Leave me alone to my grief. She said. I had only just gone up to her. She withdrew, if only momentarily.
I traced my steps back, thinking to myself, I was only wondering how to handle my own.
Ramya I think her name is; but whatever it is, she was well, voluptuous. And then the item girl – wouldn’t know HER name – but well, I’d rather not mention anything. Someone told me something about the movie, I don’t recollect what. I wasn’t expecting anything from a Dhanush movie anyways. It wasn’t much to talk about. Like many other flicks, it sort of glorifies hooliganism. That was the last thing that troubled me though. All the while I was thinking, hell, what is this we are telling our people, our children? For the masses are, quite inevitably, naïve.
But that isn’t what I am thinking. Am thinking of his face, unshaven, mostly bristles of a graying beard. I had offered him a smoke, and it was time for him to leave. There was quite a cloud, what with both of us, almost synchronously dragging deep, both gazing at nothing, each in our own world.
One of my good old friends once asked me why the motorcycle featured in all my bummy tales. In that sense, this evening was an exception (excepting the movie of course – it was all for a motorcycle J). When I stepped out of the cinema at half past midnight – and I was thinking if I should walk or hitchhike – there was this string of them autokaarans. I needed a light, and kept asking as I passed one after another tuk-tuk with its master. So when somebody finally offered it to me, I stopped, lit up, thanked the man and asked him how much he’d want to drop me home.
He quotes, I flinch, and he quotes ten rupees less. Somehow, I didn’t want to contemplate it anymore. What was a difference of that sum going to do to me anyways?
I am grateful. And why not; I ought to be. Somewhere along this fascinating journey, I had started posting gratitude. It wasn’t my idea of course(link novel) – I lifted it off another blogger friend, a very special one. but like all good ideas, I didn’t care. To copy, mimic, it’s a good thing, I tell myself.
Have I stopped being grateful, I ask myself?
What is life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Asks the bard. I have no answer. I suppose us bums are like that. We keep losing ourselves, only to find ourselves.
What is the meaning of dharmabum, your handle on blogger? What does that represent to you?
A tag it was from this person, or meme. I don’t know the difference between the two. And right now, I don’t care much either. It was a set of questions, an int
The Dharma Bums wasn’t the best of books I had read. I wouldn’t even peg it at the most influential. But it did affect me, the very same way it had probably kicked off the hippy generation, so to say. Don’t worry, be hippy, I’ve often told myself.
Identification, that’s what it was. The book was like a reflection of me, or at least the self I had wanted to be and still do – free. Does that answer the question? I’m not sure. You’re so very fickle minded; impulsive. My father would tell me. I seek refuge in being a bum.
As we were riding, I got talking to this guy, as I do most of the times I use an auto-rickshaw. I’ve always wondered about this thing. Most people know that in madras, riding an auto means paying through one’s nose. I bargain, I haggle, and usually walk on towards my destination for however long it takes, before I can find a rick that will offer me a ride for what I can afford to pay.
The one aspect of this entire drama that has failed my comprehension is that no matter what, these guys live the same life. They don’t to grow – whatever happened to career progression – it’s the same old very middle class life. I understand, from what most of them tell me, that the earning is just about enough for sustenance. It is understandable; this is chennai maanagaram for you. Others tell me they are too complacent, they don’t work hard enough, I am not sure.
When we were almost home, I ventured to ask him one last question. So, you’ve been doing this for what, 20 years now? Tell me; is it really a worthwhile thing to do? How much does one earn? He eyes fell, he had this pitiful look on his face, and I could see he was old enough and possibly also dignified enough not to be lying or saying this for the sake of it.
We had just reached home, I paid him, offered him a smoke which he accepted and we both lit up. Not much, he says. In twenty years, I haven’t made anything much. Life has been pretty much hand to mouth.. I could see he wanted to leave. I told him he didn’t have to wait, that he could well be on his way. Which, also, he gratefully accepted. It’s late, I want to eat and rest, he said, as he rode away on that little three wheeled machine, leaving myself to a long night of silence, and myself.
It’s been a while since I wrote, has it not? I’ve been conscious of it, only just not done anything, until now, in the silence of the night, when I finally decided there is so much to write about.
