4.07.2007

Blow hot blow cold

Inter-continental travel generates an appreciation for a world perspective. The time difference makes me realize all the more of how half the world is up and about when I am down and snoring. Travel in March gives another dimension to the perspective - the weather. I came back to Bangalore exactly a week ago. I came from minus temperatures to sweltering heat! When I landed in Montreal a month ago it was the lowest temperature of the season, -36 degrees Celsius. I felt like I was going to freeze between the door of the hotel and my friend's car! Back in Bangalore it seems to be the highest temperatures for the season, +33 degrees Celsius. I feel like I am going to melt right outside my doorstep! It feels funny when I remember that a week ago I was swathing myself in layers of clothing and now, well lesser said about it the better ;)
The past week has been extremely hectic and I haven’t had much of a breather to do anything apart from hard work. And I haven’t foxed it yet like I do always. This time the 'hard' part seems to be for real :). Hence, I was ecstatic about the long weekend with Good Friday falling conveniently on a Friday he he.
As soon as I woke up on Friday I came to know of a get together that I needed to attend in the evening. I wasn't looking forward to socializing but in a small neighborhood like ours it pays to know your neighbors. So I had to mark my presence that evening at an Art of Living satsang being conducted in our neighbor’s home. I went with a lot of skeptism in my mind and not much of it was obliterated at the end but I made a few interesting observations. The satsang characteristically started off with a lot of singing. What’s a song without music so the singers were also clapping in a nicely formed rhythm. The clapping was so loud that you could see that the most prominent participants’ palms had turned a deep red. They were lost in the sur and taal of their own fervor. I realized that whether people sing along or no the clappity clap clap was enough to hold our sway. One couldn’t stop oneself from joining in the enthusiastic clapping and enjoy it. I felt it was a stress buster because you focus on just producing the sound and nothing else. It’s what meditation would do to you for example. Focus on one thing and forget the world around you. It’s easier to do it with a rhythm.
This was one of the techniques, one of my college teachers taught me, to increase powers of concentration. Turn on a nice rhythmic music and lie down with eyes closed. Phase out everything from your thought except the sound. You know you have mastered the art if you can still hear only the sound even when the volume is bare minimum.
At the end of the singing session the AOL teacher made a small speech about why we all should enroll our kids in this course! Maybe she was focusing only on kids because it was summer vacation? Her reasoning was that kids have very bad attitude these days and only AOL can cure them. This was a conversation which happened during the speech
Teacher : “Seeeeee, we are not able to control our kids and give them good behavior, yes or no?”.
A lady in the audience : “No”
Teacher (aghast at opposition) “Oh, so you think you can give good behavior to your kids”
Lady : “Yes”
Teacher (not backing down) “But are you successful?”
Lady : “A little bit”
(Which was honest, come on parents or any other training attributes to only a percentage of the kids’ attitude)
Teacher with a triumphant smile : “Seeee that’s why your kid needs of AOL, yes or no?”
???? What kind of logic was this? I don’t think parents would want to enroll kids into AOL because they cannot teach them good outlook towards life. I saw this as marketing flaw.
My philosophy is a little different. I believe that any individual (including a kid) has to gain a good attitude from inside. Of course surroundings do affect it but in the end I don’t think anyone can teach anyone else to be happy. Its all about self realization. One can only make an environment in which he could expect others to be happy. I am not unhappy because I am stressed out. I could be unhappy because I can’t see the positive aspect of a situation. I believe everything that happens, happens for good.
When all this was going on, my dad-in-law gestured that we could leave if we wanted to and I was so ready but the only thing that held me back was the smell of food! I stayed on and partook a lovely meal. It fully compensated the loss of an entire evening, thank you hosts! Well, Eating good food is one of the foremost arts of my living!
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