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Monday, January 31, 2011

Reflections on Lohri 13.1.2011 2.30 P.M .

Hi folks: Let the best may happen to you throughout the year!!!!

Today is Lohri!! Thank God the sun has finally succeeded in breaking the barrier of fog to come out resplendent with warm brilliance to bless the folks down under, cocooned as they were in their quilts and other paraphernalia for almost a week, because of biting cold and extreme foggy conditions outside. Luckily yesterday too after a long depressing spell, rays of the sun filtered through the smog much earlier around ten in the morning .Venturing out during inclement weather is asking for trouble both health wise and safety wise. For a few days we were completely immobile. There was no let up from mist, fog and intense cold. Sun failed to permeate the dense blanket of haze. Yesterday when the sun shine muscled out a flurry of activities started at breakneck speed. Literally it was ‘make hay while the sun shines’ syndrome at play. Washing had to be done before water taps ran dry or electricity was cut off. Groceries had to be purchased for the coming week. Obviously we can’t predict the vagaries of weather, can we?

Coming back to Lohri festival which we north Indians celebrate every year by symbolically burning evil and sloth in the bonfire around which we assemble late in the evening, eating winter goodies and singing songs. Nostalgia for the good old days transported me back in time of my youth when my mother would give us a handful of ‘tin choli’ to be thrown in the fire with the words ‘udam aaye, dalider jaye ,dalider di jarr ,chuley paye.’ Strangely enough I always enjoyed this ritual which was repeated every year. It would make me feel much better and more positive.

Ironically today since morning I am reminding myself repeatedly that I should feel upbeat because after all it is a great day. But an inner voice kept on disturbing my peace of mind by throwing uncomfortable questions at me. I could no longer thwart its insinuations. It awakened in me the realization of the abyss of cynicism and skepticism in which we as thinking beings (are we?) have fallen into. The ultimate thing about which a human being should be proud of is faith in himself and his abilities to overcome the obstacles which come in the way of making life genuinely happy through peace, truth, justice and brotherliness. Unfortunately, confidence which can empower us that we can still set things right is no longer felt. We have become totally enmeshed in the cobweb of greed, intolerance, anger and unabashed lies so much so that we have stopped living for ourselves and have started hankering after things outside us.

An eminent writer Erich Fromm the proponent of humanistic psychoanalysis discusses ethical norms which are mandatory for leading a meaningful life in his book ‘Man for Himself’. There he states, “...moral norms are based upon man’s inherent qualities, and that their violation results in mental and emotional disintegration.” But alas! instead of cultivating a code of conduct for moral upliftment, man appears to have throttled the voice of his conscience and has become so myopic that he cannot see beyond the interests of his immediate family and friends. Nepotism and favouritism rule the roost and merit has taken a back seat in the functioning of our democracy. Hence we confront confusion and chaos every where. Also we feel afraid, threatened and powerless in the overall system in which we live. Mentally and physically we feel like zombies with stunted capacity for being good and productive.

Yes, these are the warning signals for the human race. Unless man learns to release his tremendous energies and reasoning for the benefit of his fellowmen, he will remain sick, frustrated and unhappy and this is negation of what life ought to be. History confirms though that man has infinite power of doing good and it is hoped that man’s good sense will prevail before it is too late.
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Tomorrow is Makar Sankranti and I am going to spend the day in contemplation, remembering my mother who left for the unknown this pious day a few years back.
Missing you terribly Ma!!!!!!

Your daughter