How to Overcome Apathy, Everyday

Apathy is an everyday battle. There are days I go to bed hoping that the next day would bring with it hope, energy and excitement, but invariably it’s another boring, slow and listless day with nothing to do, nothing to look forward to, and nothing that challenges me. I begin slipping into an apathetic state, not able to channel my creative juices into anything worth doing.

How do I overcome my seasonal Apathy then? Here are my all time favorite tips. And like all Great, Tried-and-Tested Tips, these Total Ten in number 🙂

1. Revel in Apathy
Just for a few hours though. Anymore and you are likely to slip into that precipice called ‘depression’. Slouch on your couch, brood about the meaningless universe and the rather attractive thought of the world ending – at least there would be some fireworks! – and munch on high-carb food. After about three to four hours of doing this, get off your backside and….

Keep Calm and Carry On

2. Listen to Music
What sets you moving? What gets you singing along? For me, it’s 1980s Retro music or the Disco music of the 70s. I strictly avoid my favorite music, Jazz and Blues, when I am apathetic or dull, because that puts me in a foul funk. Music is the single biggest motivator for most people. It brings you out of yourself and you can’t help but smile and cheer up if the music is right.

3. Freshen Up
Nothing like a good face wash, light shower and perfume to put you back in a peppy mood and sober frame of mind. Most of us apathetic folks tend to be lazy by nature and we avoid freshening up often. Get up already, face the mirror and do something about that shabby countenance! Even if it’s as simple as changing out of your PJs or last night’s jeans and tee, do it.

Freshen up, now

4. Comedy Central
Music is something you can play in the background and still continue to work when you are in the office or at home, even in your apathetic state. But watching comedy tracts a la Friends, Seinfeld, Arrested Development, etc, is not always possible at work. But if you are at home, facing an apathy crisis over the weekend, go to www.youtube.com and type in ‘comedy videos’ and prepare to be shaken and stirred on your couch. Half an hour of laughter therapy works wonders for those blues!

Laughter Therapy

5. Reach Out
Most often in my apathetic state, I simply cut myself off from my friends and family. I don’t want to burden them with tales of my boredom or depression. Which is fine if you know that your apathy is a temporary condition and you can slip out of it soon, or if this is a monthly phenomenon related to your hormones, or if it’s seasonal depending upon the weather.

But if you believe that you are unable to come out of it, call up your friend or mentor or sibling, or an acquaintance with whom you share a good rapport. Message them, email them, but do reach out and be upfront: tell them you are feeling a bit low and could do with some cheering up. If you trust them enough to be friends with them, I am sure you can trust them to help you out when you need it the most.

Reach out

6. Time Pass Activities
I read the news or check social media updates to while away the time until lunch or dinner or evening snacks. Yes, apathy involves a whole lot of tuning out of the daily chores or assignments that need our urgent attention and tuning into useless activities like checking out the latest BuzzFeed articles, funny photos of celebs, or reading about weight loss stories of your favorite stars. It helps me take my mind away from my apathy and I get a good laugh just observing all the silly news and headlines. Take it easy though with the Facebook updates. It’s the worst time to find out your best friend is planning a trip to Switzerland next week when you are at home in your PJs, munching on donuts and havign a bad hair day (with lots of heat boils thrown in).

BuzzFeed is a timesink. Once you enter their website, it's tough to come out!

BuzzFeed is a timesink. Once you enter their website, it’s tough to come out!

7. Step out
Yes, I understand it’s the last thing an apathy-suffering person would want to do. I know you want to revel in your listlessness and boredom – first world problems, anyone? But if you follow a combination of Steps 2, 3 and 4 (Music, Freshening Up and watching Comedy Central), I guarantee you would want to now explore the area directly outside your apartment’s main door. Just walk for 10 minutes, deep breathe, look at the sunset or the moon and stars, window shop, buy some ice cream or chips, take a walk in the park – anything to get you moving and taking in some fresh air.

