Friday, February 9, 2018

Eating Sun

























And then there is the realization that perhaps all your life has just been a polishing of the lens, a passage through large patches of darkness so that you learn that the light of the most mundane of days is the biggest gift of all, and that anything bigger than that is to be received kneeling down, like bread and wine, His body and blood ......

“This light was not like the flow of water, but something more fleeting and numberless, for its source was everywhere. I liked seeing that the light came from nowhere in particular, but was an element just like air...Radiance multiplied, reflected itself from one window to the next, from a fragment of wall to cloud above. It entered into me, became part of me.

I was eating sun.”

'And There was Light' , Jacques Lusseyran, a French writer who went blind at the age of eight and later survived the Buchenwald concentration camp

http://transactionswithbeauty.com/home/lightisalive

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Magic Trick

Mary Oliver










On a really bad day, I start the morning by sending appreciation mails to people at work or outside. Just acknowledging something in them that I appreciate, but never bothered to tell them. It kind of balances me and connects me to the world - just to acknowledge that there are so many good people around, persevering to do their best, while fighting their own battles. And positivity is contagious both ways, you even get infected by yourself. :) :)

"If you can’t seem to make yourself happy, do little things to make other people happy. This is a very effective magic trick. Focus on others instead of yourself. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line (I do this a lot), compliment a stranger, volunteer at a soup kitchen, help a classroom on DonorsChoose.org, buy a round of drinks for the line cooks and servers at your favorite restaurant, etc.

The little things have a big emotional payback, and guess what? Chances are, at least one person you make smile is on the front lines with you, quietly battling something nearly identical."

Tim Ferriss on How He Survived Suicidal Depression and His Tools for Warding Off the Darkness

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/12/08/tim-ferriss-tools-of-titans-depression/

Friday, June 9, 2017

Johatsu: The Evaporated People of Japan



























Nothing has moved me as much as this book in a long long time.

So why do I read "sad books"? Of course I flinch. I am not any tougher than any of you - on the contrary. :)

"But aren't we all in this together?" asks Joseph Grand, the dim-wit clerk in Camus' 'Plague'. The book that still defines who I am, the choices I make on a daily basis, even after 25 years.

The least we can do is to acknowledge another's pain?

I believe this helps me become more human - to willingly stand in the stream of another's suffering, and say: "Yes, I may never live this - but I feel you." Does not have to be everyone's way, but this is mine.

.........................................................................................................................

"In Japan, thousands of people each year became johatsu — “evaporated people” — driven underground by the stigma of debt, job loss, divorce, even just failing an exam."

"A hundred thousand Japanese will disappear every year, not counting the eighty-five thousand evaporations reported by the police. The families who dare consult private eyes increase, says Sakae, "their dishonor".

...Sakae sees his country as a pressure cooker. Its inhabitants slowly boil, constantly being tested. Once the pressure becomes unbearable, they escape. This taboo subject points to the very foundations of Japanese society, just like the 33,000 suicides documented annually, or 90 every day.

"A man worthy of the name never runs. Running is for faucets." Boris Vian once joked.

In Japan, the philosophy is reversed: a man worthy of the name leaves."

'The Vanished: The 'Evaporated People' of Japan in Stories and Photographs' (2016)
Léna Mauger (Author), Stéphane Remael (Photographer), Brian Phalen (Translator)

https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-04-25/japans-evaporated-people-have-become-obsession-franch-couple
 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Chai

Once on an early morning ride back to Calcutta airport a long time ago, this Bihari taxi driver brought us masala tea made by his wife. Because the previous night we happened to mention in passing how we have to leave so early we would not get tea at the hotel where we were staying.

He stopped at the airport, and to our surprise, pulled out nice cups and saucers from a cloth bag and ceremoniously served us delicious freshly-made cardamom-flavoured tea his wife had gotten up at 3 AM to prepare for us...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hug



























Just when the heat becomes unbearable, the rain trees and hongais fill up with leaves, sheltering us in their thick green cool shade.... we are granted mercy too at times, whether or not we deserve it.

*

Where have we reached in our evolution if we are embarrassed by someone breaking down in public, and turn away instead of reaching out and holding them?

We empathize with hunger, poverty, disease, disability – but we do not want to acknowledge anyone “losing it”, cracking up mentally, emotionally. Why?

Why is it the greatest shame, to cry in public? Why does it destroy the entire edifice of our respectability in a second?

What is so shameful about suffering?

*

 “When I tried to hug her, she’d tell me it was too hot for hugs. So I learned to stop trying. We never had conversations. I thought it was normal. It was all I knew. I always thought the relationship between a mother and a child was about giving and receiving orders.

But when I was ten years old, I went to a friend’s house to do a school project. At first I remember feeling sorry for him. His family was so poor. There was almost nothing in the house. But when we walked inside, his mom gave him such a big hug. And she was so happy to see him.

And that was the saddest moment of my life. Because I never knew that was something you could have."

(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Humans of New York

*





















Every morning for a month, I was woken up by the incessant chatter of the rosy starlings, who must now be on their way back to Europe, flying across thousands of miles, passing over so many landscapes, always together ....

To have been placed in the path of such beauty……… 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hongai




















For Patrick, who passed away before I could show him this, the most ordinary and predictable of miracles.

Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/W8GZKbfCitivDe1x6

Stop. And listen: http://whiletheworldisgoingplaces.blogspot.in/2017/03/stop-and-listen.html

Stop. And listen.

























Early in the morning, when all is still, you can hear the honge flowers falling, like the first drops of approaching rain.

Stop. And listen. Isn't it amazing that you can hear flowers too?

Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/W8GZKbfCitivDe1x6