Heart

Tit and Tat

Oh that sound- 

the glass tumbler fell on the wooden floor

and did not break.

That sight- 

the lizard chased the moth on the wall

and once again failed.

That dream-

I caught the thief red-handed in the room

and could not shout.

That effort-

the car pushed by all men from the colony

and did not start.

That conversation-

it rested on the thin line between a quarrel and a proposal

and ended up as neither.

That silence-

where all was done and nothing said

and never resumed.

Advertisements
Heart

Corridors

Old corridor

The corridor of my life welcomes this unsung tune every now and then. The playful child calls on when invited, plays and runs around. Her giggles slip in my room through the closed door. She peeps at my naked being often through the window and vanishes even before I begin to think of the pleasant intrusion. Clad in lives I have never lived, I swiftly run for the door. The glitch of the latch alerts the world and the child runs away. A vacuous alley then stares at me. Latching the door back, I shut myself in and begin to undress. The giggles resume. My hat goes off and the games ensue. With the shirt off, a complete orchestra begins to play. By the time I am nude, the crescendo is reached.

I quietly wear a life again. To catch a glimpse of the camaraderie, I tread carefully to the door. The orchestra pauses, the running around slows down. I oil the latches, twist them open without making the slightest sound and look out. Nothing ever happened. Grumbling and swearing in disgust, I take a walk till one end of the corridor only to be drowned in a fragrance that has never repeated itself. The floral sensual treat is her only trace that I have ever been able to hunt down. Unbuttoning myself on the way back, I come running to the room, pick up a pen to make a note of the nostalgic, pleasant smell. Alas! all of it evaporates by the time I turn a fresh leaf in my red notebook.

In the depths of the dreamy slumbers I remain and the games in the corridor go on. Dolls are caressed, opponents are chased, races are won. Instruments are played and whistles are blown. The mini tournament decorates the canvas of my being. I so desire to be a part of it. Avenues that I own refuse to invite me. Like obedient slaves who have no sense of any endearing attachment for their master, I am always kept at bay. “You will be served in time Sir!” they tell me sternly. The moments of our festivities never coincide. Singing to myself and dancing to tunes others have composed, my days pass by. Wish I could dance to tunes themselves. Tunes which are neither mine nor your nor his nor her. The privileges of my corridors make me jealous.

May be it is  the nakedness I wear all the time as the basic minimum that scares and shies her away. Have no sense then, of how to successfully peel this nudity off the materiality of my being.

Uncategorized

Book Review: Another Chance by Ahmed Faiyaz

Writing a review for the second book by Ahmed Faiyaz is for me an occasion to think about the directions that the young Indian mind seems to have come to follow in terms of carving for itself a career as a creative person and its notions of life in general and of relationships in particular.

The book is a slightly complicated tale of a girl Ruheen Oberoi and the various kinds of emotional entanglements she experiences with different men. She learns and not learns a number of lessons while managing (with varying degrees of success) her life. At the other end of the tale is Aditya- her college friend who admires her almost throughout the novel. Another Chance takes the reader to a variety of locations from Mumbai to Shimla to London and Amsterdam which makes the novel script-able for a film which the front page mentions to be upcoming in the year 2012.

The tale tries unsuccessfully to capture a range of predicaments that the protagonists find themselves in. So there is a threatening boyfriend and then an abusive husband and then a devoted lover Aditya whose affection for her seems later to gradually fade out because of his professional engagements (so the story made me believe) . In Ruheen we see a typical instance of  emotional uncertainty that brings her face to face with transforming relationships and allegiances. We are not told about the reasons for her developing a liking for these men in the first instance. Is it merely infatuation that leads her to disastrous linkages or something else was an issue I feel Faiyaz could have dwelt on for the story to have been more nuanced.

Another Chance then is a novel that stands for contemporary upper class Indian youth’s aspirations and is a good window to the perplexities it has come to encounter in the increasingly globalised world. As is clear from the plot, there seems to be now a clear marking out of the settings where love can (should?) happen and romantic gazes may be exchanged. A cup of coffee or a drinking session seems to be the necessary prerequisite. That to me is a stark departure from the mohalla level exchange of letters and scenes of young men pursuing girls riding on bicycles in the lanes of small towns. Romance that ways has gradually been ‘upscaled’ and seems to have acquired a cosmopolitan character and Another Chance is a prime instance of sorts.

