Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Latest on the Playlist

I don't know why but since some time I am not able to get over this jugalbandi and is being played over an infinite loop in my head and my music players.

I am a big admirer of traditional Indian instruments. I have always loved instruments like flute and shehnayi. There are songs where some pieces of flute are just amazing. One example is the flute piece from Tanhayi song of Dil Chahta Hai movie. And now I heard this piece of Shehnayi which almost blew me away. I think it is the most refreshing piece of music that I have heard in a long long time. It is having quite a magnetic effect on me and forced me to put it here :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Priest

After coming back from India, things had been insanely hectic. Too many things had been going in parallel and it made me think one day whether I am even thinking what I am doing or just behaving like a robot finishing all the work on the to-do-list one by one. But a friend gave me a surprise and I could not help but share it on the blog.

A friend of mine from India has decided to join a missionary and lead a life of a celibate as a priest. This might not sound like a big deal to many but let me share some background information of the guy. He is from Kerala, from a Christian family, successfully completed his Engineering in Computer Science in India. Then worked for a big Chinese communication company in China for several years and finally came to Germany to pursue his Masters Degree in the same subject. After completing his Masters, he even worked for a renowned Research establishment here for about an year. But just recently he broke this news to us that he is quitting his job and moving back to India to join a missionary somewhere in the east.

I was not much surprised to hear that since I know he is a pretty devoted guy. No matter what but he never used to miss the evening mass at the church. There are only a few people I know who are as down to earth, well balanced, caring, unbiased and honest as him. I had always admired how he lives such a simple life without the influence of any new age menaces. So this decision of his made me respect him even more. But it also made me think about a lot of things.

It might be easy for him but from my perspective it is a pretty tough step to take for many reasons. We live in a world far from ideal where new temptations are added everyday around us. Now to live around these lollipops like a BMWs, iPhones, Tag Heuers etc, knowing that they exist yet denying them completely even knowing that you have the ability to earn and afford them, needs nerves of steel. I have personally seen a couple of people living a simple life often criticizing such things but eventually succumbing to the temptations. I don’t blame them.

Among the 5 major vices mentioned in ancient Indian literature called kaam (lust), krodh (anger) , lobh (greed), moh (attachment), ahankaar (ego), I believe winning over kaam is the toughest. A prime example from Indian mythology is Vishvamitra. Even a man of his intellect and dedication could not save himself and fell for kaam. No matter how much we deny or shy away from it, it is one of the universal truths of life.

To live a celibate life with minimum needs and serving others definitely deserves my admiration. So when someone tells me he is going to live such a life, I say more power to him. 

Tomorrow, I am flying again to Washington DC for work for 2 weeks and again feeling anxious like last time as discussed here :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Back to Square One

After living outside India for a considerable time, going on vacations to India are always special and memorable. Usually, I go twice a year to India usually around Holi and Diwali but this year, I went after a complete 1 year. The reason is that in the last years, I used to be always gung-ho and filled with energy and excitement to go to India but after spending 4-5 days, I started feeling like getting out of there. After reaching India, all that energy and excitement evaporates somewhere. Things get complicated, illogical and impractical situations start coming up, people start bothering everywhere, I get restless and impatient in all of this and the weather does not help at all. But on this trip, it was different !

This was I guess the first time that I went with a more open heart and had decided to take everything in good spirits. I promised myself that I will not loose control of myself over how people and things work in India. Instead, I will try to enjoy it and try to blend in. And boy, I did not let myself down. Maybe the reason for all this was that since the beginning of this year, I had been contemplating on moving back to India, for good. Of course, I have no problems here and my life cannot be more easy than it is. But I guess I have started to miss the chaos of life and starting to feel that there is no fun in having no problems in life. That does not mean life is served here for me in a golden platter. I will still have to shove off the snow from the driveway with my hands come winter but all this is nothing as compared to the life in India.

And so coming back to taking the trip more positively, I will pen down a few instances. The first two days were tough and I had to try very hard to not let my blood reach its boiling point. Nothing disturbs me more than seeing a guy driving his car on a road with absolutely no traffic but still not in a particular lane but in the middle of two lanes using the lane division paint as a trail to reach some kind of nirvana as destination. I mean how tough it is to drive in a single lane is always beyond my comprehension. Then there are these over smart guys who will not stop and wait in the rightmost lane to turn right at a traffic crossing on a red light like many others waiting but will take the adjacent lane and will come all the way to the front right at the red light to block the traffic which has to go straight. I guess we Indians living a life with absolutely no real achievement at all get the kicks in performing such stunts just to feel good about ourselves, to get a feeling of achieving something great in life about how smart, tough and intelligent we are. The girlfriends or wives sitting in the car, feeling so proud of their partners in performing acts of such high caliber like one feels after winning a Bharat Ratna. Anyways, it took me 2 days on the road but after that I started taking it positively and taking it like a Wii video game and got myself busy in concentrating on reading the truck shaiyri in traffic jams. I think nothing can beat that. One gem from the back of one the trucks read:
neki kar, joote kha
maine khaye, tu bhi kha

The next thing which tests my patience and anger is seeing people consciously littering on the streets but when you go to their house and throw a toffee wrapper in their drawing room you are being judged as uncivilized. I retained my composure by not preaching anyone but doing my part of picking up others stuff wherever possible. Even in the car sitting with a packet to collect everything which would have gone out the window by my cousins and being ridiculed each time. I still took it positively ignoring their taunts. While waiting for my turn in Q at a jam packed KFC in a mall, one fine lady did not even bothered to wait at the back and by completely ignoring the Q like we were totally invisible, went bang at the front to place her order. I still did not mind and reminded myself of fast forwarding myself from 1950s to 2011. It is even more amusing at a temple, gurudwara or a mosque where people will push you, kick you, break lines to get their shoes back from the shoe collection place but will appear to be absolutely devoted, calm, composed, compassionate when inside praying to God. Sometimes, I totally fail to understand people. I simply enjoyed the total mismatch between the news on TV channels about fake and adulterated khoya and the amount of sweets being sold and bought in the market by the same people who go hawwww and haiiiii after watching the same news. I did not fret about people who came to our house to give Diwali gifts and then gossiping and bitching about the people they are going on the next stop to give the gifts. In fact I tried to enjoy the gossip and in fact spared myself watching shitty soaps on TV to keep me entertained.

I can go on and on giving awesome experiences and the list will never end. BUT, no matter how complicated it is, how impractical and weird it is, how biased and with double standards it is in India but it is still my HOME and that is the bottom line. I can keep living here and keep writing such posts or I can go back to India and take everything like a sport by doing my part and in the process if I can influence even 1-2 people around me to change, I think my decision of going back would be successful. I am sure I am sure there will be like minded people back there and who knows maybe in 50 years from now people will start learning from us like they did hundreds of years back from our civilization!