‘The Lotus’ (Part-2)

“The purpose of life is not to beat yourself over finding your purpose. The purpose of life is to live… purposefully.”

I hit ‘Share’ after I was done putting the required hashtags. People can consume content so fast on Instagram, it’s almost as fast as reading it off your mind. Three likes in as many seconds and I turned off my screen and put my phone in my pocket. There were other things to do during the rest of the day. One of the most important things on my list was ‘thinking’. I had begun to spend so much time thinking off late that I had actually begun to realize just how tough ‘thinking’ can be. It’s a whole different discipline within itself.

How much thinking is ‘healthy pondering’ and just how much, is ‘over thinking’? There’s a fine line but with enough practice, you can decode the puzzle. ‘Thinking’ done the right way is a ‘methodology’, a complex one. With enough thinking, you are sure to arrive at the solutions to most of life’s problems. With too little of it, you are sure to keep running into roadblocks. And with too much thinking, your brain begins to over write previously arrived at conclusions and the whole process becomes useless.

That is what ‘anxiety’ is. Anxiety is that point in the ‘thinking’ process, when you have visited and revisited a particular scenario or solution enough times to have been caught up in the loop of almost reaching the solution and never ever, quite reaching it. At the state of mind I was in, I wanted to accelerate my thinking process and reach the answer that I desperately sought from my conscience; that of finding my purpose in life.

Repeating the question over and over to myself had been proving futile. Leaving my mind idle had hardly been having the energizing effect like I expected it to, and searching for the answer in all external cues that life could offer, had become too cumbersome.

“You can’t do it. You just can’t.”

There comes a point in your life when everywhere you look, for the answers you seek, you reap only more questions. That’s it. There’s nothing anyone has to offer anymore at that point. They’re all question marks for you.

Even the omens that you would read routinely for the right answers, the angels, the gods, the religious texts, philosophical texts, anything you can possibly think of.. none of them prove to be of any help to you.

It’s during times like these that the universe is guiding you to look within. All the angels, all the gods, all the religious texts, all the spirits of all the philosophers, leaders, writers, poets et all are guiding you in just one direction: within.

It’s almost like they’re all asking you to step up your game and step up to the plate and take full responsibility for your life. Don’t look to Jesus, or Buddha or Krishna for your answers, look within.

“That’s the whole point of giving you a mind as complex as that! ” They all seem to be shouting.

“We can’t do anything for you unless you decide to do something for yourself !” They all seem to reason with you, when you turn up on their door, yet again for answers.

Introspection is difficult. Very difficult in fact. When you begin to introspect you realize how sparsely if ever, you have quality conversations with yourself. You can’t just look within and pick a single issue and resolve it like that. On your first forage inwards you shall realize that there are many many unresolved issues lying all around your in your head.

So when you begin to introspect, the first reaction can be to abandon yourself and withdraw to the outside world. To try to distract yourself from the real problems, the real work that needs to be done…within yourself.. and keep looking towards the outer world for answers.

That works sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t. The process is a lot like breathing. You go within, then release yourself without. You hold your breath and dive into the pool, then you exhale as you’re swimming up to the surface. The process of journeying within isn’t a one day process or a one go process. It’s a step by step process and you need to be patient with yourself.

It was 7 am and it felt awfully lonely on the park bench I sat on. I just sat there sitting snugly, in the nippy morning air, with one leg on top of the other. Just watching the world, as I sat smacking the butt of my cigarette on the chain of my watch. The morning Sun seemed to soothe my mind somewhat but this day felt just as gloomy as any.

“Ah.. bugger..” I yawned. Life was boring. Too boring. I sat observing, as everyone around me seemed to be running and hustling to get their day started, in a huge contrast to me.

A gang of ‘fat women’ who actually weren’t fat anymore owing to their fast walking routine over the past few months were huffing down the track at top speed. A middle aged man, who was a regular in the park at this time of the day was performing yoga stretches. An old man, who came every morning to feed wheat flour to ants was sprinkling flour anywhere he could spot an army of ants.

