The Buddha Speaks

The A.B. Godrej road was jam-packed and teeming with four wheelers honking their way to reach work places at early ‘office-traffic’ hours. The sweltering summer at its peak was augmenting the exasperation of the commuters. The AC was at its peak too in Siddharth’s car but the heat outside seemed to have an infuriating effect on him. He constantly kept wiping his forehead and blew the horn effortlessly. The traffic was moving sluggishly and with every inch that the car moved Siddharth stole a gawky look out of the window to estimate the time that would take to reach office. Godsmack and Metallica no longer seemed to keep Siddharth amused in his strenuous journey. He had now started analyzing the massive hoarding of Limca that stood right across the flyover in front of him. He was reading the brand new jingle Limca had come up with to accentuate their presence in the market. Before he could move into his pensive world he had to accelerate to keep up with the meandering pace of the traffic. Siddharth decided to lower the side window to let out the suffocation created by the air conditioning. Just as he did that another car pulled across by his side – a same metallic Honda City as his. A thirty something man, bald with a few trinkets of hair loosely spread all over his head, dressed in a muddy orange kurta, with a triangular sandalwood inscription on his forehead and a necklace of holy ‘rudraksh’ beads around his neck was reading a book in the car and the chauffer was busy honking. Siddharth looked away, pondering over the Limca hoarding once more. He looked back again, this time to see the title of the book- Reflections of the Mind. As he was about to see the name of the author the man lowered the book to his lap and raised his head. His eyes met Siddharth’s. He smiled and Siddharth smiled back. “Which book?” Siddharth asked. “Reflections of the Mind by Siddharth Sharan” said the man politely. “Is he the same writer who wrote The Inner Eye?” enquired Siddharth. The man nodded his head in affirmation and added, “This is his second book.” The traffic was moving   at its dawdling speed and Siddharth was getting frustrated. Suddenly a two wheeler bumped in between, hurriedly making its way through the rush adding to the commotion. Siddharth gave a livid look to the two- wheeler driver and tried to move his car by inches to beat the driver. The two-wheeler accelerated too. Siddharth and the two-wheeler had started a mini contest. Finally the two-wheeler was stuck in an unpleasant position between Siddharth’s and the man’s cars. Seeing Siddharth’s restiveness the man cajoled, “Why do you look so angry? It’s a routine affair. No one can help it. No one’s fault you see.” “Someone has to be guilty. How does the traffic get jammed everyday then?” said Siddharth bluntly. “Don’t you know how it happens? Well, are you guilty?” asked the man. Siddharth was angry and he did not know how to respond. The jam cleared and the car by his side speeded fast before he could say anything. As the car leaped ahead the man peeped out of the window and waved a goodbye to Siddharth.

