How does one make decisions? What is the process? writing the pros and cons..evaluating them..weighing priorities ..
coming to a conclusion..
but when your brain has tied all the loose ends into a tidy little bow..
and you are feeling mighty pleased about the achievement..
the heart pulls a little nagging string.. at the very edge..
so tiny you don’t see it ..
because that’s the thing with the heart..
it doesn’t like to impose..
it won’t state out loud..
it will be shy ..
it will hope and wait for it’s turn
which we rarely give it..
and then when we don’t..
..it decides to win.
There’s this problem always of being unsatisfied with anything that goes on…
this urge for change..
to go ahead of where one is and at the same time to stay and relax and think..
none of these happen…
all that happens is a run
a continuous fight against fate willing it to change..
never feeling good about what it sees us as..
rather wanting it to see us the way we want to..
and then end up in despair..
only to get up and go on again..
on this corner of the road I stand waiting for a signal…
One of my favorite bloggers, wrote a poignant post exploring the need for a ‘defined’ self. It reminded me of a poem which we learnt in school, the Pulley, which has always stuck with me. The possibility that restlessness, is a steady state for man.. Of others, I don’t know, but it holds true for me. I am not an extraordinary brain .. just your average Jane and yet I have never felt satisfied. With a good life, a great job, amazing family. Having everything that is considered a privileged life.
Its never about having more.
Its always about having ‘right’. and what is right, I don’t know ..yet. Not knowing what I want can become a major hurdle in getting it..sounds paradoxical..
but that’s what it is.. the constant longing of wanting to be in a place where I’m not. The constant desire to be at peace.. which I am told can only be found within me. It is in me that I can seek the answers to my questions. But the questions .. they are yet not complete..
When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by;
Let us (said he) pour on him all we can:
Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.
So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flow’d, then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all his treasure
Rest in the bottom lay.
For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.
Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.
— George Herbert
It was a struggle every time..
not to touch you
being insanely attracted to you
and insanely scared of being rejected
No..sure of being rejected
i never knew
why you never left..
a long time ago..
it was me who was blinded by love..
you never were
and in the space
between your nonchalance
and my desire spent grief
i’m still hanging…
to release my breath.
In other stories, they hung this exit sign outside my apartment door, facing a window, for the sole person who lives on the floor.. moi. go figure!
Do words make a difference in real life?
These tons of letters and sounds we pile up on each other ..
let out in the universe..
do they cause change?
The question arose in the midst of tears this morning.. in the line to pay the electricity bill
which i had forgotten.. and was threatened with the prospect of a fanless dark night
in front of me was a guy.. an elderly guy whom I would call Dadaji..
tall..6 feet ..fair..a white turban and a dhoti..walking with a cane
black glasses making his eyes invisible..
bent due to age.. must be about 80..
the standing in line for 2 minutes was causing him pain..
the bill guy wanted to send dadaji back..
as government employees are wont to..
because he was a couple of days early before the deadline (that was a new one for me)
Dadaji tells the bill guy that he has waited since 7.30 in the morning
and its very hard for him to make the trip..
bill guy asks him to send a kid the next time
dadaji’s quivering voice becomes sadder..
if I had someone to help, would I be here?
the bill guy takes pity and accepts his money
and then dadaji in impeccable english and giving us a hint of the man he was in the past says
‘In the future I will make sure to come on time..badi meherbani’
and he repeated the phrase .. ‘in the future’
as if he was reminding himself ..
a minute later I saw him waiting for a cab
and of course he hailed the one I was in, rushing to work …
and I couldn’t decide between letting him take the cab and being late to work..
in that moment of indecision, getting late to my A/c office to my plush job seemed the priority
and I lost the chance to make the tiny difference
and of course then I cried more.. mostly with anger..
and now am sitting in the same cooled office with coffee in hand
spewing words which wont make any difference..instead of working..
it’s a day to hate myself..
yellow dust storms mark the days..
followed by pitch black nights..
and lots of heat…
never knew the night can be so hot
(oh the ways that line could be interpreted)
and oh so sadly
i mean the actual heat
which puts every skin cell on fire alert
when the power cuts off
the deathly silence
pierced by a truck horn played as a song
on the nearby highway
me alternating between wide awake and glazed out sleepy..
the mind running on ‘repeat’..
