Friday, October 28, 2011

Hall of Mirrors

If life expectancy is hereditary, mine could go either way. One side of my family lives into their 90s, the other has folks dropping off like flies in their 60s and 70s. Lately, I find myself thinking about the half-life mark - specially since DB and I got married. Somehow, having the path to the future defined, has brought in its wake, the need to stop, take stock and yes - self-flagellate. An urge to reconnect with long lost friends apparently comes with this particular territory. I wonder where S (my best friend) with is, how she is doing, if we could talk all night like we did in our college days, if we would have even one thing in common anymore - and I chide myself for letting my communication with S ebb away.
Not knowing the answers to those questions bothered me enough to begin a search. So easy in the time of Google and Facebook and yet so perilous. Now S is nothing if not notoriously private and so are many of our common friends. Finding S, I discover is no walk in the park. I don't know if she is now married and if she uses her husband's last name. My quest for S, however leads me into uncomfortable territory - I have to start looking up hubs in our social network hoping they will somehow lead me to her.
These are folks with two hundred plus friends (which sadly do not include S). Some faces have not changed that much, others have transformed beyond recognition. And that is the easy part - the devil is in the details; careers, spouses, kids, holidays and the endless stream of pictures with everyone in them smiling a hundred percent of the time. My quiet world feels the full force of the information overload. I begin to wonder how I have fared relative to my peers - on all counts. I fear I may have "gained the world and lost my soul" -I fear that I may not be high enough on the happiness quotient relative to my reference group - nothing else matters nearly as much.
I think back to the days of our early youth, we were very different then too. This was the "fun" crowd - they were about taking it easy and having a great time - work came only as an afterthought. Some of them were very bright and enterprising so it comes as no surprise that they are doing very well professionally. This was the crowd you hung out with when you wanted to chill. Things have not changed that much - in time, the moments have added up and online I get to see their life distilled - with its best, most shining moments on parade for the world to see. It is like being in a hall of mirrors - things are not exactly what they appear to be and yet nothing is fundamentally untrue.
As I swirled through the maze, it became evident that S would remain hidden by her invisibility cloak as would some of my other friends. If at some point in their lives, they felt the strange pressure that reaching half-life mark exerts, they may do what I tried - maybe we will connect then.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Interview with Kavita Parmar

Several months ago, I received an email from The IOU Project inviting me to check out their website and get to know them and their concept. I was more than impressed with what I saw and absolutely fell in love with this short video (the 3 Minute Video link at the bottom left of their homepage will take you there too) that tells the story of IOU. 

IOU brings tradition and technology together in many unique ways - the concept of a Trunk Show is one of them. It is described thusly :
Back in the day, when a fashion designer wanted to showcase a collection, he or she would take to the road with a heavy suitcase or trunk stuffed with goods and show off them off to friends. We let you do the same - but on the web. No heavy lifting required.

Instead of running a garden variety plug for them on this blog, I offered to interview Kavita Parmar, the Founder and Creative Director of IOU, and she most graciously accepted. You can tell she is passionate about her idea and has the energy it takes to bring dreams to fruition. I wish Kavita the very best and hope to chat with her again sometime in the future.

HC : How would you introduce the IOU Project to someone who has never heard about it ?

KP : I have 2 answers for that :

Mission - The IOU Project is born from the need to both empower the artisan and celebrate uniqueness using the full scope of modern technology. The idea is that the fashion business, when carried out with true transparency and authenticity, can elicit extraordinary reactions and foster a shared sense of responsibility from its customers, partners and suppliers – towards each other and the environment.

Business - The IOU Project is a social commerce website selling its own brand´s revolutionary mass customized apparel and accessories line while building it´s on line direct sales network.

HC : I love the 3 minute IOU Project video that introduces your concept. It is beautifully made ! You mention in it that the buyer is part of the process. Does that mean the buyer can design the piece they will buy ?

KP:  Thank you am glad you enjoyed the film .When we mention the buyer being a part of the story we mean that they are visible to everyone in the chain as the artisans are. They can take a picture of themselves and link it to the product they have bought to complete the story , talk about themselves and even sell and promote the product through our Trunk Show Host model  The artisans love to see who bought the piece they hand made. We don´t have the buyer designing but they can curate products on our site by becoming a trunk show host which is a great way to get involved and make some money in the process.
HC: Is the idea of IOU unique in the world of fashion ?

