Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Radha.....The Eternal Love

I watched Pandita Uma Dogra dance as Radha yesterday. On TV though, at the Khajuraho Dance Festival. She was beautiful. Innocence, playfulness, proprietary attitude towards Krishna, overwhelming unbounded love for Krishna and her sense of jealousy and longing for Krishna's bansuri - it was beautifully enacted in the poem - "Shyam tori bansi bajaoo nek" (Maybe I have got a word wrong here.)

Umaji got Radha alive on the stage. Her Kathak moves were exquisite and the abhinaya superb. I found myself crying as I saw it. I was transported to Vrindavan, near the Kadamb tree, where the two lovers laughed, played, teased and immersed themselves in each other.

I have had this longing to dance on Jaidev's Geet Govindam for years now. I know I would never be able to do it now - my dancing days are over. My desire to dance came from my deep rooted urge to express my wonder at the love of Radha Krishna, rather than dance itself, or the composition of Jaidev, beautiful as it is. Now, of course, I can only watch others perform, and it is so so beautiful and uplifting to watch a dance purist like Uma Dogra dance it.

What is it about Radha Krishna that completely mesmerizes me?

Sell Art Online

Thinking of them melts things inside, and I swoon, hearing the description of their love and longing. I wonder, what it must have been like to have been Radha. To love someone so beautiful and captivating as Krishna, and to be loved back, with the same abandon and surrender, as she was loved. What it must have been to have had no name to the relationship other than sheer love, erotic and worshipful, in equal measure.

And then, how it must have been to have been separated young, to carry the memory of such love all of their lives, when nothing would have come close to oneness than the way they felt for each other. A memory which had such an imprint that nothing of the stupendous life of Krishna, of him being a warrior, the creator of a race, the husband of many wives, the adviser to sages and kings, the Geeta-creating philosopher of the world, even came close to the way he felt about Radha. Krishna led his life immersed in Radha's love, even though he never met her after he left Vrindavan. Krishna was forever Radhe's Krishna, never just Krishna.

But what about Radha? How did she live after Krishna? Was she like a wraith all her life, living in his memory? Did she exult in the way she held this king of men in her heart?

Note to self:
a. Must write a story on this someday, Bucket list.
b. Must watch Khajuraho Dance Festival live some day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What it means to be a Liar

"People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person's view requires to be faked. And if one gains the immediate purpose of the lie - the price one pays is the destruction of what the gain was intended to serve. The man who lies to the world is the world's slave from then on."

- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Blindfold of Pride

There are times when our pride blindfolds us to our own pain, and refuses to have it shared with others, who could help.

Pride over the ability to take pain can turn toxic and cause self-destruction.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Relentless March of Time

Time is relentless. It marches on, with nary a thought about the debris it leaves behind. Just goes on and on and on.

There was a time when I loved to dance. And then there was a time when I could not dance anymore as I needed to train myself for earning money. I thought I would not be able to do anything if I could not dance. But I did do things - not perfect, not soul stirring, but marketable. I did not dance again. Time marched on. Unrelenting.

There was a time when I built the castle of my life on someone's shoulder. And then, there was a time when the shoulder collapsed and died. I thought I would never be able to build again. But I did. First a shanty, then a hovel, and now a house. Not the perfect abode, but a shelter nevertheless. Time marched on. Unstopping.

There was a time when I loved someone. And then, there was a time when he walked away. I thought I would not be able to breathe without him. But I breathed. And made eyes at other men, lusted for them - not lovers but wayfarers and companions. I did not love again. Time marched on. Uncaring.

There was a time when I birthed someone and fed the blood of my womb to her. And then, there was a time when the womb turned back on her and killed her. I thought I would never eat again if it was not to feed her. But I did. I ate, nourished my guilty womb. Not to fill up my breasts with milk - but to fill the bowels with excrement and piss, and give energy to body to survive. Time marched on. Unseeing.

There was a time when I befriended someone and laughed, dreamed and worked together. And then there was a time when the friend betrayed to save some money, and then turned into a foe. I thought I would never share a dream and joke again. But I did. I laughed and joked and broke bread together with people. Not with a friend, but with acquaintances, neighbors and relatives. Not that they got half the jokes, but we laughed together. Time marched on. Unfazed.

There was a time when I wanted to create something of beauty. And then there was a time when I broke my knuckles, hurt my eyes, and I could create no more. I thought I would never want to work again. But I did. I worked to build things which could sell, be branded and be useful. Not beautiful, not pretty - but they were things people wanted and paid money for. Time marched on. Unmindful.

There was a time when I wanted to be a soulmate to someone. And then there was a time when I realized that he did not need a soulmate, but a flatmate. I thought I would never do soul-talk again. But I did. I bared my soul to him in the hope he would someday listen to my soul. He did not listen, nor care. I settled to being a flat mate. Time marched on. Inexorable.

