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!.

Fading Moon

Yogi was walking on the side of the lake, in the haze of existence, along with his new companion. He was slowly talking about the galaxies, and the universe in the heavens, beyond the dark and overhanging clouds and smog. They had not seen the Fading Moon, in many months. The earth was covered with a brown and grey cover,  which hid the moon, and barely allowed a soupy dawn. Yogi had heard about the nuclear war, on another continent, which brought this haze. His companion was prone to violent shakings sometimes, as she walked besides him. He understood it was just her nature, as she was actually a sweet little thing, once she cleaned up. It must have been some trauma in her young life, maybe after the loss of her husband. She would shudder and shake. Her slender arms and legs would tremble uncontrollably. Sometimes when the fits took her, she would crumble on the floor, and just weep for hours.

Yogi did not ask about her past, as he had enough trauma’s of his own to take care of. He had learned to live with himself; to avoid confrontations with others, and to seek peace, in his own life. They were simply happy, that they had found each other. Yogi reached out and took her shaking shoulders, under his right arm. He hugged her shaking body to his side, as they walked on. They had their food and water supplies, and were now determined, to reach their shelter. Yogi’s home, was on the other side of the lake. He took a swig from his precious water bottle, and shared some with Eva. Then they set off in the fading light, to follow the ancient path to their shelter. Yogi looked up at the grey clouds and haze, hoping to make it home, before the approaching storm broke.

Yogi did not need much in any case, these days. He had got used to fasting, and skipping food altogether, for days. Even though he had his own well of sweet water, he did not trust the water. He had constructed some elaborate filtration and cleaning system, for his water supply. He only drank his own homemade bottled water, any more. The pristine lake, in which, he had swum in every summer, since he was a child, had become poisoned, months ago. He and Eva avoided any outside water, and were getting stronger, with their hydrated bodies. Slowly Eva’s shaking subsided and they were able, to make better progress.

When they got home Eva immediately started working on the grains and flour, to make breads. Other wild grains she boiled, to make a base gruel. She could then add vitamins, and nutrient supplemental, they had gathered from the Supply store, near the train station. The store keeper said that it was a miracle, the old electric trains, still ran at all. Also the power supply, was unreliable, these days. The storms could cause havoc, and destroy anything in their paths.  Yogi and Eva spent most of their time indoors, going out only for necessities, for their survival. They were not city dwellers, where conditions were probably even more dire. Yogi had heard it rumored, that large mobs raged, across the broad avenues, seeking food, at the soup kitchens.

Yogi was straightening out his clothes in his room, when he heard Eva from the kitchen, “Dinner will be served in five minutes, and will you join me Yogi?”

Yogi felt some pangs in his stomach, as he had not really eaten anything, since the day before. He had become very suspicious of all foods. He had seen his friends and companions, become sick with strange growths, and ulcers break out on their necks, and bodies. He had seen them suffer, and slowly wither away, and then soon die. He knew if it was not for Eva insisting, he would probably have given up, altogether and joined them. She was hungrier for life, than he was; and he had sensed that, when he had first seen her, scrounging for food. He saw her outside the Store, some months back. The Store keeper had told him she had arrived on the train, some days back. He was very wary of strangers, yet her sweet smile and sunny disposition, had melted him. He did not sleep that night and the next day came and made her the offer, to join him in his home.

They were both lonely and she saw his emancipated body and his hollowed eyes. She realized that he was letting his life force ebb, and wane. She decided to nurture him back to health, as she was desperate for companionship. She had been a nurse, once, in what seemed so long ago. She had been happy, before her world turned, upside down. She thanked every day, on which she woke up, to find herself, still alive.  He seemed a good man, who had, had some bad breaks, in the past. The Store keeper had told her, Yogi may appear eccentric, and strange, but at heart he is a very good man. She had followed him, and watched him for days. Finally she decided to move in with him, on an extremely stormy night. Yogi had brought her home and made her welcome and showed her, where everything was. She slept on the Sofa, as she was cautious, and afraid.

