Forests

To hear the leaves thudding down on the forest floor,

And seeing them pushed up on resilient support,

To see the freshest nascent greens and purples,

And the old peeling browns.

To hear the symphony of birds,

The rustling and wheezing of the breeze,

To see stillness,

To be in it,

To be it,

To hear drops plopping onto the ground,

To feel the snow melt and drip down,

To welcome the shade of a canopy,

And to the magic and marvel of massive trees.

Beautiful, majestic and puzzling superorganisms,

To hear them creaking as they gently dance,

To see them bare – a bare tree, bare forest, and soon, later, a thick canopy, a majestic green crown blooming.

To see seasons change.

To breathe the air,

To feel the humidity,

To feel the humus on the wooden floor,

To see light dancing through,

To be scared,

And reinvigorated.

To move through the woods and forests,

And to be moved by them.

To bathe in the forest,

And its memory.

~~~

Reading the fantastic, insightful book “The hidden life of trees” by Peter Wohlleben and am transferred into the magical places that forests are.

Ready?

To Restore balance,

Reduce, reuse, recycle,

Respond and rethink, responsibly,

Return to greener habits,

Reforest yourself and your neighbourhood,

Revisit simplicity,

Reimagine your habits, readjust them,

Read, research, reflect, review with friends,

Remember your role in the web of Life,

Rectify habits where they need to be, refine them,

React positively and constructively, re-energise, reach out,

Reach out renewably to repair our broken ways,

Reply to the inner calling of Nature,

Refuse to let things stay the way they are if they’re unhealthy,

Join the revolution which wants a healthier planet,

Rebuild a better planet,

Refit yourself so that you fit too,

Reality is here and now,

Realise this,

Reason with the unreasonable as far as possible,

then, resume your journey,

Recover from your weaknesses

Rediscover your intentions

Remove yourself from toxic, polluted environments,

Replace toxicity with Life,

Rejoice in the tiny changes that you make

For you are rekindling something huge,

Repent not, restart at the earliest,

Refresh, rejuvenate in this abundant beauty, and

Reignite yourself in Nature’s wisdom,

Reciprocate the Love you’re getting from her, and reconnect.

Retain this.

Ready?

~~~

A short reminder, to us all.

Painting courtesy: Priyasha Sharma (thesummerblossoms on Facebook)

Many walls to tear down..

It was not going to be easy, and it still isn’t.

Although, it is much easier now.

One strike and a chip comes off, many strikes and a tiny crack appears, a stronger hit and nothing happens – you’ve hurt yourself – the wall hitting the hammer hurting your hands, jarring your bones. There seems to be no pattern, no linearity which we can fathom in this process of destruction, or rather construction. And suddenly a sizeable chunk falls off the day you expect it the least. Re-energised, you take another hit and try to break this wall, which, built over years, cemented by excuses, held together by ego baggage, reinforced by what we call society, provides a perfect cover for our fears and self imposed limitations to grow. But as it slowly crumbles, attacked by the same hands which helped built it, from below the dark underbelly of denial, there’s light on the other side.

And it’s filtering through…

Old man and the sea, and ..me.

~~~

Old Man Ocean, how do you pound

Smooth glass, rough stones round?

Time and the tide and the wild waves rolling

Night and the wind and the long grey dawn.

Old Man Ocean, what do you tell,

What do you sing in the empty shell?

Fog and the storm and the long bell tolling,

Bones in the deep and the brave men gone.

– Russell Hoban

~~~

This time, that year:

Wave after wave, questions after questions, answers to questions, answers in questions, questions in answer, wave after wave.

This time, this year, this place:

There has been a lot of time and mindspace to observe this churning,
This dark gray-mattered sea which stretches far and deep inside me.

~~~

Churning

This time, that year,
same place.

Wave after wave rising, swelling, crashing. Question after question flowed out, flowed in, went on..and along with the questions, a few answers surfaced, rose like the waves.

Within many questions lay answers, or hints to them. And within many answers, especially the ones which I now feel were short-sighted, lay hidden many more questions.

The cliff stood firm, though, watching this play, back and forth, wave after wave, question after answer, answer after question.

This time, this year, this place.

~~~

This is the longest we’ve stayed at a beach, and with barely any ‘distractions’ , there has been a lot of time and mindspace to observe the churning of the sea, this dark grey matter which stretches so far and deep.

Rain.

Feel the rain.

