Monday, 15 October 2012

Letter to Mother

A letter from her son upon seeing her photo in grey hair and toothless smile

Dear mom,
As the black hair turn grey, when the shiny luscious skin get tenfold wrinkles and the strength of youthfulness wither, when muscles leave strong bones to give us a pain, it is something more we need to think of.

As the hands of clock on the wall moves, it isn’t that the time is passing, when sun moves to west, it is not just the sun is setting, when the night follows day and vice versa it is not just we experiencing the rotation of earth or as the seasons change its more than the earth’s revolutions, even rising sun doesn’t just promises a good day ahead, its slowly taking us to our end and all these secretly convey us that we are moving an inch by inch towards our end, that shall take our youthfulness to oldness, beauty to ugliness, strength to weakness and ultimately life to death.

Now as you grow old, my mom you have done enough for me and I need no more, put your mind to peace, forget all those pride and wealth, it is not going to follow you. The land that we measured, the house that we built are all left to remain back, even me your son (me), to whom you kissed a lot with love and nursed with your tender hands then, is not going to help you as death takes you away, nor I can follow you and neither you can protect me if I ever go before you. Even this tender body which we protected from rain, sun and all the discomfort is to remain behind, it’s in fact not ours but just the a compound form of the four elements.

All this things have begun and shall end. Now me too, I am growing old and older. As I move out of my office door for home, I not just feel that a day has passed or calculate my day wages, but I begin to think, I am, a day nearer to my end, this bells me to remember you as for the principle of time and death, you must and I may.

Now forget this worldly chores and put your mind to beckon your primordial nature, see things as it appears and goes and have no inherent existence and they are just by the cause and effect as the bubbles forming on the surface of the water, or as the sound that comes from nowhere and fades in nowhere when you just touch on your guitar string. 

It was not just by chance that I was planted on your womb; you and I had some karmic debt, to take me as your son and you as my mother. Now pray not for my success, for I have my own programmed destiny but seek for the path to recognize the luminosity of the your nature of mind to go beyond shores of the samsara, this may be attained through the fervent prayers and boundless compassion just like the love you bestowed on me, to all the mother beings of the three worlds.

Mom, if by the old age sleep do not come to you just do not seek for useless remedy but put that time on prayers and if pains sometimes follow you, pray that it substitute the sufferings of all other beings, cry from the heart till the tears rolls down your eyes to purify you…. Carving for nothing but for happiness of others, the mothers of eons and eons that equal the vastness of the boundless sky.

Then may I follow your footstep to that shores beyond... Gone… gone…. Gone.. beyond the shores…………

Yours son

Monday, 13 August 2012

In those books are written your destiny!

There are different patterns of life, some enjoy life to the fullest and often think if there could be no end to it, while other are laden with the yoke of sorrows and sufferings, almost praying every day for the death to pick them up.

This is a story of a boy, for whom the life have never been kind and sympathetic, who have seen the happiness but have never felt for himself, he have cherished the happiness of other but have never felt to himself. If the tears have not poured down his cheeks and if he could still talk I could have more here, still not the least he has something to tell me..

I couldn’t exactly remember when my mom left me, I even cannot remember if I have ever slept on the cozy lap of my mother listening to the lullaby that mothers sing. Today I feel very happy when I see mothers taking care of their babies, dandling and singing lullaby for them This is what Tshering, a 13 years old student of a primary school shared with me.

His mother was a second wife to his father, she was married to his father after the first one have left for heavenly abode, and it was his fate of not being able see his mother too.
I grew in a hostile environment, never knew how living in a comfortable house and sleeping on cushion homely and calm, torn clothes and plastics boot, faded and stained with dirt were my only possessions”.

I received no care, I have no land, no home not even identity of my nationality, and still I do not have, many says that it’s because my mom was an Indian and my father took no care to nationalize us to Bhutanese citizenship.”

