That day, that night

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We were chatting together on a pleasant morning and had a hearty laugh just when my dad got a phone call and went aside to talk. We paused and struggled to get a long breath and calm ourselves. After a few minutes he got back and we just had general discussions about things that happened that week. We then dispersed. Dad and I set out to buy a few things from down the lane. On our way back, some noise that I heard, really horrified me. There were three men in a parking lot, out of which I knew one. He used to work around and do odd society jobs at times. They were fighting over not such a petty thing, I suppose. We stopped there for a while and watched. In the next minutes, the man I knew was given a hit and fell to the ground with his hand bleeding, a bit.

I looked at dad to see that he had walked off already. I ran after and narrated the incident. He had no words. What really was happening there? Neither did he know nor did I. Was it sensible to let them sort what they had or go ourselves and interrupt? Or maybe just call the cops saying a man was wounded in a fight? We were in a fix. Dad said, “I’ll see what we can do”, and asked me to go ahead. Deeply lost in those thoughts and the certainty of its occurrence itself drove me to a place, I had never been before. It was maybe a few kilometres ahead of my destination. All newly constructed huge glass establishments with a polished ambiance.

I walked ahead until I saw my own reflection in the blue waters. Finding myself standing amidst two swimming pools and a beautiful pathway in between, I looked up to the sky. I wondered. I had just seen something devastating and now I see some beauty. I didn’t know whether I even felt awful or was I awestruck. I was just blank looking up at the sky, trying to find someone in there and talk, ask. Ask why there were these horrible things in life when we can really make it so beautiful. My lashes blinked and the eyes caught sight of colourful flags that we hoisted there. They were vibrant, showing life and joy. Maybe also representing some country, community or religious society. I saw all colours, standing tall with their own strengths. But not a single white.

It somewhere made me believe the variety, the differences but no peace and acceptance there. As I was introspecting and having these deep conversations within, I heard voices shout, “Move!! Run faster! Save your life…!” I ran with the mob. On reaching a safer place, all of them started disguising. They tore open some masks, started to wear them. Many wore some other clothing and accessories. Not understanding what they tried to portray, I stood there paranoid. My mind wouldn’t understand what this human race was all about. A race which provoked so much ego, hatred, selfishness with zero traces of love and understand for humanity as a whole. It had no face and it knew no face!

I felt each one of us was living it. We are, daily. But more than a competitive one, the second meaning of race (as in, humans as homo sapiens) would be appreciated as they always help each other. There is no existence of mankind, when man isn’t really kind enough to one another. Within minutes there was a blast and all of us were dead. That’s when I came to life, that’s when I woke up from the crazy dream and thought, ”Thank God, it was just a dream” A start of the day couldn’t have been as eventful. It was a probable after-effect of watching similar incidences in the news. That morning I just prayed for peace, love and joy in the whole world. Nobody could have asked for more..

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Yesterday, today and tomorrow

After a long day of cleaning and making room for some new furniture to come, we lay drained on our couches and decided to calm ourselves and watch T.V.
All the news-channels focused on the funeral of the Honorable politician, writer and former Prime minister of India- Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayi.
There were a lot of diplomats and ministers from the neighboring countries, too, who offered their condolences in the form of pure white wreaths.

Looking at that white symbol, i was reminded of my stay in the USA. Three months ago, while we were exploring the land, we came across a place called Batavia in New York. What surprised me about that place, were the wreaths hanging out on every door of each house.

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Houses in the small town of Batavia

Beautiful wreaths made of evergreen strings and colorful flowers. I wondered why somebody would adorn the door as if it were Christmas!
Being a part of a convent, my first association with it were the wreaths, bells and holly hanging outside doors.They are believed to celebrate the arrival of Christ. The wreaths made of evergreen symbolize His eternity and therewith presence and blessings all through.
I was certain of not dreaming.

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Sometimes with a star, too!

