Thursday, February 4, 2016

AUROVILLE and my Art Musings

When I reached Auroville on 12th Dec, 2015, my bank account showed limited money. I had spent on framing my art-work, on transporting them and now was almost in a financial breakdown. I didn’t even have enough money to print catalogues for this first solo show of mine that I looked forward to for an entire year. Kala Kendra, the gallery in Auroville was providing my lunch and breakfast and co-sponsoring my accommodation. I just had the minimum amount to roam around in the Sun and be happy.

To be on the safer side, I had asked help from my parents, in case there is a financial emergency and the shame of it was eating the core of me.  This was the state in which I moved to Auroville. Needless to say with so much pressure that the relaxed, calm looking faces of the visitors there were clashing with my inner state and aggravating the inner turmoil in me.

First Impression
“It’s a place to chill and have sex.” A friend had said.
“It can be a very disturbing place for artists.” An artist had said.
“It takes time to understand Auroville.” Somebody had said.

And I was lost. By the evening how it gets so dark with lack of streetlights there, that dark was the state in me. For an entire year everyone had questioned me, “Why do you want to exhibit in Auroville, why not Mumbai or Delhi?” I had answered,” For appreciation. People there would understand. I know I will not make any money.”

And now I was even in a doubt that sacrificing my financial shame what I came looking here for I would even get that minimum artistic benefit.

“Its ok. You have wasted your money. Your time can still be saved! You planned it for 1 month here! Cancel the exhibition and go back to Delhi. Do it properly there. Mistakes happen. Rectify it in time.” One me told to me.

“Wait, you deserve a break too. Now that you are already here accept it! Forget about the exhibition. You made a mistake. Let it happen. You can still add that to your resume. Just help yourself switch to the relax mode. It’s sunny and nice here by the beach. You have worked hard for an entire year. Revive your energy so that you can work harder when you are back in Delhi.” Added another part of me.

The Inauguration
“Inaugurations here are not that impactful. So don’t get disheartened if very less people walk in. But later people will flow in.” The gallery had said.

At night I cried.
I could see how stupid I was. My parents gave me the best education. I can have a great job and earn money. I dismissed everything. For one year I locked myself in a room and painted. They all said I was stupid. I knew I was right. But now they won. I really am stupid.
How do I now face my own stupidity.

Towards morning, I had got a little sleep. And in the middle of my sleep, there was a tune, some colours, a flow, some music…

I woke up to a wonderful sound of flute, so soothing.
At breakfast, I met a new visitor, a musician, a flutist. He just moved in to my next room and did his regular riyaz in the morning.

“I would like to play in your inauguration.” He said. My eyes twinkled with gratitude.
“I am an artist too. I have to do shows in many places. If sometimes you feel the place is not getting you the best, you have to make the best of the least it can give you.” The musician over the morning tea said to me. And as I sipped into my tea I breathed in a new light of hope that morning.

It was an amazing inauguration. As unique, as unpredictable, as soothing and as moving as Auroville itself is.

The visitors
Ok so the start was good. Now just be there and talk to the few people that walk in. Not much promotion is done except for the few posters that get stuck among hundreds of other posters fighting for attention and space in the boards. But whatever comes, make the most of it.

A lady of Indian origin who has now settled abroad walked in. She came out of the gallery. Her eyes were moist. She held my hands and looked into my eyes with water in hers. 2 pairs of eyes met. One had doubt and one had assurance.
“Thank you for doing such wonderful work.” She said.
“Thanks to you.” I murmured.
The cicle was complete.

There was no stopping since then. People walked in from nowhere. Wonderful words tumbled down their mouth and into the comment book.
These were not the intellects. These were the people who had understanding. These were exactly the kind of people looking for whom I could put my last coin and bet the entire world to come to Auroville.

They walked in strangers and went out friends. That special space being in which I created my work, they could see and recognize. It was sharing that same space that made us familiar. I was hugged, kissed and blessed.
I was so overwhelmed that I was beginning to say, “This is even much more than what I had expected!”

The clash
You would think what is the trouble now. You have finally found what you went there looking for. People were understanding and appreciating. So, now you must be happy.

But to my surprise my nights still didn’t get sleep.

Wonderful visitors walked in from all over the world. Like ocean was their knowledge and like fragrant air their presence. Each one was a soul with so much light that I was ignited each time. I talked about my work. I talked about me. We talked about the Universe. It was much more than two humans interacting. It was like a dance of light through the eternal tunnel of life and death and coming across that familiar dance and grooving to the moves with familiarity. When (s)he spoke I knew those sentences, When I did (s)he nodded with smile.

Each visitor was like a dancer I met in that tunnel and danced under the blazing, sparkling spotlight, that flash from which the Big Bang must have occurred and split us apart to only remember that light.

However, through all these overwhelming talks and encounters, I could see I was growing distant from myself. The more I talked about my work, the more my work stopped talking to me.

Then I reached a point when I no more felt anything. The music had stopped. The dance was over. When I looked at my work sitting at the gallery I could see a rectangular piece hanging there waiting to be sold, asking to be seen. There was now no more magic.

The promotion
The Christmas break had come. Gallery was closed. I got a chance to breathe outside the gallery once again and thought how I can make use of this time in my favour productively.