Eva passed the hot boiled gruel, she had prepared, in two bowls. Eva had sprinkled some precious herbs, and added the boiled spicy vegetables. Fresh vegetables and fish had arrived that day, from the climate controlled, hydroponic, indoor, organic farms, far away. These were rarities these days, and she was very happy, with her meal. Yogi as usual, just pushed the food around on his bowl, with his fork. She had coaxed him a couple of time, but had soon realized; it was best, to just let him be. He would play with the food and sometimes take a small forkful into his mouth, and chew contemplatively. It was as if he was discovering, how to eat, for the first time. Then he would walk away and wait to see if the food was safe. Eva would continue to sit and eat, slowly enjoying, every bite, of the nourishing food.

Yogi was more interested, in the brain pills, which he had gathered. It was a concoction, of whatever the store keeper, had been able to obtain through his contacts. He would even continue conversations across the home, as he admired his cache. There were blue pills, pink pills, white capsules, yellow tablets, but most importantly these organically grown and refined natural enzymes and powders, increased his brain health. Yogi was convinced that they were keeping him alive, as while his body had become deprived, these supplements kept his brain alive, and functioning.

Eva had joked, “It’s all in your head Yogi, I do not take brain pills, and am happy the way I am. We have to be happy inside Yogi, and nothing from outside can do that, no matter what concoctions, you ingest. My Mommy always used to laugh at this world, and she taught me early on; that we are created to bring joy, to all around us.”   She laughed at him, and coaxed a smile out of him, with her antics. She mimicked him popping pills. She pantomimed him, by raising her hands above her head, pretending that her brain, is expanding.

That night she joined him in his bed and they talked about the past. They made love, and then they talked on until dawn. They talked about their hopes, and their dreams. They made love again, and she nodded off. Then they ate a predawn meal, as she awoke early, feeling hungry again. This time she sat with him smiling, and talking about their upcoming day. He was not one, for sleeping much, these days anyway. As he listened to her talk on, he became strangely contented, with her company. Eva’s shaking fits slowly disappeared over time.

“What do you want to do tomorrow?” Eva asked innocently at breakfast one day,

Yogi just looked at her amazed, and just sat straight, slowly chewing his food again; and finally thinking about a future, he had given up on. As the night turned into a grey dawn, he slowly ate, spoon, after spoon. She smiled at him, passing her feminine strength, into his meagre frame, and a small hope rose, in his mind again. They decided to venture out into their universe more often. “Lets go and see what else is out there?” Yogi said, gathering himself and leading the way.

Months passed and they got used to venturing out, into the fog. It had rained in the night, and more appeared on the way, from the distant thunder and lightning. Yogi looked up into the grey skies, and then turned, as Eva caught up. She took his hand in hers, as they walked up the hill, away from the lake, towards the forest. Eva claimed that the night before, she had actually seen the Fading Moon’s shadow, in the sky, from the top of the hill. They reached the top, after another violent storm, when the heaven’s opened up. Eva had hugged Yogi as they got a glimpse, of our Milky Way, and the galaxies and larger universe. Yogi and Eva lay on the ground, and looked at the eternal universe enchanted. They spent a magical night, enjoying this beautiful spectacle for hours, lying in each other’ arms.

Since then a year has passed and this hellish semi darkness, eats away, at both of them. Yogi would have withered, but Eva saved him, and continues to nourish him, with what they can find. It is rumored that from that from that fateful night onwards, the Fading Moon became a reality, and was never seen again. Yogi does not talk about our beautiful moon, or our colorful Milky Way, or the size of our external universe, anymore. Even Eva’s shaking fits are becoming worse again, and they venture out less and less….

Schopenhauer. “Suffering is the substance of all life”

Wikipedia image of mushroom cloud at castle_romeo2

My Happiest Child

The young boy looked up in wonder, at the morning sun, rising above the trees. There was a line of them, along the slow river which flowed, far away. As it rose, it made the flowing river, to turn into a shining silver\gold combination. He closed his eyes and still the shadow of the bright light, remained in his brain, as if the sharp reflection of the sun, still remained.  The flash reminded him, of that light he had seen, before the explosion, which changed his life.

