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Sunday, April 28, 2013

FLOWER POWER

Friends, I took these flower images (bloomimg in my house)with my cell phone and felt like writing a few lines in verse for a change. Here is my take:

Rainbow hued beauteous glowing muse,
Minds not the floating woes,or cynical greys.
With childlike smile of endearing ease,
Doles bliss, wins hearts all the ways.

Its dignified purity holds head high;
Its nods and winks, alluringly unfold.
Springs favorite child entrances and smiles,
And waits for the moment not foretold.

It entwines joy in the petals of a garland
It spins grief in the ring of a wreath
It craves not for the spoils purloined,
It worries not and joyfully breathes.

Folks this is how I winnow the flower;
And attire it with words with my pen’s power.






Sunday, April 21, 2013

MINDFULNESS

(A genuine effort at sharing my mindscape)

The intriguing concept of Mindfulness (concentrated application of mind) tends to chime newer semantics in a brain attuned to philosophical leanings. For the ones participating in the laborious exercise of writing, this term holds special signification. For the activity of penning the world view through the prism of your vision is no handiwork of an idle mind. Writing endeavour, requires rigorous discipline, training and taming of the ever restless mind.
Desires, jealousies, flawed ambitions, regrets, self doubts, guilt pricks are all enemies of the mind, which have to be reigned in, through painstakingly cultivating the practice of meditation and reading inspiring literary works. Clarity of thought in pursuance of any purposeful goal in life comes via concentrated focus and strong faith in one’s capacity to persevere. According to American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, faith also entails courage to take risks to uphold one’s convictions.

Interestingly and ironically a typical mind has two faces. One has positive bearings. Being aware, it threatens, nags, pushes and shoves and succeeds in impelling you to take the first step. Thus enabled you overcome the tenacious hold of the procrastinating mind. The other face usually enslaves itself to those deadly mood swings and lame excuses; refuses to be reasonable and opts to suffer. Not for long, though! Eventually indolence gives way to sagacity.

A writer’s mind, however, repeatedly experiences intellectual churning and creative turbulence, finding quietude only through the act of articulation of the strife within. That being his life blood, his ultimate concern. Many articles about the various aspects of the writing skills have flooded the internet, but none helps, unless you apply total devotion and singleness of purpose to the writing craft. Tough isn’t it?
This is what is called MINDFULNESS.

Artists of the written word cultivate exemplary will power to pursue an activity which is pleasurable and soul searching. Every finished product squeezes the essence of your being and leaves you limp, empty but relieved temporarily. When the next surge of inspiration invades your brainwaves you are back to square one. Isn’t it that even the greatest writers are seized with intense tense moments till the completion of their work? The strength of their concentration and passion is enviable.

The present critique owes its inspiration to a discourse which I perused in the journal ‘SPAN’ (January/February 2002) titled: 'The Elusive Art of ‘MINDFULNESS’ by Charles Johnson. Referring to Buddhist philosophy he talks ‘about the relationship between self and work.’ He emphasizes, citing personal experiences that concentration is not only fundamental to practice meditation but also is the basic prerequisite for doing any worldly activity well. Only in a state of single minded absorption, one’s consciousness can conquer the restricting policing of the mind and come up with a palette of newer dimensions regarding any subject of intellectual exploration. According to him all tasks pleasant or otherwise are best achieved if the doer exercises the art of mindfulness- the total attention to every nuance of the job at hand and being so wedded to the task as to thwart any interfering and selfish nudges of the ‘monkey mind.’

Taking this concept in the context of a much larger canvas of our country, we perceive casual, half hearted approach, unforgiving indifference and gross irresponsibility at all levels of our body politic as well as in the social arena. We citizens have become sleeping partners regarding our commitment to community  projects. Why don’t we give our undivided attention to the problems which we can certainly resolve if there is will to do so? We lead our cynical lives without taking any initiatives for larger societal good. We look the other way like a pigeon that closes his eyes when it sees a cat, thinking that the cat won’t eat it and loses his life.

This apart, we pander to hopelessly patient and non –reactive culture even in outrageous situations. Our better sense has gone wool gathering. We believe in fatalistic Karma which bricks us in dormancy and status quo? Aren’t we aware of the increasing criminality in our midst with no solutions in sight? Are there any whole hearted or synergic efforts planned to ameliorate the seething dissatisfaction around us. Our collective aberrations would cost us dearly.

