Peace wherever you find it?
I discovered that I find mine in the same place I find my problems – my emotions. And I conclude that the two are inseparably linked.
Peace wherever you find it?
I discovered that I find mine in the same place I find my problems – my emotions. And I conclude that the two are inseparably linked.
Yesterday’s Reverb 10 prompt had me thinking for awhile without a satisfactory answer.
December 2 – Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)
Could I really be that efficient? My days aren’t all the same but most of them involve the following activities:
Even when I’m not writing, I am doing something that either triggers off ideas or rekindles inspiration or relaxes/supports my system in being able to stay creative and energetic.
And this is a tremendous realisation. Last year, after I quit my job, I agonized a great deal over the inefficiency of my schedule. Being used to as I was, to a tightly-packed day with at least 8-10hours of work ending in tangible deliverables, it was a paradigm shift. I found it very difficult to accept the idea that I could not, try as I might, write for 8 hours a day or even daily. I could not set a daily word/chapter goal and hope to realistically finish it.
It’s been over a year and I’ve made my peace with some of that now. I do something involved with writing every single day. Some days I’m just bursting with new ideas and I spend those just listing them out or spinning unfinished pieces. There are odd moments, concentrated bursts of creativity where I can see a story or a chapter or a post literally materialize in front of my eyes. Since I now have the luxury of time and a computer at my disposal, I usually get up and jot it down immediately. These don’t happen often but often enough to keep me hooked to the pursuit of the creative spark. And finally, the majority of the days see me able to write a little, think a little, talk a little and work a little. The bulk of the boring stuff like fact-checking, housekeeping, mail management, editing, cleaning up and actually posting happens then. It’s a more fluid rhythm than I was used to in the corporate world, but it is a rhythm nevertheless.
I guess I don’t really have a redundant habit that doesn’t contribute to my writing and that I should drop. Which can only be a good thing. 🙂
Their practice run inspired this post. And here’s what came out of attending a real gig. Airport played at InOrbit Mall, Malad on 8 May 2010 for the AND-‘Share The Wealth’ initiative for World Fair Trade Day.
This is not a review but what came after the concert. Art is impression and expression both at once. And endless circle of communication. Thank you once again, guys.
Love. I’ve been thinking about it.
Once, the idea was embedded in a setting of fear. Fear of missing the one, fear of hurting him, fear of being hurt, of losing him, of losing face, losing a dream, of being broken irrevocably by it. Love.
Those fears have ceased. I didn’t get over them. Experiencing something you greatly fear is a settling, if not disappointing experience. Things are rarely as scary as we imagine. Or perhaps we just imagine the worst possible without also imagining healing, recovery and the peace that follows. Yes, we are paralysed by what we imagine until reality sets us free.
There’s a line in ‘Gone With The Wind’ which says it is not good for a woman to lose her fears. I fear (only, heh) that it may be true of me now. So much that seemed too big or mysterious or threatening is commonplace, even mundane now. The horror is gone, the worry dissolved and so is the hope of rescue, the thrill of release. If the purpose of a difficult experience is to harden you, what happens when you don’t need the protection any more? After slaying the dragons, what good are the arrows you’ve collected and the skill you’ve acquired? Redundancies make for heavy company.
An evening of sweet romantic music, about love, under the stars. I enjoyed it alone. I didn’t dream of someone to share it with. I didn’t want to socialize or even talk to anyone new. And when it was over, I walked around a bit with AmZ who’s hobbling about on a sprained ankle. Being with AmZ isn’t socializing. It’s just being.
We chatted of this and that and then we parted ways. There’s an emotion between passion and indifference. It feels like acceptance and yet it’s more. It’s that inability to label a person. Not because ‘it’s complicated’. But because you know they are so much more than who they are with you, larger than what you perceive of them. They are the past you’ve shared and the easy camaraderie that resulted but they are beyond that. It’s not your place to define it, just to be thankful for what you do have and rejoice in all else, even that which you are not given to sharing with them.
As I sit in the food court of the mall later, writing this, a kid walks by, his face messy with the icecream that his nose is buried in. And it occurs to me, that this child and every other running about on this crowded Saturday evening…each of them, is here because somewhere sometime two people kissed and made love. There would be the loveless unions, of course. But doesn’t it seem like such ‘normal’ everyday instances of life that one is given to noticing in a suburban mall, can only exist in the sharing of everyday lives? Yes. Love is all around me.
It’s tripping over a fallen poster. It’s fighting over who gets to use the toilet first.
It’s explaining that the traffic is hell and that parking is a nightmare. It’s scowling and asking the waiter to come back after 10 minutes when its companion has arrived.