‘this is not right’
A random stranger who came to buy my sofa asked me “and you WANT to go back to India?” ..The surprise in her tone and the tiniest bit of shock took me aback. But what surprised me most was my own reaction. Without skipping a beat and with a lightness of heart that I hadn’t felt in a long time, I replied ‘Yes!’. And that re-ignited something in me. Something that I had suppressed all these years. My innate Indianness, if you will. Not the patriotic kinds nor the derogatory kind. Just the quality that allows us to live life by the gut. We love from there, hate from there, make big decisions using its signals. We literally speak and sing from the gut too.(No really! Try singing any Indian song. You WILL feel the vibrations in your tummy!). We are an emotional people. Its never about black or white but nor is it grey. Its about colors. All of them. Too many to identify. There are no rights and wrongs. There is only a feeling of the moment. We are cheaters but we are honest. We are lazy and sincere. We are black, brown, beige and white. We love free food but we are killer cooks. There’s poverty and pollution and traffic jams. But there are festivals and food and joy. There’s corruption and blackouts and no water. But there’s family and friends and home.There’s too many people. Privacy is almost impossible. But so is loneliness. We hate each other but will leave everything when someone we care about is in trouble. We will kick each other today and go back to being best friends tomorrow. We nod to say yes and we nod the same way to say no.
The rules are fuzzy. But the love is absolute.
And I for one… cannot wait to be back 🙂
Gently rolling hills do have a place in the landscape..
..they don’t have the soaring ecstasy of mountains..nor the lows of the valleys
when nothing much is happening.. but the lines are clean and the colors are beautiful.
Those quiet moments when life paces at a steady rhythm.. listening peacefully to its own heartbeat..
Sometimes the days of minimal choice seem ..well.. attractive. You know those days when want was more and get was very very less. I am a child of consumer culture .. the difference between wanting and having is usually a credit card swipe…well, except when its a Ferrari (don’t have the credit limit) So anyways, lately, I sort of don’t like that side of me. A few days ago when my mom was visiting from India, we went shopping. Something we hadn’t done in years. Something I miss. Not that we ever agree on anything. Anyway, she has been someone who has always given up a lot of her choices and wants to make sure her daughters and husband were well taken care of. Which I have only started appreciating after I left home. Someone who rarely has more than 3 pairs of shoes in her closet.. earlier because she couldn’t afford to and now even when she can, because its become habit.
She let me buy her a pair of heels that day.
She didn’t say much but her face was aglow… Her simple and pure joy at buying a pretty thing..from her daughter.. I still tear up every time I remember her face. And wonder.. is having more.. of everything.. caused us to become so jaded to lose the meaning of simple joys?
The middle class was the worst gift that the British gave India. Referred to as the working class in other parts of the world, it is a class of people the British created by using Indians to do their clerical jobs and keep them in line. Providing them with enough to gain their gratitude and in return asking for their subservience in their regime. After 60 years of independence, the situation is improving, they are becoming more educated and gaining financial stronghold. The recent surge in the consumer economy of India is a direct reflection of the increase in the improved life style of the middle class. So there is a change. But to a large extent, that change is ostensible. It is more of a rolling ball effect rather than a propelled one. And there lies my problem. Because the mental fabric of this group of people is still the same.
The ideas and concepts of life are confined to a square. And unless you are deemed special by society , you need to follow those rules or you are a social outcast. I have seen this up close. My parents however are far more progressive than their peers. I was given a lot more freedom to think and learn whatever I chose to and live as per my rules. But when it comes down to major life decisions, the square comes right back to suffocate. They eventually feel the pressure. Anyone who seeks to ask why, to dare, to take a risk and be something even slightly different from the norm is looked upon with suspicion. The list of ‘should’ rules our lives.
There is black and white differentiation between people who follow the rules and those who don’t. I am a cause of pain to my family because I think who I marry is far more important than, when I marry.. or because I actually like being independent. This causes me immense guilt. I would love to change these viewpoints…mine and theirs. Which however would call for conflict. When a tree is deep rooted, the only option to change its position is uprooting it. Which I would never want to do to my family. Because they are not bad people and I love them. They cannot be blamed for the ideas that were ingrained in them. They can be blamed for accepting those ideas without question. But then, they never felt the need to. So asking them to change their core today is basically the same thing as them asking me to go against my dreams.
So what is the solution? All I can see is that I have no choice for myself if I want to keep my family intact. I have the choice of giving my children the choice. However I am one person. And I do hope there are many more like me. But I see a lot of my peers think the same way as the elders. A friend told me he wanted a wife who will never go against his parents’ wishes. Another one said that he will hire bodyguards to keep his young daughter away from boys at school. Which is really disheartening.
Now, resistance to even a slight change in pattern, is nothing new. We have seen this happening in history all the time. It just pains me to see that this is still happening. That history has not taught us to be open minded. To accept that life is not a set of rules. Or is it the same fact that scares us? Because then we will be forced to actually be original..