• http://www.amazon.com/The-Thomases-Road-Realization-ebook/dp/B009BATQUA/

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Funny ME

I have understood one thing lately, that there is no better way to look at oneself than in a way, where we could laugh at our own self. I realised this when a friend recently told me that Proust reminded her of me and showed me a video that tickled my funny bone !! Marcel Proust is a novelist (1930), the author of the seven volumes collectively called" In Search of Lost Time" which is considered a masterpiece because of the underlying philosophy of how to really appreciate life even in the little things. You might wonder what is funny about this outrageous comparison!

I must be excused as I was hearing about Proust for the first time and what I really saw in the video about Proust rather than making me heady with pride showed me something to laugh at..at him and myself. The video of how Proust can change your life conveyed to me certain things about Proust that I accepted that there was a similarity. Although my friend meant that Proust's and my thinking process seemed similar, the similarity I saw, however,  was a bit different.

 Proust's book describes small things at great lengths and so it is suggested that one could read it only if confined to bed with illness or a broken leg with simply "NOTHING" else to do. Yeah I have sometimes had to hold my friends by the neck and shove my writings down their throats. In the video Proust is shown cutting some portions of a page and sticking it somewhere else. Well if he really was the compulsive editor like me, I am infinitely more lucky, I have the computer! Proust is shown questioning a diplomat regarding the minutest details of his routine interrupting from time to time to make him elaborate where he might have rushed past. It was the diplomats expressions this time that made me laugh. Yeah I guess I have managed that expression onto some of my close friends' faces!

Later after I read the book 'Proust can change your life' by Alain De Botton, I could see what I might have discussed with my friend that led to such a linking! However outrageous it may sound, there were certain ideas that felt similar, like the "importance of not fully getting what one wants" as an essential ingredient to be happy. Apart from that, maybe the detached way of dealing with certain topics was a similarity, and especially I think the understanding that no book is complete in itself and we have to depend on our own intuition (according to Proust in a book we may discover our own unexpressed thoughts but these may not be complete in itself without some personal editing). But unlike Proust I don't really indulge my whole self in the minutest details of living like sipping a cup of coffee! I am more hurried. Also unlike Proust I don't think what I write is what I couldn't make use of in real life (However audacious I might sound.) I write mainly because writing benefits me by helping me think clearer and find solutions that take me towards a better direction whereas for Proust his wisdom probably reconciled him to his suffering which (for more or less understandable reasons) he couldn't change.

But what I rather admired is the treatment of Proust by Alain De Botton. He told us how serious people can be so funny. What I took from Alain De Botton is the understanding that what we need is to laugh affectionately at others and ourselves and take each person, their qualities, their faults, less seriously.

Alain De Botton speaks in Ted Talk about his philosophy of success in which what attracted me, was his view on modern society, of how it has become centered on the self. We seek out nature not for health but because we want to run away from the human anthill, from our dramas, we do want to be centered on something that is not human. Yes, It does appear that we have become more serious than we need to be about ourselves.

This touched me more as I had just come back from a nature experience, away from traffic, away from the computer, away from the serials I follow; watching the slow unhurried existence of nature in the Vidarbh region of Maharashtra, where in its windy air unwillingly trying a hand at the kite flying suddenly lifted my spirits when the kite did really take off! It lifted also the drooping corners of my mouth as it brought back the child in me. The rest of the days there, all I wanted to really do was learn to fly a kite, quite like the unthinking, unhurried little child who would take her own sweet time for a wasteful activity. Proust would have nodded his approval.

Anyway who really knows what is important enough to do in life. I guess as long as 'I' am not so important, anything could be worth wasting time on...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Starting All Over!

There are few joys compared to starting all over! A new year, a new place, new people....The new has something to hope for, something to look forward to, where the old often has exhausted itself. The last month, exhausted options, absorbed lessons. ..

I would say life has not always turned out as I expected, but I wouldn’t say in the end, I did not relish life as it turned out to be! I have been, I would also say, blessed with the new, even when I wished to settle down at one, be it places or friends! Seven places before marriage and four after, not including Bangalore where I lived four times in all the years put together. Which place do I call my place, maybe the place that calls me back the most? I have been lucky to live near Goa after marriage, to have known traffic free roads of Kudal and Chiplun, where long drives were immensely relaxing and nature was so lush. Yet it is very rare that a place has held me back, maybe once, an apartment where I could see a lake from my window in a place like Pune. But eventually the signs are so clear when it is time to move, that once done with it however painfully, I rarely look back!

People ask me which place or friends I miss. I am sure I cut across as hard hearted when I don’t have a place or person I miss. For me the place I live, the best friend I have in that place, is all that matters! I am surprised when my old friends remember details of long past times, as one would of a moment ago,but that are almost clean out of my mind as a past life would be! Being reminded of them is, for me, like having undergone a past life regression session, and I dare not admit that to my dear old friends who have carried the memories so religiously! I even surprise and scare myself with this capacity not to look back at even the most fabulous of times, even those that had been immensely difficult to give up! Which friend do I belong to then, maybe the friend who cares to keep holding my hand, whatever the distances that may come in!

I have often thought of myself as absent minded, not interested in devoting my whole mind to the routines, not living in the present, but some days like today, as I realise I am starting over, I also realise I am most present where it really matters. I do live each place fully, absorb each friend totally, so that when I part I carry their essence in me, they are added on to what I am. We usually miss something which wasn’t lived fully, which wasn’t totally added on to us.

Starting over again for me is the point of time when comes the awareness that I am a new added up person. Each place, each person, each year adds on to us in more ways than mere figures! Reminds me of the words from a song..
Maine tinke uthaye huen hain paronpe, ashiana nahin hai mera. I don’t have a nest...I carry the straws in my feathers.

Sometimes the best things about life can be found in not having a nest, in starting all over, in growing again in a new soil, however painful each uprooting is...
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