About Goodbye to a ladies hair accessory designer

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The view from the bus on the helix, of the approach into the Lincoln Tunnel from New Jersey excited me, no matter how many times I saw it. Empire State Building and the Chrysler tower rose to a great height in Mid-Town, while downtown had the spectacular World Trade Centre Towers, with the other tall buildings in the Financial District. In the early morning the sun would be rising from the East casting strange shadows and light on the city. Most of my fellow commuters slept or read, and did not even look out of their windows. My fascination with the great city of New York continued and my friend Eddie, showed me the romantic side of its existence.

The walk from Port Authority down from the third floor to the bustling streets of Mid-Town Manhattan, was a hurried affair. Everyone wanted to get out in the streets to avoid the occasional bum, or pan handler, or drunk, who had slunk in to the crowds. The streets were flowing with traffic, as one walked pass the peep shows, and the XXX theaters that surrounded Times Square. From the Garment District, I would walk down a few blocks, and then cut across East on the Streets, after Macy’s. My office was on the third floor of an old brick building, which served as our back office and production center.

Wendy was always there before me heading her shift with her girls. They would laugh and joke amongst themselves, as while she was a hard taskmaster, she was still a good boss.  We had become friends as she was half Indian, from the West Indies. They also ate whole wheat rotis as bread, but their dishes were spiced differently. She would surprise me sometimes with a homemade lunch, and I would eat the food at my desk, enjoying the strange flavors. She would talk about her Grandfather, who had come from a town in Bihar, India, to work in the sugar plantations. Her mother had brought her up and her siblings, as a school teacher and a husband, who was also a farmer.

Wendy now lived in Queens, and so did most of her girls. They would ride the Subway into Manhattan, and it was an easy commute with a short walk on both ends. She kind of looked down on me, because I had to travel into her city, from NJ. She admired our owner however, with her Apartment in Manhattan, and the week-end home in the Hamptons. Wendy and her husband, who worked in a Bodega near their home, had scraped up enough money, to put a down payment, on a 3 bedroom apartment. With their two kids, and a dog, and color TV, they were living the American Dream. Her two girls went to the Public School, and were becoming more American every year, in the way they dressed, and talked, and what they watched.

David was the one who would arrive next and would head into the room to gather his orders and papers, and then head of to his belt makers. Eddie would saunter in when he felt like it and you could hear the giggles of the girls, as he joked with them, even from my desk. My two junior accountants were very punctual and would become busy in their work upon their Arrival. Ralphi was from Cebu in the Philippines, and extremely intelligent and diligent, and carried a lot of the routine load, of following up on the accounts receivables. Sam the other one was married to a nurse, and he was quieter, and kept mostly to himself. Ralphi had recommended him, when we were extremely stressed, and the owner had finally agreed to add another person, on Lou’s recommendation. We were an efficient team, as we managed to keep the business back office going.

Towards mid-morning I would take a break and walk around to stretch my legs. If Eddie was around he too would see me walking and he too would take a break. We would go into his and David’s office and take a coffee break. Eddie would have collected the latest Fashion Trade Rags that the mailman dropped off, and would skim through them, while we drank. He would read aloud anything interesting, or share an article or picture for me to look at. His knowledge of people and events was incredible and he would tell me outlandish stories of his capers from the past night, after a particularly interesting show. He did not linger long as he was a workaholic, when it came to his ladies hair accessory creations.

Eddie had extended his range to other accessories, like fabric belts, and some I called jewelry, and he referred to as his dear baubles, for his darlings. He would painstakingly make the samples, using newer materials, and exotic imports. The girls would cry at him, when he made them too complex, and he learnt to bring simplicity, and elegance into his pieces, over time. He realized that not everyone was as he gifted with their fingers, as he was, or had the eye, he had for detail. Plus the rush of orders demanded speedy execution, and he was always rushing from work table, to work table, correcting and improving his creations. Then in the late afternoon he would rush off to the showroom, or his suppliers depending on our needs. The owner loved him and David was upset, that Eddie was now making even more money, than even him.

The fall from being the head Designer of the company, to second fiddle, did not really go down well with David, but even he was overawed by Eddie’s creativity, and resourcefulness. The man just had a natural tendency, to pick up on the latest trends, which would sell in the next season. His color selections were seldom off, for the Spring, or Holiday Season. His prints were vibrant, or very delicate, depending on the style, or age group, he was going after. The Junior Store buyers loved him, and he would flirt with them, and entertain them, at the latest happening places, in the city. He was loads of fun, and the young women would find him exotic, and ‘just marvelous dear,’ as he called it. The big black muscled man, with often a couple of young things, hanging from either arm, was a common sight at events. The women felt safer in numbers with him, and he was quite capable, of having fun with all of them.

 Sometimes when I got off from work, and he would drag me off, when it wasn’t Fashion Night, or he had some other appointment. His current boyfriend would often join up with us, at the latest haunt and he would transform himself into his night creature mode. He would transform from being the Giant ladies hair accessory designer, into a lover with no restraints. Then the true talk would start of the Jazz bars, and comedy shows, or the next major music band, which was playing in Madison Square Gardens. He would hang out with famous actors from Broadway, and once even a Ballet Dancer from the Met. Each one seemed more creative and talented than the last, and it was a merry go round, that I could not keep count of. Yet each creature was even more exotic, and no wonder Eddie loved them so much.

