Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Blog

Blogs are dying, the newspaper said,
And just remembered one that I had,
So thought of checking its pulse,
To see if it is still alive or dead.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reflections of Madison County: A Visual Journey



In every bookworm's library, there are permanent residents or books that you return to time and again, to derive from them the same comfort and understanding that you felt the first time you had read it. These books can bring you back to the sacred space of your soul.

One such book is Reflections of Madison County: A Visual Journey by Mark F. Heffron. This book combines photography and poetry. Against each beautiful photograph of the Madison Country are a few lines from a classic writer like Rainer Maria Rilke or W.B. Yeats.

The visual journey offers a glimpse of the paths through the green fields, the serene rivers and the bridges that are synonymous with Madison County. The ordinary views of nature are transformed into the extraordinary in these pictures. The sunrises and sunsets reveal a landscape glowing with magical light. The fall season transforms the green landscape into a russet-clad one.

Adding to the visual treasure are excerpts from lyrical poets given along with each picture, making this book a form of soul space. I love this one by Rachel Carson:

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.

A sheaf of corn, the mist clad banks of a river, the shade of sunset in the river-water, a swing- impressions that remain in the mind even after you leave the book. Nature and art combines to create sense of serenity in the reader, so much that this book is sure a collector's treasure. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bliss

The days of darkness are over finally.
I had waited for the dawn to come for long;
One little wrong word and too much veracity
Had killed this free spirit too early.

Thirst for knowledge and love of life lost,
The soul had shrunk as if pickled in brine
And lost its freedom, its love for life,
Become like an empty vessel thrown in mud.

Now you have brought so many joys and smiles,
You have changed the face of this terrain,
With your dash of luck you sail forward
Taking us both in your pleasant stride.

If I had not known this darkness, my dear,
I'd have never known the value of your smile.

Creative Writing

This is from an article that I read the other day. Motivation and Creativity: Effects of Motivational Orientation on Creative Writers by Teresa M. Amabile of Brandeis University. The study focuses on creative writing as an intrinsic activity that writers do with no expectation of any reward. Many people who participated in this study named the following as reasons why they wrote:
  • You get a lot of pleasure out of reading something good that you have written
  • You enjoy the opportunity for self-expression
  • You achieve new insights through your writing
  • You derive satisfaction from expressing yourself clearly and eloquently
  • You feel relaxed when writing
  • You like to play with words
  • You enjoy becoming involved with ideas, characters, events, and images in your writing. 

Friday, October 01, 2010

water lily

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Perfect

Someday, I want to write the perfect words for what I have in mind. Perfect words written to evoke the perfect feeling. The best of all phrases, wrapped together with the right mix of spices, none too much, just right, none too serious nor too trivial, just mixed like life.

Someday, I would like to gather all my gains and losses, inheritance of words as well as silences and create new music out of them, blending words of joy and love and pain and everything into a perfect little potpourri just like life.But such a perfect day, when perfect thoughts melt into perfect words is yet to be. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tiny Feet

May your tiny feet walk beside our big ones,
May your tiny, rosy, tender, toes learn to love the touch of earth,
May you know the night and the sunshine,
May you know your own darkness and light
May you hear the music of rain pitter-pattering on the roof,
May you believe in fairy-tales and epics, dreams and God,
May your eyes, bright and wild shine with laughter as kisses rain on you.
May you touch the tender velvet of flowers,
May you learn simplicity with grace,
May you bask in the beauty of your own souls.

May you learn to love the word and use it to heal all wounds,
May your light shine in our lives and make it lovelier than before,
May you love God as lovingly as you love your father.
May you spread the joy of life in everyone you commune with,
May your eyes be deep and discerning to know the world around you,
May your laughter and smiles be the sunshine in our homes,
May Lord bless you in every step, every dream, every moment of your life,
May you learn the art of transforming thoughts into action.
May you connect with goodness in every dimension,
May you love knowledge and use it with wisdom and serve.


May your heart be lifted by simple joys,
May you sing cheerfully and dance to the music,
May you heart be filled with love for God and others,
May you accept all blessings with gratitude,
May you value time and its passage.
May your thoughts flow in a clear stream of purity,
May you face the world with courage and love,
May your presence be a delight, your love a guide,
May you see change as a rule of life,
May you recognise the good in the rude and the shrewd in the nice.


May the fire of love burn bright in your heart,
May your dreams touch the sky,
May you heart bounce with joy at the sight of a bright blue sky,
May your soul move in unison with the winds, the waves and the orbits of planets,
May your being listen to sweet music sung by the tender moonlit night.
May you live by your own thoughts and dreams,
May you see the inner light in another's eyes,
May you trust in Providence for helping you every moment,
May you love beauty and create for yourself a beautiful life,
May the memory of lullabies bring comfort later in life.

