Quicksilver

September 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Me + Myself + I | 9 Comments
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I confess I have been rather negligent towards this blog whose poor soul has been tangled up in webs and dust in some lone forgotten corner for what seems like centuries now.

Though the reasons for my absence have been many, I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that I refrained from writing for so long. Actually, my mind has been giving me a lot of trouble in the wrapping department lately. Seems like every time I try to wrap it around something, the darned thing proves itself about as much wrappable as an Electrasol Powergel Dishwater Detergent (with Power-Jet). Messy and slippery, I mean to say.

It has now been exactly 56 days, 20 hours, 28 minutes and 31 seconds since I turned eighteen. And that, to me, is the most un-wrappable thing in existence.

For me, age has always been one of those ‘things’ that every one is forever harping on about along with shopping, shoes and other such unworthy things. Until now, however, I had managed to tuck the whole ‘Age’ thing in a remote corner of my mind, something amounting to ‘just a number’, and nothing more. But now, suddenly, age is no longer about the numbers, but what society calls the ‘deeper stuff.’ I mean, Eighteen. Even the word Eighteen sounds so grown up. Compared to, say Twelve, which seems cheerful, Fifteen, which seems carefree, and Seventeen, which still manages to seem quite friendly, Eighteen sounds too menacing and grim and cold and serious.

And yet, the thing that I’m not able to understand, the thing that’s absolutely driving me mad, the thing I cannot figure out – is why I still cannot come to terms with it, despite trying my best to. That’s the funny thing. I don’t feel eighteen. I’m not talking about feeling ‘grown up’ and all that, just feeling eighteen, for what it is, nothing else.

But now I think of it, it’s not just to do with being eighteen. I’ve always felt any age but my own. Sometimes I feel like a total kid, but at other times I’m weighed down by things and thoughts, far advanced than my age, that scare me that I’m actually a 60 year old trapped in the body of an eighteen year old.

Maybe, as JE puts it, it’s due to my being more interested in eating the cake than in the number of candles it has. Or maybe it’s just due to my mind resembling Electrasol Powergel Dishwater Detergent (with Power-Jet) as usual.

Anyway, of all the darndest things,  ‘acting your age’ is certainly the most difficult. Is it something inherently impossible, or, does it, as with many other things, become better with time? If that’s the case, I hope it proves itself less slippery than Electrasol Powergel Dishwater Detergent (with Power-Jet) in the coming years.

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One of These Days

September 1, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Life as I See It, Randomosities + Rubbish | 6 Comments
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‘The best thing about the future is that it only arrives a day at a time.’

I remember reading this somewhere ages ago (it was Abraham Lincoln who said it), and nodding and thinking to myself, ‘Yes, that’s true no doubt, but how boring.’

That was me being the highly dumb girl I was at fourteen, who used to think only thrill and speed amounted to an exciting life. Now that I am older and ahem, *clears throat* wiser, I do not agree with that speed-thrill-stuff philosophy at all.

In fact, I wholly appreciate the truth that future arrives a day at a time and that’s the best thing about it. I mean, what’s the fun in speeding down the road with everything passing by in a blur? That way, you’re always racing somewhere and in the end, you end up getting nowhere at all.

Still, it perturbs me to see the days passing by in a flash when I can’t get anything productive done. A feeling greatly aggravated when I get a book called Scientist Extraordinary: The Life and Scientific Work of Thomas Henry Huxley out of the library, and come across a passage like this:

…continued entries in Thoughts and Doings (Huxley’s little notebook in which he made irregular jottings when he was seventeen) bear witness:

June 20 [1841]
What have I done in the way of acquiring knowledge since January?
Projects begun:
1. German
2. Italian
3. To read Muller’s Physiology
4. To prepare for the matriculation examination at London University which requires knowledge of:-
(a) Algebra-Geometry
(b) Natural Philosophy …did not begin to read for this until April
(c) Chemistry
(d) Greek-Latin
(e) English History down to end of seventeenth century
(f) Ancient History
(g) English Grammar
5. To make copious notes of all things I read…I must adopt a fixed plan of studies…and let me remember this – that it is better to read a little and thoroughly, than cram a crude undigested mass into my head, though it be in great quantity.

…Bloody hell. I can’t imagine how anyone could be so assiduously brilliant.

To be honest, I think it is more inspiring than aggravating. Hmm, I can’t quite say that I would be able to study Greek, Latin and Italian simultaneously, with History, maths and chemistry thrown in (that would really drive anyone up the wall, unless they’re a genius like Huxley which is highly improbable).

My obsession for self-knowledge notwithstanding, it is high time that I got down to work, now that’s summer’s over and all. Wait, SUMMER’S GONE?!

…seriously, where did the last few months go? Oh dear, not Time again.
By the way, it turns out the evil thing is now sending me snide reminders and premonitions. I don’t know why, but ‘Time’ by Pink Floyd comes up every time on shuffle on WMP (Yes, I support Microsoft).

