Friday, May 19, 2017

The Notebook

There are books that you might want to read time and again. Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook  (1996) is one of them. An old man reads out a story to an old woman in a nursing home. Though she is the Allie of the story that is being read, she does not recall it as she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

The story that he narrates is about a summer romance between Allie and Noah set against the backdrop of a small town in California. They have an intense passionate affair and he shows her his old family mansion that he wants to renovate. Her parents take away when they come to know about it and Allie leaves a message with his friend Fin that she loves him.  They get separated because of a difference in class as Allie comes from a rich aristocratic background.

Years later Allie gets engaged to Lon, a young and rich lawyer and is happy. Then, she sees an article about Noah and how he has restored his family mansion. She goes to see him without informing her mother or Lon.

The next morning, she finds her mother at the doorstep and she confronts Allie by reminding her of her engagement with Lon. They argue but she gives Allie a bundle of letters that Noah had written her over the years.

This surprises Allie as there are so many letters which he had written for almost a year and Ann says that she hadn’t given them to her because she found her to be too immature. 

Ann asks Allie to make a choice between Noah and Lon, what is she wants and what is good for her. She finds that though the years have changed them in so many ways, this time she is not ready to let go of what she wants.

Sparks, in his interviews about the book has said that he had modelled the story on his wife’s grandparents who had been married for around 60 years.

The film version of the book directed by Nick Cassavetes is equally memorable though it  focuses on Noah and Allie's love as a summer romance that gets a second chance and is as much about parenting guidelines for parents who discover their kids to be in love with unsuitable suitors from inappropriate social classes. The film is quite sensuous portrayed against luscious greenery and the countryside. The songs based on the film are lovely especially I wanna grow old with you and I will be right there waiting for you.


You took me for an obedient being one day, when you saw me obey every single word of my master. Not that this heart does not know rebellion, it knew how to burn down worlds in its fury or even bring down the mighty, in its good old days.

It once knew how to fly past the countless mazes even though that meant it had to carry charred wings throughout its later life. It knew how to live without a word of love or encouragement  and yet to look at criticism with equanimity.

Now,  I have lost my belief in prayers for they move no mountains or molehills but has not lost its habit of recognising miracles placed in its way.

The here and the now

You and I were always like this, spending time together without demanding much from each other, what others think as necessary. I think our priority was togetherness first though we belonged to two different spaces altogether. But when I look back, I am amazed by the thoughts that we shared though we were so distant and by the kind of support that we were to each other.

Nowhere but here that's what I wrote when I thought whether you might be wondering where I was, being away from you. Now, in the present space, when such togetherness is no longer existent or real, I look back with wonder at the beautiful days that we had spent together, weaving dreams out of words.

Monday, May 08, 2017

A cup of comfort

Related image

Your words taste like a sip of hot coffee that I drink for comfort during my day, to soothe my throat and to clear away all the weariness of spirit. These words pull me out of very tent of isolation that I weave, out  of every crisis that I have been through. These well-read words bring a catharsis always, laughter or tears.

Some days, these words were a way of talking about things that hurt you the most, that you overcame by finding relief in self-expression and got comforted by strong shoulders, kind arms and a loving heart that you called home. This cup of comfort might be from far away or close at hand, but just like the whiff of your perfume it stays with me all the time.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Eat Pray Love

In a very interesting study of the blunders written by students, there is a story about how Milton came to write his epics. According to a very imaginative student, Milton got married and he wrote Paradise Lost. Later his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained. Though how many times he repeated this practice only history can answer as can be seen from the number of his wives.

Now in popular culture, marriage and love are usually celebrated while divorce is usually represented as the end of your life.  From Jane Austen novels to present day romance novels, there is a long tradition of writing that ties up your life neatly in terms of love and marriage. Then there are as many number of chick-flicks that show how the course of true love never did run smooth.

Eat Pray Love is a 2006 novel by Elizabeth Gilbert that is quite unconventional because of its veracity and audacity. Told in the first person autobiographical mode of narration, the novel depicts a woman’s search for identity after a rather painful and time-consuming divorce. A woman in her thirties, instead of settling down and having a family of her own, is haunted by anxiety attacks. She wants to be free and decides to go on an adventurous trip all by herself.

