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. :-)


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Yellow Rose


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lost is how I feel



The horror of being marooned and trapped in an island faraway from civilization is a well-explored theme in literature. The Island of Dr.Moreau, The Coral Island and The Lord of The Flies portray the extremities of such an existence; so does the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away. A similar theme is explored by the Star World series Lost

Lost narrates the stories of 40 odd survivors of the Oceanic Flight 815 who are stranded on an island. There are special narrative techniques; flashes of time travel, where the characters move back and forth in time.Though parts of the story are ambiguous, the series surely is an interesting piece of science fiction. 

Though I'm a little lost regarding the storyline and have fallen in love with Sawyer,(the conman in the series, shown below) I certainly enjoy watching even random episodes of it and was surprised to read that it has become a trend in tourism and business as well. (News Courtesy: Business Opportunities Weblog)


Ammaykku

It's been years since I started writing. But even now, when I sit down to write, I feel like a schoolboy sitting in the examination hall before an empty page. In my younger days, writing was a hobby. Now, it's a struggle; a prayer to bring about words in the most satisfactory order; an exorcism of memories.(Free Translation) MT VASUDEVAN NAIR
 
In a previous blogpost,I'd written about a revival of my interest in Malayalam literature. This experience was like walking through old familiar paths once again. The best book I read as a result of this renaissance (if I can use it in a very personal sense) was a memoir Ammaykku written by great Malayalam writer M T Vasudevan Nair. In a simple, direct and intimate tone that takes the reader into confidence, he describes his transformation from a voracious reader into a literary phenomenon.
 
Most writers have evolved out of a life of strife and struggle. Like the pearl out of the oyster, literature is mostly about transformation of rather painful experiences and memories. Here, MT also describes a similar metamorphosis from a schoolboy into a writer overcoming several obstacles and limitations.

The book's title translated as 'To Mother' is meaningful in that it is his memories about his mother and the people who have influenced him considerably in his life. He lovingly recalls several people who influenced him and encouraged him in his literary pursuits. He recounts his intimate bond with the great literary genius, Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer and his brief encounter with madness.
 
Gentle, honest and memorable, this memoir from a literary genius is a worthy gem in any literature reader's collection. Read a story Oppol  by MT!



Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Power of Words

Generosity Vision Ease Dignity Enrichment
Ripple Momentum Power Harmony Empathy
Knowledge Neoteny Celebrate Do-It-Yourself Adventure
Change Passion Magnetize Confidence Technology


Do you like these twenty powerful words? These are only a few of the 70 words, handpicked by bloggers, writers and innovators for the year 2010. This initiative, known as What Matters Now  is the brainchild of writer-innovator-blogger Seth Godin. Certainly a collection of unconventional wisdom for 2010. Thought of sharing it with you, dear readers!  

This project also provokes you to come up with a word for 2010. I'd say, EQUANIMITY. What's yours?


Monday, February 01, 2010

Time for order

There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven:
    
    A time for giving birth,
    a time for dying;
    a time for planting,
    a time for uprooting what has been planted.
    A time for killing,
    a time for healing;
    a time for knocking down,
    a time for building.
    A time for tears,
    A time for laughter;
    a time for mourning,
    a time for dancing.
    A time for throwing stones away,
    a time for gathering them up;
    a time for embracing,
    a time to refrain from embracing.
    A time for searching,
    a time for losing;
    a time for keeping,
    a time for throwing away.
    A time for tearing,
    a time for sewing;
    a time for keeping silent,
    a time for speaking.
    A time for loving,
    a time for hating;
    a time for war,
    a time for war. Ecclesiastes, The Bible 

I have my days of order and disorder as if my life was written only in opposites and extremes. Now, ending an era of disorder, I cleaned my room and made it sparkling to the surprise of onlookers (read parents) who remarked on how bright the room looks after the long-required much-advised spring cleaning session. This is not a job that I had cherished in those months of work, when everything revolved around going for work, coming back and preparing for classes.

When not working, I'm no fanatic housewife searching for the minutest speck of dust; but only a myopic young lady who sees the room differently with her glasses on, something she rarely does while at home. Instead, the only time I put on my glasses are when some guests are around (in order to recognise them and later comment on them) or when glued to the TV screen or computer or some book or writing work.