Transience is life


Floating Bubbles by Chandu Mhatre (

Having just wrapped up plans for the publication of the Gujarati edition of my Dalai Lama biography ‘Man Monk Mystic’, published in 23 languages so far, initiated plans for the reissue of an update English edition, laid the ground for a reality TV show, finished interviews for a new book, put in motion two more and attended a conference on global transformation, I head back to Chicago in time to be at President Barack Obama’s election night headquarters to report his defeat or victory.

Once I get past the ill-structured and long-winded sentence even I am impressed by the range of my preoccupations. All of the above is true but none of it even remotely means that I am engaged in anything of any significance. It just sounds that way. That’s the whole purpose of this post—to underscore how much I remain engaged in things that sound important but are anything but. In reality, it’s all about trying to survive without creditors breaking down the main door of my home.

Modern living is so much about leaving one set of people whom you love in order to be with another set of people whom you love as well. Either way you do so with a lump in your throat which subsides almost as soon as you step out to go to the airport. I just told my mother Snehlata that there is a chance that I would be back in a couple of months. To which she responded, “But that also means you will have to leave again. It is your leaving that I cannot handle.”

After that little personal digression, I am looking forward to spending the day/night at the Obama headquarters in Chicago because irrespective of the outcome it would be an interesting story to watch and report. I do everything, absolutely everything, mindful that in the cosmic scheme of things whatever I do or anyone else does is of zero consequence. It means nothing. It changes nothing. So to that extent the Obama defeat or victory would be just another one of the infinite number of transient and trivial events that keep unfolding.

That’s what I felt watching CNN anchor Ali Velshi’s live reporting about Sandy the hurricane out of a fiercely wet and windy street of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The display of nature’s power, although intense, was so situational and confined to a tiny corner of our planet. Velshi may have been swept away but its impact on the cosmic equilibrium would not have been felt even at the Nano level. Transience is the name of the game.

It is true of my own preoccupations as enlisted at the beginning of my post, quite like the momentary wrenching pain caused by my leaving my mother and others. Once back in Chicago the pain will be replaced several times over by the joy of meeting Hayaa, Jashn and Kesumi after a month or so. But that joy too would be transient. Life is transient. Transience is life.

Not to self: This is a strange post.


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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