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एक खुशबू आती थी, में भटकता जाता था
रेशमी सी माया थी और में ताकता जाता था
जब तेरी गली आया, सच तभी नज़र आया
मुझमें ही वो खुशबू थी जिस से तुने मिलवाया

 …. (Lyrics of Maula maula from Delhi-6)

I have been thinking of entanglements for a while — was searching the dictionary and thesaurus just to make sure that I was going the right way in my thoughts. Found the term fascinating. An interesting point is, that the term has found a lot of fan following in Physics, especially with the theory of Quantum Entanglement initiated by Einstein and his collaborators. Interested readers can fish out the meanings themselves.

This article however, does not pick-up the debates around the term as used in Physics. It rather thinks of the lay use of the term as ‘confusion’ and ‘inter-twining’ of issues and thoughts in a seemingly never-ending bunch. Personally, when I reflect on the term I find it carries a deep philosophical problem of existence and might in fact hold the keys to solving the puzzles of human  mind. We all live in entanglements that we have either created for ourselves or else others have woven for us.  You might call it the existential dilemma of our lives.

Talking about entanglements, there is an episode from my hostel days that comes to mind. Possibly it might help to substantiate my own quest that I am sharing with you and provide a meaning to the issues that I am trying to think of.

The time following Diwali used to be the best time of the year at hostel. Being a long vacation, most of the inmates would go away for celebrating Diwali with their family and friends. Those of us who were left back in the hostel during the vacation had the entire hostel to ourselves and additionally the charm of an early winter and quieter Diwali. We lighted Deeyas in our own rooms and bought gifts or ate out.

During one of those diwali vacations, we bought a wind-chime as a gift for ‘T’s’ (let us assume that the name is just ‘t’ )room. A beautiful pink wind-chime with a lilting melody, soft silky threads connecting one rod with another, and a lovely pink glow. It would be a delight to listen to the tinkling of the chime rods in the evening by the glowing fairy bulbs. The wind-chime had suddenly got to be the eye-catcher for everyone who passed by through the open doors of her room.

I had got used to waking up in the morning, holding a tooth-brush in hand, walking sleepily into her room and playing with the wind-chime for a while before beginning the day. One morning when I walked into her room, I saw that the thin silken strings of the chime had completely got intertwined and it seemed that it would remain in that complicated lump forever. The strings being that delicate, it was tough to get out of the entanglement without damaging the chime.

I sat in her chair for around half and hour and struggled with the chime, trying my way to force open the knots, getting frantic once in a while. While I kept trying for long, slowly started losing patience, and once in fact worked my way through the strings with some harshness.

That is when ‘T’ intervened. She took away the chime from my hands and said: “Anne life’s entanglements are much more complex than the entanglement of these strings. It takes patience and perseverance if you really intend to open-up the entanglements. Some of these strings are really ‘knotty’, but opening them up is not impossible. Stop competing with time to frantically open the strings of the chime or of life — let life and the strings slowly un-knot themselves from all entanglements. Do not lose the opportunity of listening to the melody of the chimes by forcing your way to open-up the strings. You will then make it more complicated. Keep it simple — carry less baggage and walk entangle free’.

It all sounded like a pep-talk or a motivational lecture at the first go. I gave a sheepish grin and thought that I was receiving all that gyan because I meddled with her wind-chime. Later through the day, whenever I came back she was slowly un-knotting the knots  of the chime. I observed that she would go to lab as usual, have lunch/dinner, and whenever she got the time she would be working on the chime trying to remove the entanglements. In two days time, she entered my room gleefully and showed me the tinkling wind-chime and said: “See now it’s free of all entanglements! I am just putting a wooden wick on the top of the strings and that would stop the strings from colliding.”

You might say that the event was minor, doesn’t bring Himalayan changes in the world. True. But, I still draw a lot of inspiration from that insignificant event. Whenever, my own set of entanglements haunt me, I sit quietly for a  while and reiterate to myself: “if that wind-chime could open-up from absolute entanglements, so could my own life as well, someday…so, patience”.

Entanglements are not always negative. Family, friends, relationships, work — each can be an entanglement in its own way. Some of these are welcome and some are hassles. Distance from them depends on personal space requirements and your capacity to distance yourself from situations.

These pep-talks on entanglements and dis-entanglements might sound drab to those who have taken to the paths of cynicism. However, if you could, then do believe that patience is far more tough to practice than impatience, dis-entanglements are tougher than entanglements, and to forgive is tougher than to keep hating. It shows the breadth of your capacity to dis-entangle.

Take care! Share your entanglements if any and correct me if I am interpreting the term in ways different than how it should be ….

Leaving you this evening with a thought from Anne Frank:

I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery and death… I think… peace and tranquillity will return again.

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