Back To Bliss: A Journey To Zero by Santosh Jha - HTML preview
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Back To Bliss: A Journey To Zero
By Santosh Jha
Copyright 2013 Santosh Jha
Other Titles By Santosh Jha
Autobiography Of A Duffer (Fiction)
Naked Solutions Of Dressed Up Life Woes (Non-fiction)
Habitual Hero: The Art Of Winning (Non-fiction)
Maya And Leela: Utility In Life’s Futility (Non-fiction)
Why We Flop In Love (Non-fiction)
Wisdom Of Wellness: Perpetuity Of Poise Of Purpose (Non-fiction)
Decipher Destiny: Decode God’s Will (Non-fiction)
Youth Sanity In Crazy Culture (Non-fiction)
Redeem & Reinvent The Art Of Lost Wellness (Non-fiction)
India Beyond Stampede Of Stupidities (Non-fiction)
Karta: Life-Inspiring Essays On Cognition, Consciousness & Causality
Smashowrds Edition, License Note
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Disclaimer: This work is an absolute fiction, an outcome of pure imagination of perceived situations, with the clean purpose of the navigation of a set of life ideas. All characters and their portrayal are fictitious, with no intentional resemblance to anyone dead or alive. Any semblance must be accepted as pure coincidence and inadvertent.
There has to be a humble admittance – Any word, however well meant and well spelt, is a possible suspect of misinterpretation. There is a simple reason. People are in different consciousnesses and culturally as well as personally inclined to a specific value-summation of utilities. As a writer, it is a huge temptation to take liberties, with not only imaginations but also with the words, as against their common and popular use. Do kindly accept my latitude with language and personal coinages of words, as I understand, many times, they may not conform to popular usages. I share with you whatever is part of my consciousness. All wisdoms say, what stays with you is what sinks in. Wisdom is what we internalize. I share with you whatever I have internalized in my life. This may not be mainstream but may have utility in some meaningful way. I believe, as a reader, you shall enjoy this novelty and pleasant awkwardness of the writing.
I is what we never acquiesces to be. Equally, we is what I eventually is seldom happy to accept to stay as. They ensures, lives do not ever run out of the energy of variance. Evolution must stay immortal; everything else has to feel incumbent upon it to burn as the fuel of cosmic conflict. Objectivity’s encores do ensure; the symphony of the quantum of earthy relativity keeps playing to eternalize sanity of senses.
The innate exuberance of realisms may truly be in its randomized super-positioning. Still, objective pattern-building of energies and un-patterning of subjective sensitivities for personalized as well as collective utilities are fruition of life and living experiences.
It seems like a mystical revelation to be in the tempest of 3Cs – consciousness, cognition and causality. The infinite possibilities of these three, engendering immeasurable, often unfathomable chunks and slices of realisms, only ensure that validity of singularity of truth remains evolutionary in time-space journeys.
Journeys need always beckon us to newer destinations of consciousness. Still, it is bliss to be back – back to home.
The mighty force of Beas River water, pursuant to the lusty pull of tangent slopes towards lower plains and sensuous whispering of thick groves of woods on both sides, as if occasioning the baser instincts to sweep away whatever comes on its way, presented this conflict to him in its entirety and magnanimity. He knew; nature was the only true Guru as, it taught without the slightest semblance of the preposterous pride and presumptuous purposes of teaching and preaching. No Guru could be as brutally objective and equally overpowering as nature. That was why he was here.
Long ago, the river, as an individual, had outscored the patient obduracy of the colossus stature of the mountain chains of Himalayas; working single-mindedly in charting out its passage, cutting through the majestic establishment and finally, moving ahead, stamping the signature of its victory over them.
Mid-stream, Mayank Mishra was sitting on a rock and continuously watching a small pebble on the riverbed, which was holding still, probably for years, challenging the collective might of the river current. The river flow was steep, yet the depth of river water was shallow and the clarity of water allowed clear view. The green moss woven around the pebble was sure indicator that the pebble was steady there for years. A small fish parked itself around the pebble, wobbling at the moss, enacting the ballet of life. He was looking at the pebble for hours. Yesterday too, he did the same.
When Mayank arrived at Manali; a lovely small town in the laps of Himalayas, three days back, virtually fleeing away from the place he lived and worked, none of his friends, colleagues and bosses had any inkling of where he was and what he had in his mind. He first headed for higher peaks of the Himalayas, spending a whole day on top of a large chunk of rock, twelve kilometers away from the nearest congregation of population. He tried to jerk off what had happened that made him to run away from his city, two thousand kilometers away and take shelter in mountains in northern parts of India.
