Dreaming

The day is ending now; the sun leaves behind a warm trail of red along the horizon line.

i wake up and look around; the sky looks wonderfully sublime.

i look out my window, my chariot patiently waits,

the horses, white, delicate, sway with the winds; the night kindly opens its black gates.

i wonder what shade of white i wear tonight, the bright, the silver or the pale,

should i wear pearls or diamonds in my hair, or should i wear a veil.

A tiny star winks at me, a fleeting piece of breeze whispers in my ear,

i smile, amused for a moment, and all confusion seems to disappear.

Now the horses neigh, the night beckons, the breeze sings to the earth and the stars are all twinkling away.

yet i stand before my mirror, slowly dressing up, i want to look beautiful today.

i pin sweet smelling roses in my hair, tiny glow worms make me a tiara and sit softly on my head,

the wind drapes me in silver and the clouds dust on my cheeks the remains of the red.

Soon i make the horses run across the sky, for tonight i will smear the entire universe in my silver dye,

i leave bits of my silver on the passing clouds, and then i paint the entire sky.

i am the sun’s reflection; i am what mortals call the moon,

i am the light that lights the world, long after the day falls into a swoon.

Upon a cloud high above, i rest my tired fleet,

i lean over and gaze around and then the vision i wished to see, my eyes greet.

Down in a valley below two lovers in my light douse,

their sight, such a delight, in my heart feelings of joy arouse.

Oblivious of the things around, not to the earth they are now bound,

lost in each other’s eyes, another world they seemed to have found.

She leans closer to him, he tenderly nestles her in his arms,

she mumbles sweet nothings and he listens attentively as if they were sacred psalms.

i grab a hanging cloud and wrap it around me tight,

but let fragments of me escape; let shadows play with my light.

The sky is gleaming, the night is silent, i hear her heat beat,

at times she loses the race with his heart and at times his heart she defeats.

The winds playfully run through her hair, they hang loosely around her face,

he takes a strand then twirls it around, then on her, signs of love begin to trace.

His lips lightly brush on her ear and whisper words divine,

like a ripening fruit she colours and her eyes fill up with brine.

So long for this moment her heart had craved, so long for this moment to arrive,

so long since another dream dreamt, so long since she had felt alive.

Like a frail tendril on a tree, into him she gradually slides,

his arms grasp her securely now, nothing lies between them, nothing the two divides.

His hands hurriedly run all over, his lips kiss her in haste,

one touch of her reminds each feeling, one touch recalls each taste.

The wind blows away my curtain; the wind takes away my screen,

in my full splendour i rise before them for i am now not unseen.

A smile dances across her lips; she stares at me amused as if i was a thing unknown,

then turns away and lets him know, tonight they weren’t alone.

She looks up to me again, her eyes delicately my contours outline,

a moment she fondly lends to me, a moment she lets her joy be mine.

The clouds draw closer again, now they cast me in a ring,

i let my light embrace them warmly; i let my glow halo their being.

A faint band of blue she discovers, streaming from where my white disintegrates,

they look, distracted, for a while and then my colours with the flowing wind abates.

i am veiled by clouds again; i peek from behind the pallid haze,

his eyes look at her again, and by her sight he seems amazed.

Like a nomad in search of water, she was that oasis he unearthed,

but each drop drank, to more yearning gave birth.

Drenched in my flames, their souls burn to plunge into each other’s depth,

desires unending, unbounded now within them crept.

The night is getting over; the sun will rise again,

my horses want to run back home, but i will still remain.

In the feeble gleam of the dawn, i find the brightest spark,

two entwined bodies, dazzling in the dark.

Love envelopes them lightly, peace serenades all around,

The sky is lit up with their afterglow, and then it lights up the ground.

It’s time for me to leave, i kiss both the dreamers goodbye,

and when i look into my mirror, it’s me who has been smeared in their dye.

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Memory

A veiled vision comes to me,

perhaps a remnant of some reverie;

a silent tear breaks away,

like shadows branching from the day.

A tiny smile floats for a while,

and memories flood a mile.

Memory is an amazing thing,

it makes us laugh it makes us cry,

we close our eyes and watch,

as it slowly passes by.

We choose each day and each day we fight,

but little to us is known,

it is this choice that keeps us alive

even when we are gone.

The Buddha Diaries… The Gods of Neverland – 1

Never, in my wildest dreams did i think i would land up in a place at a time that’s neither favourable, nor welcoming. But what i found there was something beyond compare.

