Author: Narayan Tushar Kaudinya

Life is only breath. Every other thing a distraction.

The night before was dedicated to red Hibiscus flowers. They ended inside the fire place while praying for the solar chord, our right nostril, symbolising river Ganga; and in yogic texts known as pingala. It was also mauni amavasya, i.e the quiet moonless night, as advised for centuries, this day must be observed in silence. Women who could not restrain themselves from speaking, fasted in exchange for words. And the ones who spoke nothing from mouths were seen talking cautiously from eyes. There was nothing satvic about the day even though I tried to make it. And above all It ended without a moral, not that it had to. But without a story as if either it wasn’t needed or we weren’t important. In the evening the walk became unending. It didn’t feel long but the sun had set. We went around the circular home to find more wood but instead found two calves loving like statues. Somehow they got excited and started running like jumping deers. The once desired magic when attained, when passed over, …

One time at a rural school in India

It was a time of purity. I wasn’t affected by socially suited media still. I loved being away and explored possibilities, more than even my liking to reading. I had only recently started thinking about teaching as i had left my job as a researcher then, at a publishing house and of course without any extensive hope, I wanted to travel. Good friends are the keys to the future doors. Juin called me one day at her office, and introduced me to her lady boss, in another publishing house. I went prepared and had an absolutely beautiful experience meeting her. She shared her travel stories and laughed well at mine. I could feel she loved hearing few things about what i had planned and while doing so she put forth an idea that she had been thinking. Her organisation had been providing free education and meals to primary school children in some north Indian states and had no documentation of it. She wanted someone to travel to these remote villages and document children studying in …

Learning from Mahatma, knowing Gandhi

There were many things i never liked about my school. And the foremost was that it unintentionally took my freedom away or so i think. I was never introduced to any ancient Indian texts, neither I learnt anything about Yoga or even Sanskrit till i was 13. A child like me who only wanted to see and know of the world was made to sit and learn answers to the question for examinations after every three months more like a parrot. So much so my unlearning started before i could wake up my interest for higher learning. And soon it started effecting my results in higher classes or that is what i think of it now probably because i couldn’t pursue anything apart from five subjects at school. I feel liberated at the thought that I am not in school. And more so there is no more need to answer questions about Gandhi’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle. School history curriculum was also one reason i did not take Modern History of India as my …

When a wedding found me travelling in Mumbai

It was then my first visit to Mumbai. And hence everything i was laying my eyes on went deeper than only seeing. I was hearing, more. Walking more. A place that promises light to your dreams ever since you earned consciousness, a place known for many a rags to riches story. Famous or infamous for world’s second largest Film Industry. I was there looking at every action, motion, observing how people move, react, are. Yet, I hadn’t been able to go out much then in Mumbai. One thing that i had loved walking in mumbai were the dairy shops where you would get Chai from the fresh milk. So one day while having malai/cream chai at a milk dairy I had started having a liking for, only because there was a beautiful big peepal tree I could sit under. And secondly. unlike in north India where there is milk a plenty but there is no way you can sit and enjoy different variations of milk in a dairy shop. Mumbai seemed to be bathing in …

The Play of Tendencies

There are many layers under our skin. Cells that live with us and leave us without even letting us know, doing their work quietly. Taking all the time of their own in becoming and unbecoming, as they slowly settle into a tendency. We become our tendencies. Repetition of gestures become life long habits. As simple as acquiring the taste of sugar. For some, Coffee in the morning is a habit. Like buying bottled(plastic) water, but it wasn’t used to be. Making a habit is a lot easier than breaking one (ask a smoker), you can live on old habits for a while, but the future seemingly depends on finding and building some new ones with (and for) your people. Or your family. Or yourself. As soon as something useless starts becoming a norm for the body; this mind should be taught a lesson. Every becoming habit should be tested in its phase of tendency. One must shock it, confront it. We should oppose ourselves, resist our actions, question and be strict with ourselves. Because, undoubtedly …

In Life’s darkness. Mother is light.

In these ongoing paralysing times of helplessness, while doing nothing; close your eyes. Think of water, a river. And if possible become it. Shiva was eyes wide open in all directions. Yet the destructive eye had to open, and took him inwards. Ujjain arrived in the morning. We went to pataloka to touch the equator in dim light and later ate potato spice. Darkness is the birth place of all creations. A child becomes in the dark. The lights glows the most in the dark. It is not that the darkness is wrong. It’s a part of life, a backdrop for the stars at night, the space between what you know. Darkness has a way of reminding you of the light. ExistING side by side. Sometimes overlapping, one explaining the other. And Mangla, the beautiful brown cow here in the village is pregnant. One big similarity, between a cow and a human mother is that both take nine months for their child to come out playing in the wild. Also one of many reasons, the oldest living civilisation …

A Journal of Animal stories in the last ancient fair of Nepal

“There is no other no other culture on earth that worships a woman as a goddess. And has gone to lengths, to make her happy, satisfy her with whatever means a man could imagine. Honoring her, doing little things, like this fair to keep her happy, may be to create another excuse to celebrate, however irrational it may be. Because you see, someone told me on this journey, that if in a family, a woman is happy everything will be favourable. Our goddess needs to happy, at any cost possible” GADHIMAI FAIR : A Journey through the culture of Nepal A sparrow woke us up. After travelling for three days overland, from Delhi to Kathmandu; changing buses including sharing a seat for seven hours with a goat. Through the night, travelling in a time travel bus I was transported from a civil society to a town living thirty years back. A town darkened by the moonless night, wearing a layer of fog only dissected by the headlight of a second world war Mercedes truck. Few …