Saturday, May 18, 2019

Mehndi




Every time I put henna on my hands I hum that song
Where I write your name on the palm of my hand,
Hidden in the intricate shapes, curves and designs
The story of the day we met or the day we spoke.

We have walked countless times around the fire
We have uttered so many different sacred chants
Of holding a bond so close just by keeping it safe
Deeply tied to the sense of our sacred silences.

We have celebrated in rhymes, absences felt,
The emotions that run wild and the colours
We have sang of the endless days we wandered
Listlessly, aimlessly and perfectly in silence.

Yet when I put mehndi on these hands of mine,
You smell them, as if it’s our first time together.

Friday, May 17, 2019

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 more beautiful 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 please and as far as I please. But right now, the travels occur in dreams that carry me to these imagined places of delight.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Ibis Trilogy

The Ibis Trilogy written by Amitav Ghosh consists of the novels Sea of Poppies (2008), River of Smoke (2011) and Flood of Fire (2015). Constructed on an epic scale, this trilogy shows the interconnected lives of people across India, China and Mauritius, all united by the factor that they were colonies of the British empire. The fates of these people are connected to the trade of opium, which was produced in India as a commercial crop much to the ruin of the Indian economy and extensively sold in China causing addiction among the Chinese population.


The first book of the trilogy,  Sea of Poppies begins with the life of Deeti or Kabutri-ki-ma, whose husband works in an opium factory and is addicted to opium. When her husband dies and she is tormented by her husband’s brother (who happens to be Kabutri’s father), she runs away with Kalua, a man from a lower caste. To escape from persecution, they join a group of people who are transported to Mauritius as girmitiyas on the ship Ibis. The other people whose lives become interlinked during the journey are  Zachary Reid, Miss Paulette Lambert, Jodu, Ah Fatt and Neel. The first book criticises the British introduction of opium as a compulsory crop in the place of food crops ruining the Indian farmers. 


The second book River of Smoke describes the girmitayas’ life on the island of Mauritius and their adventures. The British and the Indian traders earn fortunes by bringing opium to China until the Chinese government takes steps to prevent the large-scale influx of opium. The government takes preventive steps against opium addiction and they seize and burn the imported opium. The traders become discontented at this and have to flee for their lives. Neel and Ah Fatt escapes from the ship Ibis along with a few lascars. Mr. Bahram, the Parsi trader who happens to be Ah Fatt’s father appoints him as his munshi. This book is set mostly in Canton against the background of the First Opium War and shows how the Chinese cannot live without opium. 


The third book Flood of Fire spans across British India, China and Mauritius, where Deeti and her descendants have established themselves as settlers in the plantation. In the midst of the First Opium War,a  ship Hind sails from India to China with Zachary Reid in search of Paulette and with Shireen Modi who wants to get back her dead husband’s wealth. However, Zachary Reid forgets Pauline and has an affair with Mrs. Burnham, who becomes a likeable character as opposed to the first book where she creates all kinds of problems for Pauline. This book depicts Zachary’s initiation into the ways of the world. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

The unknown

Varshaa: Rain Melodies




In one of his stories, the celebrated Malayalam writer T. Padmanabhan writes of a man who loves to listen to the sounds of rain so much that he takes a cassette of rain-sounds with him abroad. When he feels homesick, he listens to the sounds of rain- the sudden outburst, the pitter patter of rain on the roof, on the ground and to the sounds of occasional thunderbolts. The rain has always held a fascination for artists and is a constantly celebrated theme in Indian literature and films. 

The theme of the rain is explored by the artists Jason J.Nair and Aby in Varshaa: Rain Melodies, a collection of five rain melodies that inspire both creativity and nostalgia. Though it bursts on you unawares and creates plenty of inconvenience, the rain serves as a muse or a source of inspiration for many writers and artistes. The rain pitter-pattering outside, the sound of thunderbolts flashes of thunder across the sky, the wait for the rains symbolised by the dance of the peacocks or the memories of getting drenched unexpectedly, there are so many threads that come together on listening to these rain melodies.


Summer Tedium


In the midst of this summer tedium, one longs for the rain;
In the orchards, water drizzles are made to battle the heat,
The ripeness of guava fruit permeate the evening air
While heaps of watermelons call your sole attention.

The songs that you play on your guitar in summer time,
The melodies that captivate the audience under a spell,
While you try to figure me out, to fix me somewhere
Within the matrices of your growing understanding.

One sole glance from your sprightly eyes full of laughter
One smile that could restore the energy lost this season
The longing that fills your heart in the summer nights
To be with the one you love and to be his companion.

Part illusion, part dream but this growing understanding
Of an affection brings back life in this summer tedium.

Forever Emerald: Confession

When he saw her after her moving performance, He was too spellbound by the very sight of her, She looked so beautiful in her turq...