Saturday, December 15, 2007

Stepping into a Jewelery store

I stepped today into a jewelery store,
Of diamonds and pearls and opals.
Of mother of pearl flowers, wondrous pure
Glinting and teasing and beckoning

The light was not coy,
One could call it harsh,
No shadows to speak of,
No mystery suggested.
No subtlety of d├ęcor
No strategic positioning
Of lone precious pebbles
To heighten their value.
Placed in clustered abundance
As if their togetherness
implied their existence.
Yet the cold crystals
Swathed in strong rays
Seemed more delicate to touch
Than the wispy green
On which they were displayed,
Strange, considering,
The whole scene looked like
a fuzzy jade sculpture.
A master worksman surely
Had wrought such magic
Into such tiny bits of nature.

Afraid of irreparable damage,
With a trembling hand,
I reached out to touch
one lone sparkling icicle.
It dissolved into nothingness.

And I smiled:
The joys of frost on a
Sunny winter morning.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Paradigm

DP just provided me with the idea for this blog post. It was based on an email I wrote to him about Phaedrus liking midwestern winters, and me absolutely hating them. Just matter of fact-ly, I wrote to him, amongst other everyday things:

"He loves snow...because he thinks of snowball fights and snowmen...I hate snow, because I think of digging the car out of snow and icy driving conditions."

He wrote back, with the same phrase, now in quotes, and added to it, "This is a good example of paradigm." One would say that the paradigm shift is quite obvious, but I am glad he pointed it out, because I wasn't really thinking in terms of a larger picture. I was just talking about the reasons for loving and hating snow. Think of how many conflicts could be resolved if we just listened to another's reasons.

On the other hand, I did find a poem I had written about the first set of flurries which came on Christmas eve, a particular year. I am surprised I can't romanticize it any more. Why am I not posting it here? It was very heavily influenced by poetry I had been reading at that time, very middle-school-Britsh-poetry-textbook written by-a-child-admiring-nature type. Very substandard. But, I did find a better one (still of the same textbook genre, I warn you), which I'll put in a future post.

Which now makes me think, that even a change in paradigm from a personal point of view can be situational. I am quite sure I hate snow, and that I hated it, because I swore at nature every morning taking the car to work. But I like the seasons in North Carolina better, so I believed, in retrospect that I really hated Indiana winters. But I found not one but three poems on winter.
It seems that every feeling seems to take an exaggerated hue when you look at it in retrospect. And a change in paradigm is more glaring.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Watering it down

What is it that Americans lack that Indians have?
That's easy...
Germs? Malaria? Poverty? Population? Dirt? No toilet paper? Cheap labor? Beggars? Cold cold....You are thinking too Third World, but think more of one of the items I just listed.
"A sense of culture (whatever that means)"? Fakirs? Snake charmers Learn Geeta in 21 Days. "It's a way of life, you dummy, It is NOT a religion"!! Naah.
Arranged marriages? Saris? Still cold.
Aha, the Taj Mahaal! Nope, Think everyday life.
Traffic? Mumbai locals? Autorickshaws? No.
Curries? Chillies? Chapatis? Spices? Chai (Real Tea)? Lauki? Oh well.

What Americans do not have is the humble red/green/blue/white/black/grey/transparent plastic bath mug.

Yesterday, I spent approximately 45 minutes on, what else, Google, and I could not find a single American store which understands the term water mug, plastic bath mug, bathing mug, plastic bath cup which translates into a plastic container with a handle, and sometimes a beak that is used with a bucket for bathing. Why did I spend a perfectly lovely Friday evening searching for this on the net? Well, all I was trying to do was submit a water saving tip to our university's water conservation website in the wake of the drought we have here in North Carolina. All I wanted to inform them is that bathing with a bucket and mug allows me to use less than 5 gallons of water per bath, and since I wanted to make it useful, I also wanted to add links to where you can buy a bucket and mug. Eventually I gave up, and just sent them a link on "How to take a Bath in half a bucket of water" (The instructions are such that I almost fell of my chair laughing...I didn't know it was such a complex task). And to top it all, I found another website, by an Australian who came up with the oh so original idea of bucket bathing, that he was featured on Australian National TV, no less.
It seems to me that in-1492-when-Columbus-crossed-the-ocean-blue, he landed in the new world with a bath tub and a shower head, and taught all the barbarious, pagan Indians that taking a bath should either feel like sitting in a swimming pool or standing out in the rain.

As for me, I have my own big white-with-grey-specks plastic bathing mug imported right from the shops of Shaniwar Peth, Pune, India, hand-delivered lovingly to me by my mother, along with the dried curry leaves and special home-ground bhaji masala.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I know about and Love hot showers and bath tubs. But I also know what it takes to have only one community municipal tap which has water coming out for one hour at any time from midnight to 5.00 am, with the holler by a neighbour "Paani aala!! (Water has come!!)". Out come the buckets and storage drums and miscellaneous utensils, for bathing water,water for the plants and drinking water respectively. We learnt to respect water.

So when my county here in the US has only 59 days store of water left, I know what to do, thank you very much.