Talking to her – being
on a holiday; at the
same time – coming home.
Talking to her – being
on a holiday; at the
same time – coming home.
A sudden and urgent sense of despondency has hit me like something beautiful has passed into the shadows. Something tender and fresh. Have you seen a garden in the city? Neat grass and rows of flowers and a walking track surrounded by trees and a play area with some broken swings? Everyday I think when I pass one that it is something beautiful, the empty benches tempting me to sit for a while. But today suddenly once the shadow crept in I saw a garden for what it was.
A cage for trees and flowers. A place for those among flora that are easy to grow and cultivate and maintain and quick to grow. The whores among trees and bushes and leaves and seeds and flowers. And when night arrives their colours fade and they didn’t have a lot of fragrance to begin with anyway. Will you find a lonely oak or a banyan in a garden? Never. There are innumerable people loving a beautiful rose that smells like heaven and always looking like the Platonic rose, always living upto itself but what I am in love with is the prick of the thorns of the self-same rose because they draw blood in me and they stay there for ever and ever and ever so I can fool myself that the thorns are for me and me alone. Then suddenly it strikes me that they too just are – and I am no one. Do you know how trees are in a jungle? They move. They talk. They feel. And how do they do all of that? By growing roots wherever they want to go and entangling deep into one another so you stop knowing which is you and which is me. Trees in a garden are like the very same humans in a city – separate, clustered, fiercely independent with shallow roots so that there’s no pain when they are cut. All they are is above the ground.
All the beauty without the life in it.
Only enough room for you not to have any more.
Just enough space to not escape.
But nothing more.
Flit flit flit.
Because that’s convenience. That’s pleasant. That’s fun.
And all we want is fun. That’s what we live for.
Let’s live only in a garden and never step foot in the jungle.
Send me my cage now. I am ready to enter it again. Because the roots, i think, they will be too much. For you. And maybe even for me. The thorns have blunted my skin has thickened and calloused.
I am full of odd sensations, all of them cold. All the landscapes around me are fogged and the fog will thicken much more, I know.
The shadows are growing. It is the season of winter.
And when it is winter, it seems it always will be.
Is it possible to love something with the core of your being and yet…not want it?
I am so glad I am alive.
That I have a razor sharp brain capable of presenting the most complex of problems in the most lucid of sentences.
That I can differentiate between adagio and allegro and tell a haiku apart from a tanka and a quark from a boson.
That I can speak in three languages fluently and understand six.
That I can walk away from a fight that I need not fight but stay put when I need be.
That I can hold a conversation on any topic they throw at me and hold a thought without it consuming me.
That I can handle rejection without an iota of bitterness.
That I am loved to death by my three girls regardless of how I look or feel or behave. Unconditionally they have my back everyday day after day. I’d be half the man I am if a kid didn’t come and hug me at 4 am in the night and hold on tight all night.
That I can earn however much I want to and never see or know scarcity.
That I’ve earned the respect of people and the love of few wherever I’ve been sheerly on merit.
That at any moment in 24 hours if I am lonely I’ve a hotline to a few wonderful people who bring out the best in me or take the worst in me without holding it against me
That when we are sitting in a room in a meeting or an informal gathering and once I get in a few words, subconsciously people start directing their conversations to me.
That I’ve the heart to apologize and the guts to be stupid and reckless. The power to be wrong and the chutzpah to never spin a defeat into a victory or a losing argument into a winning one.
That I laugh loudly and clearly and make others joyous.
That I can live and travel alone. That I can soak in everything without longing or disgust.
That all the diseases I have are written largely on my face, otherwise blessing me with immaculate health.
That loved ones forgive and live with my inadequacies and sometimes even love me for that. That I am immaculately honest.
That I got a tough hand when the game started and defeat and unhappiness and lots of crying but I turned around a mediocre hand into a winning one with sheer force of will.
That I can write something pompous and self indulgent like this and yet be assured that someone somewhere will read it. That there will always be a reader. That I am patient. Like an elephant. Like land itself.
I am so glad that I am alive. There’s the din of the ac my breath this screen but I am nowhere to be found. There’s no searching or wondering or regretting or hoping or wanting. There’s nothing I am going to get that I don’t have today. There’s no other woman I am going to sleep with and no heart I am going to break. There’s no pot at the end of the rainbow because there’s no rainbow there’s just darkness all around and a tiny shiny green light. Watching over me. That will see me through this lifetime with kindness and gratitude.
I am so glad I am alive. I am so glad I can say so.
There’s a controversy about reality – whether it exists beyond our heads, Bishop Berkeley has never been thoroughly refuted in 300 years.
But I do not want to talk philosophy today.
I want to talk mathematics.
Not the mathematics of fractals and game theory and Fermat’s last theorem and non-euclidian geometry.
Not even the mathematics of Matrices and Trigonometry and Algebra and Vectors.
But something more basic. More ancient.
The number line.
They say India invented zero. The Romans had other numbers already but they never used zero. I do not believe people didn’t ever have the concept of nothing. If you fall in love once – you cannot not know nothingness, maybe what they meant you cannot express nothing.
Phoenicians before them, they say didn’t have the concept of a number line. They lived with one and many. Either something was one, or something was more than one.
But were numbers discovered or invented? Were they ‘out there’ or were they ‘in here’?
I, for one, believe they were always out there.
I, for one, believe that if I had existed a hundred thousand years ago, I would have discovered them. Or I would have given up on being. Sooner than you can say 1,2,3.
Why am I so sure?
Imagine if I had no way to keep time. No way of putting it into numbers just how long ago it was that I had that one thing which what i always want.
Every moment waiting would have seemed an eternity. My favourite possession is a watch – that piece of engineering brilliance that brings me everyday solace that it has not yet been too long. That the hole that’s starting to build up in her absence is tiny yet with a comforting number behind it. I can keep changing the yardstick of measurement to larger and larger ones, just to keep the number small. Move to hours from minutes and then to weeks from days. And one day inevitably to years from months.
The thought is like a punch in my gut that blows all the air out from inside me.
But the number must remain singular. In single digits.
Just run a thought experiment – if you were living on venus where a day is longer than a year and you would be without a watch with no way to keep time through sunrise and sunset, would you be able to know whether the hole was one minute, one hour, one day or one year? Would you ever be able to not sink in that hole and just patiently walk around its rim like you do since ever and ever?
Would you have made it through life without numbers? All life for you means nothing except for the game of hide and seek. How would you have played it without the counting?