Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Fast on Shivratri

“Hey! Today is Shivratri! We are going to Fast! How about you man!” at 8 AM early morning Ravi asked me.

Ravi is a close friend of mine and somehow religious by nature. So, doing fast came as no surprise to me. He knows that I live alone and at frequent intervals I keep on banging inside his house forcing myself to be The Guest of Honor on dinner. He also is very caring and I thought it was out of his anxiety about my dinner that he asked me this, so that if I too am on Fast he will be mentally relaxed or otherwise he would have kept worrying as to how I am going to have my dinner.

“Ravi ! I have just got up man and till now had nothing! Thanks for reminding me of Shivaratri Thing! I will now think of keeping fast!” I said these words to make him comfortable so that he can enjoy his “Shivratri Fast” without being bothered about my Dinner.

This was the start of my morning on an auspicious day with a Lie. I knew fast is not my cup of tea. I cannot by any means satiate my glutton and somewhat agnostic stomach. Since, I had to console Ravi I said that and while I was saying this, my mind was thinking of what I can cook today for my dinner.

Mind! scrupulous or unscrupulous! It has only one thing to do. Thinking. The more one thinks the more things become complicated. As while talking and thinking I thought of every item on earth that can be cooked for eating, starting from Chicken to Potato, and finally I was even more confused about what to cook for my dinner at night and all this confusion was happening at the time of Breakfast.

Suddenly I realized that I needed breakfast immediately and not the dinner. I rushed outside to bring in some bread to feast my hungry stomach. I realized there are hundreds of Ravis’ outside. Many ladies were having a plate in their hands filled with flowers, fruits, milk and god knows what else.

“Are you on fast”, I heard a lady asking another, while I was passing by them. That became a day of realizations for me and I felt as if it is only I who is not fasting today. “Am I sinning by eating today” I asked myself.

Mind again would have gone in it’s natural thinking way had the Cell Phone have not buzzed. “Bugger, where are you till this time? Are you not supposed to report for the meeting ?” my Boss was shouting loud on me. My Eyes glanced at the watch and again I realized it is already 9:20 AM and I have to be in meeting at Sharp 10:00 at my office. I had to drive for 45 minutes to reach office.

It seems Lord Shiva went angry even by thoughts of having something in my stomach today,” this was the only thing that my mind could think at that point of time.

I did rush back to my house; house because I have no home; packed myself in my suit and bundled myself with my entire attire and gadgets inside my car.

I reached office late obviously and my boss roared again “Need you be taught to shave before coming to office”? Spontaneously my hand went on my chin and mind started its normal function of thinking “Man, how can you forget to brush your teeth”?

Now, I was convinced that Lord Shiva has gone angry with me and so I did decide rather vowed at that moment itself that I will be on fast today and thanked Lord Shiva that he has prevented me from having anything since morning.

Dry and jejune I came back house at around 7:00 PM itself that day. It was early for me but my mind kept on working and I was surprised to realize that it was working with empty stomach. It was thinking “Lord Shiva is really pleased by my decision of fasting and blessed me to escape unhurt in the meeting and make me leave office early. Lord Shiva is really great and that I should keep fast on every Shivaratri throughout my life.”

“Hallo! Ravi, are you there at home? Buddy, I am also on fast and dropped inside my house with nothing to do. Can I drop in?” I called up Ravi.

“Buddy just hop in. Seems fast has gone heavy in your brain so you are asking this stupid thing”.

“Hey Ratna, do you know, savitri has bought new house a week back. This is her third one. I do not know where is she getting all this money from when her husband is in the similar job as my Ravi”. I heard Ravi’s wife Seema saying this to one of her neighbor friends as soon as I entered his home. A few friends of Seema had gathered at her house after whole days fasting and Seema seemed to be telling this latest breaking news to all her friends though introducing Savitri only.

“Come inside buddy! You know these ladies. Let them talk all stories.” Came Ravi to take me in.

Mind …. !! It again started working. “What a thought after the whole day fast”!

I do not knew the reason but I started feeling uncomfortable there. I thought it was my fast that is making me uncomfortable and so have asked his leave.

“Hey Reema! You know Sangeeta’s boy friend has ditched her and he is dating Lovely these days. Come we will all talk to Sangeeta after the pooja. This will be fun Yaar”! I heard a group of girls talking among themselves while I was strolling to my house from Ravi’s home.

My restlessness grew even more. I thought I am now hungry to the core and should reach home as soon as possible to hit the sack.

“Stupid, Idiot! Didn’t I ask you to bring sugar also? What have you brought instead? Do I need to shout on you always even in my fast?” I heard a house lady bashing her home help.

My restlessness grew even more and I was not able to understand the reason of this restlessness. Suddenly I heard the chime of a bell and realized again that somebody was offering prayer nearby because with the sound of bell some recital of mantra was also going on. I just started feeling a little good then the same voice shouted “Donkey, where is the burning cow- dung? Will you give it to me when I will finish the entire prayer?” and again the mantra started. He was rebuking somebody in between the prayers and he didn’t forgot to keep chiming the bell. I envied his devotion but my restlessness by this time has reached the horizon.

My mind again started its work but this time it was working at the speed of light. It was trying to find out the reason of my restlessness. In the process it recalled something which has been told to me by my Grand Papa. Probably it was restored in the grey area of brain which surfaced as a result of fasting, may be.

“Dear Son, remember always, fasting and prayers are done to cleanse your karma and karma is done through thinking process, speaking process and by the process of physical performance or act. If you can cleanse all these even for one day you will be doing fasting. Because fasting in Sanskrit is called UPWAAS. If you are cleansed in all your acts you will be close to God, and this is the actual meaning of fasting. If you are not eating anything for the entire day and you are doing all mean things this is no fast. This will be simple torture to your body.”

