Posted in Being Someone

A Moment’s Worth of Peace

IMG_20180705_130625_664If I was to scan my life, like we do when searching a keyword in our inbox and we find the relevant word highlighted in a few, scamper of emails or messages, just like that, if we had a choice to filter out the most serene moments of our lives, what would you find, in those scanty grains of sand?

Amidst the havoc of lectures that last well after darkness becomes still, and between the grading papers which lasts for over ten hours on weekends, between the running between (and during) gym and grocery, what do I recollect? What are my few grains of sand that cannot and will not pass through my fingers, till perhaps I breathe my last?

For anyone, I believe, those moments are not plentiful.

No. They are but a few…moments, and nothing more or but.

Then there is another question that can be posed. Are these moments indeed just peaceful, or do they cling to memory like debris to a stream that washes on the shores because they are our most happy moments? When we felt, perhaps, complete?

The wind rushes to my ears and I don’t see the servants around me, the maali (gardner) jabbing his spade into the earth to make it soft so it is easier for the roots to get the water, or the maid hurrying into the kitchen with fresh milk. I see, only the sky and my feet trying to touch it, in all their capacity. I am deaf to the world of reality around me while my own world is alive and throbbing with life. I push myself higher and higher on the swing. Where? Right here. In my thoughts. For a daydreamer, one doesn’t need to go very far to be away. Here is always there. And there one always finds everything one could possibly imagine of possessing.

Going home in a car that was a decade old already, with all the people you cared for. And we are talking. About what? We are deciding on a name. A name that matches with us sisters, that goes well with the rest of the family. A name, that best suits the red-cheeked cherub we just met in the maternity section of the hospital. And we discuss. One name comes up. No, that wouldn’t do. Something simpler, perhaps? A soft sound that is pleasing on the mouth too. Not anything too conspicuous. A few more entries are discussed while the girls in the back giggle. And finally, we are almost home, and we also have a name.

It’s chilly. I am wearing a red fleece jacket, that I still have in a cupboard somewhere, two decades later. I am running and I can’t stop laughing. It has been an exhilarating and a thrilling day, and guess what? It is still not over. I run past the log ride that splashes into the water, making the seated drenched and gleeful simultaneously. I run past the ride that has swings suspended from great height while it goes round and round at a great speed and at a great gradient. We have been on that already. But I am not alone. My sneakers make soft sounds on the grey pavement, these following and in league with five other pairs of squeaking shoes, all running, and laughing because we just got off a ride that had our hearts swinging from the pole, and we are running to another, that might as well have the organ reeling from our mouths.

It’s a big day. The students are nervous, the halls quiet, the teachers apprehensive, the staff wide-eyed. Something is about to happen, and I can’t breathe right. In frantic fervor, I keep going over again and again the past two years’ lectures. Yes, I did that. Yes, I made sure they got it. Ahan, went over that twice. Did they have enough practice? I am reminded of my sore wrist after the constant checking and grading. Yes, ofcourse, we did group work and individual assignments on that too. But what now? What if…? The results begin to get announced, and one after the other the tearful teens come over for a hug. Everyone I know, and those I don’t know congratulate me on my feat. I wish I could I say I fought back tears of pride, but no, my eyes were dry and my heart kept beating, ‘I can’t believe it.’

We are in the north. We just came back from a walk in the perfect woodlands of Scotland. And midway it starts raining. It is not the pelting rain of Asia, that creates puddles deep enough to swim in, no, these are soft rain drops that courtesy your skin and fall to earth and disappear. We are back at the cottage and I decide to take a dip in the tub outside. Eerie? Yes. Rain and a hot tub. But I sat through it, the kisses of rain cold against my warm body heated by the fluffy, colored bubbles in the tub. I sit there, awed with what I see and feel. I watch as the fog begins to settle on the mountain tops, and far off I see a shadow of a train chasing the clouds away.

The future is as certain for a believer as the past. What was, is, and what will be, is also, well, is. In my mind there is a moment, not yet come to being. How I see it, I fail to describe or make sense of it as you would expect me to. I am in the lounge with soft brown and pale hues of upholstery that surrounds me. An incandescent light emanates from the lamp on the glass top table I sit next to. The light filters on to the window and through it. It is dusk and getting dark. Everything is where it should, and so is everyone. All is well in the world, and I smile, for I knew I’d see this day. My heart fills with solace and I breathe a moment worth of peace, at last.

 

Posted in Being Someone, Questions

“And so, I’ve got nothing to do”

So, what happened is, that mankind kept inventing to a point when ploughs were replaced by desktops, horses were replaced by automobiles, cattle was replaced by the milkman and story-telling was replaced by WWF boxing. But that wasn’t enough for man, so he settled with the stakes a notch higher. Today, everything is smart. We have automatic cars, a smart phones, IPad is ‘smart’ for a desktop, then we have dry milk which has altogether replaced the institution of a ‘milkman’. Whereas, boxing, has been replaced by facebook.
In all these very smart times, I wonder if man has outsmarted himself? Especially, when all a man does in a day is; coaxing buttons of remote-controls, keyboards, phones, ATMs, etc. and turning the steering wheel. Texting, heating the food in microwave, facebooking, watching ‘Two and a Half Men’ on Starworld- life should be easier for mankind. Man should have nothing to complain about. Still, everyone complains about how everything is ‘complicated’. About all the stress, the depressions, the insane outbursts of frustration. I again wonder, if man has outsmarted himself?
With a life that is termed to be ‘easier’ than that of our predecessors, we have so much of time in our hands. Man did, outsmart himself. He created so many luxuries, that he is left with little to do. With all the time that is saved, what is man doing today to kill his free time. So man, once again, did it again. To kill the time that he spent centuries saving, he invented facebook and Hollywood. Mobile phones, that as they put it, ‘carries the whole world’ within them. Everything invented today, which is smarter than it was before, helps man to while away the time, which should never have been whiled away.
My brother, who is thirteen, has a habit of coming to me on weekends and asking me, “what should I do?” As a child, I never remember asking my mother that. I had so much to do. When twenty years ago, were also smarter times, I had ways of spending my free time. Playing outside, reading, journaling, sketching, or listening to my grandmother’s bed-time stories. I remember moments from long ago, when I used to just sit in our garden, and did nothing. When I do that today, my folks get worried, because I’m not busy. They think something is terribly wrong. I don’t blame them, their generation was also taught to be super busy all the time.
What I’m trying to say here is, is it important to do something all the time? Is that the purpose of mankind? Never be at rest, so that after we’re dead, the epitaph on our headstones reads, ‘rest in peace’. Why can’t mankind learn the basic requirement to be human is to ‘be’? And that too during our life, not after we’re done with it. We needn’t be doing something or trying to be somebody all the time. If that was the case, man of today wouldn’t be so confused to an extent that he thought it best to go back to basics. Praying, meditation, ‘blogging’ (smart form for journaling), organic food versus lab food, anonymous group discussions where strangers tell each other personal stories, healing clubs, and therapists.
Man has indeed, outsmarted himself, for today he goes around saying, “and so, I’ve got nothing to do.”