Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Zen and the Art of Tile Cleaning

No, no, NO!
I am not ready to be locked up... at least not yet...
But yes, my life has been interrupted. With uncertainty. 6-8 months ago I thought I knew exactly where I was going, but today I am clueless...
And 2 days into the so-called 'sabbatical' period, I am more confused than ever. My work, which has kept me going for the last many years, is no longer there, and the things I thought would quickly and seamlessly replace that, is stubbornly refusing to fall in place obediently like well-gelled hair.
I had enthusiastically thought of spending a lot of the sabbatical time teaching high school math to my 17-year old. But my brat and my brain are both refusing to cooperate. It is tough to try and stuff calculus back into your own (seemingly rapidly shrinking) brain... and when you do manage to stuff some in, the boy simply refuses to allow me to deliver it to him quickly before it runs out of my ears... stating something aggravating like 'abhi mood nahi hai...'
So you see, I do have my work cut out. Presently, in this battle I retire, wounded, for a strategy revamp.
But haan - I did do one thing on these 2 days that I am really proud of...actually, two.
The first was, of course, creating this blog. I guess it is no big deal for today’s teens and tweens – they can probably start 3 at one go, while having lunch... but for me it was like breaking some sort of a mental sound barrier. So, please, do take 5 seconds out to pat my back.
The second - I cleaned the tiles of my bathroom. Does not sound too impressive, right? I cleaned them really well, and even made some new discoveries - for example, handwash dettol is more effective than Surf to clean tiles! Still not impressed?? But here is the surprise – I absolutely LOVED it...it was near nirvana, seeing the scrubbed, spotlessly clean tiles – after months of bickering with and cajoling the household help. It was so liberating, to be able to do it yourself, the very act of doing something so totally non-intellectual and mundane!
And I remembered a book that Sudarshan had made me read at college – ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. (Those are the risks of dating a Philosophy undergrad.. :-/) At the time, all that philosophising went completely overhead... but now, at 44, and in the present situation, it is starting to make sense. Definitely I need to read that book again.
What is meant by 'good', really? Can conventional/conditioned and romantic modes of thoughts be reconciled? Can rational thought be married to an artistic outlook? Can spiritualism be found in the day-to-day?
Can I get in touch with the real me without losing myself...? The next 6 months might hold the answer...and then again, many lifetimes might not...
But then, I can’t really stop trying, can I?


  1. Good job... keep it up... good to see more people expressing out these days. Indians have been very bad in expressing, especially the women... maybe because in the patriarchal society there ain't many listeners.

  2. love to hear you, here or any where!
    on a serious note, I think there is a message for us in the "abhi moood nahin Hai" statements, kabhi mood nahin hai uska aur kabhi time nahin hai hamara - so what prevails. Think that is a choice we can make?
    The answer my friend is blowing inthe wind, the answer is blowing in the wind

  3. Well I guess one of the main reasons for taking the sabbatical was to solve the 'kabhi time nahi hai hamara' issues - now,, hopefully, it is a matter of time... kitna ladhega if I have ALL the time in the world? Bole toh - 'dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e katil mein hai...' :)