The Answer

Your eyes are sweetly closed, you are smiling peacefully, and you are meditating…but how? How do you do it?

I am listening to my breath and the music my heart plays. My eyes are closed yet I see all the colours ever so vividly. I feel so light as if I am flying and thus I smile. I am meditating, I am living in the moment, in the second. I can feel the spirit inside me. You are asking me how to do it…but the answer lies within you.

Search for it, not once or twice or thrice, do it all the time, ceaselessly, until you find no further need to explore. When time and space vanish and you are present everywhere.

Is this the ultimate search? Will this solve everything?

When you start looking for something, it becomes the first step. It can take a long time for the search to end but it should not hamper your spirits. This is only possible if the question that you have asked is correct.

I am painting you in different colours…you somehow are choosing the colours for yourself. I don’t know how you are doing it but then it is only making the painting more alive. I don’t want to part yet I’ll have to; you’ll look good in the big palace, not in this old hut. You are almost complete now….

If you believe, truly, that I should stay here with you, you will see me here even if I leave.

*

[Source – Google]

*

[The painter after finishing the painting of the Buddha, sent it to its owner for which he was awarded a good sum of money. He stayed gloomy as he wanted to have the talking Buddha to himself.

He thought about the last words of the Buddha for a long time…days passed and then months.

Sitting quietly and pondering upon those words he felt calm and just then he realised that the mud wall of his hut had an impression on it that looked exactly like the painting of the Buddha… he was entranced!

All the walls of his hut had turned into the painting of the Buddha and slowly the roof and the floor as well.

The painter smiled and closed his eyes, feeling serene and unaware of the fact that his own body was turning into the painting of the Buddha.]


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In Retrospect, I Think I Know What Alice Said

Alice
Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

It was the Wonderland, Alice’s Wonderland, but she wasn’t there.

I felt very strange and thought of looking for her, but the very next moment this thought slipped away, dancing in front of my eyes and I stood there, smiling, I even said, ‘cheers’.

The tall trees were beautifully dressed in different shades of green, all of them together, creating a heavy and velvety canopy; mossy green sky with blue flowers and pretty birds singing sweetly all the time. Wonderland!    

When I wished to walk and explore the place, the earth showed a fresh path to me, it whispered to me, ‘this way’, and so I hopped ahead.

To my right, an endless celebration of lights and colours captured my mind. Every time red and green merged and sparkling yellow joined the blue, I took a halt to witness the magic.

Once, while the magical colours were reveling beautifully, I heard someone calling me from behind a huge tree. It was a talking tree and its name was ‘Alive’.

Alive
Image by Prawny from Pixabay

Alive gave me a green leaf and asked me to put it in my purple bag. Only then did I realise that I was carrying a small purple bag. I did what Alive told me to do and moved ahead.

After that I met ten such trees – ‘Humble’, ‘Brave’, ‘Love’, ‘Mad’, ‘Pure’, ‘Kind’, ‘Dream’, ‘Courage’, ‘Wise’, and ‘Happy’ – they all gave me leaves to put it in my purple bag. Doing as told, I kept on hopping ahead.

When I danced, the leaves in the purple bag danced along and when I sang, they played music with me.

At night when the wonderland looked silvery dark, I sometimes cried, afraid to wake up and break the magic and end the wonderland journey.  

The leaves in my purple bag cried along, the leaves were just copying me and their failed attempt always made me laugh. The leaves were my best friends now.

A lotus flower near a moon-shaped pond.
Image by ArtTower from Pixabay

Years passed in a day while I was looking at a lotus flower near a moon-shaped pond, under a giant mango tree. And all these years, I just kept looking at the lotus flower and kept smiling. Lovely life!

A caterpillar woke me up from meditation and asked me to take a ride with him; he said he was tired but had to offer me a tour because of the tradition of the place.

I warmly accepted and sat on him, but he refused to move until I gave him a coffee cigarette. ‘Coffee cigarette?’, I thought aloud and told him that I have never heard about such a thing.

