a blade of grass

… he told me that perfection could be learned from nature. be more humble than a blade of grass; more tolerant than a tree. give respect to others freely, without expectation or motive. in such a state of mind, stripped bare of your false pretenses, call out to your Lord eternally.

i’m still working on it …


iPhone, mePhone, minePhone

For the last three and a half months, I've been using someone else's phone.

My godbrother Shyama Vallabh Prabhu is a doctor by profession and is serving as the executive director of the new Vrindavana Hospice. He and his wife spent some time in the United States to undergo some training this past year, and paid us a visit. We took them around New York a bit and helped them do some last minute shopping...

... which brings us back to the phone. Shyama Vallabh wanted a top of the line smart phone to take back to India with him. He selected the HTC Pocket PC -- just the sort of uber-expensive ($700 without a plan) high-tech gizmo that I could only dream about owning myself. But just as I resigned myself to a fate of drooling over the iPhone from afar, Shyama Vallabh turned my world upside down. It turns out that the HTC would not be in stock for a few days (and Shyama was flying out the next morning) so... would I mind holding on to the phone for the next few months, trying it out with my sim card, making sure that it was okay during the 90 day warranty period, and then sending it on to India with my mom in November? Suddenly the impossible was literally in the palm of my hands.

And so, for the past three months I've lived the life most of us can only dream about. I've been able to jump on the internet at my whim, not having to wait until I got home to update my FaceBook status or to find that Nigerian bank account scam email waiting for me in my inbox. While my peers scrambled for pieces of paper and pens that work, I've used a stylish stylus to jot down notes right on the large backlit screen. I've QWERTY'd my way through the ups and downs of life. But mainly, I've just tried to look like a guy cool enough to actually own this phone.

All good attachments must come to an end, though. And so today, as my mom zips her last suitcase and prepares for a three-week spiritual adventure in Mayapur, I bid farewell to my ostentatious pocket pal. I've never been too good at goodbyes, so I just extracted the sim card as quickly and painlessly as I could, and slipped it back into my good old Motorola Razr.

There is an interesting post-script to this story, though. The HTC had a feature where I could type in the phone's ownership information (in case it was lost or something). I would type in "Vineet" or "Vyenkata" or "VBD" ... and each time he'd come over, Amul would take it and change it to "Krishna." It became a little game for us, and -- although neither of us said anything about it -- I think we both knew that it was a game he was destined to win. The phone never was mine; like everything else in this life, it was a loaner. Still, it didn't take me very long to write my name on it anyway. Krishna, when will I learn?

So I'll stick with the Razr for a while. Its a decent phone, and it reminds me that there is more to life than QWERTY.

In the mean time, I think I'll go help my mom with her bags.