Posts Tagged ‘past’

The last few leaves…..

December 25, 2014

I tear off the leaf of my daily calendar.It’s a habit that’s a long-standing one… for many years, I always asked my sister in law, to buy a “rANi mutthu” daily calendar for me (I was superstitious..the 2 years that I bought one for myself, I lost my parents, and then again, once, when I did this, I lost my brother. Now, I’ve lost a lot, including the superstition, and I buy my own.)

At the start of the year, it’s a fat, thick wad of papers. It represents the future..unknown, yet to be experienced. There are hopes, there are fears. There is speculation on what may come to pass…or not.

Then, the leaves slowly start dropping. No, it’s not fall, it’s just the daily tear-off.

This year, there was a big hiatus from June to November. I came back from a visit to Scandinavia and the US, and tore off a huge chunk of the future-that-had-turned-into-the-past.Since then, it’s been pretty much a leaf a day, except the visit to Delhi which lasted a week. (I should have got my sis in law a calendar when I went, but it hadn’t come on sale yet.)

Now, the piece of cardboard has just a few leaves…dates….attached. Detachment…when I detach the leaves from the calendar, why don’t I also practice another kind of detachment? I should let the past go. Missing my grandchildren so intensely that it hurts…missing things from a past life that will never return…why do I allow these unprofitable thoughts? Attachment must drop from me, as the leaves do when I pull them off the calendar.

I will go out in a day or two, and get another calendar. Soon, it will be time for this baby-fat Murugan to go to the recycling, while another one will smile at me, over another stuck-together-with-cloth-and-gum pile of 365 small sheets of paper, that tell me the date according to the English and Tamizh calendars, tell me the auspicious and inauspicious times of the day, the “star” of the day, the time of the lunar month, and mention which south Indian temple has what festival….and also what festival it is for several other religions, as well as leaders’ birthdays and national holidays and Hindu festivals. For example, today it has the picture of C Rajagopolachari whose birthday it is, and a Santa with balloons to denote Christmas.


My daily calendar…an unobtrusive yet essential part of my daily life. Tearing a page off usually means that twenty-four hours have gone by. What have I achieved? What have I thought? How have I treated others? I do not always introspect…but I am doing so now, when there are just a few leaves left.

Let me muse on the way this year has gone, as time creeps past, and the leaves fall from my mind, and my life, as well as from my calendar….

Names that go together…

July 3, 2013

Some names from the past that just go together…Hall and Stevens (geometry), Wren and Martin (English grammar), Swan and Edgar (shopping in London), Lakshmikant and Pyarelal, Shankar and Jaikishen (Hindi film music) Viswanathan and Ramamurthy (Tamizh film music), Simon and Garfunkel (pop music)….

I read a P G Wodehouse piece where he said that in an attempt to make the most unlikely people the murderers in a mystery book, the author would say the murder was committed by two people who appeared on the first page…Hodder and Stoughton! :)))) Inspired by a friend’s post. Thank you, Vandana Murthy!

For no particular reason, I am posting this picture of bright colours, and this one of black and white, together…just for the contrast!


University City Children’s Center, 010713


Random sighting on a footpath, St.Louis, 010713.

Time passed…..

July 21, 2011

lilies 210711 stl

Time passes
In the sweep of the second hand
Across the face of the clock,
In the unobstrusive click of the pulsing
Of the quartz crystals
Or the electronic pulse
Of my digital watch.

The petals on the lilies
That I brought home
Detach themselves gently, and fall.
The buds slowly open, holding the promise
Of beauty, that the fading flowers have passed.

Tomorrow, I’ll be gone from here.
But the heady aroma of the lilies
And tomorrow’s buds
Will remain, and be a reminder
Of my presence in this house.

The present inexorably slips into the past.
The future slips into being,
Becoming now, instead of later.

The enjoyment of the lovely scent of the lilies
Now…now..and storing it away in my memory
Is my way of conquering Time…

Tomorrow I will see the lilies in my mind’s eye.
Today, my senses take it all in.
Tomorrow, in my mind and heart,
I’ll open these memories,
And relive them again.

I bathe myself in the running river of Time…
Each moment a fleeting caress:
Building memories, some remembered, some not.
Since I started writing this,
A few more petals have fallen….

Past, present, and future….

May 3, 2011

Here’s a nice image of the past and the present, juxtaposed…

ykshgna car RS 020511

This was right next to Ranga Shankara, where I had gone to watch the end-of-workshop presentation that the children were doing for their parents and others. The mural is of a Yakshagana artiste, with his colourful headgear…. a popular art form in the past. The present is the increased pace of life, represented by the automobile. This car is the Maruti Alto. The Maruti car company truly brought car ownership to the masses in India.

And what happens when the past, and the present, inevitably, melt into the future? Here’s what will take one to the hereafter:

hearse 020511

We love to euphemise, so this is termed (on the back of the vehicle) a “Vaikunta Yatra Vehicle” (Vehicle to travel to heaven)! On the side, though, in Kannada, is written, “uchita shava sAgisuva vAhanA” (free vehicle to transport a corpse)! That seems very matter-of-fact….

That was a slice of life in J P Nagar…all the tenses, co-existing peacefully, within the space of a few yards!

Flowers in forgotten books…

October 11, 2007

After my post on Shivaji theatre,kshah said that after something has outlived its usefulness, it is better that it is replaced by the next, more useful thing.

That brings me to the “kitAb mein phool” debate.

When you find a flower pressed in the pages of a long-forgotten book…memories come rushing back in a torrent, some which have been buried so long that you didn’t *know* you remembered those things.

But what is nostalgia? Isn’t it the memories associated with that pressed flower, and not the flower itself? But you need the flower to bring back those memories…

“The old order changeth, yielding place to new”, wrote Tennyson, and he used these thought-provoking words, “lest one good custom corrupt the world”. He certainly made a valid point there. What was correct and apt some time ago may be irrelevant today, and indeed, harmful sometimes. So many things are relics of history, which should fade away with history…

But there is the great value, too, of what is old, inherited, tradtional and venerable. We pride ourselves as a land of ancient culture and unbroken traditions.

So…how does one separate the wheat from the chaff? What to let go of, what to hold on to? We may think that we are the only ones facing this dilemma…but I am sure every generation must have thought about it too. Here again is a dichotomy..on the one hand, one tends to assume that rapid change is something that is only happening in the present time…and yet, there is also a tendency to think that evolution and change have already finished happening that history is something that happened before we were born. Witness the vanity of those who started categorizing art and fiction , and called the art and fiction of their time “modern”…”modern” joined the pages of history, too, and now we have to classify things as “post-modern”…what will we do thirty years from now, I wonder! eternal debate…a good example is the excellent road from Bangalore to Hosur. Once (well, not too long ago) it was a lovely but not very wide road, shaded on both sides by majestic trees. Obviously a broader road was needed, and today, a really good road DOES exist (never mind the extreme difficulties that the road-users have undergone, *that* is a separate topic.)So…what is good? The beauty, the serenity of the old road? The efficiency, the good construction of the new road? I am hard put to decide.

The past or the future? Perhaps all of us should be Janus, after all…with one face looking each way, and mixing both in the present.

kshah…your thoughts, please, because it was your comment that made me think about this.