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.