Friday, December 23, 2011
Not on Loksabha TV. Which is in recent times, going much beyond carrying inaninities on the latest political discussion or debate. Which is anyway a drama, an expensive one!
Fantastic program on one of the land’s greatest quawwals, Meraj Ahmed Nizami saab.
One of the pieces they performed had long ago been part of our classical music learning-- Hazrat Khwaja sang kheliye dhamar
I winced when he said women cannot sing the qawwali. Some other life time then. (Or maybe as long as it is not a prayer at a shrine, it is permitted as my faith is different, and Sufism is all about one's personal connect)
And I clapped when the youngsters picked up, supported, strengthened the aging maestro’s sur, tone.
More on him here: http://www.mabelis.nl/Qawwali/merajnizami/meraj.asp
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Riveting story. Dry wit. Detailed, intricate Claymation.
On the back-home front, the MSU Fine Arts Fair is on Dec 23 and 24. if you're there, please go!
I still own art (cards) and a fired-mud container I'd picked up from there. Maybe 20 years ago.
Amazing energy to the fair, great ambience, out-of-the-world art.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Come to my window, world, and tell me your tales. Come when the day is young, and the trees alight with bird chatter, and in the far distance the strain of a devotional song speak out to the day. Or at night perhaps when pinpricks of light from impossibly huddled homes are set off past the black outline of the trees. Embroider the silence with your tales when the sky is peach, and a pretty pink sheen reflects off these white walls.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
kya duniya hai!
zindagi khwab hai.. khwab mein sach hai kya, aur bhala, jhooth kya...
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
There is so much of life around only if we’d take the time to see.
Monday, November 07, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
a year and one day,
now I seek you
in the scattered sunshine
golden shower on green
rock strewn paths.
orange lanterns, chinese
bobbing on a giant tree
light bedecked sky
ushering in the new year
as also in
the graceful arc of a perfect star
as it balances on velvet black
then dips into the surf
clamoring on rocky shore
ever so gently
from light unto light
as the hymn says
ever so gently
Monday, October 24, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Amazing, and not only the teak.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Was stunned to find madurashtakam online, thanks to google devta. The words felt so good—and I remembered the words right, specially the refrain.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Once the color was stripped off, the layers of grime and dust and grubby fingerprints and whatnot of the decades scraped off, the magic of the wood beneath—just wondrous , breathtaking. To watch sunlight seep into the wood-- what a treasure.
So grateful for the near misses, the regrets one has been handed on a silver platter with a flourish, the ugly thanks-but-no-thanks. Yes, of course I wasn’t grateful then, cried and flailed my arms about and stomped my feet and roared—figuratively speaking, but of course, and some literally speaking too, if I must be honest.
But in retrospect—what a gift. What a brilliant gift. For a hurting, ugly state I would have been in, if not for this gratis bonus—broken and despairing…or adjusting, giving up little bits of myself being nice till it hurt and till the cows came home.
Who said I was nice?
Reading this later, I saw that in the words above, gratitude was missing, overtaken by the hurt but-- the overwhelming residual is gratitude, for life events, for roles played no matter how finite, for the lessons learned, insights into self, and yes,soul connect that one had only read about. Perhaps it is like teak,this scraping and stripping,bootcamp, raw treatment before what is essentially you, your self is revealed.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Or perhaps time for you to inhabit another lifetime, take baby steps again, learn to coo and lisp and in time, talk and run, and in thinking so-- see my own selfishness, in the hope that our paths should some day , but for certain,cross. And I know probably not, for you’d paid too many dues and learned too deeply in the real sense of the word, you’d taken the essence of the scriptures and instilled it in your life, to ever have to relive the ups and downs of a life cycle again.
You will go on, but what ever shall I do?
Monday, October 10, 2011
Would you know?
streaming on green
that translucence that filters
holding a huge full moon in place
smoky radiance swirls
just close your eyes tight
the horizon at dusk
several purples, mauves and dark
irregular bands race above
Would you know
What color it is?
