Having too much or too little?

“Too much!” I say to my 16-year-old. We have too much.
Don’t waste your food, eat what’s on your plate, I reiterate. Not because I am necessarily super altruistic about food waste—to me, it’s the “principal of the thing” –it affects us all—When one is a parent-one tries to set an example, teach right from wrong, good from bad, waste from conservation. Principals are tricky to teach-It’s more about action—how parents behave and act. How your parents acted-How you set an example for your kids through your actions. Words are a waste, we use them meaninglessly and ceaselessly. Indiscriminately.

I wish for the day when I can implement one Day of Silence at our house. To do so everyone in the household has to be in on it. To not speak for a day, a week, a fortnight. I do it at a retreat I go to three times a year. One goes about their daily routine, food is eaten with relish. It is as if we are down to the bare essentials on how to live well. We chew food properly until it’s masticated in our mouth, then swallowed, Movement is measured, thought about.

Beds are made, dishes are washed. Baths are taken. All this is done with reverence, respect and sparingly. After the retreat do we continue the silence for a week at home? I’d like to, if the family is up for it. I go to work. At work, the noise of voices overwhelms me! It appears to me that I am listening to gibberish. If speaking is having too much, I’ll take too little.

At home, my daughter joins me for lunch. We don’t speak a word to each other. We finish what’s on our plates, blow flying kisses with a wave goodbye! The economy of restraint. Maybe this is the way to live. Maybe. I look down at the floor and notice a tiny morsel of food dropped from one of our plates, I pick it up and feed it to the cat.

Being Brave

Being Brave

Bravery manifests in many guises. John was tired of fighting–he was assigned to the front line–and was terrified. But, like all his comrades, he put up a brave front. Besides, he would never let his side down, by playing the coward. He wanted respect and men in the front usually got it. It’s basic, the respect, that is. So was the fear. He had enough; he was drafted, he had no choice so here he was, some people in his platoon still left, and all he could think of was he going to be next? It was dark, he had no idea where he was and didn’t dare to light a match. The smell of decomposing flesh was nauseating. He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a piece of Wrigley’s spearmint gum. He unwrapped the wrapper and carefully folded it into the smallest possible design he could and put it back in his pocket. Sort of like  a keepsake. Something to remember this moment by.  He was chewing the gum when he heard  rounds of fire coming from the north: enemy direction. He hit the ground the same time that his buddy was hit. The firing stopped. He felt icy cold and the deafening silence was unreal. It was then he noticed that everyone around him had been shot and he was completely an utterly alone. The illumination in the sky was sufficient to show the carnage.

He put his hand in his pocket and felt for the wrigleys spearmint wrapper that he had folded umpteen times. He felt secure by the touch of it, a moment of normalcy in what was an insane situation*. War sucks. His dreams of coming back a hero, medalled, to show off to his family, friends, girlfriend was insignificant. What was he supposed to do now? He rubbed the wrapper between his thumb and forefinger; thinking, thinking. In shock and, not a soul in site. The quiet was relentless.

So he did what any brave men would have done. He took his rifle, stuck it into his mouth and blew his brains out. The last thing he remembered before pulling the trigger was swallowing the piece of paper.

—————————————————–

Endless Preoccupation

fascination comes apart
when lovers meet
where do they start
missed phone calls
unread texts
forget the bullshit
snooker the rest

games played
only one
what is left
is the noonday sun.
drunken glasses
evening’s come
forget the masses
where is the fun?

sleepless nights
naked in bed
tossing and turning
politics unfed
desire vanishes
struggles to remain
what once was
is no one’s gain

