About Rajiv Kapoor

Born into a New Delhi family of Punjabi refugees post partition, I have since traveled the world. Settled in the US for the past many decades, I have experienced many ups and downs. I continue to be amazed at nature's bounty and the miracle of our existence. I wish to meet other kindred souls on this journey; to discuss reason, hope, love and how best to cherish life. Happily married; I enjoy my extended family all over the world, and now wish to add you to this clan!.

Our universe will go on


When humanoids first walked the earth, they must have looked up at spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Our universe will go in all its glory, long after; all of us humanoids, are gone. As we looked up into the heavens through the millennia, what did our minds seek? We must have wondered at the stars and the Milky Way and the celestial sightings. At the same time, we must have sought the understanding of our life, on Mother Earth. Our ancestors must have sought to grasp the meaning of this existence and what it means for our future. There is no single purpose, that a God bestows on our foreheads, when we are born. We are left to our own devices; we have free choice, withing our limited circumstances. It remains up to us to choose wisely, now that we have accumulated the knowledge, of a million years of evolution. Knowledge is just the sum of our past experiences, stored in our Human brain. Here we must dwell, now we must create, to make our life meaningful. I look up at my heavens and see this celestial sight, created just for me at this moment. My purpose is to remain fully conscious of this moment, and stay focused on this event.  My mind stops its chatter, and I live as the part of the universe all around me. Life and I walk hand in hand, with no conflict, at peace with each other, till death Our universe will go on, so what is there to fear?

Came upon this old memory in my FB page from many years ago:

Its chilling breath sent shudders down to my bones, and its dark shadow seemed to cover all the horizons and stifle my very soul. Yet he is an old companion and I no longer fear him, or am swayed by his power. He has made many attempts before to tempt me to accept his embrace; from my piddling birth, to a great fall as a child, horrific auto accidents, burning towers, and now the descent into a darkness, that only he can induce.

I turn around and laugh in his harrowing face; and bid him to be gone, and pick on some other purposeless soul. I wave him away with a dismissal thought; as I have no time for his histrionics, and a life of wonder to live. My purpose is greater than his; and he gazes long into my eyes trying to drag me into his darkness. Then he sees my smile, for as old friends we can read each other’s minds. “Death be gone,” I order for I have things to do, and deeds yet to accomplish. My happiness; dissipates his darkness, and light reemerges. I still have the power of the life force, that needs to bring the message of enlightenment to those around me. We are not thrown here or leave by chance; and each one of us has a greater purpose, which we must strive to achieve. Let my life sing and show the path to the glory of this creation, and bring joy to all around me. I have to walk bravely into the night; bearing this beacon of hope, and not be cowed down into submission by fear or despair. Live true to our vision of compassion for all beings; and that alone will be our eternal achievement. I truly believe that even my old friend death, will welcome me with open arms, when I am done with this idealistic life.

Blushing cloud will save us

There within the darkness, of the fading light,

Under the dark green shade, of the overhanging trees,

Lay the lake and its quiet waters, dark beyond the light,

Two sentinels stood, one on either side in white, in the breeze.

Yet the joy for this day is not yet complete from the skies,

In a burst of color, Blushing cloud will save us, from mediocrity,

In this drab life of limited choice, spring new wishes like fireflies,

In the reflection below the blush is mine, in my mendacity.

The sky has been painted by an impressionist in purple color,

The waves below have erased the memory of the sky’s imperfection,

In this moment who is this observed and who is this observer,

This is the now and here I stand, reflecting on my own reflection.

Rajiv Kapoor Jun 2020.

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door. -Saul Bellow, writer, Nobel laureate (10 Jun 1915-2005)

Row My boat

There are two lights, that light my way,

The first from the heavens, on many holds sway,

The second from within, our life force arises,

This is the one, that will turn me to ashes,

Long have we wondered, at where we are going,

The learned have lovingly advised us, to start slowing,

The path before us, is not always clear,

Our loved ones, are not always near,

Where oh where in this uncertainty, do I row my boat,

There is only now where I exist, and my lonesome moat,

The whole universe is given to me, to explore,

It is up to me to light my lamp of inquiry, to restore,

That which was promised to me, when existence arose,

My covenant of wisdom with destiny, is mine alone,

So ask me not in innocence, on where I row my boat,

It is you who have confined me and reduced me, to this moat.