KP :We have not seen anything executed like this exactly. Taking heritage artisan sources and working with designers , other artisans and technology to create a modern easy to wear pieces that have full traceability and transparency. But it is clearly a trend as there are many designers and labels who are becoming more and more careful with where and how they source their products. There is a clear demand from the consumer to know more.

HC. The one thing I noticed was the lack of variety in the fabrics. When one thinks of India, the sheer profusion of weaving styles and patterns is what comes to mind. Is this intentional ?

KP : We started the project with the Madras weavers as it is not a small feat to document and give full traceability back to each individual in the supply chain.We wanted to start with one artisan group to ensure we were thorough and also to start with a clear identity . We are already working with other artisan groups in India and overseas to create other product lines going forward.
HC: Why do you think the price point of the your products would be compelling for buyers who have a large number of options to choose from - even if they were looking for something niche and not mass produced ?

KP: Our price points are the same as J Crew and Abercrombie and Fitch which are brands with mass distribution and appeal. At the same price as those brands you as a consumer can have a totally unique piece with an incredible story that is truly helping preserve a traditional craft, we believe that to be a compelling argument

HC: Would you consider sellers on Etsy your competition ?

KP : We don't think we are like etsy , we are more about mass customisation, about aggregating artisan small productions and creating collaborations to address the mass market.We are big fans of ETSY though

HC: What role is social media playing in getting the word out about your fashion line ?

KP: Fundamental, we have been a grassroots movement and the idea has spread as individuals with whom it resonated have taken it upon themselves to move it forward and talk about it. We are incredible grateful and the participation of our customers and Facebook followers has been very important. There are over 400,000 blog entries 1,5 million Google citations of the IOU Project . There is still a long way to go but we are very happy with the journey so far

HC: What are some of the biggest operational challenges you face ?

KP : Right now it is funding to keep up the momentum as we have made a huge investment in this first phase to get the project up and running and it has all been personal. There is a huge amount of interest from big brands who want to create co-branded products and artisan groups who want to work with us to create new product lines. we are a young and small company so keeping up the demand on time and resources just with this is a big challenge.

HC: Where do you see IOU being five years out ?

KP: That it becomes and industry standard to create product with full transparency and traceability that will give its due to everyone involved. That the IOU project becomes a global brand with many many artisan groups involved. There is so much heritage to preserve , so many people whose way of life is threatened in the world. As you mentioned just in India alone the numbers of hand-loom weaving communities is immense.

HC: What has been the response of the artisans to this venture and how are they spreading the word in their community ?

KP: They are incredibly proud to be part of this project. They have never been made to be such a protagonist in this process. These are very skilled and fiercely independent people, they want to preserve their culture and way of life as they work for themselves , all they wanted is to earn a little bit more and not have to compete with cheap machine made imports.

HC: Is IOU strictly about "woven in India" or are you open to considering weavers elsewhere in the world ?

KP: The IOU Project is not about a country , we started in India as I am an Indian and the rich cultural heritage of India was there for me to begin with but we are already working with Artisans in Japan for our real Indigo hand woven selvedge denim which you can see in our current collection. We are being contacted by many artisan groups worldwide and we intent to follow this dream to as far as we can.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Interview with Devajyoti Roy

Devajyoti Roy is an artist with an unique take on contemporary India. As one reviewer describes it "Though realistic in terms of theme and proportion, the paintings assume metaphorical dimension if seen from the perspective of colour-scheme and use of symbols." 

What I found most interesting about his paintings is how he is able to convey expression and communication between subjects of his painting when the faces are color filled blanks without any features. What the viewer make of that expression or the message being conveyed could well be a Rorschach test. Case in point might be this painting titled Rendezvous

It turns out that Mr Roy is a reader of this blog and that is an honor for me. 

For any readers who live or will happen by Mumbai between Nov 14 -  Nov 20 2011, they can check out an exhibition of his paintings at the Jehangir Art Gallery.
HC : What is uniquely Indian about your art ?

DR:  India is having cultural exchanges with far flung countries since time immemorial and our folk art, crafts all show influences of many schools of art from all over the world. And till recently, Indian artists had been experimenting with the predominant schools of western art quite unabashedly. It is only while choosing subject matters, that our artists remained uniquely Indian.