It’s fighting and making up. It’s fighting and staying angry.
It’s writing and singing love songs in public.
It’s blushing and frowning, both at once.
It’s staring up at the stars enjoying itself. It’s lovely.
Thank you for the ride, Airport. Abhi to seekha hain, indeed. The best is already here and there’s more to come.
Airport‘s songs are Hindi and of the sweet, balladic variety. They sound really good in the open air. Sultry weather notwithstanding, the mood suits their music. I’m not sure I have a favorite yet but I’m leaning towards ‘Seher‘ with a ear cocked in the direction of ‘Abhi toh‘.
If you like this post, drop into Airport‘s MySpace page to sample their music. Updates on their future gigs are posted on their Facebook page. Airport is Arijit Datta, Vinay Lobo, Sidd Coutto and Amit Ahuja. Sapna Bhavnani (of Mad O’ Wot fame) supports them. Now, I do too. 🙂
I couldn’t sleep. I knew I had to. I stared in the direction of the wall in trepedition. I knew the clock’s hands were inching towards the crashing point. Perhaps they had already passed. I was too scared to switch on the light and check. If they had passed the point, then well, I would have crashed.
The crashing point is a concept rather than a position of the clock’s hands. When you are a kid, it’s about 43 minutes after your bedtime. At least it was for the kid me.
As you get older, you push the hands of the clock with your eyelids, daring them to crash on you. They never did on the rebellious me.
And I was duly packed off to bed to lie in wait for an extra 15 minutes for pushing bedtime by about that much. The crashing point knows when you’ve started waiting for it. At least mine did.
By the time you are an adult, you’ve gone a few rounds with the bedtime and you’ve lost a few of those bouts. Each time that happens, it is a surprise considering how infrequent it is, compared to how often you seem to win. And it’s a crashing defeat, please pardon the pun. At least it was for me.
The thing about the crashing point is that you really know where it is, after you’ve crashed a few times. That sounds almost Zen doesn’t it? There has to be a reason meditation always felt like a walk into the long, dark hallway with crashing point waiting at the end of it. And in my best times, we danced together, each one showing off our prowess at being able to return to our original places if we so desired.
Then I lost my crashing point.
A few years ago, I started to experience the frantic panic of not being able to get to crashing point at all. It wasn’t exactly insomnia. I woke up in the morning after all and that’s only possible if you have fallen asleep in the first place. And yet, the waking up felt like something else. Like sleep was an intercontinental cruise, a long, engaging journey whose start and end were clearly demarcated and noticeable. This, what I was experiencing, felt more like a tentative wade into dirty seawater and being yanked back, wet and sticky. That feeling wouldn’t go away for the rest of the day. The blurry, topheavy feeling of carrying an entire aeroplane on your head, being afraid to shake your head too much for fear you’d topple right over.
I don’t know now, whether that was necessarily a bad thing. The distance, the absorbedness, the sheer effort it took to just focus that numbed out most of what else was happening to me…I suppose that’s what people otherwise take to drugs and booze for.
The few times I did sleep heavily and well, I woke up feeling like my eyelids were stretched back a little too wide and they might tear in the corners. The day began bright and chirpy with a nursery rhyme ‘early to bed, early to rise’. And then I’d go into the day. A high heel grind into my bare toes. A toenail sluice right off and hang mid-way. A missed station. The sun burning hot, so hot, I had to yank my arm out of the sunlight or turn my face away. And then people. Faces. Expressions. Annoyance. Resentment. Pettiness. Fakeness. Joy, not for me. Jealousy. Bitterness. Bile. And as afternoon arrived, exhaustion.
And eventually, without thinking about it at all, I fell off the sleep bandwagon. Back into oblivion. Crashpointless. Up all night reading. Or so I said. Reading for awhile. Staring at the ceiling. A meditation on the dusty corners. Zen with a dust bunny. Lights out after awhile. Staring at the lights outside my window. An auto creaking its way down the road. Two in the a.m. and this city is still awake. I hated those kind of realizations so I took to shutting the window and curtaining it off even in the height of summer. The tchuk-tchuk of the fan was my background score for each nighttime drama.
Sometimes I’d replay a situation of the day. And then all over again with a different ending. Or a different twist in the story midway. And over again. And again. And again. And before I knew it, the other people were being replaced by childhood bullies, by ex-boyfriends, by screaming teachers or parents, by other people. Who says you need to sleep to dream? Waking nightmares are the real thing.
