it is critical for a creative soul to let some other take the stage when she herself is vacant of expression. if she is not being able to write, paint, play or dance, as well as she wants to; she must let someone else fill her being with their expressions.
because vacancy, ‘shunya’, has to avoided like… and i wonder here, avoided like what? like the cliched plague? or avoided like death? but why death. it has to be embraced and welcomed. but this ‘shunya’ has to avoided like what? perhaps there is no credible comparative for it.
being vacant of mind, being devoid of the muse, being without a heart is the incomparable loss of self, which is much more, infinitely more irretrievable than death itself.
these days, i’ve been devoid of expression myself. so, a few words, by a poet another, from a collection of poetry i’ll talk about in some other post, and let me feel at ease with my lack of expression for the time being.
– Armando Menezes
What boots it that the world’s a vale of grief;
And life is but a breath and pain its lot;
And fame is a bauble that is sold and bought,
And all our sorrow long, our pleasure brief;
That hope’s a phantasm, and faith a leaf
Floating upon the cataract of thought;
And love a cheat, and truth in shame begot;
And Time, proud Beauty’s pander, worm and thief?
Let the world be: I made it not, nor marred;
And he who made it so, perhaps is just.
To-night I question not Life’s mystery…
But bring thy warm breast closer, kiss me hard,
And let me once forget that man is dust:
To-night I’m heir of immortality.
it was a metro ride back home. i think it was the last saturday. ummm, yes. which is when i was thinking about the purpose of it all and came across the word ‘dust’ and this poem.
a middle aged man, fortyish, with a heavy paunch and balding head is sitting next to me. he’s carrying a heavy, cheap leather flexicase on his lap, which i’ll find later contains many sections. all in all a sort of person you don’t mind at all, because he is so normal, that you’ve stopped noticing people like him after years of travel by public transport.
a set of three, heavily built, trying-to-look-twenty women sit across me. the middle one is trying to explain to perhaps a client or a customer something over the phone. she is dressed like a customer care executive, maybe of a bank or a credit company. the one on her left is silent, perhaps pondering on the weekend ahead. the one on her right is the more pretty of the three, and is smiling sheepishly at her friend’s loud volume. there is a medium-built, receding hairline man sitting to her right. he smiles at me, glances appreciatively at the book in my hand. his is a benevolent gaze, almost rewarding me for reading a book and not being addicted to the i-pods and games young people are more into these days. perhaps he used to like books before life grinded him out. next to him is seated a young couple. a north-eastern guy and girl, and as obvious, almost oblivious of the others.
the thing that draws my attention to the man on my right is the name of a perfume that i use sometimes. he is talking on the phone now and seems to me a supplier of some kind. while still on phone, he fishes out a bulky order book from one of the partitions in his leather bag. what interests me further are the names they are using for a couple of perfumes, shahrukh and amitabh among others. both the reigning deities of the bollywood pantheon. meanwhile, a sale is made, an order noted down for a couple of shahrukh’s, a single amitabh and the one perfume i’m familiar with. the man assures his client that he’ll get a receipt mailed to him within half an hour. i’m impressed by the efficient use of technology by this previous generation gentleman.
what i’m more perplexed by is the way how people continue to live their lives. i don’t know, but sometimes i almost feel like an alien on a day trip to earth. it’s so hard to believe, that the world just happens to ‘be’ right in front of my eyes. and then that word, ‘dust’ crosses my mind, like flashes of repetitive recollection. is this all actually nothing, but an illusion, a ‘maya’? and even if it were real, what is it all about?
meanwhile, the kashmere gate metro station is here. one by one, the protagonists of my eight minute story leave. only me and the young couple are left. some new passengers, fill a few of the vacant seats and i’m requested by a group of girls to move to a corner seat. after i adjust myself to the new position, i again recollect what i was just reflecting upon, on that one word.
all of this, all of them, all of me, but dust. and then i read the poem once again.