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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Demonetisation - Yet Another Point of View

We debate and argue. We do it a lot because we skip a few stages of research, discussion and understanding. Let us try to not to do it here. Let’s assume that we are yet to take a position on the subject.

Demonetisation should not require much technical understanding of economics or monetary economics, I think. Let’s begin with something everyone agrees with. There’s a price everyone is paying for demonetisation. The farmers, the businessmen, the bureaucrats, the Reserve Bank of India, the banks, employees of banks, employees of cash management agencies, foreign tourists in the country, those who’ve hoarded cash by evading taxes and those who’re dealing in cash for illegal businesses. When one thinks of it, cash binds us more than cricket and religion.

We’re paying a price in anticipation of a few benefits. Three benefits to be precise: One, an attack on makers of counterfeit currency, two, an attack on the corrupt and three a movement towards a cashless transaction habit.

Of these, one is a long term benefit – the movement towards a cashless transaction habit. The subject does need deeper understanding, but for this discussion, we can safely say that there would be no dispute that this habit will solve a lot of problems for all – consumers, business community, banks, RBI, government. It is indeed a huge benefit. Cashless transactions are as old as the banking system, but in the recent years, they’ve become far more feasible as an alternative to cash. But the share of cashless transactions is abysmally low. A change in habit of such nature always comes in with a shock treatment like this one. If this demonetisation results in an increase in cashless transactions to even 10 – 15% of the total transactions, it can be said to be worth the trouble only for this reason.

But is it likely to happen? Now, we can debate. The demonetisation in itself supports the movement, but the simultaneous introduction of same value currency (and even higher value) goes very strongly against it. If we were not to replace the entire value of the old currency with new, perhaps the buyers and the sellers would have made an effort to learn and get comfortable with cashless transactions.

The other two benefits are not long term. Demonetisation has dealt a severe blow to the makers of counterfeit notes and also those who’ve hoarded cash. So, rightly, it has been termed as a surgical strike. Whom does one hit to hurt? The enemy, of course! The makers of counterfeit notes, who then circulate these notes to finance terrorism, are obviously enemies of the country and the people at large. They must be dealt with in the severest manner. Is it a hard enough blow to wipe them out? It’s difficult to guess, but most would agree that they may get badly wounded, but not wiped out. A wounded enemy becomes more dangerous, they say. We have to trust the government to take more steps to wipe them out.

Now, let’s move attention to the last category – the hoarders of cash. This is what most people appear very vocal about. On the basis of what one reads on social media, it appears that there is a belief that this move will go a long way in rooting out corruption.

Let's ponder deeper. There cannot be a debate that this move is a one-time blow. It is an attack – an act of violence.

While all of us hate the corrupt, we must agree that we don’t hate them as much as we hate the terrorists. These are people closer, next door. They are not enemies, but people we share an interdependence with. We’d like them amend their ways, get reformed – not get wiped out. In this case, most of us can appreciate the fact that our fight is against corruption – not the corrupt. Corruption is an element, present in people. It is present in every person in some form.

If you seem to appreciate this perspective, we can continue the discussion. Please leave a reply or comment to indicate if you’d like to continue this discussion. From this stage on, it may take some effort. 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

We, The Idiots!

I read a few blog posts about how our march to modernity is ruining life, depleting values and causing massive exploitation. People like me, who've 'stepped out' of the mainstream regularly express themselves on such issues. Based on such articles and on my experience during the last few years, I've realised that we’ve come to belong to a category of idiots – absolute idiots.

We are able to see and very clearly articulate the follies of the system – the education system, the economic system, the governance system, the social system. We are able to see clearly and articulate the exploitation of the human resources, the natural resources, animals and birds. We are also able to articulate solutions, at least a direction in which the exploitation can be avoided, the follies can be overcome. But we are naive enough to believe that others cannot see them. We offer talks and discourses thinking that we’re the prophets. People listen to our rambling and agree wholeheartedly, but also ignore it. Neither the ruling party is interested nor the opposition. Neither the industrialist is interested nor the consumer. Neither the media is interested nor its audience. Neither is the exploiter bothered nor the exploited. That is the ultimate proof of our idiocy. The farmer, for whose cause we are prepared to take on the government does all he can to ensure that his children don’t have to get into farming. The unskilled worker, whose life we thought is better off in the village, is willing to grab half a chance to run to the city and live in miserable conditions. The parent, whose children are being ill-educated by the system isn’t interested in any ‘real’ education. He wants his child to pass the system and make a life for himself. Aren’t we idiots – fighting someone else’s battle, when that someone else himself is on the ‘other’ side.

