Archive | Books RSS feed for this section

156: Another Holiday Monday

5 Jun


What if I become broke? But oh my darling, what if you become rich?

I couldn’t help adapt the popular quote to this bookshop that I first visited as a child. It was a new experience because this was a bookshop of a different kind; one where they sold old books that smelt the best and even took back books you’d finished reading. 

It was just normal instinct to walk into a bookstore enroute the restaurant my friend A and I were heading to, to stuff our face with Mangalorean ghee roast crab. 

Our afternoon was delectable, to say the least. 

14 September

14 Sep

I’m still somersaulting in the rainbow of ma’s words. She knows me more than I know myself, but you and I both knew that anyway. There’s no way our parents don’t know the real us, and there’s really no hiding from them spelling the minutest of those details out to us; especially the unpleasant ones. Haha!

R and I honoured our plan to meet each other and she stopped by for a quick but very welcome break, yesterday. With her did she bring not only lots of newness amidst the familiarity, but also an opportunity for the two of us to just be ourselves like old times. Sipping over cups of tea and munching through tales of our every day lives and reflections, we clocked time like I haven’t done in a long while. So many memories were shared, so many new facets of our lives exchanged. The camera and taking photographs were completely forgotten about; or maybe we just don’t really do that sort of thing anyway. It is always hard to say bye, but it’s beginning to dawn upon me that these byes are born more out of gratitude and happiness, than from sadness. The small gifts that come along our way in the form of conversations, chuckles and laughter, a lingering eye contact that speaks of untold yet familiar stories…they’re all for keeps and cannot be filed alongside sadness. R arrived with a gift of sorts for me too, and it has been a delightful sight ever since I laid my eyes on it.


I’m not very versed in cuisines as such, but the possibility of owing a book makes me feel like I have already travelled to the place of its origin. This one is filled with stories, chapters, pictures, and of course, the magical delight of food.


I love South East Asian food for there’s a sense of comfort and fulfilment that always overflows so generously from the steaming bowls and plates they come in. My very limited travails have taken me through streets of food and discoveries that have always been a must do on my list; there’s always so much to learn and grasp.


This book seems to have it all and more. Besides, those pictures. And that fish; oh my.


What a perfect buy.

The thing that really calls out to me are the numerous similarities in the ingredients and methods of cooking Indonesian and Indian food comprise. I cannot wait to discover the treasures in this book; equipping me sufficiently for whenever a travel stop does happen to this famed island. Happies.


S called me ever so randomly yesterday – she has moved countries – and our conversation was rife with peals of laughter and curses, memories and time standing still. I miss her dearly. The last time I went back home to Bangalore was to say bye to her and it was just like how we would’ve said bye anyway – complete with conversations, lots of dancing, food, music, laughter and jokes. Marriage changes things not just for the couple but for their friends as well. But everyone is on their respective journeys and we’ve to learn to incorporate whatever we can into these newfound routes. Mad times. I hope they don’t ever change.

Here’s a song S introduced me to which she played during her wedding, and which I love to bits. Also, it fits because it’s Onam. Onamashamsagal (happy Onam), my dear friends.


*afk, dancing*

Go Set A Watchman

9 Sep

***This post does not contain spoilers***

 

To Kill A Mockingbird (TKMB) was is, to this day, a masterpiece which needs no additional vouching for. It’s a fact and it’s the truth (they’re different things, these two). Whoever loves reading has perhaps already embarked on the journey together with Jem, Scout, Dill, Cal and Atticus, and remains somewhere with them, even though the physical pages of the book long ended. Sometimes I find myself observing their backyard games and sometimes I imagine Atticus reading stories to me as well; I’ve always wondered what that would really feel like – nothing extravagant or ornate but poignant, I’m certain. On hot summer days, I want Cal’s lemonade and the easing of those warm days into still, slightly cooler evenings, sprawled on the porch or under a tree, sulking perhaps.

It’s a novel I first got introduced to in school, and we would spend one hour of the week being read to, in our own most beautiful English classes – sitting on the floor by the window, playing the words being shared with us to the tunes of our imagination. I’m grateful we were introduced to the book when we were. It goes to show that age has but nothing to do with the building of morals, character and the ability to be sensitive to more than what meets the eye. There is no right time because every time is when you add another block to the never-ending process, that is building and strengthening your own character’s foundation. And neither is there a boundary on the depth of what you can teach children from the books they ought to pick up and give a chance.

