Mind

Unequals

redThe blue of my jeans and the red of my shirt do not talk to each other. Forced to temporarily inhabit the residence that is my body I see that they squirm and tease each other all the time. They lay claims to inheriting my liking of colors as I am sure they did somewhere hear me saying “I love the red of the roses and the blue of the skies”. Made to share space, I see them caught in a relationship that is characterized to say the least by rivalry, by dissent and by mutual distrust- as if siblings in a moment of feud. Only at the belt area do they meet occasionally and peripherally. Never seen them sharing a hug or a lighter moment. Whatever one says of the therapies of touch and massage, the fact remains that touching also is one of the most irritable things to do.

The black of my hair and the brown of my shoes do talk to each other. Just that one cannot hear much of the other. Placed distantly they look up to and look down on the other. The color from the hump of some camel feels proud of its origin and the one from the shackles of a long incarcerated convict’s cell reeks of pity, disgust and suffocation. The two come close when I kneel to tie the laces. It is then a stream of my locks falls to the shoe and caresses it momentarily. However romantic that moment, the fact remains that the ones residing above can hardly be in love with the ones who are dragged endlessly on dusty muddy floors.

The brown of my right hand talks to the brown of my left. They meet, shake hands and share their day-to-day happenings like good friends, like neighbors who rarely quarrel. Why and how is such a relationship possible? I think it is because of their even handedness, because they belong to the same domain of the residence. One does not have a point to prove to the other. They know what they do and where they come from. I do believe that all working relationships where partners from uneven platforms are involved seem to work only because one of them is either unusually appreciative and understanding of the esteem or of the plight of the other. It often does not make sense to see relationships as a game of give and take. At times things just are. I however do not believe that relationships aren’t possible between two unequal, or between two ‘different’ individuals. They are. But when they come into being, the compassion and the pity, the tolerance and the accommodating nature of one over the weaker, poorer other cannot be left unmentioned leave alone highlighted. C’est La Vie? What do you think about it?

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Heart

Strikes

Thank heavens! Infatuations last but hours and minutes. God forbid the outcomes this churning of the being would have had if it were to extend into days of my life that are to follow?

This ambience arrests the mind and soul, imprisons it for a phase. Yearning as Wells says in The Time Machine has a fourth dimension too. One yearns only because there is a duration through which one yearns. Imagine yearning in the absence of time or through the entire expanse of it. Sincere thanks to the creator of our psyches. Thanks for it is intelligently forgetful of the most venomous of arty sensations. That face impresses  in the most ordinary circumstances. No flower beds and no waterfalls are called for when a heart has to fall for the falls of the tresses of a beauty. When that grace flutters around, the heart stoops down to the dirty, slimy ground, gathers every bit of it in the pockets of the clothing I wear to transport it back home, to kiss it when alone and to sleep with the scent of those floral prints, head meshed in thought while the arms hold tight to the moment still alive!

These faces are peculiar. They seldom speak. Even if they do, one does not actually get to hear of that tone and modulation. Lips move at a distance, rarely uttering anything audible. Most of the time, they chew at the helplessness of the onlooker.

This person assisted. Because of her being there, the journey back home free reeled into the circles of energy that engulfed. All along the lengthy road back to the abode, lingered in mind the coziness of the bed where I would lie at ease, recollect the scene, admire the eyelids, inject myself with the charm once more in the most private ways I would like to. The dogs barked in the dead of the night as I walked carefree, humming the tune of ten instruments mixed into one. Fearlessness.

These grace fountains are deceitful. They dry up once the eyelids feel heavy. In dreams appear crocodiles, snakes and lizards- never those heads. In gardens bloom roses and jasmines- never the little flower on that print. In libraries are stacked books- never those words I could not hear those lips chew away.

To prepare oneself for the next entourage is mindlessness. The uncertainty of the frequency of its occurrence just kills. A sex machine alone can truly guess when another of her like would next come calling to stir and shake. To think of a cure for this disease would be suicidal for the malaise creates a life enough!

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Book Review: Love Peace & Happiness: What More Can You Want? by Rituraj Verma

 

In the pages of this slick and colorful book lie wonderfully captured the lives of an impressive range of characters. The people in these stories, their life worlds and above all their strikingly individual attempts at finding a way out of crucial existential dilemmas they face is the reason the nine stories in this anthology deserve to be read, appreciated and pondered about.

Firstly, each of Verma’s stories are about a sufficient detailing of the predicament in which the protagonists are situated. Secondly, each story uses the technique of conversation and dialogue quite powerfully. As a result, we meet quite a good number of people from varied socio-economic backgrounds, read about who they are, get to know of what they think and ‘hear’ a lot of their justifications for the decisions and choices that they have made in their lives. Each story is ultimately about a tension that we aim to resolve so very often in our lives that  it begins to  seem unresolvable and hence banal. Verma takes us back to those ‘love marriage versus arranged marriage’ and ‘learning to say No versus learning to compromise and sacrifice’ debates.

These stories do not make a villain out of any of these actors and refrain from offering easy solutions to the deeply philosophical issues they raise. Interestingly, the book offers the readers an innovative option to rewrite the endings of these stories on the author’s website in the event of their dissatisfaction with any of the endings. The episodic nature of some of these stories and the detailed biographical element in others arouse equal amount of interest and one would have to appreciate the comfort and ease with which the author addresses an impressive range of emotional entanglements. Be it the plight of a failed love affair, anxieties and insecurities of a marital discord or the complexities of living in a joint family, Verma addresses them all with a studied  sensitivity.

