Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Happiness and Pain of Moving to a New Stage in Life

The back window glass of my car doesn’t move up or down. It is stuck in the middle. I can’t take my car out. It is raining heavily. The rain will lash on everyone at the back. My mom wants to come with me for a marriage, and needs to sit where the rain will have its fury. I am clueless, and keep ringing people up. Finally manages to catch hold of my younger brother who lets me have his car, a less comfortable version of the Tatas.

Lini, the youngest daughter of one of my father’s cousins, will walk into a new stage in her life today, a life with another man. In the church, she looked like a queen, smiled when I approached her and shook her hand.

We all gently move from one stage to another and often don’t realise until we reach a new stage. During your younger days the movement is slow but as we grow older, we begin to experience it as a hard reality.

The young school days, when studies were the only worry, if you or your parents ever worried about them. Future never worried you, but you wanted to grow older. When your teens were over, as an adult proving oneself, creating a spot on this vast earth seemed to be the hardest task. You always thought, almost everybody else was better.

The older twenties of joblessness and jobs, low self esteem and high ambitions, but you grew, hardly realising, it was a moving reality. Early marriage days, when money hardly came. Sometimes you thought you might falter and fail, but never wanted to admit it to anyone. Late thirties, anchoring into a steady, may be a financial successful life, when more fat settled into your body. You had your kid, in the meanwhile, and your responsibilities and happiness, as the father of a daughter. Then one sad morning, your father died and the following days, looking at the empty divan where my father rested reading ‘Malayala Manorama’. The period, without a father. Now in the beginnings of forties, it is midlife blues. Sometimes, fear grips you at the thought of growing older.

The Lazy Weekend

Saturday is no work; I practice the art of laziness. In fact, you are lazy the whole week, and perfect it during the weekend.

It is seen in your lawn, outgrowing onto the rough granite walker-way, and the greasy interiors and dusty exteriors of your sedan and blame it on the water puddles of the rain filled roads. The lizard ‘droppings’, hardened in black and white, lie untouched on your study table’s farthest end. Can’t stretch your hand to pluck it out. The rising flesh on your lower abdomen area. Can’t eat less or stroll an extra mile on your way to enduring health. I am fighting a losing battle with the evil forces of inertia, ever since I can remember.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Peaceful Protest

Everybody, except a few, in Darsana is not teaching today. Orissa is burning and Christians are fleeing. All Christian institutions across India remain closed today, so are we. I had committed to a few students; I would come; so they were there.

Good that the protest is peaceful. It is an easy chance for people to make use of it, and whip up passions, blaming it on wounded feelings. Today, people are easily hurt and wounded, in the name of religion and never about any other brutality or killing. Wounded hearts can wound and kill.

Let the storm slowly subside; let the state take action without any prejudice and punish the guilty. Except for the media, all, for good, have downplayed the happenings in Orissa, quite sensibly. Am I not sensitive...may be, but for good.

Today, I had more students, more than what I expected. May be, I am doing okay. In the class, sometimes, I think I am dramatic, sometimes very harsh, sometimes witty and humorous. I think, I do make an effort. Am I overestimating myself? I really enjoy when people appreciate my worth, but surely not when overdoing it. Am I blowing my trumpet today? Again, may be...but I do enjoy it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Chapel and the Garden

I am at it again! To be exact, it is 11.42 pm, pitch dark and an hour ago we had just returned from the chapel, where we once decided to go everyday. In fact, we took this decision about a couple of years ago but managed to keep it only as many times as all three of us had the convenience together. When I was ready, my wife wasn't; when she was ready, I had my moods elsewhere... finally my daughter never wanted to go to a church and sit there in the night....she got fed up in the first few days. The final outcome...I beg your pardon! We just managed, may be 100 days. The chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed was kept open till 11 pm. I liked the surroundings...the garden always looked fresh and well nourished, and every wild growth was nipped and the uneven hedges smoothened occasionally. Sometimes, we stood in front of the grotto of our lady, while our daughter burned the candles and enjoyed until a drop of boiling paraffin burned her little finger and she howled in pain. The light that came from the street tube light, dimly lit the garden and sometimes, when it wasn't raining, we sat together and talked away. The church had a few curving steps around it, and we could just retire to a dark curve, without a soul wanting to see us.Annu, my daughter always wanted to go home we never spent as much time as we wanted there.

The chapel was circular in shape. The granite floor was grained in dark uneven waves, but cold and hard, and my leg bones protested every time I sat on the bare floor. Along the wall, at the back, a few plastic chairs, and stools made of reeds were placed. People sat on them and prayed and sometimes slept. I would usually go forward, and would sit on a carpet laid just before the altar. My legs were comfortable on the smooth surface. Sitting here and praying, I grew to be less religious. I looked at the world and at everyone in the world. I saw boundaries everywhere. There is a fence, even between a wife and a husband. The tendency is to tighten these boundaries, and may be, religion created, the tallest and the most impregnable walls between people.

The Morning slumber

Today I woke up, late as usual. Again, getting up from bed was still an hour away. On my side was my daughter, still in her midnight slumber....My wife, the only one disciplined, was already puffing in the kitchen....Yet another decision, taken just 12 hours ago, to go for a stroll and that too at 5 am, and burn a few calories, has become a 'Georgian Dream' again. Oh! it's just two hours away from packing off to the academy! About 20 essays, my students had handed over to me, to tell them why they would not get a 7 band, was lying untoched in my bag.

I got up, just few minutes prior to 7, had the moring purification of my physical self and placed myself on the essays. This is the only time that I dont feel an inferiority complex. My students have done worse than me yet again. Going through the writings of some of my wards, did give an ideas as to why some of them should never use the pen seriously. But an ambition to fly abroad may sometimes make the impossible happen. Corrections are over, except for the last few papers, again as usual.

I could sometimes hear, my wife at her shrillest pitch using all her velocity to wake up my daughter...and navigate her drowsy feet to the toilet...and then ultimately push her to the school jeep at half past eight. I evaded all these activities, lest my wife would force my sluggish daugher's character gene on my forefathers...... I came down from my study only after my wife breathed a sigh of relief after the school jeep whizzed away.