This Panda Lamp

I had forgotten about this Panda lamp until a few moments ago when I realized all the three bulbs in my room did not have enough power except for when it came to ruining my already weak eyesight.

This Panda lamp was collecting dust in an old shelf. I suspected that it would not work, but it did not let me down. it shone through all the dust. It shone like a child trying to win her mother’s mythical praise. Mythical, because she had only heard it was possible, she never really experienced it. This panda lamp was eager to please.

I call it Panda lamp because it has pictures of three pandas on it. It shines with a soft yellow glow that reminds me of a therapy session I had been to in Bangalore where I started crying because my family was always fighting and I had just acknowledged that I had been abused.

Papa was strict when it came to external factors that impacted our studies- our spectacles had to be smudge free, and our study area well lit. This panda lamp was bought for me when we were in Dubai, and it cost him 20Dhs. It was bought from Al maya hypermarket- a one stop shop in the fourth floor of Lamcy Plaza- a plaza near our house that we would visit every weekend for home supplies, snacks, and free tastes before we went down to the ground floor to eat pizza and maybe an ice cream. Today, Lamcy Plaza has been burnt down, never to be rebuilt. Papa has passed away. This Panda lamp however, still shines.

Thank you papa, for this panda lamp. I love it very much now that I have rediscovered it.


The Nature of Silence

A million thoughts and ideas mock me everyday, only to come into a dead silence when confronted with an empty sheet. What to write? what to say? What to do next?

Silence is a power I wish I exercised control over. But it is a blank slate I use and misuse on many occasions. An after effect for heated arguments, to conceal episodes of immense disappointment, something to hide behind during moments of climactic confusion.

There are many well known virtues to this state of meditation. To be able to hold your silence even in the loudest calamities has been proclaimed a sign of wisdom. It allows for observation and reflection- to source minute details, tiny changes in body language, in facial expressions. Silence is in fact, a very practical implementation- and an important pre-requisite, of the ‘show don’t tell’ method.

And yet, silence is also a tool of the coward. An escape for those who don’t know how to deal with the world. A betrayal by the privileged.

I dangle often between these two perspectives, wondering where my silence would fall. I think about whether it may have dared to cross lines, and maintain even more silence in this anxiety. Didn’t my silence betray loved ones? Didn’t my silence also help me learn more? Didn’t my silence make me seem like a thoughtless fool- a heavy, soggy, sponge that soaks in whatever was poured into my ear? Didn’t my silence also seem powerful enough to convey my disproval?

An interview tip I had once heard long ago went like this- When they ask you a question, maintain silence for about 5 seconds before you answer, this helps you compose yourself, collect your thoughts, all while making you seem more thoughtful and intelligent.

But what if those 5 seconds of silence are nothing but a head start for the panic in your head? What if there are no beneficial thoughts to be collected, only sharp pieces of a cruel mirror, determined to make you reflect on your pathetic state?

Silence then, has to be accompanied with self respect, with faith in oneself. It has it’s own timing. A background and story. Perhaps all we can do is be patient, and wait for these silences to explain themselves over time.