By the Humber

Around Father’s Day 2021

The gigantic tension before the shooting of an arrow, and the total relaxation seconds later, is my way of connecting to the universe.

Paulo Coelho

Exploring traditions by the Humber

On reading the above words of Coelho , I recalled the meditation taught to me by my father- in which he told about meditation being like the holding of a bow – and would regularly meditate daily for twenty minutes morning and evening .

While talking to friends from different spiritual traditions, I came to know different ways of approaching the universal spirit and energy.

MY FATHER PNB

Lake Ontario- Readings at Port Credit- Brueckner Rhododendron garden – June 2021

A child who lost his mother before he was five , he grew up in Shimla , the summer capital of British India .

We as a family would go for trips to Shimla , when we were staying in Pune in the 1970 s . He introduced me to the rhythm of the Himalayas, and the magic of the morning hour when night turns into day .

He would get up before that hour and exercise, study, and pray.

THE HOME LIBRARY

Lake Huron – Tobermory- The northern most point of the Bruce Trail

We started our home library with an encyclopedia in the early 1970 s .

The gift of the love of the written word was passed on to me by my parents.

Through many readings, book discussions and meditations our family has evolved into living in Ontario now.

As the mind’s eye goes back to the origins of our family in the Garhwal Himalayas the spirit and aspirations of some seekers came to mind.

Walks in and around Shimla , prayers at Hill Temples like Jakhu , Tara Devi and around Laxman Jhula area of Rishikesh,

and trips further up to Badrinath Kedarnath added to our understanding of the spiritual traditions.

2016- Karanprayag – Garhwal Himalayas- with Mamaji (Sudhir Bahuguna) – a fellow walker

This blend of nature and meditation made us realize the truth in some words of seekers who have gone through this path before.

The words of Alexandra David-Ne’el as quoted in Robert Twigger’s book ‘ White mountain ‘ summarize some of these walks and meditations

“ Instead of focussing on wealth creation and making labour saving inventions , the people of the Himalayas have concentrated on psychic development.

In special monasteries- mastery over breathing and mind is developed using symbols, mantras, and long periods of concentration. And long periods of walking. “

BY THE HUMBER TRAILS

Last week met a friend, a seeker who has walked the Humber trails for over half a century, and witnessed the evolution of the city.

He has sought psychic development over many walks .

In some ways , the energy of the universe, and our connections to each other and the universal spirit came alive as we talked about Generations and their impacts through decades.

“ If I cannot get far I just go around ten fifteen kilometres from the city to be with my inner self and connect with the universal spirit “ my friend told me as we walked quietly along the Humber.

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Readers and Walkers – Remembering my uncle – a great mentor

Port Credit Mississauga-
One of our Thinking places
Reading in the open is different from reading in a closed space- some lessons I learned from my uncle

If a farmer who lived in 1000 AD woke up in 1500 AD he would still identify with many elements of life in medieval Europe or Asia . But if a farmer or factory worker of Delhi Agra or Toronto or Paris of 1500 woke up to the ring tone of a smartphone in 21 st century, he may be very surprised and wonder whether he has woken up in Heaven ( or Hell) .

( paraphrased for discussion from Yuval Harari’s book – Sapiens for an afternoon discussion over samosas in Erindale park Mississauga- May 29-2021)

Burloak Waterfront – Burlington Ontario
Morning meditations

A FEW MOMENTS MORE

As we sat on the banks of Credit river and the historic Erindale region of Mississauga, the mind’s eye went back to my uncle, who through his example over the decades, taught me about nurturing a library, building a reading journal and weaving it with walks near rivers ( Ganga Rishikesh- India we started these walks in 1970 s )

WALKERS AND READERS


Ramjhula – Rishikesh – Uttarakhand
2006
Evening prayers meditations

My father and maternal grandfather gave me the gift of the morning hour when night turns into day.

IN RISHIKESH AREA – INDIA -1970s 80s

My uncles helped refine these walks through trips to Landour Mussoorie ( Uttarakhand India ) and Ramjhula – Laxman Jhula areas of Rishikesh.

Reading the same book in the open ( a park, mountain, riverside, lake) is a different experience than reading it sitting in a closed space ( room, library, bus, train)

So as my uncle passed to the other side Eternity- till we meet and read together again, I went through some pages of Rain in the Mountains by Ruskin Bond

– books which we read and loved together .

BIOGRAPHIES

People we love become part of our biographies

Certainly we retain memories of that individual- memories that continue to inform , advise and guide us. Memories also nurture and warm our very being.

People we love become part of our biographies.

