About beginnings, self-discovery and serendipity

I'm beginning to understand the cycle of day and night better. Or, let me start small. I am beginning to understand myself better. I do this by simply following the Universe - one small example being - I rise with the day and shut down at night. It wasn't always like this.

Growing up is a fascinating process - when I see children going to school today, I look back in time and it seems like a long time ago, even though I would hardly call myself 'old' ;). It's not the accomplishments or the accolades or the failures that come to mind when I look back. Rather, time slides over the surface of my memory to bring back the ordinary moments, the 'in-between' moments (Bardo, as the Tibetans would call it), like attending Maths tuition at this centre with a really fun teacher who had the most amazing sense of humour - you could see that he taught Maths with passion, a sense of urgency to communicate the concepts to his students. He wrote the equations on his white board really quickly as if the speed of his writing was directly proportional to how quickly his students would grasp the concepts. It was quite a large group of students in one class but still, you always felt as if it was a one-on-one class. I ended up loving Maths as a child. 

Going back further in time, I remember the first group song I ever participated in. It was a patriotic song 'Dil diya hai Jaan bhi denge aie watan tere liye' - and I was in Class 5 (or Standard 5 as we used to call it then). Till then, I had no idea I could sing (leave alone participate on stage - another story about how I learnt about the concept of 'pitch'). My teacher who was coordinating the practice used to always praise the way I sang - and not because I had the best voice but because when I sang, I sang with expression and you could see the emotion on my face.

Still earlier on, at my Nani's place, we were all playing 'Dinga-Pani' - a game we had invented (or maybe someone else had) - there was a heap of rubble/'gitti' (in our Bihari bhasha) by virtue of the fact that Nanaji was getting some shops built around the house (strangely, other than this heap of rubble on which we played 'Dinga-Pani' I have no other recollection of this construction). The objective of the game was that the 'Chor' had to catch the others when they were on unsafe land (i.e. not on the heaps of rubble) - so you were safe when you were on the heaps of rubble. I'm guessing, there was a period when you had no option but to leave those heaps of rubble and run and that's when the risk of being caught surfaced. However, the game went on only because of these periods of 'risk' and 'run'. 

Today, this morning, like every other morning for the past 2 weeks, I have been going for a walk. Most days, I went with my parents and we either went to Lodi Garden or Nehru Park. On some days, when I had to finish something early on, I would walk in the neighbourhood park. To be consistent with these 'morning walks', we have also been trying to sleep on time - shut down our systems to recuperate for the next day. Every morning is a new beginning and leads to a new discovery. These discoveries are like pieces of a puzzle waiting to be made. Except that the pieces are not in one box and part of the game is to find the pieces. Life is very much like that.

It's about finding these pieces of the puzzle - the whole that was once present but now scattered. A puzzle and a treasure hunt. Since there are so many of us out there trying to match the pieces of our puzzle, we may come across a piece that doesn't belong to us. What do we do? Drop it. Find the right pieces. With every piece comes a new beginning, a step further on the path of self-discovery and in the end, when the pieces match, serendipity!

How do you start this process? It's slightly tricky - if you try too hard, the pieces can get blown away. The idea is to serenade the Universe, the day, the moment. Find what makes your soul sing. If you find something which grabs your attention, pause for that moment and follow it through. This isn't a memo or a note (a part of me is also a trained lawyer who spent considerable amount of her 'past life' structuring memos and writing corporate advice) but to illustrate the point in question, I want to tell you about this morning and how it led to a beginning and then, a moment of serendipity.

I woke up with the traces of a dream. A dream with real characters but perhaps an imaginary plot woven with bits and pieces of information that my memory forgot to classify or put away in its system. I've noticed this happens on days when I'm tired. Maybe the mind is too tired to classify the information it receives during the day or information which is in transit (i.e. which was being processed). Slowly the dream dissipated and the mind registered the present. As I walked out,  I could feel the cool air - it was such a relief from the heat blast or 'loo' (as we could call it in our part of the world)! I decided to walk without my glasses on. After all, what is the need to see everything so clearly all the time? I wanted to exercise my eyes - let them feel the cool air too. It was an enjoyable experience. As I was about to finish my walk, I could feel a slight drizzle on my skin. Shivji emerged with a red umbrella since I had requested him to bring it to the park in case it started raining. I didn't need the umbrella but I carried on with it - and it was good exercise walking with it. On the way out, I was greeted by the same 'red carpet' of Gulmohar which I see everyday. I had been collecting some gulmohar flower petals everyday and on some occasions found petals which were striped and not plain. Today, I found an entire flower had dropped from the tree - with all the petals intact. That's when I saw the whole picture. One petal out of five was striped - how unusual and gorgeous! I carried that flower home and started playing around with it - creating shadows on my Buddha Board. The beauty of that flower completely enthralled me and I just couldn't put it down. Soon enough, I was trying to paint the shadows on the Buddha Board. It wasn't a perfect painting but the journey of discovery it led me on was beautiful. 



When we follow a moment through without basing our actions solely on the result but paying more attention to the very act which we are engaged in, we find a piece of the puzzle. It sets us one piece ahead in completing the full picture, in finding ourself.

The beauty of our life lies in many such beginnings and pursuits. Find your pieces. Begin today.