Yet there had been a few artists like Jamini Roy and later MF Husain, who had shown originality in formative renderings as well.

Development of a new formative style requires development of a language of expression. In my paintings this language is largely developed from the popular iconography of India. You must have noticed pink-coloured Ganesha idols, or the depiction of Lord Ram in blue. No one ever questions as how can a person have such colours. We just accept them. Thus you see, it is possible to use your own colours of fantasy and yet create a comprehensible image.

Nonetheless colours do have their own chemistry and to create a comprehensible image, one has to develop that grammar. Pseudo-realism is all about that grammar. Its origin is Indian, its grammar, perhaps not.

HC: What is your signature - I mean how would someone recognize the artist from your paintings ?

DR: It was in 2002, that had first introduced the Pseudo-realist forms into my paintings and it is now almost 9 years that I am continuing with the style. The Indian art market took some time to get used to this new genre of art but I think people have now started accepting it.

HC : Among modern day Indian artists, who would you consider your inspiration ?
DR:  Jamini Roy is one artist who I admire a lot. At a time, when most Indian artists were experimenting with mainly western styles like cubism and impressionism, here was one man who could develop an uniquely original style of his own. Again for similar reasons, I admire MF Husain, Anish Kapoor and Subodh Gupta.

But while I admire these artists, I am not influenced by them or their styles. In fact the very idea is not to get influenced and do your own.

HC. How easy is it for a young person like yourself establish themselves as a artist in modern day India ?

DR:  Establishing in any creative field always takes time. But the Indian art market is becoming very matured and there is a genuine demand for good works.

The very profile of an Indian art collector is also changing. Unlike in the past, the new collector has good knowledge of what is happening the world over, and has a mind of her own. She does not necessarily buy what her gallery sells her but what she herself thinks is right.

Everywhere around I see people really willing to learn. This had not been so even a decade ago. I have always enjoyed interacting with the new age art collector, who is passionate, questioning and confident.

HC: Have you considered using software such a Photoshop to create art - or perhaps digitally re-imagine what you have created on canvas ?
DR : There is nothing wrong in using modern technological tools in creating artworks. Nonetheless, I prefer the traditional methods of sketching, and then painting with brush.

HC : Who mention irony as one of things you try to convey subtly through your art - do you often find viewers getting your message ?

DR: Of course. I am a prominent obituarist of Post-modernism and shun all kinds of ambiguities in art.

Pseudorealism is a style, where something abstract and unreal gets the appeal of reality. The idea is thus to use abstraction to create a comprehensible imagery. But the key word here is ‘comprehensible’.

That is hallmark of my kind of art. 

HC : What advise do you have some someone who wants to become an artist but does not have the ability to get formal training ?

DR : There are both advantages and disadvantages of formal training. The primary advantage of formal training is that it teaches you all the skills of art in one place. In a formal art school, you also get to learn about art-history, philosophy, etc all under one roof.

But the disadvantage of art schools is that they tend to take away your originality. That is why some of the best known artists in India had benefited by not being in any school. This includes such illustrious names Ravindranath Tagore, Ramkinker Baij, Amrita Shergill, MF Hussain and FN Souza.

So I do not think, not having formal training is much of a handicap. One has to be persistent in what one is doing. It is true for any profession, art included.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Random Inspiration

The Child
Some days, I just have to keep my ears open for inspiration. Having the day off today, I was able to take J and her friend A to the museum to check out a couple of art installations I had read about in the local newspaper. A is a very polite child but it is impossible to get a reaction other than "I don't know" when asked for an opinion. So, I had know idea if she enjoyed the outing, if the galleries we went to were the ones she was interested in or if the lunch we ate at the cafe was what she really wanted. 
So imagine my astonishment when we sat down in the lobby on some Neinkamper chairs and A said "In my dream house, I must have these chairs - I simply love them". The passion  in her voice touched something deep inside me - for a ten year old to have a dream home and imagine what it might look like is not entirely unexpected but coming from someone who almost always says " I don't know", it was very special. Beneath the gentle and unassuming surface, I imagine there is a lot of steel and resolve - A might be one of those who tend to their dreams diligently in solitude until they came to fruition. From being frustrated with her at not helping with any decision around their day, I went to having respect for her.
The Adult
DB is given to mulling over things for a while before he is able to fully articulate what he is thinking. Inevitably, the insights come when you least expect it. Today, while running a technical issue at work by me, he segued into our relationship and had this to say about what ails us. "The change I am asking of you is a change in the pattern of thinking about things. What you are doing instead, is reacting to each instance I am upset about and correcting that one thing when tens of other issues similar to it remain unchanged. That is frustrating and tiring both of us - I see no hope and you see no end to the criticisms. You need to change the algorithm and not the data sets - that way your reaction will follow the same pattern in all instances and you won't have to solve each instance as its own problem" We have had a million variants of this discussion from the time we got married. However, this is the first time, I felt like we were close to a solution.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Burst Bubble

