Sunday, December 13, 2015

Writing, Swimming in the Ocean and Talking to the Stars

I grew up on a healthy dose of National Geographic travel shows. I was such a romantic. A travel writer once wrote back to me. This was what he advised me, pack your bags, travel a lot and write about it. I knew that already. Why was he stating the obvious. Or maybe the best self help advice, is always just really obvious. Maybe it is just common sense. I spend the afternoon reading bill bryson and vs naipaul. You have to understand what is out there, before you want to transform it. 
Understand the existing paradigm, to create a new paradigm said the great philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn. I decide to take an evening walk across the beach. As the sun came down, people emerged again. Volleyball games, kayaking rides in the ocean, families and their picnic baskets, sand castles, lets jump over the waves battles. Everything that must happen at a beach, happens between 5 pm to 7 pm at the Palolem Beach. I guess its just how we are made. The sun can kill us if we get too friendly.

Two days in Palolem. I feel like I have been away for months already. I'm reading Bryson today morning. I quote him here as such:-

'I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted - stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container'

I thought that was true for a very long time. Then I bumped into life. If I thought getting a degree, getting a job, and getting married, would give me freedom, I was so wrong. You are not free because of the things you have. You are not free because of who you are with. You are free when there is always a possibility of exploring new avenues. You are free, when a vacation, is like a holiday from the freedom you experience in your daily lives. The freedom in thought, the freedom in work, the freedom to be with the people you want to be with. So many different types of freedom. Which one was I looking for?

Wanted to hire a cycle today morning, to ride around Palolem. But after a three hour hunt, I decide to come back and spend the afternoon with my books. Why not go for a swim today? That seems like a good idea. I put on my shorts and run into the open sea. Run like a free bird. No, run like a free dolphin. Wait aren't dolphins and birds always free. Maybe I was running just like a free human. The first wave of ocean water, hits my toe. My whole body is invigorated. I am submerged in ocean water and jumping over escalating waves, in the next few minutes. I am a bay watch lifeguard. Swim. Fight the waves. Save the drowning soul. Wohoo. Then the waves got big. I had to save myself from them. I swam back to the shore and lay flat on the sand. Ah! the life of a modestly well do to vagabond. If only I got do this every single day of my life. But maybe, I would not be very happy doing this every single day of my life. Will the oceans and the warm sand, become monotonous like school and work, if I am here long enough? Hmm. I am building a sand castle to distract myself from these big philosophical, 'What is the meaning of life?' type questions.

A wave rushes in, and crashes into my little sandcastle. I am heartbroken. How could the wave do this to me? Aaaargh. I feel like killing myself. Why me? Why me only? Then I look around and notice that all the sandcastles near the shore have been demolished. Hmm. It feels better now. At least I am a loser in a crowd of losers. Drenched, with sand in my hair and shorts, I walk back to my shack. I am welcomed by lizards and spiders that have made my shack their holiday home too. There is no hot water. I empty a couple of buckets of cold water on myself, and after lathering myself with some soap, empty a couple more. Feel so much better.

At 1 am, feeling adventurous, I decided to have a conversation with the stars. I walk out of the shack. The beach seems so different at night. We always associate the beach, with the sun and lots of light. But there are other sides and faces of the beach as well. The quiet side with no people. All that can be heard are the endless waves of the endless oceans. People have several different sides to themselves as well. Growing up, I always thought you could identify, an individual with one particular thing. So Prakash, is the cricket guy. Rachelle, is the smart one. But why should we identify an individual with only one characteristic. People can be sporty sometimes. People can be studious sometimes. People can be ambitious in the morning. The same people can be lazy and dead tired in the evening. It is so easy to compartmentalize people into categories. It makes it easier to have normal conversations with them. 

But what is a normal conversation. A conversation where you speak to a fixed image of the person you have developed. A conversation where you speak to who the person actually is at that particular point of time. Maybe that is why, I like looking up into the night sky. Looking at the stars. They seem constant. They always twinkle. It is like there is nothing wrong with the world up there. No problems. No finding yourself. 

What expectation do we have of a star, but for it to twinkle? 

Why is it any different for a human being? Why can't we just breathe and know that we matter? Why do we have to create to be of any importance to the world around us? I am pulled back into reality, by the sound of loud music, from a restaurant nearby. People inside, dancing the night away, intoxicated, present, yet distant. Like a little star, in a little planet, in a far away land.

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