Tuesday, April 6, 2021

E is for Escape like an Earthworm #AtoZChallenge

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the second week of the #Blogging from A to Z  April Challenge 2021. My theme this year is based on the Japanese concept of Ichigo Ichie which means--"What we are experiencing right now will never happen again. And therefore, we must value each moment like a beautiful treasure."

I've put together a collage of such moments which can be seen as chance occurrences, coincidences,  pre-destined or random (depending on who you ask) for this month's challenge.

Today's post is all about getting lost in time; of timelessness, of when moments morphs into nectar.

I hope you'll enjoy reading it. 

Thank you.

Arti
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"Listen to presences inside poems, Let them take you where they will.
Follow those private hints, and never leave the premises."

Quote borrowed from 'The Essential Rumi' Translations by Coleman Barks

The word escape, I feel, has had a bad rep ever since it started associating with 'ism'. Escapism sounds like cowardice, like one is avoiding ones role in human form. 

To me, escape is essential for self-preservation. It's time travel. Let me explain with an example:

When I was six or so years old, time was a cloud that came rolling in without making a sound. I'd be lost in Papaji's garden for hours (according to my mother) which felt like minutes to me.

Everything fascinated me: plants, flowers, bees, leaves, soil, twigs, branches and climbing trees. 

Often, my sister and I and a few other children from the neighbourhood would congregate behind the rose bushes, under Papaji's big mulberry tree, far from adult eyes, to prepare wedding feasts for our dolls. There used to be one communal doll and its groom was usually present in proxy for no one could ever find him. 

The magic of preparing the feast lay in the pots and pans we would sculpt out of garden soil. We'd carry water in palms of hands, bottles or mugs from the grey, cement water tank next to the metal gate. Mixing water with soil and patting  pateele, tawe and karahian (pots and pans) of varying shapes and sizes would absorb all of us all at once. Six inch wide pans, uneven looking pots would start appearing on the patch of sand where the ginger plant fronds erupted. It got the most sun so the pots dried quickly. 

We'd run back and forth (stealthily and swiftly) from our kitchens stealing a potato or two, a tomato perhaps, some salt and haldi and sometimes even spoons and an odd knife. We'd will the fires to burn with scarps of stolen newspapers and twigs gathered from the garden, going phoo, phoo, phoo at the embers to get things going. 

We escaped into play with such abandon and enthusiasm that when an adult voice called out to announce that the sun would be setting soon and it was time to get back indoors, we'd all be taken by surprise.

Hastily, the half-cooked feasts in half-baked pots would be distributed by the oldest in the group who'd take charge. We'd extend our palms and relish the raw potato cubes swimming in lukewarm salty water like they were the tastiest morsels we'd ever eaten before wiping our hands on our frocks and shirts and promising each other to be better prepared for the next 'gudde-gudiya  ki shaadi' (doll's wedding).

Those tunnels of fun we travelled into when we lost ourselves in play brought us back to the surface of reality refreshed, enthused, bubbling with ideas. Like earthworms, we dug deep into our worlds and churned our energies, our imaginations, our friendships, our abilities into fertile ground for growth. 

I do it still--
escape, evaporate. 
I haven't made any pots 
with garden soil 
recently 
but losing myself in a book, 
a poem, a plant, birdsong, a bloom, or
an inefficient teapot 
teasing to be reused,
brings me back up:
refreshed, rejuvenated.

These portals of everyday, ordinary things
suck me in.

I like to indulge in time travel, I do.
And I do it as often as it pleases me.
You could say, I'm a pro
at the art of getting lost
disappearing into lines and words and the spaces left blank on pages.

One day, if I practise getting lost in tunnels of time, often.

I may find I've smudged my edges on a dragonfly's effervescent wings.
 
O! How magical that would be!

*****
The etymology of the word escape suggests that it was used to mean, 'free oneself from confinement'. 

Covid-19 may have confined us to our homes but we all have an escape route or two at our disposal. Of course, any addiction of any sort does not qualify for the kind of escape I'm talking about:) 

What's your escape route? When does time morph for you? If you'd like to share, you know I'd love to hear.
 Horizons melt 
Sun escapes 
ocean waves

Photos taken in June 2019, South African coast.
*****
Last year's 'E' post was a childhood memory which warms my heart even today.
If you'd like to check it out, it's here: E is for Embers

This year, I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z  powered by theblogchatter.com 

39 comments:

  1. Being a fan of Japanese art and culture, really loved your post.

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  2. Arti,I took a tea-break (without the Tea) from my work, promising to get back within 10 minutes & I have to admit,I got lost in your post! A Microsoft Teams call from my colleague fetched me back to reality.Exactly how THE END appears in the Movie screen. My escape moment perhaps!There are so many such escape spots.These can be silly at times but therapeutic & refreshing.
    Like a tired mind & body,gives in to the night & wakes up fresh to a new day...every day!
    Enjoyed this.

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    1. I'm happy to read your break took you away:)
      Hugs. xx

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  3. Love the pictures of the sunset and a glimpse of your childhood. My escape is almost always books or music.

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    1. Music, yes. It does that do me too:)
      Thank you.

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  4. Beautiful memories! Escape occurs all the time, you know in French we call this a "Madeleine de Proust", because Marcel Proust the famous author, wrote a book (A la recherche du temps perdu) about eating a madeleine (small cake) and remembering all about the ones made by his grandmother and all the memories attached. Great way to escape ;)
    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué

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    1. Wow! Thank you for sharing about Proust. I hope there is an English translation of this book. I'd love to read it.

