Can minimalism be applied in real life?

I grew up in a household where things have been given a higher value than human sentiments. Things were gifted to show love. Things were taken to show resentment. Somehow I began to seek value in objects, for they hold such emotional significance. The desire of owning went so far I sometimes had to dig in a pile to find something I genuinely need. I put my sanctification on shopping than conversing with people. I felt exhausted, but I didn’t know what was going wrong. For I had so many things. Happiness should be just around the corner. One day, I was going through a documentary on Minimalism, and I understood where it was going wrong. Essentially a concept of recognizing the things that matter and intentionally let go of attachment towards people, objects and opportunities that have no value.

Tried and failed multiple times over the years, because of changing lifestyles, moving from a city to another, and often finding myself in the necessity of breaking free from this sudden limit. This limit frequently restricted me from pursuing certain creative projects. Nevertheless, I have periodically come back to practice it again, as it brought me a certain degree of peacefulness and helped me focus. Consumerism has normalized excess, excess of clothes, excess of food, excess of people, excess of entertainment and excess of information. Minimalism is not just physical but mental too. Not associating with toxic people, quitting habits that harm you in the long run and taking care of your physical self because they are all in the same ballpark. Concepts as minimalism and veganism have been distorted to look like quasi aesthetic cults on social media and the real notion is lost through ideas portrayed online. The idea of neutral aesthetics aids in finding balance, and shifting focus towards other problems that are crying for help.

So I came to certain conclusions. One being, minimalism does not have established rules as to how many possessions it is acceptable for you to keep since every person lives in varied conditions. Minimalism promotes not letting possessions weigh you down. It helps with mental clarity in our lifestyles where we are overcommitted to plans. It gives room to focus on personal aspirations and purpose in life. There is unparalleled freedom in being in control of your own desires and letting go of the pressure to validate yourself through owning possessions. Through physical declutter, your attention would shift to recognizing who you are, rather than what you own.

Sukanya.

Grey

A lot of time passed since I last wrote. This draft page looks different. So do my thoughts. I have a lot on my mind, but don’t know what to write. What should look good on my blog, that has been so much curated to appeal my readers. If I wrote freely, maybe someone would be taken aback. But it’s just a thought, to write freely. Somehow I feel very detached and attached to the world at the same time. In many poems I’ve mentioned raw, I realized many times raw is also equated to wild. Do people label unfamiliar sensations as wild? What do they call unfamiliar aspects of their own? When they comb their hair in the mirror and feel unfamiliar with the scalp they are brushing the comb across, do they feel serene or a slight discomfort? Do they disguise or confuse it for the tugging of hair?

People assign sensations to songs. Sensations with people. People to songs. And sit for hours with it, enjoying the flow of time. Then watch videos on productivity, to correct their wired mistakes. You can just forget. Or forcibly reassign. While you munch your food with your laptop in front of you, do you feel empty? Despite having a plate full and a whole hour of entertainment to satisfy the null? Your quotidian routine has become a cycle of devouring not because you need to, but because you are too afraid to stop and feel the null. Nobody chose null and dared to find what null really is. What if it is peaceful?

These days I see too much grey. In people, in between my hair, in the angry sky, and in the ashes of my burning thoughts. I happen to like grey because it does not care about its pride, like black and white and does not need to stand true to its color. It’s comfortable being itself.

Sometimes when I am washing dishes in the afternoon, I look up at the window. I see white clouds scattered through a bright blue sky, swaying branches and birds adjusting themselves on it. In some odd ways that space makes me feel nice. Not for very long, just a few moments.

Sukanya.

The first signs of an apocalypse.

Much of history has been part of headlines, but the news has never been personal enough to bring a significant change to my life. But when there is a sign of change, you can feel it seeping right through your bones. You see it in the eyes of the people, because that is the only feature you notice in mask covered faces. You listen to the empty roads and the bird-less skies. The birds quarantined in their nests too, thinking that something has gone wrong in this world. I always fancied the ending of the world, reading about it, dreaming about it. I feel it would bring end to all causes of chaos in humanity. It would be beautiful. Maybe it is time, maybe it is not. But as I walked in the strange summer, I suppressed the devastating feeling of seeing life as it is come to a halt. Because of course, the end of the world has been a fiction, and anyone looking forward to it would be a lunatic.