Not very recently had i read a German book Nicht nur zur Weihnachtszeit. It illustrated the story of a woman who was mentally unstable and thought it was Christmas each day, so began to decorate the home and sing carols in months like April.
The title of the book literally means-not only during the Christmas time!

Enchanted by this new idea, i started looking up Google. It read a lot about the traditional meaning of wreaths and its usage during Christmas but not really, as to why its hung all year round on some doors.
The tradition said- the circle symbolises the eternity which has no beginning and no end. Understanding its made of evergreen and holly, it never dies. And thus, it prevails to be a symbol of strength, goodwill and positivity.
Today, it is also seen as the sign of welcoming, giving, generosity and gathering of loved ones.

My heart was touched and smiled with the fact that there are still people in this really fast and tech-savvy world, who do care about their ideals and want to spread love and cheer around.

What amazed me even more, was the fact that the same symbol, just in black, is also the symbol of death. Black wreaths are hung outside doors of homes who have recently suffered the loss of a family member.

And today i see the white ones being offered as condolences.

After knowing all these instances, I define wreaths as Life! You always want it green, so as to remain happy, healthy and joyous. In its absence, they are black and as condolences, they have to be pure as the soul.
That the Indians believe- Its all about birth-death-and rebirth, is an endless cycle that goes on until your soul reaches back to where it came from. And THAT is eternity!
Every cultural aspect makes me believe how similar we are, with all our differences…

All answers to none

Have you felt the heat in the ice?

And the sound of silence?

Have you felt the happiness in tears?

And the courage inspired by fears?

Have you felt the dryness during rains?

Or a loss in monetary gains?

Paradox is the truth of life. In our daily routines we come across situations where we try using our logic, reasoning and the ability to question everything. We solve many issues with rational thinking and try to live a sorted life.

When we think a little closer about things and try to reason natural phenomenon we begin to realize, that there is much more to explore. We keep on questioning and getting deeper into its essence, until we see, that our logical mind doesn’t accept these things. All the studies and theories lay futile in front of exceptions and paradoxes.

The very theory of gravitation is challenged by the element ‘Fire’ which always rises above the ground without falling towards it.

Coming to languages, there are many exceptions where the general grammar rules don’t apply.

When we just peep within ourselves, it is a wonder to realise that we are all a part of this subtle play of exceptions. Our heart is said to be autonomous, as it beats automatically with a trigger at the SA Node. But there is no theory which proves where or how that current is generated. It happens in all living things. Each cell gets its requirement and grows accordingly. We term it ‘Life’ and we just ACCEPT and BELIEVE these facts. This acceptance comes in play because we experience it.

Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong to quote: Experience is Belief.

Belief is not something that one says and others follow. It is an experience shared by someone and may be just passed on to the others as an exchange of thoughts and ideas. We all can have our own beliefs based on our experiences. Many people, for example, believe the existence of a supreme power which is omnipresent. Some term it ‘God’, the others just ‘A Power’.

Understanding this ‘Power’ is no job of a rational brain. One needs to experience and believe. There are many things going on subtly around us and if we just observe them, we could get closer to experiencing it.

Where Theory, Logic and Rationality ends, is where Belief begins. And sometimes you experience and enjoy it, but have no answers …

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What’s in a name?

Dear Ayushmaan ji,

Today, on the 69th republic day of India, as we witness the diverse processions of every state, performances of all cadets and brave men and women reflecting our legacy, it filled my heart with content. On returning back, I just relaxed and then thought of practising some classical music vocally. Taking the importance of this day into consideration, I began with Vande Mataram (Salutations to the Mother). Our 8-year old complemented me with his melodious voice, too. And to my surprise, he actually saluted me by the end of the song and said, “This is for the beautiful singer, the intelligent and talented person and my besssst Mummy!”

I added, “Have you considered Vande Pitaram?” Having an innate lingual sense, he understood I was talking of you. With no loss of a second, he stood against your picture. That is where he always sees you, talks to you and questions me- When will Papa return? Today, he just saluted you and smiled with tears in his eyes. Then he turned and narrated, “Colonel uncle told me today that Papa has gone to never return. Now I know why you kept me away from all this for a while. But Mumma, I am a strong boy, you know.”

