24 Jun 2018 19:58 IST

Have you looked in the mirror lately?

Photo credit: iStock

It’s a good exercise. It reminds us who on earth we are and what the hell we’re doing

As someone remarked on one of the numerous WhatsApp groups that each one of us is willy-nilly a part of: It looks like a crime scene. This comment was made with reference to a picture of a former Prime Minister and politician from Karnataka who at regular intervals offers his services to the nation in any capacity, preferably as PM.

The occasion was June 21: Yoga Day or whatever its official moniker is. The place was his bedroom. The protagonist was spread-eagled atop a sinky-feely bed. The action was a yoga pose, a body twist. Ranged on one side of the aforesaid prop were a host of photographers all going flash-bang-wallop as, presumably, the protagonist slow-motioned his way through various arrangements of his anatomy. In the picture it appears to be pretty serious business, literally. There’s not a smile on a face.

Kudos to the gentleman: he sure gave an eyeballs fight to the current C-in-C whose photographs showing him bending forwards, backwards, allawards adorned various front and middle pages. He was probably on television as well but as I have developed a physical distaste for news channels with their screaming matches and blatant bullying and hell-for-leather propaganda, I wouldn’t know. But I can guess.

So, yes, it looked rather like a crime scene — with one significant difference. The beholders were the victims: of shock and awe, or simple amusement. Really! The lengths to which people will go to be in the news.

Mirror image

Now, I have nothing against yoga. In fact, I’m all for it, if you want it, that is. As far as I’m concerned it’s good exercise, the breathing regimen give you energy, the even pace of the process helps you revisit the frenetic madness of life on the road today and rethink the course your life’s taking. And, on balance, if it’s considered a good thing, there’s no harm promoting it. Let’s all be healthy together.

It makes sense for a Ramdev to be seen and shown to be doing his convoluted asanas because, let’s face it, he’s pretty fit. Clearly, his brain’s fit too else how would he have managed to set up and run a successful business empire all saffron. Yoga has certainly paid him dividends. When he looks in the mirror, that’s what he sees. Remember Dhirendra Brahmachari? I’ll let you check that one out yourselves. One clue: he was Indira Gandhi’s yoga mentor. Masters such as BKS Iyengar were among the leading yoga teachers of the world. There have been poseurs too.

I remember my mother telling me when I was really small and very very angry once: “Look in the mirror. Tell me if you like what you see?” I did. And I didn’t. And I hope I understood that there was a lesson to be learned there.

I understood another thing too. I understood that it’s not just the mirror in my room that my mother was talking about. Not just the polished surface that reflects my image. Or one in which you can see other images reflected. Or even surfaces that distort images. Or multiple mirrors (think Enter the Dragon).

She was talking about the effect of one’s actions upon another person, upon other persons. That mirror. Which is never faithful to the original but is always influenced by its own predilections and predisposition. That mirror. The mirror that sees what it sees: nothing, something, everything. That mirror. A mirror no one can ever get to conform, no matter where they hide or how desperately they seek attention, because there will always be the one that gets away. Sees its own thing. Has its own say.

We can live lives parallel to these mirrors. Or we can engage with them to learn about ourselves and the world, ourselves in the world, the world itself and everything on it, and so on and so forth. We can approach them with our questions and cast about for solutions. They can show us miracles and lead us through mysteries, they can throw light on problems, and sometimes be the problems themselves.

You and I

You do know what I’m talking about, right? I’m talking about you. And you. The network of you and I. All of us. Each other. The entire living world, man and nature, and even the man made and the yet to be made. For this ecosystem to hold and endure, we have to listen and respond. It’s give and take. Sometimes this happens at the macro level. Sometimes it simply means knowing where to draw the line.

All I’m saying is, let your experiences show in the work you do or the things you say so that they resonate joyfully and positively in the universe. Teach, we’re ready to learn. Share, we’re prepared to listen. Lead, maybe we’re even ready to follow. But know when to let go. Leave your yoga in bed if that’s where it belongs. Spare us the crime scenes — there’s enough to cope with already in the real world. Spare us the victimhood.

So what we’re talking about is what’s private and what’s not, right? What must be taken seriously and what not? But what if it’s really funny?