Day #23

“This too shall pass” – those wise men

Too much sunshine

Makes you blind

Too much spent in darkness

And you fear the light
Be prepared

To shield your eyes

When the sun

Shines too bold

It knows not its zenith
Steer clear

Of the wasps that descend

The ones who seek to peddle

The forever and ever
And be prepared

For fear’s stranglehold

When the sun drowns

Into darkness
Slowly, but surely
When the breeze 

becomes a gale

When the ripple 

becomes a wave
Steer clear

Of the urge

To grab control
Peer into your eyelids

Remind yourself

That in darkness 

Is no stranger!

Advertisements

Day #22

Conversation

The two-way with the world
This osmosis of thoughts
Hold the door for the toxin
Lest the good stays within

“Silently and serenely, one forgets all words,

Clearly and vividly, it appears before you.

When one realizes it, time has no limits.

When experienced, your surroundings come to life.”

 

Some forms of Chinese poetry, and some of their Japanese counterparts, always evoke a feeling of peace in me, which I have found on an RoI (Return-on-investment) basis, to be unparalleled. The poems also sound as if, at the time of their inception, the poet was riding high on some pure, premium quality Green Tea! I, myself, have dabbled previously in both, their poetry and their tea, but this time around in Hong Kong I decided to go all out and visit a traditional Tea House.

This one happened to be located inside the Nan Lian garden, itself a slice of paradise (comes highly recommended for anyone visiting HK). I was alone on that sweltering day, thirsty, looking for a place to rest. As I went in, an attendant came outside to help me out. As she walked me past the empty tables, I took in the sights and the sounds. The place was all wood, far as the eye could discern, dispersed carved panels depicting traditional Chinese people doing traditional Chinese things. The table tops were spic and span, well-polished; you could sense by looking at their design that there was more to them than met the eye. The absence of any other soul in the place made its presence felt. As I chose a seat and settled in, I could feel the masterful plucks of the erhu filling up the air around me. The sound was a heavy and all-encompassing fog, like the settling smoke on a cold winter night.

The server came along with the menu, and as I fished around my wallet to check my working capital, I decided I would go for “the experience” today. I lay my index finger on the top right corner and slid my way down, and settled once I found my drug. It was a Jin Fo Shou tea. A quick google told me that it was a rare form of high quality tea, whose name literally translates to “Golden Buddha Hand”, and which is cultivated exclusively on the below hill. Intrigued is an understatement.

The tea came in a tiny porcelain petri-dish, along with a manual on how to go about preparing it, the Chinese way. Thankfully, the server took pity, and walked me through the fascinating baby steps:

  1. Fill kettle with water from tableside tap
  2. Open secret compartment on table top and place kettle on mysterious looking boiler plate (I will, for now, assume this is the way it worked in ancient China too)
  3. Bring out three sets of cutlery:
    1. A mini teapot to let the tea soak in the goodness
    2. A slightly smaller buffer cup (nope, not autocorrected) whose purpose will be to hold the tea before distribution among various people at the table; this is done so that everyone gets to drink the _exact_ same thing as everyone else at the table. Details!
    3. And lastly, a tiny ceramic cup for your own self. Calling it a cup doesn’t somehow do it justice – let’s call it a “tea holder”
  4. “Warm up” all of these cups with the perfectly boiled water from the kettle (Oh yes, multi-tasking required. Focus, people. Focus!) And drain the liquid in a secret drain right in the middle of the damn table! Chinese old timers can put the Q07 pair to shame, I am sure.
  5. Now using a peculiar looking spatula (wooden, of course) slowly and carefully pass on the tea leaves into the teapot, and let the china from 4.1-4.3 do its job.
  6. As the slightly golden liquid finally reaches your holder, pinch the cup between your thumb and index, take in a whiff from the escaping vapors, taste a sip, and relax.

That tea was a mild conquest of the senses; not an attack mind you. The music, the wood, the *clinks* of the ceramic, the customs. The experience was calming, natural as if I had willingly surrendered my city to these invaders and accepted them as my own..

As I left after what seemed like a few hours, the sun had started its journey downwards, but I was comfortable at my zenith. As I sat down on the nearby wooden bench, my mind raced yet was in no hurry; it hammered out this little piece:

“As my eyes close

My senses open

They soak in the peace

Music flows between them

A sense of calm in the air

Flowing yet still

Bridging the divide

Between the thought and the mind”

 

(I could have sworn they added opioids in that tea, somehow!)

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Day #19

I have been watching documentaries on major wars recently, going backwards from World War II. I am fascinated and repulsed simultaneously by this palatable cocktail of human genius and depravity. But, if anything, this should be mandatory for everyone to see & learn from. After all, we either learn from out mistakes; or simply repeat them.

