Recall and rejoice

Hotel Kenilworth situated on Shakespeare Sarani, close to Park Street is a place I recall as a fine dining place and comfortable stay. Around Calcutta a place I first had been in the year 1970, this old monument still represents a British tint and texture. I was then told that Satyajit Ray used to stay and write from there.

Way back while working for a British Company, I was there with a group being trained on TEAM building. The trainer took us through an episode where a mind boggling feeling of trust was instilled. After the day sessions we were blind folded by someone with a black band of cloth. Till then I did not know who my partner was. I was nearly blind thereafter. I was advised that a partner will take me round eyes closed, through the streets of Shakespeare Sarani and surroundings, hand held. I was also advised that I needed to check out all sounds, murmurs, car horns and voices of people including that come from the loud speakers and whispers of boys and girls who throng the roads at that point of time. The message was to trust the instincts and the five faculties other than sight, as we walked. The journey began and ended in less than 15 minutes. Unfolded I saw my partner who was Saranya Ghoshal (Name changed). The rest of the people assembled and we were asked to address the group with the feelings we underwent during that short 15 minutes. The partners who handheld were told to address with their perspectives of appreciation of the blindfolded companion as they walked almost like blind people.

That trust building exercise completed with the appreciation of how less we trust our own feelings. The sense organs were the first casualty. We tend to ignore the instincts sent to our brains and recognize facets in relationships. We ignore body language as part of psyche. It was a lesson also to appreciate the distinct value of sight, a gift of God.

Rejoice for me came probably after four decades as I read an article in news paper on a hartal (bandh) day. The heading for the article was “a tunnel to realize the value of vision”. I read and recapitulated how I was influenced during the Kenilworth experience nearly four decades back.

Shahine and Ravi, visually impaired teachers guided some people with perfect eye sight through a tunnel comprising a village, beach, forest and Himalayas. That was to showcase the world those teachers live in and how they manage the world of darkness. The guides may never get back to light and sight, but the group with vision would. The people with vision were asked if they would like to have a second trip through the same tunnel for which they responded in negative. Blindness is not a welcome drink. This we need to note.

Innumerable advertisements and campaigns are on for the eye donation. Reuse of a defunct sense organ. Reclamation of a person less blessed to rejoice the world you lived, enjoyed and passed through. Free of cost for the donor and millions of dreams realized for the receiver.

My rejoice was more than the recall for me.

It was the students of Malabar College of Health Education, Eranjipalam, Kozhikode on World Sight Day that organized to spell SIGHT through experiencing DARKNESS.

I admit that my link that of Kenilworth and that I felt reading this in news papers gave me dimensions of truth that little belie the fact that our senses are to be trusted and the second one to rejoice and say that be a donor of eye.

I congratulate the organizers as well Kozhikode Mayor Thottatthil Ravindran who inaugurated the tunnel, that leads us to the idea to donate and help those with impaired vision.



Observe nature, reshape questions and change your nature

The last Thursday of September, 2016 I had four different experiences that provoked me to leave everything and think?

  1. That morning flooded with clouds in sky I was scanning paper and found a news item typically recalling my memory banks. A row of bullock carts on Karnataka roads carrying families. Reason was draught, lines underneath said, and they moved away in migration. They were migrating to Goa and elsewhere. I took that picture and posted on status on my FB. Saying not only birds, human beings too – but for reasons? Set my mind thinking how for livelihood we keep migrating. Bullocks do not know where they are destined to go, but the men who wield the canes knew. Human endeavor finds new pastures and arenas as birds in migration from extreme cold weathers do.
  2. I was to speak at an engineering college later during the day and was travelling through villages crossing city limits. I noticed a fish vendor on the outer ring road. He was on his scooter with a plastic container behind. He closed the cell phone, as car approached. A cat on his side was looking for fish. Having noticed, the fish vendor picked up a fish and gave to the cat. Share is a concept that nature teaches us. What is shared is not the point. Giving away what you can is the essence. Fruits and flowers are gifts after honey bees and butterflies do their act of cross pollination, shared by nature.
  3. Probably it was 1986 or 87 that we went with our daughters to a hill side house of our relative. The two had seen the touch me not plant earlier. They never played with it to see the natural phenomena of protection from environment. The engineering institution where I went to give a lecture had shrubs that reminded me of the 1987 episode. I played it myself in an attempt to learn further. I recalled what Nelson Mandela said “it’s not how many times you fall; but how many times you rise”. It was 12.24 p.m. when I touched the leaves of touch me not. And I noted the duration of time when those leaves that got folded to return to its original condition. Any Guess? Less than one and a half minute. We all fall, make mistakes and think we are lost. I saw even “touch me not” takes less time than my expectations.
  4. As I was immersed in the process of finding time taken to rise, I saw a security guard coming up to me. Involved in a chat I asked about him and what he did before. He worked for 26 long years as a soldier in the Indian artillery. He continues to work not to idle. When asked about his siblings, he mentioned that his daughter after her MBA was a teacher at the same institution. I requested whether I can meet her. Jyotsana came out and I engaged my attention between father and daughter working at the same institution. Pride of work, probably I thought, for both. But daughter who described her father as a proud soldier mentioned he is also a transformer. From the frontiers of attack survived the bullets she says he transformed the whole family with knowledge.

I think I made my day on that Thursday, thank God.

Lesson learnt – Learn Lessons, as there is no expiry date for learning. The more we know, the better are our perspectives. Knowledge is the path of enquiry and understanding. Nature and our observations make us appreciate the laws of nature and order. We think who we are and what we are. Often we desire more of things we want to possess. We tend not to share our kitty. These instincts based on pleasure and pains are not the causes of desires. They give us pleasures because we desire. We are the cause. The first two observations lead me to think of a way to be content with our desires to an extent we can.

Anger is a reason that tends to make us fail. When we miss gaps between ideal and real anger persists. The third and fourth observations on that Thursday highlight this aspect. Anger conquers our relationships. Anger kills happiness and pleasures that we derive through desires. We tend to judge even a positive criticism. We accumulate stress like a rubber band. Over-stretched, it breaks hearts. We need to be like the touch me not plant. Forgive and forget, and rise once again. Friedrich Nietzsche says when we are sentimentally in illusion and tends to relish stings of doubt and denial it’s time to take a TONIC.  As an infant takes breast feed. We breathe in fresh air of consciousness.  Need to inhale afresh as otherwise chances are that illusion kills us. Transformation and NOT conformation is the idea. Deviation and not re-scheduling of old embedded ideas.

“Each moment is not only something new but something unforeseeable. Change is far more radical than we presume” – Bergson. “For a conscious being to exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to create a new self identity.”

“As you observe people in their settings, you should not only look for the nuances of human behavior but also strive for motivation and emotion” – Tom Kelly

The insignificant touch me not plant gave me a lead to explore and see what probably was not understood by me.