January 4 2018
Yesterday the weather prediction was dire, 3-5 inches of snow, slit and ice, impossible to drive in early morning to take my daughter Manisha to the airport for her flight back to Delhi. I had lots of worries about what to do.
This morning I woke up early, scared of the impending reality. I left my place at 6:30 am to pick her up from home and had to drive though accumulated snow on the road as most roads where not cleaned yet.
I was dreading the traffic during the rush hour when I had to drive her to the airport. However, there were not too many cars on the roads. I guessed most were telecommuting instead of braving the snow and the wind. It was always a possibility to get into a bad accident by skidding on the snow.
This is a very normal reaction to the future which is not certain. It is a risk always to brave into something unknown. What I have found that if it is planned and nothing is rushed into blindly, it is not a bad idea to welcome the challenges that are put in front us. It gives us a chance to come up with unique solution to an unexpected problem. Often, we die myriad times because of worries for our future or for our loved ones. We pray, we wish for the good outcome and even the heart almost stops just imagining what could happen.
In the face of the blizzards, hurricanes, fire storms, earthquakes and deluges, human race as well as others survive even though as individuals many lose their lives.
January 2 2018
The first of January came in the frigid winter coat. I went to the ShivaVishnu temple in Greenbelt, MD. The temple was swarming with people and it was hard to find a place to park. Everyone was there to pray gods for making his or her new year a great one. Praying in an integral part of Hinduism, where the prayer is mostly an individual wish to prosper and live well, even though there are prayers like, sarbe bhavantu sukhona..” where one is wishing everyone in the world to live happily without any disease and difficulties.
Priest (the Brahmins) serve as the intermediate in communicating devotees with gods as apparently gods understand Sanskrit but regular folks don’t. The deities were dressed up elegantly even with vegetables. Lakshmi usually has a garland of dollars in the New Year. Everyone was getting blessing after the praying silently or en masse.
There was tasty food called prasad, not expensive and neatly distributed. It was a festive occasion as hundreds of people were sitting down and eating in groups of families and friends.
We as humans live for a brief time, but the culture lives for thousands of years, stringing generations and transmitting values that stays even though modified by time and space.
January 1 2018
Last night, I uploaded some photographs to National Geographic and checked the photos of people who liked my photography. I found that there are certain photographs that appeal to many, even though their own taste in capturing the images could be vastly different. Simple, open space, without people or clusters of things, appeal to a lot. I guess it is more like being one with the nature, or the spirit.
May be the kind of photographs we take or appreciate act as diagnostic tools to our inner believes and needs. Our real personality is expressed by the photos we take or like, just like the inkblots.
In the middle of the night when I am awake what comes to my mind? There is no noise or any distraction except may be the interesting things in internet written by people I don’t know. So many strangers impact my life with their words, works and thoughts. As a matter of fact my life might be a collage of others ideas, thoughts, appreciation of things or abhorrence without even knowing them. As the inference is similar under similar situations in various parts of the world and culture I wonder how many times the same thing has been thought over and invented by multiple people without even being aware of its existence.
So when I come up with a problem which is hard to solve, like counting elements in a cell in Excel or a question that seems unique to me, I feel there must be someone who encounter such situation and might have already come with a solution which I can use to my advantage instead of reinventing the wheel. Invariably I find a solution if I use the right search strategy in Google or some other search engine.
Books, magazines and now internet have become a cozy but strange friend of mine to dive into the mind of strangers I never met or will meet. It is a virtual world with all intimate strangers talking to me.
A series of events or their elucidation happened yesterday. Was it all observation like a trailer of a movie or it has any long term impact on me or on others? A person was born in either in a rich and famous family or in a poor place without any past contribution. I don’t believe in reincarnation based on deeds of the past lives. One is a random chance, that is all.
Often we see only few people and that to very superficially. We have no sense of knowing or appreciating the achievements or the struggles they go through. Then what happens to the lifelong learning or experience with time and also at death? Are they sipped away from our database in our memory like the footsteps on a windy enclave or they lie dormant there like the stem cells in a seemingly old and dead tree trunk?
I listened to the interaction of the friends and family which was mostly talking about family stuff or ruminating the childhood which become the source for making the future past quickly. Life of others goes on without much hassle and sometimes it is a relief if the deceased was suffering and was a burden to him/herself as well as to others. I feel very strange about the way the life ends ‘naturally’, i.e. without accident or intentional killing. It is not like a flower wilting and becoming a dry mass.
I also wonder how people accept others as they see changes taking over their shape and size or worst cognitive ability slowly or drastically. Two beautiful young people get married either by arrangement or by falling in love. With time the physical appearance changes, sometimes drastically within few years or often gradually during ageing process. Like miracle the babies are conceived and grow and grow until they emerge as helpless bundles of joy. The gradual, sometimes painful experience of bringing them up takes toll on parents. Then one day you look at them and they are adults and gone and we wonder how all this happened automatically so fast.
The concept of atma, the soul, the conception of which is to give solace to a the worrisome creatures of living. The continuity of its journey self propelled by its own karma or being subjected to judgment day or a visit to purgatory are the concepts of human imagination which varies from culture to culture and based on mortal fear. So the only thing that is permanent is what one does that keeps at least some people remembering him or her as a worthy person, who contributed something to the human society at a local, provincial, national or international level. Nothing else matters.
Have you had a moment?
When you are in the deep embrace
That connects the night and the day
Like the oceans connect the continents
Where you only want to feel
Just getting dissolved in it
Like sugar in warm coffee
Like sandal wood ground in water
The feeling of awareness of being
A tiny being in the vast expanse of the universe
Of how our desires and dreams
Buffered with lots of frustrations and hassles
Become huge vitamin tablets
Presenting us to us
And sometimes to others
To other vitamin tablets
And swept away
By random bents on the road
Like a sudden encounter in person on in the web
Or in an accident in a highway
Or in an arranged marriage
The life takes a whole new path
Becoming a self created mural
An abstract one
A resource for interpretation
Speculation, adulation or indignation.
March 14, 2014