It was a mixed feeling when I heard of Harper Lee’s next book, for I was both delighted at what lay ahead in her story of these characters, and dejected that the story wouldn’t (obviously) match the one that had weaved its way into my world with its characters; a story that would obviously take away my imagined tales from me and follow the path she had chalked out for them instead. Natural as it was, it was also difficult. It was just a little while ago that I ordered Go Set A Watchman and decided to let go of my childhood romanticism with TKMB ever so slightly and give this new one a try. When the book arrived (being the book-cover judge that I am), I turned it over to find this excerpt from the book mentioned at the back.

00053077-620x387

I had no idea what the word “island” was doing there and in what context someone was talking to Ms. Jean Louise about this concerned island and one’s conscience. I flipped it to the front and began this new journey with Harper Lee’s script.

As are situations with people you’ve known for most part of your life but have been connected with only in one’s imagination after the first physical meeting, a rendezvous many years later can only be unnerving. There’s excitement and there’s anxiety, simply because you don’t know what lies ahead and how far removed your imagination may have made facts and reality seem. And so it was, once I began reading the book and encountered a 26 year old Scout for the first time since our childhood.

She was herself, in an adult form, throughout the book, I’d say. It was heartening to see and experience. She is also now a smoker, looks at men differently than her younger self would have even though she believes she can never understand them. Jem and Calpurnia do not feature in the book as much as I would have liked. And that is the heart-breaking bit. Harper Lee tries maintaining a balance between the old and new, which is refreshing to what would otherwise be a stark experience for a reader familiar with TKMB. I traveled through Scout’s childhood reminisces, missed Jem, Dill and Cal terribly and felt her angst about the same. It’s perhaps a reality I may not accept for some time, because in my mind, things didn’t pan out the way they have at present.

Therefore there were many times when I couldn’t understand what was going on and felt disoriented and daresay bored enough to want to keep the book down. And keep the book down for breaks to process it all, I did. It’s not an easy book if you’re reading it with the baggage of the previous one. But if you can manage the difficult task of bifurcating the two, you’d be better off, in my honest opinion. I trundled along the story as are the days in sleepy Maycomb till I arrived at what I think, is the crucial bit of the book – the part where I take most meaning from it and from where I can see the book being more than just TKMB’s sequel. And it’s when I read this that things started to fall into place.

IMG_5199

This is an excerpt from Dr. Finch (Uncle Jack)’s dialogue with Scout after a confrontation she has with Atticus (just to contextualize). He begins by saying “Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as collective conscious.” (continues as per the image attached). This, to me, was the most definitive part of not just the novel, but also of the story and of Scout’s being. It acts as closure and gives you your time to take a minute, stop and look around at all that has become from whatever was, accept it and move on.

I saw these lines as more than just words being parted to one of my favourite literary characters. They taught me about the roles we play as children and the idealistic notions we have of what a parent should be like. So beautifully, yet simply stated are these stokes that make you rekindle the warmth of forgiveness in its entirety; and just what a load off of one’s conscience that is, I cannot even begin to describe.

Being at that point in my life where I’m preparing to move on to a new chapter, this profoundly deep conversation gave me new insight and meaning into the burdens we place on our parents who somehow become our ideals, ourselves and our sense of identity. I’ve never experienced an act of growing up as suddenly and overpoweringly as I have from a book before. To kill yourself or to allow yourself to be killed is overwhelming to say the least; but the power of knowledge, freedom and forgiveness that lies on the other side is liberating in ways we need to be more aware of. It brings to light just how enmeshed we are or can be, especially when it comes to love, expectations and worldviews, particularly from that of a parent’s. To think of such a burdensome existence is suffocating – and just how tremendous the drop in pressure by letting it go, can be.

Have you ever thought about what Uncle Jack tells Scout? Of course this doesn’t go to say that forgiveness comes at the cost of overlooking the duties of being a parent. But when it gets as good as it can, it helps to take a step back and really assess just where we cross the line; the sooner, the better.

And for coming my way sooner than later, I’m once again thankful to Harper Lee for deciding to put this story out there for me to see, in all its rawness, ruthlessness and eventual calmness.

What If I Don’t Have A Title?

24 Jun

It’s true when they say you get to know a lot about a person when their internet connection is slow, especially given that a lot in us has become more than just dependent (and heavily so) on the internet. This is me trying so hard to write during that one time I actually feel like writing only to have my one image stand loaded at just 20% for the past ten minutes. Let’s not get into what’s going on in my mind and the extreme levels of anger that inert bar on my page is making me feel. I’m hopelessly addicted and I think I’m beginning to feel scared about it.