Then one day Eddie retched all over the bushes, on the side of Bryant Park, in the back of the NY Public Library, after an event. I was there with him, and looked around at the old Baroque, and Gothic buildings, and then stared at the sleekly flowing glass tower, that surrounded the park. I had never seen Eddie throw up, no matter how much he drank, or inhaled substances. His friend gathered him up in his arms, as Eddie felt he was suddenly dizzy, and he guided him, to a nearby bench. He sat him down carefully and put his arms around his broad shoulders, and sat there, waiting for him, to catch his breath. He then went and got a water bottle for Eddie. I sat there holding Eddie’s hand not knowing what to do, as I stared down, at his long artistic fingers against mine. When his friend returned he drank some water slowly. He then gargled and spat some out, as if his mouth tasted foul and then dry heaved, but nothing came out.

Eventually he got his bearings again and looked around, and his lover smiled at him hopefully. Eddie gave a twisted smile back, and passed his hand over his head, as if he was still dizzy, and not really sure of what was going on. I looked at my watch and noticed I was running late, and would have to rush off for my bus down 41st Street soon. Luckily Bryant Park was not far from Port Authority, and I stayed for another ten minutes, as Eddies friend softly spoke to him. They looked so much in love. The light from the Street lights and the shadows of the Park, made their silhouette look like two lovers, out for the evening, enjoying companionship, on a Park Bench. It was the quintessential city scene, which must be enacted out everywhere, that people were free. Seeing everything returning to normal, I took my leave of Eddie, and he blew me his usual kiss, and I heard him joke, as I walked away “Beware those peep shows darling, and those beautiful whores, on the corner of Eighth.”

He thought he was suffering from the flu when he had thrown up, as he had a fever and headache for a few days and did not come into work and the work tables seemed empty without him. Months passed without incident, but Eddie seemed to be losing his bulk and getting gaunt.  Summer came and the owner went off to the Hamptons, and Eddie was not as busy and I saw less of him. He would come in occasionally to ensure the girls, did not need his help, and work on the pieces, for the next season. David told me that he thought Eddie was not his usual self, some months later. He said that they were not hanging out as much later into night, when the cooler fall nights came along. The fashion season started and this used to be Eddie’s favorite time, to hang out, and he would be the life of the party wherever he went. Now he would often leave early on some nights, claiming he had things to do, but David knew he just appeared very tired and exhausted.

Months later in January only David was in his office, and Eddie’s desk was empty. I presumed he was also away on a much needed break. I got into my routine and was swamped with the work that was waiting for me to catch up on. It was a week later and I heard Eddie’s voice and the girls giggling at work one afternoon. I was busy in something for our Bank, and silently smiled to myself, and decided to go and meet him once I finished. In an hour I finished my report and headed off and found that Eddie was not with the girls anymore, and they were busy on their routine. I went to David’s office and thought I saw the back of a stranger sitting at Eddie’s desk, and thought it may be one of his friends waiting for him to return.

He was smaller than Eddie, although he seemed to have a similar build and hairstyle. Then he turned around, and I realized that it was no one other than Eddie himself. He had lost a lot of weight, and was looking very gaunt. He smiled when he saw me and the same old booming voice spoke up “Darling, where have you been? I have been missing you terribly, and am so happy to see you. David is no fun anymore and it is good to see you and is that a new tan that you have got? You are looking great so the time off was good for you.”  

I walked in and took his proffered hand, and felt the familiar artistic fingers, but the handshake, was not as firm as before. His bulk seemed to have shrunk much more than the last time I had seen him. He had on a long sleeve shirt and it looked strange on him as he normally wore tight fitting fashion Ts, to show off his great body and arms. I looked into the eyes of my friend and they were the same, all full of life and mischief. Then he turned away and pointed to the article he was reading, “Look at my darling wearing my latest creation, in Aspen, at the ski slopes.” He said pointing to a famous model, photographed on the snow white slopes looking very glamorous in the latest colors, of Eddie’s design.

Even to my untrained eye the piece looked beautiful and intricately made. Eddie spoke up again, “My new line is doing fabulously, and the beautiful people just love it. Wendy says the girls can’t keep up with the demand, and she has started farming work out for her girls, to work at home, with additional help.” We had started the piece work last year, as we were losing too much business, with our constrained capacity. Eddie had ranted and raved that the quality of work will go down, without his direct input, and supervision. Our owner had agreed with me, that we had to do this to increase volumes. I also found it easier to control costs, as I could reduce the per piece cost, for the new contractors. Plus we had run out of space and the owner was not ready to sign another long time lease which could prove to be expensive fixed cost, if trends changed and our business went down.

We chatted for some time catching up on the recent shows, which Eddie had attended while I was away. I tried not to stare as he looked so strange, as I was used to his overpowering presence and now he seemed to have lost, some of his mojo. Besides the gauntness he seemed to have slumped as he did not appear as big as he used to be. As I left to get back to my desk, I saw Eddie out of the side of my eye, pull his sleeve up and rub a purple bruise on his left arm. Even his extraordinarily muscular arms, seemed to have lost bulk. I quickly looked away and walked off to my desk, deeply troubled about the changes, I saw in my friend.

