Staring out of the serendipitous window sill;
beyond the roads and towards the formidable hills;
remembering the hazy times filled with laughter and coated with smiles.
Of those rambling days and sauntered miles, I wish;
to catch the dew drops of those lost times, I miss.
So Lets be strong and go;
far form the beguiling web of right and wrong;
to the hills of wish, surfeit with the cuckoo songs.
There my friend right from those hills, I will wave you;
and send my kisses like the flakes of snow;
when you gaze out from your window sill,
with a lucid mind on a starry night.
“Back up along the edge, even the smallest of them have to, the curve is too shallow, to manoeuvre”
This line sums up my recent trek to Triund, in India. Coming at a time when I am at the cusp of a change in my career, preferences and likes. It showed how even the mightiest and the smallest have their powers and limitations.
Triund is located at a height of 3000 meters above the sea level. The place is a ridge with a vast expanse of green cover during the summer months. The trek to Triund starts from Mcleaodganj and takes about 3 hrs for a new trekker to scale the stretch. The path to the top is quite rocky and becomes steeper as and when one approaches the top. The last two kilometers are particularly enervating and a pain in the ankles, literally.
Apart from the anticipation of a mesmerizing end the trekkers are enthused all along the way by the artistically molded shapes of tall Oak and Deodar trees which makes you smile at their audacious attempt to scale the mountains and reach the top. On the way you can take rest at various snack points which sell water bottles, biscuits, chips and tea that will keep you energized all the way.
However, as the saying goes “don’t lose heart and let the whole story unfold”. On reaching the top you are greeted by a mighty looking snow clad Dhauladhar range which looks mesmerizing and humbling at the same time. The ridge offers a 360 degree view of the mountains in the front and the city of McLeodganj down on the back side. The obscured view of the white mountains rising among the clouds fills you with awe and admiration. You see, even the high mountains can be shrouded by periods of haze which can often render them unrecognizable and unseen.
Thoughtfully, it is not just the Dhauladhar peak but the air of the ridge that reeks of silence, giving you a chance to experience the goodness and creativity of nature that manifests into the beautiful things around but is seldom noticed. At night, the place goes pitch dark after 1930 hours with only a few mobile phones and night lamps being the only source of light. The sky dotted with numerous stars is one of the best aspects of the nights on hills. It makes you come face to face with the eternity and you wonder if raising one hand will let you to touch and pluck a few stars to take home to the plains only to be riveted by the scenery.
After spending the night when you rise early the next day, the sky is light red with a tinge of blue on the outside, the cool air fills you with devotion for the loving nature of the creator. It happens that when we become one with the surroundings and the veil of self subsides we are able to admire the beauty surrounding us which is eternal and rejoicing.
After the sunrise we started our downward trek with a hope to respect, love and care for each and every thing on the planet. After all the though we admired the skies dotted with stars we tend to forget about the little houses with lights that look same from the hill top, these are the projections of stars on the earth.
Looking up at the stars is longing, looking around and embracing life is love. Perception matters.
The kiss of a wind,
The whiff of the oncoming storm,
Let me breathe and tell you a story in a whisper;
So as not to wake the sleeping bird.
A story about the temptation to get carried away.
Slowly and steadily in your arms.
To be flung to the far off place;
Devoid of the pain, suffering and the familiar faces
To the fallow lands strewn with the stubble.
Let me till the parched land;
For the fruit of life will sprout once again;
From the womb of the mother earth
But not to be burnt away in the summer of life.
Hindutva and Saffronisation are the rancorous topic these days with almost every Tom, Dick and Harry offering their opinions and suggestions. The most interesting topic occupying the front of the Indian tabloids is our Government’s plan to have all the Gau maatas of the country “Aadharised”. Sounds preposterous isn’t it, well it is true and Indian Government has actually mooted a plan to identify all the cow maatas by a 12 digit number by the end of this year.
Article 48 of the Indian Constitution mandates the states to prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves. This is keeping in mind the religious sentiments and is a sort of our way of paying back the maata for all the good she does for us. Right from the childhood Indians have made a feast of cow’s milk and various by-products of it so naturally a feeling of association and forbearance sets within our hearts. After all Indian’s are so large hearted people. So banning beef and cow slaughter in the country is still justified at large but having an Aadhar for all the cows of country is giving way too much identification to the poor thing.
Hindu scriptures describe cow as an animal that are closest to the humans and they are said to feel the pain and suffering of their masters by shedding actual tears. But that in no way guarantees a right to the policy makers to spend crores on this plan in a country where one third of the population is still below the poverty line. This also belies the Government’s development and economic growth plank on which it rode to an astounding victory about 2 years back.
