The days pass by
Like small notes
Slipped under the door
To someone who will come home
Later is a time that arrives
Almost at once;
And the moment that makes up the present
Becomes the past, with each tick
Of the clock;
Living only in memory.
Existing only in chronicles and history.
Life slips away
In the leaves, torn daily,
From the calendar
That mark the inexorable passage
Of time…and our lives upon this earth.
Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’
The days pass by
Yesterday I went to
at the St.Louis Zoo auditorium.
I had not read in detail about the extinction of Passenger Pigeons in the US (where a population of several billion birds was wiped out, purely because of human intervention), and it was a revelation to me.
However, I did not want to call on DnA to pick me up from the Zoo auditorium and I walked back. As I did, I mused on safety and security. There was nothing different about my walking back at about 9pm from the Zoo auditorium, across Forest Park, back home, I usually do it during Muny shows, Shakespeare-in-the-Park, or the Royal Philharmonic on Art Hill (it took me about half an hour, you can go to Google maps and look at the St.Louis Zoo, and look for Christ Deliverance Ministry, Enright Ave…you’ll know where I walked) I usually cut across the grass, not always keeping to the roads. I was wondering, yesterday, if walking in the dark was a wise thing to do. Then I told myself that the fears were mostly in my own mind and perception…in fact, it was probably safer now than before the Ferguson incident,
(here’s a video of John Oliver’s take on it:
…actually, with so many police cars on the prowl ! I walked uneventfully back home. (It does help that I am a “black” person, not white, I suppose, in this area!)
So much of our fears are in our own perceptions, coloured by our own prejudices…where should we draw the line between genuine concerns and our own timorousness?
The trouble in the US is the stupid gun culture. I might be walking far away from any know source of trouble, and might get cut down by a stray bullet! Well, at the end of it all, I believe it’s Fate…and I walk briskly, not loitering. And when I’ve got home safely, I like the feeling that I didn’t give in to the feeling of “Oh, what might happen to me!” and just call DnA to leave their hectic chores and come and pick me up!
But IF something had happened, I would have been reviled for my foolhardiness…how to know, in advance, if my fears are well-founded or groundless? No way, alas, but to put it to the test, and walk home!
When was tending his bike, he asked me to take this snap of the cycle gears:
This was mounted on the bicycle wheel, which is called “chakra” in Sanskrit. It has 10 gears…or levels.
It reminded me of a spiritual aid, that has been worshipped for centuries in Hindu culture:
(Pic from the net.)
Here is the wiki entry about
Which has nine levels.
How apt, I felt, that the cycle, which is a “yantra” or instrument, has two “chakras”, with gears that so closely resemble an ancient “chakra” or “yantra”!
Kinetic energy does not, after all, seem to change much over many centuries!And cycling is a religion for many….
In the middle of the whirlwind.
There is, too, the peace
That is the aftermath of war
And toil, and struggle:
This peace is not always happy.
This may be the peace of death, of regrets
Of waste, of what might have been.
Is this sad peace, the deteritus of destruction,
Always welcome? Is peace always better than war?
Peace…without serenity, without prosperity
Is just the cessation of foul acts
Without the hope of its continuance.
Peace can often be
Tears in a widow’s eye
A maimed limb,
The passing of what was good and happy
In a life lived just a while ago.
Peace can the quietness
Of the broken body of a girl,
Mauled bestially, and left to bleed.
Peace can be the loneliness
In a home when one partner has walked out.
Peace can be the quite of a crash site
Where people are looking for bodies.
Peace…not welcome when it’s just a piece
Of conflict, pain and sorrow.
I saw this scene,
It was a metaphor to me.
When the soul wants to leave
The cage, and depart
For the spaces beyond,
It cannot wait.
It needs no gates or pathways;
Through the very bones,
Through the grid,
It passes, leaving behind
Just the shell of what was once inhabited.
The fence cannot hold it back
Once the call for departure comes.
Mute, devoid of the presence
That has gone,
The fence stands, just showing
How, inside it, once, was a soul
That is now free.
I find almost everyone I meet interesting! Whether it is a random encounter or it turns out to be a long-term friendship..from one end of the spectrum to the other, I rarely meet people whom I actively dislike (though it happens, of course.)
I travelled back from Delhi to Bangalore by train recently. My co-passenger was a lady who described how and why she took a doctorate in Hindi literature…and how she decided that she would marry a medical doctor (she did so).
The coach attendant was a young man who described how financial pressure made him take on a job as a catering hey-you on the Indian Railways; twelve years later, his job is still “temporary”, but his description of it, and the people HE meets, was fascinating!
On a training program recently, I met someone disabled by polio, who found a career where, he said, his disability would not matter…he is a deep-sea diver. He told me about submarine life-forms off the coasts of South America.