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Durga Puja is celebrated
the old fashioned way
with flowers, lamps and age-old prayers
perfectly recited by the monks
Sanskrit words resounding in the hall where
A perfectly featured image of the Mother
Bedecked in red silk and gold
Her eyes large, all-seeing and kind, stands
The weapons of destruction and deliverance, in her many hands
blesses the crowd in their traditional finery
The flower decked altar also holds the Lord Ganpati, the remover of obstacles,
And the Goddess of wealth and the Goddess of learning
And Lord Kartikeyan, patron of the arts
Between them covering the four stages of a lifespan
The four aspirations of human living
the throb and surge of life-energy
Manifestations, also of the same spirit, Shakti,
That moves and sustains, and occasionally, shakes up, overturns
I’ve returned renewed
Certain that the many interventions
The strangers who’ve been kinder, more gracious than family
fortunate chance but more often than not
The uncertainties, the many misses
That shape one’s life story
Played out too, to a celestial rhythm
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Monday, October 03, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
A musical, seen this Sunday
Performed with minimal props
featured performances that gleam
burnished with years of rigorous classical training
Pitch perfect, the notes quiver and turn and float in the air
In the quiet amphitheater
No room for improvisation
The audience a scarce inch away
That traced the evolution of Indian classical music
Through the ages
Even as the country was overrun with invaders of various vintage
From the Mughals to the British
Thumri, tappa, chaiti, hori, kajri
Derived from the classical,
giving lifebreath to the classical
Forms that survived, thrived,
A thread inching, meandering,
Insistent, full throated
Through these centuries
From the rendition of a dancing girl
Who sneaked in a freedom song in her performance
At the behest of the Mahatma
To the sincere if fumbling, warbling
Of Lady Elizabeth Hastings
Who tried to learn this difficult form of entertainment
From a polished native performer of the arts.
And so many other tales.
Even as I clapped to the beat, and hummed and cheered and laughed
Flashes of yesterday
Crept in unannounced;
Of notes filtering past the heat haze
Of voices in unison, rising skywards
A fun duet, now competing, now out-doing
In the manner of the young
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The child who wandered by the roadside
Looked out of place in this maze of industrial-office blocks
Even as cars zipped by
to drop important personage to important meetings.
Was not a slum kid, not a beggar
Her face clean
Pretty bangles on her wrist
Blue flip flops
She willingly gives me her hand
As I take her to a nearby construction site
That I presume she’s wandered off from
“Where’s mummy?” I ask, looking around for a laborer, maybe the mason’s wife
She points to an office block next door
“Biscuit” she lisps.
And even as I peel off the glittery wrapping
I can only wonder
At the compulsions
And life story
Of a woman who’d perforce leave her child
Wandering by the roadside
Some sun-dappled afternoon
Monday, September 19, 2011
I stare at my face in the mirror
And wonder about you
My nose is like yours, they say.
(but only when I’m good)
I stare at my face in the mirror
Trace fine lines
About lifetimes, crisscrossing paths, DNA imprints
And wonder about
Free choice, chance, fate
And other unknowns
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
(for a life time)
Is that dreams can come true
Even impossible ones
That young girl from a remote village in the Himalayas
Made it to Prague film school
Sponsored by unnamed strangers
Who chipped in, piecemeal
Penny by penny
Like that ad says,
keep your head down, and keep walking.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
That early morning awakening
After checking the clock every hour past midnight
Leaving home at 4, determined, devout
The journey, traffic on the road
The twenty minute walk to find the end of the line
Past vendors, children, trinket-sellers, crowds
With trumpets, balloons, toys to sell.
The rush rush rush to hold on to your place
as the line winds past the lanes of Byculla
Negotiating a tricky maze, and then again
Just holding on, nudging, jostling in that few thousand strong crowd
For a glimpse of the deity, but fleeting
Before you’re pushed out
Yet, something’s changed,
you know your year’s moved to a new plane.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
From having the faith battered a few hundred times, like an old tin can
From hitting ground zero with no where to go
Once too often
from knowing edge-of-the-mind distraught
And coming full circle.
From coincidences that fall in place, Oh… like that.
And missing catastrophe by a whisker’s breadth.
For the lessons of a bitter decade, in retrospect, amazing grace.
From glittering empty roads that you try to master, literally and figuratively,
fumbling, heart a-thunder
From the clatter of shrouded gurneys that pass by your head as you do ICU vigil
From trembling courage as you gather piles of new clothes now useless, for charity
From events that seem life shattering, but a boon in retrospect
From the people you meet. Over and over again.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Or so the prayer’s verse goes.
