Solitude for me, is the time when my soul speaks.
Thank you Hugh’s Views & News for this week’s photo challenge 🙂
Solitude is a kind of freedom”
~ Umberto Eco
Solitude for me, is the time when my soul speaks.
Where the “demands of time” imposed on our day to day lives, cease to exist and thoughts take wing, ideas suggest themselves, memories suddenly come to life or just one’s awareness of that one moment, deepens.
This photo was taken on a cold misty day, near Dochula Pass in Bhutan. We were walking back from Dochula, when I happened to spot this corner.
It reminded me of a time when my friends and I would sit together without a care, laughing and chatting…just happy to get together and do just that. It has been more than a decade since we grew close and although some of us live in different countries now, each answering the demand of odds and ends in her life, leading a different routine…when we speak, we pick up exactly where we left off. Of course we have grown and changed in so many ways…but the essence of our friendship …of what drew each of us to the other as a person, remains the same. I could see each of our younger selves on a chair, all of us sitting together and laughing and chatting as we did and continue to do.
Then I thought of other groups of people who matter to me and they all had that characteristic oneness in common.
But this place, belonged to us.
A moment of solitude made me feel true companionship. How could it not? That moment, the place, the setting and the weather – all of it was perfect. Just like us.
Add mugs of tea & coffee… and we are all set.
I look out and see him sprinkling water on the pots. Tangled mane…face streaked with dirt… dressed in ragged shorts.
Bikes and autos honk and beep, trying to wiggle out of the crowd. The car starts moving.
There’s a modest block with a hole in front. Maybe that’s his home…? I see a person call out to him. He is not alone.
He keeps the mug down and runs off… heels kicking high. That should make me feel better.
Day disappears in the routine chores. I talk and smile.
And still, nothing shakes this feeling.
Just another day at work.
A while back, we had to do a writing assignment based on a prompt. While another one spoke to me a little more at that time, I decided to revisit a few that whispered. One in particular struck a chord – Teacher’s Pet.
Its not really about being her pet or anything, but more about something she said once, which has stayed with me ever since.
She taught us History and then English through classes 4 and 5. Once, after our finals I guess, she wrote the following for me:
Do what you think is right,
Do it to the best of your ability.
She spoke it out aloud as I took the book and read the two lines. She asked me if I understood what she meant and I remember repeating the lines and replacing the word “right” with “best”. She corrected me immediately. I remember asking her “aren’t we supposed to do what is best?” I had learnt by then that we were. It wasn’t safe to do what I thought was right. It hardly ever seemed to be the best option, it could hurt someone, be inconvenient and get me into loads of trouble…which seemed like such a lot of unwarranted effort, for quite a bit of unnecessary pain.
I don’t remember what I said to her, something to the effect of “shouldn’t it be “best””, or “are you sure its not best? Isn’t that better?”. She assured me that she had not made a mistake. She meant to write “right”, because “what’s best may and can keep changing, what is right won’t”.
I remember asking her “how’d I know what would be right?” She said “you’d know”. I was dubious, but thought I’d give it a shot once.
Its been 20 years and ma’am, I haven’t stopped giving it a shot since.
She picks her way over the stones carefully. Her sight is not what it used to be. It was never strong but age has affected what little there was. There’s no work now – they asked her to leave when she fell ill. The bag she carries is all she has.
She stops to adjust the pallu over her head and wipe a bead of sweat off her brow.
She has found a place for the night. But food is a different story. She pauses to look for a place to sit, right here on the roads she used to sweep.
There is this weird sound, like when the edges of a paper curl up, charred by the flames as they continue to rise and flicker across its width.
It’s 3 AM and a lonely dog howls on…
The road has almost been destroyed by the indifferent and callous work done – there are deep ditches which the rain fills up…A few stray cars pass by, splashing water as their wheels fall in and out of those holes. Has it ever struck you how similar the sound of distant traffic or a truck speeding off is, to a slightly noisier version of a strong wind coming through and fading away?
All through this, the clock ticks on relentlessly.
Continue reading “Letting the scene speak”
Till a few months ago, I was a compulsive list maker. And they all go the same way- scribble furiously on a notebook or even a scrap of paper, listing things I need to do/ general tasks etc, think of more things to add if I hit a roadblock after point 7, once I run out of the more plausible ones by point 13, add things I don’t really want to do but think I’d like to; lose the scrap of paper or never look at that page again…and once the notebook is used up, shred the whole thing.
Although I have made a list on every possible topic, I never thought of making one on things I like. I came across this site Things We Like the other day and thought I’d give it a shot.
- A hot cup of tea when its raining and I can hear the rain and smell the damp earth, while letting the mug warm my hands
- Listening to an old song, suddenly on the radio
- Charcoal grey t-shirts
- Walking or driving down a tree lined hill road, with the sun streaming through the canopy
- Weekend brunches with friends
- A lazy Sunday stretching ahead, without plans
- The smell of roasted coffee beans
- Catching a movie or hanging out with my friends impromptu, in the middle of the workweek
- Teasing and laughing my heart out with my family
- Sometimes, dancing bare feet
- The idea of travelling for a month or two, without sticking to a schedule
- Me time
- Driving with the window down
- A book or a movie which suits my mood
- Comfy denims and ratty old t-shirts
What’s on your list?
His eyes stare at the white drapes and his mind takes a while to focus. His throat is parched and mouth dry. He feels better today. He can open his eyes and look around. Not like…was it yesterday? Last night. He can see now.
Continue reading “One moment at a time”