"Life is the price we pay for running away from death "
































































I was generally fishing in the attic today and found some 'stuff' my parents had put up there. They are actually items that, I think, all middle-class families put aside for reuse or giving away to charity - old clothes we wore as kids, slightly broken plastic items, toys we played decades ago, notebooks that were not fully used up, a dozen pens with ink still left in them, a broken TV remote, devotional song casettes, old rugs, etc - they had not been touched for years and were totally covered with dust. I didn't try to disturb them but wondered if they would ever be touched at all. Maybe, unconsciously, it was a legacy that my parents were leaving behind for me to clean up someday. Those were like memories, being locked up somewhere in the forgotten corners. Someday, when my parents were gone, I may come back to this attic and spend time picking the items one by one.. reliving the past, and sifting through moments covered in dust.

Dust is a very promiment feature of Bangalore - especially in the dry summer months - and so would be any place in the world that is not excessively wet. Areas covered by mining or refineries would be worse, nevertheless dust invades, in some measure, all of the civilized world now, thanks to fossil fuel burning machines that are part of our daily lives. Nearly all towns have industries around their suburbs and that contributes its share of dust too. Dust follows a cycle similar to us - rises in the morning, floats around all day and finally settles down at night.

Dust is one of the most formidable of all God's creations - it existed during the Jurassic era, it exists today too. Even landscapes change, but nature of dust doesn't ('God created Golden Dust, Man just made it Black'). Wind, the master sculptor of nature, can break down boulders, but dust happily dances with it. Dust has no power of its own, yets its invincible. It has unlimited patience - you can keep brushing it off and it will come back to settle down again. Yet, Dust has an ego about itself - maybe thats why it always settles on top of things and never at the bottom. Anything kept aside for a while becomes a slave of Dust - Dust inhabits the abandoned domains of the world. Dust does not intrude into Man's active business, but it overwhelms anything he ignores - in this way it carries with it both Nature's law of respect as well as the wand of punishment.

Dust will, eventually, be the only legacy that all of us leave behind. All our material achievements will come under dust some day. Our own bodies go back to dust. Great works of authors are gathering dust in some library or the other. Statues of Gandhi and Nehru gather dust in so many parks and traffic signals; In a figurative way Gandhi's morals itself come under dust in a corrupt society that we have on our hands ('Someone recently quoted that we were better off under British rule'). A few people's fight for justice ends up in dust when crime rates go back up again. Constitutions bite the dust when society can frame ways to bypass the laws, or can halt or retard the movement of the judiciary. We may be allergic to dust, but Dust seems so much in love with us.

"Dust, there was, Dust, there is, Dust is what we shall always see,
Dust is what we come from, and Dust is what we shall finally be.. "
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