May you value the lessons of life; its sudden turns and tides,
May the seasons teach you lessons of life,
May nature teach you the symbols and signs,
May spring bring you fresh flowers of joy,
May summer teach you courage and endurance,
May autumn talk with you about moving on,
May winter tell you hidden secrets of rebirth.
May you protect the earth from destruction and contamination,
May your life be spotless and pure, may your actions be wise and guided,
May your heart swirl in joy and weep in pain,
May you be courageous enough to weep and show your affection.

May you be kind, considerate, truthful and loyal in your dealings.
May you know life as a tough race as well as a beautiful day in the woods,
May you know its calm flow as well as its torrents,
May you learn the paradoxes and extremes,and find your own balance,
May you use humour to takethe dreariness out of tough times,
May you learn to love deeply, purely and passionately,
May you know our own strengths and weaknesses and strive to see them in balance,
May you learn what to love and what to hate,
What to choose and what to discard,
May you read with a smile all the blessings that a fond soul wishes for you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Eternal game

You and I were meant to meet; like two streams joining to form a force, entwined to travel through miles and miles to become invisible specks in the endless sea of eternity. But you and I were destined to struggle about identities, independence and possession- that make such a natural blending impossible. Like two opposites, fire and water, who cannot co-exist; we have become feuds in one eternal struggle for life. But this is enough for this life, for without being possessed, without following the rules of the world, this love has turned into a game that can played forever.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Favourite words


Make your own bible.  Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of the trumpet.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every reader has certain idiosyncrasies, words that s/he loves to visit time and again. But not every reader is able to gather all the words that opened new vistas and changed the boundaries altogether.

Once upon a time, I had a book of favourite verses, of course handwritten and very valuable. It was given as a gift to a very special person. Now, if I write a collection of inspiring quotes and poems, the starting entries might be the same as in the previous book.

Different kinds of entries might follow marking the growth of a mind during ten years. Some of the entries are already posted in the blog under the tag Inspiring words

Monday, June 14, 2010

English silence


I remember reading a tribute to OV Vijayan in an English daily. It narrated a story about his attempts to write a novel in English. Being an MA in English, it should have been an easy job for him; but once he started writing, he understood that his hand was blocked and that he couldn't write with flow. So he tried his mother-tongue and we have the historical Khasakinte Ithihasam. This anecdote stayed in my memory, because at that time, I was an MA student, eager and enthusiastic to devour whatever literary trivia that came my way. Now, five years later, I find that I'm still enthusiastic about writers and their idiosyncrasies.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Home

The metaphysical question popped someday;
When you wondered how a home could crumble,
Tremble and crash without digits on a Richter scale,
Without physical quakes or forces of destruction.

Certainly, it could crumble everyday with a tiff;
Might remain joyless, empty of sunshine and light
By premature deaths that leave eternal chasms,
Or by calamities silently borne with muted tears.

How else could you describe that fleeting security,
A little sunshine and feelings of coziness and comfort,
The cuddling warmth and the elusive happiness
Juxtaposed against violent fights and silences.

It still crumbles everyday with little misunderstandings,
As it has always done since you started all raging fires.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For Baby



My soul you are; my child,
My baby fluttering inside.

My days are full of longing,
Dreams of being your mom.

You were a dream before;
Now waiting at my door.



What bundle of surprises,
Wisdom, virtues and vices.

What a bond will ours be? 

I wait for time to tell me.

Unborn child, my little one,
Teach me again how to love.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hibiscus


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Winca Rosa


Friday, March 19, 2010

Bitterness

This little life has known ups and downs and plateaus. There were moments of great strife when the mind showed great courage and lived life to the fullest. Slump was the result when there was nothing to fight for and normal life was lived when days were all the same with nothing eventful between waking up and going to sleep.

Occasionally, there were those nightmarish times when it turned into nothing but a series of misfortunes one after another, when the heart had to face troubles all by itself and there was nobody who could help or listen. It was such a point of life, a quieter me evolved, who does not explain herself to anybody or anything and is happy with whatever life drops in these outstretched pair of hands.

