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Category Archives: As I see it

A blank post!

It takes a bucket full of adrenaline and a head full of randomness to sit down and type out a post when you would rather be sitting at Marine Drive,conjuring images of sea horses, dashing against the dome shaped rocks, scattered all around, in order to give an impression of randomness. However for the lack of like minded company, I sit down to write, with nothing particular in mind. For the past half hour, I have been wondering what to do. Whether to read the half a dozen books I purchased out of sheer curiosity and temptation and never got the time to read, or whether to plug in my earphones, lie down on my bed and daydream or rather night dream, if that can be a word at all!

Its 1.28 am and I can hear the distinct sound of raindrops crashing down on the rooftop with ceaseless vehemence. It’s been the same since evening. Water, in all forms, can either anger you or act as a soothing agent; a calming influence, which in all probability, makes you drown in the deluge of thoughts, of past occurrences, of memories- often buried and never shoveled out.

Am I religious? Perhaps not. Am I spiritual? Very much indeed. The how and why of it unearths itself in layers, bit by bit, inch by inch. I have a deep connect with a certain genre of things. I converse with characters in books; for me they are as real as the Supreme Power is. I converse with the choppy waters; in as engaging a manner in which I would perhaps meditate. This deep connect goes way beyond the idolation that one has for forms of stone or clay, without demeaning the respect attached to the same.

To plonk myself in front of an endless body of water is what I wish to do now. To dream and dream as infinitely as the stretch of the sea is how I imagine myself at this point in time. This piece of verse is dedicated to the morbid obsession I have with water, in any form.

“The azure heaven stretches into oblivion
And merges into your being
As seamlessly and as ceaselessly it could
Empowering you with a vengeance of sorts
To swamp the outlines of a human mind
To delineate joys and sorrows alike

You have been blessed by the Almighty
With the power to induce hideous tears and to bring about a surge of joy
To make the human kind dream
To make them soar high into the sky
To make them crash as smithereens on to rough ground

I unburden my heart, full of woes and take shelter in your bosom
Accept me as a lover would
In the throes of unbridled, passionate love
Adopt me as a mother would
As your blood, as your bones

For you shall throttle my spirit
In jilt and desertion
For I shall have nowhere to go
Neither to cry, neither to laugh”

 
 

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Eternal Infinity

I have always liked flipping through yellow, moth eaten pages; the ones you have to be very careful with, lest they tear or break away from the parent book.

Background to the post:

Today, one of my best friends, a master chef in the making, had a luncheon at his place. We discussed Bridgestone tyres, Michael Schumacher, the JNNURM buses, the idiosyncrasies of an old lady wanting to stay young, auntie’s obsession with the current Delhi Belly jingle and almost every other weird topic that you can think of. The discussion moved to my current fascination, the devadasis in the Indian temples; during which I discovered that uncle, who was a connoisseur of art in all forms, especially dance, had researched on the maharis and devadasis and had an article to his credit. This got me into a flurried frenzy of rummaging through his room, which housed his belongings in the exact position as it used to be, before he left for his heavenly abode.

Coming back to the post, I discovered archaic letters and diaries stacked neatly, albeit with a layer of dust, in one of the cupboards, slightly cracked with a sliding glass door. Those were his personal musings and letters to his loving wife, which I deemed best to keep away. However, scrawled on one of his picture memoirs, was a verse which read Dec’94 and left me rooted to the ground for a while. I believe he was a man of innate sensitivity and profundity. I would also like to believe that the verse if shared with a wider audience, will fulfill its purpose of having been penned down. It goes it this manner: “One can fathom the true beauty of life, only when lived alone. If you share your life with someone, you can only experience half the world. However, if you do not, the whole world in its entirety belongs to you”.

Vivid flashes of the times spent with him, came back to me, with an urgency, I cannot explain. Needless to say, the feeling of just respect, will be an understatement.

Methodical rows of recorded cassettes graced the sides of the bed. Long playing (LP) phonograph records heightened the creative essence, so prevalent in the space around. Books on various dance forms lined the shelves, almost screaming out to be felt and read and understood. An invitation card for the opening of Nrityagram, the dance school by Protima Bedi, fell out from one of the hard bound books. As I went through the cursive text, I wondered what his thoughts would have been, while reading the same.

