I am listening.
I am listening.
The loudest, the most persistent
is the hum of the ceiling fan.
Horning cars, rumbling trucks
Voices from across the street
Parvati moving about in the next room -
And the slow intake of breath into my lungs.
I turn my ears inward.
Conscious of myself tapping at the keyboard
The cursor blinking.
The little black line, going on and off
On and off, on and off
And waiting, patient.
I am emptying my mind – or so I would like to believe.
************* Balachandran V, 28.09.2009, Trivandrum.
Few days back, a friend of mine – I will call him an'internet friend' or 'blog friend' or 'Orkut friend' - I understand he is studying at a seminary to become a catholic priest – asked me what I think of catholic priesthood or priesthood in general. He is preparing a paper; perhaps he is answering questions he asked himself. From what little correspondence I have had with him, he appears to me as a gentle, sincere, likeable boy.
I replied to him briefly – that I am what is generally called a non-believer, in all the sense that I do not believe in myself either, that 'belief' means pulling down shutters, blinds, curtains, that I would rather keep myself open and let everything flow through me rather than cling to, clutch to anything, anyone, that i do not think people need an intermediary to communicate – with whom? God? I would rather say, with oneself. I told him that all this talk about God has alienated humans from Nature, if anything should be worshipped it should be Nature, Mother Earth, life. I think of all the violence, sorrow and deception that religions have brought to humanity and the world. The concept of God – your God, their God and mine – how this belief in a supernatural power that loves and hates us , reprimands, punishes and wreaks its wrath on us is so pointless, absurd. That the force that propels us to believe is simply the fear, the insecurity, the truth of our helplessness, our insignificance. And our cowardice to face it.
Among my relatives and friends, there are devotees of Amrthanandamayi, Sai Baba, Ayyappa, Jaggi Vasudev, Ravi Shankar, faithful church-goers, devout Muslims. Each of them swears by his/her belief, benefector. There are those who swear by J Krishnamurti too. All of them have one thing in common. They have ANSWERS. Or so they believe. It has brought fame, fortune, peace and tranquility to them; or so they believe.
And I – I am unable to understand why I cannot be like any of them, to find comfort and peace and security by believing in someone, something. In the journey of my hitherto life, what i have learnt tells me that intrinsically I am alone, and all the rest is make-belief. Images flash before me- of deaths, of great tragedies – moments of great joy and love too – I stand apart and look at it all – where am I ?
I am reminded of the verse from Bhagavd Gita – 'Dukheshu anudignamana sukheshu vigathasprha-' but that too is something to be achieved, something to be yearned for – how different can it be from yearning for jewellery or a Rolls Royce car? All are adornments, aren't they? It is the wish to change from the existing state to an exalted one- The facial expressions of the TV swami who quotes slokas and the woman sitting in the luxury car at the traffic signal are amusingly the same – smug.
In the latest issue of 'Vanita', the Malayalam women's magazine with the highest readership in the world in its category, there is an article by Anoop Menon, a cine actor. It is about a young girl he knew, Gopika, who died of cancer. It is a beautifully written, unsentimental piece – how ironical that the article should be in such a magazine that promotes accumulation of wealth and beauty!
In this turmoil, in this great flux, this state of movement and stillness, I sit before my laptop, gazing at this mystery called life – or is there a mystery? It is all just this, isn't it, just this being here?
************* Balachandran V, Trivandrum 27.09.2009
Oh, I also told my friend to watch the movie, 'Doubt'. Meryl Streep. A Must See, you too!