Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Complete Picture

I smile.
I have a sip from my cup. Green tea with lemon and honey. Here am I, perched on the window seat of a perfect life, having a perfect cup of tea. Only thing is that the perfect life is an incomplete puzzle and I have just glimpsed the missing part that will complete it. I have just seen the complete picture. My perfect life is not perfect any more. Perfection lies in completion of the picture.
There is a key somewhere in the universe that will determine the one single move that will place the missing part in its proper place and give meaning to a truth beyond the definitions of reason. Or it may be a series of moves synchronised by a higher hand. Why do I feel that the orchestra is already set in motion? Why do I feel the inevitability of the impossible? Why do I know that what is wrong has never been more right than now?
I look outside the window beyond the lazy traffic and see a makeshift pavement tea shop. I see men from the poor walks of life...the daily labourers, the watchmen, auto drivers, the construction workers; I see them huddled together enjoying their tea , their gossip, and their mutual company. My eyes fall on a particular figure for no particular reason. He sits there on the ledge, contemplating over his tea. I see imperfection in him. I see perfection in him. I feel he is no different than what I have ever been. Does the universe hold the key for him too? Will he one day find the missing part to complete his puzzle? He should, for after all, he is same as you and me.
I feel incredibly fortunate. I have a vision. It does not belong to my life and the window seat. It belongs to the mountains and the sea and every bit of me. Maybe the vision is my life. It belongs to me. The flower that I hold and whose scent I breathe in belonged to a bush which is part of the garden that I see, that borders the walls of our compound just below my window seat. We all belong to each other, we all hold together the complete picture. The vision saved my life. I have hope. Beyond my window seat lies a pavement tea shop. Beyond imperfection, lies completion.
I cry. There are no words to describe the rhythm of the beats to which my soul is dancing. There is so much joy in those tears. There is so much longing in that joy. There is so much contentment beyond that longing. There is so much pain in that contentment. There is so much love in that pain. And there is the whole universe in that love.
I smile.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Silent Pond

The pond was still and calm, and its depth unexplored. It was tranquil and playful and full of bliss. How large it was I do not know but it encompassed all known concepts of peace and love. It was steady and I could glide in its still waters with the enthusiasm of a child and the ease of a practiced professional. The pond was lively in its calmness and joyous in its serenity. It reflected the colours of the trees and the flowers around it and danced with the silver moonlight at night. The pond was the only life there was that I knew.
That was until someone threw a pebble in it. The pebble caused a ripple that disturbed the stillness of the pond. The slight disturbance grew more intense as the pebble was followed by more pebbles. Soon everybody was throwing pebbles at the silent pond. There was a turmoil. The ripples became angry waves and the waves became currents and exploded with alarming speed to knock every part of the tranquil pond. There was no more laughter, no more joy. Before my eyes, the pond changed into an angry ocean full of tides and undercurrents, threatening to swallow the simplicity I knew.
The ocean had strength and passion. It lured, it shouted, it spoke a hundred words. Yet it could not speak the profound truth reflected in the pond. It roared and was joined by the howling wind. Together they screamed of treasures found and treasures lost. They howled of deceit and anger. They abused the tides and cried of abandonment. They did not understand love.
Men rode the waves on mighty ships. Some were out to challenge the world, some to make a fortune, and some just to ride an adventure. Nobody understood the language of the child. The ocean raged and fumed and tossed the mere mortals out in grave fury, indifferent to the emotions of humans. Its fury frightened some while others were enchanted and attracted. But no-one understood its meaning.
I was wrapped in the mystery of life unfolding and changing before my eyes. I forgot about the silent pond. I dreamt of the merchants and pirates of the sea. I was sucked in by the unfathomable secrecy of the ocean.
I fought to free myself from the conspiracy of the waves and the abuses of the winds and somehow, a haunting note penetrated the chaos and whispered to me some long forgotten songs. I trust the song and follow it as I know I am loved and secure. Somewhere, very deep, in the realms of my mind, I know that I have been caressed by joy and divinity profoundly in a space and time where there is a silent pond that reflects my naked self intimately.

(I dedicate this post to my dear friend Cayman, who led me back to the Silent Pond i had forgotten)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ten Rupees

The humidity was unbearable. It was a cloudy day in June, summer had given way to the rains. As per the usual ritual, monsoon had hit the thirsty earth with thorough vengeance; then, perhaps a bit exhausted, had taken a pause. The pause was filled with gloomy, cloudy, sultry days that craved for evenings when the Sea Gods would send a breather in the form of the sea wind to blow away the perspiration from the face of Mumbai.
It was late afternoon on one such day that she sat on the front seat of the BEST bus(local bus of Mumbai), normally reserved for ladies. She was lucky to get a seat, as usually she had to wait for the Mahim stop where a large number of commuters alighted, to get a chance to sit. As she settled deep in a reverie, absent-mindedly absorbing the passing sights of a tired city, the throng of people occupying every possible space in the bus gradually built up to a point of saturation. There were now two standing lines and the conductor squeezed his way to and fro with practised perfection to reach out to the crowd, impatient to buy their tickets.
Shweta wondered idly how long would it be that she would need to commute in this fashion. With her next pay hike due in October, she may be able to afford an auto rickshaw at least one way. She may settle for an apartment where she need not share the rent with four other working ladies. Maybe, she could afford a twin sharing apartment. She dreamt of the occasional dinners she could afford at her favourite ‘Carlton Court’ corner in Bandra, instead of settling for the local ‘Udipi’ restaurant every evening.
Her flow of thoughts was interrupted by a commotion somewhere near the rear of the bus. The commotion soon gathered volume and strength as several people joined in. Straining her ears and turning her neck to get a view of what was unfolding, she heard the bus conductor scream, “Just get off! Then he breathlessly continued, why do such ‘evra’(slang for mad) people get on the bus when they don’t have money for the fare? Saala chutiya!(f***ing bastard) Wasting everybody’s time! ”
The interplay of the high humidity and the general struggle of everyday life allowed tempers to soar at the slightest provocation. The person to whom the expletives were addressed to, seemed to stop his pleading and announced, “All right, all right, I will get down. I don’t need your sympathy, all for mere 50 paise!” Shattering the exchange, Shweta heard the high pitched voice of a lady with Parsi accent. “Why make so much fuss for 50 paise? Bechara (poor thing), he must be garib(poor)! Let him on.”
Without the slightest hesitation, the conductor’s voice boomed, “Maaji (respected mother), I face 20 such commuters every day. If I were to pay 50paise from my pocket for each of them, I would end up paying ten rupees every day, the cost of my daily vada pav; and I cannot afford to miss my lunch every day.”
This was followed by a stunned silence till someone uttered “Badabar hai! (He is right!)”
Shweta vaguely wanted to donate 50 paise to save the day but she was incapable of acting. Deep in her mind, she realised that her probable pay hike may be better utilised for the weekend course in graphics designing that she was always planning to take.

After all, six months of her luxury in a twin sharing apartment combined with cosy meals and comfortable commuting may cost her the opportunity to have the requisite qualification for a better career. Compared to the basic unfulfilled need of a ‘vada pav’ lunch, even the better career prospect seemed humble. But still!
She shuddered and silently thanked the opportunity for a front seat reserved for ladies on a crowded BEST bus (public bus of Mumbai) in peak hour rush.