“The cause of bandha and moksha (bondage and liberation) is our own minds. If we think we are bound, we are bound. If we think we are liberated, we are liberated. . . . It is only when we transcend the mind that we are free from all these troubles.
-Sri Swami Satchidananda
“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”
This little cluster of houses is in a remote region of the hills I live in. I had to trek on precarious slopes (no trails) to reach the house of a local godman.Running water? From the stream. Food and groceries? Cultivated from the land. Milk? From the domestic goats. TV? What is that? Cell phones? Yes, why not? After all, India is in the thralls of a telecom revolution.
This tree blooms once a year and only for a fortnight. There is only one of it in the vicinity. Its’ blooming is a source of joy for the locals and we tell our friends excitedly about the flowers. Each one of us converges on the tree with our cameras to capture the ephemeral event.
A Matryoshka doll is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other.
This doll of mine stays in a satin pouch most of the time, so treasured it is. It was a gift from my Russian teacher and it reminds me of the good times, when I was learning Russian, of the great friends I had and the idealism of the youth.
After the fall of the USSR, all things Russian were neglected in India, where before, even learning the language was encouraged. Now, with all funding of the institute I was studying at gone (Dr A V Baliga Institute of Russian Studies, Bhopal, India), a band of young students and professionals tried to do everything to save the language.
The doll signifies courage and persistence to me of those handful of people.