Few people had come to the gallery and said, “Why more promotion is not done of this? Such wonderful work is here. We were lucky to have just dropped in. There must be many who have missed. Why don’t you promote it more in the Visitor’s Centre? Too many people there are waiting to have amazing experience as this.”

I utilized my break now to see if I could sort this. I went to the lady who was managing the Centre and before I could say anything much she said, “Ok. So you are that artist. I have heard about your exhibits.”

Do you remember the stories you read in your childhood when somebody would walk, ocean will part to make ways? Those are true stories.

An invisible force was helping me. Was again and again putting me through quarrels with myself and again and again was helping me. I was feeling a bit ashamed asking for my own promotion. And I didn’t even have to ask it. I was still in my mind trying to structure the sentence which will help me sound humble and still work out a logical solution to highlight me. You would not believe, I didn’t even have to speak it.

She said, “We can do more for your promotion. Look at those 2 trees, you can place your posters there and one here on this slab, so that more people can get informed about it.”
She walked with me to the security and informed and I thanked her and ran like a little child excited to get more posters printed from the gallery.

Was I then sleeping peacefully?
I live in a Wonderland. In my world the trees talk, the flowers whisper, the mermaids sing.

In my world the trees are not long wooden slabs, you see. They are my friends. We converse regularly. As I advanced the tree with my poster and stuck, I touched the bark. I had a closer look on the cracks, the crisscrosses, the hard outer crust and the soft inner stock within.

I looked at the tree again and again as many times as I passed. My friend was helping me promote my work. We were happy.

Whose friend are you, Tree?
And in the evening after my dinner as I was leaving the place, I looked at the tree. The poster was gone! I asked the security guard. He said, a lady has removed it. She does not like poster on the tree.

I don’t know how simple or complex this situation seems to you. To me it was a slap right on my cheek.

Looks like I was not the only Alice roaming in the Wonderland. There was another Alice who is worried about the feelings of the trees. She has decided that the tree is not feeling too good with a piece of paper stuck on it. And she felt she was a better friend to the tree and had the authority over her friend to remove it.

“I have put the poster here with permission!” I screamed, “If you want to remove it, you have to take permission at least!” I wanted to howl and cry. Somebody had put a dagger right through the most sensitive part in me.

“These are common in Auroville, Aparajita.” The cafeteria staff who by now was my friend told me. “You still have one poster on the slab. Forget about it.”

But I didn’t forget.
It was not as simple as it looks like. The slap went much deeper. It shook my wonderland. It put my entire friendship with this Universe I had believed without doubt in a doubt. From that very faith had come my work you see.

The disconnection
That night I cried the loudest. I cried like a dog over whom a vehicle had passed squeezing the bones. I screeched.

Next morning was a Sunday and I had booked for my meditation in Matrimandir. What a day, I thought. I had booked thinking I will go there to connect with myself. And I am here with the biggest fight, in a total mess, broken and tangled, shattered and smashed.

The very world I thought was my playground was denied to me. Isn’t this what religion is like? In Ayodhya somebody is fighting thinking he is doing Ram a great favour. Another fanatic is fighting thinking he is pleasing Allah by defending. Each one of them are thinking he is a great soul working as a God’s instrument in the favour of Almighty. And nobody really knows if God feels or doesn’t feel anything about it.

The exact same situation was with me and the lady and the tree. I was in this scenario just another fanatic. I had all my life thought I was friend of the tree. She has also felt the same probably. And either of us are unaware of what the tree has to say about it. 

As the bus took me to Matrimandir, on the way I looked at all the trees. There was something alive for me in this Universe. Today for the first time I looked at it like it was dead. These were all my fantasies. I am just another fanatic.

As I sat in Matrimandir, I could feel I died. There used to be a poetry inside me. Lots of music. Lots of magic, talking trees, singing birds, playful bees. They are all dead. The entire spiritual world is a gimmick. It’s another hallucination of the mind. All that I have worked on is stupid. What I called “The Truth” is not true.

The hatred
Next day my eyes were swollen. I wiped again and again to put my eye-liner. I have to now wear my bindi and saree and look pretty and be at the gallery. I am a prostitute. I have to talk nicely to sell myself. Something that was once very personal and sensitive to me is now my business, indifferent to me.

My "clients" had come to visit. They were full of appreciation. I nodded and tried to sync. Spoke of my work and spiritual journey but didn’t feel any of it. I was faking orgasms now. I was in business. My emotions had nothing to do with it.

As I looked at my work, I was so much filled with hatred, I wanted to take them down and break, tear and spit on it. Too many lines. Too many forms. Too many words. Too much intellect.

I indeed am the prostitute. I am that fanatic who feels nothing. Just had loads and loads of thoughts to blabber upon. "If you had really felt anything, you would have represented silence. It would have been a blank canvas" The new me was telling the older me.

And I hated myself. I even hated to be inside my body.

The first sale
Though I was going through a storm within and my own work had stopped working for me, it still continued to work for others it seems. People were still full of appreciation and it had started to sell now.  

I made my first ever receipt!

