Even after thinking about doing something daily, one ends up doing it, achieving it, finishing it only in the head. In the head is good, as it creates enough compound interest in head but it is not good enough.
I have had ups and downs, and have been away from home for some time. I was in Kashmir when article 370 was taken off. I was one of the last person to have trekked the majestic Amarnath ji this year. Without any plan or any inclination to have wanted to do it but surrendering to flow of life is such it takes you along on the paths, and you would enjoy. I fell in love with the harmony of the few people who walked along, some saints barefoot, and two without a leg who finished approximately sixty kilometres in as many days as I did. Food, sweets, tea, love and the name of shiva.
But the feeling was erratic even then. Tents, people were leaving a month before. And many had already left. The way was completely empty of any pilgrim coming from the other side. Probably that also made it count. It was quiet and you walked with your own self, slowly, quietly.
Phone lines and internet was called off a day after I arrived back home in Srinagar. I couldn’t get time to make any arrangements of leaving as it had become intense to stay over. It was a very vulnerable time in the valley and who knows what is going on even now. It took me nine more days to come out of the valley. I found a punjabi driver from Jammu early in the morning almost ready to leave. It was a beautiful morning over Dal. You could see clouds gathering over the ancient waters and over the Mahadev hill. The way back was as tense. We were stopped numerous times even before Banihal came, because on the other side, you would not imagine how many trucks, cadres, were filling in the valley. Testing time for a government who had just arrived three weeks ago and even before anyone could have blinked on something as mammoth an article as 370, which had probably made Kashmiri’s, laddakhis, Pandits, Punjabis as special and as vulnerable of their identity for all these decades after independence.
I had worked myself as a researcher and teacher in the border villages, in the most gruesome winters and thus have an idea of how the minds of local authorities work in contention and sometimes not in harmony with the army. How people can never almost challenge the claims and information that these authorities gather.
Things are bound to change.
I am sitting in a mud room in the outskirts of Laddakh. Writing after so long on my blog even though I wrote it daily in my head. I hope I present myself daily. Because this blog is not for me. This is for you. And if you are reading this right now, you may let me know.
Two weeks have passed. Two weeks are to come. The nights have become colder. Laddakh has been very kind. It’s the land of awakening. I came here in 2007 on my bike when rivers still went through roads. And somebody then had told me the full form of Leh that I took seriously then but I have never forgotten it. Life Ends Here. Or it starts again.
I am working on my first photo book here. On the work that I did in Cambodia. I will share more news soon but before all that comes out, I will be hitting the road again. May be to Zanskar, or may be to meet my children again to the village I taught 8 years ago.
at the new comer
To zojila, to Leh, to Hanle, to tso moreri, to i don’t know what pass that came after hundred’s of horses ran to take left, we took towards sky- a concrete river bed on top of a conical mountain which went all afternoon. Many called it a road. Through a broken bridge, through the ditches connecting another ditch on the Yoga day. While laughing at others. While laughing atourselves. While stopping before every loop to the mountain up. The dancing carrier. The nostalgia of the petrol fumes over six days. As every bicycle left us behind. Our omni made it across the Rohtang. But always carry two people to push it through. We needed many only once.
It has been many centuries since humans have stopped moving from one place to another. Almost the majority of people today grow up in long settled societies.
This new year 2021 AD, has arrived with a sense of responsibility in me to become a change what i feel should change. This ongoing virus is being lived on many levels together. Pandemics had happened before but it became unreal because we lived with it even though we didn’t contact it, in real circumstances and digitally there after all the more.
What went wrong? What is it that we as people are overseeing what is coming? Whom have we been fooling? But before we go the factors i wanted to know and learn with you all, this mystery of Who actually we all are, all of us? And How did we became what we have become?
Lets start from the start
Earth started a very long time ago. To figure out exactly how long, lets just figure out how much a billion is? A billion is 1(one) followed by 000,000,000(nine) zeros. Can you imagine how much that is. Lets see. A billion seconds ago it was 1989. A billion minutes ago Jesus was still alive. A billion years ago, it was stone age. You can see we are going way back.
5, 000,000,000 years ago.
The sun had just finished forming. There was a lot of interstellar debris. For half a million years these innumerable stones, this matter of debris were banging into each other. Smaller stones banged and made bigger stones, bigger stones banged and made even bigger stones and out of those some became planets in our part of the galaxy.
