Archive for 2012

Black Spot

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2012 by javedbabar

Gemma said, “Mr Amin, have you seen what’s happened in the Temple?” Being the manager of Open Hearts seniors daycare centre had its challenges and Gemma was one of them. She always complained about something – the food, the staff, the decor, and now the Temple. What a shame really. The Temple was a place where people came together regardless of differences, yet even that was a target.

“What has happened, Gemma?”

“A black spot,” she said emphatically. “A black spot has appeared. I don’t know what else to call it. A nobby. A circle filled with black paint. That’s what.”

A range of black spots dotted Mr Amin’s mind. A piece of paper given to pirates as a verdict of guilt. A fungus causing rose diseases. An accident-prone section of motorway. Parasitic cysts on fish. Night attack aircraft used in Vietnam. During his time as Northern India’s Minister of Culture, he recalled discussions about buying some from the US government; their low light level radar was revolutionary. “And what is your issue with this black spot?” he said. “There are many signs in the Temple. It is a place of free worship.”

“The other signs are holy symbols,” she said. “That sign is creepy.”

“But didn’t you knit that sign for Guru Baba?” he said. A week before, Gemma had made hats for Guru Baba’s disciples, each with a different symbol. One had featured a black spot.

“Yes but that was a pattern on clothing,” she said. “Not something to worship. Are you going to remove it?”

“The Temple is for everyone,” he said. “If someone has installed a meaningful sign, we should keep it there. It’s not offensive.”

Gemma looked annoyed and returned to her knitting. Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK. Mr Amin thought that he’d better take a look. James was in the Temple sitting quietly. Mr Amin nodded a greeting despite knowing that he would not react. This second – or was it his third – stroke had made him unresponsive. He now just sat wherever he was, looking straight ahead. Mr Amin however always greeted people. It was simply good manners.

The Black Spot was a perfect dark dot, nestled between glowing holy symbols. These included a silver Cross, a shiny blue Star of David, sparkly green Crescent Moon, glittery OM in saffron, dark blue Khanda, red Dharmic Wheel, pale blue Cofucian Water sign, purple Torii Gate, white Pentagram, seven pointed Bahai Star, and Taijitu. The black spot seemed to be pulsating. Mr. Amin rubbed his eyes. It was appearing and disappearing. It was just an optical illusion though. When you stare at anything for too long it fills your vision and continues to exist even when you look away. Mr Amin nodded to James again as he left.

Gemma didn’t mention the Black Spot again, and Mr Amin thought that the matter was settled. She must have accepted it.

Mr Amin visited the Temple weekly to meditate upon the holy signs. He was most drawn to the OM sign – feeling its potent vibrations first fill his eyes, then his head, his mind, and the world. But he was also moved by other signs. The Cross centred him, the Star of David pointed up and down, to heaven and earth, the Crescent Moon ruled nature’s cycles, the Khanda’s swords inspired bravery, the Dharmic Wheel spoke of non-attachment, the Confucian water sign symbolized duty, the Torii gate allowed rebirth, the Pentagram bore magic, the Bahai Star held unity, and the Taijitu symbol revealed the essential complementarity of  the “ten thousand things”. And what about the Black Dot – what did that mean?

Mr Amin saw that it wasn’t there. Had Gemma removed it? Maybe somebody else had. He would find out who did it. What a shame, he had been looking forward to including it in his meditation.

Later that day James shuffled into the Temple. He settled into his usual comfortable brown chair. His motions were limited and it was hard to adjust his body. The plastic one was too hard on his back and he sometimes slipped while visualizing. The comfy chair kept him stable. He stared daily into the constellation of symbols before him, and manifested his own one. His favourite. The Midnight Sun, or Black Light, known to mystics worldwide. The union of opposites. The synthesis of impossibilities. The light of the underworld. The womb and tomb. The power of belief. The light born of darkness, known as Hope. James made the Black Spot real.

Mining Data

Posted in Global Travel, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by javedbabar

Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak. Gemma’s knitting was getting on his nerves today, and Mr Amin wondered why. She was usually a quiet presence in the corner of the lounge and her daily knitting was reassuring – something small and progressive in a huge unstable world. He liked to watch her knitting and purling, creating new patterns on new garments to enrich people’s lives. There were hats and socks and sometimes jumpers. Mr Amin saw that her knitting style was changing. Each stitch was smaller and tighter, as if pulled into itself, and she was working faster. He wondered whether she was working towards some crazy knitting goal, or it was just natural progression of skill

James seemed to be unsettled. Mr Amin said, “How are you doing today?” James didn’t respond directly but rolled his eyes and his head gave a shudder. Something was bothering him. When someone is the victim of a serious stroke, it’s hard to say what. Mr Amin held his hand briefly and said, “Be well, James. Be well.” He wondered what people did to end up like this. Was Karma just?

