The ‘bedrock’ of my philosophy and theory of change is to have regular coffee dates with Suruchi Aulakh.
All social change is abstract, dreamy and based on the stories I tell myself and others. The same “change” can be explained in many different ways, each passing credit to someone or the other. Similarly I can look at any betterment and feel like I “did” it (and internally congratulate myself). I can also tell very sophisticated stories to others and convince them I did something valuable.
These are all games and they are fun to play. In the larger and absolutely mysterious Universe, frankly speaking, I don’t have too much of a clue what’s going on and even lesser certainty that I understand (I don’t actually), Then any claims of creating change of making a difference can feel so grandiose!
The coffee, on the other hand is real. My nearest living human being is right here next time me. And while a huge part of my life, my time and my experiences are private, there is still this space where I can reach out and make a tiny part of that experience common.
Each of us is a galaxy unto ourselves — and the rate at which we are able to do intergalactic communication is probably the rate at which we are able to really come together as one in a relationship (okay its not so bad I guess!)
The coffee for me is very real. The conversation is beautiful. The feeling of connection and oneness in a fragmented world is priceless. The bubble of slowness in the middle of a Mumbai thats rushing to get to somewhere is a joy to be relished and cherished.
Love is real.
If over this lifetime, I am able to give an honest attempt to making one local relationship work, as fully and as deeply as I can, I think that’s quite a lot. More than what I can accomplish, mostly.
Internally it is easy to delude myself that I have some awareness, wisdom or awakening. But it is only in the crucible of a relationship that I really discover who I am, what are my shadows and what are my real limits.
I go out and do whatever I can to contribute to making the world ‘better’. All of it comes back to the coffee conversation, our local study circle that attempts to reach full consent between two people. Just two people moving with full consent — that in itself is so difficult. There is so much of a space to practice non violence right there.
My frentor (friend-mentor) Rooshikumar Pandya used to tell me “ek saadhe sab sadhe, sab saadhe sab jaye” — the absolutely imperfect translation of which is, if you honour One, everything gets honoured but if you try to go after everything, all is lost. (That was also a time when I was “unfocussed”)
In my coffee with Sur, I’ve chosen my ek — the one connecting thread that I hold onto. And I guess it doesnt matter what that one thread is — for each of us it can vary. The joy of holding that and continuing to unravel the depths of human connection, the sheer difference of human experience between two close people and peeling the layers and layers of our conditioning….that work, that work is the work of a lifetime.