It felt naturally abrupt for me, or any other person around me to accept a global pandemic as a serious situation because until today, it was the problem of this country, or that country. Until one day we were asked to no longer commute to the office to work. We were unwilling to settle for a fact that any news could be so impacting that it would make us struggle for something so quotidian, for example hailing a taxi, or gathering for some lunch, served by mindless waiters who are time and again disrespected for the imperfect dishes. Dishes that if we cook, we would throughly appreciate, post it on Instagram and equate ourselves to master chefs. That something so fundamental to our 21st century life as social service could be denied to us.

On one of the early days of this unbelievable quarantine, I walked out to buy groceries. As I fixed my mask, the eeriness in the air seeped in from its cavity and I could breathe it. I wished my mask protected me the way it was designed. Five months have passed from that feeling, and it feels as if the order of the world has been reset. If this is the start, or the end, I won’t be startled. I will let it change what I have been accustomed to, so far and allow something unpredictable to accompany it as well. This is the beauty of life, and that we don’t govern nature, but nature governs us. We had forgotten that.

People, stubborn to survive, as they are wired to be, have found new ways to get through and bring back the glory of capitalism in a matter of days, by online deliveries and contactless services. Which also means people get to spend more time with themselves, and their purchases. We just couldn’t channel our habits of purchasing somewhere else because they are so intricately developed. And we were thinking, we are far away for fascism. We cannot even choose to be with ourselves in isolation. It has to be with our beloved objects. I wish people I love showed up, instead of these Amazon cartons. Everything is ready, handed over to us before we find the chance to reflect.

In these hundred something days I watched a myriad of movies, wrote numerous to do lists just to scrap them, and cut my hair because I needed change. I wish I knew cutting my hair was only going to change how I looked, for the worse. The better part after my irregular bangs blended into the rest of my mane, as it they were asking for forgiveness. I forgive you. Now let me retire to bed and dream of the world crumbling down.

Sukanya.

Blueberry.

Unknown Painting by Joseph Zbukvic
Painting by Joseph Zbukvic

 

As I clutch his hand and walk away from school, I ask him, “Can I have ice cream later?”. He nods and strides ahead quickly, while I try catching up with him. I try to walk fast, trying to fix my brown bob and adjust my little bag on my tiny shoulders. My cheeks turned red from the winter breeze. Unable to match with his pace, he picks me up and gently places me on his shoulders.

I could see the world from there. I could view the tops of people’s heads while they passed by. I could see the buildings, the trams, the statues and trees all better. It used to be nice to not feel the distress of not being able to view places while I strolled.

My mother imagined I would be spoiled if I would always demand to sit on his shoulders. So I asked him whenever only we both walked together. Though he knew how much I loved observing, for all the drawings I made of the things I saw outside, nature I loved being present in and the peculiar details of certain personalities I saw.

I vividly remember as soon as I was placed, with each step he hummed, like a soldier marching. “Hmm, hmmm!” he sang in a deep voice as he confidently paced in synchronicity while we head towards the ice cream shop.

We arrive and he places me down, asking me to select the flavours. I was never the person who would follow suggestions. So even though my father asked me to try pistachio, I would always go for the most unusual looking ice cream colour. I pointed at blueberry and looked up at the young woman in her apron. She smiled and asked in Italian, “So you’ve picked blueberry? Any other flavour you would like to add sweetheart?” I looked around with wide eyes, examining every flavour. I could not read by then, so I could only distinguish their uniqueness with the colour or perhaps if any fruit was drawn on the placards. I nodded in negative and waited for my ice cream to be handed over.

My father was right. Pistachio is indeed worth the try. But I am glad I made my own choices. I was given the space to learn from my own experiences. He and I are uncannily similar when it comes to our wants to explore. He learns from me and I learn from him. And together we grow, understanding each other.

The lady in the apron looks at me like I am the purest form of joy breathing. Perhaps I was. My concentration was fixated upon the curiosity of tasting that blue coloured ice cream. And it was all. All the worry was there. Whether it would disappoint me, and I would have come back again some other day to try another flavour.

 

 

Calm.

Anonymous Artist

 

Cars moving in disorder,
something like the chaos in my head
but in harmony with the leaves
of branches hanging in dismay.

