Sunday, August 23, 2015

Shadows and Dust

What is happiness, I wonder? How is it measured?
Is it by the count of smiles we show, or those we are shown? What of those infamous smiles of plastic, pinned to the face by need? What of the pain they hide?

What is freedom? Why do humans cherish it so?
Is freedom required to achieve happiness? Can one not be happy in bondage?

Why do we need bonds? If they are meant to bring us happiness, why do they tie us down with weights heavier than the world itself?

Questions abound, these and others.. The answers are right there, yet right out of grasp. I see them glistening in the light, teasing with the promise of their knowledge.. and yet I grope for them, blind as a bat. Perhaps they are not meant to be found.. never fully grasped. Like wisps of smoke, they dissolve into the darkness again, until a question kindles the fire again.

Words are not my trade. They are my inheritance, yet I cannot use them. Like old tools, they lie rusting in the shed, worn and dusty from disuse. Spit and polish can’t bring their gloss back anymore. I try to grind them on a whetstone, so I may use them once again.. but only the rough and unpleasant ones make it through. These are hardened by time, not weakened. The rest fall apart like the crumbling vestiges of a long forgotten tongue. I can only sprinkle them sparingly on the stream of uncouthness that flows from the fountain of the mind.

Nevertheless, I do not despair. Not yet. I find solace in the fact that though diminished, the words are still there. They exist. They survive. They cling to the light like shards of a broken jewel, glowing in the dying light of the day. One day, perhaps tomorrow, they will find nourishment and bloom again, fresh for the picking.

On that day, the fountain will gush sweetness again. This will be my legacy.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Speaking in Riddles

Does speaking in riddles come naturally to a person once he reaches a certain age, I wonder? How about the habit of waxing philosophical and spouting rhetoric whenever he is speaking?

Living among humans for extended periods of time can probably have that effect on some people. I say “humans” because even though you are aware that you are part of the species, you cannot shake off the feeling that they are somehow alien to you. Living inside one of these human shells for decades does not give us any better understanding of what we are, what we do and why we do it. We remain a mystery to ourselves. It is perhaps when we notice this mysterious nature of our own selves that we start questioning everything else around us. If I don’t understand myself, how can I say I have understood something that is not me? But how can I possibly understand my complex self, when I do not understand the simple things around me? This is what drives people to question themselves and the world, everything from the tiny atom to the universe on the whole. Some people ask: why bother? Why not? I cannot think of any better way to use my time than in wondering why things are a certain way. It is a most fascinating process if you try doing it, and I am addicted to it. Life only seems like a series of distractions to draw my attention away from this constant questioning, and this thirst for knowledge. It has been some time since I have even had the luxury to spend time thinking about things that do and do not matter. It feels good to have the company of my own thoughts again.

A character in a movie I was watching this morning asked another who gave the a quaint tidbit of information about something nobody would even give a second thought to: “Why do you even know that?”. I don’t know what the character in the movie said, but if someone were to ask me the same question, my answer is simple.. because I want to know. Not because I find it particularly useful or that it would help me in any way right now.. but who knows when I might find it useful? Even if I don’t, the mere knowledge of knowledge is something I find comforting.

If you look at the trend of my internet searches over the last 6 months, you will find that there are some patterns. That is to be expected, as I do have a few things that interest me more than others. But those keywords that do not fall under any regular pattern are so diverse and unrelated, that sometimes I myself wonder what drove me to look for them. There are too many to count, and to remember. Would I be able to retain all that knowledge? Of course not. It is my father who is called a walking Encyclopedia, not me. I have a terrible memory, and might even forget something I read about this morning. But then, I may not. Not if it made a strong impression on me.

So, confronted with so many questions every day, and so many new things to question.. what can I do, but wonder? Who can blame me if I speak in riddles, for someone else to answer for me?