Saturday, January 30, 2010


Saturday evening. You walk along Church street, unhurried, munching 2 rupee groundnuts, because you're not going anywhere, and you are quite content to be not going anywhere. Walking down the road, two young boys, obviously newly arrived in the city from a small town, all nicely dressed up, in their own version of "smart", hair nicely combed and in place. They are excited, and slightly nervous, possibly because they are in a big city on a Saturday evening; they are talking animatedly.

I notice they're walking holding hands, like small children, unaware of what connotations it could have to over-informed city people. For when you are in a new strange place where all your usual confidence will prove to be too little, there is no bigger comfort than that the hand of an old Friend.

As they pass me by, I smile, my nose tingling at the uncommon breath of Freshness.

A message weighing nothing

"The post office at Auxonne is small and the postmistress has blue eyes. I have been there only twice.
The first time was to send you a parcel; as the postmistress weighed it on the scale, I imagined your hands opening it.
"Four kilos, three hundred grams."
In a parcel, wrapped by hand, there is a message weighing nothing; the receiver's fingers may unkot the string which the sender's tied.

In the post office I saw in my mind's eye your fingers untying the knot I tied at Auxonne....."

John Berger


“When we suffer anguish we return to early childhood because that is the period in which we first learnt to suffer the experience of total loss. It was more than that. It was the period in which we suffered more total losses than in all the rest of our life put together.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Once in a Poem

Poems, even when narrative, do not resemble stories. All stories are about battles, of one kind or another, which end in victory and defeat. Everything moves towards the end, when the outcome will be known.Poems, regardless of any outcome, cross the battlefields, tending the wounded, listening to the wild monologues of the triumphant or the fearful. They bring a kind of peace. Not by anaesthesia or easy reassurance, but by recognition and the promise that what has been experienced cannot disappear as if it had never been.

Yet the promise is not of a monument. (Who, still on a battlefield, wants monuments?) The promise is that language has acknowledged, has given shelter, to the experience which demanded, which cried out.

John Berger

Is it like this

Bit of a movie watched on tv, passing by.

Two people who have nowhere to go on Christmas eve, one standing by the pier to jump in and kill herself, talking.
Susan Sarandon, and the Patch Adams actor, I forget his name.
She: "What is your greatest desire?"
He : "To not be alone when I die."


A hostel-mate of long ago. Every weekend, when she returned home, her father would always be eagerly waiting for her in the verandah, without fail. And she would sit down right there, bags and all, and start telling him stories of the week, what happened at the university, what each of her friends did, said, what they ate at the hostel, the places she went to, the labwork she did, the weather changes on the campus and what it brought with it.

And her father would be smiling, listening to every word, like it was the word of God, for it was his only child, and her entire world that he was witnessing. He would wait the entire week for this one moment on Saturday morning, when he knew her bus would arrive. This moment when his little story teller would come home with her bagful of stories.

You have only heard about this. But that verandah, you have been there so often.

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