Big picture

Abhi: Where have you brought me, Ramu?
Ramu:  Musical concert.
Abhi: Is it classical?
Ramu: Yes.
Abhi: Urgghhh.. What? Classical? Dei, you know this does not interest me
Ramu: Just sit. Sleep if you feel like.
Abhi: okay, sure. I did not need that directive!
The concert began with raga Hamsadhwani. Mandolin and violin jugalbandhi. Mrindangam and table jugalbandhi and morsing notes that filled the voids.
Abhi felt quite ecstatic. He listened half attentively though. His eyes shut in between. Ramu smiled. He was glad that his friend did not run away.
It seemed as if Abhi was asleep and ragams reached his ears one after the other.  His eyes would shut when he tried to open. Never he had appreciated mandolin, violin, ghatam, morsing, tabla and mridangam. When Sahana ragam was played on venu, he experienced what Samadhi could possibly be. He had a glimpse of  it.
The concert ended with a thillana which was the only vocal piece of the evening.
When the programme ended Abhi joined Ramu and applauded.

At the dinner table Ramu broke the silence which the programme had left in their minds.
Ramu: So, how did you find the programme?
Abhi:  I must admit that I was in a different world. Never felt like this ever before!
Ramu:  Glad to know. But do you know that at some places ‘arohanam’ was messed up by the flautist?
Abhi:  what? I don’t understand all that. That solo flute piece was the best! What are you blabbering?
Ramu:  you’ve just begun listening. You are looking at the big picture alone. Intricacies matter. The science needs to be mastered. Only then you can connect with the audience.
Abhi:  In that case, I do not mind being where I am. Knowing the science of the art too much kills the joy. Ignorance is bliss. I call myself a dumb rasika. The flautist touched my heart.
Ramu : That matters a lot. You’ll know with time how important it is to end the ragam.
Abhi: The big picture today made me feel good. I think that the best part of being in this place is that I need not picture how it could be better than before.

Why do we need Yoga Day?

This is a small step to let the world know the birth place of Yoga.
Yoga is intrinsically Hindu.I doubt the success in letting the world know this though through UN Yoga Day celebrations.
Let alone world, Government of India (GoI) made chanting ‘Om’ optional.

I have been practicing yoga asana since i was 13 years old. back then it was not mainstreamed as much as it is now because yoga asana is seen as a tool to lose weight. And, it ends there. Needless to say i was called ‘baba’.

If you read Patanjali Yoga sutras, yoga asana is one of the 8 limbs of yoga.
Even today, when the GoI introduced celebration of Yoga day it has been reduced to mere asanas. Chanting is a problem for our secular folks!
I read the first government press release for ths year’s yoga day celebrations. we were supposed to have pranayama, a satsang in the end. I doubt if this the position now. ‘OM’ chanting itself is optional. Stupidity of the highest order.
This is pulling off a Leela Samson in yoga.

Going further on benefit and purpose:
Follow major pages of yoga they will be mostly run by Americans.
With movie stars taking to yoga and also due to huge widespread practice of Transcendental meditation (TM), yoga asana, meditation spread far and wide in the states.
what eventually happened was Hinduism aspect was dropped.
Today, more yoga asana products are available outside than in India. China leads the market in yoga mats. The props that once were introduced by B.K.S. Iyengar now have been westernized and commercialized.

We hear mindfulness meditation, PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) meditation sessions and they are all from India.
follow Huffington post you will notice ZERO acknowledgment made to India. Hinduism hurts the Abrahamic yoga propagators.

What the end result should be? Reverse baptism of Yoga.
We as people of the country should take pride that this was the birthplace of Yoga.
Yoga and Hinduism cannot be separated.

I used to take pride in the fact that i can pull off 108 Surya namaskaras. But, i have now begun to take other limbs of Yoga seriously.
A good yoga session should be a stress buster not a booster on seeing someone doing a head stand effortlessly.
In fact each time you push to get that asana right, you challenge your boundaries. Same can be applied to mundane life activities.

There is no point in rolling over yoga mats if one is feverish over getting an asana right or attaining enlightenment. Something that happens in yoga classes and spiritual outfits.

