Year2016

ways of seeing.

There is something about it. Isn’t there something about everything though?

When you start performing magic, right at the very start, not only are you nervous but you are looking at your hands. This somewhat defeats the purpose. The interaction in magic is not with your hands, but with those to whom you present. But the eyes of the beginner are on the method, not on the interaction. This is the price you pay for a lack of experience and practice. You haven’t paid your dues, so you’re subject to have your sight on the method.

Once you’ve put in the work and practice, you’re able to free your eyes. This moment is magic on its own. You’re not just caught up in your own actions but are able to engage in the interactions. This elevates the entire experience.

A few months ago in tabla class, I started to look around on a more regular basis. I find myself no longer fixated on my hands. I don’t need to double check my every move. This is an awesome feeling on its own. However, it turns super awesome when you are playing with someone and you are able to make eye contact with your partner(s). It is something I enjoy while watching a performance, seeing the musicians see each other. To recognise the presence of your partner, to say, “I am here with you and in sync,” is a beautiful thing. It is a moment I would not have imagined myself to be in. There is both a subtle and elaborate joy in this.

It makes me wonder. Who would I be if I didn’t try? I am not quite there yet, but would I not be robbing myself of all these moments? What does it mean to continually defer desire to a time unknown? It is so easy to fall into that trap. It saddens me that I did not start sooner. I let desire linger for so long, the reasons for which aren’t even clear to me. What was I protecting? Who knows?

Another moment struck me a few weeks ago. I was practicing material from class and of a sudden I felt like playing something. I wanted to play a feeling. bas, baithe yuheen, ek khayaal aaya. So I played it. It was simple, nothing complex. Maybe 10 or 15 seconds long. Just a few simple bols (notes). It felt good, so I recorded it. Yes, my timing is still off. As I said, I am not quite there yet. It will be yet a whiles. But there was something about it. I grew up listening to Jagjit Singh’s ghazals and somewhere in there would be a tabla solo. I remember, time and again, being awed by this instrument. Here I was hearing myself play it, and it felt like just maybe I could have the potential to play something like those solos one day. Maybe. What is so cool is that a line was drawn. From what had felt impossible to a potential of possibility. A line that can only be drawn through trying. Through a practice that expands your being of your mind beyond its own thoughts. There is both a subtle and elaborate joy in this.

So here I am, at the edge of something that seemed – not too long ago – unimaginable. I am flirting with yet another way of seeing.

yaad.

ek baat pe bas yunheen teri yaad aayi.
teri bhi nahin, bas teri yaad ki yaad aayi.
us baat ki yaad aayi, un alfaz ki yaad aayi.
bas yunheen, teri yaad ki yaad aayi.

foolish.

It is the fool that jumps without having considered the landing.

Last year was largely focused on the knee rehab. I probably re-injured it about 4 times through out the year. But near the end I thought I was there. Or at least I was very close to being there.

Except that now I cannot run. Or climb. The two things I so desperately want to do. I cannot ping nor pong, as it were. At least not in the same way as before. Not with any shred of confidence.

A month ago or so, I went for a lunch run with my friends at work. One friend noticed that I was recovering well, and I went on about how the knee was feeling the best it had been since I had first injured it way back when. And it was. We ran one of our normal lunch routes. It felt great. I felt great.

A little too great, perhaps. The snow was melting leaving puddles puddling all over the place. I came across one such puddle and decided that I should jump. Now, please… let me explain. There are puddles and then there are puddles. This was a sizeable puddle. This puddle, the one I so fearlessly jumped over, was an adult-sized puddle. I made the landing without a hitch. It felt great. I felt great. The run continued until the next adult-sized puddle appeared. At thing point my better judgement ought to have kicked in. I should have been happy with just the one jump. The one jump should have been enough. But what words can you use convince a fool? I leapt.

There are only two outcomes of a jump. Either you land or you break. I broke.

I felt my knee loosen. I felt bone press against bone where bone and bone ought not meet. I felt my knee buckle. A sprain doesn’t always immediately manifest. It’s the aftermath that doesn’t add up. I knew this was it, though. This was going to take me back to the start. I looked and one of my friends and told her that I wasn’t going to be able to train for the triathlon anymore. She cried a little. We finished the run.

It’s the silliest of things. The more you trust it, the more likely it is to break you. That’s just how these rivers flow. It leaves you a bit shaken though. Knee-wise I’m back to where I was a year ago, and damn-fuck-as-hell I’m not thrilled about it.

Oh, but what is there to do?
What is there to do but to sulk.
What is there to do but to try again.
Re-rehab. And so I will.

I so desperately want to run again.
You need a fool to run fool’s errands.
Here I am.

It was to please the Lord, they said.
It’s just that the Lord gets off
on the oddest of things.

I reach for the moon because it is the closest thing to the heavens that we have.

I love the sense of how drops of water in my beard turn to ice in the mornings.

Either I’m not getting enough sleep or my watch is broken.

When the weather lady said it would be mostly sunny, she neglected to mention exactly how dark it would get.

boredom.

I am so intensely bored of myself. I am tired of talking about me me me.

Tell me your thoughts, mine are so boring.

My thoughts are not unique to me, it is likely that you’ve had them before.

continuance.

A lot of books and articles on writing emphasize consistency. “You must write every day,” they say. And I understand the reason for this advice. Whenever you are learning (sometimes even when you’re not learning) you have to do a lot of something to become good at it. You have to wade through the crap moments. Your callouses don’t just build over night, you have to keep the process going. You have to write everyday.

Unfortunately, this has never worked for me. My mind wanders, or it is distracted. Pick whichever. Of course, I have the luxury to wander. I do not write for a living. This is probably a good thing since I’m rather fond of living. But if I level myself against this advice of consistency, this rush to finish what I had started, then it is also depressing. If consistency is my aim, then I’m consistently setting myself up for failure.

What works better for a person of my disposition is perhaps the notion of continuance. The thought that I don’t have to do this on a schedule. I don’t have to rush to the finish line. I have not failed. My work awaits me when I am ready to return to it. From there, I can simply continue where I left off. I can afford this to myself in whatever it is that I do, apart from writing, too.

There is a trick here, though. That sometimes continuance turns into consistency. If you keep coming back, if the time between the breaks shortens then it doesn’t feel like some rigid consistency. It feels like a flowing motion, something natural. And if the mindset isn’t about consistency, then you allow yourself to do something else. To take longer breaks when needed.

The even more important thing about continuance is that you allow yourself to return. Because breaking the pattern isn’t failure, it’s just another opportunity to continue later. So you keep returning, and maybe it takes you longer to finish than the next person. But, god dammit, you finish! You set the pace and you let yourself be carried by the flow. It will take you years, just keep coming back and you will get to the end.

colour.

even after all these years –
if i asked you – you couldn’t
tell me the colour of my eyes.

that is far too long a time
to have known someone and yet
not have known them at all.

glass.

The sights seem to pass me by somehow.
And only way I can ever see
is by letting go of the looking glass.

You are the maker. You are the mover.
Make.
Move.

an honest mistake – jonarno lawson

Who hasn’t huddled under
a closed wing for warmth,
forgetting for a moment
that wings were made for flying?

– JonArno Lawson

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