We think of ourselves as brave pioneers of a new way of life. We think we’re an inspiration and hope for people, who want to take a plunge into bravery. Indeed, we’re idiots – for we are nothing more than a source of entertainment for them. They never call on us. When we repeatedly invite them, organise events for them, they oblige us by coming over. They enjoy the romantic side of our lives and make us feel good about it. To make us feel better, they even share a desire of living a life like ours, but soon forget all about it. Then we’re not expected to disturb them – this chapter is over for them. We, the idiots, tell ourselves that we must go on...one in a thousand or ten thousand will be moved to act!

All this is still not the true representation of our idiocy. There are very few idiots like us, who walk out of a system, without insurance. But all of us want to live independently. We aren’t inclined to collaborate in order to improve our own lives. We hold the flags of our ideologies high, make small compromise every day, but to approach someone with another flag will be to lose identity.

God save us.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Just As Much (JAM)

"If you stop earning - absolutely, how many years can you carry on with whatever you own?”, I asked a few people. The neighbouring small farmer said three months. The bigger farmer said five years. My ex-subordinate, who earns about a million and half p.a. also said five years. My ex-colleague earning about ₹ 5 million said 20 years. The manual labourer who works in our farm said I won’t be able to repay what I borrowed to live during the last 3 months.

To earn for livelihood is a compulsion for few, not so for few others. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to know how much is enough to suffice till old age, say 90? If I knew that, and let’s say a buffer for another 10 years, I can live like a child – provided for – not a worry about finances – at least one aspect of life completely sorted out! Then, there is no point in earning more. I can work for other reasons.

The concept of JIT became quite famous in the context of production management a few decades back. Before that, ‘earlier the better’ was the norm. With regard to money, ‘more the better’ is the norm today. Let us explore the concept of Just As Much (JAM).  Why? For the same reasons that JIT was popular! If I continue to spend time and effort to earn money, which I won’t need, is it not a waste of time and effort?

Is it a difficult calculation? Does it require one to be a financial wizard to calculate? All that is needed is basic arithmetic. In fact, an excel sheet can obviate the need for that too. However, it can only be done by people who no longer aspire for a more expensive lifestyle. I use the word expensive and not better. Here we will confine ourselves to the domain of money.
 
Let us understand how. If I have ₹ 1 Cr and I am 40 years old, is that sufficient if I live till 90? More information required? My monthly expenses are ₹ 75k p.m. and I don’t aspire for a more expensive lifestyle. It should be quite easy to calculate. We need to check for inflation, returns on investment and plug in the figures in a sheet.

Calculations suggest that if my investments are able to generate a 12% pa return and the inflation is 10% pa, I will be able to manage till 2028 i.e. till the age of 52. I’ve also factored in a 2% pa increase in expenses due to lifecycle – kids growing up, medicines, etc. A ₹ 2 Cr networth can carry me on till 2050 (age 74 years). In calculation of networth, there is no need to exclude anything – not even the house you’re living in.

Now, that should sound encouraging to a lot of my friends. How will it get operational is the next question. But that’s a much easier one. This first level needs much deeper understanding and acceptance.

Is there a catch? Yes, there is if you’d like to call it so. Financial planners across the world make you believe that you got to slog it out till you retire, so that you’re able to survive post retirement. They plan to build a corpus or capital so huge that its earnings are able to meet your expenses till you die. The assumption is that the capital cannot be spent. I think this thinking became obsolete a couple of decades back. Look around – so many people who retired 10 - 15 years back have built sizable capital (networth), be it in real estate, equity, debt or gold. They’re all set to pass it on to their children as inheritance. But it is hardly required! The children are well off by their own selves. There is no reason to believe that I will have to leave any inheritance for my children. Correction: There is no reason to believe that I will have to leave any financial inheritance for my children. If this does not provide comfort to the reader that using up capital is okay, the discussion can end for him/her.

