Tuesday, 15 September 2020

A poem for troubled times


Today, as I reflect on the past days and more to come, there is a slight perturbation which stirs my thoughts. But I keep myself going and try motivating myself so that I don't despair. There are some days when my words are sufficient but on other days, there is always poetry.

Here is a poem that I have been going to when thoughts of fear assail:

Everything Is Going To Be Alright, by Derek Mahon
How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything Is Going To Be Alright

Hope this poem lightens your day and brings cheer to you in these grim times.

Take care and stafe (stay safe)

Monday, 14 September 2020

Walks to remember

 Evening walks have become a part of my day for quite some time now. I like walking all by myself so that I could regulate my walk, stop sometimes to spot birds/flowers/butterflies/clouds and perhaps complete my phone calls. There are several people who I spot on a regular basis; Sometimes we nod, sometimes we smile or sometimes we look ahead without any action. The regular trail is quite comforting because I understand the contours of the road and small bumps here and there. 

There was a gentleman who I regularly used to see during my usual walks. He was short, dark complexioned, with a prominent paunch. His clothes fit snugly and his shoes were the sports kind in white colour. He never missed a day or rather I never missed seeing him whenever I used to walk. 

Walking is a strange affair - we form connections with the path, the birds, the trees and the people who cross our paths. We may or may not talk to the people but they are part of the walking. Two days ago, we heard the news that the gentleman had passed away. He suffered acute breathlessness and passed away while being taken to the hospital. An immense sorrow clouded my mind and I regretted that I didn't smile or talk to him. He came from the same linguistic region as I. I could have at least uttered a hello or a nod. That I would never see him again while I went walking hit me hard. Strange affairs!

Feeling sorrowful for a relationship that was purely on a sight-basis is still sorrow. I hope his family finds comfort for they could not even give him a proper farewell. These and many more are the passive regrets that Covid-19 has brought about in our lives.

Rest in peace, sir. I will miss you on my walks.

Monday, 29 June 2020

An ode to Wikipedia

When we began our research, the first writing advice given by my supervisor then was that we should not quote/cite from Wikipedia. His reason was that since it was something where anyone could edit the content, the authenticity was questionable. That was impressed upon my mind and I gave the same advice to my students. I altered my stand a bit and told them that they could start off reading their basic information from Wikipedia and then follow it up with the references given on the same page towards the end. Of course they love their Wikipedia and the depth of information it offers and I cannot but accept that fact. Wikipedia is easy, basic and comprehensive and quite useful for a beginner who is seeking information on any topic. But the copyleft philosophy of the website is something that is quite impressive - free for all to edit, contribute and use.

Piqued by curiosity on being a Wikipedia editor, I signed to become an editor and voila! the process was quite an easy one. I began editing content and then realised that one cannot be frivolous about the additions and deletions. Since the content is out there for everyone to read and cite, there is a greater responsibility associated with the same, I concurred.

But this present post is a dedication of love to Wikipedia for certain pet peeves of mine. Here it goes: In the recent years, say five years or so, the availability of films on various platforms has been mushrooming at a quicker pace and these have enabled people like me to access many films which were hitherto inaccessible. While I watch these films, mid-way I pause and quickly change the tab to Wikipedia and read the entire plot of the film. I know that this dampens the thrill of watching the plot unfold but not for me. I know the plot but like to watch how it has been handled by the director. And here, Wikipedia is something that succinctly provides the content for me - Not IMDB which is limited in content but good in rating; not the reviews which are mostly one-sided and not useful to know the storyline. But Wikipedia gives out the spoilers and the other sundry stuff which is quite interesting to read and is a separate thrill altogether.

Well, so I am armed with the exact storyline possessing full knowledge of the killer, the twists and other giveaways and I watch the film - with the same intensity if I were watching without knowing the storyline. And , Wikipedia has always been my faithful ally except in some cases where the information furnished is short and just a peek into the plot.

Well, Wikipedia is definitely the go-to place for me when it comes to reading film's storylines and spoilers.

Raising a toast to the humble Wiki and here's to many more Spoiler Alerts!

All images are from Wikipedia - the copyleft website!

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Red Salute aka Lal Salaam

This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club's CBC VIBGYOR BLOG TAG 2 where some of us will write a post on the colours of VIBGYOR each day starting 1st of May to the 7th of May, 2020.

The colour theme for today's post is RED. 

Red brings to my mind, the Left and the pioneers who have led the movement upholding the rights of people, especially the marginalised and the voiceless (read as the ones being silenced!). It is but the vibrant red which has the place of being attached to a cause - that too a most pressing and vocal one that! The fiery attitude, the hot words, the bloody slogans - all worthy of the colour and the movement. Yes! I am talking about the Leftist movement also known as CPI and popular in the states of Bengal and Kerala.