And among all of them, I could see a destitute old woman just standing near the park gate like every other day. Actually, I have never been able to figure out what she wants or if she really is destitute. I have seen a couple of old men hand her a tenner every other day ‘to buy herself a cup of tea’ but she never begs or asks for anything. When I tried once, to give her some money, she withdrew almost as though I had tried, to insult her.

There were so many different kinds of people in the park at any given day around the same time that it was baffling to understand what day of the week it was. The park was just as full on a Saturday or Sunday as a Wednesday or Friday. The 7 am crowd seemed to be an awfully punctual crowd to me. I saw most of these guys everyday without fail, no matter what day of the week it was.

A little further from me stood a pothead, smoking a joint, wireless headphones on his ears. He gazed in my general direction as I lit my cigarette. We could’ve waved to each other but I didn’t think he would’ve liked it. He generally seemed to me like he wanted to be left alone. I guess when you’re the kind of person who smokes weed at 7 am in a public park, you’re not really keen on pleasantries.

I was in the mood to savor the taste of the fine tobacco and lull my mind to sleep anyway. I had been awake all night the night before and was looking forward to being able to sleep after all. The insomnia coupled with the nicotine rush was enough ‘high’ for me.

Two or three drags of nothingness later, I realized how I was one of the regulars of the park too. This had been my routine for some time now. Sleeping at 10 am, waking up at 5 pm. Others most probably viewed me the same way I viewed them. I was the ‘guy on the bench’ for them, probably. The thought made me smile. It made me smile to think this way. To realize how we’re all really in the same boat, sailing in the same general direction, despite the differences in our approach or mindset.

I was not sure if I wanted the same things as the rest though. They seemed so certain about their ways and routines while I had become uncertain about everything off late. What did any of this mean at all? Eat, Sleep, Work, Crap.. repeat the same everyday until you die. If I was not feeling inclined to indulge in the same routines as the others, while being in the same routines as all others, there was an inherent flaw in my approach!

There must be a deeper meaning to all of this”

I murmured to myself, with my eyes closed and my mind perplexed. People had it all so sorted in their ways and I was just too hung up on finding the ‘larger’ meaning, looking at the ‘deeper’ picture of life. “This is why you’re in utter crap!” I thought to myself, as it slowly began to drizzle.

I didn’t care to move however. The shade from the thick branches of the tree beside my bench was enough to keep me from getting wet.

People on the track however, all began to respond to the rain in their own ways. Some began running to the exit so as to reach home before the rain intensified. Some sought shelter under the trees. A select few, just went about their daily rituals unperturbed. I glanced at the spot the old woman stood. She seemed to have left, probably to have a cup of tea.

I don’t normally like being indoors when it’s raining. I think many people probably feel the same but there aren’t as many shady trees in the park as there are people. Even if they all wanted to, not many would be able to stay without getting drenched. Hmm. Seemed like an interesting thought.

I kept sitting on the bench by which time the rain had intensified from a drizzle to a steady shower. I was in no hurry to get back home and miss the soothing morning Sun being replaced by beautiful dark clouds as they went rushing by, the sun rays peeking through them still.

The colors changing, the lights changing, the trees waving in the freshness of the wind… It made for a beautiful sight. For a moment, I completely forgot I was in the city and not in the mountains.

“Why would you leave a lovely morning just like that and rush into your house just because of the rain?” I smiled and shook my head from side to side.

It’s true, there are ‘things’ you need to do. But maybe, you don’t need to do the things you think you need to do. What’s there to be had in leaving a perfect situation to just keep on track with an imperfect life? Why leave the rain? Why not sit under the shade of a leafy tree like me and enjoy the refreshing shower like the birds and the trees? Delhi is a hot city mostly and we don’t get showers so often unless it’s the monsoon.

At that moment, a busy jogger huffed past me, drawing my attention to himself with the patter of his jogging shoes on the asphalt track. The rain didn’t seem to have deterred him in any way.

“Yeah that’s one way too.” I thought to myself as I raised my eyebrows, unconvinced of his approach being the right one either.