Yoga is not merely asana, it is one of the ways of life in Hinduism to connect with yourself. 🙂

Love is selfish

Radha loved cooking and was a great cook. She was all set to make dosas. She put in lot of efforts to prepare the batter and chutney in the traditional stone grinder.
She looked at them and smiled with a smug. She thought that she would first offer them to Lord and then serve her family. Meanwhile, in the backyard she saw an old man in rags asking alms.
Her heart sank, she immediately prepared two dosas and gave him those.

She fed an old hungry man, angels in heaven would have rejoiced she thought. She felt content.

In love, any selfless act brings contentment. Contentment is the by product.
Love is selfish yet brings contentment.

Meenu loved her cosmetics. Brand conscious, she had a collection of Body Shop and L’Oreal products.
One of her cousins had come over to her place during vacations.
Her eyes fell on Shea butter cream. while Menu was away, she slid open the cream box and applied a little.

Meenu realized that her cousin loved it.
She paused for a moment and then gave the brand new box of cream to her.
Sacrifice was Meenu’s nature.

In love, there are moments of sacrifice.
Love is selfish yet sacrifices liberate us, make us feel close to ourselves.

Ajay had a long and tiring day at work. 6:15 PM was the last fast train to Borivali from Churchgate before 7 PM.
He always rushed to catch that train like many others did. He was successful in boarding the train and finding a place to sit. That is a eureka moment in a place like Bombay during peak hours.
In few minutes, he saw an old man-old enough to have seen India attain independence.
Ajay offered him his seat. The old man resisted but Ajay insisted and made him sit and even offered him water. Ajay had to stand for more than an hour till he reached his destination.

When they both reached the last destinations, the old man thanked and blessed Ajay deeply.

Ajay believed that random acts of kindness made his day complete.

Love brings pain and hurt is inevitable.
In joy, in sacrifice, in celebration there is happiness.
Love is selfish.
Is there anything that is devoid of love and consequently any act minus selfishness?

Who wins?

She: Death probably gives peace to the dead and shatters the living

He: Yea, but life moves on

She: It does and one learns to live with the loss. Hole in the glass can never be filled. Replacing does not mean the person will return. You never know where soul travels.

He: I believe once a human dies, he just dies.

She: Maybe. But, i believe that person lives through. We never realise how much our loved ones influence our lives until we lose them. We are a product of their qualities and the environment we grow in.

He: They do influence us. Then life moves on. There will be a day when we will all be gone. New set of folks will come and discuss. You see how insignificant these things are.

She: If they are insignificant then why do we live ? In all that we have we want to live our best, right? Every moment is significant to me.

He: Today you are discussing over the death of your loved one. How different is that? Many have come and gone. Each one of them would have thought that their love was most special. were they immortal? No! Unless, you were or are a legend, yours and my death will make no difference.

She: Yet, it will mean the world to the ones living and ones who care about you. you do not have to move mountains to make a difference. Sharing love will leave a better world. Even if it leaves one human in a better place.
There won’t be anything special in our love. Many have written peans and still write, yet that moment that love is all they need to satisfy their souls, to do right? We do not have to measure success and love on the basis of who features in news and in the history text books, right!

He: I entertain your thoughts but cannot buy it. Anyway, who cares who is right or wrong. what is good or bad. Everybody will eventually die. Who wins when both the sides die?!

She: Conscience wins as long as we are alive. Soul is satisfied as long as we are alive.


#HappyToBleed NOT

Personally, I do not care much if I am not let in and i am rarely happy to bleed except that bleeding is an indication that my uterus and ovaries are functionally well, if not very efficiently. Unless, i want do not want to bleed for straight 9 months.

Infrastructure and changing mindsets of people go hand in hand. If toilets are built, it is equally essential that mindsets are shaped to use them.
Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan cannot be lauded on social media alone. We too play a role in keeping our homes, neighbours clean and tidy. Just let’s begin with carrying waste till we spot a garbage bin.

Menstrual cycles and women

In South India, onset of periods is considered very pious and calls for a celebration. As a teenager, i rebelled. It is now that i realise how Hinduism like worshipping fertility, worships this as well.

Menstruating woman undergoes hormonal changes. Cramps, excessive bleeding, PCOS, and various issues bother women of this era.  When i discuss with octogenarian women, they seem to have had almost pain free periods, something that rarely happens to me.