This was what our earth looked like four and a half billion years ago. It was simply a ball of fire, molten rock, temperature which was in access of 12k, 15k, 20k degree Celsius. Volcanos, tornadoes, Tsunamis, you name it and all of it was just fire. It was really one kind of definition of hell. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, something else happened, another like planet came and banged into us. The debris from that collision went 30-40 kilometres into space and for sometime earth had rings like Saturn. But gravity did its thing and through this collision came the Moon.
Around 3.9 billion years ago all the planets in the solar system had finished forming and there was still a lot of these meteorites that were left and they were getting attracted by other planets and our planet’s gravity and so for 20 million years there was only bombardment of this kind. For that many years we only kept getting bombarded by meteors on our planet. But this turned out to be one of those absolutely magical thing, because each of these meteors that were coming from space carried salt in them. Trace amount of salt and trace amounts of water, very very little water. Yet this process of little by little, little by little, water came. And don’t be surprised when i say that this water that formed so many million years ago is the same water that we still have, around us, in us. That we are drinking, which is raining, that we use daily to bath with, water our plants with or wash our cars with. There is no new water, only this water.
3.9 billion years ago water had come that we are using again and again for our purposes today. But when water arrived here at first, for one and a half billion years this water kept solidifying the crust. That same crust which once was all molten rock; and once when it all solidified, this water seeped through the cracks, into the crust down to the core where it met with even hotter substances and where it started evaporating and came back up which made what we call today the primordial soup. Many vitamins, minerals got added to the water and it was this addition that lead to the most mysterious happening. We do not know how it happened, or from where, it just happened, probably the conditions were right; the first single celled creature suddenly came into existence.
And slowly over time one cell became two cell became three cells and in the shallows of the oceans of that time, bacteria’s called Stromatolites formed; and it was noted that they had a peculiar taste; like you and me, most of us they liked sugar. They loved sugar. And what they did that they took CO2 which was abundant, they took water and they took the sunlight and created something we got to know about as photosynthesis and through photosynthesis they released amounts of Oxygen in the air and the water, and made sugar, which they sat and ate for two billion years.
These stromatolites put oxygen into the water of the planet and into the atmostphere of the planet and made it suitable for life. And amazingly these Stromatolite colonies, some of them are still alive and are still functioning.
Soon afterwards there was a tectonic shift. Earth quakes happened, tsunamis arrived and this entire landmass at that time called Rodinia, came up to the suface and along with it came a lot of volcanoes which erupted for another 10 million years.
Volcanoes kept erupting for all this while and kept releasing gases of all sorts and for a long time there was a lot of CO2 which accumulated around the atmosphere of the earth and because of that sunlight couldn’t get through for a long long time. And thus from fire, we went directly to Ice.
The first Ice age happened.
Our planet became encased in around 3 Kms of ice. And this stayed like this for a very, very long time. And after this long time, around 650 million years ago, though that is almost nothing in the scale of things; The ice started melting. And It took 3000 years to melt.
As the ice melted, a lot of Oxygen came up and the first time Ozone layer was formed. And because of the Ozone, this layer started stopping the harshest ultra violet rays from hitting us; it was this suitable time when life on earth, on land started. There came plants, and there came animals, yet in many other places Volcanoes erupted again. They erupted green house gases, got into the atmosphere and another Ice age happened, as big as before and the entire species got extinct, wiped out completely, everything was over. But what happened because of it, it changed the way humans live their lives today, it were these first species of all kinds of plants and animals that are what we call fossil fuels today. All those plants and animals died for us then is what we drive our cars from. They became our petrol and diesel, they became our fossil fuel that we are using today.
And after this another land mass came, that we call Pangea today, it looked similar as this was the origin of the continents as we see them today. 230 million years ago, it looks very familiar. They were all joined together. They separated slowly for million years to come, continental drift happened and it was that time when the great Dinosaurs came.
Around 230 Million years ago Dinosaurs roamed this planet and they stayed for 165 million years, that was going on for such a long time that it never seemed anything on earth could shake them but then something not of earth happened, a meteor collision.