Today I am a maid, a servant, I was picked up from a village where I was working as a cow boy just to earn two meals a day and for a corner to sleep during the night. Even here with my master I do not feel the taste of homeliness, I am often scolded and barred of some of my interest, I have lots of house hold chores, cleaning, washing and even after a tired work I rarely get appreciation of my work and hard effort. Sometimes it pains me a lot that sometimes let me to think of leaving everything and die, but I place my faith in god and waits for what GOD has planned for next.

I do not curse my master nor I have any bad thought on him; I know if he had not picked me from my village and given me the opportunity to study, today I would have been in village still looking after the cows, here I have my studies and putting my hard effort to complete it, I hope one day I would earn and live happily alone……………”

As a note of encouragement, I told Tshering that I had similar lives before, living in hostel in remote school was never easy, sometimes without dinner and sleeping along with dogs among naughty and cruel seniors who scolded and hit us without a reason, but I took good care of my studies and always did well. Although it pains a lot to remember those hard days but now, every day is a new beginning.

"Today GOD made me as a simple writer to write down all those pain, sorrows and cries and reciprocate it into a happy ending. You study well, in those books are written your destiny, all the best” I said, and after a hug we departed.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Death the only Surety of Life

Strength is followed by illness; youth must yield to old age; life gives way to death, we do not live life on years but in hope.

Standing by the side, leaning against the brick wall in cremation ground in Lanjuphakha in Thimphu, Bhutan, praying and watching how the fire engulfed Angay (grandma), 75 years old, who finally surrendered to death after a prolong illness on 11th May 2012.

What is this life? Many around didn’t care only few relatives were with teary eyes but most others were cracking jokes, lofty laughs, without a thought that death is there for every one of us, to one of the man, it was a special date teasing and talking to some beautiful ladies around. I don’t know whether it’s good to think about it or to forget until we experience ourselves.

Angay was wrapped in thin cloth and put onto the heaps of firewood ready to be burnt, priests were performing puja for Angay’s and other six’s quick liberation from the world of suffering. 

As I have read in Bardo Thoedrol “Liberation by Hearing” and ”Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” we can only be liberated if we understand everything as the creation of our mind based on the fruition of our karmic deeds, while roaming in this intermediate state.

Fire was finally lit and flames took upon it, smokes rising high and Angay gradually disappearing from our sight. I just thought “Angay’s existence would just be a story now. 
Will she now understand and realize that every apparitions that she may encounter till her 49 days as the creation of her own mind? Will she realize and follow that light that shall bring her the swift liberation?

Now she feels no heat, and her body idly lying on the aggressive flames, she does not have sense of love, no attachments, no to care, no shyness nor proud of her body, that was loved, cared, protected and nourished for years.

Neither her husband guarded her nor her sons were present to protect her from the hands of death, neither those sophisticated advanced technology ever helped nor the brightest heads of doctors were of any help.  Now she was fed to the fire, naked on the flames leaving everything behind, her husband, sons, daughters and grand children, beautiful house and lands.

I stood aside, as the fire fed on Angay, I prayed “O! the daughter of noble family, finally death has come to you and you are going now, understand that, whatever apparitions you encounter on your way, is just the creation of your own mind, recognize the illumination of your mind and follow it, so you’ll be liberated”. Donot cling to this earthly matters, your sons and daughter shall take care of them. Donot look back to your decaying body and cry for it, it not going to help you…. Recognize and understand all you encounter are drama of your own mind”.

The fire turned aggressive, fleshes burnt and bones to ashes, smoke rose high above as if taking Angay to the heaven up. Panic stricken, “this time is briefly borrowed, and we’ll fly away one day” I cried. Looking back, I saw her grandson just 5 to 6 years old, who turned toward me and asked “Uncle Angay nga tse besa lok hong ya?” (Uncle will grandma come back to us again?)

At first I was dump like a dog, but  I couldn’t answer him wrong, so shaking my head to tell him “No, now she is gone forever” I said “Pray and tell Angay safe journey”.

Having said I walked home, but that little child still not believing me remained watching the last burning fire……...

Friday, 11 May 2012

Human in the eye of GOD

This time I am inside a bus, moving towards Siliguri, a city in West Bengal India. The day was hot and bus was so packed and those on stand perhaps had not a space for the legs to keep them standing. It’s like this in India, I smiled to myself, but I have always loved Indians for their simplicity.

