Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Witches by Roald Dahl

One page of The Witches and am bewitched. Oh, why didnt I come across this writer before and now, why so late! The way he writes, the simplicity of his language, the flights of fancy when he writes about the qualities of the witches. What happens when the witches of the world unite to eliminate all children from the face of earth? One child a week equals fifty-two a year, squash them and squiggle them and make them disappear." With this motto in mind, the witches hold a convention. A seven-year old boy turns rescuer of all children with the help of his grandmother. 

A tale with its own mixture of humour,fantasy and the incredible, The Witches sound so real that it made me wonder whether there is really an organisation like that! You read the chapter describing how witches hide their real nature, how they put wigs over their bald heads, how they hide their expression of hatred behind kind, benevolent eyes...it's so amazingly real! A good read for children and for those who love children's books or those who keep the child's heart.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom by Louise L Hay

Are you uncomfortable with change? Do you feel frightened with sudden changes in life? Written by the famous inspirational writer Louise L Hay, this book celebrates the power of our own hearts to heal ourselves and adapt to the changes in life. Louise L Hay is a famous metaphysical lecturer and teacher known for her bestseller ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. She has inspired millions of people to discover the vast treasure that lies within our hearts. She advocates our need to connect to what she calls ‘Inner Self”. The key idea in the book is the need for responsibility as the ability to respond to life in order to get the best out of it. The first steps in connecting with our inner selves are to get out of the victim mindsets and abandoning the illusion of someone rescuing us from the mess we are in. The knowledge of our power to respond creatively to life is liberation and it frees us from our old way of thinking and feeling. This enables us to shed our old beliefs and welcome the new in life. With the release of the past and acceptance of our own selves come the innumerable blessings of life. My favourite thought comes under the title of good health. Good health, according to Hay is “ having no fatigue, having a good appetite, going to sleep and awakening easily, having a good memory, having good humour, having precision in thought and action, and being honest, humble, grateful and loving”. Heart Thoughts celebrates change as the rule of life. Dedicated to our own hearts, this collection of meditations about day-to-day issues by Louise L Hay can change our lives or make us aware of the powers that lie within us and thus create richness in our lives. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Grandmother’s House by Kamala das




Do you carry the memory of a ‘home’ to which your heart retreats in times of anguish? Do you feel nostalgic at the thought of happy moments in the past?

Kamala Das, the Indian poetess recalls her ancestral home and her dead grandmother in the poem “My Grandmother’s House”. Kamala Das’ poems as well her imagery is extremely personal and drawn from life. This poem takes the form of a confession comparing her present broken state with that of being unconditionally loved by her grandmother.

Published in 1965 in Summer in Calcutta the poem is a reminiscence of the poetess’ grandmother and their ancestral home in Punnayurkulam in Kerala. Her memory of love she received from her grandmother is associated with the image of her ancestral home. With the death of her grandmother the house withdrew into silence. It became desolate and snakes crawled among books. Her blood became cold like the moon because there was none to love her the way she wanted.

Now, in another city, living another life, she longs to go back. She understands that she cannot reclaim the past but she wants to go back home and bring a handful of darkness to keep as a reminder of her past happiness. Now she is like a beggar going from one door to another asking for love in small change. Her need for love and approval is not satisfied in marriage and she goes after strangers for love at least in small quantity.

The poem springs from her own disillusionment with her expectation of unconditional love from the one she loves. In the poem, the image of the ancestral home stands for the strong support and unconditional love she received from her grandmother. The imagery is personal and beautifully articulates her plight in a loveless marriage.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!




Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dreams

Are we the stuff that dreams are made of? In the heart there must be places for living and dead dreams. This thought started after reading Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun. The key idea of the play is what happens to a person whose dreams grow more and more passionate--while his hopes of ever achieving those dreams grow dimmer each day. Thetitle comes from a poem by Langston Hughes.It asks:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore -
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat
Or crust and sugar over -
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?"

In Proverbs 13:12, we read: "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick;but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."




Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rose for you!

A faded rose is not a worthy gift;
Yet playfully I offered you one.
A broken heart is not ready to love;
I waited for time to heal its wounds.

