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So, 2018.

17 Jan

We are seventeen days into the new year and I sincerely hope it brings renewal, hope, determination and keep-on-keeping-on-ness to every single soul on the planet, and more specifically, to those who continue to read this blog. And gentle peace and happiness, too.

Image result for top cat gif

Ok, and maybe some madness too!

After my small success with the October-November experiment last year-where, for one month, I vowed to meditate twice a day for 15 minutes only*-I’m after some more goals this year.

1) I’d like to resume full practice of my meditation, including the energisation exercises that precede the actual sitting down part of it. Once a day will do, because:

2) I’d also like to resume the practice of Pranic Healing which I started learning in stages from 2011, without ever becoming a regular healer. Pranic healing is an energy healing system developed by Master Choa Kok Sui, and my family became acquainted with it more than two decades ago. One parent was a patient, the other learnt it so that it could be practiced at home, and we’ve been receiving healing from that parent ever since. It is powerful and effective in a manner that can only be understood by someone who has experienced it.

Pranic healing has played another very important role in my life; it kick-started the present phase in my spiritual life by giving me intellectual and experiential knowledge of the yogic system of inner and outer worlds, and bodies, and taught me how to meditate (even though I went on to practice a different system of meditation than the one they teach). For a long time I thought perhaps that was where its role in my life ended. I couldn’t find a way to actually practice the healing because I tended to get very, very anxious at the mere thought of it.

However, time’s up for anxiety! I’m approaching the re-introduction to Pranic Healing like I do my meditations; leave it up to the Divine Guide to do the actual healing, as I follow through with the motions. As long as the responsibility lies Up There, I won’t get nervous. I think!

3) Getting regular with the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. The immediate motivation is the health of a family member, but I hope to keep with with the 108 times chanting, which takes about half an hour for me. This mantra was my experiential introduction to the power of mantras. A skeptic of anything canonically religious, I became a convert when I finally decided to try verbally chanting along with my Yoga class one day, some years ago. They begin the class with this one-

And end with-

Chanting it felt wonderful in a very physical way, like the words entered deep inside my back and resonated. It released energy and gave me peace. Since then, I’ve frequently started my meditations with the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra chanted thrice, followed by the Shanti Mantras, just as they chant it in Sivananda Yoga Centres.

4) Walks. Every late evening, after the crowds thin, for atleast 30 minutes. This one is motivated partially by health reasons and more so by vanity. Several months of eating out via food delivery services led to the necessity of buying what I call my fat pants. I need my fat pants to not fit me anymore, even with a belt! 30 minutes of regular walking might not be anywhere close to a heavy-duty workout, but perhaps combined with a diet of home-cooked food it will be enough for me to regain my regular levels of metabolism.

5) And oh yes, finish writing that dissertation!




*It led to more continuous twice daily meditations than I’ve ever had since I started meditating in 2012. Since the focus was regularity, I allowed myself to set aside my usual techniques and length of time spent on it.


Thoughts thoughted upon the red chair.

16 Dec

I’m cold. But ofcourse, being the true blue Delhiite, I have to, on principle, smile indulgently at Kolkata’s attempt at winter. Which is why I find my winter suitcase, er, wardrobe, currently restricted to full sleeved cotton tees (four) and cotton waistcoats. Oh and dupattas that double as scarves for my throat. I’m going to layer with a vengeance and ingest hot water till the 20th when I hit Delhi and 11*C and can justify wool and warmth.

Since this morning, de-beered, I’ve been reflecting upon the drunken (buzzed only, on my part)socialising of last evening. I’ve had plenty of time to process that experience given as I’ve, naturally, been awake most unnaturally since 6 AM. It would figure that when I can finally afford to loll in bed, my body has to remember the laws of Murphy and turn itself alertfully awake at six bloody AM.

Anyhow, the drunken socialising. I’m not usually given to sharing a bottle (figure of speech; I didn’t really share yesterday either, I swigged the entire bottle). A)I’ve never done the peer pressure drinking-smoking routine. Never felt the need to get high through substance and refused to drink just because ooh, it’s so baad. Besides, I could get really, truly, passionately high without losing my wits through one of my two major obsessions in life, i.e, the wonderful sport of cricket (ages 12-16.5) and Iron Maiden (ages 13-now). There is no high like the high of turning up the volume to heavy metal that you trule, truly love like a part of your being. Even better, no high greater than actually being at a gig of your favourite band, acting out of character, trying to scream-sing, jump up and down and headbanging till your neck feels sore for the next one week. Just typing it makes me itch to go to my fourth Maiden gig. I would love to do that at other gigs of bands I love, but the only other bands I’d like to (pay to) listen to live are either disbanded (thank you fate for birthing me in the wrong decade) or quitting touring (hello, Judas Priest) or never coming to India.

