Tag Archives: culture

Fashionable

What it takes to be called “fashionable” these days? Expensive gadgets? (Guilty) to take lots of selfies (not guilty) to post on social media (I don’t even have an Instagram account) to show to the world how lucky you are? Big house? (Guilty) Big car? (Guilty) Having the latest trends (Guilty) of must haves it things? Jet-setting? (Is going on holidays a crime? If- then I’m guilty) How about a butt as big as KK? (not guilty) Cosmetic Enhancements? (Also not guilty) Job Hopping? Exercising freedom of speech in every possible opportunity appropriate and inappropriate for the sake of being current and involved in the eyes of… social media? Being tech savvy? Even only for pleasures (what else?) How about those current trends on fashionable illnesses like depression anxiety ADHD schizophrenia bipolar and all those delusional diseases and lifestyles complaints? Chronic conditions that modern medicine don’t want to acknowledge? Thinking of fibromyalgia CFS IBS RA, ME and bunch of disorders I can’t memorize let alone pronounce. Changing partners? (Guilty) Ever so often like changing underwear (Not guilty) Adopting rainbow family like AJ. I don’t know. What it takes to be considered fashionable these days? Tell me. 

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Wheel

Wheel of time Wheel of fortune Wheel of life Wheel alignment… How many words contain wheel… Wheelbarrow Cartwheel Pinwheel Wheelchair… Thousands I guess. Most of them I never heard before or have seen use in a sentence. Life is a circle. A never ending circle. A wedding ring supposed to be symbolizing forever though the symbol of eternity and infinity as we all know isn’t always a ring. The shape of a sideways figure eight, the Ouroboros (or Uroboros) and the Endless Knot, are also symbols of infinity and eternity to name a few. The Armenian symbol of everlasting celestial life looks like a pinwheel and the Egyptians sign for it is the Ankh, or the “Crux Ansata” or ‘cross with a handle. Whatever we think is appropriate symbol of  eternal life and rebirth, it is still containing a circle in the middle. It got to be. Life never sit still. It turns and turns with time. And time is infinite. Our life is limited but time on its own is infinite… 

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Translate

If someone would ask me what kind of superpower I would like to possessed I would say the ability to speak and understand all the existing languages past and present local dialects included. Imagine all the people I could help with the simple yet potent power of communication. I want to talk, hear, understand discover the world the way it really is through languages. Most of the times the real meaning and feeling of the words, the emotion are lost in translation. That’s why I rarely read books which are translated in another language, I know that the expressions, the dialects, the intonations, the sarcasm, the inside jokes and the characters of the characters are changed, contaminated, tampered with when they converted the works in another tongue. I want to understand people beyond their skin colors, religion, ethnicity, nationality, race and education. I want to hear their inner voices, their true selves, their beliefs their dreams, motivations, fears and wisdom. I want them to understand me and what I stand for. I want to share knowledge, hopes and aspirations. I want to be part of other cultures and traditions. I can only experience the real soul of the place when I speak their language, when I’m one of them.

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Daily Prompt 

Ordinary day with ordinary people

I was bored so I decided to go shopping, check out what’s on offer, January is after all a sale month. A month long shopping extravaganza for die hard shopaholics. I am not one of them. I don’t like crowds to begin with. But crowds that mad frenzy consist of mostly women are dangerous. They are possessed. Eyes vacant, hard determined look on their faces, blindly moving forward, always in a hurry, ready for anything. Scary.

But yesterday I thought I will gamble my chance of being trampled over or get killed and headed for the city. I found the place surprisingly quiet (quiet for this time of the year) I could navigate the streets without so much trouble and able to browse in the shops in peace. Maybe because it was a working day. I will never dream of coming here during the weekends. I’ve learned my lessons.

From between clothes racks patiently scrutinizing every item on sale for fun, I looked up and terror gripped me by the throat I could hardly breath. Directly opposite me was a tall woman dressed in full black with long dark straight hair and a complexion devoid of any drop of blood she was ash gray. Compare to her, Morticia is a joke.

Look, I love Gothic. I dress in Gothic style once in a while, one look at my blog page and you will know I’m a fan of the dark side. Edgar Allan Poe will always be my hero and Stephen King will always be my favorite author, but this woman is something else. What she is goes beyond fashion statement. It’s not the fact that I can’t place her ethnic origin, or her age or the ethereal way she moves (there is nothing ethereal about her physically for she’s massive) but the feelings she evokes, (in me) the sense of something silent but imminently dangerous like a poisonous cobra poised to strike if provoke or a highly trained assassin who is not your enemy but don’t stand on her way. The feeling of if she chooses, she can harm you in thousands different ways was at that moment undeniably real.