Let’s get back to the calculation. A ₹ 75k p.m. lifestyle in a city like Mumbai is not a lavish one, but neither is it very modest. We’re not considering investments here - 75k of expenses. So, if one is paying an EMI of say 40k, we consider only the rental value, which may be around 20-25k, or less.

The next calculation can be done for how expenses can be reduced, without impacting the quality of life adversely at all. How does that impact the sufficiency of capital? A 10k drop in expenses gives me a 5 year increase – takes me to 79.

I’ve moved out of Mumbai to live on a farm. Our monthly expenses for a family of 4 average out to less than 20k per month. Factor in the lumpsum expenses of travel, capital expenses and the figure will average 35k per month. Our standard of living has definitely gone up. Our expenses should come down, because we’ll grow more food in future; currently we buy everything.

Sounds interesting? Let me know.

Friday, 7 October 2016

The (Ir)Relevance of Intellectualism

Is all the intellectualism around governance methods, economic models, morality, social justice and education worth any effort? 

Can't we notice that constitutions, laws and codes have never managed to reign the corruption within?

We may want to believe that gift culture or bitcoin will avert collapse of the economy, that permaculture will reverse the destruction of agriculture, that alternate education will change human behaviour. But inside of the inside, we know the none of this will happen. We know that it is fear, which is making us believe!

Dear Intellectual,
Intellect is a tool of the divine, not a servant of your ego. Be mindful of the urge to misuse it.

Writing codes of civilisation is futile. When people have been cleansed from within, it will get reflected in their behaviour and intent. Stop wiping the mirror; the spot is on the face! Let's get that straight.

Can your intellect be useful in cleansing the inner selves? Cleanliness is, indeed, Godliness!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Righteousness & Safety

How does the lone boy playing on the abandoned railway tracks save himself? Those other boys, playing on the used tracks aren't right. But in case of an emergency, the train driver is likely to run down the lone boy in order to save the other boys. It seems right to sacrifice one to save many.

It is fatal to stick to righteousness if everyone else is on the other track. Is there a way to stick on without compromising on safety?

It's a dilemma. The one unable to overlook righteousness can't have fun on the wrong track. But whatever he does or says, no one among the others comes to play with him. Everyone is scared of the the train running over or missing out on fun.

So, what does the lone boy do? Have fun till he's run over rather than be scared till being run over!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Regulations of Love

I was introduced to the regulations in the initial years - very subtly. It details whom to love, whom more, whom less, how to express, etc. It spoke of different kinds of love - brotherly, husbandly, fatherly, for motherland, for money, etc.

When I complied and felt honest, when I didn't, guilty.

It took me years to know of civilisation. These are attempts to rein in nature, to bring in an order. But how is love in natural form?

It is within me - powerful, but not forceful. I just need to be conscious of it. It isn't for one and not for the other. It just is. Simple, unrelated to reciprocation, bonding, expectations and measurements.

Anything otherwise would have another name. But love is misused in its place.

I must experience it deeply enough. Not do anything, just experience its existence. Let the regulations not distract me. Let my expectations, my need to possess, my tendency to measure not adulterate it.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Living Within

For years, I lived within. Some walls were there when I came, like religion, income group, nationality, etc. Others, I built. Personality, likes, competencies, ambitions, morality, etc. Walls gave me an identity. I kept building.

"Who are you?", someone asked. I pointed to the walls. For years I did that.

"Don't you exist on the other side also?", someone asked. "I can't view", I replied.

I wondered, though. The walls were tall. I tried harder to look. Can I exist outside my identity also?

And guess what! I did.

At first it was amusing. But slowly the truth sunk in. If I existed within as well as outside, is the identity an illusion? It was terrifying; it still is. Then I remind myself...

Monday, 8 August 2016

Civilisation... Why?

In a R Tagore story, a married young woman finds herself getting attracted towards her husband's brother, who's teaching her music. Betrayal is the subject.

But betrayal appears in the dictionary of the civilised not the naturalists or the artistic type. "प्यार किया नही जाता, हो जाता है।" They say. Even the civilised would say the same, if the lady was not married.