This is what I see:
The cycle of seasons, of rain pelting earth
Of the pulsating beat of colors and echoes that rebound
Exploding volcanoes, and crashing trees, red hot magma surging
In a blink of an eye, a lifespan, the three ages
The rise and collapse of civilizations, and crumbling ruins of Mohenjodaro
Wind ruffles the grass as it flows past
A heart thudding, lifeblood coursing through infinite channels
Traced by a machine beep
The swell of tides under a moonlit sky
Of the howl of wind across a bare desert
Magna throbbing in the center of the earth
That surge of green as sap gushes skywards
Pulsating stars in the deepest void
That intricate dance of infinite city lights
Of traffic rushing, blending, diverging, through
The world’s freeways
Of intellect, of a man’s grasp exceeding his reach,
Verily, you are this.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
We saluted the flag
Sang out loud the national anthem
Remembered the valiant
The challengers of an Empire’s might
Remembered the time when the cry for freedom
Rang out from coast to coast, and adrenalin charged in the veins
Pulled out sepia memories of the greats
Gandhiji Nehru Patel
And the forgotten, the sacrifices of the untold millions
A steel backbone, the shared heritage
Today, we’re back to examining the meaning of freedom
Past potholed, traffic choked roads
Lined by a wave of regrets, lost opportunity and paved by endless corruption
Scandals and tattered reputations,
That submerge a gasping nation
Widening, ripping apart the chasm
Yet we remain stoutly democratic
A nation of so many differences, yet we remain bonded, defiant
Surely that counts for something.
Yet this morning
an 84 year Gandhian was arrested for speaking his mind
asking for the nation’s accounts
Thursday, August 11, 2011
And remember that equation for cellular level energy, ADP Plus P equals ATP? Magical, the way in which we systematically pick up energy from the food we eat, tuck it away into cells in pockets of energy until needed, no use before date, and so seamless the uptake and infinitely economical the usage. Brilliantly neat.
And the powers that devised these may therefore be trusted to keep the world up and running much after we’re done.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
A banyan tree felled
A giant of a tree
bark gnarled, white-weathered with the years
its shoot-tree canopy destroyed too
snapped, like matchsticks
Too furious a storm, perhaps
I stare at the location
Right outside the Dept. of Sanskrit studies
Peeling paint, turn-of-century building
But the parking lot is full
I walk away.
All of us in white
I stare at the ancestors on the wall
Charcoal on white
And your portrait joins them
The last of the elders
A few teardrops
Your voice, the angle of your head, something you’d say
A banyan tree felled
A giant of a tree
Friday, August 05, 2011
Visual colossal—overwhelming, brilliantly beautiful but too much of brilliant, that gets into your eyes..
Terse. Non-linear. Connect the dots.
Whispers… Too much hinted at.
Too much space for interpretation. One wonders what one missed in an eyeblink.
Was it worth braving the traffic and rain? Yep.
Would I see it again? Dunno, maybe.
"There are only two ways, the way of nature or the way of grace..."
Monday, August 01, 2011
Fifty plus years of widowhood, borne with cheer. And duty, and devotion, patience and all the extolled virtues, but I’m not sure what it did to you as a person, to your core. That person we’d see sometimes, irrepressible bits would pop out, and the once-singer would warble a tune, the once-theater performer would deliver a line with aplomb.
Unsteady on your feet, your bones brittle with two decades of steroid and thyroid medicine, you'd restricted your interactions with the outside world. Your hand would tremble, you’d given up writing, and your signature was a scrawl.And yes, the frequent falls. Yet every time I’d drop in, you’d regale me with laughter and a tale or two, and I’d scour your kitchen the way I used to when I was a broke student.
I often left angry, seeing in your tale a reflection of my life and possibly, fate, and determined to will it otherwise.
Let this memory be your last bequest to me.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
There’s one pro, and matching it, the one con
Fitting, like the teeth in a jigsaw puzzle piece
So one of this, to one of that;
That's what I've always thought.
But there can be SO many facets to a story.
Depends on the retelling. The version.
Each side fully believes it is RIGHT.
That great injustice has been done.
Even if it means summoning up the Gods.
Or questioning parentage. At hyper-volume.
But not my problem.
So beyond sympathy most non committal.
And sounding equally indignant to both parties
And a shrug or two. “It happens”
while the brokers slug it out
No holds barred
I shall remain “god-fearing, naïve”
Perhaps good enough for a life philosophy?
