Prose

Make a fist

In Karate, one of the most important lessons you learn is to take an ass-kicking. You understand that you need to pick yourself up and move on.

Before every session, you socialize with your opponents. They are your friends. You like each other. You also take pleasure in roundhouse-kicking them during a sparring match. Because there are competitive elements to it.

Karate breaks down the art of fighting into algorithms. A series of rapid-fire decisions. And at times, someone figures it out quicker than you do. Then, you will fall down, palming the bridge of your nose in pain. When you get back up on your feet, you are stronger in the broken places.

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A train song

We have lost people to distance. A part of us gets up, packs up its bags and leaves. However sweet the goodbye. Or brief the quota of time we had with them. It’s still as though something is broken. It can’t be fixed, no matter how hard we try. We may know that things will be better soon. And we may move on quicker than what we think is possible. It doesn’t mean that we can forget the sound of it.

Whenever someone important to me disappears from my life, I hear the passing of a distant train from a bygone era. Even if they are taking the bus, going to the airport or walking down the road, the squealing of an old steam horn beseeches me. And I feel safe and warm.

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Happiness is leaving on a stolen jet plane

I think Con Air, a movie about a plane hijacking, has some of the worst dialogues ever. But I have seen it over 30 times. I can’t help myself. It’s like stopping by a highway accident to assess the carnage. A cat-and-mouse game we play with our minds. We may grimace at the sight of blood. Yet we stick around to look for brain matter on the road.

Another reason is that Steve Buscemi plays a serial killer called Marietta the Mangler. In my favourite scene, he describes a fellow crook as being so angry and troubled that happiness, for that gentleman, hurts.

When I first heard the line, it sounded preposterous. Now, I get it. Happiness can hurt. It’s why I watch Con Air whenever I get the chance.

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