The magic that is monsoon, after the months of waiting, the looking up at empty skies, the beating of the cruel sun, the long days of summer, the dry landscape, helplessly watching the weakening rivers and lakes, the cracking up of the soil, the slow roasting of leaves on plants, awaiting the cooler breeze of the evening, waiting..

And magically, cyclically, slowly, sometimes suddenly and scarily fast, there is a cloud formation like this. Pregnant with hope.

Flash! Boom! Crack! Boom! Rumble! The breeze picks up, the mercury cuddles up and shrinks and cowers down, trees open up – sway and dance, birds seem to surf the skies in the strong gusts and our hearts soar as the first tiny or the first HUGE drops splatter down.

Feel the rain, don’t get ‘just’ wet.

Back ‘home'(?) or rather, back to school.

I no longer know where home is.

All I do know is the feeling of being welcome in a place, the warmth, the vibes, the familiarity and new lessons.

Bangalore has been a place which has shaped me, and almost exactly a year later, (and what a year it has been, the first year as an educator / learning facilitator (not sure if the word ‘teacher’ exists!), as we return there for a brief time, I can’t help but remember the lessons learnt, and all that had been unlearnt there, of what to do and, what not.

Looking forward!

All aboard?

Almost time to depart on the next leg of the journey!

Some new tracks, metal fabric stitching us together, some new scenery, some fresh rolling stock, some new co-travelers, some younger, older and more familiar, all of us hopefully better versions of ourselves.. All of us with our own baggage, hopefully optimized and repacked over the short break.

New time tables planned, new plans now tabled, new tracks mapped out, new maps which need to be tracked, on this train where all are passengers, guards, loco drivers, station masters as well as the teams less visible in the background, often, all at once..

All on-board? Let the wheels roll!

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Magic..

We are here to understand the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. Many of us will hardly believe that this is magic. I don’t expect we will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses…

Rugged terrain

Over the past few days, I’ve been on a trek, to the mountain ranges of my brain..

Through the forests of thoughts, tall summits towered high, vast plateaus stretched out and deep valleys sank down. Fissures, crevasses and gaps littered the route.

A place which could take lives or a place where one could be reborn

~~~

Learning..

Ever since moving to the new city/’job’, I’m  happy on being able to listen to some purely spoken languages here (some new, some familiar) in the past half year, and thinking about the joy of listening to ‘foreign’ words reminds me of this image and the range of feelings associated when one listens to a new tongue. 

Regret flashes by when I accept I didn’t learn Kannada when I had such a good chance to, while in Bangalore. 

But, new place, new beginnings. \m/

Space turtle! 

The phrase “Turtles all the way down” was floating around in my mind, in much the same manner the turtle would have been floating in space if it decided to, and I just had to try and paint it. 

Well, it really started as an over-cautious sketch, and there were too many questions immediately. Of which size should I draw the Turtle so that I could give it enough details and yet manage to fit the correctly-scaled Sun and the Space in between? Which orientation of paper should I use – landscape or portrait? How far ahead should I put the turtle ‘in orbit’ so that it shows just about enough motion? Will I even be able to show enough of an arc to make it look like an orbit? What if i just eventually paint the Sun’s outermost layers – wait, do I even know the layers of the Sun? I really want to paint the sun spots and solar flares though because the Sun is so majorly mighty. Brilliant ball of fire. Maybe I should look up a photo of Space first. And so on with a thousand other questions like should the turtle be floating happily or just floating with a hint of impending doom and so on and on and on. 

I almost forgot to focus on the image I had in mind. And I almost forgot that there was no way that a beginner like me would be able to translate even half of that image onto paper (needless to say, the mental image was one which was uber-rich in depth and grandiose to the maximum! :)) 

I ended up smiling, realizing that the original feeling was to paint and here I was getting tied down in too many details. Not a single pencil stroke made yet. Not that details aren’t important, but they made it seem impossible to begin anywhere. Maybe, the idea is to start, and then learn the techniques to get some of those details. 

Followed this approach, and forgetting all expectations, enjoyed the experience of painting something a LOT. For the first time. The 2+ hours just flew by. Ironic part – I never once expected and calculated and predicted the fun element 🙂 Creating something (especially something you end up personally enjoying and liking) created this immense energy, is what I felt that day. Was just bubbling with it!! 

Pri taught me some more techniques in the next painting (ongoing one) and the zone-like, trance-like experience which the space-turtle gave me got recreated, when I removed the over-thinking, fear of mistakes, fear of it not looking ‘right’, of it  not being scaled properly, of it not looking realistic and not being “aesthetically pleasing” (whatever that means). There may be a reduced co-relation between what is there in the head and what comes out eventually, but that is such a joy..! 

Too many words maybe, but ended up really enjoying the experience, and definitely a little bit hooked on to it! 🙂 Would urge everyone to try this and share as well..! 

Natural learning

​When the student is ready, the teacher arrives. 


Nature has pretty much everything, if not everything, that we need to learn from: it teaches us the concepts of diversity, cyclical patterns and behaviours, of cause and effect, unknown happenings, of beauty, the role of micro, macro and extreme events, continual erosion and sculpting, symbiotic and parasitic relationships, of coexistence, communication, specialised behaviour, adaptation, evolution, survival, balance, extinction… you name it and it is there. 

And all these, in an approachable, unbiased, giving, periodic and spiralling manner, done patiently, consistently, unfailingly, peacefully, and, beautifully.

It provides an excellent environment for learning, a medium which kick-starts self-reflection and self-learning with such ease once you connect with it. Its millions of years of wisdom awaken curiosity and teach us to sense, think and feel. 

If only we shifted our priorities and perspectives..

Work in progress..

Woke up today, all charged up. 

It was a holiday, and there were a lot of things I had to do for school, but more importantly, a lot of things I wanted to do for school. 

Saw the two 911’s parked on my desk, and remembered these words: 

In the beginning, I looked around, but couldn’t find the car I dreamt of. So, I built it myself“. 

Isn’t that what we need to do with ourselves and our surroundings?

Trees..

“Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.”

