Saturday, March 15, 2008

When Bhuddha Meets Spidey

No , Jack Daniel was No Saint . But He did Started something of a Religon

Tagline of Jack Daniel Whiskey

In previous post I told you about my childhood fascination with Gautam Buddha and how I aspired to leave world in search of truth. I also mentioned that very soon I would be running out of my long-standing excuse of not going on the journey. Buddha was one influence.

There were few more Heroes of mine. Chacha Chaudhary, Super commando Dhruv, Oshin, Siddharth Basu, Vyomkesh Bakshi, & Spiderman. [ This is what happens when you spend most of your time in front of TV while your pals are playing "Gulli Danda" in street]. Out of all these characters Spiderman was the most influencing figure. So much so that my mom used to tell us that "if you don't complete your homework by 4:00 PM, I won't let you watch Spiderman" and I tell you there was not a single occasion when we missed it [provided that there was no power cut]. Such was the madness that my brother and me used to sing along the title song of that serial. We didn't actually know the lyrics but someone told us that toward the end of each stanza it says, "Here comes the Spiderman "and that was enough for us. We use to speak some gibberish all along just to say, "Here comes the Spiderman” just at the right time.

It was not just his superhero acts like casting web, punching hard, beating BAD guy and flying on threads, which made him my favorite. For me at least, part of his appeal was also due to the fact that his alter ego Peter Parker was a total loser in real life. Bullied by guys, good at studies, girls respected him but none of the damsels love him. I possessed exactly the same characteristic. [This respect Vs love problem is chronic in my life. will write a full post on it someday]. Anyway, so for a good part of my school life I was secretly wishing that one day some spider will bite me and I will morph in to some kind of superhero. But like rest of the females around me, females of spider species too, didn't find me worthy of a bite. All I was asking for was just one bite. Imagine how deprived of emotions they were [both spider and girls]...To hell with both of them...

At times I felt that teachings of Buddha & Spiderman were pulling me in opposite directions. Which was strange because I was under the impression that both of them were embodiment of the same principal." To think beyond your own narrow self interest, to think about your fellow human being and do something for them". But this knowledge doesn't make my quest any easier. Then one day while I was having a beer I had a flash of insight. [This usually happen after third bottle but that it happened on after first, so I have good reason to believe that there was more to it than just alcohol]. I wonder what would Buddha would have thought about Spiderman’s way of saving the world .so for last few weeks I was having this strange urge to imagine how a meeting Between Buddha and Spidey will go.

Than one night I had a dream and in the dream I saw Buddha and Spidey Talking to each other. [Trust me on this. I am not making this up. I actually had a dream. And Spidey looked a lot like me]. Like Carry Grant and Deborah Kerr, & Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan they were having this conversation on top of Empire state building. It was well past midnight [Which makes perfect sense since only watchman, BPO workers & super heroes work in the night]. Here is what little I remember of the conversation.

[Spidey]: " So you are Buddha."
[Buddha]: (Smiling) " Yes, I am. But not for you Peter .You can call me Siddhartha"
[Spidey]: Siddhartha, Ah that’s Better. But hey wait a minute. How do you know I am Peter?? . Oh never mind you are god you know everything.
[Buddha]: (Smiling) You can say that. I know a lot more than that.
[Spidey] :Of course you do. What brings you to New York?
[Buddha] :I am everywhere.
[Spidey]: [Smirking] All right .............Why you choose to talk to me? Why now?
[Buddha]: Well I want that we should work together. I believe we can do a lot of good to the world if we come together.
[Spidey]: <>
[Buddha]: [Amused] what is the matter? You think it’s not a good idea?
[Spidey]: Ah. Oh No it’s not like that Holy man.
[Buddha]: Then what is it?
[Spidey]: Well you will find it funny but last time some one asked me to team up with him was when I was talking to ...
[Buddha]: [interrupts] Norman Osborn ...The infamous Green Goblin.
[Spidey] :Oh so you know. Are you watching those stupid movies? Do you actually Buy Tickets??
[Buddha]: [smiling] You are forgetting something Peter! I am Buddha.
[Spidey] :Oh ya how can I do that ...YOU ARE All knowing All seeing,"No-Need to Buy Ticket " Holy Buddha.
[Buddha]: [Laughs] so what you think of my proposal. Lets work together.
[Spidey]: Well I am touched and honored by the offer but it won't be possible? I can't leave New York
[Buddha]: Why??
[Spidey]: Mary Jane.
[Buddha] :Oh. She is a sweet child.
[Spidey] :Oh you know her too. Nice. So you know I can't leave her
[Buddha]: And you can refuse this offer??
[Spidey] :I have no choice.
[Buddha]: Talk sense Peter, I gave up my family for the cause .I am not asking you to do the same.You can always stay in touch over cell phone and we will be coming to New York once is a while ".
[Spidey] :Its Not that easy Holy Man .You doesn’t understand. Time has changed. Long distance relationships don’t work. You will find me on phone all the time. How will I fight the evil of world with one hand??
[Buddha]: Umm...I will buy you a Bluetooth headset.
[Spidey]: Nice try. But it won't work.
[Buddha]: [Irritated] Are you telling me that you will pass on the opportunity to work with me because you can't stand a long distance relationship?
[Spidey] :In a way, Yes.
[Buddha]: You are no super hero
[Spidey]: May be. But at least I won't abandon my wife and family in night like you.
[Buddha]: That was below the belt Peter
[Spidey] :I don't see any belt on your dress
[Buddha] :It's not you. Its Mary Jane speaking in your voice.
[Spidey] :Oh! so you know that too. ...[Rolls his eyes]
[Spidey] :I am sorry Holy man! Please don't be upset. Your cause won't suffer because of my not being with you.
[Buddha] :I AM upset Peter. I need someone to reposition my teachings, to make them more relevant to this generation. And you are just the right Brand Ambassador.
[Spidey]: May be you can go to London and talk to Superman.
[Buddha]: Don’t tell me what to do. I am upset with you. I curse you that in next life you will suffer a long distance relationship.
[Spidey]: No! Holy man, don’t do that.
[Buddha]: You made your choice Peter. I can't take my words back.
[Spidey]: Holy man, don’t do that. What would I do?
[Buddha]: Relax Peter, you are a good guy. You will figure out a way. Remember what you said in the last scene of the fist movie on your life
[Spidey]: What?
[Buddha]: Remember…and you will find your answer. Take care and keep on doing the great work. My blessings are with you.
--------------------------Buddha Vanishes -----------------------------
[Spidey]: [walking and thinking] What did I said in the last scene of Spiderman Part 1. Damn... I shouldn't have slept in movie hall. What was it? Should I call Marry Jane?? No. She will be furious to know that I was sleeping. Gotta think of something else. God Help me...[Looks Up to sky]

