Sunday, January 28, 2007

On death, without exagerration.

Note: I didn't write the poem below. But I did think it was a poem that I had to say something about. But read the poem first.

It can't take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can't even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn't strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won't help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d'etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies' skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it's omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it's not.

There's no life
that couldn't be immortal
if only for a moment.

always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you've come
can't be undone.

-- Wislawa Szymborska


I'm damn scared of death. I know its inevitable, but it scares the hell out of me. I can't imagine what it'd be like to just not be there. Gaurav had a smart reply to this... he said "well, you weren't there before you were born either". I didn't think of that until he said it, but even then, it did precious little to allay my fear of death( well, now that I'm here, what am I to do). There are times in the middle of night, when somehow thoughts go hither and thither and eventually you start thinking about death, and before you know it, there's a feeling you can't stand. You want to shoo it away. I personally say "rama, rama, rama" repeatedly, concentrating all my attention on that recitation, knowing if i say it long enough, i'll either fall asleep or the feeling will just go away. But the point is, I'm really scared of it.

This poem, however, treats it light heartedly. Big deal it seems to say. So i'm thinking that I'll commit this poem to memory, and start reciting it each time that freaky feeling comes along. But mostly, I suppose, I tell myself "well, you're alive now aren't you ? we'll cross the bridge when it comes. Hush and go to sleep" I wish I could hug myself and give myself a little kiss then, but well... I'm kinda not trained to be an acrobat or a ballerina. But nevertheless, I hush and go back to sleep.

Death, is "beside the point" :)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The happiness theory...

In "illusions", there's a bit that goes something like this...

"And what would you do, "the master said unto the multitude, "if God spoke directly to your face and said, 'I command that you be happy in the world, as long as you like', what would you do then?"

That's one of my favourite lines. Simply, because its such a simple command.

Fall in love- be happy.
Smell the roses- be happy.
Watch the butterflies flutter and the dew drops melt and the leaf glisten - be happy.
Make wedding vows and keep them- be happy.
Teach your kid a nursery rhyme that was taught to you by your mom in the presence of your grandmom and bridge four generations in that one perhaps badly sung line- be happy.

Umm... hold on. I haven't done many of the items in the list above. So don't take me as an authority on it. But I know I'll be happy if, and when, I do those things. Yes- even singing badly to my daughter who i'm thinking of naming maanya( yes... yes... if, and when it happens for the nth time. I'm quite aware of the alternatives thank you very much) (or maybe manja- very german. But there's this restaurant that serves chinese good, and its called manjia. And i don't want to be reminded of dumplings everytime I call my daughter. What's worse, I don't want my daughter to grow up like a dumpling, which I might be so tempted to do because of the weird connections my brain makes. )

Oh and also, I don't wanna teach my kid any of those rhymes that have catastrophic endings. (They will end up learning it from friends or that dratted school they'll go to... but na uh, not from my hands) Humpty dumpty had a great fall. Jack fell down and broke his crown. The farmer cuts off the blind mice's tail with a carving knife. What the!!! (oh yeah... no swearing allowed either).

And yet, we seem incapable of following this simplest of directions. ( Not the swearing, the staying happy for as long as we live).

In "illusions", the people are in disbelief that there could be such a command. They talk heroically of suffering and torture and believe the treatment is just and fair and believe that they must graciously bear it. Its in their best interest, they believe.

Is it not, however, in our best interest to be happy ?
Why then do we crush it each time ? Sometimes we feel guilty. Othertimes we feel its not something that can be sustained, and spend our time preparing for something bad that we believe is going to come. Why is happiness so elusive...

I know I named this entry "the happiness theory", and I kinda did have a nicely formed hypothesis when I started, but I've run into a bit of a flaw. While I ponder about it, I'll let the rest of this post stay.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


oh and i'm quite liking this spontaneous writing thingie.
i don't care who understands what i'm saying.
i do.
and maybe i'll show this to my grandchildren some day, and they'll know that granny was once a lil girl too.

yep- no changing reality

something's gonna happen in a coupla hours.
its inevitable.
i don't want it to happen though.
in real time, it's only gonna happen once.
in my head, its already happening- so many variations of it.
and then i'll go, and it'll almost not happen, but it will.
and i'll have to see thru it, survive thru it, bloody well live thru it, and smile thru it.

well- maybe it wont be so bad.
maybe its just too many bollywood movies (too, too many of them)
but the best thing would be to smile thru it.
oh- and not talk abt it later on.
i've realised that talking about it, only makes it much worse. it empties all the frustration within in and then makes place for some more.
no- one glass of it will do.
its like drinking- self pity.
do it- but do it in moderation.

so here's a

good morning.
no of glasses of water so far : 2


Pardon the cliched title and the even more cliched content of this entry.
Its about new year resolutions.
I've never made new year resolutions (yep, I labour under the illusion that I'm almost perfect, coz if you're absolutely perfect you can't really pass as a human being, so within that limititation, I'm as perfect as it gets.)
And then I got older (which is very different from saying I grew up).
And then I got disillusioned (which is very different from saying I matured).
And then I saw imperfections which I first remained oblivious to and now they've become a plague upon my very existence.
Which is why, this year, at the ripe age of 21 and a half, I am going to make a new year resolution.

Resolutions number 1-
Drink water.

I don't drink water. I must start. It did oodles for oprah's name, fame, and her ability to pass off as a dame.
I want to be healthy.

Resolution number 2 -
Stop biting finger nails.

Yeah. Just healthy clean nails. I hate nail polish, so that's not why I wanna grow them. But I'd sure like to remove knots, and open lunch boxes. Its embarrassing when you have a metal lunch box, and you know there's something really interesting inside, and you have to ask someone to open it for you. And then they assume you're a girl, and they ask you to use your nails, only to be told that I have no nails. (Not to be conversely concluded that I ain't a girl)

Well, there's a whole list of small resolutions. They seem dumb and silly. But its not easy to drink water if you never have. Its not easy to even start thinking about drinking the water, let alone going and drinking it. It takes conscious effort- being aware of what thirst feels like. Ditto with biting finger nails.

Heck. Its only Jan 2nd, and i'm already on a high, because so far I've drank 5 glasses of water and the day isn't even over yet.
There are some things that just simply makes you feel better, even if its not exactly as fancy as climbing Mount Everest or as romantic as a long walk on the beach. There are some things that just make you feel better, because you pro-actively did something and achieved something out of it.

I could make bigger resolutions, but lately I've just been feeling indifferent and apathetic to everything. Maybe if i could start drinking water with passion, I could start doing other stuff with passion ?
There's still time to find out.

In the end it comes down to just feeling good about yourself (like long, hot baths- which I'm going to take in 10 min, despite having loads to study for an exam I have tomorrow. The exam is not really going to matter. But my long bath will.) It comes down to knowing what's important to you and what's not - contrary to popular opinion.

Drinking water is important.
Clean, healthy, nails is important.
Feeling good's important.
Long hot baths are important.
Exams will come and go.
Life's important.

Here's to a wonderful 2007 (oh! and clean water supply)