I found this and this to be particularly good for some real world footage of the World Wars, the rest unfortunately don’t have such extensive coverage. The following is the product of this pre-occupation.


What is war, but a vote;
its electorate, fortune
The gray cast the die
The stripes go to war
The green go to battle

Answer the call, soldier
Your country awaits your blood
Red; lest purple may fall
They say it’s too valuable,
Yet too cheap to pass on

Sacrifice your order, Build us a new one
Save our humanity, kill yours
Lay the foundations
With your brothers-in-arms

It is yours to do and die;
Or is it
To do
Or die?

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Day #18

I woke up to the sound of banging doors. Assuming it was my niece trying to find and wake up her mamu, I rolled onto my side, hoping she wouldn’t find me now. (Yeah, when in Rome!) I looked at my phone screen: 7 AM; about the right time for me to wake up, but my niece?

Next thing I remember, the door really started to rattle and I could here a siren in the distinct background. This cannot be good. I tore myself away from my bed, moved across the hall, in the direction of the siren. As I got to the gate, I was told that this isn’t a siren. It is an exhaust fan, being operated “organically”; by the howling winds at more than 160 kmph. Welcome to Hong Kong, the land of Typhoon-induced holidays!

As I sat and sipped my tea with a groggy mind, yet to wake up from its slumber, my eyes darted from the breakfast table to the tightly shut window, ever so often. Having lived in places where I had never had the chance to witness one, and being lucky enough to be present in a Level 8 Typhoon was quite a nice happenstance. I didn’t really know anything about their Typhoon grading system, but the number 8 seemed impressive, so… I was impressed. While there weren’t any real worries, but there was that tiny hint of concern in the air. The doors were bolted, windows one step away from being boarded, news reports streaming in about how the typhoon was now a level 9, now a level 10, posts on facebook by witnesses of beaches submerged, winds blowing at 180+ speeds, windows getting smashed, clouds no longer appearing harmless, but rather akin to those deadly icebergs…

Done with my routine, I went to the glass, watching the wind strip away a little bit of grass here, a cable or two there; as the rain hammered and poured below, it was carried away almost horizontally by the charging gusts of air. It was a sight to behold, along with the constant siren-like warnings of the exhaust.

Good day to tuck in.

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Day #17

Lately, the gods of hacking have been raining down upon us. (For the uninitiated) Now, I’m not pro-piracy per se, but admittedly, my morals were no match for this barrage of leaks. After all, we commonfolk have been having the time of our lives, what with all that help from the buffoons at HBO Spain too. Anyways, “through some medium”, I was lucky enough to witness first-hand a few episodes of the Game-of-destruction-of-HBO’s-reputation; and I was jubilant!

There is something about watching SMPTE color bars at the start of the show (Exhibit 1) along with a clock counting down in the corner of the screen, with a constant siren-like sound populating the background. It felt like an inside scoop! As if I was privy to some private, pre-release, VIP screening.

1[1]

Anywho, the episodes obviously are great, the storyline better than last season. But while I was going a bit gaga over the blossoming love story till now, I no longer feel the same after the last episode. Someone was feeling a hot streak coming after a long line of lucky escapes, eh? (this might be an unpopular opinion, but damnit, these saved-by-the-bells are happening waaay too often nowadays; less Game of Thrones, more Bold and the Beautiful)

But hey, who am I kidding with my whining about the plot? Next time there is a leak (or there isn’t) I’ll be right there with a huge empty bucket for my insatiable appetite. In fact, if nothing else, these leaks have also made life a bit difficult. Everything is in jeopardy now, as my routine is screwed. No more is it true, that every once a week, on a fixed day and a fixed time, that this junkie would get his fill. Now it is feels like some mild form of Chinese water torture. It could be a day, it could be ten. And if it’s the latter, it’s like the season finale syndrome all over again! :/

Now, walking that thin line between spoiler and smugness, I leave you with this image:

abc

Talk about being a good, f—ing recruiter! Poachers & headhunters, take out your pads & pencils!

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Day #16

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Grainy. White noise. The radio cackled and spat in sequence as they tried to get any reception. It was a lonely day at sea, not much to write home about. Of course, that phrase had become a mere fossil, its meaning lost with the first trigger pulled.

Life for the men in the boat had never been the same, but it seldom ever is. But what holds true for an individual, gets lost in the aggregate. As history ruled supreme, the victims struck back with whatever they had. And it fell just short of what was required. The scraps that got left over were just enough to be gorged upon by those few humans who should have died, if humanity were to live.

And so it was that in a remote corner of the globe, after what felt like centuries after The End, the men in question gathered around a radio, listening intently. Nothing, but static.

To be continued.