Who needs drugs, I wrote? Your body is the factory of chemicals, your brain the lab, the projector room and the control panel. I dosed on such potent fare each night. Occasionally I dozed as well, waking up to find my cheeks wet. It was delicious, the pain. And the hangover, devastatingly nauseating.
What I think is this. Living, it hurts. It heals as well but that takes time. And when your life is about bigger, faster, better, right now, there’s no time to even count your wounds or even stem the bleeding. And little by little you’re wearing away till all that’s left of you is a wraith. I’ve always had a talent for self-preservation, unconsciously, that kicks in when my masochism transcends adventure and goes into the realm of being serious. Insomnia was a drug. It had me out cold, just enough to be able to sustain the daily farce but inside a glass case of unfeeling. I would never have been able to bear it otherwise.
It has been awhile since I left behind the life I led, the person I was then. I find myself laughing much more. Sarcasm doesn’t come as often as it used to. And talking, really saying what I think or feel…I do and I wonder why I thought it so difficult. The world behaves differently too. People are nice. Or stupid. Sometimes I cry. A lot actually. And even in the middle of conversations or with other people. That’s news. That’s new. I never used to be able to cry, I think.
I spend days on end just stringing together moments the way kids put beads together. And then one day I can suddenly do everything and anything. A social outing. All the housework ever. Writing. In buckets and waterfalls of words. A blogpost. New chapters on the book. Short stories. And then a word document just because I’ve already posted and how would it look if I shot off 10 posts in a day after nothing for 10 days?
I sleep a lot these days. 12 hours sometimes. And then, 7 hours later, I’m drifting into deep sleep for another 10 hours again. I say, my body is making up for all that sleep deprivation of the years. But I don’t really need that kind of rest and relaxation, not after nine months, not after virtually zero exercise. It isn’t the heat, it isn’t depression and wanting to hide away. I think what it is, is making peace with the crashing point. Whoever called sleep, the little death or a sibling of death was seeing things the way I am. A little death every night allows you a new life every day. It is about succumbing, about giving in, about acceptance. Let go and tomorrow there will be a new person in a new world and how she takes the day is her problem. Today is over and not your worry any more.
I don’t know where the crashing point is. I’ve been staying up all night some nights and through the next day. Or sleeping for a couple of hours interspersed with bouts of talking and writing. Or slept through the hottest part of the day and awake at both of the cool ends. It’s around somewhere, I know it is. I won’t worry. It’ll happen to me. Perhaps it already is happening. The body can and does take care of itself. Its rhythms can even take tampering, just not micromanaging. The crashing point needs to have its own anonymity.
I sat on the grass for a long time. It felt like it, as I breathed every second that passed. The grass felt comfortable under my butt and thighs. Like a carpet? No, I’m a Mumbai girl, I’m not used to carpets. The park is full of little mounds and grassy gradations and the contours of this patch of land fit comfortably under my legs. I don’t remember the last time I tasted comfort like this.
I was facing the jogging track and people walked by me, heads angled in front, not a glance here or there, focused on building up their heart rate and burning their calories. It was odd to be ignored quite like that. How have I not noticed it earlier? Maybe because I’ve been one of them. Truly, we city people miss the lovely things right before our eyes as we chase after other things.
How often I myself have pounded down this same track, my feet keeping up with my thoughts, an Ipod plugged into my ears or a phone conversation happening in parallel. I’ve been running away from things that are too much bear, rushing through conversations that must be had. And that’s exactly what I see written on all the faces that whip past me on the track today. I hope they find their peace. I really hope. It’s all around, abundant and just waiting to be experienced.
Last month I carried anger and indignation inside me, frothing like a bottle of coca-cola in the backseat of a car that’s zoomed down one of Mumbai’s roads. It rose inside me, threatening to burst forth from my lips and eyes any minute. Any damn minute right now. And I struggled to contain it, to settle it. My best friend had thrown a tantrum when I spoke up for the first time in 15yrs. Another friend had spoken up for the first time in 12yrs and burst forth with things that had little to do with the occasion. The irony of the two events happening in the same week was not lost on me. While I labeled the first one a tantrum, I called the second one an excessive and uncalled for response. I was torn between the two and my anger at the end of it was the stress I felt torn between the two diverse roles I played in these events.
Then there was the person who wanted me to work for him for free. Worst of all was his condescending attitude, an impression of ‘You’re not working so let me give you something worthwhile to do’, an air of doing me a favour by letting me do his work. I wanted to toss it all in this face and flounce out angrily but of course I didn’t. Seething, seething, seething.
Then, an ex- told me that I was just the same as ever, everlastingly full of angst. But he laughed as he said it, just as he always has. And I realized even if he were right, it didn’t matter anymore. I am just myself that’s all.