There are books that introduce us to characters, make us live their lives and share their feelings. There are books that we read, enjoy and close only to harbor lasting memories. Another Chance is one which I read and enjoyed. I am not sure if I will remember Ruheen and Aditya for that long though. It is well written. There is a pleasant feel to its writing style that is undeniable. Yet it moves too fast for situations to become clear enough and for issues to evolve. Before any of that happens, we are taken to new setting. Amsterdam comes alive in the novel- a part that I really enjoyed reading. Romantic relationships when talked about in a novel, I feel should form the background. Faiyaz pulls it to the fore and that is the reason Another Chance takes the form of a narration and not a tale that I will ever return to!

My Rating : 2 out of 5 stars.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Uncategorized

Ten Songs for the Day

It’s the 14th of February and here is a small list of the best songs about love from Indian films that I recommend. The special thing about each of them is the fact they are equally a pleasure to watch and listen. They span decades, artists and have stark differences in as much as they try to define the phenomenon human beings have come to call love.

  • Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya 

I have on various occasions on social networking platforms voted it as the best Hindi song ever composed. From a huge film that Mughal-e-Azam was, this song stands for defiance and celebrates love like no other song does. “Ishq mein jeena ishq mein marna aur hamein ab karna kya”– We have to live and die while being in love, there is nothing else we have to do. Again “Maut wahi jo duniya dekhe, chhup chhup kar yun marna kya”– Death is one that is witnessed by the world, what is this dying in hiding?

  •  Jaaiye Aap Kahan Jaayenge

Unarguably the best song sung by Asha Bhosle, this brilliant OP Nayyar composition refuses to age.

  • Ae Lo Main Haari Piya

This mellifluous Geeta Dutt song with Gurudutt on the screen with Shyama remains a huge favorite for the occasions where the angry, annoyed lover is being persuaded to talk.

  • Yahoo

All energy that the emotion of love can give rise to. Rafi’s chartbuster.

  • Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas Tum Rehti Ho

Kishore Kumar’s quintessential romantic song. Lyrics here are a repository of the images romance in the Indian subcontinent is so laden with or atleast used to be. There is the aangan (courtyard), bandhan (ties) and that fear of expressing one’s love.

  • Ye Mera Deewanapan Hai

Mukesh’s greatest song. No listener can ever decide as to who rules here- the musician, the lyricist or the singer?

  • Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re

Bappi Lahiri’s lovely composition from the 1980s where the music scene in Bollywood was unusually tragic. Such attempts however kept the scene lively.

  • Pyaar Hua Chupke Se

This national award-winning composition was Kavita Krishnamurti’s best song in my opinion. RD Burman’s last film as a music director.

  • Kasto Mazaa

Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal’s lovely, sweet song shot on a train going to Darjeeling.

  • Valiyonaisai
I don’t get a single word of this Tamil song. I watch and listen to it for the picturisation and Illayaraja’s music. The singers- a Marathi/Hindi speaking and the other one a Malayali are impeccable here (so I think).
Which one did you like the best? Greetings for the day!
Heart

The Voyeur

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3437070/personal-concerns?claim=jp8w37nttra”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Amazed at all that our little eyes can show us, I stood behind the boulders. The sight of noisy waves from the crevices made me once again go in awe of the power that salty water droplets as a team are capable of exercising on the senses. Through the lenses of the eyes, I could see so much I wondered and through a tiny crack that too!

Draped in a green Kanjivaram she appeared on the scene. She stood, held her ebony black silk hair in one of the hands and twisted the other to see what hour it was. The half-sold basket of the gajras lay unattended on the moist sand. The green drape with a bright golden brocade fall just complemented the scene so perfectly. The sun was about to sink when her friend arrived. I was no more looking at the waves.