8. Keep Your Emotional Barometer Under Check
This is applicable for when you have successfully come out of the apathetic state: maintain a lighthearted, slightly cheerful, yet casual attitude. Don’t go overboard in doing hyper-energetic stuff. We are aiming for light-energy here, not Raging Bull enthusiasm, which is much difficult to recover from if you do slip back into apathy the next day. It’s all about balance. I get overtly happy and overtly bored too easily, so I am now learning how to keep these extremes under control. It’s a learning process and I won’t be turning into a meditating Buddha overnight. But awareness is a first step. Some days I might forget and go crazy with excitement and other days I might realize that I am about to lose control and hold on to my calmness. Whatever works, do it.

Keep your emotional barometer under check

9. Prevention is Always Better Than Cure
I can tell two days in advance before apathy sinks its claws into me. It’s a gradual, creeping sensation isn’t it? A slowing down of your hyper-active thoughts, a slowing of your energies, your body feeling a bit tired, your lack of enthusiasm for an event / movie / celebration when others around you are going la-la-la about it. Most apathetic folks know when they are about to be attacked and I would say: keep a look out! If you feel you are slipping, follow steps 2, 3, 4 and 6 (not 5, because you are trying to sort this out by your independent self!).

Prevnetion is better than cure, no?

10. Share your story and talk to others who are apathetic
If you are reading my post, then I figure you are a blogger yourself and right now, you are probably facing a bit of apathy attack. You have already covered Step 10 then by trying to understand why you feel so low and bored! Write down your experience, what triggered your apathy this time, or what are your general triggers – and share it on your blog. If your family and friends read your blog, it will help them understand your mood cycles better and may be even keep a lookout in case you are slipping into a foul funk. And your blog will help the rest of us apathetic folks into feeling a bit better: knowing that I am not alone in my suffering takes me one step closer to breaking apathy’s hold on me.

Sharing is Caring

Sharing is Caring

Are you feeling better now?

How Watching a Movie Online Turned Into a Cultural Experience For Me

The Lunchbox

I just watched a Bollywood flick online. It was a theater quality print (as the elders and authority figures of our generation are so fond of calling it). Meaning, some guy running a video CD parlor somewhere in Mumbai secretly filmed the movie as it ran First Day First Show in some single-screen cinema hall. The picture was punctuated with peals of laughter, definitely not what the film director intended for such a moving romantic drama. The silhouettes of popcorn totting lads and regional accented conversations on cellphones added the much needed gravitas to an already somber film.

But half-an-hour into the viewing, I realized that far from disturbing the proceedings, the studio-like canned laughter recorded by default by the video CD guy – pirate, if you prefer the euphemism – lent me an element of comfort.

Let me provide you with some background. As is the norm in my life, weekends are reserved for movie watching with the husband. We have our own schedules through the week and weekend, but like clockwork we take out time over a Saturday or Sunday to watch a couple of movies. In fact, I maintain an Excel sheet with a list of movies I have watched: the lead stars, genre, and my primary reaction to the film. Yes, I am a through-and-through movie buff and love my 90-, 120-, 180-minutes of love, tragedy, comedy, suspense, thriller, and horror.

Unlike my husband who has stringent requirements for the quality of print, I am an easy person to please. It’s too expensive to head to the theater every week and neither do I have the patience to wait a full 6 months before a movie appears on DVD or satellite TV. So, if something’s available online, I play it. During the weekdays, after a stressful day at work, I turn to books to help me relax. However, if time permits, I do sneak in a movie! Tonight was just one of those nights where I was on speed-dial with office updates and decided to watch an independent, small-budget romantic-drama that has received unanimously glowing reviews from the critics and public alike.

