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A Taste Of Chinese Hospitality………….Part 13

I started this blog series more than six months ago and Sulekha’s date stamp tells me that the last Part A Taste Of Chinese Hospitality………….Part 12  

was posted 4 months ago. My readers may have forgotten that it was about my trip to Xiamen to meet my friend. I made that trip during last year’s Spring Festival vacation. A year has passed since then. China after having remained closed for nearly twenty days during this Spring Festival’s vacation has started functioning again. People have come back to work. We ( me and my wife) too went to India. Both our sons too had come, so it was a kind of family reunion.

Let me continue with my trip of Xiamen, there’s a lot more to write about China as I see it and the thoughts that come along as I write. This narrative it six months old.  Some events mentioned here are outdated.

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My thoughts shift to another canvas. The solace in spiritual pursuits. The futility of commercialism. The kind of relief, feeling of being that simple regimentation can give to man, the one for which my country is known best for, “nirvana”, seeking which thousands of disillusioned people come to India and feel divine pleasure, the new light within. My cousin told me, some days ago that she attended one such camp on the outskirts of Jaipur and there were hundreds of foreigners attending that. They had all come in search of the happiness that this mad chase of materialism can’t give. She said, that among them there was a Chinese woman too. The Chinese I am sure are the new entrants to this burgeoning group of people, disillusioned and tired.

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My sister is attending a camp near Pune and she tells me of the heavenly bliss that she is getting while being there and here, I have come from India to do a job that if not has robbed me of my sleep, has at least deprived me of the little pleasure, I would get from writing and reading. The money that I am getting is of no use to me. I have enough to last me the rest of my life time. We by habit are thrifty or rather I should say, we have reached a stage of life where, splurging doesn’t give us pleasure. My children have grown up and gone the ways they or their destiny chose for them. What path is the right path for one?

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We cannot expect the whole world to adopt asceticism, even the argument that this is a passport to happiness may not be bought by many but what attracts man to materialism confounds me? Perhaps it’s the instant gratification that does the trick. It’s the uncertainty of tomorrow against the assuredness of today. What one seeks the material possessions for? What about those who are bereft of these, I mull as my eyes wander to the TV screen showing displaced children in the refugee camps.

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There is misery all around. Many people are born in penury and they die in it. There is death stalking them in regions affected by Ebola epidemic and if it’s not the disease then it’s the chance of being hit by a bullet or a missile in the strife torn region, or it’s the possibility of being kidnapped by the armies of goons let loose on people by proponents of religious diktats. What is the crime of these children or are they born to suffer? Are they paying the debt of their previous births as my Hindu beliefs try to convince me? Why the burden of the deeds of previous life should one carry through the present one? Why can’t the God make it square in one life itself?

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Then I see many happy children, playing outside the makeshift tents, their new homes, in some strife torn part of the middle-east. There is no fear on their faces, though the TV anchor is extolling the efforts of the united front in saving them from the cruelties of desperados and their mothers shed tears for their losses of men and material, the children oblivious of the dangers around play with a ragged football from which much of the air has leaked out like it be a metaphor of happiness from this globe called earth.

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We reached Xiamen five minutes before the scheduled time of train’s arrival. My friend Xubing was there waiting for us. The station was grand and we, as always were the last to come out. There was no difficulty for him in recognizing us because we look so distinctly different from the Chinese that even little babies, while being carried on arms by their mothers, turn their necks around, continuously looking at us as their mothers who any Indian would think are school girls, walk past smiling at us. We shook hands and hugged. Evening was setting in. The air carried the smell of rain and though it had a little chill in it, it still had the pleasantness of warmth of friendship and weather, against the memories of snowing in Gaogang.

Note: All pictures are from the internet

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