Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year Irresolutions

1. Speak! I tell my memory.

The intention is to learn one - just one - poem a month. It's a laughably modest target, I know, but when Bill Murray said one baby step at a time I took him seriously all those years ago.

There's an inbuilt danger that I may cheat, of course, and use this as a chance to refresh memory rather than tax it afresh; I might pretend I never knew some poems and learn them as if for the first time. Philisophically, I think that's a worthy enough experiment, but in this year of the apocalypse, I think I ought to prepare for the day when I might be known only by the poems I remember.

It's arbitrary, but I also feel I ought not to learn poems that are: too short - by which I mean less than 14 lines; my own poems, though god knows, it would be nice to remember what I wrote and what I designated as the 'final version'; only in English.

2. Something for the hands

Not that I'm terribly dextrous or anything, but I've been noticing that I rarely do anything anymore with my hands. I don't take photographs, I don't draw, I don't do that much cooking. Nothing is made, fashioned, refined or altered and that's just wrong.

There's a half-finished cloth doll I began for my son some years ago, that I should get out and keep propped up on my table to act as my whipmaster-mascot for the year.

I think of the 99 year old lady I met in Chennai this time. We've been sending 'kind wishes' to each other via my grandmother for the last couple of years and this time I had to visit her. She had made these tiny, delicate, melt-in-the-mouth rava laddus (god! I never thought, in my most bizzare dreams, that I would say that) that existed in a state between roundness and disintegration. How she managed to make them, store them and serve them without destroying them deserves a post all to itself. It was miraculous, not only because of how hard it is to make a half-decent laddu, but because of how she did it at her age.

(This doesn't mean that I am going to make laddus. Breathe easy, all of you.)

3. Talk more

By which I mean, I should talk to one other person who is not family, at least once a day. And no, mails don't count.

I have realised that my phone is almost permanently on silent; that I rarely return calls I've missed and that I don't talk to anyone unless I'm compelled to. I've forgotten how to make small talk, hang out, exercise the full range of my actual, vocal abilities. No wonder I haven't written anything I can use in the last six months.


So this is the year when I make blindingly obvious resolutions that I hope I can keep.

Now: what poem should I learn first?


Banno said...

I'm not that sure about learning a poem every day (for myself, that is), but the other 2 resolutions, irr .. could well be my own.

Space Bar said...

banno: no no! not every day! Just one a month!


S. said...


It so calls out to be sung!

Fëanor said...

You should always start with something light and bright. Like this

Banno said...

Oh sorry, sorry. I got the poem and the speaking to someone mixed up. Learn a poem everyday, and speak to someone every month. :)

km said...

I see "What about Bob?" has flung its net of influence far and wide.

This doesn't mean that I am going to make laddus.

A laddu-obsessed nation lets out a collective cry of despair!

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

You could start with Dylan Thomas' "Fern Hill". So lyrical and evocative, but difficult to memorise.


SUR NOTES said...

I am taking the 'make with your hands' resolution very seriously. Its the most meditative thing i can do - made a batch of strawberry preserve at mid night the other day.
And talking - i need to do that with friends. Chatterbox like me has to think of things I want to talk about because i seldom hang out with friends anymore.

Remembering a poem - I think I am going to add this to my list. Had gone for 'Remembering Dubey' on sunday at Prithvi. And all the lines from our various plays, and the poems and prefaces he had made us learn kept coming back, in full glory. It was special - had forgotten the pleasure of caressing words, sentences and thoughts in one's mind and speech- not as conversation.

Space Bar said...

Thanks for the suggestions, folks. I feel, somehow, in the mood for Auden. So I think I'll go with this:

km: Bob has seen me through some bad days, I can tell you.

Sur: Exactly! Exactly! In the spirit of the irresolutions, I made, for the first time ever, wholewheat bread. That should have a post all to itself, so I won't say more.

I remembered you the other day for some reason, when I thought of Anand Patwardhan. I remembered his disappointed shake of the head when we were all at the swimming pool and you had forgotten the words to some protest songs.


Post about the Dubey memorial? I wanted to call you on the day the notice came out but I didn't have enough money in my phone.