Monday, July 18, 2011
Even as rained clothed the skies in serenity
We’d gathered early morn
For an invocation to the Lord
devotees in orderly rows, sitting by offerings of flowers and lamps,
As chants of the 1000 names rose sky-wards
in age-old prayer and supplication
each syllable ringing clear
It dawned upon me
How ever generation has its own demons, its own *kurukshetra*
Time after time, a call to arms
Battle lines drawn in the sand
Armies at the ready
A call to battle,
to defend the righteous
As also the weak
Each of us an Arjuna, battle-ready, yet
plagued by self doubt
Trapped in a quicksand: do’s, dont’s, rights, wrongs
History, modern expectations, and demands that hold us back,
Our battles fought in tightly packed lanes.
winding by lanes crammed with turn of last century’s buildings.
As also swanky shopping malls, multiplexes and such like
Our enemy yellow-livered
just as sly, unfathomable
why, he may even be one amongst us--
and going by the record strictly
the enemy seems to be winning, hands down.
While reams of old newsprint are stacked
Splattered with undone lives
Perhaps it is time to abandon what is not working
Stop cowering behind closed doors
For how long will prayers, pleas, supplication work?
What will it take
For this Arjuna to be challenged
What call to arms?
Friday, July 15, 2011
A day of gratitude and remembrance
Not that life-debts and knowledge dues can be ever repaid
Gratitude bridging many lifetimes
First remembering the parent, and both the mothers, the giver of life and the one who shaped life,
Then the triumvirate of Gods, and the Remover of Obstacles you annote as your personal deity,
And yes, the learned sage prehistoric that you trace your lineage to, somewhat reluctantly
Wondering if anything you’ve done this lifetime,
Anything you’ve ever done, justifies a linkage, however tenuous.
Remembering the forefathers, all the names you can remember
the geneline, strong on obdurance and integrity
Which you think you’ve somewhat inherited, toned down to this world we live in,
And steel backbone, to enable you to stand tall
And the other, diplomatic, which you wish you had.
And the many many teachers who’ve lit your way.
Miss Ganguly in Class 1, and that prize for being good,
What a gesture for a child coping with life events.
All the teachers you helped you struggle with the vagaries of language
And the mysteries of science
And build an abiding interest in current affairs.
Even if chemistry formulae had to be written on walls and trembling Hindi underlined
Thinking of how 5 years of school and 2 years of the pg
Were the only place you ever learnt anything,
Even if the later lessons were real-life, grow-up-quick
Lessons that repeated over and over again, until you’d get them right
And yes, the arts, colors and tone and rhythm
Indebted forever to the one who painted new vistas
Subluminal lessons of persistence and patience and doing-over and experimentation.
Hundred-eight repetitions of the *sargam*
And now the teachers in distant lands, how generous they’ve been
A stumbling, falling into the sea of verse and prose
Amazing, but they’ve kept you afloat
Sane. In line.
So yes, a day of gratitude and respect
So many teachers, so many lifetimes
Not enough words.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Anything but the spirit of the city
Resilient survivor of shattered glass
Like a battered abuse survivor--resilient but also a partaker, silent
So, the rains would do
Now that its been raining nonstop
Rain drumming over the covered roof at work
The wind whistling as it races uphill
Rain drumming on the downstair neighbors’ awning
Sometimes fine English rain but mostly in your face rain that impinges
Gets into your eyes and brain
Makes a joke of raingear
Not to mention the flooded roads that were paved not too long ago
If you cant see it, its not there,
Rain that brings long forgotten streams and rivulets to life
Nonstop this week, all this week
The skies overcast and the birds silent
perhaps we have enough water to last
this filled-to-the-brim and spilling-over city
enough water to quench
its unending thirst
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Crisp paperwork and signatures done;
cheques signed with particular flourish
The deal tied up
I was shocked-- at how tiny it seemed
As it had before
And it did, again
But getting my foot in the door, that’s what mattered.
The security of my own home, that’s what mattered
So yes, tiny square footage, all mine
Along with banyan tree and view to the horizon
But I was still shocked. And worried.
About vintage, teak. And fitting it all in.
