L’sLT Series | Yet Do Not Go Gently Through Life

I have been looking up poems from my past and remembering how it felt back then, and how it feels right now. Sometimes the understanding is varied. As a young girl, my understanding was different from that of my present-day mindset.

The poems were read exactly in the order they are listed below:

Death Be Not Proud – John Donne

Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night – Dylan Thomas

Because I could not stop for Death – Emily Dickinson

At this point, let me stop and look at what I have collected so far. Let me take the poem in the order presented because there is a clear chronological logic to it. I read John Donne’s Death Be Not Proud, in my secondary school days. The fact that my school included the topic of death at a very early stage and partly the reason being that all parts of literature was never far from it. Take for instance, when children watched their pet breath their last right in front of them. These days you cannot protect the children from all the gory details of war and violence. Violence these days are a given. In that, when we speak of death and passing, the angle that needs to be taken is rather interesting.

Should death as a subject be introduced at an early grade? It is still a debatable question. But I feel death as a sensitive topic should be addressed early. Then I would give it a resounding, Yes! The more secular thoughts on the passing and coping with the passing is something that needs to be in the survival kit of each individual child.

The fact that each of the poet had their own way of looking at death; but then something else was also happen with the topic. By the time I reached the American poet’s version of His Majesty the Death, I had undergone much emotional changes.

John Donne’s version of what Death can accomplish is not so dramatic and back at that age it kind of gave a weird sense of pride that after the passing the soul will rise and live on. Though it was different from Hindu philosophy of circle of birth, death and rebirth, ad infinitum. I understood that maybe, yes, Death is not to be feared as much, since there was a next chance to make amends.

With this false bravery, I made progress in life, thinking that Death cannot outdo me. But yet there were such moments, when I felt maybe, I should rethink my concept of passing away and how we handle it.

Dylan Thomas also begged and beseeched his readers to not accept without putting up a brave-faced fight till the end. The various ways in which Death does challenge the human being until they are subdued to submission was explored, but the need, not to give up the fight till the last becomes an emphatic refrain with the nice touch of the Villanelle’s natural form.

A Villanelle is rather strictly structured, and the magic is in the refrain. Dylan Thomas uses it very beautifully to accomplish it. When the thoughts get grounded in the action that human take, then it becomes significantly important point to look out. Thomas’ version of how to fight it out and not be defeated in the hands of Death is a strong takeaway.

The strife and struggle that goes into the process of leaving this mortal world is something that Dylan Thomas brings out in his villanelle. I love this poetic form so much that I feel that one can get much out of those rhyming sequence. I have played around with this form for topics that were about hiding things and not giving up.

Surprisingly, when I reached high school and some American poets were also included in our repertoire of poetic studies, I first encountered Emily Dickinson with such pleasant shock that it was a new experience for me.

By my high school days, I would look upon poets and try to figure out their life stories. So, Emily was such a fascinating person and I liked the fact that she had characteristics that are close to my preferences in life.

The fact that Death gets invited into her very parlor for some nice tea and nibbling snacks kept a drummer’s beat in my mind. It is almost as if Death is a welcome guest, on whose honor the table of snack sits waiting to be attended to.

There are times when a poem can evoke images in the mind that is unique for each poem. In “Because I could not stop for Death” poem there is much that is happening which I didn’t find it in the early masculine expression to death. Somewhere there is a sense of gentleness in Emily’s version.

I am still looking out for a version of Death that is an equalizer. A more modern expression of death what it has to offer for a human being in the form of life. Somehow it is not even about living after being dead and I feel I am not that happy with the current affairs to wish to be born again. So, what should be the angle of a more modern and current version of Death which overpowers Dickinson or Thomas or Donne’s approach to the central figure called Death?

Of late, I am more mellowed, I am no longer the fiery poet who kind of thinks, that she can change the world with her words. I know the world will continue in its strides caring not for a single thing of any major concern. It is like the time has passed and the human being who watched it go by passively are none the wiser from those that actively participated in it. The passing of time is inevitable.

Death as a topic has always been my favorite. It is mysterious and filled with a unique quality of evading human understanding. Why would human beings be born and go through the various stages of life and undergo the varied aspect of life’s struggles and then, pass away? The Eastern theories and Western principles kind of clash and confront the understanding limits of this individual’s perception.

Desire to hold on to the memories of the time spent together is high, yet death dare not visit as John Donne says that after death I shall rise and be free forevermore. There was a huge change, in the way, especially the classic method of viewing death by the British poets. This stark difference in the American poets and British poets handling brings out the varied interpretation of death is the varied Indian spice of new understanding.

Life according to me is somehow filled with people, things and places. When in reality none of these should really matter, to begin with. Life is always is just about the Self – the indweller. I have had moments when I simply see things happening around me, as if in a movie theatre. I don’t know if that should raise a red card alert that the participant is no longer a participant, but merely an onlooker.

Sometimes the mind has its own way of handling sadness and despair. Some relations in life has certain special place in the human emotion and mental setup. Whenever I am very sad, I tend to create poetry that is fully loaded with heavily coded words. I am the only one who can Unicode it, pun intended.

I have learned from living that you should not give up and just let life happen on you. You should try to go out there and making little things of importance happen whatever be the outcome. The need of the moment is not to see your life as ending but beginning with a fresh start.

