In-sight.

October 10, 2017: When my visually challenged colleagues taught me how to see.

By the time I left the library and rushed to the Officers’ Mess, it was late and the only few seats available were at the table reserved for the visually challenged. A total of 4 people usually dine at that table, of which R is in my class. S, V and P are participants of some other program in the other wing of the academy. They were kind and scooched over to accommodate me. I was an idiot and I tried to “help” them. Immediately after sitting down, I had realized that not once in the past 6 days had I tried to really get to know any of them, except all the technical aid R needed in the lecture halls. That too had invited my attention simply because when it comes to GB, he is one of the brightest of our lot.

I was told, “It’s you Madam, who needs help. You don’t know how to eat.” Taken aback, I waited for them to enlighten me. Patiently chewing and swallowing, one of them spoke up, “You don’t wait to feel, touch, smell and savour the food. People with eyes gobble and gulp. That’s all. They see stuff and they think they know.” For the first time in years, I took about half an hour to properly eat, respecting every morsel and thanking the gods for my eyesight. I have been spending a little time with them for 2 days in lecture halls, sports wing, acupressure track and the cultural theatre. They have been teaching me a lot of things, including their daily struggles, stupid stereotyping the rest of us throw at them, and most importantly, how the privilege of my eyesight makes me blind to so many things in so many ways.

There is so much we don’t know. We don’t even realize what all we don’t know. It’s rather shocking to discover that most of the 18 hours I spend being awake, my brain and my eyes are on an auto-pilot mode. It’s true that it’s an involuntary mechanism, yet it is possible to be aware and present. Not just to the world outside, but to the world within 

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Victims and Saviours.

Traffic signal, C-scheme. Posh locality, smooth road flanked by malls and banks. A very poor, old, hunchbacked woman dressed in rags, shivering in Jaipur winters..unable to speak through clattering teeth..gestures for food and holds onto her stick lest she falls.

Us. In chauffer driven cars. Some on two wheelers. Wrapped in latest winter collections, murmuring of “business of beggars.” I judge others and rummage in my bag for change, worthy of this lowlife. Crisp 500/- notes, 2 credit cards and a cheque book can’t obviously feed a beggar. I look the other way.

A dirty child in torn sweater selling colouring books drums his knuckles on my window. My driver shoos him off, looking at the frown on my forehead through his rear view. Asks me to relax as it is “common business these days around every government vehicle”. I pull the white curtains on my window.

I squint through the curtains. The dirty child in torn sweater walks around the bonnet of my car, passing the national emblem and भारत सरकार painted in bold red, gives few coins to the old shivering lady.
He saves my dying country. And my soul dies just a little more.

The Song of Being

January 29th, 2016. 6:40 AM.

I was trying to communicate to a dog half an hour ago. It is extremely cold in Rajasthan right now, and it had come to soak in some sunlight. I wanted to tell him about the pleasant weather of Bangalore and a puppy I had befriended just a couple of days ago. It was warm enough even at 5 AM at Yelahanka Air Force Base. The puppy was scared of all the rumbling jets and fighter crafts, and had lost its way around the airstrips. I had wrapped my palm around his chest and noticed how his tiny beating heart, heaving soft chest and shallow quick breaths were not very different from that of a 2 year old daughter of a colleague, who would run around and collapse into my arms.
However, I noticed that the dog was slightly wounded and not at peace. It was fidgeting, moving, scratching, whimpering.. perhaps crying. All my efforts at trying to comfort him failed. I was right there by his side, ready to offer him whatever he needed, but he wouldn’t notice, acknowledge or let me in. When my words, whistling and meditation freezed in the fog, I started singing to it. For five minutes or so, he stopped whatever he was doing. He closed his eyes, eased into a recline, and gently fell asleep.

I wonder, what if this is how we humans behave, too? Maybe we are too caught up in our struggles, maybe we aren’t open, quiet or receptive enough to the unconditional love and unwavering support of the sentient beings/Source Energy around us? Maybe , unconciously, we start resisting the natural order of our well-being. What if our “God” was not out there, but in here, around now!? Wouldn’t it be naive and stupid of us to keep fighting and blocking Her out? She would then have to sing to us-invoking the profound feeling of relief and liberation within us-until we doze off, revelling in the crooning of her song. The Song of Being. She sings all the time. Listen!!   

Why Anhad

I have always found myself yearning to read and scribble. It gives me immense pleasure and a sense of catharsis to allow words and thoughts to flow through me, since I find it happening quite often and quite effortlessly. I have also been wanting to have a sacred writing space of my own wherein I could think out loud, pronounce my joys and aches, and strike a chord of strange familiarity we all experience when we stumble across someone or something going through a similar journey of self discovery.

