If orbits intersected like streets, and stars crossed paths like people, they would have all crashed into one another and the sky would be benighted and black. No, up there, everything turns on an eternal separateness. And if we won’t unwedge our cramped everyday life with separations, if we won’t convert our collectives from a close order to an extended one – we may perish. An old saying compares separations to the wind that douses the candles but fans the flames. So let us sow the wind. Let all the guttering tapers go out, and the sooner the better, all those tiny particles of feeling that produce more soot than warmth or light. The person who doesn’t want his soup rattles the spoon and pushes the plate away; but people with no appetite for each other tend to rattle on and on, unable to push away what is unnecessary….
…We need strictly enforced rules: on odd days of the month, say, forbid acquaintances to recognize each other in the street; replace two-seater drokshies with one-seaters; impose fines on those who go about in pairs. Equate meetings of husband-wives with those of convicts; allow children to speak to their parents only on the telephone, give those who abandon their families reduced fares…
– Someone else’s theme, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (From the collection Memories of the Future)
Another remarkable book that I got introduced to through Three percent and its Best Translated Book Award Shortlist. Each story contains so many unusual and wondrous thoughts that I just can’t keep moving ahead.

3 thoughts on “Separateness

  1. Dear Madhuri,

    Sometimes I am jealous, when I find myself unable to be like you.

    Why can't I get rid of my job, just for a day or two, so that, I would also be able to be with my books. I wish to spend some memorable time with them again and to feel, that I used to, when I was ten.

    But I am very well aware, that this wish of mine, is never going to come true.

    Going through your blog, provides me the same sort of satisfaction. So, I must be thankful to you, and I am.


  2. Gyaneshwar, does one really need to spend days away from the job to attend to other activities? At least some of the activities can co-exist with work, must co-exist with work. An all consuming job which does not leave space for anything else is dangerous, no matter how interesting.


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