“What are you doing to him?” said Gemma, looking up from her knitting without speed or rhythm wavering. “He won’t respond to you. Why do you bother?”

Her insensitivity annoyed Mr Amin but she couldn’t rile a trained diplomat so easily. He said, “It’s always worth bothering with people, Gemma. You never really know how you will affect them, so I feel it is best to treat people kindly, and what happens after that is beyond my control.”

Gemma said, “Huh!” and clicked her needles more loudly. Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK.

He felt that he had better sooth her too, saying, “What are you making Gemma? Is it a hat?”

She brightened at the opportunity to talk about herself. “Yes it is. I sell them to Guru Baba’s disciples. Because of my career as a math teacher, I know about sacred geometry, it’s just combinations of shapes. They want a set of twelve hats with holy symbols. This one has OM.”

“What about the others? What’s on those?”

“Well, here’s my list. There’s OM right here, then a Cross, Star of David, Crescent Moon, Dharma Wheel, Khanda, Taijitu, Water symbol, Torii Gate, Bahai Star, Pentagram, and Black Sun, the symbol of mystics.”

Mr Amin thought back to his father’s funeral forty two years ago, with OM’s and swastikas chalked around the pyre. His father had risen from a small village to become Northern India’s Minister of Culture, a wonderful model for social mobility. He had become very wealthy and had the ability to get anything done, even the impossible – like freeing up land for power projects. Imagine if the dams and drilling hadn’t gone through – India’s development would have been hampered. Despite Mr Amin and his brothers finding daily blackouts exciting, in later years he felt sad that his nation couldn’t even keep its fridges running.

He was proud of his father’s achievements and had entered politics at an early age. He had risen in the diplomatic service before being himself appointed Minister of Culture upon his father’s death. He was shocked when he examined his father’s files though. Many were missing and the ones present bore great holes. Financial ones. His father had not been as noble as he had thought. It was India after all. Everybody was corrupt. His discovery shouldn’t take anything away from his father’s achievements. His administration was just tempered by practicality. Mr Amin wondered why he was thinking about this now. He hadn’t done so in years.

Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK.

James too was thinking about his father, who’d run a mining company in BC. He’d come from Ireland with nothing and spent ten years searching for gold. His claim near Golden had eventually yielded rich results and he had become very wealthy. Rather than squander his gains though, he had used them to build up his business, expanding from Golden into other parts of BC. James had loved the extraction operations. He’d operated trucks and crushers from an early age, mining copper, silver, nickel, and zinc. His father was especially proud when James made his own discoveries.

On James’s 21st birthday, his father had said “Son you are ready to take over from me. I’ve spend much of my life here, and now I’m going out to see the world. He had travelled to the world’s great holy places – its great excavations and constructions – Rome, Delphi, Jerusalem, Giza, Petra, Moenjodaro, and the Taj Mahal. In India he’d heard about a big mining company behaving badly. He’d discovered that to secure extraction rights they were destroying an ancient temple and forcing poor villagers from their homes. He’d started a campaign to save the village and temple. The big mining company had complained to Mr Amin Sr., the Minister of Culture, who decided that this foreigner was a threat to the development of his nation’s resources, and also to his fat commission. James’s father disappeared one day on a site visit, and his body was never found.

Now at Open Hearts seniors daycare centre it was Mr Amin’s duty to care for James. Karma was more complex than straight addition and subtraction. Fathers’ sins were also visited upon sons. Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak.

Master Plan

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by javedbabar

Mr. Amin was away for a month, having gone to visit his family in India. Open Hearts seniors daycare centre obviously couldn’t run itself, so The Authority had sent a temporary replacement, forty years younger than most of the clients, and sixty years younger than James. Everybody loved Mr. Amin, but a change would be refreshing, especially this smart girl up to date with all the latest developments. They awaited Shazeen Simoninian with enthusiasm.

Her arrival at the Centre was unforgettable. Sharp fragments of light flashed through the lounge. Her silver sports car’s reflections illuminated everyone present, and seemed to form a bright fabric clinging to the roof. A little tune played when she locked the car doors. “Beethoven’s Fifth,” said Gemma, knitting.