Until I came across
apartment therapy and their cool contest
for tiny spaces, some tinier than mine
all the entries jostling for delight
but oh so elegant with texture, color and light
So to the magic worked by strangers in distant lands,
Specially Beth in Sausalito, color and style compacted
a cheery cottage so nimble you wouldn’t believe it
My everlasting gratitude
Monday, July 04, 2011
Not much of a thinker
But these days most mornings
I find myself idling
With nothing in particular
Not as if I’m blue, in a funk
That idle dullness is different, a gritty quicksand
Pulling you deep into murky depths
Crashing headlong into a wall.
None of that!
But I sit around, looking at the greens
And the sky
And sunlight on the wall
And if its night, that rich red that the sky can take
The patterns of light in the neighbor’s window
And nothing much in particular
So I watch.
And then I move. Until the next time.
Of course meals get cooked
Taxes get paid
The cheque book’s balanced and
I log into work and log out
But no, these days I’m not shooting for the moon
No Don Quixote at hypothetical windmills
No grand stories of theft or crime impale polite readers on the writing list
Nor have erudite editors been bombarded by third world tales they have no interest in.
I’m taking it inch by inch
The world can wait
Thursday, June 30, 2011
(Hundred one, hundred-two, who knows?)
Is a good time to eke out a philosophy of life
Not exactly novel,
so with a salute and apology to all the philosophers--
One way is the blazing meteor
Fast and furious, pinnacle breached effortless.
These sort are ambidextrous,
learn dancing and Spanish and algorithms with the same effortless ease,
while whistling in metre
The other way is the slow-plod
For the slow coach;
Plodding on step by painful step—but not as linear
So many detours and re-do’s and rejections, failed tries and retries
And wastage and warnings and chemistry formulae written on the walls,
All the better to memorize.
Yes, that’s mine
So given time, you learn to duck, deflect, shake off
Turn a deaf ear to naysayers and wellwishers
And learn to live with what is
Nothing very dramatic, this adhesive of ploddingitis
No paens, no eulogies or odes
Save for the afflicted
An odd satisfaction
On eventual attainment, closure or completion.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
(Like the strains of a Mohd. Rafi song
His voice rich and sweet, but the sadness!
Still seeps through some sixty years after;
Sixty years after the celluloid the stories were printed on
cracked to a brittle nothing)
So, these times are bittersweet
As disjointed as the paan-tinted, tile-lined government building
Housing divorces, marriages, building registrations under the same roof
Which skeptic must have evilly grinned at
This harmony of joining for seven lifetimes, and breaking asunder?
These are strange times
And I while away hours, waiting for files to move,
Watching the milling crowds
The black robed, the hopefuls, the angst-ridden, the touts
And the distant stream of cars glide beneath a green leaf canopy
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
In this disdain for the limelight
In fealty to the craft, no more, no less
A tale, when there’s one to be told,
(such an old fashioned word, fealty
I turn the words around, savor the taste)
No pr spiel, no oversell
No shiny smiles, no sound byte
Just a simple tale, and a tale told well
That breezy light, play of wind and rain
A church spire outlined in the evening light
sustenance anchored in wealth of the soil
The rush of sap to sequoia leaf- arch
Long lost echo, laughter gale of tag
And such it was, and will be again
And I have not even seen the movie.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Well, she's walking through the clouds
with a circus mind
that's running wild
Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams
and fairy tales
That's all she ever thinks about...
Riding with the wind
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
While the police were asleep
Not midnight but at two in the afternoon
A scribe, senior crime beat chief
Was shot down, in a posh lane
Not too far from his home.
So do they teach this at media school
This job hazard
Live by your creed and pen, fearless
Chase the oil mafia, water mafia, land mafia, police nexus
unravel the connects, cross connects, the give and take,
But always keep your will handy
For you never know
When you stub an invisible line
Trigger a bullet hailstorm
What coward hired gun
Pumps eight bullets close distance
Burns tire running away
The lone biker no more
The real villain roams loose
Mafia man or politico
Which cutting edge story, which expose
Pushed the buttons, scorched too close?
Now, if this were Bollywood,
We’d have staccato beat, clues unearthed
And a killer brought to justice by the last frame
Not pelting rain
That made a joke of the sketch the police circulated
Of the pipsqueak that ran tail
The scribe martyred, mowed down
So close to home
The vermin a needle in this city’s teeming haystack
Or ferreted to some distant corner
Never to be traced.
The goons changed faces, put on new names
But no escape, no succour or refuge , no place on earth
Saves from a mother’s wrath
And a wife’s lament
Because I like endings, I believe
justice of some kind will be done
Saturday, June 11, 2011
chase the banks
nitpick, cross check dates
poring over yellowing notepaper
covered in your fragile handwriting.