With a smirk he asked me to check my purple bag and so I did, to my shock, I found one beautiful, golden brown looking coffee cigarette in it.

Blushing red, I gave it to him, he lighted it up and soon I could smell rich coffee in the air.

And then the roller coaster ride started.

The caterpillar took me to different countries in a flash and then to the past and future, underwater and in space, infinity and beyond, through colours and lights, and when we reached the music station, I asked him to stop.  

Every music instrument was playing, the waves in the air forced everyone present to dance to the beats; from samba to jazz, ‘ring-a-ring-a-roses’ to classical dance, I did everything.

I even got drunk, who can refuse a glass full of joy anyway? The rhythm lingers, as fresh as it can be, even now. My hands sometimes do the jingles on the table and my legs do the twist while walking.

At the colourful carnival.
Image by Juanita Mulder from Pixabay

I also remember attending a carnival, but what happened there exactly can’t be expressed in words. I have images in my mind and when I try to put them into words I end up painting and when I try to speak about it I end up singing.

The images are rich in colours and also smell of geniality. You must see them.

The journey was going to end, I knew it. The caterpillar said, ‘farewell’ and shook hands with me, leaving me alone with my purple bag.

On the rough road I walked ahead, dragging my purple bag that had surprisingly become ten times heavier than its original weight.

I sat on a funny looking rock to rest and started sobbing; a single drop fell on the ground and the place slowly started flooding with water. The rock didn’t sink, instead floated, funny indeed.

The rock took me to the shore and I was glad to see someone human. It was the Hatter.

He offered me some tea, but before I could drink the tea he asked me to sit and before I could sit he asked me to pass him the spoon from the far end of the table and before I could do it, he asked me, rudely, to go back from where I came, indicating a huge mirror with cursive letters as its frame, adding that he found me very lazy.

Astonished and confused, I took a step forward, suddenly the March Hare came forward from somewhere and asked me to let Alice go free.

He tried to snatch my purple bag and the Hatter joined him; I was winning until the Dormouse came there and tickled me. ‘Hurrah, hurrah’, they ran round and round the table, leaving the purple bag behind.

Magic happens thrice every day. Did you feel it today?

Flamingos feel the magic thrice everyday.
Image by Esmaylin Arguello from Pixabay

The eleven leaves came out of the purple bag and swirled slowly, then quickly, beautifully, and changed in a blinks time into Alice.

My eyes were full of happy tears. I wanted to meet Alice, she was smiling at me, and I wanted to talk to her about the wonderland. But that jealous Dormouse and March Hare came running towards me and pushed me into the giant mirror.

I saw Alice holding the Hatter’s hand, she said something to me, but I couldn’t understand it clearly.

Either she said, ‘Laugh and look up-up-up’ or ‘Pancake chocolate syrup-up-up’. Does it make any sense?

I’ll have to stop and think so that I can decode it and write and paint these words again and again.

What you said Alice sounded so sweet and true… I am sure I am on the right track.    

The right track that Alice also took.
Image by prettysleepy1 from Pixabay

With the vibrations of Alice’s words still alive and so many green leaves around me, am I out of or still in the Wonderland?   I am crazy enough to know.


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The First Choir Performance

Like it was their first performance, all of them looked nervous and excited, merged with the colours of a painting of a child thrilled living life. Like a child!

Can you see Pamela? She has rehearsed a lot and wants to give her best; I am sure she wants to impress Madame Margret. I agree that she is dedicated but I feel Susan is a better singer, only if she shows some more confidence. Oh! Just look at Thomas, yawning…gosh…Madame Margret almost saw him…he is quick to pretend he is just practicing his baritone voice. You know what, once Georgia wasn’t able to get her voice to the right scale and she started crying…Madame Margret then calmed her and helped her, she is really good, she knows how to handle everyone in the Choir. Shshsh! It is going to start.

