I grew up in Kolkata. Like most Bengalees, growing up in eighties’ Kolkata meant that my leisure was bathed in Rabindranath Tagore’s poems, stories, novels and songs. Some of them still keep tryckling into my consciousness, decades later, out of nowhere. One of them is Udaseen (Indifferent). First few lines of this poem, are something like this (thankfully he won’t be chuckling seeing my translation).

” I’ve let go of controlling my life. I don’t run after anyone. I’m not attentive to anything.

   Fearless, I run withput thinking of good or bad. I hardly pay attention to anything.

   If I can’t rise high up, I take my place in the bottom of the rung happily.”

A few verses later, he also recalls the days when he tried to make others happy by trying to resonate with people like an anklet rhythms on someone’s feet. The analogy was so poignant.

When I read and aborbed his poems, I loved them, but I don’t think I felt them or assimilated them. Closing in to a score of half-century of my life, suddenly the lines above started making complete sense. Yet, these lines just bubble up out of nowhere at different junctures of my life, under odd circumstances, in the midst of the lessons of acceptance that life bestows on me, now and then.

Life’s lessons for indifference and detachment come about in so many interesting ways.

In the last two years, we were often quite worried about getting covid. Last week, it made its appearance in our home. We all got it. One week fast-forward – we still have little problems here and there. But, suddenly, the fear is now replaced with gratitude – the gratitude of being alive, still able to live my little life in the usual way.

I, me and myself who drive us through this maze of life, trying to mould the world in the caste of our imaginations, suddenly seems so irrelevant in the wake of this era of pandemic, war and climate change.

Suddenly, I am lucky to be alive, breathe fresh air, have enough to eat and live and practically nothing to complain about. Why worry about little things?

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Pritha

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