Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Transit

Every day I am in a race against time. Half a year has gone by and I am still struggling to find the time to write, read more amidst my professional work. There are days when I feel terribly overwhelmed by the anxiety of getting actual work done and juggling time between writing, reading and all those in between stuff that requires my attention and time. I wish I could have some kind of superpower where my brains could be in optimum mode all the time.


Spent last Saturday afternoon making a quiche. Had to run out to get some of the ingredients. Errands take time, you need to make time for these things as you need to do your part when you are sharing a life with another. I have help at home who takes care of the cleaning chores but despite having worked for us for umpteen years, she has a tendency to forget things and not see to details particularly if they are routine menial tasks. She only remembers things that matter to her; despite some of her deficiencies, she gets most of the housekeeping done. She is admirably forgetful as she has a way to agree to do certain things and conveniently forget the next minute. Thanks to the internet, the best invention ever, she is constantly chatting with her friends and she stays very much connected with her children and family members back home through Skype and Whatsapp. She also gets on line to shop for her friends and in turn she charges her friends a nominal fee for services rendered in placing the order and collecting the goods for her friends. For her, life is about getting paid, family and friends, earthy and sensible.

Lately I have been caught up with a case that involves overcoming some procedural and jurisdictional issues and in terms of the law, it is an interesting matter. But there are real people involved and it is not an academic exercise. The case reminds me of the fiction written by Philip Pullman. In The Tiger in the Well, the protagonist eventually triumphs but in the beginning the law was against her. click  Law can be gender biased when come to protecting a woman in plight. You feel the futility of the law when you cannot have the law to protect you.

When a client sees a lawyer, the latter has to  accept the former’s version as the truth of the situation. A lawyer has to work from the client’s perspective and see how the law can help him or her in achieving the results he or she wants. There have been times I find myself getting caught in a labyrinth and I do not see the whole point of the client’s resistance and tussle with the law when he or she would be better off walking away. Some days I feel incongruous around my associates when they seem to be more adaptable to the demands of practice generally regardless of what their clients' causes are. Perhaps they find themselves trapped in the circle of law which is very much a business and they just have to keep going. Law has given me plenty of insight to life and humanity. Perhaps one day I should go back to jurisprudence to re-examine the purpose of the law.
 
I recently read TRANSIT  written by Rachel Cusk, its omnipresent theme about the mystery of change and reality resonates with me.  In TRANSIT the protagonist, Faye is a novelist and after her recent divorce, decides to move back to London. She acquires an old council- owned property on a good street. The book contains her conversations with an ex-boyfriend, a  hairdresser, builders, neighbour and friends.

Her friend, Amanda says,

   ‘I said that perhaps none of us could ever know what was true and what wasn’t. And no examination of events, even long afterwards, was entirely stable. To take her point about fashion, if one waited long enough those embarrassing old clothes often   started to look right again. The same forms and styles that from one distance seem to emanate shame, and to prove that we are capable of self-delusion, from another might be evidence of a native radicalism and rightness that we never knew we had, or at least that we were easily persuaded to lose faith in.’

As he applies colour to her hair, Faye’s  hairdresser, Dale tells her about his road-to- Damascus moment
       ‘I had a road-to-Damascus moment,’ he said.’ Last New Year’s Eve, of all times. I bloody hate New Year. That was part of it, realizing that I bloody hated New Year’s Eve.’
     A group of them had been at his flat, he said. They were getting ready to go out and he starting thinking about the fact that he hated it, and thinking that everyone else probably hated it too but that no one was prepared to say so. When everyone had their coats on, he announced that he’d decided to stay at home.
       I just suddenly couldn’t be bothered,’ he said .
    Why not, I said.
         For a long time he didn’t reply, painting the strands of hair one after another until I thought he either hadn’t hear my question or was choosing to ignore it.
        ‘ I was sitting there on my sofa,’ he said, ‘and it just suddenly happened.’
      He stirred the paintbrush in the dish, coating each side again carefully with the brown paste.’
       
The novel is devoid of plot yet its stylish writing has kept me reading. The narration is fluid and beautifully executed. Rachel Cusk’s poignant insights are present throughout the fiction. The way the narrations go, the bits that go into the conversation with whom she interacts are rather inconsequential and they are in essence about   how Faye has been spending her time and how she is constantly thinking about her two teenage sons. To me, our daily encounters are usually made up of bits of inconsequential encounters that very often mean nothing. We are all in transit somewhere somehow, and in essence, we are not unlike each other as nothing stays constant.click

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