Dream House

Dream House

She worked with architects and saw many houses. First, it was in the looking and in the answering of a question thrown here or there by the lead architect of the group. She wasn’t quite taken with the houses she saw- and once in a while she was stumped by a question asked of her. “What makes the acoustics so good in this house?’? Why don’t the stairs have a bannister to hold onto? She thought she knew the answers to the questions, but wasn’t ready to answer—there was something in each question that she questioned. For instance; “why wasn’t there a bannister for the stairs? She could not (yet) understand why an architect would forego practicality and safety for beauty of line and aesthetics. She mentioned that to the head architect, who erroneously told her she was stupid and if she was going to question a left out bannister, she was nowhere ready to become an architect! She took umbrage to that and decided to leave his apprentice and apply to join another. He was angry, or rather his ego was hurt, that he let her go without writing a recommendation. She left, and in a week, she was snapped up by her former bosses rival architectural practice. That very day after a breakfast meeting of coffee (delivered from Kopi Kade) and donuts: glazed, sugared and in a multitude of colours) he told his students that he was taking them to visit some houses that he had designed along with his partner. Standard practice she thought and on her very first day as well. They drove down the streets of Colombo, until they were in Colombo 3. The driver turned right on Damien place and pulled over to the right halfway down the street. That was the defining moment when Julie saw her dream house. She could tell by the quake in her knees, the butterflies at the pit of her stomach and the goose pimples all over her body. She got out of the car and closed the door and walked slowly to the front door.

 

 

BE HERE NOW

BE HERE NOW

 

BE HERE NOW

Be here now.
Said my father
How? I asked?
Puzzled by it’s
Seemingly simple
But complex notion
I am here
Isn’t it obvious?

No. My father, said
Your mind is all
Over the place
To be here now
One must truly
Be present.

In body mind and soul
At one with oneself
And the universe
Be here now ridicules
running away
From life experiences
And responsibilities

That’s when the anxiety
Sets in. the anxiety reminds
Me to feel
Really feel
The moment
Love truth anguish

Be here now
Is difficult
As the mind
Listens to the music
In the background
Be here now is interrupted
By Ashira walking in.

So all I can conclude
From this exercise
Is that to be here now
Is not easy.
It demands concentration.
A brain that focuses
Under different circumstances
I am all over the place
But here. Not here.