The norms of civilisation don't warrant a frown if she's equally attracted or spends more time with another lady or an older person or a child or a pet or in the garden.

Children enter the world ignorant of these norms, but the natural instincts are preloaded. We educate them by introducing धर्म - अधर्म, a very tailored version of respect, patriotism and  a whole world of the constitutional framework of a civilised society.

Everything natural is acceptable, but within the confines of civilisation. We even teach them how to become insensitive to their natures.

They do the same to their children.

'This education is important', you'd say, right? Otherwise, there would by anarchy. Men wouldn't coexist peacefully. If might is right, there would be rampant injustice.

Close your eyes for 30 seconds and think. Anarchy, war and injustice exist despite education. If you would agree with me, they exist because of this narrowed version of education.

You agree with me? But putting it to action is very different. If you amend the education, you might have to accept betrayal as part of life, those who respect you may not, you may get stranded in the vacuum left by the outgoing societal order, you may not be able to cope with the empowerment. Also the scorn of people around you! Will you be able to bear it?

It may be better to disagree. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Guarding MY space? What Space?

For years, I've guarded that space...MY SPACE...lest people don't get to know, don't intrude.

Then one day, I asked, "What am I guarding? Why?".

I stopped being the guard. But it was tough to go inside, even for me. The place had become so used to being guarded.

Years later, I've only managed to get a hazy view of what lies inside...

And guess what! The inside is the same...whether you enter from my door or yours!

Monday, 25 July 2016

To Be In Bliss...Be Ignorant?

I spent a day with a childhood friend and his family. We discussed how life has been over the recent years

He mentioned that after hitting 40 or around then, life has been steady and calm. Cruising along, no stress. Vipassana helped a lot, his wife added. I enquired further how Vipassana affects diet, habits, etc. Very interestingly, I understood that it prescribes nothing other than practicing the meditation regularly. The meditation makes one more sensitive and consequently alterations to diet and mental frame get affected.

Further interestingly, they explained how they were mentally calm and stress-free. They don't think much about past or future. Think what to cook when in kitchen, not before. Official work is left behind in office. Thinking too much is the cause of much stress, they explained.

Don't think about what is wrong with the world and its ways. Staying calm is the key. This is what they concluded.

I was stumped. The system sucks life out of people in many ways. Many from our class belong to the side benefitting, but consequently causing exploitation - not directly, but incidentally. So long as we are on this side, we can be calm. We can afford to ignore the impact of our mere existence, an impact largely avoidable. We can afford to excuse ourselves of thinking so that our lives are peaceful. After all, thinking isn't going to make any difference and my peace of mind is of paramount importance!

I'm still feeling like a fool. I can just learn the technique and be in bliss. But I notice that I'm further away from deciding to join the course.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Venture Idea

Exposure - it is a critical means of learning.
Experience - it is perhaps the most effective learning methodology.
Experimenting - it is how one can gain experience.

You're fortunate if you're in a position to decide on a particular experiment in order to gain experience, to expose yourself to circumstances, which offer learning.

Saarathi finds its meaning in facilitating an experiment, helping you get an exposure, being a part of your learning.

Experimenting may not always be romantic or pleasurable. In fact challenging and adventurous experiments are fun and full of learning. Of course, you should be able to assess the risks and take on only those which seem sensible.

So, what experiments we're talking about? Let's say, living a different lifestyle, in a new setting. For example an urban elite living on a farm without a maid, cook and on a negligible budget. Or a farmer's son traveling in Mumbai local trains. Or a Keralite, who has haver seen temperatures below 25 degrees living in the mountains of Laddakh. For a few days of course, not a major life changing turn! Or assisting a vet, a mason, a script writer or any professional, whose craft has been interesting. Parenting is a world of experimenting opportunities. How does your child react to staying on a mountain or beach without any friends, TV and school? You can only imagine, but never know unless you try.

Experiences add to the perspectives. Such experiments can't happen by living in hotels and conditioned ambience. They must be for a reasonable duration, not a typical sightseeing vacation.

Such experiences need not be expensive. In fact the guest and the host can be mutually add value such that money is not exchanged.