At 10:30 Siddharth entered the lift of the twenty storied building of his office. There was a mad rush in the lift, similar to the traffic jam he had encountered an hour ago on the roads. The question put forward by the man he met at the jam was lingering in his mind. He was late for work and he was fuming. Just as the lift halted at the fifteenth floor and the door of the lift flashed open Siddharth saw his boss. “Traffic Sid?” asked Mr. Ganguly, his boss. “As usual Anirban. Really sorry. So let’s get started with the Coca-Cola campaign”, said Siddharth calmly. Four hours later Siddharth stepped out of his office to grab a bite. He made up his mind to Pizza Hut. As he entered the restaurant and was looking around for a quiet corner he saw as hand up in the air at a lonesome corner facing the sea. Siddharth immediately recognized the man, the one he had met in the morning. Averse at first, he finally decided to settle down with him. “Hi, I am Siddharth”, greeted Sid as a formal gesture. “Glad to meet you Siddharth. It is always good to have someone to eat with” said the man smilingly. “So, you work here right?” he asked assuredly. “Do you read faces?” commented Siddharth at the man’s conjecture. The man smiled and replied, “Oh no. I just guessed because of your formal dress code. That’s all. Are you always this angry?” Siddharth brusqueness diminished a little. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to. Yeah, I work here”, he said pointing at the twenty storied building visible through the glass window. “Leo Brunnet! One of the top advertising agencies if I am not wrong. You guys came up with the famous one liner for Coca-Cola, isn’t it? ” the man said excitedly. Siddharth did not seem eager at all. “Yeah” replied Siddharth, this time blunt again. “What are you angry at?” asked the man. “Nothing. Why do you keep asking that?” responded Siddharth quite indignantly. The man smiled again and said, “I am sorry. I think you don’t like discussing work outside office. I was just eager because I feel advertising agencies are creative fountain heads and I really appreciate the work done by Leo Brunnet.” Siddharth felt reprehensible about his behavior. “I love my work too. A little work pressure I think. And thank you for your appreciation…..your name?” said Siddharth to recompense his rudeness. “Call me Swami” said the man. “Thank you Swami”, smiled Siddharth. “A smile completely changes your face. So what do you want to eat?” asked Swami. “What are you having?” probed Siddharth. Swami replied, “My all-time favorite- farmhouse special with a thin crust and extra cheese and corn.” “Oh that’s my favorite too” said Siddharth, friendlier this time. Siddharth placed the order and asked Swami, “So Swami, what do you do?” “I travel for a living and I travel for passion too”, said Swami. “How do you earn money?” asked a curious Siddharth. “I write a column in a local magazine”, confirmed Swami. “Really?” exclaimed Siddharth. “Don’t take it personally. But when I saw you for the first time I thought you work as some disciple for Krishna’s consciousness. It is just your attire that made me think so. By the way my family is an ardent Krishna devotee”, he said. Swami gleamed with his calm smile and said, “Oh! No wonder. Well I am a Krishna devotee and I do spread Krishna consciousness.” “You are eating a pizza for lunch. Aren’t you people supposed to eat simple food? ”, remarked Siddharth. “Krishna never said not to eat pizza I guess. I do believe in spreading the love of the lord. Krishna consciousness is not about eating simple food or wearing simple clothes. It’s about living a good life. Sandalwood and the orange color help me keep calm. That’s all”, explained Swami. “Well what according to you is a good life?” asked Siddharth. “Everyone has a different definition about this. I think it’s about believing yourself and respecting yourself for who you are and doing the work that gives you the fulfillment of living a life. At the end of the day you should be happy and content. That is what counts most in life” proposed Swami. “Ah! Contentment! It can never happen. Doesn’t matter how happy you are you always strive for more. Its human nature” said Siddharth gulping down a bite of the pizza. “I am talking about happiness of the soul. I mean you need to be sure that what you are doing is bringing you happiness and that it is nurturing your soul from within. If you are content with your life and if you feel it is bringing you the happiness you are seeking you will strive to get more of it and that again is going to make you more content. It’s a never ending circle.” said Swami vehemently. “What do you mean?” asked a confused Siddharth. “Let me cite an example. You work in the creative division right? ”, asked Swami. “Yes I assist the creative director” answered Siddharth. “Do you enjoy imagining an advertisement? When a creative idea blooms in your mind do you feel the happiness of having created it and does it push you ahead to make every effort to realize it?” asked Swami. “That’s my job. I don’t know. May be I do. I come up with hundreds of ideas when working on a project. How is it relevant?  Do you expect me to dance around every time I develop a concept and feel the joy within?” smirked Siddharth. Swami said, “Well if you are not feeling the joy inside then you are definitely not living a life.” Siddharth wasted no time to retaliate, “Why not? I am happy with my life. I am enjoying my work. I know it’s a lot of work and there is a lot of stress but I handle it well. I am good at my work.” “Why is the anger then? What are you so angry about? Are you guilty?” asked Swami. “Stop asking me that!” screeched Siddharth and saw his hand with the knife that had reached half way in the air now. The waiter had arrived to collect the check and was staring at Siddharth suspiciously. “Your change sir”, said the waiter. “Six hundred for two pizzas. What’s the change for?” asked Siddharth. “I paid for mine already. Come let’s go” said Swami. As they moved out of the restaurant Siddharth asked Swami, “Sorry again. Well where are you heading to? Work?” “I guess so” replied Swami. “Where do you work?” Siddharth queried. “Nearby”, said Swami. “One last question Swami. Why were you blaming me for the traffic jam in the morning? Everyone is in haste. How do you hold me responsible for the stagnant traffic?” cried Siddharth. Swami could sense the tautness in Siddharth’s voice. He looked into Siddharth’s eyes and said, “Why are you running the mad race if you dislike it so much? I never blamed you for the torpor. You assumed that I did. Why would you do that unless you find yourself at fault?” Siddharth was furious and muttered, “Do you think I am guilty?” “Don’t ask me. Ask yourself”, said Swami and disappeared into the crowds.