So, what helped the octogenarian women?
Despite having less nutritious diet, rest and physical activities kept them hail and hearty.
Those impositions were absurd, yet rest in those 4 days helped them to a great extent.

In my case good food, rest, exercises have ensured smooth menstrual cycle and flow to me.  These and shatavari milk drink have helped me sail through those days with ease.

Whisper, stay free help only urban middle class and above section women. Majority of Indian women still use cloth and cotton.

Why do we not see banners asking women to eat fruits, vegetables during menstrual cycle?
Why can we not have volume based businesses that focus on women’s health?
Several urban girls face PCOS . Why can’t the same women who want us to enter temples understand that most women are not uncomfortable to even make long journeys due to lack of toilets and usage of cloth and cotton?

On that note, Arunachalam Muruganantham is the man I would look up to. He not only has built infrastructure but also, employs women, is playing an important role in changing mindsets.

Feminazis like to blare like honking cars in slow moving traffic. That will not clear the traffic but result in noise pollution.
When you proclaim #HappyToBleed I hope that you factor in other dimensions like health care, cleanliness, rest, functioning of woman’s reproductive system and sustainable methods to achieve the above.

Rohith Vemula and education system

Rohith Vemula’s suicide is disturbing to me for reasons other than stated by social media and main stream media (MSM). I wishfully choose to discard his religion, caste background.
Suicide is a social evil cutting across gender, caste, creed and nationality.

Suicides until now took a center stage in politics due to farmer suicides.
Farmers most often have no choice. Poor yield, landless, daughter’s wedding, unable to pay dues are the reasons we hear. They often have no alternative sources of income.
Agriculture is rigidly under the control of the government and unshackling that will set many things right.

Rohith Vemula was a PhD scholar. If a student, an educated youth commits suicide it shows that our education system, value system and culture system have failed us.
If education cannot ensure healthy mind, body and spirit to fight things out bravely, then literacy 100% will not indicate progress of the nation.
Excellence is to be chased, but the ecosystem to accept failures, remedies to tackle depression springing from various reasons are also needed.
But when you commit suicide at campuses where red chaddis move then ‘narangi’ men are at work.

But who cares about death of an open category man or woman in India?
Have they shown their suicide notes to the world? We cannot make politics out of open category humans. Sub-humans that we are to the human rights crusaders.
Ultimately, we are the bourgeoisie to the human rights crusaders!



The show must go on…

Each time a legendary Indian artist dies (danseuse, vocalist, musician etc), the responsibility to carry the legacy increases on each one of us.
Until two or three decades back art was pursued by the elite more. Anyway, art cannot flourish when life is unstable.
Today, scenario has changed. Some carry the legacy as-is, some have modified and each of those artisans play a role in not only living the art form but also increasing the acceptance.
Music has come a long way. As much as I enjoy listening to khayal, ghazal, folk music or keertanam i equally enjoy listening to fusion, rock.

Indian classical music has mainstreamed. Folk music, ghazal, thimri, khayal, percussionists have made us proud. One can find singers signing to tunes of old ragas untouched, and can also hear fusions where the soul of music is untouched.
Indian classical dancers have a long way to go. Certainly, the context has to change.
That is one of my important goals: to make classical dances mainstream.
People should not find it difficult to recognize dance forms. Until then, we will find people by hearting the names against the names of states for examinations.

Legends have played an important role in leaving a better world behind.
Whenever you listen to Rafi saab, he leaves you at a better place, mentally. Lyricists, musicians brought life to those bandishes.
I hope that i play a small role in this and pray that today’s youth embrace Indian art with an unbiased mind as I see this steeply declining. It somewhere saddens me when I am told that classical music is boring and scare crow man [1] is our mantra.
What is more appalling is that youth who belong to the land that made classical music most mainstream with abhanga, natya sangeet are in dark when it comes to these forms.

On one side we have veterans who are upset and seem to be reserved about embracing changes and the other side we also see songs that are good enough to scare wild boars at farm fields away[1].
Westernisation, anyway, seems to disturb many Indians.  Modernization and westernization are quite different.

We have been given few of the best inheritances.  We are responsible in flourishing art forms by participating in them: in listening, watching and taking the main stage.
We do not wish to see more names in the list of intangible heritage being under threat.

Talent is for others to enjoy and time is most precious gift.
Both the seer and scene are important to keep the shown on…