31 March 2020

Water the gardens with the liquid magic of simple ideas, right now

Words. Millions of them. We are getting an avalanche. We are being buried or shoved into a void.

Maybe it’s fear. Could be determination. Some of it comes with knowledge. It is backed with information that is sent through the mills of wisdom and experience so it comes out with cogent and pragmatic proposals. Not all of it though.

Words. It is not that the Coronavirus made people use more words than usual. The advent of social media did that. Words are used and shared. It has become a frenzy. 

And now it’s as though we can’t step back. Words, like a virus, find us out. There’s no place to hide. They come, they pin us down, they drown us. We lose the thread.


So, theoretically, we could receive a piece of writing that could be described as a lucid focus on priority issues. It could be a superbly expressed call to action. Then comes the question: ‘how can we keep such insights from disappearing into the void, especially since people have learned to glance and move on simply on account of the word-floods that hit them daily?’

Is it that in general social media users have developed an out-of-the-loop phobia? Are we scared that if we tarry too long reading something or researching it we may miss some life-death post in the newsfeed? Is the possibility of ‘missing’ sending shivers down our spines? Do we believe that if we missed something it means we’ve entered the vast void and cannot come out?

And what do we gain, really, from what appears to be cursory perusal? We click. We like. We share. Words fly in all directions all the time. There are so many words that in the end they gather in incomplete or incomprehensible sentences, isn’t this true?

Have we paused to ask ourselves, ‘so what did we learn and how has that learning changed things?’ Not much, I feel.

It’s time to stop, perhaps. One of these days or maybe even within the next hour something is bound to turn up in your newsfeed. Something that is ‘a lucid focus on priority issues’ or a ‘superbly expressed call to action.’

Stop right there. Such messages come with prescription, the wiser the prescription the simpler it is, typically. Call someone who is alone, an elderly relative, a retired teacher, parents of friends who are overseas, someone in a home for the elderly. Plant something. Anything. Look at the stars at night, the elements like a mad artist spraying the sky at sunset, the poetry of cloud formations, the grass struggling to break through a crack in the pavement. Anything.

Write something. Write a list and shake it twice. Write several lists. The things that truly count and the inconsequential which we have been obsessed with for years. Those who have hurt us but who we’ve not forgiven. Those who we hurt but didn’t say sorry to. Things to do at home that we kept putting off because we didn’t have the time or inclination. A list of every single individual we know who in one way or another helped us become who we are.

There are such posts, aren’t there? Yes, they can all disappear into the void. Maybe what we haven’t realized is that we are in the void and have been dwelling there for years and years. Maybe if we stopped, embraced (instead of shoving aside) and focused for a moment of ‘putting things into practice,’ we might come out. Slowly. Surely.

There are words. Millions of words. They touch us, push aside or into an abyss and move on. We are being hit by a word-flood. So let’s try to catch a word-drop. Just one. Hold it in your palm. Reflect on it. Dissolve it in heart and mind. Water the gardens of life with the liquid magic of simple ideas.  The void will, I am sure, come alive.

Other articles in the series 'In Passing...':  [published in the 'Daily News']

There's canvas and brush to paint the portraits of love

We might as well arrest the house!
The 'village' in the 'city' has more heart than concrete

Heroes of our times Let's start with the credits, shall we?   
The 'We' that 'I' forgot 'Duwapang Askey,' screamed a legend, almost 40 years ago
Dances with daughters
Reflections on shameless writing
Is the old house still standing? 

 Magic doesn't make its way into the classifieds
Small is beautiful and is a consolation  
Distance is a product of the will
Akalanka Athukorala, at 13+ already a hurricane hunter 
Did the mountain move, and if so why?
Ever been out of Colombo? 
Anya Raux educated me about Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
Wicky's Story You can always go to GOAT Mountain
Let's learn the art of embracing damage
Kandy Lake is lined with poetry
There's never a 'right moment' for love
A love note to an unknown address in Los Angeles
A dusk song for Rasika Jayakody  
How about creating some history?
How far away are the faraway places?
There ARE good people!
Re-placing people in the story of schooldays   
When we stop, we can begin to learn
Routine and pattern can checkmate poetry
Janani Amanda Umandi threw a b'day party for her father 
Sriyani and her serendipity shop 
Forget constellations and the names of oceans
Where's your 'One, Galle Face'?
Maps as wrapping paper, roads as ribbons
Yasaratne, the gentle giant of Divulgane  
Katharagama and Athara Maga
Victories are made by assists
Lost and found between weaver and weave
The Dhammapada and word-intricacies