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“The Luxury of Slowness”

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I have watched Tishani Doshi‘s TEDxPalermo talk at least once every day ever since my dance guru shared it with me – and each time, I’ve watched it two to three times in succession. (This has been going on for about a week now.)

Every time I review it, different elements of the speech move me (to emotion – and there’s very little in art or thought that does so). I wonder:

Is slowness the last real luxury we have left, as Doshi states?
Is touching time even possible?
(Would touching time be full Realization, or perhaps just the beginning of Release?)

One particular idea Doshi emphasizes is the idea of exploration during the slower tempo of classical Indian music: the vilambit, during which no lyrics are sung, only sounds of a raga‘s particular ascendance and descendance of sounds.

Which reminds me of a time during my childhood when I learned and practiced such music. With repetition came an eventual flow of practice, especially during alaap (introduction to the raga). Singing an introduction to the classical key signature was a time that I grew to relish: unbound by a beat (which I paradoxically loved, reverberating as it did from a tabla), my mind and heart connected, soared. I sang with abandon and feeling, which are their own ornaments.

Doshi concludes with the thought that if we learn to inhabit slowness, we can make the most of our own crescendos. Early morning practice sessions and weekend lessons with a well-sung alaap formed many a connection between random bits of information floating around mind, and brought clarity and purpose to replace any bit of doubt.

The mornings I that I awakened just a bit earlier than my alarm for an extra-long practice session before school, I went even deeper within myself with those connections and clarity. The day to follow was always like honey: a slow, measured pour, accelerating into smooth certainties.

Written by marginfades

May 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

with 5 comments

I don’t miss you.  

Your son made sure I knew you.  I knew your voice (and Thakur-ma‘s, too) as well as Mom and Dad’s before I came into this world – and its sonorousness lulled me to sleep on those few occasions when I raised my voice in colic.

There’s a recording of it – you didn’t know, and how you laughed when you realized you’d been caught in a rare moment of patience with me – reading me that book of nonsense that made no sense to you (or anyone, for that matter) – still it made us laugh.  Dad surreptitiously starting recording your reading, all of us laughing at the hilarity of a young boy’s curious dreams.  

I still listen to it, still – and you’re there.  That’s why I shouldn’t miss you. You’re here, always, as soon as I conjure you.

The only time I do is when I hear the boatman’s song – plaintive, mellow, in the language we share. And I’m reminded that no matter how closely your son resembles you – particularly in my half-waking moments, when I see your age-bent shuffle beginning emerging in his own gait – you’re really, truly not here.

Baroshekar aador meke
Bheshe elam sagor theke
Baleer toteh notun disha

Adar theke alor mesha
Batash bhara bhalo basha
Ke kandare baicho toree aral theke

Caressed with love
I drifted ashore from the sea
The sand shows a new way

The light blends with the darkness
The wind is full of love
Who are you boatman who paddles this boat, whom I cannot see?

Lyrics & translation adapted from Instant Song Lyrics


Inspired by Prompt A – Day 3 of the Scintilla project

Written by marginfades

March 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Writing

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