Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spice it Up!

2k10 is history, and people from Fiji to Hawaii have welcomed 2k11 with open hearts..The Aussies set their Sydeny harbour ablaze,the Chinese did their part with Hong-Kong, the sheiks followed up suit with the Burj carrying the arsenal, the London-Eye witnessed a brilliant spot of pyro-technics and so did the streets of New York. If I have to pick one I would take Aussie this time..simply loved the show..And while the world kissed and made-up,drank to their hearts-fill and blew up their skies, I drank in the 0000hrs IST on Jan 1 2011 with a pinch of solitude and a pensive mind on what was to come ahead.

Strangely enough I didn't feel a need to take any resolutions. Whether it was the biting cold or a sense of loss that muted my senses I can't tell, but this I know-I welcomed this year in a way very different from the average Yankee at Times Square. True I don't hark in the New Year every year with a kiss and a bottle, but nor have i ever welcomed it by staring at the wall..What clouded my mind more than the heavy mist outside, was the feeling of what was new this time. All my twenty-three years of existence-didn't  flash before my eyes..only one thought lay firm...what is new?

The wall didn't answer my thoughts. And then I looked at my options-what did I want to do that I hadn't done already? And even that didn't help..I remembered the words of a poem I had almost forgotten
GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
  Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
  To-morrow will be dying.
                                                                                -Robert Herrick (To the Virgins,to make much of time)

I looked at my hair, were they graying? Why would I in my youth have the musings of an old man..of not having anything to do..The poet's words stung..I felt I had done it all. Had the good life and the bad times, played pranks, repented for mistakes, made friends,lost some, tested in faith, waged battles in life-won some lost others. Where was the spice of life?

It was then that I remembered a face from the past. It belonged to an old man who had a mill near my mom's place. Nice guy he was, and never short of stories. He would sit there on his rickety,old,chair and talk of the past. Of when time was slow and life held a meaning. He drew his favourite audience of the neighbourhood kids in the afternoons when he was free, and churned out stories..He spoke of the 'white man', the green fields that he had, his big family and the games they played when he was a kid. But in all his stories there was the unmistakeable love of the life he had led. The shadow of  times when life held a meaning. True they had to work hard to make a living in those days. But life was a lot simpler he would say. And there was time to stop and savour it. To love and be loved in those days had a charm. The love-letter was in vogue and poetry abounded. There were things to write about you see, so many a maiden found herself compared to the flowers, the beautiful streams and what not. There was beauty in the country-side and the mood of the people reflected the land they had been born into. Sturdy and cheerful they were and forever helpful. There was hardly anyone you didn't know when you walked around your village. The bicycle was a prized possession. The t.v hadn't yet been born and the kids flocked to the one house which had a radio. Over tea and 'beedis' the local elders discussed the news they had heard and of the town 'far away'. And the kids listened to chatter until they were shooed away. Their games were simple. Cricket hadn't yet found its way here. The local gymkhana and martial arts were coveted. And for the kids there was seemingly endless land in which to play in. There was livestock in the houses and the lives of the inmates revolved around their land and animals. What, and when to sow was probably the biggest question they ever knew, followed by a look-out for the monsoons. The monsons oh, the life-vein of this land. There is something about that rain that captures the mind. Even after seeing it every year, you end up looking out onto the courtyard, down the lane and beyond, forever it seemed.There were strange diseases and dear ones lost to the struggle. But life as they knew it rolled on..There were big families,kids sprawled all over the place,cousins,friends,siblings-everyone was part of the throng. And the farmhouse was huge with an attic and cellar, and nooks and crannies where 'beasties lived'. There were big lamps and creaky stairs and the wood on the roof played patterns in the candlelight....Its been a life to remember..." he would say..

As I ended my 'day-dream' in the early hours of Jan 1 thanked the old man silently for his memories and prepared to sleep. Could I snatch a bit of that spice from the heydays. Would I be able to have a whiff of that aroma in the life that I own?......


  1. if the current day blogs survive the test of time, perhaps after 50-100 years, people will refer and discuss how good was 2000s and 2010s and wonder if they can have a slice of it ;)

    and having read books of 1950s timeline, I can certainly relate to what the old man said..
    sigh the technology advancement, good in new ways of entertainment, but changes so fast that nostalgia is almost non-existent...

    but, increasingly, I come across ppl discussing the olden days (thousands of years ago) and trying to understand their actions... that way I feel we r moving backwards too! hope time warp is true and we can go back to some 5000 years back :D

  2. nice one leo... :).. dint expect dis frm the man who loves metros... now preferring the whiff of dat aroma to the whiff of smog ??? ;)...

  3. amazing Cli... hats off to u>> wish i cud write like u>> i ve sat down to write something like this for atleast a 1000 times>> never cud bring the magic in the words tht u ve brought!! keep up the good work leo>>

  4. thanks a million sundeep,dileep,joseph and nakul too for ur encouragement and appreciation..u have no idea hw great it feels..
    @kjo..try writing..the feelings inside will come out..

  5. Sigh... A good piece of writing. But for me it seems the same old story (beg your pardon) that everyone repeats about a past era. I am simply not impressed by it. Like Sundeep above says, 50 to 100 years hence we will hear the same song, with a slightly different lyrics. The point is, everyone likes their own past.
    Personally, I remember the past haunts and activities with fondness I enjoy the present times and look forward to the future. I have never ever felt that there was something special about times gone. They had their beauty, their problems, the present, ditto, the future, ditto.
    Ohh well, sorry for being frank. This is a topic that irks me a lot. If you find my comment irksome, you are welcome to delete it :)

  6. Note: I am not impressed by the way people become lyrical about the past.

  7. @shail..haha..not gonna delete it..if many others are harping about the past, so be it..but iam gonna say what i wish to say..like u said, the past had its shortcomings..and we did sigh and groan then too..but looking back we tend to get nostalgic..but i dont think i would ever get nostalgic about the phase iam going through...and i have proven it in my life..i hardly like to think about my college days..but i like to look back at my child-hood..
    and about the future..i didnt say i wasn't looking forward to it..thats prob when i will get to dictate things(hopefully)..but the past always has a special place in my mind..
    hehe and lyrical eh?but wud u become lyrical abt the present?seriously think abt it...wat part of our mundane lives wud u become lyrical abt?

  8. The mundane is all there is, the past the present or the future (I am speaking of myself). For me looking out of the window at the pouring rain, the cat mewing for the fish, the elusive eagle that perches on the compound wall but fly away by the time I get my camera, reading the responses to my blog, writing them, mock-fighting with the junior son, following his instructions when he helps me, talking of the universe with the elder one, when the husband chases away a lizard for me, when I see the sun set at the beach, the flowers, the trees... should I go on?? Every second there is something to be lyrical about even the tears. :)

    But hey, you are entitled to your nostalgia about the past. :)

  9. Good to know u are able to enjoy the beauty of small things happening in ur life..btw one of the most beautiful things i have witnessed is that of a middle-aged couple drinking tea on their balcony..there were no words said..yet the beauty of the moment was something I felt I was destroying...dawn was breaking..and the silence was so beuatiful..that for me was poetry..