Showing posts with label Purple Riot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Purple Riot. Show all posts

Saturday, December 02, 2017


Once we sat under the shadow of the red rock;
When we were wanderers across the fields
That night, we weaved dreams out of light,
Broke boundaries and wrote a life together.

We rode out together into the dark night,
Counting the stars and then stopping only
For brief respite and then starting again;
You singing with your shining eyes on me.

We dived into those cool soothing waters,
We slept under the canopy of those trees;
We quenched the thirst of these long years
With our hearts full and souls replenished.

When I woke up, scared of what I will see,
You were lying next to me smiling at me.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Yann Martel: The Apostle of the Other

If you are an Israeli, you should imagine yourself a Palestinian. Then you will understand why the Palestinians are angry. If you’re a Palestinian, you should make the effort of imagining yourself an Israeli, and then you will understand why the Israelis are afraid. If you’re a man and you become a woman, you understand. If you’re white and you imagine yourself black, etc. 

Yann Martel can rightly be called the Apostle of the Other because through his writing he has tried to explore the Other. He says that “in meeting the other that you start to understand, first, that you are different, and then how you are different”. His fiction has always been an attempt to travel through the strange consciousness of the Other with the aims to understand and to empathise.

Born in Salamanca in Spain in 1963 as the son of Canadian diplomats, Martel spent his childhood in Costa Rica, Spain, Mexico and Canada. After graduating in philosophy, he worked as a tree planter, dishwasher and security guard till he took up writing as a full time career. Now he has settled in Montreal with his partner Alice Kuipers and son Theo.

For Martel, storytelling is a way in which the human experience of living in this world is communicated to one’s fellow beings through the unique human tool of language. Without sharing of experiences, a human has no identity; without love, there can never be stories. As Martel says in the Big Think Interview, “the saddest thing in human terms, is to have a human being who has no stories” as “the human who has no stories is someone who has not been loved and has not been able to love”.

His fiction focuses a great deal upon the people who are robbed of their basic dignity. However, he extends his concern to animals as well because he denies the anthropocentric view of Western religion and culture. He points that the Other is important in defining what is normal and also for locating one’s own identity in the world.

His first book was collection of short stories Seven Stories in 1993 but though it was not a grand success, one of the stories was awarded the Journey Prize. Later this book was edited and republished as The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios and Other Stories (1993). There are four stories in this collection namely “Manners of Dying”, “The Mirror Machine”, “The Time I Heard the Private Donald J. Rankin String Concerto with One Discordant Violin, by the American composer John Morton” and “The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios”. They are strange stories that deal with the modern experience of life in the midst of illness, death and grief.

Self (1996) was Martel’s first novel and it had for its protagonist a nameless boy who wakes up one morning to find that he has become a woman. However, the protagonist is still attracted to women and is confused by the shift in gender. However, after remaining a woman for seven years, the protagonist turns back into a woman when raped by a neighbor. Martel sympathises with women who undergo a very personal holocausts called rape, which robs them of their basic human dignity. However, Martel explores the gendered Other and also the question of whether the mind has any gender.

Life of Pi (2001) that fetched him the coveted Booker Prize in 2002 is a fantastical tale of Piscine Molitor Patel, a sixteen year old Indian boy who travels with his family to Canada by sea and is shipwrecked in the Pacific along with a spotted hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, a female orangutan and a 450lb Royal Bengal Tiger. There are also two versions of the same story of cannibalism, one with animals and one without them. The animal version is a fantastic one; but the real version is grim and terrible. However, Martel used animals as characters solely for artistic purposes but then began to get interested in animals for their own sake and also for the wonder that they provide.

We Ate the Children Last (2004) is a collection of short stories that deal with medical breakthroughs and their consequences. The environmental Other is considered in this work as human experiments such as an animal to human transplant operation can wreck the environment in unforeseen ways. The stories are dark glimpses into the advances in science and technology juxtaposed against the need for protecting the environment. He advocates prudence in animal-human experiments as the products of these could be more devastating to the world at large.

Beatrice and Virgil published (2010) is a postmodernist novel in which the writer Henry L’Hote meets a taxidermist named Henry, who gives him a manuscript of a play featuring Beatrice, a donkey and Virgil, a howler monkey living on a large shirt in the shape of country. The shirt on which they live is affected by what they call the Horrors. As they travel around the shirt, Beatrice and Virgil tell each other little stories and folk tales, share experiences of food and try to find the right words, expressions and signs to represent the Horrors. The novel is an allegory that works at a primary level to mean the Holocaust and at a deeper level to mean cruelty to animals. Martel condemns both genocide and the killing of animals as both violate the right to live.