He shivered as he lay on the ground, half up, leaning on his elbow, watching the day dawn, and turn to morn. He moaned slowly, as the ghost pain from his missing left legs, rose again. He tried not to start crying, so early in the day, as he did not want the village children, to call him a crybaby again. He closed his eyes again, trying to take long breaths, in and out, as his father had taught him, to calm his mind and body. When he opened them again later, he saw that the reflection of the sun, had gotten weaker, and the river appeared darker, against the green and brown of the trees.

He realized he was thirsty and started to crawl on the ground, towards the hand pump, in the shade of a nearby tree. It was where the street to the temple ended, from the heart of the Brahmin section of the village.  He found a container with some left over water, and raised it, and took a long draught right down his open face, and down his parched gullet. Some spilled, but he did not mind as the cool water felt good, and his thirst was gone. He turned and looked down the Temple Street, and watched a stray dog walking away. He did not like dogs and was glad it wasn’t coming, for water.

He had never been inside the temple, or even the Brahmin section of the village. His sister had gone there to steal cow droppings, from their cows, when they went to graze, for his mother’s open fire. She mixed it with straw and made cow dung patties sun dried on their outside wall. His mother used the dried fuel and twigs as fuel. His eyes would often glaze, lying in that smoke, and soot filled hut. His mother cooked the family meal of cheap rice, and whatever they could afford, that day.

Mother had changed a lot, since the wicked men came, and took his father away. He had already suffered his injuries and was lying in his home, on the thick cotton sheet, in his corner quietly. He had heard his father talking and the man yelling at him, outside. Then other voices joined in, harsher and sharper. His father was saying “I have a lame child at home from this unholy war, please there is no one, to take care of my three children and my wife.”

“Take him away,” Came the voice of a man, who seemed high, as if on a horse.

“No, unhand me, No,” I heard my father cry out, as others dragged him away, kicking and shouting.

It had been three years since then and his mother had no time to play with him now. They had been so happy, as she would play with him in the mornings, after all her chores were done. He would laugh at her stories and all his pain would be forgotten. She was magical, she turned his long troubled nights, into a wonderful day. She whispered softly to him “My happiest baby,” and crushed him to her chest. They would cuddle together and play, without a care in the world. They laughed a lot together, happy in their togetherness

Now she would feed the family in the mornings and his older siblings would go off to the village school, as she went off to work. She is a maid in one of the merchant family’s, big brick home. It was a big whitewashed wonder, with lots of people. She worked all day cleaning and washing and anything else that needed doing, for such a large family. She returned in the evenings and made the evening meal, and fed and put them to bed, and slept herself.

“Our school is also a brick building, each class has big windows, with glass!” his sister had told him with awe, when she returned, from her first day.

The boy wondered what it would be, to be, in a room, with big windows. He could not imagine a place, where you could look out, at any time. She told him her class room was bigger than 4 of their huts, and had high walls, and a peaked clay tile orange roof. He wondered what it would be like to be in a strong building in the monsoons, would the rain still sound as loud?

He knew he would never go to school, and he was happy, for his sister. She pressed and massaged his left over thighs, where his legs had been cut off, after the blinding explosion. He liked it when she did that, and he smiled, for the first time that day. Then she heard her mother calling her, and she rushed off, leaving him on his sheet, in his corner, of his home.

“Come here sweat girl,” he heard a man’s voice, who sounded like the merchant, for whom his mother worked.

“She is very young and shy,” my mother said.

“Well, once she starts working, she will be fine,” the man said. “What good is it to you, to educate this girl, as I can help you, if you need more money? Let her come for work also, and I will increase your salary. You are lucky, your middle boy can continue to go to school.”

“She is too young,” my mother said, “She has to take care of my lame son, when she comes from school.” The man would not listen and soon left.

The boy became lonelier. He now had to fend for himself, all day. He would eat what his mother left him, and on days when the weather was nice, and he had the energy, he would crawl out. He was wary of dogs, as he had been almost bitten once, His brother had come and chased two curs away, just in time, as they snarled and snapped at him, in the street. Now he had no one, and so ventured out less often. Today he left the well and slowly crawled back home as the afternoon approached, and he wanted to be back, in his shady hut.