She feels that she has been floating through life without an identity of her own.  Once her marriage breaks down, she lands straight into the hands of a lover named David. One of her friends makes a remark that if she had resembled her husband earlier, now she resembled David. This turns her inward and she wants to find out what she is really like and what she really wants out of life.

After her brief rebound affair with David, she recognises that another relationship is not quite the answer that she is looking for. She travels to three places that have only one thing in common- the first letter I- Italy, India and Indonesia. In Italy, she learns the native language and finds a new interest in friendship and in the Italian cuisine. A word catches her attention- attraversiamo- which means “let’s cross over” commonly used by her friends when crossing streets.

She goes to India and scrubs floors in an ashram while learning how to recite the prayers correctly. She meets Richard from Texas who calls becomes friends with her and calls her groceries. Her next place of visit is Indonesia, where she meets an ancient medicine man Kekut Liyer who asks her to enjoy life to the fullest and to laugh right from the liver.

She meets a Brazilian divorcee named Felippe in Bali and agrees to spend time with him. She also helps a traditional healer named Wayan to build a house with the help of financial aid from the US. Her experiences make her believe in the goodness of life once more and she feels that she has finally confronted her inner demons. Her scars hurt her less and finally she recognises that she has become much lighter as she has performed this wonderful act of crossing over. A feel good book about divorce, the film adaptation released in 2010 has Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017


This is the story that I have always wanted to write, the story of you and me, not just the pain of parting and break-up, but the sunshine and laughter and a few moments that remain clear like the bright blue sky above me on this beautiful day, unusual blue that stands out with little wisps of cotton clouds. What all fears did we hold out in the palm of our hands that when we reached and spoke with our hands held together, the fears spoke aloud and we could not stop the hands from finding and fighting the fears by melting into each other but time came and took it all away and our love was not writ in stars, but only in water, our love was written in only in water. Yet the love that hands founds and the body vaguely remembers could not remain in the sudden tides that took us apart. We wave desperate, deaf and blind, on either shore, having burnt boats and with tears, shout to each other, helpless.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Beginner’s Mind

You have taught me the art of the beginner’s mind, taking small steps, internalizing the rules and learning day by day. Though this art of being completely aware in the present moment has brought in its turn, both happiness and sorrow.

This mind was often like a cup ready to be filled in, with nothing to boast of or previous knowledge to fall back upon. It often stood still in silence and dreamt of a peaceful future with its soul mate and at times set on its own charting out territories to explore.

Yet it knows how to balance its trust in the infinite gifts of Providence yet to keep its eyes open for the wonderful gifts that each brand new day brings.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mana ke hum yaar nahin...

There are songs that keep playing in the head, the ones that you call earworms, which have no cure except that you need to find a new song to hum. One tends to  listen to these countless number of times without any rhyme or reason or because of the magic in the voice of the singer.  One  current favourite is Parineeti Chopra's Mana Ke Hum Yaar Nahin, which speaks of a love that is not between lovers yet enough to have a code of rules to abide by. 

The edited transcript goes like this:

I admit that we are not lovers
What we have is not love either 
But don't look into my eyes
For this heart can't be trusted.  

If you ever meet me on the way
Stop to hold hands with me. 
If there is someone with you
Just flash a smile from faraway. 

But the smile should be such
That there is no confession in it...(ikraar is a strong word)

Don't confess it through your eyes
for this heart can't be trusted. 

I admit we aren't lovers...


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Leaves in his hair

Monday, April 24, 2017


The sweet face looked sour, pained by the sheer irony of life,
Of having to face the small steps that led to a huge success.
Like a wounded lion, your face crinkled with wordless agony
As the large crowd howled and roared with huge expectations.

Clouds of expectations that could lead or crumble the spirit,
Hovered over the sad face, struggling amidst the tension.
The early disappointments at dot balls silenced the crowd,
Who could not see their little master beaten in any game.

Still life came in quiet strokes that swept across the field,
Gracefully as ever; the characteristic of an unbeaten master,
Who has strove hard to ahead by thousands and thousands,
While the stars and the sands watched in amazement.

Finally, you have given an answer to the doubting crowds,
A page in history that records the strife of a winner.