Sunday, 13 November 2016

Privilege



The curtain’s cracked silk, and the dawn comes in
and darkens again. I’m glad I was here
when you sang beyond these windows – anthems -
defiance – profane - that was also a hymn -
though the meanings weren’t immediately clear.


Glory, I guess, and grief too, must be felt
before the seaweed heroes can be seen,
waters and wakes that must be cupped and held -
webs of light and sound, and jet-ski rebels,
before trash flowers float on aquamarine.


The waves tonight are banded with debris
of amber light, the skyline polychrome.
I’m held up by this flimsy balcony
made of words, wood and brick, a tracery
of senses. And the jet-skis have gone home.




Some truly ghastly things happened out in the world since I wrote here last, but the silver linings are still there - except those nothing is permanent. Most changes are reversible, or cyclical, or something like that, takes their edge off. Anyways, everything is maya and moh, all elected leaders serve their time and leave, no matter how hard they might grab at anything. Also  a little shocking the cavalier attitude of certain nations! I mean if Russians have a say in everything, then surely I and my RotW-fellow-citizens should also get our share of voice, no? Someone has started an online petition for just that, 'in-a-fair-world-everyone-should-be-allowed-to-interfere-equally-in-the-US-elections' type of thingy, I am happy to report :) 

Back in India, the PM announced without any notice that a couple of denominations of banknotes would stop being legal tender after Tuesday midnight. Now I live away from ye olde homeland, so you'd expect this would not affect me. Except that I have only those denominations here, and so far not one option has been devised for expat Indians to change their notes back if one is not physically present in the country. My entire pitiful wad of Indian cash will have to be shredded. So I am going to be even more broke than I already am, didn't know that was even possible! Thanks for showing me there's more nuances to being penniless than I had thought, Mr Prime Minister! 

Seriously though, the one irreversible change that affects me the most, is the passing of Leonard Cohen - a poet and songwriter close to my heart since I don't know when. Many of his songs are my comfort blankets, my go-to dose of solace in out-of-control situations (e.g. when some obnoxiously rude, misguided misogynist lost to all sense of decency and what's due to high office might get elected to it halfway across the world. Or when your own PM gets into some weird Cinderellaesque mode, also halfway across the world.)  

Hallelujah, Suzanne, Dance me to the end of love, Everybody knows, no knowing how many times I have listened to them. He's seen me through teenage acne to middle age cash crunch.

Heartbroken, devastated, desolated, anguished, I saw these words circulating freely on social media, but I've no words for the profit and loss this past week. The profit side always seems heavier in my eyes, no matter how many notes stop being legal tender or how dismal the misogyny index of the world. 

All I can say is that I am profoundly grateful that I was here on this planet growing up, and growing old, when Leonard Cohen sang. Some privileged upbringing! 




12 comments:

  1. Hi Nila - a poignant post ... and so much has happened, is happening regretfully ... while we remember the things that affect us ... I'm listening to the Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph ... and remembering the times I sat with my mother - while we watched the Service.

    Your bank notes put things in perspective ... but I'm sure I'll remember Leonard Cohen for longer ... he was an incredible poet, songster and writer ... so evocative ... so many lost this year.

    All the best - Hilary

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    1. Thank you Hilary. Hope you had a lovely day there, wishing you tranquil memories...I watched it on the TV here...too many icons lost this year...

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  2. It was a week of crazy. Sure it won't be the last.
    That's really terrible your money will be worthless. They should give people options everywhere for trading it in.

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    1. Pretty sure the crazy will continue. Am hoping they will get to expat options sometime soon...but I don't think so.

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  3. The world is diminished with Leonard Cohen's passing - and richer for his presence.
    I wish the same was true of rather more politicians than is the case.

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    1. Poets/musicians make their worlds richer, politician's mostly themselves.

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  4. Hallelujah gets me every time. As for your poem (excellent), your money, and crazy USA- big sigh applies to all.

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    1. He was a great performer, apart from being an amazing poet. His Hallelujah always gives me goosebumps, prefer it over every other cover...can't beat the original...

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  5. A beautiful tribute to Leonard. As to the rest of the world...
    We shall see.

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  6. Fate certainly has thrown a lot of disastrous curves at us lately. I hope your own money situation is solved to your satisfaction, and soon.

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    1. No chance of that I'm afraid...not from what I am hearing as of now. But... hope for the best and plan for the worst!

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