Reading Tagore

​I wonder, awestruck, what it must be like to read Tagore on the banks of a river. That expanse of water, shimmering in the sun and the gentle breeze, bringing in a sense of calm. I wonder, what it must be to read, to muse, to dream away. To know that I have a few complete days to soak it all in-the sun, the peace and the magic of the word. No clocks, no routine, just the dreamworld. 

It is huge chunks of time like these that really free up the mind; when the thoughts can wander carefree and the memories tip toe in, unbidden. Every little thought and feeling seems intense, painted in myriad colours. 

These moments, frozen in time, are the ones that help me find myself. Every movement is deliberate, born out of choice. The book is a weight in the hands, the rustle of the pages like music to the ears. I notice the ink stains and the hastily scribbled notes in the margins, a bookworm’s version of a link in the text. 

What would it be like to read him, rolling the words about in my mind, wondering what those words would be in Bangla, longing to hear them being said aloud. Would the words find an echo in the lapping of the water? Would the weeds sway to the unheard tune of the flute? Would the dying rays of the sun illuminate the water? Skirting the waves and painting them a reddish orange? Would the sunset bring peace and closure along with the whispers of the next morning’s promise? 

Where time seems to stand still, is where the mind finds itself. 

Twinkle

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The Twinkle of evening lights, lamps and crackers

This a photograph I took on Diwali- the Indian Festival of Lights.

Three different kinds of twinkle can be seen in the picture. In the background is the twinkle of lights from the houses on the hill slopes. There are my ‘divas’- traditional earthern lamps in the balcony and on the floor is the light seen from ‘chakri’-one of the crackers burst by children and adults alike on this day.

Posted in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Thank You All

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My thanks to all. Photo Credit: http://www.rcapsolutions.org

Thank You. Big words. Sometimes, so oft repeated that they lose their meaning and relevance. But said at the right time (or even late) and with sincerity, they can warm someone’s heart… and a few months of winter.

I am grateful to Daily Post for providing me this opportunity to express my appreciation to all those who made the good in me and my life possible.

Well then, here goes. Thank you to all the people in my life-my parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse, children,friends, colleagues, enemies, strangers, guardian angels for feeding, caring, guiding, companionship, criticism, love, appreciation, gratitude, flattery, obstacles, difficulties, lessons…

Now that the living, breathing beings have been thanked, I am sending out special thanks to my pair of wooden parrots. Diminutive and green (obviously), they sat on my study desk at the time I was completing my post graduation studies. This table was in my hostel room which meant they were gawked at by philistines all the time. I had bought them while on a pilgrimage with my parents. Hidden away in the serpentine lanes adjoining the magnificent Gurudwara were the small and impoverished workshops of the artisans, eking out a living by crafting handmade wooden toys. Oh! We fell in love with them! So, back came the parrots with me, hundreds of miles, to where I was trying to contain my dreams till the world was ready to receive me.

I christened them “Yossarian” and “Godot”. Their names wee written down on their bases. Yossarian was the name of the main character in Joseph Heller’s book “Catch-22”. He is the soldier who is perpetually trying to escape the battlefront. It is madcap fun, reading the book. It is also sometimes called a tragedy by readers. Godot was the mysterious character(?) in the play “Waiting for Godot” written by Samuel Beckett. Godot is someone everybody (rather the two characters) is waiting for fervently but he (He?) never appears.

The parrots stood for the opposing influences in life, in our worlds, both physical and emotional. Yossarian was somebody who wanted to go and Godot was someone who never came.

I was asked by a friend, whom also I should thank after all these years, about them. As I enthusiastically told their names and their significance, I was met with raised eyebrows and widened eyes (is it possible to do that the same time?). I was told that I lived in an imaginary world. People whispered about my sanity. That made me all the more determined to protect my world of books, imagined characters and stories.

Thank God for that, it made my imagination richer and I learnt to put my thoughts on paper.

Grateful and Guilty

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Dear Twilight,

You might be a little surprised at hearing from me. Even worst, you might find my letter as part of a pile and not even glance at it with interest, for you it may be just another adulatory missive.