The next day I caught David before he went off on his rounds. Eddie was still not in as was usual and I wanted to talk to David about what was happening to Eddie. David hung out with Eddie much more than me, and I thought he could explain the changes I was seeing. David explained that Eddie was seeing doctors for the past few months, as he continued to lose weight, and nobody could really explain what was wrong with him. He had been admitted to a Hospital for further checks and investigation and the specialists were stumped. All they would say was that something seemed to be wrong with his auto immune system as his body seemed to be suffering symptoms that normally would go away with anti-biotics, or other medicine. In Eddie’s case nothing seemed to work, and his condition continued to worsen.

David further informed me that at first Eddie had withdrawn to himself, and just stayed in bed and relaxed, hoping that all his troubles, would go away with time. He ate healthy, gave up smoking and his other vices and tried to get back in shape. Then one day another friend had visited with David and shared a motivational book and music tapes with Eddie. It appeared to make a difference, as a gaunt Eddie had shown up at work the following week. The girls were shocked to see him looking so gaunt, but had soon realized that he was still the same person, who joked with them, and showed them amazing things. They learnt to ignore his physical appearance, and just treat him like before.

                                                ***

David and I, visited Eddie in the hospital. He lay there on the white sheets, with flowers from his friends, spread around him. In his military gown, he lay on the bed with an IV sticking out of his arm to the medicine’s being dispensed into him. David had told me that they had diagnosed Eddie with an Auto Immune disease and there was no cure for it. The decrease had come from Sub-Saharan Africa and was spreading fast all over the world, especially in urban areas or transit points. India and USA were reporting sporadic incidents of the disease also, and the numbers were spreading. Nobody knew what was causing it and it may be viral, but it was becoming associated with Gay, or Bi-Sexual men. Poor Eddie could have caught the disease from any one of his beautiful partners. The exotic life also led to a great exposure to many different partners and Eddie had no idea as to who gave it to him. The tragic part that Eddie told us from his bead as lively in his head as ever. It was strange to hear the same voice and mannerisms come from his bed. It looked like life had taken everything from him that he had physically built of himself.

This great towering large muscled man who had been my friend, looked so frail and shrunken. The nurses had a hard time inserting an IV to find a vein, from what had been beautifully muscled arms and legs. He beckoned to me and joked, “What darling you did not bring any flowers? Look what Freddy sent me – what a fabulous bouquet.” Referring to Freddy Mercury and I looked carefully, and there was a short poem, on a personal note, on his side table. It was from Freddy, lying on his side table, along with many other letters, and cards. He sadly informed us, that a lot of his fabulous friends, had died, or also had the same disease. It was the scourge of his artistic friends, he told me.

David was more regular than me, in visiting Eddie, as he was far stronger, than me and was a true Eddie friend. Their friendship was as deep, as it came; even though they had nothing in common, in their backgrounds. Life and human tragedy, had made them, soul mates, in NYC. I had nothing more to say to Eddie, as his life source, had been my main source of life also, it seemed. The talk of my family, and my economic concerns, on how well my peers with similar backgrounds from elite Indian Universities, were doing, meant nothing to Eddie. He would listen to me talk, about my children, and cousins, but beyond that, I had nothing to say. All my thoughts had also shrunk with Eddie and all my educations, could not share another joke, with Eddie. How could this fantastic man, in the prime of his life, the ultimate ladies’ hair accessory designer become this man, lying in a hospital gown? How do you talk about the future, to your friend who has none?

                                                ***

Farrokh Bulsara was born in Sep 1946, in Stone Town, Zanzibar; to Indian Parsee, parents. For some time he studied in Indian boarding schools, modelled after the British system, led to an interest, in the writing and performance of music. . The revolution in Zanzibar, which later became part of Tanzania, drove the family out, to England. There he transformed himself into the lead singer of Queen, due to his love of music. Freddy Mercury became one of the best performers in modern music and their concerts were legendary. His creations and his songs topped the charts for many years, and he spent the last part of his life collaborating with some of the other greats of the age. He died in Nov 1991 aged just 45, at the height of his career. He admitted to a friend on the day before he died, that he had AIDS. That was the first time I learnt, about this dreaded new disease to which we went on to lose, some of the brightest people, in our generation.

LMC trumps Andromeda and LSD, in Celestial delights!

Depiction of the Andromeda galaxy colliding with our milky way

The impending collision of our Milky Way with the LMC (Large Magellanic Cloud) will bring celestial scale events into our neighborhoods. This may not happen for another two billion years from now, but in universal scale that time is not very far away. Initially merger with the Andromeda Galaxy was expected first, but now the race may go to LMC. These events of intergalactic mergers, is quite common in our crowded, and expanding universe.  The biggest danger is that this infusion of new gasses and stars, into the near dormant black hole at the center of our galaxy, may provide fuel to it. This will feed it into activity, and it is expected to grow exponentially larger, with the new energy.

Our Black hole will become a Quasar, and start its own celestial event. The energy expelled at near light speed, by the resulting Quasar, will change our Milky Way. “Should this happen, the stars that currently call the Milky Way’s galactic center home will, sadly, have to yield the neighborhood they know and love, to a new population of cosmic emigrants from the LCM. According to the researchers, many stars will be sucked into the growing black hole at the galactic center; other stars, reacting to all the extra mass pouring into their neighborhood, could be flung headlong into interstellar space, quadrillions of miles away.” Written by Brandon Specktor in Live Science.

