Chance meeting


We are in a cab, making our way across the city of Bengaluru in India.

As a mother, I have reached ‘that’ stage, where I am not given a choice to opt for a window seat in any vehicle. I am sandwiched between my kids. It is a pleasant day, and we have rolled down the windows.My husband sits in the front, lost in thought, and I suspect, also trying to catch a few winks.

There is heavy traffic, and our progress is stilted. The kids play a game of word building.

After a while, the congestion eases, and we start moving.

All of a sudden, an autorickshaw pulls up alongside our cab. The auto driver waves wildly at our cab driver, and shouts out a loud greeting.

Our cab driver is pepped-up now. He recognizes an old friend. And for the next hundred meters, the two vehicles drive in perfect synchronization.

Image courtesy – Clipart Panda

A time during which the two men exchange pleasantries and catch-up on each others’ lives. Their grins are infectious, their excitement palpable.

Our cabbie sits up straighter, and looks recharged.

Soon, the time comes for the two friends to part ways. One takes a left, the other takes a right. They say their goodbyes.

Our journey continues.

This makes me think. We meet many people who travel with us on this journey called life, who share our time, space, emotions and memories.

For reasons unknown, we do not meet most of these people ever again; but sometimes we do bump into someone we know from our past.

Life pauses for a bit for us to rewind and remember, and then moves on, taking us towards new experiences and people.

The Great Wall and Time


The sun’s heat is scorching. We walk at a steady pace, completely awed.

We are at the Great Wall of China.

Before we reach the starting point, our guide briefs us about the Wall and its history, and loads us with many interesting nuggets of information. We agree on a time to meet, and proceed on our long walk.

The valleys on either side watch us in silence, as we walk, stop and marvel. How was this feat even possible!

At every turn, the wall winds up and down into the rugged terrain, an off-white line that stretches away into places that the eye cannot see.

We feel humbled. We walk up steps, climb down others, pausing for breath, pausing to take pictures, wondering, only wondering.

We can picture the soldiers at their viewing decks, and the invading armies.

My son and I sit down, as we wait for the others. There is a deep silence. Except from two crows that caw on and off, all is quiet. Our hats give us some semblance of protection as the sun’s hot rays reflect off the stones.

I look up at the clear blue sky and smile. A merry little jet is whizzing importantly across the sky, leaving behind a fluff of white lace.

Time seems suspended between history and the future.

The Wall is unchanging, a witness to thousands of years of history, culture and human development. The jet is too busy to stop, it is after all, busy carrying people to appointments and meetings.

The word ‘time’ as I know it seems pointless, as I sit on the Great Wall, knowing that even after we are all gone, this architectural wonder will still remain.

The Book


We are already into the month of June. The first half of 2016 seems to have flown past. Where did those 180 odd days vanish?

You may wonder why I’m rambling on thus. This is because, earlier today, I found The Book. 

The Book?

Yes, The Book.

The Book is a small palm sized notebook, with creamy white pages, and a lovely quotation on its front cover.

image

      Courtesy – http://www.migoals.com

I acquired The Book in the last week of 2015, with great ideas and ideals.

Drawing inspiration from a movie, I named it The Book of Possibilities, aka The Book.

The Book would catapult me into 2016 with clear-cut goals;  long term, medium term and short term plans clearly stated and defined.

It would be my partner, and inject me with bursts of optimism and energy, when I went off track. It would be so many things. The Book, my book.

However, before I inscribed my 365 day future on the creamy white pages, I vowed to myself that I would only ever put down things that I would surely endeavour to accomplish – with this book, I would walk the talk.

No making larger than life plans (read lose 15 kg in a year, or workout everyday, or don’t shop etc).

The diaries from years before had been filled with my plans, big plans…that remained trapped in the pages of those diaries, never having seen the light of day.

So for 2016, I picked up a small, compact book, The Book. No fancy big diaries for me.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, The Book surfaced this afternoon, when I rummaged through my papers for a document that I needed.

I sighed. The Book’s empty pages stared blankly at me.

I have not quite decided on what I want to accomplish. Hmmmm….we have another 180 days to go…

Does ‘A Here & A Now’ exist?


If the past and future did not exist, we would live every day without any points of reference.

For each task there is an associated memory from the past or a task to be completed in the future.

So, do we really live in the present or are these only associations from the past?

I ponder deeply about this because every single time I smell mangoes, I am transported back to childhood, whenever I listen to eighties’ music, my high school days come to mind.

So where is the now in these moments?

Again, most things I do today are with tomorrow in mind. I plan this, I plan that.

So then, what is ‘the here and the now’, without these associations ? Lots of books on dealing with stress talk about letting go of the past and focussing on the present and not worrying about the future.

I know there is a difference between tasks to be completed in the future vs. worrying about the future; as also the difference between reminiscing about the past vs. allowing it to haunt your present.

But I am still left wondering if one can have a here and a now with no trappings of the past or the future.

Would love your views on this.