The souls looked at each other and looked around to check if they were being looked at by anyone. I was not to be noticed. The other one had probably just finished her work in the office and rushed to the venue. Her skirt and the knotted hair told me all about the day she must have spent looking at papers and people. The women’s eyes met and sparks flew off. They held each other by the hands and danced in circles for sometime before the beach was a green lawn- lush Kanjivaram with the yellow brocade popping here and there like mustards. The two souls stood in mutual admiration of the luscious frames they were face to face with. The office goer plucked a small mustard and lifted it so that it now touched the ruby lips of the gajra seller. The swirling motion of her gentle fingers made the tiny flower go round in circles and the blades of the ceiling fan thus made tried hard to nibble at the smooth coating of red those lips had. The frames measured themselves against each other- the highs and the lows, the long and the short and the warm and the not so warm. It seemed like a contest where the parties wanted the opponent to win.

Voluptuous was the embrace and intensely mesmerizing was the act where they hid themselves in each others arms. The knotted hair all through loosened itself while the hug tried to weld the two frames together. “You should not throw the unsold gajra around like this, let me put them back to where they belong” and the queen was decorated. The lawn where they stood was then grazed a bit by the other one and a veil was made out of the exploit. Rubies struck each other, hills rejoiced and the calm in the jungles was disturbed by running rabbits who made desperate attempts to escape some enemy they loved. Like an onion, the two souls stood as one  frame, exploring the layers of sensuousness the other was draped in. “Kajal tastes fun” she said and the other one celebrated her culinary initiation with an everlasting song that continues to ring in my head.

“You are beautiful” and “You are beautiful too” echoed all around and filled the desolate surrounding.

Was a moment when I heard sitar in the waves, tabla in the winds and a flute in the horn of the bus from the busy road that ran not so far from the beach. Had to rush because the overdose of beauty, art, science and religion- all at the same place was beyond all that my little senses could assimilate!

Heart

Metaphysical Poetry

Wanted to share this wonderful poem that has been on my mind for the last few days. I was quite amazed by the technique here!

The Flea by John Donne

—————————————————————————————–

Mark but this flea, and mark in this

How little that which thou deniest me is ;

It suck’d me first, and now sucks thee, 

And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.

Thou know’st that this cannot be said

A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead ;

Yet this enjoys before it woo, 

And pamper’d swells with one blood made of two ;

And this, alas ! is more than we would do.

——

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,

Where we almost, yea, more than married are.

This flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.

Though parents grudge, and you, we’re met,

And cloister’d in these living walls of jet.

Though use make you apt to kill me,  

Let not to that self-murder added be,

And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

——

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since

Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?

Wherein could this flea guilty be,

Except in that drop which it suck’d from thee?

Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou

Find’st not thyself nor me the weaker now.

‘Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;

Just so much honour, when thou yield’st to me,

Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

Uncategorized

When Kamadeva Strikes

In the epic poem Ramcharitmanas penned by the 16th century north Indian Brahmin poet-saint Goswami Tulsidas, one comes across a fascinating description of all that happened to the universe when Kamadeva decided to exercise his powers to wake Lord Shiva from his state of meditation. Kamadeva is the Hindu God of human love and desire and for matters of convenience may be considered the Indian ‘equivalent’ of Cupid. Such an event was planned so that the Gods could pray and ask Shiva to consider the option of himself getting married to Sati, the daughter of the mountain Himalaya.

Mythology says that the demon Tarakasur assumed increasing powers and the Gods gradually lost all of their wealth and influence because of him. Tarakasur had in a way made life difficult for deities and they had to think of a way to get rid of him. Clueless as they were, all the Gods approached Brahma and asked him for a solution. Brahma told them that it was only Shiva’s son who could defeat and kill Tarakasur. He suggested that Shiva who was in samaadhi (meditation), had to be woken up and made to agree to getting married so that his son could take birth. Brahma went on to suggest to the Gods that through his actions, it was Kamadeva who was capable of disturbing Shiva, make him angry and therefore rise from samaadhi.

So the Gods planned that the moment Shiva would wake up, they would bow in his feet and pray so as to almost coerce him into agreeing to marrying Sati. Accordingly, the Gods very lovingly remembered and prayed for Kamadeva to appear on the scene. With his five arrows and the flag with the fish-symbol, Kamadeva came and the Gods explained him everything they had to. Kamadeva agreed to do the needful.