I have been in the workforce for what seems like a very long time though my "dream" retirement age will likely not be met . In all this time, the one accomplishment that I am truly proud of is my ability to manage difficult people and situations without letting it impact my quality of life. I did not come to this state naturally or over-night - years of hard-work and perseverance got me there - or so I thought.
A week ago, that accomplishment took a real drubbing at the hands of a co-worker. He is our on-site technical lead from one of India's largest outsourcing companies. They have over thousand resources working for this client and have the muscle that goes with an engagement that size. This man found it impossible to accept that he had to report to me - a woman, a desi and a local consultant (as opposed to a full time employee of the client). It was a combination that was too much for him to stomach - he simply did not feel that I had any authority to ask him anything about his work. I brought my years of experience dealing with insubordination to bear on this situation. He went back and forth between aggressive and compliant behavior, we had some process gains but the system continued to grow more and more unstable. Every other week, a major fire drill would be required to keep the engine running.
I was brought into the role that I am in to provide technical direction and mentoring as needed - specially when a system bottleneck is hurting the team's overall operating efficiency. To that end, every recommendation I made, he met with vehement opposition if not outright rejection and continued to grow the patch-work of hastily put together fixes that has now brought the system to its knees. He is trained in a set of tools but has no foundational knowledge of technology to buttress it. He finds himself placed in the position of a technical architect /lead designer when his skills are more compatible with a mid-level developer. To compensate of his deficiencies, he works almost round the clock, micro-manages the offshore team and makes it impossible for anyone to get past him and to the issues to see if they can help.
On that day, in the middle of an IM conversation, the man walks up to my desk in a physically aggressive manner and talks in a tone of voice that I have seen used by domestic help in India during altercations with their employers. This is simply not the standard of behavior I have seen in my workplace in all these years - here in America or back in India. I was completely dumb-founded and too afraid to engage him in a discussion not knowing what he may decide to do if provoked any further. This was the third such incident and I felt not taking any action would would embolden him to a dangerous level.
I reported the incident to my management and the whole process of resolution was set in motion. In net, I was made to feel like a hysterical woman who thanks to an over-active imagination had read way more into the situation than was warranted. The Indian company told me that this man did not owe me an apology because he did not feel that he had been out of line. I would now need to find someone else to act as the go-between to get work done through him - they had asked him to stop all interaction with me immediately. The client does not want to get involved directly because the neither of us are full time employees with them. So I have now become the official problem - the woman who failed to manage the man she was required to manage and has turned that failure into a inconvenience for all concerned. It was a well orchestrated move and everyone was complicit in it - including the client who shied away from taking any direct action knowing fully well there has been a pattern of aggressive, unprofessional behavior for months. Then man got away from all of this looking like the victim and with no consequence at all.
Not only has this incident burst my bubble about my ability to manage tough people and situations, it has also made me realize what my girlfriends have told me many times before - that the moment a woman shows signs of weakness, she becomes the pariah in the workplace. No one wants to have anything to do with her or her imaginary issues. This is the modern day, workplace equivalent of being made to wear the Scarlet Letter. If you feel like you are being discriminated against of being treated differently, it will be chalked up to imagination because nothing is really being said or done to me. Everyone wishes this thing had never happened and more than that they wish I had not started all this stuff up and caused disruption to the normal order of things. The man who offended me has the support of the vendor who knows the client will not rock the boat too much given how deeply entrenched they are in their organization. They want enough time to pass so I move on or get over it so they can continue to go about their business as usual. For my satisfaction, they have left the incident unresolved.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Remarriage Lessons

In the past year, several readers of this blog have asked me to share my experience of being married for the second time. I have blogged off and on about it over time, but this attempts to bring some of the key themes together.

