Universal Peace!!!

April, 2021

Dear Friends

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If you are reading this issue, it means you are S.A.F.E. Oh God, how important this four letter word has become in the last 1 year ! Amidst the avalanche of gloomy news, all that we want to hear from someone is “I am S.A.F.E”. Be it a chat with a friend, a relative, a client, a business associate, a team member, a boss, a professional connect or even a stranger, the opening remark is invariably “How are you ? Hope all of you are at home and S.A.F.E.” Never before has this statement seemed as genuine and caring as now. Such is the apocalyptic times we are in. Unpredictable. Unnerving. Unbelievable !

This takes me back to my childhood days when I got my first lesson in letter-writing from my dear mother. Be it a simple post-card that was like an open-book for the whole world to read or its better cousins – an inland letter or sheets of paper in an envelope – that gave the writer and the reader the much-needed privacy, space and cosiness, following was the protocol to begin the communication:

Safe                Shri                Date

I remember noticing this in every single card or letter that we received or sent back then. Well, of course until the arrival of more sophisticated forms of communication via computers and mobiles and the death of the dear old physical letters. Letter-writing has now become as antiquated as typewriting and shorthand – skills that were in great demand until the nineties (exception being a court complex where you still find rows of typists on their stools, amidst the clanking sound of the flying typewriter keys and incessant chatter). She would say the reader must first know that we are all safe and wish him/her good luck & prosperity (Shri in Sanskrit). I recall that if the communication was about something happy, celebratory, auspicious, the edges of the card / letter would be smeared with kumkum (vermillion) to indicate the content. Similarly if it was a harbinger of bad news, the corners would be smudged with black ink and the ‘safe-shri’ missing. That itself would indicate what to expect from the insides of the card or inland letter. Today these simple, ubiquitous words assume great significance as we continue to watch the dance of death around us – many sadly experiencing it in close circles. As the messages beep on our mobile all through the day and night, news notifications keep popping up, as emails keep pouring, as calls keep coming in, there is a sense of anxiety and fear since we don’t know whether it is a ‘kumkum news’ or ‘black-ink’ news ! After all we are fighting in vain against a tiny, invisible virus that seems to be multiplying exponentially and slaying us in heaps, as we humans, the so-called thinking-beings and super-power-species are gasping for breath and grappling for our lives, after ravaging Mother Earth mercilessly for years. It is a war-like situation with lots of ‘war-rooms’ operating all around to coordinate for the ‘elixir of life’ oxygen, beds, ventilators, medicines, food, transportation, ambulance, crematorium, caregivers and our brave health-care warriors. I do not want to harp on the heart-wrenching news that has inundated our lives. All that I want to pray is

Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Niraamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu
Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

May All be Happy
May All be Free from Illness |
May All See what is Auspicious,
May no one Suffer |
Peace, Peace, Peace ||

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