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The (L)imitless Light of Life

The light shines into the act of life for only the briefest moment-perhaps only a matter of seconds. Once it is gone and one has failed to grasp its offered revelation, there is no second chance. One may have to live the rest of one’s life in hopeless depths of loneliness and remorse. In that twilight world, one can no longer look forward to anything. All that such a person holds in his hands is the withered corpse of what should have been.

– ‘The Wind-up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami

As much as I love this book, I can’t help but disagree with this passage, even if it is a poignant reminder of fleeting moments and squandered opportunities.

I think the light that shines into our lives is limited only by our notions of what is possible. Yesterday, a gentleman shared the story of a woman who was diagnosed with a tumor of the spine which was going to render her paralysed from the waist down. What may have left most people shattered made this woman react with enough strength to face her reality head-on. Doctors had informed her of the gradual onset of paralysis and she spent the intervening time preparing for her life ahead in practical terms. After a few years her young daughter was also diagnosed as having the same condition.  And they found a way to lead fulfilled lives on their terms.

There are countless stories of people not being limited by their circumstances. And yet, more often than not happiness is equated with requiring a certain set of attributes that fit into earmarked boxes. These include models of success, physical beauty, mental acumen, all defined by the external world.

If only we could save ourselves a whole lot of heartburn and be reminded each day of one simple fact: Happiness is simply a celebration of the limitless light we hold inside.

Easier said than done, but worth fighting with ourselves for, no?

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And then there was light

I’m all for natural lighting, to the extent that I would live in a glass house if I could. I’m the jump out of bed (well okay, not jump but curse the alarm and get out of bed) kind of person, who before anything else draws the curtains and says hello to sunshine/rain or whatever else is waiting.

And then there is the husband who would rather close every inch of space from where light could penetrate (“It becomes too hot if you open the curtains”). I told him to go live on the North Pole (actually I said ‘London’ because he’s more likely to make a living there). And while I call him names I also realise he’s not alone in his thinking. Thankfully my room-mate in college agreed with me but we would always be surprised how other people could switch on lights at 10am instead of sunbathing indoors.

What’s more, you save on electricity bills too. Of course that’s not what I’m thinking when I do what I do but it sure is an argument I’m going to use against curtain-closers. When you’re living in the city, curtain closing should only be for privacy, not because you’re a sunlight-hater. Sure there are times when you’re sunbaked enough outside to want any of that indoors. That is when you want to live in the air-conditioned, dim lighting cocoon. But no other time is an excuse mister.

And artificial light-wise, give me yellow over white any day. There’s something almost obtrusive about white light, which is why it is probably great to study under. But for all else, paint my room yellow please.

Rest assured my war against curtain closing isn’t over. I refuse to switch on house lights before sundown. And more importantly, my weekend afternoon tryst with 19th century classics is not going to involve a tube light.