One night he heard his sister crying, “I do not want to go there, any more, mother.” She cried between sobs and he could see her shoulders shaking, as she heaved and wailed. Her mother reached out her arms and wrapped her and pulled her to her bosom. She held her in her arms and shushed her, trying to stop her crying. “They hurt me,” she murmured and mother continued to hold her, and tried to comfort her.

His sister stopped massaging his thighs, and she seemed to be afraid to touch his flesh. He would reach out to her as before, and she would retreat, as if afraid. This frightened the little boy even more, as he thought he had turned into some monster. He knew that he was scaring his dear sister, just as he had hurt his mom, with the blast. He hurt more, every day, now, and the pain, would not go. Even when he breathed, like his father had taught him, the pain stayed there, and arose and fell in pulses of heat.

He was losing his memory of his father, he realized one day. He could not hear his voice in his ear, telling him that he will take him to the city hospital, and that he would get better soon. He missed his strong arms around him, making him so warm and close and secure in his world. He learnt how to bear his pain, and not cry. He knew his father was taken away, because of him, as he had heard him pleading with them and they must have taken his father, because he was a bad son. Even if he cried, it did not matter, as there was no one there. So he just lay on his cotton sheet, in his corner of his world, alone, and unwanted.

The long nights became especially painful for him, as he tried to be quite, so his mother could sleep. The nights when he heard his sister crying silently, were the worst, for him. They were so close, and yet so far, and he felt like screaming. Then he would remember his sleeping mother, and his father’s gift. He would cuddle himself, into a ball of pain, and breathe. He would take one long incoming breath. Then a slow outgoing breath. He would continue his breathing moment by moment, aware of his pain; and dying a little bit more, with each breath.He eagerly awaited the dawn to escape a little, whenever he had the strength..

His life force slipped away in the winter night, quietly, without a murmur. Next morning his mother picked him up, and took him out, and laid him in the sun, to clean him. She washed him and looked lovingly at his beautiful face, and prepared for his last rites. The people from the neighboring huts came, and helped prepare him, for his final journey. All she could remember was his smiling and giggling face as a baby.

As the men lifted and took him away, a single tear fell from his mother’s eyes. “My happiest baby,,,,,” repeated again, and again, was all they heard, as they took him away.  

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. -Robert Frost, poet (26 Mar 1874-1963)

Orange Sunshine

Orange Sunshine, the original orange colored tablet that revolutionized a generation. I found mine from an American tourist, smoking a chillum in the park, near the Hanuman Mandir, in Connaught Place, in New Delhi. We had met a couple of times in the past week, as random strangers in a random universe. Both were drawn to the familiar smell of good hashish, smoked in the passing clay pipes, with wet rags to inhale the smoke and fill lungs. We lived in a world where we believed, in the abundance of life and good companionships. There we became friends, as is possible sitting with red eyes and just talking, in the beautiful green gardens of Delhi and re discovering our universe. I offered him some downers and some speed for free from my private stash, in friendship, and he smiled.

My new friend then generously offered me a gift of the time (for a small rupee fee), from his cotton satchel, he carried his valuables in. We sat there enjoying the day, surrounded by all its flowers, in the springtime. An orange tablet from a small box of many more, he reverently gave me mine, bowed to Hanuman Ji in the temple, and said “Jai Sri Ram”. He smiled, benevolent as ever; and gave me the simple instruction, to keep it under my tongue at the appropriate time; and enjoy.  The stone wall of the old city all around the garden, which stood tall since centuries, was still saving this natural oasis, in a bustling city. There I inherited the left over tablets from the city stranger, which invited us to wear flowers in our hair, when we visited. I bowed low to my friend as I left, to ride my Lambretta, back home. The city of Delhi still attracted the latest pleasure our world had to offer, in exchange, for some of the wisdom and spiritual wealth of our people

On ingesting the tablet I guess one changes one’s perception, of what as a student my role is, in The University of Delhi. I lay in St Stephen’s common room and listened to Steppenwolf and the tracks from ‘Easy Rider’. Someone came and started playing one of the Woodstock LPs, on the turntable. The culture was changing, as I drifted into a Hostel room in SRCC, where someone was twanging away on an acoustic guitar, and singing Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times they are a changin’. One walked back to my Alumnus Ramjas and then across the Rose gardens, to the Cricket grounds. There in the Viceroy’s oldgrounds the annual tussle; between St Stevens and Hindu College’s sports teams, was in full flow. The sunshine had cleared the morning fog, and the men in white looked so elegant, as they stood their ground, in the innings of a lifetime. Some girls from Miranda passed giggling and talking and you got distracted, and passed out of the crowds, and into the lonely ridge.

