Friday, 23 September 2011

The Challenger

As i said, I had an enlightening time at the Cellar tonight, with me, beginning my intimacy with my first peg in a corner table alone so as to finish just that peg as early as possible and cruise home early, and then my friend Sankar sidling up to my side and, looking me needle-point piercing in the eyes, like the Ancient Mariner the wedding guest, saying,"Venu, there is a positive energy around you."

We are great friends and he draws a chair to my side and, tinkling his rum-and-water and winking his left eye, says, "You remember what we did the other day? I am 51 and you are 55. None of these boys can do what we can."

The other day, after his second peg and my third, Sankar revealed he could do Yogasana. I expressed disbelief, my lower jaw dropping an inch and eyes opening wide, for he is not the type on appearance a Yogi, whom you expect to look lean and hungry. Sankar looks well-fed, with the suspicion of a potbelly around his waist although that doesn't in any way diminish the debonair grace about him. To remove my disbelief, he moved to the clearing among the chairs to display, with technical perfection, the Sarvangasana, the all-body yogic posture.

[ Note: Sarvangasana involves keeping that part of the body below the shoulders upside down upright with the support the neck, the head and that part of the hand above the elbow, with the rest of the hands up to the fingers pressing strung below the chest taking the entire supporting pressure of the neck and the head the hand above the elbow, the whole life-force of the yogi holding forth to hold the balance of the upright poise of the rest of the body, with the toes pointing towards infinite bliss.]

"Can anyone do it," Sankar had challenged that evening. Everyone shook his head. The brandy-and-waters, the whiskey-and-sodas, the vodka-with-limes and the rum-and-waters shook their heads. Nearly 20 heads shook in a wave, like wind passing over a coconut grove. There were younger men in the Cellar and all conversation had died down and all were attentive to Sankar's display, but none dared take up the challenge. Nobody dared attempt the yogic posture on the battle field of the Cellar floor.

When the challenge had subsided and our friends started breathing easy, stirring the drinks in their hands preparatory to taking the next sips, I removed my watch from wrist and purse from pocket and moved to the aforesaid clearing among the chairs. The brandy-and-waters, the whiskey-and-sodas, the vodka-with-limes and the rum-and-waters put their drinks back on the tables. I fell on my knees, put that part of my hands above the elbow in a triangle on the floor and, taking a deep breath, swung my body into the position of Vritchikasana.

[Note: Vritchikasana involves holding the entire body in an arc, like a full-strung bow, with the face pointing floorward, but no part of the body other than that part of the hands above the elbows, with the fingers locked, touching the earth, the whole life-force within the yogi flung back into the empty space like a rainbow rising into the skies, where you can hear the rumble of thunder and see the electric flash of the lightening, beyond which is infinite energy and associated bliss.]

When I unwound the posture, all our Cellar friends raised their glasses and said whewwww.. whew-whew!!!

They all acknowledged that evening that I had passed the test to become Sankar's disciple. I touched his feet and was ordained his disciple that night.

That is the regard with which we see each other. Guru-Shikshya relation. He doesn't miss any opportunity to enlighten me on the unfathomable thing that is Yoga.

So Sankar sidles up to my side tonight also and this time speaks to me of spirituality from an entirely new perspective for some 45 enlightening minutes--the blunt and direct side of it, without being wishy-washy or anything like that... "ee jnanjha-punjha karyam thanneya ella evanmarum parayunne. I know all that, I can challenge any of them," he says, referring to what the sages of the past had said in their complicated ways.

Then he downs the remains of his third drink and orders another rum-and-water. "Eda makkale, edukkeda onnukoodi. Hey boys, give me one more."


Friday, 16 September 2011

Spring abloom

Driving home via my usual place after work in the night the thought that came to me was could I revive at the age of 55 my childhood dreams from the dust.

At the usual place my friend TNG said:

“Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome!
Those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry,...”

He is a romantic, my friend TNG, and he was into his third drink. He is my own age, though with his lily white beard and hair and grave expression he looks several years older than me, according to my belief, which is a permanent thing of dispute between the two of us. His gruff voice belies the poet and lover in him.

I asked, can I, can I...
He said, yes you can!

My childhood dreams...

Can I, at the age of 55, revive from dust those old dreams,
Which i had forgotten
At some point or the other and had allowed myself
To drift, drift, drift and drift away...
Until all these years had slipped away...
Life itself had slipped away...

To the point now,
When I suddenly feel...
The dead roots coming alive...
The spring springing abloom!


Tuesday, 6 September 2011


the sky enfolds the night to its breast
and sleeps exhausted.
the earth slumbers in dreamless silence.

anklets removed from the dancer's feet
curl on the floor....