Saturday, October 11, 2014

Shapes of the shadows

A friend of mine wanted me to write on the blog and her upbeat chirpy insistence has brought me back to this blog on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon. Till quite a few months, I have been writing mostly when I am little disturbed and feeling like pouring out. I think what's good about writing in a disturbed situation is that sometimes the act of sharing fastens the healing process and sometimes the responses I receive touches me. I have received beautiful emails, so beautiful, that by responding to them I have felt I would diminish their beauty. I know it is a strange psyche and I definitely do not have a right rational behind it. But responding to the anonymity would create dissonance of familiarization which probably can be a little claustrophobic. Doesn't mean I don't want to connect with the people who wrote back but  that I want to connect to them with the same anonymity, the connection remaining unidentified.

Anyway, I think this desire to return on the blog in a rather "undisturbed" state of mind is a luxury. It does tell that I am on the path of recovery. I think a few days of normalcy and daily routine has helped. For last three years, life was testing me, pushing me and asking me to understand it. Now I have hit a plateau in my quest of understanding life. So there is calmness.

Late last night, or early morning rather, we were at Westin, where we had a luxury of having 2 beers below a majestic glass ceiling exposing the weakness of the moonlight against a well-lit crush hall. Afterwards, we were dropping a friend to her building that could be accessed only through a small uneven bouncy patch with slum dwellers living on one side. While we were returning partying, the women of the slum were up early to fill in their buckets because that might have been their water hour. Whenever I pass on the place like that, I think of life that I left behind. I was wondering the comfort of Westin to the comfort of the days when I used to be in Ummeed. When waking up at the dawn would mean to wake the boys up for school and make sure they attend the school despite their daily inadequacy of streets puts them into self-doubts of mainstream classrooms 

I was brought back from my thoughts by the headlight of my friend's Scorpio falling on to the face of a woman of the slum. Unlike the shadowed-over moonlight from the glass-ceiling in the Westin, the headlight gave this woman' face an illumination, a kind of a spotlight. I recognized her with an anonymity and yet the cognizance of the harshness that life might be bringing to her. And like Gandhi's talisman, a face of the poor that I will remember.

When I had joined Teach for India, I was told by one fine 40-year old gentleman that "Oh! I wish I had got an opportunity like this at your age" And I could relate to that statement more now. I think wherever I will go, Teach for India experience stays in my heart and might as well send me back where I had this sense of belonging and sense of comfort which is still untouched and raw despite the little luxury that has entered in my life. It was indeed right to spend my youthful years in trying to scale the magnanimity of the crisis. Because everything else - money, comfort and luxury  comes back but that pure feelings are hard to find. And nothing can replace that.

The loss of a parent and his struggle for last three years had been very devastating. May be the storm is over. May be life can be planned. May be life will be little less testing. May be it wouldn't matter if it will test. But life might be lived with reminder of what life was, and that will make the act of living more meaningful.

I was in the swimming pool last evening gasping for breath of a struggling swimmer. But that struggle cleansed me. Struggle always cleanses. I am heading for a day long Vipassana tomorrow in the pursuit of more cleansing, of understanding more dark shadows and more spotlights and where I belong.