The brambles and the stunted trees of the Aravalli hillock made for tough hiking, as one avoided the thorns. As one rose up above the University one could now endeavor to seek peace. One’s senses became alert in a different manner, as one walked alone in the wood. A snapping twig sound, aroused a different reaction than Jimi Hendrix playing a psychedelic ‘Star Spangled Banner”. Alert and aroused in nature is very different, from being in a large social human gathering. The seeker seeks everywhere and then comes back to find himself.

Our journey is to arouse and satisfy the same insight and hope, which is universal, and shared by all. Here one is closer to oneself and one’s universe and compassion and love can flow easily. The gift showed me that the sun shines bright, and one is happy, in this buzzing reality. One feels ones whole universe and the self is wiped out and we become part of the pulsating energy of universal life. Suddenly I am whole in a manner I have never been and everything becomes me, and I become everything. I find a grassy patch under an ancient tree to just be, here, now. Slowly my breathing is the force of the primordial universe. I just lean back against the ancient tree of wisdom, and wonder, where is Rip Van Winkle, when I need him? Enjoy…..

All of life is a foreign country. -Jack Kerouac, author (12 Mar 1922-1969)

“Demand for acid was high, and Billy Hitchcock, enterprising as ever, sensed an opportunity. He introduced Nicholas Sand, a Millbrook regular and aspiring underground chemist, to Tim Scully, a whizz kid chemist from Berkeley newly-arrived on the estate. With Hitchcock bankrolling the operation, the two chemists moved to California, set up a lab, and synthesized 3.6 million hits of Orange Sunshine — 250 micrograms of pure LSD bliss that hit the San Francisco streets right on time for the Summer of Love.” Wikipedia on the mansion in NY where Dr. Richard Albert and Dr. Timothy Leary of Harvard spent their summer. These activities happened post expulsion from the University, and before the summer of love in SF.

Homage to ‘Daybreak’

Where does human civilization begin and how long will it last? The ancient classics tell tales of mighty Emperors whose empires, seemed to span the known globe. They have all disappeared, into the sands of time, with little trace left of their mighty existence. Yet with every daybreak, a new hope arises within us, with the beauty and promise of a new day. Our lives are awakened at the early hour, as we lie half in repose, seeking a new adventure. Up and away we go, into the mountains, across the green fields to the perfect destination, and enjoy freedom and love. Or perhaps just lie here and do what civilized humans do, to enjoy our given life. Do I pursue my lover to bind her closer to me, or let her escape into her own Ecstasy!

A great artist Maxfield Parrish from Philadelphia created this popular image of ‘Daybreak’ in 1922. It is a classic from a time when American civilization was developing, and finding its roots. The classic and the modern meshed well, into the new art of the new world, with its great vistas. People traveled across the Oceans to behold these views of a brave new world. The heartland opened up for settlement, and the great railroad expansion of those times, further romanticized the West. It was morning in America, and the greatest inventions and innovations were starting to change humanity.

Today I ask again what will today’s Daybreak bring for humanity? Will we rise and and reach for the stars again, for new ways and improved ways of doing old things? Will we solve the problems of the masses, or will the rich and powerful garner the returns, and let trickle do its work over time? My message is clear – let us each one of us awaken to hope, perseverance and being here now. We can achieve so much more for ourselves, and be compassionate to others around us. When I am happy, only then can I make others around me, also happier. Care for our true self and we will automatically seek bliss and joy which comes, from a life well lived, with high ideals. Civilization is measured by its ability to uplift everyone, and not just a choice few.

