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Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Medley of my Thoughts

By Nihal D Amerasekera

Inspiration for life comes from various corners.  Although I remain an agnostic, Religion and  Philosophers have given me a fine platform for thought.  They have helped me to find a path to tread. This apparent indifference to religion should not be confused with a lack of respect for values and beliefs.   

The idealism of my early years are now long gone. Retirement has given me time to think about life, its highs, foibles and vagaries.  The emotional climate has grown calmer. Spending a lifetime in medicine has the drawback of allowing hypochondriacal tendencies to surface.  I need some lotions and portions to tidy up my health.  We all learn to deal with it effectively. Now is the time to celebrate our achievements and be happy with what we have. 

Our love for our own children is paramount in our lives. It is natural to care and be concerned about them. Ideally we should allow them to get on with their own lives after they leave the nest. We still hang on to our Asian values and concerns. I admire the British and American attitude to grown up kids. Let us learn from them to “LET GO”.  

“Destiny” is a small room in my house. I go there when I need to make sense of my impulsive actions. One such impulse was to train in Radiology for 5 years after completing the Membership. Although it was a hard grind this was the best decision of my life. It didn’t come to me after careful thought but out of the blue. This inexplicable event changed my life for the better. Radiology then was not a popular field. I still recall the comment from my colleague in medicine when I broke the news “Nihal, where is your self-respect?”. Need I say now Radiology is the heart of diagnostic medicine.  

My daily walks bring me increasingly closer to nature. The summer sunshine and the winter storms have their own splendour. As I walk pass the lush green fields of wheat and corn those who  own  the farms like the farmers and the squirrels and blackbirds seem to know me now. 

All through my years I have enjoyed the poetry of  Shelley, Wordsworth and Longfellow and the brilliant prose of Shakespeare.  At this time in my life nothing inspires me more than the simple but fine lyrics of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book now set to music.  The book was written for his daughter, Josephine .  She died age six year and the manuscript was found at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, UK.  Incidentally I am a regular visitor to this magnificent property just 20 minutes drive away from me.  The grounds and the mansion are maintained by the National Trust and remains as it was in the mid 20th Century.  

I hope these simple lyrics will inspire you too. 

Now I'm the king of the swingers
Oh, the jungle VIP
I've reached the top and had to stop
And that's what botherin' me 

And don't spend your time lookin' around
For something you want that can't be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin' about it

I'll tell you something true
The bare necessities of life will come to you
Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities

Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature's recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life



  1. Wonderful prose ND! I never cease to admire your talent for transmitting thoughts and ideas to the written word. I don't claim to have any deep knowledge of English Poetry but this poem I wrote some time ago, might fit in with your quote from RK's Jungle Book and your plea to parents, especially of Asian origin, to recognise that "your" children are independent individuals for whom you care a lot but who need to be given the freedom to make their own decisions and learn from their successes and failures, in this big arena of Life. Guide them? Yes, definitely. Control them and mould them the way you want? No,definitely! .


    We seek love
    We seek comfort
    We seek friendship
    We seek freedom

    Freedom from pain
    Freedom from suffering
    Freedom to dream
    Freedom to think

    We seek permanence
    where transience rules
    We seek to receive
    when we should give

    Stop clinging, let go
    Let go and be free
    Be free and be content
    Be content and be happy

  2. Idyllic prose -Well written by ND as always- your walks in the farmlands brought to mind the poem Leisure by William Davies though in a different context .
    As for our kids I totally agree with what you and speedy have said - and refer you to Khalil Gibran on children -great advice I try to follow in spite of what I have written!!

  3. Thank you Rohini and Mahen for your kind words. Comments ,like yours, is the oxygen that writers, artists, musicians and poets need to continue with the social networking as we have done. Thanks to Lucky we have formed a close community despite the many thousands of miles that separate us. We were together in our formative years and the bonds remain strong. Thanks Mahen for those poems. Poetry has the remarkable ability reach the parts of our inner being. Thank you Rohini for reminding us of Khalil Gibran. A great poet of the 20th Century. I must read his famous works “The Prophet” to help me in my journey through life.
    Keep writing.

    1. ND,What I referred to in fact was from "The Prophet".
      Yes it is thanks to Lucky Iam now writing to you and to Speedy , never having spoken one word to either of you in all my years in!

  4. Thanks again for Khalil Gibran. His boundless wisdom answers those infinite queries about children.

    And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."
    And he said:
    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
    You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable

    1. Wonderful! I am lost for words. Thanks Rohini and ND

  5. Rohini, I read "Leisure" and it is indeed a beautiful poem and echoes my own feelings about the beauty of Nature and how we should pause and make time to appreciate it. For the benefit for readers, here it is -

    Leisure. by William H Davies, the Welsh Poet (1871- 1940)

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare?

    No time to stand beneath the boughs,
    And stare as long as sheep and cows:

    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

    No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance:

    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began?

    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

  6. A poem to remember and recall as I walk the fields of wheat and corn amidst the butterflies, birds and the bees.

    1. Thanks Speedy and ND for writing these poems onto the blog- I didn't know how I could!
      "Leisure" is a poem I remember from my childhood -with my father reciting it - He introduced us to the great wealth that is English poetry.
      I am glad you appreciated it .

    2. Rohini - Start your comment, the open a new tab and use google to search. Just google the name of whatever you want, access the site given, highlight the text you want, mouse right click and choose copy, go to the blog comment which you have already started, right click at the place you want to insert the text, and choose paste. Some sites don't allow you to copy text and you need to use a web clipper like Evernote or download the web page (just click file--> save) and then open it and highlight and copy. But usually, things like well known poems, you can find a site which allows you to copy and paste. Hope this helps!

    3. Erratum- my comment above should have read
      " the great wealth that English poetry is."
      Speedy - Thankyou very much for the trouble you have taken with your instructions - shall try it sometime -appreciated-Rohini

  7. a suggestion to Lucky. The works of William Davies and Khali Gibran cited here are so beautiful to read, it may be read more widely if you could extract them from the comments and make it a separate post. What do you think?