Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wisdom on the bench!

It’s been a month. What was once crystal clear has now become as hazy as puddles disturbed by running feet. I look back and wonder about the confidence that has since vanished. I sit at parks, alone on benches that have no backs, and worry about my aching spine. I swat at mosquitoes that are as big as the bees that I tend to religiously every morning over at my farm. I look at the kids playing around me and as clich├ęd as it may sound envy their simple joys. What has happened? Why on this sweet earth did I decide to return to a state of chaos?

The other day… Replace the mighty mosquitoes with the noise of traffic, playing children with shopping adults. In the middle of a busy complex, I sit on a bench again, this time with no worries about the back. I am trying to pass sometime, waiting for someone that is taking their time. I worry how I might look to passersby. I worry about my worry and wonder when my worries have become as simple as they are now. Everyone seems to be with someone – arguing couples, languishing thathas on their evening walks, or moms & daughters out to buy something. How did I end up here? Alone on a bench in the middle of the week worrying about silly things? I desperately reach for my cell phone and call a friend from another town. Unfortunately, or fortunately for her, she is not sitting on a bench. Unable to just sit and keep worrying about appearances, I abandon my prime slot to a lady with kids who’s been trying to inch her way to get more space. As I move away, I hear her sigh of relief as she finally gets to spread her wares, and kids, all over the bench.

Fast forward to present day. The mosquitoes are not letting me sit in peace. I try to distract myself by thinking of days past. I recollect sweet memories of sitting on benches that are very similar to these ones a couple of years back. I wasn’t alone then. And I was always holding hands with the father of my progeny! The most pestering thing in my mind those days was how to ensure I eat home cooked food every day. But I am not sure if he had the same thing on his mind! Ha, romance has a way of making your life look rosy and all you worry about are stealing some time together and the next restaurant you must frequent. I wonder about the romance now and all I can think of are new M&Bs that I must buy to pass lazy hot afternoons on foam beds that radiate heat like it’s their birthright. I think back a little more and remember days spent sitting on benches at the beach with my best friend. What on earth did we talk that made sitting on those hard benches for hours and hours together worthwhile? I can’t quiet recall but I do remember we had the best times of our youth on those benches by the sea.

Before I know it, I am all nostalgic. I take out my notebook and pen from the handbag that I carry at all times. I start to write. I wouldn’t have gotten past more than a few sentences before I sense a lady wandering close by. From the corner of my eyes, I see her missile like gaze zeroing in on the empty space next to me. Before I know it, she is sitting on the other corner and chewing her way to glory on salted sweet corn. I look up, trying to appear startled, when a dozen or so kids appear out of nowhere with their mouths wide open. She coos to them and feed them the corn. My mouth waters and I force myself to look away. I was never the one to like corn too much anyway.

I wonder idly why I don’t look intimidating to her. I would have liked to have the entire bench to myself this evening. In fact, that’s exactly one of the reasons I had armed myself with a notebook and pen – to ward off well-meaning lonely strangers out for a conversation. I don’t talk to strangers very well. Why, I don’t even talk to myself these days very well! I think back of all the benches that I had ever sat on and try to remember if I have ever had to worry about warding off company. No, I was always with someone, male or female and that used to be intimidating enough to scare off the best of voyeurs. Whereas now that am alone, funnily enough, I am always surrounded by so much company on these benches. Let me have you know that contemplating wisdom on a bench is very very hard if you don’t have that entire bench to yourself. Especially, if you are always distracted by loud conversations, wafting aromas, and big mosquitoes.

Oh well, wisdom is hard to come by in a state of chaos, yes?