“Sure it wasn’t his sixth?” said Albert. “Or maybe his fifth-and-a-half? I’ve heard its one of his better ones.” Gemma shook her head.

Both lounge doors swung open – people usually opened only one – and a silver-suited woman of medium height and slim build appeared. There was a heady waft of jasmine and pomegranates. “She’s Persian,” said Gemma. “You can tell by the features.”

“Good morning everybody,” said Shazeen Simoninian. “I’ll be running this Centre for the next month while Mr. Amin is away. We didn’t get the chance to perform a formal handover. Would someone please show me the Master Plan.”

People stared blankly. Ex-cowboy Albert said quietly, “Yez, de Master Plan. Maybe she iz German.”

She pointed to him. “You, what did you say?”

“That your name is Persian. Am I right?”

“That’s very presumptuous of you to say that. We live in a multi-cultural society. My name is Canadian. Now can you please answer my question about the Master Plan.”

“Er… this place sort of runs itself, Mizz. Mr. Amin has a hands-off approach to management.” He looked around and raised his eyebrows. “Isn’t that right?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Shazeen Simoninian. “No institution runs itself. I’ll need to see the Work Schedules and Food Plans, Exercise Policies, Conversation Structures, Dispute Resolution Frameworks, and everything else required by The Authority. Now where will I find those?”

Nobody spoke. “You, in the blue uniform. Where will I find them?”

Zoe, the cook, couldn’t help smirking. She said, “In Mr. Amin’s head I think.”

“What do you mean by that?” Shazeen Simoninian looked around to ensure equal eye contact with everyone present. “You mean that none of the daily procedures are documented? You just make them up as you go along?”

“Pretty much,” said Albert. “It’s really not that hard. You just see what the day brings you, see what needs doing, and do it.”

“Sir, what’s your name? Albert? Okay Albert, from your attire I gather that you’re a cowboy of some sort. Am I correct? I thought so. Your duties would include, I imagine, riding horses and moving cows.”

“That’s pretty much it, Ms. Simoninian. You seem to know the job pretty well. Which ranch did you work at? Or are you a rustler? You can tell me, I promise I won’t tell the Sheriff. Most of the…”

“That’s enough Albert. My point is that you are a cowboy and I am a professionally trained facility manager. We don’t ‘just see what the day brings’. We bring things to the day. We don’t just ‘see what needs doing’. We do what is planned. That is why I have asked for the Master Plan. It provides the essential rhythm of every facility. Now if we don’t have one here, my first job is to create one.” She left them alone for the rest of the day.

The next morning began with the Seniors Song, composed by Shazeen Simoninian. “It is vital to share our vision daily,” she said, passing out song sheets. The song began:

“We arise each morn with the gift of life,

As an ex-husband or as an ex-wife,

We sit neither alone nor bearing strife,

For today our Hearts are Open to life.”

Albert didn’t sing, just shook his head. Then Shazeen Simoninian announced the 28-day menu rotation. On Tuesday when there was an unexpected cold snap, they ate fair-trade salads rather than the harvest stew suggested by Zoe. No external food was allowed, as Shazeen Simoninian said “it could be unhygienic.”

Albert said, “I’ve been unhygienic all my life. That’s how I…” He stopped when given a vicious look by the acting facility manager.

They were made to watch one hour of TV daily for “asymmetric socialisation,” and were discouraged from wearing brightly coloured clothes as they “created disharmony” within the “decor-neutral” facility scheme. They were allowed only one toilet visit per hour, and if they needed more than this, Shazeen Simoninian suggested adult diapers or urinary catheters. All talk of religion, sex, and politics was banned in case other people were offended. And of course Albert was not allowed to tell jokes as these could lead to over-excitement and heart attacks. The centre was suffocated by jasmine and pomegranates.

Mr. Amin was shocked when he returned from India. The vibrant seniors community he had nurtured now seemed like a mortuary. He unbuttoned his yellow shirt, put down the pakoras he’d brought for everyone, switched off the TV, and threw on a Bollywood CD. When the guitars and sitars started up he called out, “Everybody, I’m back! Let’s do some dirty dancing!” Then realizing that his stomach was unsettled he ran to the toilet, but didn’t have time to close the door. His holy vibrations resounded around the centre. They blew out Shazeen Simoninian’s heavy fragrance and returned the Centre to life.