writing about life in crisis

Crisislife in crisis
Lately I realize the more I look at life being lived by others the more I value my own. Writing about others’ lives is not a pleasant task. Often we see the imperfections and the should-have-been scenarios. Before the explosive and swift takeover of the world by digital technology which broke through all geographical barriers and rendered all physical boundaries useless in terms of sharing of instant visual and audio thoughts and perceptions, we read news which were not news. But today we read news as they come into being somewhere faraway and yet real, real suffering, discriminations, and hate crime being perpetrated by evil right in front of our eyes manifesting digitally.

I may ask, who are these people? Why do they hate so much? We read of who they are superficially in the news. What are the factors that drive them to killing out of hatred? We read of the usual socio-economic-racial-religious-class-color-power distribution factors. All these factors cannot answer the question why others under the same categories do not hate or kill others, and why the particular person or group of persons hate and kill innocent people.

The rules of war have been altered as each national boundary has been invaded through borderless ideologies and beliefs. When we read further and ponder the issue deeper we realize that it is the borderless infiltration of the mind that is the culprit. How do we close our mind border? This is the real question today.

This picture was taken in a winter in a foreign land. The bush/grass had lost their life giving green color. The birds continued fishing in the shallow brook. They co-existed. The bush/grass continued to shelter the birds. I just read that a young person stabbed to death 19 people and injured 26 in a stabbing spree at a facility for disabled people. It was reported that the young man who was a former staff considered them unfit to live. They were deemed disqualified to live because they were not as perfect as he wanted them to be. Where did he get the idea who are perfect to live? Where did he see pictures of physically perfect people whom he worshipped as idols/icons?

I remember the book Lord of the Flies, a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results.In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British plane crashes on or near an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are boys in their middle childhood or preadolescence. The book portrays their descent into savagery; left to themselves in a paradisiacal country, far from modern civilization, the well-educated children regress to a primitive state.

This is a prophetic book that tells of a future-today’s world in crisis.

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a winter day on higher ground

Sanctuary
2007 green and brownI know the depressive feeling. It is not really a feeling. It is a mood. For example, A  mood means “the atmosphere or pervading tone of something, especially a work of art: Monet’s “Mornings on the Seine” series, with their hushed and delicate mood.” I know the inner swing to a higher ground, like “a morally or spiritually elevating; inspiring happiness or hope: an uplifting tune.” I know on both planes the person who manifests such moods is not me but a snapshot of me in a particular space in time.
I took this photo while traveling up a mountain in a coach. The colours are painting themselves into a picture of motion. The clear demarcation between green and brown seems the work of an invisible meticulous artist executing a gigantic brush, demonstrating to his disciples the use of brush work to blend two contrasting yet harmonious colours.
My mood then was uplifting. These are the factors that contributed to the elevating mood: the motion of climbing, expectation of newness, the green vitality, the brown solid foundation, and an overall freshness and renewal in my spirit.
I am thankful for the ability and mobility I have in my life. I remember a picture that says, “If you find that you are in a wrong story, just get out.”
I have discovered that we can always get out of a wrong story. A harmful and unhappy mood means a wrong story. Get out. Get into your sanctuary.

Nightmare and memory

Nightmare
hassam_tuileries_gardensparis cafeWH Smith Paris
What was I doing that sad night when it happened to the “City of Victory”? I tried to recall. It was just an ordinary night and I was thousands of miles away from NICE (its name means victory). It was meant to be a day of national celebration. I then remembered the day July 14, a certain long gone year, when I was in Paris. That was my first Bastille day.

A colleague with the name Henriette(Pronounced “On-Yet”) called and told me they were going to watch the parade. “Please come. I will meet you at the Champs-Elysées Clemenceau Metro.” She met me and explained to me the excitement I should see that day, “The French national holiday on July 14th is a huge celebratory event in Paris. From morning to night, a raft of exceptional events make this anniversary an especially festive one. With a military parade, evenings with dancing, and a fireworks display, there is something for all tastes and ages.”

It was a fun day. Henriette was helpful and tried her best to be a good guide. I was new to her country and she was determined to play the hostess that day. We had ice cream and snacks. We bought paper periscope so we can view the parade through the mass of human walls. We watched all sorts of street performances. She told me that the folks from the provinces came too as a special day out for the family. Later we decided to find a spot at a cafe along the street at Champs-Elysées and just rest our feet. We walked miles that day. There were crowds of mixed nationalities everywhere. I could hear many different languages being spoken. Henriette told me that there were many from many parts of French colonies in Africa. Of course, most of them spoke French. I was tired and decided not to stay for fireworks.

I went alone later to the Tuileries Garden towards the evening. There was music in the air. Then I regretted not going to WH Smith, the largest English bookshop in Paris since 1903. I had a studio near the Eiffel Tower and the Tuileries Garden. I went to the garden every Saturday and sat there, just reading. There were always some old people round. I was probably the youngest person in their midst. But we were regulars and we greeted each other. The ground in spring time was covered with tiny yellow flowers. One day I decided to buy a pot of African violet as recommended by my South African colleague Gillian. The violet flower lasted until I was ready to leave Paris.

Coming home my dreams have always been sweet and gentle. I cannot recall a nightmare with Paris. The books, the cafes, the gardens, walks and the people are sweet and gentle in my memory.