And so, half-and-hour into the movie, lounging on the couch, I felt a sense of comfort as I listened to the laughter and ambient sounds recorded into the online print. It felt like I wasn’t alone and that I was drawing in from the common pool of the people’s reactions: their laughter, their snigger, their gasp, their pin drop silence in a particularly poignant scene. I felt connected to the audience, even though we haven’t shared physical space. It might appear as a lonely movie watcher’s moment of validation but it also hit home that partaking of pop culture can never be an isolated experience. Culture is immersive, experiential and participative, and it can only thrive when allowed to be reviewed, remixed and recalibrated.

***  ***

You remember the unexpected joy of borrowing a book from the school library or paying 30 rupees for a second-hand book and then finding notes on the margins? I have had the pleasure of experiencing several such moments. The dedication on the flap of old books would feature a birthday / graduation / season’s greeting, along with the name of the “gifted” and the year, and I would scour telephone directories to see if any matches turned up. It was a thrill to hold books that was read, felt and experienced by someone else, and then be privy to their thoughts as they jotted down notes in the margins.

Me writing this post as a means of stretching that singular experience, in this case, watching a film that was available online – and waiting for my readers to share their thoughts on my experience tonight, is just another example of this principle of culture.

Over to you, now.

Curing Death, for it’s Just a Disease

Vanity Fair April 2011 Interview with Edward Cullen aka Robert Pattinson

The following TedTalk by Anthony Atala tells us of a revolutionary technology that prints human kidney, bladder, skin and bones, inspired by the 3D printer. A 3D printer that prints human organs such as the bladder, and experimentally, small kidneys, bones and skin grafts.

Another video demonstrates a technology called skin gun that sprays layers of skin on to burn patients using their own stem cells. Second-degree burn victims, who would earlier been writing in pain for months before their own skin healed enough, now have access to an experimental therapy that simply takes four days to regrow their natural skin.

The slightly weird but compelling film ‘The Fountain’ directed by Darren Aronofsky, has the lead character Hugh Jackman playing a medical scientist, trying to find the cure for cancer as his beautiful wife, played by Rachel Weisz, nears her death. Jackman doesn’t believe in death – yes, he thinks it’s just a disease for which a cure hasn’t been found yet.

The premise of this film never struck me as preposterous. Growing up on a diet of science fiction books from Isaac Asimov to Orson Scott Card, for me it was but inevitable that science would eventually surpass sci-fi to make real the wonders of cloning, life-extending drugs, anti-age cures, A.I and emotionally intelligent robots, teleportation and eventually space travel.

But the science fiction worlds of Asimov were hinged to reality. The Foundation Series teaches us that power structures and the social construct of the ‘ruler and the ruled’ will never be dismantled – at least not in the next millennium, only transform from the monarchy to the clergy and from the bureaucrats to the sciento-technocrats.

So, what’s the connection between these science-fiction novels and the videos? Well, it seems we are right on track with following the blueprint of technological progress detailed by the fantasy writers. As technology breaks old boundaries, society is plagued with morally ambiguous debates about the meaning of quality of life and future of humankind – is cloning moral, is human engineering god’s will, are designer babies ethical, pro-life, pro-choice, euthanasia, treatment of persons with disabilities, surrogacy, sex-change, sex-determination.

While scientists are busy finding ways to re-grow a burn victim’s tissues and engineering humanoid robots that are bound to change the ways we work, live, play and think about what it means to be a human, we have politicians stuck in the thick of what is morally correct! The citizen never gets to decide what is necessary or beneficial for their life, the state will have the final word based on laws, morality and religious lobbies.

Here’s another news that got me cheering from the rooftops. You know how pharma and drug companies patent life-saving drugs right? If one pharma company has a patent on anti-retroviral drugs (used in the treatment of HIV-infected patients) then any other company can’t use the same composition of chemicals or formula and create the same drug – that would be patent infringement. What this means is that one company ends up ruling the market; they decide where the drugs are released, at what price and to what markets. Plain and simple commoditization of health and treatment.