Just notice one thing throughout the performance, they all, everyone in the Choir including Madame Margret will light up during the performance. No! Not the stage lights…they themselves will. Their expressions and their eyes and their voice will talk about all the music in the world. How beautiful is that! See…it has started, they are lighting up, girls are going to blush red and boys will look golden; their eyes sing the most and the energy that they exuberate will make you…will make you…. Shshsh! Oh Sorry!

Hmm…hmm. I love Patrick, can’t look at anyone else but him. How lively! Last time he told me that while practicing he was reminded of his childhood, how his mother baked cookies for him and his sisters; he used to play all day long in the winter sun and return only in the evenings, to delight himself with warm milk and cookies. He said that he felt the crispiness of the cookie disappearing into milky moistness while singing that day. We returned and ate cookies with milk for dinner. I loved it, though Patrick said it is not even near to what his mother baked for all of them.

You call him Patrick…?

Yes, earlier I used to call him Grandpa Patrick then Grandpa Patricy…but now just Patrick. He loves it this way. And I love him. He is also my best friend. He is just like a child.


The performance is over, they all bow down and stand beaming with happiness. Their eyes are shinning and the entire hall is still resonating with their voices, this time mixed with the applause. They pose like little children – obedient, happy and enthralled. Warm with a natural glow and dynamic, they bow again along with Madame Margret. 

Subtracted World

I am the King and the Queen,
Of my subtracted world,
From my bedroom to where my smartphone takes me,
It’s shinning and laughing with glee.
Walking on the road, I hit a plastic bottle
‘High Score!’ cried my smartphone, when a little
Skinny girl pulled my sweater
Dirty hands open up, there was a letter
Crumpled, old and torn…ah, useless
I thought, but still checked it, to find two words
– Remember Addition? 

In Light and Darkness

Sitting in a theatre hall, watching a film, in light and darkness, in the noisy quietness, I realised how fast everything is moving and how static I am, busy running in my mind, alone.

The image of the yellow flower, growing peacefully in the sunlight is still fresh and I too can feel the warmth. I am running madly and my friends are running behind me, we are happy, and finishing the game means everything to us. There is a rush to catch and not to get caught. After school hours, it wasn’t a routine to play on the way home, it was us, we were simply playing. I was fast but so were the others, with school bags on our back, we didn’t care of the world around us, we bumped into it passionately and made it alive. The lost adults often said, ‘You kids!’ and we replied with a ‘Sorry Uncle’ and a pure laugh.

The image fades away and suddenly I am walking all alone in the park. It is a rose garden but everywhere I see, the roses are pruned, they look like humans who know how to grow better, but not how to live. Wild roses are happier.

The protagonist is running wildly, furiously, shouting to express his anger…. When did I last run like him, wildly, shouting to express my anger, my happiness? Just before I was pruned, I guess.

Soon I’ll be forced out of this strange meditation class, soon the film will get over. The lights in the theatre hall will make me blind. But before that happens, let me take one last plunge, in that same memory that doesn’t leave me, of that yellow flower.

I walk passed it and then came back, I sat next to it and observed it. My friends were not around and the nature was talking and I was listening. Why was that little yellow flower getting the entire attention there; the sun rays were perfectly falling on it and the trees were providing it enough shade, the earth was softly wet and the pebbles were guarding it in a funny way. I looked at it for some time and then one of my friends called out for me. I wasn’t startled; the spell broke but I was charmed and the feeling survived. It’s still living.

The film is going to end; there is a wave of calmness and acceptance in the air. People will clap and the ‘hypnotised all’ will come back in the normal world. And I…I am not sure about myself, I like being in light and darkness.

The Light in My Notebook

“Civilization begins with distillation said William Faulkner….” The way he wrote it on the blackboard, I first felt as if I am in a management class and I should note it down, word to word… later, I did note it down but the feeling wasn’t the same. The white chalk on the blackboard and the handwriting suddenly changed and I felt I had heard a secret that William Faulkner said long back. It happens a lot and though it’s strange, I enjoy these secrets… no I don’t understand the secrets, all of them, immediately, no, I just absorb them quietly. I generally don’t remember all of them, especially on the occasions when there is a need to quote them but nonetheless a beautiful, warm and sweet feeling stays, the secret stays, forever.