 

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L’sLT Series | Finding Peace In Confusion and Cluelessly Figuring Out

So, a few months back in December 2018 I believe, that all channels were advertising for channel selection and TRAI rules and regulation. I, for my part, was sure cool, I could see it and there was so many an actor explaining it. But for me, I was clueless, I only understood that I had to pick a family pack or Mera walla pack. Guess what do I do, I wait for these guys to call me and ask! Urgh! But no one called and one fine day channels started disappearing. I am in like ‘where are my channels?’ – a questioning mode, while I am looking on clueless as ever?

This led to a fictionalized mixed reality of creative non-fiction which of course I am enjoying writing. I do not have anything against anyone, but just that when procrastination leads to a mess eventually which becomes harmful for the procrastinator. These last-minute rescue decision-making has become a way of life for me, which I am trying to change. But sadly, not even the 48 days or oru manadalam (Ayurvedic time duration of a medicine course) practice seems to be working.

So let us talk about doing the right thing at the right time is the wise thing; while a right action, if delayed then, it is not the right action at all. Most of our life’s situations are time-bound and some require an instant decision, while some can afford to be thought over before arriving at a decision.

So why is taking a quick on the spot decision is so vital? My life is filled with decision taking on a daily basis and it is nothing different or unique about it. But over the years, I have started to learn how to take the decision not just for me but on behalf of others too. There are moments when I want to chew on a decision like a cow’s cud process time, but then time is premium so some decision is taken on the spot.

When you take decision for yourself and if things go wrong despite one’s best efforts, then it is easier to just tell ourselves that we will live with it. But when the decision is on behalf of others, then I become super conscious of the extent of responsibility that lies on my shoulder.

There are moments when I freeze while taking a decision, then it starts the chain of events and choices. The postponing of decision-making has a huge impact on a later date. In my earlier days, I was such a free spirit who never thought again of any decision, made a choice and then move on, was my attitude. Even today, I have that free-spirit surprising me with its presence. There is much that is mysterious in life among them is my logically processing to a decision.

I always keep thinking, that should one take the instincts’ hint or think it through logically and then take a decision? A Egg and Hen question. My twisted logic series is a different track altogether, maybe should be another of this series entry. So, for instance, there are moments when I am completely in swirls of logic because I think in circles and it can be very tiring. I love to keep pondering and if the material I am pondering on is literary then, I am super happy.

For instance, when you need to take a decision on a text, even though I don’t know it that well, it seems easier to decide, but not with live people. But I have improved by far in these many years of experience with collaborating with people. Honestly people are far more fun and you learn with them too. I still feel that taking a decision on behalf of others is very super tricky. But then, if we must, then we must. The rule of my thumb is to make sure it is for the common good for all involved.

Eventually, the act of decision making is sometimes art and sometimes science, but then also an experiential learning that grows the being and the spirit. I wish there were some quotes to give away as I think of all these wonderful things about decision-taking the swamps around my thoughts. Life is about upgrading non-stop and don’t settle quickly.

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L’sLT Series| Humour In Written and Visual Format

The inspiration to write Life’s Like That series came up from my past reading experience. I used to read Reader’s Digest with great pleasure and I believe they have a section in their book titled “Life’s Like That” which tickles my funny bones.

Life’s Like That is my favourite section has cheered me many times when things did not look great. I check out the Laughter the Best Medicine and Life’s Like That, Humor in Uniform are the sections that I read first and then go in for other more emotional articles. Somehow, in these sections, I feel the best part of quick wit is seen.

I always felt close to humour because it lightens the situation. Given the fact that my siblings are better at humour than I am. I am never succinct in any situation, I am an over-the-top garrulous person who loves talking non-stop nonsense. For good humour is sure to be killed if you are not able to sharpen the narrative for the right impact.

That reminds me of Non-Stop Nonsense, a German comedy show which was hilarious. It was a voiceless comedy show. I believe if you have humour in you, then you can make anyone laugh. These days, I have a very rare opportunity to laugh out loud. I have subscribed to Comedy Central; but then, I don’t know where in the maze of channels it is listed! I think I need to find it, one of these days.

I think I liked the DD days when you were given programs in a ration. From 6:30 pm to 10 pm, then DD goes to sleep showing dancing dots on the screen. I think that was much better than the 24/7 shows. Of course, there are far more thrilling and exciting shows now. Since, when you see a drama in DD it just looks like a stage play. But these days we get VFX rendered dramas, yoohoo!

So, getting back to humour in the text, I believe it allows the mind to think with a sense of being wiser somehow. The reading of a joke is far different from seeing a humour filled drama or scene. We have become so much about visual and audio that flash on our mobiles, that a no-nonsense text just plain does not go well down our consumption tube.

But I am an old timer, for me reading the books is very important, these days it the Kindle. I love words and when they invoke a burst of joyous laughter, I am thrilled. There is a different kind of witty response, but the ones that leave you baffled are the best wit for me. I love seeing Standup comedy. Among the various Facebook post, I liked ones that had Standup Comedy links. Sorabh Pant’s comedy though not the best, but yeah kinda cool. By God, I got no idea how I got him in my friend’s list. Anyway, I don’t regret it, but I don’t know about Sorabh though. Ama yaar khanh phasgaye hum! Most probably.

Anyway, the skill of telling a joke is almost like the ability to pause, fast forwarding and even it out in the narration of the joke. I had a book on Sardaji jokes, I tell you, it was hilarious, I believe the best thing about humour is its ability to remove stress and to makes life more human somehow.

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