competing conceptions of the delicious

i start this with a state of mind i cannot begin to tell you about.


the multi-layered, competing, and convoluted conceptions of the delicious.

everything is convoluted
(current state of things. or of my mind.)
(everything is illuminated: jonathan safran foer)


“i want to tell the fish at the bottom of the sea what the sky is like.”
the city of trees
شهرِ درختان
البلد الاشجار
la ciudad de árboles
la cite des arbres

we were driving down to vienna along the immaculate, large, industrial grey and impersonal autobahns in the dark and the silence. my company popped in a cd and it was dawood sarkosh’s ever so friendly voice this time doing a beautiful rendition of maryam. مریم چقدر سبز is a ghazal by sharif saiidi. my literature-loving uncle and i loved maryam when we read poetry in company many years ago – for us, it was signature saiidi. simple, beautiful imagery and a rythmic style that lent itself easily to music. we had, i think, contemplated telling dawood sarkosh to compose it into a song -and maybe he got around to telling him. because maryam, the title song from dawood sarkhosh is a delight, and one of the few things about the world that makes me happy now. did i tell you the other is the city of trees? reading this poem you get the distinct feeling that maryam, the female protagonist of the poem, is one of those people who really look good in black and white photography.

in vienna i met dawood for the first time, and instantly, and quite disappointingly for me, we got to talk about politics. rarely did i find a subject so boring and terrible, or more distracting of the higher and more sublime sensibilities of human beings. it is a little like talking shop in fine company. i would have preferred that we talked more serious stuff, like music and arts. but then again, maybe everyone else’s idea of talking serious business was to talk politics. i nearly blurted out the poem from sohrab: و قطاری دیدم… که سیاست می برد… و چه خالی می رفت but i am neither that courageous nor that impolite yet. i am getting there, though.
anyhow, maryam is a delight of a ghazal –
مریم چقدر سبز
می آید از آن سوی خیالاتِ خیابان
در ذهن خیابان همه گی سرو و چنار است
می آید و مَی می چکد از طرز خرامش
با هر قدمش راه دو سه جرعه خمار است
زیر لب او زمزمه روشن یک شوق
در حنجره اش تابش یک باغچه سار است
مریم چقدر سبز، چه اندازه بهار است

i owe a big vote of thanks to both of these people today for this. the poem, the imagery, the harmony and sincerity of this little beautiful number. i owe a big vote of thanks to the gods and other higher powers for these two people and the unique alignment of so many hydrogen atoms that they really represent. otherwise, i am not sure what i would do. i am in a truly depressive manic state of being. i am in a state of mind i cannot begin to tell you about.

someone favorite-d this image from my flickr album today:

twilight with the moon flickr hamesha safrang

someone else said: ‘woow!’

shaharzad has asked a most unsettling of questions: what is the right side? indeed. camus said that to ask is to begin to be undermined. the question became chrystallized for me when i first read the pursuit of the ideal by isaiah berlin. up until then the right side was tied for me to the neatly structured thought systems that had some sort of internal coherence and built up to something grand. berlin’s essay deconstructed and so messed up all these beautiful edifices and left me a bit adrift. i cannot tell you today what the objective, really real good and right side of things are, if there is one at all. i have resigned myself to that fact that this may not exist. back to that competing conceptions of the delicious. but what i can tell you, and what has helped me get my own skull around things, is that whatever my subjective definition of the right side is, let it be as encompassing of the lot of the rest of people as possible. let more people benefit from its implications. let people experience good stuff as a result. let the quality and quantity of their real, physical, mental and spiritual experiences improve as a result of its implications. the implications of the definition of good that i postulate. a bit kantian, i know. a bit golden-rulish. but they did not call it the golden rule without reason. and while i am at this, let me also pontificate that i put greater stock in the value of all peoples’ physical, corporal and more immediate experiences than anything else. as chekhove once put it, the human body is the holiest of holies for me. let all this beautiful stardust feel as little pain and trauma as possible. and let them have a say in determining what other good and delicious things they want for their lot.

hence, my definition of being on the right side of history is really a series of disjointed rules of jointed thumbs. these rules of thumb, for instance, include ones that say greater freedom is always better. it is the right side of things, the right side of history (and of geography and of mathematics too.) another rule of thumb states that greater opportunities for individual self-realization is always better. and so on. and no matter if these rules of thumbs are disjointed. life is not organized -at least our minds cannot see the greater harmony of life that exists out there. so, instead of making a system of rules that we have to retro-fit life back into their frame, we need to be situational and respond to life in its own variety. therefore, another one of the rules of thumb says that greater poetry -as a sublime expression of transcendental sentiments of us all- is always preferrable to lesser poetry; and that the greater a society takes to covering itself up, the less well off it is. i am not talking about some grand meaning of covering up. by now it should be clear i am talking about the real sense of words, the more immediate ones, the more temporal-corporal implications of words. that’s right. the greater the items of clothing on average a society wears, one of the rules of thumb (full list of rules still under work) states, the less well off it is, and that much more on the wrong side of history and geography and drawing it is. i am all for a ‘lesser clothes movement’ like the ‘slow food movement’. greek senators went to assembly in immaculate, one-piece, white gowns and sandles that covered the soles of the foot but left as much of the back of the foot exposed as possible. hence the thin straps. and if they really felt like dressing up, they would don an olive branch. and they thought of far greater things far earlier than our dressed-up and uptight society today. nietzsche did not get around to it, i am convinced, or else he would have condemned any thought emanating from a person buried in the folds of clothing as inferior and essentially limiting. like he said about sedentary thinking being essentially rotten and certainly inferior to thinking done on the move.

the raving lunatic that i am.


~ by safrang on March 3, 2010.

4 Responses to “competing conceptions of the delicious”

  1. Sanity is overrated and the sane aren’t any fun. Rave away.

  2. salam Javaid jan..
    the right side of things.. right.. I think being in an entirely academic environment has slowly detached from the immediate, the intimate, the simple “right” things.. so, it was refreshing to read what you had to say about it.. really.. there are some disjointed rule of thumbs that are simply good..I agree with it.. like less humiliation, less huger, less violence..

  3. P.S: I love Sarkhoosh.. he keeps me going in a strange way.. sorry your conversation didn’t work the way you wanted it to.. (and we may have benefited as well)
    another new song of his bawar.. also has a very friendly tone to it, very intimate, clam and comforting.

  4. Around the same time last year Maryam was released and it happened that I was in Europe…it was me, Maryam and the train rides in Europe…every time I listen to Maryam I go back to this beautiful train ride between Venice and Florence…
    Here is the link to a slightly different version of the song, when Sarkosh performed it first time before the release of Album.

    btw I am so glad, people are reallizing Sarkhosh is a rare and great artist.

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