This was an email before it got here 🙂
This was an email before it got here 🙂
i imagine making art in a very detached space..detached physically, detached emotionally, detached socially. i don’t mean for ‘detached’ to be a negative state to be in..but one where there isn’t the pressure of performance, there isn’t the haunting gaze of judgement. Detached is from the social….and at the same time immensely and deeply attached with the inside…with what one is feeling, thinking, perceiving. But then so much of what one feels, thinks, judges and processes is influenced by what is around one, what kind of people or ideas one engages with. And in that sense, there is no detachment. And then again art holds within it, the power to find oneself in a thoughtless space…where all that is active is the moment of the fingers. And in that moment one is as detached as one can be.
i just came full circle! or a squiggly shape that looks like a circle 😛 Either ways, all hail the discovery & invention of art!! Make lots of art and dream away!
You know how people say home is where family is…and that a house is just a bunch of walls, a home is where you are with people you love. Not true. Well, true. But not the only true, true there is! Home is also about the walls. The walls that might have had cement peeling off which tasted delicious in the monsoon. Home is also about that garden…no no, not the garden in which you spent the afternoon with your mum or sister or a friend or a loved one…just the garden; the physical space of the garden. Home is also about the many lanes and by-lanes that lead to home and lead away from home. Home is about the night sky outside that bed-room window, the tree that was a roosting spot for a baby golden oriole. Home is also definitely that patch of sunlight in winter, just by the balcony door that lasts only about 20 minutes right around 11:00 a.m. Home is also the end of the road after a long evening’s walk. You see how no other road will end to that very same home?! How no other window will open to that very branch on which that ball of yellow feathers roosts?! How no other garden will have the same feisty red ant fall from the drumstick tree?!
So don’t tell me home is where family is and so one is moving and leaving behind many memories but one is still with family and hence will always be at home. Home is also all the other stuff that is in the physical realm. And no place will be home the way that home was. And that is okay. It makes it that much more special.
Our feelings (anger, shame, delight) appear almost instantly, and, left alone, they don’t last very long. But if we invent a narrative around an event or a person, we can keep the feeling going for a very long time. Pavlov (ring a bell?) helped us see that a dog could learn to associate one thing with another. Humans are way better than this than dogs. If you’re not happy with the feeling, try dropping the narrative. After all, it’s your narrative, the story you have to keep telling yourself again and again, that’s causing the feeling to return.
– Seth Godin
a thought shared in good time goes a long way; thank you, J
The first sight he saw was that of the flower and he instantly knew what this meant. Sukmi then emerged, layer by layer – truth first, sweat next, flesh and bones in the end. She placed her hand on his and they both took their first walk together.
Swetha, A Hornbill’s Love (August ’16)
One moment he is an avalanche gushing down the mountain, scattering all that comes in his way and another moment he is like the bird in the mountain, poking his beak around with suspicious curiosity as he makes his way through. In a flash of blurring movements, he has grabbed a fistful of garlic cloves, rinsed it and dispersed on to the cutting board; one hand holding the tip of the knife, another firmly around the handle, the finely shaped cloves are tattered bits in a matter of seconds and it fills the air with it’s juices! And they are thrown on to the pan as a farmer would throw seeds on one’s farm. In another blur of movements, in go sliced onions and with a confident arm he picks up the pan, tilts it down a little and gives it a good twist and toss making the onions and garlic sizzle and jump; a quirky smile on his face, happy with himself on being so cool & precise with the pan tossing! And then he waits patiently for the onions to brown; no hurried swishing around the onions with a ladle or re-adjusting heat from low to high to low, “they don’t need to be molly-coddled into browning, you know”, he chuckles.
