Spend the day going to bed at dawn (as an evening of films beginning with Dances with Wolves was followed up by an automatic-switchover to The Silence of the Lambs before the credits could even roll – a feat made possible by the Made in China DVDs that come with well intentioned-titillating titles. This one was called “Last Century of 46 Greatest Movies” or 46 in 1 as it’s chipped). That immediately gave way to Hannibal before I could even say “…
And I ate his liver with some fava beans over a nice glass of Chianti.” But it was nice nonetheless, to continue on with the fine dining tastes of the charming doctor as the film’s so engrossing you wonder what’s gonna happen to the shrink Dr Lecter’s tailing after the Lambs go home.
The evening in my apartment had become a midnight run as Lt John J Dunbar slowly but surely transforms into Dances with Wolves, starts to speak like the Sioux and begins to look like one. By the time Special Agent Starling makes her debut with Dr Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill, the night had stretched until I was caught up between the changing faint lights outside the Mipham windows and the nefariously methodical wits about Hannibal.
When the second installment rolled on its own and ended with the doctor flying in a plane with a pre-packed lunch of the Justice Department’s Spokesman’s brains, the corn-pussy loving Paul Krender, I drifted off to a sleep of my own where the doctor was back in all his mental, verbal and incisive glory – surgically removing layers of confusion to interested students to the simplicity of doing what he does best, eating rude people.
So when I did get up, dare I say I felt a bit like the upright doctor. A late visit to the Ambient Café, a cappuccino upped by a pot of masala chai and the rudimentary visit to check the emails and statuses on the F book. The slow Internet was a turnoff, together with a feeling of stupidity when glancing around to see most shops had closed. What was it? Figured out it was the Descending Day of Lord Buddha (there is no ascending day, for the record). Have I been turning atheist lately? The self-interrogation began. It felt odd that I hadn’t a clue to what is a holy and sacred day here in Bhutan.
Anyhow, Buddha came to mind and with that, mindfulness and impermanence.
We went to the 8-11 grocery, picking up a Highland Whiskey for the mates that were gonna drop in later to stretch the Uzu-Wrong-Pa jokes (and this time I’d readied myself on taking them head to head with Girling-Pas). I placed the whiskey at the check out counter and there it was, the trusted-homeopathic Indian vanity brand called “Parachute” – infamous for its flying parachute hair oils. This was a real tempter - a stylish-silvered bottle with the captions “Hair Revitalizer”.
I picked up the bottle, a tad unconvinced and proceeded to read the rest of the labels: “hair fall is caused by stress, bad diet, sleeping disorders, depression etc.,” yes! Sounded just like me! The product had me here but it was further cemented by what the Parachute could do “use it 2-3 times a week. Massage the scalp thoroughly and in 42 days, see the difference!” I couldn’t believe it!
Only 42 days and I was gonna be Samson again. You see, I’d given up on the nail-to-nail polishing as it looked more than a tad OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and the fresh and raw ginger rub on the head was just too dusty and uncivilized. I looked at the MRP and it was a reasonable Nu 180.
So I parachuted out of the 8-11 with this newfound resolution to an age-old problem as natural as ageing. But then again we love fighting the natural order of things. I don’t know what is what anymore but if anything, I guess I wanted the balding process to halt a while and keep it pausing there.
Its like what the Pacino character tells the young lawyer in “The Devil’s Advocate” – “Vanity – I Love It.”
Jesus! Time does fly is an expression adults (SO CALLED) often use to illustrate the bewilderment of life and its assorted vicissitudes… I was thinking the same thing for a pretty long time…and today it seems that much more in context and in its urgency. But I go through this every September the 18th, ‘cos that was the day you chose to make your entrance onto this stage we call life.
Imagine! The inception of the whole conception! During my Dharma Bum days I’d read and had my share of the wisdom memorabilia that is the unsaid pre-requisite to becoming a wholly and fully-fledged Dharma Bum. It brought me no Nirvana and neither do I understand what Samsara is (I know it’s a good film made by an Indian with Tibetan/Ladaki actors) but beyond that wrapper? I’ll confess I’m clueless…
But the point was the passage of time and how time just flies even though you don’t see it…although paradoxically we do see it all around us the changing days into nights to the changing seasons and transformers even as I write and as you read.
For me, you are probably the best example of the passage of time, as I’m to my mother.
There used to be this idea in my head and its till there…on occasion I’d tell you this little fictional anecdote about how you, among a billion other probable Miphams, managed to out-fox and out-swim them all to get to where you now stand today – a lovely boy who’ll soon be a teen, do the school and the college and find your own warm spot on god’s beautiful earth.
“The boy is the father of man” is another expression that I find absolutely confounding! But its life’s ways and means of taunting and teasing us I guess…irony being its punchiest sense of humor!