We'll offer you some options. You tell us any others and we'll figure out if we can find a match.

How does it work?
We invite you to sign up, you do so if you find value in being an experimenter. You automatically also become a potential host. We spend time to understand your experimenting needs and intensity in greater detail. We offer options out of those available or go find one for you

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Why Does Mom want my kids to go to School?

Three years of homeschooling has answered most of the articulated concerns. In fact, as parents, we're happier than our happiest imagination.

But I just got to know that my mom secretly tries to encourage kids to join a school. Why? She's not even conversant with the subject of education.

She would have been fine if we were to send them to a Vipassana school or an Art of Living School. But no school is a crazy idea. Clearly, she's unable to bear the nonconformity.

Why is it so important to Conform?
Instead of taking a rhetorical view of the question, let us enquire. Conformity has many compelling benefits.
1. It gives me a sense of security and an identity within a social hierarchy.
2. It allows me to move ‘ahead’ instead of bothering about how everyday life has to be lived. Sending children to school, producing a certificate to prove professional ability, paying taxes so that the government fulfils its role, attending parties to fulfil social obligations and personal needs are ways of giving life a default path.
3. It allows me to excuse myself of thinking at a fundamental level. I can draw from thousands of years of experiences and experiments.

At all times, however, there have been people, who found it difficult to conform to all the accepted norms. I refused to conform to a few like the practice of doing a job to provide for my family needs. I refused to depend upon the institutions of education to prepare my children to take on life. I refused to follow the socially accepted norms to say I love you to my friends and loved ones. I find it difficult to conform.

But my mom finds it very difficult to approve of this nonconformity. Why does she find it so difficult? Again, let me enquire, instead of being rhetorical.

She is incapable of thinking fundamentally. For example, she cannot discuss whether participating in a ritual is the only method of praying. In fact, that the ritual is related to praying itself is a novel idea to her. For her, following a ritual is an end in itself. Therefore she thinks that I’ve derailed and as a good mother she must take all the efforts to get me back on track.

She’s constantly hammered by the need to conform. Almost everyone she meets, lives with and is exposed to (on TV and other media) keeps reinforcing the fact that the more a person conforms, the more he is respected.

There is also the fear of uncertainty, especially for the children. Growing up under the care of nonconformist parents increases the risk of the children themselves being nonconformists. Not only does she have to bear with the idea that her son has gone off-track, but her grandchildren may also not bring any cheer from the perspective of social acceptance.

I empathise with her, but the only option I have is to prevent her from influencing my children. I cannot reason with her for the same reasons why she is unable to accept my nonconformity. I know I will end up creating a scene.

Now, let’s move attention to a different problem on the same subject. In the society at large, people who pursue alternative paths are not entirely rejected. In fact, there are various categories outside of mainstream, which have a very strong identity. Leftist politicians, environmentalists, alternate educators, NGOs working for development of tribals, LGBT rights’ activists, organic farmers and many such groups are acknowledged and respected.

Can I consider myself one such entity? Till some time ago, I thought I can. But my experiences forced me to think otherwise. To belong to any such group, I must conform to the respective ideology. The ecology experts disown me when they realise that I do not consider it wrong to draw water from a bore well. I opted for a hand pump on a bore well instead of an open well. But the environmentalist doesn’t approve. He says that deeper ground water belongs to someone else. He isn’t willing to reason. The NGO working for the development of tribals would like me to have a philanthropic view towards tribals. I cannot consider them equals or better off. Tribals are physically, mentally and spiritually stronger than me, they’re just monetarily poor. But my argument isn’t acceptable.

For similar reasons, I’m rejected by almost everybody on the alternate path too. To be accepted, I must conform to their moral, religious or political standards. There is another requirement. I must hate the ones they hate. As a homeschooling parent, I must be anti-schooling. As a natural farmer, I must despise anything chemicals. Every activist wants me to stand up against the establishment if I have to stand on his side. I can either flatter every policy of the ruling political party or condemn every policy. If I don’t hate a Pakistani, I’m not a committed Indian, in fact, I may be tried for treason.