As Siddharth entered his apartment he could smell fresh sandalwood paste and the rich aroma of tea. “Kamya! You are home?” called Siddharth. His wife emerged from the balcony and welcomed him with a hug. “I finished off work early today. So how was your day?” she asked with a twinkle in her eyes. “Strange!” stated Siddharth as he placed his laptop on the center table and sat relaxingly on the couch. He narrated the entire story to his wife. “Do you think I am guilty Kamya?” Siddharth asked. “Sid, what guilt are you talking about? Traffic jam is nobody’s mistake. Everybody just gets into the pain unknowingly”, said Kamya. Siddharth was baffled and said, “Come on Kamya. I was racing against the bike, nudging my way through the busy traffic knowing that it would not be helpful in anyway. But that is what everyone does.” “And that is how the sluggishness of the traffic proliferates”, indicated Kamya with a shrug. “So I am guilty right?” asked Siddharth again. “Probably yes. But then there would be so many like you. Let it be Sid. Look here I have prepared sandalwood paste just the way you like. You want me to put some on your forehead? It will help you unwind the tension”, comforted Kamya. “I don’t want it. I reminds me of Swami”, said Siddharth.  At bed time Siddharth was still haunted with the question. “I like my work. No one forced me to take up this job. I am happy. Why did Swami think I am guilty about what I do?” Siddharth asked Kamya. “May be he interpreted you wrong. Don’t think too much Sid. He didn’t say you are guilty. He just asked you. If you believe you are happy why do you have to discuss it so many times? Don’t you think you are giving a lot of thought into it”, Kamya said rubbing her eyes.  “No one asked me this question before. I just can’t get it out of my head” cried Siddharth. Feeling the edginess in Sid’s voice Kamya told him, “Next time if you see him tell him that you are not remorseful about anything. Let’s go to sleep now.” “What if I don’t see him again?” asked Siddharth. “The world is a small place Sid. Good night” said Kamya.

For a few days Siddharth was busy with the Coca-Cola advertising campaign. He was engrossed in his work. He kept seeking Swami at the traffic signal and nearby his office but didn’t find him. A month had passed since Siddharth met Swami. He was still in search of him. The Coca-Cola campaign was a major success. He had finally managed to spend some time with his wife on a weekend. Siddharth was waiting for Kamya outside Natraj Theater. As he was loitering around he noticed a book stall on the pavement at the opposite side of the road and saw a man similar looking as Swami reading a book at the corner. He crossed the road. “Swami?” he asked. Swami raised his head gradually to glance at Siddharth. “Remember me?” Siddharth asked again. “Of course. Siddharth, the Leo Brunnet guy. Right? How have you been?” said Swami, elated. “It has been a while. I had quite a bit of work last month. You are still reading the same book? It has been a month now” said Siddharth, looking quite alarmed. “Yeah. I too was a little busy last month. But I am catching up fast. I have reached half way” replied Swami. Siddharth remembered what Kamya had asked him to do when he met Swami next. Thinking it to be the right moment Siddharth said, “Hey Swami! I have been thinking all this time and I am glad to tell you that I am not guilty of anything.” “Good for you Siddharth. You could catch some time for introspection during this busy schedule. That is appreciable” commended Swami. “Oh it makes me feel so much better” Siddharth said, peacefully. “Well I might have been a little penitent for my behavior with the two-wheeler guy but I am definitely not unhappy about my job. I have worked day and night the last month but not for once I felt remorse for doing it. Forget it. How is the book?” clarified Siddharth. Swami laughed out loud and said, “You thought I held you guilty of the traffic on the road and for not enjoying your work? Ah! I struck the wrong chord. Anyways the book is good. You didn’t have enough time to read it I guess?” Siddharth was completely taken over by this. A thousand chaotic thoughts were creating pandemonium in his mind. “What do you mean? Can you talk sense?” said a furious Siddharth. “Calm down”, solaced Swami. He added, “Anger is your enemy. I want you to analyze your thoughts not jump at conclusions.” “For heaven’s sake why do you think I am guilty?” pleaded Siddharth. “You are the one who can answer this. How can I say?” responded Swami and further asked, “You didn’t find time to read the book. So can you tell me if you feel guilty about it?” “What? You are insane. You just keep blaming me for no reason. Why on earth should I be guilty for not being able to read a book when I was busy with important chores in my life?” muttered Siddharth with resentment. “Siddharth why do you have so much frustration crammed inside you? What is it about? You keep seeing what you want to see without realizing what is actually visible. I never impugned you. I asked a simple question, are you guilty?” Kamya saw Siddharth at the opposite end of the road and called out loud waving her hand, “Sid! Come this side. The play starts in ten minutes.” Siddharth saw Kamya calling and when he turned around he saw Swami waving a goodbye. Siddharth crossed the road and came to Kamya. “What were you doing Sid? You seem so disturbed” asked Kamya. “I met Swami again”, he said. “Swami? Where did he go? I could not see him with you” Kamya enquired. “He disappeared again after blaming me for a new cause”, said Siddharth.

