A smile.

As I was strolling in the bookshop at Uxbridge, I came accross an old lady sitting by a bookshelf, waiting for some one. Her face was full of wrinkles., and seemed like she was waiting. I had enough time to look at her and give her a smile, before reaching the counter where I had to inquire something.

On my way back, I saw the lady with more wrinkles on her face, due to a warm smile that she was flashing at me. Her mischevious eyes also twinkled with her same smile.

A nice day indeed!

Buddhism..

A lazy saturday noon saw me at the library. Initially I buried myself in newspapers replete with the “war-details”., and also dealing with the personal finance. After browsing through the shelves of all sections, took out a couple of books for “scan-reading”, and lazy that I was feeling, I spent sometime in library itself reading those.

Before I left the library, I lay my hands upon “Buddha for Beginners”, buried in which I spent the rest of the day. The book dealt with the life of buddha, and the evolution and history of buddhism upto this century. It also graphically covered the spread of buddhism, from india to Srilanka, Myanmar(Burma), Tibet, South-East Asia, and via Silk route to China and from there to Japan., and its decline not only in the country of its origin, India, but also in other countries.

I had already read “The Historical Buddha” some time back, which dwelt on the life of Buddha, based on historical evidences, cutting short the mythical association which crept into the buddhist scriptures, and which assigned buddha a “godly” stature. Simple logic and practicality seems to be the main reason for the revival of Buddhism, which is happening now.

Here’s a brief overview of the life of Buddha :

Born in Sakya clan of northern india, Siddhartha-Gotama was groomed to become a king. His mother Maya died soon after the birth of Siddhartha, and he was taken care by stepmother(who also was Maya’s sister) and his father King Suddhodhana. An astrologer predicted that either Siddhartha will become a great King, else will become an ascetic monk and will be revered by even Gods. King Suddhodhana didnt want his son to become an ascetic., and hence brought him up with all the luxuries provided for. Whenever the prince ventured out, the king ordered the sick, ill and old aged people to be out of the sight of the prince. But fate had to take its turn. Accidental meetings with Sick, old aged people, a dead body and a calm monk set the price thinking about life.

To find an answer to the questions that life posed, he left his pregnant wife Yashodhara, and kingdom in search of truth. He wandered many years practising various austerities prevalent at that time, to find an answer to the mysteries of life. Finally he gave up all the austerities and sat below a Bodhi Tree and decided not to get up from there unless he found the answeres to life.

The determination paid off the seventh day. The memories of past life came to him, the enternal truth unfolded in front of his eyes. He became Buddha – an enlightned one. His search had come to an end. He got all the answers to the life. Gotama-the Buddha preached his philosophy to his fellow ascetics, whom he had left earlier. This was the corner stone of whole buddhism. This sermon was known as the Deer park sermon.

Buddha preached the Four noble truths:

  • Life is suffering
  • Desire is the origin of Suffering
  • Desire can be ended
  • The noble eight-fold path helps in that
  • The eight fold path consists of :

    • Right Understanding
    • Right Aspiration
    • Right Speech
    • Right Action
    • Right Livelihood
    • Right Effort
    • Right Mindfullness
    • Right Concentration

The fellow ascetics to whom he preached this became his first disciples. Rest of his life Buddha wandred as a monk, teaching his philosophy. He died at an old age, and his last words were “O monks, this is my last advice to you. All things in this world are impermanent(undergoing permanent change). They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.” Lying down, he turned to one side and attained Mahaparinibbana(the final extinguishion)

sheesh! I’m wasting time…

No., off late I’ve not been doing anything purposeful, except for the daily chore of “living”. A late morning from bed, sees me rushing to office, and late from office, I slump to bed after dinner, drowning myself into a book. Hmm.. soon the routine will change. Well I have to change it.

I have been currently reading shortstories on Sulekha., and the bed time book has been the short stories by Khushwant singh. Honestly some of the stories by Singh are really good and some are bloopers (well in my opinion). Sulekha has got some really good stories turn up in their article section, which really holds your attention.

In shortstories, I have liked the creations of late R. K. Narayan. His novel “The English Teacher” has been one of the best novels that I have read. A worth read. After reading Khuswant Singh’s stories, the long standing thought in my mind that I too could write shortstories, came to fore more strongly., and I have been able to conceptualise some short stories during last few months.

Yes., I have even thought about the titles for them, but need time to put the stories down in black and white. Even if the stories turn out to be bloopers, I always can look back and say “ah yes! I used to write short stories“. ;-)

Here are the titles :

1. Revenge
2. Ghost on the tree
3. The peanut vendor
4. Short selling
5. Life of Adbhutam
6. Kallan thaadi
7. Fish molly

Ok. The list has been long. Time and hopefully I will jot down atleast couple of them soon. Watch this space.

Oi Praveen…

I was at the office and my mobile beeped announcing a text message…

oi praveen, tu chacha ban gaya!(oi praveen, you’ve become an uncle!)

I was really happy after I got the news., but the fool I was I couldnt contact my brother immediately. Later when I tried to contact him at his office, he had already left. I was really upset with myself for the delay. I indeed was a stupid nincompoop. Should’ve contacted him immediately. After trying several ways of contacting him, I finally gave up and planned to contact him next day at office early in the morning.

Back home, I was reminiscing. From the beginning of my life my brother was there for me. He has always protected me, been on my side, though we had our share of fights and bouts. I remember us both going to school, together with our grandfather, carrying our aluminium school boxes. We played along with Pradeep and three of us grew up together.

Soon, we moved to our fathers house in perumbavoor, but the bond between three of us grew. Prasanth was still my protector. Whatever mischief I managed to do, the blame was always on my brother and he took the scoldings also which came along with it. Though we had separate friends group during school days and college days, in the evening we were together in our group which consisted more of local friends.

Before we knew, we had grown up and myself and Prasanth moved to Bombay. Jobs followed, but he remained the same “protective” prasanth whom I always loved. For him, I came before everything. He has been the same “selfless” self over the years. Innocent, pure at heart.

Evening 6.33 Badlapur local from VT, always had a window seat for me., even If I was late. A treat of samosa’s awaited at Thane station and a long walk home together. After I came to London, the next trip home, my brother was getting married. At the airport, I found a “bear-hugg” and I knew our bond has grown beyond words.

The reminiscences brought the moisture in my eyes., and the guilt that I couldnt contact him immediately as I got the message. I had to wait till next day to contact him.

I contacted him next day morning. I heard a father, a husband, a friend on the other end of the phone., and above all, my same old brother – full of love.