Friday, February 19, 2010

In the Here and Now

I'm a dreamer. I dream of outstanding discoveries, splendid mountaintops, flying, snoozing on a sheet of wind off a cliff, relishing good food, familial bliss and more. I dream of their fulfillment at least once during the course of my life. I hope to be able to afford that sort of fun and still be a good son, brother, friend and so on. I've come to realise that realistic dreams have a price tag! They need money. You can't trek to Mt Everest, or snorkel in Lakshadweep for free. Being in science doesn't give you much money. Added to that, is the fact that to stay afloat in science you have to invest MOST of your living hours in work. So I work as much as I can in the hope that life can ration as much fun as possible into my time on this planet. (Here I hide the fact that I have nothing better to do than work). Like many people I know, you work as hard as you can right now, so that later on, life can be cushy.

But somethings nudge me out of that expectant daze. Somethings make you forget the glees and worries of the past and future. You are grasped by the Here and Now. I have felt this before and felt it again yesterday at the Argentine Tango class. The perfume of human touch and warmth of a smooth voice hung in the room. Lilting notes of Nuevo Tango flitted above the polished wooden floor and Andrei and Kathy swivelled to them... in beautiful, sensuous harmony. Andrei teased playfully with complex moves as she followed with knowing grace, responding in ways that made her ten times as gorgeous. Andrei would pull a surprise once in a while, make staccato transitions into steps and halt after a quick couple of moves. Kathy would follow and smile in enjoyment. The enjoyment of not knowing what move the next heartbeat will bring. As the beat picked up, they glided over the dance floor pivoting, swirling and turning in unison. Like their souls connected at her palm and shoulder blade. And then, at then the song finished. Though they reached an awesome finale, they could have gone on. Rather, I wish they would have... at least a little bit.

Tango is a beautiful danceform. But this thrill of not knowing what the next moment will bring is what captures me in the present. I've felt the same while playing table tennis with Yunus and Iliyas in 11th and 12th. You never knew how they would spin and place the ball. It was the same thrill when Kanitkar was at the crease on the final ball against Pakistan and scored the four runs needed to win the match. I guess the suspense of the result of an experiment can come close, but the pain in getting to that point numbs it a tad.

And after the dance is over, the ping-pong ball returned to the other court, the match is won, and a meaningful experiment is done, I return relishing the moment that was. But only for a while. You keep looking forward and working so that in time the moment will return and enrich life with a new experience like a sensation of weightlessness, a new landscape, poetry and the pleasure of finding things out.