A few weeks passed by after Siddharth’s chance encounter with Swami. He remained perturbed for a long time. The question kept troubling him day and night. Siddharth revised his whole life so far to trace any reason for which he could have been guilty. He was unable to understand why a stranger kept asking him this question. It seemed so uncanny. He had never met this Swami before and out of the blues he emerges and manages to make him feel guilt conscious. The creepy feeling was killing Siddharth. On a late evening Siddharth was working in his office. He was trying to concentrate as much as possible but was finding it hard to distract his mind from thinking about Swami. Anirban saw the lights on in Siddharth’s cabin and bumped in. “Hey Sid! It’s late. Go home”, said he. “I will in sometime. You carry on”, said Siddharth. “Sid! I hope you are all right. You have been working too much for the past few months. You seriously need a break. Why don’t you take a holiday with Kamya? That would be a nice outing. What do you say? The monsoon is about to set in. Perfect timing for fun Sid”, Anirban suggested. “Well I do need a break. I am tired of thinking”, cried Siddharth. “By the way Anirban, you have known me for long. Have you ever felt that I should be guilty about the work I am doing?” he asked. Anirban was startled. He said, “Are you crazy? Have you seen the way you work and the kind of work you do? Sid, you are one of the finest people we have. The only reason that I can see for you to be guilty is overworking”, and Anirban smiled to ease the tension on Siddharth’s face. “So you think I am guilty for being a workaholic?” asked Siddharth. “Oh come on Sid! I didn’t mean that. Why are you on this guilt parade? You are stressed. That’s all. Take my words. Get you a good holiday”, consoled Anirban. “Hey Anirban! Do you think I don’t enjoy my work?” asked Siddharth. ”Well don’t you? I think you should ask yourself and I wonder how could you survive this long if you didn’t. Isn’t it? Your question is answered I guess” stated Anirban. Back home post dinner Siddharth was watching the night sky in his balcony. The starry night was having a tranquil effect on him. “Sweets!” said Kamya as she offered him some. “Don’t feel like eating”, Siddharth said. “What is the matter Sid? You ate dinner scarcely. Is it about Swami again? Did you see him today?” asked Kamya. “No I didn’t. I was talking to Anirban today of what he feels about my work.” “So what did he have to say?” asked Kamya. “He feels I am frazzled. He thinks we should go on a holiday” answered Siddharth. Kamya placed a hand on his shoulder and comforted, “I think it would be great Sid. We will plan it soon.”