Well, India’s patent office just pulled a jinx on Bayer. “In a first-of-its-kind move, a government agency has invoked the compulsory licensing (CL) provision of the Patents Act to allow Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma to sell its generic version of German multinational Bayer’s patent-protected cancer medicine, Nexavar (sorafenib tosylate), at a fraction of the cost of the latter drug in India.” (http://business-standard.com/india/news/natco-to-sell-bayer-patented-cancer-drug-nexavar-/467537/).

But this news is not really going to be a watershed moment as many of us hope. Instead it will be a one-off victory, we shall lose the larger battle. Bayer is considering legal options of appealing this decision as it’s worried about its intellectual property rights. What it’s really worried about is how it can recover a ripe cancer-driven market of $2 billion in India alone.That’s considerable loss of revenue from one geographic region and for one disease – multiply this by the other countries and the plethora of diseases that plague us and we are talking about a trillion dollar industry. Pharma companies will just be better prepared in handling such patent claims in the future.

Sad? Angry to hear that a company would care more about profits than healing sick cancer kids? But you are not surprised, right? You are digesting this news as if it’s an everyday weather update – unbearable heat but expected weather.

You don’t have to be a cultural theorist to understand that it simply wouldn’t make economic sense at a global level to keep so many billions of humans alive over a sustained period of time and have them accessing amazing technologies that would level the playing field. In order for the powerful to keep being that social inequities must – and will – continue. We are grappling with endemic issues of poverty and social iniquities not just since the last 100 years, or since the advent of the industrial revolution, or since the Dark Ages but since the history of mankind. Millions of us were born disadvantaged due to class, race, caste, sex or economic backgrounds – and to believe that technology will come and rescue us is a utopian dream.

Technology is as good as the hand that wields it. But it’s also inherently political in its agency and design.

Fear of death levels us all and in the future, life-prolonging technologies (cloning, genetic engineering, 3D printing of organs!!) would be used as trump cards by the elite. The videos on the breakthrough medical technologies leave me with an impending sense of doom actually. It doesn’t fill me with joy that my children, family and the whole world – all the sick, dying, disease-ravaged people – would now have access to previously incurable conditions. It doesn’t give me a sense of hope that we can beat this thing, that we can deal with being ill temporarily because the good medical researchers have bent over backwards inventing miraculous technologies for the people.

No, the good scientists won’t be knocking on your doors anytime soon. They will sell off their technology to multi-billion dollar bio-engineering corporations, who will patent the design and execution and delivery and forbid anyone from hoping for a miracle. Death is a disease and billions of us would continue to die from it. Those who will raise a toast to “The Fountain” will be the ones who can afford to wine and dine death for a couple of days.

Dogs are bound in leashes, and we, in Karma

Karmic Dance

A tailor houses his shop opposite my apartment building on a busy residential road. What makes the road busy? Well, the usual menagerie of four-legged, non-domesticated pets: mongrels, kittens and bovine-smelling buffaloes; children peddling their cycles in a zig-zag fashion – as if toeing a straight path on the road is antithetical to their play; hawkers selling plastic buckets, plastic combs, plastic sieves and plastic bats; the ice-cream van dipping a finger into my tempted-tongue with his insistent bell.

And more. Others on the street, burning rubber with speed, leaving tracks and cigarette butts and wilting flowers and chocolate wrappers and spit. Eyes shut and lips sneer. Spit, phlegm, bloody betel nut outpourings. So rather risk creating new wrinkles formed out of sneers and disgust, I keep myself within the bounds of the living room. Can’t expose these Superwoman T-shirt clad biceps to those distantly knowing eyes.

The kitchen door and kitchen balcony through which I infrequently observe the busy tailor on our busy road is my vantage point. I prefer to believe that my occasional outings beyond the kitchen door go unnoticed by the roadside regulars – the watchman and his cronies; the school kids who take the same route every evening at 4; the illustrious tailor himself, who doubles up as a tuition teacher to two girls and two boys. Don’t want the young mother in her small independent house next to the tailor thinking I make it a habit leaning against balcony rails in a bid to be noticed. I don’t. I don’t want to be.