Unfortunately we will not be around to see these interstellar events but hopefully our descendants (if human survive), will experience it. According to another model built by the astrophysicists at Durham UK, who predicted the 2 billion time frame, our solar system may not be effected, due to its location. We will not be in direct harm’s way, and may actually enjoy seeing new events, in the skies. New stars and gasses, will crowd into our galaxy, changing our skyline.

Please don’t fasten your seatbelts just yet, to travel and see one of the brightest objects in space, the Quasar. No psychedelic could ever match, the actual merger of two galaxies, into a celestial soup; of energy, and light. This soup unlike LSD (psychedelic drug), will be so thick and strong, that it will produce sights, not possible till today. The scale of this event, will be truly spectacular, and grander than any human imagination. Our solar system is far too insignificant and young, to be included, in this new universal show. We will be left on the sidelines, with great spectator seats.

There are other galaxies colliding at random, in our universe today. We have billions of galaxies and pulsars and quasars out there, and billions of black holes. Their birth and death, are the celestial events, which no one can predict for certain, and they are not part of any great master plan. They rise and fall, in their own time and space. We do not even know if we live in a multiverse existence, as we can only see and know the existence of our own universe. From a flat earth we are evolving in our knowledge, and maybe dark matter and dark energy; which are over 90% of our known universe, have other secrets, that we have yet to unravel.  

There are many amongst us that consider themselves, the master of this universe. Others believe in a Supreme God, shaped in their own beliefs, who controls the destiny of all living and organic matter. These gods reap vengeance, on those who do not believe in them. Their blind followers unleash wars, on other non-believers. The scale of their narrow mindedness, belies the actual reality, of what is all around us. Venus is not the goddess of love and Mars is no longer the God of war, as our understanding and times have changed. We look up into the heavens and see our future, but cannot even understand our own past.

Look inwards and we find another universe of millions of creatures, who dwell in us and what is their God? The only answer is energy, of our life forms. Long as the energy is kept alive, we live, and when it fades; we die, and become fodder, for millions of other cells. Our greatness lies not in conquering the world, but in conquering ourselves. The danger of superstition and false beliefs, creates rifts between us and nature. We end by destroying, that which provides us life, in our ignorance. True reality is when we realize the meaning of how to live, with compassion and love. Hate is natural and fear is elemental, to our nature. We have many leaders who have risen, who fan this hate and bigotry, in the name of clan, nation but mostly religion.  

They are the unrealized and to follow them, is to plunge ourselves into a darkness of spirit and action. Seek the light and you will renounce these shallow beliefs. There is much to learn and we have lived only a spec, of cosmic time. The cosmos is the reality, and we are the pilgrims in search of it. This earth is our witness, and we have proven ourselves wanting, on many counts. Enjoy this randomness of colliding universes, as in this insignificance, is our greatest glory. We are the masters only of our fate, and destiny is only a thought, that should be abandoned. Conquest and pillage is our history, for survival. We must find a better way, if we want to enjoy cosmic time.

Knowledge is limitless and so why limit ourselves to a faith, which limits others, as less than equal? Which colliding Galaxy is stronger or larger, only time will tell; and we, or our man-made God, does not control their destiny. I am, so the universe exists. I learn, and our humanity improves, is the only truth.  Our universe blesses us with a celestial dance, to be enjoyed for the ages. Our moral responsibility is to teach our children well, so that we and our gods can survive, to witness this truly cosmic event!

Pashupati seal

Pashupati Star pulled on his natural shawl, made of handmade hemp fiber, and swung one end up, and around his left shoulder, keeping his right arm, free. He had a bag hanging from his left shoulder, of the same, but more beat-up, and layered, hemp fiber, lined with cotton. In this bag were his day’s tools. Star was a bricklayer by profession, just like his father and grandfather had been, before him. His staff was also his measuring rod, as it was the length of a standard measure, for building human spaces. The town was planned with straight and perpendicularly divided streets, by the brick lined roads, which formed the thoroughfares. Star turned from the large roadway, into the narrower one, to get back home.

They had lived in this town for many generations, and he enjoyed his profession.  It was rumored that his Great Grandfather’s, father had come from a much bigger town, across the great river. Their home was standard brick design, with high walls facing the street. The house lived inwards, in its open courtyard. There was a large entrance, with two large rooms on either side. The side walls were lined with rooms for his family, and a granary and a kitchen. The fourth side was for the household animals, and their feed. There was even a well for water, which was sweet and abundant, and that is why his Grandfather, had chosen to build here.

“Hey Star,… have you lost … your hearing,” came a panting voice, from behind him. He knew that voice, but decided to keep going, as if he didn’t hear, speeding up slightly. “Star, I will kill you this time, if you don’t stop.” He heard the approaching voice, and her bangles, but Star kept going. He had managed to avoid her, for a whole month.

“My Star!… Why do you not wait for me,…  why must you always torture me, so?” she said, panting, as she caught up with him, running on her long legs. “Mother Goddess, please give me the strength, to put some sense, into this fool.”

“Full Moon, you can’t stop me like this. Not in the middle of the street, and bar my way?” Star said, looking up at the tall young woman, who stood barring his way, with her arms out and her patterned brass bangles, reflecting the fading sun.