‘Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you,

No one told you where to run, you missed the starting gun’

And just I happened to be watching the rain when it came on today. On top of that, Anne Dillard goes out of her way to shout at me “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” from top of the page of the big book of quotations in the morning.

I swear, the Universe is rubbing it in my face.

(Annie, that was certainly a bit of worrying advice. What, am I going to end up spending the rest of my life with my nose buried in a book, living off chips and irn bru, and writing pointless entires like this? Oh, now I’m seriously disconcerted!)

But, but, but at the end of the day, it’s only a day at a time. Phew. And there are so many days. There’s birthday, death day, graduation day, this-day and that-day. There are good days, okay-ish days and some truly terrible days. Our life is sent to us as presents wrapped in these twenty-four-hour-period boxes called ‘days’. All of us would rather the presents were only good, lovely and perfect. Well, hope as we might, that isn’t the case and from time to time a nasty present will turn up. Shocks, disappointments, failures, frustrations – all wrapped neatly with a big fat ribbon on them.

But, when it comes down to it, there’s always another present waiting for us the next day. =D

(Oh, and isn’t Huxley’s opinion on reading stuff just brill?)

A Letter to Time

July 26, 2008 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Life as I See It, Musing + Mulling | 5 Comments
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Dear Time,

You are a funny thing.

Except that you have a twisted, sick sense of humour. Yes, you do. It really isn’t funny how you can be more indecisive over your speed than George Bush over his multiple-question choices when confronted with an elementary quiz (even with all the options being exactly the same).

Why, for instance, do you have to travel at painfully slow speeds during every Botany lecture? Or, for that matter, when ODT takes up the mic and resolves to display his shameful singing skills? Or during those ridiculous traffic-jams? And you shamelessly zoom by whenever I happen to be sleeping, or reading, or in a concert or in the library or in an interesting lecture or sipping coffee while thinking about nothing in particular or…well you know the list.

You know how many times I’ve cursed you and begged you but you blow all the whining and cursing with one ‘Pooof!’ of your breath, throw back your head and laugh, saying ‘Relativity!’ Well, relativity all right. I expect Einstein spared you the shame of asking you how long you took to choose your pizza topping.

Anyway, I’m a bit alarmed and disturbed by you. Well, you know, us humans are always a bit alarmed and disturbed when it comes to you. You knocked at my door on the fourteenth of this month and pah! now I’m seventeen. Thanks to you, I’m hit by dumb questions from dumb people such as ‘Are you grown up yet?’ from all sides. I mean, come to think of it, there would be no such questions if it weren’t for you.

‘Are. You. Grown. Up. Yet?’
they ask from all sides, in a sneering, idiotic fashion that brings back – I don’t know why – memories of a particularly sinister chorus of an advertising jingle I’d heard as a kid. And then, I can do nothing but tell them to shut up. Growing up was never (and isn’t ever going to be) on my to-do-list, I tell them airily.

To-do-lists. That brings back memories too. Remember when I was a silly little girl of eleven, I’d make stupid, gigantic to-do-lists that included every wee thing, including even things such as brushing my teeth at night? It sounds so strange now. I never follow a To-Do-List (I don’t remember checking that little box in the ‘done’ column in ages) now…though that maybe, er, due to my failure to follow them.

But really, that’s the problem with the world today. For most people, life has become an endless chain of To-Do’s. Do this, do that. And you go on running, adding more and more items to your To-Do-List at every stop, but never once pausing to stay and care to look.

So…back to you. I’ve already whined about you being oh-so-unfair. But what are you, really, Time?
Do you even exist? Are you just an illusion? When did you begin? How will you end? Don’t you ever get tired of…going on, all the time? Don’t you ever rest?

Yes, I pestered you with these questions back as a six year old and I pester you with them now. They’re maddening questions, you know. You don’t how much humans fuss over them, and over you. We owe life to you, and yet we don’t understand you at all. You’re never absolute. Most of the humans are terrified of you. You’re the biggest bully we’ve ever known.

It’s easy to say you’re cruel. That you are merciless and intimidating. But don’t feel bad. It’s because of you that we have such a thing as memories – belongings that we gather and carefully preserve above everything else. It’s because of you that we can have music. That we have life itself is due to you. OK, that’s enough praise to last for a lifetime.

And what exactly is a lifetime? And what exactly is a moment?
Oh, I can hear you sighing now and wishing I’d stop with all these questions already. Well, all right, I’ll stop. But before I do so, let me ask you something. See, seventeen years isn’t really a long time when you’re looking back at them – no period of time is. Thing is, you’ve always been there, always hovering in the background, leveling every thing. But at some point of my life, I hope you’ll finally relent. I know that one day, even if for one fleeting moment, you’ll be still. And that moment will have been a lifetime.

Until then,
keep ticking.

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