Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Timing Cry

Time was not linear. Far, far from it. Time wrapped in on itself, converged and entwined and embraced events and feelings and moments, then danced away into separate gleaming, shining, precious strands that stood alone and resonant before merging again into the vast stream.

The Preserver rested and dreamed, and time wove itself in and around and through him. Memories fluttered through his mind like gossamer-winged insects: a word that shattered centuries, a thought that changed the course of a civilization. Individuals whose insights and aspirations and even greed and fear turned seemingly inalterable tides of destiny into something new and fresh and hitherto inconceivable. Moments where everything teetered precariously on a crumbling brink, where something as intangible as an idea would send everything hurtling into oblivion or pull it back to safe, solid ground.

Each thought, word, deed, life was a mere drop in the vast ocean of time, constantly merging and separating to merge again. The concept would challenge some minds, the Preserver knew; but his mind had been destined to hold such contradictions as things being separate and having no separate identity. Grasping such elusive concepts was what he was born for.

Over all these thoughts of words and lives and ideas floated a terrible urgency and fear. Time was not linear; time was shifting and changing. But there were patterns that floated to the surface, their interwoven strands so clear and strong that even the dimmest minds could grasp them. Inevitability? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Again and again the pattern appeared in the swirling waters of time and destiny and luck, submerging and manifesting with a cold precision that made even the Preserver quail.

All the knowledge he held was precious; every memory, every sound, scent, sensation, voice, word, thought. All were vital to his being.

But this knowledge, of the pattern that had happened so often before and was about to happen again–ah, this was what made the Preserver more than important to his time.

It was what made him indispensable.

He opened to what was out there, every second that ticked by in its nonlinear, unique majesty challenging him to close in on himself, to not expose himself to the pain of the debris caught in the swollen river.

He could not allow himself such luxuries.

Not when the horrific knowledge of what had come before, and what was certain to come again, polluted the waters of time in his psyche.

He summoned all his energy, and sent forth the cry.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Of Skis, Guitars and Guns

I guess being on the road can be a harrowing experience if one lets it. For me, the 24 hours travelling time I clocked yesterday weaved by easily. It is amazing what the loneliness and solitary mood escorting me at the outset can be a rousing force to put a ceasefire to my lonesomeness. I met about three to four different characters throughout my journey - people whom I never would have thought I would know in my life.

On my first leg of the journey, I sat beside a couple who was returning to Sweden. We warmed up to each other almost as soon as I took my seat. We mostly talked about vacation spots particularly in Bali and they kept mentioning how beautiful and nice KL was. They briefly visited KL just a few days ago and wanted to return for a longer trip next year and asked me for some recommendations. I broached the subject of visiting Sabah and they were convinced, I hope they see it through. We even shared a common interest for skiing and I now know the spots to go to if I ever visit Sweden. These were very polite, humble and nice people. They asked about my job and purpose to New York, I even found out their first grandchild was born a week earlier and they can't wait to see him. They even shared a little about their marriage - marrying at the age of 20! When we parted at Arlander, it was with a sense of apparent friendship. They kept on reminding me how beautiful KL is, and how great and friendly its people are.

I met another interesting character on my way from Stockholm to Newark. Here was a lady who just got married a couple of weeks back and was missing her husband so, so badly even though he was just 20 rows behind us. I found out that she manages 3 local rockbands in Sweden and her husband discovered the 3 bands and also co-managed them with her. She is more on the administrative side and her husband more to the talent discovery and song production side. She let me hear some of the songs they produced and although I do not understand most of the words, the tune was very nice. I liked it very much. They were going to Brooklyn to visit the husband's family after their marriage and we talked a little about meeting the right person of your life and doing the things you love with the person you love - there can be no greater joy, or at least one of life's greatest joys. And these two were hardcore rockers that came complete with the tattoo and piercing package. They were dating for 17 years before tying the knot.

The final character was by far the most interesting. I met him at the arrival in Newark airport. He was my driver. During the trip to the hotel, we began our conversation with the usuals - weather, journey, time, vacation spots and the likes. Eventually I learned more about him. This chap was formerly in the army and was an army detective during the Vietnam wars. He was stationed there for 2 years and completed his tour of duty in '68 just before the US pulled their troops out of there in '69. He then enlisted in the police force and then became a detective in the NJPD. This career of his lasted 27 long years and he has been to many parts of the world and seen many things. He was asked to join the NYPD but declined many times for reasons he only wish to leave it as - he loves life. He spent the next 17 years in semi-retirement as a limousine driver. His grandson is enlisting to become a member of the NYPD and he owns a house in a small island in the Bahamas where the water is only 48 feet from his house. He is divorced, does not speak freely of his wife and children and has strong reservations against the current leader of his country.

I finally arrived safely at New York and realized that meeting these people truly has added to my perspectives in life. But recalling all these people I met along the way and the conversations I had with them - I can't help but see the irony in all that has happened to me or around me the past 24 hours or so. Some people are too refrained in living their lives, some has too many open-ended outcomes, while others use sincerity as a weapon to smother the doubts in their hearts. We are all knowledgeable in our own ways and using it to assist us in the best way to live our daily lives. It is not our job to judge others for what they think, do or feel.

The paradox of an informed society is that over a period of time, it is susceptible to bias towards the same sources that project powerful information.