Sunday, March 19, 2006

The missing me!

(FOR POEM, scroll down)

The missing me has been busy living my alternate ego, my life as a scientist. As much of an aspiring scientist as I am an aspiring poet. I travelled from Atlanta to Maryland and back within a week, driving through Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. In fact, my Slovenian friend, who I call an "honorary Indian" was driving us and I was just "driven". Coming out of socialist Yugoslavia, and communist past, Slovenia seems to share a lot of socio-economic problems with India, and talking to him always makes me realize how our seemingly different worlds are not all that different. I am reading Doctor Zhivago by Pasternak these days, and this being (one of the greatest love stories ever told) set in Russia during the revolution, makes me look at Socialism in a partly nostalgic, partly critical fashion. Ideas and ideals, if achieved and perceived correctly, are as good as they are when they first appeal to us. But, as humans, we have potential to bring the worst out of a plethora of great possibilities.

We stopped one night at a small town in North Carolina, with a new found friend. The local pub was full of people who seemed to know each other too well. In fact, there were four or five pubs in that street and three said Members only. A few beers later we killed some time playing table tennis, and watching how African-Americans outsmart their white counterparts on dance floor. Perhaps members only in other pubs and bars was to promote exclusive time with the girls who are with you, and hence must dance with you irrespective of your stiff step and unrhythmatic body.

We were staying at Slovenian friend's house, who besides being a great hostess, was as charming and smart as one can be. There are few people who immediately make impact on you, for you can see how well organized their thoughts, room, research and conversations are. I live my life in a very chaotic way, disorder is what I cannot escape in research, poetry and life, and yet I think there is a beauty on being on this plane of randomness. Perhaps looking at her world from this plane makes it look it more wonderful. I think I will be happiest to find an Indian girl who is like her, but well there is no hurry yet. I must first get divorce from studenthood:)!

Conferences are like marriage parties: the presenter is dressed up like a bride, while all attendees sit and applaud her performance. A few disgruntled aspirants stand at a distance and scoff at the whole exercise. Vows and promises are made, all qualities are presented, quantities are bragged about, and every uncomfortable detail is left for future work. This future work thats based on a white lie is responsible for strife in marriage; for extra work for students who try to repeat the experiments later. I loved the conference, the endless talks that weighed heavier on my eyes than the coffee cups that were unable to provide them the lift to stay up. I loved the conference, for it is quite an ego trip for all us warriors present there as if for a showdown. I feel like a gladiator, though I did not kill any tigers. There is another conference in a week, and I will be out of the loop of reading and writing for another ten days or so. Unless I scribble something as I am doing right now!

Johnny Cash provided the soundtrack, interspresed with the Cure, Enya, Dire Straits and all the Classic Rock provided by FM channels we found on our way. Pink Floyd's Wish you were here kicked off discussions about drug abuse, Van Halen's Jump reminded of rock shows in Delhi, We are the champions by Queen and Dreams by Cranberries have queer memories associated with my MS Thesis time, and a Slovenian and an Indian raced through tracks in American style, hogging burgers and beer, Hooters and Hardees, Afghan and James Joyce in Baltimore, college bar in College Park and another one night at Rayleigh with another nice connection. Its a small world, and now I know five out of two million Slovenians there are. (According to my friend, Slovenia is second most popular tourist destination for British tourists travelling to Europe. He does not care to find out which is the most popular one:)!!)

Meeting with old friends provided me a much needed perspective on things. Faith in self is important. Paramount. Having fun in life is essential, both at home and at work. Things can be made much worse or better by being more honest to yourself than we usually are. Things become better with time and effort. Aging cannot be reversed. Wifes are good for health, nutrition, equilibrium, focus and as an inspiration to graduate. Finishing PhD takes forever, everything that follows happens instantaneously. Kids are much harder to handle in comparison to advisors. Drinking beer is more healthy than drinking milk (a Harvard professors research results). Whatever you do in life, do it in a way that when you look back at things, you can say "ain't it amazing that I did this".

I did write a poem on my way to Baltimore, and completed it on my way back. Here it is:

You, an empty page

I stare at you, an empty page
you show me nothing, no words
jump like flares at my face,
perhaps, written in magic ink
are sounds that will fluoresce
when caressed by a scorching gaze.

I stare at you, an empty page
you make faces, but no letters
twinkle from your unfathomed space
perhaps, will glow in dusk
like fireflies, become apparent, dance
the phrases of your unspoken grace.


Anonymous said...

Some of the best poems were never meant to convey anything, mean meaningful. Just sit back and have the readers pull their hair out of their roots

But for some inexplicable reason i liked it, actually found this inspiring the weathered ol poet in me. Wished it was a lil longer...

Silent Melody said...

Sharma ji, that was such a nice narration. Easy flowing and fun!! LOL @ the Conf. descriptions. I must admit I did not read the poem though ;-). Laterz

Vivek said...

thanks maltova and silent melody... though maltova, your comment is an interesting one:)!

crni said...

Hey hey! Thanks for the props, padji! Very nicely told.