Friday, January 29, 2010

Farewell


Usually, I get attached to anything and everything and try to cure my nature by remaining or appearing as cold and unattached. 


There were times before this when leaving a work place made me so sad that I couldn't talk for days together and will not call anybody. Not to make calls when you know that you miss them and they miss you as well. This time, however I plunged into the farewell with a difference.

Morning my first hour on Aristotle was spent on "Tragedy" and its classic definition. It was complete teaching time as if we had no time to waste. The next hour was spent in student presentations with the same principle in mind. But the surprise came when a student handed over a carefully gift-wrapped parcel.

First, I was astounded and put it down on the table after muttering a "Thank you". Then, I realised what a fool I'm remembering all the times when I've also missed unwrapping a gift. So, I unwrapped the parcel to see a beautiful Ravi Varma Painting of a woman with a bowl of fruits. It was quite unexpected and then I understood that learning Oscar Wilde and his 'Importance of Being Earnest' together brought us closer to one another.

Then after sometime, I realised that the teachers in my staffroom were throwing a surprise party (with sweets and specials). This was another unexpected blessing that made me realise how loving somebody is (for every noble gesture is an idea in the mind of a woman ;-).During the party, everybody said good words about me and I was moved by their kindness. Some of them even asked me to return next year for the next academic session.

This farewell was a heartwarming experience; for once I reached home, I felt as if I had left something precious at college. But the saddest part is that I feel shy of going back even for a day because everybody has bid adieu already and I feel conscious of that!
Still I have made calls to my colleagues and plan of visiting college to finish some unfinished businesses.  

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love

How do years pass so fast? Still we are bound by the same mind that once felt too small in a large world. Humbled by our own insignificance, we lived by retreating into our own well-crafted shells. Until we met the deaf, the mute and the blind, who were all made senseless by their exaggerated sense of self-importance.

For who can feel free or breathe in the presence of the those who are made senseless by the power and the glory of their past, which they claim is brighter than what they had really known. Whatever that be, when words do come, they all carry within them a tinge of bitter loneliness.

Peace and silence are hard-earned lessons; so is a smile or a cheering word. Still, I count my blessings in these days of silence and understand that this too will pass, like all the other days before it. Moreover, you are a newly found joy; one who loves without asking anything in return, whose heart is filled with longing and love and one who awaits my words with eagerness.

Love begets love; so the wise sages have said. So wait for these days of madness be over and I can come back to you for more pleasant days of togetherness.


Monday, January 25, 2010

On Writing

If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avante-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don't even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is-excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigour, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it'd be better for his health.RAY BRADBURY

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Riding on a Full Moon Night

The ice-cold fingers of the full moon,
Could seep through the windowpanes
And caress this small self that moved
Across the state on a large vehicle.

The city lights shone in the distance,
Ships and islands glittered in my view,
While I sat in the bus dreaming of you,
And thought the moon followed my path.

The journey was unpleasant and sad,
To see if life could change from despair,
But wherever I went, the full moon shone,
In a life that was spent in your dreams.

In those times, you were like a deity,
Whom I worshipped night and day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The second is always the best

My grandmother always had this saying to prove that I'm not as good as my elder brother: The second is never the best. Her explanation was that the expectation and charm of a first-born, first job, first salary (who said so- money is money, spendable, splashable and savable) is unmatched by anything that comes after it. My grandmother always favoured the eldest and the male. It was part of her legacy and I was more than once much irritated by her attitude.

For a few months, I was working as a lecturer in a college. Though temporary, it was my second stint as a teacher for students at the college level. The first stint was very unpleasant and had made me very bitter and comically venomous towards teaching at colleges in general though the fault lay in my mind, which was so unfocused and fatally in love.

But this second time was different. It was only few months but the best time of my life in my opinion. A city college with not many amenities but the basic ones and students coming from poor backgrounds, it was not easy to win hearts as a teacher.

When I leave the campus in a few days, I know that I have not made a revolutionary change in the "Englishes" of my students but I know for sure that I have made at least a small difference in their grades.