When all else is lost, and I cannot find the shore,

I remember again that hope, I kept, and row to love some more.

Rajiv Kapoor June 2020

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -Anne Frank, Holocaust diarist (12 Jun 1929-1945)

The Arc over the path

A lovely spring evening, and today’s work is done. It is the end of the week in fact, and I get up from my desk and stretch. I venture out hopefully, to take a walk, and refresh myself, from being tied to a computer, all day. Not many people are about, as I start to get into my stride. I adjust the volume on my headphones, to the music playing from my iPhone. It is the Beatles, playing ‘Elanor Rigby,’ and I pick up pace, while reminiscing about my school days. The printed paper, the Jesuit Father passed to me, with the words of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, for us to study for Moral Science Class. It was one of the 3 songs we studied, over 3 weeks. I knew the words well and the music brought pleasant memories, of old friends, and companions. What an education it was, and what great bonds we formed.

 The walkways lead me past some of the other people, who are up and about, taking their evening walk. I pass some couples with their dogs. We all kept a safe social distance from each other. I would often step on to the road, to let a couple pass on the walkway, as there is little traffic these days. Silently etiquette is maintained between us as we pass, avoiding coughing or coming close. By now the Rolling Stones are playing ‘Brown Sugar,’ and I am bent down, slowly climbing the slight incline. The nearby wooded path beckoned me, and I crossed the road from the walkway, to head into the trees.

Within a few steps on the by now familiar path, it went into a steep incline. I knew the path well, and stepped on familiar flat rocks, avoiding the slippery slope. It was a zig zag pattern I followed of my own choosing, and anyone watching; would have been baffled, at my approach. It was to make the climb easier, and gave me better views of my surroundings, instead of just gazing down and concentrating, on the soil and the roots. This wood and I had become old friends, and we knew each other well. Now in the spring evening except for the occasional blossoms, most of the lofty Oaks and Maples, were still bare. The wind did not whisper, as it did in the summer, through the thick leaf cover. Now it was more the sighing sound, of the open sky, as the wind swept freely about.

There along the way were fallen trees, whicht I had to cross, as I followed the path higher. Then it started to level off and I saw, the Arch of the Spring Blossoms, strung across the path. It was like a gate, made specially for me to enter, as if I imagined it to be a gateway, to a different land. I stopped to take a photograph of the path which beckoned, my very soul. What was so special, that it drew me back again and again, to walk only this path, and no other? I have the whole universe to explore, and still I stand here and admire the blossoms, and love this sight.

As I walked on and passed under the Arch of the Spring Blossoms, I passed into a different realm. The old laws did not hold, for now. I found myself in a strange land, of quite and beauty. Life was reduced to its elemental form, of man and nature, as one. There was no me walking on the path anymore. In fact, it was not a path distinct and different, or an extension, outside me. We are one, and so is the forest around us. The birds that fly across the branches above,  and the deer who stand below and stare up at me, with their white tails raised, ready for flight. We are all one in this moment, and time becomes a wave, and space is flowing. I look up to see and an eagle flies high above, in the clear blue sky, with white puffy clouds, floating in space.

The setting sun sends its rays, at angles, through the bare branches, to my foot steps. I walk on and the light and shadows, play with my eyes, in delight. What is inside, is outside, and what is outside, is inside; in a strange feeling, as the boundaries of my body blur. The unity of everything into one moment, can only be experienced, or so this path, led me to believe. I am no longer a walker, who walks his solitary path. Now there is only one universe, and the path itself is gone. There is no longer a goal for the future, or a fear of the past. There is only this one forgotten raindrop, sheltered on a fallen leaf, glistening in the rays of the dying sun, as if alive with joy. I meditate on the light, and here is no goal to strive for; as desire falls on the path, left behind.

The weight of existence is lifted; from my shoulders, and I walk erect. Each step is now an effortless move; as nothing binds it down, anymore. The Earth Mother, on this Earth Day; binds me to her bosom, and I am content. The vines hang down from the tall Oaks and I can almost feel; the budding leaves, about to sprout. Nature is no longer a mystery, as I have become nature. A Robin calls and a sparrow answers, and now I listen only to the music, of my fellow creatures. A feeling arises, from the soil; beneath my feet, that now I have become the path. Who was the walker, and who watched him in the woods?

