Thursday, 16 April 2015

Spring Cleaning



-Brian Mendonça

 Several festivals have marked the onset of  Spring, viz. Holi, Navroz, Gudi Padwa, and now Easter.  But what does Spring do for us?

Spring heralds a new season, a time to do new things, and relook at old ways of doing them. It suggests a ‘spring’ in the step, a ‘springing’ to action from being otherwise dormant, and a new awareness of the gift of being alive. Like Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring (1912) the flavor of the season is to be bold and path-breaking.

Spring cleaning suggests that we clean up our homes, our work spaces, and  often our minds. It is a time to take the plunge and do things one may have not done in any other season. Most importantly it is deciding what to discard among the burgeoning heap of books, clothes, toys (yes, baba’s), scraps of papers, bills, etc. For the lady of the house it may be the chipped teapot in the kitchen, ill-fitting wear, but absolutely NOT the old photographs!

The moment the space is cleared away a new energy inhabits the cupboard, the book rack or the cabinet. The space is ‘tabula rasa,’ a clean slate, waiting for the new to impinge on it. Cleaning up can make us feel very pleased with ourselves and can lift us out of a low mood.  Nida Fazli put it eloquently, ‘Apne gam leke, kahi aur na jaya karo /Ghar mein bhikre huay cheezey ko sajaya karo.’ [Take not your sadness to another’s place /Instead gather the scattered things in your house and arrange them.]

While the move to tidy the place appears nobel, I have often been prodded into spring cleaning simply because I can’t find something. As I embark on this activity hopping for the truant item to show up, the untidy spaces automatically tidy themselves. In the bargain, items long thought to be lost are detected triumphantly from drawers and suitcases!

There are so many who are not here to share this Spring with us today.  We lost our grandma from Corjuem last week. Newly-wedded Lieutenant Kiran Shekhawat, became the first female naval officer to die on duty when their Dornier crashed into the sea off  the coast of Goa.

‘April is the cruelest month,’ wrote T.S. Eliot.  Shakespeare, born on 23 April and now a super brand, might not have agreed. * April is also the month devoted to autism awareness.  TIES, Goa --A parents support group for children with disabilities (Towards Inclusion Everywhere In Society), has special programmes to reach out to the autistic.

One day I was preoccupied with my thoughts on my way to work. I noticed the windshield was dirty. I braved the traffic. Minutes later I parked, got out of the car and wiped the windshield. That started my ‘Spring cleaning’ for me. I also began to ‘see’ more clearly as I stepped into Summer.
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*See ‘Branding Bill: The Shakespearean Commons’ in Economic and Political Weekly, March 21, 2015. www.epw.in; Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 5 April 2015; pix courtesy Huffingtonpost.

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