Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On labels

One fine morning, I catch myself in the usual process of labelling things. Work sucks! Being free of the obligation to work is cool. Mondays are tension filled while Fridays are fantastic. Writing is tough. Reading interesting fiction is a waste of time. People who don’t meditate are unconscious morons. Those who blabber in English with an artificial accent are pathetic show-offs, craving for attention. Those who shout at their kids are fucked up bastards…….My boss is a know-all corporate hunk. His boss is a superman(and at times, both are clueless dumbledores). The guy in the next cubicle is the emerging whiz-kid of Information technology. That particular blogger is none other than God…..

When and where did this habit of labeling began, I’m unsure. Maybe in childhood. The guy who always stood first was the one who knew everything under the sun. The guy who was academically worst but who excelled in sports was an invincible Achilles. Mom and Dad had all the answers. That movie star who danced wet in the rains(though farting noiselessly all along) was overflowing with beauty, romance and lust, 24/7, all through the year until eternity. Public speaking was worse than eternal torture so those who did it effortlessly, and gave an appearance as if they were having an orgasm, were divine personalities. The smart guy who captured the attention of the bombshell of our class was….mmmm…

Calling this art of labeling as bad is another label. So when I decide to be free of these tags and allow things to be as they are, suddenly there’s a simplicity. Things appear different. The tension relaxes. Job sucks no more. Nor is joblessness an irresponsible situation or liberation. These are situations I’m experiencing and have experienced. Nothing is absolute. You look at things and they exist, for you. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter whether they exist or not, whether they’re favourable or not. It’s a subjective world out there and if you’re screwed up, that’s what you get.

The world existed before you came here and will go on after you quit as if nothing happened. You are important yet you’re a nobody.

On the road to sainthood you first get rid of headaches.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Those wings are mine....

'Your recurring headaches must be because of your irregular eating pattern. Also you need to change your diet.'

I nod. He's wafer thin and pale--- looks like a patient himself--take him out of this setting and you'll have a hard time believing that he's an alleged expert in ayurveda.

He asks questions, matter of factly, in a cold-blooded way, as if he's a crime investigator. Long after, I wonder how frankly I spoke, how I trusted this stranger, just because he was a doctor we'd chosen to visit. If it were someone else, would I have spoken about myself, unhesitatingly?

From where does this trust arise, towards complete strangers....

I follow his suggestions and the headaches reduce. 'When you sense one, check if you're hungry. Eat something.'

Yeah, it works.

'And, eat only when you're really hungry,' he says.

Plenty to chew on three decades of irregular eating patters. Or an irregular living pattern!

Our little hero has an indigestion and he throws up, the whole night, every hour or so. We wake up everytime he vomits, clean him, pat him to sleep and then fall asleep, only to be jolted after an hour when he cries. A never ending night.

He looks weak, exhausted, sleepy--unable to respond. Then somewhere towards dawn he breakes into a gentle smile and begins to babble. Sleeps well for another two hours.

Reminds you of one night when you too threw up every hour, the whole night, shivering, waking up with a jolt, falling back into a never ending drowsiness, not knowing whether you wanted to die or survive.

'When you meditate, you grow so strong that the problems remain, but you'll laugh at them....' She reminds. Mmmm. I want to grow to that level--have that strength. I want to be that, in the face of any problem. That's the ideal, or the first ideal....

No, the first ideal is to meditate and find a few moments of stillness. Experience silence. Stand up first before thinking of running a marathon.

Watched 'Samsaara'. Good movie. But I watched it more so because friends whispered that there were a couple of intimate scenes. Frankly they weren't as steamy as expected. A slight let down.

No, I don't want to think deep about these fantasies and obsessions--when, how and whether these need to be overcome. Some other day......

What occupies my thoughts now is this.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

One year later...

'He's the centre of attraction, wherever he goes,' She observes. Yes he is. We go out on weekends, to the nearby mall, or to the temple and quite a few people stare at our kid. Someone smiles at him, someone else caress his cheeks, a young couple gesture at him. The man at the counter hands over a small chocolate bar and Tejas has a big, big smile--his face lights up. He tosses and turns the bar with a grin, looking at his gift with much awe and wonder.

A year has flown past. The wailing - sleeping - smiling tot we'd held carefully last year is now an armful-- babbling, bursting to jump out and run around. He falls, bumps into things, rolls down the cot, gets his fingers in the car door, bangs his head against walls--inspite of us being careful to the point of getting admonished, he gets hurt. And then breaks into a wail. We fret, worry, make a fuss, glare at one another but before long he's smiling again.

'It's natural--all this falling and hurting oneself. They're a part of his growing up....'.

Yet his pain shakes us.

And then...

'No birthday cake? No party........!'

'No, We want a quiet birthday for him. Visit the temple on that day, offer prayers. And a dinner party for you all', I blurt out, a bit timidly.

'That's all? You're a silent person. Not your son. Don't make him so,' they don't say it but the expression says.
'What if he wants one, tomorrow? What if he asks about his first birthday?'.

'When he wants one he'll get it. First birthdays are for parents and we want it non-fussy. No circus.'

Dad insists. He wants a celebration for his darling grandson. Invite all the kids of the locality. Decorate the house. Cut a cake. All that drama which I find nauseaus and funny. 'We'll do everything. You just stand and watch,' he says as if I'm a stranger. He doesn't want his grandson to be left out when every other kid gets a bumper first year birthday celebration, these days.

'Now you don't start fighting again,' she's apprehensive. 'Respect their feelings. If you don't like this parade, reject it---mentally. But let them do it the way they want it. They're a part of us. Should we hurt anyone?'

No, we don't intend to hurt anyone. Nor do we allow others to take our decisions. We know that this is the beginning-- if you don't confirm, you face resentment, hostility. Be a black sheep and you face ridicule.

I take a day off on his birthday. Wake up early, get him dressed up. Birthday wishes from friends and family. A small puja. Prayers. He's a bundle of energy, jumping around, as if he senses that it's his first birthday and people around are happy for him. We go out in the evening, to a nearby hotel and eat contentedly, while he watches, bewildered, clamaouring for the spicy food which he can't eat.

What if your son disagrees with you, once he grows up? 'You think he'll remain obedient and sweet?'

'Let him rebel. I'd rather he be independent, decisive and strong, even if he incurs my or anyone's disapproval. Let him carve out his own path'.

'He will be dignified and silent--strong.' she remembers an interesting dream she'd had, before he was born. 'I know it. He's a Leo.'

And he's dynamic, exploding--full of laughter. His initial shyness with strangers seems to have abated. Every morning he stands near the gate, waves and chats with anyone who passes down the road.

When he was born, Jen wrote,'Tejas means, those who are friends.'

He is.