Bergen County now stands at 15,830 positive test results for coronavirus

Hudson County now stands at 15,148 positive test results for coronavirus

Essex County now stands at 13,994 positive test results for coronavirus

Passaic County now stands at 12,814 positive test results for coronavirus

May Day 2020, NJ – ‘ Ah, look at all the lonely people ‘

Pandemic times thinking

In this time, some of us are reevaluating our values, and our pursuits, in our life. It has taken a Pandemic to cloister people into their homes, to isolate, and hopefully become human again. As we examine our actions and our lifestyle, I wonder what have our possessions given us, in our time of need? As time passes, those of us who are wise, simplify our needs and aspirations. We realize how little we need to survive, on a day to day basis. We start to question the continued accumulation of more material objects. We realize a lot of humanity, has none of our comforts, or our security, of home and food. We also realize that a virus attacks anyone, and no religion, or class, is immune from its effects. We are all in this together, as simple, plain, human beings. A universal income is within our reach; as no person should starve, in our modern world. Instead we will see million’s livelihood ruined and will see them struggling for food and survival, if this pandemic spreads further.

A more equitable society with law and order, is a must, for human development. Hopefully we will all come out of our introspection, stronger, and more willing to make the sacrifices needed; for all of us, to prosper together. Great economic and social change is coming, and may it be for the better for everyone, after this health crisis has passed. We should not allow this to develop into a mass killing of innocents, due to lack of food and other essential commodities. We must learn from past famines and other natural disasters in human history. For the strongest to survive, we must also provide for the weakest; as in a chain the weakest link, causes the whole chain to break. We must do better and learn to take care of ourselves, and not get distracted, by fake news, or poor political and social actions. Humanity is about loving and caring for all creatures, in the worst of times. May we all rise to this challenge together to raise our thinking, and do the right actions within reason!

Dis-Invest our past

Arvind Panagariya blames the socialist educated elites, from leading Indian Institutions of higher learning, sprung up during the previous regime, for India’s current shrunken GDP. He cites “the government attempts to privatise a large number of public sector enterprises, which have remained stalled despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push, to get cabinet approval for the list of companies drawn up by the NITI Aayog”. He goes on to further state that,


“Remarkably, in India even business leaders have played an insignificant role in pushing for market-friendly reforms. In most countries, businesses try to use an economic crisis as an opportunity to seek removal of regulations that impede their progress. But in India, they use a crisis as the opportunity to seek subsidies and protection from imports,” he says.

Why do we have so many different Ministries in a nation of good governance. The list is alarmingly long, so I won’t print its entirety, but suffice to say that a huge 80% reduction, would not hurt as you could still effectively lead as in Germany. There should be fewer ministries, but effective ministries. The Indian Government needs to Dis-invest on a large scale, from current Investments in such sub Ministries which prevent them from being privatized. The clear answer is to reduce the Government, and to let private industry develop, to fill the gap. It is time to finally step away from the ‘Nationalist” era of Indira Gandhi, which followed Nehru’s Socialist and Non-Aligned Era.

Huge land and other resources from these closed enterprises, can then be re purposed to build the new cities, airports, transportation hubs, Universities, Hospitals of tomorrow. The money from the spin off, of majors like LIC, IOC, SBI, or the top 50, would make a sensible approach, to build India’s tomorrow.  Banks, Insurance, Healthcare, Education should be largely dis-invested to form large Private service industries. The focus should be to provide the most jobs, on a massive scale, to let the Indian entrepreneurship, and native intelligence, combine with modern markets, and interfaces, to develop. The people will find their own way of life, as this is India after all that we are talking about, once they are provided the tools. We can enjoy all the bonus, of India’s young and growing population, for the coming decades, Will have to take the right steps now and change direction, to a more direct approach.

Our Government has no business being in Business.,and should free itself from this burden with the right precautions. For too long has the Indian Bureaucracy caused a pause, in India’s growth story. They hold on to it’s colonial and socialist past, while the nation needs to move ahead; into modern markets and modern industrial\service areas.  The left often gets in the way of the right’s implementation, causing good recommendations, to flounder in red tape. It is time to cut this red tape once and for all. Mr Modi should allow the Indian people, to decide their own economic future, and not ministers, enclosed near him on Raisaina Hill.

