the aRt of InDeciSiOn
rushing by around me and yet
All is still, I look quietly.
Where does the night go,
how does the light know
when I have come in, hidden behind
crouched and moved and hushed, till I find
Eyes that cannot see me
eyes that somehow know me
Is it my heart or is that how
it was from the start
Is it how it shall be and it is meant to be
Yet right now only how I wish it to be?
Clasping and reaching and clawing
These are meaningless actions that mean more than most others
But do I know what they imply
or am I just waiting to try
To understand, to connect, to find
that yes, it started in my mind
But on it will go, and on it will flow
Till it rises and swells and till I will know-
This is what it is, and all that was before
and pre-packaged inserts in my life
will not mean much because here it is
Fresh and beautiful and exciting
and unknown and unknowable and frightening
But it is mine it and I belong to it
I am together more than even I know it
With me and her and us and everything else-
-and nothing else at all.
I look at things, see them clearly. I process them, enjoy them, file them away. Or so I think. Because when I look back at this time, details often blur.
I have been leaving office on time or early every day. It's justified, I want to, and well, I just have.
Has it sunk in?
Strange things happen now.
It's coming to four weeks since I became a father. Since I had a son. Since I felt deeply, calmly happy.
The rain comes
Approaching in a roar
I can't see it, can't touch it
Nor smell or feel it
I can't know how it will be
To get drenched in it
Yet I know it pours
And I am gladder for it.
We take our body for granted. I have been horizontal for more than 24 hours, unable to get up. The simple act of getting off the bed and standing seemed so distant and difficult and painful. It was scary and unnerving and agonizing and very sobering. One of the times I tried to stand up the pain was so intense I passed out and fell one the bed and woke in her arms 15-20 seconds later.
I finally was able to get up 20 minutes ago. It still hurts but I have walked and gone to the loo and stood a minute in the balcony looking out. Now I'm sitting in front of that greatest of babysitters, the TV. But before I surfed I wanted to put this down. I will be in bed again soon because I must, but I will be less pessimistic.
So I killed the basil plant. I dragged my Internet feet on checking how to take care of it and let it die.
That's just useless of me.
So here is another piece that resonates, prods, churns, even inspires.
We seem to have evolved into a society of mourned and misplaced creativity.Though I suppose you inspiration is only really such if actually moves you to do rather than only to want to do. Of course, I am not suggesting that one's own laze or inertia reflects badly on the source of inspiration. That reflection, of course, is all one's own to deal with.
It is called, after a quote from one Charles Bukowski, "Find what you love and let it kill you."
I took a few photos around Singapore today. Part of a personal project I am doing (if it is for someone but they don't know it yet and it is not for work, it's a 'personal' project, yes?).
The weather is kind to me. I pass by Revenue House and recall coming here many years ago to pay my tax because I had left it to the last day. Gillstead Road, then Moulmein Rise. Construction and construction workers. Litter in the grass on the pavement. I refer to my list and check the map on the old, old phone and buy water and stride. It can almost be a trip I am on. Kinokuniya by MRT, and I am already weary of trying to take interesting photos of bland, generic signage. I like clicking signs and boards and writing, but this is not of that kind. I do what I can.
I sit at a bust stop waiting for one bus, then decide to take another from another stop. It is warm but bearable. And every now and then there is aircon- a bus, a mall, a shop. I walked on Tiong Bahru Road, up Kim Pong Road to Yong Saik street. I must take what light I get, and click. A bald ang moh man sitting outside Forty Hands shakes his head disapprovingly as he sees me take a photo of the place. No, I am not interested in photographing you, I say to him in my head. He turns away. I go in. I have decided to treat myself to lunch there but I seem to have forgotten that it is expensive. Maybe the brunches hide the cost, for they are 'nice' brunches, nice outings. It is too late, and I even order coffee. In Forty Hands, you must order coffee. Preferably with an extra shot. I take photos as I have my coffee and then my sandwich. It has been better. It feels like a pit stop, this lunch. I see that they have opened another coffee place, called the Kiasu Espresso. I like the name, but why would they not call the branch Forty Hands as well?
