Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Lil' Bit of Everything

I do not place much stock in books on spirituality. Page after page of dense prose on how one can become one with the universe and listen to its beating heart is not really my kind of reading. 

I picked up Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha" on a whim from a bookshop in Darjeeling because I had previously read the magically dark book that is "Steppenwolf", also authored by him. From an age where Eastern spirituality was being explored by Western minds, any Hessian perspective was bound to be interesting.

A fictional contemporary of Gautama Buddha, the titular Siddhartha is a variation of that vague term often found in books on mysticism - a seeker. The book, despite a fair chunk of cryptic text devoted to 'searching', listening to 'the hum of all creation' and all those other tropes found in this story type, is applicable to more than just those seeking spiritual answers. 

Siddhartha's journey through cycles of intellectual dissatisfaction, extreme penance and complete sensual pleasure is rewarding to read not because it argues very strongly for either  meditation or for materialism. Neither does it picks sides between enlightenment and emotion. By the end of the book, it is beautiful artistic testimony to why we just might need them all.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Killer. Cute.

Life's not easy and that is not changing anytime soon. Under-equipped, overwhelmed, ill-prepared - we lurch from one incident to another in the fictitious hope that one of these days, things will settle down.

Alternatively, we have a mouse. The southern grasshopper mouse to be precise. Operational in the Sonoran Desert of North America, where daytime temperatures hover around 48 degree centigrade, this furry evolutionary experiment seems, at first, a bit like a post-lunch doodle by its creators, with teeth designed to chew grains and shaped like a substitute Teletubby.

As this National Geographic video short reveals, appearances deceive and this little creature waggles its tiny fist at anyone who dare classify it as cute. It means business and it does business, a fully operational carnivore as many a fatally venomous Arizona bark scorpions may have found to their surprise.

So the next time life seems like a trackless wasteland disproportionately at odds with the resources and talent available, remember that somewhere out there, in a terribly dry desert of North America, a grain eating fluffy ping-pong ball snacks on scorpions and howls at the moon.