How will you know, who became a tormented soul so late unlike me, one who has tormented each and every one of your listeners every day with your contagious chalice of bitterness, about being open-minded and living in the moment? I have my days of bitterness; but looking carefully I understand that all these words of bitterness were from a whiff of your putrefaction. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Snapshots from my Garden


Friday, February 26, 2010

Gershom

You lie awake in your scanty room waiting for morning to take away the blues in a city full of strangers. I'm a stranger in a strange land, your heart whispers every now and then. Your thoughts are full of frail arms somehow hold the key to your destiny. Morning and night, you await her voice that tells you that there are worlds in time, just beyond an unopened door.

A sweet tiny face gives music to your solitude and makes you want to run forward in time by a few years. You listen to your friends tell you what to do everyday; for every one of them has a love-story that they tell you with happiness and one that they never talk about. The unspoken one are full of silences and lessons that you can learn from.

For even your heartbeats know that only she can make a difference to your life; like the way she has and you know that she's the soul-mate you'd dreamt about. You wait for the dawn in the hope that this is the day that she will love with the same passion and energy that exists in your heart.

Only another listener, I hope that the dawn of love is nearby when you can tell all your longings and dreams without fear. A few shifts in time and we will all cheer you on the day of bliss, when dressed in red and bedecked in jewels, she will stand next to you smiling, when you will realise how this dream has turned out to be true.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Simplicity

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  Berthold Auerbach
What could I do then, the singer croons delicately,
While tears fill my eyes, as I think of
a life gone by,  
For I knew you never were mine; but another's
Yet this foolish heart worshipped you like a God.

You were the one whom my heart searched for years,
But when I loved you, it was only existing in my fantasy;
For it was not your fault that this love could never be;
Only mine that I knew it well and loved you more for it.

It was my own folly that made me love you so much,
To wreck all chances of happiness in your name,
Then wander in strange places looking for your face,
And write songs about you read by strange eyes.

A snatch of a song can be paused and played
And I wish I could do the same with you as well.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Anger

There's a soul in me
Who hates to cuss 

And be cussed,
or even a single word
that flies from anger.

But there's a mind,
a little thwarted
a little violent
Who loves to break
someone's complacence.

on such days,my mind
Breaks out of silence,
thrashes the opponent
with bitter words
quite unexpected.

a little remorse felt,
but more satisfaction
at raised eyebrows
that show surprise
and a little awe.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sunshine


You advise me to write about my life and the things I have known closely and clearly; beings that I have cared about the most; so that you can read into my person and know the workings of my mind, which changes from transparent to translucent to opaque all the time. All you want to do is to know me inside out.

But when I think upon writing about my life, a rein of reticence falls on my hand. It pauses suddenly. It thinks twice before going into details- about writing out its venomous accusations and repressed memories of loss and longing. It hates to point fingers at the usual figures of contradiction who inspire mixed feelings of love, hate, fear and freedom.

Is there truth or only versions of it-yours, mine, theirs- that have become too vague to be recalled with accuracy. So, this heart dislikes to break its own shell of peace and refuses to indulge in resurrecting skeletons in the cupboard, that too in these days of love and sunshine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nostalgia

A flower of basil everyday
Plucked every morning and gifted, 
A gentle surreptitious stroke, 
On the palm of hand, 
A stolen kiss, 
Beneath the staircase, 
A glance across a crowded room, 
Caught and returned. 

A quickly scribbled message, 
And a faded rose, 
Inside a gifted book of poetry, 
Neatly kept, unread, 
Like promises unfulfilled, 
Long forgotten and buried, 
Those days of love, 
That are dead and gone.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain (1835-1910) was the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, one of the greatest writers in American as well as world literature. Famous for his boyhood novels, he is considered a realist, humourist and satirist. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) has been hailed as a joy forever and one of the masterpieces of American and world literature.

The story depicts the life and struggles of Huckleberry Finn, a teenage boy who runs away from his adopted family in Petersburg fearing the attacks of his greedy and drunken father after faking his own death. His companion on the journey across the Mississippi river is Jim, the Negro slave of his adopted family. They travel over a thousand miles on their raft going through a series of adventures that reveal their good luck and practicality.This lovable hero wins hearts not by his nobility or valour but by sheer practicality and lack of hypocrisy.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flower


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead, written by Ayn Rand was published in 1943 and it made its author a celebrity and creator of a new philosophy called Objectivism. A celebration of  rationalism and individualism over collectivism and altrusim, the novel portrays the indestructible spirit of self as the source or fountainhead of all progress.

Ayn Rand highlights the strong individualistic characters in the novel by juxtaposing them against the weak or ‘second-hand livers’. For Rand, lack of integrity is a serious offense. Both Howard Roark and Dominique Francon are strong characters, who retain their integrity and independence despite the pressure of society on them. The affair between Dominique Francon and Howard Roark testify to the fierce degree of independence that both of them have, even when in love. Their relationship is cold and ferocious and unemotional, marked by strong physical revulsion and violence.