A gifted creative soul does not single out one passion in life and hence the multiple engagements he kept himself busy with. The genre moved to books on photography and various international journals on music as well. Various musical instrumentals, enveloped in dusty black bags, laced the corners of the room and bed too. On opening another antiquated trunk, I discovered piles of books, ranging from Animal Farm to Osho’s Golden Nuggets and The Autobiography of Jimi Hendrix to that of Beatles.

What perhaps will always remain with me, however, is a book by the name of Gitanjali. This wasn’t the one written by Tagore. The anthology of poems was written by an adolescent cancer patient, who has described the beauty of life, as she fathomed, through the window of her hospital room. She passed away soon after. A gift to his wife on their first anniversary, the message reading…May your life be as beautiful as these poems, in mirth and in sorrow! I was choked and almost in tears. I can best put into words, my feelings through William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” :

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2011 in As I see it

 

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The ovarian lottery!

I recently came across a blog post which revolved around the thought process of a dreamer…one who is not straitjacketed into one primary goal in life..one who has the hunger to explore different facets which interest and stimulate the mental faculties. I have always belonged to this genre of people. I love getting involved in multiple activities. It stretches to reading as well. At any point in time, I am reading 3-4 books for sure. As much as I try giving my undisturbed attention to a particular task or a book for that matter, when I come across an exciting job to do or a book which makes me want to bring everything around me to a standstill and gobble it down, my will power goes haywire. It gives me some kind of an uncanny kick and more importantly makes me happy.

For the last few weeks, I have been writing a lot…for magazines, newspapers and the first book in the pipeline. The reading has gone up a few notches higher too. The exciting part is, the reading has spread its tentacles into Odia Literature too. Until the past few months, I had an aversion towards reading in Odia. There was no particular reason. Blame it on westernization or on the vehement stress that our society places on usage of English Language. Whatever it might be, it never happened.

The journey begun when I was given the task to write about venerable Odia women. It involved a lot of research into their background and since all of it was written in the regional language, I was almost forced to read it. I found it rather irritating, more so because it took me a while to fathom and figure out the coherency in statements, primarily because of lack of practice over the last few years. In due course however, I started liking it. I also started to understand the truth behind the statement when people say that a translated text loses its charm in more ways than one. At this point, after reading many such autobiographies, I am very open to reading in any regional language that I come across, to taste the freshness of language and of perspective, in a society which was very different from ours.

In fact the excitement reached a crescendo when I figured that I would love to read original works of Tagore, which would mean that I would have to pick up Bengali, right from scratch. I called up a friend of mine in Kolkata and asked him to mail a copy of “Shahoj Path”, penned by Tagore and published by Shantiniketan, for beginners in Bengali. This being a Saturday night, he was almost sloshed and thankfully the network saved me of the string of choicest comments (an euphemism), I would have otherwise received.

I hope the peaks continue. I hope the excitement does not wane. I hope I am well versed with Bengali Literature a few years down the line.

Stringing the post to a new note, I shift to one of the current books I am reading titled “Wise and Otherwise”, by Sudha Murty, the Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. I picked it up after ten minutes of subtle coerciveness by the owner of my favorite book shop, lined on the street, near the railway station, in the capital city of Odissa. I disregarded this lady, not in a very dismissing manner, but for the simple fact that I had the impression that she finds publishers at her doorstep only because she is the better half of an IT icon. After reading the book, I still feel the same, though the respect for her as a person, has increased tremendously. She has picked up 50 everyday occurrences, which salute life; instances which make you stop and ponder about how sensitive or scheming people are. There is a particular part to the book where she talks about recognizing one’s limitations, which touched me. She says that one always starts out with an idealistic perspective that you can change the world. But ideally, one should stress on lighting a single candle as well you can and then move on to lighting as many candles as you can. That might not change the whole world but it certainly changes somebody’s world! How seemingly simple and realistic is the thought behind it!

The book is very lucidly written and makes a decent read. I still think that had she not been associated with Infosys, this book would not have been published. There are scores of bloggers and writers who are much better versed with the language and have a superior might of the elbow.

