It was Thursday morning, and a busy day lay ahead of me. Certain legal formalities required that I purchase 5 stamp papers of Rs 100 each from a nearby vendor just down the road. As I reached the crossroad I was a little anxious about its availability as they were not always available and so I had decided to reach the shop at opening hour. However, I got delayed by about half an hour. As I neared the shop I observed that a line had already formed. There were six people who had exactly the same idea. Being the 7th in the line I knew it would take at least 20 minutes before my number came, so I waited patiently till those before me were catered to. The lady at the counter, who was also the owner of the shop, was a happy but strict person and also efficient. So I was not unduly worried about delay. It was a hot day and the sun was beating down mercilessly even at this early hour.

Soon more people joined the line and as I turned, I saw there were about another 15 who were in the que behind me. Most were elderly belonging to various professions and they seemed relaxed and waited patiently. I turned my attention ahead and realized that my number was next. The que had moved quickly. I noticed a gentleman behind me. He seemed restless and made as if to get ahead of me and even pushed me in doing so.

Momentarily I was surprised at this behavior and I protested mildly as the man was well dressed and seemed respectful. He roughly told the lady at the counter to cater to him first. This was most upsetting and I categorically told him to get back in line as I was before him. The lady at the counter also told him the same.
“But she wants 5 and I want only one.” he said.
“Get back in line” warned the lady, “This woman is before you and so she will be catered to first”.
“No you must give me the stamp paper, besides I am a lawyer!”
Now I was really riled up. “If that is so, then I think you should set a better example than behaving like a child, I said firmly. Please get back in line. This matter is not worth arguing especially since you are the wrong doer.”

The man was now really angry…but neither I nor the counter lady relented so he was forced to back down. So much for being well dressed and being a professional! Experience seemed to have taught him nothing. As I left I got a thumb’s up from many in the que…their facial expressions of irritation said it all… It takes only one to spoil a peaceful atmosphere and disrupt a smooth process.

Indeed, if the educated behave in such a manner and let ego reign supreme then there is very little hope for mankind. On the one hand the whole episode struck me as a real comedy…but on the other it was a sad commentary on how humans let the mind rule over their intellect.




Are we beating about the bush?
Are we levelling off our very words?
Are we moving around in circles?
Where the beginning meets the end.

Are we looking without seeing?
Our perceptions all askew;
Are we moving without reaching?
Where every place is new;

Are we touching without feeling?
Our emotions a selfish hue.
Where the ‘ I  ‘ is the sole survivor
Of a modern holocaust called Life.

So thoughtless our world today
Our lives sans togetherness;
In an extreme lack of awareness
Of ourselves and the Self.

Continuously seeing without,
Unhappy with the many images
A shadowy blur of manifestations
Of our own making.

We are immediately made to know
By the unhappy miseries that
Follow many a path unbroken
That we have desecrated
The very Temple we live within

Having created a Hell of our own making.
There is no escape from this prison,
No use your cries of help!
There is no one listening.

 The echo of your own voice,
Resonates in your own soul
Deeply blackened by the acts
Of yester years, today and tomorrow.

Oh mankind, you must reap what you sow!
Pay off your debts, and perhaps some day
Life will begin anew, if lessons well learnt
There may be hope for you yet,
Oh mankind, take heed before it’s too late!




As I lay on the bed, I watched the rays of the sun stream through the windows. As usual the fresh air and the soft twittering of the birds brought cheer to the spirit and for the moment I was happy to laze and spend some more time in bed. The brain of course has a will of its own and the mind that is active rarely stays still. It was taking a journey of its own and strayed in all the directions delving into matters past,  present and future. The sky was blue and there were no clouds. The rain had taken a breather and I jumped out of the bed with all my thoughts on the breakfast I was about to make. I was in no hurry to start or think about the jobs to be done that day and went down, the books momentarily forgotten.

I thought I would have the usual English breakfast minus the ham as I am a vegetarian that eats eggs….and set about making it as I was really hungry. The parrots had arrived to eat the beans now hanging from a tropical tree that gave lovely orange flowers and I enjoyed watching them as they chatted away and picked away at the beans.