That happened sooner than he expected as the immensity of nature, the enormity and sheer novelty of his positioning amid the inimitable surroundings unsettled him. He could not handle the trepidation of nothingness and threat to mortal existentialism as he looked down at ten thousand feet deep gorges on one side and almost perpendicular rise of thousands of feet high mountains on the other. He rushed down and found a small dingy food stall beside the narrow road. He ate a large serving of hot and roughly edged noodles with lots of chili sauce to pamper his physical poise.
Half an hour later, he reached back to the top again, this time, a warm packet of Momos tucked in his pocket as his life support mechanism. After an hour, a sheep wandered near him. A boy with his herd was nearby. He offered a Momo to the sheep but it refused to eat and moved towards the steep slopes leading to the deep gorge. He could not dare peep down to see where it went. Soon, the rest of the herd followed it.
The shepherd boy came near him and sat near the Momo on the ground. He offered Momos to the boy and asked him did he fear living in such conditions? The boy took a Momo but said nothing. From his face, he could read that the boy had not understood the question. He felt embarrassed to have asked such a stupid question.
He looked up to the blue sky above. It was immaculate with not even a spot of cloud. It was mesmerizing. He kept his gaze and started to feel that he was actually rising high above and penetrating the depth of the blue stretch, which first looked to him only like a thin sheet of clothe. He felt his consciousness becoming light like a feather and surging above to sway past the thickness of the blue sky to transcend into a world beyond.
Suddenly, he felt something pulled him down and he found himself crashed to the rock top, where he was sitting moments before. The shepherd boy was pulling his hands and asking a Momo for his little sister, probably a year younger than him. The girl was looking at him and innocence was writ large on her face.
A strange feeling engulfed his consciousness. It was not happiness, not satisfaction, not thrill, not affection, not compassion, nothing which he had ever felt. It felt he had landed in some dimension, which could make him see not only the little boy and girl, but also himself from a distance. It was like he was watching a theatre where his character was in a role-play with the two kids. He saw, he took both the kids in his lap and made them eat Momos with his own hand. He saw the three chatting and laughing. He wished to clap in joy but could not find his hands. Two hours later, he was back in his hotel room and slept for hours; first time in the last one week.
A week back, it was that fateful night and the tumultuous dawn.
The mobile phone buzz stirred him in the bed but he ignored. Half asleep, he closed his eyes in desperation to extend the inevitable. Minutes later, the landline phone started ringing and he could no more carry his pretentious sleep. Still in the bed, he looked beyond the windows to ascertain the march of the morning and the faint light outside made him uneasy.
Instinctively, he moved out of his bed and dragged himself towards the door to look for the newspaper but it was not yet delivered. He felt relieved but quickly got irritated. Another bad start of the day, as usual, even when the dawn had not yet smiled on him and said good morning.
Life throws up a queer spectrum of desires. As you are born, everyone desires that you wake up, open your eyes and deliver a playful smile. But as a new born, you are mostly asleep as your blank head ensures that you do so and you do so because sleep comes natural to you. As you approach your death, all you want is a sound sleep and its natural prerequisite, the blank and unburdened mind. But, in between the two points, you do not sleep well and even do not want to sleep well as your desires make you awake.
It is probably this desire of humanity that has led to the coinage of the word good morning. People desire to attain a lot and as time is always running away, they wish to compromise on their sleep. That is why morning becomes so important in a person’s 24-hour journey of the day. Morning ends the ‘undesirable sleep’ and starts the chase of desires afresh. That is why in all civilizations, people say good morning to each other even when most people would admit that there is nothing so good about most of their mornings. Actually, there is only a valid good night as it invites the sleep and halts, at least temporarily, the desire chase.
Mayank Mishra was irritated. The phone calls so early in the morning had its clear signals. As he checked the missed incoming call on his cell phone, he got doubly sure that his irritation was not misplaced. The mobile phone screen flashed ‘missed call from editor’ and he instantly knew something was terribly wrong with the newspaper that hit the stands. As the News Editor, Mayank was practically responsible for selection, placement and display of all news stories and pictures accommodated in the newspaper he worked with.
Irritated he was, not because his morning sleep was disturbed, for he had adapted to sacrificing his sleep for his professional commitments. He was irritated as he could not see the morning newspapers to know if anything else went wrong, apart from what he already knew.
He expected the call from the editor and was even braced up to face his usual annoyance with something ‘wrong’ he had done. But a call so early in the morning made him a bit scared of some other error which he did not know of. He knew it well that once he got wind of the mistake, he would certainly devise his response.
The first important lesson he was taught as a journalist was how to pass the buck on others and save his skin as committing errors in the pressure deadline business like newspaper was a routine affair. Only later, he realized that almost in all jobs, the mastery of art was not in allowing your creativity a free flight to produce an innovative cut. It was rather in playing safe to avoid unproductive and wasteful cuts.