Ummm…writer’s block! 😀

(An excuse to abruptly shift to another topic 😀 )

I and a couple of friends..we are making a docu-fiction on incest. The last week has been one crazy ride. Visiting film makers, writing and reviewing the script, auditioning for actors and getting the technical part of it in place, meeting tons of possible funding agencies and the like.

An excerpt from a recent conversation with the Senior Security Officer(SSO) at Infosys:

Me: Sir, we want to meet someone from the CSR team. We are making a documentary on incest and would like to talk to them about funding it.

SSO: Hmm…incest!

Me: Yes Sir, its based on male relatives exploiting girls within the family. We want to create awareness about it through a documentary,

SSO: Lemme talk to the HR.

(Wondering what on earth has the HR gotta do with this!)

SSO: Sir, a couple of students have come and are making a film on INSECTS.

Me(Hurriedly Interrupts) : Sir, its INCEST.

SSO: Haan haan.  Sir, its INSECTS. Should I send them over?

(Almost tear my head in frustration)

(Conversation ends. Meeting stalled)

P.S: This post is as randomly connected as it can ever be! Blame the sleeplessness and the blurry eyed, drowsy me…typing out the post, because its been long since I’d updated my blog and also because, Indiblogger will review my site in the next week or so 😀

And why should you read it?

Maybe because I won the ovarian lottery! 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in As I see it, Print Speak

 

Yet another day!

Kudos to the person who coined the term “mood swings”. He has successfully managed to justify the thousands of fleeting, unjustifiable thoughts that enter the head of a homo sapien, especially the fairer sex. At this exact point in time, I am a victim to the infamously famous mood swing.

Reason?

None at all.

I had a decent day, not very high on the “Eventful” quotient. The day started with a flurry of multiple tabs on my browser, with an intent to research on the parallel articles I am working on. Freelancing happened, by a quirk of fate, thankfully though. I have always wondered how to integrate the love for writing with the hodgepodge of everyday living. Indian Express came in as a divine reply. I am eagerly waiting to see my article in print.

After a sumptuous lunch, I set out to driving school. If it hadn’t been for procrastination, I would have finished with the theory classes a week back. None the less, I had to undergo a session of sheer torture, with video lectures ranging from “How to deal with skidding” and “How to reverse and park” to “The importance of wearing a seat belt”!

The more hilarious ones included a video on “Women Rage” which was one helluva ride with two women out to seek revenge on each other, in the process crashing into and scooping out the head and tail lights from each other’s cars.

My enquiry on the commencement of on road driving was met with a brusque response, “Madam, Simulator ra ahuri 4 ta class baaki achi”.(You still have 4 classes to go with the Simulator).

To hell with the video game like equipment! How on earth am I supposed to learn driving without the probability of any vehicles crashing into me from directions, all and sundry?

The next stop was in relation to yet another article I am writing on the life of the only woman chief minister of Orissa, Smt Nandini Satpathy. The lady, who I still haven’t managed to get to, is a firebrand politician and one of the most well known women of her time. I thought I’d see her in a rocking chair, enjoying the last few years of her well lived life. Highly mistaken, I was. She was out to attend a women’s welfare meeting after a full day at the clinic. Respect.

That’s how I see myself at the age of 85, if I manage to live that long.

The day out ended with an hour long conversation with one of my school teachers. Wonder how many lives has she managed to bring back on track!

Did I forget the innocuous ring road ride! 😀

Multiple tabs yet again, this time its adsense and adwords and the amazon affiliate program and blah blah blah!

I am yawning.

Yes, you can see the whole of Europe within my outstretched mouth.

I have no inkling what exactly will I get down to, after I post this blog. Perhaps sleep or curl up with my recent read.

Random ramblings?

Yes.

Why?

No Idea.

Get Idea!

Baah.

Buzz Off!

Ummm…okie!

 

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in As I see it

 

Allah Bobeila

The baritone singsong voice is at it again! The call of the muezzin has a special significance in my life. It dates back to the last three generations of my family. As per a tradition set by my great grand father, we have our meals as per the timings of the mosque, stationed behind out house, a green, weed covered pond separating the two.

Hence, the breakfast table reflects a king size spread at sharp 7.30 am, the lunch at 12.15 pm and dinner, precisely at 8 pm. I wonder who begun the tradition of replacing the meal time gong with a pithy “Allah Bobeila” !

