Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vande Mataram: Happy Independence Day


This is Sri Aurobindo's translation of the Indian National Song "Vande Matharam". On this occasion of our 62nd Independence Day Celebrations, this song that celebrates the glory of Mother India.

Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Thou who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Thou art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleams,
Dark of hue O candid-fair

In thy soul, with jeweled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friend

Many distrust a bond made across boundaries; for the same can turn into a ploy for infiltration. Though my self is not the high walls of Troy, when my security levels were low, you lured me into accepting your offer of friendship.

You asked me questions that I could not but refuse to answer while you wove lie upon lie to create an image of reality. When you had your fill, the life that I had in me was no more; the faith I had in others and myself had vanished and then you disappeared without a trace.

But by then, my life had degraded into empty words and need for somebody to survive. From independence, you brought me on to mass dependence on lies. An addiction, your lying words often lifted the gloom out of everyday though it ended as fast as it started.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ON TALKING from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran


And then a scholar said, Speak of Talking.

And he answered, saying:

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;

And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.

And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.

For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.

There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.

The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.

And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.

And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.

In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.

When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.

Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;

For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered when the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ernest Hemingway


Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.
You, eager reader, must have read quite a lot of material on how to improve your creative writing skills. While I was attending a writing workshop recently, I had this brainwave. I actually hit upon a brilliant place to generate creative blog ideas.

The professor was discussing Ernest Hemingway’s writing habits. Hemingway chose a quiet room in his house that was neatly cluttered with his typewriter, foolscap sheets for pre-writing stages, an oversize slipper wearing which he stood and wrote and his wastebasket that contained shreds of initial drafts that he improved upon.

On the third day of the workshop, the writing exercise was on visualizing and describing the scene. For me, who is just a hack writer, the writing exercises were a disappointment. At that moment, I could not write anything more than a drab piece of prose that just rephrased what was originally in the article that the professor read out to us.

First, I asked the professor, “May I stand and write?” He said “If that helps”. Then I produced some poor quality writing whose only good point was that I described a person’s bland face coming alive when he smiled. The professor applauded that and wisely ignored the rest, while I sat expecting a word by word analysis of my writing. Well, nothing happened.

In the next twenty minutes, everybody read out their versions of the writing exercise. One was exceptionally well-written and I really saw how good it was, with good illustrations and cleverly planned. Then the clown in my mind started dancing and making faces. He showed me an image of The Carpenters in concert half-clad and inspired.

So to cover my embarrassment of being a writer and not being able to produce a good piece of writing, I started narrating the example of the carpenters and that I needed a good shower to start working on any writing job I have. Bogus or not, I went home and enjoyed some special time in my sacred space and came up with this piece on Ernest Hemingway.

Monday, August 03, 2009

27: Happy Birthday


When the multiplication tables were in
Twenty-seven stood for three raised to three;
Now it stands for the age of this old wine,
The spirit, inside a big barrel called me.

No humble words, the barrel loves to expand,
This spirit grows mellow people say (God knows)
Though it was only yesterday that I was a kid,
Splashing for hours in the mighty river green.

Now the wrong side of twenties beckons me,
For it’s a freefall that all women go through,
From where you slip into the 30s, 40s and 50s,
Wrinkles, complaints and hassles of old age.

A lousy bunch of thoughts on my special day,
That’s me on my twenty seventh birthday!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Memories

Our old hang-out has changed and a lot of people have owned it once we left the place. The small details- a few dry fallen leaves scattered by wind across the steps, the towering torch, the yellow flowers that form a bed across the wide lawns, the bright blue sky that peeps between the trees, lovers who speak and fall silent every other second- still matter.

You and I have lost this sacred space the day when our love became bitter and sad than the joy it was to us every day. For every day, the first waking thought was always about the moment that I will meet you later in the day. Sick leaves, holidays and hartals were like hell; for a day to be real and alive it needed you and your loving support.

The purple flowers that grew where we used to sit and talk still enchant many lovers to pick them up as gifts for their beloved. Our paths are strewn with fallen leaves from that old tree that bears a nameplate on its neck and has borne many seasons in our absence. Years of absence has sprouted new life around it.

Now you and I are no more careless wanderers who thought of nothing but each other. You are an invisible onlooker in my life; one whom I see yet do not recognize. You listen to me talk to others; never wanting a word for yourself; taking a strange pleasure in noting how I have changed beyond recognition. You travel around for days wondering why you come back to the same place and the same person who wounded your heart.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Your words

Spin me not one but many yarns,
I would read it with real interest,
With full understanding that you,
With a loving heart made them,
So I can turn to them for comfort,
When with an ailing heart or pain,
On any day, when I need support,
And smile upon reading your words!