So…the contact may be the brief, odd dash of pepper, or the sustained, staple rice-and-buttermilk…I find almost all people interesting, sometimes, even the ones I dislike, as I try to analyse why I find them nasty. :D
We excrete, and then call those who clean the excreta, untouchables.
We rape, and then ostracize the victim.
We sit apathetically, and complain about the state of the nation.
We kill animals, and then pay high prices to see them.
And ….we pride ourselves on being logical and rational beings.
I do not like the places
I go to, in my dreams.
My sadness at separation
From the beloved children
Is, while being worked on,
Hidden deep in my heart.
The sorrow of the end
Of more than three decades of marriage
Lurks there, too,
In the dark crevices of my heart
The wrongs I have done: the hurts I have caused
The many things I could have done better….
All these are not, as I thought,
Dealt with, and forgotten.
They hang, with little burrs,
In my subconscious mind.
Perhaps this is why I rarely dream;
Because, when I do,
I go to these places.
I feel, once again,
What I do not want to feel.
Scenes flash before my consciousness
That I thought I’d discarded…
No, I just seem to have buried them
Beyond the reach of my everyday thoughts.
They come out, and mock me.
Sadness, loneliness, regrets:
They once again assail me.
I wish they would not.
I do not like the places
I go to, in my dreams.
Yesterday I was far too knocked out by the migraine, but this morning, I did wake up in time to leave for my walk by 5.45 am. It was the lovely “ushat kAlam” ..the pre-dawn darkness slowly glowing into ambient light.
I went down the stairs…and it was dark enough that after a few floors, I had to go back to the lift and take that down to the ground floor. Out I walked, and with the tall buildings looming on every side, I walked along, being careful to get my various co-ordinates so that I would be able to find my way back through the Redwood Sequioas of Gurgaon.
Several things caught my eye. One thinks, perhaps, that each building is a compact “village”…but that is not so…most people living in the apartments are strangers to each other…they just share the cocoon, and the sense of camaraderie is pretty fragile. After I got no response to my third or fourth “good morning”, I stopped wishing anyone.
I went out of the apartment building I was staying in, and walked out to the “downmarket” area that I could see from the 19th floor balcony…from which the maid, who works in the apartment, comes. The area is divided by a “nullah” (sewage canal), with all sorts of filth in it, in which several huge-looking pigs (some actually having back-bristles like boars) were rooting around. What a difference between economic strata, separated by a road and a ditch! And yet, the residents of the building depend deeply on the denizens of this “pocket sector” (as one of Anjana’s banker friends in this area described it) meant for the “EWS” (Economically Weaker Sections). The drivers, the maids, the “ironwallahs”, the many domestic and menial services provided to the residents…they come from these “pockets”.
I noticed the early morning services in operation. Milk, in plastic sachets that were stacked in hard plastic crates, was being unstacked after being unloaded from the vans, and being delivered. Newspaper vendors sat in groups, with the day’s several papers in front of them, folding deftly, and inserting the various leaflets that make them a few extra rupees every morning, as well as the supplements of each newspaper. Maids and servants were walking to work, some with a shawl over their torsos, against the early morning’s slight nip. I was cheered to see some maids (yes) on cycles. In fact, at one place, I found several cycles, and the security told me that I could borrow a cycle if I wished, and return it after going around. That made me very happy!
I came back from the open road, and decided to walk along the buildings themselves. Between the high-rises were some even more opulent “low rises”…in this region of high real estate values, to have a bungalow or a low-rise building with just two or three floors must mean sky-high cost!
The spaces between the buildings were plentifully planted with trees and plants…and I was happy to see that not all of them were stunted and pruned to human domination…there were quite a few trees that supported a lot of squirrels, and birds…and as the sun rose, butterflies flitted along, too, as (did dragonflies. There were assigned walking paths, but I could walk along the entrances of the various grand apartments, and look up at the incredible variety of the architecture…some of which was pleasing to the eye, and some of which was…otherwise (“Neo-Gurgainyya”sums it up best for me.) The anonmyity of living in such apartments is, I suppose, both a comfort and a discomfort sometimes…but the greenery helps one in adjusting to this kind of city life.
I watched Bulbuls, Sunbirds, Pigeons and Wagtails; in the ditch, Lapwings looked incuriously at me; I saw a few Flowerpeckers in the Bottle-Brush trees, and did my chanting (108 names of Anjaneya, kanakadhArA stOtram, and some more slOkA), meditated in peace, watched some ladies doing yoga…by this time nearly two hours had elapsed.
The weather was just warming up by now, but I climbed the 19 floors to the terrace with ease, and was only slightly huffy and puffy when I reached the front door. I was happy with my morning walk, climb, observations and thoughts…
I walked into the apartment to greet everyone, especially the two children who are now the center of my universe. They ran to me and hugged me; the younger one showed his two teeth in a happy grin; the elder had some anecdote to relate….I was back in my present world..and I left behind the world of Gurgaon, the High-rise Village.