Amaize-ing Maize

 

Married to the maze of life, we walk into this natural, organic, amazing maize, aka corn, which was unsweet, un-soft, unmodified for yield or profits, untouched by the illusion of corporate progress, right on the streets of Kupondole, at about 4600 ft, charcoal broiled on an ancient cast iron grill, without any exhaust fan, fanned by a roughly rectangular cardboard, by a sweet & short Nepali women, perhaps descendant of an ancient Mongolian clan. This episode, took us 35 years back in nostalgia, once upon a time in Mumbai, when we used to savor such organic delicacies, during monsoon rains from the Arabian sea, from the local street vendor in his four-wheeled wooden cart. Its a-maize-ing how nostalgia dipped in present, can be so delightful, chewy & sumptuous!!! Experience: Priceless, Gratitude: Deep, Cost: 25 cents.

Lord of ALL Pashus

 

With original year of creation argued to be 400 B.C., this hugely vibrant Pashupatinath temple, stands intact post-2015 earthquake,  after being re-erected in the 15th century A.D., with the highly ornamented “Pagoda” style architecture, and is considered to be the head of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, which are considered to be the body. Encompassing a vast complex on a hillock, with many small temples & huge trees, the four-face Mukhalinga in the main temple, is only one meter in height, can be attended by only 4 Bhatta scholars from Karnataka & helped by the local Bhandaris, but its presence can be felt all around the complex. The Bagmati river flows right by the Pashupatinath (Lord of ALL Pashus) & the nearby ghats provide a reverential escape for the deceased. Had a delightful 2 hour stroll around this amazingly charged up space, feeling the waters of Bagmati, monkeying with our ancestors, imbibing the energies of Pashupatinath & various other temples, and ending the stroll by getting a glimpse of a simple yet forgetting truth – of how everything ends & what really remains – at the ghat, where a 81-year old lady was cremated. Pashupatinath temple, although a bit of poor ambiance, has a major spiritual significance, intricate architecture with amazingly carved wooden rafters, use of all 3 base metals – copper, silver, gold – being very evident, and can be a deep meditative experience, for the ones who come prepared with an eased attitude, and can look beyond the nuisance of haphazard commerce, ignored trash & systemic pushing by the masses, ironically asking fulfillment of their petty wishes to a sophisticated Jyotirlinga, who’s energies are purposely designed to push us towards ultimate liberation – Go Figure!…

The Himalayan Kingdom

Its hard to miss the plight of this once beautiful & fertile valley at 1400 meters. A sniffing glimpse indicates a violent history of invasions & reign upthrows, political uprisings & royal massacre in once what could have been the serene kingdom of the Himalayas. Its easy to see the ensemble of organized religions providing relief to the populace. Kathmandu, with its 1.5 million people amongst the 30 million Nepalis, is a conglomeration of mixed cultures, turbulent past, chaotic present, western influence, unsympathetic government, docile populace, missing infrastructure, enchanting wooden carvings, eerie neighbors, but glorious hills & far-off snow-capped mountains of the Himalayan range, which somewhat eradicate the dearth of stability. Its a tough life, but people are seeped in devotion & exhibit an organic restrain, much to their chagrin. The valley demonstrates lack of O2 without a need to trek the Base Camp, & every1 visiting KTM should wear a decent mask & merge into the Himalayas right away…

Of Stillness & MO v e Me n T

 

The thing about staying put at one place is, you get an opportunity to integrate amongst the values of the land, beyond one’s conforming opinions, judgements and prejudices on how things should be. Nepal has an aura of stillness which ain’t eerie, bolted to the logistic madness which ain’t spooky. People know how to “wait” with an adapted or inherited air of dignity, and are generally not indignant in their actions, towards the lack of basic amenities. In stark comparison, it seems better to raise children where intangible qualities of stillness, idleness, silence are juxtaposed with their tangible desires, ambitions, wishes, lest we let them loose on an endless chase for serenity, without providing a way to remain grounded in the existential value of acceptance. Had an opportunity to be a spectator at the cross country cycling competition held amongst the Army jawans and was fascinated at the grace with which the participants competed & cherished their victory, the blessed silent stillness in the air, continually enveloping the fast moving mountain bikes, as the bikers hopped over the dirt pathways & flew past the occasional dips. Hats off to the organic serenity of this Himalayan kingdom, which is bound to rise back, to regain its faded glory, exhibiting an innocuous balance between stillness & movement!