With the rain, my heart danced,  
The earth blossomed into petals of joy.
But you were no longer around,
One for whom the roses bloomed.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why Write?

Do you know why writers write? Have you wondered why so many people have sit down at their desks or in front of their computers waiting for the words to come? Are these writers addicted to words? You can see that many writers have catalogued the reasons why they write. You can see that one reason why people give form to their thoughts must be to communicate with like-minded people, who can really understand what the writer is saying. As you know, all communication intends to bridge barriers of understanding between people caused by various factors like personality, intelligence, social and cultural contexts. Yet while reading great writers you can see that there exists a quality in their writing which transcends time, space, age, culture and gender. In such cases the underlying humanity gives flavour to their words, which ring true throughout the ages. For these writers, writing is a way of attaining immortality. Therefore you can conclude that the basic reason for writing is the need for self-expression. 

For some however, it is a way of living, a way of giving sense to haphazard reality which drives them mad. Writing helps you achieve a sense of control over your own thoughts. Writing helps to shape memories and preserve them. This is one reason that people write diaries. It fulfils the human need to communicate. For some people it is an addiction. It makes people feel powerful to think that they are in charge of their lives. In the case of outcastes from society they feel strong and powerful while they write. The victim mentality is replaced by a strong personality. This is often related to finding a voice in writing. You can develop your writing voice only by writing more and more. The more you work at your style the stronger your voice becomes. The personality that emerges is strong and the voice clear and lucid. It dissolves some contradictions in the personality and therefore can be treated as a therapy. 

You can see that all writers are in a process of evolution. The style evolves over a period of time. Their style emerges from a drizzle developing into a heavy shower. The flow of ideas and associations of thoughts are unique for different people. Though writers are accused of living a life according to their own rules, you can see that it is the creative and evolutionary spirit that distinguishes them from others. For the Victorians, a writer was a torch or leading light. I feel that a writer absorbs into the self the temper and spirit of the times yet is driven by the life-spirit. 

Whatever may be the reason to write, you can see that writing is curative to the spirit. It gives you a sense of power. A novelist is God while writing. He decides the fate of his characters and knows the present, future and past. So ultimately to write is to be God in your own world of ideas- omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Home is the best!



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Request

Come back with the summer rain,
Come back to me, in the summer rain.
With your hair wet and eyes tender,
Come home to me in the summer rain.

In the rain, stand near to me, 
As the earth dances with the sky, 
In the rain, come back, my love, 
As the fond touch of raindrops.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Upon Westminster Bridge

Do you prefer the stillness of nature in a village or the rush-hour traffic of city life? Most people love the village life. Was the great Romantic poet William Wordsworth an exception? Known as the High Priest of Nature, he loved the scenic beauty of the Lake District and celebrated scenes from rustic life. Then how could he write a poem on a scene from city life- a poem on Westminster Bridge situated in the heart of London city? You are not the only person to be surprised. Wordsworth himself was astonished at the sight of the quiet London city one early morning in September 1802. He was traveling with his sister Dorothy across Westminster Bridge on their way to France. It was between five o’clock and six o’clock in the morning. As opposed to usual, the city was silent and deserted. He realized to his own amazement that the noisy city he disliked was also a part of Nature than the face of commerce it was during the day.

In the morning sun, the poet found the city to be the most beautiful sight on earth. Only a dull person will fail to appreciate the calmness inspired by the quiet city basking in the morning sun. The landmarks of the city looked silent and bare without the rush of life across the streets. The river Thames looked as if driven by an inner force than the noisy place of commerce during the day. Yet was the city really asleep? No, the mighty heart – the capital of the most powerful nation in the world at that time and its people – will wake up soon.

