Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Variations of Disconnect - The Philosopher Speaks

I am doing a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of the interior of the Church of Notre Dame. I am almost through with just the roof to be finished.

Life's a jigsaw too. All the different people and events are the different pieces.

The other day, I was looking for one piece that would fit in with one of the pillars just beside the pews. I was searching for a piece with a particular pattern that was present in the pillars.

The people we know and events past are the completed parts of the puzzle. We always look to solve new problems by precedents and pattern matching. If a new person walks into our life, we always compare him/her with our existing group of friends and wonder if he/she is of the same "type" and will "fit" in...

It was driving me crazy that none of the pieces I could find would fit in! I went to other parts of the puzzle but kept returning to this one piece.

We keep searching for the one friend who will always be in sync with us, our thoughts, our activities....

After a couple of days, I was just contemplating my puzzle over coffee and fiddling around with pieces randomly fitting them in different places. And voila! A piece magically fit into the pillar that I was struggling to complete!

Someone, once in a while, stops by and without any provocation or reason, brightens our life at just the right time: an acquaintance you thought you were not close to, a mentor, an advisor, a neighbour, a friend... I would like to call it serendipity...a random kind act of the universe!

The funny thing is that I had come across this piece when I was looking for the piece but ignored it because I thought it didn't fit into the pattern.

I wonder how many opportunities/interesting people I ended up missing because of this weird quality by which we always look for extensions of existing (sometimes stale, unhealthy!) patterns in each and every new experience/person.

It fit beautifully into the puzzle and I wondered how I could've been so blind! One particular pattern was so strongly embedded in my mind that I ignored what was, even if a bit different, staring me in the face!

Yet, if I just alter my vantage point a wee bit and look at people/events with a fresh outlook, I will see that they fit into the jigsaw of our life in a beautiful way in ways I didn't even expect and complete my life perfectly!

I know it seems like too much to draw generalizations about life from a jigsaw but then this is the Philosopher from my Senate who is shouting at the top of his voice compelling me to hear him...:)

Here are pics of what my jigsaw looks like now. Isn't it pretty? :)

And here's what the finished version should look like:

Monday, May 23, 2005

Variations of Disconnect- The Senate

The Senate is at full strength on some days. A timid voice raises a topic
tentatively. A strident, booming voice drowns it out mid-sentence with an
irrelevant observation. A scornful voice dripping with sarcasm interjects a
comment and quells any further discussion on that topic. A harmonious, soothing tone sprays a cool jet of water onto heated emotions. And on and on it goes...Yes, my mind sometimes feels like a Senate with a number of voices and tones voicing different opinions, sometimes relevant; sometimes totally off-topic and irrelevant but interesting nonetheless. I can't discern physical forms for the owners of these voices. All I can identify them is by their tone and style of talk. At times discordant, at times soothing, there is always a constant buzz of conversation in all our minds. Perhaps we don't notice it all the time but when you consciously still your awareness, you realize the omnipresent low-pitched hum. Many times, I have noticed that these observations are variations of disconnect from the task that my conscious(?!) mind is working on. I decided to write about these random, nonsensical observations that pop up in my head.

I was talking to someone I totally respect and like. X said,
"....As an aside,I felt that Y is REALLY good at what he does. But coming
back to the matter at hand,..." and so went the conversation. All day long, I could sense something in the back of my mind, nagging me but my mind was way too busy and I couldn't place my finger on it. Hours later,in the calmness of the evening, I
heard that same timid but persistent voice point out to me that all day long, I'd been thinking that someday, sometime, at least once, I want to be the person on the other end when X says "Good Job!" :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Fate of India's National Animal

India Today has a report on "The Missing Tigers" of India's wildlife sanctuaries. Illegal Poaching has depleted Sariska (200 Km off Delhi), India's premier tiger reserve, of its most famous denizen. The tigers have been hunted down (of course, with the help of the local Forestry department and associated government officials. It would be naive to expect otherwise!) for their skins and there are almost no tigers in this reserve now.
There is something nauseating and gruesome about the cold-blooded killing a magnificent beast for the aesthetic value of its skin. The poachers set an iron and steel trap. The tiger unfortunate enough to get caught in it suffers for hours in agony. Then the poacher comes and shoots the tiger through its heart, spills its guts, scrapes the flesh off its skin and bones and takes home his prize. What was once a living, breathing animal is now worth Rs. 8.6 lakhs....

Reminded of Kannadasan's lyrics,

"Paayum puliyin kodumaiyai iraivan paarvaiyil Vaithane..
Indha paazhum manithan kodumaiyai idhaya porvaiyil maraithane.."

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Intimations of Immortality

Whenever I am frazzled, bored, stressed or in need of plain inspiration, I turn to the Romantics ( Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Byron et al). In their words and verses, I derive a deep comfort. Although separated by centuries, those poems reverberate through the corridors of time and strike a chord with me each and every time I read them...

I am re-reading
Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth for the millionth time.

There are some lines that are always more attractive and memorable than others in any work of literature. But I am unable to single out such parts in this poem because I love the whole too much! A feeling of unparalleled tranquility and peace is what these verses bequeath to me time and again.

To some, poems are a schoolgirl's chore: to be memorized by rote before exams and reproduced on the exam paper for paltry marks. To me, they've been more than that. In moments of despair, in moments of loneliness, in moments seeking wisdom, in moments of joy, in moments of sheer appreciation, I hear the words whispering across centuries to posterity and I see intimations of immortality....

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


A warm hearth. Cozy Comforts. Caring friends. Loving parents. Mirthful entertainment. Known settings. Familiar faces. Well-worn laugh lines. Predictable events. Recognizable patterns. A charmed life. Flash of white lightning. A dark knight on a stormy horizon. Fascinating. Mysterious. A novelty. Temptation of the unknown. A world of choices.

Desire is born.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Life's Little Pleasures

This weekend, I set out to do exactly what I wanted to which is: DO NOTHING. There is a strange pleasure in being totally lazy for an entire day. At the end of the day, you feel bored and want to get into things again. There's no better way than that to start a week! Well, for me, doing nothing translates into random reading online and on paper.

This weekend has just been a jumble of miscellania that pleases me.I enjoy my morning coffee with Hindu's Sunday Magazine. V.Gangadhar's "Slice of Life" was one of my absolute favourites. I don't think he writes these days or perhaps it is not there online. The Hindu used to publish a monthly magazine called Folio before. A collection of essays on a particular theme, I have spent many interesting hours reading them.

One of my friends had forwarded me a really interesting article on blogging. I was random browsing the net and chanced across the writer's blog. Another find is Kiruba. Another enjoyable journo blog from Chennai: Ramya Kannan.

PB suggested reading "Katradhum Petradhum" by Sujatha in the current issue of Ananda Vikatan. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

And I have a pile of comics: Tintin, Asterix and Obelix, Calvin and Hobbes that I hoarded from the library this week! Amusing as it may sound, yes, I am crazy about comics. They provide a different kind of relaxation, a flight of fancy into a world of comical possibilities.

So, on a lazy, sunny, glorious Sunday morning, I am getting ready to dig into "Tintin and the Cigars of the Pharaoh" and later "Hero's Walk" by Anita Rau Badami. Life is beautiful...:)