Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good Grief!

I always thought grief should be something private.
Something which should not be shared with others.
Something which should be put behind you in the shortest possible time.
This was one reason why I used to be very cynical when people had funerals spread over 07 days with the entire neighborhood inside their house. In fact I was always for the short dead today and buried today or at least by tomorrow kind of funeral.
However having a chat with two psychologists changed my perception completely.
There I learnt that the entire village coming to you over a long period of time was the ultimate group love exercise. It was the ultimate support group. A giant shoulder to lean on during a time when someone needed it most. And the extended period of time helps the person to grieve properly and get it out of their system. Amazingly people who have this kind of support find it extremely therapeutic and thereby avoid falling into depression or committing suicide.
In fact during the Tsunami they say Sri Lanka’s figures of people who were able to cope without falling into deep depression was the best in the regions which were affected.
Isn’t tradition amazing? 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Terribly Beautiful road less taken…..

One road ends and another begins
 First I thought of it as just a rumor - this was many decades ago – as people were talking about a track which connects Puttlam to Mannar going through the jungles. Where one could run into elephants or bear and sometimes the roads were impassable. To me it was enticing as listening to a tale from the Arabian Nights. As time went by there were more whispers and then information began to trickle in about this track which has transformed into a road. Of course I could only listen as there was no way I could go down this road due to the LTTE problem. My fascination with this road grew even more when I read about it in Nihal Silva’s famous book “The Road to Elephant Pass”.
It has been many years since the war was over. I had traversed through sections of this road on many excursions to the Wilpattu park – you cross this road to go to Kudiramalai point - it is only recently that I got an opportunity to drive through the entire length of the Mannar Potuvil road.
It was a dream that was about to come true.
We arrived in Puttlam and drove straight through via Eluvankulama. It is a picturesque drive. There is not much traffic and with each mile you see civilization disappear and nature take over. At one point the well carpeted road ends abruptly and from there on it’s a dirt road. You drive a couple of kilometers more and you come to a navy camp near a beautiful stream which is actually the boundary of the Wilpattu Park.
 As the road goes through the park there is also a barrier manned by staff from the department of wild life.
It was here that my dream nearly got shattered to smithereens.
Because they closed the road at 5 o’ clock!!!
We did not know that! Damn it! And no one told us that!
We looked at our watches. It was 5.45
Our hearts sank with the setting sun.
Firstly we looked forward to experiencing this drive. Secondly if we were to turn back to Puttlam and go on the Anruadhapura road it would delay us by at least three four hours.
What were we to do?
I could understand the reasoning behind the road being closed at 5 by the Department of Wild Life. After all this was the best way to ensure that the lives of animals were not endangered.
But darn…. We sure were going to be screwed.
Fortunately for us the two rangers on duty took pity on us and allowed us to go through with strict instructions to not speed.
It was forty odd kilometers of sheer bliss. You drove through thick jungle. Fortunately for us the roads were not too muddy but the drive was bumpy. 
The jungle from my window
Tough roads
Nevertheless it was a wonderful experience even though we did not come across any elephants.
It was a slow drive with an average speed of less than 20 kilometers per hour. It took us a good two hours and a bit more to emerge from the Mannar end. We heaved a huge sigh of relief when we did. Because if the vehicle broke down or got stuck then we would have been stranded. And with no cell phone coverage that’s a scary eventuality to even think of.
Fortunately my trusty wheels did not let me down and I am alive to tell the tale.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

478 – A simple breathing technique for people with sleep complications.

I could not believe it when I read this.. I have heard of 420 but never 478.
It was too simple to be true.
A breathing sequence which takes less than two minutes to perform enabling you to enjoy undisturbed blissful sleep for a complete night.
Not that I have problems sleeping but there are many nights which I am tossing and turning instead of snoring away.
So I thought I would give it a try.
All you do is lie back. Breath in to the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 7 and then exhale to the count of 8. You are supposed to do this 4 times continuously but not exceed 6 times at any given moment.

It works. I kid you not it works. I switch off like a light and then I wake up eight hours later completely refreshed.
In fact I have shared this with some of my friends. And those who have not dismissed it as some mumbo jumbo tell me they have experienced the same sleep benefits.
I know it is difficult to imagine. But it sure is worth trying.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Kumare – Unveiling the truth through a lie.

I always wondered what it would be like to be a guru.
Would it help you to get laid more? Would people believe you? Would the follow you?
It seems I am not alone. But this guy – Vikram Ghandi – actually put the thoughts into action.
He disguised himself as a Guru. Being a boy who has grown up in New Jersey it would have been quite a difficult act for him to put off. But he succeeded.
I can’t remember how I came across they documentary Kumare. But in all probability it was through my fb feed. Anyway once I started watching Kumare I could not stop.
I first thought this would be an exceedingly funny comedy. In the same ilk of “The Dictator” and “The Guru”. Watching the trailer of this documentary gives you that idea.
However it is quite far from the truth.
In fact this is quite a serious documentary with some extremely funny bits and quite an emotional ending.
Since Vikram has been in the communication business I found it more appealing and relevant to me.
But anyways it is well worth watching if you can spare 90 minutes of your time. If you can’t at least see the TED talk he gave.
I learnt something. Maybe you might too.