Martel’s attempts at being an Apostle of the Other was not limited to his fiction. He was also involved in a book project What is Stephen Harper Reading? from 2007 to 2011, in which he sent the Prime Minister of Canada one book every two weeks with his letters, book selections and responses received to a website devoted to the project. He made his intentions clear when he said in the Big Think Interview that “to lead you must read, because that nourishes your vision”. Though the Canadian Prime Minister did not respond in any way to Martel’s project, consolation and encouragement came in an unexpected manner when the American President Barack Obama sent Martel a handwritten note describing how Life of Pi has greatly influenced his life.

Dan Brown's Inferno

Dan Brown’s Inferno (2013) is quite unlike his earlier books in that here the author turns an environmental activist in that he constantly reminds the reader of the global ecological crisis and the problems of overpopulation. It reads more like GB Shaw’s plays that carry some social message or the other.

Though in the earlier novels, it was possible to suspend disbelief at the kind of code-cracking that Robert Langdon practiced, this time it becomes a little bit tedious with the population problem that is part of the discourse of the novel. He makes use of the character of a slightly eccentric scientist Bertrand Zobrist to offer a solution to the overpopulation problem and this is by creating a virus named Inferno that has got serious consequences to the entire humanity.

The apocalypse is near and the scientist being a fan of Dante has written all the codes in poetry. The allusions and history reveal a lot about the culture and heritage of art work as usual, the fun element is replaced by a seriousness quite unlike Brown. Like all Brown heroines, Sienna Brooks is also quite smart and independent but she turns mushy and cries on Langdon’s shoulder. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A good ending

She was like many of us, driven and strong
Who travelled not the well-beaten paths
But made it on her own through the foliage
In the process, lost old loves and found new.

The journey was never the same throughout,
There were really tough times that broke her
She trod step by step, day by day all along
Till she got what she wanted throughout life.

But when she met him again, her childhood mate
There was a spark of affection, pure unlimited
It was as if she wanted him to stay with her
With all the force of her childhood prayers.

It's with the same sense that we see her again
Beaming her childhood smile with him around.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Family Heirloom

The first among the heirlooms was a strong voice
One of contradiction and strife that hung over us,
With each and every good occasion hampered
By the tears of some sorcery or pure discord.

Among the signs of feasting were the skeletons
Skeletons in the cupboard that could bring
Multiple calamities and emotional disasters
Though it might have been an era of sunshine.

What this clan received as heirloom was eerie-
An absence of joie de vivre or an angst of life
That stayed on a like a perpetual thundercloud
And burst into rains even in days of sunshine.

Yet the strength of this clan lies in its heirloom
Of being ever-ready in the face of disasters.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Ships that pass in the night

Pic: flickriver

I thought you were here to stay always
With the kind of love-light in your eyes,
With that bounce in your quick steps
Or the well-measured choice of words.

I thought you were the kind of true love
That could make a princess out of me,
The one that could make a day magical
Out of the countless songs that you croon.

I thought may be it was a soul connection
To make a bond like this to form so soon
Though from a stranger to my everything
You took hardly a few days to become.

Looking back, I see that you were nothing
But a ship that pass in the night, for me.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Sunshine Forever

You do nothing but sing praises of the sun;
The mighty rays that sweep across everyone.
There are no masks on your face but truth
The pain of fighting hard for a loyal path.

You see the best that is possible for all of us;
You cry out over the tiniest details in surprise
You sing with the twilights over the sunshine,
Abundant and joyful that has blessed us all.

The taste of perfection in a move of hand,
The model that you emulate, the best life.
Though it has its ups and downs as I can see
May this battle defeat all bittersweet strife.

When the sun rises in its glory once again
We will sing the sunshine song in unison.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Garden of Eden

Let's hold hands and walk in the garden
Search around for the four-leafed clover,
Walk around till we find the true mystique
Of a clover much-searched for and found.

One leaf for faith, hope, love and good luck,
Good luck, the most needed of them all,
From morning till night, we could pluck
And learn from the leaves of a four-leaf,

When the magic of the purple riot falls off life,
In a sunless garden where the flowers are dead,
A four-leaf clover might bring in a warm smile
Memories of bright sunshine and summer rain;

An Eve in the Garden of Eden plucked a clover
To know if Adam is her one true faithful lover.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Hats

Related image

When you work everyday
Wear this little white hat
The one with a cute feather
That makes you look good. 

When you read with me
Wear your dark red hat
For all the future visions
That life may bring to us.

When there is eternal strife
Wear your strong jade hat
That will give you the caution
Of the snakes, for your dove.

When you are down dear
Wear that pretty yellow hat
Which will bring to you 
Some bright lovely sunshine. 

When you feel really stuck
Wear our olive green hat
It can freewheel your mind
Into new pathways unknown. 

When you go out of control
Wear a blue hat and chair
Then you can come back
Straight into the green hat. 

If you have not noticed, 
We shift between all hats
Every single day of life
Don't ever wait for one. 


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On air

The way your memory creeps up before my eyes
The way you croon your favourite songs and mine,
The songs that have stayed despite the long years
Playful, naughty, sad, philosophical or just pleasant.