He seemed a tad too driven I felt, laughing to myself as the rain intensified and I heard a powerful thunderclap. The tree couldn’t shield me from a thundershower so, comparing the distance back to my house and to a picnic hut a little further inside the park, I decided to run towards the picnic hut before it began to pour. That was a good decision. I got just a little wet as I jogged there and it rained continuously for the next one hour. In fact, it rained well until noon. I was able to get back home without being soaked, by opting to jog back within the small gap in which the rain had reduced back to a drizzle.

I went home, went to sleep, woke up at 5 pm and walked back to the park as soon as I had had a cup of tea for a cigarette. I sat down at the same bench I usually sit on and lit a cigarette. Still trying to ‘think’, still trying to introspect. When I began to think about the little episode from the morning, it opened up my mind to life, in a completely different way.

The way I see it, we are all doing what we are and functioning in the normalcy of our everyday lives, like the people at the park; the 7 am crowd. When we are faced with challenges, pleasant or unpleasant, we all have a different mechanism of response based on our life priorities.

The first category of people are those, who march on day after day, come what may, like the jogger I found too driven. Such people find peace in keeping up with their routine unlike ‘everybody else’. These people maybe referred to as crazy by those in the second category.

Which brings me to The second category of people are those who derive satisfaction from functioning on the plane of ‘least resistance’. They prefer that their lives function ‘as usual’ and throw up as few surprises or upsets in routine. Such people have their own boat to keep afloat. They run their lives like a tight ship and have clearly defined aims. Most people follow in this category. If they don’t, they are taught to fall in this category.

Then there is the third category of people, those who are in it, for the experience. They are in it just to explore what’s next. These people may be referred to as crazy by the people in the second category.

I realized that day, that I fall in the third category. I didn’t care if it rained continuously for two hours or more. I didn’t care if it rained only for a few minutes. The bottom line for me was that I loved the rain and I wasn’t about to rush indoors due to the fear of getting wet. Sure, being in this category involved its own bit of smart decision making. It was a smart move taking shelter in the picnic hut when I realized it was going to come down pouring. Later on, taking advantage of the rain subsiding and running back home within that window was a matter of choice. Whether to stay on in the experience or to get out of it when you think you’re done.

In these three categories of people, it was quite apparent that there was no right or wrong way about what they did and how they did it. Things get complicated only when you are half committed to what you believe in and half –hearted in how you act.

You cannot rush back home as soon as it begins to rain and enjoy the view from your apartment window, overlooking.. the parking lot!

Maybe some of the others enjoyed the rain better from their balcony than I did in the view of the lush greenery of the football field and an open view of the sky. Even so, both experiences can’t be the same. They can’t be and they shouldn’t be, because then it wouldn’t be fair to those who are in it for what it is.

Would it be fair, if I got to enjoy the same view and the same experience and the same smells, sights and sounds as the people who had rushed back home as soon as the first few drops of rain fell on them? No. It wouldn’t. Some experiences are reserved and quite often, the most beautiful ones.. for those completely invested in them.

You have to be in that experience to really truly know what it felt like it.

Just like the people who made it back home in time to make a hot cup of tea and enjoy the nice rainy day from their balcony. No, I couldn’t have had that. I could only have had what I had and I could only have loved what it was in the moment.

That is what life is about, isn’t it? Choices.

As for the jogger who completed his daily 5 laps on the track despite the rain and the wind? What experience did he have?

Well, he made great progress on toughening up his resolve to stick to his plan and not take a day off, come hell or high water. You can’t beat commitment like that with something else. Whatever it is that he had set himself that goal for, I’m sure it gave him immense satisfaction that day by not giving up. Not taking an off day. No slack at all.

Imagine however, that he had gone home that day and fallen ill in the evening. What then? Had the effort been worth it, in that case?

Now this is interesting. This is interesting because this is how decisions lead to decisions and choices to more choices that lead you to what you ‘become’ eventually.

When you take a tough decision like that one, you may immediately be called out on whether you’re bluffing or you’re serious.

