In an interview with Krista Tippet, Sylvia Earle, said….

“That’s the joy of being a scientist and explorer. You do what little children do. You ask questions like: Who? What? Why? When? Where? How? And you never stop, and you never cease being surprised. It’s just impossible to be bored.”

I stumbled upon one of my unpublished blog posts from a few years ago where I ponder on my admiration of passionate people. Here is a snippet..

One thing I can say about myself with utmost certainty is that I am passionate.  ( With great passion comes great disappointment. 🙂 )

I feel happiest around dreamers – those who envision futures not only for themselves but also for the ecosystems they inhabit. Who spend their lives reforming, re-configuring this vision. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met many such people. Some, I find are passionate about the smaller, more intricate things in life, others about the universe. These are people who never stop trying to improve their minds, motivations and the world around them. Naive as it may sound, it is this relentlessness in people that drives me to find my own passion.

I wrote this on Nov 21 2014. As I read it back to myself, I infer that it is not passion I am exploring, but wonder. Passion is but a part of it – a sizable subset but a subset nonetheless.

Listening to Sylvia Earle speak about the ocean with such awe – ‘inner space’, as she calls it – I am reminded of how wonder is so integral to my being. It is integral to my admiration of other beings.

Wonder
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable
.

Imbued with curiosity, awe and humility, wonder amplifies an inquiry rooted in knowing that one knows not enough and in an openness to let another surprise us. The loss of wonder often incapacitates me – tipping me off into poignant spirals of existential questioning.

I hold in me an optimism that is not always ‘optimistic’. While I understand that optimists can be not-optimistic in ‘shitty times’, it is not an argument convincing enough for my endeavor to mathematize this. As I further meditate on this, I see that it is not optimism but wonder that is the true anchor for me. Debilitating wonder is directly proportional to diminishing optimism.

We talk about optimism like we speak of love – as a single, absolute entity. You either have it or you don’t. Like all love is the same, or everyone that is optimistic might find one universal system to analyse a situation. People are optimistic about different things, in distinct ways, for different reasons. Surely, something so subjective must be unique enough not to box into one universal definition.

In the act of purchasing a salad at a salad bar, one makes decisions about what ingredients they might want based on how they feel that day, knowing that the outcome of the purchase will always be a salad. Optimism is not one thing but a time-bound configuration of a multitude of factors. I have known my optimism to be a product of many thoughts, feelings, objects and actions – wonder being my kale.

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Dear Other Something,

I’ve been thinking about reliability. Needless to say this is about you and I – since self-indulgence is second nature to us.

I want not to live in fear of your unreliability, but in the beauty of it. You are my Other Something because you live within me but you are that other something by virtue of your innate unreliability. I know you cannot be anything else – but my feeble self is left with a deep resentment of you. One that is unfair, but inescapable. Might there be love in resentment, Other Something? I do love you as I know you love me.

You have agency Other Something, that which I do not. You walk in and out as you please while I am still in anticipation of what you might bring this time around. I am fearful of you – I do not wish to be. You bring me pain, Other Something. You bring with you uncertainty, instability, insanity. You are not a creature of love, I know. Your kindness is your hostility, I understand. But how must I internalize that! I do not know how not to hope that one day you will love me through compassion and not pain.

Other Something, we have come a long way – we have a long way to go. Four years ago, I thought you were unkind, today I understand why. The last time you saw me, you stayed for a couple of years. This time your visit seems shorter. Stay with me, Other Something. Show me resilient love.

Lovingly,
Your other something

Dear Other Something,

It has been a while! 4 years ago when we first met, I never thought we would meet again. I truly hoped that we wouldn’t. But here we are again – you and I.

Have you been well, Other Something? When you left, I was mending. I would eventually learn that every ounce of what one creates must be tended to – and mending will become a way of life. In losing you, I lost my urge to mend. But I couldn’t bear your closeness, my dear other something. I couldn’t bear your free will, couldn’t stand your rationality and I loathed your proximity to me. I am sorry I was not stronger. I am sorry I pushed you away. You were a mirror to my cowardice and I hated that.

I was naive. I didn’t know what you were. You were this other something, a force, alive, inhabiting my body – surfacing every fragment of its fragility. You were so free spirited, I came to believe your spirit had taken control of me. The truth was so far removed from reality that I never knew what I was wading through. I guess I still don’t. All I knew then was to run away from you. And so I did.

I felt you today – moving and shifting and shuffling me from within. Reminding me again of how fragile my body is, reminding me of its nonexistence, displacing and distorting my organs. Deceiving my irrational mind. The discomfort you bring is one I am most familiar with, yet I have struggled to find you in my memory. I write to you out of selfishness. I write to inform you that I am strong now – a lesser coward, a more forgiving being. Teach me how to live with you….teach me to let you live in me. My Other Something, I am ready to have you back, if you will have me.

Love,
Viniyata

2 September 2017
( 1.28 pm, Goldens Bridge : in the forest by the reservoir water )

Are the Squirrels coughing?
Do they belch, do they whistle sometimes?
Is it the sound of a swing of their tails?

Are the twigs and branches cracking their knuckles?
Could these be the sounds of little feet as birds perch on the massive trees?
What makes trees shed their barks? Is that what this is?

Maybe it’s the fish – making bubbles underwater
Maybe it’s the water, feeding the algae
Maybe it’s the algae, drowning the dry leaves
Is this what it sounds like when leaves drown in water?

Maybe the ants are racing
Or maybe it is raining tiny acorns
Are the pebbles just trying to fit in?
It can’t be the sound of my thumbs typing on my phone screen, right?

What does the forest sound like when I’m not here?
What does it sound like when I am?

Note: There is a very small sound – it is in abundance in this forest. I am trying to figure out what this sound could be…

Soundtstories is a personal exercise that helps me document the world through sounds alone. The task I give myself is to listen to (and record) sounds chronologically but omit conversations.

28 December 2016
( 2.13 pm, by the waterfront )

A train on the bridge
The river on its bank
A bicycle
Some footsteps
A train approaching from afar
That sheet of paper, resisting the wind
The aluminum in the bicycle again
A train
A horn
The leaves and the wind
The river splashes on the rocks
More footsteps
A stroller
Another train on that bridge

Soundtstories is a personal exercise that helps me document the world through sounds alone. The task I give myself is to listen to (and record) sounds chronologically but omit conversations.

27 December 2016
( 8.03 pm, in Bobst Library )

Click
Type
Click
Type
Click Click Click Click Click
TypeTypeTypeTypeTypeTypeTypeType
Click Click
Click Click Click
Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click
TypeType
TypeTypeTypeTypeTypeType
Click Click Click Click
Type Type
Click
Type Type
Click Click Click Click

Soundtstories is a personal exercise that helps me document the world through sounds alone. The task I give myself is to listen to (and record) sounds chronologically but omit conversations.

14 August 2016
( 2.13 am, on the roof at home )

The crackling air conditioner
The humming aircraft far away
A whirring car on the street
Doors letting people astray
Footsteps on the stairs
Flickering honks here and there
The rhythmic train begins to halt
An insect, ticking like a clock
Clouds dampen the remnants of fireworks
Fluttering sounds of motorcycles in an array
The crackling air conditioner
The humming aircraft far away


Soundtstories is a personal exercise that helps me document the world through sounds alone. It makes me more observant and it is a lot of fun!! The idea is to listen to sounds chronologically but omit conversations.