Nov 302015
 

The last time i took a break, was about a dozen or so years ago. I had just finished launching Zee’s education channel (in my first stint with the group), I was exhausted – physically, mentally and emotionally – and i took off to Munnar, in Kerala. Within 3 days of going there, Offitis struck me – i began missing work and the people there ūüôā

In the intervening years, many things happened. I quit corporate life, set up on my own – and traveled a bit, on work. The travelling was less metro, and more hinterland. Less tourist life, and more a seeker. I shot extensively in the rural parts of India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia. And, the decade i worked for myself, it never felt like work. And, taking a break was out of the question. There were lulls in work life, those became breaks in themselves.

This has been a sort of traumatic year. More than anything else, I needed to heal. Angkor Wat was the break. It was both a visual treat and a spiritual journey. The world’s largest temple complex dedicated to Vishnu. Awesome and Awe inspiring.

Angkor Wat

 

While Agkor Wat was a visual delight – and a physical strain — gosh it is a lot of walking and much of it is steep, it was also immensely informative. The way the structure was created, the thinking behind the various layers of temples, the library within, the prayer areas, the grounds – all of it was thought through to the greatest possible detail.

Angkor Thom – the Buddhist temple complex (Angkor Wat, too in that sense is Buddhist. When the country turned Buddhist many centuries ago, Buddha’s statue replaced Vishnu’s in the main prayer area) – was the capital of the Khmer Empire.

Angkor Thom - the doorway to the royal garden

 

But, the single most spiritual part of this journey was the trek up to see the sahasralinga – or the 1000 Lingas. This was at a place called Kbal Spean, and it is a 1.5 km vertical trek. While trekking up, the thing that strikes you most (apart from the fact that you are terribly out of shape) is the aroma of the ‘sacred’ forest. And, when you get to the top, it is simply like going home. The calmness and pristine nature of the place, the aroma of the woods, and the purity of the water fall – all help heal.

More pictures to follow. But, this is what i was doing the last week.

 

Nov 172015
 

My Reiki teacher, Prasad, narrated this to us. I paraphrase,

The setting¬†is the sabha of the Kauravas, and the scene is the Vastraharan. As long as Draupadi holds on to the cloth that covers her, Dushsasana is successful. It is when she leaves that cloth, and takes that leap of faith, puts her hands ¬†up and tells God ‘this is your problem now, do sometihng’ – that the cloth keeps growing, and growing, and growing, till Dushsasna loses. As long as she thought she was the one who was fighting, she was losing the battle. It is when she parks her ego and calls out for help, unreservedly, that help arrives.

i wonder about this at times. Sometimes i just say a silent prayer and leave it to to divine intervention. When i say silent prayer – it is usually colloquiol – ‘i can’t handle this anymore, you sort it out’ type.And, it usually works.

Yeah. it has been one of those years – where i have thought about this story, a bit too frequently. Asking for help is not something i do easily. I don’t even think about it, most of the time. But, this year, i have.

glass and wire

(a bit like this year – shot yesterday – shards¬†of glass meeting barbed wire )…

Oct 242015
 

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My mother went to one. Between her graduation and her marriage. Before she went to study for her masters. She learned how to arrange flowers, make a salad, lay a perfect table and the rest. When they got married, my father knew how to make the dal and rice, the rasam and the rest. “i taught her to cook” he would guffaw. They would have been married 50 years this July 12th.

I think that maybe other topics should be included in a course like this – how to have a conversation, how not to snap at your spouse, how to enjoy life without it becoming bogged down by what to cook, and where to eat. I am assuming that modern day marriages are more than food and sex.

Ten years ago, I would have ranted at this ad – and it’s innate sexism. Today, i realise it is fulfilling a need. But, the need is read wrong – it should be less about cooking and make up (there are delivery places and parlours for that) – and more about trying to build a life together, that doesn’t end in bitterness and recrimination. Nice topics – for both parties – would be cooking together, reading together, viewing together, laughing together — but, unfortunately ‘togetherness’ cannot be taught

(via¬†my brother’s FB status update)

Oct 142015
 

Mumbai’s changing landscape –

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On July 12th this year, i moved my family from the wadala place we were renting, to Kherwadi in Bandra East – just off the highway. The rent is steeper than Wadala (but not by much) – but it is a much nicer place. The most important consideration was proximity to hospitals – and there are 4 within a 2 kilometer radius. I didn’t like Wadala (e) too much. there was something completely alienating about the area that we lived in, and it was close to no big medical facility. I wish we had moved a year earlier

The picture below is also mumbai, Bandra to be more precise Рin the same axis as the sea link. There is something reassuringly solid about the fisherman, getting ready to go to work.    IMG_20150914_074008.jpg

In the 21 years that I have been back in Mumbai Рi have seen the city change in front of my eyes. from the quality of roads, to the nature of architecture. From the flyovers to the metro and the mono rail. Older areas are disappearing, newer ones are coming up. there are those who mourn the passing of the old, but that is the nature of the universe Рeverything dies. that includes localities, and communities. But, new ones form too. We sometimes ignore that.     mumbai -sealink