A Mixed Bowl
Wishing U a Happy New Year 2010
The New Year came and passed by, like any of the previous days…or rather with more drudgery to tackle and take satisfaction from, sighing at the end of the day—Aha! A day is well-spent. It was a quotidian affair, like any other day in the life of a workaholic, a person that takes recourse to some illusory comfort to convince himself after a long day’s work. Is it true that I love work and that’s why they come rushing to me with or without promise of reward? Or is it that I’ve realised I shine in work and wither without that? Say like a spider weaving its net to keep its nest always in repair, ever ready to trap the insects? Or is it that people around me are bent on harnessing (exploiting?) me, enjoying their holidays with vengeance and taking me for granted? Am I being treated like a fool? Should I protest or shouldn’t I?
Protesting has never been an easy course for me? And it’s more so, these days. Maybe, I’ve protested more than I should in the earlier days and today my quota is full. Am I then a burnt-out soul? So much so that I’m incapable of protesting and steering my course through the sea of selfishness? The truth is that my love of peace has proved dysfunctional and I've forgotten how to say "no" . I’ve come to realise that the way to peace is by ensuring that others are taken care of, else they would protest and make my life hell. At the end of the day when I’ve just enough time to sleep, I find many of the works I should have done are not finished. So I delay my sleep and try to finish them, say talking to people I should keep in touch on a daily basis so that I avoid being criticised for my aloofness, or replying the e-mails and clearing the junks out of the Inbox...or even reading something I'm told to, to be in league with my new-found literary friends. Late-night work leads to waking up late in the morning and skipping morning exercise, and blah blah.
Where, then, is the time for creativity? Yeah, I should confess—last night I dozed off with my copy open in front of me and pen slipping off my finger, and when I finally conceded my defeat against the urge for sleep, it was no longer yesterday.
But then my New Year was not a total washout.
Yesterday I met one gentleman; rather he came all the way to meet me bringing with him something to lighten my gloom. He was an old man of eighty-four and he came to exchange the New Year’s greetings on his way home from the tennis court. Spirited, healthy, tidy, courteous, informed…and scholarly, he began discussing the etymological purport of the word “decade”. Oh yes, 2010 takes us to a new decade. ‘Does it have anything to do with the word “Decay”?’ ‘No, Sir, it should be about “deca” or “deka” meaning ten,’ I said.
'Your "Virasat" reminds me of that great novelist who wrote "The History of Post Office". Do you know who am I referring to?' 'Yes Colonel,' I replied, 'he's Mulkraj Anand.' 'That's right,' he said, in a way encouraging me and praising my effort in writing the book "Virasat".
I was quite happy to meet a person who had not only a working body but also a thinking mind. He expressed his regret that he could not attend my book release function that was long over, way back in May last year. So courteous! And so very sweet of him! I was moved by it and was suddenly reminded that I had a couple of copies of the book with me. And I presented one to him, saying that I owe an apology, for I should have long given that by visiting him in person.
‘Oh no, the gift was waiting for the New Year; it has to be a New Year gift, I say, something to be remembered for the apt reason,’ he said.
My drudgery was nothing before the spirit the eighty-four-year-young gentleman disseminated. His tennis and his sharp mind had only one thing to impart: inspiration. And that was the word to highlight. His respect for creativity and his affable gesture had filled me with vibes of “never say die”.
A. N. Nanda