Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The day before
Emotion has no reason, needs no reason and knows no reason

Twelve days of my absence would cause havoc to all our ongoing tasks, priorities and targets. There were so many last minute things. There was a certain amount of tangible loss too. I was prepared. Gave instructions to the staff, made more than hundred decisions in a span of six hours and finally said good bye to everyone. My staff treated me with a Paradise Special Mutton Biryani. I ate little and left. Two of my good friends offered to drop me at the center. On our way, we picked my cousin Vinny, who also enrolled to this course.

We entered into the campus and were instructed to fill several forms. Almost every form and instruction pointed to one single thing.

I agree, I will not leave this campus until the end of the ten day course, no matter what.

Without even a trace of doubt, I agreed and signed. They asked us to surrender the mobiles, valuables, pens, notebooks and cameras. Then we were registered and assigned rooms. One of the clerks realized that Vinny and I are cousins and allocated us rooms that are separated by a good 50 feet.

My good friends told us, Dudes, screw this thing. Keep at least one cell phone with you guys. If you ever feel like coming out, you can just give us an SMS. We know how to break a lock. I strongly disagreed and surrendered the phones. I asked them to leave and said good bye.

I suddenly felt lonely, the moment they left. As it got darker, my uneasiness and loneliness grew. Vinny had a slight fever and a thick cold. We were served Upma as our dinner at 5:30 PM.

I ate that stuff, picked blankets, mosquito nets and made my bed. At six, (my office boy packed my bag) I opened my kit and found that two essential things, toothpaste and toilet soap were missing. By six fifteen, at least a dozen mosquitoes bit me. At six thirty, a bell was struck. The noble silence begins from now. You are not supposed to speak, signal or look into any one else' eyes. You should work in this ashram for the next days, as if you are completely alone. I was instructed. Cake walk. I thought.

At seven thirty, they asked us to assemble in the main hall. By then I wasnt just uneasy but beginning to get nervous about the whole thing. I am slightly claustrophobic. I dont like closed environments. Also, I need noise and people around me all the time. I dont like eerie silences and empty halls. They scare me to death.

We entered into a dark, spacious and closed hall. I was shown a small white cushion. I was asked to write my name and room number on its tag. You are supposed meditate only on this cushion for the next ten days. The Dhamma worker said.

I was very nervous by then. Just the type of nervousness that strikes you before an interview or a public speech. I sat on the cushion in a padmasana and closed my eyes. I was not comfortable with my nervousness. I realized it was a kind of fear. I hated myself for fearing something as simple as meditation. A million things flooded my mind the moment I closed my eyes. The tasks that I left unfinished, all the things that can go wrong in my absence and all the worst case scenarios that I can get into.

For a second, I developed this intense urge to shout
Fuck this. I don’t need this. I am fine. I am leaving. Bye.

Lights got further dimmer and suddenly two speakers came to life. Then a strange raga filled the room. It wasnt a chant. It wasnt a song. It wasnt a mantra. It wasnt like anything I heard before. An East Asian Buddhist raga, I thought.

Without warning and without a reason a wave of panic numbed my mind. I thought I was fainting. It was a very strange experience. I panicked and opened my eyes. I cursed myself for going through this for something as simple as meditation. The next thirty minutes were a huge struggle between my panic state of mind and my reason. I wondered about the stuff I would go through in the next ten long days. I made a concrete decision that, if I get overwhelmed with fear or anxiety in the next session I would leave the center.

At nine, I walked back to my room fighting mosquitoes. I had two roommates. Within fifteen minutes they both entered into deep sleep snoring loudly. If there is one thing that I cant stand in this whole world, its snoring. The hard pillow wasnt comfortable. The blanket wasnt full length. That strange nervousness was still there. I stared into the ceiling for a long time.

I never showed faith to any God or any religion at any point of time in my life.
As a matter of fact, until very recently, I used to be an active atheist and
rationalist. Lately, I have stopped being an atheist and just been staying on neutral grounds.

Through out my childhood, early teens and teenage I strongly stood on my atheist grounds. I read lot of books, debated and gave a lot of thought about concepts like origin of life, evolution, universe, rituals, religion, social structures and belief systems. I accepted things that stood reason. Rest, I declined. I never had any problem saying that the rest of the world could be wrong.


I never believed in reincarnation, traditional definitions of sin, karma, evil, heaven or hell. At the age twenty, after having a series of long debates with two of my good friends I concluded the following

1) There is no greater purpose to this life
2) Zillions and zillions of living cells were born and died. You and your short little life is just another blink.
3) The universe that you know is a grain in an endless sand beach. Zillions of earth like planets evolved and morphed and this solar system itself is just another blink.
4) The root of misery lies in attachment
5) When there is no greater purpose to the life, when no religion or social system is absolute, then the only thing that ever matters in your life is just being happy. In this short little life, every thing we ever do is towards just one state, to be happy.
6) Detach. Enjoy. Be happy.


At twenty one, out of curiosity, I joined a French class. I learned a little bit (too little) of French and bought a book titled ‘Learn French’ published by Orient Longman. Some where in that book I found a beautiful expression that caught my imagination. The more I thought about it, the more it fascinated me.

I used to do lot of painting in those days. I wrote stuff like Metallica, Hells angels, Aromatic Fart, Pak Stinks, Bon Jovi, symbols of fire, cross, swastikas, skulls, guitars, on jeans pants using Fevicryl fabric paints. On the next day I painted this French phrase on my cap and my T-Shirt.

Some of my freinds asked me what it is. I told them, it meant joy of life. They asked me back, So what about this joy of life? I told them that, that is the answer I was looking for all these days.


Thats the most beautiful expression I ever heard. I realized that joy of life is not
in finding solutions, finding happiness, conquering sorrows, possessing valuable things, attaining nirvana, finding love or anything thats a part or bye product of life.

The joy of life is in living itself.

The next year, this new cool technology called internet became a public phenomena and this new cool thing called ‘hotmail’ became almost a social status. I promptly got a mail id. In the signature option I put this phrase.

Joie De Vivre.

Coming Next
Day 1
Observe it; accept it, as it is.

No comments: