I write this at a time when the sun is relentless in Bangalore. The light, pale, washed-out sky seems tired. It’s almost a reflection of my mind. I have been trying to be kind to myself – to not beat myself up if I do not work at the same pace as in a “regular job.” I left working full-time so that I can enjoy the small rituals of life, slower. Not for the rigor mortis of discipline.
A book to read in the afternoon, simply because I can.
A run in the evening because it’s fun to catch the setting sun even though every cell in body is aching from the workout of the morning.
And a cup of tea, for instance. A warm, soothing cup of green tea. Today, in conversation, a friend told me this:
Even green tea is not green.
Have you ever had the feeling that your mind was spinning? Spinning multiple concentric circles at dizzying speeds of light? And then, it all just comes crashing together in a glorious clash of cymbals and noise and chaos? No. I guess not. But that’s what that phrase did to me. When we take the decision to walk away from something, be it a relationship, a job or the pressures that tie us down in life, there’s always something we leave behind. I would like to call it a question. Some may call it regret. Some call it fear. Some call it doubt. A few might call it happiness. Whatever it is that we leave behind, there exists a space that must be filled again. The phrase “even green tea is not green” appears harmless. But it’s a beautiful juxtaposition of words that makes moments to memories. From that dizzying corner of my mind, what emerged was this.
We have so many perceptions and thoughts that we hold on to. Some of them we believe define us. Some of them are so important that we want to lose what we love to keep them. Yet, nothing appears quite as important as tomorrow and yesterday. The present? Another blog post, perhaps. You think that promotion mattered. That boyfriend or girlfriend really was a monster. That there is no way you would go back and TALK to that person. That you can’t bend. That you can’t please. That you can’t learn a new language now. That there is no time. That you are fat. That you are too thin. That your face is pockmarked. That your legs are weak. That your mind is indecisive. That your teacher in high school cheated you of your best grades. That God is not up there in the skies. That the children really ought to repay you. Pause. Think about green tea. Green tea really does not LOOK green. The green here refers to the unoxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. Leaves that give the tea a fresh, bursting flavor. But it doesn’t look green. Think again. “Even green tea is not green.”
How much then of our own thoughts/perceptions/egos/carefully held insecurities are not what they are? That phrase fits in comfortably. It makes me mock the closed web of thoughts I have weaved a spiderish web around. Days when I think “I can’t do this.” Days when I think “How could a person behave so badly?” And then I realize now I have to think that nothing is what it seems. There is a vast space between nothingness and the space we call our beliefs and thoughts. It helps to just sit back and think every time we find that we were hard done by that even green tea is not green. Because in that space, it just takes a little while to remember that even green tea is not green.