Monday, November 8, 2010

Restless in Mumbai

It's strange really. When friends call and ask me where I've been, I tell them how hectic my life is now and how I haven't had a moment's rest. I tell them how I've been rushing in and out of my house, to and from work, up and down several hundreds of stairs in malls and shops and buildings, and am ready to die, because I'm just so exhausted. The very thought of having an endless nap is so rejuvenating; yet even on the very few occasions that I have actually had a chance to, I haven't grabbed the opportunity or hit the sack and been dead to the world.
I don't know how and when I lost the ability to relax. When my kids invite me to watch a sitcom on television or a gripping movie, I start getting antsy after five minutes. I keep telling myself that I'm wasting my time. Then, I either pick up a book to read and raise my eyes now and then to catch up on the action on the screen or make lists or cut vegetables or just get up and complete some chores. The wise advise us not to have a clock in our heads. But, the one in my mind seems to tick loudly reminding me every moment of how little of it I have.
Of course, I'd like my life to be less crowded and more evenly paced. I'd like to run my fingers gently over the leaves of the seven-odd plants that live in my house and which I water every morning. I'd like to communicate with them and let them know that I care, because I do. I do want to say more than a breezy 'hi' to my neighbour and play hopscotch with the kids in my building once in a while. I'd give anything to cook leisurely meals, have long chats with my loved ones, read a book at one go, write a short story without being interrupted, learn the lyrics of a song that has touched my soul and spend some quiet moments in contemplation or just cut up some colourful paper and make a bookmark. This is really the life I want.
But, the life I  have now is anything but restful. It runs amok, packing in more than I know I should deal with, on feet that are hardly ever put up. No, I don't fancy myself as a many-limbed multi-tasking mean machine that doesn't balk at anything. In fact, I am overwhelmed from time to time, almost every single day.
What, then, has made me such a workaholic, such a domestic drudge, such a frenzied-doer that if I get a moment's respite, I think that I'm cheating time and life? That I don't deserve a breather. That I sin when I sit or stand and stare?
Am I a chore-addict, an action-geek, a slave to expectations? If I'm the last, I wonder whose expectations I'm trying to meet. My own, my family's, my boss's? It's hard to believe that anybody would want me to gasp and pant through the day  and expend all my energy.
Methinks it's my wicked mind and the way I've conditioned it. Just last night, as Diwali ended on a note of energy bankruptcy, and I tossed and turned in bed trying to fall asleep after a frazzling week, I realised how I was a slave to my own mind and how it was relaying these messages programmed into it by me myself. Some moments of observation were enough to tell me what I had to do.
Taming the mind is a very difficult art. Mind chatter can be unnerving. It can be debilitating. It can chart a peaceful course of life for you and send you hurtling into workspace in a frenzy. That is where I was—on the move but going nowhere.
Well, the deafening noise of crackers has died down. I hope the kids in the neighbourhood don't burst ear-splitting bombs today. Most of all, I hope my mind stops urging me to run the marathon day and night.
I have some weapons ready now. Almost an hour of peaceful time. I know what to do. The Sudarshan Kriya followed by the Sahaj Samadhi. Some maun. Some quiet time spent in contemplation. In silence. In solitude.
I've experienced its magic.
But, to do that I must not allow the devilish sense of accomplishment I feel after I've cleaned and swept and swabbed the house 20 times over keep me away from it. That I managed 20 minutes of blogging time after so long might just be an indication that I'm finally beginning to understand my mind-games. Today, I think I will read Sunitabai by Mangala Godbole. It's a very restful thought. And yes, I will do the kriya. Tomorrow is another day.