Are you in that place too? That place where you need to check your phone even though you really needn’t or when life without the internet really gets to your being especially when you so wanted to do something that, well, needs the internet? I was reflecting on why it’s become incessantly harder to just get my butt into a spot, sit tight and just write. And while these reasons do not indicate an incapability in others who probably do similar things that I do, they do speak for me as a person and the specific ordeals they present in maintaining a healthy blogging life.

To begin with, a 100% of my work involves me sitting in front of the laptop, day in and day out. Sometimes even more than the number of hours I’m paid to work. There is not an iota of my work that involves me being away from my system unless you count necessary short breaks and food gobbling times. Therefore to come back home and switch on this screen again in order to write, becomes so overbearing, at least in my head. I have absolutely no idea how the rest of the world does it. I don’t. Because when I’m home, the last thing I ever want to do is switch on my laptop. Not even to shop. Not even to watch that dang television show. Unless desperate measures are required.

Secondly, I’m pretty sure this has to do a lot with the way you, say, categorize the clutter in your mind to actually de-clutter it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there times when your head feels jammed with so many things that are going on? What do these clients think of themselves, I wish there were more hours in the day, that girl wore such a pretty earring; I wish I knew where it was from, why can’t I earn more money, how many craters are on the moon… I mean, this clutter is endless. If you’re a thinker, well, not all’s lost. If you’re an over-thinker, then God bless you and please share your solutions with me if you stumble across some. It’s not even about the thinking as much as it is about the utter volume of stuff that’s churning itself into a fine curry paste just waiting to explode because it sat there and fermented into a stinky mess. I don’t need experts to tell me just how impossible it is to do anything, forget writing, with such a mind space (or lack thereof). Mom says the Y word for everything and perhaps she’s right, except, I need to find solutions too and not just dive on to a yoga mat and pranayam my clutter away. Also, I just used pranayam as a verb and I think it fits. Somehow. Don’t ask me how but I know you feel it fits too. But I will take mom’s advice and pranayam my way through life and its obstacles. I hope.

Thirdly, and also very importantly, I suck at the D word – discipline. I doubt I’m disciplined about anything, except maybe trying to maintain discipline, ironically. I guess I’m that crazy person who tries to derive some means of satisfaction from enforcing slight levels of discipline just so I know it exists somewhere in my life; that all order hasn’t been lost. I do come from the belief that it takes baby steps, and (very, if I may) regular baby steps, to get to where you want to be. I do want to be disciplined with this and therefore I’m aware that it needs me to be here on a regular basis. But I don’t want to necessarily dole out crap for you to read just so I can write. Wazzaapointthen?

So that’s me, trying so hard (hardly) to stop by from time to time. But there are never any compulsions or rules, I think. You do as you please and allow this to be that one space in your life that is truly your own; where you can come and go as and when you wish (because it’s not like I have a big fan following whose lives depend on my posts, in which case I would be more responsible).

While writing this post, should you be interested; my broadband decided to be lethargic and non-responsive, the customer care executives decided to be least executing about my first world problems, my WiFi router then decided to switch off for no rhyme or reason, it started to rain which meant I needed to rush to get all the laundered clothes in in time, mosquitoes started biting me which required me to get my ass off of the sofa and switch that ghastly Mortein on, the balcony doors kept opening and closing thanks to the breeze…I mean come on! Don’t I sound like the perfectly spoilt child who could be more grateful about everything else she has? Well, now I feel a little bad cribbing about blog post-threatening situations that have tried hampering what could’ve been a better post, but let me also assure you that it’s so hard being one, too. (A spoilt child, that is)

In the interim, I actually came here to share this one picture with you and talk about it. But disorder, clutter, chaos and a jammed mind is, indeed the order of this day, and almost every other day (which is why it’s taken me such a deviation to get here).

IMG_2804

These really are a few of my favourite things and personalities and beings. This is what I was hoping to start reading today – An Antique Land. And somewhere in the aesthetics of this beautiful pile which I don’t want to disturb, is this marvelous piece I picked up earlier this year from a corner shop in a very crowded market kept under a pile of many other pieces.

IMG_2806

He’s so small, he fits in my palm. And yet his being transcends times and spaces that cannot be contained. He’s the Wednesday Buddha and isn’t he just so marvelous?  I guess you find your biggest, most prized discoveries in the darkest of corners. And something smaller than your palm makes infinity feel accommodated without clipping its boundless wings.