That’s why; the genius in all organized works around the world had devised production strategies that valued safety and conformity to fixed mechanical patterns more than anything. The standardization of production process is the established benchmark; liberty to diversion of innovation and originality is taken with suspicion. When this mechanical virtue became part of intellectual aptitude of art and media, he did not know.
In almost all jobs, the bosses would tell their subordinates, “In our business, the deadline is always yesterday”. Mayank always thought, when someone is already made to be guilty of ‘delayed start’, even before he commences, subsequent guilt hardly troubles anyone. It is like humanity being guilty of the ‘original sin’ of Adam and Eve and never being sorry for loads of other subsequent wrongs.
He remembered, once he was interviewing the CEO of an FMCG major and had asked why conformity rather than creativity was the preferred virtue in most established and organized work systems. The CEO had said, “Stupidity and creativity are like twins. But, creativity is pop-stupidity. If markets; the consumers accept it, a stupidity is quickly branded as creativity. But as a CEO, I cannot take a risk as no CEO on the earth can predict which way the markets behave. Genius can rarely be customized, it is usually accidental stupidity.”
The CEO had added on condition of not printing it, “when big time money is at stake, safety is the only virtue for business; of course I save my creativity for times when I am with my wife or in a seminar”.
The lesser geniuses, the larger workforce, however have since ages designed the smart excuses for not being up to the cut. The words like optical illusion, printer’s devil, computer error, server snag, news swap, etc are the excuses that have been designed dexterously for saving a journalist’s skin. Of course, they don’t tell you all about these in their induction programs for trainees. That’s why godfathers are so important in all fields of activities, especially jobs.
Mayank was anxious to lay his hands on the morning newspaper to know the error so that he could decide on the onus and then confidently ring back the Editor. He would not be shy of accepting his fault, if it was his but would never accept an unnecessary interference on his innovative cuts. As he entered the kitchen to make a cup of tea, the mobile phone buzzed again. He made up his mind to face it and also very quickly rehearsed his reply. He picked up the phone.
“Hello… Mayank…. we fucked them today… bloody you rammed their asses real hard this time… congratulations”, the editor blurted out loud on the other side.
Mayank fumbled with his response as the praise from his editor was unexpected. The man on the other side was least bothered about the response as he continued his joyous exclamations over how their front page scoop about the scam in medical entrance test results went exclusive and how their copies were sold like hot cakes in the stands.
The editor was happy not because their newspaper was going to be the talk of the town but because he was told by the circulation department guys that some hawkers refused to lift the copies of the rival newspaper and insisted on increased quota of their newspaper copies. A rare joy for an editor; the sales guys heaping praise on editorial genius is like a solar eclipse…very rare indeed!
“Nice placement, good display… brilliant judgment… you are a real bastard of a journalist … tonight I will cheer the scotch in your name”, the editor exclaimed.
“Thanks sir, thanks … it is indeed a good day for us”, Mayank managed a reply.
“Enjoy you bastard, enjoy your day of glory under the shining Sun, there ain’t many such days in the career of a journalist”, the editor said and signed off.
Mayank murmured something, threw himself on the bed and slept.
The pre-dawn in the city belongs to the sweepers of the municipal corporation and the newspaper hawkers. One clears the dirt and another spreads it. Murders, rape, loot, bungling, mishaps, death, pain, sufferings and all possible negativities are splashed all over the front page and the important page three-four city pages with great linguistic skills. Importantly, all troubles need to be assigned to governance and system, never the public. Readers love to know that whatever wrong happened to them, someone else is to be blamed, not them. Early morning pride sails them through their tough and humbling lives.
The glory for newsmen however, is not in cramming the pages of the newspaper with negative news and writing it in a style that would beat a blockbuster movie screenplay but, it is indeed in doing it exclusively. The joy is not in how good you are but in how bad you made the rivals proved out to be on a given day.
Mayank looked at the bundle of newspapers as he left his bed a few hours later but did not care to read them. He, like most journalists, read them only when an error would be pointed out. He recollected the morning conversation with his editor and shook his head as if he wished to throw away the memories from his head. He however smiled. He smiled because in his ten-year career in the newspapers as a journalist, he could never anticipate right whether he would receive praise or punishment in the morning for what he did late night in the newsroom.
He remembered; the editor was not very convinced of this medical entrance exam result scam story last evening when it was shown to him as he was not confident of the credibility of the reporter. He was sure that the story would fall flat as a front page scoop because it would not be exclusive. He doubted the source would also leak it to other media persons.
