lone leafImage by Shelly Paul

Perfection – Everything has to be just so

If mother nature adhered to our current definition of aesthetic perfection – largely governed by the rules of symmetry – rivers would flow in perfect straight lines and turn corners at precise right angles, mountains would be pyramids, trees in the forest would be aligned in perfect straight lines like military battalions, where each tree would stand ramrod straight, every branch attached to the trunk at an exact angle of forty-five degrees, every leaf in perfect symmetry. The ones that do not adhere to this rigid perfection would be shed by the tree for its non-conformity.

Nothing out of place. No grey areas. No anomalies. Because anomalies are viewed as irksome, simply because they do not conform with the majority. Such perfection in mother nature would not only be boring in its monotony, but would jeopardize life on this planet because of its unforgiving rigidity.

return to innocence
Image by Shelly Paul

It is a sad chapter in our nation’s history when our young children, the future of this great country, have to rally for one essential need – the need to stay alive, to not be shot or maimed by somebody armed with a weapon. They are pleading for the most elemental right of every life form on this planet – just to stay alive and well.

As I listened to the videos and read the outpouring of the young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it occurred to me that while we live in the United States of America, we send our children to school in war zones. They might as well walk out of picture perfect communities and well go to school in war-torn regions such as Syria or Afghanisthan.

IMG_1729
Image by Shelly Paul

Imagination – The ability of the human mind to visualize/conceive the intangible.

If we had imagination, we would understand that we live on the surface of a giant sphere and not on top of a flat board. The reason Earth appears flat to our vision is because, we are a tiny speck on this planet, which makes us disproportionately small to be able to see the entire size of the giant ball.

Instead of arguing with the scientists, we would be able to verify this fact for ourselves personally, if we were giants towering over the planet, with our head reaching past the atmosphere to be able to see the globe in its entirety. Since we are not, we should probably talk to the tiny ant on top of a basketball, about the shape of the object it stands on, and it would say that the basketball it crawls on, is as flat as a pancake. And of course, we would know that the ant is wrong, because we can see the ball, just the way the astronauts can see our planet from space.

morning-dew
Image by Shelly Paul

Beauty – aesthetically pleasing

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, goes the well-known phrase from the poem, Endymion, by John Keats. Dwelling on this phrase made me wonder about that one unique thing of such incredible beauty, that it would bring unfailing joy to its beholder.

Could it be a favorite work of art that could turn into a visual feast every time we set our eyes on it? Or a piece of music that strums our soul, each and every time we listen to it?

Kathy D/Paper and ink imaginings/father's day car map
Kathy D/Paper and ink imaginings

Geography – Terrain and weather that shapes cultures and customs

When I read O’ Henry’s short story, “Soapy”, I could not understand Soapy’s attempts to get imprisoned for the duration of New York’s winter.

At that time, I was living in the tropical part of India, where winters were mild, offering a much needed respite from the oppressive heat of summer. Having lived only in the tropics, where people went to cooler places to escape the brutal heat of summer, I was unable to understand why anyone would want to escape winter.

Several years later, when chance brought me to the east coast of USA, I was able to hold in my hand – the beautiful crystals of snow as they fell in silent showers, painting the world monochrome. What I also came to experience was the merciless cold, as Old Man Winter breathed down on us during these months.

That’s when I understood Soapy’s desperation.

QUEEN
Image by Shelly Paul

Superiority – better by way of comparison

To those who claim superiority by not consuming non-vegetarian food, I say, there are no true vegans. Even if you wore a patch of leather, you are not a vegetarian, because leather does not grow on trees, neither does honey, nor silk.

That being said, vegetarians slaughter farmed plants for food, while non-vegetarians slaughter farmed animals and plants for food. Good thing too, because imagine if there was no food diversity and everyone ate just fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, there wouldn’t be enough food for the teeming billions, even if we eradicated the entire ecosystem from the face of this planet and turned it all into farms.

Resurrection, St.George Church, Edappally, Kochi
Image by Shelly Paul

A monologue with God because dialogue seems impossible

God – The Omnipotent, Omnipresent, benevolent creator of this world

Hello God,
I have heard so much about You, growing up. I hear You are a kind, benevolent, just and fair God, although I am not sure if that was the case when You tested Abraham’s faith.

By the way, I am not here to discuss the Bible. I want to talk to You about money. Why do You need so much money? Why does The Almighty, who created this universe in a week, with a day to spare, need so much of his favorite creation’s legal tender?

palimpset-shop window/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

Polytheism – worship of multiple gods.

When the people of Macondo1 saw an actor die in a movie and reappear as a completely different character in another movie, they decided they, “…would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats.”

But, we are not some primitive people from the fictitious Macondo, we are modern people who live on the, ‘Information Highway’. We know intellectually, that movies are commercial ventures made possible by modern technology, built by a large crew of invisible people with the actors being the only visible part of that venture. We know in our minds that actors are people, who portray scripted characters, as navigated by the director.

These actors are nothing like the fantastic characters they play on the screen. They are ordinary people, just like you and me. Yet, somehow seeing them up-close, smiling at us – not straight at the camera, but at me, the movie-goer – inviting us into their homes, into their lives, into marvelous worlds of fantasy and magic, sharing with us their travails and their triumphs, somehow tug at our heart-strings, making us believe in the impossible, just like when we were little children wishing for magic.

Kathy D, Dia de los Muertos
Kathy D/Paper and ink imaginings

Prejudice – blind hatred of a stranger, based on superficial differences

Character Soliloquy1

‘I don’t know you from Adam, and even though you have not harmed me in any way, I hate you, I hate you so much.

‘When things go wrong in my life for reasons I cannot fathom, I blame you for that. And there are other times, when a little soul searching and self-introspection can explain the reasons for the bad choices I make, but instead of taking the opportunity to become a better person, I hate you viscerally.

‘And if you think that I will credit you for the things that go right in my life, you are stupider than I thought you were. All that credit belongs solely to me, only me. And if you think that I act like a petulant child, why not? When this hatred of “different” people is sanctioned by my own family and endorsed by the society either explicitly or implicitly.

chelparkseries/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

Recycle – reusing or repurposing a used product, through a process.

I am proud to say that I live in a county where almost anything reusable gets recycled, that the recycle bin fills up faster than the trash bags. Recycling is a good thing. Very little is wasted, which matters because we are a teeming eight billion on this planet, even the most frugal consumption compounds the environmental problems we already face.
But there must be a limit to things we recycle, like movies. Have you watched any re-cycled movies lately?

I tried to watch the 2015 release of the movie, “Poltergeist”. I caught it on television. Didn’t even know there was another version of that movie.

I caught it in snatches since I was curious to see which modern gadget would snatch up the little girl in the latest version. My first guess was the laptop.