Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
As a believer in the peaceful, if intriguing coexistence of contradictions, which can be likened to Yin and Yang, we keep recalling a Biblical passage.. Today it is in the context of Mom’s observation that our Shillong home, which she is visiting for the first time, is now home to a diverse collection of beaauutiful memorabilia and artefacts from all parts of the North East. Collection coming from none else than YF who had expatiated, last time we met, upon the virtues of shedding one’s possessions.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes-3:I-8)
The context today is of course the line in italics. We don’t blame ourselves for the demarche. When one is surrounded, rather engulfed, suffocated, by beauty outdoors, it’s natural for one to seek the same ambience indoors. Ya, ‘twill also seep into your mind, touch it, and impart beauty to it and peace!
The mark of a classic, as a perceptive observer (namely YF) had remarked, is its eternal relevance. For one, we can see history unfold in the above lines- the Rise and Fall of Rome, the building of the Berlin wall and its demolition, the birth of Bangladesh, wagairah, wagairah, not to forget the famous book by John Grisham immortalised on celluloid by Samuel Jackson and Kevin Spacey (no marks for guessing which line, its complimentary, he,he,he..).
(kaunsat, typing the above, we notice something odd- all of the first 13 lines speak about an action- a verb, and only the last line alludes to a noun).
People keep consoling us at being thukraoed the nth time by the Chabiwala ‘girl’. It makes no difference to us now, we say, and to a distraught friend, we recount the following passage from the chapters on Voltaire, the French philosopher in ‘A Story of Philosophy’ by Will Durant. A bookseller, at an inopportune moment, asks for the repayment of a debt.
“Voltaire, furious, gave him a slap on the cheek; whereupon Voltaire's secretary, Collini, offered comfort to the man by pointing out, "Sir, not to mind, you have received a slap on the cheek from one of the greatest men in the world."”
Youtube introduces us to some extremely talented kids, and throws up some exceptional performances. Here is one such by Sameer Rao: Malhar Jhala on Flute:
The exchange below the window is also original. Someone asks, “ is that you playing or your guru?” Sameer say mea culpa and in the true Indian tradition ascribes it all to his Guru. Composition is said to be recorded on a laptop and uploaded to Youtube. Real good. Plan to listen to more of him. It’s a Jhala, so no overbearing tabalchi to contend with!