Even in my distress over the rainy, stormy days there was a rainbow that the first sale had brought and I wanted to celebrate. Among different visitors often some people would come to ask me out for lunch or dinner. I accepted each one with gratitude. An Italian guy had come that day.

In a place far away from my known ones, where I had no old friends, I thought this would be my friend here with who I could celebrate the joy of my first sale of painting.

After we ate, I offered to pay the bill. “I will treat you. Its the first earning from the exhibition.” I said. This money was holy to me. Spending even a coin from it was priceless. And then I looked at his face.

It wasn’t the face of a friend. It was the face of a stranger who met another stranger and was thinking, so stupid of her to want to pay the bill. May be she has too much money. But what do I have to lose. I just save some money from my dinner tonight, thats it.

He just shrugged. Indifferently.

He didn’t say, “Hey! No way! Lets share the bill and we can still celebrate!”

He didn’t say, “Okay. You can treat me now. Tomorrow lunch is mine then.”

He didn’t say, “Ah, come on. It’s your first earning. Treasure it. I will pay.”

Those are the sentences my friends would have said. And I would have still insisted and paid.

He just shrugged. And I paid.
We went for movie then. On the way back he was patting my thigh on the bike wanting to check if more treat was lined up that night.

I was as cold as the night sky. I couldn't give any more. I have given through my work and am empty now. I had given through my good spirit and I was stupid. I was a prostitute. It was now hurting my flesh to give.

The friends
Even in all these fights, chaos, struggles and quarrels, I made some wonderful friends. And these were the most genuine friends because these were made during my bad times, when I was not a soothing person to be with. They listened to my nag. They wiped my tears. They consoled and restored my strength.

We started the days together, met at breakfast in the guest-house with loud cheerful “Good mornings” that made the Sun look brighter every passing day. At night we would again meet at the dining hall before we went to bed and discussed each one’s travel stories.

One such conversation was of “the moonlight celebration”.  Since I had to be at the gallery the whole day, I hardly attended any events. But this one was luring and tempting me.

When they came back we sat in the dining hall and I was curious to hear of their experience.

I had assumed, they would sing and dance by the Moonlight. And so had they assumed too! If you would look at the sky that night, anybody in their “right mind” (the lunatic mind) would want to sing and dance to celebrate.

But they were made to sit in a hall and someone read out verses from Mother’s texts. Each participant was then made to read a verse as others listened.

Pheww! I sighed.
Another spiritual entity is being religified!
If only you understood what Mother had to say, what Jesus had to say, what Muhammed had to say, what Buddha had to say or what Sri Aurobindo had to say, you would have been irresistibly dancing and singing by the moonlight!

Great people did not just give us texts. They gave us philosophy. If you knew what it meant you would be breathing it, putting it out in the soil while you walked, curving it out in your strokes while you painted or dusted it out while you cleaned.

The boring, dull sentences that come out of your mouth starting with, "What Mother said…", "What Rishi Aurobindo said…" would have come out as, "While I sat by the beach that day I felt…" or "When I walked in the Moonlight I felt…". And you would have been surprised to know what Mother or Rishi Aurobindo or Jesus or Moses had to say were the same as what you have to say. It is that common song all souls know and want to say.

“Well, lets celebrate the moonlight then!” A guest house friend had said.
“Yes. Lets celebrate!” The others joined in.

And very soon we were a team. A wonderful, insightful, amazingly powerful, soulful, loud and cheerful…yet peaceful, vibrating team.

A unique instrument was brought. Wonderful was its sound. Mild and soothing like the moonlight itself. As he played, we danced. We danced under the open sky, proceeding towards the farm in the middle of the night.

It was a mysterious madness. We celebrated like fools the stupidity of being. The randomness, the meaninglessness. We celebrated being there together from different countries and finding each other out of mere chances, each one carrying the happiness and sadness, scars and victories, boundaries and fears and freedom. We celebrated each other’s company and warmth.

We hugged each other fondly and passionately before we left that night for bed.

The break up at Matrimandir
I had felt my spiritual reservoir was drying up everyday. Since that was the place my work had come from, I was even thinking this was the beginning of my journey as an artist and ironically this is also the very end.

I have seen so many artists who keep repeating themselves. Once upon a time they were a breathing soul and now the soul has left them to imitate their own past, in their own dead body to rejoice their once living self.

As I thought of this I felt respect for all the artists in the world, of any medium, any style, any subject, in any country, in any endeavour. What a difficult task it is to nurture the artist self. What a demanding procedure. What a thorough cleansing of the "self".

I still continued to struggle. I needed to align myself back. I needed to restore faith in me. I needed to believe beyond the mundane again. I needed to meditate.

I had asked if I could come to Matrimandir every morning before my gallery opened. The people there had seen me crying in and crying out and probably had known the emergency I am in to access this place. They gave me a permission before the regular timing to sit at the lotus pond for a week everyday before I left.

Every morning I went there like a mad woman begging the Universe to once again make me the medium and instrument.

“Do not leave me.
Do not leave me.
Please do not leave me.”
I repeated again and again and again as tears rolled down my cheeks everyday.

As I closed my eyes, I could see my inner door has been shut. Disturbing thoughts like darts were now shooting rapidly to the door with bangs.