This sonnet “Upon Westminster Bridge” is a passionate expression of Wordsworth’s love of Nature and his ecstatic astonishment at the peacefulness of London city early morning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pieta



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Words

In 1997, Arundhati Roy won the Booker for her debut novel The God of Small Things. Little did she knew then that her proud face could trigger the desire of becoming a writer in a little girl whose only qualification to be so was the bad habit of reading every book that was not in the school curriculum and scribbling what can or cannot be called poetry.
Now two more Indians have won the Booker and what the writer has in hand is only a heap of loose sheets of paper, a few scrapbooks and this blog, which contains certain excerpts from the diary notes. I write for a muse, who visits me once in a while, upsetting my balance and sending me hurling back into loneliness, to restructure and resurrect again as a balanced person, teaching me to live life to the fullest through writing out an unfulfilled and unlived life, a mystery, a strange series of happenings having neither head nor tail and giving a sense of balance to a heart striving for love and a head that loves logic and reasoning; for the dead and the living writers, who have inspired me with the fire of their words though I may not reach their level, let my words touch their foot with respect and love, for their words have stirred and lived as passion, delight and life in my blood, in my imagination and in every word I write; for myself, to remember and certain moments of tranquil silence, when the perfect little sacred space known as the soul is a treasure-house that pours out amazing words that I love to read again and again and share with you!




Friday, December 12, 2008

The White Magnolias


The sweet scent of those blooming magnolias was growing stronger and stronger every moment. I was sitting on a stone bench with my face buried in my hands crying, broken hearted and sad. I was choked with tears watching his anger and indifference. I was going to apologise to him. But as I turned my head I heard a bell ringing continuously and on opening my eyes, instead of seeing that familiar park strewn with all sorts of fresh and dry leaves and the patches of multi-hued flowers interrupted by stone benches, what I saw was the outline of my own room. I realized that it was only a dream and to my utter disappointment it was cut short by the alarm clock ringing.

It was a recurring dream, a memory of that place. That serene park of my young days where I spent long hours in the company of my favourite poets, now haunted me throughout my sleep and my waking moments. Those tall shady trees, lichen covered walls and cool canopies kept coming back to my mind, bringing back with them memories of those happy days in harmony with nature and humanity, when a spectre, a mirage of love flashed before my sight and disappeared without a trace leaving me enticed for life.
The dream was strange because she never wanted her life to be like that.

The day I saw the white magnolias for the first time will remain etched in my memory because it was the same day I met him. As always I was engrossed in a book of poems when a passing breeze carried with it a pale ivory white blossom and placed it on the book I was reading. I held the flower closely in my hands to observe it more clearly. I saw it was soft and ivory-hued with a yellow tint on the inside.

As I smelt it a voice beside me told that the name of the flower was white magnolia. I looked up and saw that the owner of the voice to be a person whom I had met several times during my walks and who always passed me by with a friendly smile or a quiet nod. He further informed me that these flowers called chempaka in the native tongue bloomed only in the evenings. Then the surrounding air will be infused with a heavenly fragrance,, the blossom seemed to be the first to fall this season. Thus magnolias inaugurated a friendship that was to spread roots in the depths of my being forever.

Our meetings became frequent and lively with the talk of flowers and books. I found out in the meantime that he was a storehouse of knowledge of various sorts ranging from my favourite poets to philosophy and theology. A precious bond of friendship was being formed between us,. It became a source of delight and inspiration for both of us. Until the days of an irreparable rift threatened the very existence of our goodwill. A quarrel followed that once again left me alone in my favourite place reading books and lamenting the loss of a relationship which would have lasted a lifetime had I been less proud and more careful.

Years went by. We deliberately avoided each other’s society. During this time my life changed. I became just like an aimless yacht, wild and reckless, desperate and in need of a destination and thrown off the path by every galloping gust of wind. He was like an unhealed wound in my heart that bled me to death on every careless touch. But I could not forget the cherished dreams he had given me. ..the wings of hope for an unfulfilled desire of the heart- the urge for a life of bliss together with him! But these dreams were all in vain.

One day my soul pulled me towards this place with a strong force. Thus led by an inner voice, by some unknown instinct I went back to that familiar spot after years of absence, I found to my surprise that nothing had changed much. The chempaka tree by the fountain was in full bloom and there was the faint smell of fresh flowers hovering in the air. I sat there on the stone bench which I had once called mine. I closed my eyes and instantly my mind embarked on the wings of a dream, which an intimate bond of affection had gifted my heart years ago.

A gentle breeze started blowing, rustling the tree branches and scattering the dry fallen leaves everywhere. In the midst of this clamor, I heard a soft footstep on the ground and looking up I saw a familiar face gazing at me tenderly> so nothing has changed much, has it?