Fight with strangers over polite email
You’d have done it too,
shaking a fist at idiots
grimacing over the phone line, dulcet.
Is that being judgmental?
Nothing poetic I’m afraid,
about being a bad copy.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
To celebrate Emerson's 208th birthday, The Domino Project is republishing a work of art that's especially relevant today. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson urges readers to trust their intuition rather than conforming to the will of the majority
#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future. 30 prompts from inspiring thought-leaders will guide you on your writing journey.
I signed up for the prompt y’day, and took the journal route; pen and paper, my scrawl honest, direct hard-hitting and very personal as I wrote to myself five years ago and five years from now. Amazing exercise. Some things are best left off line
Monday, June 06, 2011
Must read that essay like a mantra.
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Eddies race, gush swirl downhill
Kinetic energy, unleashed
Sometime a river here, the water remembers
A clap makes you jump
Flashes of daylight
A church outlined.
Raintime medley, marching music
Tunes to wade, slosh to
Snatches, an antra here, club song chorus there
Music to whistle in the dark
Ladies and gentlemen, announcing the advent
The first ever rain!
Sun kissed morning
My usual park
Raindrops edge a bough
Thursday, June 02, 2011
wind whips the gulmohars
mrignayni waits by the window
Frangipani, cloud in blue sky
The sea beneath - a glittering carpet
One could get used to this lifestyle
Incisive suits, sharp questions
The ocean generous, past the French windows
I better sit with my back to the view
Old ruin of a mansion, but what a mansion
Curving staircase, vast porch, balustrades
What a grand place this must have been
The nameplate faded, tattletale
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Builds a energy difficult to define
Voices reach skywards, soar
Past the lamps, past the rangoli and marigolds
Irrelevancies, inconsequentials fall away
Sanctity-- perhaps this is what it means
The amaltas are a shade paler now
Holding on to the sight of a cloud or two
The sun burns deep
humidity plasters the air
Monday, May 30, 2011
The kid and I used to have these laughter gales when neither of us could stop
laughing. And we'd have to stop because we'd be out of breath.
In years, I said.
Thank you, Amole Gupte.
Thank you, Stanley ka dabba.
What a kickass movie.
How can your life view not change after watching this.
When we went in, we were frowny, discussing money, inflation, taxes, knees and etc.
We came out laughing- sobered. How can you crib and moan after this.How.
Remembering my own dabba- a pinkish tiffin from kg onwards,
accompanied me thru various schools, gangs, groups, lunch under the mango tree.
Saluting Arora madam how terribly nice and patient she was with our
queries in Hindi,nonstop "difficult word maam, difficulty maam..." Not khadoos at all.
Also remembering Mrs Ganguly, classteacher, class 1, and whatever made her select me for a good behavior award that particular year, what exactly did she see, what did she latch on to, haven't figured out yet. The first and last of good behavior awards.
Go see the movie.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
And I thought it only happened in fiction…Why do two people who once evidently cared for each other, willingly and willfully set out to destroy the other to nothingness, a pale shadow of their former selves? Past the cardboard pretence, so much so that there is nothing left, nothing much that one could call worthy or respected, at most tolerance, a living arrangement? Does familiarity breed contempt, after which ennui sets in, ensuring you whittle away at all that was vital, good and pure once? And fool me, I thought people were meant to grow together, reach for the sunlight, with overlapping and independent areas of interest.
To life, then...
EDITED: This is not about me.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Watching deadlines whiz past overhead.
Sometimes chasing them.
Sometimes letting them go
At work and words.
Precarious life balance, imbalance
Impatience, tacky, not quality work
Want to hide in the hills
(go home, turn the clock back, but there is no home)
Work and non-work
The words dried out
Till I grit my teeth, pull them words out.
The other day, a mint fresh copy of Reading Hour landed on my desk,
has "Flight from the Bastions".
Earlier issues: 7, Chinar Woods. Shefali Kamdar (trans.)
The nicest part about Reading Hour, other than the rich content, completely thorough crits, is how prompt they are with payment and copies. Rare.