I believe in my own bummy way, I have traveled my little bit (and waiting to go a long way!) in this world of blogging. 108 posts. Why that number, you might ask? Well, for a sanatana dharmi, it holds a very special place. But I don’t want to talk about that now.
108 posts in a little less than two years isn’t much. Nothing compared to some of my co-inhabitants of this planet at least! I’m talking about it from my own view point. From where I started – with no idea, literally, about what to do – I feel I have grown. This little tavern (I love calling blogs that – inspired from madhushala) has helped me think better. More importantly, it has helped me feel better. Personally, I feel it is important for a writer to feel. It goes beyond the realm of cognition. To me, it’s about how much one really feels about what one pens down. The feeling, the emotion, invariably results in an unstoppable downpour, manifesting in words. These are not people who decide to write before they sit down to. To them, it is not a choice, but a consequence, something driven almost involuntarily. That is one important thing about a writer, for me at least. That reminds me – there is this blogger, someone whom I secretly admire more than most others, for his depth of thought and feeling – he has asked me about my views on writing. Another tag that has been weighing down on me. I have, to the best of my knowledge, never refused or deserted a tag. And so, I’d probably request him to come down here and take a look. May not be a robust idea of a writer, but its mine, and he asked me.
Clichéd as it might sound, like most people, I grew out of fiction too. And yet, every now and then I discover a gem. The latest being London and his stories about the seas – my first taste of him being this book called The Sea Wolf, which a dearest friend, nay – my very own brother that was not born in my father’s dwelling – had bothered to send me all the way from half way across the globe. Maugham, Nevil Shute, there must be a few more, I can’t recollect the names. It seems to me that all these people, when they write – sort of reflect how much they have traveled across to places. And travel itself is something I hold very dear. I like writers who travel, for their works mostly reflect the beauty & irony of this vast, vast world.
I think I’m innately logical in nature, and possibly also quite practical, and so, a logical presentation of thoughts it quite important to me. My brain, or what little there is of it, fails to comprehend abstractions, so I stick to people who can write about more concrete things. If I am reading something, I’d prefer to know what it is about. Gain an idea of things right from the beginning. So my preference is typically essay like, with a beginning (what do they call it) a body and a conclusion!
In a way, this post is also meant to thank all you wonderful folks. I simply love every one of you I have met, and cherish the thoughts we have shared. From one of those first people to come here (if i remember right) to the one of the latest – everyone of you – thanks a ton. It is my privilege to be acquainted with all you wonderful people, to visit your own little taverns! Some of you, I have linked here. A large number of you, though you may not have found a place in this little post, do share a huge space in my tiny little heart, I promise. It is you co-passengers – if I may take the liberty of calling you that – who have made this experience ever so beautiful. Even the ones like this friend who disappeared, all of a sudden. No, it’s not the apparent death of a blog – like some of you may have thought about my own blog and its apparent inactivity in the recent past. There have been days, when I go to my list of blogs, and find some have been deleted, or made private. Some like this person, or this, have been kind enough to grant a bum entry, others, have shut me off for whatever reasons. To every single one of you – my humble salutations!
How can I ever stop being grateful? It’s a miracle that I am alive, and fit and free of bodily ailments – thus far at least. I have never bothered about my health. In more ways than one, I have lived life, pretty much on the edge. Dad tells me I neglect my health, and I can’t disagree with him. Nothing comes to me in moderation, it’s always in extremes.
In college, it was a wild, carefree life, not thinking one bit about the morrow. MJ – I can’t believe I was so enamored by it back in those days. Not that the liking has diminished in anyways, I’ve only grown older, and hopefully, just a wee bit saner. But there was a time when, when I went to my regular peddler, he asked me if I was going to peddle it myself. I was buying a bag full of those little pouches. You’d better be careful with what you are doing. His words as I was parting from him after my last purchase – about a week later, I was graduating and leaving the town – they were more symbolic to me of my life in the larger context.
So that’s a secret vice – for it isn’t considered as ‘social’ as a drink or two – smoking a joint! I don’t do it as often, or pursue it as actively as I used to. And yet, if there was a bum offering me a drag or two, I wouldn’t refuse. There are a few other vices – biting toe nails being one of them. And I think I must have somewhere or the other, mentioned about them. But that was another question as a part of the interview tag – What is your secret vice?
