I wish I could be a kite
I wish I could be a kite, by Eshla
I crave freedom.

Everywhere,  I look around there are challenges burdening people.  Some are trivial, some are heart-breaking.   Some are losing loved ones to disease, some are struggling to make ends meet, some are trying to hold onto the small family business, and some are simply caught in the mad chase of life, yielding to what we’ve knocked ourselves into thinking is the utopia.

As a writer, I’m constantly selling myself to editors, trying to convince them not only is the idea intriguing, but that I’m the right person for it.  Why would I be the right person for a story?  Because I’ve gotten all the accolades, because I’ve published in so many “leading” publications, because I have the resources and contacts for this kind of story?  Rarely, does passion, love, fervor for the story come into play.  Why can’t I write because I write decently and genuinely love what I write about?  Why so many other pressures?  Why do I have to prove myself constantly?  It’s the endless selling of oneself in today’s world, the endless marketing, the endless chase to the top.  Technology has only helped us do that in many ways – all the social media platforms, I’m advised, are ways to market oneself.  Use them widely and you could be a global “name.”

But they don’t understand.  I don’t want to be a global name.  I just want to write stories that feed my soul.  I just want to do some good.  I want to use my hands to build something.  I want to use these platforms to learn from others.  Can I not be silent and listen to what others are saying?  Must I also chime in?  Must I also constantly bother others?

I have young students in high school come to me, seeking advice on how to get into a particular institution, how to market themselves for different colleges, how to get the top spot at an internship, how to do the “right” activities that will get them into the right school, then the right internship, and then the right job.   I’m exhausted.  I’m exhausted hearing them and I’m exhausted by the chase, by the quest for the ideal.

And yet, that ideal is what’s breaking around me.  Friends in comfortable jobs complain of boredom, stagnation, bureaucracy, lack of creativity, inactivity, and so much more.   Why don’t they leave?  They can’t, they say.  Why not?  You’ll survive on less money, I tell them.  But how can I let go of all these years of hard work, how can I let go of this “title,” that I’ve worked so hard for, they respond, anguished by the thought of even abandoning the so-called “ideal” world.

They’re not bad people, not even greedy really.  They’re just caught in what increasingly we’re told is the right path, the way to succeed.   Eventually, it’s the house, the family, the school tuitions, the bills, the car that begin to burden them and it’s too late.  Their burdens are far too heavy to escape, to fly freely.

So, the cycle of consumerism sets in.  The little purchases fill a void; it’s the tech gizmos, the vacation home, the fancy dinners out, the extra car.   But, why?  Do they really love these things?  I doubt it.  Rather they bring a short moment of excitement, a short excursion from the mundane, the thrilling detour that quickly loses its charm.

I recall the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, the one that endlessly exclaimed, “I’m late. I’m late.  I’m so very late.”  It’s as if we’re all too late, too wound up in what we’re told, chasing something; then, smack, somewhere along the way we realize, that in our tardiness, we’ve lost track of time.  For now, the days have slipped by, the years have too.  We must be content with what we’ve built.  We must make ourselves fit into the box, be it the lifestyle we constructed, the job we took up, the  “dream” that we achieved.

But why not be free?  Why not savor time?  Why not dismiss what we’re told?  Why not put all that energy, fuel, money into something that helps others?  Why not let the chase be for a different cause – for a gentler, kinder, more people-friendly dream?

Why not be a kite once in a while and fly against the wind?  Why not be free from the burdens that we’ve placed on ourselves? Why not get others to join us?

After all, I hear that “kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”  Or so Churchill tells us.

12 Responses to “I wish I could be a kite”

  1. Subodh Deshpande says:

    kite…its toy..:)
    why not butterfly..or a bird….:)
    or may be why not wind..river..sea with tides..light..:)
    these recent blogs are very different…:)

    by the way..do you think in your previous blog…you tried to detach and again you become what you are.. what were you and where were you when you detach..:)

    thanks and take care….subodh

  2. Subodh Deshpande says:

    hello admin,
    I will like to rollback my earlier comment..I think its not relevant to the post..pl..thanks..subodh

  3. KaSka says:

    What lovely writing!

    I have followed all those paths myself in a high-pressure silicon valley high-tech career, and then chucked it all to spend time with my two young kids. Now my bank account may not be as flush as before, but my soul is – I feel tremendously fulfilled, completely immersed in the sweetness and innocent life that my kids share with me.

    Soon, it’ll be time to spread my creative wings and see where life take me, but I’m enjoying the here and now. Carpe Diem!

  4. James Allen says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you; to Esha, for pulling these thoughts out of the ether and crystallising them into words; and to Shekhar, for distributing them. It’s always a source of strength and inspiration when somebody speaks from the heart about that which impassions them. Such a simple analogy that we’re kites against the wind, not with it, but observing the masses and doing the opposite can sometimes drain so much energy from us that we need reminding we’re on the right path.