I’m sitting in my office…haven’t had a bite and did a couple of flashes of whisky last night…you see, it was the first day of Thimphu Tsechu (those colorful festivals held in honor of the Guru’s teachings and to further the fruition of the practice of the Dharma practitioners). It was also Vishwa Karma Puja, another festival held in honor of one of the Hindu Gods. I got up this morning knowing you were still asleep (Bhutan is +5hrs ahead). The devotees of the Hindu Gods today take to the streams and rivers to immerse the idol, concluding the worship and the ceremony…and as they go about the immersion procedure, they get into big open trucks holding the idols and singing in the lord’s glory … It was almost a chant of “Happy Birthday to you Mipham” to my ears…
The Tsechu goes on for another three days…today’s day two and the dances of the Dharma are in full swing. People dress in their best and still I associate that with your birthday; a celebration of sorts…and to any other person that shares your birthday today, this day of joyous contemplation and rejuvenation.
Birthdays were not a big deal with my generation and me…but I can see and sense rebirth and reincarnation, and perhaps that’s what birthdays actually do or should do…
Look at me! IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY and I’m already reincarnating into a lovable-loathsome-philosopher-dad and that’s because you have made me remember many things I’d forgotten…
But there’s one thing I’ll never forget, and that’s you making your entrance on this day, the 18th of September and as long as I’m alive, you’ll have given me so much just because you are here…and I pray that may every birthday bring you closer to a positive avatar, pausing and rejoicing and reincarnating unto higher realms of consciousness so that it looks and feels like the whole world is celebrating with you…may gods bless you and keep you…
All my love…
The breeze is gone and fierce storms blow my wonted vaults and their assorted jewelries.
Contradictions of various mathematical possibilities leave me flat and hung.
Notions of freedom leave me trapped and all these I sought to reveal or find during my natural born years.
The hair I play with today thins;
The knuckles I crack wrinkles;
The eyes staring me back hollows in empty delight.
Knowing me today is no more familiar than knowing me yesterday.
These woeful songs would have you beguiled and fooled.
The treacheries of our minds are just the tip of the mail-bergs…
For the base stays grounded in drama and the ensuing hullabaloo is all a part and parcel of our own KARMA.
There is nothing more left to seek;
There is nothing more left to heed.
I look at me in the pupils of my eyes!
They glisten back inundated with lingering hurtful memories of causes that have resulted in innumerable bruises.
And The 8-Fold-Noble Path: What Else Do You Need?
“What did you want, My Sun?”
“Meaning, I guess”
“What kind of meaning, My Moon?”
“The kind that satisfies curiosity, restlessness, boredom, yearning, desire, vanity and emptiness I guess”
“And where did you suppose you’d find them, My Celestial Star?”
“In books, in knowledge, in history, in travels and in love”
“And did you, My Dear Immortal?”
“I thought I did. In the beginning there was curiosity, then there was longing and finally there was the experience”
“And you found the meaning, My Dear Seeker?”
“Are you still looking for it, My Fearless Warrior?”
“And why not? My Wealthy Landlord?”
“Because it’s everywhere”
“And did that insight help, My Liege?”
“No. It did not”
“Why not, My Master?”
Because my questions were wrong;
Because the basis of my wandering itself was conceived in ignorance:
‘Cos my yearning for love was fueled by hatred:
‘Cos my very accumulation of knowledge was founded on brittle sticks of ignorance.
I had not known how to love because I had never abandoned the selfishness I carried with such smugness.
I read the sutras and it gave me pride;
I read the classics and they gave me knowledge;
I traveled far and wide and that gave me mileage;
I made good company with females and that left me inflated;
I lived because I needed to do all of that again;
And that made me sad.
I wasn’t alone and I was lonely…
You see, love I echoed aplenty and recognized none;
Today I reap the fruits of my indolence;
Today I taste the bitterness of my nectar;
Today wisdom peeps and my knowledge shudders;
Today truth beckons and I freeze;
Today I’m learning to live with unease.
"Well. Now You Know, My Son, Now You Know!"
Old Men Tell Their Tales,
Over Hearths Villagers Listen;
The Quiet Forest Laughs!
Terraced-clouds-field the big-blue skies,
Like quiet feathered snowflakes.
Nights-glow with fireflies;
The sky glitters as the stars litter;
The freshness of reviving showers on oily monsoon days,
The sweet fragrance of blooming flowers,
Of myriad colors painting unknown horizons,
Of shy settings, orange sunsets and silhouetted mountains,
Of strange moonlit-karmic recollections;
Here we are;
Rainbows and all…
The Misty Road Lives,
It Winds And Tells You Stories,
If You Will Listen...
The Monsoons Are Fresh,
Raindrops They Take Me Places,
We Are All Poets,
Though We Loot, Plunder and Steal,
We Are Still Poets.
The Women I Love,
Come In Lovely Disguises,
How They Torture Me!
Loneliness My Friend,
Why Are You Always With Me?
Go See Some Body!
The Monsoons Are Dry,
Yet We Know That It Will Rain;
That Is Refreshing!
Don't Give Up On Me,
Life Works In Mysterious Ways,
SomeDay You Will See...
You Called Me Jurmi,
And We Used To Hang About,
It Was All Good Fun!
Though I Miss You Bad,
I Remember Times We Had,
You Are a Good Lad!
Even If I Die,
Life Around Me Will Flourish,
Now That Is Living!