All these years I thought of meeting him with an indifferent manner and a courteous smile, But on seeing him hat happened to my earlier decisions. I ran towards him and buried my face on his chest. He put his arms around me and rocked me gently. There was a tranquil silence enveloping the park. Then a gentle breeze blew showering some magnolias on us. The sweet scent of those blooming magnolias was growing stranger and stronger every moment.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Epitaph for love

Here lies the dreams
Of a long lost love,
Better not touch,
You might wound
The heart or even
Release old ghosts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Written in Absence

In the rain
There are no barriers…
In the Life-spirit
There are no reasons…
Only Life
And Love…
So let it be…


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Masks

You and me have worn many masks with each other. Any other woman would leap and violently tear that mask of silence off your face. But I watch in silence, everyday, how far will you carry the game. You will only smile and say the same words of courtesy. But when your silence is broken by hoarse laughter that sounds so hollow, all my anger disappears and I find you the same as ever, childish and ever trying to hide your insecurity in being aloof and in being funny. After finding out how you feel, I see that I try to do the same with you.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Lucky Bamboo



Sunday, December 07, 2008

Waiting at Twilight

What is love? Many answers, at the same time. 
As the twilight meets the dark and the light, 
Just as one rainy afternoon you bid farewell,
Talking of matters I did not understand.

Why did it have to rain on days we met and parted?
Why did a walk in the rain bring such love?
And a concealed set of desperate symptoms,
Which I'd never known was of true love.

Now another mirage, another dream choked by logic,
Gives me vision to see clearly what I have lost. 
"My love" on the afternoon you left, my heart whispered, 
Though my voice choked it with a farewell,

I still remember how tears had fallen, 
How sobs had broken for words that didnt come,
Twilight has come again and I meet you everyday,
In every face, in every word, everywhere.

Foolish heart scared of what it didnt know, 
Killed love so mercilessly without letting it live.
Nothing, nothing but you in my heart, 
Today I witness twilight and my own life.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dreamers Beware

He moved his face close to hers and she closed her eyes. They were sitting on a stone-bench in the park. He was sitting close to her with his arms round her. She was scared of other people staring at them but she found that no one was noticing them. As he said people came there for the silence the park gave them. 

It was their first meeting after months. He had turned up all on a sudden and told her: “I need to talk to you”. She screamed in delight on seeing him. She pinched him to check if he was real. He was the one who suggested the park. They walked together towards the place. He put his arm around her shoulders and chatted with her.

They chose a very quiet nook in the park. The place was really beautiful. She felt she was imagining this meeting with him. She sat near him feeling his presence. Her entire body was warm under his touch and her heart was not beating but galloping. Then he began describing the adventures he had during all these months. His left arm was around her waist and he held her hand in his right hand. 

She smiled at him and they looked into each other eyes for a long time. Then he moved his face close to hers. She felt that the moment had arrived after such a long time. Their first kiss. She closed her eyes. She could feel his face near hers. 

Then she heard a sound. What was that sound, she wondered? It was a ringing sound. Oh! It was her alarm clock ringing to tell her that it was 6 0’clock. She got up and said “@!#$%*.

Then again she went to bed praying for a sequel of the same dream… Oh Lord, please! No way. Sleep had deserted her. She got up and looked in the mirror. She wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. Yet strangely she felt happy because the feel of his strong arms around her was still there. So was the smell of his perfume. She smiled and wished him a good day!



Friday, December 05, 2008

Krishna

“Where were you all this time? These months?” asked Radha. 

Krishna said with a smile, “I was travelling in many lands, through deserts, over seas and oceans and learning more of life.

“Did you ever think of me?” Radha persisted.

“All the time. You were with me every moment with every beat of this heart. When I crossed the rivers I took you in my arms so as not to wet you. When I traveled through deserts I kept you hidden in my heart away from the scorching heat. When I slept I dreamt of your soft hands caressing my face tenderly. Radha, you were with me every day and every moment.”

“You sweet talker! All the butter that you ate has gone into your words”. Krishna burst out laughing. Radha pouted her lips. He was amused by her anger and kissed her. Then he took out his flute and played a melody she loved the most. 

