Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sometimes you find a passage that is incredibly moving and true. This is one such.

"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like a volcano and then it subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because that is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion…it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body…That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew toward each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two. But sometimes the petals fall away and the roots have not entwined. Imagine giving up your home and your people, only to discover after six months, a year, three years, that the trees have no roots and have fallen over. Imagine the desolation. Imagine the imprisonment." (Captain Corelli's Mandolin)

On love...and responses!

"I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love." (Henry Ward Beecher)
M3 - Maybe if I know how to worship, I would learn to love better?

"Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke." (Lynda Barry)
M3 - And burn our fingers?

"A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous." (Ingrid Bergman)
M3 - A kiss is always a lovely trick - no matter what the circumstances of its execution.

"Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions." (Woody Allen)
M3 - Some say that sex is a pretty good answer, and that love raises some difficult questions

"Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind." (Henri-Frederic Amiel)
M3 - Are we often swifter to be unloving and hastier to be unkind?

"If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers." (Maya Angelou)
M3 - Is it because we give the only smile we have to strangers on the street that love becomes lost on the way. My mother used to quote this to me:
"We have smiles for the passing stranger
and warmth for the one time guest
But oft for the ones who love us most
We give far less than our best"

"Love is like a violin. The music may stop now and then, but the strings remain forever." (June Masters Bacher)
M3 - Ms Masters B obviously never played a violin!

"I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies." (Pietro Aretino)
M3 - maybe if love practiced this 'way of love' we would be better people and better lovers.

"The last time I saw him he was walking down Lover's Lane holding his own hand." (Fred Allen)
M3 - I hate to be a cynic, but then there are those who love only themselves

"To be capable of steady friendship or lasting love, are the two greatest proofs, not only of goodness of heart, but of strength of mind." (Paul Aubuchon)
M3 - Goodness of heart and strength of mind are after all the true greatest indications of the possibility of deep abiding love and faithful unbroken friendship.

"The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out (James A Baldwin)
M3 - We all have felt the light going out, and how we pray that we learn to keep holding each other...when the light falls and the sea rises, when lovers cling to each other and children cling to us.

"A woman knows the face of the man she loves like a sailor knows the open sea." (Honorà de Balzac)
M3 - I have often thought that no one else reads the heart of a man better than a woman who loves him.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Wanted naughty conversation" - Facebook faces the graduation from Innuendo to Direct

So Facebook now has the "pick up" brigade.

To be sure I worried about facebook a little while ago. About how it can do in friendships, create liaisons, destroy relationships. I have a few reservations - still unabated.

I am all for sustaining friendship - through laughter, sharing pictures, jokes, articles, conversation, serious moments, dear warm emails, mad comments; I am all for enjoying a virtual community of friends interacting with each other. I am all for maintaining relationships that in a 21st century world would die - with the scatterings of friends and family that we face. For that reason, Facebook can be great. I admit it. I am able to sustain friends with those whom I might never be able to keep in touch. Play scrabble (wotsit renamed thing) with friends. I can chat, say things, enter a discussion. With friends.

But what about the rest. The adverts that now get thrown in your face. They will increase I suspect. And then there were always those that were there for the kick of it. The innumerable randoms they pick up from cyber space - strangers walking in off cyber space into the rooms we sit in to become "virtual friends". The flirtations, the flatterings, the admiration for pictures, the trivial pursuits of "boost my ego". Then there are the random strangers who just enter your personal space and become virtual friends, creating a virtually real world, that makes you forget the real world that you belong to - the warm, loving, real things. You forget that in a conversation - the expression in the eyes matter, the tone of laughter or sadness in the voice mattrers, the gentle touch of a hand matters, a kiss and a hug matters. What matters now is the excitement of newness. Of strangers entering personal intimate space.

Also what I do not enjoy is the element of exhibitionism on Facebook. Especially when one is not interacting with just close friends and family. We are busy presenting our selves, putting on faces to meet the faces that we meet - to garble T S Eliot. We all succumb to that. Even in real life. But we get away with it much more online. We can wear our faces to suit the places that we visit in virtual reality. I am not sure what good it does us.

But yesterday, my reservations about Facebook took an all time low. I was looking for people to play scrabble-wotsit-renamed thing, looking at "host tables" and found the following invitations for the game: "lesbians only"; "naughty word game only"; "I am horny tonight - any ladies out there feeling the same"; "I am in a mood for a naughty conversation; "please make your picture visible for the game" (I didn't even know that was possible). This is FOR SCRABBLE? Please. If people want to pick up online shag possibilities, why do they not go to the sites that offer it. Why bring it into the scrabble arena?