Sitted beside me is a man, he is a gentle man, quite talkative. In our brief conversation he told me that he was in Bhutan for a week on his business trip and even met some of the high Bhutanese officials and have memorized their names too. He had names of all the places that he have visited in Bhutan and loved visiting again

 Not ending with it, he shared with me some of the books he had read, and knowing that my interest in Philosophical volumes, he talked about some of the nicest books he had read with some quotes of His Holiness Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Swami Vivekkhananda and some quotes from Robin Sharma’s The Monk who Sold His Ferrari as well. 

I enjoyed his talk, not of much words from my side, but I gave him a listening ears and open heart. Tall and giant man, instead of some kind of materialistic talks as usual business man does, he shared with me all the talks that I liked as if he had already read my mind.

While I was quietly listening to him, a small boy crept  inside and stood begging beside me. Poor little creature, he wore a black shirt with hundreds holes in it and a half pant that almost leaving his waist to drop on to the floor, eyes sunken and fleshes merged inside bones and his limbs not bigger than a stick, with some words on his vibrating lips he begged.

These are some frequent scenes in India, but I am sure we cannot resist their request, they are poor, thrown in street, uncared and unloved living in poverty of love in slums.

While I took my hand to pull out my wallet to offer some penny to this poor boy, the man stopped me. 

You see man, there are thousands such children in India, one cannot help them at all. Look he is young, his limbs are perfect, he can work to earn his bread, but people like us tend to be so kind and indirectly spoil them. Finding this, a way of easy earning they become lazy and unproductive, do not give, let him work
I was touched hearing his words and even he started to scold him. The boy stood still now with tears rolling down his sunken cheeks.
I have expected the man would be more kind and being an Indian would love this poor son of India, and as well I couldn’t take him wrong and remembered a Chinese saying “Don’t give fish but teach him fishing”.

Joining his palms and bending to me, he cried pouring his sorrows and said, “Who shall in this earth give me a job?, I am Dallit, I am discarded, even if we are met in early morning people beat us thinking we bring them the bad luck, we are not allowed to walk the path they walk and get water from the tap from where they take theirs. We are untouchable, what can I do? I’ll die if I do not beg for living. My family were tortured and assassinated  by higher class neighbours, while I escaped from that death to suffer this fate.

Perhaps in the eye of GOD we are human so I came to beg from you and I believe one doesn’t become poor by offering a penny to a poor”.

 It was unbearable, I offered him some money and he thanked me and left quietly wiping off the tears from is checks…..

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Her Identity

Its  10:00 am, I am inside a bus, Dhug Transport Service, with the beautiful background, the hills, the falls, and fluttering prayer flags at faraway distance, my bus moves softly playing with every cross and turns on the road. 

It’s a coaster bus, comfortable with sweet music from my behind, a Bhutanese song with nice background music of traditional guitar and an elderly lady on peak of her sweet voice.

Day is so beautiful with sun moving towards its western destination and with watermarked moon watching the moving sun and white clouds morphs  into different creatures like shape that decorated the heaven above us.

With relish filled inside and my mind flying high, with a kind of whisper in my heart, I sing.  I loved getting out for sometimes and wish I could plug the moon from the sky and place it near the juvenile sun, catch hold that snow like clouds and pour it on the crown of hill and make it as a show capped hills.

Sited beside me is a lady in her mid thirties, slim with luminous black hair touching her cheeks and flowing till her thigh, dressed in blue kira and a yellowish tego (Bhutanese National dress), her face fair and moist  with a small mole neatly decorated her chin.

She laid silent and almost motion less, just clearing her eyes from frequent furl  of her hair with  green nail polished fingers and she kept looking out with her eyes and face painted with some kind of sorrows and sadness. I gave her frequent glances but still she was firm with just her fingers clearing her hair and blinks on her eyes and of course her heart beating.

Is she speechless? But cannot be devoid of sight, she looks out and blinks, perhaps she sees everything and her eyes perfect pair. Does she really sees or she pretending”  thought occupies my mind.

