To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Friday, June 28, 2002
Yipeeeeeeeee !!!!! I bought a Guitar !

I had long nursed a wish to learn the Guitar, but with one thing and another, never got around to it.

A few days ago I joined a Guitar class. I do not even know the ABC of it and when the instructor asked me if I knew a little, I pronounced an emphatic 'no'.

It is somehow so with me that, even when I know a little (by my reckoning) of a subject, I prefer to say I know nothing. Until I know a thing inside-out, I'm not comfortable claiming knowledge of it.

It would be well as it were, but trouble is that people who are not affected by such qualms and are confident of the little knowledge they have, end up gaining an advantage over me. That too would be acceptable, but it hurts when they use my own words to impose their superiority on me.

While I'm glad enough to accept my ignorance, it definitely would not go down well with me, to acknowledge someone as ignorant as I am, or perhaps more so, as my better. It never would.

I would use the same scales to evaluate another person as I would for myself, and if these reveal the person to be of superior material, I'll be only too happy to bow down to him. Infact, it would be a joy, an honour -- to honour talent.

But unfortunately, it is never easy to find such gems. For the truly great are humble, and who would suspect the greatness, where it is hidden in such humility?

Friday, June 21, 2002
It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes, and softens down the temper, so cry away -- Charles Dickens.

I wouldn't need that advice, as I have always followed it rather well. I do not know what it is that connects the heart with the eyes, but something must, or they wouldn't act in such unison.

I like to think that I'm grown now, except that I seem not to have lost a certain trait from my baby days. I can never restrain my tears. Flow they will and I can't make them respectable.

Monday, June 17, 2002
The word 'Charity' has a very unpleasant connotation for me.

I wouldn't mind paying twice the sum for a thing, but it would jar my soul to accept something that was given away in disdain. I would rather go without a thing than accept something that was offered to me not because I merited it, but because I needed it.

Two lines written a long time ago express it succintly --

I'm no beggar, whatever I might be
I accept everything, except Charity!

Thursday, June 13, 2002
It is that time of the year again -- when the air is full of the sweet scent of rain, earth and fresh grass. I love it !!

One of my favourite songs, "Rim jhim gire saawan....." plays in my mind with a fresh melody of its own and there is some magic in humming it, while I watch nature perform one of its most rhythmic dances.

Rains somehow remind me of my childhood days, when their approach heralded the beginning of another school year and the end of summer holidays. How I would wish I could remain at home -- to cozy myself in a corner of the window, watching the clouds gather and raindrops fall, reading a book and munching on fried delicacies. Instead, with a heavy bag and heavier heart I would be packed off to school. :(

There I would wait for the day to crawl by, trying to make no sense of what the teachers blabbered or what the books described. The darker it would get, the lighter I would feel --with the thought that the delicious atmosphere would likely continue late into the evening, and I would then be free to enjoy it as I please....

Friday, June 07, 2002
I have my weaknesses, as much as anybody else (if not more) and the worst among them is jealousy. I can control my anger, hide my fear, camouflage my pride, but when it comes to jealousy, I have no defenses. I'm conquered. And once it conquers me, the anger, fear, pride and all other enemies I've so painstakingly kept at bay, push their advantage and I fall a prey to them too.

The worst thing about jealousy is that it involves the heart and when the heart comes in, the mind becomes useless. No matter how much the mind tries to talk sense, the heart will not listen; the pictures that jealousy presents to its imagination are far more real and convincing (far, far more if the heart has learnt to fear more than trust) than any logic the brain can devise.

I've heard tell that only the heart that loves knows jealousy. I wonder. If the heart loves, then why does it entertain jealousy, which kills the very object it feeds on? Isn't a trusting heart, that will not be swayed and taken in by such a threatening agent, more purer and truer to the loved object? I do not know.

