Letting go

I am a hoarder – gathering memories, books, ideas, music, friends, relationships – in fact just about anything that I can collect and put “my” ownership stamp on. My books. My music. My work. Ad infinitum….

One man’s treasures are another person’s garbage. Nostalgia and emotional attachment might cause possessions to be retained for some time after the accumulator of these treasures has moved on, but eventually they too will pass on. Unless they can be shared or put to productive use, our accumulated assets gather dust and cobwebs and are not worth much.

We just spent an evening with a couple that have been our friends for nearly 35 years. Memories that had receded into oblivion were dusted and refreshed. Forgotten jokes and missing friends were remembered. We laughed ourselves silly over Seinfeld episodes that D and I can recall verbatim. As indulgent parents V and my wife shared our children’s growing up stories. Another era, a different world from our past came alive and transformed our present. My wife’s visiting sister and brother-in-law were able to join in and participate.

We are fortunate that today technology allows the pooling together and sharing of information at unprecedented levels. For instance, one can search for any song, movie or other items of interest on the internet and access things that people can upload from their personal libraries. I have discovered recordings by Indian classical music maestros from the early 1900s that were buried in some national archive. Thanks to the enterprising efforts of some individuals the performances of Gauhar Jan, Ustad Faiyaz Khan and other masters are being resurrected and another generation of music aficionados is benefiting. There are some wonderful blogs to which like-minded people coalesce and enjoy items of interest, enhancing the content through what they in turn are able to offer. Friends recommend and share books to read, discuss and enjoy together. We share meals and attend concerts. Each shared experience enhances our pleasure and lends itself to creating a lasting memory.

This blog is my attempt at sharing things of interest to me, which others might also appreciate. However, my books or my knowledge are not “mine” alone; they are a part of shared consciousness, which is boundless and belongs to no single entity. The tighter one attempts to grasp the grains of sand in one’s fist, the faster it trickles out. However, just by opening up the palm, one is able to scoop up more sand.

A parable about a priest visiting a famous Zen monastery was an eye opener. A priest’s travels had taken him to a city where he had heard a great Zen master resided. He wanted to take advantage of his visit to call on the master at the monastery and arranged a meeting. At the appointed hour, the priest was shown in to the Zen master’s room, which was threadbare. It contained a bed, two chairs, a table on which lay a few books, a clay bowl and chopsticks and a robe hanging from a peg on a wall. After the exchange of pleasantries, the master inquired about his guest’s baggage and offered to provide lodging. The priest said that he did not have any baggage as he was “just passing through”, but then added that while the Zen master occupied his quarters, he too did not appear to have any baggage. “I too am in transition, just passing through” smiled the enlightened soul.

“Faqeeraana aaye sadaa kar chale

Mian khush raho hum duaa kar chale

.. Kahen kyaa jo pucche koi humse Meer

Jahaan mein tum aaye the kyaa kar chale”

[As a mendicant I came and having called out, departed

Stay happy O friend, prayed I when leaving

..What can I say O “Meer” when someone asks

You came into this world (but) what are you leaving behind] – Meer Taqi Meer

4 Replies to “Letting go”

  1. A friend used to say, “Some people collect stamps,” when he wanted to point to a character quirk in others. It was fun to find the original quote in Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version during my read-Canadian-authors phase! So yes, while my books are not mine alone, when a friend loves a book I love as much as I do, it becomes our book, another link in our relationship.

    Loved the Zen parable and the poetry at the end. I always leave your blog with something to think about.


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