Monday, September 17, 2012

Transitory

Monday, September 17, 2012

My journal has become a mélange of pent-up emotions struggling to break free, of spur-of-the-moment ideas and fragmentary thoughts blended into one confused mess. It’s crammed with slips of paper written with disjointed paragraphs and phrases like “the buffering effect of trite language,” “the curse of Tiresias,” “a roving bacchanalia” and “the killing of blastocysts” - ideas I must have intended as topics for an article or as objects of curiosity that I wanted to explore.  Some made me laugh, a few made me wonder. But one thing struck me the most as I read through these random notes: I cannot recall when and why I wrote most them.

This, for example:

Again

It’s the same old feeling once again, when you just want to crawl under the covers and muffle every sight and sound.  The voice in your head just won’t stop, and you need somebody to talk to, but you feel as though you’ve already exhausted that privilege to be listened to with your cyclic bouts of depression and your life’s endless drama. You thought you’d make it to the end of the year without plunging into these depths. You were wrong.

It is not dated, and I cannot remember what made me write it. I just know that I felt so dejected then that writing about it would somehow make me feel better. It must have. Or, by just going through the motions of life and letting things be, I must have moved past that wretched state without my noticing it. But how can I not remember something that obviously affected me in such an agonizing way before?  The hopes and frustrations that consumed me in the past are present now merely as memories.  So many things in life are transitory, even emotions.  Every time I feel like I’m not going to make it, I always do. The moment passes, and life goes on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Of Cell Phones and Bees

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Is it stubborn to refuse to use a mobile phone and not be within constant reach of everyone anytime, all the time? People find it peculiar when I say that I have a phone but I leave it at home, ignored and unattended and used only as needed.  

‘Why?’ They ask. ‘Because cell phone signals kill bees,’ I half-jokingly reply.

But it’s not really that.  For several years now I don’t find it necessary to have my mobile with me all the time. Phones encumber people, like me, who try to lead obscure and unfettered lives. That I have to be at someone’s beck and call beyond office hours and even during vacations is something that I don’t understand. But some simply cannot be out of reach even for a while and they welcome intrusions on their private time. That they need to be accessible at all times shows how busy or in demand they are.   When I see people devotedly attuned to their phones, neither engaged nor disengaged in conversations but only paying continuous partial attention, I’m glad I’m not that busy yet sorry for the busy bees.   

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The vanity of the present

Saturday, September 8, 2012

History has been described as one damn thing after another. The remark can be seen as a warning against a pair or temptations but, duly warned, I shall cautiously flirt with both.  First, the historian is tempted to scour the past for patterns that repeat themselves; or at least, following Mark Twain, to seek reason and rhyme for everything.  This appetite for pattern affronts those who insist that, as Mark Twain will also be found to have said, 'History is usually a random, messy affair,' going nowhere and following no rules.  The second connected temptation is the vanity of the present: of seeing the past as aimed at our own time, as though the characters in history's play had nothing better to do with their lives than foreshadow us.

~ Richard Dawkins. The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution. 2004

Friday, September 7, 2012

One September Morning

Friday, September 7, 2012

What better way to start the month than to spend some lovely time with a friend whom I haven’t seen for years? 

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, with that fresh, crisp air this time of the year brings.  The glaring sidewalks, host to the mundane concerns of every day, are atypically empty. The buildings loomed large and imposing, casting shadows on the streets but unable to dim the brightness of that day.  As I walked towards the coffee shop, with each step I could feel myself being lifted from the languor and listlessness I’ve sunk into.  And then I saw my friend seated under an umbrella in what looked like an oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle, sipping coffee and radiating that openness and ease of manner that I find endearing.  In that instant I felt that, despite everything, life is still good. 
 
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