Heart

Everyday Longings

imagesThe day comes to a halt for us. I part with the oars held weakly in my hands. As distance from you grows with the sleek wooden sticks wading across the clear, turbulent mass of water, eyes well up with sights of nothingness and bleak. The stream arising out of the lachrymal well spills over into the lake. The palms cannot do the needful being occupied with rowing me across to shores far away from you. The salty stream then dries up leaving a trail on shallow cheeks.

Myself at the helm then attend to the events and invitations from distant shores and the crescendo of the just concluded embrace loosens its grip. As eyes dry up, the depths of the sea throw up novel mysteries, whose ability to frighten and amuse begins to win over the malady unleashed by departure. With the sharks I then smile faintly and talk, on the erring oars I frown and to the sail I cheer “Keep it up!”. I now look for my face in the waves and comb my hair in the wind. I have been ill shaven and crass for the entire day.

Come the other shore, I look back and see you tending towards him engrossed in adulation and about to kiss. The spell is finally broken for the day. I anchor once again with a resolve to not return tomorrow in the same direction. Fatigue suddenly gives way to disgust and the mind begins to philosophize and pity oneself more than the world. I calculate my life, weigh people and my feelings for them in balances, love them when they are nice to me, loathe them when they don’t seem to care. My claim to fame in all this daily routine is the sturdiness of my sail and the resilience of my boat and my swimming skills. The current in the waves has thus far always been favorable. It should be rightly said about love that it comes to you only when you are in the mood for it. It vaporizes in the face of chaos as it approaches and quite surprisingly delves into anti amorous textures when my expectations are countered or reciprocated with love that is not meant for me. The loathing that sets in is as ephemeral as the love that ruled a while ago. The next morning is here and I have woken up fresh and lively and I jump once again to swim across the pool. To meet you once again and to embrace life that keeps the day going. To foolishly tell myself the wise thing once again, “Today could well be my day- the day I spent dreaming of all of last night”.

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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.

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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!

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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

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.