Usually , over there…

The SPIRITUAL Artist

druvinka (1) (1) 5*6

Druvinka 2017B

The Spiritual Aritist
Born in 1971, She was sent to art school as she was considered an introvert. She placed herself in a corner in order not to show her work;  never happy with her paintings, she used to hide her works of art.
She was inspired by Cora Abrahams and Nilanthi Weereratne-she was inspired by the conversations she had with them about art and books. (fascinating)
(Anjalendran was a big fan especially during her early years, He sold a lot of her paintings during that time.)
Cora Abraham, a famous art teacher in Colombo took her in as a special child, because her father was in the military.
Druvinka was introduced to many artists and their work by Ms. Abraham; she especially liked TURNER. His paintings of landscapes and the sea — she thought his paintings very mysterious– She was given blank canvases by Cora who said, “Be Free, Druvinka. Be Free! Express yourself!
Druvinka showed exceptional control and hand movement. It was then that her work went up on the walls and was exhibited in a small way.
She had her first solo exhibition at the Galadari Meridian. Arlene (her mum) and Druvinka organized an exhibition because she got a lot of praise and encouragement from her teachers, mentors, peers and other artists. She spent some time in Manchester, she submitted her portfolio of landscapes and was accepted (Manchester University, Portfolio of Landscapes. )
She graduated from Visaka, went to Manchester and then applied to Shanthineketan (got in and went) Why paint and make a living? “Because even if I have to be on the road I will try and make it” to the best of my ability. When she draws the character, the essence, of her inspired content comes through, other than a photographic message. I cannot get rid of the innermost feelings even now. Soul, essence and skill. Unlike early on, she is not at all inhibited by society or shyness.
Druvinka is spontaneous in her approach to her art, never scared of pressing oil colour onto canvas until something comes up. She paints in layers.
“Shanthineketen showed me the truth; India, Incredible India. One cannot bullshit your way through. Out went cushioning, the comfort of Colombo – In India she confronted reality – Felt small. A nobody. So you have to make it work. A survivor. Classmates left me alone, batch mates never exhibited, but Druvinka had experience. She kept to herself gathering information (an introvert) I didn’t know anything, spoke only when she knew the answers.
Druvinka is now secure in her art.—At Shanthineketen she met her husband, Bodh, a super artist and teacher, who controlled her totally. Bodh and a few others, made up a group called “We are International 1998.” They projected their work onto city walls and trees.
You are a great artist, I think you should work” You are a working artist, Bodh criticized her work, made her work, to make it better. She exhibited at the Lionel Wendt in 1995 and 1996. Druvinka is competent in pottery, sculpture, printmaking, textile design, painting, history of art, western, far eastern, and indian.
Druvinka chose to exhibit at Gallery 706 in 1996 where she showed her Embryo series.
This was soon followed by:
· Refugee series
· Karmic forces,
· Rising
· Lingam
· Beneath beyond
For Druvinka the process is crucial. She paints on raw canvas, bamboo paper, and rice paper. She paints  gods, goddesses, the universe, the afterlife. These ideas, these expansive themes are weighty to comprehend. To try and fit them in it is essential that she uses large canvases. The largest Barefoot has exhibited are paintings 15ft * 6ft. in size. Not for the faint-hearted.
Today, she paints on 1*1 canvases and paper but only for practical reasons. Even though the work is small, the concepts remain large.
1) Magic
2) Tantric
Without the darkness there is no light, dark and light work together — however, dark –eventually light comes out. However much you play with dark, the dark is only used for light to shine. Light is powerful it has to come. Think Leonard Cohen: There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
I have learnt through my Sadana to keep nothing inside, only the moment of being, so it is to becoming childlike, wisdom with no knowledge, It’s not possible to connect with the spirit world without being empty.
I no longer paint but only my body is used as an instrument for channeling from above, to the canvas, so whatever appears is original and a message. Pathal means the underworld… one of the three worlds
Sadana is sacrificing certain things in life and sitting in meditation till you achieve something that you were searching for. Tantra is `connected to dark and light and represents the cycle of life, which is called: Samsara.
Whatever Druvinka indulges in comes out in her paintings.
The 5 elements: water, earth, sky, fire and air, this is the magic and god. That’s what we are made of in illusionary world. The universal truth is Satyam, Shivom, and Sundaram.
Satyam means truth, Shivom is never dying soul, and Sundaram is the beauty of it all.
The spiritual and happy artist; DRUVINKA.
Nazreen Sansoni as told to by Druvinka.
December 2017

 

 

Sweater Weather

Sweater Weather

 
Short days in Michigan
the leaves colors
reminds me of the hills
in that faraway island during the
dry season – the red earth
hot underfoot, crackles
as the leaves drop
making a mound
Smoothies drunk in a café
contain this richness
The liquid slides down
the throat and a coat is buttoned
Outside the air freezes
Smoke blows from the mouth
Cigarette tossed on the ground

The old man mowing his lawn
Wearing his slate cashmere V-neck
holes under the arms,
has never bothered
to get the thing darned.
It is the season to shoot
Gun in hand, A-k47 in another
Looking for Rabbit, Deer, Bear.

Billy wears a brown, round, wool neck sweater
that keeps him warm.
and camouflages him well.
No-one mentions the time he was at
The creek – a body floated up, face down –
bloated and gross from
being in the river for over a week.
The sheriff hushed It up,
Billy was his son, you see.

The Sheriff wore a red wool sweater
A Cary Grant look alike
The people of his County respected him.
The sole reason the body story was
Buried. His word was final.

Autumn in Michigan, meant road trips—a six pack of
Molson in the car; Reuben sandwiches, girlfriends.
We’d sing to Joni Mitchell and Carol King—
perfect tunes for a fall sunset
that seemed to last forever. At night, Deborah Harry
blasted from the CD deck the stars shining brightly.

she wore her purple sweater, made of Angora.
It smelled of perfume: Opium.
Then! San Francisco the golden gate bridge
Swinging in the setting sun
Cars in lines drivers behaving
Even though cars had stopped altogether.
No military that we could see
We drove to Full Moon Beach.
Threw our sweater’s off
And with it our youthful emotional angst
The water was cold.
We could very well had been swimming in
Lake Michigan—

Except for the unforgettable Road Trip.
2261 miles of it.