If you do get ill, do you call in sick the next day? or Do you resist the setback, brave the sickness and turn up again another day, defying the odds?

There is no right answer to this unfortunately.

I can only recall that the rain made me realize I was neither the one to shy away from the rain nor one to defy the elements and have my own way. I was an experience seeker and riding the flow of the moment gave me immense pleasure. That is all that mattered in the journey to discovering myself….

Being in it just for the experience!

<< Read Part 1 <<

©Jay Kaushal

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Photo-poem ‘Maybe’

Photo and poem by Jay Kaushal

Photo location: Nainital, Uttarakhand

TMI Tag – Too Much Info about me!!

A while ago, fellow blogger Apple Rae tagged me to answer these questions below. I have been wanting to answer them from some time but boy! have I been busy. I’ve barely been able to keep up with my blogging schedule and firefight all the other areas of my life that are fast transforming.

But I like talking about myself. Which is ironic because I like to be known more through my work. So I guess thanks a lot Apple, for tagging me! I love your blog and have been following it actively since I started this blog in January.

So the idea behind the TMI tag is Too Much Information. I have tried to stay true to the meaning and toned down the responses to some questions. (You should be glad I did. Lol). I hope that the people I tag will also be good sports and answer these questions. 😉

What are you currently wearing?

Black tee and grey bermuda shorts.

Have you ever been in love?

Lol, Far too many times I think.

Have you ever had a terrible breakup?

Once again, Far too many times I think! lol

How old are you?

27

How tall are you?

5 feet 11 inches

How much do you weigh?

92 kgs

Do you have any piercings?

Used to, up until I was 24, I used to wear ear studs. I also had really long hair and a hippy beard. Then I cut my pony tail off, began to sport a clean shaven look and decided to do away with the ear studs as well.

What’s your favourite drink?

Spiced Buttermilk/ Creamy black tea.

What’s you favourite song?

‘All my love’ by Led Zeppelin.

What’s your zodiac sign?

Cancer. (Yeah, I am emotional AF! )

How long does it take you to shower?

Depends. After work out showers are longer generally. Morning showers are pretty quick.

What’s your favourite show?

FRIENDS. lol I watch a random episode almost every day.

What’s your favourite band?

Has been forever and always will be… Led Zeppelin.

Something you really miss?

Sneaking off on dates when I was 16. Oh I miss those times. I miss teenage. 🙂

Where do you go when you’re sad?

Depends on how sad I am. If I’m really sad I’ll switch off my phone and spend the rest of the day meditating in my room.. drapes shut, doors bolted. If I am ‘just so’ gloomy, I sit on a bench at a quiet corner in the park and smoke a bit, observe birds and people. Write a poem on my phone maybe. Channelize the sadness. lol. Sadness is beautiful. Don’t block it. Enjoy sadness…write poetry, draw sketches… paint! 😉

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

Depends on where I’m going that day. I’m not a hop-out-of-bed-and-ready kind of guy. Usually, it makes me a long time. Most women could get ready faster than me! lol!

Have you ever been in a physical fight?

Lol lots. I used to get into way too many fights all through kindergarten, junior school, high school through college and until right before I started working. I suddenly mellowed down after I started working and focused my energies more on my career and pursuing creative endeavors. I rarely if ever get angry these days but you wouldn’t want to push me into a corner nevertheless.

What turns you on?

Depends on the person. 😉 Usually, a polished, cultured personality with a streak of hopeless romanticism and love for the arts. Someone who know how to carry themselves with grace. Grace is really important.

What turns you off?

Uncouth, insensitive, shallow, superficial behavior.

Qualities you look for in a partner?

Nothing in specific but someone reasonably good to look at, communicative and empathetic towards the disadvantaged and a strong sense of responsibility towards society. Romantic partnerships are strong when the sense of responsibility is strong. Both towards each other and to society.

What’s your favourite colour?

Blue, Dark Green, Pink, Black.. it depends, I don’t think I have one ‘favourite’ colour!!

Loud music or soft?