The sky was overcast with dark clouds. The wind was cool and fierce. The monsoons were on the verge of hitting the city. Siddharth was returning home after a long day at work. He stopped as the traffic light turned red. He lowered the side window to let in the moist monsoon wind and saw Swami standing by the window. “Can I get a lift Siddharth?” he asked. Siddharth looked outside and saw the rains approaching and said, “Come on in.” “Why do you keep disappearing?” taunted Siddharth. Swami looked amazed and said, “Do I? So did you miss me?” “Oh yes. I did so much. You have the excellent quality of blaming people and making them think about it all the time. How can I forget you my guilt trip guide”, said Siddharth annoyingly. Swami was composed. He was not angry or irritated. Siddharth kept blowing the horn. Swami took a deep breath and said, “You know it’s not going to help. Why don’t you stop doing that? Why are you punishing yourself?” “Oh no. Don’t start it again. Don’t tell me I am guilty of blowing the horn. Can’t you see others? I am not guilty” said Siddharth sharply. Swami wasted no time to reply, “Yes you are. Guilty of lying to yourself that it’s fine to be a part of the mad traffic and participate in the stupid honking. Guilty of not taking the longer route even though you know it would be a much peaceful affair. Guilty of not sparing yourself the pain of being a part of the crowd.” Siddharth was dumbstruck. “Swami! Relax!” exclaimed Siddharth. “It’s you who needs it. Can’t you see for yourself? The signal has turned green. Get going”, Swami cajoled. “After covering a short distance Siddharth slowed down the car. It had started pouring badly. ”Do you like coffee? We can drop in at that coffee shop”, asked Siddharth gesturing to the coffee house by the roadside. “Okay”, replied Swami. “This route is a little longer to my house but I like it a lot, especially for this coffee shop. Their coffee is the best. Moreover this road is less travelled by”, said Siddharth sipping hot filtered coffee from the cup. “If not always, sometimes you can take the road less travelled by. After all you like the route”, said Swami and smiled. “I have always hated the rush at the roads. But I cannot help it. I have to travel this way. There is no choice”, stated Siddharth sadly. “You are still stuck at the traffic on the roads? What about the traffic of thoughts that you have harbored for so long in your mind? They have all come to a state of inaction. You keep dodging them and nudging your way out of the traffic and the jam keeps on increasing”, explicated Swami. “Why are you so difficult to understand Swami? And you know what is strange? I used to be like you few years back. But now I am a different person. I can’t think the way you want me to think”, Siddharth sighed. “You have locked yourself. Unlock yourself and you can start all over again. Your guilt will be gone”, said Swami. “What guilt do you keep emphasizing about? What do you want me to start over again?” asked Siddharth, puzzled. Swami’s face was embellished with a smile and he said, “Your life. To be the person you liked to be, the one you were few years back.” “I don’t want to be that person. I am happy” said, Siddharth. “Why does your writing talk about renaissance of the soul then? All your writings keep hinting that you want to start a new life”, Swami put forward a strange question for Siddharth. “My writings? When did I do that? What are you talking about?” asked Siddharth. “Your column in the local magazine Siddharth-Renaissance of the Soul”, exclaimed Swami. Siddharth thought for a while and looked astonishingly at Swami. “That was way back in college. How do you know about it?” Siddharth queried and probed again, “Wait a second. Were you in Kirodimal College, Dehradun? Which batch? I don’t remember any Swami in my class.” Swami answered, “I have known you since a very long time. Try to recollect and tell me the next time when we meet” and he got up to leave. “Why next time? Where are you going? I can drop you” said Siddharth as he paid the bill.  “I live nearby Siddharth. Let me see if you can remember how you know me”, said Swami. “Call me Sid. All my friends call me that”, called Siddharth as he saw Swami leave. Swami cried from a distance, “They also called you by another name” and was gone in seconds.

