The jockeys ready themselves.
Bets are being placed. The gates open. And she’s off! Off to
smell the flora that is.
Life is a series of contrasts and polarities
that intermingle and collide together to stimulate insanity or
complex thoughts. Winter break was a welcome release from the breathlessness
of campus life, but being home too long put me out of touch with
UT reality. Let’s compare and contrast:
Home is a quiet village.
People are up with the sun and in bed at “respectable
times.” The roosters occasionally crow at 3 a.m. but the workday begins
at 7 a.m., ends at 5 p.m. and all are asleep no later than 10:30 p.m. Work is
usually physical. Gardening, moving things, feeding animals, cleaning things—these
are the tasks of the day. Local gossip and the happenings of the courthouse flash
across the telephone lines. A good scandal surfaces every two years. A good trial
surfaces every five to seven years. Days are slow, predictable and lazy, and
life is cyclical. Such was the stuff of my winter break at home.
I come back
to UT to rediscover:
UT is 50,000 dynamic people all converged
on one spot, consciously or unconsciously competing for attention.
The day begins
whenever one chooses it to begin. Night
prowling is the norm. Mostly the work is mental—reading, writing, listening,
looking at strange forms of life growing in the quiet of the Petri dish. Gossip
is still localized, confined to the dorm hall or the immediate circle of friends.
(Perhaps that’s one of the few startling similarities.)
At UT, I feel
like I am in some sort of horse race. Last semester, I went and I went and
I went and then…it all stopped. I was back in my village, biding
my time in the pastures until the next race against deadlines, commitments,
time itself. Now I am back on the track, with all my colors and fanfares
against those same old deadlines, projects and requisites. I’ve been
running like mad.
Yet, I am tired of running. I am still doing
my work, although begrudgingly. I am ahead of deadline. Were there
flowers on the racetrack?
Did I miss them?
Sure, I did miss some of them. I am finding out that the metaphorical UT
racetrack is largely an invention of my own mind that can be reinforced
by others. As
the syllabi make their way to my hands, their crucial dates imprinted in
I can choose to see my free time vacuumed away. Or, I can choose to outwit
the universe and make time for things I care to do. Right now, I am trying
both realities, stay on the track and glance at the flowers.
of UT is that things are happening all the time (literally morning,
noon and night). Campus is not dormant. Nor is it predictable.
is cyclical only if I choose for it to be. I love cycles; they promote
they may not necessarily be good for me. Where are my much-needed flowers?
flowers are the deep conversations at midnight. The flowers are the solace
of writing poetry for the sake of doing it. Concerts, coffee talks,
too are the flowers along the racetrack. Fragrant and colorful, they are
often neglected or given second priority as our hooves pound against the
dirt and we
inhale the dust, each in a race to get out of here in a timely manner.
Without the flowers, life is a mad dash to an indiscernible finish line.
the rest of life, is an experience, not a finish line. Therefore, gather
me my rosebuds while I may.
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