IMG_2807

Lastly, here’s something I came across that I had to share with you, and which also primarily drew me here to write. I’ve wondered why Haruki Murakami hasn’t come into my life yet. There is a time for everything and maybe I need more space with him, but hopefully this is an open window that allows the waves of a new writer to drench me.

I guess this sums up everything, and why, sometimes, it’s also important to complete the circle I feel I’m doing the round of. And oddly enough, I do feel calm, comforted and complete with this action. Strange are the ways of things.

Sun Chasing

25 Jan

The last week of January is making its way in with this weird time warp and all. It does feel like time is moving both slowly and fast; it’s confusing, and disorienting because I can’t ascertain how I feel. But it is here and post Sankrant and Basant Panchami, there has been a noticeable change in the shift of seasons. It is cold, but a cold that is comfortable and happy; cold enough for me to be able to roll down my window at 6am and embrace the morning air. It doesn’t get depressingly dark by 6pm anymore and the sun takes his time to stick around a bit longer, till about 645 or so. It’s heartwarming for a sun-chaser. It makes me undeniably thrilled. I love winter and will miss it, till next time. Spring has arrived. And everyone’s chasing the freshness of a Spring sun almost desperately. It’s a happy scene.

IMG_8050

Talking about happiness and desperation, I dreamt of the most vividly gorgeous red velvet cake day before. It was the kind of vivid that ensured I remembered just how it looked, felt, tasted and smelt; enough to drive me into the kitchen and bake one. Of course it wasn’t even close to being as ornate as the one in my dream was, but it was moist, tender, red and well…tasty. So it compensated in its own way.

IMG_8049

I’d reckon this is a fine way to begin any day, if you ask me. Cake and coffee hit the spot and always will. It’s the zing, the pep, the joy, the shot, the love we could do with once in a while. Really.

It’s turning out to be one of those weekends that doesn’t go as per plan. It’s the one weekend I was prepped to step out for some chores but ended up staying put at home, catching up on movies and books. Greasy Indo-Chinese food in the form of Chilli Chicken (dry) and Dragon Chopsuey (all of which can never ever be replicated at home or any decent Chinese restaurant in India) was had in the company of Sholay. It’s one of those combinations that is so typically Indian, so typically homely and so gorgeously sumptuous that one can never have enough of it. You know what I mean. Of course it’s another thing what that addictive Indo-Chinese grub can do to your system when mindlessly consumed because you can’t ever totally focus on your food when you’re watching Sholay. You’re either caught up with Gabbar and his (mind-blowing) acts or you’re singing along or you’re doing the obvious – mouthing lines along with the characters because really, can you count how many times you’ve watched this legendary Bollywood movie?

Talking about which, Birdman and The Imitation Game have been watched. The former took me a while to warm up to because I didn’t know what was going on…until I went and read its blurb on IMDb post which it started fitting in. And the latter, well, I’ve been waiting to watch it ever since I first watched its trailer sometime last year. I’m so glad there are people in this world who write books and make movies because really, who would’ve ever known about Alan Turing, The Enigma, and his contribution to this world, unless I was a computer engineer or a mathematician? It’s heartwarming to constantly learn and discover the many pages this worldbook is made up of; to bring to light unsung heroes and their passionate dedication to making this worldbook more intriguing and fascinating beyond the ordinary. And I of course thought that Benedict Cumberbatch was just right for the role. However, now it makes me miss Sherlock even more because I need to see him in his original role; because it’s been too long and because there technically should be no justification required.

And as if there wasn’t enough of a British influence on my days already, I’ve finally started reading The Silkworm. It’s been long, long overdue but then again, my kindle took over and I’ve refrained from starting anything new on it till at least this one gets done with because I spent some big monies on buying what is ultimately just a crime novel.

Before I return to reading, here’s what living with sun-chasers everywhere, feels like. Poppy (my last standing guinea pig) has his spot in the sun where he gathers all his food and also has his numerous REM sleep cycles. Every flower, plant and human hand in this balcony also seeks the sun, after mild tussles and pokes from thorny plants who may actually not appreciate sharing sun-time with the human and her hand.

IMG_8055

IMG_8056

IMG_8051

IMG_8052

IMG_8053

IMG_8054

Soak up that blissful springtime sun, won’t you? Have yourself a lovely Sunday!

