July 28th, 2006

Join the Masses


"The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
- Elizabeth Bishop

[I came across this poem in the book 'In her Shoes', on which the movie was made. Rather nice in its own pop way.]

Life is like, like a cupboard, a box, a storage space. There is only so much that can be stored in it at one point of time. And then, whats on top gets shuffled more than whats at the bottom.
It is always as organized as you want it to be, as the amount of time you spend on it.

Lifes like that. Confused, disorderly, limited capacity. Till you prune the edges, take care, organise, shuffle and care for it.

For every new item put in, there is an occupied storage space. If the place is already full, if theres a lot happening, there is always the need to discard something.

And nothing is hard to lose. It only seems like that. You lose something because - because it was your favorite, you used it too much. or because you never liked it anyway. It is not a loss in both cases.

To go to the bottom of the heap and remove the unecessary is what takes a lot to master.
Once removed, there is no return. Like the burnt letter and the deleted mail. But unlike these physical objects, life is like a cycle, ever evolving. Activities now removed, freinds now forgotten always come back. If they mean something that is.

A spring cleaning is always required. If not done, it can drive you mad. Spillage is not possible, for there is nowhere for it to spill to. Activities cram up, people crowd in. That is when the art of losing comes up - the art to know what to lose.

Losing is distasteful. You never want to leave the old and move to the new. You always want to keep the old and take on the new. the old is so because you spent time, energy, effort and all said and done, your portion of life on it. It is a living proof of what you have done, are, and was. But, it has to be lost. It may seem horrible. But thats the beauty.

The Buddhist monks of Tawang (AP, India) are known for the beautiful coloured rangoli they make with coloured powder using air pipes....intricate designs made over months, sometimes more than a year. Yet, the moment the design is finished, they blow it away, into the wind.
They say, to keep it would be to cling on to the past, to have ties, to not want to start something new.
it is only when they destroy it can they move on to making something even more beautiful than the previous one.
They have mastered the art of losing.

We all have done it in small ways, in big ways. We lost (If I may use that term) minutes as we grew older, our teachers as we changed classes, our freinds as we moved schools and subjects, our relatives as they grew older, our innocence as we learnt more, and so on.

But what we didnt lose, was our memory. It only grew. It may not be at the top of mind recall. But it is still there.
Right from that best freind of primary to the close freind of college. Associated with mental snapshots and smells, feelings and emotions. Our memories always last.

We lose only the physical thing, but never lose the essence. Life may be choc-a-bloc, but the learnings are in a bottomless well of memory.