I still stick with Facebook for the sake of the close dear people and good friends I have on it - and with whom it enables me to connect in a deeper and more engaging way. But I have reservations all the time - discomfort at what Facebook is generating in this world, and the possible effect it has on our lives on the long term.

Friday, August 22, 2008


There is something about touch...the sheer physicality of it that is wonderful. I don't know what we would do with the touchiness of life...the textures, the nuances of different surfaces, the sheer variety of sensations we have from the skin of our palms and the tips of our fingers. Even lips glory in texture.

I love texture. The sheer feelingfulness of things. The thingyness of different things. Beautiful. Wonderful. Makes you feel alive.

I was touching textures in cloth. Silks, organza, raw silk, satin, chiffon. Oh soo wonderful. But nothing to beat the silk. Natural silk. Done by worms...I mean how incredible is that? The creatures that spin it out, never see it in all its glory. They never see it a deep red rich glowing wonderful cascade of colour and softness. We do. We reap the benefits of all that nature and its creatures do. The sheep give us winter clothes, the worms give us silk for celebration, the bowels of the earth our diamonds to keep sparkling forever, the cattle our shoes and bags, the cotton pods our summer wear and tropical comfort and so it goes.

So I thought tonight about the wonder of touch...the textures we relish but never think about or give thanks for. Starting with silk. Remembering other feelings of touch...the beauty and joy it was. Remembering how hands relish feelings - the way our fingertips instinctively explore things and cast them to memory.

I love silk. Silk with glowing colour and vibrant luxuriant texture. And I love the fact that we are created with the blessing of touch.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


It is two months. Madhu is two months - persona non grata - in terms of actual living. Was just a second. A flash that did it. I still find it hard to comprehend.

She is now conscious. I never thought that it would be worse than unconsciousness. Now her eyes are open and filled with anguish. She is 'awake' and knows - she is lifeless and helpless. One side of her brain is damaged. Irreparable they said. So one side of her body has no life.

Her eyes are eloquent. Fluid with pain. Long eyelashes. She was pretty, petite, and girlish. Now she is gaunt. Skin and bone. Ravaged.

I hate it. I have no answers about life at times like these. Who can answer the whys?
Least of all to her. Who has no future or hope. Certainly very little in this country, when one comes from the background she does - where one lives a hand to mouth existence most of the time.

At times like these even prayer falters and dries up on the lips. For prayer does not save everyone, or prevent suffering, or the onset of vegetablehood. It never has and never will. That is life in all its spectrum say some.

I for one could have done without one end of that spectrum. Especially when I see Madhu. Lying there - wordless, helplees, and now aware of it all.


Changes come all the time. I realise this. I fight them but I can't stop them. I haven't learned to sit back serenely and let change happen without kicking and screaming. WIthout crying. Without hurting. Without the angst. Without the fury at life, the universe, and everything.

We say goodbyes, hellos, leave familiar places to walk unfamiliar paths. Life changes - todays plenty is left for a tomorrow of lack. Todays pain is replaced by joy. The passions we have now might become the indifference of next year. The indifferences of this year might become the passions of the next. Our bodies change, our hearts and minds change. We change; I know this. Like I know the palm of my hand. It is familiar. Known. Our very lives can change in the tick of a second.

Someone I know says 'change is baaad'. it is like the sky has fallen on his head when he is confronted with throwing out decades of old magazines piled up in a study! Like Chicken Little and the Acorn. It is a calamity. Change is baaaad.

But it happens. Like the sun rising the next day. Like rain during the monsoons (definitely not like rain in UK which is unpredictable). Change arriving is like breathing - regular, even, inevitable. Non-negotiable.

Perhaps change is inevitable, regular, even. Non-negotiable.

But what if, knowing change is coming, you intervene to move it forwards. To enhance it.

Like the changes that come into a marriage.
When children arrive into the twoness of a couple, and the dynamic of two, the intimate dynamic of one to one, now become a dynamic of many facets of many 'people'. I have seen the change become a source of destruction of the intimacy of the relationship. Couples relate to each other as the complementing 'parent' and not as the lover they once knew. Some even start calling the spouse 'mama' or 'dad'. The intricate nuances of intimacy, lovering, mystery are gone. Sometimes growing up - when married, makes people grow in different directions - and become different people. Does that mean the love ends, the dynamic dies, the joy fizzles out. I suspect if you dislike what the other is growing into - then the marriage is doomed. But still one can grow together - guarding the love and the dynamic, making choices that will not pull apart and damage. I suspect it takes the 'fighting change' policy to guard against growing apart. Maybe? Maybe one has to fight for the 'us' while giving space for the 'you' and 'me'.

