In Poetry on June 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm
If ever Yeats’ admonition to cast a cold eye on life, on death, was obeyed, then the series of essays the late Christopher Hitchens wrote for Vanity Fair after the diagnosis of his cancer, is its most admirable literary exemplar. The first of this series of meditations, describes his “deportation from the domicile of the well to the land of malady”.
Today a poem about the kind sentries who man this boundary between the two lands and offer the first welcome upon ones resettlement into the land of the sick. I should say here that I’ve thought often about this poem, having been ill and in-and-out-and-back-in to the hospital several times over the past year. Unlike Hitchens, however, my illness is not of much consequence to the rest of the world, and more importantly, hardly as dangerous for me or my loved ones. However, a protracted encounter with paramedics, nurses, medical technicians does fill me with enormous respect for them. There is no dearth of expressions of admiration for doctors or for the forbearance shown by brave family members, but what of the nurses and the hospital staff who, forever as the supporting cast in all the drama of suffering and/or recovery, carry on most unselfishly? Whether in the delirium of an unusually resilient fever and hostage to a potentially-deadly infection or half-crippled with anesthesia, their lifting me to lower me for healing, dressing my wounds, changing my clothes or offering to bathe and cleanse me, were no minor benefactions. For the sick, this familiarity, this “having known him all along” is the first touch of healing.
In Uncategorized on May 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm
I’ve discovered a new simile for ephemeral ………” like the shadows of raindrops”.
It happens sometimes…the raindrops are big enough to form distinct little globules that stick to your window pane for a few moments, and then the sun comes out, and embroiders these half-pearly, half-spotty shadows into that shaft of light coming in through said pane. It only lasts for the brief moment till the sun is clouded over again, or if its out longer then till the little droplet dries up or diminishes. Its strangely surprising when it happens, I can never take it for granted, and if no one is watching, I will try to drape that shaft of light on my skin like a sari, and dwell on the pearly-spotty shadows…sometimes, just sometimes, in some places, connected by the luminous shadow thread of a tiny thin rivulet of a falling raindrop. And just like that, its gone!
Like loved ones from life, like trust from some relationships – something makes it vanish, or dry out or diminish.
In Culture, Food, Musings on March 15, 2011 at 9:03 am
One of the nicer perks of being in, or having a parent or spouse in academia is the opportunity to meet and befriend people from cultures, ethnicities and nationalities very different from your own. If a major purpose of university education is to ‘open up’ a person’s mind to possibilities hitherto unexplored – whether in the realm of subatomic particles, or the reinterpretation of obscure pre-modern philosophy (take your pick really! Its all there, mostly funded by your tax money thank you ) – then, being part of a really diverse mix of people really aids that process in subtle and beautiful ways.
The icing on this knowing-diverse-people cake has to be the part where you get invited to someone’s house for a meal to taste ‘their’ cuisine, or when they bring you back a little something from their trips back home.
A quick example of how this process has worked to make the grey matter swell in our crania : Rosolje (ROS-OL-YE — ‘Ros’- like Rose, the flower; ‘ol’- like ‘ole’ in ‘hole’; and’ je’ like ‘ye’ in ‘yesterday’)