Never! Ever! Judge a book by its cover….
A damningly annoying cliche…..yet it can’t be ignored.
On any given day, this old adage will make its way stealthily into our life – It is a silent reminder – a whispered warning. Its presence – a glaring real life affirmation.
It became a silent partner in my late 20’s. Never before had I cared much for it. Didn’t acknowledge its presence neither did I have much need for it.
But something changed in the late times, … when I made big changes in my life…..decisions like – leave a job, change cities, live without a back up plan or (in my case) a responsible plan….gain skills and see where it takes you.
I had an unexpected additional surprise – A monumental Decision – of settling down. If I had a time machine……I’d certainly NEVER go back there – Not change it.
I walked into the grand glitter of The National Capital Region. It blinded me for first half of the year. I, slowly learnt to squint and squeech……
I could see ……hazy patterns emerging.
I thought , ‘Well this is what it feels like to filter truths.
It was a celebratory moment of my life – It stated – You are an adult now. Responsible adult. Doing adult things – squinting and filtering truths!
The art of seeing beyond the refracted light- at the dark recesses, in cracks.
When our eyes adjust, it is wondrous to see slivers of grave serials emerging. The dark swirling pattern is so entrancing – It mesmerizes you and captivates you. Slowly, you are compelled like an addict, to only pay attention to the cracks. Until they fill up your view.
The novelty of this fantastic superpower power is addicting and you take it with you everywhere you go, treating it like a lucky charm.
Until you pause.
For whatever reason.
Or no reason. But you pause.
You look around and you see yourself surrounded by cracks.
It makes you sad.
It makes you fearful.
You realise that YOU, too, are the crack.
You feel suffocated. You feel fear. It is real. Your grief – genuine.
After almost a decade of flaw-finding super-skilled attitude, (which gave me no thrills, by the way) I found myself quite isolated- not because I wanted to be, not because I was proud if it – but because I thought that was – the only way to be adult – mature – responsible.
I wanted to escape. Be anywhere but there.
I paused. I re assessed. I rested my preconceived notions.
Instead of glittery grandeur, I saw reflected nostalgia. I admired the grace with which they handled all scenarios. The grand affaires with minute details – looked into carefully. The planning for every person, place or thing – varied roles , duties and expectations – all back-end chores to Relationship management – all guests yet family, and visa-versa.
I especially admired the lengths they’d go to build, maintain, and re-create their networks. A different circle for every specific need- for spouse, children and others with random thoughts.
I was boggled by their humility and uncertainty about everything in their life. They covered it well yet wore it loosely around to use it at desperate times.
It may have been this simplicity that I missed earlier.
My two left feet, the larger one in my mouth and an accident prone gait can barely balance the two families. I forget languages and become a malfunctioned uncoordinated cyborg around people new. I get defensive and cranky, overly sensitive and numb and stoic and rigid.
The more you read, the more you will know.
And I have barely begun reading, I guess.
My new perception analyses less harshly. I still believe this isn’t the final resolution to the problem of judging (If – to judge, is wrong).
I still do judge, maybe not to be condemning but, I do.
It isn’t pity or envy that I feel now, but a need to learn through appreciation. To see the difference as a friend. To learn to live.
There must be a better, more honourable way to engage with the world, who knows?
I will someday. I am sure.