Was the clown Bloom’s son


Did Bloom discover common factors of similarity between their respective

like and unlike reactions to experience?

                                                                        James Joyce-Ulysses



Balconies and theater-Roman City of Sabratha-
many lovely hours spent reading, walking here by the sea

Winter evenings are best suited to walking cities. The –Time Balcony- can be a place where anyone can be invited. One friend decided to write a letter to the caretaker of the Lighthouse of Alexandria. For me, it would be interesting to call in Joyce’s Bloom. According to some literary critics the character of Leopold Bloom is –the “Presiding Figure” of all 20th century literature.

“There is no character in literature we know more intimately than Bloom…”

…..humiliated at his work as a salesman both by the persons to whom he tried to sell products, and also by the company for which he worked, Bloom would tolerate these things for the sake of his family and then, when he would return home, he would face humiliation from his wife.”


            Every Tripoli veteran knows where Pasaoti is.

Different persons tell different things about the quarters of the expatriate workers , mainly from medical sector.

 All are free to surmise as per their contexts, temperaments and experiences.

One veteran says- “Your Tripoli life baptism takes place in Pasaoti”

            Walking through the city of Tripoli from Pasaoti has a charm of its own.

Watching the city-scape, or planes (military) land in Mehtiga airbase or listening to songs sung in different languages in the balconies of Pasaoti made me reflect further on the words of Joyce

“Did Bloom discover common factors of similarity between their respective like and unlike reactions to experience?”


            What humiliations does an expatriate worker face? Many are the life-stories one hears, and though now they say Pasaoti is not what it used to be, one hears many intimate stories here.  Was it always like this? Winter walks through Tripoli have had a different charm over the decades. The walk to the St.Francis church at Dahra and the prayers and aspirations of different workers from across continents led to many conversations..and the development of the “Mass Observation group”


The scene in which Bloom enters a church and sits in the back row, observing people in prayer. Not joining in the “body of Christ” but just observing this intimate encounter is a visitation one can encounter in many creative ways on a Tripoli Winter evening. These inter-individual relations come into sharp focus in these walks by the Mediterranean. Here is where we decided to write a letter to Bloom from our side..and reflect on the following words

” He reflected that the progressive extension of the field of individual development and experience was regressively accompanied by a restriction of the converse domain of interindividual relations. As in what ways?”


            This winter,  one reflects on the years gone by. The first uprising was brutally suppressed in February. By August the people were prepared.

On the third day of the Tripoli uprising, I saw a mild-mannered but very courageous colleague of mine, a surgeon and teacher, walk along the yet deserted roads.

“There is some trouble at the Ras-Hassan crossing.Do not go in that direction,” he told me, while busying himself with patients.

 For over a month, ever since August 20 uprising of Tripoli, he has rendered free service to all those who came, and he does not want to be named for it. I took him to my house and told him to select a painting as a momento. He walked across the many varied framed compositions, ranging from Company period of Indian art to Impressionists of France, Cubism, Surrealism and other art movements and then settled down for a painting of Charles Frederick de Brocktorff depicting a Library






As one walks a few more steps on a Tripoli winter, going through a few pages of Joyce’s epic and sees some teenagers whom one had seen as toddlers..one remembers one’s follies and experiences and asks

“Was the clown Bloom’s son? 

* * *

Part of the 500 words a day challenge by writer -Jeff Goins.
For a diarist the interesting thing will be being selective


About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal : gracereadings.com
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1 Response to Was the clown Bloom’s son

  1. Pingback: Shadows | Prashantbhatt's Weblog

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