And A jauntily told me that it was a good thing to replace one’s friends. Relationships outgrew their purpose too and permanence was overrated, he said. There’s some solace to be drawn from that. Can I then let go of all the shackles that hold me back without fear? We hold the keys to our own handcuffs and we hold it with tight, fierce desperation.
It’s time to breathe. A deeeeeeeep breath. And let go.
Yesterday the temple was crowded, as it always is on Saturdays. I found a relatively empty spot and sat down to collect my thoughts. Ten minutes later, when I was walking down the road, a young man passed by and said something. I unplugged my earphones and stared back. He said,
When you were doing your puja, you looked very peaceful and serene. It felt good to see that.
And he walked away. Peace, happiness, contentment, so elusive. I think I’ll stop trying to figure out how to get them and keep them. I’ll just stay in them when they do occur.
On Facebook while I wait for E Vestigio to turn up for our Sunday evening catch-up/gripe/giggle dinner-date. Clearing out pending messages, updated status (blah, I’m running out of exciting things to claim I’m doing) and even looked into Twitter. And now this idle mind turns to mischief. So I use the Friend Finder to look up people I haven’t heard from in awhile (read: ex-crushes). 🙂
One I admit I’ve checked on earlier isn’t showing up anymore. Odd, did his wife realize he was hitting on his ex-girlfriends online? Muhahaha…I certainly hope the water was scalding hot.
The HUMONGOUS crush from school has turned humongous. No kidding, he looks like he’s pushing 50, not 30. Yeurrgh, the receding hairline does nothing for the rather sweet memories one has. Oh err, thank goodness for bad luck in romance back then.
I pause on one particular name, a common one coupled with a generic surname and imagine he’ll be lost in a flood of other namesakes. Oddly enough he’s the third one on the list, head-to-head with a girl in the profile pic. Wife. Smiling. Surprising myself, I smile back. He was nice. And I’m glad he’s happy.
Which made me think…how seriously we take life, the life of the moment only, little realizing how little it could matter a few months or years later. I don’t know if I’m getting mellower with age or whether my memories are just fading but somehow I don’t feel the same intensity for people who were supposed soulmates at one point of time. Hell, I don’t even know where some of them are, less care. Not in a bad way though. If I think about it, I generally hope they’re doing good and are happy.
Peace reigns over the past after time has passed its magic healing touch over everyone. And guess what? Another simile.
Falling in love is like getting into the water. Some people enjoy jumping in splash-dunk. Some have to be dragged in screaming and squirming. Sometimes you just slip or trip and fall in. But really, I think the best way is to just dip your feet in, let the water swirl around your edges and wade around a bit in it. What matter then if the water rises, bit by bit, without a splash, without a chill but in a smooth comforting blanket all around?
I’ve tipped my toes in and I think I’ll just walk about on the beach with wet feet for a bit.
Yes, there’s more.
Do banished memories go to hell? I hope not, ‘cos I’ll only end up meeting them there again. Besides they deserve better, so much better than the darkness in my mind.
A friend who hurts you
….is the one most likely to come back and apologize
….is the one that deserves forgiveness the least.
If intimacy is what happens when love and hate collide,
Then seperation is when they lie together in the same bed…or grave.
I would hold onto any scrap of you that I can get,
Even if it is only a painful memory.
I would make sure the memory of me never fades in your mind
Even if it means having to leave only a memory of me behind with you.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
I take that to mean, the situation of being sorry never arises. After all, what else is love but taking the other person’s happiness as one’s personal responsibility? Even if that’s impossible, so is love.
Forgiveness is admitting the humaness of the other person
And divinity in oneself.For
I think I can live with being just human.
Forgiveness is for the world at large, a fair exchange for our own peace of mind. But anyone who is special enough to love, is special enough to never be forgiven.
This was written a long time back. I’m recycling it since I don’t think any of the people who read my blog now knew me then. And because I like this piece. 😀
29 October 2004
8 a.m. on a weekday morning. Mumbai’s crankiest best. Sweepers shuffling dust into the air with a vengeance, cars spelling out “Eat my dust” in their fumes, people shuffling to work. I stood at the bus-stop frowning into thin air, waiting for a bus that was always late on days of important appointments.
A little boy and his grandmother walked past me. The boy in a pair of faded trousers and shirt hanging out in a state of shabbiness only little boys can perfect. The grandmother was little, white-haired, bespectabled and slightly bent in that endearing ‘grandmommy’ way. Both were holding hands tightly. For a moment I wondered, who was escorting who?