Konverted

23 Jan

Last year was definitive when it came to reading. What I thought was an almost extinct habit, turned out to be just a phase of “not wanting to read”. As blasphemous as that sounds to a reader, it isn’t something that doesn’t happen. Because it does, no matter how astonishing. And it differs from person to person and from time to time, as everything else also does. It’s either a phase of not being able to read or not being able to start a book or not being able to see a book through…you name it and its there. And I think I suffered from all of it because there was a time when books could be read as frequently as well…one checks their phone these days. Of course that is a slight exaggeration because I’m a phone addict wherein I think my phone is (by the laws of being a phone slut) always attached to my hand. It isn’t really the same with books unless carrying a book or having a book by one’s pillow at all times, counts.

When I talk to friends about this, it starts to feel more like an age related thing. We more or less seem to be in a similar boat when we look back over the years. Back then it really didn’t take that long to finish a book and pick the next one up by default, unless you picked multiple books at once if you were that voracious a reader. And if you were a library member, then there was a definite timeline you ensured your reading took place under. I remember my library (which I ought to pay a visit sometime) gave us a period of two weeks from the date of borrowing a book. Whether you read one or ten, whether you read magazines, novels or comics, didn’t matter. Two weeks was it. And reading happened. Then you’d go back like clockwork and get yourself more books. And let’s not talk about holiday time. I just remember hoping so bad that the books I’d dreamed of reading would be around; that the library had had enough funds to buy as many copies of that book because really! everyone wanted that book, and now. It makes me sigh.

I remember the trend changing as the time to “grow up” made its way closer to my languorous life of pages and stories and characters. Books of a different kind took over and what you learnt from those books and how you produced your learnings on paper, gathered more steam. And it sort of remained like that till I finished my 12th grade. It’s not to say I didn’t read, but when I look back, I cannot remember much of what I read…except that it was the age of Potter, if I’m not mistaken. Reading came by force, quickly after, because I had chosen to study English Literature. It was the kind of reading I had never engaged in or dreamed of dabbling with; because Classics intimidate me. I must say I didn’t take Lit. by choice; that it was part and parcel of the combination of subjects that came along with what I wanted to study. Of course I hold no regrets; a book-lover can only ever be glad.

As my academic life progressed, my reading chapter dwindled. And then the world of work made its grand entry. You know what happens when that happens. And so it went. But all throughout, they stayed in touch…they were always there on the side, should I find the need to deep-dive into their pages and lose myself all over again. And somewhere along the way, they made a more definitive re-appearance in my life. Last year was one such. And I couldn’t have been happier. I cannot ever exit a bookshop empty handed. And so I’ve been gathering books I think may like to read, someday. I like the option of having choices…of being able to choose what I feel like reading and exploring. It’s comforting. And so I’ve been doing that. Last year was a good year where the drought seemed to slowly but surely fade away. I think.

And quite unexpectedly, a Kindle came my way. I’ve always stayed on the frays of this argument between the traditionalists and the not-so-traditionalists because I had no opinion. I never really thought of myself as a Kindle user or lover but now that I have one, I can’t seem to stop using it. For one, I’ve read more books in the last few months than I have in so many months collectively. Also, God is it an ease when you’re on the move? And let’s not get started about just how awesome it is to not have your hands/fingers/arms fall asleep as you prop a book up and read in bed. What works for me is that I don’t get to see the size of the book and imagine just how cumbersome a read it could possibly be; because that does affect my capacity to read and complete a book. It helps to not know. I think I’m addicted because while I’d finished the books loaded on my Kindle (barring one), I figured I’d return back to the ones I’d hoarded from before. It was (initially) a bit hard to get back to holding a physical book, flipping through its pages and propping it up in bed (it is a large book).

IMG_8010

 

At the end of the day, I do truly believe that it’s reading and the love for reading that counts, really. I wouldn’t be able to stand in favour of either side because I’m just happy to be able to read again and see a book through. And through all this reading, I am not ashamed to admit that I have been konverted with no regrets whatsoever. It’s a good thing. It’s those small joys that’s part of the larger joy only a book-lover can comprehend; because really, what better thing is there than to be able to just plain and simple, read?

IMG_6080

Becoming

20 Jan

I wasn’t prepared to write today. I was in bed just moments ago, trying to get through a book I’ve been savouring but prolonging beyond necessary. My Kindle says I’m about 30 minutes from completing it. And so I left it because 30 minutes isn’t much especially when something stirs you to get up from bed, haul yourself to the laptop and get back again; to write. It’s a blessing.