Now, I'm leaving a job after making my students ( at least my Drama class students) and the teachers in the staff room LIKE me incredibly.This second chance for me at least meant that I could shed many of my stupid notions and negative emotions as well as my own lack of confidence in my teaching abilities gained as an after-effect of my first stint.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shell

Once it was burning the midnight oil,
Going over thick books and big ideas.
Now, times have changed, so have I,
With my mind no longer ready to read.

Though dark nights are back again,
Heavy with despair and old grief,
Over life lost to this crumbling
Of all existing personal barriers.

I wish it was easy to build again,
A shell of comfort and silence,
Read myself to that forgetfulness,
That came with books and ideas.

But this mind, once a clean page,
Cannot now hold wisdom of ages.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Celebrating 300 posts

It was only in last June that Journal- Serious and Trivial celebrated its 200th post and he not-so-modest author  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. Now, several months later, lagging behind in the number of posts due to several reasons yet trying to catch up with an occasional post or the other, this journal is celebrating its 300th post. 

Here are a few select posts from the meagre and feeble 100 that followed the 200. 

This year, the Indiblogger rank of this blog has gone up again and reached 60 this time, though it was from 71 that it fell sometime back!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Flavours

This book of magic, for you, my beloved,
Remains to this day, a faraway dream;
For once there were flavours dreamt
To be set before your taste-buds.

Strangely, I have lost that magic wand,
To turn anything into appealing dishes,
Instead I have lost you and my dream,
To an inertia that loves only the self. 

Now no longer the magic appeals,
To the ones who matter the most,
No feathers are seen in my cap,
To display proudly my secret skill. 

You cook and call me a beginner,
While I sit and smile ironically.



Saturday, January 09, 2010

Reading Spree

Do you know the occasional learning spree that makes you read every scrap of paper that passes before your eyes? Well, I have this tendency once in a while, when I want to read lots and lots of books and gobble up tonnes and tonnes of new ideas- anything that can quench my thirst for knowledge. But such spells last only a short span of time and may be followed by times of no reading at all.

This week, I'm on such a reading spree and I have got writing assignment on new topics that  might have created this curiosity. Well, let's see what writing comes out of this love of words and ideas.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Save Paper; Save Stress; Avoid Scandal

This year, I have made a rather strange and dramatic New Year Resolution. No diaries, this time and writing only on scrap paper and with the help of the PC. Regarding empty pages, I have plenty of them left in my other notebooks. So all I need to do is to start writing on whatever sheet of paper that comes handy.


My last year's resolution of writing a page a day was kind of stressing me out. Somehow, there were days when I found it impossible to sit down and write. Of course, there was a hectic, unhealthy and trivial life to lead. Moreover, the empty pages stare at me from the diary accusingly, for I have left no record nor memory of many of those passing days.

Finally, there is this habit of mine to pour out my true feelings and emotions on to paper. For me, that is my remedy for stress and tension and bottling up emotions. But it somehow backfires when I forget to lock my diary up and leaves it right in front of my family with whom I might have fought and wrote venomously. So no causing scandals this year.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Interesting Articles I Read Today



Dear Reader,

I'm sharing with you a few interesting articles that I read today:
  1. 36 Poetry Writing Tips 
  2. 9 Ways to Develop Intelligence at Any Age
  3. How to Touch Your Creative Soul: A Zen View
Hope you enjoy reading them as I did!
Regards
Maria

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Journal: Serious and Trivial

A thousand blank pages wait to record a few lines,
Some serious, some trivial, some mixed like life,
All gathered from the same rambling mind,
Which has loved to dream, to love and to lose.

The serious thoughts were all about your loss
A vacuum that I have never been able to fill,
A turning point from the fact that I was loved, 

Into a world full of options and crossroads.

The trivial thoughts were all written in joy,
A bundle of words on a beautiful morning,
When the fresh air and bright blue sky
Was more than enough to make me high.

But the best was always the mixed ones,
Not too sad or happy; just real like today's.



Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Jane Smiley and her list of 100 novels



Jane Smiley writes about her experiences with novels- reading, writing and reviewing- in her Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Novel. In this book, she lists a set of 100 novels that has influenced her considerably. From classics to most recent books, her list covers a good deal of novels, belonging to various types.