But, at the risk of sounding similar to many, many others, let me confess that I found you addictive. Just picking up the book was considered foolish in my circle, you see, I am surrounded by the so called ‘sensible’ age group. Even though we are still on the right side of forty, all of us have graduated to reading serious fiction and informative nonfiction. My book club regularly discusses Booker prize winning authors or Nobel Laureates. Or the newest regional pick. We don’t read teenage romance/fantasy/vampire tales.

Frankly, I am not much taken by vampires or monsters as such and have not even shown any interest in the Twilight series movies. I did not understand what all the fascination with vampires was about. I thought it all pretty outdated. So, I just picked this book from the local library the day I could not settle on anything. Anyhow, all that is past now.

The first few pages and I was hooked. Reading you was like a breath of fresh air. It smelt of youth-innocent and pure. It talked of possibilities, of people flying over at the last moment to save you from a car crash. There are gorgeous looking students in school; some of them vampires. There is passion, without the cheap undertones of the physical kind. Oh yes, girls do go weak in knees and handsome hunks are around to rescue them at every step. It was the thrill of a dated Mills and Boons romance wedded to the myth of Vampires. Even when they are vampires, they are inherently good, which is what makes them so endearing. I loved the witty repartees, the well threshed out locales ( forests, clearing in the meadows…).

I think, all through my heart missed as many beats as Bella’s did. Edward, the vampire is absolutely endearing. I simply cannot wait to read more and more… I am aware there are sequels to you but I shall be forever grateful to you and your author Stephanie Meyer for introducing me to this wonderful world of yours.

Besotted,
Writenlive

This letter was written in response to the Daily Prompt.

Motherhood

Many years ago, when I was in my mid twenties, I was asked by a friend if I thought Motherhood was highly over rated? I could not even reply to this one, although in the past we had shared an easy banter; a camaderie. I mumbled something and looked away, out of the window of the tiny white car she was driving.

I was confused, so I could not answer. I thought of it as a non-question. Could you choose motherhood? Wasn’t that something that happened or did not happen, as per God’s will? Did we, mere mortals have the right to interfere in nature’s scheme?

Later, when I married and it was time to have kids, we did. I never gave it a second thought. Sure, it was difficult, at first. The tiny ‘bundle of joy’, always crying, never sleeping, not gaining enough weight, requiring vaccinations, medications, countless visits to the paediatricians… most of the time; I felt helpless, even resentful. I was at a loss. How to take care of another life, so entirely dependent on me when I had not even figured out what I myself wanted out of life?

Things got worse before they got better. But the second time was easier. I knew the tribulations enough to even expect them, I was more prepared and I enjoyed the process a little better. Both children are now at a stage when I do not have to constantly tend to their physiological needs. Emotional needs, I know would continue throughout my lifetime

Coming back to my friend; I think of her often these days. She was trying to analyze something that for me was and always will be the wonder of creation. The other day, I was fed up and my mother called. I poured out my frustrations and ineptness and the pointlessness of it all, of meeting the endless demands. And she answered that I am actually participating in the creation and sustenance of life. That is what keeps me going. Indeed, it fills me with joy and a sense of purpose.

This post was written in response to Daily Prompt, a free writing exercise.

Success is counted sweetest, by those who ne’er succeed…

I might like it plain and bland,
but God has other plans on hand,
very spicy is the fare,
no water for me far or near.

I used to have a morbid fear of failure. I would not start anything new. I would plan excellently, covering all contingencies, but execution would have me stumped. As a result, nothing ever got done.

Then, life handed me lots of lemons, one after the other, for a long long time. I had absolutely no choice but to make lemonade. And boy, was it delicious!

Now, I know I have nothing to lose. I have been through the worst. Setbacks and obstacles may come but they would not deter me. Even if I fail, I would have done something; walked a few steps and that is better than not having walked at all.

To quote Emily Dickinson once again,

Success is counted sweetest,
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar,
Requires sorest need.

Daily Prompt

“If failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour” (Truman Capote), how spicy do you like your success stories?