Perfection

Around the edges, the eyebrows taper a little too sharp,
And the face is imbalanced, neither round nor oval, they harp,
Perhaps just a little more effort, could have salvaged Mona Lisa’s fate,
It could have been a lot better, is all that the critics know to state.

When your lifetime of art, is ripped apart, not by a rival worth admiring,
But by a person, who has never managed to sell a two-bit crayon drawing,
And this person has a following, that knows not pencil from charcoal,
Perhaps, that is when perfection ceases to any longer be a goal.

I can never understand, why nothing is ever good enough,
Or why the roundest pebble is still slightly rough,
Or why there isn’t a melody, that didn’t need some tweaking of the tune,
Or how somebody always feels, you could have better drawn that cartoon.

Maybe I will never understand because I refuse to even try,
Often I found it better to understand the sorrow, rather than simply cry,
And when people point out, that my humour has turned a tad too wry,
I ask them to watch the experts fight it out on why deserts are never too dry.

Whenever I hear of a masterpiece having a concealed flaw,
I wonder if it is their own reflection that they saw,
While a hundred thousand knew only to appreciate its beauty,
One guy feels. that parading the flaw is his beholden duty.

You never hear an artist tearing apart the intricacies of another’s work,
A true artist knows, the time is better spent improving his own work,
So the next time somebody tries to put your effort down,
You can be sure the person has lesser achievements than a clown.

So, while the world is waiting to prove that my product has a defect,
I spend every minute, ensuring that my effort is perfect,
The only thing that matters, is my satisfaction, in my dedication,
Because I have already learnt, that acceptance is the key to perfection.

This one is for one of the inspiring Beacons, Paayal. i have since long wanted to write something in the contentment genre and kept putting it off. Kept putting it off until i came across her posts on self-respect and perfection. It forced me to write what i was putting off for months. So Paayal, this one is for you.

Effortless

Man has always been fascinated by the mysteries of the sea,
Maybe because there isn’t an inch of land that’s left free,
So he sets about elaborately courting the ocean,
Alas, if only to his own follies he paid such attention.

For the idle stroller on the early morning beach,
It throws a few cowrie shells within easy reach,
For those too leisured to even walk back and forth,
They simply content themselves with its bubbly froth.

For those eagerly waiting ashore to grab,
It spits out an unlucky or two crab,
And for those too meek to wrestle their own fate,
It merely washes their footprints along with their feet.

For those hoping they can find a boat to launch,
It keeps them grounded with a colourful conch,
And for those who will not be content with merely a wish,
It always washes up a score of patterned starfish.

For those that do venture out in their hard-earned sailboat,
It teases them with fishes too alive to play dead-and-afloat,
And for those who can together cast a crafty net,
Few dozen fishes and a reason for return is all they get.

For the one who swims inside, shoulder against the tide,
To those depths where the first of its secrets abide,
Bearing every insult the capsizing waves deign to hurl,
To him it grudgingly abandons, the coveted mother-of-pearl.

For those merely interested in finding the horizon,
It keeps them busy with the scattering light of a setting sun,
From those concerned about their shoes, to those willing to lose their shirt,
The sea pays them all, to each according to their own risk and effort.

A self-explanatory one for the Gazebo. This was inspired by a line in a background song for the movie Vedam. One the face of it simple, yet profoundly philosophical. The poem has lots of factual inconsistencies, but what the hell, it’s a poem, not a scientific article on oceanography. The message is simple, the sea throws out many things to tempt man, froth, corals, shells, fish, and what not. But the sea never throws out its pearls, they are reserved for those who will dare enough to get into the sea. Each of us gets rewarded by what Investment Managers call, the ‘Risk-Reward Equation’. Although, it may not seem immediate and in-your-face, the reward is always commensurate with your efforts.

Sunset

When the day grows tired, and decides to leave,
The night is more than ready to help relieve,
The ending was too simple, just like any other,
For, each of their lives, were shortened by the other.

Every day was a new fight, every minute new territory,
Only for a day they enjoyed this transient victory,
For, to even contemplate rest, the next battle was lost,
Such was the price that this incessant struggle cost.

Though each one is less than happy to go,
They know there is no way they can say no,
They go their ways because they will surely return,
There is no way this fate of theirs, they can overturn.

Though this is a cycle that will forever repeat,
They never wonder why they both can never meet,
All they know of, is an assumption, a hazy transition,
Something that spares each of them, the difficult decision.

Sight, they know not, to see each other,
Speech they know not, to greet each other,
Desire, they had not, to feel each other,
Fear, they need not, to meet each other.

That the two of them, were so separate may seem so strange,
But they really had nothing in common to atleast exchange,
Despite their wishes, they were forced to remain silent,
For, they know not, such barriers how to circumvent.

Deemed to never be together, they preferred themselves alone,
And nothing described their lives better than forlorn,
Strangers to everyone, there was no sympathy they would get,
For the only friends they both had, were sunrise and sunset.

This one is again another for the Gazebo. Simple it may seem at first, but if you looked deeper, you might realise whom i am talking about, or rather why i am talking about what i ma talking. Initially things might seem as clear as day, but the more we look at some things, the more night we begin filling into them.