A fortnight swept by. Siddharth was unable to forget the conversation with Swami. The reasons that Swami had put forward in front of him for being guilty kept poking him. He constantly felt a voice calling him from within. A voice that said, “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!” All these years he had silenced this voice. He had heard it first when he chose his career. The second time he heard it when he started working like crazy and the last he had heard it was when he set the property of his drafts folder to hidden. It was another late evening when Siddharth had returned home from office. He was sitting in the balcony watching the orange hue of the sky mixed with a tinge of grey due to the coal black clouds. He could sense the smell of sandalwood incense sticks that Kamya lighted in the evening. The smell of sandalwood brought nostalgia. He remembered his mother adorning his forehead with a sandalwood ‘tilak’ and put a ‘rudraksh mala’ around his neck every day before he left for college. “Mom, be spiritual, not religious. Krishna didn’t say to wear holy threads or put sandalwood tilaks. God is our faith, our belief not a blind ritual”, he used to say to his mother. “Why do you like to put sandalwood paste on the forehead then?” his mother would retaliate. “It has a soothing effect ma, tats all”, Siddharth would say. He opened the drafts folder on his laptop. He had still preserved his write-ups in the folder named renaissance of the soul. All these years since he joined work, he had never opened these drafts, partly because he didn’t have time and partly because he had tried to escape from reading them or even looking at them for that matter. After school Siddharth chose to study literature. Siddharth was imaginative as a child. He could weave stories out of nowhere and fascinate the listeners or the readers and keep them hooked to a plot for a long time. Siddharth was gifted with the art of writing, creating and thinking differently. After college he had to choose a career, a career that would be remunerative yet creative. He was at a juncture of his life where he had to earn money. He could not afford to keep weaving stories. He was facing dilemma. He could not choose to take up writing as a career. “Sid!” he heard Kamya’s voice and was drawn out of melancholy. He saw her and smiled. “Hey Kamya, you remember Swami?” he asked. “You met him again?” asked Kamya. Siddharth sensed the uneasiness in Kamya’s voice and reassured, “Don’t worry. He is a friend. He was in my college.” “He was in your college? But you never mentioned about any Swami” said Kamya. “Even I don’t remember him. But he remembers me so well. He even reminded me of the column I used to write for the local magazine”, said Siddharth. “Really? Why did he keep saying you are guilty then?” Kamya asked. “That is a long story. I will tell you later. But every time he meets me he sows a question in my mind”, said Siddharth. “What did he do this time?” “He asked me what my friends called me in college. The only name I was famous with was Swami Buddha. Though it sounds funny my friends secretly called me this. They thought my writing was philosophical and knowing my passion for writing all of them thought I would elope from home to become a full time writer”, explained Siddharth. “Buddha, the enlightened one? Then you should have married Yashodhara” said Kamya and they both laughed out loud.

Siddharth’s firm had decided to reward him as the team lead of the month for the Coca-Cola campaign. Siddharth was talking to Kamya over the phone about the award when Anirban entered Siddharth’s cabin and exclaimed, “Hey Sid! Congratulations! There has to be a celebration. You have to throw a party.” Overhearing Anirban’s elation Kamya told Siddharth over the phone, “Invite everyone over the weekend Sid. It’s a long time since we had fun.”  Siddharth confirmed with Kamya and asked Anirban and a few colleagues to come over to his place on the weekend. Siddharth wanted to invite Swami. He had not seen him since his rainy day meeting with him at the coffee shop. In the evening when he arrived home Kamya was busy making preparations for the party. “Welcome home team lead of the month!” said Kamya happily. “I should have taken Swami’s phone number. I really want to invite him” said Siddharth as he seated himself beside Kamya on the couch. “May be you could come across him again before the weekend. You never know” said Kamya soothingly. “What if I don’t? I really want him to come Kamya”, cried Siddharth. “Sid, remember the inner eye you told me about when I was seeking a job. I was so disheartened. Remember? You told me that I have to trust myself. Trust is the inner eye. The belief that what has not happened so far will happen. It’s the power to see what you believe. It’s the faith that what I truly want I will surly get” Kamya said, her eyes gleaming. “Yes, I do!” said Siddharth. “See through your inner eye. It will happen. Don’t worry”, assured Kamya.