I cannot be silent on such a long journey, I have my words and tale to share even if it’s a foreigner, I try but I fail it again and again, now its thrice, “what if she do not speak, or get angry, or will I not disturb her?”  thoughts hovers me.

Now I pulled in the air, exhaled it, moistened my throat turned towards her and asked  “Hi  can I speak to you?”.

She turned her head slowly and diligently pouring her hair over and on the cannel of her right ear and clearing her face, she smiled and with low tone answered “yes sir, How may I answer you?”.

She is perfect, she can speak and hear, she got a good tongue with English but often mixed it with Hindi. I was quite confused as her looks promised me as Southern Bhutanese. However she shares a soft voice and words with some lovely taste in it.

She is not always a first mover in any conversation but she speeds and opens up once other sets the track. She seems kind, compassionate, spiritual and scholarly.

But why that sadness over her face? She opened up with eyes  red and juicy, almost to drop the tears. Lips shivering on every words and nose silently running “I cannot describe this sorrows that you see in my eyes, no word equals it, only I can tell you about me is,  I am an Indian , worked with some odd jobs in Bhutan for quite few years after the death of my husband who was a construction labour.  Yesterday through some sources I was informed that our house was burnt and my 73 years old mom suffered severe burns and died in government hospital in Banarhat, in her dying bed she muttered my name and couldn’t remember my number.  I have told my mother I work in Phuntsholing and never told kind of job I do”  With regret she cried. “ I love Bhutan and love this dress’, She pulls her kira, ‘but I couldn’t make it my identity’.

We reached Phuentsholing and everybody rushing to door for exit, at the back end seat she took off her dress put it unfolded in her old bag.  With just a simple brown wrapper, a blouse, her thin slippers, and with her head down she quietly walked down to Jaigoan. I was voiceless and stayed looking till she got blurred and disappeared in air with distance………………

Monday, 30 April 2012

We Have Neither Joy of Living nor Sorrows of Death

He takes his seat near the Hanuman Mindir, side by the door, where he could see both the Lord and His disciples. Anmol Saha, 82 has reserved this place; he sits on the sack spread over a dusty floor, Keeps his stick beside and a steel bowl before him for coins to drop in. 

Anmol Saha has limbs that do not move and ears that do not hear. He is brought to this place every day by his son who collects the garbage from the bins and earn at least for half a stomach a day.
Bisnandu Saha, is only 11 and he has a blur memory of his mother, who passed away with a prolong illness, perhaps malaria. “We had no money to take her to hospital and even good food to give her the strength, and I don’t remember when my father gone paralyzed” cries Bisnandu.

Bisnandu’s day beings with the crack of dawn, taking his father to his every day’s place, he moves around the town looking around for recyclable wastages with the sack hanging from his shoulder  down on his back.
He buys a bun for their breakfast with a cup of tea in a small street restaurant and move around for search of wealth for the next meal, lunch, which me takes with his father near the temple. He can be often spotted lying under the tree sharing that old sack with his father when the sun is too hot, but much to worry is the rain, where their house made up of plastics and sacks bears lot many holes. On a rainy day Bisnandu and his father has a separate space in a cowshed of Mahajan Surya.

Our clothes are torn and dirty, we get no enough money to buy, we wear those thrown ones, that we collect from the street. Nobody likes us and gives us a job, the malliks (shopkeepers) even scolds us if we stand near by their shop” he mutters.

Bisnandu loves going to school and having playmates, he often watches the school children neatly in their school uniform and enjoying with their play mates in the school ground.” I am not born with fate to be like them” he cries and move again with his sacks to collect the waste.

There are many such children, unloved, uncared, homeless, many have resorted to drugs and crimes, they are beaten and left with scars for life time.

Unlike those children, Bisnandu understands his responsibilities on his frail shoulder. “I have my father, he is everything for me, as long as he live I’ll have no problem, he is source of my inspiration” he says.
In the evening, after the sun set, they sit to count their days score and if it is high they keep for next day’s meal. Having done it he sits near his father and they sing the religious song. 