“Just call me Moon dear,” Full Moon smiled at him, and gave him a slight push, in his chest, and tilted her head, looking him up and down. “Just like you did the other night, my dearest Star.”

Star was staring at her breasts rising and falling, under her shawl, as she took deep breaths. He noticed the beautiful brass necklace with carved and shaped beads rising and falling, and then turned his head away.

“Yes Moon,” Star looked up into her brown eyes, finally, as she continued to rub and poke his chest, and then pointed 2 fingers up to her eyes.

 “I just finished work, and I am tired, and want to just, go home.” Star said softly.

“OK so you are not doing anything, but just going home,” Moon said, stepping aside, and giving him way. “Good, as I am also not doing anything also, and will happily accompany you.”

Star pushed her aside with his shoulder, and at the open opportunity, started walking off towards his locality. She walked besides him stride for stride, and even skipped a few steps ahead, or followed behind, if he scowled. She hummed a tune, as she accompanied him. He was used to her antics, and he even smiled, when she even tried to do a cartwheel. Instead she ended up on the bricks, with all her long graceful limbs spread out, and flat on the ground. He giggled, and walked away faster.

“Dear Star,” she said catching up with him, near his home’s entrance, as he was still giggling, from seeing her spread out like that, at his feet.

.”Dear Moon,” he responded, and she flung her arms around him, and hugged him tightly.

“Oh so sweet,” Moon said gazing down into his eyes, and he tried to break away giggling harder, as she rolled her eyes at him, and wouldn’t let him go. He was rubbing against her, as he tried to escape, and she was exaggerating it, by her rolling sensuous movements. Then suddenly, even she could not hold in the pleasure, of seeing him, in her arms again. She also looked at his stupid expression, and broke into giggles, as he tickled her. He released himself, and burst into laughter, “You looked so silly Moon, sprawled out in the street like that.”

Embarrassed, she started laughing nervously, with him. He dropped his bag and reached out and tickled her. They both cracked up then, and soon were down on the bricks, pounding them, and roaring aloud. “Sweet Star…Sweet Star.” Moon said between laughs, and Star said “Dear Moon. Dear Moon.” They raised their heads, and looked at each other, sitting in the street and laughing at each other. Moon made a face, and then, they broke into spasms of laughter again.

“Oh Mother Goddess! Will I see you by the silent grove of Pashupati, tonight after sunset,” Moon asked, when she could compose himself.

“Tonight? Well let me try, and get there, as I have some things to do.” Star replied.

“Oh Star it will be so good, if you can make it,” Moon almost begged. Star nodded and agreed to meet her later.

Moon smiled back at him, and wrapped her wrap around her, now that she had heard, what she wanted to hear. She straightened out the handwoven cotton shift, that she had wrapped around her waist.  The joy of seeing Star again, was just like her Mother Goddess, had promised her, when she prayed to her last night. The Mother had calmed her, and assured her, that everything will be alright, in the evening. Her brass necklace and her bracelets and bangles, shone in the setting sun, as she turned, and headed off to her home. She had a lot to do, to[KR(1]  get ready for the night.

Star ate an early meal, and finished off the chores he had to complete. He then decided to go to the bath. He was feeling dirty and decided, to clean himself, from all the dust of the day, from working, in construction. The public baths were a short walk away, past his local market. He headed out and soon another friend joined him, and they talked as they walked, as he was headed for the baths also. His friend worked in the sanitation department, and they kept the drains cleaned and covered, and the streets clean. He really needed a bath he said, after this day’s work. They enjoyed the hot baths, and then relaxed in the cool pool, and let the day’s tiredness; seep out, of their pores. Then they dried themselves, and applied oils, to smoothen, their chapped hands and feet. With glistening hair now, cleaned and tamed by the oil, they were ready to return, to civilization.

Star fade farewell to his friend and headed for the Pashupati Grove, on the outskirts of the town. As he approached he saw the full moon start to rise, above the clouds on the horizon. He felt a sudden jump in his anticipation, at the sight of the big white moon rising. There were two more couples, ahead of him, also strolling along, in the same direction. He realized that they may be headed for the Pashupati Temple, for the special prayers, offered on every full moon night. Star believed deeply in Pashupati as the lord of all living creatures. His friend Full Moon believed more in the power of our Mother Goddess, and tonight the two would meet in the silent Grove.

Star entered the Grove and headed for the Temple, and saw that a lot more couples, had gathered, for the celebration. On one side, a stage had been built, in a clearing in the grove. A lot of people, had already spread themselves, on the grassy slope, all around the stage. There was light from oil lamps, hung on the brick and wooden stage. The surrounding areas, were in semi darkness, and only lit by the stars and the moon. There were four people, sitting on the stage, playing music, and the sound of their drums, and voices, spread the music all around. The rising moon above the trees, brought light into the clearing, and you could see people and shapes more clearly now.

He felt her presence, even before he saw her. She was sitting under a tree, in the shade; erect, and looking at the musicians. Star felt a strange vibration arising from her, a serenity as if she was the Mother Goddess herself, as Moon had described her to him. She was glad in a thin cotton wrap and on her arms were bangles of brass with tiny beads hanging from them. Her hair was washed, oiled and neatly parted. In the middle parting she wore vermillion, and it seemed to add to his desire, as she was in service, to the Mother Goddess.

