“Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.”
Yasunari Kawabata, Beauty and Sadness
Source: Vintage Books & Anchor Books
A long, winding highway. White line on the black road. Brown hues all around, undulating earth and evening Sun.
A car darts into the scene from the left. Something does not look right.
The scene shifts to the right, as if someone is looking to the right from the back seat of the car.
A man in black coat is running parallel to the car.
The car driver looks back, the man in coat reach the edge of the road, towards the car.
The man holds a long rod.
In the next 20 seconds, the driver screams as the man hits the windscreen with the rod.
Everything goes slow.
We enjoy the unequal mitosis of the glass. The driver loses control. The car skids to the left of the road.
In the next 20 seconds, we see a pool of red as the man kneels down, hit with a bullet on the stomach. Red splash on a white shirt.
The man does not want to live; the close-up of his face says. I don’t want to live.
I accidentally saw this video. A man jumps out of a plane mid-air and starts singing.
As a species, we enjoy speed. You can see the white line on the road running backwards, or streaks of dust on the road indicating how fast you drive, or the tree that appears all of a sudden on the left or right frame and whiz past the corner of the eye like a vertical line. Speed is a risk, we all know that. But we silently observe and experience it.
Did we arrive flying or running incredibly fast? Or did someone bring us to Earth so fast that we forgot from where we started the unknown and purposeless journey? This is like the speed destroying the memories like the wipe effect in movies. Or are we still flying too fast to an unknown destination? Is the speed still so high that we cannot observe what is speeding with us, or observe things slower than us?
Is there a frame of reference to observe how many and whom and all are travelling with us?
New Year is just a construct. Today is the same as ever and there is no difference in me either.
I don’t know why I want to visit a European country like Italy, or sit facing a blueish lake reading the classics written so far.
The Sun is not out today, the chill in the air starts to crawl up the legs. A squirrel darts across a terrace and then stops to gaze at a swaying green branch.
Where is this year’s greatest living author?
A narrow road. To the left is either a pole or a stick standing a bit awkward to the left. Behind leaves on tendrils.
There is something on that pole or stick. A sign board, may be. On it, a half-drawn circle and a cross.
Just before I woke up, I remembered my home where I grew up. I, the poor boy!
The music that we liked the most was the one that drifted in from somewhere. We could never predict from where it would come or when it would travel to our little ears. The thing is we were there to listen to that music and the world stood still to let us hear the music. At times, we could recognize the song. At another time, it could be the tune following the first stanza, or it could be a duet.
Among the three of us, someone would hear it first, alerted the other two, and then we shut ourselves from the rest of the noise. We always tried to decipher the song. If we knew the song, we were happy. If we did not know the song, we were also happy. We laughed silently, because any little noise could muffle the thin music that came along. The music drifted in low amplitude first, then increased to a high volume, and then retreated in the same pattern as it had landed on our ears. I knew that it was the wind that spread the music among the high coconut trees, mango trees, and tall jackfruit trees. There could have been Neem trees in between. It was just green of different shapes.
The textbooks on our hands or laps paled into insignificance when such music came to us. We had no idea of the human playing the music. We had no idea how the invisible human was playing the music. We never knew the model or make of the tape recorder or the stereo player that human was using. But the memory says we had always enjoyed that music.
And the same memory says there was also music during the dawn at the corner beyond the big trees. It came from a temple about 20 minutes away from our house. As I stood alone at the door and when everything was silent inside the house, the music surprisingly drifted in by the evening cool wind. I stood there listening and then went back to the noise of everyday life. And I remember when I opened that same door one night and what I heard was something like the music of the sea or waves. I could not believe it first. To the right I saw the trees swaying in the pale white night sky. It occurred to me that I was on the beach, alone, and looking at the foam for some strange reason. Someone said there was danger and I closed the door. ©
A bright Sunday after a morning of clouds and chill. Big crowd at a car showroom. Lots of nasty potholes like punctured hearts near traffic signals. Bulging circular tummy on rear view mirror. The structure of internal illness crying for attention or indicating death.
Disliked the story published for a contest. Realized that it was a very bad story after publishing it. Did not like it.
They moved the new books shelf to somewhere else. Went back home with mostly non-fiction books, except a John Updike review collection. Forgot to make a call to a library that imposed service charge on reading. It was the ultimate insult: monetary punishment for reading. The insult was pasted on a dirty wall: a printout from an unkempt desktop.
Nobody can stop me from reading, or slow me by charging me for reading (Milan Kundera did focus on Slowness). Sunday newspapers never attract me now. They are just wasted newsprint. Cockroaches lay eggs and shit on their yellowed corners.
It is work that is the biggest impediment to free reading. Work.