5:40 am and it’s dark outside. But just like a hint of smile on someone’s face, there’s a hint of sunlight signaling the arrival of another glorious day. As I drive up to the place, I’m directed to park precisely in line with the previous car. As I enter the main gate of the ashram, I immediately feel a sense of calm and quiet. I find out later that that is not just a feeling but a reality made possible by the numerous ashram guidelines.
As I walk toward the shala, on one side are signs set in stone of the 8 limbs of yoga – Yam, Niyam, Asan, Pranayam, Pratyahar, Dharana, Dhyaan and Samadhi. On reaching Samadhi – not literally, of course – there’s another person directing me to remove my footwear and place it precisely next to the previous person’s footwear. A sign above reads “Please leave your footwear and your worries here.” Cheesy, but when has that stopped my fellow Indians and it’s a good reminder, nonetheless. At the end of the class when getting our footwear, we are even instructed not to drop the footwear from a height but to bend down and place it gently in order to avoid the “splat” sound. The yoga shala is a large, sparsely decorated, almost drab hall with two noticeable items – a human-sized idol of the late founder of the ashram – Sri Janardhan Swami – at the head of the room, sitting in Gomukhasan and a digital wall clock with large red letters at the back of the room. read more …
Another mass shooting, another tide of anger in media and FB, some emotional posts, memes, Jim Jeffries’ stand up routine and a host of solutions and targets proposed – gun control, mental health, video games, even arming the teachers.
However, I think most of the discussion is missing the larger, historical context. Controversial views follow. read more …
By now, most people have heard the words climate change or global warming. In simple terms, global warming is the rapid increase in earth’s average temperature over the last 70 years compared to previous thousands of years. This temperature increase and its effects on the climate are together called Climate Change.
In the following series of posts, I plan to write, as simply as possible, about the current state of the world as I understand it, the problems we face and what we can do about them. My hope is that they are informative without being difficult and generate discussions, debates (and even actions) from anyone who cares to read them.
These days, it is hard to figure out after reading the news if we are moving forward in the right direction or if we are headed for a big disaster. In fact, it is hard to even know which direction is forward. Some people say that it depends on how you look at it – is the glass half-full or half-empty? But that doesn’t make sense. If tomorrow, country A drops nuclear bombs on country B, all glasses in country B will be broken, weather half full or half empty. The point is that there is a reality that is independent of our perception and trying to understand it is a worthwhile exercise. read more …
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered,
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
– G.K. Chesterton
When I was twelve, my mom brought home the book “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne from her college library during my summer holidays. Summer in Nagpur is scorching hot, rendering all outdoor activities practically impossible. The indoor activities at that time consisted of reading and occasionally playing Business (Monopoly) or cards with friends. Those simple summer days of my childhood are vividly etched in my memory. The loud hum of the “cooler” (wet air cooler), the distinct aroma of water running down the wood wool, the cool air sprinkled with water. And the books! Yes, the books, mostly classics, with their vivid descriptions of fantastic worlds that were magical and far away from my own, far away in time and space, accessible only through words. My English was not very good at the time and I had to refer to a dictionary just as much as the books themselves. This book, ’Around the World in 80 Days’, left a lasting impression on me, especially the ingenious and surprise ending.