Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Milan, Lombardy, Italy - 11th September 2009

The more you know the less you feel
Some pray for others steal
Blessings not just for the ones who kneel,

- U2, “City of Blinding Lights

Looking at Renaissance-area churches and cathedrals , B and I were discussing this: “Were these built solely as religious places of worship or was there more at work here?”

Cathedrals/churches were commissioned by the aristocracy of the time. They were designed and built by the artistic aristocracy of the time too. While these soaring steeples and tall spires are definitely meant to inspire awe and evoke the greatness of the Lord Almighty, one cannot but help feel that at some level these are manifestations of the ids of the people behind these – either the aristocrats bankrolling them, or the artists responsible for the architecture and the stunning beauty of these places.

The Duomo in Milan

However, all of that is moot. The sense of grandeur and pure awe that one feels on viewing something like the Duomo in Milan make all this questioning of motivations academic. Evoking hushed reverence, the perfect grace of this place left me speechless.

In the spirit of the beautiful symmetry these places exhibit, I close with the same U2 song I started with.

The more you see, the less you know
The more you find out
as you go
I knew much more than I do now

More posts on the way as I process my diary and unscramble my thoughts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Be Kind, Rewind

The flight now seems interminable. I’m looking at a row of seats next to me with screens flickering various stages of recent blockbusters. Ben Stiller is still running amok in museums while Arnold rises, buck-naked elsewhere. Staccato gunfire echoes from someone’s headphones that are way too loud. The steady hum of the jet makes you wonder “Don’t they build sound dampers into this damn thing?”

The end of a vacation is a time of ‘epic suckage’ (to use a recent hip expression I picked up from an acquaintance). Security checks, removing shoes and belts, metal detector passes. Things you grinned and bore with a song your lips on the way out here suddenly become onerous.

Every moment is fraught. “This may be the last time I drink coffee here.” (though, at the back of your mind, you know you’re going to come back. Soon.) Wistfulness sets in even before the trip is over. You look at photos in the tiny screen of a camera, trying to hold on to something that is slipping away, fast.

*sigh*. It’s time to stop fretting. Life as you have known it for years now awaits on the other side of the Atlantic. You try to switch off this feeling of dread by tuning in to the bizarre pleasures of The Hangover.

This was written on the flight out from Zurich to JFK after a most enjoyable 10-day vacation. More posts on the vacation itself coming soon. This was unfortunately the most well thought out of the paper posts from my diary, so this goes up first. Last-In-First-Out, stack-style.