The songs that bring you back to me wherever I am
Wild dreams of being one with you body and soul
Spending endless hours in embraces like creepers
Despite the long sad years of absence and longing.

Though I long for our lost days with a heavy heart,
Those days of endless sunshine that were so perfect
Your sweet voice singing your favourites and mine
During all seasons and all times, every single day. 

The songs that I listen on the radio this morning
Brings back a smile in this era of infinite longing.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Just be

I think the trees don't fish for compliments,
Of making the world a better place to live in.
So full of bloated egotism and the desire
To prove yourself and bring others down.

I think the clouds don't advertise their deeds
And say its all their doing and not of others.
So sure that it is their words that really matter
And not what they think secretly at heart.

Not that I am in anyway perfect than them
But when I read the secrets of their hearts;
All hope turns to dismay and love to ashes;
Envy, anger, jealousy and real hard feelings.

Yet with smiling faces and heart full of venom
They blow their own trumpets and grumble.

Just Be

I think the trees don't fish for compliments,
Of making the world a better place to live in.
So full of bloated egotism and the desire
To prove yourself and bring others down.
I think the clouds don't advertise their deeds
And say its all their doing and not of others.
So sure that it is their words that really matter
And not what they think secretly at heart.
Not that I am in anyway perfect than them
But when I read the secrets of their hearts;
All hope turns to dismay and love to ashes;
Envy, anger, jealousy and real hard feelings.
Yet with smiling faces and heart full of venom
They blow their own trumpets and grumble.


What dreams were hidden in those kohled eyes,
As she raised her dark eyes to his warm ones.
Even now she smiles as she talks to friends,
Or listens carefully to those words round her.

For in a moment of intense silence she forgot,
Whatever that she was before, in one embrace,
Never to be the same again before anyone,
Who knew her before as the chirpy chatterbox.

Now her days are spent in dreaming about him,
From that moment when their souls had mingled,
In a sweet ethereal melody beyond any words,
And the secret pleasures that togetherness brings.

She speaks not to her friends like she used to;
But dreamily lifts her eyes and smiles in silence.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Everyday, we live and die for a beautiful dream
Battle the inner demons for what we stand for;
For the best that is possible in this small world
The best that exists on the verge of dreams.

The fiercest battles with the loudest war cries
Fought with the inner demons not with others;
For we are like the true warriors of yesteryears
Who raged against all injustice and bitterness.

Not that this base metal has turned into gold
But might need years of being in the run
The everyday battle with perfectionism
The tiniest details in its perfect little place.

Yet in a way you praise the might of the sun
Who finds courage to rise up after it's done. 

Reading for fun

 Can you measure the time it took to savour,
To taste bit by bit and take in your words?
Not that you have left them behind for me
They are all over the place, wherever I go.

The hourglass on my table marks the time,
Though it looks still apparently, obviously,
But the words grab my complete attention,
And it's more like reading a first love-letter.

The words glide across the page at this hour
Be it the ancient stories or lover's quarrels;
The slow-burning desire of lovelorn youth
The ambitions of the powerful and the strong.

Nor do I count my life in terms of big events
But by the tomes that I've read daily for fun.

Friday, January 01, 2016


I didn't run for shelter before the storm
But kept wandering with a sinking heart;
Meanwhile you slipped out of my fingers
Nor did I get back to the real destination.

After roaming around for years, here it is,
The same crossroads and the bittersweet,
Memories of a good life lost in the long run
While a hand that offered solace is now gone.

Now the roads stretch too wide and far
Nightmarish bleak turnstiles without you
You never knew the mirage of temptation
Or how the signs I followed have led me astray.

Finally, I find courage to write these words
For the winds to carry, before I drown again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I have so many photographs of mine
In my cupboard, old and new,
So many faces that I once disliked
But with the passing years
I have come to see how
That me was so different,
So pretty and beautiful. 

Long-haired, wild-haired,
Short-haired, grumpy,
No two faces look alike,
The one on identity cards
Look even more grotesque,
Even taking a snap
Is like finding a new me.

But I wonder when will I ever
Get over all my self-doubts
Embrace me completely
Forget the self-critical nagging
And tell myself in the mirror,
"I am incredible you know,
Because I love myself so!"

Friday, April 10, 2015

These days

There may be millions of people in this world;
The count increasing second by second daily;
Millions, I hardly know; thousands neither,
But these days, what I want to study is, you.

There may be many songs that I have heard;
Countless in number, peppy, soulful or sad;
But these days, don’t want anything except
The song you were humming all day long.

These days, when togetherness is what matters,
I want to trace your contours with my fingers
I want to feel the warm love-light in your eyes,
And make you my entire world, my soul melody.

Medicines and remedies, there may be around;
But these days, the only cure that I have is you.

Four leaf clover