I’ve been reading Eat, Pray, Love (after having watched the movie first, in one of those rare switches that happens). It has agitated me from time to time which is why I’m unsure if 30 minutes will really be the 30 minutes the world of time knows. Perhaps. But then the book has left me in so many places at once – good places that make me put my book down and explore my new-found lands. Lands that have stars and contentment and peace and questions and sandy beaches and explorations and bicycle rides and magic and giving and taking… lands that make me think about the universe, of life, of sensibilities, of experiences, of exultation, of emotions. It’s all too much to find yourself amid. But it’s poetry nonetheless. And I’d like to use the word poetry because it’s as decipherable as the next enigma. There lie so many questions and so many answers and possibilities and so many chances and opportunities… it’s a marvelous place to be lost in and let go in, because it’s poetry.

Talking about poetry, I’m a part of this one group that sits a little at the edge of the others that fill in the spaces of my small universe. I’d like to think of it that way – just aptly situated at the edge of a starry universe where one talks about life, love, magic, the heart’s love affairs, the mind’s midnight walks, and beer. I’m not sure how the conversation began but it invariably led to poetry. I think we were discussing this concept Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her book – something on the lines of “being a drop in the ocean and the ocean being in a drop” – which revolves around the concept of our soul and working on it, to some extent and in a singular perception, of course.

But isn’t that poetic? To think of us not just as a drop in the ocean but to realize that the ocean is in a drop too? How magnificent in its ability to change perspectives and highlight the beauty of the whole, the concept of infinity (which was also something we were simultaneously talking about on the group as well) and the image of a continuum.

I connect this to poetry because of its diverse ability to give as you wish to take; for who can be a poet except someone who allows those one-minded walls to free-fall and become fluid? I’m not sure if I’m making sense but you understand what encountering poetry does to you, right? It makes me levitate, to simply put it… it enables me to drift and explore meanings that tremble like leaves and flower petals waiting to be touched, smelt, felt.

Who else can be a poet but someone who can become and allow becoming? To manifest and to allow manifestation. To grow and to allow blossoming. To live and to allow life. What else can poetry be but sharing?

It was through this that one of them shared their poems which, when I chanced my senses on it, made me want to come here and write. And share. Because you should read it. And dive into it. And let it take you places you may like to visit but haven’t yet. I’m also giving you the music that took him to where he was when he wrote this and which could possibly do the same to you too. Thank you for allowing me to share this, A-man.

I LIVE AGAIN
(By ASP)

While the plastic bags do their dance in wind,
I bind, unbind and bind again.
For little mercies and Her mightiness,
I close my eyes and live again.

What one saw is what’s on the mind,
And there She was, sweet-singing glee.
I walked to Her and asked for me,
She sang her song and let me be!

Then a story and once more a song,
And this time I knew, she wasn’t just the sound or smell.
The ocean was a drop and dense as well,
Exploded, eroded, I let it dwell.

The time was when time stood still,
There was space and continuum too.
All I am is also a rock or hill,
I waited for light to dawn and fill.

In her tactful whisper she yelled at me,
Hey you, close your eyes and live again.

Now tell me, isn’t there poetry in sharing? And becoming?

Magic

8 Mar

It’s been such a wishy-washy unplanned Saturday. I find myself back here again because I don’t think I’ve written to my heart’s content.

IMG_8993 IMG_9008 IMG_9044 IMG_9045 IMG_9047 IMG_9049 IMG_9056

The city is at its spectacular best. There really is magic and poetry everywhere, ever more than I’ve seen in such a long time. And the thing about magic is that there’s only so much you can capture; the rest is just meant to be be felt. There’s something in the air. Can you feel it too?

There have been walks, a bit of shopping, a Starbucks entry, book shopping at Blossoms (because how can you ever come out of a book or stationery shop empty handed?) and a general sense of awe at the city. If you’re here right now, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. There really is just something in the air. Magic.

My cousin brother came home today after a long time and we spent the evening out together. We also decided to give up on our Starbucks virginity. It’s safe to say that I don’t do women. At all. ;)

And while we were on our way back home, we spotted birds migrating in quite a large number. On closer inspection, we found them to be bats. I’ve never really seen a spectacle such as that. I only hope they’re going places because it’s a habit, not because they lost a habitat. Again, there’s only so much I could wrench my head out of an auto and get on camera.