  5. koizen says:

    If you are kite you will be free of burdens? What about the winds? Depend upon them?

  6. RajuK says:

    Shekhar/Esha,

    Listen to this.
    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/12/01/say-no-to-happiness-1/

    I heard parts of above radio essay, and found it interesting. At one point, it mentions perhaps the Buddha got it right – this life is meant for suffering.

  7. Rudra says:

    Hi Shekhar,

    This is a good post . btw , who is Eshla ?

    A Kite is a good metaphor for the human spirit. It is what keeps existence happen , anyways ! In many forms and ways , in many times and climes , and clutures – the human spirit always finds expression in ways that work against the nature/ wind. Or else , there would just be a power game that extends into eternity.

    Onething is clear , change is the nature of this creation. For Example : The British used to tirelessly boast to Indians , ‘ the Sun never sets on the British Empire’ – but look at their pathetic state now. They did not understand that human spirit especially Indian spirit is tuned to the Sun itself , and the dark cloud that was Britian(still is ) had to drift off , however constipatedly.

    Kites need wind ( which they dont control, only ride )to fly up. And no one likes a kite that is totally free either – will you not want to hold it by a tring and control it and if the cord snaps and it foes really free , you feel something snap in your heart – to have lost control of something is sad – so is it freedom that is sought , or the Freedom to control something ???

    Is real Freedom ever possible, in this world ? Is it just an idea ? Isn’t Freedom only relative ? Is it also not the case that every time there is freedom , it is almost always mis-used ? Look at what America’s ‘Enduring Freedom’ did to the world that had to ‘endure’ it ?

    Maybe , just maybe , the way to Freedom is in surrendering something inside us ?

  8. austere says:

    off topic
    my condolences. but what a life!
    peace.

  9. Horst Vollmann says:

    Hello Eshla,

    your thoughts that you express so beautifully hint at a journey you have started many years ago, a journey that has brought you to the Promised Land, to the distant shores of notoriety.

    Now that you have wandered through its valleys and have climbed its peaks you have realized that all is not well within its borders. The once glorious days, filled with joy and excitement have become stale, clouds have moved in obscuring the sun that had once shone so brightly upon the fields of plenty. You have begun to throw furtive glances at escape routes, for this seemingly perfect garden of Eden has lost its beauty.

    When it had dawned on you that the path to this elusive land would not be linearly leading to its hidden gates you probably strove even harder to find it. There were likely many distractions and the lure of the moment may at times have been overwhelming making detours inevitable. Many of us have similar stories to tell. Only a small segment of our ranks found the gates of this wondrous land that those who had never reached it whispered about. They were the ones who were not pushed to the surface of this stew of anonymity, to be seen by the world, to be whimsically assigned the status of significance. Those few who are now breathing this rarefied air would never have moved into the bright light of recognition had it not been for that incredible quirk of fortuity, of that invisible force that looks at two identically gifted beings and pushes one towards notoriety while the other forever languishes in this infinite ocean of obscurity.

    Do those who swim with the myriad of the unrevealed ones have less compelling things to say, live within a darker universe, its stars more dimmed? I don’t think so and yet nobody wants to hear their stories.

    I have not seen the Promised Land, have only heard of it but it dawns on me that kites are not flown within its confines. If you truly want to flee all that safety you have created for yourself and no longer wish to utter what the world expects to hear from you and reach a freedom you have craved in all those years of living in the stifling climate of normalcy and political correctness, you may have to travel outside this safely structured world to really fly that kite.

    I have recently met Francis O’Donnell who in the mid 90’s, with his friend and partner Denis Belliveau had retraced Marco Polo’s footsteps, all 25,000 miles of it. They had left behind the safety and comfort of careers, risked economic annihilation and in the course of their journey their own lives by flying that symbolic kite. Today, notoriety has at times sung its seductive song to them but they covered their ears instead to listen to their inner silence to perhaps build another kite to be flown some day again.

    I like your idea to use your gifts of writing for better causes, to open the door to much greater pastures, to tell the story of social justice, about that dream the multitudes of unsung heroes of the daily drudgery are dreaming. That kite would be beautiful to look at, for all to be seen.

    All the best.

    Horst

  10. John Dhanraj says:

    That is why it is said,

    Everything Is Meaningless
    1 The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:
    2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
    “Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

    3 What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?
    4 Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains forever.
    5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
    6 The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
    round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
    7 All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
    To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
    8 All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
    The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
    9 What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
    10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
    It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.
    11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
    will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.
    12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
    15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
    what is lacking cannot be counted.

    16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

    18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
    the more knowledge, the more grief.

    The above excerpt taken from the book of Eccelesiastes written long ago is still true. True fulfilment only comes when we allow God to fill the void in us. Or, everything becomes a chasing under the sun.

  11. M says:

    Bravo, Esha
    Your words could not be more true. Some who will read will get it, others will think you are a poet. I think you are a beautiful spirit here to help others. Continue your blessings.

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