At the end of a rainbow

Lucy found her diamond sky

On forgetfulness

on June 1, 2015

There are moments when I feel bad about the fact that my ‘true’ forte can never be on a resume, given that I will in some distant future embrace sanity and look for a real job.  However, there are few occupations that prize day-dreaming as the most sought after nature of their employee. So, over the years I have managed to disguise those wondering eyes with airs of intellectual labour and even gain some legitimacy by choosing to pursue research in a field where twiddling thumbs is a reasonably productive activity. Beyond the safe house, however, the “blooming, budding confusion” of life effectively catapults my mind into myriad possibilities and thoughts while conveniently leaving a trail of things considered a lot more expensive than breadcrumbs. In strange ways, most of those things have found their way back to me, as if they wanted to chalk out a little expedition for themselves before returning home.  There is also the joy of discovering things innocently lying at the same place; I usually swear to have searched before. My partner is understandably worried about my predicament of pathological absent-mindedness, but then quoting G K Chesterton in my defence, “I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.” I have however wisely refrained from saying this aloud to avoid being quoted the next time I lose something valuable. Nevertheless, perhaps we need to rediscover the joy derived from being in the moment rather than forever holding on to ideas and things that are but shadows of fleeting human movement in cosmic time. The forgetfulness I argue for comes from attentiveness to the present, the surroundings, the rhythm of movement, the minute and the vast; it comes from a celebration of being. Our generation is in many ways an epitome of inattentiveness and instant gratification. Fingers twitching on devices, ears muffled with headphones, eyes glazed with bombardment of ads, billboards and TV, our senses our inundated with information, yet we hardly sense or see anything. Think of the last time you made eye-contact and smiled at a stranger, and you will know. We are effectively insulated from the world within our cocoon of ambitions and hurriedness, amplified by technological fixes. Unfortunately, no butterfly comes out of this life-cycle.  Now, this isn’t a tirade against laptops or phones; rather it is an invitation to remove the blinders that stop us from celebrating the familiar gust of wind, an empty bench in the park, the stories that can be gleaned by observing fellow passengers, the street dog lazing in a mud pool, the smell of cut-grass, the list is endless and for you to fill. After all, as Annie Dillard puts it, “Spend the afternoon, you can’t take it with you.”

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