I am doing an awesome Creative Writing Workshop organized by Ketki Pandit. https://www.facebook.com/CreativeExchanges
Below are a few of my free writes. These I plan to edit and develop further.
I taught myself to live simply
I taught myself to live simply 2
Birds, rivers, gusts of breeze or wind know no borders. It is man, who has built boundaries. Man wants to show ownership. It is not his/ her fault. After all s/he has seized it with great effort, overcoming surmountable odds. Seems survival instincts are for me, myself before others. This year 2014, we are celebrating the 145th birthday of the strongest man who strode this world; Mahatma Gandhi, who practiced truth and non-violence under any condition.
Migration I am led to believe is a must for better breeding and feeding, refer encyclopedias. Animals and plants have migrations, forests grow, flowers and seeds disperse. I wonder, if had it not been the hordes of people who left Africa and went all over where would mankind be.
I belong to a place where Tibet/ China is towards north. It used to be a tough day’s journey when we were traders. They took no strugglers when they crossed these 18000 feet high passes.
My wife’s village, Dharchula is right on the Nepal border. Half the relatives live on the other side. It could get difficult if the bridge is closed even for a day.
In the midst of all things there shall be achievements. We are going to discover new places, planets, stars and destinations. Where all this leads us, I would not know. Whether we would be certified or classified as aliens, immigrants, outsiders, new people or even guests. As I keep writing, typing, keep trying to think where Migration in the world would lead to.
I think there are places where it is easy to live life. Though it is a bit hot and humid in central India near the Ganges river and in a way it is easier to live there. But do people work hard for survival? People in the coldest of climates, barren of lands have conquered, nay led the world as they have worked the hardest to overcome all odds.
Here is to tip our hat to hardships which bring us to newer and newer horizons.
Brain Training and racing
Last week Ketki mentioned in her introduction she has a fascination for the human brain functioning. Tomorrow Sept 21’ 2014 I am running the Newport half marathon.
While preparing for a run I mentally prepare for what I will think and how I will run the race. I always understand that the brain is one of the most important parts of your training to run. The physical endurance, speed work, nutrition, training program are all parts of the brains progress in this endeavor. When the body is trained or conditioned the body can process the energy, glycogen and even fat. The blood and oxygen, breathing intake supplies the requisite energy and food to muscles to take necessary action for running.
A lot of times the body fatigues or hits the block. It is termed as a runner’s wall. In a marathon the wall is supposed to be around mile 20. Many experts believe that the body carries nutrition to that distance. After that the body may give up. Fatigue or Runners wall is the result.
Another way of looking at it is the brain follows something called homeostasis. That is when the brain feels the body needs to be stable it takes action. In effect a runner can train him/herself to believe that the wall is not fatigue but brain induced.
Provided necessary training has been done there could be a case made out that one can think yourself out of the wall. The homeostasis or necessary theory could be that the brain utilizes fewer portion of the brain at a certain time. For example you may be running slowly someday and still feel the effort. Other days with the brain focused one can run faster like the wind. The more you use the brain you could do better.
As Ultra marathoner Dean Karnazes has said in his book, even after fatigue one has 30% left inside.
From the doorway
From the doorway I peep out, the nurses are moving down the hallway. Busy like bees flitting in and out of rooms, changing laundry, taking out trash, bringing in medicine.
The white color of their dresses brings tranquility to the surroundings. It is quiet, the nurses are young and beautiful but for some reason they seem ageless. Here I should mention I am talking about female nurses. The guys, I call, address them as ward boys. I know these nurses bring some change to the patient’s daily routine. In fact there is not much of a routine in that room. The television is on the wall, the programs not interesting at all. The food tastes listless. Living in the hospital, being fed, dry bathed, taken around in a wheel chair, having tests done, all your daily needs fulfilled does not compare to the life under open skies.
The light down the hallway is sharp to the eyes. Its 2 am and I cannot sleep. I know I should not be standing on the door. A couple of nurses smile and wish me and say hi. I smile back. In front the other door is the number 8A. The name of the occupant changes every other day. I wish my door name tag changes soon and I am gone from this white prison.
I have had enough rest of a lifetime, I think. As my mind wanders I think whether I will regain my health and feel the same pep, energy and health in myself. I know it is very late nighttime and I should sleep but instead of lying down I look down the hallway.
I stand on my doorway looking at the white dressed nurses go back and forth, back and forth. I am standing there and feel tired of standing now. Slowly I turn around and move one limb and then the other. One baby step at a time and I am back on my bed. The door remains open and I keep looking outside when I can. I wish I could have closed the door.
Something which stays
A late evening in February 2002 at Dharchula (Uttarakhand, India). KMVN hotel foyer. Election Day was approaching for the assembly elections. My father was an independent candidate for the state legislature. I was his campaign manager. Our young workers were living in the hotel’s dormitory. The very same day the BJP party had a worker meeting in the same premises. Being locals we knew the other candidate and the other party people.
Little later I was informed there was a commotion downstairs, and a fight had broken between their and our people. I rushed down.
The BJP candidate told my father, your son is fighting downstairs. My dad did not know what was going on. His response was that my son does not fight, he must be separating the fighting.
I taught myself to live simply
There are so many things available in the marketplace. Growing up in North India we had nothing fancy when we lived in the Himalayas. If we had smart skillful mothers or aunts who could knit sew etc. then we wore smart clothes.
In a bigger town there is a pressure to have material things. When I was young, I remember a friend introducing me when we moved to New Delhi. Meet Jitu he said, they have a television, a phone and even a car in their house. It seemed your status was defined by having these things.
The worst came in our society when our women relatives looked nay evaluated what presents or household things a new bride brought from her parents’ house. Our society got more hypocritical with the changing times.
For us youngsters brand names came in, Levis Jeans was first, even though the socialists threw out the multinationals. And we heard and saw the same politicians wore Guccis and Armanis while on foreign junkets. Some animals are more equal than others.
Having anything imported became more and more precious with nothing much happening in my country. Luckily the advent of internet and communications changed things. Smart economists like Dr Manmohan Singh guided the country and many things became available.
From having nothing great to great brands and new materialistic things just turned our world upside down. There was pressure from outside to have these things as well as pressure from inside to learn new technology and experience.
To keep with the modern times I had to make a smart choice, either consume everything materialistically or understand everything. My education, what I learnt and understood came to save me. Be the change you want in this world said the man who I believe was the greatest man ever.
And so I taught myself to live simply by not having things which did not bring joy, or which spread clutter, which did not help the climate or someone that required my help.
I taught myself to live simply – 2
Progress is life or progress is the function of what meaning I make of life.
In a modern economy progress would mean more consumption or more production. A higher GDP, Gross Domestic Production growth is touted as a sign of progress. And then we come with a term called Gross Domestic Happiness.
Having lived in Bhutan I am not totally convinced. Buddhism is not equal, it has its royalty, there are nobles and peasants, and there is no middle class or middle path there. As George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm – Some animals are more equal than others.
Bhutan does not have many colleges. Most of the population lives in villages and is not required to study. The population is around 2 million and there is plenty of arable land. One male member of the family is devoted to the monastery as a monk.
Why am I complicating things by meaning everyone should be equal and have equal opportunity? Why am I talking of GDP and that progress will lead to happiness. Live naturally, under the blessings of the Lord Buddha and keep it simple. KISS.
This writing is not freeform, corrections were allowed, we could use show and tell, abstract nouns etc. But then it was difficult to write. I hit a block and wrote partly freeform.