A meteor, a huge rock, said to be as broad as 35000 ft and as high as any of the current flying planes in the sky came and banged into the earth. That high and vast it was when it impacted, and again huge amount of debris came, Carbon dioxide came, Ice age happened and all specie that of Dinosaurs were wiped out. Of course it did not happen overnight, almost nothing does, but because they were cold blooded creatures. Mammals, knew how to wear their wools- they survived. They survived this catastrophe whose impact is said to be of 1 million Hiroshima’s together, 1 million atom bombs exploding together. It was after this the age of mammals arrived, around 65 million years ago.
And it was around this time when an immense mountain range, the great Himalayas had begun to form between 50-60 million years ago when two large landmasses, India and Eurasia, driven by plate movement collided. This big mountain range stretching over 2400 kilometres, was formed by the modern plate tectonic forces and kept being sculpted by weathering and erosion for many million years to come.
And nothing can be said about why, when around 4.5 million years ago some chimpanzees decided to start walking on their feet, may be to just see better, or may be they had just begun to think, but two legged mammals came into being just about 4.5 million years ago. And this being our evolution more or less how our earliest ancestors came from to being known to us as homo sapiens today.
Roaming without settling for a very long time, living in the wild, it was the discovery of fire that actually changed the course of men and made them humans. Fire comforted them in each and every possible way. They learnt to control and soon started using it to their benefit. But not before many a thousand years would pass till that question would appear, which has been the source of all thoughts inside every thinking mind.
Who am i? Why am i here?
And as only a few men amongst very many started exploring, the path of unexplainable austerities.
It was only around 15 thousand years ago, when things really started to transform which according to ancient Yogic text was the time when the first Yogi Shiva was said to be roaming in the higher Ice capped gorges of the young Himalayas.
It was around this time when the first transmission of yogic sciences took place on the banks of Kanti Sarovar, a glacial lake a few miles beyond Kedarnath in the Himalayas, where the first systematic exposition of this inner exploration began and got transferred to the Adiyogi’s first seven disciples, celebrated today as the Sapta Rishis. This predates all religion. A long, long time before people devised divisive ways of fracturing humanity to a point where it seems almost impossible to fix, the most powerful tools necessary to raise human consciousness were realised and inseminated.
Today, we are home to around 8.7 million species on our planet and it took 4.5 billion years to come to where we are today.
This planet should be preserved. Taken care of, in much better way than we had done till now. We must learn to cherish what we have earned collectively over the years that has made our lives the most comfortable out of all time periods that a man has seen.
4.5 billion years and 8.7 million species that are present or known to us today. We are just one amongst them. But this obviously is not it. Today it does not matter even if we know it or not.
For over many years we are the only ones responsible who have created a havoc for everyone and turned a blind eye to it. The example is not the one in the history but its ongoing, which we experienced and are still living with.
Ongoing Pandemic was not a work of a day. It is our collective energy which we, for the longest time have been throwing at our mother, earth. And as we are still finding out ways to fight this Pandemic; we know and are rather making ourselves, our bodies, immune system fight better, become better. We really need to look around us, at the conservation and our environment more closely, we have to undertand it and ourselves better. We have to become just a little more aware towards our resources because i am pretty sure that nature is not happy with us.
Next week i will try to take us through the problems that we have created for ourselves that many of us know, and it has some important but hard solutions, hard because disciple is not a trait of modern humans. But we can do better because the source of every possible problem is human mind, we must start to take care of it better.
Yoga is one way, and so is learning how to breathe. A little deeper. Each time you remember it.
Some one very important from the other world entered in my psychic system last night. The beautiful aspect of it all was that i behaved as well as I should have in real life, with utmost respect.
As I had to go up to his room using a lift, I pressed one bell, but it turned out to be of somebody’s home. A lady came, like a tortoise she put her neck out of the door and kept looking for a long time in the other direction. Finally when she found me as she turned her neck slowly like a mechanical toy, her eyes started blinking faster than our heartbeats. But what i found amusing was, in her eyes she had put enormous amount of kajal, the same one that my mother puts in my eyes every night. I knew it because it was leaving a smell of mustard.
There’s a lot to be said for tradition, for stability and for the foundation that the status quo gives us to move forward. But, if we were in the night sitting to analyze our day, our processes and our assumptions, how many things we think we do simply because we are in the habit? It’s impossible to try every option, to explore every alternative and examine how every other culture or every second competitor does things, but. If we don’t even know we’re doing things by rote, by repetition, by memory; then when will we be restless enough to try to make them better?