With astonished eyes and a half-crooked smile, I replied, “Come, it’s time to show you somethings.”

I opened the treasury, where I had kept safe every little thing related to you. Your insignia, badges,  uniforms, achievements and a few pictures of you wearing all of it along with your smart smile. Then came one, where you were felicitating me in an event. He asked, “Mumma, when was this?” “This was the first time your papa and I met, son. I was learning to ride horses and won at some competitions where, in one of them, your Papa was invited as the youngest but most honourable chief guest.” “Wow!” he exclaimed. It was a long session of around two hours as we spoke of you, your bold and fierce personality, our frequencies together, bonds with the country and ended at humanity as a whole. And in the end, what really made me stronger was this line coming from him- “I am going to be like my father but don’t worry, I won’t leave you that soon.”

Now he is down with his friends and I write you. But trust me, I already see you in him. He carries your name too. And so do I.

Shakespeare said- ‘What’s in a name?’

For us, that’s where you live- in our names, in our hearts!

Always yours.

With respect and love,

Virashree Ayushmaan Deshmukh.       

 

 

A completely fictitious piece of writing along with the names. But the mere thought of slipping into someone else’ shoes and imagining how their life would be, gives us a better insight about perspectives, understanding and living. Salute to all those passionate officers and their families!  

         

         

The blank page

You portray the reflection of my thoughts

You encourage the expression of my love

You engross my feelings transparent

You are the place, where I find myself

In my childhood, you helped me learn alphabets to words and sentences. As an adult, you continue to be the foundation to my expressions. I talk to you when I am contended and complain to you, when troubled. I adorn you in beauty to make others feel special and engrave onto you the words in my silence. You are certainly the most comfortable thing, I possess.

Be it a beautiful painting, a sketch or just a few lines joining one another, it has to start on a blank. This word is so commonly used in the adverse context, that we don’t realize, how important it is!

It offers you an entire universe of your own which you can adorn exactly the way you like: with strokes, colors, imagination, ideas, thoughts, beauty and elegance. You can express and let the others swim into those feelings as they see, read and digest, all what is engrossed. It has the virtue of taking away all the negatives and creating dynamic potentials in us.

In a learning phase, where there is so much to be absorbed , one needs something that isn’t already filled with slants or wrinkles. Our mind also needs to be thoughtless at times, in order to soak new inputs from around and then use it correctly in the required place and way. Thoughtlessness does not refer to numbness of the mind, but an alertness to perceive the things around us and react accordingly..

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“Blank paper has always inspired me”- Daniel Handler

Inspiration and desire are most important things that hearten you start something and keep the spirit to go ahead with it. Sometimes you have the desire but need back to start.  It is incredible, how some casually spoken words can be engraved in the mind, which have the power to inspire you even after days together.

A few days back, we had an exchange of ideas with talented people, where one of my mentors suggested a five Minute writing on deep, indefinite and exclusive topics or phrases which would be an expression of our thoughts. And here it is.. 🙂

A beautiful Soul

Candles and Ribbons,

Petals in Delicacy..

Wrapped is your Soul

in peace and beauty…

In general terms, we would refer to a Soul as a Person. A lot of beliefs around the world hang on the fact that there is an energy source in living beings which is termed as Life. Coming to the span of this life, we have a lot of notions on living it our way! But what really happens to us, when we realise that this Life is soon getting over?

At our cultural home in Pune, we had two guests from Germany ( Silke Radosh-Hinder and Silke Alima) to have a wonderful exchange of ideas on these untouched and far more dreaded topics like Death, the span of its proximity, its Rituals and the journey of the soul. On the other side we had Priestesses from Pune who were their counterparts in India.

