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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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Eat Pray Love

“Eat Pray Love” has been one of the most talked about books in the last few years. Authored by Elizabeth Gilbert, it has been turned into one of the biggest block buster feature films of the year 2010, featuring Julia Roberts.

The book describes the journey of a woman who is in search of fulfillment in life. She is a victim to a failed marriage and is torn from within. Though her spirit is marred, she still has the courage to take a spiritual journey to rediscover herself.

Her thoughts on getting out of a rough marriage, alimony included, “It’s the emotional recoil that kills you, the shock of stepping off the track of a conventional lifestyle and losing all the embracing comforts that keep so many people on that track forever”. She writes in a lineal fashion, without including any sort of euphemism whatsoever.

Her writing will appeal to the fairer sex as much as it will to the males of the society. She visits an ashram in India and writes about the process of getting over her inhibitions about meditation. She continually fights the voices in her head that supersede the terrifying calm that eventually takes over, in her initial days. She understands the ethereal façade that exists, regarding the idea of how a soul mate should be.

She writes, “A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too Painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave.”

She writes with an uncanny ability to hit the cord where it makes the most sense.

The letters that she writes to God in the city of Rome and the palpable excitement she showcases while tasting the best pizza in the world, the Neapolitan Pizza, is strangely and humanly believable!

The story of her journey, from a jilted woman who has the lost the will to live, to a lady who is one with her soul and life and has found the love of her life, is one every woman will relate to.

Julia Roberts says, “It’s what I’m giving all my girl friends”.

This book is a memoir of a woman who is gutsy, adventurous, cares two hoots about what people feel about her, is true to her instincts, down to the minutest bit and believes in her capabilities as a writer, not shying away from pursuing her calling in life.

I recommend Eat Pray Love as one of the must haves in your bedside bookstand. It is one read which will make you smile and cry and give you those proverbial goose bumps at different points in time.

Note: This is a sample book review I had done for one of the leading media houses in the state of Odisha, “Dharitri” ,for the literary section of their upcoming English daily, “Orissa Post“.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Reviews

 

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Obsessive Fine Print Disorder

It is that time of the year when your facebook wall is pasted with tons of Happy messages, some staid, some funny & some so full of intent! I dissect the ramifications of all the incidents of the year gone by, in my head & wonder, whether one full year has just gone past. To me, it is still the same. But if I have taken anything from the previous year, it is dreams!
Que lindo es sonar despierto”! How lovely is it to dream while you are awake, says Andre Agassi’s coach to inspire him to train harder, to train equally well for the clay courts & to win the French Open! For a guy who hit a million balls every year, till his twenty second, inspiration ought to come naturally. That is not how he thinks. And it makes me realize the importance of SELF-motivation.
This brings me to my obsession for the fine print. I love relating to the content that books carry. I happen to be like a kid in a candy store when I enter a book shop or a book fair or anything related to the magic four letter word B-O-O-K. People think of ways to make a grand entry into yet another year, one that will be synonymous with the weaving of dreams, of hopes, of aspirations! For me, this year is going to be the best I’ve ever had, because I spend it with Agassi, not because he is the greatest tennis player of all times, but because he hated tennis like mad, like crazy, ever since he was made to hit balls from a dragon like structure, day in & day out. Ever since he was four!
For the first time, I realize the significance of how lonely it gets, when you strive to reach the zenith. The whole process, the making of a legend!
I have had surreal experiences when it comes to relating to a character, right since I was a kid. I was surrounded with The Famous Fives, The Secret Sevens, elves, gnomes and tons of other fairy tale characters. Often, I used to wake up with a start because I dreamt about being inside a paneled underground tunnel which opened into the woods. At times, I used to imagine myself in cold, dark dungeons, kidnapped by the evil witch & at others, hatching a plot to discover the secret treasure hidden up in a tower, which had winding,creaky steps to it. One image which is particularly etched in my mind, is that of the white manes of the sea horses likened to the white foam like substance crowning a sea wave. I still picture myself riding a sea horse when I am at a beach.
As I grew up, elves were replaced by the super mysteries of Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys.
I almost wanted to be a CBI official until I discovered the intricacies of the reproductive system, which made me consider a gynecologist as a profession! 😀
Don Michael Corleone , Florentyna Roznovozki, Howard Roark, Dominique Francon, Liz & Danny Taggart have changed the way I look at life. The Eureka moments have come and gone by, where you suddenly understand yourself a wee bit better because you could never articulate that funny aspect of your own self, which the writer has done so beautifully!
Non fiction has been nothing less than a hair raiser, to say the least! The Obamas, Abraham Lincoln, Abdul Kalam, Oprah Winfrey, E R Braithwite, Martin Luther King, Lance Armstrong…I hope the list never comes to an end! It makes me cringe at times & smile at others. The ethereal second, when all you want is a happy ending like in the movies, when you forget eating & sleeping just to keep taking that journey into what seems fictional but stands for veracity, to the last page, to the last morsel! I have derived inspiration from the likes of Buffet & Armstrong in the same breath. How else can one be called the “Oracle of Omaha” and another roughen it out through cancer and yet win the Tour De France, thrice. There is a thread which connects the lies of great men & women. The thread is the Secret- a book I consider my bible! The Secret, which attracts what you believe in like a powerful magnet, like Rhonda Byrne did, like you and me have the power to!
Reading gives me solace akin to none. There is no greater happiness than being born with what I call the Obsessive Fine Print Disorder 🙂
Happy Reading!

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Print Speak

 

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