It is time indeed for a new Era, for the young and newly educated Indian youth; to become the service providers, to the modern world of the future. We need to fund them with all the States resources at its command, to make the future digital India.  This only means massive dis-investment from the old businesses of yesteryear’s. Now we have to make the most important investment for our future, into the youth of this nation. All our public enterprises, rightfully belong to them, and should be used for their greatest good. Get rid of Syssypuse’s burden of running large economic enterprises, and rise to build the superhighway of the future, with energy and hope. I hope, with a slight change in direction; our path ahead, becomes clearer, and brighter!

Future incubators

I am surprised, to read that in the US, “ Research and development have been cut so much that the US is now in second place and high-quality higher education is becoming unaffordable for most middle-class students. Yet every time someone proposes new investments in our future, they are told that the nation is broke, massively in debt, and cannot afford new investments.”

The Jouirnal Blog continued, “The United States had plenty of money half a century ago. In the 1950s and 1960s, we paid down the huge World War II debt at a time when we maintained a much larger military than today and fought wars in Korea and Vietnam. We built the Interstate Highway System and much of the other physical infrastructure we use today. We funded vigorous research and development, including the fabulously expensive Apollo program. We supported higher education well enough that middle-class students could graduate from elite universities without crippling debt.”

I am surprised, as I always believed that the best years are ahead of us. Yet the article sounded as if our wild economy, and can-do attitude, is a setting Western sun. We have become a nation that refuses to invest in itself, it allows private business to thrive, at the cost of public expenditure. Who will build the future modes of transportation, or the new fuel cells and batteries? Future cities will house, millions in a new tech world. Future farms will be climate controlled. Flora and Fauna will be preserved in video, and reserves. Humans will use artificial companions, for living, and transportation. Entertainment will be through focused sensory stimulation experiences, including physical, chemical and mental stimulants. 

Traditionally we have been a nation of Innovators and Free Thinkers as part of the American Way. Unfortunately, the cost of fostering human social conditions, for this innovation and education, has been going up. Over the past 5 decades, cost of social justice and security, has largely drawn from the pocketbook of employees, instead of the pockets of the corporations. Even before Reagan the cry to lower taxes, on the corporate and Wall Street big wigs, had a quaint resonance, in the elected house and Senate. Lobbyist swarmed and payroll taxes doubled many times, since initiation. Corporate taxes continued to slide, even hailed today by current President Trump, as one of his proudest moment, in this White House.

It is time now, to once again invest in the American Spirit and our people. Ever since the revolution, we have always risen from the ashes of past wars, and failures, with even more strength and determination. We are on the cusp of another revolution, where we tax more, and invest more, into American roots. The roots will grow green shoots which will create the forests of tomorrow. These schools and, universities are incubators, of our future world. What we teach them today, as basic human values, will take our place; in the universe, of tomorrow May they live long and prosper, on our blue planet!

The future is not ours

Image result for himalayas

Thankful am I, for the beauty, of our future,

It started, in the beauty of the Himalayas,

At an early age, the magical folk tales, conjured,

A realm of icy mountains shrouded in Monsoon clouds.

To be passed on, to posterity, untouched.

Let me fill my heart, with the soulful music, of our ancestors,

Of our centuries old generations, articulating and composing,

A spoken language, of wisdom, and karmic consequences,

The drum, the melody, the freeing of the voice, and the rhythm,

All combine to fill our hearts, with compassion and universal love.

Hear the song of the wind in the hill’s pines, and the patter of rain,

The sun will rise in the East again, and the mountains will shine,

Will our children catch this eastern glow, and dance our joy of existence?

Hear the songbird, just when our music has died,

Look up and seek the stars, and wonder about this life, and our passing?

“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” -Ansel Adams, photographer (20 Feb 1902-1984)

Peace of the Yogi

His associate spoke in high accolades, about the power of the Yogi. Then he took a freshly filled Chillum, and with the help of another devotee, he lit it, in rhythmic, deep, breathing. He seemed to time the breaths, to the rhythms; of the devotional music, playing in the background. The Associate Ashok, passed to the Yogi, his newly lit Chillum. Then he bowed, towards the setting sun. The yogi sat erect, and was framed by the setting sun, of red, and a horizon of orange clouds, with a golden lining.  He partook of the fire, and the smoke, and engulfed them all, into a different world. The chillum did its rounds, and the followers started to sway; to the heavenly music. It was a simple elemental beat, but seemed to have the variances, of the universe. Sometimes it sped up, and was the crashing of galaxies in our spatial universe. The music represented the change of the cosmic events around us. At other times it flowed slowly, like the river of time, then appeared to enter into a deep valley; rushing ever faster but reaching nowhere. It finally reached a crescendo leaving the audience afloat, on a vast ocean.