Maxfield Parrish’s “Daybreak” 1922 one of the favorite selections of the last millinia.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c1/Ecstasy%2C_1929.jpg

Brighter moods

hView of NJ from the commuter ferry on the Hudson at sunset

There are some days in our lives that end so perfectly, that one gasps at the audacity of hope. One heads home from work having been engaged all day, in solving some deliverable at work. Having made some good progress, one is even able to take an earlier ferry home. On the commute the view of a glorious sunset, is an added bonus from our universe. The vistas of lower Manhattan and the other boroughs, are best viewed from the harbor level. With Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty one really gets a historic view, of what the original immigrants saw, as they arrived at these shores. Many moved westwards from NJ on the trains, into the hinterland. This was the melting pot as millions of refugees arrived over the centuries, and somehow became Americans themselves. They then welcomed millions of others, as the lands continued to open up, and the World Wars helped push employment higher.

 The latest growth is largely related to technology, innovation and services. Wealth is still being created in America at a steady pace, and that in itself is good. The problem is that the distribution is flawed and leads to serious inequality. In no way am I advocating universal Income for all, but am merely stating that if we let an enormous section of the population fall below poverty lines for long periods with no hope for improvement, it is a problem. Meeting basic human needs is within our reach, and we must reskill and educate our population, for the future.

The future with driverless transportation and smart cities is already shaping, a brave new world. Green energy holds promise and technology with IOT and AI, will be everywhere. From being individual knowledge repertories, human brains are going to become social animals again. With social media and personal information already on the web, each of us will have our own unique digital halo. We have finally become part of these terabytes of data, which humans are creating at an unprecedented rate. Each minute creates more than the previous century, or some such crazy number, and it continues to grow exponentially. As more things become tracked and measureable, they also open opportunities for improvement of their performance, and interactions in our society.

On the more hopeful days one crosses the Hudson in a brighter mood. The buildings seem to look more remarkable and shine brighter in the light it seems, with our heightened awareness. The glass and steel towers reflect the sunshine, and depending on the angle turn to gold and dazzle the spectator into awe. The view is breathtaking and oftentimes the only sound is the waves hitting the ferry, as it plows steadily upriver to deliver its load of tired passengers. On days like this, other fellow passengers feel the joy of their existence too. They march forward to the front, some already wearing their sneakers, and ready to break free, into the arriving dusk. They cross over onto the land in more determined strides, with a new purpose of life discovered. Go forth I say and create a unique life, and experience for ourselves. Life is a precious gift and I bow down and receive it, and then look up at the view again, and wonder how I became this lucky. To all of us I simply state that let us remain blessed in our present, with rising hope to build a more compassionate and realized future for all.

randomness of colliding universes

Swans at dusk, rest their necks, as the day, darkens towards night

We start a new chapter in life, when we realize; that life just doesn’t get any better, than it is right now!!

Every moment is a joy, and all happiness is just a passing phase; as we go from tears to laughter, and back again. Days are long and followed oftentimes, by even longer nights. Dreams are often worse, than real life, when one was always taught, that they are real. There is no great meaning to this existence, as the randomness of colliding universes; cannot be explained away, as just another cosmic planned event. We have life and consciousness and as we raise our consciousness, we become even more lost; in the rhythm and pulsating energy, of this universe. Music is often a way into a trance, or an awakening; for some, while others sit and chant silently. Sway and dance with your loved ones, as if nobody is watching you. This is our world and we own it, as it was made only for us. We have earned it, and our existence itself states; that we are this, and this is us.

When we value each new moment, as it arises in our mind; and then let it go, as to desire, and to cling; is the source of all misery. Our bubble of consciousness can be expanded, and when awakened remains, the beauty of this life. Come out of the coal mines as a new energy has arisen. Description of the perfect state of Nirvana has failed to be put on paper. It is just an experience and one does not even try to explain it. One just bows ones head in humility at this great ocean of compassion around us. We awaken to that eternal lake where knowledge and energy play with the waves and we dance on the waters. It is tough to explain that one is soaring through an immense space and yet one returns back to the next morn. I am the Atman and remain eternal. Today is just a day when we walk through the labyrinths of life, into the one haven of peace. It is all meaningless in the end, but man what a trip and the hindmost can keep His Grand Plan!