Mayank had insisted that he wished to play the story as a front page scoop and had also rewritten the story to make it impactuous. The editor had left the office late evening making clear that the story should ideally be covered as ‘also ran’ story on the lower half of the front page but not as front page scoop. Mayank had taken the challenge and as usual, he took the risk, cross-checked with his sources and ran the story as front page top scoop with a banner display.
He expected the editor’s ire next morning but once again he was proved wrong. The story went exclusive and that made the editor happy. But despite editor’s praise, Mayank was apprehensive as his journalistic intuition warned him of trouble ahead. How the rival newspaper could miss such a big story, he wondered. His apprehensions proved right as the day progressed.
By the time, the reporters gathered in the newsroom for the 12 o’ clock meeting, the editor had received many phone calls which made his morning bliss disappear. A call from the deputy general manager of advertisement had also made him nervous. He sent a message from his chamber to the reporters that he would not take the meeting and the chief reporter should go ahead with it. There also was a one line instruction that no follow ups of today’s scoop will be required.
Mayank did not react when the editor briefed him of the situation at hand and asked him to proceed on leave. As a true journalist, he had the intuitive perception of bad things and vibes. As he had entered the office, the body language of the guard on the ground floor, the reception girl and his own colleagues and the calm in the newsroom had made him realize that bad news was coming his way.
A chaotic news room is a sure sign of a satisfying morning for the readers and peace and order there means a disaster for one or other journalist. As a news editor, he had witnessed the fall out of a peaceful newsroom on some of his colleagues but this time around, not others but he himself looked to be on the firing line.
He made extra efforts to look nonchalant and put up a normal voice as he asked the editor, “I think, you should be honest to me; I can understand, after all I am in this profession and also with you for such long years. Don’t hang me on this leave thing…. simply tell me, am I being sacked or …. ?”
The editor was agitated and interrupted him, “…. look Mayank, I am not in a mood to entertain your crap. I am already running out of patience. Can’t you see where we have landed ourselves! The chief minister of the state has asked the public relation department secretary to stop all government advertisements to us and you know what it means! Our monthly billing is one crore and forty lakhs a month, do you listen, and we are not losing our pocket moneys but the lifeline…! Go and sleep well. Be positive; take this opportunity to relax as leaves are so rare in a journalist’s life. But do not leave the city, the boss is coming.”
He was about to leave when editor said, “You know, when a lightning strikes in the sky, someone on the earth below has to lose his luck. Trust me, only the poor are ruined in rain…you and me live in concrete houses.”
Mayank looked deep into the eyes of his editor and could not get the vibes he was expecting. He could easily see the face of the man in the eyes of the editor who had clearly run out of luck. He had seen many soldiers sacrificed to save the skin of the general but this time, he was the general who was taking the innocent blood and the poor soldier was too young and a favorite with him.
“The reporter is not at fault. He just had a story and I took the decision to run it as front page top scoop, even when you had disapproved of it. So, I should be kicked out not him”, Mayank said sounding determined and assertive.
“Don’t try to be my dad. When I was your age, I too enjoyed being a messiah even while I knew it quite well that none in seven generations of my family was one. Always remember, you are a servant of a baniya (trader) and you waste your talent singing the song of universal brotherhood in front of a butcher. Preserve these sweet sentiments for your girlfriend; she will be impressed and suck it. May be in return of your baby talks, she will give you a yummy fuck like a well-paid whore. Push the door when you move out”, the editor said in low murmuring voice and turning away, pretended to look busy scanning stories of the day on the Newstrack.
The chief reporter outside was waiting for Mayank as he had got his facts ready. The rival newspaper editor had done the trick. He too had this story about the exam result bungling as the source had shared the leak. The rival editor however chose not to publish the story and late night, he phoned the personal secretary of the chief minister informing that they were not going ahead with the story. The editor however lied to the personal secretary saying that the story was exclusive. The rival editor also had it confirmed earlier that Mayank was taking the story as front page lead scoop. Mayank could guess who in his newsroom had leaked the piece of information to the rival editor.
In a rather smart move, the rival newspaper had made the chief minister to believe that there was a political conspiracy behind the scoop to embarrass him and his government ahead of the crucial assembly by-polls and Mayank’s newspaper was playing in the hands of the opposition.
Everything is fair in love and corporate wars. It was nothing unusual. However, unlike other wars, it was difficult to make out who was fighting against whom and whose behalf. The warriors were not lined up against each other as in traditional wars and loyalties were always at premium.
Mayank smiled and remembered his hunch in the morning when he had doubted how the rival could miss such a big story and there was something bigger than what looked like a simple miss. He thought of going back to the editor’s room to inform him what he had just learned but quickly decided against it. He recollected the editor’s word, ‘don’t try to be my dad’. He was sure he knew more.