She didn’t even glance my way. She proceeded in her unhurried manner, a melancholic look on her bloodless face and I was scared. So scared I avoided being in the same aisle with this being.  As I watched her glided away, her long black pleated taffeta skirt softly blowing behind her I thought: Who is she and why she looks like that and why I am scared?

I tried to forget what I saw and went in and out of the shops to calm myself and I almost succeeded when coming out of a sport store I saw a man holding something I cannot decipher. He seemed disoriented, looking for something, gone this way, doubled back and went to the opposite direction just to come back again in the middle of the square. You would probably not believe this but he looked like he just stepped out from the set of the Highlander movie. He could be the perfect antagonist to Christopher Lambert. If he would reach under his long black leather jacket and produce a sword and start hacking people’s heads off, it would not surprise me at all. He was dressed for the part perfectly, down to his Doc Marten’s black boots, spiked dog collar and Mohawk hairdo. Like the woman, it was not a fashion statement but a way of life. Simply being themselves. My companion said, perhaps they were together and he was looking for her. I told him that whatever it was, I’m out of there.

We agreed to leave the the main street and headed to the small cobbled alleyways to drink coffee somewhere, anywhere.

We like little authentic secluded places to eat, like home restaurants managed by a family or artsy small (trendy) cozy places with limited menu consist of unusual combinations of healthy alternatives fresh ingredients. Combing the establishments on both sides of the street, I saw a door propped open by a bistro chair next to a single table standing on the narrow sidewalk the two items teetering on the edge of the street. I went in and saw that the place contained nothing but a small counter at the end and a couple of tables and chairs on my left standing on a platform leading to a narrow staircase upstairs.

There was an Italian looking lady at the counter wearing a black t-shirt with the restaurant logo on the front and black slacks, a black apron tied neatly around her middle. I smiled at her and said hello. She didn’t return my greeting so I was forced to come closer. What followed was according to my companion more disturbing than the bloodless woman in black and the highlander guy altogether.

The lady stared ahead of her (above our heads) vacantly, unshed tears adorning her sad, sad eyes. She rocked herself back and forth and didn’t react to anything I said, as if we were not there at all. She just continued staring into space oblivious of what’s happening around her. I heard muffled voices up the stairs but couldn’t make out what was being said. Slowly, I walked backwards keeping my eyes on her somewhat confused and for the first time in my life speechless. I didn’t know what to think or make of the situation. Halfway to the door an Italian looking guy came down the stairs and greeted us as if there was nothing wrong, he didn’t even look at the catatonic woman at the counter. He told us that they were about to close for the day and they were out of provision. He smiled and excused himself, closing the door after us.

We walked silently to the car forgetting we were in dire need of refreshments. We didn’t talk about the incidents till after we came home and even then both of us have no clue where to begin. Whenever I think about what I’ve witnessed that day, it’s like recalling fragments of different films I have forgotten I’ve seen in the past. It’s so unreal I can’t believe it really happened. I can think of hundreds different scenarios and invent thousands different stories about those people but the truth is I don’t know the truth, I can only guess. And maybe it is better so.

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Gathering

Outside the Shinto Shrine in Japan, visitors can drop coins in the box and buy this small wooden plaque to write their prayers and wishes and leave it hanging there where the spirits receive them. The practice is very much like what we do in our churches, lighting candles and leave them on the altar burning to accompany our prayers.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering

Dangerous

Which do you find more dangerous: wanting nothing, or wanting everything?

I find them equally disturbing. The latter reminds me of all dictators past and present, of kings and queens and almost everything and everyone connected to the words: power, money, greed and wars.

Wanting nothing is also not a good thing. When I read it, immediately I think of suicide, depression, giving up, disinterest and exhaustion. But then again, I heard so many people said I want nothing but meaning exactly the opposite. They are just saying that because they didn’t get what they originally wanted and feeling vindictive and wronged. Sulking also come to mind.

In any way, to me they are both desperate acts. I cannot think of any positive outcome of wanting everything and nothing. Moderation is the key. I saw a documentary once about a tribe in amazon jungle living by the rule of taking only what they need from Mother Nature; nothing more nothing less.  Isn’t that a wonderful motto to live by? Excess is the disease of any society. This problem is omnipresent and unavoidable and I do understand but it doesn’t mean I approved. Acquiring only what we need with occasional exception is the best. Hoarding is what happened to all of us. Somehow along the way, we accumulate a lot of excess. I have been  there, done that learned my lessons and now trying to live minimalist. Hurrah for clean living. 

