2Q17: I learned

I learned about magnitude. I learned that there are problems I need to solve alone, that no one else can solve for me even if they tried and there are problems which I can never solve alone, no matter how much I try. I learned that in order to solve the big problems, you need to solve the little ones first, especially the personal ones.

I learned what is important to me, what I want my life to be about. I want to fight climate change and save the environment because I have seen with my own eyes the true wonder of nature. You can travel the world and you can go trekking in all four corners of the globe but you can still not have understood what nature is capable of. You need to watch plants grow, you need to see how humans depend on them, you need to see the love between animals, something a lot of us lack. You need to live it, you need to be a part of it.

I learned that touring is different from experiencing. People visit several places, they sign up for all the guided tours and book all the cruises, but they come back the same as they were before they went. They come back exactly the same but with more material possessions. They go places and see wonders that humans created but they do not want to understand or interact with the humans who built them.

I learned about inter-dependency; how globalization veiled inter-dependency by offering us means through which we don’t have to know who created the things we use. I learned how this is dangerous.

I learned about loss and how we grieve it. I learned that animals grieve too. I learned that true strength lies in acceptance; that maturity can be measured by how fast we come to terms with events that shake us. I learned to emulate the Bhutanese; death is a part of life, and we have no reason to not joke about it as we do every other part of life.

I learned that a little humour goes a long way.

I learned that materialism is the key to misery. When you are able to sustain yourself and be happy living on the bare minimum, then you realize what sustainability actually is.

I learned that love can mean different things to different people and that’s okay. I learned how to build a fortress around my heart and why that’s not a bad thing.

I learned that there are different truths: the truth, the official truth and personal truth. The second is a half-truth, used by most governments to brainwash their population. The latter is the truth about your life experiences, your beliefs and your thoughts. Do we have the right to lie about our personal life if it does not impact other people? It is a question I am still contemplating the answer to but right now, I believe we do, but only if it does not affect anyone else’s life.

I learned that consistency is better than a few strong hits amidst several misses.

I learned to cherish the energy and enthusiasm that youth brings.

I learned the meaning of the word ‘home’: it’s much more than a place or a people and it can’t be identified purely from someone’s passport.

I learned how to write less but more; less words but with more meaning. I learned to appreciate the nuances.

I learned that the world is twisted; that it all boils down to power, not just money. So I learned to stray away from the mainstream.

I learned to discern lies, to question everything and when to speak out.

I learned most about the climate; or my lack of knowledge on the subject. I learned that we have crossed several tipping points that we shouldn’t have in our goal to stay below a 2 degree Celsius increase in temperature. I learned that it’s too late. But I also learned that being realistic is the best way to adapt and that sometimes, hope is the mask of fear.

In 2017, I learned to not plan out 2018 because life will come as it wishes anyway.

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Breaking the Urn

courtyards reek
lover’s grief

red lipped flowers
insouciant

emerald leaves
eager to please

waning light and faded hue
gentle nights

washed ashore

visions perfumed
poisoned

erupting from

the ashes of a heartbreak

 

Hideout

via Daily Prompt: Hideout

I needed a prompt to let the floodgates out this time. I have a scar on my arm and I don’t know where it came from. I have discovered divinely immersive music after a long time. Tigran Hamasyan, Shai Maestro, Takuya Kuroda, Thelonius Monk and a little more Jazz make up my evening playlists. I have a very strong feeling that I need to be doing something else, i.e. not research, with my life. But I don’t know what and I’m unsure as to whether I even want to find out. Maybe I’m comfortable with the idea of a comfortable position as a scholar or researcher. But as was said in Dead Poets’ Society, isn’t poetry, romance, beauty and love what we live for? Do I need a noble pursuit to justify my existence or is that an overly exaggerated, capitalistic view? Do I owe it to my parents to keep pushing on in this field? I think I know the answer to the last question.

I need to know what constitutes satisfaction. Happiness, I am aware of. But true satisfaction, I have yet to experience. The mental kind, not the physical. Is it the practicalities of life clashing with the picture I’ve painted in my head of what life should be like? Is it just a childish pursuit of idealism that has left me in want of a state that I may never attain? Am I asking too many questions, throwing a fishing line into a polluted river and expecting the finest catch? Can I be trusted with finding my way in this world?

And if I assume this is all an illusion, why does that have to make it less real? Can curiosity get any curioser (“and curioser!” Cried Alice)? Am I painting the person in the mirror with impermanent watercolors? Am I too enraptured by fleeting encounters that were never meant to be? Or is this all just an excuse for me to hole up in my hideout and bury my head in the sand when reality comes knocking at my door?

Pretty Side of Hell

His breath rattles like skittles in a tin can, his mind no longer a computer, reduced to useless mush and faded memories. He doesn’t think, doesn’t feel, his only companion, the IV unit, each drip ticking like a clock trying to buy him time he shouldn’t have. He sees glimpses of past moments, happiness visualized but not relived. White walls, emotionless faces, metal beds and a permanent air of pain and misery, how much longer in this hell? The pastor said euthanasia is a sin, terrorism that’s what it’s akin to; do it and you’ll be sure it leads you to hell. ‘But isn’t that already where I’m at?’ What difference does it make now?
She was a real beauty once. Her luscious hair, the envy of her friends, now lies on the floor in wisps, the way she saw her dreams lie, stagnant. The lump won’t get any smaller, ‘three more months without chemo, three more years with it,’ he says. She sees her parents handing him the money they don’t have. ‘For what? Why make me live like this?’ she pleads, she screams but they’re adamant. Night closes in and she eyes the tubes taped to her body. ‘It’s my life.’ she thinks as she pulls them out, the world dimming before her.

Maybe there’s a pretty side to hell, the side that’s reserved for ‘tourists’; for those who’re devoid of sin but condemned nonetheless, condemned for having made an independent choice that brought harm to none but themselves, but then is it even harm at all?

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Nirvana in Pitcairn

I wish the ground would just open up and swallow me already. But I don’t want to linger in the murky depths of the earth. I hope the ground spews me out somewhere on an island on the other side of the world, somewhere like Pitcairn where the breadth of civilization consists of 40 people and some wallabies. I’d be a guava on the tree, hanging around, waiting for the guava shooters to pierce a bullet through my soft, pale green flesh and blow me open with a force that will make me forget everything and everyone.I hope my seeds won’t sprout so that I’ll be completely, truly wiped off the earth. No remorse, just a grassy Nirvana.

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Museum of Goa, artwork by Subodh Kerkar