Note- Written in response to Swapna's As I Spin a Tale

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Story of a Mad Woman

People said I’m mad when I told them that I could hear voices in my head. I guess many people could. But I could also hear what others thought and could do what they wanted or did not want at all. This could be called a miracle but it’s not. It’s a modern curse when many days are laid waste just because voices whisper in your head and sneer at you.

One day, they tell you, “You are the queen”. The next day, they explode your head with pain. This has made me silent and quiet and afraid of others. I told my folks that I could hear voices. They took me to a doctor who prescribed a long list of medicines and sedated me. When I woke up, their faces had changed into that of hatred for creating so much trouble for their reputation and wealth.

On some days, invisible hands search my body. I wish I could tell someone who knew the same. Someone who could hear voices in their heads or feel the strangeness of being touched by something you cannot see. Until then, I’m only a mad woman who feels attacked by strange invisible hands that move up and down her body or cause disturbances in life.

Some days, these voices made me believe that you, whom I had lost had come back to retrieve you. Instead my life ended that day. For if it was you, you were not an angel as I thought you were but a demon who set in motion the destruction of a person who loved you the most. Whoever you are, I’m trapped in a world of your invisible beams until death.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Palgrave's Golden Treasury

In my college days, I was a regular bookworm who could finish a book in the shortest time possible (a few hours, a night of continuous reading or reading in the college bus). My treasure house was the college library, where the dust-filled corners, I will hunt some good book or the other.

A book that I found there and later bought a personal copy is The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language by F.T. Palgrave. It has a collection of English poems from the Elizabethan Age till the Modern Age.

Palgrave published his first version in 1861 with the aim of propagating the best that is known and thought in the world?. The present edition was edited and more poems added by the Poet Laureate Cecil Day Lewis.

My favourite from this collection was the poem, The True Beauty By Thomas Carew:

HE that loves a rosy cheek
Or a coral lip admires,
Or from star-like eyes doth seek
Fuel to maintain his fires;
As old Time makes these decay,
So his flames must waste away.

But a smooth and steadfast mind,
Gentle thoughts, and calm desires,
Hearts with equal love combined,
Kindle never-dying fires:?
Where these are not, I despise
Lovely cheeks or lips or eyes.

This book is a rare find to those who cherish good poetry. I was so much in love with this book that I must have read it out aloud to many friends (poor things) who were willing to lend a ear.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Difficulty

Some words as harmful; sharing mouthful of advice on how an uttered word is like a sent arrow: whatever you do cannot take it back. But about those who never utter any word and keep hidden inside all the angst of life. What use is such a silence except for earning a name in each friend's list of tramped people?

Even more strange is those who use words to boost an ego that swells up with pride at victories and they use words to kill other's joys as easily as swatting a fly. But how on earth can you live up ideals in a world of contradictions when the meek and the gentle never utter anything about their selves and the proud boast about anything and everything.

No word is wasted; one who seeks the wisdom of a few words finds them useful. For many count their words with time while others exhaust themselves with talk that breeds nothing but contempt and hatred. While you and me seek words to understand the world of our difficulties and find solace in finding faces whose smiles fade and crack with sorrow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ancient Promises




Suresh was holding me by the arms and saying to Dr. Sasi, 'See this is what I mean. It's been like this for weeks now...all this talk about scholarships that don't exist...and running away with Riya...I can't ignore it any more, she needs help...she needs treatment. Sasichetta, help us!'

I could not believe my ears...Treatment?....Help? I started to struggle out of Suresh's grip as his plan dawned on me, he was trying to convince everyone I was mentally ill! It was preferable to have people sympathise over a wife who was mad than to bear the shame of one who wasn't mad but wanted to leave him.

Ancient Promises
portrays the struggles of Janu in finding love and breaking away from the rules that limit her freedom. Audacious and original, Misra writes the story without the usual embellished writing of novelists. Only in the scene where Arjun and Janu meet after years, there is a little lyricism, where the prose flies like poetry.


Janu, a Malayali girl born and brought up in Delhi falls in love with Arjun,her senior at school. Arjun leaves for England for his higher studies and Janu's life turns upside down when she is hastily married off to Suresh Marar, a business magnate from her native town Valapadu in Alleppey.