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DPchallege: All Or Nothing 

Dying…

I was in the charity shop this afternoon trying to find some interesting books to read finding none and I thought: “How sad.”

How sad it is to see those empty shelves that used to house hundreds of books one could get lost in it for hours at times. Now, they are gone. I went to a lot of such places this weekend in the hope of finding some suitable reading materials but what’s on offer were so little compare to couple of years ago.

There was a time that books were everywhere. You could not turn a corner without bumping into a bookstore, but in my city alone, several of those shops have closed their doors due to low patronage. It breaks my heart to witness another dying culture.

 Once upon a time when browsing in second hand bookstores, not only customers were spoilt for choice they could be selective as well for there were products in abundance; now, that privilege is a thing of the past. I began to notice the decline in offer when I failed to find my favourite authors among the selection. First, I settled for finding good books. It doesn’t matter who wrote them as long as the stories are interesting enough to keep me busy. I am a voracious reader anyway, and I can consume great quantity of materials on so short time that if I am going to purchase all my reading pleasure brand new, I will be soon on the edge of bankruptcy. That’s why I frequent charity shops to sustain my needs.

When even good books became rarity, I talked myself into buying paperbacks that are “good enough.” That was also the time I considered going to a library. But I hate rules and I dislike deadlines and I tend to abuse my books by bringing them everywhere and not using book markers because I tend to lose them, I fold a corner of a page instead. Underlining the passages I like and highlighting them with coloured markers are some of my sinful preoccupation while reading. I think no library would appreciate that.

Now, even mediocre books are very hard to find. Especially if one is looking for reading materials that are written in English but living in a country that does not have English as principal language. I am aware that there is this thing called E-Book, and that is about the only thing I know about it. Frankly, I am not interested knowing also. At least, not yet. Not as long as I can find printed materials to read. It reminds me of the time that I stupidly refused to change my nationality out of principle. Till someone opened my eyes to the possibilities and advantages of acquiring one and to be honest, I had no choice. Not, if I want to see my children growing up.

Why I am not interested in using E- Book? Well… there are so many reasons, but the most important of them all is because I believe that the ultimate reading experience involves holding an actual book. Something you can smell (I love smelling books, old or new) caress the pages… there is something erotic about turning those folios (or leaves if you preferred) books turn me on and I unwittingly impart this knowledge to my ex who never hesitated to use it against me whenever he deemed appropriate.

One of my secret fantasies is to be locked up in a vast library (or a museum) for a week, living side by side with all of those magnificent stories. It’s better than travelling sometimes and certainly preferable than having sex. I imagine gliding my hand across their spines, feeling the textures, the hardness, embracing their aroma… the thoughts that thousands, probably millions of people handled them, found knowledge and solace between their pages is a humbling experience.

But my first love is dying. Dying in the hands of modern society. The same society who used to respect and recognize the value and power of printed materials by making them available for everyone who seeks to be educated and advance in any field. The same society who became knowledgeable with the help of books is now ignoring and casting them away in exchange for modern technology.  I know that the only constant in this world is changes but can we at least preserve some of our most prominent culture/tradition/heritage/whatever? A lot of those are disappearing in the name of progress which makes me question if we are really improving.

I am aware that there are great buildings that houses rare volumes. But I am not talking about those. I am talking about the accessibility of tangible educational reading materials to ordinary mortals in the comfort of their own homes, in their own tempo. I rather get rid of those fashion glossy magazines and gossip tabloids in favour of bringing back the good old books. And comics and snail mails, etc. But that is for another post…  

Now, I’m scared. I’m scared that one day the only way I can see books is from behind protected glass, admiring it from a distance, which makes me think of pictures of Dinosaurs and certain animals that you can only see from afar in the zoo.

Isn’t it a sad, sad affair?

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Depends

When it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?

I say… it depends.  It depends on who are those people and what is the situation. It depends on the mood and what a person’s need at that moment. Sometimes, talking to one’s self is enough; no arguments, no breaking of the flow, no social skills needed.

Talking to a good friend who understands you well could be rewarding. A family member could offer unconditional understanding and support. But then again, a stranger could provide an unbiased point of view. It all depends.

Talking to a group if it suits the purpose can be liberating especially when it answers your aspiration and achieves your goal. It could mean also fun and adventure, if that’s what someone is looking for.

An intimate or romantic tête-à-tête can nourish one’s soul and feed the desire. Conversation with a loved one can lead to so many different satisfying outcomes.

So, I say… it all depends.

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