This strange tall beauty, and raw feminine power, in full display, had attracted him before, when he met her last. Suddenly all his efforts at self-discipline was gone, causing him, to break his promised fast of the senses, to his lord Pashupati. He approached her from behind, and saw her shoulders relax, and she swayed slowly with the music, as he approached her. He knew she could feel his presence too, as the power of Pashupati flowed to the mother goddess, and their disciples, are surely swayed, by the same vibrations. As he reached down to touch her shoulder, she looked up and smiled, as if she already knew he was here.

She patted the ground besides her and her bangles made music of their own. She looked up into his eyes and smiled, “I came early, and found a good spot for us,” Moon said, “We can hear the musicians, and see the stage clearly from here.” Star grunted, as he lowered himself to the ground, and sat down beside her, on the reed mat. She had come well prepared for the evening with snacks and drinks. . There was a coarse cotton sheet covering the reed and the soft grass below, for comfort. The moon rose higher, and another larger group of musicians, came on the stage. They were louder, and the tempo picked up, as the moon shone brighter on the people. Star felt the music take him also, and he closed his eyes and swayed.

 She reached down and  offered him a drink from the baked clay amphora, which she carried for that purpose.  It was a special drink, from the Mother, and she had prepared it carefully. Star took a deep swig, as he was thirsty and felt the greenish golden liquid, flow down his parched throat. He coughed, as some of it went down the wrong way, and Moon pounded his back, to help him recover. “Don’t be in a rush Star, I made more than enough for us, for the evening, just like last time.” Moon joked, as she took another sip, of her favorite drink. It had come out just right she felt, just like her mother, had taught her. She smiled as the herbs and intoxicants carefully prepared, in the ancient recipe, would soon have the desired effect. She wanted tonight to be spent devoted, to the worship, of the Mother.

Then Moon started to dance and she motioned to Star to rise also. She and he danced in the moonlight, as the musicians, sent them into a strange trance. Star felt his whole universe become free as he swayed and danced in the moonlight. Moon had a natural grace and a good ear and flowed with music. She would hum along, and let her tall body follow, the waves of the melody

When the moon reached its peak, the high priest of the temple, came out from the Temple. He was clothed all in white and his junior priests followed, also dressed in white, carrying torches that lit, his way. On their shoulders, they carried the shining brass image, of Pashupati in all his glory, surrounded by his living creatures all around him on a large brass seal. The people bowed as the image passed, and Star prostrated himself to the ground, as he knew that without Lord Pashupati’ s help, he would never find joy in this life. 

Moon was the only one who remained erect and stared curiously at all the creatures surrounding the lord. She smiled as she knew, that without the Mother, none of them would have existed, for Pashupati to rule. The power to give birth remained, only in her and the Mother

Star had spent the past few years in devotion to Pashupati. He had worked hard on his body, to make it stronger and virile like his lord. He had shunned all base pleasures of the other bricklayers, and concentrated on making himself better. He was attracted to the power of the lord, over all creatures, and wanted to emulate him. Unfortunately a month ago, he had met Full Moon, on the same moonlit night. She had bewitched him and he had lost himself, and all his training and restraint, had become lost. He remembered having the same drink, and all his senses coming alive.

 He felt his mind had become very fluid and his rigidity of discipline was gone. All his efforts at self-control, and all his meditation, had become lost. He had gone so far out of himself that, had it had not been for Moon, he would have been lost. He wandered into a strange world, of disbelief and wonder and imagination and profundity, as if everything was growing in a mother’s love. It was the sound of her bangles, as she danced in abandon, which brought him back to reality. The sight of her flushed face and body sent him into a new realm of joy which was missing in his hard life..

She had called him with her power, as this was her first time, and the Mother had told her she was ready and the time was right. She sent her feminine force and calmed his male force, with her love, and brought him back, from the dark recesses of his mind.  She had stroked him and slowly guided him, into the ways of the Mother. The power of his years of training vanished, in her soft embraces. He was suddenly more awake, than he had ever been. Each moment was a delight, and each touch, was a pleasure. “Sweet Star” Moon had whispered, as she showed him the ways, of the Goddess. ”Sweet Star” again at him, as the music played, and they swayed. Star had clung to her, as only she would save him now, from himself, in this strange new world. He realized that all his power was only built, for her pleasure. She completed him, and there was no other way; that he could live, from now on.

 “Dear Moon,” He whispered back, as the drink took hold, of their imaginations, and their spirits soared. They became so co-mingled, that nobody could tell, where Pashupati ended and the Mother started. A joy arose within them, at the realization that, this was just meant to be.

Star looked up after an eternity it seemed, and he noticed that the moon had slid down, behind the trees. The night was passing fast and he felt, as if he had just arrived.  He smiled in a strangely contented way, and Moon looked at him and smiled, and poked his chest. Star giggled as the waves of happiness rose, from her caressing touch. Moon giggled at his reaction, and Star reached out, and tickled her, some more, on the curvy spots she loved. She laughed, and squealed. Soon they were rolling on the grass, laughing and mingling, in the joy, of the Mother’s blessing. Their spirits mingled and they were one.