And there will be time when I will cease to exist. when this compromised life, such as it is, will be snuffed out. And then, there will be no more time to build the glorious life I knew I could have had. I will dissolve into nothingness, with my dreams and thoughts and stories and loves and betrayals still in my bones. The bones will be burnt and cast away into the streams and rivers and fields. Time will continue to march on. For others. Unaffected.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Building Trust

How do you make yourself trust-worthy?

Here is my recipe for it:

1. Accept people the way they are, with their faults and kinks.
2. Let them know that you accept them the way they are. By means of affirmative words and caring actions.
3. Be there for them when they are in trouble or need help. Help them the way you can. If no help is possible from you, listen to them. Heartfelt listening.
4. When they need help, help them in the way they want to be helped.

Remember, if you want that the people you love, accept your help when they need it the most, then you have to first invest in being trust-worthy for them.

It is very hard for people to be trust worthy. It is not easy to accept, to keep your judgement at bay, to put the person you love before yourself. It is hard to be so un-mindful of your own ego, your opinions and your judgement. If a person trusts you, you can then help that person come out of a possible toxic situation or behavior. Real change only comes from within, so be mindful that you do not try and force the change.

If it is so hard to be trust-worthy, why do it?

Of all the human situations, not having anyone close to you whom you can trust, is absolutely the worst. You cannot guarantee that you will be able to find someone you can trust, but you can certainly try and be the person who someone can trust. By being trust-worthy, you can be sure that you have eased the pain of human existence for some people on this earth. Do it because you are a compassionate person or aspire to be one.

Secondly, do it for love. In most cases, people have been hurt the most by people whom they have loved the most. In most cases, unknowingly. Most suicides occur as people become lonely, and find that they cannot relate to anyone. This may happen to your loved one, without your realizing that you are the one who is not showing up, not giving acceptance, and hence contributing to your loved ones loneliness and desperation. Your loved ones need to know that you are there for them. And that you love them and accept them. And that you will do whatever you can for them. In short, you must be trusted by them.

Neglect the building trust part of a relationship, and you stand the risk of your loved one some day falling apart as he/she did not know he/she could lean on you. Think about it. You may lose a loved one if the loved one does not trust in you.

Build trust.

PS: Amazingly, today a story appeared on on building trust. But of course, for work relationship, and for leaders. Just for reference

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Good of Wanting

"Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one." - Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald is a writer I love much and admire. His "The Great Gatsby" is a story I have read again and again, and every time I have been filled with wonder at the exact, appropriate usage of words as he tells the story. Every word is perfect. Every conversation is vital. Every bit of story line is useful. Every character is carved exactly as it needs to be. I run out of adjectives. It is just perfect. I cannot imagine how he got to this level of perfection in his craft.

To the perfection he brings, I look at stuff that I have written, some begun, some done, and some still in the head - and I completely despair at putting my stories on paper. I feel so so inadequate. I want to tell stories. There are so many of them jostling in my head. There are times I can barely hear myself because the characters in them talk to much. I know I will die unhappy if I don't tell them.

I wish I had studied literature rather then engineering. I wish I had started writing when I was 10 or 12. I wish I knew I loved words and stories so much. If I had started then, maybe I could have learnt to write the way I now want to write. With exact precision of words and emotions.

I remember a writer friend of mine telling me that in his view, technique comes later, with the content coming first. He had egged me on to write the story first, and not worry about the style of telling. I shared some of my story ideas, which he thought were capital. I know I want to tell them - and I don't really care whether they are endorsed as being capital or not - as long as I get them off my head. But the style of offloading them is beginning to intimidate me. I don't want to write a story that I would not like to read.

Yes, I can never become a story teller till the time I begin to tell my stories. Wanting to be one is simply not going to make me one. I know. But the skill requirement of writing a story that I would like to read scares the shit out of me. I have begun so many stories, and have abandoned them, not due to the plot, but as I could not but cringe on what I had written.

People have spoken to me about creative writing courses. Perhaps thats the answer. Other people have told me to just write - even if I hate the way I write. Other people tell me to do it when I can completely devote my full energy and passion to it, without any distractions. Perhaps the right time is the answer. My own heart tells me to just begin - but my head scorns at the way I write and forces me to stop.

Whats the good of wanting to be a writer if I have no clue of how to go about building the tooling required for it? Just how do I hone my craft? How can I hone my craft when I have not even begun learning it? I don't know how to learn it. Even if I found out, where to learn, am I not old to begin?

Perhaps if I had taken my wanting more seriously earlier on, I would not have despaired of achieving what I want. I would have then had time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On Valentines Day


There are two loves that you should never abandon quest of:
1. Find a person to love unconditionally, without ego, with full abandon. In the rare case of having found someone, make EVERY effort to keep her/him. And if you do happen to be with the person you love, rejoice every minute!
2. Find work that you love doing. Again, in the rare case of having found what you love doing, do it - without thinking of reward, its social payoff, its monetary reward, its acceptance in the world. Just do it.

