Friday, October 31, 2008

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Some thoughts…

Again, as is the case with my writings, this was also spurred by a rather angry exchange between two sisters…

So much for the prelude…my case is this: Too much of ‘modern’ thinking is makes people extremely individualistic, inward looking, and absolutely averse to any kind of collective work. Obviously, the next question is, how does one define modernism…

At the risk being ridiculed by many clear-thinking people, I attempt to construct my ideas here. I do believe and understand the idea of space and independent thinking and ideas, but at what cost? Who calls the shots about whose space can be taken and whose cannot be. Where is mutual aid? Where are the responsibilities that come with living together?

I have always been a proponent of people over the age of 18 having their own home and that policies need to be lobbied for a change that will enable young people support themselves financially and socially. However, given the ‘development’ that our country has seen in the last 60 years, I guess this type of living is out of bounds for the majority in our country. In that case what does one do? Wait till you are 25 or 30 when you are financially independent to make your move? But, by then the social fabric of family catches up, and familial obligations rule the roost with the need to create families without really going into hows and whys reigning supreme in one’s mind.

Given this scenario, do we even have the concept of space? Of individuality? Of the realization of one’s dreams? Of the collective failure that we as a family, community, and country are facing? Is it possible that the whole nature of space is either eulogized or ridiculed? Have we failed to balance? Have we failed to understand the other because each one of us is so busy looking only at ourselves? That too only through the eyes of the other, in which case we fail by default!

Then, the question about balancing…is there a real balance? Many a young people have untold problems about their parents, which incidentally is healthy especially considering catastrophic effects of being in the my-parents-are-god state. The point is when the situation is such that one has live with one’s family and there’s no way out, how does one make it work without threatening the basic fabric of life? This is where problems with too much knowledge and no application comes. When we understand too much about patriarchy and its hold on people and how it has destroyed women’s and chidren’s lives, isn’t it more important for young people to change this world order sensitively?

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there maybe in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud andaggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in theface of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things ofyouth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You area child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

--- Max Ehrmann, 1927

Destination Sikkim - Till we meet again

On the third day, we went to the Sikkim Himalayan Zoo. It was day of little rain and much mist. The walk into the zoo was surreal because o...