There were thoughts and noise and glimpses and pictures. None got a chance to establish itself. My brain had become so receiving and tender, it was receiving too much from everything around. It had a story to tell about the bird it saw this morning. It had a message to decode from the fight of the dogs in the afternoon. It had perceived something interesting in the lady I chatted with last night. It had a brilliant idea it wanted to share. It had a plan. It had a goal. It had a complaint. It had a thanksnote. It just had gathered too much from the surrounding!

As I sat there helplessly to be recovered from this situation, unable to decide it is boon or a bane, one image from the thousands of images that criss-crossed my brain felt very facsinating.

It was an image of Radha holding the feet of Krishna from behind as he was moving ahead, pleading him not to leave. It flashed in my mind in the form of a calendar art. Those thousands of calenders of Radha-Krishna you see hanging in the shops and houses given as gifts by medicine or clothes store to increase their customers. Those have the same colour combination and style very typical, as if one artist has done all the calenders of this kind. The image I saw was by that artist.

When I thought of this later, I smiled. Its so funny the way our brain works. Even in that distressful situation, this was like a joke designed by my brain to tickle me.

Later, for days after days I sat there by the lotus pond every morning feeling nothing. Even when I felt disturbed, I still felt something. There were even days I felt neither love, nor hatred. Those were my most frightening days.

By the last day in Auroville, my state was so bad that I had thought I would become mad now. I had even taken a sedative from a friend thinking my body now needs external help to relax. I forced it to sleep. And that was the state in which I left Auroville towards Pondicherry for 2 other Exhibitions there, one after the other exhausting the last nerve cell I had left working in me.

I had sold 4 paintings by then. Met wonderful, interesting people. Beloved India, my brand was beaming with opportunities.

In Pondicherry, the beach was right in front of the gallery. I went and sat in the evenings. I avoided too much talking and made excuses from dinner or lunch meets to my surprise. I loved meeting and talking to people. I would never refuse or run away from an opportunity to know another individual being kind to me but I needed to be left alone now. I needed time for my brain to one by one say to me all that it wanted to say and was fighting.

I listened. I allowed each one to speak. I appreciated the effort each of my senses took to pick messages from things it saw or heard to inform me.

Gradually I realized, what I had thought as disturbance was actually a knot of wonderful thoughts. I just had to entangle it.

I had finally began to calm down.
In total by now I sold 7 paintings. Few were being enquired still.

I was once again humble with appreciation as each visitor came. They kissed my hand and hugged me, wanted to take photograph, wanted to give me gifts, wanted to invite me home and wanted to share the stories and hear from me.

I looked at my work and loved again. I was full of gratitude to the Universe for using me. I was overwhelmed with the mystery.

I was so full of love towards everything and everything responded so lovingly to me. The traffic police would compliment me. The hotel owner would smile at me. While I waited for an auto, somebody random on his bike would come and offer to drop me.

My pot had been empty. It is again filling up. I thought I was done with giving and was a beggar now. I was again getting rich. I could once again meet people. I could once again listen clearly. I could once again dance and sing and love the trees.

I could once again sleep.

Love finally!
After the end of my exhibitions, I went to Matrimandir again for the final visit. My mind had organized its thoughts. I listened to each one and said thanks gratefully. As they gradually left I entered the silence quite briskly. Very soon we were in a state so deep. It was like a magnet. Like an embrace with the Universe. Like a kiss, lips locked. Like sex. This indeed is tantra. The two counterparts unite. The creator and the creation like Radha and Krishna. Shiv and Shakti.

And then I met those wonderful people for the last time before I left who I had learnt so much from during my stay in Auroville. Each conversation with them opened hundreds of doors within my consciousness and made it scorching bright. I was flooded with light and clean. I was grateful for everything. I could now sense Auroville had wrenched me and washed me. Through the disturbances and happiness and distress it made me an evolved person ready for the next step, for the next series, I could already see.

I was an individual who could now see more, feel more, hear more. I met the same person at the coffee table who I had met earlier as we were both trying to figure out what Auroville hype is. As I had my coffee with him I told him as someone else had initially told me,

“It takes time to understand Auroville….”

***Often people don’t know what the true Auroville is.
The real Auroville is not its buildings or its windmills or its trees. The real Auroville is the silent search for the invisible diamond.

Ask the Banyan, he will tell you.*** Taken from the book “What is this Auroville” by Jyoti Khare and Christine Devin

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What is RIGHT about today’s "Dating Culture"

 Digital Painting 2013

“What are you looking for?”
“Nothing serious and you?”
“A relationship.”

And the two people finish their dinner over a wonderful conversation, bid each other “all the best” with smiles and part.

There is something very beautiful about this incident. And the beauty is “honesty” and the space provided to be honest. Just a few years back “not looking for anything serious” was a crime. “Just wanting to get laid” was a criminal act.

The aunties and uncles will tell you… gone are those days when people knew how to love, how to dedicate their life for a partner, how to hold hands till the graph on the heart rate monitor went bip bip bip and null.

But aunties and uncles hardly tell about all those zombies who had single-mindedly dedicated their life. One member out of the heavenly relationship almost always lived in heaven though in the living form. A dead walking soul programmed to sacrifice. If that is the way things are planned, well of course it will last. We all know a plastic flower lasts longer in the flower vase than an original one. An original flower when blooms, fills the room with fragrance, invites unnecessary troubles of bees hovering around and insects and when it decays leaves foul smell and dies.

