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Archive for June, 2008

Dear Stephie,

 

We have not been in touch for years. Neither you wished to reach out to me nor did I want to bridge the gap of silence between us. However, the reasons were different for both of us.

 

We carried the burden of loving the same man. 

 

I had lost him to you and you lost him to eternity. What a cruel joke! Pity, neither you nor me could keep him forever. Yet, we do live on with guilt – I, for hating you for your act of theft and you for having stolen my love treasure.

 

Ours is not a triangle. Ours is a direct fight between two women, over the rights of one body. And both of us have played out our game of violence over his body.

 

But if either of us were to be confronted with the fact, we would both deny it.

Was it our love or our egos? Was it our hatred or our gaming minds? Was it our super-ego or our extreme desire to fool ourselves to believe that one of us is greater than the other? Or, was it our fatal desire to prove that one was better than the other? What was it we were trying to establish by playing this game with each other over him?

 But what the hell! The right to be ourselves is ours – vile, wicked, malicious, and angry that we are. Yet, we must deceive each other and our own selves and hide our real selves – we are bitches, both of us.

I have chosen to write this letter to you in order to  tell you once and for all I despised you for your courage to steal him away from right under my nose. I tried to break you up but was convinced that he wanted to be with you, only when you were around. But, when you were away, out of town, it is me he returned to. Our passion for each other doubled during those times….

 

 

Then how can you say, he was yours? And even if he was, you have lost him just as I have, to eternity.

 

What is over is over. What remains is here and now…. A moment pregnant with the curse of closure.

 

I want to tell you I have purposely kept away from you, from sending a condolence letter as well when I came to know of his passing away. Who ever condones the death of a whore’s  husband?

 

But, today I need to close the chapter with you too….I need to end this story of hate, not for your sake but for mine. It is purely a selfish reason.

 

I am pretty certain that if ever you receive this letter, you will in turn say, “Who is Usha?” It will be the same for you as well – selfish, you before me. And that is why I call both of us, bitches. Our egos are bigger than our selves. It has always been so.

 

I am not sorry for the past, nor for the feelings I havefor you. But I do need to ask permission to close this chapter with you, these pageswe have both written with tears, jealousy, anger and venom for each other. And I hope with that, we will have both, finally moved on, knowing there is nothing more to share between us….

 

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Memsaab, Usha heard a voice behind her. It was her driver. She turned to look at him.

 

“The gates will close Madam. You have been sitting here for last two hours”.

 

Usha gathered herself, bringing herself to the present moment. She stared at the stone walls of the Monkey Point, trying to fix her mind on the face of one stone that resembled a monkey. Yes, she had come here to look for the monkey among the stones, but what she got engaged in was the monkey in her mind. At last she had written the long awaited letter to her ex-husband’s  wife.

 

A deep sigh escaped her mouth as she lifted herself to walk in slow steps towards her car.

 

“Let’s go”, she said simply, “the gates have closed.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

NB Art By Smriti Vohra 

 

 

 

 

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When a fruit is ripe, it drops by itself. So does our attachment to things, persons and ideas.

 

Theory after theory, talk after talk, book after book has been written on this subject – how to overcome attachment, for attachment brings pain, self-inflicted pain. But the mind of man is hungry. It thrives on desire. And it is the desire for things, persons, ideas, that finally brings pain. The same thing, that causes, pleasure in the beginning, is responsible for bringing pain afterwards.

 

Saints and holy men, thinkers and philosophers have given their own theories on how to overcome desire. J Krishnamurthy says – look at desire like wind passing through the leaves and branches of trees. However, for a spiritual person, on the path, it is an increasingly disturbing realization that no matter what s/he tries, desire does not leave his mind. These forms of desire keep surfacing in one form or the other.

I have heard a story of a man, who, having taken the permission of his whole family, left home of his last journey – vanaprashtha ashrama. He stayed away for many years in the forest, trying in the process to forget the world he had been in and all that came with it, to find God. Naturally, he wrote no letters, made no phone calls, nor sent any telegrams to his family. Slowly, the memory of his family left him and so did the attachment he had to the images and feelings he had in his mind, for them.

 

Then one day, a young boy arrived. Distressed from a broken love, he wanted peace of mind.

” Show me the way by which I can find peace of mind ”, he pleaded.

 

Suddenly a great flush of feelings rushed out of some corner of the man’s mind. His whole face lit up. Someone had heard of him. Someone had recognized that he had overcome desire. He was at peace. Someone had approached him, for their peace of mind!

 

And the man’s head swelled up.

 

Realizing the bloated attitude of the man, the young boy left. There was nothing to learn from him, he thought. He could see the disturbing characteristics of a man full of vanity and pride over his achievements.

 

The devices of the mind are cunning and numerous. It is therefore called bhavasagar –  the sea of thoughts which one must cross to realize the Eternal. It’s ways are myriad and it is a many headed serpent. Which one will raise it’s when, is difficult to know. Indeed, impossible too.

 

Even if apparently the man had forgotten his family and the attachment he had to the images and memory of them, actually, the attachment had only taken a round about turn. He had become the whole family himself. His attachment to them had become attachment to himself and his achievements, instead. And it only required the young boy to come, to show it up.

 

Indeed, nothing had been gained.

                       

When the fruit is ripe, it drops by itself. There is nothing to do but watch.

 

A sea of thoughts occupies our minds at all times. All these thoughts have an electric charge. Some are strong and dominant, some aren’t. All thoughts give rise to action. Dominant thoughts arise again and again and force us to act upon them. But, just in case, we break the pattern and stop to act on them, then, they will keep arising again and again, getting stronger and stronger every time till finally, they lose their charge on us, because only when we act on these thoughts, we recharge them so to say. If we don’t they will ultimately, drop.

 

Not easy to do however. A persistent thought comes to my mind about my ex-boy friend. The thought compels me to act. Make contact. Check out if I am still on his mind; has he really forgotten me; and even if he has, my reappearance will bring back in his mind, thoughts about me. He will begin to think of me; he will act; he will return to me…..etc, etc.

 

All games of the mind. The more we are attached to our thoughts, the more games the mind will play. The more will be our misery.

 

But, if we stop to “give energy” to these rising thoughts, one day they will die out and fall into the vast sea of thoughts that have no electric charge at all. In fact, they will cease.

 

Both thoughts of good, bad, anger, jealousy, thoughts of rejection, bitterness, happiness, indeed all thoughts keep us attached to the objects of our desire. But, one day, when the time is ripe, the object of our thought drops and with it our desire for it.

 

The tree is never in a hurry to see its fruits ripen. It knows that the flower has come and will be followed by the fruit. And just as the petals of the flower fell when the fruit came, so will the fruit, grow and ripen with age and time. And when it is fully ripe, its own weight will pull it down by the force of gravity. It will fall effortlessly, leaving the branch on which it grew.

 

The tree is not in a hurry. It is intrinsically stable and grounded. It has been a spectator of events when the flower came. It remains a spectator when the fruit falls. It is neither attached to the flower nor the fruit. Neither to the flowers that will come again, nor to the fruits which will follow. And never to the fruits that will finally fall, for it knows that – when a fruit is ripe, it drops by itself.

 

So does our attachment to things, persons and ideas.

 

 

 

 

Art By Smriti Vohra 

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