Next night, Mayank took a train to New Delhi for his onward journey to Manali, the mountainous resort. He had nothing specific in mind, but was sure, he would return to his town only when he would have made his mind of his journey of life ahead. It was long due.
Twelve years back, when he was only 22, Mayank had experienced something which would eventually decide not only his thought process but also his life journey. It was a hot summer day and there were too many guests in his house. He liked being with people but that night he got irritated by the negative talks that the entire family and guests were indulging in and decided to sleep alone on the roof of his house.
Summer nights are not usually calm but that night he could hear the whistle of the train ten kilometers away. There wasn’t anything particular in his mind and as he rested on his back, he started to look the sky above.
It was a dark night, no moon shining and stars competed with each other for attention. Mayank kept looking at the stars. He had recently read about the theories of the origin of the universe and naturally, he started thinking about the origin of universe, continuing to gaze at the dark sky. He always created in his mind an imagery of what he thought and learnt. But he could not create an image of a gas ball exploding to create universe and subsequently creating the galaxy systems, his own earth and on it his own life. He had never clearly understood the theories of creation of the universe and that’s why that night his thoughts became confused as he kept watching the endless expanse of the dark sky and the millions of shining stars. He tried to relate his existence with the infinity of the universe, allowing his mind to travel deep inside the darkness.
It was around two o’ clock that he lost it.
Probably, he had dozed off for 15 to 20 minutes and suddenly he was awake and his mind went blank. It was a rare feeling for him. He could sense that he was what he was. He could certainly make a distinction that he was well awake and not sleeping, could feel that his eyes were seeing things but his other sensory faculties were blank. His mind could not connect to him as he remembered neither his past moments nor could he feel any moments ahead.
When you are in your full senses, your being, your existence registers a clear and explainable connect and continuity with past moments and those which will come ahead. The mind knows that I am sitting here for the last ten minutes and will sit for another five minutes, etc.
Mayank however could not connect. All he could feel was that he was among the stars and deep inside the universe. Seconds later, he could realize that he had a body which he could feel as separate from the universe where he found himself a few seconds back. The realization was followed by a strange but very powerful feeling which he could not register as never had in his life he had such a feel. He was terror struck as he clearly missed the gravity and felt the awe of the enormity of infinite universe. In a quick succession of changing realities, he found the feeling of the hard roof surface beneath him, felt a bit assured but next moment fatal fear gripped him as he felt himself completely alien to his body.
Mayank had the first encounter of the massive and unintelligible fear of the formlessness of existence that night. The fear gradually gave way to shock but for an hour he continued to feel the formlessness of being. His existential sense of time and space returned to him in a few minutes, though in very feeble strength but his biological and animated connect with his body continued to elude him for an hour or so. He had never faced such strange and unexplainable feelings and that too in an assemblage unleashed to him in such fast successions. He felt very unsettled and his mind was in a complete flux. But still, he felt deeply defeated and embarrassed that his faculties were so weak that it could not help him handle the crisis. He gained his full self an hour later but soon lost it to an overwhelming bout of sleep.
An array of medical tests in the next one week made it clear that nothing was wrong with him, at least biologically and physically. As Mayank was settling to forget the incident as one off accident in his otherwise good life, the feeling revisited him and it was day time. He was in a busy market and with a friend when he lost connect with his body like that night. This time however, there certainly was some improvement compared to the last experience. He continued to do the shopping and other usual activities. He clearly felt his existence split into two. He felt himself separate from the body which was doing all the activities as usual, very mechanically though. He once again lost the sense of time and space. This time, the initial fear however was less intense and soon gave way to utter confusion.
He could understand that his experiences had nothing to do with body but the mind. He consulted a neuro physician and he told him it was some sort of a panic disorder and he would do best to jerk it off his mind. The doctor asked him to stop doing deep thinking on issues, beyond his comprehension.
The doctor attempted to trivialize the issue telling him that majority of people on this earth had some mind disorder or other in varying intensity and most of them afforded to live out their lives carrying them reasonably successfully.
“Sanity is a fine line like a strand of your hair and most of us stand on the border; often susceptible to cross the line, inadvertently or otherwise”, the doctor said. He told him jokingly, “I am a doctor of minds but even I have a phobia that someday my wife will kill me. But still, I enjoy a delectable sex with her. It is rather my phobia that helps me do that as I always do it as if this would be my last with her”.
