Search results for 'amaltas'

Sunday Diaries-5

25 May

Or, Nobody Said Stop Breathing II.

Or or, Notes on How Not To Not Have Time For Beauty.

Sometimes, despite knowing better, I give less importance to the act of writing than is warranted by its therapeutic nature. I was feeling fairly ‘off’ the past few days, predominantly feeling that I was rushing to ‘catch up’ but was lagging behind. Like that inevitable trope in cartoons- a cat (or some such) running on a treadmill, not running enough therefore sliding towards the edge of the machine, putting in a panicked fresh burst of energy to gain a little ground until it slides behind again. When the machine is inevitably switched off, in the end, it collapses, with fat drops of sweat pooling all around it.

I needed to switch the machine off and introspect a bit. Part of that involved spending much of today in bed, listening to some chants/music and eventually sharing with a friend, in writing, what was troubling me. Amazingly, though perhaps not magically, the act of writing it down not only clarified for me the cause of my trouble, but also pointed me towards the solution. It took a lengthy WhatsApp monologue for me to realise that I was putting the wrong kind of pressure on myself to create the right kind of work, and in the process I was not enjoying myself, and feeling like I wasn’t doing enough and feeling anxious that I was not making the most of this experience.

Towards the end of last week I attended a concert being held as a part of the annual Handel Festival that this part of Germany celebrates. Not only did I enjoy myself greatly, I could feel something shift in my internal environment. Whilst taking a leisurely walk post-concert I found myself being drawn to exhibits in shop windows and taking photos of things that were catching my eye. I was enjoying myself and allowing myself to ‘play’-which, without noticing, I had stopped giving myself permission for in the past few weeks. I was taking things too seriously-both with respect to the meditation and the PhD- and was beginning to miss the forest for the trees*.

Enough of that. So, for this week’s diary, I’m going to post photos that I enjoyed taking.

A display in town about the Handel Festival

A display in town about the Handel Festival

Concert memorabilia

Concert memorabilia

Then there is this guy looking surprised, twice, in a shop window because that is what fairy folk do when human eyes see them. I call these Fairyfolk by Night and Fairyfolk by Day. Fairyfolk at Antique ShopFairyfolk by day

Next come bad photographs of a favourite phenomenon– the flowering Amaltas.

Purple ones by the Hauptbahnhof. That interesting structure in the middle is the information centre/office for the city bus system

Purple ones by the Hauptbahnhof. That interesting structure in the middle is the information centre/office for the city bus system

Yellow ones by a Gymnasium, or school

Yellow ones by a Gymnasium, or school

And finally, a statue of Frau Charlotte Muller, also near the hauptbahnhof. According to this page, this sculpture was made in 1937 by the artist Katherine Thayer Hobson Kraus. Frau Muller built a stall in front of the station in 1889, selling fruits and sweets to travelers, after (if I understand correctly) there were evictions from Goetheallee in the city centre and hawkers had to move far away from the station. She sat there in all weather conditions, every day, until her death in 1935 and became almost an institution. As part of my PhD deals with hawkers and evictions, this is perhaps particularly apt. (I took this photo soon after missing the train to Hannover, and therefore my weekly group worship. Self-awarded brownie points for making lemonade from lemons!)

Frau Charlotte Muller

Frau Charlotte Muller

One last series of images showing changes in the season that happened before my eyes, but I only noticed through photographs. Sometimes I question whether photography as a hobby is self-indulgent and whether the impulse to make images makes one miss out on experiences. However, this past week made me realise that while the self-indulgent part might be true, it is a good kind of self-indulgent because it trains the eye to notice beauty, creativity, the passage of time…

The day after I arrived

The day after I arrived

The day after that

The day after that

And now

And now

*And as I was glad to be reminded via my blog, this is a recurring theme. I (still) have a lesson to learn about how to work in the correct spirit. I am aware God comes first-indeed, I consider that to be the truth most real to me-but when I’m under pressure to deliver on the professional front the meaning of ‘God first’ shifts in multiple ways until it no longer resembles what it actually means. It means, now and always, to work according to the will of God, to let God guide one’s actions. An essential condition to achieve this, atleast for me, is unhurried, joyful meditation at the beginning of the work day, and keeping God in mind for the rest of the day and allowing that guidance to permeate all action all day. This is clearly a challenge for me, given my past patterns of work. 

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Aside 17 Sep

1. Today morning as I stood in the balcony, I saw three kids in the 7-10 age group in a neighbouring housing society. One of them was holding a plastic cricket bat. Ahh, so nice, I thought to myself. Kids, cricket, life, sunshine…

And then the kid lifted the bat and starting whacking the kid in the middle, just as the third kid simultaneously starting kicking him. So much for fantasies.

 

2. Today is also the day of two pujas in Calcutta. Ranna Puja, which is offered to the Goddess of Snakes, apparently, and Vishwakarma puja, which is offered to the God of Engineering. Cooking a meal and feeding family plays a major role in Ranna Puja, whereas Vishwakarma puja is all about worshipping your tools and implements, and flying kites.I kinda enjoy the idea of paying obeisance to your tools of trade.

I’m not much enamoured of pujas, but it was enjoyable walking down to the Centre today while absorbing the festive spirit. All commercial and official vehicles were decked up in flowers and banana leaves-taxis, buses, rickshaws, fire brigades. There were pandals every few feet, all of them blaring music. A lot of the music I recognised from my extreme youth- they were superhits back then 😀

 

3. Amaltas, Cassia fistula, flowers twice a year it seems. That pleases me.

Amaltas would please anybody –> look!

We have two right outside the Centre.

 

4. The waiting is over. I have my viva date, the PhD is on, as is possibly a fellowship that will actually pay me to do research. The next two months I will spend in Delhi, doing awesome work. There might just be some travel thrown in towards the end.

 

5. I push on with the meditation.