Though she tries hard to belong to the newly family of wealthy and pompous Marars, Janu's dreams are shattered when her child Riya is diagnosed as mentally handicapped. Her life becomes a struggle to save Riya from the hostility of the people around her.
She takes Riya to a school for children with special needs at the same time teaching children there. She finds out that in other countries' children with such defects as Riya's are not ostracized by society. She plans to take a course on teaching children with special needs.

Life drives her back to her Arjun. When she goes for the test in Delhi, she meets Arjun and the result is an explosion of desire and love that they had held up inside them for so long. When she comes back, she tells her husband about Arjun and asks him for divorce. Her husband convinces other people that she is mad and takes possession of Riya. But that doesn't stop her from going to England or from getting united with Arjun or from getting custody of her Riya.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Success


Days of hard work and burning the midnight oil were rewarded by a grand success that few could even dream about. Still, this foolish heart was not sure how to move ahead leaving behind its little troubles and worries. The rain of blessings that heavens poured out did not help at all; instead created floods that destroyed the land.

The dream is still there. But to climb that summit once more, it needs more than hard work or time; for this heart can never forget the pain of losing the power of dream to an illogical frame of mind. Victory was mine; but the feeling of a victor never came for the heart had its reasons and illusions.

Now when the same summit that the traveller climbed though unacknowledged looks far and hard to reach, all I can do is just wait for time to reveal life's reasons in not being able to taste the fruits of victory; rather like a soldier who lost his precious life in the last battle of his life, I remain lost, with a cowardly heart that cries at its losses and an illogical mind that takes pride in missing opportunities.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ernest Hemingway


It was almost five decades ago,
Just before your 62nd birthday
That you played with your gun,
To write the end of your life.

Blessed with words by the muses,
You stood before their altar,
Writing and tearing out pages,
Till the best words did emerge.

Your life is a curious tale,
For every lover of your words,
Who wander upon your books,
Never to leave them again.

You did not wait for the fall,
To turn the green leaves yellow,
Only made the morning news flash,
With scattered bones and brains.

Your love for hills, the blue skies,
And words will remain forever.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wanderlust


For a heart like this full of love for wandering in the serenest places on earth, each and every picture of natural beauty is an invite. The cascading waterfalls that astonish, the beautiful mountain-tops, the endless beaches and patches of green everywhere.

May be on a day like this, looking at this beautiful earth, I may not write a word but only sigh and think; for what to write about a work of art that is beautiful more than any word can describe. Yet I sit at home and dream of visiting all these wonderlands after looking at their pictures.

It might happen that one fine day, I will be able to wander as long as I pleased and as far as I pleased. But right now, the travels occur in dreams that carry me to these imagined places of delight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tribute

You'd a bag of tricks that could amaze all with a green thumb that could turn the ground you touched into fertile gardens. For the one much-awaited blessing of a child in life, you must have got more in recompense.

Your betel-stained mouth gave off a crooked smile when others showered praise on you but you looked only at the praise of nature that took the form of many-hued blossoms and buds.

Life was never smooth for you; your angst at not having a generation to follow created worry lines on your face. But death was smooth; you never even knew that there were many who cried and could not believe that you were gone forever.

Disbelief in the fact that the roses will bloom no longer in the way you could make it happen. For more than a green thumb, you'd certain ways of caring that took the form of gifts such as fresh roses and saplings.

It's a sad world that you left behind-your friends who have not slept nights and days and might burst out crying on seeing a rose for it was only in the end that you endeared yourself to others in a way that others can only envy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Iconoclast

You broke all rules around you to find a life of your own causing pain and hurt to those who loved you more than their own lives. But then in the years that came, you compromised your originality and rebellion for what others wanted you to do. If your life was written in rules throughout I wouldn’t have minded but you were wild and free and impish all your life.

When you listen to others and conform to their likes, somehow all your words feel hollow because beneath your strength you always carry that childish desire to please and to do nothing else. Why is that the common rules that others follow do not apply to either you or me? But it irks me when I listen to your speeches on how things should be or your concern about what others think about the minutest details of our lives. Don't you think that this habit of being foolishly brave and bravely foolish is your gift to me?

You have often told others of how wrong I am and how I have hurt you feeling that others who listen will sympathize with your plight. Whatever you may tell others and whatever others might tell me through their words and their behavior, this life will be just as it is- calm and secluded from the lies and manipulations of this cruel world.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Workspace


After almost ten days of break into the real world in the form of a writing workshop that made me quite chirpy and talkative, I am back to my writing space, where three unfinished projects lie waiting my perusal. These three have never been even once out of mind though they were out of sight all these days.