Meanwhile, an order for a Jack-fruit Smoothie. A mixing jar is propped on to the machine. He is an avalanche again! A little of coconut milk, a little of soya milk tilted seemingly in random proportions into the jar (except that he knows exactly how much he wants of each, down to the drop!!), but not before he carefully tastes a drop of each, raises an eye-brow & judges it’s freshness and in a splash they are in the jar. A fistful of squishy jack-fruit thrown in with the milks, a headless-chicken like walk around the kitchen and he is back with a grater and what seems like a big nut and in a matter of quick wrist jerks, he has grated the nut right into the jar while he held the grater above it in mid air! And again, precise to just the right amount of nut shavings he wants! A round or two to let the machine do it’s job and what looked like yellow blobs floating in milk is now a dense flowing burst of ripened jack-fruit smells with a hint of nuttiness. He pours himself a spoonful of it, takes a quick sniff and then a slow sip, scrunching his nose, eyes narrowed & widened, eyebrows frowned and relaxed as he judges the flavors in the spoonful and ends with a wide smile! Without any more thought, pours in a glassful, right up to the brim and sends it off to what will be a delighted guest!
And the onions have beautifully browned, as if in planned synchrony with the smoothie rush! A handful of finely grated carrot goes in and soon after, bowls full of squishy squished tomatoes are poured in; a sprinkle of assorted powders in an act of magical illusion like you would imagine a witch bent over a pot cooking up magical potions. A gentle but firm mix with an old fashioned wooden ladle and this pan is left forgotten for a long long while. Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce, thick & tangy with a tinge of sweetness; you will know it is ready when the air fills with a smell that is tangy in itself! Everything smells almost just as it tastes, it is like one can smell the taste! Not everyone can cook like that.
He is such a delight to watch while he cooks! He is a madcap with knives & ladles; moving from frown to smile, from brisk slicing & chopping to hopping around looking for things, from rushed mixing & tossing to slow & careful sprinkling, all in a matter of moments and movements. The kitchen looks like a flood has hit it when he is done…and well, he was the flood that hit it! Except, this flood brings with it all things delicious with crave-inducing smells!
* He, is a chef/baker/founder at/of Terrassen Cafe (www.facebook.com/poetsandoats/) *
What is it worth…getting to say goodbye? I never really got to say any last words to two people i loved dearly…one who made love the only means to live through life…and one who has given only love, for all the time with me. And yet, looking back…there were moments with both of them…love was expressed, love was shared…love was all that was that was left…left with them and with me. They left…left, feeling loved…maybe in pain…maybe even in struggle and with a fight…but knowing they were loved…loved with passion, with longing, with innocence, with compassion and with all of my heart. All of it.
Knowing now…Achamma (granny) is nearing…well, death….what does it mean to say good bye? Knowing. Waiting. The last time i was with her, i held her hand in mine…and she held back for a second and let her palm fall in mine…not resisting, not holding on…slipping away. She looked frail…her eyes empty and moist..not seeing; her ears, not hearing; her palm, not holding; her lips, mumbling softly and gently…mumbling while taking a breath…while letting out a breath. She said, ‘take care of your papa…look after him…he has only you…‘, while her eyes wandered and attempted to focus on my face. i nod, i say, ‘i will‘, she smiles hoping she heard it right. The only thing holding her palm in mine…was my fingers tightly wrapped around it.
i wish for her to slip away…to be released from the body that is giving up on being a host to her…to be relieved from the itch that she can’t scratch…from the fly that sits on her foot that she cant swat away…from the world that is only a blur now…from sounds that are only incomplete frequencies of scuttering voices…from time that she is detached from…from a body that has reduced itself to a food processor. Her existence…her everyday being a struggle, simply to breathe…that detached existence…it is for the people with her…experiences for them, yet to be experienced; for me, to be able to have these thoughts…it seems to explain her…explain her struggle.
i was caught between wanting to go one more time…see her one more time…hear her one more time…say good bye. What does that mean though….even while one waits and knows it is coming…one never really knows…one never really knows that was the last time…what does it mean to say good bye then…what is it worth…being able to say good bye? Even as memories seem to give up on your person…what does it mean being said good bye to…?
For now…this is good bye. i will always remember playing ‘kaadi‘ with her…feeding the crows at breakfast while we sat on low stools in the soothed kitchen…the mangoes she kept to ripen, saved from the squirrels and crows, summer after summer…her saying ‘i don’t know if i’ll be around for your next summer‘, every summer from when i can remember..these have been her parting words.
This be that summer. Love.
From a diary entry, months back. And now…she found her release. The rains bring with it new life, the mud comes alive in hues of earthy browns and wild greens….and with that, she leaves… one last breath is let out, and she has gone.