Being Owed Happiness
This is my experience with second marriage and it may not be true for everyone else. Ever so often, I find myself falling into the trap of "being owed happiness". I waited long enough for this man, ergo he must be the answer to all that ails me. Why must I still be expected to work on finding my own happiness or put forth the effort to make the relationship a happy one. I already did my time in my previous marriage - so it is not fair to be given anything but a perfect marriage this time. 

It is as if the long, frustrating and often hopeless waiting to get to this state entitles me to happiness without any further ado. When that does not readily happen - I decide I am the injured party and DB has a responsibility to make it right. It would be okay if I could just let it go being injured and aggrieved - I also get infuriated at him for not doing his part. It is not often that I pause to consider what he might expect from me and if I am fulfilling his vision of a perfect union.
The Insecure Child
We have only one child (mine) between the two of us, so I have it a lot easier than a lot of couples who marry for the second time and need to blend their families together. Even so, there are challenges and complications due to the presence of a child. Mine was acutely insecure for several months into our marriage. On the one hand she had this compulsive need make sure DB was taking care of Mommy and treating her right, on the other hand, when she saw us happy together she grew afraid of losing her mother to a relative stranger. 

Out of the blue she could burst into tears and shut herself in her room. Her suffering was hard for us to see but she would be inconsolable - in a heartbeat I would have gone from being the center of her universe to being her biggest enemy. I got her a notebook and encouraged her to write about how she was feeling - not hold anything back no matter how hurtful of offensive they may be towards DB and I . I told her I would not read her journal until she was ready to share it with me. This exercise proved to be quite cathartic for her and in a few months the emotions were not quite so out of control.
She wanted DB as a father but could not accept him in the role of my husband. There was love and hate for him in equal measure.The two forces worked in equal and opposite directions bringing a lot of stress into the family. It took a lot of reassurance from both of us and me demonstrating to her that her position in my life had not diminished in any way. In time, that alleviated her sense of insecurity. DB would be the understanding adult for the most part and allow her emotions to play out but every once in a while he would grow petulant and feel left out of our "family unit" of two. It was left up to me to be the level-headed, peace-making adult who had to cast aside her own feelings and work on restoring harmony in the family. Between meeting the demands of J and DB, I felt completely worn out.
Losing Friends and Isolation
Both my husband and I have shed several friendships in the wake of our marriage. On his end, these were friends that had felt compassion or pity for him because he was floundering partner-less and without specific direction in life - for a very long time. He was one of those guys they had pegged as remaining single for life. While they had all started out together, these friends had left him far behind in achieving life's milestones. By inviting him into their families, they got an opportunity to feel better about themselves and rejoice in their superior standing in life. DB for his part appreciated being made a part of their lives and having someplace to go for the holidays. It was an arrangement that worked out well for everyone concerned.This pity-fest had been going on for years and all at once my presence ended it. 

I had been a feel good project for several of my girlfriends - both married and single. They could do little things to help me out, reduce the burden of my responsibilities as a single mom without inconveniencing themselves seriously. By ceasing to be single, I had taken away their opportunity to be good Samaritans and they were quick to dump me as well. I came to the sad and sobering realization that these "friends" really did not understand the person I was or have much interest in her for that matter. So once the circumstances changes and my project worthiness was gone, they found out that the friendship was non-existent. 

In net, we are relatively friendless and in need of building a social life all over again - the very idea is irksome. Some days, we don't even know where to begin - everyone we know, has friends that go back decades - we just cannot fit into their social network. Then there are much younger people who are still settling in, getting know other families like their own - we have nothing in common with that crowd either. From each of us being alone in our two separate islands, we have come together on one and are alone there together. A new relationship is never helped by social isolation and yet that is a force we have to contend with in addition to everything else.
We have found out that parents get used to us being single and dependent on them a lot more than they would have otherwise been. As much as they would like for our lives to return to normalcy and for us to find a life partner, they are often unable to relinquish what they had from us in the years past. My mother (when she visited)  for instance ran my household like it was her own, without any interference from anyone. I was too desperate (and grateful) for the help to question her authority or jurisdiction. She is now failing to recognize that her role has changed and she needs to play a very minor part in my family. We are all finding out there is a significant gap between her ability to accept DB in theory and accept him in reality.
Communication and Relationship
We both except the other person to communicate clearly what they want. Yet for the smallest things to take so much back and forth tires us out. We have the social roles and responsibilities of a couple with a ten year old child, when the marriage in not even two years old. What would come naturally to a couple of our vintage, takes a lot of doing for us to accomplish. 

