Friday, 13 March 2015

Barking with the dog, bending with the irises

The snow has stopped falling. I am arguably the only person on this coast who will miss it.

“I never really understood
what he said
but every now and then
I find myself
barking with the dog
or bending with the irises
or helping out
in other little ways”
– Leonard Cohen, “Roshi” (Book Of Longing)


Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia.
– Ortega y Gasset

I am I and what is around me.
–translated by Gregory Rabassa

In my life I may not have earned a lot or understood a lot, but there is one thing that I have learnt: the world is divided into two kinds of people– those who help others (and in doing so seek to be “happy”– however you define that word) and those who don’t (i.e. who only help themselves and seek happiness in that). Racism, sexism and all that is used to signify the “other” (that which is not like me) are born out of these two conflicting impulses. And all such distinctions fall to the wayside when the former impulse overcomes the latter– maybe not yet on the “global” scale, but definitely, undeniably on the individual scale– the scale on which life is lived. Of course, choice plays a role and even individuals sway between the two impulses depending upon their circumstances.

There are few constants regarding human life– humans making the best of their circumstances is one of them. The more people I meet from more countries (arbitrary boundaries created by the later human impulse), the more I realize that each and everyone is a result of their circumstances, yet, united in the search for the same thing. Elmore Leonard made a thought-provoking statement that will endure for long:
"I never see my bad guys as simply bad. They want pretty much the same thing that you and I want: they want to be happy."

Perhaps I do not understand. Maybe tomorrow I will learn something new. Till then I choose to postpone all judgments.


The male Robin is spotted again on that stretch of the High Line Park. Yes, winter is over for now. And I must be the only person on this coast who will miss the snow– not the wind chill, not the slippery sidewalk, not the after-slush, the brown puddles or the yellow patches– just the falling snow; the silence it commands and the white blanket it spreads so effortlessly and indiscriminately (on the animate and the inanimate), nullifying all differences, forcing me to concentrate on that which is essential: to help in little ways.