Soon I was having my first meal of the day and tucking in hungrily when I happened to glance outside the door. The clump of trees that were always a pleasure to watch were lush. This brought last night’s events back in a rush. I tried to concentrate on my plate but too late! The mental picture of the girl shifting positions and standing with a lamp to enter the woods just clung to me. Hastily finishing my breakfast, I ran to retrieve the books. It had just dawned on me that I had actually entered the picture and toured the house therein and that it was no hallucination…I had actually entered another dimension. I was all excitement now and could not wait to see what was going to happen next. It was like a thrilling adventure and I decided to follow the girl who was still patiently waiting for me to accompany her through the woods.

The picture was as I had left it last night, the woods were thick and dark and the girl was standing with the lantern raised high, beckoning me to follow her. Caution took hold and I stopped. Looking back at the house and the river. It was day here too but the sun did not shine so strongly. There was a deadly quiet as this was not a wood with familiar sounds. There was no breeze and the trees stood tall and mighty like soldiers. I felt distinctly small and insignificant and wondered if I should withdraw. 

The moment of weakness passed and I looked up at the girls face. It looked serene and said little. By now there were a lot of questions that were piling up in my mind. Perhaps this was not the right moment to strike a conversation and so I desisted.

I decided to follow the girl and took the few steps towards her. Wonder of wonders she smiled and bade me to follow her. By now I was sure that this was some kind of dimensional virtuosity and that my being was elsewhere. Perhaps I was in another dimension. A replica of the earth perhaps in another time. I followed the girl past the many tall trees in the strangely quiet wood. It was all very still and they looked unreal. I touched one as we passed. The texture of the wood wasn’t different from what I knew it to be and wondered at it. Normally nature talked to me. Here that connection was missing. I looked around for wild orchids and flowers but they were missing too. The weather was even with no wind and the sun seemed to be winking through the trees in a placid way as if it was just programmed to do something and just abiding its duty. I hurried along when I realized that I had fallen back and decided to strike up a conversation with the girl.

I touched her shoulder to draw her attention, but she seemed oblivious to the touch and did not respond. “Hello,” I said, “This is all very interesting and really out of my league, but it would be really nice if I could get some kind of an explanation, I mean , this is all very strange and unreal….are we really here and who are you really?” She turned around and looked at me with large blue eyes rather blankly, shook her head and put her finger on her lips. This of course didn’t sit very well with me. I was not about to be chastised like a naughty child, by a child and was about to most vehemently protest when all of a sudden she stopped.

I realized we were on the bank of a rather large lake which I had earlier spied through the woods. The water had ripples on it. With no wind this was most out of character but I held my counsel. The water was clear and blue and has a quieting influence on the mind. Beyond the lake stony mountains, shiny striated rock beds of varied shades of brown, black and red. The terrain had a totally different look from the one behind me and this brought back all the doubts and fears I had felt earlier.

The girl seemed to sense this and she turned right to walk further along the bank. Taking a few steps I stopped. I was reluctant to play ‘Follow the Leader’ and called out to the girl. Caution took the place of curiosity. “I don’t think I am going any further, this has to stop. I need to know what is going on and what all of this really means. So it’s best you talk!” I know that I am not really here and that it’s only a kind of astral travel. Seriously I didn’t know this was possible although there was much speculation about it. At this point I would much rather go ahead with you knowingly rather than just jump in so to speak.”

At this very juncture I was jolted back to so called reality…I was standing next to the books on the table…yes everything seemed normal except the books…something was different…the first one was no longer blank…!!!!!

 My brain went into a high speed whirl, I knew I was back in the present, but the book in front of me was fast filling with more pictures, the pages were turning of their own volition and all I could do was stare blankly at what was happening right there and then. Just then it struck me that this was way bigger than I would ever be able to handle and wondered who I could bring in as a support to help me unravel the mystery of the books…..

Right then there was the shrill ring of the bell. It sounded ominous to my ears and I felt my skin crawling….I walked towards the gate wondering what awaited me now.

As I walked ahead I saw a very wholesome lady, a typical house wife, a stranger now standing under the profusely flowering bougainvillea, a splash of bright pink dotted with some white flowers. She was admiring the creeper and turned as I neared her. Wearing an equally flowery dress she seemed a sweet little lady and I presumed that she had come to enquire about the classical music classes for her little ones.