Ladakh, a land of mystical mountains where even the winds seem to echo the sounds of a Buddhist singing bowl, can be as beautiful your hearts can feel and as cruel as your minds can conjure. And i, not alone, but yet all on my own, was wandering on the fringes of this Neverland, taking my chances at an otherworldly encounter.

Somewhere in the colder months of 2015, while moving upwards towards Chushul, i landed up next to Pangong Tso. i wonder why that very day, i somehow did not want to take pictures but absorb the white of the winds, the blue of the sky and the green of the lake. i wanted that perhaps for one single moment, i become him and he becomes me. And maybe it did happen. And maybe it didn’t.  And in this whole confusion of my mind, i assume, i got what i desired. For is believing not the true aim of having faith in him/her/all of them?

Everything for that one moment, stood still. Now when i look back through the window of my mind, i see a girl, one hand in the water, one hand to the sky; breathing in as much air as she can as if it were her last and smiling and crying because life is after all a beautiful memory, a beautiful moment.

The sky was as blue as it could be. Brighter than i can imagine, brighter that i can describe. In the backdrop, the Himalayas, stood like sentinels guarding the lake. Their brown, lending an aura of wisdom to even a silly speck like me. A splash of colours however, streaked some of them. Even though, the blue and brown around me were breathtaking, i was fixated on the green. The lake seemed like a drop of aquamarine, liquefied onto a mammoth sea shell. Sometimes, it would rock and waves would run hurriedly, pulling their frilled skirts. And sometimes, it would just stay so calm, it looked like it was meditating.

But could a lake, in the middle of nowhere, be meditating? Was he all of that and me?

Did he too see me, hear my unspoken prayers and laugh at my naivety? And wonder perhaps if i even belonged to him! But i assumed he did. And i believed my assumptions once again.

Who knew, what else i was to find. Who else i was to encounter. And what else i was to learn about. And on that note, i continued my journey upwards……………..

i am…..

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The cold morning breeze hurriedly kisses me awake,
curling curtly around these clouds like a slithering snake.
i push a cloud here and another one there,
as i descend hazily from my auburn lair.
The earth welcomes me with such amaze,
wreathing prayers in each of my rays.
i am the sun, warm and bright;

the mighty vanquisher of darkness and night. 

The morning sun rays cascade on me,
dancing in glory as the world is again set free.
i become the music, i become the dance,
i become a universe swaying in a mystic trance.
Into deep nothingness, i submerge my soul,
until everything becomes whole.
i am the sea, unfathomable and great;

the benevolent holder of the world’s fate.

The waves come crashing onto the shores,
carving new borders as my body it explores.
i contour and entwine to the frothy swells,
as it playfully drags me within its spells.
As it runs away, my drenched body sparkles in the sun,
softly warming as the night’s undone.
i am the earth, majestic and kind;

the keeper of life and the undefined.

and yet in this moment, i am all and i am none;
the earth, the sea and the sun.

Peace

Peace,

Sometimes a distant dream, sometimes a whole new revolution, and when I seek it within me, I see a new evolution.

How often I hear this word; each day new voices conjure new thoughts, new meanings and sometimes new definitions.

 

Of what people, what colour and which tongue does war speak?

 

War, it knows no country, no colour, only of hatred, misinterpretations and wrongs it reeks.

 

Peace begins with me, my inner self rising to new heights of truth and understanding,

 

It makes me surrender my fears, the unwanted obligations and worldly issues slowly disbanding.

 

When I be at peace with my own self, I realise, I appreciate, I respond and I achieve more each passing day,

 

Than just pondering aimlessly over disagreements with me, with people around me and everything that comes my way.

 

I become the sunshine, the silver lining in a bleak gloomy afternoon,

 

For my heart and my mind to hope and to acceptance, I can effortlessly attune.

 

When with me I agree, when with myself I needn’t strive,

 

I am better at comprehending others and I feel more alive.

 

There are times when we need to just listen, but how can we with a prejudiced mind?

 

But when I am at peace with me, new solutions each thought unwinds.

 

I harmonise with the world around me better, I have faith and belief to bring a better change,

 

I work towards it with fervour for I have the power to transform even the strange.

 

I am happy and content; I become more than just a voice,

 

I am able to bring people closer; I am able to give others a choice.

 

What is contained in me, is what around me I will radiate,

 

Sometimes with a tiny smile at an unknown passerby, sometimes with a reason to laugh with friends and sometimes with a little kindness, a fraction of the misery around me, I abate.

