Sunday, January 01, 2012

I am a bat-poet? Hanging upside down and observing the world?

Sometimes, a book is not simply a book.

The high school reunion happened.  Over the thirty years, we have traveled many different journeys.  Very few were simple, and most were over meandering paths.  And, yet, there we were.

I was amazed at how much I didn't know my classmates.  I suppose it is understandable, given that we had gone our separate ways when we were seventeen, or eighteen.  With a few, it was even earlier when they switched schools.

As much as we had already re-acquainted ourselves in cyberspace, it was an entirely different and wonderful experience re-connecting with each other in the real world.  What a pleasure to know them, at least now.

While chatting with them, sometimes in groups and other times in one-to-one settings, however brief they were, one of them, "J," said, "I have this book that you might like to read."

She meant it.  When I saw her again after a few minutes, there she was with the book.

"You are giving this to me because .....?" I asked "J."

"If you want to read it.  Not necessarily right here.  You can return it to me later when you visit my place."

That too is a beautiful aspect of this reunion--it is also a desire to take the re-connecting to more substantive levels.  Another classmate, "S," for instance, has been a serious reader of my blog posts over the past few months, and sends me interesting reads as well.  It was through "S" that I ended up trading emails, on the topic of atheists in carnatic music, with TM Krishna, a leading voice in that art/profession.

Anyway, I thanked "J" for the book, which I safely tucked away in my backpack.

The book "The Bat-Poet" is not any heavy reading.  It has a deceptive appearance and presentation--as if it is a children's book.  At forty-three pages, which includes quite a few illustrations, it certainly seems like ten-year olds are the intended audience.

But, there is a lot in the book even for this forty-seven year old.

The bat-poet is curious, which then leads the bat to observe and think about life around him all by himself.

As I read the book, I wondered whether "J" meant that I, too, was like that bat-poet who was hanging from the porch all by himself and noting the life and activities all around me.  At one point, I thought that a modern day re-telling (the book was published in 1964) will have the bat-poet as a blogger!
When he would wake up in the daytime and hang there looking out at the colors of the world, he would say the poems over to himself.  He wanted to say them to the other bats, but then he would remember what had happened when he'd said them before. There was nobody for him to say the poems to.
As a blogger, I don't have to know that there is no "bat" audience for this bat-poet.  If somebody reads them, and finds them worthwhile, and I hear from them then, hey, I am not merely saying my poems to myself!

Later, the bat-poet thinks:
I'll go to the chipmunk and say, 'If you'll give me six crickets I'll make a poem about you.' Really I'd do it for nothing, but they don't respect something if they get it for nothing."

At the end of the book, the bat-poet, who explored these by himself, gets back to hanging upside down with the other bats.  Did "J" mean that it paralleled the high school reunion too?  I will find out soon when I get to meet her and her family at her home, and her family at her work.

For now, I like the idea of me as a bat-poet, however awful and out-of-meter my blog posts are :)

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