As these bouts became regular, Mayank turned determined to find a pattern to it. After few months, he could feel he had better control over his body even when he encountered varied degrees of formlessness and disconnect during such bouts. Mayank was not sure what the right way to deal with his problem was but he was however very sure that he could not do what his doctor advised. He could not jerk off the issue. He had to confront it and find an answer. His natural inquisitiveness egged him to do two things – understand the problem in its widest possible connotation and then find a lasting solution. He hooked on to all available resources on fear factors and especially the mind mechanisms.
Knowledge is embarrassing. It exposes us to the world of stark objectivity for which we are not always trained and prepared. You feel discomfited by the ignorance you had lived so far with and the subjectivity you indulged in. The knowledge about the complexities of brain and an interpretation of humanity through mind perspectives made him feel and live the shame of stupidity. Though he was too young to fully understand the intricate artistry of mind universe, he learnt his first major lesson of life – the criticality of communication in the overall intelligence of intellectual universe. It was ingrained upon his sensitive perception that he had to invest lots of time and energy to understand two core ideas – the media and communication, to understand life and its intricacies in entirety.
He was truly awestruck by the enormity and extent of mind disorders the humanity was faced with. There were so many phobias that he was almost sure that there was nothing that did not have the potential to spark off fear in a human mind. He was truly apprehensive and in great dismay that anybody at any given time could be affected by one mind disorder or the other. He was more troubled by the knowledge that people in large number all throughout ages in the long history of civilization were in great pains and sufferings because of something which doctors say were actually never there. A fear that was never there, a reason not fit for being depressed, a disability which never was one but the mind did accept them as if they were. And the scare that humanity has entered a phase where mind disorders would be the largest destabilizing factor for larger population made him very determined to find a lasting solution to it.
After initial confusion, he arrived at the truth that if devil could be in the mind, so could be God. He accepted that if devil was a man standing beyond his worst of disabilities and negativities, God was there standing just on the opposite side of it. He, standing beyond the best of the potentials and capabilities of his positive and uninhibited mind, was his own God. He got to know; mind is a mechanism of unlimited potential. All he needed to know was what limits and inhibits minds in its journey towards Godliness. He realized that mind was a value-neutral and objective media. What it opts, the devil or the God is not its own choice but depends on something which programs it one way or the other. He came to a conclusion that communication to mind was the crucial thing. And the mind accepted thoughts and emotions as communication. Mind needed to have the right communication to head towards Godliness. That’s why, positive thoughts and emotions to a new and un-programmed mind were important.
He also understood that the problem with contemporary world was that minds were being flooded with negative communications since childhood. We have loaded our minds with lots of negative thoughts and ideas. The mind has been negatively programmed even before we could realize. The early socialization, prior to our own rational awareness, the hereditary inputs, the very competitive social environment etc send negative communication to mind. He realized; thought was the core programming language of mind. The thought is largely a social product and that’s why the society is primarily responsible for creating either devils or gods. He could understand the importance of a positive and constructive society in creating good minds. It was a cyclic chain. He could also understand that a society at any stage was more suitable for creating more devils than god.
He came to a conclusion that two things were very crucial inputs for mind and they needed very clear understanding. First was fear in its entirety and complete complexities and second was the sense of real and unreal. He understood it quite well that he needed to comprehend the spectrum of fears and its dynamics. Getting to the core of the multi-dimensionality of fears would make him understand the mysteries of life well. He was also not bothered too much by the enormity of the task. The management of fear would be tough but he was sure; it would not be as tough as the management of hunger, management of greed and management of sexuality which humanity had failed to do.
The acceptance of the primary need to understand fear helped him in unexpected way. As he grew up, he actually developed an objective perception about all his fears and anxieties. This objectivity helped him understand the power of the conscious mind over unconscious and sub-conscious mind. Not that he could conquer all his fears and anxieties but he had better control over his fears. His conscious mind stood him in good stead with a power of analyses of what was happening to him and why. This assured that fear was never out of control to reach a stage of panic.
In the progression of time, he got inclined to the idea that fear was actually good for him, or for anybody, who could have the objectivity standards to understand it. Fear was a very positive signal about the incidence of an unattained and unprepared mind. An unknown thing or idea cannot spark off fear. A known thing or idea has the similar capacity. It is things or ideas in between the two ends that create fears. A rope in a semi-dark room makes one panicky as it looks like a snake but even an actual snake in a totally dark room fails to create fear. A snake generating fear is good thing. The snake experts also know that its venom is deadly but they do not fear it because they have complete knowledge about snake behavior and all possible dynamics of its threat perception. Fear is an instant invite for positive action. Fear makes you accept that something is wrong and negative with your mind programming. You need to delete the program and write a new one with complete and objective knowledge about something which unleashed fear. Fear is an invitation to become your own god by embarking on a journey towards the best of your own potentials.