I landed from the dark sky to a place where after filming; some random crew was sitting and eating, inside an old, broken, ruined palace. Out of so many, there were three men who were looking towards the sky, in the night at the constellations which were magically becoming and leaving, like it happens in a planetorium. It was so close that one could go up on the roof and take out a few stars and make an unknown constellation anew.
On a mountain pass a car trudging up had three nuts each in all its tires.
But when somebody did go up to try touching one giant star it started to gobble him slowly. It was at this moment when the noise of so many drums, beating, people singing without rhythm like a hoolaa-baloo reached us. Everything vanished. And I found myself in Nath Nagri, abode of Shiva, in Uttar Pradesh, which in 1966 got famous for an earring that fell in bazaar of Bareilly.
It was quiet late in the night already but I could see people walking, far away from each other, looking straight like zombies. No one had masks. And no one apart from the dancing, drum beating crowd seemed to have any company. Even around that time of the night things weren’t looking normal, unlike the noisy quietness of the night, hustle bustle of the yesteryears market. There were some foreigners who were at the forefront of the dancing troupe and wore almost nothing, and had seemingly taken bath with milk. Slowly everyone started to gather at the backside of a truck. Soon all the noise and madness turned into a secretive silence of an early morning misery, the worst of all kinds.
Are you Narayan? Yes
Do you think this body, mind that you have is yours? Of course, Yes.
So, you mean that you can control your blinking? umm. No.
Can you control your breath? Oh dear, No.
Your organs, growing of your hair, nails? No.
Well, you see when almost nothing in your body works as per you, then can you even call them yours. In reality if you only understand one language, and if it is English just remember telling yourself from time to time; I am not this body, and I am not this mind. This will do you good.
Logically, somebody who never puts an effort into anything should be the master of effortlessness. But no, it is not so. If you want to know effortlessness, you need to know effort. When you reach the peak of effort, you become effortless. Only a person who knows what it is to work understands rest. Paradoxically, those who are always resting know no rest; they can only sink into dullness and lethargy. But this must not be the way life should go.
Merry Christmas to everyone and in India, together we also celebrate the birth of “Bhagawad Gita” today, as it happened in the battleground of Kurukshetra approximately 5087 years ago; calculated through the descriptions of constellations present then, over Haryana, in India.
And even as 2020 was a terrible year for too many people, some people are still able to trust. To trust in others, to trust in possibility and to trust in themselves.
There are still many problems to be solved.
There are many families, many people to help, to serve them in these times. And thus a chance, one opportunity is to make things better.
Next week is going to be one such moment. Wishes to all.
The year will soon end, and hence i was thinking of going into the realms of my understanding of this life as a Yogi, to speak to you in terms that i have for last few months. As someone who has been accumulating all the learnings and secrets of the ancient life. Even though soon ancient will be studied as a period that was before internet, but we in India know ancient is not somewhere outside, it was and still in some bodies lie within.
According to legend, Adiyogi Shiva drank somarasa, the intoxicating juice of the moon. He simply imbibed the distilled essence of the moonbeams and was described as constantly drunk and hence in bliss. I, myself being a Yogi, I am not against pleasure. But I am unwilling to settle with little pleasures. That is all.
The main source of energy for this planet is the sun, and our body becomes just the piece of that planet through sun’s influence in many different ways. Yet the very fundamentals of our birth are connected to the cycles of the moon. The moon which has no emitting energy like the sun, has tremendous impact on our systems because of its closeness to the planet. So when we want to understand the ways of life, the way it happens outside of us we look to the sun. But when we want to understand life from within, we look to the moon. So influence of the moon on our systems is absolutely undeniable so much so that the natural biological cycles in a feminine body is 100 percent connected to the cycle of the moon. And thus not always but I would say generally that woman are far more existential because their bodies speak the language of the moon. There is no question about that. This keeping of time, we should not misunderstand with keeping of the time with clocks and watches, they can’t know a thing, they will just keep on going mechanically. But through millions of breathing, knowing, learning times through an evolutionary period of years and years, our bodies have known time in a different way, and it is not only instinctive but it has expanded in ways and has manifested as in the spirit of life.
Even though how planets, moon, Sun move is in itself a mechanical process in some way, but how they are made and what they provide, the consequence and impact it has on our lives in not mechanical.
