Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Endings and Beginnings

Brian Mendonça

Where to start is the problem, because nothing begins when it begins and nothing’s over when it’s over, and everything needs a preface: a preface, a postscript, a chart of simultaneous events. History is a construct. Any point of entry is possible and all choices are arbitrary.

Still there are definitive moments, moments we use as references, because they break our sense of continuity, they change the direction of time.
                                                                                                -Margaret Atwood The Robber Bride

And so we have come to the end of another year. Well, almost. It’s sad but true that some of our loved ones who were with us at Christmas time may have not made it to the New Year. By accident or by design. Largely by accident. I lost Arvind years back to a bike accident during Christmas season in Goa.

Gauri Gharpure notes ‘On the treacherous roads of Goa, some 300 people die in 4,500 traffic accidents every year, or an accident every two hours. It’s not just 300 dead people, but 300 unfathomable tragedies, each one leaving indelible scars of loss.’

6 hours (and counting) – will take us shortly to 2014. So what is so momentous about it all? To begin with, the gift of the year ahead. Time is what you make of it. My favourite end-of-the-year pastime is to scout around for a suitable diary for the next year. One such on the internet exceeds the usual brief – it has two pages per week interspersed with quotes and space to write one’s own ‘thoughts, ideas, dreams, plans, hopes, doodles and lists.’ A diary devoting space to penning one’s dreams!

In the run-up to Christmas I actually tidied my bookshelf. One of my New Year resolutions is to read fewer newspapers, and read more novels / poetry / drama and the like. The precious little free time I savour is usually consumed by maudlin media reports. Reading them is a chore, stacking the papers, a real challenge.

I would also like to publish my third book of poems. Since I have self-published the previous two, I reckon this would not be too difficult. Any takers?

Getting back to prayer is something I have to seriously work on. There is so much to be thankful for. Somehow it seems we all take so much for granted . . .

Working out is no longer a luxury – its mandatory. While I do spurn heavy-duty food (sometimes) and stay away from the soft drinks (often) nothing like the surya namaskar to begin your day. Brazil hosts the FIFA World Cup Football fiesta between 12 June – 13 July 2014. This is something I am definitely looking forward to.

Spending time in outreach programmes has always interested me.  ‘Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.’ / ‘Give. Sympathize. Control.’ counsels T.S.Eliot in his poetic work The Wasteland drawing from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Fine precepts of life indeed.

Finally, I’d like to live a more conscious life. And change the direction of my time. Definitively.

Happy New Year 2014!
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 29 December 2013. Hours changed to 6; Image courtesy Keith Garrow

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