Little Miracles

The tiny sharks* swim right next to my computer here in a sunny, muggy living room. Their scales shine. Some are missing, leaving behind small discontinuations in the flow of things. The only remaining parrot fish has been the longest with us. It sometimes comes to say hello from behind the glass wall. Maybe we imagine it, but its eyes seem to light up, as if it’s meeting an old friend without expecting to. The mono angels are breathtakingly elegant, even as they seem cold and distant.

When I look to my right, their huge tiny world is at my arm’s reach, inviting me to take a quick head-dip and melt away all the cobwebs that my own huge, tiny world washes into my head like flotsam. Now that I am older and meaner, I am less spunky, too. I’ll not pick up a stool and lift up the aquarium cover to dunk my head into their world, even though the prospect is bloody inviting. But I can picture it, and smile.

Though these perceptible, sometimes tangible miracles receive love and approval, it is somewhat tragic that the ones going on inside our heads — all of our heads — are either misunderstood, or overlooked. I have been a witness to numerous instances of human downfalls recently. Some of them have been physical, some psychological, others intellectual and emotional. In short, I have seen fellow beings drowning into temporary or longish or fatal abyss of all kinds. The ones who have made it back to the top and have been breathing since — whether fumbling or sputtering is irrelevant — are the miracle-carriers I am talking about.

My diligent research about how our mind works gives a breath-taking outcome. The innumerable electric signals that pass through our brains every second can get stymied by any one or some of the innumerable parts of the rest of the body. If the signals get blocked or short-circuited because a part of the brain is distended or dead or mulish because some hormone produced somewhere is acting pricey or corny, what’s a body to do?

When you look at your loved one the next time, the one who forgets things or gets angry or sleeps until the cows come home or seems to love the sound of his voice, imagine the little circuits in his brain acting up. The fact that the person is functioning and making use of his or her existence in whatever way he or she can is a tiny miracle giving you the privilege of audience.

The brain directs actions according to your mental resilience. Even if your synapses decide to take a walk, if the rest of you wants to bring them back, they jolly well will. And that is what this achievement is about. When the body is weary and wants to give up because there isn’t any energy available even though it pulses through your body, you make it available. You order it to come and lift your limbs.

There are many such miracle-workers around us. The ones who rise above their physical inabilities and see the sun set. Most of us, however, also falter in spite of this magic in us. We scream, shout, go crazy, lose house keys. But that’s what being human is about.


*4-inch cutish ones. Although, if my brother were asked, he’d say those that prowl the oceanic jungle are quite fab, too.


6 thoughts on “Little Miracles”

  1. “The fact that the person is functioning and making use of his or her existence in whatever way he or she can is a tiny miracle giving you the privilege of audience.”

    Witnessing is a powerful thing. It’s wise to remember we have this gift, especially, as you say, when the ‘who’ we are witnessing is acting (or non-acting) in ways we do not consider productive or positive.

    1. It is challenging, indeed, to be able to witness without being judgmental, especially when the person is living in your own house or close social structure. That it is an ailment that warrants equal compassion as any other escapes most of us at least sometime in our lives.

  2. You would have to throw loosing car keys in, wouldn’t you?

    I absolutely love the vision of someone – anyone – dunking their head down into the fish tank, just to have a look. It makes me wonder what the fish would think. It makes me wonder what I think, or any of us thinks, when someone else takes a notion to really take the plunge and see our worlds. Fun thoughts, and provocative.

    1. When I used to put my head inside the aquarium as an occasional routine more than 2 decades ago, I didn’t realise it would become treasured nostalgia later. While I was sure the fish enjoyed my little partial jaunt, I did worry that they would die of boundless excitement, so I slowly began to curb the urge. Today, when I think of taking a plunge into someone’s — anyone’s — life, I remember to make sure that my curiosity and guileless interest is welcome. Mostly, it is. Perhaps because one rarely finds someone who would take interest in someone else’s life just because?

      P.S. I also considered including the regular keeping of used coffee mugs right on the edge of the dining table.

  3. I have a little plastic bottle of handwash liquid in my kitchen; it is called ‘Aquarium’. What a bizarre name for a bottle of handwash… In the clear liquid inside the transparent plastic bottle there are a couple of coloured plastic fish… Why am I telling you this my dear Priya? I don’t know…
    I do read your pieces, and if you had a ‘like’ button to click – I’d click it…

    1. Could you just write “I like!”? I’ll know. It is tiresome to have a like button when all you want is to hear people say it, you know? Especially you, I like your voice, Dave.

      I’d find it difficult to use Aquarium to wash my hands. Can’t say the same for my daughter. She will love the little fishies and bathe in the thing. Though, if you mentioned it as a hint for dunking option, do go climb a tree, sir.

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