But for better or worse, I am sickeningly prone to it. I do not feel this emotion at all times or for everyone, but only when it comes to those who have a very special place in my heart. I tell myself that I should be secure in their affections and not fall a victim to doubt and jealousy, but human as we are and human as I am, even when we are sure, we want to be reassured. Even when we know, we want to hear. In the process, we fall in the eyes of the very people whom we are extremely devoted to. We hurt them by our incapacity to trust and believe. We, ironically and perversely, disturb their faith in us. We are now happy that the bond is as secure as we thought it was, but we do not realize that we've actually managed to weaken it.

True, the fault is ours and we have no excuse, other than that maybe, that our hearts breed jealousy......only because it breeds on love...

Monday, June 03, 2002
A year ago when I was full of my own woes (as most people at most times generally are), something happened to temporarily jolt me out of this state. I realized that I could consider myself very fortunate indeed and I had much to be thankful for. Following account written at the time captures something of my feelings.

It's not about change.........

Everything changes with time. Circumstances, people, habits, tastes, everything. Today you see something and tomorrow its gone. Today you would remark on the pranks of a child and before you know it, the child's a man. Today you see a happy and smiling face, radiating energy and life, and tomorrow, it is sad and worn, unable to hide the effects of trauma and tragedies. But one is never prepared for change.

I don't know how we got to know each other. For as long as I can remember, she was there. We attended the same school and lived in the same neighbourhood, but we never grew close as friends. I liked her, though there was always a basic difference in our personalities. I lived on an intellectual and emotional level. She found pleasure out of the material aspects of life. I always had an excuse to be sad and she didn't need an excuse to be happy.

It was the last day of my 10th standard board exams, when she told me that her family would be moving out soon, to some place not far from her present home. I took it quite calmly. It was as if an old piece of furniture, to which I had grown used to, would be taken away from the house. I would miss its presence, but not the thing itself and perhaps, after some time, I would even forget it. The family moved out soon after that.

Things moved on. College and then it was career. We communicated very rarely, just once or twice a year. She seemed to be just as happy and in love with life. That was some months back. But now, everything has changed.

A few days back, I was rifling through my diary, when I came across her number. I had this sudden urge to speak to her. I called her up. I asked for my friend and an unnatural voice replied that it was her. I knew her voice and I knew it couldn't be her. There had to be some mistake. I asked for her again, and again, the voice said that it was her. The voice also blabbered some other words, which were totally incoherent and irrelevant. I slammed down the phone in my fright and resolved to get to the bottom of this. The next day, I called up again and the same thing happened. I was totally confused. I then made up my mind to call her at a different time and the next day, when I called her, I was relieved to hear her voice.

I was curious about the strange incident and would have asked her, but contained myself out of courtesy. Instead, I asked her about her life and work. She told me that she had left her job and was now at home. Her father had suffered a kidney failure and was required to be taken to the hospital for dialysis, twice a week and this treatment had to be continued for his entire lifetime. Then I asked her about her mother, though I knew. Her voice seemed to fail her. Her mother had lost her mental balance. My friend tried to tell me that it was only a temporary thing induced by shock, but her voice betrayed her emotions. She seemed to be struggling for control.

I wanted to comfort her but couldn't find the words. Her father's condition would have come as a shock to her and just when she needed the emotional support of her mother, she lost it too. But she had no time for self-pity. They both needed her and though I would never have thought her capable of grappling with such twin tragedies, she was very much up to the task. Emotional support she could do without, but financial assistance was necessary. She had approached some trusts and was hopeful about the results.

Her words kept seeping into my brain and I remembered the girl of many years ago. How carefree she had been! and now, when she had suddenly been brought into grips with the harsh realities of life, she hadn't lost her hold.

I couldn't help marvelling at her courage in the face of the magnitude of change in her life. I realised that life is not all about change but how you react to those changes. Whether you curse your fate and fall under its blows or whether you accept it calmly and fight your way towards a better life, its your choice and if you are not afraid to make the right choice, you need never be afraid of change............................

(Her Father passed away soon after that.)