At last the Yogi pulled himself even more erect, in his posture. His magnificent chest had swelled in all its glory, when he had taken the Vayu breath, and stayed in his samadhi, still and composed. Having absorbed his fill, he did a deep discharge of breath, and the last of the smoke. He looked around him, as if focusing on the reality, of what was before him. He finally raised his head and eyes to the heavens, and the beautiful sight of the universe, passing into night. As all eyes seemed to turn to him, he raised his arms and spoke “Hear, me, here, here me now,”

The followers all turned, as the leaders hissed for silence, across the clearing. The Yogi and his companions, sat on a raised platform, with the group of musicians behind them, they followed the classical style, passed down for centuries on their drums, and musical instruments. They had learnt the accompanying music, from him, as the Yogi himself was trained, by the ancient Yogis, and their musicians, before him. They had played all day, with numerous breaks, to refresh, and meet others. Many far away devotes of the council, had gathered, for the Spring festival. Other leaders had brought their followers, and they now listened intently, as he spoke.

“The whole struggle is in our mind. My mind is not very different, from that of the Adi Yogi, whom we all want to emulate. He has passed beyond time, as we know it, and most of us will never rise to his wisdom… It is the way of the mind, that it stops all of us, from reaching the state of our Adi Yogi. This state is not a static state, and I will show you what is the way, to break this dependence, on a million years, of our mind’s conditioning. From the dawn of humanity, we have chased the question of eternity, and existence. Even our Vedas and Upanishads, have explored the relationship of our creator and us. We have come a long way, but still we have the critical question to ask of our Gods. How do we change our mind to experience, what the Adi Yogi, experiences?”

” So I will teach you all now, the path to this experience, but first you have to remove all the past, from your minds. Till we cleanse ourselves, through meditation and efforts, we cannot still our minds. Much less discipline our minds to become still, so we can move on, from this confusion of change, to our next level of awareness. Think on what I have said, and we will take up our minds, in the morning. We all must change, and remember with hard work, we can only do this together. This river of time and our memories are tied together, like an eternal rope, which makes up our mind. Freedom from this rope, demands a different passageway of our mind, to be first awakened, and then connected.”

He rose and then bent his arms and brought his hands together over his heart. He bowed in the direction that the sun had disappeared. He then walked down from the platform and headed off towards his cave in the mountain face. The tall evergreens were separated by a large path that led from this clearing towards the stream, that led to the cave. He walked erect and Ashok his devotee and companion followed closely behind as always. Ashok had also taken the role of scribe, and would spend a lot of time recording the discussions, and the debates, of the attendees. He and his companions would spend hours discussing various speakers, and their expressed views, were ascribed in the night. They lived in wooden log homes, with thatched roofs, and mud and stone walls of their small town.

They had ample water from the running stream, and had some enterprising young men had set up a water mill, and an irrigation system, long ago. They grew more than they needed and fed their visitors all year around, and gave the rest away, in charity to the needy. The neighboring gujjars raised their sheep, and their goats, in the valleys and fields, in the surrounding mountains. The local villagers fished in the autumn, for then the fish were plentiful. The Council always had the best variety of meals, for their varied visitors. Most of course were vegetarians, and largely satiated, by the whole grains and pulses, from the fields. The fruit orchards were ancient and well-kept, and so were the vegetable gardens. The famous nuts from the neighboring mountains, were traded in exchange for local largess, and served with compassion and love.  

Ashok remembered his grandfather telling him about a 20-year ancient drought, but in his lifetime he had seen only a few small droughts. The gods had been kind and livestock and fields had continued to flourish. Most of all Ashok was thankful for the current Yogi who had arrived 10 years ago, out of the forest with wild hair and fiery eyes. The head priest had seen something in the crazy creature and taken him directly into the high cave for discussions. He had not emerged for 3 months and wild rumors of his antics floated about, his working with the priest. Laments of pain so loud and on other days loud laughter, was heard, and then there would be long periods of silence.  