Stats say that the states where the cow slaughter was banned have registered a decline in the cow population further underlining the Government’s overreach with its ambitious plan .Disappearing grazing land including feed and fodder, healthcare and unplanned urbanization have negative impacts on the cow population thus declining cow population is more of an economic problem than being just a religious issue.
Lets focus on the right issues as I am sure any cow today would be happier to see an improvement in the quality of the country’s poor than having assigned an ID.
Long back during one of my night walks when the mind is too tired to fascinate about a bright future or reminisce about the long gone past I wondered what if someone switched of all the street lights or just for a few seconds there be no artificial lights around us. What if just for a few minutes the moonlight is all that we have to guide us forward. Imagining darkness all around seems fascinating to me and I pleaded to God “please, if you can”.
I was brought up in a small town surrounded by villages. Days started with school at 7 and the nights ended with the 9 pm news hour. To imagine the world without the lights seemed so much strange to that small town kid. Now imagine that kid all grown up and in one of the busiest metros of India, Gurgaon. It seems that this city never sleeps and it never actually does. It is said that evening here starts after 10 pm and end at 5 am.
In midst of all this I wondered why is it that people who work relentlessly all through the week found it so pleasing to go out on a Friday night. When the entire week people complain about tiredness, exhaustion and sleep deprivation suddenly become all charged up to let their hair down at the nearest night club for the whole night. This must be more tiring than 9 hours spent at work every day, isn’t it.
People have become less interactive and less patient. The days have gone when we used to go out with a friend for an after dinner walk or a light chat after office which used to be refreshing and did away with the day’s stress. Man has got to be social but with less and less chances of meeting new people the weekend nights offer a great way to meet people and chill out for a while even if it comes at a cost of loss of sleep and thus more stress.
We have got to revert back to that original lifestyle. Who would deny that Monday mornings, just after weekends, are arguably the most tiresome and lazy. Parties and night outs are good if done once in a while. Mind’s natural state is relaxed which can be achieved by just shutting the light off or listening to some music it’s the stress that you actually go looking out for during weekends.
During those weekends when you feel there is nothing to do when actually you have much on your platter. However slow you want the weekends to be, how so ever early you rise or how much longer you run from your routine extra, you find that at the end of the day the
time flies past. It is like those rows of trees, those small brick houses outside the window of a train that seem to run behind at a constant pace, no matter how you crane you neck out they just go behind you and dissolve into an infinite oblivion. To do away with this feeling of running ahead of my weekends I try to slow down but in vain.
While taking a bus journey, I looked around and found an old man sitting at the front seat ahead of me. He had a mobile phone in his hand that was as old as he probably. The man was in his white shirt and black pant looked about 55-60 years of age. He had a tuft of white hair on his head with a few of them protruding out of his ear. After fidgeting with his phone for a few minutes he opened his messages and began reading them one by one. After reading each message he deleted it. This went on for quite a few messages. So out of curiosity I craned my neck to read what the messages were. The first one read “Happy retired life sir”, the second one said “We will miss you sir” and so on.
The old man had retired after 30-35 years at service. By deleting the messages he was trying to cut the chords that tied him to his past, to those years of service. We feel not looking back or doing away the memories will make us forget the past. We search for all the memories and try to weed them out one by one in a hope that this would save us from the nostalgia. But why do we want to break away or forget the past which was so good. Do we not like to remember good stuff, do we not want to be surrounded by the happy feeling of good times that make us look at the future in a hope of reliving the past. Then why was he deleting the memories.
We humans are the most dissatisfied out of all the creations of God. In childhood, we crave for good marks. Once we have marks we crave for the top position in class, once teens, we crave for a good college and then a good job. And then after all those years at service, in the twilight of our lives we crave for reliving the past. This is why the man was cutting all the chords from the past. He wanted to forget about something that he will no longer have “the daily 9-5 job.” Getting up in the morning and leaving for the job in a haste only to return late in the evening. Cursing the Mondays and looking forward to the weekends. Cursing our daily routine and waiting for the end of each month for our salary. No matter how sad or depressing this predictable life looks on paper all of us live it and most of us crave for it at the end of our careers.
Those 25 years at the job we are all runners who are running at a great speed. We run to see what is at the end of the race and once we reach the final post we long for the race. We long for someone that boss to manage us. We long for the feeling of completing our monthly targets or for that yearly bonus that gives us a free pass to “dine out”. Suddenly we find ourselves so heavily addicted to our daily routine that even the thought of slowing down fills us with gloom. We forget that this emptiness is not a curse it’s what that has been bestowed on us as a reward of all those years at work. Why do we not see it?
Are we so lost that we don’t see the light the end of the tunnel. Do we love the darkness so
much that even the thought of light scares us. Out of all the living beings, only humans walk on two legs and have the ability to choose. Then why do we choose to ignore the voice within is. Why do we fail to see the beauty of “now”?