The week that just elapsed has been so important to my life, for too many reasons. A good hammer to this frozen lake. So Yeats said happiness is ‘neither this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing’. Somewhere in this mix of joy, anticipation, fear, boredom, disappointment, confusion and the whole helluva smorgasbord of emotion, I think we miraculously are growing; we’re getting somewhere at least - we’re onto something.
How does one sublimate a week of experience into words or images? So much to sieve…For starters, the image of sitting in Jewel Cafe across faces I’ve somewhat grown to love to distraction. Three of us feeling somewhat displaced and spaced for individual reasons at this point of time, but fastened together by a mutual bond of ridiculous affection and that impulse to simply be-together. Food was on-the-house, courtesy of Joy’s gig of illustrating for the cafe. It was an occasion which exposed our rather vulgarly (gastronomically) exploitative tendencies, but what the heck, YOLO, or rather, YOGetFreeFoodO.
Heartily exhausted from the earlier conversation of the day (worthy of 20 blog posts in itself), I was in a little bit of a casual daze as we sat down to order. At this point early Franz Ferdinand was playing out of the speakers…
So if you’re lonely, you know I’m here waiting for you
I’m just a cross-hair, I’m just a shot away from you
And if you leave here, you leave me broken shattered I lie…
Instinctually mouthing these faux-despairing lyrics I was washed with a gradual wave of mild nostalgia. Yes, this is the 90s kid equivalent. It was a missing that couldn’t properly locate itself as often is the case with songs or smells. It evoked not places nor persons but just another previous state of my being, slightly younger; that slightly more primitive point of self (in hindsight) and how the world appeared then, to which these lyrics obviously had no relevance. (Well, almost nothing has changed in this respect since I’m cajoling no one…)
Then slowly came the host of associations in more concretized forms. I was sad because I remember, if I’m not mistaken, of sharing this song with Chong Lii when we used to exchange stuff through thumb-drives, and in the midst of it creatively making intricate/humorous folder-mazes inside the drive for whatever pleasure could be derived from opening digital folders. Then I remembered also the video for this track - the collage and posterized look and all, which my brother and I watched in those days when I was for some strange reason, glued to MTV all the time, when the vitality of MVs was so magnetic.
All the power and potency of faint traces of lyrics and melodies. How you could be listening to one song again to resurrect a memory on a bus ride, while new memories are being encoded through the headphones of the person next to you. Such was the tiny phenomenon that happened yesterday at Artistry. I will never be able to listen to any reggae track without the image, or thought of Mr. Jackson filling my mind. Watching him completely in his element, DJing in that leisurely charged setting was very heartening. The sensation was amplified by the fact that the VA students were together, even strangely united in that place, albeit by our rather incongruous presence.
I’m sure somewhere beneath all that leisurely banter was a sense of urgency to make connections, or rather make them last, for we knew that in several months we’d be hurled off across different continents (or stretches of wilderness). A comforting discussion of various threads/options of trans-continental communication seems peripheral at this point because we’re really dealing with the very fact of change itself, of being apart in new ways. The implications of us growing up as individuals; citizens of this bigger country of - the world.
This week has, in its own way, renewed my faith in human connection and in the beauty of emotional nudity. In one week alone I have felt so much tenderness and affection for those who have taught it to me, and this is only a fraction of the story. I don’t want to think that time is being siphoned away by the universe of whatever governs us. I don’t want that sense of unfairness or unnecessary urgency anymore. With help perhaps we can be seasonable, reasonable people; moving with grace. With a little help from each other.