As he developed good understanding of fear, he realized that the formlessness, or what the doctor called unreality feeling was also not a bad thing either. He actually stared to use the unreality experience as a constructive tool. The objectivity standards also made him take his formlessness as just a media, like anxiety and fear. This formlessness or unreality was value-neutral and presented an opportunity for greater objectivity benchmarks. A very beneficial proposition for humanity!
He began to understand that minus or plus; pain or pleasure; was not the ideal state of being. It had to be a zero – a truly objective, value-neutral position. Most sins and aberrations of humanity were committed when humans drifted too far either in the plus of pleasure or minus of pain. Humans committed acts of banality and benediction, omission and commission on the basis of his or her judgment of the reality he or she perceived as facing at a particular moment of time and space. Quite often, the real which was identified as real was either more on the side of plus or minus, often off target of the real.
Mayank later on developed mastery over the craft and called it a trick. He could actually help himself on the onset of the bout of formlessness. Whenever, he felt his body and senses were too overwhelming or ruffled up, in minus or plus, and he could commit a mistake, he would slip into what he called the zero-mode. He had developed a way to trigger off the formlessness bout and as he welcomed it, he gained on the objectivity benchmarks for himself.
In the years to come, he used the technique to avoid many sins and wrongdoings which men his age would commit with aplomb. As he passed his prime of youthful years he was happy to discover that he had developed two personalities. The formlessness had turned into a personality which he felt remained silent and in the backstage, giving frontstage to his physical personality which was socially interactive. He successfully used one of his two personalities interchangeably to derive best of results for him. He even enjoyed his split personalities simultaneously, realizing very well that this had made him an enigmatic person in the eyes of most of his relatives, friends and colleagues. The liberal of them would call him maverick but most would prefer a ‘confused’ tag for him.
Mayank was not that young to allow any momentary lapse of reasoning and take a fleeting decision. Though 34, his disposition suited a 45-year old. A week earlier, he felt an urge to do something even at the risk of being labeled hasty and rash. However, coming back from Manali, he had his mind in poise and clear on what he wished to do and how. The mountains had stoned the poise in him.
He rang up the reporter who had written the scam story and as he had expected, the reporter had been handed over transfer orders which would mean he would quit his job. Reporters are very reluctant to change their places. It takes years for a reporter to build his contacts and his worth depends on his contacts.
He could sense a shade of anger building up inside him. Perhaps, his own anger and frustration with his profession had piled on the incident. As a journalist he had so many issues which he held dear to his heart and wanted a patient hearing from his editor and owner of the newspaper. Let alone as a professional; as a social person too he believed he had genuine questions which at best needed clear answers but at least, he expected sympathetic audience to such questions.
His anger always liberated him. It gave him the energy to vent his feelings, to bring up queries. He believed that inquisitiveness was a growth sign. He would never allow his simple and innocuous ‘why’ to wither away. Anger was his critical energy that jolted him out of the inertia of status quoism that the social milieu around him would often slap on his face. Anger would give him the energy to extend strong support to his instinctive inquisitiveness by adding the stubbornness of his determined self.
He used his anger to ascertain that at least things were seen in right perspective. He was always very clear in his mind about the fact that judgment about a justified action can be postponed but not the judgment of a justified thought position. A fact will remain a fact even if its practice be procrastinated or even stopped. What irritated Mayank most was that most people, who were in the positions from where taking right judgment and that too at the right point of time would make the world a better place, would simply not do it. The tragedy is that most often, they would use all power at their disposal to kill the question itself. Naturally, the questioner became first victim.
For the larger society, rooted in inertia and status quoism, a question is like a poisonous snake. People with baton of socio-economic and political authority are so panicky of the venom of non-conformity, which a question has the potential to unleash, that they are quick to thrash its head. Often, innocuous and well-meaning questions and questioners are killed in the panic over the threat to peace and order of suitable conformism.
Questions are important. God is the biggest question. The religion is the mother of all questions. The greatest tragedy of humanity is that today religion smothers more questions than it was suppose to answer. Regrettable it is that on the name of religion, mediocre and conformist answers are being forced on masses and many meaningful questions are not even allowed to breathe.
Since his childhood, Mayank had witnessed his family members stifling questions which he asked innocently. He would be hushed up and told that it was bad manners. Often, discipline was considered the primary virtue and even his innocuous curiosity would be bracketed as undisciplined behavior. Discipline as the greatest morality was not always acceptable to him as he saw it as a non-reciprocal tool of outdated notions of societal conformity.
Even later, in his school, in college and in his career, he would be faced with the authoritative structure that emphasized and enforced discipline, pouncing on any chance to kill even the most innocent inquisitiveness. A slap would always save the burden of thousands of unconvincing words for the authority. And why would anyone anyway consider it an authority if it didn’t slap!
