On life and its vagaries

The secret of personal Ahimsa

with 31 comments

I wish that my Room had a Floor;

I don’t so much care for a Door,

But this walking around

Without touching the ground

Is getting to be quite a bore!

_Gelett Burgess_

No wonder Burgess found it difficult, living in air is something which does not suit the cochlear fluid, I hear. Don’t ask me what that is, the cochlear thing, I have no idea; it seems to be the fashion to say such things though, why desist?

My guess is it has something to do with the positioning of our body. It maintains equilibrium (What a nice word, brings back memories of something strange and concealed.)

I remember an Old Kalari master we had.  He was totally mangled by his opponent in a one-to-one combat, though he had always boasted about his prowess in this most ancient form of martial art.

(Bodhidharma the Buddhist Monk from my land introduced it in China and later other martial art forms like Kung-fu, Judo, Taekwondo and Karate developed from it. It is said to be no mean form of self defense).

Anyway, people went to see him at the hospital and asked him what happened.

He was terribly bitter and angry. He complained:

“He didn’t allow me to stay on my feet.”

Now the Kalari is a form of art which relies on foot positions and structured feet movements to face an opponent and defend oneself. There are certain chants like:

“Pressing to left, rising on the right, stepping back and swaying to right, stretching the left forward, going on the haunches, pouncing high to right, clawing in the air ” etc……….

This chant goes to some length and has to be learned by heart and followed strictly to block, move out of range, attack and so on.

There are 18 such fight techniques in it.  Only the supermen go all the way. I am still to meet one such. Six is the best most can do at this time. I have seen certain poor souls who were just into the system. There won’t be any soles on their feel.  The art form is practiced on hard murderous grounds and you just can’t wear a foot wear because it would impede the ‘stance’ you need to be in. With all the jumping and pirouetting that you do on the ground your sole goes.

I thought of having a go at it once, but thought it better to keep the soles on my feet. Anyway, street fighting has nothing to do with the foolishness that they teach in martial arts schools. Any hoodlum can beat any maestro in such arts-forms hollow any day. The real life situations have nothing to do with such bowing and scraping to the opponents. It’s sudden, violent and murderous.

Do you know the best way to keep out of a fight – Never think of fighting at all. You think on it, then you start picturing it in your mind. You start  fantasizing yourself blocking, evading, landing good punches etc the next thing you know is that you are in a fight and are being pummeled. This comes out of experience you know.

So my advice is, think pacifistic thoughts. Be like a Gandhi, practice ahimsa. It would save your lives. If someone hits you show the other cheek, every time. The guy would think you a coward and would feel no thrill in hitting you further. That is the whole secret of personal ahimsa. You don’t have to take it as a divine doctrine. Take it as a pragmatic approach to survival.

I know there are wicked people out there who would not stop at that. Well they might kick you a little more. But showing machismo and getting kicked in that very sensitive part which contains your entire machismo is not the way to go about your life.  After that there would not be much machismo to speak of.

Well the thing which recalled all this to my mind is the chance meeting with a thug of yester years. He was in a bad shape now in the latter half of his life. I have seen his hey days. He had some knowledge of martial arts too, but did not depend on it in fights. Our acquaintance began rather amusingly. I was in college and group from our hostel had gone to see a movie in the night. I was with them.

On the way back we pass several coconut groves. Because of the healthy respect for us collage students all the coconut palms were fixed with sharp steel blades scattered along its entire length to discourage stealing. If someone goes up he would come down cut all over.

Well that usually does not deter the brave among us. We were merely frolicking and had no other intentions what so ever, we would eat all those coconuts we get when back at the hostel. It had a definite taste you know.  Some of the group   was adept at going up the palms wearing chapels, on the feet as well as the hands. It is some trick I can assure you. This minimizes of the risk of being injured by the embedded blades. And to lessen the noise of the coconuts falling we would hold our dhotis under it, like the fire men holding a carpet under the falling bodies.

All this would be entirely in darkness to prevent detection. After the coconut is cut the guy above would whistle softly, someone would shine a small pen torch on the dhoti which is held by its corners by four of us.  The guy would drop coconut precisely on it. There would be utter silence all round.

But the owners of the groves had their suspicion and had employed that thug I spoke of to look after them. On this day after we had plucked a dozen or so coconuts he came roaring towards us wielding a bike chain in his hand. We just could not run our friends were up in the palms still plucking. We were rooted to the ground. Now bike chain is not a proposition that one can like. We were all brave, but not that brave. Then one of the guys above in the palms called out hoarsely.

“Chakko, it us, Jayan up here.”

Well the thug stopped and peered at us.

“Oh, it’s you urchins is it?”

We said “yes.”

“How many did you pluck?”

“About a dozen.”

“How many are you now.”

“Well, about that, more or less……….”

He sat down.

“Well, pluck about another fifty, be quick about it, before some other fools come along, I have some stuff back in the shed. Let us all have a ball.”

We laughed and did so. The party at his shed went on till the small hours of the next day. After that he was a powerful friend to us. You have something threatening you physically; he was the guy to call in. Because of his name (he cut off a piece of ass from those he paid a visit to, they won’t be able to sit down in a hurry), the trouble-some elements would soon disperse.

He is in decline now. Has the same affection too, he still calls me sonny.

