Wednesday, October 10, 2007


When I was a child, i was separated from my mother to take a trip with
my father, to india. My grandmother died with a picture of me held
close to her heart. It was decided that I was to be taken along to
cheer up the family and touch her body before cremation. There is a
picture now, of me touching her dead body, it's striking, the contrast
between my baby vitality and her soulless shell. They tell me that it
led to a hysteric scene among the women of the family, particularly
because I had no fear and naturally paid reverence to her spirit by
kissing her face. You may not believe me if I tell you I remember that
day and that moment clearly. I remember the sun coming through the
veranda, and my Billu bhaiya, a portly fellow of 28 who bobbed me up
and down, I can feel the smiles coming toward me through fits of
crying, the scene filled with a contradiction of emotions and
sentiments. The joy of my life and the sadness of loss. The suffering
would become worse, my Billu Bhaiya would be murdered 6 months later,
thrown off the tallest building in connaught place, 13 floors to his
death. He would be doused with alcohol and the papers would report a
suicide as the accused were Delhi's most powerful. In a fit of poetic
irony, my father was the chief engineer of that building and it was his
pride and joy to have built Delhi's tallest skyscraper. Only to lose
his nephew to it. My father had bad luck with buildings I suppose as
the other building he helped build, the world trade center, has met the
fate my father promised would never occur. "That building can
withstand an impact of an airplane, its new technology..." I heard him
say that over and over. The new building was a civil engineering
marvel, fireproof stairwells and a design meant to resist the impact of
a plane. Bam.

After a week, it dawned on me, that my mother was missing. The
realization came in seeing her picture in my uncle's house. I took it
and threw it to the ground, stomping on it and crying. All pictures
of her had to be removed. I would go into unbearable fits of rage and
heartbreak in seeing her image. In recollecting this memory my mother
finds this amusing or perhaps she was secretly touched as she has
always had a bias to those who show their suffering, who express their
feelings. When a close family friend died and his daughters shed no
tears at the funeral, my mother was appalled. There was no greater
crime for her. She couldn't understand how anyone could remain
emotionless and composed in the face of death. I make it a point to
cry to my mother. I know she is the only one that understands and sees
it as a good, healthy, natural thing.

Life is fragile and any moment not spent savoring it, is wasted. There
isn't much time and the moment is only now that we have. What a sin it
is to complain or be bored. I never understood that word: bored. To
be bored means you are not paying attention to the wonder that
surrounds us. The problem is that we are conditioned to want more than
we need. We get used to screens, and gadgets and forget how
mesmerizing simple things like our breath, moving in and out, is. A
life force moves within us, our body is in a harmony that sings its own
music, if we let it. And then there is our imagination, those pictures
in our head, we can think and imagine almost anything, its a moving
picture show. Our very own film, yet most people don't see it and most
people let the outside control the inside. Control your film, be your
film, let nothing change your world. Because if we don't control the
content and let it flow than it overflows us. "Letting it flow" is a
misinterpreted concept. It doesn't mean a lack of responsibility and
consciousness, as many people do. It means consciously, very
consciously letting things come to you but being aware throughout the
process and feeling the universe working with you and in you. Most
people associate inaction with letting it flow, when really it is an
active form of doing nothing and allowing the harmony and the spirit to
come in you.

I came home last night and my mother told me of her time at my cousin's
wedding. I'm not close to her and didn't go and to be truthful I don't
like to go to events full of Indian diaspora. I feel inadequate and
unhappy having to essentialize myself based on my work. The adage "you
are what you do" is never truer than in the indian american community
(note i write indian american, Indians are much more diverse and much

I start worrying about things I never worry about and if its not a
sense of inferiority that engulfs me, I take on the other extreme. I
develop an artificial sense of superiority, a defense mechanism I am
sure, deriding the bankers and doctors as not having truly lived life
(would that be so far off?). It becomes bad, I'd rather just be who I
am and be with others who have no pretenses and just want to come
together to break bread and drink the wine, and dance a little.

This is blog is back. I am in a new city, again in a new place, and
again with an overwhelming need to reach out to cyberspace. I send my
love to you, people, out there. Somehow, in an Andy Warholesque way, I
feel I can get to a truth in this exhibitionism. At the very least
this blog does wonders in charming the ladies.

1 comment:

fernando reals said...

bravo. this entry is like a well-crafted mojito, easy to swallow, complex with its sweet moments and distinct zing, and able to take your mind to distant memories and different landscapes... gracias.