Sometimes guilt pushes for better results. Thus Chatter woke up dot at four in the brahm mahurat. Even though he left home at five. We were able reach Rajpath in the darkness of the dawn. It was no less than grand theatre going on there. Never was Delhi be heard and felt from the pride and the energy with which they marched past. With the bands of each regiment leading the way. The drums, the beats, the smell of the sweating young, the valour in the air. The discipline, the clacking of the iron bar beneath their marching boots to the tar ground woke us all up. The mist, the vapours coming out of mouths while a woman officer commanding against the street lamps of Rajpath takes you close to India’a colonial cold faced armies. The practise and improvisation that has gone in the making of them. Oneness in the motion. The pride. It felt like they were owning the day. It felt like they made it our day. Whole, united. It was a day …
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Peace might not mean getting everyone else to do what you want them to do. Instead, it may involve understanding that people don’t always want what we want and don’t often believe in what we believe. Everyone has their own narrative and is struggling with their own fears. We can begin there. Most of the time, people want to be seen, understood and appreciated. And if we can offer someone dignity, we give them a gift that’s difficult to find.
The poet-priest Kabir says, the first thing in the morning, do not rush off to the work. But take down your musical instrument and play it. Then test your work in the same way. If there is no music in it, set it aside, and go find what has music in it, for you to play it again.