Bobeila” in the Odiya lexicon, ideally refers to the cackling of the crow and hence is used most often as “ Kau Bobeila”, Kau meaning the crow. Likening it to the call of the muezzin in this manner, is almost as if hinting towards Allah cackling his way through, to our ticking clocks, via the white kurta clad fellow who screeches into the well meaning microphone.

I have always questioned the necessity of the microphone in a mosque, without questioning the sanctity behind it. I understand that in the earlier days, a shout to the community members was more than enough to get them down on their knees to offer namaz to the Lord. However, with the advent of the microphone and the branching of the specific Muslim localities into more tolerant regions comprising of people from all religions, the daily prayers seems to be a hindrance to the non Muslims.

Disclaimer : This is in no way meant to hurt the sentiments of any religion and is purely a personal take on the subject discussed.

Is it necessary to voice out our call to the Supreme Being above? Isn’t prayer supposed to be a sacred and private conversation with the Almighty?

Think about it.

I remember specific exam times when certain festivals are celebrated with great fanfare and gusto within the Muslim community, in the streets adjacent to where I live. I have plugged in cotton into my ears and tried to shut the din by closing the doors and windows of my study room. Nothing really helped. The gong, the drums and the microphone played for days together. I reasoned and questioned and banged the table down in frustration.

Nothing more that I could do to add fire to the anti Muslim flames, that had already reached an optimum, because of the infamous Babri Masjid.

There have been eerie, silent times too when I hear the word “intekaal” on a number of occasions. I send a silent prayer upto the Lord to make his soul rest in peace. The moment then is almost inexplicable.

Goose Bumps? Yes.

Always? Almost.

There are also those bright eyed mornings when the sun hasn’t kissed the face of the earth, when I manage to wake up bleary eyed at 5 am, to hear the muezzin clear this throat and in a sing song voice, mark the beginning of yet another day, with the blessings of the Allah.

It strangely doesn’t hamper the serenity of the cold, slightly dark, morning, yet to come up in all its glory. At times it makes me smile. The kind when you wake up, still within the folds of the blanket, rub your eyes, hug your own self with both hands wrapped around your body and marvel at how beautiful God’s little creations are!

The solitary dew drop on a sprightly leaf!

The lone squirrel sprinting across!

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in As I see it

 

A Stray Post

Even though I stand the risk of coming across as a person “beyond repair”, I would like to take the effort of unearthing a peculiar idiosyncrasy I have developed with consistent practice and dogged determination 😀 over the past few years.

I strangely feel that every incident in our life, that on the surface appears to screw up our well oiled lives, happens with a purpose, a purpose beyond what the lens chooses to see. Any stray, freak incident..say for instance a traffic jam, a torrential downpour just when you are stepping out of the house, a missed flight, an accident or a gloomy moonless night when you have looked up for one brief second, to embrace the lunar warmth!

Many such reflections have come and gone by. The most recent one, in fact, happened today, which I would like to share with you.

I was rushing to the bus stand today in my two wheeler, since the buffer time I have at hand, as always, is zilch. To my utter dismay, traffic was lined up for almost a kilometer. I stomped my feet in frustration and wondered how much later than the scheduled time will I actually reach! An uncle right in front of me, wearing a starched white bush shirt and black trousers, was also doing the same, perhaps. He turned around his vehicle to take an alternate route. Almost instantly, I decided to do the same. While I turned, giving it a thought for one split second, he decided to wait for an extra few minutes. The corner of my eye betrayed the blog provoking sight to me.

I guess a normal head and a normal eye would have just carried on. And that’s something I obviously wouldn’t do, not for any amount of riches in the world. Normal, no way!

While I was maneuvering my way into an alternate route and fighting my way through another spate of traffic, thankfully not stationary, I was thinking whether it was better to have waited or not. And then out of the blue, I cursed the impatient me. I debated with my head whether I should have hung on for a slightly longer period of time, before taking the freak decision of whiling one full year to sort myself out. I thought and I argued and I debated and I contemplated. Each time there was an inner voice saying maybe! That made it worse. I almost banged into a cyclist. Had I waited for the traffic to clear and the mess in my head to sort out for itself, I would have reached my destination faster, without any loss in time! One split and that’s it. Isn’t that the case with all the major decisions in life? One damn fleeting second!