Happy midterms everyone!

Image result for midterms 2018

We are living in such a strange world as things appear to be going so wrong. Any normal human would shy away from the news around us. Shootings, #MeToo revelations, Class and Gender warfare, seems to come alive in our daily news, in an unending display of terror and anxiety. We are numbed by the atrocities posted of torture, and death on some of our fellow humans, at the hands of other humans. Our society appears to have lost its way even while we struggle to make a more perfect union.

Capitalism on the other hand is doing quite well. As per the latest figures the US economy grew at 3.5% in GDP, in the latest quarter. Why do I not hear bands playing on Main Street, just as Corporate Profits hit new records, on Wall Street? We are the richest nation in the world and we continue to grow so everyone should be very happy. The riches of our land should be making our citizens happy. Yet by many measures of education, health, children’s health and general wellbeing we find our measures falling.

It is a sad fact that real income for a vast number of Middle Class citizens, has not really gone up since 1971. Civil rights enactment had a backlash we still suffer till today it seems. While corporate profits reach dizzying heights, the ordinary American, is living on the edge of a financial default. Now the top 10% control 84% of the stock market shares, which continues to rise because of the liberating moves, made by this administration. Animal spirits have been let loose, and corporates are openly squeezing, more out of their customers, or the ordinary American. The lack of upward mobility and the continuing squeeze from housing costs, health care and just plain everyday living like childcare and education; continue to squeeze, Jane or Joe Daily.

People are taking up two jobs to make ends meet, as minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. There’s no wealth effect for those at the bottom or middle of society, as they do not own the capital to grow. In a capitalist system the growth is unfortunately largely going to the top, causing more despair for the ordinary American. We hear about an Opioid crisis ravaging the heart of America. We hear of rising suicide rates amongst the great soul of this society, the wonderful American churchgoing hero, of yesterday. Why is there so much fear and anxiety amongst the middle class, and why does the divide continue to deepen? All are equally effected in this downward spiral, whether they be white or black, as poverty has no color.

Sometimes I wish that things had been different and the predatory practices of the vultures at our economic feast, could be controlled better. There is no sin in profit and neither is it a sin to be poor, and certainly not one, just because one is rich. We have to find a more equitable way, and make society larger and better, to improve living standards all around. We have the means to do so, and just need the right policies, to be put in place. The great debates in our Senate, and the House of Representatives; should become living words, of our constitution. All men are created equal…….. Get out of this depression which seems to hold us all back, and rise to vote.  Happy midterms everyone!

The Afternoon of our lives

Summer days are long, and often eventful,

There are places to go, and things to do.

Rarely does one sit, in quiet contemplation,

About old companions, and those who have gone.

 

Summer nights are dark, and bring the heavens closer,

There are lovers to enjoy, and dreams to dream.

Sometimes we lie half-awake, in restless beds,

Yet at others we live our lives intensely, for those to come.

 

Youth is irreverent, towards many age old dogmas,

The future belongs to them, and they are well trained.

The Morning of our life is the age of youth, and its admirers,

Tales of adventurous travels to different shores, to fight our dragons.

 

My time now I realize, is the Afternoon of my Life,

So much that was promised in my youth, has passed.

Now I am wiser and know what folly is, and what madness is,

This summer is for my lover and there is no other castle.

 

On realizing that our youth, has long passed us bye,

We can now move on to the realization, of our life’s purpose.

The idealistic way is still the best, for its sweet dreams,

Many a life I would strive, for working towards its realization.

 

The Afternoon of my life on this summer’s day,

Passes with many a roar and a celebration of Sports and Humans.

We watch the best efforts of our champions, and award the Trophies,

Enjoying this moment and this time, as this game of life looks at a setting sun.

