Saturday, December 30, 2017

Contentment

Rain

A cup of comfort















When I drink you in like my cup of coffee;
With a little milk to bring in the right colour,
Strong flavoured robusta with sugar added,
In my large brown mug, with a tome in hand.

When I drink you in like my cup of coffee;
With slices of brown bread slightly toasted,
A little marmalade and butter thinly spread,
As I read the current tome that I’m reading.

When I drink you in like my cup of coffee;
I dream of your eyes that drank my desire,
My eyes stay on the page and the storyline
But my heart falls back on our little fantasy.

For another day, when I drink you like coffee,
When you sip my desire your eyes only on me.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy New Year

You

















You come when your thought flashes my mind-
Your smile as you lean against my shoulders,
Or the way your face crinkles when you see,
The red henna pattern I'd made on my palm.

Your warm body as you lie curling against mine
As the rain pitter patters on the tin roof outside,
The lazy rainy mornings when we often run late
To greet more sunshine in our open wide arms.

Your moist lips that scrawl on my soft cheeks,
Your rough fingers that taunt my every desire,
Your cruel gaze that stirs me from deep within
In the soft ochre light of our dawns and dusks.

It's when I am set, all ready for this twilight,
That you seek me again with your warm eyes.


Woman



I have my ebbs
And my tides;
I change
My nature,
With the moon.
Yet my love
For you dearest
Comes back
In full circle.

A Subtle Truth

The universe

Heart

Love

Desire

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Hiraeth

Related image



It was as if a long-forgotten dream had flashed right in front of my eyes that evening. A glimpse of that last day in December when you I saw you last, the day we spent hours at the bookstore just because you wanted to buy me a book, the last time you had held me close and the day you left so as to make our dream true.

What I saw was none of these but an opulent durbar, the dancers and the audience who were screaming praises of my own name when I looked at my demure queen with a quiet pride knowing her to be mine only. There she was, smiling at me. Though veiled, the silhouette of her cheeks could be seen against her red veil. 

As we walked side by side, the crowds roared. We climbed those ancient steps and looked in the huge mirrors as if it was part of an old dream, as if two broken pieces were put together in a perfect shape for an instant. With a strange wonder, I recognised an old home, a place of no return, one that I lost long back return as we stand chattering inside a palace that gives a strange sense of having lived here long before.

Rebellion

You took me for an obedient being one day, when you saw me obey every single word of my master. Not that this heart does not know rebellion, it knew how to burn down worlds in its fury or even bring down the mighty, in its good old days.

It once knew how to fly past the countless mazes even though that meant it had to carry charred wings throughout its later life. It knew how to live without a word of love or encouragement  and yet to look at criticism with equanimity.

Now,  I have lost my belief in prayers for they move no mountains or molehills but has not lost its habit of recognising miracles placed in its way.

Skywriting


Will you leave me
A sign, a few lines
Here and there
Utter words to bring
Me back to life.

Bring you back here
Bring you back here
Once again again
A crumble inside
A broken heart.

Never knew I'd find
Again myself caught
In a world of strife
Where thoughts are
Spelt in skywriting.

Where the misery
Of meetings partings
Leaving behind
Botched goodbyes
Have histories

When the sense sinks
Bores into this parting
That says of silences
I realise that you were mine
For so long and I didn't care

A warrior of light


A warrior is as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.When people gather to talk, he does not judge the behaviour of others; he knows that darkness uses an invisible net to spread its evil. This net catches any snippet of information floating in the air and transforms it into the intrigue and envy that infest the human soul.

Thus, everything that is said about someone reaches the ears of the enemies of that person, augmented by the dark weight of poison and malice.

For this reason, when the warrior speaks of his brother's opinions, he imagines that his brother is there present, listening to what he is saying.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Message in a Bottle

You drink me with your eyes
Your slices of brown bread
Your mugs of black coffee

You think of yesterdays
Worry about tomorrows
While there is only the now

Wrapped is the present,
This time where dreams
Reign over reason.

Forget the lies of snow,
Forget the lies of words
Think only of the now.

Rush not stay steady
Drink your coffee black
Your eyes on me...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Zahir

It ends with a glimpse or a passing thought. It ends in obsession. I read the cover of The Zahir. Not impressed yet. It is not the first time that I have thought of buying it. I read the short summary at the end- it’s about a famous writer who discovers to his horror that his wife of many years has left without saying a word.

I start thinking. What can this story mean to me? The thought of a wife leaving a husband under mysterious circumstances is that  fascinating to me. Nothing. In fact, I think that it is in contrast to The Alchemist that was about following your dream, or to give a kiss to a woman waiting for you miles away just by blowing it to the desert wind.  I hesitate and read the epigraph. It is from the Gospel of St.Luke. Still not as interesting as to own a copy of it.

Then I turn two more pages and I read :

“According to the writer Jorge Louis Borges, the idea of the Zahir comes from the Islamic tradition and is thought to have arisen at some point in the eighteenth century. Zahir, in Arabic, means visible, present, incapable of going unnoticed. It is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness”.

