Saturday, January 03, 2009

More Of This And That...

Life acquires a new meaning as you develop sensitivity. You begin to see more and more colours, shades and hues that you did not even know existed. How much more finer the picture becomes! I am happy to be developing this sensitivity. With every book that I read, every play that I watch in the theatre, every article that I write, every poem that I compose and every photograph that I take, my ability to discriminate is improving.

The year 2008 has seen much development of sensitivity in me. Wish it had happened before but grateful that it happened.

I am very healthy. Touchwood.
But once in a few months a seemingly trivial malady makes me miserable. One of them, and the most troublesome of them all, is the cold.
It is not so much of a trouble in itself but it’s physical location makes it such a nuisance.
It’s right at the center of your face. You cannot even ignore it. The silly malady!
I wish I had the option of shifting all ailments of the body to the small toe of left foot.
It would be so convenient. You could happily ignore it. If God were to appear before me, this, for sure, would be one of those three wishes.

Most of the questions asked are hackneyed. The once upon a time question-with-a-difference, “What are your hobbies?”, is the most stereotypical today.
But once in a way, I meet an intelligent being who asks an interesting question.
This was long ago.
He asked me “In which language do you think?” and “In which language do you pray?”
I had never thought about it but gave an answer anyway.
But recently, I thought about it.

In which language do I think? Hmmmm......
Most of my thinking takes the form of imaginary conversations with real people. And these conversations are mostly debates. Usually it’s me and a friend or an acquaintance who argue about a subject, but not too vehemently. These conversations are a catharsis, because I have enough time to make my point. I am not interrupted, as in reality by impatient people.
And it is these imaginary conversations where I have had so many epiphanies and so many realizations. It is these conversations that have helped me gain fresh insights into so many matters.
All these conversations are in English. And with that, I have made another discovery about myself.
English IS the language in which I think!

Understanding oneself happens so often through other people, who ask questions you have never asked yourself.

Interestingly, this discovery helped to explain something else.

I often discuss with friends(like minded - at least in this matter), how much the English language means to me, how I admire people who speak good English, how I would love to marry a man whose English will be of a higher standard than mine and all that…

But once in a way, a not so like-minded person asks with genuine interest why I give so much importance to the language. And then there are some, who scoff as they give the examples of the Germans and the French who care two hoots about the language and yet compete with the rest of the world…
Most of the people tend to believe that English is a choice that people consciously make as they associate it with style, sophistication, status, smartness etc… I cannot comment about what others choose and why. There is no need either to justify the pervasive presence of the English language in a country of twenty something vernaculars…

For now it suffices to understand why it means what it means to me…
Among other reasons, English is the language in which I THINK and the language in which EXPRESS!
Having realized that, I must get to work and master the language.

And in which language do I pray? This did not take much effort. When I pray, I speak to God; sometimes in Hindi, sometimes in Tamil and sometimes in English.
But not in Kannada. Never.
I am amused at how funny and filmy it would sound, speaking to God in kannada; the truth of the matter being that, Kannada is my mother tongue and Tamil, merely the last of vestiges that were bequeathed to me and I had no choice but to inherit.

In Tuesdays with Morrie, professor Morrie rightly says, “America has become a Persian bazaar of self help”.
I wonder if people (all over the world) need to read soooooo many books on self help.
When we read too many of these books, are we not asking to be spoon-fed?
If we look back at our own lives in retrospection, and with some introspection, there are so many lessons to learn and so much data to understand the human mind.

I have read one or two myself. I would read another if recommended by a friend, but somehow, I would not buy a new one when I visit a bookstore.
I think my basic problem with today’s popular ‘self help’ is that it is an advertised value. It is commercialized.
I think I have a problem with anything that is advertised or commercialized.

I think my mind has always made a distinction, though unconsciously, between commodities that can be sold and services that should ideally be offered free.
This distinction is entrenched in my constitution deeply. And I am skeptical about anything that belongs to the second category but has fallen into the first. A service, for example, that should be offered for free but has become a commodity for sale.
I am also skeptical about those things that usually belong to the first category but have fallen into the second.

Since ‘helping people’ is for sale, I am getting uncomfortable with it...
I don’t know how much of the content in these books is written with sincerity and how much of it is a calculated entry with an eye for marketing and promotion.

Environment is the only cause that’s on my mind, after my return from the Himalayas…the glacier is melting…only 26 kilometers more of it left…no new glacier is forming…Ganges is melting away… what do we do now?

"2008 will be the coolest year since 1997, but still the 10th hottest in a temperature record dating back 150 years", says the world meteorological organization (WMO). The global mean temperature for 2008 was 14.3 degrees Celsius.

I sigh... coolest year – since 1997….hmmm

There is hope!

This was a pic I took this October as I rambled my way to the beach through green fields in Thernamakki near Murudeshwar.



Satish said...

One of the most popular replies to "Hobbies" is watching T.V.....I'm still confused between Hobby and entertainment..... :)

Thought of which language we pray to god is definitely food for of these days i need to find out, instead of which language i pray, which language does god understand(guess it is that of a good human being and truthful one).

Just curious, are you gramtically correct even when praying to god ;)

On a lighter note, i will quote once again what Shankaracharya has said centuries ago -" Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam, Govindam Bhaja Mudhamate. Samprapte Sanhihite Kale, Nahi Nahi Rakshate Dukuikarne" and on speaking english," I can talk English, speak English, because english is a very funny langauge"

Sowmya said...

Hey Satish,

'Watching TV' more often than not means Zoom TV'! I magine millions of viewers wasting millions of hours everyday over other peoples' drama!

I don't think Shankaracharya meant we should getaway with incorrect grammar;-)
BTW, it is "Nahi Nahi Rakshati Dukrunkarne".

I believe "You are what you speak". So yes, language is very important to me. The problem is, after a certain age, you cannot change your grammar. Thats why its good to be strict with yourself.

Sorry for the boring lecture...