While the mother and I aren’t exactly patriots of International Women’s Day, I think my brother could be because I came back home to flowers. There were bunches of lilies, gerberas, tube roses and daisies, I think. One bunch of flowers for ma and one for me. He knows how to surprise his ladies. Very well. He has taste. Plus he’s been brought up well. ;) So I think he’ll do more than just okay on that front.

IMG_9070 IMG_9071 IMG_9069 IMG_9068

There’s something about nights. And tonight, after writing this post out, I’ve decided to pick Alice Munro and give her a read. I’ve never read her before and it’s the line “women who refuse to be contained” in the blurb of the book that caught my attention. It’s great to let go in a book store and discover an author on a whim or on a line such as this. Let’s see how she works on my tastebuds and if she lingers.

I also cannot wait to dive into Khushwant Singh’s collection of short stories I picked up – The Portrait of a Lady. I’ve read his ‘The Company of Women’ back when I was doing my Masters and I thought it was quite beautiful in its own way. So if Alice Munro disappoints me, I have Mr. Singh to fall back on. And I’ve always been fascinated with Anna Karenina. I’ve always wanted to get acquainted with this character and while my mind wants something light to get back to at the end of every day as I welcome sleep with a book, I hope she and I get along. I really do want to get to know her.

Sometimes all you ever need is a book. Or a story. To walk with an author through the doors and corridors of a story playing out. To engage but stay dissociated. But of course there are times when that’s hard to do, when you cannot let a book not get to you. Books…they’re capsules of magic we’re gifted with, where words and stories mould themselves to encapsulate you and make you their own. Sometimes you leave. Sometimes you don’t. And that’s where the magic lies.

Have a beautiful evening and a lovely Sunday ahead.

Change

27 Feb

It has (finally?) come to my senses that change is inevitable. Not that I didn’t know of its existence or of its tricks. It’s just that change sprung in that surprise element in my life from nowhere (well that’s what it’s all about, anyway). Though it still surprises me (and will continue to do so), I’m trying to not let that element of surprise get the better of me. Today has been a day that’s shown me just what change really is capable of. It’s been an overwhelming day at work with change swishing its wand all over the place.

IMG_8871

We’re also shifting offices, in that, we’re moving. I don’t think that requires an enunciation of the change that will sweep over us all. Not that we need to physically move in order to see what will ensue. It’s in the air and has been in the air for a while. It reeks of change. Of course with every deviation in a path, there lies speculation, thought, expectation and possibility: change, change, change. This is just one small example of the change that’s been such a constant feature everywhere. And somewhere down the line, I asked myself what would happen if I just let those reins go. It’s hard for a control freak, you know?

I think I mentioned it here, in this post, sometime back…of the need to let go and stop fighting. To keep fighting change, to be in control every single time is so exhausting. You control freaks out there, you know what I’m talking about.

And so I’m trying really hard. I’m trying to let go. I’m trying not to let the universe’s way overcome me and drown me. I’m trying to let it all exist by my side…I’m really trying to do the balance thing here and see how that goes.

It makes me feel rather calm and perhaps even makes me a better person. Maybe it’s because I’ve stopped caring or because it feels so darn good to just.let.go and do your own thing while the universe does its own thing. Peaceful coexistence is my new mantra. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’ve become a vegetable or have become ignorant/passive towards everything. We weren’t born passive, neither were we meant to be passive and passive just isn’t my style. But this new scheme works. However, knowing myself, it’s only a matter of time till we know how long something as idealistic as letting go for a control freak it takes to not drive them even more crazy than they already are.

Moving on to happier stuff, I’ve finally managed to finish reading my second book for the year: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I’m chuffed that I’ve finished two books this year. It’s a miracle. Yes, I’m pathetic. I just happened to buy this book because I entered a book shop and of course it’s against the law to leave a book and/or stationery store empty handed. I like having options even though I may read just a percentage of the books I own. It’s a weird book lover’s quirk. I’m sure you have it too. I’m sure you have books piled up and piling up still, all of which you haven’t read. Yes, we were born to meet for a reason. :)

So I bought this and kept it in my book almirah. Then I bought other books and kept them in the almirah too. Then I bought a book at the airport because I had to, even though I can seldom never read on a plane. The constant background whirring of the engines and the book, combined with the AC and the warmth from the window make me doze and I’m really particular about my so called ladylike image (yes, we’re all allowed to have pretend personas). I cannot imagine dozing or passing out on a stranger’s shoulder. It just won’t do. Reading on trains, however, is something I look forward to (once I can’t look out of the window anymore, i.e.).

