Without end

It was after a long time today that I called up a teacher of mine who had taught me when I was at school. He wasn't hesitant to rebuke me about how long it had been. He proceeded to advise me on a variety of matters, again without any hesitation. Though I appreciate the candor which is only a sign of affection, much advice makes communication difficult. He said something like "carefully planning ensures you are able to do what you want to for a longer time." I think this was almost a last bid to save a losing argument in absolute favour of planning. I can't help but notice undeniable irony hanging around this statement. Of course, we all plan. Only to varying extents. People who plan too much like to be in control of all outcomes and in extremes, this leads to manipulative behaviour based upon what are nothing but rigid ideas. The need to have control at all times results from a kind of fear, which if we allow to seep into us, simply drags us down. It is the enemy of imagination, a murderer of our innate creative spirit. It contradicts the very simple idea of doing something with all our heart.

The other thing mentioned here was time and it's been long since I have been convinced, time is not measured by clocks. The depth with which we experience expands time. And a superficial existence, one that merely skims through the surface fails to understand the miracle of time. Loneliness often begins here. Children with free minds understand the beauty of time. A need to have control at all times is the enemy of a free spirit and "innocence" if I shall use the word. The measure of fulfillment from a task has very little to do with the amount of time we spend with it, just as the measure of a good life has nothing to do with its length.

I have mentioned before, but I believe that the idea of impermanence expressed beautifully in the Buddhist art of Sand Mandalas is very relevant to all our lives. The idea of pouring every bit of you to create an intricate, detailed and beautiful piece of art only to let it be destroyed in the end echoes a critical pattern existent throughout life. The sentimentalists might consider changeability as a cause for concern, and it might hinder the ability to live fully, when the fear of loss becomes overpowering. The fallacy here is simply the result of mistaking a strong attachment to outcomes with sensitivity. When I see friends or others I am associated with, unable to put their heart into any of what they do, it makes me a little sad. But I think I have been fortunate enough to have met people who are capable of living full, meaningful lives. So, unlike my teacher worrying about being able to continue doing what we want, I don't worry about them at all. Even if circumstances take away their opportunity to do what they love, they would have done it deeply enough, not to regret and move on. The way of finding meaning in what we do, has more to do with our ability to find meaning than with the medium.

We decided to visit Humayun's tomb today. It has been declared as an UNESCO World heritage site and is beautifully maintained. I couldn't help but recall our favourite haunt, the Qutb Shahi tombs in Hyderabad. The fact that the latter is relatively untouched and not tapped as a major tourist destination makes it more mysterious and the possibility of discovering something new is much more. This one however, is beautifully maintained, with vast green lawns, perfectly aligned trees, everything is neat and precise. Squirrels in groups played and fought, pigeons peeped in through little windows, clapping their wings into vacant spaces above. A singular barren tree stood menacingly amid cushions of green. Eagles perched upon its branches stood gazing upon the land below, as if it were their kingdom. Loads of DSLR welding foreigners passed by. Tombs always have their secrets. What we see, as tourists during those few brief hours is nothing but their surface. The real tombs lie safely below, so do passageways and hidden rooms. Secrets from centuries ago are closely guarded. The grounds seemed like a little pocket in the middle of a bustling city separated by the pace with which life moves in it. Everything seemed relaxed and calm. It reminded me of Hyderabad.

There was this outdoor eatery called "brown sugar" which we chanced upon. Nothing concealed about it. It was right in one of the most trendy shopping areas in South Delhi. It was far from inexpensive, but the food was delicious! In Hyderabad one often gets the feeling that the quality doesn't justify the price. Not here at this restaurant. And a lot of very trendy people around too. Who are best appreciated from a distance and when seen rarely. But in comparison (or even without), many in Hyderabad appear like mere wannabes!

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