We cannot really separate ourselves from them. They have left an indelible mark on who we are, how we see ourselves. Being my sister and brother’s kid brother, as well as my mother and father’s son, help define the person I have become

( Paraphrased from Dr K Doka’s book – Grief is a journey)

Our readings and walks continue

READINGS – At Forks of Credit Ontario

From The Road Less Traveled – M Scott Peck

The lessons continue

Whenever I will read in the open, I will remember and feel your presence

Ontario Walks 2021- Jan
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Mysterious persons : discussions on Bruce Trail Tobermory

How does the world look like, feel to the

character

This is one of the purposes of description

Professor Tim Spurgin- Art of Reading

Bruce Trail National Park – Tobermory
Having a Thinking place and making the time to go there helps in Thinking

As we walked through the woods of Bruce National Park – Tobermory , Sahil and I talked about the mother, as remembered by her daughter in the Alice Munro story – Friend of my youth

THE REALLY MYSTERIOUS PERSON

To me the really mysterious person in the story, as my mother told it, was Robert

Alice Munro – Friend of my Youth

This week I finally got the offer to give the Citizenship test of Canada.

Reflected on the many journeys walks we have made as a family as we took some time off from Mississauga and went to Tobermory.

The Bobcageon retreats in 2020- August and Niagara retreat of 2021- February have been refined further. In these retreats we have a relook at some literature as a way to see the world, through the eyes of a character in a story.

Beginnings 2003 – September Tripoli Libya

I first left India in 2003- September to work for a year in Tripoli Libya. I stayed on for thirteen years .

In those years I made friends with Diaspora from India and other countries, and developed close friendships with local Libyans who supported, guided me in my work and life.

One of my friends from this period who helped me see the world through different lenses helped show the power of attending a community service regularly

Over many cups of coffee and cake he showed me layers of reality in different construction projects he has participated in – over the decades.

“ I saw the Shah being ousted in Iran,(1979), Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait (1991) and the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya( 2011) “ he shared his insights, while we sat in Dahra Tripoli , after attending the Friday Mass at San Francisco church .

The congregation was led by Bishop Giovanni Martenelli ( Born Feb 5-1942 Italian Libya Died Dec 30-2019 Saccolongo Italy) those days

Suggested further readings

Remembering St Augustine of Hippo

Walks in Malta 2020-12

St Edward’s college, Cottonera , established 1929. Sagar and Sahil studies here 2010 to 2012

The family stayed in Sweiqi Malta for two years .

These years we became part of the Diaspora in Malta and learned from veterans of the Indian community who left British India when partition / independence happened and settled in the Mediterranean.

These veterans taught through their examples many layers which go into forming identities, keeping the legacy

Suggested further reading


Walks with Vaswani Family

Father’s day – Floriana Malta – 2012- June

Conversations in Identity

Xlendi Gozo Malta – 2010-12

Brothers exploring Horizons together

MISSISSAUGA ONTARIO 2021- July

In the initial years we spent lovely hours reading and discussing nuances of stories of authors such as Alice Munro, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nadine Gordimer

Sahil with PB – St Edward’s College Cottonera
Malta 2011

Oh, she understood: the blacks, do they know, are they grateful to whites who endanger their own lives for them. So that was the set of tracks along which this one’s mind trundled; there were others who came up to her, sweating and pitched to their greatest intensity, Miss Burger you don’t know me but I want to tell you, the government calls him a Communist but your father is God’s man, the holy spirit of our Lord is in him, that’s why he is being persecuted.

Burger’s Daughter- Nadine Gordimer

A DAUGHTER REMEMBERS

2014- Port Credit Mississauga
The arc of development of characters.Did Shylock change during the play Merchant of Venice? Did Falstaff change in Henry V? Or did they remain the same but due to their inflexibility their relationship to structures of Power in society change?
2004- Ghadames Libya

Dissecting the nuances of the Libyan short story and discussing works of Africa like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Answering the Call – A book on the life of Albert Schweitzer are part of our journeys together

This week , we went through some walks , stories and memories- as I remembered the first time I left India in Sep 2003 for Libya. Literature and keeping a “ Reading Journal “ have been a source of solace and gaining insights.

As we walked through the woods and touched upon the character Robert in the Alice Munro story – Friends of my youth- we reflected upon how the world looks like and feels to different characters.

The Lake Huron looks different from the Groto , and so do the stories we have read, reflected upon and discussed over the years.

END NOTE – Thanksgiving to the

literature teachers

The Northern most point of the Bruce trail

Sahil talked about the teachers like Mr Blake ( English Gordon Graydon Mississauga 2018)

while I remembered teachers like Mrs Mulay , ( Kendriya Vidyalaya Southern Command – KVSC – Pune India 1981) who helped us to develop the love of the written word.

The Cameronians

THE CAMERONIANS, I have discovered, are or were an uncompromising remnant of the Covenanters –those Scots who in the seventeenth century bound themselves, with God, to resist prayer books, bishops, any taint of popery or interference by the King. Their name comes from Richard Cameron, an outlawed, or “field,” preacher, soon cut down.

Alice Munro – Friends of my Youth

As we walked in the northern most point of the Bruce trail – listening to the whispers of breeze through the trees in the forest- we remembered and discussed some characters, how they viewed the world and how they changed ( or did not change) as the story progressed.

Musings on our journeys together

Bruce Trail Tobermory
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