Two stories that I specially enjoyed reading would be The Practitioner of Austerity and The Soul Mate Theorist.  The former reminded me of Ritwik Ghatak‘s classic Meghe Dhake Tara. Through a glimpse into the tribulations of its protagonist Aparna’s life, the story says a thousand things about the meanings of being a daughter, a woman and a civil servant from the scheduled caste whose life is ultimately nothing but a sacrifice that hardly anyone takes a note of. In what appeared to me to be a modern-day adaptation of the Rajesh Khanna starrer Amar Prem, The Soul Mate Theorist takes us to a bar where two college friends discuss women, love and sex. From the bar we are taken to the apartment of a sex worker where we meet her son. This story is a wonderful take on the static and constraining institutions that marriage and family can actually turn out to be.

The book is written with a specific audience in mind and does falter on its ‘appeal’ quotient. In a few places, the descriptions seem  trite and unnecessary. The reference to the internet pages where background research on the settings of these stories was undertaken could have been avoided. Overall, this is an interesting book- one that ideally can be read on one of those days when the mind is prone to some  retrospection and is willing to pause and take stock of all the puzzles that life has had to offer!

 

Heart

Falling In Love

 

Tacit insults

to which even the canine blinks,

Explicit adulation

to which the countenance goes pink.

Such is being in love,

when secretly he thinks

of how openly that it stings?

Mildewed thoughts

that disgust the self,

Fresh leaves

that amuse the little elf.

Such is being out of it,

when to oneself she links

all the pain life brings.

Imprisoned lines

that free the heart,

Released sighs

that did us apart.

Such is being unsure of it,

now to themselves they drink

while those universes continue to shrink.

PF4RUNK78ART

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Everyday Life

Español: (Foto recortada) El jugador de fútbol...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each passing moment when I am up, about and jumping around is the instance of a huge achievement. I hardly appreciate all those subtly active mini processes which go on all the time to make things work for me. It is a taken for granted aspect of our everyday life and is the best noticed when I am in the midst of a temporary disability. When the tiny muscles twitch and inflammation occurs, when a head ache makes everything go in a swirl and when a conversation with that dear friend assumes an unpleasant flavor. The departure of a loved one tells us of his or her presence in our lives. It is only in the event of such ‘breakdowns’ that the meticulous planning and execution of everyday acts becomes crystal clear.

Achieving these small feats with each passing minute is the result of an unbelievable style of many little systems working in absolute tandem with each other. A wave from the brain travels to the limbs, makes it move, a certain chemical composition in the white and the grey cells of the brain keeps me joyful and a series of socially learnt arts of conversing keeps a friendship going great.

These micro systems in daily life are very tightly coupled with each other. A little malfunction here or there causes the system to collapse. The muscles refuse to take orders from the brain, equilibrium in the chemical composition of the cerebrum goes for a toss and the hitherto really nice friend becomes a source of insecurity and anxiety. This tightly coupled arrangement is definitely amusing. These arrangements provide the frames in which we act. If life is a journey, it has its lessons too. These lessons are often imparted loud and clear. Waking up to a swollen ankle or an aching knee is all that is required to understand how Xavi runs in the soccer field!

Why do not I then realize that this passing moment is a spectacular achievement? It is because I am used to this system. I do not really need to understand its nitty gritties it each time it delivers its aim. We plant a phone in our room and never bother to understand all the machinery that is inside the suave looking plastic cover. We know that we can pick up the receiver when the bell rings and we can hear people talking from the other side of the line. Who thinks of the millions of electrons that make this conversation possible?

A friend in the street waves at us and asks “how are you”? We don’t really wave back and say that “Oh! I have a huge backlog of all my research work that is lying unattended and that I am not very happy and sure about the new search engine privacy policies”. I on most occasion smile back, wave and say “I am fine. thank you”. The other one listening to us generally does not care to find out the veracity of our claim. He considers the matter to be over for the time being. To explore this taken for granted aspects of our everyday lives is the task for a sociology of knowledge which aims at understanding how reality is social constructed. Needless to say that we do not wake up every morning thinking that the sky will be falling on our head! We just rely on a recipe knowledge that is readily available in the form of our past experiences.

Accomplishment of the routine is therefore an event with a significance of the first-rate. All that is needed is a malfunction and we come to realize how efficiently do things actually work for us. Life no doubt is a puzzle and truly speaking ‘it’s complicated’ !

Heart

Sounds

Wanted to share this poem I was reminded of this evening. What I find adorable about this one is its amazing ability to force us to listen to all the various sounds that the brook makes on its way to join the brimming river. Who says sounds and sights are best captured on high-definition digital cameras and sound recorders? Recite it aloud or silently read it – you get the same audio-visual effects each time!

The Brook by Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

I come form the haunts of coot and hern,

I make a sudden sally

And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down a valley.

 
By thirty hills I hurry down,

Or slip between the ridges,

By twenty thorpes, a little town,

And half a hundred bridges.

 
Till last by Philip’s farm I flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

 
I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharps and trebles,

I bubble into eddying bays,

I babble on the pebbles.

 
With many a curve my banks I fret

By many a field and fallow,

And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

 
I chatter, chatter, as I flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

 

I wind about, and in and out,

With here a blossom sailing,

And here and there a lusty trout,

And here and there a grayling,

 
And here and there a foamy flake

Upon me, as I travel

With many a silvery waterbreak

Above the golden gravel,

 

And draw them all along, and flow

To join the brimming river

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

 

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,

I slide by hazel covers;

I move the sweet forget-me-nots

That grow for happy lovers.

 
I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows;

I make the netted sunbeam dance

Against my sandy shallows.

 
I murmur under moon and stars

In brambly wildernesses;

I linger by my shingly bars;

I loiter round my cresses;

 
And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.