One with beats and energy mostly. I listen to a lot of EDM and acid rock these days. I hate ‘loud’ music. It should be intense but not loud. That is probably why I have never been to a concert or even a disco. My sense of hearing is way too sensitive.

Favourite quote?

“If it was meant to be, it will be.”

Favourite actor?

Ranbir Kapoor (Bollywood hero.) I watched ‘Rockstar’, one of his movies, 46 times! I highly recommend you watch it if you can find it with subtitles. It will leave you breathless! The acting.. the direction… the music.. breath-taking!

Do you have any fears?

Yes, I fear dying with unfulfilled dreams.

What’s the last thing that made you cry?

A street dog trying to revive his dead friend hit by a car. Graphic and upsetting.. I know. Let that be a lesson for driving safely. Also.. Adopt strays over shelling out big bucks for pedigrees. You’ll be doing a great act of kindness and saving at least one poor animal from living on the streets.

Polar bear dying of starvation on iceless land Global Warming is real. Global warming is coming for all of us eventually and if you want proof that shakes your soul to the core and stirs you into action, this video is it. Do something. Anything. Spread awareness.

Last time you said you loved someone?

To everyone reading this… I love you! You are special. The world needs you. Keep giving your best!

Last book you read?

India’s Struggle For Independence by Bipin Chandra

The book you’re currently reading?

Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

Last show you watched?

I’m more a Youtube kind of guy these days. Can’t recall when was the last time I watched a movie. Hardly have the time. 😦

Last place you were?

In a parallel world were I didn’t have to answer so many questions.

Last sport you played?

Not a sport but I love walking. I enjoy taking long walks. As in really long.. I once walked with a friend from one state to another. Realised only when we reached the border checkpost. 😀

Who’s the last person you talked to?

Anybody who’s reading this IS talking to me! Hey, what’s up with your life?

The last song you sang?

‘Imagine’ by John Lennon (I also like singing 1973 by James Blunt)

Favourite chat up line?

What have you been up to? All well?

Do you have a crush?

The only ‘crush’ I feel is the weight of my goals crushing me under them. Lol! But I have a huge crush on Emma Watson. 😉 I’m a sucker for British women. I think it’s the manners and the accent that bowls me over. 😀

The relationship between you and the person you last texted?

Friend.

Favourite food?

Garden Salad with Italian dressing.

Place you want to visit?

Peru. I’m obsessed with the place especially with the supposed ‘Ancient Aliens’ connection! Whenever I get a chance to go there, I am sure as hell going to pitch a tent on Mount Machu Picchu overnight.. as high up as possible.

What’s the last time you kissed someone?

Been a while.

Last time you were insulted?

I take it in stride and move on. Couldn’t remember even if I wanted to.

Favourite sweet?

I avoid sweets like the plague but I have a choco chip cookie once in a while. 😀

What instruments do you play?

I started playing the flute a little bit, a while ago. I’m more of a singer not so much with instruments.

Favourite piece of jewellery?

None per se. I do wear a rudraksha rosary on my wrist though. I wear a rudraksha rosary around my neck sometimes too. I find it extremely calming.

Last time you hung out with anyone?

Every evening with friends. It’s a schedule I try and adhere to. ?Unless I need ‘me time’.

Who should answer these questions next, tag them

Sapphire Wilson

Aanchal Gounder

Haripriya

Evana

Joseph Emerson

Vageesha

Shradha

Lucylu

Lou Rasmus

What to do if you’re tagged? Mention the person who tagged you, Answer the questions from above and let the people who you have tagged know, by commenting on their post.

A poem for today

‘A poem for today’ is a poem about a poem..

Cigarettes aren’t good,

For the body.

Neither is stress,

Nor much caffeine.

My books lie unfinished;

The clock ticks away.

Tick tock..

Tick tock..

Time runs away…

Days just blend,

Into each other..

As big spirals of smoke,

Float upwards and away…

The dishes are dirty,

I want some tea.

There aren’t any biscuits,

The milk can’s empty.

Tick tock..

Tick tock..

Time ticks away…

I still haven’t written,

A poem for today…

© Jay Kaushal