Their laughter became a primordial sound, and they reveled in their creation. Moon with her bangles, and the soft music in the background, spread love across the clearing. More and more couples had joined them, in the glow, of the Full Moon ceremony. Now their laughter became infectious, and spread out, across the clearing in compassion and joy. Star was so entangled in Moon, that their laughter, turned into a deep satisfying feeling, inside. From there, the force spread outwards, and spread to everyone. In that magical night, they were all connected, in this great ceremony. He felt his mind, become one; with hers, even as they laughed softly. The Mother Goddess, and Pashupati, existed that night, in a co-mingled joy celebrating life and creation.

 The Grand Priest of Pashupati, declared this month’s Full Moon ceremony closed. He turned to face east and prostrated himself towards the rising sun and the Temple. He then spread his arms high and thanked Pashupati for making this ceremony, a roaring success. He blessed all the couples, to go forth, and be happy!


 [KR(1]

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

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)

Magnolias, represent the profundity of our spring

Our oaks and maples are still bare

Winter’s day is not done today,

Yet there are signs of spring approaching.

Forsythias’ yellow, glows in our sunrise,

Cherry Blossoms’, waken us this morn,

It is only a passing season, and we are so alive.

 

Magnolias am I, and date ninety five million,

Am prehistoric, with tepals, I predate even bees!

Witness I stood through ice ages, and mountain formation,

My glory rises in many continents, riding this continental drift.

When spring comes, I awake from dawn prehistoric,

In a profundity of spring, rejoicing all of Earth’s seasons.

 

Magnolia I am, living in this millennium.

Young is this Earth, and younger yet is this season.

The lovers come and stare, at me and my blooms.

Captivated by my outpouring of love, for our mother.

They gaze at me in wonder, admiring Spring’s profundity.

Of nature’s shameless, as I bloom wantonly, full of color.

 

Our grass will turn green, along with our trees

Our time of love and newness, will open its buds.

We will walk in the woods and smell their sweet air

Drawn to this clearing, we will have our first visitation.

Of the profundity of spring, and Earth’s many manifestations.

Remember the Magnolia and sing in our glorious spring!

(Hope Lives! April 27, 1953).

Earth Day celebration!

Once again we celebrate Earth Day and I am reminded of the time when his first five disciples questioned Buddha, on how they could confirm that he had indeed attained Nirvana, he touched the earth and said that this earth is my witness. Since then our world has not been the same as his teachings improved the lives of millions and showed us how we can live peacefully with nature.  I am happy to read that even today Earth Day draws on astronomical phenomena in a most ancient way – by using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making the length of night and day equal in all parts of the Earth. Earth day is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space. We celebrate Earth Day with the following anthem and ringing the Japanese Peace Bell at the UN. We pledge to live in equality and harmony with everything around us on our Earth..

 “Earth Anthem” by Abhay K

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the continents and the oceans of the world
united we stand as flora and fauna
united we stand as species of one earth
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the people and the nations of the world
all for one and one for all
united we unfurl the blue marble flag
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

The beauty of Earth Day is that we are no longer bound by man-made National boundaries or regions, we live on one warm blue planet, clinging on to precarious life, in a frigid universe. It is a celebration of life’s diversity, which nature allows in such abundance. We take time to understand what a miracle creation of life is and what we must do now, to preserve it for the future. The profundity of creation is reflected all around us on Earth and on this day, we cherish its diversity and its value. Some also play the following Anthem to the tune of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

Earth Day Anthem:

Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment

Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world

As we all join in this celebration we can walk around and join other likeminded folks who treasure their time on this Earth. We may find some kindred spirits, who will be happy, to walk along with us today. We can develop a camaraderie to protect our environment and our way of life, and leave it unharmed, to our progeny. All Flora and Fauna must be allowed to bloom, and we must never destroy nature, but come together, to help it prosper. We have a responsibility to our Earth Mother who sustains us, that we provide back in ways, which will ease her burden. We cannot subsist on our own, but must live in a cohabitation life, with all other creatures. We sustain each other and grow stronger with each other. We are bound to find our rightful place on this Earth, as all its creatures live and die here. We may roam the universe, but this Earth will always be our home. We have to learn to celebrate Earth day and our biodiversity with a joy, that transcends our basic human nature of self preservation!

FOMO and other phobias we suffer from

Fear has been the greatest force that evolution has unleashed, amongst all living beings and is wired deep into our brains. Despite all the advancements in humans the instant reaction to our environment, is automatically triggered in our reptilian brain, where the decision is made to fight or flee. It is only after that initial knee jerk reaction, that our logical brain takes over and analyses the situation, based on personal past experience and actual knowledge. The adrenaline surge and preparation of the body to fight or take evasive action, happens in milliseconds, and only then do the force of civilization and culture kick in. Unfortunately the truth is that we remain animals first, and only with a great effort rise to becoming humans.

FOMA or fear of missing out was just called by Bloomberg to be the driving force, behind the current and future S & P index rise to greater heights in 2018. It best describes the irrational exuberance which led to the Tulip craze, or Dot com rise, in the past, and the Bit Currency mania sweeping some up today. It is a fundamental force that takes hold of large areas of our populace, and creates an unnatural state of economic and financial bubbles, unsustainable by fundamental economics. Property and commodity booms and busts are similar in nature where by the time the ordinary investor gets in, he/she is just joining the others in the late cycle of a giant Ponzi scheme, which is bound to crash. I am not advocating we stay away from markets, but trying to make the case that they can be a potent tool, for long term human development if used correctly.

