if i were to write a book of sorts that reflect on the journey we’re all on, i’d title it ‘the great learning’. for in essence, isn’t that all we’re here to do? to learn, to err, to ideally grow, and maybe along the way we make an attempt to contribute. and then, we learn some more.

i do not really know.

and as these dreams of The Great Learning floats in my head, i must confess the sever drought i have been in when it comes to the actual text. they require words. and for the time being, i have none.

these past few months i’ve been on a grand learning of my own. more to know about this country my passport claims me to be from, more to know about myself, about the world, about love, about life, about work. and best (and worst) of all, the possibility of a foreseeable future. how terrifying indeed.

and in this highly educational experience i find myself unable to put together the big plan. unable to give shape to what is to come. unsure about how to sew together these various components i have been bestowed. so much has occurred over so much and so little time. i am at a loss of how to put it together.

for now, i continue, as i have been doing for years, in fragments. still hoping, always hoping, that the words will come.

i once heard, maybe in a song, that the opposite of love isn’t hate. it’s apathy.

perhaps along the same lines, the opposite of motivation is lack of inspiration.

as it stands. right now. i suffer from both.

and a crippling inability to write anything worth a damn to anyone.

the weight of a crippled heart
and the sting of eyes that cried into the night
persist over the tasks at hand

thirty years of a love lost
three decades of a love fumbled (not found)
dissipate into bitters

two days of silence
two months of distance
and perhaps the danger

of history starting again
from Act I

the impossibility of lovers.

i’d like to watch you dance
to beats of jazz
to see the way you’d move those feet
and the rest of you too
to see your movements blend in with the beat

you said you were a good lead,
i’m willing to let you try

i’d like to dance with you

I’ve been to Pashupati several times. I’ve wandered around the temples. I’ve watched (and stayed as far away as possible) from the monkeys. I’ve seen ‘holy men’ from Indian and Nepal roll and light up, roll and light up, smile, and light up. I’ve seen smoke float by as the deceased burned from across the river.

I had never actually been to the ghat.

I have never actually stood by to watch the earthly body of someone I’m connected to give into fire and embers. It’s been over a week and yet there is a sense of…something…that remains with me. Something of how our lives are…meaningless. fragile. temporary.


Looking at your friend as they observe mourning rituals is strange. Identifying members of the family by their bare feet, is strange. Not being able to say ‘namaste’, not being able to hug or even touch those you so desperately want to comfort…is strange.

Stranger still was the air. The entire time I was in Pashupati, I felt dizzy. As if just floating off into a high, or coming off a trip that you were lost in for a while. A sense of things not being real. As if everything was happening through the lens of a documentary, seeing things in snapshots, viewing everything as unique combinations of color and light:

The feet of my friend’s father peering out as the pyre was being prepared

Dalda melting on the pavement as it waited to add fuel to the pyre

Mangy dogs who pant and sit by the feet of those who do not kick them away

Children picking up coins dropped by another funeral procession

Landless and homeless people sitting in the mounds of their belongings

The tourists. oh the tourists, the tourists, the tourists.

And above all, the throngs of tourists opposite to the ghat, watching, leering, cameras in hand. At one point I wanted to go over and ask them all to leave. How can such a sacred part of life be a show for tourists? I cannot imagine how they would feel to have us lurking by their funeral processions, taking photos as they wept at their loss. How could they think it was okay to watch and take photos as grand mothers grew faint with grief, as well wishers came and went and came and went. Where in all this do we premit those in loss to grieve in dignity?

The whole thing, the experience of it, I can best only process it in fragments.

And even as I write this still, the vacant high of the ghat comes back.

In the end, we all go the same way-ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

darling you smile in stride across sparkly sidewalks
that glimmer with diamond dust
i can hear the sunshine in your voice
so far away

i see you’ve dusted off my city breeze
i’ve seen your face grimace across potholes
your agitation grow over bumpy roads
your distain of rain sprinkling your side
you don’t like squish in your shoes
you don’t like muddy feet

but where your diamonds lay scattered
where your sidewalks lay paved and even
my roads
my streets
they shimmer in rain
the catch and toss light
these sides walk into roads
and my feet they have different woes
dipped into pools of summer waters

you don’t see cuz you don’t look,
but baby
cracked concrete shines like you can’t imagine
and the crumbling aphaslt that frustrates you so
break into dirt paths
that leads me home

i’m okay with taking these walks alone


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