Monday, June 22, 2009

Social Consciousness or... OCD??

I was making my usual morning drink in the break room today and suddenly I realized - I am obsessive compulsive when I clean the espresso machine as instructed. I'm most particular about it. And then there is my colleague who cares enough for the environment to turn off all the superfluous lights around; he even bikes to work every day! He saw me cleaning the espresso machine one day and commended my "conscientious" act.

I care enough for my community to do the token "spare the air" acts once in a while; plant a tree; manage without a plastic bag; etc.. But then
eventually I forget to keep up the good work. Most people I know are the same. Every person probably tries, in the times his consciousness is awake to help with causes he believes in. At some point though his vigilance would drop and he reverts to his old ways.

So what goes into the making of a true activist?
To be conscious at every moment to follow in a chosen path, does one need to be obsessive compulsive? Are all super fighters for causes obsessive compulsive to some extent?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crystal Ball

Turmoil. That's what best described her current state of affairs. It was a long time since she last had a restful night, undisturbed by her thoughts in those long wakeful moments before the secrets of the night took over and threw her out into a new day. She was at her wits end and today had been the breaking point. She was on her knees now, with her eyes shut tight, praying with all her might. Hoping for a ray of insight. A glimpse of the future.

She slept for a long time that night. A kaleidoscope of events running through her dreams. Dreams she surprisingly remembered the next day. She felt more relaxed now. More in control of her fortunes. She had made up her mind somewhere in the night about what she wanted to do next. She finally found peace. She changed jobs and felt better at the new place. It was the same work; only better hours. Left her with more time for herself. Time even to hang out with friends in the evenings. She found she was much better at making decisions these days. More relaxed about it. Like the time when she knew exactly which restaurant she wanted them to go to that night. Where she met her long lost friend. It was almost like she knew she would.

Her days were more mellow now. No more uncertainty; which was surprising. Before she never knew what she wanted to do next; nor could she make decisions as easily as she did now. It felt good. This lack of agonizing over details and what ifs. Her days were more constructed; more ordered. Life was sailing smooth. A little too smooth.

She soon realized she missed the anticipation which went hand in hand with the guessing. The dreams of possibilities. She wanted the charm of the unknown and the novelty of chance. She soon got to thinking how much fun she used to have mulling over the future and building castles even if they were sometimes on thin air. She started fretting over the dull monotony of life, the lack of ripples. Fretting against the calm with the dearth of winds. That night found her back on her knees. Her eyes shut tight and praying...

Thursday, June 11, 2009


How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
- Henry David Thoreau


How my actions mock me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Treasure

Its been a while since I last wrote and have been wondering what to write about next... Wanted to try out writing a story. A short one but none the less longer than anything I've penned, no typed, lately. I started on something. But then am not comfortable publishing it.. So have kept it archived till the moment I feel I can show it to the world or finally send it to its resting place in the trash.

And so I have been looking for something to write about. And at some point side-tracked and started wondering what material possession has been with me the longest. And got a surprising answer - a small stick of sandalwood. It has had a very interesting and long journey.

My uncle used to work in the construction business. At one time they were building somewhere close to sandalwood forests in Karnataka. There was something about smugglers trying to get away with a truck load of sandalwood and getting caught and my uncle somehow landing up with a few chunks of the sandalwood. My mother being my uncle's sister obviously ended up getting some of it. And me being my Mom's precious younger one got the benefit of it.

I have always loved the smell of sandalwood -- not the overpowering perfumes or soaps; but the real deal - ground out fresh sandalwood paste. It smells divine. Its probably the only thing that I ever had the patience to sit and grind. And so every once in a long while I end up pulling out this small marble slab I have and the sandalwood stick and grind out some paste and apply it to my face. And sometimes I end up sleeping with it still on my face. The smell sticks on the pillow and I keep getting whiffs of it for long after.

It happens that I have had these two pieces, the sandalwood stick and the little slab of marble with me from when I first left home for my undergrad studies. They have traveled with me since, crossing seas and ended up on the continent of N America. From the grungy apartment in New Brunswick, NJ to the fancy locations in Bay Area, CA. In all that time almost forgotten but packed away safely while moving. I rarely use them; but for the few times I do remember and pull it out, its worth all the extra care I assign for it.

Lost in the cares of the present, it has been more than a year since I last pulled out the piece of sandalwood and smelled it. My sandalwood has a long long journey left to travel before it finally gets ground down to nothing and rests in peace.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Way Back Home

A decade. That was how long it was since she had been back. But now she was there to stay. The one place she always considered her haven, her safe place. Everywhere she turned to looked the same. Yet different. The familiarity was there, yet everything was new.

The kids she had roamed the streets with were away. Far far away. Living the life she had left behind. On a whim. A longing. She had no idea how she intended to fill her days. But she knew she had to find work again. Hopefully make new friends. Would she be able to settle in and adjust to the new settings, the old life? She had loved it at one time, thrived in it. The place she had known as a kid, but was unknown territory to her now as a grown up. The changes were daunting. She had heard stories about how things worked here. Stories which were far from encouraging.

The unknowns. They had held her back. Her adventurous streak that took her away originally had gone missing. Buried in the life she had gotten used to, in uncertainties, in cares and domesticity, in the foreign she had made familiar grounds. It had taken forces outside her control to uproot her once again. To take up that which she once sought. Change. Challenge.