Love may not always be meant to last.

What must start with the exchange of roses if taken to the garden and planted can then become a relationship, which needs water, soil and fertilizer.

“Young people these days don’t know how to make it work.” Did you really find out if two people being together necessarily meant they were wanting to plant? When you see a couple, you easily assume and so when they part you assume they are failures. What agreement they had within, what unique fragrance they cultivated you may not have the clue of.

And again, even if they did want to make it work, there are two people involved. Two alive people with consciousness, ideas, minds of their own and thoughts, dreams and ambitions. And a quadratic equation is of course tougher than a simple one.

It is okay to worry about how to make two conscious minds tick and research and suggest ways to make relations last but it is definitely not okay to take the examples of the previous generation.

When I go home and sit around the relatives while they discuss the cousins’ marriages analyzing the neighbour’s love life, I get a clear picture of all those magical formulas that were used for the ever-lasting loves.

“You should always marry a woman much younger. If similar in age she will talk back.” So, yes, if the trouble in a marriage is argument and clashes of ideas, one member should not have any ideas at all.

“You should never let a woman handle money. She will then not feel dependent. Why will she even come back?” That indeed is logical. You should train a man so that he cannot even move a glass to pour the water so that he feels the constant need of her. And you should train the woman to not know to deal with money so that she always needs him for that necessary part. And thus you have the perfect relation, a lame man sitting on the shoulders of a blind man and they together symbiotically wonderfully function. The lame directs the ways and the blind walks with absolute faith towards the direction.

So when I hear the silver-haired groups gloriously discuss, “Where is this world heading now? Gone are those days when….etc etc and etc” I wonder, “The worst has already happened grandma. What more can happen now.”

So why anyway the confused generation don’t necessarily always want to make things last? The answer you thought you knew. Consumed in the devil’s power of lust, they gave in to the sin and are eternally lost.

Well, if you met someone during your school days or college and in the first sight felt he or she is the one, good for you. Wish you a wonderful life. But people are different and in different stages in their lives and have different priorities and styles of approaching and testing and exploring and reaching the destination and may be not reaching at all.

Before you meet that 2+2=4, if you do feel you need to find out what 2+3, 2+5, 2+6, 2+0 or 2+10 is like, go right ahead with honesty in your heart. Two honest people with clarity over their confusion and willing to be lost will only help each other find themselves right. Even if it is a painful story, it would be that necessary pain which will make you wise. It will make you aware of all those areas in your heart, mind and soul you were unaware of. It will cleanse you to a point you can see yourself like a crystal.

I was once during the sunset returning home. The sky was crimson and golden in colour. On the electric wire I saw a bird sitting alone and basking in the Sun. I thought “Ohh so sad. I wish there was someone.” And then immediately I traced my thought. I had assumed the bird was lonely because it was alone in a beautiful time. I asked myself, you go to restaurants sometimes alone in such sunsets and read while sipping wine, do you feel lonely that time? The answer was "no". I usually have a ball.
Then I realized all those people sitting around me in that restaurant must have thought I was such a lonely woman. I must have come here with utter depression, finding nobody to accompany and thus carried my fate along waiting eagerly for the prince charming to emerge from the Sunset and carry me on his horse-back and disappear towards the happily ever after...

That’s how we read situations.

I am a happy single woman. I love myself. I love the relationship I have with my inner self that I built little by little over a long period of time. I feel complete. I feel free. I feel satisfied.

I also love company. I love to be with another person carrying another world. I get to learn, share, talk, laugh and celebrate together but not at the cost of letting go my own relation.

As an artist and a creative individual I need to constantly go back to myself, sink in and be alone. I can thus vouch that alone can be the most intimate relation you can have. However, does not mean I am never lonely. Sometimes I am. I then meet people, go for movies, talk and rebuild that connection.

When being with another person is the only time you feel complete, you would be ready to go far to compromise. If you feel complete alone and complete also in the company of someone, you would not want to make too many compromises because it is not a necessity that time. And as our grandparents told us, that is exactly when relations don’t last. Two complete people will not last long together. And it is right. Two complete people will not last long if they scoop out each other to make fitting slots.

But if it still happens, it is rare. It is spiritual. It is that code cracked out of not necessity but choice. Out of the desire to celebrate togetherness and willing to not part. Out of the love for self and equal love for another and other.

And as it very well sounds it is not easy “not to find that someone” but “to be that someone”, chances are that divorces are naturally meant to be common. There is nothing to be so shocked and disgusted that divorces are getting so common now.  In fact marriages lasting should be the rare chances that came completely out of willingness, completeness and love.

Society should prepare for broken ties, re-ties, children without complexes of failed relations, helping hands and attitude in the society towards single parent and then all that leads to what we call the “community living” that is again and again suggested to nurture. When the child born, belongs to everyone. When the couple in relation can set their own unique rule as to how they want that union. When the priority in the society is love, happiness, completeness and self-realization and NOT making it last at any cost.