Bisnandu has picked up many of the Hindu religious values from his father. He firmly believes that human has nothing to call as his or her, it appears and disappears and are results of one’s karma, everything in this life is temporary, it’s a illusion and world itself is made for suffering.

With a smiling face he says “We are dirty, we are poor, we are unloved and homeless but what we have is, we have no one, nothing to care, nothing to protect, no hatred, no attachment, we can die peacefully, although homeless here, we have home in heaven”.  Pointing to the statue of Lord Hanuman he says “we need not have to go to doctor, he takes care of us, we have neither joy of living nor sorrows of death, we have HIM by our side.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Living under the fly-over bridge

At the background of the busy town of Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, Nandi Mali, watches the busy schedule of the town from her tent under the shadowy flyover bridge, near the railway station, which was her home ever since she was thrown out to the street after she has been attacked by leprosy.

Hailing from a remote village in Muthayampati, she has no children of her own and left by her husband. She has always struggled for food and sound sleep at night, living with her far relatives before leprosy came to her at the age of thirty three.

Now she is fifty six but she looks as if a grandma of around seventy,  may be this adversity of life has counted and summed up into her aged to give her this looks.

With the flyover her roof and three side walls of torn black plastics, she stayed before her door begging. The dump covered area where sun light hardly crept inside, and dusty wind sweeping her,  she looks around for someone kind enough to throw her a coin. Shaking her un-shaped limbs and with lips vibrating with name of Lord she spends her day below this bridge, sitting on the old torn sack, spread over the dusty ground and leaning against the mosses grown wall.

Her hair long and brown with dirt, eye almost sunken into skull and cheeks folded in wrinkles, with the torn clothes that guarded her from hot air of town that scorched her skin, Nandi Mali looks for the death to pick her up soon.

In a whispering note, she tells, she could have been well if she had ever been introduced to medication, and life would not have turned this way if she ever had her own children.

She rewind her pale memory, of how she worked in the field and looked after the cows, and with tears rolling down her wrinkled cheeks, she admits it as her fate, “May be, I have committed sins in my previous life, so I owe this punishment today”.
Like Nandi Malli, many have taken the shelter below this bridge, but what sets Malli different from the rest, is her fervent prayers, she accepts everything that the life owe to give her, and have no any word of curse on her relatives for throwing her to this street without a tinge of love and mercy in their heart.

She mutters” Life is a test for acceptance and patience, only the learned one chuckles with it and the fools cry, I know I won’t be like this in my next birth
And with her hands joining together and raised above her head she prays, “if GOD ever answer my prayer, I would walk to Meenakshi temple in Madhurai and die there in the lap of Mother Meenakshi

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Under The Bus stop light:

On any given morning, she can be spotted at the bus stand, pouring over her books, a whether beaten school bag one side and a torn teddy bear (her only toy) on the other. For Nandi, the bus stand is her world this is were she was born ten years ago and this is where she has lived ever since.
Nandi’s days starts at 6am, helping out her mother with house hold chores. Then she sits down to prepare her lessons before she leaves for Entally Hindu Balika Vidhyamandir, on the Convent road. Back home at 3:30 pm, she has lunch and plays with other kids on the pavement. In the evening she studies  by the light of the bus stand.

What sets Nandi apart from her pavement play mates is the dedication to her books and the desire to make her parents proud. Nandi’s father Babu is Riksha puller who struggles to earn Rs. 100 a day.

Her mother Marian is a domestic help bring home Rs. 400 every month. This couple from Mutthayampatti made the bus stands their shelter and it’s near end their kitchen. Driving them on one dream: their daughter’s education, “Our parents did not have the means to educate us, so we are lying here on the bus stop and struggling so hard to survive. We do not want our daughter to suffer the same fate. Education will help her live with her head held high. We have not been able to give her normal house, but we are trying to provide her education”, says Marian.
And Nandi is well aware of the responsibilities on her frail shoulders.

“I love going to school and would never like to stop it. I know my parents have to pay Rs. 275 as my school fees. I also know they have to suffer to arrange for that money. I always want to perform well to make them happy”, she says.

