This picture was taken by me during the Maha Kumbh held at Prayag Raj last year. While returning from the holy bath, an innocent face popped up amidst the crowd with a crooked 'thali' hitting at the level of my trunk. Looking down I saw this girl dressed in a somehow adorned costume and a cold face. Her face was painted white because beauty here has patented this shade. I tried having a little fun conversation with her, asking her name, her place, if she goes to study or not, only to get her sighing at her empty plate in replies. Her elder sister, probably, acting as her guardian commanded her to answer my questions. More the interaction with the kid more the coins maybe, she thought. All this while, the only constant was the kid's unwilling expressions. Maybe she was burdened with that costume, those embellishments or more with that empty plate? The inevitable curiosity of her situations and poverty were not uncommon consequences. But to me, she was the then present, right in front of my eyes!
My thoughts within seconds took a troll. All the religious chantings, loudspeaker alerts and the ringing bells stifled to stimulate my auditory nerve anymore. I looked around and I found many like her. The girls elder than she had a logic of interaction and religious persuasion. But this munchkin, she was just a quiet puppet.
I was just drooling over the innocence in her eyes and her perseverance in a work unknown to her when she cried out her first words "Didi paanch rupaye de do." Five rupees. Quite a big amount in comparison to a one or a two rupee coin she was used to. I inquired if she was hungry, ready at my tiptoes to buy her whatever she wanted. She swang her head left and right, sighing again at the plate. Surrendering finally, I gave her an amount in multiples of "paanch rupaye", with which she could afford to buy some food because I took so much of her time in admiring her innocence. I had to.
She finally gestured happiness by fondling me with her blessing broom, trying hard to reach my head. I lowered my spine to put her at ease. And while I did that I realised, God doesn't come to you in a shimmery image with blinding background lights. He comes to you through such experiences when you get to know the intricacies he weaves in his world. When you get to know souls by just looking through their eyes. When you have an urge to help, not questioning why and how. It is then you get a little closer to God. At a place where people arrive from far off habitats only to wash their sins, there are children like these who haven't even started with their Karma wheel of good or bad, but make you realise a good deal of worldly aspects, only if you are willing to. The weaker raises questions about their dressing as Gods or Goddesses because they could and would never see beyond that. Remember, you could find God in scriptures and recitations. But you would experience Him only through his creations.
*Social distancing From people perturbing your inner peace.
*Emotional distancing From thoughts rendering you helpless.
*Soul distancing From niches drowning you in self-doubt.
Peace, as we say, is a serenity reaped hard. Composure is what our souls need to nourish the brain. While gathering all this we encounter 'social toxins'. People who put you down despite how hard you try pulling the rope. This toxicity is deterrent. Distance yourself. Let them be the winners of their futile assertions. Let their win be a mockery to the wise. Ignorance is always bliss!
Distance yourself from repeatedly drowning into thoughts unnecessarily. I know they are your reflexes. I know you admire pondering over them, but not their troubling aftermath! Renounce them in the practical chaos of the world. Dismiss them once, twice, thrice, and that is how you get yourself a new reflex; less troublesome and more visionary. Remember when they say "it's all in your head", they are making a valid point!
Warning: not for the ones who believe they run this universe; basically atheists.
Yesterday, at the table, I dragged away the plate in despair of not having my favourite dish. Maa rebuked me and said that we are lucky to have something to eat in such a period of lockdown and crisis, each one of us. Think about the other side of the coin. Where people are starving, where people are still struggling to go back to their homes. Rolling my eyes I was about to shun her lesson turning into an hour-long sermon when I suddenly realised our mythological concept of having nature deities, like a Goddess of food, as one pointed out by her.
We have deities of air, water, fire, love and whatnot, in different mythologies. Artemis, Gaea, Varun, Agni, Hestia only to name a few. It is probably a concept for mankind to make him realise his niche and stay within it. That a higher authority sits above him which governs the reserves that we think are inexhaustible. They exist to remind us of how easily we could be jeopardized, reducing our technologies to feeble fossils of existence. There may be N number of tales and fables about them, but each one is conclusive of the same lesson.
Nature gave it to us when we didn't expect it and may take it away when we require it the most. Decades after decades we have sown the seeds of irresponsibility, nourishing it with impudence, arrogance and negligence. The global crisis is our sincere harvest. Unsurprisingly, there could be more to show up.
We could be excellent techies, spectacular prodigies but still wouldn't be able to win over nature's tit-for-tat. This, I guess, was my quarantine lesson learnt, while I still failed at ceasing my mums broadcasting sermon!