So go right ahead. Stay single till 50, 60 or 70 if that’s what you want. Marry at 99 if you have cracked that code only then and that becomes your right time. Fall in love once and make that your last, if that’s what your heart beats at. Or explore until you have found yourself or feel you don’t need to settle at all. Biology, society, needs and wants will all find replacements and adjust accordingly unless you have decided to adjust with the core of your heart.

But keeping everything variable lets keep one central thread constant: honesty, genuinity, truth, purity and love.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Love, Sex and meditation

(Work in Progress...) | Canvas and mixed media

I am a very privileged person, in the sense I didn’t choose to meditate. I just set forth with curiosity about life and existence and the mediums automatically chose me. “What meditation style do you follow?” To this question that is why, the answer I do not know. Similarly, I didn’t choose to paint or write or sing or dance, I get overwhelmed with extra dozes of emotions that I constantly want to express. The mediums automatically kept calling me. And with these constant urges I feel I am high all the time. “Do you take marijuana?” One of my colleagues had asked.  I don’t. But I realize what immense amount of drug the body can produce. I have a 24 X 7 bar inside me. Whenever I need to get intoxicated, I can go there, ask for a drink or two, get sloshed, lie drunk on the floor and then am taken to my bed and put to sleep.

I had started with few questions as a child and it feels like my whole life has been with the mission to reveal these. I have been finding the answers everywhere. And now I am in a stand where the love is still a mystery though but we are in a long-term relationship. We fought at times, we didn’t talk to each other for years, and then we bonded with triple the affection and now we are like old couples, tired of quarrels. We just look at each other and smile occasionally. 

“Do you believe in God?” I don’t go into these arguments anymore because I don’t know what else to believe in.

A major break had happened in my meditations after my 11th standard when I felt the chakras opening. There was a bundle of energy through my spine that traveled from the base of my root chakra till the heart chakra and later from heart traveled to throat and spreaded there and branched oscillating my entire body.

I told myself, “Enough now. Stop experimenting with yourself till you invite a damage.” Because that was the first time whatever was happening inside my mind had an actual effect on my body. I was a biology student. The spinal chord I wouldn’t be fiddling with.

After that, though I said, “No” on the face of meditation, it was very cunning in its moves. It is like all those ads in the internet. When you have selected a product and decided not to buy, whichever page you visit you will see it popping up in the ad column. God too has his marketing strategy and is a Casanova himself. Once he has sensed you are interested in him, he wouldn’t let you go so easily and will keep seducing till he gets you to bed finally. I can sense that vibes and Krishna that is why in my mind fits in the metaphor of God perfectly.

Though I was not meditating, I could see meditation happen to me. Those silent zones I had once explored, knowingly or unknowingly wherever I went, I kept re-visiting. During a musical concert, while I painted, while I read, while I sat by myself, while I sang, while I danced, while I traveled or while I did nothing that could initiate it. I would feel tremours in my spinal chord many times and there is a wave inside my body and while this dinosaur there was wrecking the building, I would say to it, “Shut up now and stop disturbing me!”

But formally I entered it during a workshop on Chakra cleansing by Ashtar Tashi in Zorba the Buddha, Delhi. I would on purpose do no chakra workshops. Long back I have said, “No” to all these. But since I was already in the festival and hearing this topic, the dinosaur now kept moaning, “Please. Please, just set me free.” It started throwing its feet around and cried. I thought I have been rude to it for many years and so I said, “Okay. Fine!”

One thing that helped me was the imaginations that were asked to create by Tashi. “Imagine the yellow light now spread.” “Imagine the beautiful purple spread all over.” Being a Graphic Designer and an artist, it is my every day job to deal with colours. And imagination is where I dwell and my bread and butter depends on it. This technique and I fitted like long lost soul-buddies. It was a ride. What a ride! She took us to the centre of the Earth and then made me as huge as the Universe. I was transparent. I was full of colours. I was radiating. I was there. I was not there.

Before she said, “You might feel a throbbing in this zone now.” I was already feeling that throb. The dino was happy and was giggling from one step to the other climbing the staircase shaking the building happily.

I felt I was unkind to myself for very long. With this, I was a better friend and how liberated did I feel. Thanks to Ashtar Tashi.

Later, in this same place Zorba the Buddha, there was a Dhrupad concert in the evening by Gundecha Brothers. I was a very lucky girl to have got a scholarship to learn Dhrupad under late Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar ji. I had stayed in his house for a month and oh God what an experience that was…life-changing, life-reviving, life itself was concentrated in that one month as the nucleus of my entire life to be.

I now kept remembering the speech by Steve Jobs. Your life would feel like random dots and one day you will look back and feel those dots have connected and formed a line. All the dots I had touched upon once were now joining with the other dots and rapidly forming a line.

When the Dhrupad recital began, I sat in the meditation posture and closed my eyes. I just wanted to enjoy the music. I wanted to remember my Guru ji and say thanks to him. The alap without the pakhawaj had ended. The tunes and the voice were traveling inside me, resonating with my cells, opening them up, making them ready to receive. By the time the pakhawaj started I did not realize I was already pulled a little inside. With each beat on the pakhawaj now my body started to vibrate. It hit my head again and again and I wanted to open my eyes. While I did that I realized I was too far gone. My eyelids were forcefully shut, my eye balls would roll back. My body would go motionless. I could not anymore hear the music. 