Our greatest inventions and achievements were driven by our survival instincts. Humans are inherently weak creatures and there are far hardier living species, who have survived successfully for millennia, even before the arrival of the great apes. Prometheus stealing the fire from the Gods is a great example of human fear, capturing and taming a destructive force, to aid its own survival. The evolution of tools though not unique to humans, has also been driven by fear, to overcome the adverse conditions that seem to overwhelm us, in nature. Modern cities are just an example of how fear pushed us to come together, for our common benefit. Religion and cultural norms are all a result of the paranoia and fear, which we all face when faced with complex phenomena which we cannot explain. Out of fear comes resolution and mental makeup, which helps us to not only survive but prosper in a new reality.

The Hindu sages debated for centuries on what is existence, what is reality, what is our state of knowing, what is life, what is death, what is our purpose, what is the creator, what is the culmination of desire, what is truth and finally what is reality? They distilled this wisdom in Sanskrit in the Vedic and Vedanta strutis memorized and passed down generation after generation.  While the names of the sages may be often lost, the wisdom still remains. A philosophy rose not based on the fear of the unknown, but on the myriad paths to overcome the unknowns. “Agni Miley Purohitam..” starts the first verse of the Rig Veda the oldest of the surviving strutis and talks about the taming of fire by the householder for greater good. In another example “Isa Vasayamidam Sarvam… “ The creator envelops everything and all our individual moments, are only part of the universal movement. By renouncing (the unreal) we can enjoy (the real), do not lust after another man’s possessions. In only 18 verses it lays out the relationship of the soul to our universe, and forces our eyes and mind to what is truth (eternal), and goads us to not stray into the world of untruth (transitory), which leads to fear, wrong karma (thoughts\actions)and braking of our dharma (rightful duty).

I admit it is a long way from obscure Sanskrit texts to the happenings on modern day Wall Street and the state of the human mind today. We have Fire and Fury and God on our side in multiple conflicts, and potential for far greater Fire and Fury if we stay on the current path. The Jewish, Christian, Muslim divide of the Judeo-Christian world, and the destructive Shia-Sunni divide, will not be resolved in our lifetimes. The Middle East burns and each new atrocity, fans the execution of another, more severe retaliation. The Buddhist are committing genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar, and the recent Hindu/Buddhist war in the Pearl in the Indian Ocean, is still healing. These are all the outcome of the stroking of fundamental fear amongst communities, bring out the worst in humans. Defenseless woman and children suffer the most, while men announce new victories every day.

My fear is that in the stock market or in society, if we are driven by the basest of emotions then our humanity will be lost. We have to go beyond the boom and bust of our stock markets, or the fear of an imminent nuclear Armageddon. The stock market and our society should be used to bring progress and peace to improve our health, happiness and living standards. We should harness the forces of progress to be funded and unleashed for the collective greater good, and release ourselves from our fears and phobias. We have been given a whole universe by the creator, and our petty squabbles and fears will keep us rooted to this earth, when we have a far greater future to look up to. We all have only one life to live and our end is certain. It is how we live this life that matters, and it will determine the fate of our progeny for eons to come.

When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it. -Charles de Lint, writer (b. 22 Dec 1951)

Our dying planet

The Alliance of World Scientists have issued their second dire warning about the state of our earth, 25 years after their first stern warning issued in 1992. The scientists have collected and analyzed data about our planet and things have become worse, since their initial findings published over 2 decades ago. We are killing flora and fauna and other living creatures at a furious pace, and this destruction is unsustainable, for a living planet. Billions of years of evolution of species are being wiped out, in our thirst for water, food and our own human habitation. .

“Global climate change sits atop the new letter’s list of planetary threats. Global average temperatures have risen by more than half a degree Celsius since 1992, and annual carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 62 percent.

But it’s far from the only problem people face. Access to fresh water has declined, as has the amount of forestland and the number of wild-caught fish (a marker of the health of global fisheries). The number of ocean dead zones has increased. The human population grew by a whopping 2 billion, while the populations of all other mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by nearly 30 percent.” They have reported.

The scientists have come up with 13 suggestions for a greener planet and more sustainable practices, which we need to adopt. We need a vigorous debate on each of their propositions now, as if we wait another 25 years, things will not magically become better. Our consumption patterns have to change dramatically to bring about a brave new world. If we shy away from this responsibility our children and grandchildren will never forgive us. The time to act is now before more waterways, forests and myriad species disappear forever. We live in a time of great scientific discovery and new technologies are developed every day. From this complexity of science we have to develop a simple method to live and let live. The 1% control our economic reality, but should we let them control the destiny of our planet also?

The self-righteousness of our super rich and inflated egos of our political leaders, are leading us down a path of death, destruction and ruin.  If a butterfly does not flap its wings in China any more, will my grandchild still see a rosy sunrise? I fear for our future and can only hope to awaken our consciousness, towards compassion and love. There is much we still have to do and only if we take a stand to do what is right and reduce our wanton consumption, will we be able to save our earth and its creatures. I want my grandchildren to walk barefoot on the dewy grass in the morning, and watch the cottontails playing in our yard. I want them to see the swans living in our lake, and not stuffed in some museum. Maybe I have too much faith in our humanity, as science does not lie.

“For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner … on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. … That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.” -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (9 Nov 1934-1996)