The Lowland was an easy read and wasn’t too heavy. It didn’t take me much time to read. I always enjoy Indian authors and I always enjoy the diaspora. However, no matter how beautiful her style of writing and storytelling, I thought the book was okay. Maybe I’m in that phase where I want something positive, encouraging and something on the lines of happily ever after (ah, some people never grow up). I stopped reading Unaccustomed Earth because it depressed me. Some part of one of the short stories made me feel sad. And so I kept it aside. This wasn’t very positive either. And while we know life’s quite the bitch, I think I’m in a zone which makes me want a happy ending at the end, cliches apart.

And so I decided I’d pick a lighter book to read and guess what I picked.

IMG_8874 Talk about being crazy. Talk about wanting something light. Clearly I’ve got my genres right.

Anyhoo, I’ve never read him. I’ve heard a lot about him. I look forward to reading him. Let’s see if I can hold on to him. And if it’s more than what my mind can handle at the moment, you aren’t allowed to judge me for being incapable of finishing a very light (weight) novel.

Oh. And this book is much older than I am. I mean the book, not the novel. And so its pages are like this. And that makes me feel immensely happy and satisfied. Needless to say, I’ve sniffed the pages countless times already and thankfully no silverfish have scurried into my nose. Here’s the book lover quirk 71238.

IMG_8875

And I’ve got this to keep me company today evening. A missed lunch equals going all out for a snack. There’s butter and there’s alcohol involved. That’s my take on “healthy”. And tackling change. ;) :)

IMG_8872 IMG_8873

Sorry for the unlimited/brash use of ‘and’ in my sentences. I have studied grammar as a separate subject and I can’t promise I’ll stop, irrespective of my so called educational credentials. It’s a disease. :)

Have a lovely evening.

Narcissism

26 Feb

I happened to catch bits of the movie “Julie & Julia” on Monday but stopped watching it after a while. No, the movie wasn’t bad at all. But it’s just that I have this weird compulsion to watch a movie only if I catch it right from the beginning. Yes, you can gasp but that’s just how I am. To briefly deviate, what I’m also trying to do, slowly but surely, and very consciously, is to avoid using the term OCD unless I am, of course, referring to the disorder. I think it’s important to mention it, given that I’ve spent 100% of my higher educational life majoring in psychology. So those of you who noticed the replacement of OCD with just the word compulsion, I’m glad you did. It really does matter. Just like how it’s not okay to throw the word retard around, apart from so many others. But that’s for another discussion, if it comes up.

I’m not here to talk either about the movie or the disorder. It’s something that Julie (Amy Adams) said in the movie that struck me. It was in reference to her blog and to blogging in general and she said something on the lines of how blogging is so narcissistic, given that you’re blogging on your own personal blog, of course (or even on other spaces, for that matter). That one’s blog is essentially about the blogger and that you’re the centre of that blog universe.

I’ve always wondered how one balances that out. How one were to (very consciously) use third person instead of first person, so to speak. Striking that balance seemed important because wouldn’t it be so pompous to centre all your posts around you, you and only you? Wouldn’t that just be such a drag, such a bore? I tried thinking of times when one would write about anything but themselves, but I couldn’t. The topic of discussion/ventilation/presentation could be far removed from the individual blogger, but essentially, it is all about the blogger and just the blogger. And as a blogger, I’ve got to be okay with the I, me, myself attitude at some level without being obnoxious about it, of course. Even if I was to boil it right down to the most basic, deep component of what is written here and why, it still all leads to me (the blogger), irrespective of who wrote it or opined over it.

You’d think it to be quite obvious and look at me funnily and ask if I’d finally gone cuckoo, but it’s not something that strikes one that easily. Or so I think. At least the dud head in me took Julie Powell to get the job done.

Why’s it worthy of a blog post? Because while this could be a sad excuse to get another post out to keep the flow going, it’s really about that light bulb that came alive. I know I’ll feel a lot less guilty for traipsing around this place and calling it my very own own own own. Also, I’ve equated it to how writers do the same. Of course a book isn’t ever dissociated or detached from its writer. I sincerely do believe that. The writer comes alive and lives in the books he/she writes. And gets to be the coolest and baddest character. And all of it. Bloggers are somewhere on that same path as well. Except I personally, really do believe that blogging (a blogger) and writing (a writer) aren’t the same. I’m weird, I know. But that shadow, however prominent, always exists and always will, irrespective.

Thank you for listening.