I find that I have difficulty starting my work. I'm confused as to what to do first. Do I need to motivate myself by reading some good self-help book? A lot of options flash in the mind. But the last thing I want to do is to check my mail and get distracted for the rest of the day.

Finally, I decide to write the indecision by writing down my inability to start my work. Hope it helps.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Seeds


You were always fond of flowers and one of my daydreams revolved around you taking interest in my beautiful garden that had roses at that time. Now the dream is gone; so are the roses. In a totally different terrain, I try planting seeds of hope; but everyday they are dried by the scorching sun and the cruel winds of habit. This dream will never be, I have discovered in these months of despair, when each seed of hope have brought more tears and more waiting.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Unsolicited advice


It' s a bright day. You are doing your work humming a favourite song. Suddenly you get a call or meet someone who wearies you with a long sermon on this-is-how-things-should-be-done or how-things-were-done-in my day.

You want to mutter a thanks and ask this person to make this into a career by starting a counselling centre. But suddenly remember that counselling requires good listening skills and bite your tongue while putting that smiling face back again.

After a while you feel like your entire happiness has been destroyed by some natural calamity: unsolicited advice. The rest of the day is spent in finding to evade the person or how to contradict the advice.

The worst calamity is listening to unsolicited advice from people who have absolutely no idea about your dreams or the subject matter. Does it help to humour these pestering calamities? I don’t know but I'm helpless when I meet such bores.

I guess there are times when learning is enhanced if a person of experience meets a humble learner. But it applies only to cases when the learner has interest in the subject and is ready to take criticism from the teacher.

Most people who provide such advice ignore the creative powers that are inherent in each and every human being. They do not understand the fact that more than following great examples, every person can come up with original ideas and solutions to problems.

Looking back on the past or looking up to some great person means that you do not trust the creativity of the moment or the work. It's good to have role-models; but mere idolatry is a crime against the pure magic of human thought.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Search

My search for you began someday when I was ten, when I realized that I was incomplete in this world without you. Your face has changed over these years but you have remained a source of hope always. From that first few lines that I wrote, this other self of mine has peeped in countless words that I have scribbled on lost pages. I never knew that the best words that I wrote were the ones I have lost. But still, from memory that remembers quite a lot of images and turns of phrases and scents and experiences, I retrace this verbal journey from nothing to everything and from everything to nothing again.

Most people clearly remember the day they started writing. For me, words came on a day, here in this city on an idle day, when I was standing on the terrace talking to myself watching the distant church tower and the clear blue sky. I thought of a few lines, then the lines kind of repeated itself and I tried to make it as parallel as possible. That's when I understood that this chanting aloud is of no use: I need to write it down. Finally I went downstairs and wrote my first lines though not in English:

You dream of a heaven as a garden,
With roses that stand fresh and fragrant
That are circled by hungry bees.



Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Distance


After many days, I hear the quiver in your voice as you recognise my voice. You did not expect me to call you say as a way of explanation. Do you know many days have gone since I last talked to you? Years. Months. Days. Hours. Minutes. Seconds. All messed up and long only because I thought talking with you is a pain because of our lost friendship. Why did you call me, you ask expecting a long answer. Just like that is never enough for you for as always you pretend that you can read my mind.

Sitting opposite a friend, the other day, I realised how much you and your friendship meant to me even with all its flaws. You could never be what I wanted you to be nor could I ever attain that perfection you wanted to see in me. Still, there's a joy in the old meaningless conversations that I share with no other. The same laughter and the same tears that gather in two friends who have known each other for long!

The days of longing and desperation are over. The sea of forgetfulness that swept over the land has swallowed with it the countless moments of anger and frustration. With both of us, broken and still happy, we can stay away at respectful distance without harming each other's feelings. For the mutual knowledge and understanding that we share surpass other bonds just because it was bound by trials and tribulations. On days I try to write, your words come as a reason for laughter and tears.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Strange love

How much time has passed since our last day of togetherness? Days of forgetfulness with complete involvement in work, when living in the moment was the motto; with nights of regret and resolution to gain you back and to take that first step towards you. But the walls of uncertainty and hostility were so many that even the sacred spaces were trampled upon. Fiends wore the faces of friends and intruded in your sacred spaces.

You eclipsed all thoughts of life or work. You reigned supreme in every conversation with friends. You were the only one that the heart longed for- one smile, one touch and that understanding made in silence. For that miracle to happen, how long have I waited! How many prayers my heart heaved before God, who have become a stranger the day I lost you. How on your birthdays, I have gathered all my wishes together and written word after another in my notebook.