When he finally emerged, he was much changed. His wild hair was gone, and now was tamed into a tight bun above his head. He was now wearing the lion cloth of the yogi, and held a staff in one hand, and a wooden bowl in his other, measuring his total possessions. He had taken his vows of chastity and was ordained as a devote of the Head Priest. On that day our Head Priest spoke that he had visions of his arrival to our cave, many months ago. He whispered of his lineage from some ancient monastery, and his disappearance into the Home of Snow 10 years ago into the North. Fate and fortune led him on his travels to distance lands of Tibet, and the Far East, and Japan. He had sailed the seas and arrived back at the ports in Bengal. From there he made his way up the Gangetic Plain, strangely arriving back from his great journey, from our south.

Ashok finally bound up his work and decided to sleep. It was late in the night and as he lay down he saw a vision of the Yogi sitting in his samadhi as the man never seemed to sleep. He just sat there and meditated on this universe and it appeared to Ashok that the Universe existed in its order because of this Yogi. He seemed to exist beyond time and he looked forward to hearing him in the morning. As sleep took him he felt the Adi Yogi appear in his dream, suddenly his Yogi and the Adi Yogi seemed to merge into one. He was also swept into this flow of the great river, and gained the speed of flying stars, and worlds flashed by; yet in all of this change, he felt a strange peace, The peace of the yogi.

An early train to catch

Sam looked at me, with those large innocent eyes of hers, blinked her larger eye lashes twice, smiled, and said to me, “You have always had a way with words, Ashok. I can never imagine, what you will think of, next. I wouldn’t even last five minutes, in that crazy head of yours?” She became lost in her own thoughts as we waited, I squeezed Sam’s hand and she looked at me and I smiled back, as these moments were rare. I looked at my watch as I had to leave. The Producer came into the recording studio, and gave us a thumbs up sign, and Sam yelled with delight.  He was followed by the sound engineer, and our agent Suresh.

“I am tired, and have an early train, to catch,” I said.

“Ashok, that last track you laid today, is just amazing, how do you come up with these rhythms, and beats.” Suresh gushed, giving me a hasty hug. Suresh is my agent and childhood friend. “Why do you have to go on this discovery trip, I cannot understand?”

“Like I told you Suresh, something is calling out to me, from out there. I am going to the rock, where Swami Vivekananda sat, where Lord Ram sat, and prayed to Lord Shiva.  Something is telling me to go there, and find the truth, of what is India? I can’t explain it.”

“You can’t do this to me,” Suresh, “to us”, he continued

I replied. “I have given all I have, for this album, for over a year, now I need some time for myself. Suresh my dear friend, this is not about you or us, this is a strange hollow feeling, inside of me. All my   mathematical rigor and training is lost, within this, self-doubt. I do not even know myself or what is my purpose. I have made up my mind, to just go out there, and travel our land. I hope to find what is missing, in my current life?”

Sam went off with the sound engineer, to listen to the last tracks, we had played. She had a better ear for music, I just knew instinctively, when my drum notes flowed in rhythms, like mathematical equations. I just followed my instincts, and strict composition steps, and made my notes, follow my mathematical patterns, which only I could see. We had realized early in our partnership, that it is Sam, who just made the melody flow, with her singing. She played the guitar and harmonica and had an amazingly versatile voice. Somehow mine and Sam’s singing, worked well together, and this was tour second album together. We co wrote the lyrics of most of our songs.

My work is done here.” and I handed my drum sticks to our producer, and walked out.

The next day I had started my journey, just like Mahatma Gandhi had started his journey, on his arrival from South Africa. I had my sleeping bag and my laptop, and phone and books for the way. I wanted to see India, from the ground, and hear the names, of the familiar stations. I wanted to hear the languages, and the dialects, of the people, from the millions, who had passed before us. They too must have traveled on these same rails, on their way south. I wondered how many of them had sought the meaning of their lives, in the clackity-clack of these trains wheels, rolling down these rails.

Delhi was left far behind and I heard the clackety-clack of the railroad tracks, as the electric trains did not huff and puff, anymore.  The countryside passed, as I gazed out the window, and he went from State to State. I had a sleeper and slept in my sleeping bag, on the foam-covered bed. Late in the night, I heard the now familiar calls, of the tea hawkers, and the food vendors. The PM had helped his father, at a tea stall, I thought to himself, as another day passed, on the tracks. I loved the smell and color of the passing countryside. The sun broke out and the fields are green, and I am away from the dry cold land, of my air polluted city. The green Ghats beckoned my soul, and I thought I saw, a waterfall with a rainbow, flash by from my window, and then it was gone.