Mind sometimes reaches to some conclusion also. It reached and I took out my cell phone. “Hello, I am calling from Shipra Apartments, please do send me a plate of Paneer Kadhai and four breads. Make it fast, I am felling damn hungry.”

Have a Nice Day ahead, and I seek your permission to be back in a short while with another article in the journey continued.

Good Luck …

Utpal Kant Mishra
Delhi; Feb. 28, 2009.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Niece and the” Monkey Factor”

“Mausaji! Mujhe monkey se dar lagta hai! Mausi kahti hai monkey aa jayega!” I heard this with a trembling voice from my Niece as soon as I enter my house exhausted from my office.

My niece is a four year lovely, cute girl, as all Children are lovely and cute, is my blue starred eye. The fact that I do not have a baby of my own, she is very dear to me. It is another matter of fact that at times I wonder where all this loving, cute nature does evaporate as the same child grows up. Anyway, this is how I think about life and that should not bother you readers.

Now, as soon as I hear a trembling voice I fear from the one who I love so very much, I forget all exhaustion that I had in the entire day, and just felt like cuddling her and giving her solace. I did that and probably anybody would have done the same as we all are humans and we at times behave strangely in similar manner in some situations.

“Kahan hain monkey beta! Dekho mausa ji aa gaye na! Abhi monkey nahin aayega! Mausa ji se monkey darta hai na! abhi beta ko monkey nahin darayega!” I said all this while taking her in my arms and she felt so cosy there and safe too.

“Haan! Bhaag gaya! Masui ab bulao monkey ko! Mausa ji aa gaye na! Aaj main mausa ji ke saath hi soonga”.

“Haan beta! Aaj ham dono saath soyenge! Dekhain kahan se aata hai monkey tumhain daranain! Mere bacche ko darata hai! Bahut maroonga usko! ”

I said this and did forget by the time when we were about to bed. I really envy the memory of my cute little niece who at that point of time promptly reminded me:

“Mausa ji aap bhool gaye! Mujhe aapke saath sona hai! Nahin to monkey aa jayega na! Mujhe monkey se dar lagta hai!”

Spontaneously, I took her in my arms as if I was saving her from the monkey and said “I am sorry beta, chalo ham donon saath sote hain!”

Happy she was like a worker who has got bonus in these days of Recession. This was a paradise wealth as if any worker in any of the MNC would have got in this recessionary cycle. Forget about losing the job and salary cut, one is getting Bonus. How would be a grin on his face, similar was the grin on her face.

I have seen every time in life and now I am quite sure that every one of us, irrespective of caste, class, gender et - al; have “Monkey Factor” with us. This “Monkey Factor” comes out of us in different size and shape at different times in life. These days we are living under the “Monkey Factor” of recession counting every day the grains that we have saved for hay days. My “Factor” is even worse as I could not find anything in my storage tank. This Recession has shown the monkey of the same size and shape to everybody globally irrespective of ones being Occidental or Oriental. How closely this monkey has joined the Human Race Globally once again, as if we all are living in pre Gondwana Land era.

I was surprised to the degree of shock when I was reading some article on the Chinese astrology and I found the mention of Monkey sign there too. I jumped out of my bed and thanks God I landed there only safely. The common characteristic I noticed there in all types and creeds of “Monkeys” is that “Monkeys are showy PEOPLE, who love nothing more than impressing others by showing all they know”. I now became sure, that Monkeys are predecessors of Human.

Back to my niece. When I again met her she was six and a half years. Still the same lovely, cute girl. She saw me on the rickshaw which has stopped in a pretty decent area of Samastipur in Bihar which was having a kuccha road and since it was not rainy season so thanks God it was not marshy. She saw me and cried a loud “Mausaji” and with her cry she became a sprinter participating in Olympics in 100 meters event. Before anybody could have guessed she has crossed the verandah of bricks, the corridors of mud and banged herself in my arms.

“Mausaji, tum itni der baad kyon aaye, mujhe chocolate khani hai, toys khareednain hain, aur mujhe har shop main ghoomna hai, har shop se kuch khareedna hai!”

Thank God she has asked for all this before the Recession did hit the Economy and per say my Wallet.

“Haan beta! Ham sab shop ghoomenge, sab kuch khareedenge!” and I felt so happy at that time with this cute little angel.

And as I said about the thinking of my life, she was of eight years when my wife was no more with me, and she took no time forgetting her Muasaji. I still envy the memory of this sweet, little, cute niece of mine.

Since it is all humane it did not took me much on my stride, but yes I am thinking about the “Monkey Factor”.

Have a Nice Day ahead, and I seek your permission to be back in a short while with another article in the journey continued.

Good Luck …

Utpal Kant Mishra
Delhi; Feb. 16, 2009.


I would restart writing and developing this blog, but if I do this without thanking a few persons that will be very mean to me.

I would take this opportunity to thank my colleague Mr. Subash Sapru for motivating me to restart writing on this blog and to advice me to sway beyond hard core philosophy to write on.

Secondly, I would like to thank my classmate, who now has shelled herself to remain only a virtual friend of mine. Her philosophical suggestions have given me a good insight on the vivid topics that I could write on apart from philosophy and poetry.

Thirdly, I would mention my life to be motivating enough and giving me full space of time to pen down the experiences that it has given to me till date and that it will keep giving till my last breath.

Finally, I would like to thank two virtual friends of mine who I feel are no more virtual to me and who I would not like to name here, to be with me every time in my down an upswing of mood.

Thank you all and with your motivation I am restarting this Blog once again wishing I get motivating responses from one and all.

Have a Nice Day ahead !