Saturday, April 15, 2017

A HOT-AIR BALLOON OR A POLE STAR?







Dhruv Gupta, who studies in twelfth-standard (ISC), is one of my committed and intelligent students. After completing his high school in Punjab, where he grew up, his parents enrolled him in one of Mumbai’s reputed institutions to pursue his further studies. One of the reasons for this decision was that Dhruv’s maternal grandparents lived here in Mumbai alone. They needed care and support as they weren’t in their good health. So, I had the fortune of teaching Dhruv, first in his eleventh standard, and now in his twelfth. As our P.D. programme was approaching, I spoke to Dhruv about it. “It will give you an edge… It will help you to be confident and assertive,” I explained. Dhruv’s mother, who knew her son better than anyone else did, liked the idea when Dhruv consulted her. Shew knew that Dhruv was a shy boy and needed to be groomed in this area and, hence, was keen on him doing it. But, not his father. “Let him focus on his studies now,” he advised Dhruv’s mother.

Yesterday, Dhruv’s mother called me up from Punjab. “Sir, I want Dhruv to attend your P.D. sessions,” she said sincerely, “But sir, I have heard, that their benefit is only temporary.”

“Ma’am, you have heard it right,” I said to Dhruv’s mother with a chuckle in my heart, “If we pump people with self-confidence – like pumping hot-air in balloons – it is going to be temporary.”

“So sir, what should I do?” Dhruv’s mother asked me with all her honesty.

“Ma’am, trust me and send him,” I assured Dhruv’s mother “He is not a hot-air-balloon.”

I do not know if Dhruv and his mother know this: In Hindu Mythology, Dhruv was a little boy who given by God a place in the sky to shine. And why did God show this favour? For taking care of his parents. He is considered to be the brightest star… which, in the Western world, is known as the Pole Star!

So, if Dhruv knows the truth about him – his special benevolence from God – then, he will also know the place where he belongs in the vast sky…

A hot-air balloon?

Naaaaaa!!!!

It reminds me of a blog post I had written more than two years ago. I wish to share it, once again, as it perfectly fits the puzzle…


SMASHAN VAIRAGYA


Balloons go up only when you fill them with air… the hot-air. So, if they have to remain up there, if they have to keep soaring high – then, you need to ensure that the hot- air lasts in them for a long, long time…

But, do you see balloons floating long enough in the air?

Well, let me talk about another kind of balloons, now.


As I had promised to my friend, Harish, I held, yesterday, a four-hour programme for his wonderful staff in a hotel. Harish was very clear in his objective: he wanted his young boys and girls to ‘aspire’ for a better life… a productive and contributing life. For that, he wanted them to be ‘inspired’… So, rightly, he had coined the theme for the programme: ‘Inspire and Aspire’.

Well, I gave my best… and, I could make out that they were all ‘inspired’… Yes, pumped-up with that hot-air. At the end of the session, almost all young boys and girls came up to me to tell that they were charged-up, now… That, they were, now, ready to aspire for a more productive life…

I was glad…

Their boss, Harish, too, was glad… But, then, he knew his boys and girls better than I did. “I only don’t want it to be a ‘Smashan Vairagya’,” he said apprehensively…

I loved that…

When you are in a smashan – a crematorium – and when you see the dead body going in flames, getting reduced to ashes… invariably, the experience can be moving, life-transforming… Overwhelmed by emotions, and struck by sorrow, you, indeed, start contemplating on the kind of arrogance that has marked your life… the blind chase that you have pursued… the pain that you have caused to your near and dear ones, the grudges that you have held, the vices that you have fallen prey to…. And, standing there, right in front of the burning corpse, you begin to repent in your heart and resolve to put an end to your blind pursuits, you vices… You resolve to be a good soul…

The flames of pyre have filled your heart with hot-air, now… and, you leave the cremation ground, the smashan, aspiring for a better life… A lot inspired!

This kind of change of heart is known as ‘Smashan Vairagya’… and, we all go through this kind of vairagya – ‘detachment’, ‘change of heart’, ‘inspiration… call it whatever you wish -  time and time again, yes, when we are in near the funeral pyre… My friend, Harish, knew that his boys and girls were very moved, very inspired, yesterday, when they were in my presence… He knew that many of them would cry in their heart, resolve to change their ways… Yes, aspire to be better souls, better employees…

But, then, the smashan vairagya lasts only till you reach home… Maybe, for some more days after you leave the smashan! Then, your old-habits come back to rule you… You start running after the same-old stuff that had made you blind and heartless… You start giving in to the same-old vices… start holding on to the same-old grudges…

The hot-air from funeral-pyre has gone… The heart is back to its old business!


So, looking at the sky, I am smiling now...  “How long the hot-air, which I had filled last afternoon, will last in Harish’s balloons?” I wonder...

I, also, wonder, “Is there another way to send balloons high up in the sky?”



GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Hot-air Balloon Safaris, S.A




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