It is very alive. Its impact is very experientially powerful. In the development of the energy system of a human being, If this energy system that is us, witnesses 1008 full moons, which approximately happens in 84 years of a life time, you would have completed 7 solar cycles and 1008 lunar cycles, that means your energy system matures to a point that even if you do not know any spiritual process, it matures to a point that it can flower easily. And it is said to happen very easily after death. In Yogic world it is known that if one’s grandmother lived over 84 years, she may not be coming back on this earth again, ever, that one can be sure of. Though she may not attain mukti, the highest self but she is not coming back, she will have proceeded into various stages, if she had Sadhana, or was spiritual, if she carried even a little bit of awareness, for sure she is not coming back.
If anyone lives through 7 solar cycles and 1008 lunar cycles it has been said that you break a certain bond with nature, with planet. In that long period of your time on earth, it has been estimated that one consumes around 10 to 14 tonnes of food, that is that much amount of planet’s soil and life’s elements have manifested in you in many different ways. And thus very easily, with very little assistance even if you die knowing nothing, about anything, its said that you can even go beyond the cycles of birth and death. Because your bond with the planet and the material of the planet, that which you carry within you and the memory of it all, you will break that bond.
And now since you too know it, from here onwards if you ever see or learn about a person who is around 83-85, of if you are living with one, you can be rest assured and observe that something will change during this age of one’s life, significant changes happen around this age. Also this mainly happens because of Karmic bondage that is holding a person to a certain pattern of behavior, around this time it will loosen up. This is the reason and once this Karmic bondage loosens, it gets hard for the universal momentum to find another body immediately, no womb will accept him. He can hang around, and the forces of nature will surely settle him to a better, and lighter place than earth. He may not need to go through another process, even if he lived an absolutely ignorant life. And this is why you will hear from many a people in India, have a long life, live a long life. This thus is the significance of living a long life. As it won’t be too intelligent to be living, and going through all the emotions that one goes through in one’s life time all over again.
Few years ago, I was travelling with once upon a time a beautiful friend. And like all great friendships do, we were growing up becoming something together. And during this long period of growth had found our confidence, our speech, as we took travelling to many a distant lands and one land far; discovering treasures together that helped us earning our eyes, my outer nature and his inner, we learnt together and kept going.
The sun had set again. And unlike last night that had just blown in; we should have found something, somewhere to rest, to eat by now. But here we were still riding, and had been riding our motorcycles for last two, twelve-hour days, while living through one gruelling moonless, freezing night in between, that started late yesterday noon, when we were stopped, stunned to see a river that had come on the road. We parked and got down. One spring had broken loose. Pulling in all mud, the boulders, rocks, with an intimidating noise, and the force of the coldest water as it rushed downstream.
In the last one hour of our ride we had over taken no one and that meant no one was coming behind us, at least for sometime. It really seemed, as we had always wanted to be amongst nature; that day nature herself turned to us. The moment of helplessness was so overpowering that the first thing that came to us was a smile looking at each other. It was intimidating to an extent that it looked impossible to even attempt crossing it. Our motorcycles were heavy filled with bags, petrol, luggage, and only one slip, one misstep could lead to directionless-ness of the journey ahead and may be life. There was no one to be seen on both ends to speak with. We thought and looked for a way, sat, made plans, charged ourselves, challenged us and filled ourselves with some hope, of giving it a try. And for once, one by one we started our engine and pulled it all to power pass through, manoeuvring, pushing at least towards the mountain curve uphill,
but it got worse and I found it even harder to sustain that much force. On the way uphill just before the curve my bike gave up, water entered the silencer and I had to watchfully get it backwards walking through the ice water where we were before. I removed my sock and shoe, as we sat mulling, rather waiting again, together.
A truck arrived and stopped, driver looked for a while, gathered some sense and went with speed. With much difficulty though, as it was the first time we could assess through its big the depth and level of difficulty. And to say the least that truck was the only machine that actually passed that evening. Cars that arrived later tried to follow suit. Some men came together determining a way, some started removing bigger boulders, or putting in to help the others to pass. Everybody stopped and looked as one Jeep ahead inside and tried its best to negotiate with force and stubbornness but it happened to be the one that got stuck right in the middle of it;
evening by then slowly turned to night; becoming impossible to try anything. The cold outside became unbearable. We befriended a man who was alone sitting in car, giving us sitting shelter for the night. Sleep was silently beyond comprehension as from this car we saw the car stuck right in the middle of the road river, passengers sitting inside it as the coldest water noised past through their car all night, when somewhere around that time someone started blowing a flute.