“Hello there! Whoever you are. I came here to listen to the music. Not a good time to shut my ears now. Doesn’t make sense. And there are so many people around. If you make me sit so still, with my eyes closed and tears rolling, I will just be taken as a fake, pretentious person doing some drama like they do when spirits come upon and exorcists heal. Let me be now. I will get back to you when I am by myself, all alone. Take me wherever you want to take me then. Not now. Please.”

But as I said this is not so easy. I was getting deeper and deeper and so overwhelmed that I would now sob from time to time as the tears just streamed down. The funny thing is years back I had to make myself sit and struggle to calm myself down to be able to meditate. And here I was sitting, struggling to not go there and the “calm” wouldn’t just leave me. It was like making love in public. You explain to your lover, “It’s a private thing. Please understand. Not now. There are people around. We will do it once we get home.” But the lover doesn’t just care. He wants it now. There and then.

I then stopped opposing, seduced by now I gave in. He took me very deep, underneath the ocean, the ponds…above which the lilies bloomed. Few golden fish wagged their tails and swam around.

I tried to understand that space. It feels like the entire Universe has a core, like how the Earth has. The magnetic intensity is the highest there. Similarly, this spot is the core of the Universe, with tremendous magnetic pull. And this centre has the centre for everything. This coincides with the centre of me, of the Sun, of the Moon, of all the planets, of the Earth, of you, of us, of the entire Universe and everything in it. For everything there is a common centre, and that is what connects all of us. This is that navel of Vishnu from which everything has emerged.  

Just to try the intensity of the space, like an astronaut who would jump on the surface of the moon to test the gravity, like a lover who would intentionally push away just to be pulled back in, I forcefully tried to go away from there. I swam towards the surface, tried to open my eyes, tried to disturb the stillness. He took me back into his arms lovingly and kept me there held again.

I tried to further explore the moment and understand. I was not my body anymore. Though I was thinking, it didn’t feel like the normal thoughts. I just had a presence, that's it. I had an existence and it had its own body and mind. Its like the subconscious has become the conscious now. And conscious has stopped. It felt like I didn’t exist anymore and yet existence was the only truth that time. I was not experiencing. I have myself become “experience”.

We held each other for very long. The concert was coming to an end. From far above I heard people talking. We kissed to part. He let me go... gently and slowly. I swam towards the surface. Came back to the shore. Opened my eyes. The hall room slowly came to my vision. I found myself there. I stood up, touched the feet of these great maestros through whom I could have this wonderful journey.

On the way back to my room, I thought, what a charmer. I have already dealt with few in my life and suffered the pain. But this is like the biggest pain of all. Now I know what you did to Radha. What you have been doing to all these gopis. What you did to Meera. And now you have been after me. 

But despite of everything, I know, whenever the flute would be played, no matter how busy I am, no matter where I am, no matter what work I have, no matter I exist or not, I now have no choice, oh the mysterious blue-bodied Krishna, with a golden flute and a peacock's plume on hair, but "dance". 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The perfect date...(a continual)

Digital Painting

If you are curious to what this is a continuation of, please refer to my earlier post called, "The perfect date--A brief encounter":

This is not the same man nor is it the same location. But sometimes life gives you a second chance. If you have somehow kept your eyes glued to that box from where the pigeon would fly out or to that hat of which an apple would pop out anytime and forgotten to engage with the magician, to watch the magician closely next time, sometimes life would give you a second chance...

These two men feel like the same to me. Same in their behaviour, same in the way they present themselves, elegant and sophisticated and lovingly and gently possessive from day 1. The day I met him, I realised how much I have changed and grown up. Though he was the same man, my response was different. I was no more the school girl or the teen-ager. I have by now found that comfort zone in me where it is very difficult to lose that ground even if a prince charming comes...well, even if he comes the second time.

However, this undoubtedly felt like the episode 2 of the same serial where the hero undergoes an accident, his face changed under a plastic surgery, but still has a lot of resemblance even in the physique and appearance and of course behaviour. With course of time even the heroine has changed in terms of her approaches and preferences and learnt to tackle better the same hero from Episode 1. But of course as they are the same pair, the same chemical composition that results in that irresistible, unavoidable magical combustible reaction, love is yet again in the air.

In the tomb of Cleopatra, a friend who visited Egypt had said to me was written that, she was not a beautiful woman in the conventional sense. But she knew how to entice men. Just mere beauty and being handsome is short-lasting in my opinion. You grow used to it very soon and the stair-case just ends with that one step there. It is art that adds infinite steps along that railing you can keep climbing to even if at the end of it is a suicidal pit waiting there. And some men, like some women, just know that art. It torments me to see how less men are recognized for that quality and history being "his story", women have become more than necessarily popular for this art-form and now even in a crime people say, "she must have been the one who seduced, else how could he have done that", almost believing every woman is a born-seducer and men are just poor victims to that.

And from this post, learn that we women are equally victims of the rare art-ful people who have cracked that art-form. But I have chosen to use that pain or pleasure, a mis-fortune or fortune to my advantage blaming no one and humbly writing this blog. So, rather than justifying any crime, sit down and write, or sing, be a poet, paint, become a nomadic traveller. But never support a crime or justify one.

