Sunday, January 02, 2005

Strange ways of reconciling

I was on my way back to the campus, walking on the railway track hardly looking much ahead, i was quite oblivious of people passing by me. ..and most of them, i now realise that, gave way to me seeing me walk as if i have gone blind. At one instant looked straight and and kept walking and its then i found him getting on to the railway track and walked with gay abandon as if he just reclaimed his path way . Had it been any one else, i would not have felt any qualms about it, but since it is this guy i really suspected that he is all set for a confrontation or a deliberate head on collision if neither of us gave way...and i possibly would not have moved aside. I maintained a rather cold relationship with this guy and have had numerous rough confrontations with him on the professional front and i know that he could not react much in the campus fearing official repercussions. But then, there i was out side the campus, right on the same track walking opposite to him, and he got on to the track seeing me...and more so because he knew that i saw him as well. I thought perhaps this is his chosen hour all for himself to unleash his wrath on me.

Hardly a few steps short of a head on collision....and my silent rage and anxiety fuming up.... i found him smiling at me....and he gently stepped aside for me...and his this move had no tinge of anything dramatic , instead it was courageously graceful. After a long time, we smiled at each other...and all the frozen remorse and apprehensions just began to melt away.

The rest of my walking to the campus was more of a contemplative sojourn. I have really begun to respect this person now for, i am really amazed at the way he chose bridge the increasing distance between us.Yes, now i feel that he knew me rather too very well and perhaps that's the reason why he never chose to make any attempts to talk to me directly...he knew rather too very well that i will hold on to my prejudiced convictions...and i knew this too that though he might have always despised my ill temper, he had great appreciation for my work. Well, i would have loved to hear it from him straight all along...but then...with just one single bold, thoughtful and gentle move he spoke so eloquently well.

I initially thought, when i resolved not to give way to him on the railway track, that i did not get intimidated (apparently) by his opposing presence...but now i realise that he is far more courageous than me because stepping aside to give way for me, he stepped straight into by being. Where i had only remorse against me, there dwells respect for the person he is.

Don't know what to call it...."Close encounters of the third kind" or "Closed encounters of the third kind"..?

Tsunami and the storm within

Many went for a morning walk... for prayers and they just did not return. A giant wave swept them all off with more ferocity than all deliberate attempts to forget the aftermath of Latur and Bhuj quakes. I find myself writing this now at a time I also must have got wiped out by one of those ravaging tsunami waves for, I was to sail for Lakshadweep, Minicoy and Andamans islands on 26th morning, the day Tsunami struck our shores. All set to go for a week of get way in the wild, now I find myself pondering on what merit of mine do I remain saved from a disaster .
All the newspapers and TV coverage carrying detailed reports supplemented by poignant visual depiction of the trauma and the plight of the survivors, who narrated the awe the horrifying scenes of their helpless agony seeing their loved ones surge away. I avoided seeing and reading most of it when I am far away from the real scenes of distress for, it will only put me in more delusion at a time when I should resolve and reckon with the conflicts raging within.When I personally cannot immerse myself in the relief operation all that I could do is to transform my thoughts and empathy into prayers…and plunge myself into action when i get to be there physically, not as a volunteer in a relief operation, but as the one whose life remains in beatitude to the dear departed.

If we are the chosen ones to stay alive and they were destined ones to depart as if they made room for us for a longer term, then there is subtle connection between our well being and the pathos they went through. The flux of karma, the laws of destiny and the divine decree – all acting together or each trying to reign supreme in one’s justification … none of these seems to answer why is their life is less important than mine, why they all suffered out there and I was saved from a disaster. It looks much like they paid the price for our well being with their lives. I feel as if I have borrowed out their life force only to be returned to some one else…no they did not lend it …rather they bequeathed their unlived lives to each one of us, lest what merit do we have of our own to remain unhurt, saved?

Many resort to the theory of Karma, that points to the cause and effect relationships stretching back to life times, and I seem to have little patience with such explanations….in fact do we need to explain at all the unfathomable reasons behind gruesome disasters when even our scientists with some of the most sophisticated equipments remained clueless about an impending calamity. Despite the fact that the tsunami hit our coasts after a few hours it struck Sumatra islands , why is that we who revel in living in the technology era could not detect it before it reached our coasts? One group of scientists reasoned that tsunami never occured on the Indian ocean and so it was least expected that will will fall pray to tsunami attacks. This line of reasoning sounds blasphemous because how could one predict the nature of the sea and nature in general based on the little that is known. What Feynman remarked in his report on the Challenger space shuttle explosion investigation seems to be assuming increasing relevance here "For successful technology, reality should take precedence over public opinion because nature cannot be fooled!".If in this life one reaps the effects of one’s deeds in previous lives while one strives to lead a meaningful life here right now, then how are we to account for myriads of deceits and acts of defiance planned but never committed. Sure, actions are guided by thoughts. We are entering into a blind alley in reasoning out thus and what I feel could be done at best is to see for ourselves what we can do in terms of reaching out to the needy and invoking within us a deep sense of oneness amidst the teeming adversities and atrocities. If reaching out is not possible in physical terms, surely we can at least reach out in subtle ways….every empathetic thought transformed into prayers is indeed reaching out thus.

My initial reaction was a bewilderment at the thought that how could nature be so cruel , and she seems to have such inimitable ways of unleashing her fury. But on the other side I am equally aware of the fact that we are her children and she cradled us all ever since the first sprout of life on earth. It is we , whose need mounted to greed, began the plunder and destruction of natural resources in a ravaging spree ….while she must have watched it all with disbelief….then with pain and mute agony…..and when she reached the breaking point of torment she must have sighed with utmost restraint for, had this epicenter been else where on the shore, then perhaps more then half the population of the continent could have got wiped out . She must have contained the terrible distress within, to save the rest of her children that includes all of us. Her next scream of agony could swing around with our lives, though not directed towards us. Before she reclaims us back to her being, there is much we can do … to be ready to depart any time and that courage of conviction comes only from discovering a deeper meaning of life and really living it out and not reasoning out what led to their fall while we ourselves do not know on what merit of ours do we remain safe.

Then….the obvious natural question is “ How can God be so cruel?”, and I believe that cruelty is an term and approach we humans invented and so the answer too must come from deep within us. This beautiful, bountiful nature has her breaking points as well….am just reminded of these words of the French physicist-philosopher Blaise Pascal: “ Nature has got perfections in order to show that she is the reflection of god, she has imperfections too to show that she is just a reflection!”