Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Finite Pleasures of Life

I used to fly every other week, but this year has been a record of a sort to me: It's already the end of November and I have not made a single trip out of the country this year! The last stamp on passport was from the Singapore immigration, made sometime end of last year.

What has become of me? Is that why I haven't been blogging? Do I foresee any change in the coming year? How will I look back on these years that I spent in KL?

What have I enjoyed most these past years? Reading, playing the piano, watching EPL matches, drinking with friends and most of all, being able to take care of my old folks.

Playing the piano is something that I have not been able to do much since I left my hometown for studies and work. Only a few years back, looking at ways to fill up my bare apartment and driven by a nostalgia for my childhood days, did I decide to buy myself a digital piano. This has allowed me to spend many happy evenings after work playing my favourite Chopin waltzes and Nocturnes. I must confess, my playing is embarrassingly bad but I find these quiet finger-flexing sessions on the keyword quite therapeutic.

It's also great that one can download lots of free sheet music from the Internet these days. One of my favourite pieces is Ryuichi Sakamoto's theme music for the movie The Sheltering Sky, which I managed to find on the Net. Such a sad and haunting tune. I loved the movie too, which starred Debra Winger and John Malkovich, one of my favourite actors.

I managed to read the book too after I saw the movie. I love the scenes where the author, the late Paul Bowles, makes cameo appearances as the enigmatic Narrator, making voice-over observations on his characters. Here's one towards the end of the movie, a scene which I never get tired watching. Love the cafe atmosphere. Here's the voice over quote in English:

Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.

How many more times will I be able to watch these favourite scenes of mine? How many more times will I be able to play my favourite Chopin Waltz in B minor?

Only a finite number of times. But yet we live life as if it all seems limitless.

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