Ragwort by Anne Stevenson

They won’t let railways alone, those yellow flowers.
They’re that remorseless joy of dereliction
darkest banks exhale like vivid breath
as bricks divide to let them root between.
How every falling place convoys their smile,
taking what’s left and making a song of it.

Anne Stevenson (b. 1933)

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My Punctuation Quirks

It is a grammar rule that a sentence can end with only one terminal punctuation mark. So, it can be a period (.), a question mark (?) or an exclamation mark (!). I admit there are times when I want to use both the question mark and the exclamation mark after a sentence. I would not dare do it in a formal setting, but when chatting it feels liberating!

I love the semicolon (;)! A semicolon is used to join two or more parts/ideas of sentences and those parts/ideas have an equal status. Reminds me of status updates on the social media, though. Anyway, because I like my sentences to be long and even rambling; bring in one idea after the other and sometimes introducing a poetic element, I find the semicolon handy. Psst… it is also intimidating, and I like to do that to people sometimes!

No, I do not like the exclamation mark at all! Then, why am I using it so liberally? I like to convey ideas in words in such a manner that the exclamation mark is rendered redundant.

Slashes (/), apostrophes (‘), parentheses ( ) are so good; they lend mystique to any written piece. They almost show that the ideas are brimming over and the writer wants to convey as much as possible in just a little time. Apostrophes are best used in plural for they let you show off!

However, ellipses (…) are the best! You can trail off anytime when you run out of ideas….

This post at Blabberwocking! had me intrigued so I Had to be Companionable!

Day 30 of Nablopomo

What happens when you commit to something?
What happens when you follow it through with passion and conviction?
What happens when you write every day?
In short, what happens when you participate in Nablopomo, and reach the end and have a ‘I Did It’ post to write?

A few things happen:

Commitment itself is reward. It is empowering and exhilarating. It is opening the door to potential and inviting your resources in to make it happen.

Once you are determined to see things through, no matter what, paths open up, obstacles dissolve, divine help materializes.

Dreams coupled with preparation lead to magic.

Your craft improves. You get to the place you are going faster. You discover your shortcomings and strengths and that is just so good because you know what to improve and what to capitalize on.

You start dreaming bigger because you could do this, so you could definitively do more.

You are happy and want to shout ‘I Did It’ or modesty resolve to go for higher peaks (depending on your personal disposition).

And as befits any speech, I must end with a note of thanks to my readers, dedicated followers, other excellent writers, my children who insisted on coming down with fever every few days, having birthdays and school concerts so that I was more determined than ever, WordPress mobile apps which made publishing possible in view of erratic internet connections and my tablet for providing the hardware and psychological support. Ah! also my spouse for going on a business tour so that I could feed the children instant noodles and write.

P.S. I am tempted to continue the writing streak, but I spared a thought for my followers who might already be feeling exasperated.

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.

Treasure-Matryoshka Doll

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Matryoshka Dolls

A Matryoshka doll is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other.

This doll of mine stays in a satin pouch most of the time, so treasured it is. It was a gift from my Russian teacher and it reminds me of the good times, when I was learning Russian, of the great friends I had and the idealism of the youth.

After the fall of the USSR, all things Russian were neglected in India, where before, even learning the language was encouraged. Now, with all funding of the institute I was studying at gone (Dr A V Baliga Institute of Russian Studies, Bhopal, India), a band of young students and professionals tried to do everything to save the language.

The doll signifies courage and persistence to me of those handful of people.