Having always lived in a bus stop, little Nandi does not know how living in a house would be. “May be one day we will….but for now, I have my studies, my house hold works and my friends to keep me busy”, says Nandi.

And her dream? To be  nurse.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

She Came to Tell Me

What is impossible while in love?. I wonder to step back and pull reminiscence of a couple of years ago. What led the way for the door of my heart to open for a little girl?. It was indeed blind and unexplainable.
Tashi a little girl, beautiful with luminous reddish or pink cheeks and height may be just an inch lower than mine, the daughter of our neighbour had always her eyes over me. Shared her smile whenever she felt my presence showing great love and care.
It was on Friday morning when she met me on the way to my school. Said "I love this world very much for one thing" with a princely gesture, luscious smile and with but little shy over her face
"It is natural. Tashi, the aims, dreams and the desire are the intimate environment of our life. "Every creature below this sky love one or something the most. I too, do love something". I said "So please tell me, what is that you dare to love so much"?.
She stood still with her dimple on her cheeks, smiled and said, "First of all, tell me what thing that you love the most?. then I shall tell you", she smiled, and put her pale finger over her lips and moved her body princely with the tinge of shyness over her face.
" I love all the lovely things', I said and "You?".
I......I she stammered smiled, staggered with her hands on her waist.
"no....please”. She laughed in shyness "I shall tell you latter", said she and turned back.
I could neither guess nor understand what she meant to tell me. I nailed my head to get it right but gone in vain. I persuaded her to tell me, yes her lips moved but couldn't utter a word
"O sorry! My vocal does not permit me, though my heart agrees", cried she.
It may be a great thing that, this earth owned, which I could not procure even with the sweat and blood, or may be some secret that she experienced, seen or heard from far and some where. I thought to myself.
By then it was time for the morning assembly, she promised to tell me that latter and bade good bye.
My eager heart recalled all that happened, all thought along the path brought to me her smile, her dimpled cheeks, her gesture and her sweet and lovely voice "I love this world very much for one thing", O ! What was that? My heart never stopped to ask.
Days and nights were passing away. Every one in that little village were busy with their task. I had no idea where had she gone. But my heart was eagerly waiting to hear from her.
The sad heart was to hear something. Exactly one week passed. Friday has given birth to the sad morning, even the cocks didn't give the signal of it's birth. The clouds were hanging sadly, those lovely flowers have withered, and something unsatisfactory flowed over my thirsty mind, still than I had my breakfast, got dressed and walked to the school.
I saw her waiting on the same place, dressed on the same attire, with her dimple still on her cheeks and greeted me in her sweet and simple tone. Everything were same but something was different. My heart was filled with joy, mind and mood changed, every things were made calm by her smile.
The worried clouds now gave the way for the bright sun for sometimes and the golden rays stroked her lovely face and twinkled.
She gave me a chewing gum, smiled and said. "Do you remember, that I had something to tell you?".
O! the glorious her voice. "Yes. Tashi I shall not go to school nor shall I leave you until you tell it to me. Believe me I am in great thirst to hear. I cannot please my heart any more. What is that?", I begged.
She moved a little, smiled in shyness again. Her smile was usual but gave a different taste and said. "The thing that I loved most is you. I love you..... I love you......",She hugged me and cried. At first I was surprised but latter on my heart was filled with joys. "Nothing so joys were ever brought to each other’s heart, cried both of us.
It was exactly 8:30 am. It was going to be late for my school. So we departed with that joys still in our heart and hopped to meet her latter.
I was carried away with the joy and satisfaction. I reached a rock through which the path of my school passed. I climbed on it and looked down to her, she was no more there.
I prayed for the day to pass away soon and waited to meet her after my class.
The last bell rang.........I was so excited. I collected my books and ran home. I went directly to her home to meet her. But to my surprise, I found her mother resting her sad face over the pale fist and weeping with the profuse fall of the tears.
I went to her and asked "What's wrong...why are you weeping, Aunt?".
She lifted her saddest face and replied "Tashi has left me alone. She gave her life in a bus accident today at 8:30 am near Samtse-Phuentsholing highway. 

From the Pearls of My Imagination