As I reached the place I was supposed to, which was incidentally one spot being led to by two different routes, I could not help but smile. Things aren’t that bad, after all. I could see Uncle with his battered scooter and white, starched shirt a few cars ahead of me. I will make it there too. A few minutes lost in the whole process. A year or two here and there!  A crucial bit of learning evolved.

Fail….Give up…Get up…Dust Yourself…Try again….Reach the same destined destination you dreamt of!

A slightly messed up self, a lot of retrospection and a lot of introspection, some tears shed and a clearer goal ahead…Life is but a bed of dreams, replete with thorns!

Pardon me, if this doesn’t make as much sense to you, as it did to me. Kindly move to the more generic ones in this blog. This one was solely for my own self, to structure and give a direction to the random yet precious thoughts I have at certain points in time.

Currently, I am super kicked after watching a series of the great Indian fun weddings in Band Baaja Baraat. I wished it could go on and on. I wished I could be a wedding planner. I wished I could get married right now.

Sadly, a penny for my wishes and cheers to The Razor’s Edge!

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in As I see it, I see I think I write

 

Gibberish!

What were you scared of?

Everything.

And what happened?

I decided not to be.

Simple as that?

Simple as that.

This is a conversation between James and his counselor, Joanne, just before he walks out of the best rehab centre in US, after submitting to more than a decade of drugs and alcohol.

Is it as simple as that? I wonder at times, sometimes with amusement, sometimes with apparent shock and sometimes just like that.

This post isn’t a review of how good or bad A Million Little Pieces is. It is good. Savlon good.

This is about how I relate to substance abuse in the most far fetched manner possible. No,seriously. Elongate a chewing gum to its elastic limit and let it break. This will still remain far fetched. This one is about how a person reached the bottom of a bottomless pit and climbed his way back again. This one is about how I would love to do that someday. Now… maybe!

I feel like I have been squeezed and drained a million times over. I am scared. Savlon scared. A conversation with a pighead is responsible for this current frame of mind. The urge to write about it is perhaps credited to James Frey. I admire his simple philosophy in life. AA took years to get to where it is. He defied and denied it in one flying moment. He chose to disregard the power of the Higher Self and the Twelve steps. He chose to ignore the headiness of crystal meth and Kentucky Bourbon. He was patient, patient enough to let his mud separate from the deep blue water.

There are tears running down Lilly’s cheek and she is smiling at me. It is a deep smile, not the type of momentary happiness, but the rare kind that comes when something inside without words is woken from slumber and brought forth to live.

Makes me smile. Widely..that is!

Substance abuse? I think all of us have done it at some point in time. I have, when I stuff myself with chocolate even though my mouth feels awfully sweet…sickly sweet! When I sleep the whole day and days at length…just to sleep! I am one hell of an emotional eater and what better substance abuse than that? God save my spleen and the various gastro enteric organs when it comes to a heightened sense of emotion, specifically grief! I cry, cry it all out…an attempt to flush….flush and burn and delete. Seldom does it happen though. Some part of the grief grows on to me and just refuses to let go. Icy tentacles, more like stalactites..haha! That proves I did not shirk my Geography classes back in school.

I fight myself over and over. Time has disappeared. I sit on my hands. I start to cry. Not sobs, just tears streaming down my face through my closed eyes. Tears from effort and tears from stress and tears from fear. This is a Savlon nightmare. Worse than a nightmare.

As disconnected I feel from this feeling, there is a connect in disconnect and one cannot help but ignore it.

Today is one terrible day. It is almost as if one lifetime just passed, as if one part of me just died, as if death were visible on such close quarters. Strangulated, suffocated and tonsured! A brittle mass….A million little pieces!

P.S: Replace Savlon with the word “Fuck”. I seem to be hugely prejudiced against it though Frey has done his bit in removing some of it. I always restricted myself with the usage of the word. Though after this book, I realize its more to do with the literal emphasis of a statement than the dictionary meaning of the word 😀

Why Savlon? Because I see a bottle of it right in front of me!

The words in italics are taken from the text of the book.

A request…an order- Do a favor to yourself, to the people around you and to humanity in general.. Get a Savlon copy of the book and read it! 😛

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2011 in As I see it

 
 
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