He opens shutter late by usual business standards, 11.30 am, when noon is straining at its leash to burn our black-haired head. To be fair, he and his sidekick – a thin, dark, sibilant-footed boy of 16 – stay up till 1 am, sometimes 3 the previous night, to stitch up the colored expanses of clothing into tunics and blouses. Must be a sleep cycle carried forward from childhood? It intrigues me, their nocturnal outtakes and mysterious disappearances for better part of the day. I know for a fact that they don’t carry their lunch boxes with them. So, open at 11.30, out again by 1, return by 2, stitch-teach-feed mongrels-play radio-teach-stitch-disappear at 8 again – that’s the routine I have pinned down.

One morning I woke up, not to the sounds of the garbage truck, but to the yelps and yips of a dog. It was 6.30. A good two hours for my sleep cycle to round up. But the whines were incessant. And I knew that this wasn’t just another roadside pup, but a very specific one.

This is when I launch into an epic saga of my distant past, particularly as it is quite relevant to the present tale I narrate. This is so you can make up your mind about the actions that followed that yipping morning.

                                                                                                    ———–&————

Back in the wee old years of the 80s, when the World Was Not a Flat Place, but rather a global village disconnected at borders, we shifted from the bustling city of Mumbai to the sleepy beach town of Goa, both on the western coast of India. It was there that I met Bonny < Cue Music, Hit it! > Bring Back, Oh, Bring Back, Oh, Bring Back My Bonny to Me, to Meee! Did you or did you not at some point of your kindergarten life hum this song along with your best friend and better yet, serenaded your pup with “Bring Back, oh Bring Back, oh Bring back my ______ (insert pet name here, Princess, Tiger, Lolo, Cashew, Tommy, Cookie, Tom) to meee!’.

The first pet dog I got to interact with was Bonny, a Russian Dachshund, golden brown and long and small, that belonged to my bestest friend in the city. Bonny was fun, tame, caring, adorable and a male – perfect to make little girls feel loved, wanted and protected from spiders, the darkness after dusk, and for giving us a good chase.  While my first encounter with him almost led him to nip my small, white palm, I managed to bond with him in due time. Mutton bones, pieces of chicken, biscuits and milk were always being carried by me, from my kitchen to his in-house kennel. To me, dogs were softness-non-threatening-precious.

After three years, when I moved back to my home city, I met another dog in my building, a white long-haired, fluffy something something. Didn’t get friendly with him, but liked him, and was passively sending him affection. I remember my father’s disgusted face when the dog licked his palm one evening as he paid a visit to the dog’s owner. The disgust. Such a palpable emotion on his thin-skinned face, contorting his lower jaw and the ridge of his eyebrows into a malefic horror visage.

Although we never explicitly discussed pets, I knew that my parents weren’t in favour of pets at home, pets in the building or pets in the vicinity of their civic life. Animals were never spoken of with affection or fondness, rather I heard stories of their childhood in our ancestral village, where they conquered frogs, snakes, scorpions, spiders and dragon flies. Conquest of creatures was the leitmotif, rather than adoption and domestication. So I let it bee, not thinking much about a loss since I never really experienced a significant gain by housing a pet. The issue was null and void.

                                                                                                   ———–&————

Women on bicycle with dogs on leash, image courtesy lantapix0907It was in my teenage years that I learnt that Islam doesn’t permit co-mingling with the canines. Dogs were perceived as the companions of the devil, the harbingers of death, the fiends from hell? I don’t really remember, but the popular imagery from soundbytes received via my religious teacher, religious neighbors and traditional parents, gave me the impression that dogs were unwelcome at home.