Now that I am back to one of the tags (the other one – about writers and my views on them – I can’t think of much more on that, thanks to my limited understanding!), I think I might as well answer the rest of the questions.
Look at the sunset, in the backdrop of the clouds, the horizon stretching away endlessly, producing the most magical set of colours. What kind of mad painter would be able to humanly produce that sort of an effect?
That’s one of the things I ask myself, when people ask me for proof of the existence of God. To me, it’s not just about belief. Faith, I believe (the usage in this, is quite funny, and even possibly ironical), is one step more than mere belief. Faith transcends reason, it goes beyond mere cognitive knowledge. It is so firmly internalized, there is no looking back. To quote my Gurudev, Sw. Chinmayananda – Faith is the belief in what we know, to know what we believe in.
I know how it works, but I don’t know how it works. I’m not sure, but I think marconi said that. It is easy to come up with logical, scientific conclusions for things. What’s difficult to explain is that which goes beyond logic, beyond our intellect. In fact, I’m beginning to think things go way beyond the vastest stretches that the human mind can perceive in its cognitive activity.
That entity that is beyond what we all see, hear, feel, why even perceive, is to me the inexplicable phenomenon called God. Open up the papers today, and all you see is misery all around. And yet, in spite of all the things that seem to be going wrong, there seems to be something that makes sure things are just alright, at the end of the day. Else the way us homo sapiens are treating our earth and everything else in it, we’d have faced an apocalypse a long, long time ago.
Do you believe in ‘God’ or a Universal force in the Universe? If so, how would you describe it? I don’t think there is anything left to be answered as far as this question is concerned. My God, is my love. And simply put, if you don’t understand, I don’t care a great deal to explain. Look at it this way – your time, is probably yet to arrive. As high handed as that might sound, for once!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you?
That’s a tough one. Friends who know me will know that I don’t normally don’t encourage advice. I believe any advice given without solicitation goes waste. I do understand that people, who do so, are acting merely out of concern, of love, and yet, I am heartless enough to believe so. So in my case, there has been advice galore, only I chose not to listen intently to most of it.
You are light-minded. It’s a lucky thing to be so, but you better watch yourself. Dad told me that sometime ago. But those are the words that come to my mind at this point of time, when being forced to think about the advice that I have been give,
Aha! So it’s one last question – What is the one thing you’d most like to do before you die?
How could you have the heart to ask a bum that question? We people have much to do before we leave, don’t we? Somewhere I had mentioned this, but I think I’d want to scale the Everest. No kidding, I really want to do it, hopefully before global warming reduces the legendary peak to a nothing,
I’d probably also want to do two more things. Help two people, basically. One is the stray dogs around. There are so many around. And to think that they are a result of human negligence, puts me to shame. Someday, I’d want to pick up a couple of them so called mongrels off the road, and love them like my own children, which I hope not to have to save me the trouble.
The other is the peasants of this country. This is another one of those things that shame me. And I come from what was once known as a primarily agrarian economy. Today, we have farmers killing themselves, and their children don’t see any future in pursuing what people for generations together have been doing. I’m not convinced that nothing can be done. I want to farm some day. Plough, till, sow and hopefully reap. And help those around me find smarter ways of doing the same. I am sure there are ways; we just don’t want to find them, or show them to those who feed us. We’re too busy in proving to the world that we are an ‘economy to reckon with’.
In the end, I’d like to love – everybody, anybody who comes my way. I’d even go out of my way. But I think it is important to love everybody. In my own bummy way, and this may not exactly be easy to understand. For somewhere, I am beginning to think most people have a very skewed understanding of loving. The moment we love, they want to possess. Love is about giving without asking, as much as it as about taking.
There is so much to do, and so little time, but for the sake of the meme, I think that sums it up.
There are places I’ll remember all my life,
though some have changed
some forever not for better
some have gone and some remain.
All these places have their moments,
with lovers and friends I still can recall;
some are dead and some are living
in my life I’ve loved them all.
~.John Lennon/Paul McCartney