Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Silent Raga

This is named so because I wrote it while watching Mani Ratnam's 1986 hit, Mouna Ragam starring Revathy Menon.

She had just entered
Her work done for the day
When she noticed that the house
Was done up in a special way

Before she could ask
Her mother swooped in
Talcum box in her hand
And yanked her into the kitchen

Her sister entered then
A beutiful saree in hand
Draping, dabbing, this and that
She thought she looked grand

"What Amma? What is this?"
She asked for an answer she feared
Cringing wouldn't make it go
The age of 24 had neared.

She peeked outside, just a peek
To see who were sitting
Did just the parents and the boy come
Or the whole family they saw fitting?

A demurely man about her age
Was sitting quietly in the side chair
So thin, so tall, so elegant
Well dressed too, and ever so fair.

"Enough looking", said Amma
So out she went with fear
Will I like him? Will he like me? 
Is this my husband-to-be sitting here?

She set sweetmeats on a table
Her wondering eyes set firmly on the ground
For that's what Amma had told her
"Eyes down, and not a sound."

But curious as she was, she looked
And their eyes met for the first ever time
And both caught themselves thinking
Oh! If only those eyes were forever in mine!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Inner peace

Our elders advise it for peace. I advise it for sanity. I know I'm not authority on meditation, I'm just eager to share a little of what I know and experienced of this one sure-shot way to recharging your mind. 

We've all seen pictures of, and heard stories about Buddha. In all the pictures, he's perennially squatted, deep in meditation. I'm not sure how he was able to muster concentration enough to sit there like that, for hours and days on end. I once heard this fable about him. His disciples and he were sitting in this forest, meditating, when a snake came visiting. It slithered all around them, hissing to announce its arrival. Terrified by its hiss, the disciples peeked to see their worst fear in front of them, and scrambled away immediately. One of them even called out to the Teacher, but he did not seem to hear. The snake eventually found his way back into a hole in the ground, and slithered away. Upon Buddha's coming to, the disciples realised he never knew of the snake.

Now concentration to THAT level seems impossible by us at this stage. But we can start out with 3-5 minutes of squatting on the floor, with a mat below us. The extremely time-conscious ones can even set an alarm on their cellphones. I had done that my first time meditating. But that's the funny thing about meditation. After all the hustle-bustly running around of the day, I find it extremely difficult to calm my mind down, and evacuate it of the constant stream of thoughts, good and bad. I find it hard to close my eyes for 2 seconds! After the initial glitches I settle into a rhythm. Breathe in, breathe out. Slooowly. And then comes the hard part. You just don't want to get back to your routine. You don't ever want to get out of that trance-like peace that seems to descend on you. Trust me, the feeling is priceless, a calm like none other.