Lost and Found

Arunima

You know – every crowded place has this section. They don’t put a noun behind it. Just adjectives – lost and found. For it keeps a track of lost and found things and people.

It is specially interesting to observe that places of worship with a lot of belief, have elaborate lost and found sections. Albeit, only literally. Not figuratively.

For thousands throng those floors and doors – but they only go to the lost and found section for their shoes or kids, never for their souls. That’s not what temples are for. Probably.

Dakshineshwar, Calcutta – is my all time favorite. I just love that place. It is not just a tranquil place but a deposit box of memories for me. And every time that I have been there, I have found myself more at peace by the ghats than while at the line for Deity Darshan. The divine feels more around on the solitary banks of the mighty Ganges than the hustling, bustling, jostling line for the temple.

Come to Banaras (Varanasi). I have found myself more on Shiva while sitting on Assi Ghat, than I have inside the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. I am not saying darshan is not great. But the true meaning of Darshan is to realize the divine in you. How will that happen when you are being kicked from all sides inside the Bihari temple in Vrindavan, that too if you choose to go there during Holi :)

You know – we are the biggest lost and found items on earth. If you go into flashback and rewind mode you can count – the number of times you have lost yourself and found yourself. Sometimes the alleyways are huge and it takes times to come out. But you invariably, mostly do.

My campus did that to me. I see most people coming here and losing themselves. The environment does that to you – the parts of you that you were pretty sure you will never lose – you do. But if you try hard enough, they also come back to you. For this place has a lot of silence – within the lot of noise that is there on the surface. It takes away, but it gives back a better version of you – if you give yourself an opportunity.

Guess – life is the same. A series of lost and founds. Every time you lose something of yourself, you realize the parts that you can do away with and should do away with. And every time you find yourself – it should be a slightly better version – a good repair work that you do on yourself.

But I think what’s really important is – to not lose it twice in the same dingy by-lane of life. Not twice. Once is enough. Why be stupid enough to get lose twice on the same road?? And the question is – where do you find yourself really? Where is that lost and found section of life?

It is inside you only. When you look for answers all around but you don’t find them – you know the last place is where you will find it. And it is within your stupid little soul only :) … It always tells you deep down – whenever your detours are not right. But you shut it up. For you want to enjoy the detour, even though you know it will later bring you misery only.

Amidst all that chaos inside, deep below there is silence. And that is where the ‘found’ part is.

Guess what I am trying to say is – no matter how crowded a place you lose yourself into – you will find yourself only in silence. And it is the quietest inside you :)

 

Falling Gulmohars

falling gulmohar at iim lucknow image

That is what I have been waking up to, since the last month. Everyday.

And that’s what I will probably be waking up to for the coming few years. Yes, completed a month @ HeLL (IIM Lucknow is lovingly known as Hell – though I do not see the point. When you choose to be in a place, be it hell or heaven, it has to become your heaven. Right?)

Anyway, I was thinking about why I notice these fallen beauties. Every morning, beside the hostel, there is a corner full of leaves, lying like dreams that fell from the branches and paid homage to the soil; the place they were destined to reach. Like all the temptations that the tree discarded because it felt smart and intelligent and knew the importance of letting the temptations go. But they came back every night. In a new shape, with new elements but essentially the same. The same flowers, the same beauty, the same temptations. The same fall.

These gulmohars are beautiful. But they are tempting. The tree sheds them everyday. Yet grows news ones. Everyday. These gulmohars are trying to teach me a few things. Or maybe I am just choosing them to learn it (or simply write it here :P ) . These beautiful little red leaves have started signifying life @ IIM L for me and this is what I have learned so far:

1. Be yourself. Whatever kind you are – just be yourself. Introvert, extrovert, helpful, shy, studious, bookworm, idiot, talkative, shrewd, outgoing, party animal, lover, philanderer – whatever. Just be yourself if it works for you. Because if you try to fake, you will end up keeping your feet on two boats. Oops!

2. There will be a lot of temptations to not study. And a lot of incentives and motivations to do so. Be like the gulmohar tree. Shed them everyday. Don’t worry about them coming back. Because they will. That’s the law of nature I guess. They will knock your doors, try to flow in through your window, honk at you, haunt you. But do not give in. Decide what you want and they get on to it with doggedness. The choice is yours. Whether you open the door or sit with earphones and your fav music and your list of most important to-dos and ignore the vicious beauty of temptations.

3. Discipline. If that’s not there, nothing is going to work for you. You could be focused, passionate, hard working and all the other awesome things. But if you cannot discipline yourself, none of those plans will fall into place. You will never wake up on time, you will never be awake in class, you will never pay attention if you do not tell yourself – I need 6hrs of sleep to function normally. (The one thing common with all hallowed and non-hallowed portals of learning is “sleeping beauties” and “sleeping Benedicts” of the batch :) ) … Point being – there is one thing you cannot compromise with and that is – discipline.

4. Eat. And don’t eat junk. Being away from family and the care you are used to, this is your only ticket to soundness. If you eat crap, only crap is going to come out of you! After the initial paneer everyday for a week, you gotta move to the daal and green veggies and fruits because – let’s face it – the body needs what it needs ( I am talking about food here!)

5. The constant reminder of “Why are you here”. Knowing that helps. A lot. During your moments of crisis. And these moments creep in everyday. There will be people who are better than you. Much better. That’s when you need to remember – your best competitor today is the person you were yesterday. And that’s why you are here. To become better each day.

Never knew gulmohars could teach me so much! But now that I think about it, you could gather cups full of knowledge from things around you or could gather buckets or tankers. The choice of the vessel, the source and the will to observe – are all yours. You just need to make your choices. Everyday.

Because here at HeLL, everything is an everyday business. And that’s why Gulmohars fall everyday!

Ciao. Study time.