May 16, 2001

hurrah! the time of my life :-)

10:30 am — achchan’s office at fort
12:30 pm — travel agent’s office for the passport
1:00 pm — hamilton studios (more on this later)
2:30 pm to 7:00 pm — crossword

i spent almost five hours at crossword today. because i found the doors open.

thats right. each time i used to visit crossword, be it to buy books for myself or accompanying gulnar for a cappucino, there was but one section i would halt at: religion.

i would spend my time browsing though every page of every zen or buddhism book available there, looking for interesting haikus or anecdotes, because i could never bring myself to fishing out notes of rs 500 and above for the books. most often, i would not even be carrying so much money in my wallet. and i always shrugged away from the bookstore, sighing, “enlightenment is just for the rich.”

what made me stop there for so long each time?
yes, i did believe in the principles of buddhism…i felt they’re the most practical rules anyone could ever think of. perhaps that’s why i attended vipassana, twice. ganesh had introduced me to zen with a book. i was drawn to zen perhaps because i wanted so much of that ‘blissful’ detachment it seemed to promise. (i say ‘seem’ to promise because zen never promises anything, it just asks you to ‘be’).

the greatest and the simplest truth ‘is’, and i guess thats the belief i held on to. i still do. today, is what matters to me.

hmmm, but what happens when the learning gets the better of the teaching?

i guess some of the zen lessons have seeped into me. thanks to my limited exposure to zen, i’m even detached from religion now. and hey, who’s complaining? it opened a whole new world for me.

today, at crossword’s, i walked past the ‘religion’ section, and i realised i was free to go wherever my feet took me!

travel, literature, fiction, non-fiction, games, children’s, architecture, psychology, mythology, cinema…

every section had something to offer, something to say, and i was all ears. i found the lonely planet guides and remembered seeing them in gulnar’s hands, wondering if i’d ever need them. well, now i did! i was going to the uk right 😉

one huge and expensive lonely planet (europe on a shoestring),
surviving women (for my sis who’s an ex-fan of jerry pinto, the author),
maya (jostein gaarder, my favourite. i have been looking for the solitaire mystery –offline– but it’s “out of stock” EVERYWHERE!)
bridget jones’ diary (want to try reading the novel before i watch the movie), and…
a HUGE bill later, i still din’t want to leave the store. i was extremely happy, verrry hungry, and in a mood to explore myself more. should i try having a cappucino all by myself? and maybe a gooey brownie?

i did it!

for the first time in my life, i was in a restaurant alone, celebrating my new-found sense of freedom! oh yes, i did have company… well, sort of, a very engrossing amar chitra katha copy, of chanakya.

“and what is good phaedrus,
and what is not good,
need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”

— robert pirsig, zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

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