Moving on with A), my point is that I only drink with friends on the rare occassion. And B)I pride myself on not getting high. The first time I went out drinking with friends (it was a very special occassion, aye) I mixed three drinks and was perfectly sane. A little buzzed and a little disoriented on my feet, but in control of my self. What the buzz does to me is that it loosens me up. It makes me more sociable than I usually am, lowers my inhibitions a wee bit. I don’t start acting out of character, talking a lot or start admitting embarassing things.

So it was great fun last night, having the happy buzz and sitting back, grinning, watching the others start acting out of character, talking a lot and start admitting embarassing things 😀 It felt surreal at times, like I was an audience watching a play, it felt like a performance and I was genuinely tickled. Yes, fun I did have. But I wasn’t laughing AT them, I was laughing with them and I genuinely felt closer and more affectionate towards each and everyone of them. Last evening did wonders for class bonding. There was a lot of warmth and genuine good humour involved, despite the heated debates about feminist humour (or lack of), Arundhati Roy and Charles Darwin. What can I say? We were drunk, but we were drunk MPhil students…:D

I’ve been feeling like I’ve achieved something special, like I’ve made an important journey, since the culmination of the exams. I’ve survived Semester One and my insecurities about my intellect and academic abilities. I’ve learnt (yet again) that my problem is mostly in my mind; I have to believe in myself. (A former boss, who I admire very much, told me that a couple of years ago, but I thought people are sort of obliged to say that. Like it’s standard motivation speak. I couldn’t understand how he could genuinely believe I ‘was extraordinary’. He was generous with his praise, but I think he meant it.) Everytime I lose my way, my Guru helps me find my way. He is special and I am blessed beyond belief to have his love and guidance. He is my anchor and the reason why I exist. He has given me thr most precious lesson this past week. I can SEE the impossible journey I have made, and I know I haven’t made it on my own. I know the fact that my assignments and exams went well, despite knowing for sure that I had written crap assignments and was underprepared enough to fail (not that I know I have passed already…I’m just guessing), had everything to do with Divine grace and love.

2011 holds special meaning in my life for two very, very important events and lessons. Guidance, if you will. The first was when I was guided towards Pranic Healing at a time when I was spiritually, emotionally, psychologically struggling. And the second was what happened the past few weeks. I’m not going to bore you with details, but suffice to say these are events that have given me extraordinary spiritual sustainance and guidance for the future.

End of reflection. More fanfiction, a nap and then I shall be ready to turn into a Domestic Goddess, cleaning up the flat, washing unwashed utensils, evicting spiders from webs and indeed demolishing as many as I can manage, packing my home suitcase. Holidays, here I come!


1 Oct

Friends, Romans, Countrymen (and all the little people in my head)…I received my first grade today and I scored an A+!:D I am pleased. Even though I honestly don’t care about grades and marks (stopped caring since 2008-my first M.A. exam) and in fact I was pretty unmoved when I found out the grades were in. A couple of friends went to check, and that’s how I know mine.

Anyhow, the reason I am pleased is because my grade helps me know that I can be competent at the M.Phil level. The last 2.5 months have shown me that I am really not as stupid as I used to think. My learning style is different: I don’t know ideas of famous names like the back of my hand and I cannot write and talk like an academic. I used to think this makes me lesser somehow. I felt inadequate and unsure of my place as a student of higher education. I guess I was operating with a particular idea of what an intelligent student must look like post a Bachelors degree. I’m not sure I have entirely erased those assumptions (I’m pretty sure I can still feel intimidated by those students who fit my image of one and consequently feel inadequate for not being able to quote Foucault), but I’m doing much better at accepting that my style is as valid as any. It’s good to know I can handle ideas, juggle them and innovate with them, even if I cannot remember all the ideas by, for instance, Foucault. Ok, I have some sort of a Foucault-fobia going on. And a Derrida phobia too. I will have to deal with them for a paper next semester, but now I’m pretty sure I can, in my own way.