Let's (especially those who are at the helm of affairs of our country) give as little as ten minutes to meditation daily and be conscious of the rise and fall of breath. The insularity of the mind will disappear. It will set our priorities right as performers of public and private duties.

Guru Gobind Singh has said in Adi Granth, “Mann jite, jag jeet.” (If you conquer the mind, you will conquer the world.)
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Friends, let's start a conversation on the topic.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

NATURE'S WONDERMENT KEEPS CALLING

the lovely foursome at the side wall
To explore the simple manifestations of natural phenomenon is an interest which keeps me braced up, even in extreme unpleasant situations. I don’t have to go anywhere to savour and see it unfold itself, as it envelops my environs abundantly. For days, I felt the nudging vibrations stirred by the intoxicating beauty of the spring.
But the inspiration to pen it down descended upon me suddenly one morning, when a throbbing pain in the aftermath of dental extractions woke me up quite early. Instead of popping a pain killer in my mouth, I stepped out into the fragrantly welcoming, fresh and gentle breeze of the morning. I sat myself in a chair in the backyard, cupping my cheeks in both hands to pacify the mercilessly tempered gum tissue.
 Soon I became conscious of an uncanny deafening cacophony of sounds emanating from the vicinity. It sounded like a blend of so many songsters’ shrill voices participating in a routine chorus. In the stillness of the morning the sounds were distinctly pronounced. I could not see the birds but their presence was palpable enough, some where near,  perhaps on the many trees growing in my neighbourhood. I listened to it numbly and temporarily the pitch of their voices drowned my pain. For a few precious moments, I felt being a part of their ecstasy After they had finished their exciting concert, which certainly was an expression of their unadulterated joy in the sparkle of a new day, bearing endless possibilities of hitting some generous grub infested piece of land. And then, up they flew twittering, squeaking and shrieking in twos and threes flapping their wings in unison on their specific missions. My reverie was broken, but not before the unique soulful experience had sunk in. Slowly I noticed the surreal presence of the moon adding a mysterious halo to the ambience.
Friends, this deeply personal narrative is not meant to be ‘how to attain….’type of post? However, it subsumes that forgetting the despair and despondency of our times, such an experience endorses the affirmation of the goodness of life. Of course it happens once in awhile but leaves a long lasting positive imprint. I think creative people anywhere in the universe repeatedly receive inspiring sensations because of their keen sensibilities.
Since the spring has opened its doors for its treasures to be visually feasted, there is an overwhelming sense of an aura of blessings floating around. Nature’s bliss is here to be enjoyed freely and limitlessly. It is satisfied if we simply overcome our indifference, behold it lightheartedly and allow it to melt all our anxieties in its outstretched arms.
Dare I complain, when riot of incomparable canvas of colours, flutter magnificently around me. Our own house is privileged to have the blooming red lily at the side wall of the driveway, setting the area on fire especially at midday. Large triangular shaped flowers, spring out in twos and threes from a single bud. I amply convey to them my speechless wonder at their blazing sheen many a time during the day. In fact lily is all over our place. It is a hardy bulbous plant and withstands even the summer neglect.
Marigold blossoms in hues of lemon, yellow and deep golden skirt my backyard lawn where hordes of nectar sucking insects hover around in the company of buzzing honey bees.



first flower with a honey bee settling inside.

My loyal cactus is all budded up. To spring a lovely surprise, two buds opened up displaying delicate mauve flowers. Isn’t it nature’s marvel that such a thorny entity flowers so enchantingly?
Can one ever predict nature’s many moods? For example, though we’re not very far from reaching the threshold of summer and spring is already at its peak, my Neem is still shedding leaves and gusts of wind dislodge masses of them to glide down like swarm of locusts, leaving a sheet of dry brownish leaves on the ground. That is what constitutes nature’s mystery and its unique individuality.
It never fails to surprise us with its spontaneity. Recently I became aware of the melodious coo coo of the cuckoo though its’ usual time to visit us is always around monsoons. Perhaps it couldn’t but accept the invite of the spring to sing its praises in its musical notes. Or the cool and crisp weather was too much to resist.
In my neighborhood yards, bottle brush trees are loaded with red, brush shaped flowers. There is profuse flowering on the rose bushes. There are so many other varieties blooming simultaneously in pots and yards. A short walk around the area is all that is needed to respond to the winking and swinging flora, to ignite one's sagging spirits with hope and enthusiasm.
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