The evening sky was bright with a red light. The huge banyan tree they sat under was filled with chirping birds who were settling down in the evening. His melody calmed her and she sat near him with her arms around his dark body. Then she was strangely silent. “Why are silent today, Radha? Why are you looking at me like this?” She said nothing and went on looking at his face as tenderly as a mother would look at her baby.

“Don't ever go away from me, my dearest. Being away from you is death for me”, she thought of telling him. Her mind formed many more words but never said it aloud: “I love you. I need you. I promise you that I will love you, respect you and cherish you till the end of my life”. 

“I am always with you, my beloved and I can hear your each thought, each sigh, feel your each tear too”, he whispered in her ears. “Then why do you go away from me?”

He rested on her lap and played his flute. She moved her face close to his and kissed his eyes. Strands of her long hair were falling on his ecstatic face. His eyes were still like a calm lake. Then suddenly it started to rain.

The earth was dancing under the touch of rain. So was she dancing under Krishna's touch. Neither of them moved and they sat under the banyan tree with the rain dripping through the branches and soaking them.

Krishna got up to go and as he was about to go she ran to him. “Don't go away from me again” and started crying. His head was wet from the rain and she felt a strange desire to hold him close to her heart and never let him go any where. 

Radha was awakened by the sound of bells. She saw that her beloved had left her and she was alone beneath that huge banyan tree. She sobbed “I am always yours Krishna. Never to be touched by another”. Tears ran down her cheeks and in the morning light her face looked so forlorn. 

The morning light soft and shiny drained through the curtains in her room. She woke up and suddenly understood that it was just a dream. Her Krishna was there lying on the bed fast asleep. She smiled and caressed his unshaven face. She planted a kiss on his forehead and snuggled against him.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Evenings with coffee

I would say, you were a stranger, who somehow knocked against me accidentally somewhere along the road on a rainy day. After the initial shock had worn out, we looked at each other with wonder.

You sat beside me for a friendly chat sipping hot coffee in an evening air that smelt of freshly brewed coffee and newly baked bread.

You and me spoke of things that were trivial, irrelevant to every one else in our lives. That evening was followed by many, which smelt of coffee and bread. The smells became familiar but not repellent.

Strangely the word “coffee” brings your face to the mind. After so long, when I sit with a cup of coffee and a book watching the rains, I don’t know what I look at or look for outside the window.

This rain somehow brings up memories I cannot erase. The so-called days together were not very remarkable but stay afloat just like the smell of freshly brewed coffee and newly baked bread. So much that I don’t know whether I am sad or plain hungry!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dream

Your fingers haunt me,
Your unseen lips taunt me;
Your love is more a dream.

Your words melt me,
My heart nor my soul,
Are safe from your attacks.

You are a presence in dreams,
And an absence from real life,
For eons altogether.

Yet yours is a face that I search,
In every crowd that I see,
Straining for your voice.

Invisible and stealthy,
You intrude upon my silences,
And leave an emptiness beside.
But when awake from your dream,
I know you were here, near me,
From the happiness that I feel.

Monday, December 01, 2008

On books

A lot of books are published everyday on the works of great writers.When you read these books, you will understand that the interpretations given by these writers vary from what the original writers have thought about. Who would have thought that Hamlet would be accused of Oedipus Complex? So what happens is that these learned critics and scholars undervalue literature by giving undue importance to trivia.

Another major trend in the current academia is that literary theory is more important that literature itself. Since the second half of the twentieth century many theories have come into existence and they have replaced literature.What difference does it make to the reader to know that the writer was expressing his/her repressed thoughts through the use of a symbol in a poem under analysis? More than giving strange interpretations, what literature does is to change a perspective of life by providing a richer understanding of its mystery.

Simplify, simplify, simplify, said Thoreau. He was wise to know that most eloquent speeches were vacant of meaning or spirit. Many good writers write with a simple, unadorned style and it is not difficult to see the effort that has gone into developing such clear and lucid thinking. What I would like to know is how was your perspective changed on reading a particular book?


Angst

Your words fill my heart with a strange emotion; it’s like seeing me in a mirror, a million crossroads ago. The words bring new possi...