Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Circle of Life

The Circle of Life as I see it.

I'm inclined to philosophy today. Sometimes one needs to even things out. And weekends are as good as any time to do that. This is just a theory. We come into this world as Simba, strive to become like Mufasa as we grow up, and finally transform into Rafiki. In between, we assume the not so flattering avatars of Scar and his cronies, Sarabi, Shenzi and Banzai. In fact, we revel in their dark shadows through most of our narrow adult lives. If we get to Rafiki eventually, it'd be a miracle. Now Rafiki is a tough call. It's not as if we can't be like him—it's whether we want to be like him. There is a little big thing called fear that holds us back. Or would you rather be Zazu—neither here nor there and just about everywhere!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rice gruel and pickles

A few years ago, when I mentioned to my spiritual teacher how people in the city, including youngsters, were increasingly turning to spirituality or some form of religious practice or adopting better lifestyle choices, he said to me, "In these stressful times, you need balance somewhere in your life."

"And yet no one seems to be happy."

"Happiness is a state of mind. Either you choose to be happy or you don't," he smiled. "You can live on rice gruel and pickles and still be contented with your lot."

He wasn't saying we should live on rice gruel and pickles all our lives. He was merely offering it as an analogy to the conduct of life—where less is more and where the fragile beauty of happiness can be ours for the asking. The thing is how many of us really want rice gruel and pickles.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The irony of perspective

A friend recently shared a nice video of a visually impaired man who sells things on a roadside. He says he will continue to work and earn his living as long as he can use his hands and feet. The video may not be real but the lesson behind the man's indomitable spirit and resolve and the social message it coveys, are.

Every morning, as I walk down from Elphinstone Road station in central Mumbai to my office, I pass a grey-haired man. He is blind too. His cane “shows” him the way to the station bridge where he spends the entire day selling — guess what? — small transparent plastic zip lock bags for storing identity cards, passports, bank passbooks, and mobiles.

Whenever I see him he is standing in one corner, with quiet dignity, holding out his hands — not for alms but for a few rupees in exchange for one of his pouches. I don’t know how much he makes every day. Maybe little or nothing. What I do know is how I'd feel if my salary were delayed by even a day.

The irony of perspective.