Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zest

As the month winds down to a simmer, and I look forward to the May flowers that the April showers will bring, I think of the one feeling that underlay the entire month.
The thirty days of thinking about a new feeling every day. A roller coaster from chagrin to sanguine.
The month which has revealed that which I never knew, even existed within me. Some positive and some, not so much.
And at the end of each day, I sat down to push the words out of my mind through my fingertips. When through  weariness, through gloomy times, I hacked away at wretchedness and separated myself from the day, to write.
Through it all, zest in its varying shades, strung together the days of April. An enthusiasm to create ran throughout the month.   
 Today, I struggled to decide whether it was zeal or zest. Talked with a few friends, and realized that the feeling for the month had more of a positive tone to it. No fervor but a nice strong eager feeling. That is definitely zest. 
The vivacity which separates life from existence.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yearn

Aches lie in the heart,
And love shines through the moon.
For all that is forfeit
and all that is attained;
For all that is forborne
and all that is endured;
For paths untrodden
and dreams unrealized,
Yearning sings slow
her melancholic notes.
And slashes the spirit
into chains of tears.
Aches lie in the heart
And love,
Love shines through the moon.

(I couldn't post this last night due to a power outage in our area. So today is a day for two posts!)

Wind played in Mark’s red curly locks. He smiled, as he pedaled harder, sweat dripping down his brow and down his neck. He loved bicycling down this road. The sky dipped down blue on the blue green evergreen on the slopes of the foothills. The road was empty and the occasional car zipped past, making sure to steer clear of bicyclists.
Suddenly a yellow convertible rushed down the road with screaming teenagers.Shouts of aggression.
Mark slowed down.
Then an open bottle flew past his ear, spewing water in its wake, almost drenching him. As he looked back at the car, all the kids laughed out loud. One of the them, presumably the one who had flung the bottle at him, shouted out “Freak! Carrot top!”

X is for Xenophobia

I don’t know if this even qualifies as a feeling. But it being that any fear is a feeling, the fear of strange or foreign objects surely is a feeling? This has translated as a fear of foreign people, and in that context the feeling has easily bled into racism or, just as easily, into chauvinism.

I believe that every form of bigotry stems from a fear, that is difficult either to live with or to be kept hidden. In a naïve sense it is all prejudice. But the full effect of xenophobia probably lies in the fact that the fear begets violent, passionate, and irrational actions. It sometimes takes on a tone more dangerous than someone flinging a bottle at a red head just because of his hair color, or giving a strange look at someone in the grocery store because of his skin color. More importantly, several times it affects and endangers the very lives of people who have perhaps accidentally walked in the vicinity of the xenophobic. It could translate into shooting and killing of a boy in a hoodie for no fault of his other than perhaps wearing a hoodie.

Acts of terrorism, violent acts of discrimination, all look to me a result of an antipathy born of this feeling. The more I think about this, the scarier it seems. There exists no rational explanation for feelings and there certainly is none for fear which may result in the destruction of lives.

That which we fear rules us.

And the fact we live in times when xenophobia is prevalent in so many forms and so close to us, is the scariest and the most depressing part of it all.

My question to myself was: does the fear of the different, even in any diluted version, exist in me? Am I scared of the strange or different? I am embarrassed to say that I have no pat answer for this. Sometimes I'm a bit apprehensive, while sometimes I happily seek the different. Calls for serious introspection I suppose.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wary
I've always thought of myself as a carefree person.
Recently, I was jolted into reality by a look from a colleague at lunch: What sort of Indian are you, whimpering at the sight of red flakes on her plate?
My mum always had a theory about capsaicin and its corrosive effect on the intestine lining. This meant that we never ate food worthy of the chili chomping region in India we came from. As a result, besides being made the focus of ridicule from the extended family, I developed a healthy caution to chilies. Now, one sniff of the hot stuff is enough to make me sweat and my eyes water. My life’s a bundle of derision on that topic. Most people I know snicker when I tell them I can’t handle heat in my food. What sort of Indian are you, whimpering at the sight of red flakes on her plate?

That got me thinking....

About all the other things I’m cautious about.

People selling stuff on the subway.
Walking too close to the road-side of the sidewalk.
Walking down a dimly lit alley, alone.
Stepping on other people’s toes. (Literally, if I’m in the local train in Mumbai)
People who smile a lot
People who don’t smile at all.
Trying different foods.

Wary of so many things. What am I trying to protect?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Vexed

So totally want to, like, stamp my foot, and, like, slam the door at the same time as want to, like, coolly raise my eyebrow, toss my head, you know, and, like, glide out or something? Confused, man, so totally, like, confused.

Vexed is, I think, a teenage emotion. Not the childlike agitation or the mature annoyance, but a teenage mix of both. A state combining baffle and anger. It lies in that misty region between confusion and irritation.
The apt feeling as one shops for a personality, as one tries them on to see which fits. Sometimes one by one, and sometimes, a mix. A flowing evening gown with cowboy boots and a holster. Verily vexing indeed.
This is the young, exact feeling for the capricious time between the blithe child and the wary adult. This word answers the apocalyptic call of the teenage angst.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Upset

U is a tough one to be positive about. All those un-s, uneasy, uncertain, unbalanced and such. ‘Not’ something.
But Upset isn’t not. Well, it is, but it’s not. It's positively negative, if you get my drift. I try not to get upset but I have no fight against the onslaught most days. Upset is a good word for reactions to a range of provokers.

For example when faced with the newspaper daily. All the negative energies revolving around like thick smog in a city road rising up in a mini tornado. Pain, hunger and injustice all precede a sense of helplessness and guilt.

Or when sloppy language jumped out from the pages of Twilight and bit me in the nose for having dared to borrow the book from the library. I couldn’t believe the stuff I was reading about a shimmering vampire had made big bucks. Especially after I see the wonderful writing by some folks gathering rejection slips.

Or when encountering the conundrum thrown at most people by 'they’re vs. their vs. there'. What the heck?

Upset. It’s that perfect combination of irritation and disappointment and anger conducive to everyday usage. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Trepidation

This feeling settles down on my mind and connects my fingertips with the keyboard, in a peculiar manner. The trembling wings of a butterfly as it alights on a flower. A feeling that shakes and shivers, a quiver that runs down the spine.
No fear, yet no lack of it. No panic yet a spot of nervousness.
A slight increase of heart rate. Short, shallow breaths.
Maybe apprehension is a necessity, for sometimes without a nudge from good ole adrenaline, one’s feet are leaden.
I know this feeling. It has been my shadow at every important juncture of my life. At all events, from all the examinations to all the public talks, at the moment of “yes” and the one at “I do”. 
Yes, I know this feeling.

When I think of trepidation, I remember 'trepidation of the spheres' (used in an entirely different connotation) from A Valediction by John Donne. It's not related, but I love it, so I’ll quote it anyway:

Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Sanguine

This is the time of the year for optimism. Spring. The season of rejuvenation. When the earth wakes up after days of darkness and cold. Those days of winter when Depression waits to enter the home and warm itself.
My garden outside is waking up slowly. Crocuses crept up from beneath the thawed soil.

And now, the cherry blossoms have burst out in a pink flame.
Even the most morose of humans have to acquiesce and smile to the sun.
Warmth stretches languidly after a long sleep and slowly spreads.
Time to exile negative moods.
Time to welcome happy thoughts.
Make way for summer!