Born in a good family, loving parents.
Schooled in one of the best institutions, and the same applies to college as well. (Well, its subjective really!)
Work towards a good (Great) career.
Start a family.
Buy a house.
Raise good kids.
Retire, Invest and be nice to the visiting children and grandchildren.
On close analysis, this would seem minimalist. But end of the day these things matter, maybe only these things. If one were really lucky one would encounter questions like “What is life? Who am I?”. Although the second question is never on the same plane as the first. It is much more rare and on a higher pedestal. Only those who had moments of rare suffrage/boredom would be led to the “Who am I”. What is so special about this question?
For starters, it destroys the belief that one is the physical form, which one has assumed to be in the whole scheme of things. It gives rise to the possibility of an unknown. Now, this is ridiculously simple and does not cost any money. It is the simplest scientific experiment possible. When you contrast this approach to building neutrino labs for understanding the evolution of matter, the intention is the same. Genuine curiosity for the truth. However, it is not so easy because it would involve shaking the very basic idea of yourself.
You would probably become mad wouldn’t you? It is laughable really. We spend money on intoxicating ourselves to lose the idea of who we are. Breaking free from inhibitions. But we would never ever do this process of enquiry. Self enquiry opens up the possibility of embracing a higher and infinitely vast field of existence rather than limiting it to the physical form. But to do so, existence should be freed from the possession of this idea that limits it to the physical form. How to do this? By observing this “idea of I” changing into various shapes and forms. It is not easy to spot the change, because it is very rapid. The power of attention should be higher than the power of the idea taking shape. It is stupid really. Rather it is a wonder how much free reign that “we” have provided to this “I”. The I is inertia. It is accustomed to looking at the external world. Hence it would start reacting in a hyper-tension mode if we tried to make it look inward, upon itself. Its fun actually. But we would never take to this process till the “idea of I” beats itself to the ground, weaving a sob story around its life. Only if the going is bad can the attention be turned inward. As long as the going is good, the idea of I has its play things – “the world and others”. Once in a while, it does help to pause and ask.
What is life?
Maybe it would lead to self enquiry, maybe not. What’s the harm in trying?
The clinking of the temple bells could be heard at the distant. He usually preferred this spot for drinking the experience through his senses.
The colourful half sarees dancing alongside brisk colored cotton shirts, and every now and then a white & gold angavasthram. The smell of the “fried nei” from the karpagamabal mess wafting through the east car street interrupted by the strange flavoured cotton candy smell sold by the hawkers. It was not exactly peaceful with the loud honks of the vehicles struggling to get past the street while each vehicle stopped for 2 seconds before the gopuram to communicate to Iswaran using the famous hand and chin signal. It was an experience – the Mylai Kapaleecharar koil. He couldn’t help but secretly admire this whole setting, while realizing the feeling that he was a thair sadham at heart no matter how many “cool” masks he wears. Amidst this blissful scene, he could spot a familiar face walking from the temple tower towards the Rasi silks store. He almost waved a “hi”, but he was thankful for not doing it. It was only 10 seconds later he could see that person in a blue and green checked shirt walking along with her. He had seen his face in one of the whatsapp conversations with his close friend, “The US maplai”. It was at this exact moment, she turned her head towards the spot where he was standing. She gave a blank expression as though she was staring into an abyss. He didn’t flinch, instead all he could see was the pair of eyes that he had once loved. Words didn’t matter.
A scene of memories rushed to her consciousness. Familiar scenes. Scarily real like the college stores, canteen, yellow colored buses, dim-light coffee shops and midnight phone calls. She almost teared up. It was not out of any love for the (now) stranger standing opposite to the temple, but this was simply overwhelming. She was always an emotional person too proud to show this side to him. She cursed herself for choosing this place, date and time. She felt awful but she didn’t know why. She had to be literally pulled out of this thought cloud by the familiar touch of her fiancée. It was only then she spotted that pretty face standing near that stranger of an ex. Clad in a parrot green saree, clearly much younger to her. She could not help but notice the eyes of that girl, there was an unworldly sparkle. A spark of “love, life and happiness” maybe she thought. She smiled to herself, “at least everyone is happy”. She felt betrayed. Maybe she would have been happier if she didn’t notice that pretty girl. She had almost entered the saree store and that was the last scene she could see. The stranger had a smile. She liked that smile more than she hated that sarcastic laugh.
There he was standing with his destiny beside him. She held his forearm tightly with her head nestled on his shoulder. His smile widened. Or maybe that was a laugh – it was really difficult to say from all that hustle of Mylapore.