Still with all the longings of love, I have seen how unreal these immature thoughts may be when I understand that you are nothing but a stranger to me now. A stranger whom I may not even recognise if I pass you in the street.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Laurence Sterne on Writing

There are two sorts of eloquence; the one indeed scarce deserves the name of it, which consists chiefly in laboured and polished periods, an over-curious and artificial arrangement of figures, tinselled over with a gaudy embellishment of words, . . . The other sort of eloquence is quite the reverse to this, and which may be said to be the true characteristic of the holy Scriptures; where the eloquence does not arise from a laboured and far-fetched elocution, but from a surprising mixture of simplicity and majesty.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ray Bradbury on Creativity

Creativity is a continual surprise.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goodness

How can silence create so much of love? You must have asked yourself so many times. Is there anything wrong in silence? For those who learn each other with time, love to sit silent and idle by each other. In their togetherness, there are no words nor there are promises. That's something you with your thousand questions will never understand.

But at times, I want to tell how much you mean to me, how the absences of day-to-day life spurs love in me and how I love even when you dream of freedom and of long-forgotten memories. You mean everything to me, even when you are silent, even when you are absent or even when you stop thinking of me.

Sometimes I feel the aura of your grace coming to mind as a picture of all that is good, great and nice- a big heart I have seen except when you are sad and your heart chokes with pain. But with all the goodness that you scatter around minute by minute, you know how to hide your self within those walls of goodness.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tips for Good E-mail Writing

A good deal of communication takes place in the form of emails that you write to friends, colleagues and clients. In personal or professional communication through emails, you need to carefully follow certain guidelines that will help you write good mails while maintaining the etiquette of email communication.
  • When sending a mail to a new email address, send a test mail first. Most of the time, errors in spelling can bounce the mail right back into your inbox.
  • State the subject of your mail rather than leaving it empty. This enables easy search and retrieval of mails from a rather crowded inbox. Gmail has launched a feature called Inbox Preview that allows you to glimpse the first line of your recently received mails.
  • Use the original mail thread while replying to a previous mail so that the receiver can also track the correspondence in case of any confusion.
  • Customise your email by addressing the person. If at all you need to send the same mail to several people use the correct form of address and send it using the Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy) option. But don’t use the Cc (carbon copy) option unless it is necessary.
  • Be precise and to the point. Use simple sentences to convey your message. A long mail is hard to read and remember especially for a person who receives quite a lot of mails a day.
  • Write about a single topic in a mail rather than bombarding a single mail with a lot of information thereby helping the receiver to answer the relevant topic correctly.
  • Delete the list of previous receivers while forwarding a mail so that you do not reveal a big list of addresses of people without their permission.
  • Always remember that the web is a not secure enough to hold all your private details. Think twice before sending that angry e-mail or before revealing that extremely private piece of information in an email.
  • Sound positive and energetic in your mails rather than depressed and drab.
  • Re-read and edit the mail you have written, carefully going over the written matter for mistakes in grammar, punctuation or spelling.
  • Using capital letters in mails is not advisable as such writing is considered as screaming in the internet lingo.
  • Use the formatting tools but remember that the receiver may not be able to view the formatting. Take care about sending rich text to people who can view the message only in the plain text format.
  • Don’t forward chain letters that are scary or superstitious.
  • Don’t reply to spams either.
  • Reply to important mails immediately possibly on the same day or the next rather than mulling over them for days together.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wisdom of life

I say: Know your enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle. –Sun Tzu

Friday, June 26, 2009

Renewal

You might have heard me sing of love,
When all your hopes are lost and gone,
While time has moved silently,
Shrouded love with forgetfulness.

This love has become the truth,
Now to be sung from rooftops,
For the near and far to wonder,
What makes this love so special?

The earth celebrates the touch of rain,
With many fresh green sprouts of life
That peek through the little space
Found on walls, floors and ground.

You are like rain that fed the earth,
With positive thoughts and beliefs,
With rare dreams and fantasies,
Hardly said aloud or acknowledged.

It's the piece of earth in me (my head)
That loves the rain of your memories.





Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sacred Literature of the World: Chosen for Daily Meditation


Last week on my library hunt, I came across an amazing book, a treasure in fact. Sacred Literature of the World: Chosen for Daily Meditation by Eknath Easwaran. The book complies spiritual writing from different traditions, countries, religions and scriptures such as Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Native American. The book is a guide to meditation as well as a collection of wonderful food for the soul.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dream Book

Do you dream of writing a book that puts into practice all the lessons learnt from great writers, be it flow of words, the element of lyricism that can question lines of poetry, vivid images and perfect diction in your pet area. Well, I have carried this dream for a long time and made several false starts as well.

My dream book has the following qualities:

  • It is addressed to my other, my other self, for one whom I write the best of my thoughts
  • Though in prose, the words may be simple, mostly of one syllable and beautiful
  • It is a collection of thoughts at different moments of silence between me and my other self.

But I don’t know when I will write this book and even if I don’t write the book, I want to say this dream aloud to somebody so that I might feel the need to put the dream in the form of words. Do you have a dream book, dear reader?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

That Summer Long Ago

A long summer of uncertainties,
Blazed many unquenchable fires,
Many that burnt and scorched,
Swallowing words and feelings.

A thousand dreams buried soon,
The flow of nature bottled up,
In thick maroon curtains of silence
That hung quite out of place.

A mess of life that stopped there,
In that long summer somewhere,
From where it has moved hardly,
An inch to gain back its momentum.

The words have become sacred,
The spaces no longer accessible,
But memory brings back dreams,
In words said, words left unsaid.

A few lines of poetry can't reveal,
A love that lies dormant in ashes.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Case of the Missing Po


There is a bird called Po (the one on the right)in my husband' s chidiyakhana. Yesterday, when I went to see the birds in the evening, I found that the cage was open and that Po was missing from the scene. The others were still there, though the cage was left open. All of us searched the entire corridor, where they are kept. We even searched outside though it was pitch dark and raining.

Finally, today Po was discovered in the room next to the corridor. It must have flown and hid there. Hungry and thirsty, it ran and ate seed when given food. Happy that it was only here and that it did not fly outside through the open windows.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Rivalry

Had you not swore rivalry,
My dear dear yellow rose,
Many lives would've escaped,
The tentacles of hopeless love .

You wanted to fare better
In all six pairs of male eyes,
To be fairer, smarter, lovelier,
Than me everyday of your life.

Your trials were not in vain,
But I would say you were,
Fairer, smarter and lovelier
Than I could ever be any day.

Still you crushed the dreams,
Of many embittered hearts,
Through your lies and advice,
Turned the heads upside down.

Looking back, I feel so foolish,
Surpass me in foolery as well.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Celebrating 200 posts


Journal: Serious and Trivial has reached 200 posts. On this day, the not-so-modest author has made a pick of what she considers as the best of her most valuable sacred space: potpourri blog of poems, silences, reviews and definitions of silence. Hope you enjoy them!


Definitions


Forget

Islands


Love


Meditation


Melodies new

My roots strangely

Needs

Our story

Remembrance


Seasons

Silence

Sublimation


Sweet nothings

The Year of the Metal Rooster

Tiny Feet


Tonight

Tribute to Kamala Suraiyya

Twilight Zone

Words

Yellow rose




Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Valkyries

Reading Paulo Coelho is like talking to yourself. The flaws and imperfections of the protagonist are often the flaws that you see in yourself. The wild speed in reading it in 4 or 5 hours could be because of this curiosity that grapples the mind as to what will happen to the protagonist in the story.

His books like The Alchemist, Zahir, The Warrior of the Light, Brida, The Witch of Portbello, Like the Flowing River and the Maktub creates a sense of déjà vu. The Valkyries is no exception. His books refresh the mind and give insight into the flaws of human nature.

There are always several places in the book, where you stop and think, "Where have I read that before?" and then realise that it was not in a book but in your own mind that you created a thought similar to that. Coelho's magic has worked once more. Waiting to read the next book that I can get hold of.

Obsessions


You brought with you a little sunshine, a little laughter and myriad ragas of liveliness. Infatuated with you, I could never stop humming songs or stop dreaming of you. You come in those fantasies as an ideal lover, giving and receiving with full knowledge of a lover's desires.

The reality is a cruel world, broken by everyday hassles, mad world that has several faces of happiness and sadness in the single throw of a coin. You don’t appear at all in that cruel world. You like to hide your face amidst the sharp smells of newly printed books and clean sheets.

This love left unsaid has become an obsession that never fades or lets the heart live in peace. May be in the next life, you and I will not have all the words in the world to say why we don’t want each other in reality and might crumble in tears before the mighty silences
.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stories

The bliss ended years ago,
One fine day in March,
When beauty and brains,
Clashed with each other,
And you picked beauty.