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An year has passed, and I have become a Math teacher, in an all-girls school, in the town of Gangtok, in Sikkim. I had come there to study, in the Buddhist Monastery, almost nine months ago, with a companion I found, in Ma’s ashram, in Pondicherry. It had been a long journey by train and Bus, to cross into the mountains, of the Eastern Himalayas. We had then hired a jeep, to take us, across some very remote areas, to the monastery, at the top of a cliff face. We had to climb on foot up the narrow path, along the cliff face, to get to the Monastery. There we finally come to a rest. We were admitted by the Abbot, and we studied with the monks.

We meditated for three months, and then went herd gathering, in the mountains. I helped to bring the animals back, from their summer, alpine forage lands. The rhythms of the seasons, and the might of the towering mountains, moved me. We would begin by rising at early morning, before dawn and start our trek. We had to climb a thousand meters up, around the hills, to get to the grazing grounds. My mind and body were fully engaged in these long walks. away from civilization. They made me face the last of my inner demons. As I gathered the Goats and the cattle, I made a new life, for myself. The cows and the goats helped me gain the realization, of what I am.

My meditation is progressing well, with my guide, and I feel a healthy glow of joy, for all creatures, I am now comfortable with myself. I sat on the side of some running water, taking a break. I had my bare feet, in the cold, clear, water, of this mountain tributary, of the Teesta river. My mind is as clear, as the flowing water, and only time is still. As I watch, a fish nibbles, on my big toe, and then swims on, as if, uninterested. But at that time, I was fully present in this moment. I have peered into the eye of this fish, who peered back, and there was a deep connection. I felt a sudden belonging to this eye, this fish, this stream, this land, this India, this universe. I looked up, and the sun was rising, over the evergreens, its rays lit up the rushing water, and my being, and this creation, is complete. Tears of joy, ran down my cheeks, at the realization; that the sun’s eye, and the fish’s eye, and the light reflecting off the waters, are part of my being.

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I bade farewell to the Abbott and on his assistant’s advice I started teaching Math’s again, at the High School for Girls. They were desperate for a good math’s teacher in Gangtok. The girls loved his no-nonsense style and fell into his fevered pace, of teaching math’s. Their minds were fresh as the mountain air, and they seemed to grasp everything Ashok taught, with the rapidity of sponges. Their marks began to show steady progress, and the laggards were helped, by his open teaching methods. Tough concepts and theorems, where explained by examples, they could understand and use.  He had taught far advanced students before, but the girls of this new generation, had access to so much more information. He challenged them individually, and in small competitive groups, and his students grew.

The music teacher was the one, who encouraged Ashok to help (when he found out that Ashok was a drummer), with the group, who had won the State Championship, in group singing, last year. The area had some very bright musicians and the girls in the school, had especially great voices. It wasn’t every year but for the past few years, they had some outstanding talent. He loved this work and he threw himself into the music and the girls loved him for his strange rhythms and sounds. He tried to teach some of them the mathematical patterns behind them and some of the brighter ones understood. Their voices began to rise and fall with the rhythms he adopted from them, making a strangely uniquely sound of the mountains of Sikkim. You could almost feel, as if the music was carrying you there. The beat one was hearing is the beat of the hunters and gatherers, who had done this in these beautiful mountains, from time immemorial. Everyone is saying that this time, the group may win the National championship.

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When he got home late, he checked his email and noticed a message from his old friend Sam. He had not heard from her for a few months, so was intrigued, and opened the message. She wrote, “Dear Ashok, Just had dinner with the producer in Mumbai. We have got ourselves, a multi crore deal, for two albums (including “Dunia” our new album). We open this Christmas at the Goa Christmas Festival, with Dunia, doing a National rollout. You are the drummer, and cocreator, singer, and the new corporate producer is dying, to finally meet you. He is a mathematician also, and was mumbling your kind of lingo, on algorithms and geometrical patters, in the music. More when we meet, your’s, Sam”

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -E.M. Forster, novelist (1 Jan 1879-1970)