But we have a tough skin.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
what I do then
(private eye is too polite, way too polite)
in pursuit of hints and clues
or a trace, just a trace
of what may be a story, or not
anything for 400 words,
I sniff and scour the air
Wade through stacks
of yellowed newsprint
Stare at page 3 photos mostly,
Or sometimes page 3 types
Overhear conversations quite blatantly
while pretending to read book titles,
look into the distance, holding a biscuit or
a cup of tea.
(looking nondescript helps)
while I hunt for chinks,
gauge pauses and cadences
tides and ebbs, in the rhythm of talk
sieve past chit chat
like a prospector hunting for gold flecks
the adrenalin thrumming in his veins
knowing that a nugget is in there for sure
I’m not there to clap,
gawk at celebrities
Or make friends on FB
no prisoners taken, no mercies
all’s fair in love and words.
build up a story,
tweak or ignore an occurrence, or blow it up big
master of their fates,
I do as I please
Or, I try.
Monday, May 09, 2011
“I am…” is fantastic. Real, gritty. Not for the squeamish or faint of heart. All the randomness and incompleteness of life.
My take: In the theater, to see “I am…”
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Yesterday I got my copy of the Mass Review. Finally.
A BOOK perfect~
Yesterday, finally the book got here
From wherever that is,
Red brick and college square, spiffy, in my mind’e eye
(photos in catalogs that dot the road not taken)
Though Belgium is what is says on the brown cover
I stare at the label, trace the masthead
think of caravans, and silk routes and loads of myrrh and spice
And breathe in a whiff of the strange places this must have been.
Yesterday, finally the book got here
After I’d panicked and “If it may please your lordship, may I please …”
(supplicated the editor)
Even as I wondered about the Mayflower and therefore the Bostonian royals and protocol
When patience gave way like the ice on a pond that muff-covered women in an old postcard skate on
I’d fidgeted, mumbled and then asked
Yesterday after the book got here,
I traced my name on the back cover
Wondered with a lump in my throat, at its perfectly bound form
Neat orderly rows of gracious fonted letters, marching down the page
Stared at the index, with section titles in latin, and heavyweight contributors,
Now that the book is here
I shall begin my day
Touching the pages, tracing the gracious curve of assorted alphabets
Trace the smooth loveliness of the art pages, wonder black crayon can do so much
a gulp in my throat at the beauty of it all
my personal prayer
of reassurance, backbone.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I end up setting routines for the most mundane things.
The “what-next’s” keep me on track. On the straight and narrow.
Keeps me from over-thinking, is there a word for that.
Or slipping into brooding.
My voice sounds chirpy, a friend says.
A time to rest and a time to get up, a time to get set, a time to run…
Yet, for the difficult stuff there is no time
For the really life changing stuff. Orbital shifts and all that, you know?
I read through the pages, marvel at the work done.
I know it can matter, life-changing.
But I still stay off. Perhaps digging, unearthing is not comfortable.
Today I looked around blogdom, followed links and realized how inward-looking this blog has become.
So be it
Sunday, April 17, 2011
at the concert paying tribute to the reclusive maestro of Maihar
but I was there cause you'd have wanted it
(like I do so many things cause you'd have wanted it)
a shower of musical notes
shook up neurons, long asleep
pushed them into high drive
listening to the bihag play out, expansive
flowing,swirling, adding energy with every turn, like the ripples in a lake
the joy of knowing the words to this classical piece,
yet the ear is alert, waiting for a voice
(yday was Ustad Allauddin Khansaheb's birth anniversary. today is baba's b'day, or would have been)
Friday, April 15, 2011
You stare at the blank screen
Watch the cursor
Pace its blink
the story you’ve just read
is perfection, refined
like an artifact in wood some craftsman has perfected, polished, and gone his way.
The master of gore and vampires
Turned to poetry and golden light
Flawless, with a turn of his wrist
And you’re awed.
A chaotic swirl
Of respect-admiration- wistful
Permeate your brain
A golden wash, satiated
With pokey “I wish I could’s”
All you think of
How layered the story was
Crisp and quick
Characterization jampacked in a few quick lines
And push yourself to your humble four hundred.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Three times three claps, like at school?
The sort that shakes up your mind.
Dhoosar, the movie, is like that.
Life through a blurred lens.
Forces you to think. Think tough. Pokes you.
Unsettles, asks difficult questions.
What if you forgot? Everything?
And never knew you were forgetting?
If memory were an swirling, dancing mist?
What if all the frames of reference, alphabets, phone numbers, colors, mail passwords
Look like gibberish?