But first, be the person who can love. By choosing to love, you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Fulfillment only comes to the vulnerable and the needy. It may take a while to come, but every effort spent in seeking fulfillment is worth it. It can be terrifying, giving yourself permission to love. Be of courage.

Love is the only thing that makes life worthwhile.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Single Point of Failure

"Ishikawa Diagram" - A "Cause - Effect" theory that I have known and heard about being practiced in one of the companies I worked for. For the record, I have never formally worked on it, nor have I been trained on its usage.

The idea of the Ishikawa diagram is to take a desired Effect (read expected result), work backwards and think of all the causes that can potentially contribute to it, and document them. Focus on making sure the effecting causes execute well, and the effect will automatically happen. It identifies the possible points of failures, and makes the executor aware of it, so that no point of failure can derail the expected outcome. Very elegant. It works.

Being aware of what the causes are, can and will, influence what finally happens. So far so good.

But how much of a weight does each of the causes has on the effect, is the one question that takes certainty out of the process. Finding out the weight of each cause is subjective, messy and ambiguous.

As I look back in my life, and look ahead, I find that in most cases, a single point/action defined the success or failure of a desired outcome. The weight of the action was not obvious when it happened. It was just one of those things in the action-stream. In most cases, I could not have impacted that particular causatory action. I could not have foreseen its impact. But it is true that the impact of that one action changed everything moving forward, from that point forward. Like a cascading wall of effects. If that one action at that precise time went well, everything went well. If not, then rapidly downhill. In hindsight, there are single points of failures in endeavors.

I focus these days on identifying those actions, the ones that can make/break to cause the outcome that I want out of any situation. The rest, I ignore.

No Ishikawa diagrams for me. One single point is all that I am looking for.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Who will continue to cry....

There is this book called "Who will cry when you die" by Robin Sharma. It is one of those books that exhort you to live your life in such a way that others are impacted by it, and that you are missed when you are gone.

There will be some people who will cry when I die.

There are always some people who cry when a person dies. Of course, barring the very poor, the lonelies and the sick. When some of these people die, there are in fact people who are relieved. It is profoundly sad that this is so.

The key question to ponder is about who will continue to cry after you have been dead. For a week, month, year. Think hard. Picture to yourself the day of your funeral. And then the next. The next week. The next month. The next year. Maybe three years after your death. And ask yourself this question - who will continue to cry after you have died. Picture the people doing their daily routines. Imagine the thoughts they would have, while they eat, drink, make a living, party etc. Ask yourself honestly - be brutally honest - will they spare one thought to you? Two? Several in a day? Once in a month? Once in a year? Will it be a happy thought? Grateful thought? Revengeful thought? Loving thought? These are questions you ask yourself of the people in your life today.

Life goes on. That is the tragedy and beauty of life. Everything passes. Even you.

Think about what your imagination is telling you about life after your death. About which people will continue to feel your absence, in a good, bad or indifferent way. The ones to focus on first is the indifferent ones. For the ones whose lives would continue with nary a thought for you, eliminate doing things for them in your current time. Eliminate estimating your lifes worth on what they think of you today. Or what you think they think of you. They don't really matter - in the short and long run. You do not really impact them. Maybe you never did. Purge them from your life.

Now examine the people who will miss you in a good way. Even weeks after you have gone, or even years. Nurture them, love them and try and maximise your impact in a good way in their life. You really are a part of their lives. Choose to work hard on them. It is important to you, and to them.

And now, the ones who curse you when you are gone. Look hard - if there anything you have done to have earned that blame or curse? Fix it if you can. If not, then accept their curses, eliminate thoughts about them from your head and let them cease existing for you today. These could be people who you can do nothing about. Cultivate the wisdom to accept their prickly existence in your life, and stop trying to please them.

Now, besides the people who would cry when you die, think of the people who won't cry when you die, but whose life would be impacted by what you did in life. Maybe these people have never met you. Could you have impacted some people in your life even though you did not know them? Picture the impact. Maybe your work has made them spend one hour less doing repetitive boring stuff in their lives. Maybe you helped them reach their goals with less barriers. Maybe science and thought progressed in a different way because you lived and worked. It does not matter that they were not in your funeral. They could not have been there even if they wanted to - they don't even know you exist!

If you can picture such people, your life would have lived beyond your death in some measure.

Can't think of anyone like that? Maybe you need to look at your lifes work to know if there is some work you need to start so that someone is impacted due to your death. Someone you don't know. Someone who you still nevertheless love. Invest in that love. Invest in a ever lasting life.