“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Commentaries on Living

In 1977, fresh out of college, hesitating whether to go for PG or get a job, jobless, loveless, a 20-year old boy roamed the streets of Trivandrum in great anguish and angst. (Angst is a nice word – I have not used it much before; so pardon me, I am enjoying saying it over and over) And then he happened to meet a man who would turn out to be quite important in his later life – J Krishnamurti. The boy saw this book, ‘Commentaries on Living’ and what made him pick up that book is not the name of the author but the title – Commentaries – there is a kind of detachedness about it, yet close observation – of life. From that day onwards the two became friends; the boy thought, Jeezuz, this guy is saying the very same things that I wanted to say! Yet, there were arguments too. The boy didn’t agree with JK in everything. In not following JK, he became the kind of disciple JK would have liked, walking by his side, not in his footsteps.

Perhaps, unconsciously, I have been writing a kind of commentary on my life, be it in poem or prose. It is not a celebrated life; just a man-in-the-street. But I believe I have tried to glean some insight, some understanding of things beyond the mundane. Blame it on my melancholia, most of what I have written, in retrospect, seems to be depressing! But there have not been any fear; just a kind of weariness about life.

Yesterday, I received the following comment from ‘Mike’ in my poem, ‘The Whiteout’. Mike, I understand is a real estate agent in the US. He hadn’t provided any email/ blog id, but from the link of his company’s URL, I could see he is doing good business.

I have read everything up to this point. Regretfully, I take nothing away. I do not cast aspersions in a heedless way; rather, I wish to say your heart needs to be glad, not sad. You take the world too seriously (or at least this is my perception). Live for the day. Love those near to you like there will be no tomorrow. Drop your baseless fears, endless searching. There is more to every day life. Here are a few words... on Fulfillment: In from the incoming ocean and over the island floor, the tide rises in slow motion, covering more and more, reef and lagoon and shore.~~ Finally reaching its fullest, what is its logic then? To cling to the heights at its tallest and curse fate, as would men, that it must come down again? ~~ The tide fulfilled I am learning is in its forever returning. Here is its bond with the beach. Here is the truth beyond speech. (end) Please write of the things which bring every day joy to your heart and life.

Kind regards,

Yes, Mike has been quite kind, short of saying you are a big bore! I replied that I can write only what I feel like writing; if I feel happy and feel like writing about it, I will. But the general state of mind is just the opposite, can’t help it. But, I said, there have been a few moments of happiness too. I felt what Mike said is true, I have been quite morbid, like a sick dog.

That set me wondering – are we bloggers writing what we want to write or what readers expect us to write? Are we trying to impress our readers, are we being honest in our writing? How can I write, like Mike asks me to, of contrived happiness? What are we, friends, doing here? Why do I, every day look up my dashboard for the new postings of my friends? When Sujata writes about Pujo or her life in Muscat or about her children – when Kalpana writes in length about baby care, when Sumi bubbles with joy, when Gopu writes about the unseen life behind the surgical masks – I am sharing your lives, your joys, your sorrows, your angst ( there I go again!) just as I share mine with you.

If, like Mike, you have not taken anything away, that will be a sad day for me. If, my writings have been as drab as my life, what can I say, - hope sun is shining out there!

Balachandran, Trivandrum 03.11.2009


  1. I cannot write on any objective thing at all, I can, but thats work, that i do for my pay, I can write like you only on what has touched me, moved me, or made me fill up with angst(yay!! I used the word too). At times I feel that I take life too seriously, just like Mike says to you, but cant help it..I am not a casual person!

    Each time I come to your page, I take away a lot..

  2. Dey, This Mike Guy is somebody we must have the luck to meet. I have not always run across such enlivening piece of verses. Yes most of us are , morbid, and insipid.
    But then there is place for all in this world.

  3. @sujata: Now my angst and your angst- on sharing our angst, I believe it would help lessening the general angst! :D

    Thanks for listening... :)

  4. @anil; Yeah, I guess Mike must be a million dollar guy, if he can keep a cheerful countenance even in these days of recession - I understand that the real estate in US has really taken a hit.

    Such people are too good to be true. All I can say that Mike is quite fortunate if he is what he claims to be..

  5. Have you noticed there is something intoxicating about sorrow, so we indulge in it, and build on it and it takes us over and it replaces us? I have.-:)

  6. @PV: I am afraid not. I have not found it intoxicating. Sorrow is a heavy burden; I would any day be happy than wallow in sorrow.

  7. hmm..i think theres somthng intoxicating in sorrow just as in happiness..i have felt both...
    B, no one will leave ur blog empty handed.atleast one gets a reflection somwhere


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