What of a lovely mind?
I questioned you eagerly,
In my childish innocence,
I believed in every word,
Your lying tongue had said.

As the years went by,
Beauty reigned with brains,
Your heart was beaming again,
To make this love last, not,
To make excuses again.

This time, you schemed,
Taking days to work out,
The tiny details of your plan
That turned out to be
A castle in the air.

Beauty, brains, money,
What could make you happy?
Certainly not this broken life,
With you toiling everyday,
Far away from all loves.

For you have lost everything,
A soul of music now healed,
But I see life's bitter irony,
In your discarding all rules
To love what you'd mocked.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Equanimity

You steal those silences with amazing dexterity. Earlier, these silences meant everything; now they foreshadow bitter moments that can break this heart into pieces.

You might say it's not so; but this heart knows its aches and joys, it knows not how to lie and maintain a straight face in pain. For years, this heart has tried to learn this elusive lesson of equanimity.

For it has always laughed with joy and cried with pain and knows not the stance of calm except when indifferent and aloof from the cares of everyday life; with prayer and penance and self-torture.

You have never known such days of life, when one could only write and escape this mad world of unbearable agony or pray to God to send an angel.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Less and More

You tease me as heartless,
I tease you as brainless.
This continual bantering lessen,
What was more in life before,
Aimlessness and hopelessness,
Many more sorts of -lessness.*
But this combo is more than being,
Heartless, lifeless and loveless,
As the bantering continues,
Day by day with more wit,
Energy, drive and spirit,
To find each other new epithets.
Still this world of less is more alive,
Than before the day I found you.


*Note to the Reader:

-lessness is the suffix used with certain nouns (such as life, hope, aim) to denote an absence of that noun.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

For my love on a nothing special day

Some days ago, I fell into a deep slumber,
From which I thought I would never rise again;
My limbs tied with some strange force,
My heart full of fears of the dark.

When I rose, terror flashed before me,
So did my love for you, my dearest,
What if you never know how I love you
More as days and weeks and months pass.

Memories of terror may flash again,
There is no restraining them,
Your love has been like an anchor,
A strong hold that I can depend on.

The words of anger may be a ruse,
For I know, you will be there always.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go, quote Oscar Wilde

Sometimes, I see that life works perfectly if only all the people that you associate with on a daily basis are in harmony with you. Work-life can be in shatters, if you have somebody who irritates you with persistent negativity. Not just me, a lot of people have this habit of blaming others and circumstances for not being focused enough. But how much is enough?


I was just a sit-at-home graduate in English who wanted to work from home for a hobby. I started doing some content writing projects and daily blogging. Nowadays, I am swamped with so many projects that I have forgotten the already rare visits to the beauty parlour, the occasional evening walk (the accumulating fat will tell the rest of the story) and unfinished household chores.

If you see no posts in a place, where there were regular posts (even though they were not great, but readable) please take remember that this idle singer of daily life in the form of writing has become a multi-tasker engaged in her struggles with Good English.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bad days



Who can save a day,
From turning bad,
From rotting, stinking,
Decaying and spreading,
Ill humour all around?

May you can- but how 's
That possible, with short
Tongue, short temper,
And short memory
That forgets its strength.

For who'd like to depend
On crutches and limp,
While solid limbs remain,
Unused, undervalued,
May be you do in ignorance.

For this long sad history,
With looming failures
Crushed dreams is not new,
But continuations of defeat
That began from day one.

So life moves naturally,
With no life, no dreams,
Like a log in the river,
Reaching where it will,
The ocean of forgetfulness.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Shell



Meetings with no purpose,
Words with no meaning,
Promises unkept and broken,
Intentions no longer clear,
Everyday has such ruffles,
Brain-devouring carnivores,
Who stop not at tears or anger,
But only at killing the heart,
Till you learn the best way out,
To resist this energy drain,
Is to go back to your shell,
Keep respectful distance,
From all and not wielding power.
For who knows with all these rules,
You will die from plain exhaustion.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Dieting

The thin bodies of models
Tease from advertisements;
While I try walking, running
Skipping, skipping meals,
Doing whatever I can,
To get slim and sleek.

But the chocolate cake beckons,
From the nook at Spencer's
So does Crackle and Five Star;
Not to mention the ice-creams,
Fruit salads and carrot halwa.

When I see these delights,
All ideas of dieting lost,
The dream of a thin body,
Purged of its extra roundness,
Lost amidst bites of sweet,
Forgetfulness.