“Let’s go the temple Sid!” said Kamya on the Saturday morning. “Now? Don’t you have to prepare for the party?” asked Siddharth. “It’s all done. I have been working since two days. Moreover the party is in the evening Sid. The Krishna temple is just a few blocks away” stated Kamya. “Why do you suddenly want to go to the temple?” queried Siddharth. “I was very worried for you. I had decided we would visit the Krishna temple once you are relieved of the tension you were going through”, said Kamya. They entered the temple. Siddharth told Kamya, “You go ahead. I want to sit at the porch for a while.” Siddharth sat at the porch with folded hands and closed eyes. “Seeing through your inner eye Sid?” Swami said. Siddharth opened his eyes immediately and saw Swami. He was dressed in the same mud orange kurta and sandalwood smeared on his forehead with the same book in his hand, Reflections of the Mind. “Hi Swami! Still reading the same book? Haven’t finished yet?” he asked. “I am on the last chapter. I can actually see the reflections of my mind now”, said Swami. “So when do you plan to review it?” asked Swami.  Siddharth pondered for a while and said, “Soon I guess. Oh Swami! I really wanted to meet you. Actually I wanted to invite you for a party to my place” said Siddharth. “So you got promoted?” asked Swami. “No not really. But that would happen soon. I have been awarded the team lead of the month” said Siddharth. “So how far do you want to go like this? Do you ever intend to open the lock? Do you ever want to come out of your guilt?” asked Swami. Siddharth was baffled. He said, “Aren’t you happy for me? I am doing so well in my career. I know I never wanted to take this path but I am really good at it now.” “Do you really want to be good at it Sid? Being good at it doesn’t free you of your guilt, the guilt of cheating yourself that you can be someone else, the guilt of lying to yourself that you are happy even if you are not doing what you really want to do and the guilt of hurting yourself by killing the Buddha within you” said Swami. “I agree situations have not always been favorable. But now is the opportunity. Why are you still moving ahead on the path of guilt? You have always seen through your inner eye. What you always wanted is happening now. Can’t you see the reflections of your mind Sid? Why have you kept them locked?” he added. “Who are you?” asked Siddharth. “I am Swami. Swami Buddha. Remember me? Don’t you know the voice which keeps calling you guilty?” asked Swami. Kamya jolted Siddharth. “Sid! Where are you lost? Why didn’t you come in?” asked Kamya. “I was hearing the Buddha speak”, mumbled Siddharth.

After the party was over Siddharth was fast typing on his laptop. Kamya was busy spreading the bed spread. “Sid! I have finished reading the latest best sellers. I have nothing to read now and the book you suggested….err…umm…Reflections of the Mind, well I forgot the name of the author. Anyways I had gone to the book store recently and they said there is no such book available. Who told you about it?” complained Kamya. Siddharth smiled, still typing and said, “It will be coming soon to the market. Actually it is the second book by the author. It is still in the making. The first book is titled- The Inner Eye. It would be hitting the stores in a while.” “And who told you that Mr. Siddharth Sharan?” asked Kamya. “I know the author”, replied Siddharth.


23 thoughts on “The Buddha Speaks

  1. A Gripping piece of writing !!!!
    One really should listen to the inner voice.
    But at times it is really difficult when you are too busy blending in and trying to be accepted by the crowd around you.

  2. And as always.
    Its easier said than done.
    But one has to overcome the static inertia.

    Thanks for the excellent writeup !!!!
    And also for reminding me that there still is a voice within 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Wonderfully written. The author is a critical and deep thinker in real life to write such a story. Hats off to you. It is very hard to implement in everyday life though.

    1. Thanks dear Sam for your encouragement!! i really appreciate it!
      Well it is definitely tough but i feel we should keep looking for an opportunity to get going and whenever we find that we should never let it go.

  4. hey lops….ur all stories are jst amazin…everyone in my frnd circle who has read ur stories loved it…I m so proud of u…finally u have started doin wat u r best at…luv u..muaaahhh!!!!!

  5. what a marvelous write up Lopa!!
    yes the race is killing us frustaions,road rages,,,in this competetiveness we forget to stop and listen to ourselves…see the difference between wants and needs…
    oh this is just superb writing
    And you know what i too was getting pissed of when the swami kept asking what was eating up siddhartha,why he was angry…
    I could relate to siddhartha a lot and so will may peeople who had to betray their gifts halfway or early on to pursue ‘career’
    Great work Lopa … am so proud of you and so happy that we met…..
    Hugs 🙂

    1. Coming from you means a lot to me Soma! I like Swami a lot…:) and, I feel happy that you could relate to him and what Siddharth was going through, perhaps what all of us go through!
      I am equally delighted that I met you.
      Thank you so much for always being so encouraging, loving and adorable!
      I wish I had a better word than thanks, and you know what is better than a thanks? It’s a hug!
      Big Hugs to you. 🙂

  6. Its 5:30pm here in Sydney. A windy autumn afternoon. I had made myself a cup of tea and went through the story. This is the second time; the first was rapid read couple of weeks back. One of those stories that goes well with a cup of tea on a autumn afternoon. Enjoyed reading.

  7. oh that was long. 😛
    Still it didn’t let me get loose on it. fabulous piece of writing i must say. it gets going and along with it the thinking gets more analytic. made me think and feel hard. Nice post really and so very well brought up!
    we should listen to our inner voice, but still how much you may try, conflicts arise within yourself.

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