As soon as it dawned, It took tremendous might and a lot of time; many a hands came together to help get each other pass through this unbelievable stretch of the road. The ones whom we helped, came back to help our motorcycles pass. And as we carried these memories of the night last, still riding, and riding fast going into another night to reach, to feel safer, comfortable, to stretch our bodies for once, to rest and to eat, when suddenly the headlight of my friend’s motorcycle busted broke and we came to a halt again.
It took us two hours from there to descent from a high pass, through the deepest Himalayan gorges closest to the Tibetan(Chinese) border; very cautiously without one headlight on an another dark, freezing night, we attached two hand torches on one motorcycle as i lead us slowly to the only camp.
And as we arrived, I remember we were welcomed by the sound of cooker whispering loudly in that playground valley of the winds, that food is here; you are welcome. It was super comfortable, and there were quiet a few people already sitting and resting. Some fellow Indians, few foreigners. We were slowly getting back to warmth, finding our breaths back, ourselves amongst hot tea, as finally feeling humans and not on a war. As not far from us, we realised that one discussion was slowly going towards disagreement, argument as hands were thrown at the table when we learnt that the two adults that are arguing, were one from Israel and the other from Palestine.
The food arrived and Dolma(big sister in Laddakhi) don’t know why told us that His Holiness Dalai Lama would be coming tomorrow, not very far from here to a place called The Chandra(moon) Tal (Lake). And many lamas and monks in numbers would be coming, serving food there for anyone present.
Early in the morning, we woke up excited and left for the mountain lake hungry, lot before the first ray would touch our planet, it was long journey and the road was beautiful, deep inside a valley that had separated itself from another grand river Sutlej, satadree nadi in Sanskrit. These roads were not paved then, and for a any vehicle larger than a car would be almost impossible to get through easily.
It took us over two hours to reach. We parked our motorcycles and started trudging up the hill. And slowly as we were reaching the oldest heavenly sight of the crater shaped lake, we were surprised to see locals, monks coming from directions we never thought even existed to walk, they were walking from one mountain to the other calling people from the villages where roads might never reach. They were walking in small-large groups from far away mountains, and some for even days to meeting, to see, to have only one glimpse of their lord, His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the moon lake, below.
Everyone seemed happy, waiting to be enlightened. Singing, conversing, talking, walking across the lake, observing it, seeing it, meditating over it and calming their restive souls waiting for him. It was half past two, and still Dalai lama hadn’t come. And because he had not come, the food was not served till then.
Yet as we waited, we came close to and started speaking with the Rinpoche lama, scholar and a close aide to his holiness, as he learnt that we had come from far on Motorcycles asked us if it is true! My dear friend then in a matter of fact like conversation asked him if he ever rode a Motorcycle in his life? He, the Rinpoche smiled, thought for a moment and answered him in a question, that, if he ever swam this lake? While looking at the coldest waters, both burst out laughing.
At that time my friend did go to the shore of the lake, putting the tip of his toe in the water after removing his shoe and started laughing even louder like a child, probably acknowledging Rinpoche’s wisdom or contemplating his own childlike nature. The water was freezing.
Today after all these a few years, i imagine that laugh was more than just an acceptance and a surrender to everything that nature presents. Including all those days that were not laughable, to those beings who spend their time meditating likewise travelling within themselves. And even after all these years when he is not here with me, his laugh still rings like that melody of fluttering, colorful Tibetan Prayer Flags.
That day His Holiness the Dalai Lama did not arrive. And yet that day became the most fulfilling day with the company of many monks we ever had during our motorcycle diaries. The food was delicious.
But two years later, something rare, something unusual will happen.
It was time. The sun had arrived when he decided going to bed again. After last night chocolate truffle, the cough had soared. The times are odd. Eversince electricity arrived people were seen forgetting the Sun.
Breathe in breathe out.
In the new cities, statisticians were collecting some data. It was seen that children of non-meat eating parents were picking pizzas of a particular shop called fat lulu in their dreams because they were the only ones where vegetarian was written.
For many months, the voice inside had been asking him to leave dairy, and when it is the best time to be a cow in India. He thought, milk like few other well marketed products have been projected as a necessity to humanity. So he started writing alternatives, to the unmarked ones and whenever any untested eatable came to his mind.
Moon and Sun.
