"In the dream where you show up to school naked, why do you never go swimming?"
That is the question on my blogger profile. I think it requires a special kind of brain to think up these questions. From where do they get these? My three best guesses are:1. from some drunken teenage party game 2. from a questionnaire at a psychiatrist's clinic or 3. from some translation software ( which usually gives you completely grammatical but totally meaningless equivalent for what you fed in).
Now for the answer I had a choice between fact number 1 that I would not have a swim suit and fact no.2 that I do not know how to swim. While I was seriously considering these choices, the minor detail that I would have shown up to school naked completely escaped me.Yes, NAKED!
Apparently it is very common for people to have dreams in which they find themselves naked. A doctor friend explained that this kind of a dream signified one’s fear of being exposed and that it is a reflection of one’s vulnerability or shamefulness. Well, if any of you have actually had such a dream (not of your favourite actress or model showing up naked and I am told that is "perfectly normal" for males between 13 -100 ) but you yourself show up naked, you know the reason now. You have some “ia”, “ism” or “yxis”.
Whatever this fear is, I not only do not have it but I do not even have the fear of having it because I cannot remember most of my dreams and I never remember to have noticed any details of anyone's attire in the dreams.
I think things happen with great clarity only in the dream sequences in films. Real life dreams are less colourful and more suggestive like photo negatives. Of course I do know some people who describe dreams to the last detail including the accessories and the brand of perfume used. I have a vague suspicion that these people just have a vivid imagination that fills up the details after they wake up.
Or I must be suffering from some kind of a dream blindness for I can never see faces or forms but just a vague impression of some incident occuring and I get a sense of the characters in the scene from the general drift of things.People flit in and out in cloudy caspery forms - wrong combination of people from all generations appear at all the wrong places with no sense of history or geography. It all sounds like the first day rehearsal for your college play where the script gets written after you start the rehearsal. With so much happening, the last thing I can be expected to notice is the colour coordination and the accessories of their costumes or even if they are wearing anything.Is this common or am I the exception? Do people really see dreams in great detail in technicolour complete with sound effects?
Anyways,next time any of you plan to show up in my dreams just walk in as you are as it would be a great shame to have all your finery wasted. However well dressed you are, my dreams are going to convert you into an image of the kind of bad light photographs that I take. So you can save all that trouble for those special people who can see all the details. As for my dreams dress code:strictly casual!
5 a.m on a november morning in Bangalore.
Breathtaking beauty of a black sky heightened by a crisp slice of moon and a few stray sleepy stars. Stillness of a morning still early for birds broken only by a distant bell. Winds,virgin untouched by the smells and sounds of the day carrying just a trace of their flirtations with the flower buds.Cold winds,not biting but playful, indulgent and gentle.Anger and betrayal,pride and arrogance and all the meanness of the world faraway and locked inside closed doors,buried under blankets.
You,cane chair on the balcony, hot tea.Peace.Heaven.
(For everything else there is mastercard!!)
I have always thought it was a major exaggeration when people said or wrote that they felt the ground under their feet shift leaving them stunned and shocked.
What could possibly happen to a person to create such an extreme reaction that you lose touch with your bearings and question the firmness on the earth you are standing on?
What could shake the foundations of your existence, and make you think that your whole perception of yourself so far is a lie and you are just an alien?
Happened to me when someone asked me if I was a kannadiga or an "outsider"in Bangalore. The categorisation seemed very clear. It did not matter that I had lived in this city for 26 years, considered it my home,spoke kannada better than some for whom it was the mother tongue and above all, loved the city. I own property and I have voting rights here. And yet,to be called an outsider in your home?! Now, that hurt, very very deeply. I did not know where I belonged anymore.
I completely understood what some of my friends who practice Islam had told me all along. How it felt to be treated like an outsider in your own home. Now I completely understand the alienation that the African Americans feel in the U.S.A. I can see why the suburbs of Paris are burning. This is where the seeds are sown.
What qualifies one to be an insider in any place?
When I salute the national flag or sing the national anthem or cheer the men in blue or say "vande mataram' from the pit of my stomach, and own an Indian passport, I feel that I belong here and that this IS my HOME - every inch of its territory. I refuse to be categorised as anything other than "Indian" despite the languages I know , where I live or what religion I practice. Bangalore, Mumbai or Kashmir is as much my home as anyone who has lived there for 500 years. My constitution guarantees me that and I refuse to let anyone take that away from me.
Next time someone asks me if I am an "outsider" I shall not dignify that with a reply or a reaction.
Vande Mataram!