Like the changes that buffet a friendship
Friendship has the winds of weather blowing against it. The winds of distancing, conflict, betrayal, disagreement, hurt. Negotiating this is difficult - I have no answers. I do not know if there is some way a friendship can be saved, and the fact is I have lost friends over the years.
From all of the above.
For u
nlike marriage, friendships are fluid - they come and go at different periods of ones' life. Some just do not last, even if you scream and kick violently to keep them. After all, unlike a marriage vow, a commitment to love, friendship has no vows or promises. It can end as and when required by either party. And so it does.

Sometimes it has been a betrayal that, despite all efforts to fight it, has brought a subtle change. Sometimes it has been a deep hurt that somehow leaves scars that do not fade with time, and have a slight tinge of pain ever after.
Sometimes levels of conflict and disagreement lead to
a parting of ways. Abrupt, unexplained, knife sharp ends.
Sometimes it has been distance - where lives move in such varied directions there is nothing to pick up. That being said, I must add that distance can sometimes have no bearing on the depth of a friendship. I just met up with a lifetime friend with whom I pick up at any any time; we talk freely, intimately, honestly. But that is very rare, and I know it. He and I both know it and cherish it. But we have weathered many changes - of distance, growing, occasional disagreement. And the root of its survival is a deep love and trust in each other. We continue to like each other and the people we become.

Change will come. I know that.
I just hope I will have the grace and wisdom to know when to fight it, when to guard it and when to let it blow its weathering winds over my soul and submit to its ravages with serenity and peace.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Cold frozen Degrees

There is nothing so deterring in life as correcting mind numbing, mind destroying substandard examination papers. WHY do students, who know perfectly well that they know nothing sit for an exam? Why do they waste our time? Why do students who know they cannot string sentences together, insist on stringing a motley collection of words in order drive us insane? Why do students waste their money in registering for courses they can never pass and never complete?

What a mystery! Some say fondly that it is perseverance and determination. Some say it is commitment to hard work. Some say it is ambition. Maybe.

But maybe it is just foolishness - the determination to leap on the bandwagon of degree acquiring, in order to be a graduate. Maybe it is just a myopic view of the future that indicates that THIS ineffective step is what paves the way to a bright future. What happened to the dignity of work - the recognition of different skills, the value given to all honestly done jobs, the respect due to people who excel in the area they choose - be it cooking, gardening, teaching, writing research papers, cleaning the house, sewing clothes, presenting a paper. Surely we have lost something in this world in terms of the wholeness of life, when some undefinable demon propels young people down a degree path with the desire for 'success'.

I have met graduates working as clerks in government offices. Graduates who have done a special degree - honours course in subjects like Politics, Physics, Sociology and many others. Some of them even possess a 2.1 class. And yet they are doomed to sit at desks. I use the word 'doomed' because they are now dissatisfied workers, frustrated at getting no where, aware that the degree gave them nothing better than an O/L qualification might have. Many of them might have been excellent craftsmen, wonderful farmers, great carpenters, skilled tailors...the list is endless.

But they sit here, these young qualified graduates, intelligent, fine young people. They sit behind desks in dingy offices, carrying around large books, remembering dreams they once had of a 'successful' career. They own memories of a univerrsity degree course that they did with much hope, a pittance of salary in their pockets and wish they had made another choice.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

How far is too far?

How much is too far? Like when should we not turn the other cheek? Or when should we stop forgiving? Or when should we stop having mercy? Should there ever be an eye for an eye...or at least some eyelashes for an eye?

Oh well - with some people you cannot just turn the other cheek - you have to catch them and thrash them so badly, that they or their cheeks will never darken your doors again. Sometimes you have to stop forgiving, because forgiveness is taken to be weakness, and weakness to which more strength and pain is inflicted. Sometimes you have to stop having mercy, because mercy is seen as inactivity and fear, and is a code for generating more pain or disaster.

Sometimes there has to be the policy of taking out both eyes, the teeth, the nose, ears and tongue. So that eyes can do no more harm by being able to see and spy, so that the mouth bleeds so bad that nothing more can be said, so that breathing is difficult, hearing is impossible and the tongue can generate no more threats or vileness, speak no more filth, throw no more obscenity, produce no more terror, induce no more pain.

Sometimes I think, that in giving forgiveness, having mercy, and turning the other cheek you permit the unleashing of unbridled poison that spills over, and marrs life. Sometimes Justice is required and not mercy. Sometimes punishment is required and not forgiveness. Sometimes, just sometimes I think, wisdom should dictate that the only cheek that should be turned is one that has its teeth punched in.

Some people might say this is unchristian, that this is violent. But one learns with hindsight, and often too late, that another course of action would have made such a big difference. One hates violence. One abhors revenge. But surely one should uphold justice and righteousness at all times, and these two should never be sacrificed for the sake of mercy and forgiveness.