Howard Roark, a young architectural student expelled from college is the protagonist of the novel and the embodiment of the perfect man, uncorrupted and pure, with his own views and individual opinions regarding perfection in his work. He designs buildings using a holistic approach, after taking into consideration details like the nature of the terrain, the material and the most natural way in which the building should express itself through the material. This is in contrast with the corporate architects who design buildings using historical features and designs that are imposed upon the terrain. Roark is the projection of an ideal man, devoid of altruistic intentions, propelled by an inner fire rather than by social recognition or money and with an integrity that is unrelenting to the pressure of society around him.

Dominique stands as the only strong woman in the novel, unlike Mrs. Keating or Catherine, who represent a totally different picture of womanhood, one manipulative and the other manipulated. Though she has Roark-like qualities, she has no natural talent or drive with an element of masochism. Column-writer with The Banner, Dominique loves beauty, perfection and independence. Their first encounter occurs when Roark is working in a stone quarry while Dominique is living alone in her father’s estate. She is drawn to Roark and visits the quarry often to see him. Later he visits her and rapes her, “a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession” of a slave (Rand, 217). This act comes out of scorn rather than love but Dominique enjoys it. Even then Roark’s sudden disappearance makes her happy because she can retain her freedom by remaining unattached to anything or anybody.

The love affair between Dominique and Roark involves passion, struggle and violence. She recommends Peter Keating to people who consult her about which architect to chose and writes articles against Roark’s buildings. But she tests Roark in many ways, by jilting him and robbing him of his commissions. At the Stoddard trail, she says that the world does not deserve such a temple and that it should be destroyed. She marries Keating because she is punishing herself for being in a world that is unfair to Roark. Later when Keating sells her to Wynand, she marries Wynand, though she still loves Roark.

Dominique loves Roark but destroys him because society does not recognise his genius. She finds that Roark produces works of beauty, perfection and independence, which remains unappreciated by the majority who knows only how to criticize and destroy whatever is pure, sacred and beautiful. The vileness around her makes her destructive and she remains cold and detached by surrounding herself with people she dislikes. She can remain indifferent to others, but not to Roark whose integrity and purity of soul surprise her. Before the world can destroy him, she destroys Roark by marrying men she despises and later through articles in The Banner.

At Roark’s trial, Dominique is seemingly critical of Roark, but her intentions are different from that of others in that she recognizes Roark’s greatness. She writes about the Enright Building that nobody should be allowed to live in it. Dominique would rather break a perfect vase than see it used by the unworthy. With such an instinct towards the pure nature of Roark, she sets out to destroy him. She says at the trail:

When you see a man casting pearls without getting even a pork chop in return--it is not against the swine that you feel indignation. It is against the man who valued his pearls so little that he was willing to fling them into the muck and to let them become the occasion for a whole concert of grunting, transcribed by the court stenographer (Rand, 1943, p. 356).

For both Roark and Dominique, the separation that they chose deliberately is a way of retaining their independence. For Roark, it is his work that absorbs him completely while for Dominique, it is her detachment. Finally Roark destroys the Cortlandt with Dominique as an accomplice in bombing the building. Till that time, their affair is a secret one; but this incident brings her back to him.

She knew that every moment of seven years when she had wanted this and stopped the pain and thought she had won, was not past, had never been stopped, had lived on, stored, adding hunger to hunger, and now she had to feel it all, the touch of his body, the answer and the waiting together.(Rand, 1943, p.667).

When Dominique and Roark are reunited, it is only a natural ending to a battle of wills. With a passion that is strong, primordial, violent and instinctive, both Howard Roark and Dominique Francon are strong individuals uninfluenced by collectivism and struggling to keep their purity intact.

The strange course of events makes them realise the naturalness of their desire and union. Both Roark and Dominique are withdrawn from society and speak their mind openly without any regard to social regulations and rules. Dominique destroys Roark because she cannot stand other people destroying him by belittling his genius. Her bond with Roark is strange because it springs from revulsion, hatred, physical violence and fury and ends up as an intense love. When they re-unite, it is only natural, like some unwritten law of nature.


Monday, February 08, 2010

The Story of My Life

I have never seen the story of my life summarised in more poignant words than the ones on this coffee-mug at home:

 


  
Mary had a little lamb, a little toast, a little jam, a little pizza and some cake,
some French fries, and a chocolate shake, a little burger on a bun.
And that's why Mary weighs a ton. :-)