  1.  Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
  2. Author unknown, The Saga of the People of Laxardal
  3. Snorri Sturluson, Egil's Saga
  4. Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron
  5. Marguerite de Navarre, The Heptameron
  6. Anonymous, Lazarillo de Tormes
  7. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, vols. 1 and 2
  8. Madame de Lafayette, The Princess of Cleves
  9. Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
  10. Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Roxana
  11. Samuel Richardson, Pamela
  12. Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
  13. Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote
  14. Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  15. Voltaire, Candide
  16. Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker
  17. Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
  18. The Marquis de Sade, Justine
  19. Sir Walter Scott, The Tale of Old Mortality, The Bride of the Lammermoor
  20. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  21. Jane Austen, Persuasion
  22. James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
  23. Stendhal, The Red and the Black
  24. Nicolai Gogol, Taras Bulba
  25. Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time
  26. Honore de Balzac, Cousin Pons and Cousin Bette
  27. Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
  28. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
  29. William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
  30. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin
  31. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or the Whale
  32. Nathaniel Hawthorne,The House of the Seven Gables
  33. Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
  34. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  35. Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, The Moonstone
  36. Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
  37. Emile Zola, Therese Raquin
  38. Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset , The Eustace Diamonds
  39. Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot
  40. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
  41. George Eliot, Middlemarch
  42. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  43. Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady , The Awkward Age
  44. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
  45. Bram Stoker, Dracula
  46. Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  47. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
  48. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
  49. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
  50. Max Beerbohm, The Illustrated Zuleika Dobson, or an Oxford Love Story
  51. Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
  52. Sinclair Lewis, Main Street
  53. Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter, volume I, The Wreath
  54. James Joyce, Ulysses
  55. Italo Svevo, Zeno's Conscience
  56. E.M. Forster, A Passage to India
  57. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  58. Franz Kafka, The Trial
  59. Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
  60. Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
  61. D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover
  62. Virginia Woolf, Orlando
  63. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  64. Robert Musil, The Man without Qualities, volume 1
  65. Mikhail Sholokhov, And Quiet flows the Don
  66. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  67. Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
  68. P.G. Wodehouse, The Return of Jeeves, Bertie Wooster Sees it Through, Spring Fever, The Butler Did It
  69. T.H. White, The Once and Future King
  70. Christina Stead, The Man Who Loved Children
  71. Junichiro Tanizaki, The Makioka Sisters
  72. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
  73. Rebecca West, The Fountain Overflows
  74. Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate and Don't Tell Alfred
  75. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  76. Jetta Carleton, The Moonflower Vine
  77. Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
  78. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
  79. John Gardner, Grendel
  80. Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women
  81. Naguib Mahfouz, The Harafish
  82. Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea
  83. David Lodge, How Far Can You Go?
  84. Muriel Spark, Loitering With Intent
  85. Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
  86. Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  87. Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
  88. J.M. Coetzee, Foe
  89. Toni Morrison, Beloved
  90. A.S. Byatt, Possession
  91. Nicholson Baker, Vox
  92. Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance
  93. Kate Atkinson, Behind the Scenes at the Museum
  94. Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance
  95. Francine Prose, Guided Tours of Hell
  96. Chang-rae Lee, A Gesture Life
  97. Arnost Lustig, Lovely Green Eyes
  98. Zadie Smith, White Teeth
  99. John Updike, The Complete Henry Bech
  100. Ian McEwan, Atonement
  101. Jennifer Egan, Look at Me 
Note: I have read only a handful of them but would like to catch up with the rest in future!


Monday, January 04, 2010

Goodbye Again

For you, no words are enough; no goodbyes enough,
For you were always there besides the River Green,
Looking at my small and big steps with lots of pride
For all these long years from early childhood.

Now you are like a child with a weak heart and mind,
That trembles and forgets who you really represent,
Still in your shaky voice heard over the distance,
I hear the same pride that I have heard before.

You taught me my first words and the first songs
You sang in that hoarse voice, your many boatsongs,
That later formed the wild rhythm of musicless songs
Written in a language you have forgotten to understand.

Now, all you know is a strange language of goodbyes
That makes my heart tremble and grow old so early.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

I

I am the taste of pure water and the radiance of the sun and moon. I am the sacred word and the sound heard in air, and the courage of human beings. I am the sweet fragrance in the earth and the radiance of fire; I am the life in every creature and the striving of the spiritual aspirant.
The Bhagavat Gita

Angst

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