Who’d be there?
What if nobody were there?
When reality crumpled like a house of cards, what would you do?
Cause to “do”, you’d need to know reality from your left foot.
What if the next step was a vacuum? And the one after?
So well etched, you don’t need the subtitles. Not really.
The body language of the dementia-afflicted shouts in mute compound sentences and unspoken underlined.
For all this, the aesthetics are perfect.
And classical runs through, tying it all up like a scholar’s knowledge in palm-leaf .
Its only once you’ve rubbed the tears off your face
That the question barrage begins.
When you look at your face in the echoing mirror.
Dhoosar, which means blurred, is the title of Amol Palekar- Sandhya Gokhale’s new Marathi film.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
And all one can do is watch.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
The before and after poems say it better.
Sweet siren of endless lanes
matriarch of regal arch and dome
I try aloof, but
my blood quickens at your name
(like the beat of a drummer at a puja pandal)
thirty nine years away
far too long to condense
(how later I learned to push into a bus)
into one spare afternoon and a few more hours
perhaps, this is best.
Stern Queen Victoria
Empress of the realm
Still reigns over marble and green
Yet the memory of Mother’s eyes
tugs at me, the many homes
And many lifetimes traversed
My scale changed
Even as the light on the lake
Reflects the shimmer
of many sunsets past
Thursday, March 31, 2011
(Do not miss that exclamation mark. Yes, I am thrilled. Been smiling to self all mornin’)
*Such A Long Journey* (which is his only book that I’ve read so far, thanks to the Mumbai University ban), is intricate, brilliant, astounding, the kind of book that shakes the heebie-jeebies out of your mind, sets long dusty neuron ends buzzing again, makes you sit up straighter and sigh with hundred-proof envy.
Just the book to read ensconced in the environs of an ICCU waiting room, seated on the bench that forms perimeter of your scared domain, even as the world goes about the ebb and tide of its business. Just the kind of book that transports you in a microsecond from sticky, rexin-covered, shaky bench to the hustle and bustle and social buzz of a Parsi colony in Central Mumbai.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
you keep the words
at a respectful distance
Of the tricks they can play
of their moods and whimsies,
And the slips they do on purpose, sly
sound one way and mean another
(when they know you’re not at your best)
the letters push, pell-mell
a rush hour melee,
of broken font and serifs
yet in the blanks between the letters, you spot
traces of disquiet , forgotten memories
now announcements in bold, underlined,
under spotlight for all the world.
the words turn traitor,
Dragging their feet, gluey and reluctant
Sharp, serrated edges stand out like origami
‘Tis wiser to stay aloof
(note: written for the poetry group, I am ok)
Friday, March 04, 2011
"popat bhookhyo nathi, popat tarsyo nathi
popat amba ni daal; popat sarovar ni paal,
popat majhaa karey.."
A young vagabond parrot, who’s run away from home, trills about the pleasures of the wide world, showing off he is without a care. But ouch, he’s hurting.
Head down, getting on with life
Sticking to a routine helps
Writing helps, the rote of weekly subs and crits at IWW.
But writing poetry, that too a poyemn a day? phew! I’m surprised too.
Walking helps, round and round the park we go.
So much paperwork!
Working longer hours.
Getting home after 9 has logic, not much of the day is left then.
Cooking is tough-- the fridge overflows with leftovers.
Anyway, head down and quick march, “popat majhaa karey”
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Little one~ I looked hard for you this morning but couldn’t find you; and it’s only sometimes that I spot you now, spinning crazy kathak chakkars in the morning light, or showing off a full velocity,dexterous taan in the afternoon quiet. Peace and hope you’re pampered and happy returns and all that, where ever you are, and where ever it is that we eventually go.
Y’day I grew a difficult notch in my own esteem, a pat on the back is in order, as is sitting up straighter.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Pokey-holey; this façade.
Like cardboard. Edgy.
Do not touch.
From the formal quiet of the 34th floor meeting room, the sea stretches to a misty distance, an uneasy sheet shimmering with serene pools and rivers of quiet, past which are lands inhabitated by souls. And the foyer at the Gateway holds an invisible cloud, like a second skin, of all the chaos that once transpired. And Dilli‘s Terminal 3 is fine, only its in the wrong country. And so on.
Somewhere, amidst this schizoid existence, the mind registers.