Making A Difference

By Sunil Kumar

Happy New Year 2015! My first post this year!The present is the architect of the future; yet mindfulness is a trait easy to preach; difficult to practice. After a hectic week that saw me in Jaipur and the exotic locale of Jodhpur; it is time to pick up the digital easel and etch another week in life; in what is the endless flow of existence.

In the profundity of Indian thought; we have multiple lives; so a moment could be insignificant in the larger scheme of things. Yet Vipassana brings us to the realization that a moment is enough for me to perceive the vast impermanance of it all; the cosmos is a humongous concept that the spiritual scientist Gautama Buddha sought to distil into some home truths for the vast majority of humanity.

Rajasthan and the land of the Marwars is a travesty; an experiment designed to touch and test the concepts of craving and aversion; the continual test in the Buddha’s Dhamma-driven equanamity.

Crass materialism is a concept that hits you directly on the face as you land in the capital of this state; smug in the belief that I am going to be enthralled by the confluence of the Ganga and the Thames; and this is where the twain shall meet in the heady atmosphere of seductive verbal effrontery.

Bharat reminds me of how far it has moved on the garden path to “nutting”ness; and the real world of money is what matters in the daily struggle for existence. Even though I have come to pay my respects inadvertently to the goddess of learning and knowledge; it is her sister; the goddess of wealth who pops up again and again; reminding me of her primacy in the general scheme of things.

The Mehrangarh fort is an effusive testament to a world that was; somehow lost in the sound and barrage of inane 21st century existence. Walking the corridors of the past is always full of surprises making me marvel at some of the wonders conjured by ancient sculptors and artists; their creative prowess exceeding the jaded materialism of the present.

Sitting in the front lawns at the Woodstock of literary festivals; the JLF is also an exercise in patience; crowds rudely jostling for space; in typical Indian style; a pilgrimage interspersed with moments of utter chaos. Art is now conjoined with commerce; so that the distinction was inseperable. A family friend calls some of these people pompous windbags; the sentiment is partially true.

The iPhones and jackets are out; and we do not have poverty of the obvious kind; even if we may have lost something on the spirit.

The Bible tells us to be cheerful and positive; and so I try to find something worthy in my fellow man; even if the exercise is often futile. I listen ardently to V.S Naipaul and Farrokh Dhondy; hemmed in by a verbose partially cynical Bengali woman on one side; and a handicapped yet gentle Swiss lady in a wheelchair on the other. The conversation is nothing much to get excited about; and lacks the charisma and humor of the Girish Karnad-Naseer conversation. The crowds get bigger every year; making me relish quieter days and fewer people.

Some of the authors stress on the poetic imagination; and talk endlessly on the subject; yet none of them seem to touch on mysticism and “vairagya”. Devdutt Pattnaik takes the audience on a world tour of different religious thought and mythology; yet cleverly evades my question on God and awareness by a standardized non-committal response. Makes me realize that we are all in Hotel “Money”ania here; you can check in any time you like; but you can never leave.

Leaving the pundit and his self-serving street-smart servile “dakshina”; the festival in itself is an interesting intellectual endeavour; and should be commended for its attempt to pass on some exalted wisdom to us all. Making a difference today could be helpful to the world; but nobody has an idea about where our collective stream of consciousness will head to next. The Buddha of suburbia; the generally enlightened mass of people; who may eventually realize that they know nothing; are all smug in the security of the future; and the drama of existence continues.

Our Prime Minister welcomes Barack Obama on this Republic day; and plans to broadcast his “Mann Ki Baat”(reflections) in a couple of locations around the planet. As a citizen of the internet age; I believe that my ideas are an attempt to communicate with the world at large. Do engage with


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One Response to Making A Difference

  1. KRISHAN KUMAR says:


    On Your first brilliant article this year!

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