Immediately I understand that it holds an answer to something that I was searching for.  Obsessions-ideas, people, songs and books- that's something I really identify with.

There are only a few books that I have read burning the midnight oil. The gripping, un-put-downable handful like Anna Karenina, Memoirs of a Geisha and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The Zahir was one such book.

It is not really a search for the absconding wife, just as The Alchemist is not about a shepherd boy’s journey for treasure. The Zahir is a tale of self-discovery after long years of wandering in search of love.

New Woman















 

This soul was once like a huge flame leaping to the skies,
Then it withered, dried and drooped to the very earth;
Sometimes, like Icarus, it leapt out of its many mazes,
But burnt out in the heady dash for total freedom.

Then she brought forth a new-born, a swaddled baby
She sang her magnificat of newly found motherhood;
The soul forgot its troubles for a joyous interval
And learnt how to escape the many mazes again.

Yet mostly this soul was a single-celled organism,
Cowardly and crawling in this huge universe,
Too silent, too shut out and too withdrawn,
Incapable of learning or making its way around,

Sometimes, it longs for the crazy days of yesterday,
When the sun of total freedom had burnt its wings.

Pic Courtesy: Icarus and the Sun by Serena-Moretti

The power of a smile

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Children's Day

Happiness

Happiness

Suffering

Be yourself

The walk

Springcleaning

Thank you

Gratitude

Happiness

Happiness

Walk

The story of my life

Invincible Summer

The purpose of life

Our earth

Letting go

Your feet

Springtime

The Right Time

Four leaf clover

Our wings

Freedom

The song of a bird

Cherry blossoms

The past

Perfect Love

Water

Beautiful

Love

The past

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Yellow Rose


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.

A few interesting reads that I came across today

Dear Reader,

It is sharing time again. Today, I'm sharing with you a few articles that I came across:

  1. Haiku from Melissa Donovan's Writing Forward. As usual, her posts are informative and show a beginner how to write in different genres.
  2. How to Start a Blog in 19 Minutes or Less from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits who discusses the strategies that you need for setting up a good blog!
Hope the shared items were useful to you! :-)Maria




Revisiting the Literature in my own mother-tongue Malayalam

When I was a teenager, I was kind of an amphibian voraciously reading (but not always retaining the details) of good books in English as well as Malayalam, my mother-tongue. I could even read in my national language Hindi though nowadays I find it hard to decipher even the alphabets (which I have tried by reading the film news in Navbharat Times).

Regarding Malayalam classics, my tastes more or less revolved around these major writers in Malayalam- Madhavikutty, T. Padmanabhan, MT Vasudevan Nair and Vaikkom Muhammed Basheer. These were the writers whom I loved to read again and again. My mother always brought new books by these writers to replenish my reading list from her office library.

We were a curious mother-daughter duo for in most serious aspects of life and we have always differed from other in principles or just for the difference of it; but regarding books, she is the one who has guided my reading tastes in Malayalam literature. Now, she has turned religious and reads only the Bible and prayer-books but there used to be a time when I could listen spell-bound to the stories that she recounted from the books she has read.

Well, back to my love of Malayalam literature. Though I have read only a few Malayalam books these ten years since I became an English literature student- a few like Khasakinte Ithihasam, Short stories of Madhavikutty, Jeevithanizhalpadukal and Balyakalasakhi by Vaikkom Muhammed Basheer and MT Vasudevan Nair's Randamoozham- the fact that recently I was teaching in a place where Malayalam literature was taught for MA as well brought to light that love of good literature written in Malayalam.

What followed was a gobbling up of Complete works of Madhavikutty now followed by Complete Works of Vaikkom Muhammed Basheer as well as a few works of MT Vasudevan Nair. Greatly amazed by Basheer and well as by MT, I feel like a curious child who is still in the process of joining together a jigsaw puzzle.That means that you, my dear readers will soon be bombarded with reviews and stories of the books I have encountered in Malayalam literature soon! 

Shashi Deshpande

Self-revelation is a cruel process. The real picture, the real you never emerges. Looking for it is as bewildering as trying to know how you really look. Ten different mirrors show you ten different faces. SHASHI DESHPANDE

It's unfortunate that I got introduced to the works of Shashi Deshpande through her novel, The Dark Holds No Terrors. It was part of my BA Syllabus and somehow I disliked this classic of Indian feminism that openly attacked the patriarchal values of repressing women.

Now almost a decade later, I read her novels Moving On and Roots and Shadows. To my own amazement, the books were well-written and very readable though her books follow a particular structure and form just like all the thrillers of Dan Brown are made of the same mould.

Somehow I felt betrayed as a literary student when I realised that what I studied as a student was one of her earlier works written in 1980, while Roots and Shadows belonged to 1983 and Moving On was published in 2004.

Though so late, I have become a fan of her writing and is happy to find that can keep the suspense of the story intact till the end while writing in a simple yet precise style.Written mostly in the stream-of-consciousness technique, the novels reveal the inner lives of women who try to liberate themselves from the shackles of family and society.

An open mind

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