The exploits in his younger days have completely mashed him up. Well every one, you know, to their lives…………….


Written by Sam

October 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm

31 Responses

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  1. lucky escape.. 🙂


    October 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

  2. Well yes, he seems unscathed 🙂


    October 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm

  3. i said about you guys..


    October 12, 2009 at 3:21 pm

  4. Oh you know, we could have resorted to horse fight, that is, good old fashioned running and thrown stones at him from a distance till the others came down in safety. He could not have done anything. 🙂

    There are such techniques of fight too. We were a pretty tough bunch.

    Thank you all the same for the lovely sentiment.


    October 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm

  5. wow!!! you seem to be a tough guy!! well, sorry to disappoint you the only time we have been confronted by the owners .. we meekly surrendered 🙂


    October 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm

  6. Me dear Trisha

    only the very tough goes for the horse fight and stone throwing . 🙂

    Anyway I don’t approve of your meek surrender. That’s not the Trisha I know 🙂


    October 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm

  7. oh yes? if we had pelted stones at them they would have gone to home.. the entire village knows us, most probably by name..
    and boy, if they had told at home that we pelted stones at them after stealing their fruits….


    October 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm

  8. Okay, I was very territorial when I was a kid. Even my cousins got pelted with stones if they intruded into my territory 🙂

    Poor guys, they still love me though.


    October 14, 2009 at 2:14 pm

  9. dearest sam,
    i was very timid till i reached my thirties.. now i am reaping the harvest.. i dont allow anyone inside my territory.. i dont pelt stones i glare at them so hard with icy eyes that they become ice cubes .. then i throw them in the reservoir.


    October 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm

  10. That’s good. Eyes are like the portals of our strength.
    Freezing looks are not really a figure of speech, it’s real, women are better at it though 🙂


    October 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm

  11. yes women are expert in killing by their eyes.. 🙂


    October 17, 2009 at 7:55 pm

  12. I got that right at least 🙂


    October 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm

  13. heh heh… does your sweetun does it very often? i have heard it from my married friends that their wives can kill them with just one look, and bring them back to life with the next one 🙂


    October 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm

  14. She hasn’t as yet 🙂

    But I have observed others at it right from my childhood. It is a cool technique to have any way.


    October 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm

  15. dearest sam,

    you bet.. its a cool technique 🙂 you will get killed but you wont be able to complain… 🙂

    neat weapon.


    October 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm

  16. Yeah, that’s the beauty of it as the saying goes. Most men would love to die like that if it comes from a loved one 🙂


    October 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm

  17. dearest sam,
    every day atleast hundreds of men die that way.. ask any young lover or a man who is madly in love with some one 🙂


    October 21, 2009 at 3:21 pm

  18. Its wonderful how the human eyes talk 🙂


    October 21, 2009 at 7:08 pm

  19. dearest sam,
    yes, i am a good reader of body language, including the eye talk.. and can do it expertly too 🙂


    October 22, 2009 at 3:07 pm

  20. That is very nice to hear. A writer needs to know such things. In fact a writer needs to know all things, how ever ludicrous that may sound. 🙂


    October 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

  21. i writer has to know a lot more than i do.. 🙂


    October 25, 2009 at 7:31 am

  22. All writers dearest Trisha all writers need to know more than they know already, much more 🙂


    October 25, 2009 at 1:12 pm

  23. yes, the moment they will stagnate their writing will die…
    they have to be aware of the world around them and have to always soak up new things, feelings and concepts.


    October 25, 2009 at 4:50 pm

  24. Dearest Trisha,

    You always puts things more succinctly than me. That is one beautiful explanation. 🙂 No one could have put it more correctly.


    October 25, 2009 at 8:14 pm

  25. women have the art of gab


    October 27, 2009 at 3:31 pm

  26. Well another intuitive comment too. I have often observed little girls talk much clearer and well than their older brothers. It a natural gift 🙂


    October 27, 2009 at 7:36 pm

  27. Well another intuitive comment too. I have often observed little girls talk much clearer and well than their older brothers. Its a natural gift 🙂


    October 27, 2009 at 7:36 pm

  28. thats because lil girls are chatterbox 🙂 and more matured.. so they have double advantage over lil boys


    October 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm

  29. Thats the point, girls pick up language pretty fast and are very expressive 🙂


    October 28, 2009 at 6:46 pm

  30. even the women who dont talk much, you will see that they usually do that very systematically..

    and those who keep talking endlessly, they do so very elaborately but perfectly (i am really quite at awe of this power of these ladies)


    October 29, 2009 at 2:53 pm

  31. Unfortunately I don’t believe that they are as capable as you think they are, magnetism and ground level intelligence, okay, I will go with you. But I am yet to see a woman who can understand the subtleties of philosophy. Please don’t argue. This is a fact. I have seen one or two intelligent women in my life. Even they would gape.

    I would go with Buddha, women can’t understand even the basic’s of philosophy. They are so terribly chained to the ground that their awareness would never take such flights. Give them a full system, yes they would follow it faithfully, tell them to think on finer points of life, you will get answers like “what finer points, did not (take any name of a rishi or godman or thinker) he say so. That is all there to it”

    I am so sorry dearest Trisha, they just don’t have it.


    October 29, 2009 at 8:04 pm

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