In spite of everything

Something like silence descended down the mountain slope. For a while it stood still – as a background to the tranquility that pervaded the moment. It stood there – the cloud, resplendent in its transience; beautiful in the moonlight which held my breath.

How often can one recognize a moment to be important as it happens? How often does a moment leave an enduring peace in one’s heart? How often can one recollect the shape of a cloud that has passed?

I have heard that one can commit such moments to eternity – with a paintbrush and a canvas perhaps. Or maybe with a pen and a piece of paper. I have heard masters say – “If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it“. I have read and reread and wondered if words would ever burst out of me that way.

It is not that words have escaped me. They have arrived – flowing naturally and sometimes for no reason at all. Some were even beautiful when read aloud. I have wished a poem out of some of them as well. Each passing word however sighed and merely skimmed the surface of a feeling, the depths of which remained beyond its reach.

But why blame the words when the truth is that I have been unable to hold a true feeling in my heart for long. Embroiled as I am in the mundane, anxious as I am to not allow the intensity of emotions to affect the normality of life, I have let my words ring hollow.

The burden of life is easier on the shoulders when the soul stands ajar, unaffected. It is also quite possibly a lesser life.

The unwritten words however haunt my days and the blank pages cry for ink. I agonize over the futility of the torment my mind generates. What purpose do a thousand thoughts serve if none can hold its own on a blank page.

However, I have no intention of chronicling the mundane. My personal musings refuse to lend themselves to general consumption and the fiercely private self I have battles the public nature of the written word.

And yet here I sit, watching a grown man break character to amuse his son in a crowded airport. The memory of that faraway cloud creeps into my mind – a memory and a feeling as true as the child’s laughter. Thrust back into that intense beauty that rustled my soul, I realize I must break character to write.

To write is to become vulnerable, to lay bare upon paper – a piece of yourself; for others to read. It is a frightening prospect. But to not write is to shackle yourself into a space too narrow for your mind. I must write.

And what must I write about? Maybe about how, sometimes in the strangest of places, one finds an enduring tranquility. Maybe, I should write about the beauty of a moment so serene that it surpasses the longing in one’s soul.

Maybe I should write about how at times, when the moment is right, something close to peace descends upon you. And you find within it a reason to be vulnerable, to write – in spite of everything.

Note: The master mentioned is Charles Bukowski and the quote is from his poem, So You Want To Be A Writer

A nomad’s musings on home

Sitting in a room designed to shelter a wayfarer or two, I look around and think of the word – home. Why does that word comfort? Is it it’s sound – the way it closes a loop towards its end or is it the images that come up when I think about home – a distant house; a parrot that can recite my name like a mantra, but would not know me if I stood right before it, as if answering its call? What is it, that comforts?

The smile on my face reiterates what Pliny said a long time ago – Home is where the heart is. My home – my heart! This throbbing, inconsequential heart of mine – that detaches and feels, alternately. Could I trust my heart to know where my home is?

There are a few clues it gives – unsurprising responses to the slightest probing – mother, family, friends. That circle of love and warmth a parent holds witin his/her arms. That feeling of ownership and pride a sibling’s presence evokes. Those bonds of shared guilt, happiness and trust that make people friends.

But still, you move about leaving these little worlds of warmth you call home and make islands of shelter here and there. These islands become home quite soon. The heart finds attachments everywhere. And the heart detaches soon enough.

*
A cluttered table lies, bearing miscellaneous articles of everyday life, a few books that string time together, pictures of gods one believes in and don’t. The nomad in me knows, the next time I move, I will pack them all neatly into boxes and send them ahead. They will receive me like a home looking for its favorite occupant when I arrive, holding curiosity and loneliness in each arm.

I will find a friend or two, explore places and lives. I will find new homes to shelter my soul in. These objects would, in the meantime, create an air of familiarity that would displace some of the alienation I feel.

Are we then, really disassociated souls looking for an anchor wherever we go? Do we weave nostalgia into a place, onto some relationships so that we can call some place, some people, ours?

Is that all home is, then – a way to bind ourselves to the world, while time takes you on journeys – some planned, some unplanned?

*
Outside my room, through my window, I see – it is raining. There is a bit of home there too – in the smell of the earth, in the cold water falling into my palm.

I am a seasoned nomad. I carry a hope for home wherever I go.

Wayfarers

If I told you,
that around the corner,
there is, a different world-
Where your truths are frail
And your fears are but dreams-
Would you, my friend –
open that door?
Walk out from rooms lived in,
Discard wants of long before?
Or would you tread even more
In old longing’s light?
You have lived them, you know –
those dreams of yesteryear.

It is miserable to want,
Only what you want.
Or are you now disinterested –
in the unfamiliar?

Why need fear the unknown
when monotony looms large?
Have you not chased butterflies
and found new hues
and a new delight – every time?
A nudge and a push away,
a new path carves itself.
We are but wayfarers;
Let us be true to that.