The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Author: Lakshmi (page 2 of 327)

The World that Beckons

There’s a world that beckons inward,
A space of quiet, non-threatening, plain and clean

I started going there as a child, I think?
I felt non-judged, felt like myself
(Whatever “myself” meant at that point in space and time)

I thought everyone had this kinda place
Surely, everyone needed it?

It took me a while before I got it:
That space was my own, my gift, a place I crafted for myself, maybe before I was even born
For refuge, for respite, a place to sleep and dream and let the tears flow

I still go there
every day
It is my own

And I like its neutrality

As a child, I felt it welcoming
Now I appreciate neutrality even more

Walls are pale grey-blue
Air flows in and out
There are windows, but none really
I feel the sun, the light and warmth

I hear the water

Is it a beach? A silent forest? Atop a mountain?

Are those clouds floating by, misting over?

Birdsong, chai, sounds of silence.

I fell in love, I just did

Dearest, I love you not because you are kind or smart. Or sensitive or creative. I love you, I just do. I fell in love in a very illogical/unreasonable way, I just did, and the reasons revealed themselves later. I do think that the reasons make you seem like a smart, kind, good guy. Perhaps you are one. Or not. It does not seem to matter.

I fell in love in a way that is silly to explain. “I love you because…. because… because.” It is stupid, it really is! I fell in love, and it just happened on its own. If I had a list of qualities I was checking off, then I’d probably not have picked you. The truth is that I never had a list. Now that I am truly/madly/deeply in love, I can make a good, solid list. I can share it with young lovers.

“Make sure he is kind. Notice the little things he does. Is he rude to waiters? Is he impatient?” And so on.

Was I checking mentally as we went through the motions of love-courtship-romance? Perhaps, a silent corner of my heart kept relaying “good, good” to me all the time. No alarm bells rang, no red flags popped up. And I was satisfied.

I fell in love so simply, I just did. I put all mental math out of the equation. I fell in love, then made up the reasons afterward. And you know what? I bet you did the same. And of course, I wanted to let everyone know that I am a smart cookie, and I picked well. Even in love, I am smart! Not reckless or foolish! But that’s all hindsight, 20/20, etc. In reality, love or attraction made all the choices. My intellect took a backseat. It observed silently, putting in a word every now and then, but not much.

Darling, it is my love that made you the perfect guy. It’s my love that elevated you, made you smart and kind and special and intelligent and sensitive.

Projecting “Beautiful” Ideas

Conversation between a mother and her eight-year-old son:

Darling, we need to move our car because it is blocking Nimmi Aunty’s car.

Mom, who is Nimmi Aunty?

She is an Aunty who has just moved into the city. She is very beautiful.

A pretty innocuous and regular conversation, no? Right.

I think it’s all good too, except the “beautiful” part. Let me explain.

In my family, we are somewhat hair-obsessed. We notice hair all the time. As a child, I heard a lot of “Ooh, what lovely hair!” from my mother, aunt and cousins. So, it became obvious to me at a young age that good hair was golden for a woman. Straight or wavy, black or brown or grey, long or short… It didn’t matter. All you needed was lots of it, and you were set. Thus, the covetousness was born. Now, I am reasonably blessed in the hair department. But I always felt like it wasn’t enough. I remember praying earnestly, God, please give me 15% more hair on my head, just 15%.

I was naive enough to think that people with good hair had it set in life, and that losing hair (or having scanty hair) was a major misfortune. Yes, I was somewhat misguided.

As a student of communication (and life), I am fairly cautious about stating my opinions to young children and teenagers, especially when they revolve around beauty and attractiveness. The absolute last thing I wish to do is project my ideas on to their tender minds. I’d hate for them to take on my ideas as their own, consciously or not. If a youngster is sensitive, searching and impressionable, this becomes a real possibility.

No, I don’t want to create an impression on you. Neither do I want to lend you any of mine.

(Nimmi Aunty is truly a beautiful woman, I can vouch for that too.)