Somehow, the impact of a NO in your teenage is more keenly felt than in childhood. I had grown to love dogs, cats, dolphins, horses, elephants, and other ‘cute in pop-culture’s imagination’ varieties of animals. Walking back home from school, college, an outing, walking back home with street dogs lolling around, underneath street lamps or simply following me, sniffing my bag, didn’t alarm me or incite me into running or shooing them away. I would smile at them.Perhaps I romanticized their eyes. You can’t escape a literary reference to pets, without reading about the soulful eyes of a dog, or the silky fur of a cat – and its independence – or the smile of a dolphin, or the gentleness inherent in an elephant…you romanticize and anthropomorphize these attributes.

I spun dreams of owning a house big enough for two big Golden Retrievers. But conveniently avoided thinking about the practical realities of ‘owning’ pets, of being responsible for two additional lives, of caring for their food, cleanliness and safety. Of being their emotional companion and playmate as much as they would be mine. The fantasy stopped at me being in the vicinity of two Retrievers without the familial – religio – societal stigma of being a dog lady.

                                                                                                  ———–&————

Back to the present. To the view from the balcony. To the tailor and his little shop and the sibilant young boy who picked up mongrels from the street and fed them whatever his meagre salary would allow him to buy: a tiny packet of milk, a pack of biscuits. Sorry, no bones for the puppies. The tailor’s sidekick had picked up a cream-colored puppy from the streets and tied it to his shop’s wooden post. The pup would be let loose after the boy came in to work at noon, and locked up inside the shop during the night. It would wake at 6, start yelping – to be let out I assume so it could relieve itself in its fashion and water a thirst plant or car tyre with concentrated nitric acid. Following that? Food of course. Dogs don’t follow human sleep cycles as far I know. Between 6 am to 12 noon the pup would yelp, whine and bark continuously. The other day, the boy – following a word from my husband and several neighbors – decided to leave the dog tied outside through the night.

Now I know that I am not alone in valuing my precious sleep. I also know that if it comes to choosing between sleep and a yelping dog, most of us would choose the former, after all, we don’t understand canine lingo and will be helpless to provide any assistance to its conversation! But two mornings and two nights of continuous puppy-whinings was all I was ready to bear. I admit, the previous day as i woke up at 8 and caught the pup trying to cut through the rope around its neck, I cried. I just broke down. I cursed the tailor. I cursed his side-kick for being such a juvenile, for being so selfish as to tie up a pup in the wintery cold of night and the gnawing wait for food till mid-morning. I sobbed and cooked. Sobbed and had breakfast. Sobbed and vowed to do something.

The pup kept waiting for someone to rescue it. It kept whining when any passerby crossed it –  on a bike, in a car, school kids on foot, the construction laborers rushing to work, the flower man delivering on his cycle. Many ignored, many didn’t even notice its existence, some stopped, one man went near it only to pick up a stone and aim at its head. Sick Bastard. That day passed by. I didn’t do anything for the sorry pup. I asked myself, what could I possibly do? It’s a street dog, do I have a right to interfere in its nomadic existence?

*******************

The morning of the incident – when the yelping woke me at 6.30, I decided that enough is enough. Not-withstanding the daily packet of milk the sidekick was feeding it, and the scraps of food, I would rather it learn the life of a street dog and what that entails than be chained as a slave for food with a boy as an owner who had no affections or sensitivity for his pet’s care (ok, he did love the pet beyond imagination, but this was no way to treat a kid canine!). Wearing a thick jacket and plucking a pair of scissors from the kitchen standd, I donned sports shoes – the gear was a latent reaction to fear, in case the pup bit me or attempted to harm me. I sneakily opened the main door – didn’t want to disturb the partner – trundled down the steps, yanked open the building’s gate, crossed the road with 6 long strides, and stood right in front of the yipping pup.