Like I did in my previous episode, described the entire date, I will not describe in this one. Just know, this was one more rare opportunity to see the sky shower flowers from the heaven, a lake was nearby, birds flew around the setting sun. A man as charming as the Prince Charming himself, sat beside for hours giving that magic glance.

Now, as this was my second chance, I could see patterns. They never like talking about themselves so much as listening attentively and patiently to keep that charm last long. So gentle, so articulate, so the perfect man whose chest you would want to weep on, with arms so strong and yet palms so soft that when rested on your shoulder all your worries and doubts are wiped off. Whenever you look around and think, this is too good to be true, that magical, gentle palm rests on you to assure, "Close your eyes. Believe in the lie". And so you do. Like a moth caught up in the light.

I was more of a decent girl when I wrote the earlier post, disclosing the bits I felt could be disclosed and hiding the bits worth hiding. Now over time, I have become a shameless person who doesn't care.

It is indecent, or at least for us that of the Indian origin, it is indecent to attempt a kiss or support one at the end of the first date, even if it was the perfect one. But these rare magicians have so much confidence over their magic, only they can confidently attempt that. So, in my first episode with my every decent brought-up I made sure to gently turn him down. And then rest of the season I regretted, "If only I had agreed to his kiss, may be this could have then worked."

So, when the next episode began and ended in a day when the magician bowed down with his hat, and wanted to kiss before he departs, dreamily, eagerly, like a puppy desperately seeking for love, this time I tried it differently, so that my this season would show a different result. We kissed.

If I just write on that kiss I can write a novel perhaps. As soon as it begins, you would realise all that magic on the chair across the dinner table you were enticed by, was just a trailer and nothing at all. This is that special performance, the rare magic trick the magician discloses only behind the curtains to only the chosen ones.

It felt like a snake, a giant anaconda swallowing you up, softly holding you to inject the poison first, and then as the poison enters you numbing you down, it tightens the grip, so tight your hearts now feel conjointly breathing together, it coils you up to smother you, making you feel like a mash. When you have lost your senses, pushed your arms enough over his chest to loosen the death-trap, struggled to survive one last time and then remained still and dead, surrendered... it then eats its prey, slowly, for a timeless period of time, for eternity... for so long that you feel thats where you now belong. Another lie but you would anyway believe like a foolish moth.

The purpose of my this post is not to write about the magic like I did in my first one. The purpose is to wisely spread the wisdom. Even this season I could not hold him long, despite of agreeing to his poisonous venom. And now I know those are never the reasons. If you happen to come across a man like this you are lucky and unlucky at the same time. You will regret if you meet. You will regret if you don't. You will regret if you kiss. You will regret if you don't.

The less you do, the more you would think of, "what would it have been like, if..."
The more you do, the more time you would take to throw him out of your mind.
The death sentence is anyway bestowed upon you from then on. You can only choose how you may want to die.

However, as I have become a little wiser, I am aware of how easily these magicians speak of being your private magician, but how difficult you would see that is when you actually take them behind the curtain, off their magic-robe, when the show is over, the wand is kept on the table, the gown is hung on the wall and the magician tired from the day's work rests like a normal person, with all the insecurities and doubts and fears a normal person has.

And as I have become cleverer, I have managed to take this magician by his wand and revealed a bit of that human, opened his boxes and saw some of the dead rats and pigeons kept stinking there. So, my main learning is, it is not that these charmers never settle down or would want to settle down ever. But would you be fine if "Raj" from "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" was what you wanted and Shah Rukh Khan is what you got? Would you be fine if "Jack" from "Titanic" is whom you wooed and Leonardo Dicaprio was whom you had to settle down for? You think you would because the curtain is not lifted yet in your mind, but believe me you wouldn't. Thats the core message of my this post. The ultimate wisdom.

And most of the times the charmers have more insecurities than other non-performing humans. Acting can be tiring you see. And acting doesn't always mean dishonesty. You can even be an honest performer focusing on art, saying that one thing you can say casually with more charm, looking that one look you look everyday in a way to find the soul in another human.

Now to come to the moral of all these wisdoms, will I be a friend to myself and avoid next time a charmer? I am not sure really. That's what. As long as I meet artists in any form, shape, size or profession, I will always give in to art. Knowing that perfection is always a lie and truth is hardly a perfection, I will appreciate truth in its own bare form and perfection even if it is a performance, as long as it is a beautiful one. I would still be like a moth and flutter my wings towards a bulb knowing or without knowing there is practically nothing there in that light. And also when met with the imperfect truth, may I learn to be a butterfly.

I have now become wisely indifferent or differently wise. My wisdom tells me to consume all that is beautiful in this world even if that hurts. It tells me that ambrosia and poison often are served in the same ruby-crafted glass. With every sip it kills you a little and also brings you to life. If you are not fine with that, have Fanta or Thums Up. It has taught me that pain and pleasure co-exists almost without a clear line of separation. Like a painting of Rothko, in a dark black background with blurred red surface on the top... I would live in that gloom for weeks or months as long as that bright red surface keeps me fluttering like a moth.