in.

I hope he will come to see me someday and I will tell him how much I Love him.
Everyday when I retire to bed at night, I pray to the supreme for His benediction for Dev.

Devapriya