Have few desires.”
~ Lao Tzu
I crave for human experiences in daily life, places I visit and people I encounter. “How’s the weather?” “Hi how are you?” the general small talk of the mundane has never interested me and perhaps, the people who live around me possibly find me stuck up because I don’t indulge in small talk.
I have always found it hard to mingle in a society where women come down to chat with make up on and clothes of quality I would never be seen in unless it’s an occasion that is considered to be “important”. I’m comfortable in the same T-shirt for the last decade in spite of the holes that let the air come in the sweltering heat in India.
The Bible says never judge a book by the cover, but my Mother who’s a daily churchgoer, can’t seem to get past the starting few pages of the book. That doesn’t make every churchgoer the same, but the superficial has always held a special place for her, the clothes you wear how well-kept your hair is and how monetarily successful you are in society.
Philosophers like Steiner say that you choose your parents or the family that you need to fuel your existence. If that’s true they sure have catalyzed me into being the person that I am, the material facade collapses in front of my eyes to reveal what’s hidden beneath.
With our regimes across the world hell-bent on keeping control with divisive politics, with people lapping it up quenching their starved moralities, feeling frustrated and out of place in a world divided based on hate, its getting more difficult to find a place that homes my yearning soul.
The counter culture movements now have a culture of their own, the beads, the groovy t shirts, tattoos, vegan food, raves, whatever it comes down to, each one seems to be heavily integrated into a consumerism based system that does not provide a sustainable alternative but feeds on the remains of this planet.
The truth is the new whatever it may be, is just another repackaged ploy to keep this broken system functioning.
Our lost connections with each other based on the notions of religion, food, countries, colour stem from years and years of conditions, through media, books and even our education.
Finding an escape from the conditioned masses, a place where inner beauty is regarded more highly than the clothes you have on, a place where interactions are not based on the monetary value, but originate from a place of love.
With the current tumult, not just in India but most parts of the world, I found a place where my soul could call home.
A Home for the Soul
“The Master said, “A true gentleman is one who has set his heart upon the Way. A fellow who is ashamed merely of shabby clothing or modest meals is not even worth conversing with.” (Analects 4.9)”
Nako, a village in Spiti, Northern India, is a cold desert. The landscape is filled with brown, barren mountains and snow-capped peaks, making living here a challenge for the locals.
Although the villages manage to grow a few crops to sustain themselves, but the future is uncertain. It has a population of under 500 people and a monastery that is dated to 1025. The village was completely disconnected from the rest of the country, and it was only connected post 1960 because of the India-China War.
Walking down every narrow lane in the tiny village of Nako reminds you of divine simplicity. I don’t know how else to say it, the houses are simple and every one of them has symbols, stones and other elements to remind you of a higher power above us.