 

I know and I know enough that once upon a time,

 

There was a world we dream of, a world soothing and sublime.

 

When I reflect on how this perfect world could be,

 

I know unless I am at peace with myself and the world, it won’t be at peace with me.

 

wish you were here….

How i wish, how i wish you were here.

We are just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year.

There are oceans beyond,

with which you and me share an undying bond.

i dream of the freedom there

those immense open spaces, the fresh sunlit air.

Miles to swim, to dive, to breathe,

a million silver bubbles which silver dreams weave.

i swim in circles here, but never tire,

of burning endlessly in this unending desire.

Each day i wish you were here,

and each day is gone without you near.

Here now i wonder, what have we found?

The same old fears still swirl around.

How i wish, how i wish you were here,

we are just two lost souls,

tied till eternity with a thread of prayer…

Wish you were here…

The Buddha Diaries.. Songsten

i am not sure if you always need a temple to pray. i am not sure either of whether there is a god or not. i visit temples and i do say my prayers. But i cannot say i am religious. Nor would i say i am overtly agnostic. i have faith, which falters from time to time. And i do believe in karma. Only i experience something divine within me or around me rather than inside the sanctum sanctorum.

This time i was at the Songsten Library. It’s a quaint place in the outskirts of the valley of Dehradun. It’s beautiful, immensely so. And the moment i walked into the compound, i fell in love with the place. It is one of those tranquil places where even the restless of the minds will find peace. The mountains stand in the backdrop like some impressionist painting. Green, Crisp, with dots of brown here and there. Sunlight pours itself over them generously and the green seems to glitter in all those places which are drenched in that beautiful golden glow. Strangely enough, even the shadows look warm and delightful.

Stone walls bound the library complex. But you hardly get to see any wall. Rows and rows of bougainvillea draped themselves against the wall. Bright oranges, reds, pinks covered the otherwise grey wall. The gate is green, the guard, with a loving smile underneath a huge moustache, lets you in. You are greeted by a hillock that read the Buddhist inscription “Om mani padme hum”. i walk around it. The other words carved out of grass are welcome, in both Hindi and English.

The beauty of the place is absolutely divine. Its calm, quiet surrounds seem to work like magic on a fatigued heart. That’s the first thing that hits you. The serenity of the place. The second thing would be Dalai Lama’s car. A yellow Mercedes. No, i am not much fascinated by cars. It being housed inside a glass house was what amused me. I look around for a while. Nothing stirs except for the breeze that gently hums in the ear. And such divine quietness is what makes everything perfect.

Its lunch hour, so i sit beneath a statue, sheltered in its shadow. It’s some Tibetan king riding a horse, and is wonderfully carved. But i wasn’t awed by it. What stirred me was the pond beside the statue. It was a tiny irregular elliptical water body dotted with lotus leaves. The water was murky, grey and green. The leaves a pale shade of green encircled by blotches of purple and brown. A few buds swayed in the breeze, as if joined together in some prayer before flowering. They were purple, still enveloped in its delicate case of green. The sun rays cajoled it to blossom. The maiden petals softly curled outwards as if giving in and at the same time refraining the coaxing. It is such glorious flower. i remember seeing them bloom during one monsoon outside my window. The raindrops danced around them, kissed them on their fresh white faces and left joyful memoirs in my heart.

A tiny mound stood within the pond. On it a miniature tree of some specie i know not, grew. Its tiny branches were laden with tiny leaves. Bright and yellow. And those tiny branches, tiny prayer flags fluttered. The same words, the same symbols, only here, even though they were too small in size and number when compared to other places, they seemed to outgrow everything else. The colours, white, red, blue, yellow, looked colossal when compared to the green. How everything changes as soon as we change our perception! How everything changes because of one single moment. i looked for hours at them, at the pond. The world around seems meaningless when you find something delightful to ponder upon.

i understand now why Buddha is associated with the lotus. Why this flower is supposedly said to symbolize him. i looked at the pond. i looked at the water. It was muddy, dark. And then i looked at one of the lotus buds that was about to bloom. It was so divinely beautiful. And yet when i wonder where they sprang from, i see filth and mud. The greatest enlightenment rises from the deepest depths of darkness. Isn’t that what happened to him? He saw pain and suffering and death and hurt. And rose above it all!

i wonder if i truly understand. But i do, in bits and pieces. And perhaps in time i will. Till then, i wait.