Hence, Anhad. ❤

‘Anhad’ literally means ‘Without boundaries’.  ‘Anahata’ literally means ‘Without being struck’. Anhad Naad is the sound pertaining to the Anahata Chakra situated in the Heart Region. It is the sound of Creation, an entirety of  all cosmic vibrations, the vibration of Om. With practice, one hears it everywhere, all the time..its an underlying hum or vibration to All That IS. Like water takes various forms and colours depending on what it mixes into or where it flows through, so does the Anhad. For every artistic expression flowing through the Heart- art, music, dance, poetry etc.- it is the formless, the undivided(Akshar), the absolute, the Ik Omkar- manifesting itself in a riot of music, colours and words.

Writing on this blog always fills me with a calm, gentle energy and it is my own manner of spiritual practice, meditation, alignment, what have you.

The cover page is a photograph of the Heart Nebula.
My name is Kriti. It is Sanskrit for “Creation”.  ❤

 

Tiny Acquaintance.

Exploring the streets of Pondicherry in a hot afternoon felt like a physical role-play of my mental theatrics. I was spending the weekend far away from office and home, looking for something that I didn’t know where or what it was. I reached the beach and found a cozy spot to sit in silence, listening to the Sea.

Waters have always had a tranquil effect on me. The inscrutable depths, the ever changing shape, the perseverance, the thunder, the drizzle..all of it encompassed the crest and troughs of our social human lives. I breathed out my questions, doubts and anxieties to the vast expanse of skies and sea, surrendering to it all. As always, nature smiled just when I was on the verge of a sob. It smiled thusly-

Vartika Bansal
Vartika’s Click

A tiny yellow flower landed on my shoulder, just in time to distract me from the noise of my mind. I smiled back at it, and impulsively wanted to reach for my camera. I paused, breathing very lightly, realizing that I didn’t want to move it, break it or let it fall. It listened to my noiseless whispers and gracefully, sled down my shoulder to sit gleefully in the fold of my sleeve. Looking straight into my eyes it reassured me,

“That’s how life always is. It falls into place as long as you hold onto grace.” 

This was one of those infinite evanescent moments  when Nature gently let me know that I was one with it. It always spoke to me in my highest and lowest of times, reminding me that I wasn’t lost , or broken, or forgotten, afterall.

Like the tiny yellow flower safe from the wind and the water, I am.
Like the tiny petals in full bloom, I am.
Like the reclamation of its own tiny space, I am.

Unapologetic, Unwavering, Reassured, Unconditionally- I Am. ❤

Long Live Silliness ^_^

No act of kindness is “random” or “small”. I find it hard to believe that there is any such thing as a selfless deed, because each such action in turn makes us feel very peaceful and warm.. maybe it’s a clarion call to acknowledge and smile at one’s ego.

I do believe that kindness heals us quicker than laughter. Each of it creates ripples wider than we can imagine. Every kind thought, deed or speech, even toward one’s own self, matters. So, if you find doubting, hesitating or judging your ‘silliness’ the next time you feel inclined to remove a stone from the path, segregate your garbage, pat a cow, listen to a senior citizen’s stories, thank the watchman, buy from the local craftsmen/vendors, whisper soft assurances to yourself in the dead of the night, hug your dad without reason, help your grandfather shave, water a neighbor’s plants, fill out someone’s forms, return a borrowed pen, cover a borrowed book, allow someone to cut you in a queue, sit quietly with a dog, smile at the clouds… remember that there are many, many, many silly folks like you out there. They all know your signature, are connected with these energies and kind ripples you send out to them. We can all feel it, just like we can all feel the cold, cruel, vile banality of the world. May we all be sillier, happier and kinder.

Ephemeral Morality

Sometimes, just the once, s/he walks into my cabin.
Once in a hundred days, one in a hundred clients.
They always hesitate and plead, they never demand.
They are extremely grateful for things that they dont even realize is their right and not a service offered.
They walk in with a lot of trust, but very little hope.
They remind me of my brief rural stint in Hirehalli, Karnataka.
They remind me of the reasons why I had first wanted to get into public service.
They are the ones who never walk in or out without folded hands and gracious bows.
They are the ones who are never offered chai or thandaa paani.
They are also the ones who take my word at face value and never negotiate.
They are also the ones whom I am able to serve the least.
They are the only ones who leave me disturbed long after they have left.
I don’t know what, but something makes me awkwardly stand up from my chair as they turn to go.
They ask for little, but the country owes them a lot.
I owe them a lot.