So I binge more on sweets,
Think of exercising tomorrow,
While days pass one by one,
The models tease from ads,
With their thin sleek bodies,
But they can't have such delights
The way I can live on sweets.



Thursday, June 04, 2009

Madness



The pale hairy hands stretch from a white coat,
A falsely made happy face enquires about you,
Was it yesterday that you had screamed aloud,
Asked for euthanasia and that you want to die,
While he looked worried and showed you
Pictures of shapes and spaces and flowers
Describe this: You told him of Carl Gustav Jung,
About Freud and what you have read,
Anima and Animus and the theories meant,
The male creative spirit in the female,
The female creative spirit in the male,
The pictures that Jung used to treat people.

The doctor ordered the nurses to sedate you,
Till you remember nothing of Jung or Freud.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The victim of a mousetrap


video

Monday, June 01, 2009

"An Introduction" by Kamala Das



I don’t know politics but I know the names
Of those in power, and can repeat them like
Days of week, or names of months, beginning with Nehru.
I am Indian, very brown, born in Malabar,
I speak three languages, write in
Two, dream in one.
Don’t write in English, they said, English is
Not your mother-tongue. Why not leave
Me alone, critics, friends, visiting cousins,
Every one of you? Why not let me speak in
Any language I like? The language I speak,
Becomes mine, its distortions, its queernesses
All mine, mine alone.
It is half English, half Indian, funny perhaps, but it is honest,
It is as human as I am human, don’t
You see? It voices my joys, my longings, my
Hopes, and it is useful to me as cawing
Is to crows or roaring to the lions, it
Is human speech, the speech of the mind that is
Here and not there, a mind that sees and hears and
Is aware. Not the deaf, blind speech
Of trees in storm or of monsoon clouds or of rain or the
Incoherent mutterings of the blazing
Funeral pyre. I was child, and later they
Told me I grew, for I became tall, my limbs
Swelled and one or two places sprouted hair.
When I asked for love, not knowing what else to ask
For, he drew a youth of sixteen into the
Bedroom and closed the door, He did not beat me
But my sad woman-body felt so beaten.
The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me.
I shrank Pitifully.
Then … I wore a shirt and my
Brother’s trousers, cut my hair short and ignored
My womanliness. Dress in sarees, be girl
Be wife, they said. Be embroiderer, be cook,
Be a quarreller with servants. Fit in. Oh,
Belong, cried the categorizers. Don’t sit
On walls or peep in through our lace-draped windows.
Be Amy, or be Kamala. Or, better
Still, be Madhavikutty. It is time to
Choose a name, a role. Don’t play pretending games.
Don’t play at schizophrenia or be a
Nympho. Don’t cry embarrassingly loud when
Jilted in love … I met a man, loved him. Call
Him not by any name, he is every man
Who wants. a woman, just as I am every
Woman who seeks love. In him . . . the hungry haste
Of rivers, in me . . . the oceans’ tireless
Waiting. Who are you, I ask each and everyone,
The answer is, it is I. Anywhere and,
Everywhere, I see the one who calls himself I
In this world, he is tightly packed like the
Sword in its sheath. It is I who drink lonely
Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns,
It is I who laugh, it is I who make love
And then, feel shame, it is I who lie dying
With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner,
I am saint. I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no
Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tribute to Kamala Suraiyya



I want to be loved
And
If love is not to be had,
I want to be dead; just dead. (Kamala Das)


Kamala Das aka Kamala Suraiyya aka Madhavikutty reigned in Malayalam literature like a queen. One of first feminist writers in India, she was a prolific writer who wrote both in English and in Malayalam. She died today after being hospitalised because of respiratory troubles. A tribute to her, this afternoon on hearing about her death.

You were brave enough to bare your soul,
When other women played with hypocrisy,
You dared to speak of things that mattered,
To a woman more than anything-love.

Your quests for love shadowed your stories,
Poems revealed the highs and lows of love,
True to the dictum that poetry is a song
From a broken heart or a smiling mouth.

Others followed the trail that you had set,
In a land swallowed by traditions and rules,
You broke all rules to follow your own heart,
Frank, straight and a trigger of controversies.

Mother, your words soar like the eagle you're,
Lone but high above in the clear blue skies.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

An empty garden pond



One single waterlily
In pond can splash colours,
Make a huge difference.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New god-daughter



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scent of rain

The earth forgets the scorching summer,

At the first drop of pelting rain

And its scents are translated into perfumes

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Garden flowers