Basically, as a parent, I have two choices if I wish to be socially acceptable. One, I get him to join the race and try to fit him into the perfect cube mould. Two, educate him with certain moral standards, with a strong sense of right and wrong.

Unfortunately for me (and perhaps for my children), both options are unacceptable to me. My nonconformity is not disapproval. But who's willing to discuss?

Boy, I’m in a soup. I refuse to conform to the mainstream and I refuse to conform to the alternate. My children may be in an even difficult position, when they grow up.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Struggle Is Within

Fifty years is approximately an effective lifetime, leave out childhood and the deathbed years. One generation. It's a lot of time to fulfill the purpose of life, one might say. Indeed it is a lot of time.

Now, take a broader view. In evolutionary terms, time is measured in million years. One generation is negligible time. Homo-sapiens have existed for about 200000 years. That means we are past 4,000 generations. We, meaning 7 billion of us.

If one day out of my 18250 days (50 years) gets wasted, I get mad. Crazy, isn't it? I completely agree. But the one day is a critical component in the journey of evolution, however miniscule.

Evolution happens, rather the impact of evolution can be seen only after few thousand years. So, as individuals, we have no choice but to accept the direction of evolution as given. That is perhaps what is destiny. It will require millions of people in each of the next scores of generations to cause any directional change. So, if we are headed towards ecological destruction, that is destiny. Destroying ecology to feed our need for food, safety and convenience is embedded in our genetic composition. There is evidence for it - evidence consistently observed across over 70,000 years. Why be in denial mode? The struggle, therefore, is not to save the planet from the greed of man. The struggle is to watch destiny unfold even if it spells destruction. The struggle is within.

We may want to believe that gift culture or bitcoin will avert the collapse of the economy, that permaculture will reverse the destruction of agriculture, that alternate education will change human behaviour. But inside of the inside, we know the none of this will happen. We know that it is fear, which is making us believe!

What is so wrong with destruction? We accept death of the body, why not extinction of the specie? Let's help each other come to terms with destiny... That'll be some task.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A Review After 3 Years and 4 Months

Did we take on this road less travelled because we were dismayed and wanted to escape the beaten path or were we enchanted by a new way of life? Partly both. What proportions? I don’t remember; also, it is irrelevant now. 

Nonetheless, there was a willingness to explore and do it earnestly. 
We did not begin by being members of an alternate lifestyle group/community. We were not opponents of the existing system of education, farming, construction, economy, governance, etc. We have no ideology or a spiritual guru. As we moved along, we got acquainted to many people, who had also chosen to tread off the beaten path, but most of them had affiliations to certain ideologies or beliefs. The common thread that bound most of them is their disapproval of status quo. 

Rekha never really felt at home with most of these ideologies and beliefs. But I did share their thinking and hoped that an alternate is workable. But now, I don’t have much of that hope left. The wife is (almost) always right. 
I’m not feeling let down or dismayed. I feel liberated. I understand people in both worlds (the alternate and the mainstream) much better and I love them irrespective of the badge they’re displaying, irrespective of whether they’re able to reciprocate. 

The truth is that there is nothing wrong with status quo and nothing right. The truth is that any alternative is just an idea. The truth is also that I’ve found joy in both lifestyles. 

As a family, we’ve lived for 3 years just trying to find ground below our feet, just to get a feeling of having settled, having transitioned successfully from an elite urban lifestyle to a life on the farm. We’re now on the other side of the bridge. Yes, there are incremental adaptations, some more understanding, few more goals, but the difficult part of the journey is over. We now know ourselves and each other much better. What a journey it has been! The travel has been far more exciting than the destination. 

Is it time to sit back, slow down and enjoy the fruits of our labour? It sounds logical, but not exciting. There is indeed a lot more, that can be done. One may perceive that the real journey is about to begin now. Not wrong at all. 
Alternatively, how about taking another road...even less travelled! How does it matter whether someone else has travelled or not? As long as the love in the heart grows and excitement scales new peaks, it is in line with our family characteristics.

I guess some more thought has to be applied

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Why Did I Exit Groups

Groups are fun, energising. A group is often more than the sum of all. But there's more than that to truth.