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  5. I could so relate to the childhood story- now I find escape in music, sometimes my own thoughts. I walk or sit by the window and travel time. At times I do that when I browse through my photo gallery on my phone! I also have a box of letters and travel post-cards- a perfect escape back in time every time I open it.

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    1. I love reading old greeting cards and letters too. So glad we have such ephemera (new word --picked it from another blogger's e post) to hold on to:)

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  6. Hari Om
    to use 'escape' mechanisms for rejuvenation is perfectly valid - and here, beautifully expressed as only you can do! I do quite a lot of (mental) escaping... and can even put some of it down as 'research'!!! YAM xx

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    1. HA! HA! those rabbit holes that come disguised as 'research' are lovely to get lost in--sometimes;)

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  7. I think some forms of escapism are good for your mind, for sure. But I always must come back to reality.

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    1. True Claire. Like the earthworms, the work must go on:)

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  8. A lovely story. If I hadn't had blog to escape to over the last year I think I'd have gone barmy. Lost in the tunnels of time. Perfectly put!

    Here's my E!

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  9. Escaping outside now that it is finally warming up and evaporating the sun rays while playing in my flower and spice gardens is how I ESCAPE....oh how I long to do that instead of being in front of a computer all day. But one must work to play, am I right?
    Cheers,
    Crackerberries

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    1. One must certainly work to play:)
      I love the sound of sound of your flower and spice garden Barbie.

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  10. Truly loved this post of yours Arti.. I envy you... If you are a pro and can escape at will to that world of yours and bask in it without being pulled out of your reverie without being perturbed by whatever ism that might be... Then let me tell you Arti.. You have arrived in life. That is the state that everyone wants to reach... That surreal state to escape to from time to time... And the irony is many do not know how to get there 😊

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    1. Thank you for writing such a lovely compliment Ira.
      I think I was born this way--can get lost very, very easily. It's the surfacing back up to reality that can take time but I'm pragmatic enough to find my way around the world. Of course, only for as long as it's absolutely necessary;)

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  11. My escape, especially now that travel is off, is always a bit of quiet and a good book to read!
    https://iainkellywriting.com/2021/04/06/the-state-trilogy-a-z-guide-e/

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  12. I feel that way about the craft projects and creative pursuits I've worked on for this blogging challenge. They allow me to get fully engrossed and lost in the moment sometimes referred to as a state of flow. It is the best escape. Weekends In Maine

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    1. That's it--a state of flow. It's so wonderful.
      So glad you find it in your projects Karen.

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  13. Hi Arti , for me its normally when I indulge in some activity that needs focus or an act of creativity .... like drawing , painting , blogging , cooking or immersing myself in music that touches my soul

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    1. All great and creative options Jayashree. Glad you get to taste the escape.

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  14. Oh Arti....your childhood escapades reminded me of the 'Swayampaak' (self-cooking) we used to do as kids:)

    We used to place three fairly flat stones or pieces of bricks to form a stove and balance a little toy clay pot on top. We would somehow manage to light a fire and boil peanuts. When the elders at home came to know about it, they encouraged us to go bigger... make it a more organised event with all the neighbourhood kids contributing raw materials and us cooking on the same 3-bricks stove under a little surveillance of the elders (not interfering or helping, just to make sure that we were not scalding or burning ourselves to death). Then about 10-12 of us kids would take the prepared delicacies to our open terrace and share the fruits of our hard labour. Each bite tasted better than anything we had ever eaten!

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    1. Oooh! Loved reading this recall of your childhood Ruchita. Thank you for sharing.
      I can imagine it all. Now craving boiled peanuts:)
      Thank you for visiting.

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  15. I am totally thrilled with the overarching umbrella of your posts, Ichigo Ichie. You've planted a seed that I think about every day now, and I thank you for that. This particular post utterly delights me. Mud fashioned into pots to dry in the sun - how does it get better than that? Well, having half-cooked "recipes" tops it all off into fabulousity. I know I'll be thinking of this as I'm cooking dinner tonight.

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    1. Reading your comment after 4 days but I'm sure this was the prefect time for me to read it dear Deborah.
      It brought me joy.
      Thank you.

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  16. I really enjoyed your story about preparing a meal for the dolls. That was sweet and so delightful. I too see escape as a good thing, not as a negative. I love to take long walks. Then I can escape from the world of obligations and order and decision making to the world of river and of new plants getting dressed in pretty colors. Spring is a sweet time.

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    1. Thank you for visiting Alice. I love long walks too:)
      And Spring is indeed sweet.

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  17. It all depends on what we are escaping to, is it not? So not always something negative!

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  18. Your post took me back to our childhood, what fabulous memories, can still taste the half cooked potatoes! As for escape one needs it for one's sanity, a nice walk in the park with birds chirping rejuvenates me every time.

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    1. Love you Seema--those days were golden:)

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  19. Exactly! Escapism is important for mental health. People used to accuse me of "escaping into stories" when I said I wanted to be a storyteller... and now it has been my profession for 15 years :D
    I love the earthworm metaphor!

    The Multicolored Diary

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    1. I can think of no better escape than 'escaping into stories'!
      And so grateful you did. Now, we, your readers, can enjoy your finds:)

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  20. With you on this Arti. I'm in a mental space right now where I really want to escape and I don't even mind if it becomes escapism. This resonated.

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