While riding back home along the river one evening, Nara saw a beggar sitting upright. It was strange, beggars like him, more so with a summer shirt and half pants do not sit in inspiring lotus postures. Nara stopped to observe. The beggar for many minutes held his left nostril called moon and would only breathe in from his right called sun. When he opened his eyes, seeing Nara, he smiled. And the only words he could say were, its very cold my child. He closed his eyes again, and went back black to balance his body temperature
One day the road led him to an elite market, he saw a fruit man selling watermelon and grapes in November cold. Is there something called a season anyomore? Because time seems to have taken a back seat. Yet he stopped, thinking all fruits are good, but where’s the seed?
When his german sister called he was eating Papaya and counting its chewing in his mind, to make sure he reaches thirty two before he could put the next slice.
Standing, his eyes stopped at a few children who were praying and garlanding their parents. It was a sight. Who prays first of all. And to their parents!! Did something happen? Many Mothers, fathers were seated on chairs at a podium. And possibly their children were taking innumerable rounds around them with marigold garlands and a ghee lamp. Smiling parents looked proud and satisfied, taking many selfies. Together they all sang and danced afterwards when a young little girl suddenly came upfront and stood beside Nara, she wore no shoes, her bare feet touching earth and her eyes trying to looking at his desirously or could it be the oldest way of asking. But she stood watching, she was different. And the moment he dropped his gaze on her, she overturned, her waist like rubber, spine made of elastic, summersaulted standing backwards where she was. Her prize was a large plate of Papayas, Watermelon, Grapes, and many other fruits that are never found in November.
All the magic that is there in the world lies in water, said Maharaj Ji. I had seen him drinking water like no one else. Every living being apart from human sips water, he said. You know sipping ! Look at that squirrel, or any birds, lion, cats, dogs; they naturally cant swallow water but drink one drop at a time like breath. I am no master neither i attended any school; and anyways no one tells you these things at school. But if you want this nectar to do magic within you, if you want to be healthy, if you want to never be taken over by any disease; forget swallowing water. Sit down and drink it sip by sip.
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, turns to mundane. Life is only breath. And many a times, every other thing a distraction.
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 their schools.
I found this very promising and exciting. Yet as days moved towards commitment and planning of it, i started understanding the task was huge.
In Punjab, On initial days i decided to use the local transport, i.e travelling in a bus to the villages where my first school was. But once there all my excitement evaporated and i started finding my work harder, and even found myself puzzled at a few situations; as schools were in the villages, there was hardly any transport and i found myself walking for kilometres or probably had to take a bullock cart once. Organisation had not provided me with accommodation; i had to find my bed. And that bed came kilometres away in the cities as small cheap hotels. And to even start from hotel to school in the morning and back was even more disheartening as firstly it was far, the room stank, and for first two days i found that i cannot reach on my desired time like this. This was really helpless. And after some self-contemplation i decided to go back home to Delhi. I will get my bike and come back again.
I was happy, and even though i could not do any work, i was hopeful for i have found a way back. On the road to home bus stopped at a station. I felt hungry and got down to have something to eat, buy water bottle, when i realised on coming back that the bus has gone. Like, my bus left for ever, and from my hands; My camera, Organisation’s handycam, my every other little investment, rucksack was gone for ever. I sank. Huffing, anxious I started asking around about the bus, number etcetera when a rickshaw puller came and asked me for 200 rupees, imagine 10 dollars ten years back; on the seventh second of my decision making he held my hand and told me to sit right away and rode faster than any man-handled rickshaw pulling i had sat on to some speed, hr turn he took, narrow lanes arching past old world order colonial faded color buildings, taking probably the ablest possible cuts in the world as if that rucksack was more his than mine. I reached that point before the bus even arrived. And within seconds the bus was seen arriving. And you might understand that sweat, respite that i should not ever start describing in words.
Home was here.
In a week, i was ready with my bike to leave and it came out to be such an important decision for my life, as from here i would not only go back to these villages documenting children but find strength and confidence to take motorcycle journeys all across India, on it for moths, for years to come and ongoing.
And this time when i reached the same village in Punjab on my bike, teachers of the school were so shocked or filled with happiness or guilt may be, observing my conduct or resolve that they spoke to someone in the village for me and made sure that i stay in the village, with the family at their place for as long as i want. Imagine having milk and village food, with company of elders and children playing in the field.
Lets see some images from this old journey to school.