Affluence has gone up. Characteristic of friends and relatives change with raised affluence. The bubbles around them enlarge. Smiles become wider and laughter quiter. Head gets precedence over heart.

A group seeks conformity. I felt unwelcome in groups where I didn't conform. One-on-one, everyone in the group likes me, but when together, I had to resemble them. 

In a group, fear multiplies and risks assume larger proportions. When they evaluate my off-beat decisions, they expect me to prove robustness in scenarios, which aren't even probable. When I can't defend, they feel vindicated. 

A group abhors one-to-one dialogue. It is treated as contempt of group etiquette. So, it is imperative while discussing in a group, proceed at the pace of the slowest and do not raise the content beyond what the dumbest and the least interested can comprehend or shows interest.  

Why then, should I seek a group? Because I seek the strength of unity and the fruits of synergy? Or because I seek relaxation in the long and tiring journey of the soul? 

Strength of unity is relevant in adverse times or against an adversary. Synergy cannot be sought in the absence of a shared objective. In times of prosperity, insecurity and fear often dictates group thought and behaviour.

So, let me not look out out for someone to organise a get-together. Instead, let me just go ahead and meet up those I'd like to meet. Let me not seek an approval from a group for what I think or feel. Let me use my wits instead. Let me not seek opinion to check if I really belong to the group. Let me be what I am.

Groups - I must to exit you though I still love each one of you. I accept that for fun and relaxation, there's the magic of a group is not replicable in any other way. But I can't use a group for that alone. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Why Create A Community?

Numerous communities have been created for those who intend to live in harmony with nature, without exploitation, with love and affection for all, with a sense of oneness and empathy. The saintly souls attempt to live a life that manifests their ideals and ideologies.

In other words, or from another perspective, what they're attempting is to create a gate to keep all those out who don't have the same intent. The love, affection and empathy is for those inside. The oneness excludes those on the other side of the gate.

They come together. Their world becomes a smaller place. Soon they notice that all in this world aren't really alike. They create another community within the community.

It's not just them. We all do this. It's natural. It's the nature of the mind. But this nature of the mind isn't aligned to the phenomenon of oneness, we know is true.

So, if I must experience oneness, I must keep away from creating a community. If I must love I must open the gate. Instead of fortifying ideologies, I must drop them. My beliefs, my likes & dislikes, my ideals and my opinions separate me from others. If I must experience oneness, this separated ness must give way.

Sounds like a daunting task! But what else is there?

Sunday, 24 January 2016

To Be or To Become

I was once a tree – a large banyan tree. I lived a hundred years. During all those years, I witnessed, but never participated, never judged, never thought, never felt – neither happiness nor sorrow. I was to be a tree – I was being one.

Once, another time, I was a dog. I searched food, I sought affection, I defended my territory, I scared strangers. I felt loved at times, at times I raged with anger. I wasn’t like a tree; because I wasn’t a tree. I was a dog and I was being one.

And now I am a human. I want, I like, I try, I think, I feel, I cry, I celebrate, I compare, I analyse, I plan, I do, I strive, I struggle. They say, “Why do you become? Just be.” I say, “That’s what. I’m just being – being human. Wanting to become is a part of my being. It’s a part of my being today. Tomorrow it may not be. Do you want me to become – become a tree or a dog?”

How can I become? Isn’t it an illusion if I think I can? I can just be. There is no other way.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

What the F....?!

I seek people; I seek people I’d like to talk with, relate to, share with; I seek people on Facebook, at work place, in social gatherings, in trekking expeditions, in movies, in history books.

I’m often disappointed with people. They are what I’d like them to be; but they’re also what I’d like them not to be. Hope does get shattered; sometimes it takes minutes, sometimes years.

Then I seek solitude. And guess what! I get disappointed with myself! I’m the kind too I’d like not to be. But the kind I’d like to be and I am, gives me hope. What other choice do I have?

Then, again I seek people and then...again I seek solitude.

This, I guess, will go on; till I lose all the hope. And that is when...it’ll be FUN!

This hope – to find the right people or even to find the right person or to become the right person – must give way. It keeps me from realising, from accepting the truth. The truth that both – the one I adore and the one I despise – are within the truth. Ravana is the same as Ram. The war is within. The victor will write history.