Monday, August 23, 2010

On Fasting

Have you ever noticed how the mind and body react almost in the same manner to fasting or feasting? Both lead to extreme senses and make one wish that one had not fasted or feasted as much.
The day begins and the feeling of quiet descends on me just to escape as soon as I realize that in a fit of “purity”, I had promised myself that I would fast today. What ever made me think of such a thing? Was I not in my right mind? Well, the deed is done and I have only myself to blame. Not wanting to go back into thinking why I imposed this on myself, I tell myself that I will go on with the plan for as long as I can. It’s not that I will die if I don’t eat one day! So, let’s drink to that! Oops…ill fitting metaphor that.
I walked into the kitchen to get the breakfast and the lunch ready. And no, my resolve was not broken since I do not like the smell of food early in the morning anyway. So, I went about my way in the usual manner – humdrum way. Get the subzi out of the fridge, heat it in the microwave, get the dough, make the chapattis or no, let me make paranthas. And then, of course the tea had to be made. All that done, I headed to office and soon hunger pangs came up inside me. It was the time when we would have our usual morning cup of coffee. But I wasn’t going to fall for it. So, I stayed put and carried on with work. 11:00 am – still a long time to go for the official lunch hour. Hmm. But, how did I care for lunch today? I reminded myself of why I had decided to keep the fast and that got me going for some more time. The solitary apple in my bag called out to me and I rescued it from its mundane existence at around noon. Well, nirvana for one at least.
Call it Murphy’s Law or the Faster’s Fortune, but each time I’m trying to implement the oh-so-pure idea of fasting and likening myself to the Father of the Nation – no less, mind it! – I am besieged by talk of food alla round me. My well-meaning friends talk to me about their weekend lunch at Saravana Bhawan. The mouth waters, the nose starts to make out the aroma of steaming sambar and idlis. Poof…there goes that bubble. And then, I start craving for all possible yet impossible foodstuff – pizzas, biryani, magi, almond cake, Wenger’s tarts, blueberry cheesecake at The Big Chill…grrrr. No, I will not submit myself to such ‘material” pursuits and go on to bring my lemon tea to restore my sanity.
The eyes start to cloud and the head starts to feel heavy. All sounds are heightened and concentration goes haywire. I had once read a passage in Le Clezio’s Desert, which so beautifully described the day of fasting. He got all the feelings just right and it was a masterpiece.
But, the threshold is reached and I’m safely on the other side. I think it is sometime around 2:00 in the afternoon, when I am no longer imagining food paradise or thinking of what I can eat when and how much. It is for this phase of quiet that I fasted. This sense of accomplishment and peace of mind that almost always comes just after half the day of fasting is over is what makes the act of fasting act as a cleanser, a purifier. Fasting helps me feel fortified in a strange manner that I can do the impossible. I feel liberated if and when I prove to myself that I can undergo some pain and some trouble. It is a feeling of strength akin to the fierce rays of the sun just after a huge storm.
Is this my nirvana yet? :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Non-dit, Non-compris

Je ne sais ce qui se passe dans ma vie
Ma vie me étonne, m’échappe, me contrôle
Le contrôle me laisse sentir ma liberté
La liberté vient du corps à l’esprit
L’esprit de mon être m’entoure, m’arrache
L’arrachement est fort, il me jette
Jeter dans le monde, je commence encore
Le commencement me renouvelle, me renaît
La naissance est le début vire vers la fin
La fin qui vient après avoir traverse le chemin
Le chemin long et qui continue éternellement
Eternel est le voyage de se découvrir
La découverte de l’esprit, de la liberté, du contrôle
De la vie.

Commentaire - J'ai écris ce poème (?) en 2003-04. C’était quand j’étais au boulot et j’attendais un appel téléphonique. Je suis plus sur pourquoi je l’écris. Mais aujourd'hui il y a quelque chose qui m'a pousse de le mettre ici. Alors, c'est aujourd'hui que ce poème est né.