Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lessons of Life

Lessons of life. 

1. Slow and steady wins many a race. Whoever said, ‘do today, what you may do tomorrow; do now, what you may do today’ was wrong. (it was Nehru. Lo, he couldn't get even that right) 

2. Do not underestimate the importance of propriety. It may not mean much to you but people you meet may form first impressions based on how 'properly' you speak and conduct yourself. People don't have the patience to examine your character and your heart of gold. Your outside has to be polished first. 

3. You may use middle class only to refer to your economic status. Do not use it to justify your shoddiness. In all else - attitude, behaviour, etiquette and taste, you are expected to be and must strive to be high class.

4. Abstinence is important so you you don't indulge excessively. 
But abstinence too when practised in excess, is bad, for it kills the joy of living. 
You must live life creating beautiful memories, so you may look back and smile upon them. But if you abstain from everything that is good, fun and pleasurable, you cannot possibly create beautiful memories and when you look back, you will find yourself looking at an arid desert. 

5. Practising morality is easier than understanding it. 

6. Morality must be practised with skill. It is an act of balancing. 
You must strike a balance between what life denies you and what you deny yourself. 
You must allow(others and yourself) transgressions, to compensate for what life holds from back you.

7. All of us are exposed to the same chemicals, toxins, germs, infectants; some of us catch diseases while others don't. The difference is in immunity. 
Direct all your efforts towards improving and strengthening your immunity. With yoga, pranayam, natural foods, ayurvedic preparations and so on. 
Do not go about sterilizing your atmosphere. With sanitizers, disinfectants and cleaners. 
You will be killing good germs along with bad ones, plus, you will be pumping more chemicals into your already polluted surroundings.

8. No matter how far fetched, other-wordly God and spirituality may seem, take a baby step on the spiritual path in this lifetime. The universe will take care of the rest of your journey. 
A few minutes of pranayam, meditation everyday, will do.

9. Give people only as much respect and importance as they are worth. You give them more, they will not know how to handle it and start taking you for granted and treating you lightly.

10. Don't be a fence sitter. You will belong neither here nor there. The people in your life will be half truths and your experiences and expressions, shallow and impoverished. 
When there is ambiguity or obscurity about your station, many you draw into your life will be irrelevant and the relevant ones will not be sure enough to come. Or, there will not be room enough for them. 
Determine your station and stand there firm and clear. The clutter will go and meaning, arrive.

Keep learning. Should I say happy new year?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ladhak & Kashmir 2010 - Day 12 - Eagle's Eye View of Amarnath Pilgrim Camps

After Kargil war memorial, we moved on towards Kashmir.

The scene got more scenic, war ore abundant, streams fuller and frothier, the slopes more grassy.

We spotted Dropati Kund, Zojila war memorial, as we passed. We didn’t stop though.

After some more driving, the Devdar trees came into sight. They glorified the hill slopes. They reminded my father of ancient saints, rishis, for they were often depicted in literature as performing penance in the vicinity of the Devdar trees, so he remarked.

And then, most unexpectedly, the car stopped and the driver asked us to look at the valley below. We did and were breathless. Thousands of tiny little tents and camps, yellow blue and grey, closed packed together, yet neat, dotted the floor of the valley. Some of them shined like little mirrors, reflecting the sunlight off their metallic roofs. We were looking at the Amarnath pilgrim camps. So this is how it looked. There were helipads in their midst. We even spotted one or two helicopters mid air, very far away and very tiny, like red dragonflies. These were carrying the wealthier of the pilgrims to the holy shrine.

The soil beneath our feet was really really loose but the sight so awe inspiring that I stood over it and moved further to the edge to take more pictures, so as not to miss something.

We continued our descent. Buses and SUV’s seeming like tiny match boxes were lined bumper to bumper on what seemed like an approach road to the camps and elsewhere, huddled together in what seemed like a bus stand.

We did not even know we would get to see this pilgrim camp. It was an unexpected bonanza. A surprise. Something to teach all of us that travel is more about journey than destinations. So also life. But most of them, just wont get it and will move from destination to another and essentially, from one disillusionment to another.