[Off screen voice of God] whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-man.

[Spidey]: Looks up in sky. Picks up his mask and says to himself: Who am I? I'm Spider-man.

At that moment my dream was broken. I was woken up by the sound of my cell phone. My girlfriend was calling. We had a pleasant conversation. I didn't mention about this dream. For many days to come I was thinking what Spidey would have done after that? I wish that I have the dream again and see the sequel. But it has not happened.

Then one day I found the answer at most unsuspecting place .In a sketchbook. I was having a dinner with my friend Sunandini Basu (AKA Soo). There I happened to see her sketchbook. She seems to have a fixation with another hero. Superman. There was some sketch that showed what possibly could have happened to Spidey after that meeting. I am reproducing it here with her permission.

So now its clear to me that in spite of common goal Buddha and Spidey cannot go hand in hand. But does that make anything easy? No. Moral of the story?

There is no moral I guess. You can't be Spidey and you can't be Buddha either. I will have to search for a new hero. How about being Prashant? Or Sunandini [for girls]. Does that sound like name of a Superhero???

Note: Regular Reader of my Blog might notice a spectacular rise in grammar Accuracy in this post . my Girlfriend did a proofreading of the draft of this post . Sso if you are having a sigh of relief because of lack of spelling and grammar mistakes on this blog than you know whom to Thanks :-)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Understanding The Making Of Buddha

As a little boy living up in a small city in Rajasthan I grew up in a blissful ignorance . Life was simple . I used to go to scholl, read two -three news papers everyday after lunch and used to play some street games after finishing my homework.

I was kinda shielded from all the cognitive overload children face today .I didn't have to go to tuitions,hobby classes,English speaking class or some other crap like that . I used to read what I like . Ours is not a family of great scholars like the one you find in Calcutta ,not by any stretch of imagination. But three of my Bhua( My Dad's sister) were doing their Graduation and post graduation in Hindi and Social science . My mother has an Masters Degree in Hindi. I inherited my taste in reading from her. so i was somewhat familiar with the Hindi literature .

we had an old store room on second floor of our house where there was a BIG stack of books .On weekends,specially on summer weekends when there was no electricity I used to go to that old room (when everyone else used to be asleep) and used to read some stuff . One of my fave book was a book about Gautam Buddha . Not a religious scripture or something but just a story in great details of his life . I was fascinated by the life of Gautam Buddha . I didn't understood it completely but I was hooked . later on I also read some poems about Yashodhara , written by Maithali sharan Gupt. Yashodhara was Siddharth's Wife . Thanks to my govt school education and understanding of hindi I was able to enjoy it very very much . (thankfully few of them are also available online for free .you can read it Here Here & Here ) .

Anyways, back to Gautam Buddha . I am sure each one of you know the story . I was fascinated by the tale and wanted to do something like that . But irony of life ....I was never able to leave home in search of truth . I seriously thought of doing that more than few times in my life . but I never took any concrete action . I was afraid of dark, didn't had much pocket money , and hell I was not married to a pretty lady like Yahsodhara at the age of 16 and other stupid rationalization like that.But I was firm determined that some day I will go on the voyage of my life .

Biggest rationalization of all was that even Siddharth set out on this journey at the age of 29.
I was only 13 -14 year of age. I thought ,I still have time .I started using this time for various activity like hunting for dates, trying to study , planing trips , juggling various identities forced upon me and ofcourse reading and writing blog.

But every now and than , whenever I saw the futility and worthlessness of my existence , whenever I have to face the fact that I am not doing anything which would make "a dent in universe " . I used too tell myself "Hey !! at my age it was same for Gautam Buddha" .

But not anymore . I will turn 30 this month . :)

I love to believe that I have seen a lot in life . but it seems that "a lot " by my standards is not enough . I have seen suffering , I have seen hope, I have seen mirth , I have seen depression , I have seen action. I have seen innocence , I have seen perverted minds, have seen self sufficiency of accomplishment , I have seen our need to celebrate by sharing .But still I haven't achieved the critical mass to break free and set out on a voyage in search of truth . I wonder if I will ever be able to do that.

What is it that I lack and Siddharth possessed which gave him the courage to make a difference ? was he destined to do what he did ? i don't think so . i am religious but not a big believer in the theory that everything is planed and we are just puppets .

What do you think ?? Please share your views with me . I was thinking about it for quiet some time and i hit upon a somewhat different explanation for this . i am refining it right now . will be sharing them in next post. till than please tell your thoughts

To be continued............