Thursday, November 30, 2006

Three Connecting Threads

I am an unbeliever. An agnostic. Perhaps.
And yet, like all creatures, I have the craving to see a wholeness -- a bigger picture, in cliched terms -- of everything. A reason why, I often wish there had been some mystical powers. I have no good reason to believe that there indeed are any such powers. But, I do seem to have seen the presence of divinity in very earthly things, events and pursuits. Things which are divine enough in themselves, but to a willing heart, they might be connecting threads to a much bigger, much more divine, entity. Here's a list of three.

I had once written two other blogs (Mystery and Curiosity and Addendum on Curiosity) on this. To repeat, curiosity makes the process of learning inherently meaningful. I am not in a position to comprehend what lies behind the instinct of curiosity. But nothing can or should lie between a curious mind and learning.

Appreciation of Beauty

I strongly feel that there's a chance that our abilities of experiencing joy through our senses might be a signal from a world beyond. The level to which we are capable of getting attracted to beauty defies biological or evolutionary explanation. Both the number of sources of sensical joy (food, sight, music, sex, sleep, ...), and extent to which we can experience joy through them both are simply astounding. And how our abilities to notice and savour beauty grows boundlessly with practice. Be it in music (beauty in sound), or spirituality (beauty of everything). Seems rather probable that a heightened state of refinement will release all the beauty hidden in everything. Perhaps, in that state we can be in a state of perpetual orgasm flooded with infinite joy from all the senses! Perhaps, that's what they call Nirvana. Perhaps, it's just a theoretical extrapolation of reality. Nonetheless, an attractive goal to pursue.

The magic of identifying oneself with things, people, concepts, places, ideas...has surely a lame biological explanation. But, looked really scientifically, it stands on its own as one of the strangest natural miracles. It gives a very clear indication that the boundary of the 'self' doesn't coincide with our body. It keeps growing (with love), shrinking (with hatred and selfishness). Sometimes, a hurt happening to someone -- however near or far, something -- however real or abstract, is more unacceptable than even the loss of life. Evolutionary explanations apart, I feel the process of loving anything is intertwined closely with the expansion and contraction of the field called 'self'. What happens when this love grows so big that the field covers everybody, everything? I am sure, this is that extrapolation of the experience of the earthly love we feel. Becoming one with everyone and everything. The yoga with the Bigger Soul. Again theoretical, but damn attractive as a concept.

An enlightened person may look at them as the manifestation of the same thing perhaps. I don't know. I am surely biased with the little bit of introductory reading I have done of Indian scriptures, and by my pardonable inclination in seeing them proving true. I am therefore open not to be believed. Please don't give the above any more importance than deserved by musings of an idle mind. They are mere thoughts, not visions. I am sure, spiritual visions are beyond mind (again I am speaking the same language).

But aren't these interesting, even as thoughts? :)

Related Blogs:
Mystery and Curiosity
Addendum on Curiosity
Creativity -- the Basic Instinct
Justifiability of Kindness

Monday, November 20, 2006


Please don't tell them 'there's nothing to suffer.' You know, often some of us are blessed with extra wisdom that helps us look beyond negativities, and makes pain non-existent for us. Some of us are often not so blessed. The wise ones shouldn't give a feeling that the pain the others feel is pointless. That might make some feel stupid over and above the pain. Wisdom is also like a material property. Some have it, some don't. The product of material wealth is comfort and luxury. The product of wisdom is joy and happiness. We should be humble in enjoying (and displaying) the fruits of our blessings.

Empathy is the word.

I know, I don't need to say anything more. You would surely know what I mean. :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Good People, Good Experiences

I met some exceptionally nice people in all places. Here are some of them.

1. On October 28, when I came out of the Hongkong airport with intentions of meeting Shashank, and with some basic direction as to how to find my way to his place, I immediately realised that things weren't going to be so easy to reach to his place. I was supposed to catch a bus to a particular station. Thereafter, I was supposed to catch a train to the City Centre. From there, I was supposed to change train to reach the place close to Shashank's place. Quite a handful of complications for a newcomer to a place.

I met a lady -- quite cute -- , most probably an employee at the airport waiting for her bus at the nearby bus stop. I asked her how I could get to the MTR station. She expressed her ignorance and said that she would find out. Soon, there was a bus coming. She had a longish chat in Chinese with the bus driver. Finally, it was decided that this was the bus I was supposed to board. Immediately on getting into the bus, I started fumbling. There was no conductor as one would find in Indian buses. Instead, there was this machine which was printing out tickets for the passengers. I didn't have the required coins. I couldn't initially understand what the driver was saying even if he was saying something to me. In that moment of confusion, the lady I had just talked to re entered the bus, swiped her card at the printing machine, and disappeared into the street. The ticket for me got printed . The bus moved on. I couldn't even thank her for her favour. Later I observed that the ticket was worth 3.75 Hongkong Dollars.

Another good experience that stands out was when I was about to leave Auckland on my way back. The flight was at 12 midnight. The airport was quite far from where I was staying. I had travelled all over Auckland that day; and that had given me a bit of an overconfidence that I could get anywhere just by hopping into a bus. However, what I had failed to take note of was that the buses stopped plying on Sundays at 9 PM. By the time I finished my packing and reached the bus stop, I think might have just missed the last bus. I waited for about half an hour and started getting fidgety. I walked back to my hotel and started scurrying through the yellow pages looking for taxi agencies. I called up some numbers (which I could do only because one of the inmates in the hotel lent me her calling card, another instance of a good person). All of them were either unavailable or said that they would take at least an hour to touch me. Time to get really really nervous!

I simply came out into the deserted road and started walking towards the main road. Then I met this gentleman whom I simply caught and explained my problem. He said he was coming from the airport, and it was indeed quite late (over 10 PM) to catch a midnight flight. He then actually walked with me for nearly a kilometre, caught me a taxi, tucked me and my luggage into it and sent me off to airport. Again, I couldn't finish thanking the good gentleman before the taxi had sped ahead away from him.

The taxi driver happened to be Mr. Dhillon from Punjab. A smart young chap speaking nice English with foriegn accent. He soon found out that I was travelling to India. Then started a torrent of storytelling a pure rustic form of Hindi, foul language affectionately garnishing his descriptions. Among others, he gave a long lecture as to how easy it is to lay white girls. He was almost cursing me when he came to know that I had refused an offer of a drink from a beautiful french girl. It seems, he considered that as a straightforward expression of interest, and more advanced forms of socialising would soon follow. The other major chunk of his discourse was the revelation of his frustrations and of that of others in his position, who had left their country (India) attracted by the glitz and glamour, and found themselves trapped in it. In short, India wins hands-down as a place for settling down.

Mr. Dhillon continued his Indian mannerism when it came to settling the bill. 'Apko jitna thik lage de do saab.' He said. I took out fifty dollars, since that was the bill. He took only forty, shook hands, gave his card, assured me that he was in my service next time I visited Auckland, and went off.

Mr. Dhillon wasn't a particularly nice chap if looked at neutrally. But I couldn't have hoped for a nicer escort to the airport in that late hour in a foriegn land.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Blogs from French Polynesia

Guess, this is not a place to document a travelogue. But I don't want to create another blog for that. And after all, no travelogue is ever written without its own of bit of philosophy.

So here it goes...