Stream

Breaking out into a wild dance of joy. Thumping desks, mouth wide open in silent laughter. Hair in disarray, the theme is picked up, mutated and carried on. Dreams that won’t stop, reality that goes on. Waves wash a distant shore and the roar in a shell is ignored.  Eyes meet across new media, seas of soup separate. Recognition is fear. Each search leads to shunya, but the quest is a path in itself. Why seek outside yourself? March on, and leaves on trees remain as in August.

Expt. #3146: Excited!

The key to being happy is not looking forward.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t take time out at points, evaluate where you are and where you are going, and how that matches with what you want to happen. You should. Just not every time you make a small(er) decision or the sun sets, whichever comes first.

You’ve got to live in and enjoy the moment. That is never going to happen if you are constantly falling short of whatever impossible standard you’ve set yourself.

I love introspection. I enjoy talking about it too. But that is a black hole, and I feel that it is my responsibility to only flirt with the event horizon.

So these days I am in a state that I would have, two years ago, called superficial. I worry about the assigned reading, the assignments, the fact that I still haven’t finished a story I have been working on for two months now (forget the editing). But not too much. Instead I throw myself for one hour periods into classes, or research, or camphor-time, or planning-the-week-time during which I create a hard hours schedule that can’t be changed, and soft hour schedule that can, and for that one hour worry and think and love nothing else.

And the result?
I am told I look, sound, and appear more excited and generally happier. I don’t know if I am happier or not: that question prompts introspection and questions along the lines of what-is-happiness; this is not the hour for that.

So I’m declaring this experiment a success.

Aside

sundarbans or ames
the summer sun streaks through trees
playing peekaboo

yellowed leaves will fall
autumn restarts the cycle
camphor blooms anew

Where is the grey?

A house somewhere in Philadelphia

Where is the grey?

Does the line ever blur?

A picture of a house somewhere in Philadelphia (taken nearly a year ago). An image of the lines we feel compelled to draw: between me and you, mine and yours; between black and white; between so many things that aren’t so very different, if only to call attention to being not one.

scrapbooks vs. real life

I have almost a couple dozen pages in a scrapbook filled – and I haven’t even incorporated the photographs. Programs notes, old tickets, notes-on-notes, snapshots, pressed flowers, boxes set aside as memory aide (yes, I too did something): proof that the last two years happened and were more than a blurred smear of nothing-much-how-about-yous; without which certainly the time since that fateful new year would be the same all the way until today, until now (and perhaps forever until now), with no clear demarcation that says yes this was december with it’s snow and yes, that june (or was it july?) with its trips, and I forget was there another december in between?

Three months of a clear, clear slate, and now I’ve begun again with a ticket to a movie and someday soon I will have photographs that I would have had printed. Others have other marks – ones to be envious of perhaps, but those are unmistakable engravings in stone to my scratches on the sand.

Nice thing about sand? You can start over.

23. I think.

Not so long ago, somebody asked me how old I was. (yes, lady, age, shocking, yes yes we know. move along there, there’s nothing to see. jaragandi*, jaragandi etc.) And I said, “23, I think.”

Then, I thought: not yet 25.

Wait, not 24 either. Or am I? Wait. 1986; 2010, that’s 24. Wait, I’m 24? Wasn’t I 23 just now? Maybe. In February. Ye Gods, three months being 24 and I’ve wasted it? One third of the 24-year old life? I’m going to be past the mid-life, oh, alright, the midlife a century ago, life expectancy is now 80+, midlife won’t arrive fro another 15 years and-

That’s not the point. The point is I’ve been 24 for three months! And I wasted it. It’s the age of potential! The cusp! Right before responsibility takes you by the throat and chokes you, and you live loving it! Not the time to experience crisis, even if it is quarter life crisis. Quarter? Well, I think. My palm says I’ll live to 90+. For what it’s worth, and if you believe in palmistry, which I do, to an extent. Not predictive, precisely–

That’s not the point. The point is – are you going to explore some of that life or let it pass by? Here lay Camphor, who lived to be a 90+ ghost and who let life pass her by. Not that I am going to have an epitaph, on account of being being burnt and not buried – and anyway, the proper word is cremated, not burnt.

Ever have that problem where you don’t know the right word? Oh, I know everyone has that trouble but I meant like the time I used “before now” in a sentence and had a terrible urge to change it to ere now, and I had to tell myself over and over that ere is archaic, and formal, and no one uses it and it sounds odd to other people, and stop trying to correct that, it isn’t incorrect, precisely, and do you want to sound as stiff as a board and twice as foreign? Or when the best word for the situation, or answer or whatever for a character or even for yourself happens to be in a language that the other person doesn’t know, or the character can’t know, and you have to tell yourself that the purpose of language is to communicate, not demonstrate your skill in weaving a huge tapestry? And a huge awkward tapestry it would be, with all those words weighing it down. Ugly too. Hemmingway, brevity, wit, remember?

You’d think I’d have learnt that lesson when my beatiful, creative, far ahead of standards English earned me a pathetic 73% (I think, but I am not sure – was it 71? 77?) in X standard (and isn’t it curious that tenth in my head is an X?), but when I tied up all thought and just answered the question in XII, I ended up with 90+. Was it 93? 95? 97? One of those three, I am reasonably certain. No, not 91. Too low. And 99 is too high. And it was odd. Oh, leave it. What does it matter? You don’t remember most marks anyway. Just the 2/10 in Sanskrit in 6th that came from pride and earned a look of disgust from the teacher (not 6th. not chicken-pox-trivandrum’s-teacher, probably 8th), the 86%, learning a whole new language in a week that resulted in pride and the determination to never memorize anything ever again, which led to the miserable failure in learning organic chemistry—

“Actually, I am 24,” I corrected myself, “I just realized – you know how you feel 21 when you’re not?” I had been babbling about rings while I’d been thinking all that.

He laughed as he said something along the lines of “Oh, here is one who is going to stay 32 forever.”

And I thought: Or 37. Or 43. Or 54. Or wait, why do I have such odd numbers that I freeze myself at? And not just for me – I remember Mom staying 37, 42 and then 47 for years. Like a five year jump. And here I was, Miss not-quite-25 for three months… but 24 now. And I wouldn’t forget.

I hauled my attention back to my conversation and let the blabbering continue in the back of my head. Like it always does. Or, at least, almost always. These corrections, addendums, *-to-explain-and-defines, disclaimers, things-in-parenthesis-that-run-on-forever and ruin my writing are the babbling voice that will not be silenced. Someday, I will learn to lock it up, and then let it out at need, when I am not writing so I can write without the fact-checker interfere. And I’ll learn to live my 24.


*jaragandi – jaragu means move, but the -andi suffix makes it very polite. More like “move it, sir”, at top volume. Anyone who has gone to Tirupati would recognise it. Language is Telugu, just in case you wanted to know.

hello again, world

Did you know?

I’ve been hiding for about three months now.  It is difficult to remember that if you choose to enter the stasis box, the word will have changed when you come out.  When I went in, I knew. In my mind, that is. It is a bit of a shock to see that.

My world has vanished in quiet flames. Perhaps I have my family – my rock, without whom I would be nothing. I have certainly irreparably damaged my connections to people. I don’t understand why withdrawal hurts but I told it does. I am sorry in the same way that I knew that everything would change when I disappeared. When I come all the way out, I will feel sorry the same way I now feel shock – in the heart. As for the rest of it – well, I never really wanted it anyway. If I had, I would have fought for it. Wouldn’t I?

Wouldn’t I?