notes.

I haven’t written much. It’s been a long time.

I used to carry this tiny notepad where I’d jot down thoughts as they appeared. I would make sure never to be far from this notepad. Who knows when a thought may strike and wilt all at once? Leaving just enough time for me to capture it.

There’s many reasons to write (or not write, I suppose). Motivations, muses and moments all count. Sometimes you have them all, but don’t want to write.

Back in 2015, returning from a work trip, I stopped at the waterfront. And started to weep with a friend. For clarity’s sake, I wept and the friend watched/listened. He made a comment about how I could turn that sadness into writing, as if there were a correlation. Maybe there is. But we’ve all written during sadness and joy. I did write quite a bit back then. Most of it was horseshit.

Ultimately, I love the turns of phrases. How one word welcomes the next. You can image a word clearing the way for another, whispering “we need to stick together,” as the next one arrives. Like words tying themselves together and to a tree at a climate protest. Making themselves known. Making their cause known.

My muse now is the passage of time. There is no legacy to leave behind. I hope to be forgotten in a flash (or two, maybe three). So there’s only the moments we make and share, in the moment we make and share them.

Anyway, I’ve started to take notes again. Some vague inspiration has struck and I’m trying to give it shape. The thoughts used to come more or less completed before. I’ve been out of practice. I just get patches now. Hopefully this is just warming up.

There’s a lot of work to be done.

wither.

Seems like I only come by here in the oddities. The down moments.

I’ve been largely away or silent on social media the last many years. Since after the knee surgery anyway. That was in 2016.

I’ve been away before as well. Disabling accounts on and off. For whatever reason I didn’t consider the media going away. I thought that the flow would still be there once I returned.

That’s not how this works. The world changes with or without you. When it changes without you the way back only gets farther.

I logged into facebook recently. To see what people were up to. To see the flow of things. It’s a ghost town. Not sure if people have moved on to other places or if they have just moved on.

It saddened me. I’m sure all the folks are fine. It saddened me for me. I thought perhaps I could get reconnected in some way. Peek back on updates of old friends. When Google decided to discontinue gchat I lost touch with many folks I had otherwise kept in touch with regularly. Yes, I am a bad friend and there are others ways to stay in touch. But the power of the medium gives me pause.

I mostly just look at Instagram stories now. I respond in positive emojis like an old uncle giving people encouragement. I wonder how long it will be before these connections wither.

passage.

I am coming to dread the passage of time. There’s a twitter account that tweets the percentage of the year passed. It seems like every time I blink it goes up 15%. I’m trying to come to terms with it but struggling to do so.

If it were just time, perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad. Time has a way of pulling you in. You can’t stand still. Time will drag you through. I know this because my back pain reminds me regularly. Not to mention the knee pain. My body is betraying me because it is more loyal to the passage of time than it is to my sense of self.

My problem is that I didn’t plan for this. I move forward unprepared. I never imagined myself at 40/50/60. So I’m ill equipped to deal with time’s unkindness. One might think that this is a wake up call. That I would now prepare myself to make the passage of time more palatable. But alas.

Youth is wasted on the young, no matter how old you are.

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.

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.