Chay Yan Street and Guan Chuan Street, for more bland photos, though I get a couple of moderately interesting off-project shots. A chalk on blackboard sign like an easel lies on the corner of a corridor, it says 'nana & bird' with an arrow pointing left. It seems to point to nothing. I don't know what it means, and I don't find out. Typical. Another arty shopfront about books. An simple old-style restaurant, with old style locals sitting around, talking, eating, having teh and beer and not bothering about this man clicking a photo. I do not know what Hua Bee restaurant serves, but I am sure I can't eat it.
There's another walk. Then two trains get me to household chores very quickly. I amble through the supermarket, as I often do. I buy a basil plant after years of threatening to. I know I will be told it is entirely my responsibility to take care of it. I hope I will, because I love basil.
I shall check the great internets on how to maintain a small basil plant.
Getting flashes of being in overnight trains as a kid. Not being able to sleep at night, listening to sounds & watching the shadows. Babies crying. Sticky berths. Rumbling. Clattering. Babies crying. Tossing. Turning. Wishing I had. Alight to read under.
I think the blackberry is quite the symbol of disrespect. Of course, all mobile phones ride on owner behaviour to be symbols of present day discourtesy, but at work nothing surpasses RIM's only worthwhile product. And mostly because it gives people the misguided impression that they have the right to not respect your time, as the device in their hand always heralds incredible importance.
I was quite alright a while ago. Now I have that feeling in the chest when it seems like a long violent scream is stuck inside.
I am free.
I don't feel the need to break rules. I don't have the urge to break shackles. I have no shackles. No oppressive society. No overbearing parent. No strangling debt. There is no cause I am fighting for. There are no rights I have to demand. I am educated and independent and loved. I do not need to grovel for opportunity or plead for a chance or pray for a meal.
I don't have to rebel, revolt or retaliate. I am not a zealot, nor a revolutionary.
I just am.
Is this freedom?
"You want to always be somewhere where your individuality (selfishness?) absolves you of a larger responsibility"
"Don't stand on sentimentality", he said.
"Don't make it out to be more than it is. Sure, it has been 4 years now, more or less. Sure, you have come to be identified with it by many (for good or bad), others have not known you differently. It has fuelled debate and love, amusement, dislike, sighs and squeals and shakes of the head. But why be sentimental about it?"
He sighed. The silent one looked on.
"Yes, it will spark reactions of all kinds even in departing. People might see you in a new light. Or not care at all. Departures are always bittersweet, separation is never easy, more so when wilful. It is, at the best of times, tinged with emotion or sentiment or-"
"Oops", he paused.
"Sentimentality", the silent one completed the thought.
He seemed at a loss for words for a moment. Then, with an air of finality, he just shouted, "CUT!"
It was from "'65, tensions running high...in my high school", which was from Springsteen's My Hometown. I did not have it on my iphone. I youtubed it. Heard it a couple of times as I walked to the bus stop and waited for my bus. I was moved. I walked, thinking it wonderful how a song so deeply & specifically relevant to America in the 60s could resonate with a 10 year old in Delhi, India. And now with a 30something year old in Singapore, in different ways and also in the same old way.
My undulating day bonded with the me that was being moved by the song. Circuitry connected, welling saltwater threatened, my inner rawness found new (even silly) connections that even in fleeting were weighty. I listened to music (Heloise now) and read nothing, did not even take out my book. I just sat in the bus and came home. I now don't even know what I thought of, or what I saw or quite what I felt. I just was.
And oh, I caught bus #64 home.
And oh, I just realised 65 is how I often refer to this place. The 'plus six five'.
- a demented mind
- a's focus
- cellar door
- chapati kid
- desi pundit
- domain maximus (sidin)
- green channel
- his royal shivness
- india uncut
- mint chutney
- perhaps pallavi
- petty change
- prashant miranda
- saale bhehnchod
- simple desultory philippic
- singapore ahoy
- smoke signals
- song for the asking