To seek more beauty,
I look up towards the dark horizon.
The grey clouds and the frightened birds,
shrilling across the skyline.

I’m so happy to see the world like it is,
that I would cry tears of joy.
Except I couldn’t,
and I shamed in the inability.

So nature took pity
and covered my face with tears from the sky,
soaking everything to deceive the imaginary
and explicate the real. 

The branches stopped and went to sleep,
so the people had to leave too.
But I didn’t, because I was not a dancer.
Only an observer. 

I felt happy, in that moment of stillness,
until stillness felt torturous.
And I turned towards my car,
longing to seek confusion anew.

 

Eternal Lullaby

leon-perrault-mother-with-child

She hummed to me,
a faint lullaby
etched in a corner,
of my numb mind.

Her wrinkled hands,
caressed my scalp in pauses,
running her thick fingers
through my tangled hair.

I know this cradle song
since I started to utter words of my own,
and carefully listen to her sing
the story of the king,
who fights the monster alone.

I watch the white walls,
project me as the king,
battling my monsters
and return home in victory.

Suddenly her voice breaks.

She pauses, and I know why.

But again, she continues to sing,
this time on sadder notes.
Her fat lap and stout fingers,
give more comfort,
than the dull hospital ward,
and the foreign pillow.

My mother is beautiful,
in her grace and strength,
concealing her inner devastation.

I am not afraid to die,
for I spent my last breaths
in a place I call home.

My mother’s eternal lullaby.

Sukanya. ©

Real.

493ss_thinkstock_rf_purple_bruise

Real as the purple bruises
Real as the vulnerable me
Find peace in the real you,
For being real sets you free.

 

Sukanya.

Raw

06228077fdf4a27005a218279b6b24ae
Unknown Artist

 

 

 

Have you stayed raw lately
With your flesh still clinging to your soul
changing skins
For every excuse and rationalisation

Raw is denied, raw is abhorred
Raw is uncomplex, naked in all senses
From raw we escape
And raw we want to seek

And no, it’s not a necessity because
Sometimes you’ll pause and stare
For you’ll forget your real one
With all the masks you wore

You’ll often call the false one your own.

Until it will give an itch
And crawl up under your skin
Infect your heart
And murder your soul

You’ll realize you’re sick
Struck with a terminal disease
Life will become a nauseous ride
And plenty of time of endure

For I am raw.

 

 

Sukanya.

Work.

 

Alex Pillin.jpg
Artwork By Alex Pilin

 

The dark sheets are tangling,
and so is my spirit to keep myself awake
in the wee hours of the morning.

I have to work
and by work, I intend
lending my knowledge and substance
to thieves smiling in suits.

They call it called work.
The ultimatum of fifteen years
of dreaming with open eyes
of having the power to change.

I am being consciously robbed by society.
And my people are the accomplices
because of their worldly possessions
of talents and the ability to dream were snatched too

They want you to exchange
these treasured belongings of yours
like your gift of creating magic with sounds
or evoke feelings with mere words

for coloured paper with unmatched worth
they put a price tag on your ways of life
ask you to sell your worth

in replacement for attractive litter
calling commodities obligations of life.

You know, you know all.
Yet you prefer to blindfold your eyes
and enjoy the distress

Your real riches are validation
You celebrate sadness
Your value misery
And misery you chase to seek,
and recommend your loved ones too.

Like pills, society prescribes it
drugs themselves of ignorance.
My ancestors did it, and so will I.
I will go to work too.

 

 

Sukanya.
©reserved.

Vase.

I imagined myself as a solid vase,
having a set of true colours,
and the strength to contain
the secrets of the world.

But I am still a piece of clay,
gyrating in the hands of people
disguised as potters.

Each running a hand,
skilled or unskilled,
giving me a shape,
and a direction to incline.

Fingers are those which make me,
and break me.
Some pointing at me,
and some pointing away from me.

Unaware of my outcome,
and frightened by the potters,
I do as they say.

“Of course I cannot sculpt myself,
it’s foolish and daring.
I will rotate until
they are tired of playing.”

I contemplate.
I feel the joy of admiration,
and nightmares of crashing.

Can I be a vase?
Or is being a vase
the potter’s false dream?

 

 

Sukanya.