Saturday, February 21, 2009

Perfectly Imperfect Balances

I was in 4th grade I guess in those days. That was the time when we were supposed to take Arts as a compulsory subject in my school. My Arts teacher, Madam Roshan, was an elderly, and a graceful lady with quite a steady hand at drawing & sketching, and a very good observation. I remember once per week she used to ask us to draw whatever we pleased, imagined, or liked to draw. I, being pretty bad with drawing anything intricate or detailed, always chose to draw imaginary sceneries so as to lessen the probability of her being able to point out mistakes or make me redraw over and over again.

Hence in one such class I chose to draw my typical happy place. A scenario perfect to my eye back then. A horizontal line, which divided my paper canvas in two equal halves was my horizon. Sky and objects like sun, clouds and birds were to be placed above that line. Whereas below that line was area for a water stream, village, grass and other life adding objects. Vertical centre of mountains was somewhere aligned along the horizon. After adding last few final touches to the drawing, I happily pranced to my teacher for an instant approval so that I can spend rest of class time in our grounds. Unfortunately she wasn't much impressed with my eye for the nature and told me to redraw. Trying to keep agitation and disappointment out of my manners I requested her to point out the exact flaws so that I can address those areas specifically and get done with it. She pointed out to me that nature is seldom as equal as I had portrayed. And that objects I drew were at too much of a calculated distances and that so much balance in nature was very distasteful. My interpretation of her words at that time was that she wanted randomness, haphazard object placements, and a disbalanced version of my perfect little happy place. Complying to her instructions I moved horizon to create a non-equal partitioning of earth and sky. Added more randomly situated clouds, birds, grass, flowers, and houses. And there! That was easy and I was off to the grounds in no time and gave no further thought to those words by her.

This evening as I was observing sunset beyond the Margalas, I was very strongly reminded of that drawing and my teacher's remarks over it. And the fact struck me that thats exactly what we expect from life in all its aspects. Equal blessings and hardships. Equality of good and evil. Equal light and equal darkness. Equal gains and equal losses. But then that really is not how things are in their natural order. In short a perfect balance in life would have been as much distasteful as a perfectly equal division of sky and earth in nature. Very artificial,and seemingly a total arrangement of a human mind, and not an order designed by the "All Wise and Knowing" God. And just imagine the boredom and dismay if thats how it had worked, that after every happy day we knew that tomorrow is definitely bringing us our share of gloom. Gloom that we rightfully deserve because we had a happy yesterday. And then perhaps perfectly imperfect is really the perfect balance we can strike in this world. Just that only this time, changing our expectations to accept that imperfection instead of balance is not that easy when our canvas changes from a paper to real life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Sacred Possession

"All creative human beings have such experiences, which are known as 'possession by the sacred'. Suddenly, for a fraction of a second, we feel that our whole life is justified, our sins forgiven, and that love is still the strongest force, one that can transform us forever.

But, at the same time, we feel afraid. Surrendering completely to love, be it human or divine, means giving up everything, including our own well-being or our ability to make decisions. It means loving in the deepest sense of the word. The truth is that we don't want to be saved in the way God has chosen; we want to keep absolute control over our every step, to be fully conscious of our decisions, to be capable of choosing the object of our devotion.

It isn't like that with love - it arrives, moves in and starts directing everything. Only very strong souls allow themselves to be swept along..."

Paulo Coelho from 'The witch of Portobello'

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Late in my circles...

(A biography of an 83 year old woman)

Who am I to complain? Life has its own ways of blessing everyone. Do not take me as an ungrateful person as from life I have nothing to complain of, however with me, life bestowed its bounties upon me only when I reached the last bit of my patience with it. Oh well late in my circles is how it has always been for me.

Maybe it started the day I was bestowed with life upon me as the last child to my parents. But that's beyond my memory of how I felt at that time; so then I guess beginning of it was when my parents barely heard my voice for the first time at an age at which my siblings used to provide my mother with full narratives of their day, but my parents were happy that atleast I talked. I started school, but was a slow learner. So I passed my matriculation much later in life then most of my age mates. Life's fast, but I was too slow to pace with it, yet I console myself in thinking that I wasn't left behind, lagging behind I would say for my benefit is still tolerable.

At my marriageable age, I used to attend my friends weddings hoping that the next one we all gather at would be mine. But that did not happen till the last of my friends got married off. Still I was happy not to die a spinster. I'm sure by now you have a fair idea of what i am talking about. Following that I also got blessed with my first son 10 years after my marriage, and so on. Hence at all the levels of life I continued my struggle and watched all from my circle, gathering their share and moving on, whereas i waited till the end to get in league of people of my circle.

And today at the age of 83, when many of my friends have left this world completing their required objective of life and moved on to the next one, now also as I rest myself from burial ceremony of my second son to die in front of my eyes; I lie here and think with a fearful heart that, what if life treats me like that again? what if I get to die after all of my friends and family have already passed? why cannot life have mercy on me just for once and leave my existence earlier than being the last one to see it all? because only if life had known how it feels to see the seedlings you've raised to wilt in front of you, I'm sure it would have made an exception this once, and how I wish to that I'm not late within my circles for this time...