Festival of Lights | A Prose

As I stand on the terrace, chilly November wind brushes past the tip of my nose. I might catch a cold, there’s a 150% chance and I still stand there.

There are lights everywhere, mostly bright blue and green, dangling from houses in vertical lines. They used to be milder and warmer before, but still beautiful they are.

I can smell the fresh marigold all around, blooming in flower pots or hanging as garlands. Their bright yellow color reminds me of warmer days, of summer, of the sun, of the light. Incense sticks burn somewhere behind, it’s smell reminds me of the time I am in.

The city is a jewel in the dark night, devoid of the moon. The night is quiet and yet playful, it shines in colors of all kinds, in its own kind. But this night must end too, like all other nights. And yet I’d pray for time to slow down a little, if not much, for my senses to take hold of the beautiful moment that was, that is and that will be.

When I was a kid these lights could slow time down, filling my heart with the joy of just what it was – lights. I could then just say, ‘There’s still three days before school starts. I should enjoy these three days to the fullest.’ I didn’t know how long 24 hours would take. I’d just remain awake for a long time, believing I had slowed time down. These lights still fill my heart with joy of all that it is, but time seems to be always in a rush, or perhaps I’ve lost the magic keys that could slow it down. Maybe there still are three days before school starts and maybe I should still enjoy them. There are still 24 hours in a day.

The lights will return, perhaps in different shades the next year, but the oil lamps will always burn, radiating the rays of the sun.

30 Minutes of Traveling: Deep Fried Crunchy Samosa

I told myself it’s okay to
want to go all by yourself,
to take little chances to discover
pieces of you scattered here and there,
to have people stare
when you’re sitting there
waiting for no one in particular to appear.

I want to eat a samosa,
that deep fried crunchy samosa
I’ve always loved,
as a child, as a teen and as an adult. 

I told myself it won’t rain hard,
drizzles are merry times,
that sprinkle your shoes with a little water.
Even if it does rain
home is nearby. 

I told myself it is okay to explore alone,
to walk the roads you’ve walked with others,
newly blacktopped roads
welcome me with narrow bends.
Maybe it wasn’t a bad idea after all.

I want to eat a samosa,
deep fried crunchy,
but end up ordering its variant.
Right after I lay my eyes on it,
it feels like a bad idea.
Yes, it was a bad idea.
I hurriedly order a lassi
to improve the taste,
I end up receiving a drink
with sugar particles instead.

I tell myself it’s okay to make wrong decisions,
food is a little thing,
there are mountains to conquer.
All this for a deep fried crunchy samosa.

Re-creators of the Magic

I was halfway through Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun when a thought suddenly struck me. Murakami is a master storyteller and I have been awestruck by the scale of how he imagines great patterns in simple lives. His first person narrative is haunting. It feels all too real. But this is not what struck me in this particular moment.

It was his Translator with a capital T.

South of the Border, West of the Sun is translated by Philip Gabriel.

I have been reading translated works for a long time, but surprisingly the idea never struck me before. Some people choose to live as translators, in the shadows of the author so that we may be able to relive the magic of stories that would otherwise have rarely reached us.

And I’d always thought that it is the author’s book. It is, it definitely is. But may be it is not just the author’s book anymore. It is not just Murakami’s words anymore. It also belongs to Gabriel, whose translation takes me as close as possible to what Murakami intended.

To the re-creators of the magic.

Why Teaching is one of the most Incredible Jobs on Planet Earth or even in Mars!

No, I am not kidding. Sure I didn’t do the finances and while teachers may not appear much on Forbes list, they undoubtedly had hands in getting the names on top.

No sugar, no chocolates. No butter. Only what I’ve felt for a few years, not because I teach, but because I had the opportunity to step into some classrooms I wish I could replay time and again. And with the belief that so many more are yet to come. 

Let us begin.

First thing first. It’s Guru Purnima in Nepal, our Teachers’ Day. Yeah! Wishes to all my beloved teachers!

Let us begin again.

A few months back, one of my high school teacher put up a Facebook status that read something like this: My students think that teaching is a boring profession, but I love it anyway. (Great!)

Can’t say I wasn’t that student once. But I no longer am. If you still do feel that way, here’s an invitation to swap your eyes!

Let us really begin now.

Here’s why Teaching is one of the most incredible jobs on planet Earth (if you could find one in Mars, it would still be equally spectacular!):

LEVEL: DIFFICULT

You think it’s easy to have 80 eyes staring through you throughout 90 minutes, watching every tiny little detail of you, noting down every word you say? If you think conquering kingdoms in Age of Empires was hard, think again! Our teachers would not even need extra alliances to get through all this and win! You are victorious!

VORACIOUS LEARNERS

The one that cracked the most witty jokes in class, the one who taught without teaching at all, the one you learned to truly respect, have worked REALLY REALLY hard. It certainly didn’t happen one fine day. They are the absolute voracious learners.

INDIVIDUAL MARKETEERS

Well, this one is my favorite (one of my favorite!).

Each year a new set of students arrive in class, with freshly pressed uniforms that are smeared with mud and sand by the end of the day. Each child is different, each class is different. Some classes are noisy (I’d have to admit ours is!), some are too quiet. It’s different everyday. (We are quiet sometimes!). Teachers are the best individual marketeers in the world. She remembers what will make Sanima happy and what will irritate Rahul, which toy is Raj’s favorite and why Rima won’t do her grade two homework.

YOUR FIRST MARKET

If some of my best teachers wrote books, I’d stand in line to buy them, get them signed, not because “they are my teachers and the need to buy their stuffs”, but because they are so great that anything they touch is going to be golden. (Did it get a bit cheesy there? If it did, enjoy the free cheese. If it didn’t wait for the next cheesy line.) (While I hope they’d buy mine too! *cough*)

CHANCE TO INSPIRE THE WORLD

Loaded with cheese.

 All of our superhuman teachers are just normal people. They have crazy dreams (like owing an original Rolex Constellation, opps! its Omega Constellation! Hope you get it soon!) and they feel the pains of the world just like we do (taking about the tragedy of the commons and politics, and just plain rain pain on a motorbike). Amidst all these, they teach not just calculus and the Allegory of the Cave, but also speak of dreams, fears and courage.

गुरु ब्रम्हा गुरु विष्णू

गुरुः देवो महेश्वरा

गुरु शाक्षात परब्रम्हा

तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः

(The Sanskrit Mantra that says teacher is the equivalent to god and the universe.)

Bonus Point

ANYONE CAN BE A TEACHER

三人行,必有我师

(Confucius’s saying that if there are three people walking, one of them must be my teacher.)

Applying some partial rule of logic, if we can learn from anyone, then someone must be able to learn from us too.

To all my teachers out there, from the ones at home, to elementary school, high school, university and beyond. Each one of us must be honored to walk down this path of yours, to have met in this path.

P.S. Teachers have access to some best libraries around.


Wishes on Guru Purnima again! While my words will never do justice to the wonderful people and their profession, it was worth giving a try.

Til’ the next post

A student who asked too many questions in an attempt to ask the good ones,

Alfa