Floccinaucinihilipilification: Part 23

We spent most of the weekend at the student concert where I performed a short composition in Jhap Taal, followed by a longer teen taal composition in Raag Bihag.  If you are interested in knowing how I did then you can see the videos here:




and here:


I get a bit winded toward the end.  So this tells me I need to practice those longer notes, riding on a single breath, with even more diligence.  But I am happy to report there were no pins and needles while sitting cross-legged.

It does feel rather surreal to see myself sitting there wrapped up in a chanderi sari, singing a composition or two in Raag Bihag, to the accompaniment of tabla and harmonium. 

It’s an image of enhanced incongruency when viewed with this:


alongside this:


Same person? No wonder it was such a struggle for me to come up with a vision board.

That was the other thing the three of us did together on Sunday; constructed a vision board for ourselves.

Anoushka was excited about the project although there were some thoughtful frowns followed by a statement that she didn’t really desire anything more, that she already had everything she wanted.  I was stunned and proud to have raised such a “self-actualized” child, already at the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  I have seen that in action as well.  She always has a very hard time figuring out if she wants anything at a store, even when she’s given a generous budget.  The most she can think of is jelly beans!


But the prospect of using poster boards, glue sticks, magic markers and glittery stickers was too tempting and she got into it with gusto.  She even got done in record time with a vision board that would put most adults to shame.  She found the exact images she needed and got to work with her scissors on the stack of magazines we had laid out for the purpose.  The scope of her vision is broad: earth conscious, environment conscious and her desires – all reflective of a broader, optimistic and altruistic nature.  Like I said it put me to shame because I am not now, nor was I ever (not even at her age) AS concerned about the world and the life on it as I was about myself.  Let’s hope this will last in her.

Mine was a struggle and a stretch.  It’s hard to put down on poster board, a kaleidoscopic, eclectic vision, a fragmented vision that has always lacked laserlike accuracy and focus.  I like too many things to be tied down to one vision.  I do know that I want to write and that I want to be passionately involved with music and the arts.  I dabble, I aspire to continue dabbling but dabbling is never good enough for revenue generation and someone with loans, a family, a desire for a secure future and a comfortable present always needs to act with revenue generation in mind.  That’s the sadness that runs through it all.  But I did my best with it.  Let’s see how close I get to what I envisioned.

The whole idea of the creation of a vision board might seem hokey to most of us.  And in cynical, boredom filled moments, so it seems to me.  But I occasionally rouse myself from the stupor by saying, “Visualization works, you know it works, it has always worked for you, so get back to it!” More than anything else, the activity brought us all together for a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

The last thing I did over the weekend was finish reading Julian Barnes’s masterful musings in “Nothing To Be Frightened Of“.  The thing that we’re talking about here is death.  How much I’ve liked a book is usually evident from the number of pages I’ve dog-eared from the bottom.  I’ve mentioned somewhere else on this blog that I like dog-earing pages to which I want to return from the bottom (this is less offensive to me than marking up the book by underlining).  The number of brilliant insights in this book are too many to enumerate.

I mentioned one to Anoushka, as we stood around in the kitchen toasting slices of bread for breakfast.  I told her I read something that she probably wouldn’t understand yet, but it was interesting.  She wanted to know what it was I read.  So I told her that the author in the book I was reading said that when he was a child he used to think that when he grew up he’d be the one in control, he’d be the one ‘wielding the whip’.

Anoushka interrupted me then to say, “But I don’t think grown ups have any control, any freedom.  They always have to do things they don’t want to do and listen to bosses or others.”

I stared at her, speechless, because she had preempted the next bit of what I was going to tell her about what Julian Barnes said! He had said that when he grew up he learnt that he wasn’t wielding a whip, that in fact he was nothing more than the tip of the whip!

I don’t know what it is about A, maybe the fact that she’s reading at a level three grades above her own or that she is just more thoughtful than I ever remember being.  But she certainly surprises me a lot.

I think I’ll be compelled to write some more about the rest of what Julian Barnes mused in this book but two minor things serve as some validation:

He said here, quoting from his own journal from twenty years ago:

People say of death, “There’s nothing to be frightened of.”  They say it quickly, casually.  Now let’s say it again, slowly, with reemphasis.  “There’s NOTHING to be frightened of.”  Jules Renard: “The word that is most true, most exact, most filled with meaning, is the word ‘nothing.'”

Haven’t I implied the same (the bolded part) with each one of my “Nothing” posts?  Ok, just kidding, just being facetious.  But even the earlier part of this quote from his own journal gives one so much to think about.  Precisely, the NOTHING, to be frightened of.

And finally an utterly useless word that entered my vocabulary through this book, but does say it all in 29 letters: Floccinaucinihilipilification, meaning to estimate as worthless.  You’ll still have 111 letters leftover if you wanted to discuss this on Twitter.

So here we are, once again awaiting NOTHING.

1 Comment

  1. Suitably intrigued by the dream board project and doubly so by little A's perspicacious approach to so many things. So much to learn from the little ones, everyday..Enjoyed reading this account and one reckons there is abundance hidden in the nothingness that these posts stem from 🙂 That's something to be frightened of, wouldn't you say? A volcano bubbling inside that mind..with so much to say about so many things! :)Last but not least, lovely Bihaag rendition and the blue sari is gorgeous! More power to your voice and your pen!

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