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The Buddha Diaries.. (Boudha)

i am Hindu by birth, but i don’t know why i feel so drawn towards this god called Buddha. i have never ever sought spirituality, nor ever thought of treading on that path of renouncement. Yet, every time i see him, he invokes something within me which i cannot explain. His presence, his thought alone, serenades me with such settling calm that every painful memory seems to have vanished, as if nothing existed before that moment of time and nothing will be hereafter.  That everything there ever was lies in that moment and beyond it, the universe stops to function.

This time i was in Boudha. And he sat smiling above a massive dome of white. Such pristine was the white, that standing there, beneath those huge generous eyes, i felt i was dissolving in the glow that white radiated. The prayer flags still fluttered in the air. But this time they seemed countless. And the prayers, said in languages unbounded by colour, country or tribe, echoed in my mind like a recurring dream. Though none of them ever makes any sense to my eyes and my ears, yet in my heart, it all makes sense. Colours floated everywhere around. Perhaps one of the reasons why i like these places so much is because of the vast palette of colours its painted in. Fiery reds, soothing blues, delightful yellows, vibrant oranges and then the white. Such pure and holy a shade, that even a glimpse of that dazzling colour makes the moment divine.

Boudha is not on a hilltop. Rather, it lies in the heart of the city of Kathmandu. From outside the gate, you cannot make out what you might get to see once you enter. But when you do, you are not just astounded, but feel so happy and so at peace. i have never seen a Buddha that doesn’t make you feel so. Even the tiniest of the stupas, soothes your soul. There are so many of them scattered all over the city. With kind eyes and a benevolent smile (though there are no lips painted on him, i always seem to find him smiling!). Walking through the swarm of people, fuming at the amount that throng the roads each day, muttering silent curses at every passerby who hits you with his shopping bag, you turn a corner, and there you find a tiny stupa smiling at you. And you forget everything, you smile back and the world seems a better place.

So i went in through this giant wooden door, carved intricately, and walked up to the biggest stupa i have seen so far. The sun shone beautifully, the winds blew peacefully and it wasn’t very cold either. It was a perfect winter day. And the warmth slowly started to settle down on me. But it was not the sun who was emitting the heat, it was Buddha himself. Light seemed to be a manifestation of him. Softly entwining each person present there and making everyone a part of him. How effortlessly he crept into the hearts of all who were there. Even the thousands of pigeons that flocked around, seemed to have devoted their lives to him. Maybe i am wrong about everyone else’s heart. But mine sure he did. He overpowered all my senses. And i felt i was a prayer flag, fluttering in the wind, chanting to this enormous eyed god in voices and languages as varied as the colours that adorn his shrines.

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The Buddha Diaries.. (Swayambhunath)

i looked into those giant eyes and they looked back at me. Mine were amazed, filled with briny perplexity; and his were colourful, filled with love and kindness. It took time for me to come to terms with the unworldliness of the place.  Everything around was so strangely sublime and so splendidly beautiful. The air seemed purer and the sky more blue than ever. And everything else more vibrant and more colourful.

‘Self sprung”. That is what Swayambhu means. And the moment i saw those eyes, there sprung in my heart a feeling that overpowered every emotion i have ever felt. It was neither fear, nor elation. Perhaps i was amazed by what i saw. And more amazed by what i felt. i felt closer to myself.

The stupa of Swayambhunath is atop a hill in the valley of Kathmandu. There are 365 steps that lead you up to the divine site. Maybe a step each for every day of the year! i am not very spiritual. Only slightly inclined towards beauty. It might sound vain, but that is what it is. It was beautiful, and i have no word other than that to describe both, the sight and the experience. It seemed like Buddha himself was gently smiling down at me, and with every passing second, he was slowly untying me from the biddings of the daily life.

He was surrounded by so many other forms, so many other gods. It seemed like an orderly crowd out there. Monks walked around wrapped in red robes, and in their faces, if looked closely, traces of Buddha could be found. They exulted peace, just like those enormous eyes up there. i could stay there forever, just watching the serene commotion.

The winds blew hastily and in every direction, as if wrapping the stupa in layers and layers of prayers that it had picked on its way up the valley. The prayer flags fluttered vigorously, the words written on them, in a script unknown to me, seemed to echo in my mind. i could decipher no meaning out of them, but it worked like balm, relieving me of everything painful and leaving behind everything delightful.

i did not pray, nor did i ask for anything. i didn’t know what i should say to him. But he seemed to understand everything. And smiling down at me, i could hear him saying that he would take care of all. And i believed him.

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