We begin to ferret out questions from every answer until there is no question that can be fully answered, and our life becomes filled with that big question of what caused all of this. Was it possible that if we were less curious, the world would be a simpler place to live in, a more content place to abide in?

Black Light

blacklight.jpg

The next batch of them stepped out of the cave,
The first steps they were taking out of the enclave,
Everything went blank, outside, it was just blinding,
So unprepared for things that were now emerging.

Things they never heard of, things they could never believe,
Sights and sounds that their minds would now never leave,
It shattered all their myths, shattered all their cherished beliefs,
It rewrote them, and taught them, facts were the only beliefs.

For them, from now everything in life was just another question,
The only way it answered each one was with another question,
It formed a chain of questions leading all the way,
And every diversion they took was another new way.

The road stretched out for ever with no visible end,
And the light around them was all they could depend,
For years on end, its expansiveness they admired,
And wondered to themselves, how the feet never tired.

They never knew, what they were in, was called day,
Because from it, they could never grow apart, astray,
Through all its bylanes, they would never know the way,
Whether they knew anything about it, they never could say.

The more they explored it, the lesser they knew,
And yet everything they uncovered seemed new,
The more they drank, the more thirsty they got,
And yet, where its charm lay, they comprehended not.

Gradually each one of them began to miss the night,
And wished, for a few moments they lost their sight,
Where were those days, when everything was more than ample,
Back in their cave, their lives had been so much more simple.

To begin with, this one is a paraphrased, versified form of a comment i wrote on Aparna’s blog. Had promised her at that time that i would get back to the topic when i found more time, and now comes that time. Below is the extract of my post then:

knowledge itself is by no means qualitative. it neither creates nor destroys, it just shows people a path. it is what could more properly be likened to light.

imagine a world where everyone was living in darkness(maybe in a cave of simplicity, maybe in a well of contentment), and then one fine day somebody finds a way into a place called light, a place that improves matters and yet complicates them. a place that tickles the restless and thereby hastens change.

it is because people felt too stifled by the darkness of the cave, maybe too bored, that they chose to seek the pleasures of this new city of light called knowledge.

unfortunately theirs proved to be a journey of no return. there was nobody people any longer knew who could shed their cloaks of darkness for these new shimmering dresses called knowledge and soon outgrow dozens of these tight-fitting robes and find a way to get back their cloaks of contentment.

it was an addiction that refused to darken, a disposition that could not anymore brighten. it was the simplest form of organised chaos. one that exploded out of itself only to implode into itself.

the people used to the confines of the cave could never get enough of this newfoundland, because it had no walls, no roof, it spanned an eternity, it spanned the entire horizon, and a flexible one at that. the more they walked the newer the horizon got, but thats all that happened, there was nobody who could ever get to the end of the horizon, to realise that it was one big circular dream that revolved around itself.

thus ended the legend of the cave dwellers, ones who could never wait to get out, and those that could never find their way back home again.

Hardpressed for time as i was on that day, i never could follow it up even afterwards, as different other things caught my fancy, but life being what it is, had to come back to this in the most unexpected of ways. Personally i have nothing against knowledge. Whatever i am today was made possible because of the knowledge that i have gained along the journey.

However, the kind of psychotic that i am, i keep alternating everyday between the quest for my scientific hunger and the thirst for contentment that keeps drying up my throat every other moment. The entire point of the above was more a dialogue between myself everyday, a dialogue between contentment and ambition. Knowledge that by nature has no quality, by its force of power, proves itself as the most deadly temptation human beings ever knew.

It pushes every person beyond their limits, in a supposive bid to increase their happiness. Happiness people believe comes from awareness, from the uncovering of the secrets locked into everything they can and cannot see. Alas, they realise not that contentment too is knowledge, but then nobody goes down that lane, probably a dead-end. It would not seem out of place to expect that people who set out on a journey to keep away from a dead-end, even though that is possibly the only terminal they will ever come across in their lifetime. It presents itself at every turning, and yet the more they see it, the more they choose to ignore it.

Soon will reach a point when everyone would have forgotten what the word satisfaction means. The next generation already believes satisfaction means the beginning of a new pursuit, not the end of the previous one. Anti-progress, anti-development you may think i am. But like i said, what hurts me is not actually the knowledge, but way people choose to selectively imbibe harmful bits of it. Progress is not bad as long as it includes everyone on this journey. But to hoard it up, even when on a full stomach, only to ensure security for tomorrow’s hunger, while many die in today’s journey is what hurts me. It is that contentment that i am talking about.

That is the true sign of a knowledgeable one. One who can share having had his fill. One who can lead others over the roads already travelled by him, instead of walking ahead on a lonely quest of self-fulfillment. Sadly i find this vanishing at an alarming rate among the travellers of knowledge-land today. Everywhere in the world, there is somebody suing somebody else about a patent, about a copyright. Whatever happened to that anachronism called “greater good”. Has it been relegated to the dusty pages of a book that the librarian forgot all about? Or must it be brought back from there only to be sullied by scheming politicians looking out for the greater ‘self-good’.

Though i find this abrupt, i cannot help but end here, for now, as a series of disturbances are pulling me apart from the computer and hope to put in some more, both as a poem and as its appendix, probably on another day, when my mind can no longer bear to merely think over to myself what i feel, like it was today.

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