The ink on my paper also talks to me but I rarely pay attention. And when I do, the ink has nothing to say. When it has something to say and when I also listen to it, a tear falls and erases it. Yes, tears can erase and paint beautifully.

I don’t know why, but I use the word beautiful a lot. There are so many other words like charming, pretty, gorgeous, lovely, graceful, even heavenly… how does it matter anyway, every word is beautiful. I scribbled some lines on the last page, it goes – ‘how beautiful the scene was but when I tried to capture it…it died.’ On that page then, I couldn’t write anything, not a word, I just doodled. The flowers, the creepers, the sky, the moon and the sun close to each other along with the stars circling them, a small boat and a butterfly all danced their way towards what I wrote and then stopped. I darkened the moon, till it looked very deep and I have plans to colour the butterfly.

What is he saying? What are we talking about? Have I missed something important? I flip the pages and peep at someone else’s book. To confirm! Ha! It is the same page, nothing has changed, he has been talking and talking; I felt for a moment that ages have passed, time rushed some centuries back and forth for me, swinging in different worlds I almost always forget to live in the present. 
Everything is so cold for some never ending seconds, then why will I not want the warmth of the other worlds? The last page…and I float again.

Oops! The duster fell from his hand and we all smiled. I shared my smile with a guy sitting next to me. How stupid is that? Laughing without any reason…though I generally do that a lot.

I have a story in mind… it’s an image that has stayed with me for a time I can’t recall. An old man, he is tall but thin, his wrinkled hands and tattered clothes tell me something different from what his wrinkled face expresses – a smile. He is always smiling or is it because the wrinkles have taken such a shape or is it just my imagination. We are on the same bus and I never think about the bus fare because I just don’t but the old man with a wrinkled smile fixed on his face seemed to think about it a lot. For two-three minutes, he requests the conductor to allow him to travel without the bus fare and then from his invisible pocket of his torn coat, he takes out some coins and gives it to the conductor. I can’t hear the exclamations of the conductor, I am too engrossed to see the old man with a wrinkled smile fixed on his face.

The pages are turning, millions have written in it, the ink is dry and still alive… a lot has been said and there is still a lot to say… the blank page looks exciting and it says the most and aloud. I am listening. Are you listening?

‘Are you listening?’ Yes, I nod! He has written something else on the board but I didn’t see him writing again. “All truths wait in all things – Walt Whitman.”

Wait… for there is some truth waiting to get revealed in everything. I wrote this on the blank page, there I also drew a time machine, then the whole universe danced its way towards what I wrote and then stopped. I plan to colour it with light.

The Moon Is Moving

I change with the moon changing its shape. That is what someone told me, she was a palmist I guess or an aspiring one. Since then I have believed in it too, you know. Whenever I cannot understand myself or the mood I am in, I look at the moon and think, ‘where is it going now.’ And I confidently share this fact with others, my relation with the moon, nothing to hide about it.
My friends think that I am going crazy about this moon issue. They say, ‘it’s just a heavenly body’ and I say, ‘soon the moon will answer all my questions’, they then curiously ask me, ‘what do you want to know?’ Sometimes I don’t reply and most of the time they just don’t listen. I have a list, if I may speak the truth, I have a list of questions that I want to ask the moon. It goes like- what is your language other than the mellow serene white rays; do you like the blue planet or not; what if you could fly away, somewhere far; do you sing, if yes, sing one for me and some other questions, you know. Oh! I forgot to tell you about the most important question – how do you feel being the symbol of love? I find it really funny when I think that the moon might not be aware of it.
I have also composed a song, a tune basically, for the moon but I don’t feel like humming it right now. It is not complicated, there are no words, all you have to do is go ‘la…la, la, la…la’ after you are alone with the moon and then you have to meditate. It’s something very peaceful.
Once, it so happened that I was sitting and talking to the moon, I was all alone and I was speaking non-stop, you know. It was all very funny even though I was speaking my heart out and was getting emotional, when suddenly I sneezed and the moon said, ‘I bless you’. It was a superb experience. I told one of my friends about it who stupidly called the moon arrogant and silly. I lectured for an hour that it is not bad to bless someone and to bless one needs to be pure and that I think that the moon is pure. Weirdly my friend agreed with me but before I could feel happy about it, we were talking about something else.
There was another time when I tried to record the voice of the moon but I don’t feel like talking about it now. I feel strange, I think I’ll go for a walk now, I think the moon is moving and I plan to move with it.