“Views of a Foetus in the Womb”, detail from a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci

Woodland walk

The path led me deeper into the lush summer forest. There was greenery everywhere and fallen trees, were blocking; some areas of the path, which I happily scrambled over, to continue my woodland walk. It is an old habit amongst our family to walk in the hills since childhood. Drilled into us to taking morning and evening hikes, in the Himalayas. It is a very healthy lifestyle but very few of us are privileged enough, to become a mystic, or a communicator with nature. Our just being in these woods helps us identify, with our larger universe.

It is good to walk alone and introspect and find out what is happening with oneself, once in a while. So as I came among my favorite cluster of Oaks, I saw the pairs rising from a common roots. For some nature’s freakiness there is a huge proportion of these pairs towering over the path in some parts as compared to others. Here in the middle I paused as something was not right.

There to the side was a pair that seemed to have missed the spring season. This giant pair was as leafless as a mid winter’s day. I grew close to it and was strangely attracted to it. I decided to use it as a backrest for my meditation and sat down with my back to it, soon feeling safe, amongst its roots. With closed eyes I observed the sound of the Doe and her kid, as they grazed in the sloping valley behind me. A squirrel was scrambling up on the Maples, across from where I sat.

From the tree there was no vibration of life. It seemed it had caught the Rip Van Winkle effect and gone to sleep in summer. I wished them well and hoped that they would green again soon, as I missed the living twins. I sat there contemplating the times we had spent in the summers before, vibrating together with our life forces, in the eternal hum of life. Time passes slowly or at least it seems to, in the summer, when all our senses come alive. I get up with a sense of loss, and melancholy grips me momentarily. A few steps up the path and the deer family come into sight and I get distracted and move on.

Social Media grabbed me on my return back Home and there is just so much fake news going around, that I am ready to turn everything off.    How can these people blatantly lie and expect us to swallow all of it without complaining. The rhetoric levels are rising and the two parties are drifting farther apart, under this Presidency. People are falling everyday in this administration, and what can I add about our dear President, that hasn’t already been said. We are all living the dream!

“This above all: to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man.” -William Shakespeare, poet and dramatist (23 Apr 1564-1616)

Kate and Anthony

 

Suicide rates in the US have gone up by 25% from 1996 to 2016. Contrary to common misconceptions, a lot of them cannot be attributed to Mental Health Problems. NY has long abandoned its old Mental Health Institutions and come to a more modern solution to the problem. The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, have brought these suicides to our world’s attention. Our public has to suddenly look beyond the public persona of famous people, to their personal persona. What we are forced to see is that even in publicly successful people, there is a strange loss of soul. Even at the pinnacle of public admiration, one can still falter and fall very deeply, into the very depths of human despair. This is not a subject I would bring up at a jolly dinner table, but it is something that each one of us has to acknowledge, as something that needs to be discussed.

Our new media society is very successful in connecting us digitally day and night. Now one is always connected and social media and other makeups of our digital signature, builds a new world only for each one of us. We can be whatever we want to be, on our World Wide Web. It is just a matter of putting out the right ideas out there, which connect more people. Popularity numbers are suddenly very high, with millions of followers for some social celebrities. Success now is almost instantaneous for some people, but to sustain it over a period of time, means the person is personally gifted. Very few people have the charisma or the opportunity to present themselves uniquely and with their full life force, to our world. They open new horizons for us, through their ideas and actions. They expand our way of thinking and in the end ourselves as a race. We have to just do a better way to resolve issues that arise, out of our modern digital always on life, a little better.

We can use our social and digital media to bring peace and closure to such issues. We can use our community to make an effort, to address the root cause of some of these problems.  We need to do a better job in tackling substance abuse and physical health problems.  We have other societal needs like the war against poverty. Approximately 1-in-5 children in the U.S. are living in poverty today(1) , and even though this represents one of the highest childhood poverty rates among developed nations worldwide, almost half of Americans (49 percent of those surveyed) are unaware of the prevalence of childhood poverty in the U.S., based on a new national survey from Walgreens. It is a combination of social and economic causes that lead to suicide and until we get a better understanding of the cause, we cannot find a solution to the rising rates. Our compassion has to go towards building a society where people want to live and prosper.

It’s far better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone. -Marilyn Monroe, actress (1 Jun 1926-1962)