Ya devi sarva bhooteshu vritti roopena samsthita
Namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namaha

Saptami: Action

There is agency in waiting.

This is one of those things one learns entirely accidentally. Or to phrase it better, one unearths this gem among other life-lessons that are more obviously learnt.

To wait, to try and be patient, to let things come to you in their way, at their time and pace, to hold back and let things unfold—are subtle and challenging forms of agency. And it takes more energy, more courage, more resolve and more strategy to engage in these than it does to run around and check things off lists.

She stood in the balcony
And waited for them all—
Postman, milkman, dhobi, music teacher, family.
And had she not waited,
Who would have got anything done?

Her rivals buzzed ceaselessly.
They schmoozed, they worked, they positioned,
They postured, they sold.
She waited.
She knew they would burn out.
And they did.

Her troops grew restive.
Why did she not give orders to shoot?
But she knew that to wait
Would be to force the other side out of their hiding places.
And then there would be fewer losses among the lives
For which she was responsibility.

And I wait too on many days. For words to come. For ideas to come. I have waited for decisions to make themselves, because they do a better job than I can.

To take action is sometimes to choose to wait to act.

These words are not a product of waiting, mother, because these words are written for you with the consciousness that somehow I am a day short on my offerings. These words, then, are the other side of agency-in-waiting; they are agency-through-discipline. If I keep writing till you give me good words and thoughts and feelings, then they will come.

They always do. And I know now to wait for them.

Namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namaha.

October 3, 2003

Return to Navaratri 2003.
Go to Ashtami.