~~~

Have seen a bit of rainfall here, and the almost instant sprouting of fresh leaves, tiny shoots and fresh grass which followed is nothing short of magical. Am missing some of the trees of Bangalore, those faithful friends of mine who waved when I saw them, who guarded the roads on both sides, who celebrated each season differently, who towered mightily and yet humbly, and who literally breathed life into me..

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The potter’s wheel..

Ever since we joined in our new roles as teachers last month, I’ve been getting a bit more time to read and ponder about the utterly magnificent dohas of Kabir. It helps to have a colleague who has been listening, reading and pondering on these beautiful and deep lines written hundreds of years ago, and recently I came across these two lines, which have made an imprint on my muddy mind’s surface. 

What these lines say, translated as best as I can, is: 

The clay tells the sculptor “what! You will beat and pat and trample me? There will be a time when I will do the same to you”.

~~~

A Giant and a rock.

Have been going to this place since a few years now, and this ‘piece’ of rock is something that I just love! The layers, the colours, the textures, the ride to this place (struggling in the uphill sections, against a stiff headwind, and then zipping downhill at what feels lightning fast speed), the whole experience is so peaceful and therapeutic. I wish we, as a species, leave some stones unturned.

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SSSHHHH

As the morning sun struggled to rise up,

fighting to break free from the clouds,

to unwrap itself from the heavy blanket of cold wind,

struggling up from the valley floor,

the clouds pulled the wind up with them,

the wind pulled the clouds up with it,

ssshh. It hissed. And Roared. SSSHHHH

Windy Day (image taken via a Google search)

Windy Day (image taken via a Google search)

May the light and magic show continue!

A lot of things have happened in the past couple of months. A lot of confusion prevailed. We met a lot of positive and inspiring people. We realized the importance of protecting our own internal (and infinite) energies and not allowing it to be contaminated by the noise and fears of the external society. We went through a spell of bad health, partly fueled by needless stress. In the process of recovery, we killed some bad habits. Life is becoming better now. While there was always excitement and happiness in ‘the future’, I, especially, have made a shift and am bringing that excitement and happiness into my today. I don’t want to wait and depend on tomorrow for being in my best spirits – It has to happen today.

I have quit my job as an engineer and will be joining a school, working as a teacher in the coming months. While the insecurity of leaving a high paying job scared me for almost two years, I have been chipping away at it and now I am finally comfortable to take the plunge to lower salaries. It is ironic and sad, how a teacher is poorly paid, considering the importance of the role. However, we’re looking forward to revisiting some of our textbooks from about two decades back, and are really excited to re-learn everything, with several new mindsets that these two decades have helped grow. Along with the now available and fantastic online exposure (articles, videos, blog posts, info-graphics, etc) I really can’t wait to make some notes!

Recently I stumbled on this photograph, taken against the backdrop of a dark sea at night. It reminds me that it is time for the light and magic show to continue, and become stronger.

Let there be Light, and Magic.

Let there be Light, and Magic.