A three day ‘Exchange Programme’ started with the first discussion on the topic called Hospice care. It is simply defined as a place for ‘Care’, more on the emotional and spiritual front for the terminally ill patients, who know they are going to leave the world very soon. As of the situation in India, this idea is not aforethought. One reason being that there are already a lot of people taking care of the ill person. The other despairing one that is recently spotted – no time for consideration of emotions. But what really made this interesting, was the fact stated by the Indian priestesses, that people here would never stay in a place, where there have already been so many people dying, as they would fear the spirits hovering about in that area.

It’s all about how a culture perceives situations…

Day two marked the rituals and ceremonies where again the differences landed as the Indian tradition has many rituals to follow and believe in having them done for not just the person but also keeping in mind the ancestors. On the contrary we saw instances of the German culture which just focuses on the leaving soul and beautification in the last moments for a memorable good bye! Dearly decorated with all tokens of memories, likes and achievements, as family and friends talk about the proud moments shared with them. Our priestesses surely learnt and want to implement this idea of beautification, rather than just having rituals with crying and worried faces.

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As we went further towards the journey of the soul, came the incredible vicious cycle of rebirth. The traditional idea here stating that a soul undergoes 84 lac births to achieve the human form. Not easy at all! This also led to a profound discussion on Karma and how one pays separately for his good and bad deeds throughout. Not leaving out on the substance that each person we meet in life has a relation and debt with the past one..

The hall was silent and all marvelled in the end. But just to a solo conclusion- Life and death are not in our hands. What lies with us, is how we live the life we have, how we make it beautiful for others and for ourselves, so as to bid each other a contended and non-regretting ‘good bye’ just to meet again in a beautiful place apart from this world (we term it Heaven!).

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Sky Blue

After a span of incessant rains, our eyes await the golden sun. The greyness in the weather was sinking all energies to an indistinct level. The discretion between black and white is oblivious to the grey (which symbolizes unclear differentiation). My thoughts were grey, as I didn’t know what was coming forth the next day.

We were made a sudden offer to impart our German knowledge and skills to the young generation living in the Konkan coastal area of Maharashtra. This would also mean a few less working days at our beloved homely workplace in Pune. With a disturbed although slightly avid mind, I return home to break the news. My parents, really excited, congratulate me and start thinking of helping me pack already. But the raw thoughts inside don’t leave so easily..

The commencement of the journey ignited the lost desire partially. It was a night’s journey till we reached the serene destination at sunrise. Being a native of this destination, my mother always created beautiful images of the place with her words. For the first time, those virtual pictures came into existence to my eyes. This mental comeback into the red soil cleared my mind completely.

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The red soil in the village: Devrukh

Our next step was the introductory session at the College. Two polished young boys were sent to greet and escort us to the hall, where the professor held a respectable speech about the project and its advantages in the long run, which would refine the naïve lives of those young hearts. The most striking feature visible on those faces was that of gratitude! It was evident that they valued, what they were going to avail in the coming months. The mere thought of teachers travelling overnight and coming to a village all the way just for THEM, was enough to double their interests in the venture.

During the first small talk with them, we also realized how much they urge to work hard and achieve something that would not just give them a name but also raise the collars of their parents. Their tiny sparkling eyes have tremendous enthusiasm and dreams which we wish, they fulfil. Leaving behind the uncertain and recessive behavioral tradition, we saw bold smiles waiting to converse in German. My further confrontation with them was planned on the following day, which led me to explore the surrounding on that day.

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Clean and well maintained houses

Taking each step slowly, running my eyes around, I was astonished to see a village cleaner that most of developed cities in India. Well maintained plants encircling triangular roofs and wooden windows, rangoli coloring  the entrance and coconut trees on guard. As I captured this in my phone, I realized- The background was clear! It was the pleasant blue which had wiped off the grey from the skies, just like that, of my mind…

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View of the blue skies

It is often very important to just look around and observe, how simplicity and innocence can embark beauty into our souls. Where we lead a hectic life, without having time or valuing our dear ones, such experiences open our eyes in gratitude with the approach of just being a kind and happy soul 🙂

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The Konkan feel..