With Myself

The green pond and the green trees can be so different. I was sitting on the stairs and looking at the thick and the pleasing green water when I realised that I am looking through the image in front of me. Everything was hazy for some time and I felt light. A concrete thought broke my imagination and I heaved a sigh. A sigh that meant nothing except the realisation that I am sitting and watching the green water in the pond. The trees were welcoming me and soon I was lost again. Did the time float away or swayed with the leaves? Time, that the people complain about and love and cherish at the same time. But at that moment I was’nt time bound, I was free. Just then or after some time, something musical fell in the pond and I enjoyed it. I started humming and playing with the stick in my hand. Then I dipped it in the pond and swirled it around. The green trees were watching all the time. I was in my own company and the time went by beautifully.

A Painting That Sways

Paint and sway.
Image by Pixabay.

Delicately touched

Touched only to sway

Swayed with love

And loved just to say

To say it loud enough

Enough of the artificial blue light

Pure blue light of the sky and the moon

The sky and the moon that play a harmony together

Together they sing to me

Me, who breathes quite often,

Often they sing and I dance

Dance like I am a cloud close to them

A cloud close to them that is me

Me, who dreams to be free,

Free like the painting of a moonlit night

And a moonlit night will always say

‘Hey, paint well and remember to sway.’


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Two Photographs

Granny’s smile has lots of secrets and lots of memories in it. She is always smiling, beaming; we can also count her wrinkles rising from her cheeks to her closed eyes; eyes shining with childlike brightness, watery eyes speaking the language of love.
It is early morning and everyone in the house is running hither and thither. Mummy is cooking food and packing the tiffin-boxes. The children are late once again and Daddy is going to give them a lift to the school. But Daddy himself cannot find his tie and the green file and somehow Mummy is managing everything right from the kitchen. In this daily drama we see Granny sitting in the balcony, she is combing her grand-daughter’s plaits; Granny talks about her late grandmother who use to tie her plaits, to which her little granddaughter giggles up and says, ‘Granny you also had a Granny?’ Mummy shouts from the kitchen as the clock declares it is 8. Everyone is late once again.
In this riley race, this cute family is asked to stop and pose for a photograph. Daddy says no but the children agree and Mummy is caught between them; while everyone else hesitates only to agree in the end, the granddaughter brings Granny inside and both of them settle comfortably on the sofa for the photograph.
Say Cheese! Click!
Daddy is awkwardly smiling with a bad tie-shirt combination making him look funny; Mummy is smiling nicely and is hiding her apron behind her; the children are looking full of life and sleepy at the same time; the granddaughter is hugging her Granny and saying cheese loudly; Granny is smiling peacefully.
Daddy, Mummy and the children wish Granny a good bye, she waves back at them from the balcony. They leave in their car and get mixed with the ‘bhroom-honk-honk-bhroom’ crowd on the road.
When Granny is asked about the brightness in her eyes and the secret behind her smile, she laughs musically and says, ‘thank you very much’. Enjoying the scene from her gallery she seems to be waiting for somebody. She walks slowly to the kitchen like there is no need to hurry, this is how blessed she is, maybe this the reason behind her smile.
When we are about to leave the house, she calls us and asks us to meet her friend. Back in the gallery, Granny is feeding a stale roti to a crow with extreme joy in her eyes. She indicates us to take her photograph with the crow. She is already saying cheese. Click!