Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What's the point of it all?

I wonder if it’s an affliction – the fact that I like most things. Most things that I see, most things that I read, most places I go to, most people I meet, most food that I eat, – okay, that would be almost all that I eat (of course, there can be no such thing as almost all; if it’s almost all, it’s most.) Most Most Most.

I think ‘most’ is a funny word. But perhaps it would be a good title for a book on also-rans; or maybe a shop that sold collections –but collections that were incomplete. Like maybe a trilogy with one part missing; or a really fine cutlery set that’s short of two bowls. ‘Is it a full set? Does it have it everything?’ ‘No, but it’s got most of them.’

As I have already missed the point of what I was writing about, I shall move on to other sundry things. There’s a book by Michael Connelly – I believe it was ‘The Last Coyote’ – that has a very beautiful description of a sunrise in Los Angeles. The protagonist, who a police detective called Harry Bosch, is a brittle, jaded L.A. man. (Harry’s official name is Hieronymous Bosch – his mother named him after a really celebrated painter.) One time he is investigating a murder and he keeps digging up with a whole lot of dirt. That’s when he sees a sunrise and calls it ‘fractured’. He also calls it beautiful; but what I got hung up on was ‘fractured’. I like fractured beauty. There’s a slight twist, some lingering ache...but it stays with you longer.

The other day I went swimming. And it was bliss. I love swimming. I was at the pool with a bunch of friends who I ignored the second I stepped into the pool. It was such an excellent reunion…just getting into the pool and almost hugging the water and then splashing away from one side to the other. Then when I’d get tired, I’d float on my back and see grey tufts of clouds jostle each other gently. They looked sweet and juicy – like the flesh of lychees. Somewhere else I could see hills that were verdant and alive, and the posh cream walls of flats. Sometimes I would spot a really pretty lampshade that got lit as the evening wore on. I wonder who lives in places that look like jewellery.

I want to improve my swimming technique, so I asked a friend to give me a few tips. Turns out my head is not submerged enough, and that’s what slows down my pace. I need to cut through water more smoothly. She also taught me the breast stroke, which is excellent to build stamina.

This reminds me of something funny. After she’d explained how the breast stroke is done, she asked another guy in our group if he would like to learn it as well. He innocently replied, “I know how to do the breast stroke…I just suck at it.” There was much laughter after that. I was underwater when I heard them laughing. It’s such a strange, surreal feeling – these watery echoes from a place that seems so far, far away. Or maybe I didn’t hear them; I just imagined it.

Then the lights in the pool came on and the blue water had these streaks of warm white beams that were such fun to swim through. In fact, if you stayed still for a bit, it felt as if the light was carrying you across the water. But it was difficult to stay still. I’d just go down if I didn’t use my hands and legs. So I tried swimming only with my legs. Felt funny.

A couple of hours later, we decided to call it a night and stepped out of the pool. All the flats seem to be illuminated by then. In the dusk, the buildings shone like gold tie-pins on a sapphire-blue silk tie.

I guess the people in their jewellery homes were happy.


omnithere said...


if ever i get fired (god forbid), i'll come live with you ... till i find a job .. :)

The Idle Devil said...

I loved most :) to read the swimming story...esp the jewellery homes.

Anamika said...

Wonderful way of presenting this, that, nothing and everything. I like your style of writing.