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

Rabindranath Tagore.

58 years...and yet we are far from there!!!Miles to go to be free gurudev!
Is there anything called near faith?
Can you call it faith ( or belief or trust ) when it is a cocktail of belief and doubt in whatever proportions they are mixed? Even when a whole glass of faith is spiked with a hint of disbelief?
Faith has to be complete, absolute, total. There are no degrees or levels to faith - anything less than 100 percent is not faith at all.Come to think of it it is the same with all qualities that make a human being perfect - like sincerity, honesty, simplicity- it is hundred percent or none at all!
We often hear people claim to have lost faith in people, humanity, the system . probe further and they will tell you that they always had doubts . When you never had Faith how can you claim to have lost it? this is the trouble with us today, that we try things half heartedly and give up too easily and then blame the system. Contrast this with what true faith can do to you.My friend had put in her heart and soul into a project and getting the contract would have meant a lot to change her life as she had a lot of family responsibilities, an ailing mother, sisters in college a house loan to be paid off. On the day of the final bid she said that she knew god would show her the way and when she came back we heard that the contract had gone to a competitior who had used his contacts .I asked her if she still thought that God had shown her the way. She said "sure.He did not want me to have it. But i am sure He has other plans for me!!!!"
That is Faith!
Faith is the absolute trust that the little girl has when she gets on a bicycle for the first time and does not look back knowing that her father won't let go until he is sure she can manage the distance on her own. Faith is the absolute trust in laws of universe that makes us sleep peacefully after sunset knowing that the Sun will rise again in the east the next day. Faith is believing with all your heart, in what your senses say cannot be, in what you sometimes cannot even hear or see or touch. Faith is that spring under your feet that makes you leap for the star.
These are people you don’t know and god, you seriously hope that you will never have to know them. But these people affect you in ways that you wish you could catch them by the scruff of their neck and bang their foreheads against the nearest wall. (No, I just don't mean those scum who would stoop to levels worse than worms by bombing market squares, buses and trains and hope for martyrhood. No, those are fiends in human form they are not "people")

The people who top my hit (hate) list are :

-ones who pee on the roadside (in particular people who park their vehicles and do this, as if this is exactly why they came out driving. Guys, don’t you have a bathroom in your house or do you prefer to keep it as a show piece?)

-ones walking on footpaths with children letting the child walk on the side of vehicular traffic. (That is your OWN child isn’t it? Or did you just kidnap it and the ransom was refused?)

-ones who throw stones at street dogs without any provocation.

-Ones spitting on the roads, from buses and from autos. ( These I want to tie them to a pole in a public place and have everyone spit on them!)

-Qualis drivers using their horns more than their brakes and their brains. (These are already paying for their collective sins by having to drive on Bangalore roads many times every day. And yet they accumulate more bad Carma – I have no words for them!)

The list continues but these are the top 5.
You watch her lying in bed,face still beautiful at 73, the body shrunk to a skeleton after a thyroidectomy. She is in a lot of pain in spite of the hourly painkillers and you can see her rubbing her hip and legs but she does not whine about it. She has never complained in life - she has always demanded things from life and got them exactly the way she ordered. She is not about to make her exit leaving the memory of a shrivelled, suffering person. She is determined to face it by herself and if possible go with a smile. But Fate likes to humble you and force you to accede defeat. The pain becomes so intolerable that she finally says "can you give me something to end it all? I cannot bear to die so many times every second."
You love her but you can do nothing to take away the pain or share in it. All you can do is watch helplessly and cry. It seems right to accede to her request and help her go quickly. You know it in your heart and your mind.
It is against the law - that draconian system which makes laws to determine how people should die when it is conveniently silent about how people should live. There is no law punishing sons and daughters who fail to feed their parents or care for them but there is a law punishing those who help them ease their pain when all else has failed and purely motivated by love.You turn to religion for solace and guidance. It says it is her Karma and she has to go "through" it in order not to carry it over to another birth. Someone else says that it amounts to murder and warns of the sins of "brahmahathi".
So you wait and pray -pray for her to go, not to live, for there is no dignity in her life anymore. There is no law against wishing for someone's death. And finally when it comes it is all a relief and you have no tears left anymore and there is no loss to mourn.