This only made him become sure and more confident of the righteousness and justification of his natural inquisitiveness. The nervousness that he could see his questions generated among those who were responsible for answers assured him that righteousness was on his side. If not, why would questions scare? The force with which the authoritative layers attempted to smother questions only reflected the reality that there was something that they feared the questions would expose – either their incompetence or ignorance to answer them or the larger hypocrisy of humanity.
He grew up to the realism that asking question was a greater virtue than giving answers. Keeping a question alive, not allowing it to die prematurely required a lot of courage, character and conviction. Almost everyone claimed to have the answers; some of them probably had. Most of them even fought for their answers to be the only justified one. Many had the authority to impose answers or the refusal of it on people. Only few however had questions and the courage to stand them. He realized, if necessity was the mother of inventions, inquisitiveness was the primary energy behind all inventions, all creations.
He refused the socially popular notion that a question was a sign of weakness as it exposed the ignorance of the questioner. He learnt it quite early in his youthfulness that a question is sign of innocence and courage. It required childlike innocence and courage of highest order to rise above the fear of being labeled an ignorant, to face the taunts of peer group and society to be a duffer, even retarded. He had made up his mind to always be on the side of questions. He had accepted that if something had fear in its side, it was good as it would lead to the ultimate truth.
He opted for media as a career primarily because he felt the profession would provide him a good platform for raising his questions. He also believed media had the responsibility to find the right answers. He thought he was naturally inclined to be in media as inquisitiveness was the core character of a good journalist and he had it. He had also learnt that media was feared just because of its freedom and privilege to ask questions to the high ups and mighty. He chose the print media, a newspaper, as he always believed in the power of the printed words.
In the first three years of his career in media, he had realized the gap between the fiction and the fact. Within media, more questions were killed than given life. Media itself killed a lot many questions as either it would be detrimental to its own economic health or too troublesome to ask. He learnt it later that this was not a very depressing fact. All goodness has to operate within the confines of practicality. Idealisms too have to be sustainable. What troubled him however was that valid questions were being shunned because of sheer ignorance and inflated professional ego and pride of media people.
Early in his career as a journalist, he asked his chief reporter why he allowed so many crime stories in local news. Mayank also complained to him that rape stories were being written with unnecessary graphic details that put victim in very poor light. He showed him a story published a day back which narrated in detail that the rapist gagged the mouth of the victim with one hand and that of her small child sleeping beside her with another hand. He then raped her lifting her sari to her stomach. Mayank told the chief reporter that the story not only was in very poor taste as it unnecessarily presented graphic details of a heinous crime, it was also factually wrong as such a chain of incident could never have happened. He reasoned that humans had only two hands and if two of the hands of the perpetrator of the crime were busy smothering the mouths of victim and her child, how could he get a third hand to lift the sari of the victim? And more importantly, was the reporter of the story present at the time of rape to witness that the sari of the victim was lifted up to her stomach and not beyond? The chief reporter got infuriated and defended his reporter saying that it was not his fault as what he wrote in his story was the version he found in the FIR of the rape. ‘If the police write illogical things in their report, what we can do? We are only supposed to go by the police records’, the chief reporter said almost yelling at him. The news editor had intervened and had taken Mayank away who was unwilling to accept the answer of the chief reporter. He insisted this was not the right answer of his question. The news editor later on reasoned with him, ‘Young man, you are still new to the trade. These rape stories with such colorful details are the flavors of the day, the pick of the stories read by most readers. These bloody cops too enjoy writing a rainbowishly detailed FIR of the rape. They would not do it for any other crime. Everyone loves a good rape…I mean a rape story!’ Mayank asked him how was he sure that every reader loved such rape stories? Did he have any research done or any survey published that confirmed the percentage of readers loving it? The news editor paused for a moment and then said in an irritated voice, ‘No survey is required. If I love them as a journalist, the readers would also love it; that is for sure. Don’t you know; sex sells more than anything in this world?’
Mayank regretted that he worked at a place where even seniors had such inflated sense of ego and self-importance that they refused to see the larger questions. They could not see the difference between sex and a rape. They were happy to demolish the huge separating line between a crime and gratification. No doubt, the basic issue of sanity was relegated to back seat in media. The common sense inquisitiveness was also a big casualty. Even a kid knows that humans have only two hands but a zealous journalist has lost even this common sense.
The biggest trouble the media faced, that Mayank could realize as he continued with the profession, despite the oddities was that most seniors passed on this sick and archaic mentality and attitude to their juniors. Those who did not like to be part of this stupidity were labeled as unfits.