With that small tasks become Herculean efforts and we are both left emotionally exhausted. After having so much energy expended in setting appropriate expectation for mundane things, we have none left to work on the much more serious and arduous business of cementing a new relationship - it inevitably gets pushed to the back-burner. The initial spark does not have a fighting chance to blossom into a steady glow that we can count on for life - the forces of responsibility constantly work to extinguish it. Unless we stay vigilant and continue to make it our priority we could get ourselves into trouble.

At the end of a year and a half of marriage, we find that we segued into an old marriage immediately after courtship. The honeymoon period couples enjoy after their first marriage just did not happen for us.DB found himself thrust head first into a domestic situation where the show had to go on - the child had to be taken care of, sent to school, taken to her activities and somewhere in in middle of all that he had to form a romantic relationship with the mother. Add to that a couple of job changes, relocation and a buying a home and what little energy anyone may have for relationship building would quickly dissipate. Most people who meet us cannot tell that our marriage is so new or that J and DB are not biologically related. While that may be a testament to the hard-work that has gone into forming this family, it is also a telling sign of what we are missing out on as a couple.

There is a certain edginess and brittleness even about a single mother - she has no choice but to be bold, assertive and independent. She has to make the calls about her household and children. There is no one else - often not even a sounding board. Adversity can take the most vulnerable and dependent among us and turn them into a force of nature. That is the personality I presented to DB when I first met him - it was not as much a matter of presentation as it was the point in time truth about my nature. He found that strength and confidence incredibly attractive. 

As a wife, I have failed to tend to the positive aspects of that nature - like some women stop taking care of their physical fitness and appearance, I ceased to worry about being the fittest I could be mentally and emotionally. I was too relieved to have respite to be concerned about what effect my "laziness" was having my own well being and on the relationship. In response, DB did not feel the need to be all that he had been when we first met - in his case his physical health bore the brunt of the resentment and disappointment he felt. Often, with these things the damage happens first and the epiphany comes about much later. I am still learning to curb my stubborn streak and not turn this into a staring contest. And that is easier said than done.
Feeling Normal
I never subscribed to the idea that a single person or a single parent is any less or different from a married person. I would go out of my way to prove to myself that I was alright and that my child was not being deprived of a "normal" life. Yet, there always this nagging sensation of being an outsider to normal (in my case suburban) society. I had nothing in common with the stay-at-home PTA moms. I still have very little in common with them but having a husband affords me a small entry into their world. 
Similarly, having a child makes it easier for my husband to be the "regular" daddy when they run errands together or go out play tennis. He does not have to be the guy that comes alone to brunch every Sunday - he has a ten year old her can take along if he wanted to. Suddenly the waitresses are all smiles and friendly - he is welcome into the "normal" fold. He is the kind of dad they appreciate - bonding with his little girl over pancakes, milkshake and hash browns. Normalcy is a pretty big deal for someone who has been on the fringe for as long as we have.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Figurative Loss

Recently, I have suffered some figurative losses. You would think that not being material or tangible they may hurt less but in fact, it can be felt just as strongly if not more. Being in that frame of mind, I found these lines from an article by Olivia Harrison particularly poignant :
"Tragedy is much more of an adventure than joy. I am not saying joy is over-rated. But happiness is fleeting; it exists in the present. Tragedy casts a long and persistent shadow with the power to dim even the most perfect moment. It also has the potential to follow us to the end. We don't stop to analyze happiness but when grief and strife occur we recount the events leading up to it over and over. It wakes us from our sleep as we try to figure out how and where it all went wrong."
She writes this in the context of her husband's George Harrison's imminent death but the idea of raking through the content of tragedy over and over again to make sense of it transfers to the kind of figurative loss I have experienced. There was something then that is gone now. When it was there, it was important but I spent no energy to analyze what I had and what it meant for me. In losing it, indeed the perfectness of my present moment is greatly dimmed.