The pup bared its two canines, it somehow didn’t have all its teeth. I was the last person to know anything about teething or canine biology, so forgive my incomplete description. I went down on my haunches, removed the scissors from my jacket pocket, and turned to the pup, speaking all the time, ‘Don’t worry, I will free you. Shh, quiet down, sit still”. Man, speaking to a street pup in English? But I believed it understood my intentions because it lay down on its back, exposing its tummy and as I reached towards the rope around its neck, it kept struggling and straining. The pup’s mother came right behind me then! I knew it was the mother as I have seen it nursing the pup several times. But surprisingly, the “mother dog” didn’t react, didn’t bare its teeth, no growls. She was quiet, tongue hanging out, wagging tail. Isn’t that a good, friendly gesture?

And then, the rope around the pup’s neck was cut! It was free! The pup got up and rounded around itself, you know, trying to touch its tail. The mother licked its face. The pup licked her and well, they trotted away! Achievement? Accomplishment? A sense of righteousness? Yes, all of these and more. Pure joy at having done something. Elation at taking a step. A cuddly feeling inside for having caressed a dog after ages. Through the day, I kept watch, waiting to see if the pup would return, and I was secretly waiting for the moment when the tailor’s sidekick would return and find his street-pup GONE!

Sadly, the pup did return, in less than an hour for gods sake! and settled down in the very place from where I rescued it. I wanted to curse, shout at it to go away, to will it to realize its blunder. But no, head to paws, it went to sleep, giving the sidekick a good opportunity to re-tie it to the wooden post outside the shop when he returned at 12 noon to open shop.

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Next day, early morning, I woke up to the sounds of yelping and barking. Again. My eyes opened and my brain reacted as if a jug of water had been poured on my face. How could this be? And then I remembered, yes, the silly pup had asked for it. But instead of just ignoring it and leaving it to its fate, I decided to get up and see if I could feed it some milk. A good 15 minutes of indecision followed. I didn’t want it to get used to my food or my favors. I wanted it to learn to fend for itself on the mean streets of the city. The decision was taken out of my worthless hands as the sidekick, clad in sports shoes, jeans and an old work shirt, popped up at 7 am with a small packet of milk. My sense of righteousness, however, didn’t allow me to praise him for his act. Rather, I dismissed it by saying, ‘Oh, that’s the least you can do loser!”. Juvenile? Perhaps. Emotional? Yes.

That night, the sidekick decided to free the pup. He didn’t let it go, but neither did he tie it. He placed it on several layers of cloth (remains from all the blouses and tunics and nighties) and set it there to rest. The pup followed him for a couple of minutes and then returned to sniffing under a nearby car, wagging its tail for grub.

That’s when I realized. May be it wasn’t about me playing savior and rescuing the little pup. It wasn’t about pointing out to the sidekick about its inabilities to care for a pup. The dog had its fate, leashed to the rope and while it was set free, it waited to return to bondage. Perhaps it wasn’t bondage, but security. Human playmates, morning milk and a cozy place to rest irrespective of the time of day.

But I also think that the incident taught me a lesson. It was about this thing called letting go. You cannot hold things so close to heart, uphold everything in life as precious and treat them as fragile. Like I do. Like I have the propensity to. Letting go of control, letting go of events that don’t go your way, of missed opportunities that you always regret over. Spilt milk that you keep crying over. I believe in karma. Not the swift retribution doled out by religious texts but of the kind where everything in this universe is measured and reactive. Perhaps, long time ago in a birth that I don’t have any recollections of, I must have been cruel to some animal, and now, I experience immense pain at seeing a tiny creature bound? I don’t know. I can’t make sense of it. Out of all the hundreds of people living in this area, why did I happen to be the one to feel for the pup?

                                                                                                ———–&————

It isn’t enough to feel
Tears are so much sodium chloride
Wasted in H2O.

Curling fingers into palm
when an injustice plays out
in front of your eyes.

Deepened breathing

…. …. … … …. …. …

and a restless heartbeat.

Why this chagrined expression,
this snarling teeth. Cut it out.
You want to do something?
then walk down those stairs,
scissors in hand.
Else, go back to sleep.