Learning for me is very problem oriented: which makes me less thorough as a theoretician. What I mean by that is that I don’t take a thinker and her ideas and go to the very end with them. I take an idea, and see what different people have contributed to that idea, without necessarily seeing all the contributions that they have all made to it. I have engaged with some ideas of Marx and Engels, but I haven’t (not by far!) read all their work. I feel that were I to do so, I would need a LOT more time than I currently want to give to it, because then I wouldn’t be able to engage with the other ideas in the fields of politics and development, for beginners, that I want to also devote time to. Atleast not without having ten years of doing nothing else but that.

This can be a problem if a couple of years down the line I decide I want to be an academic. Currently I do not; I see myself working with the trade union movement. Oh well. I will not worry about that now because that will be silly and jumping the gun and dishonest to the learning style I value.

I don’t mean to use this to justify my lack of mastery of ‘pure’ theory, but I have noticed that a lot of people who spout theory and theoreticians and appear to be at home in this world do not live in this world. They don’t try to match their lived lives with what they engage their minds with. Not everybody who has sound theory is like this, ofcourse. But I’d rather stick to my style than morph into one of them accidentally.

Which is why I have a lot of respect for two of my profs (one of who is also distractingly hot :D)- they are not afraid to be moderate. I’m not going to elaborate on this, I will just leave it at that.

I go home now, to Delhi. Re-charge my batteries, fix the holes that I kicked in my system by gradually abandoning yoga, pranic healing and meditation. I can feel how I have degenerated along the way: I am less in control of my reactions to the world, less joyful and more tired. I liked the me in April-August a lot more than the me I see more frequently these days 🙂 I want to surrender control of my life to God. And really feel it. Because nothing feels better.

I’m going to leave you, my dear some-day reader, with some photos from the North Kolkata walk that a prof took us on last week. Durga Puja is charged with a whole different energy here in Kolkata than in Delhi. It just feels like there is so much more at stake than in places like Delhi 🙂 The frenzy is perhaps not for me, but I’m happy to be the interested tourist by-stander, absorbing and clicking away 🙂 On my way back home today (my last night at my Grandmother’s before I move out) I saw a Durga protima being transferred from the back of a truck to a pandal. I stayed back to watch: it was kind of cool. There were a lot of men and boys also standing around and observing. I’m yet to see women hanging around half-made pandals, chilling. It made me remember Ganesh Chaturthi in Bombay and Pune- the streets are full of men, as if Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja are only for all men and married women. That makes me sad because I LOVE Puja!:D



Learning to Breathe

3 Aug

Lately I’m realising just how much natural knowledge we lose as we move towards adulthood without an iota of realisation that there has indeed been a loss. Such as how to breathe properly.

Breathing is something that I can remember taking for granted as far back as conscious memory goes. When I think ‘health’ I think yoga, excercise, water, even meditation, but not proper breathing. It wasn’t until I starting learning Pranic Healing earlier this year that I realised how tight my breathing was. The balloon system of breathing, where your stomach and not chest inflates with inhalation and deflated with exhalation, no longer comes naturally to me. I have to consciously work my diaphragm. And I know the difference when suddenly one day, while lying down, I feel my body slip into that mode automatically and the deep sense of wellness and peace that pervades my being with it. We emphasise the importance of infants losing their ignorance and learning ‘grown up’ skills such as walking. It would be awesome if we could all emphasise the much more important skill, in my opinion, of breathing like we were meant to. Like insert it into the school curriculum or something (hey, if Chemistry and Hindi are fair game, so is breathing!).

The human breath is probably the most central aspect of our physical and spiritual selves. Yoga teaches you that, Kriya Yoga is probably based on breath control techniques, Pranic Healing teaches you that. It’s the cheapest doctor: try any of the yogic breathing excercises the next time you have a headache instead of disprin.

Suckers and Givers

On a related note: there is something about the TV and the internet that deflates me. It literally saps me of energy and the wellbeing quotient and I’m not sure why this happens. I began to suspect this earlier this year when I was watching waay too many sitcoms and serials off the internet. I experimented: I began turning on the computer to check my email and then shutting it down for the day, as opposed to leaving it open for downloads (shh!) and to ‘study’ off the net. I found that I started accomplishing more and that I had waay more energy than usual for things I used to do before the invasion of mass media in the 1990s.Such as having time.

I’ve been watching a lot of M*A*S*H lately. It’s a fairly well made serial, although it’s the most misogynistic thing I’ve ever seen, the humour is intelligent. But despite the humour, I come out of MASH sessions feeling drained and sometimes, even low. Proof is had- TV IS EVIL!