{Kings of Convenience, do feature amongst the music I would like to drive with or sleep over. This band is known for spearheading the New Acoustic Movement, for being a gentle reminder of Simon & Garfunkel. Their lyrics surround one with a sweet and pleasant message drawn out from life….. just like Simon & Garfunkel. “I’d Rather Dance with you” topped MTV Europe’s list of Best Music Videos in 2004}

The sky over me is dark with moody clouds; the downbeat percussions of life provide the melancholy beauty to the day. There has been a nostalgic glimmer in my eyes fixed on the horizon that is struggling to find a sliver of metal….humans are beyond those articulated bodies made of segments and joints with a kinematic model infused with flesh, blood and intellectualized yet gradually emancipating bundle of nerves to simulate one dominating aspect of life. We tend to describe humans as ‘he is fun to be with’, ‘I feel so comfortable with her’, ‘it feels soo great when he is around’, ‘there is a brooding silence around him but he perks up when I talk about his favorite author’ etc etc. If I progress on this thought, most of us are ‘emotional spaces’ or ‘emotional architectures’, where we develop, test and contain varied forms of dwelling that are compatible with our physiological abilities, unseen yet to be explored desires as humans, across different cultures dressed up in rich fabrics with kaleidoscopic motifs.  The ease of movement within a space defines the degree of possession of personal space one’s hips appropriate. I recall one of my interpretations when I was reading Iris Murdoch, “all of us are surrounded by this unbearable silence, and we fill this with people, their conversations with us, the hopes that we built further on them, the grief that lurks somewhere around the corner….” How true, all of us are like those empty houses, shrouded in foggy stillness, the garden that is overgrown with weeds, long grass and ugly patches of shadowy grief, the loneliness of the situation made itself so unpleasantly felt and someone has to come to unlock….”…..By “the loneliness’, I meant when we feel the “lack of connect’ with the ambience and people around us, and we effort in to create a few ‘Emotional lounge bars’ in our lives to sink into!

Faith Popcorn, in her book “Clicking’ {a work-piece on trends in the society, the evolving needs as felt by humans), talked about “Clicking with Small indulgences”—-Busy, stressed-out  people, seeking quick-hit gratification, are rewarding themselves with ‘affordable luxuries’. It could be a glass of wine amidst packed schedule, a rich dessert, a languorous bath with aromatherapy range, an afternoon at an urban minispa (a sauna + aromatherapy + a facial…Bill Zanker’s Great American Backrub Shops feature “Backrub Plus, a 10-min luxury for $16.95, McRub}…it’s like a ‘Pleasure Revenge’, with an edge of anger, a decision to go ahead and be reckless, a who-cares-what-anyone-else-thinks attitude. A vengefulness.It’s more about ‘treating yourself well, Ironing those thin silvers of frustration and relishing a psychic soul-lift’….   

She quotes, ‘All over the country, enterprising bakers are opening shops that specialise in fresh, crusty breads. At NewYork’s incredibly earthy Eccne Panis, it’s hard to choose between warm, crusty focaccias, topped with sun-dried tomatoes; chewy bread braids, interlaced with onions, anchovies and olives;and rustic round peasant breads. The prices would make the Sunbeam girl faint, but bread lovers line up for the elegant loaves..’   NewYork’s Takashimaya department store, one of the most original in making tea a small indulgence, besides elegant rice paper tea bags, the store offers polished wooden tea scoops and sugarcane swizzle-stick stirrers. Look at the success of Anita Roddick’s Body Shop, and Estee Lauder’s Origins Shops. The stores offer a delighting array of aromatherapy items – infusers, inhalers, oil burners, scented pillows, fragrant eye masks – all Small indulgences that deliver that ‘longed-for-quick-fix life’. Does not it sound like ‘an affordable escape from the mundane existence’?

The one Small Indulgence I enjoyed the most, which I feel, within the reach of my arms is to lean back and take a quick trip down memory lane….one of such kind happened last week, when I strayed away from the presentation I was working on.   

A{ link:little Russian story that falls under a “Child-family separation theme’ by elegantly earthy short story writer (shall I say teller?) Anton Pavlovich Chekhov} One of those Russian stories I read and cried over when I was a child, I dreamt a very happy ending for, just like Vanka, whose letter is addressed to his grandfather (address : The Village, to my grandfather Konstantin Makarych”…no other address line! Letters were to be put into post-boxes, and from there they were conveyed over the whole earth in mail troikas by drunken post-boys & to the sound of bells….though it was so unclear and an abrupt feeling that the letter would ever reach his grandfather, I wished fervently for that to happen- when I was a child. Can one ever explain a child’s innocence ? Would I be able to explain my admiration for Red Post-boxes that shot up soon after I read the story, when I was walking down to the school, everyday ? Was I able to convince myself with the realistic end of the story of an unfortunate boy, the futility of his sincere efforts, when I grew as an adult, out of ‘Vanka’ story). Is not it so blissful to know that “everything is possible in a child’s world, which so miserably, fails to stand firm in the world of grown-ups, despite the fact that adults are more equipped to achieve things or fulfill their dreams or get things done in the way they expected them to happen, than little children. yet!          

Vanka, a 9-year old child who has been to apprentice to the shoemaker, wants to run away from his miserable existence at his master’s – who beats him, gives him little to eat, and runs back to the warmth of his grandfather and his village. A tiny child who is being exploited by the world of grown-ups. Chekhov makes this story more poignant through constructing the narrative in the form of a letter Vanka writes to his grandpa on a lonely night before Christmas. A nimble and honest tone of a child expressing his helplessness and his basic needs ‘last night I got a thrashing, my master dragged me by my hair into the yard, and belaboured me with a shoe-maker’s stirrup, because, while I was rocking his brat in its cradle, I unfortunately fell asleep….food there is none. In the morning it’s bread, at dinner gruel and in the evening bread again..’   A child’s first ever encounter with grief and his consistent battle to run away, a stronger desire to embrace the warmth he savored with his grand-pa and those delightful moments he spent in his little universe, which, now appears to be a ‘far away dream’ …he promises his Grand-pa in his letter , ‘I will pray to  God for you, and if there’s anything wrong, then flog me like the grey goat. And if you really think I shan’t find work, then I’ll ask the manager…let me clean the boots or I’ll  go instead of Fedya as underherdsman…I wanted to run away to our village, but I have no boots and I am afraid of frost….” How the little child delights over his grand-pa ..’he was a small, lean, unusually lively and active old man of 65, always smiling and blear-eyed. All day, he slept in the servants’ kitchen or trifled with the cooks. At night, enveloped in an ample sheep-skin coat, he strayed round the domain tapping with his cudgel..’ how the little child daydreams about and smiles over one of his grand-pa’s dogs…’Viun was an unusually civil and friendly dog, looking as kindly at a stranger as at his masters, but he was not to be trusted. Beneath his deference and humbleness was hid the most inquisitorial maliciousness…’ It’s not just a story but an experience that evolves with one and shows different hued vignettes of life!

{dedicating this post to Akram, one of my best friends…..boy, I truly enjoyed 4 hr long pleasant conversation with you on our terrace…I learnt a lot more about my friend, you, who has been in my life since 1999. Glad that you came back from Sweden happy and cheerful!}