Sundowners at Sunset ! My Lockdown & Quarantine Musings…Journey from Serious to Hilarious.

I suggest savour the end-piece before the beginning. As Jacques Torres said-“Life is short. Eat dessert first” 🍨😊

After enjoying more than 2 months of Guwahati lockdown, now I am relishing Bangalore’s 14 days mandatory home-quarantine. And I feel freer than ever…not suffocation, but spirit soaring in the solitude. The silence 🤐 is eloquent 🗣, the limits and limitations are liberating. What with the wondering mind, wandering imagination, free flying thoughts…you get the drift. 🕺

I feel my wants and expectations from self and others reducing, receding…while I delve into the nature within and without. When I have rendezvous with the nature in my nature, the soul breaks into song n dance. Whenever I embrace the nature outside…the sky painted in myriad hues 🌈, the distant blue-green hills 🌲, the silvery-golden moon 🌙, the gloriously orange sunset setting the horizon on fire 🌅, chirping birds 🦜, fluttering butterflies 🦋…the window to the world opens many a windows to my soul. Oh, is the wind caressing me, or is it me caressing the wind ?🌠

Deleting toxic thoughts in tandem with unwanted mails and messages, I am trying to clear the cobwebs crowding my mind. Living with myself and my life, in my time, on my terms…I am coming to terms with myself. Doing away with dependencies small and big, I am keeping and making others safe from me😜

In my own beautiful company and in the spirit of ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ (Walk Alone), I am delighted by the days, lighted by the nights, and always ignited by the thoughts 🚶‍♂️🤔

Not that I am drifting towards ‘Sanyas’(renunciation)…far from it, for I find ‘Nirvana’(enlightenment) in the things material which I love most…reading what I haven’t in my ever-growing list 📚and re-reading what I have📖, furiously writing my unadulterated thoughts, devouring chocolates 🍬like there is no tomorrow (oh..‘temptation’ is so tempting), smelling its exotic aroma while gulping down endless cups of ginger-lemon-mint tea ☕️, listening to unbelievably beautiful lyrics of a Guljar and heavenly music of a Rahman or a Chopin 🎼, and occasionally enjoying a classic movie. But one indulgence I sorely and surely miss is the occasional sunset sundowner with back-slapping, name-calling friends 👥🍻

I think I will always be materialistic as far as these things go; and I hasten to add dark sunglasses, blue blazers, silk scarves, and a hat-at-perfect-angle, to the list. I have no shame in voicing my hedonistically vile vices. Let the style adorn me, if not the substance 😎🎩

To me these material matters matter. For me it will never be “Mind vs Matter”, but: “Man Minds the Matter”. Sometimes material is immaterial, and immaterial is material…who can sit in judgment ? 🧐

I have no quarrels with anyone, but sometimes with myself…which find expression in my prose and poetry. To quote W.B. Yeats: “Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry”. And let me add: Out of love with others we weave dreams; out of love with ourselves we live life. So I dream. So I live 😊

From life flows death. Seriously in a lighter vein, I know none among clan or friends will have the heart to write my obituary.📜 So, to save you the cost, time and trouble of hiring a professional obituary writer, I pen my own obituary. Publish it posthumously by simply replacing ‘I’ with ‘he’, interspersed with ‘Niru’ or ‘bro’ (not ‘bhai’ of the supari fame or ‘bhaiya’ the milkman, please), and “Woh” (for those who were romantically inclined towards me 💗), to introduce variety in the mundane foregoing text. Be stingy in your praise by all means, but a bit you must shower (for it is customary not to criticize the dead, however bad, ugly or both) 😂. And don’t forget to add these immortal lines:

“Oft beaten by life n times, he was a man offbeat but not off-colour 🌈, hence can’t be written-off without an obituary. With many a wild whims and questionable quirks, he insisted on writing ✍️what people didn’t want to read, particularly enjoyed reading about farting habits of fat pet cats🐈possessed by pot-bellied petty pensioners, and freely prescribed pills for piles to priests, peasants and pedants. He was harmless enough not to be noticed, and observant enough to notice the bird-shit sitting quietly on the right of his left eyebrow 👁. He decided early on never to decide what decision was good for him, and that decidedly decided his fate 😔. Some loved him (not his fault), most disliked him (serves them right), and due to his mysteriously enigmatic and unlikely-likeable persona 🧟‍♀️, many are perpetually in the in-between space of neither here nor there…now reluctantly liking him for 23 seconds…then reluctantly disliking him for 43 seconds…and the reluctant cycle keeps repeating 🔄. May his soul RIP sheltered from self.”😎

Friends, Not Lovers !

Relatively speaking, all relationships except love and friendship are governed by legal, social, religious, economic or political sanctions.  Friendship and love have no written or unwritten contract (lawyers are too expensive). However, friendship flows naturally (despite unnatural tendencies in some), whereas love has compulsions (of unmentionable benefits). Let’s juxtapose these relationships:

In a love relationship, we love, sacrifice and give (do we have any options), but we also consciously or unconsciously presume, demand and take for granted (our birth-rights). In love, we care and cuddle (hoping quid pro quo), but at times we are mean and jealous (genetic predispositions), and subtly or not so subtly pressurise and control (natural instincts). Friends do not compare, compete or complain, nor do they expect, exasperate or exacerbate (who will let them without a contract).

A lover can leave one and take two, but you don’t discard a friend in favour of another. Either one is a friend, or one is not. In love the joining date may be blurred on the postcard from the past, but the termination letter is clearly and neatly dated. Friendship is neither by appointment nor is there any expiry printed on it. Oscar Wilde is succinct “Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer”.

I can indulge with friends five or fifty, but can’t eat, drink or dance with lovers two or twenty without having my skull split open on all sides. Can you imagine back-slapping bonhomie among your past, present and future lovers? As Nietzsche said “Love is blind. Friendship closes its eyes”. If I may philosophise further: falling in love blindly is an eye opener, and friendship is an open and shut case.

As friends we are at our unhindered best… nice, naked and naughty…perfect partners in peccadilloes. With friends we can let our hair down yet keep the chins up. Borrowing from Robert Bloch, friendship is like pee in the pants; everyone can see it, but only we can feel the warm tingling sensation inside.

Yes, friends are sometimes pain- in- the- ass, but never hemorrhoids.

I will take my lover (yours too if you like) as my friend anytime, but not vice versa.

(This is written in good humour and not to belittle any relationship)