The verses written in Awadhi make for a delightful reading. Here I have translated some of those which deal specifically with all that resulted after Kamadeva began exerting his power on the universe. They occur in the first section of the epic known as the Baal Kaand (The childhood episode) which deals with the birth and early childhood of Rama (the Hindu Deity) who was born in Ayodhya and later became the king. I have picked up verses (83 and 84) for the translation as they are the most pertinent to the heading I have given to this post. It is noteworthy that Tulsidas looks at the universe as clearly composed of two mutually distinguishable elements- the masculine and the feminine and as one for the sustenance of which the element of sexuality is indispensable. Comprising the essence that runs the universe and remains irreplaceable in the most testing situations , it stands for the basic instinct underlining all existence. The verses make it clear that this element pervades the universe and is capable of defying all restraining forces of reason and morality if it needs to do so. One may lose all of one’s socially inherited capabilities and yet sexuality and the modes in which it manifests itself refuse to die out. The translation:

“The deities went to Kamadeva and spoke to him of their troubles. Listening to their request,  Kamadeva thought for a while and smilingly said to the Gods that it was not in his favour to pit himself against Shiva (83). However I will do what you want me to do because the Vedas consider being beneficent to be the supreme Dharma. The saints always praise the one who sacrifices his body for the sake of others (1).

Having said this he bowed his head to all present, and with his arrow made of flowers in hands and his companions (the spring season and others) left. While on the way, he thought (in his heart) that in the act of opposing Shiva, my death is a certainty(2). Then he exerted his influence and the whole universe was under his control. His flag had the sign of a fish and when he got angry, the dignity of all the Vedas vanished in a few moments(3). The army under the control of Discretion that consisted of soldiers like Celibacy, rules, various kinds of self restraint, Patience, Dharma, Knowledge, Science, Virtue, Japa, Yoga and Renunciation got so scared that they ran away(4)

Discretion and his soldiers ran from the battle field. At that time, all of them hid themselves in the caves of the scriptural texts (meaning they remained merely written words and lost all contact with actual practice). There was chaos in the whole universe and all started praying “Oh Lord! what is going to happen now and who will protect us? Who is this two headed being (Tarakasura) for whom Rati’s spouse (Rati is Kamadeva’s wife) has angrily lifted the bow and arrow in his hands?

All the masculine and feminine beings of the universe, whether moving or stationary lost their dignity and came under the control of Kamadeva(84). Every heart was imbued with corporal desires. Looking at the creepers, the branches of trees started gravitating towards them. The disturbed and energised rivers ran towards the ocean and all the ponds and small water bodies started to intermingle among themselves(1). When the stationary, immobile beings (trees, rivers etc) experienced such a condition, then who can talk about whatever happened to the animate beings. All the animals and birds active in the sky, water and on earth lost all sense of their (mating) time and succumbed to the control of Kama(2).

Everyone became lusty and experienced uneasiness. Certain bird species do not care for the time of the day (for mating). The Gods, devils, men, kinnars (hijras), snakes, phantoms, ghosts, betaals(3)- they are forever the slaves of Kama and knowing this I have not described any of their condition. Those who were accomplished and the ones who were renouncers and great saints along with the great yogis  came under the influence of Kama and began thinking of women(4). 

What to say of the mischievous men when the yogis and the greatest of all the ascetics fell slaves to Kama? The ones who used to look at the universe as imbued with divinity, began seeing it as feminine. Women began looking at the universe as masculine and men began looking at it as feminine. For two moments, this drama controlled by Kamadeva kept the universe enthralled.

No one resorted to patience in his heart because Kamadeva had won all of them. Only those could survive who were under the protection of Raghupati Ram(85). 

The later verses describe further events that unfolded. Kamadeva approached Shiva and got scared. As a result, everything in the universe which had seen tumult moments ago, got back to normal. After having tried all his tactics, he could not succeed in waking Shiva up. He got annoyed and climbed a beautiful flower laden branch of a tree and shot his three arrows which struck Shiva’s heart. Shiva woke up and angrily looked all around. When he found Kamadeva hiding in the mango leaves, he  furiously opened his third eye which caused Kamadeva’s body to be reduced to ashes. Henceforth Kamadeva came to be known as Anang (one without a body).

The gods then came to Shiva and expressed their desire of being witnesses to his wedding which Shiva agreed to fulfil. Tulsidas goes on to write about the wedding in fascinating details, about which I shall be writing in a later post.