I was introduced to this greetings Lal Salaam while in college. Many of the fellow Malayalees and Bengalis who were passionate about the country and equality, used to greet each other with a chirpy Lal Salaam and many of us who were slowly getting initiated into this whole history of Marxism and Leftist ideology were fascinated with the greeting. But then we weren't members of either of the states, hence we upheld our Dravidian greeting of Vanakkam which was a safe greeting devoid of any ideology or colour. Bland, apolitical and neutral yet a beautiful three-syllable greeting. I'm digressing here.

But when I say people from Kerala and Bengal, don't be mistaken that everyone is so. NO. Only a fraction of the citizens who passionately believe in the cause of the oppressed and the marginalised greeted so. Some people who didn't support the Communist party were also keen to the causes of the people and saw themselves as part of the ongoing struggle. It wasn't a fashion statement for it was loaded with energy, zeal, mission and urgency. You knew that if one uttered the words, they were aware that they were privileged by education, money and a certain standing in the society, yet knew that they were in the battle of the masses.

It has been proven that the red state of Kerala is in the forefront of the present day Covid-19 battle. With the plans, press meets and the immediate actions undertaken by the present government led by Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan, the state has been cohesive in bringing together many brains and ideas to redeem the situation. While naysayers and critics continue harping on the loopholes of the Red party, it is for everyone to see how Kerala has flattened the curve against the virus, having previous experience of tackling the Nipah virus which shook the state in 2018.

Red also denotes the struggles of the Dalits, transgenders, adivasis, and number of voiceless people/communities, where blood has been shed for mere survival in a democratic country. Red unites the people all over the world in spite of numerous internal factions and diverse mindsets.

Red says STOP. The red party also says STOP to the aforementioned struggles.

Stop closing your eyes.
Stop pretending that you are the heir of privilege.
Stop saying, "We don't need reservation."

Lal Salaam.

Image courtesy: 1. Shutterstock 2. Brainpickings.org

Today marks the last day of the #CBCVIBGYORBLOGTAG2. Please do visit the blogs of KaushikClementKumutha and Pratip who are also participants of the #CBCVIBGYORBLOGTAG2.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Orange is the new . . . return to boredom

This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club's CBC VIBGYOR BLOG TAG 2 where some of us will write a post on the colours of VIBGYOR each day starting 1st of May to the 7th of May, 2020.

The colour theme for today's post is Orange. 

The colour Orange invariably, of late, reminds me of the series, 'Orange is the new Black.' It was quite a hyped series which streams on Netflix. I saw a few seasons until I became quite bored of the episodes. Series appeal to me in the initial few seasons but after a certain point, I tend to give up. Netflix still reminds me to complete the series but I do not think that I would. It was for the same reason that I gave up on 'LOST,' another gripping series which kept me engaged for quite some time. And then dead people started reappearing in different timelines and I was thoroughly distracted, pausing now and then to view other tabs. But I must say that these series momentarily take your mind off certain aspects of life that you wish to temporarily forget.

'LOST' was a case like that for me. I was undergoing some crazy situations which troubled and stole my peace of mind. 'LOST' found me and made me lose my pain - It was a drug that I willingly administered to myself without the guilt of time and work. I was on long leave and could indulge myself how much ever I had willed. But then things began getting better and 'LOST' became a slow drag that I started avoiding. Now even Netflix has taken it off air.

Coming back to 'Orange is the new Black,' it tells the story of a woman named Piper who goes to jail for possessing drugs and the series is about her experience in prison with diverse inmates who are both crazy and wild. It is easy to get caught in their travails and motions of life and for some time, I was a voyeur to their lives. Then slowly the episodes started getting the better of me. The same lesbian-drugs-power-politics-affairs-scandals and so on started doing the rounds and I gave up. I must say that I'm in great awe of everyone who has the will to complete the series that they start watching. I could complete only series with limited episodes such as 'Sex Education,' 'YOU,' 'Lust Stories' and 'Four More Shots Please.' I, of course did not much enjoy 'Four More . . .' nevertheless I completed it because it was short.

Please do visit the blogs of KaushikClementKumutha and Pratip who are also
participants of the #CBCVIBGYORBLOGTAG2.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Yeah they were all Yellow!

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah they were all yellow
I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called "Yellow" . . .
(Coldplay "Yellow")
This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club's CBC VIBGYOR BLOG TAG 2 where some of us will write a post on the colours of VIBGYOR each day starting 1st of May to the 7th of May, 2020.

The colour theme for today's post is Yellow. 
Today was the second day that I went for a long walk in our beautiful campus. Some restrictions were imposed during the earlier weeks on the timings of the regular walks and the radius of distance and all that has been cleared. It was the same campus and same beautiful trees but my eyes lapped them up greedily heady with delight and happiness.

Golden showers scientifically known as Cassia fistula. A flower used for Vishu celebrations in Kerala, locally known as kanikonna

I have always enjoyed my walking time - a time of solitude and campus-bathing with the trees, birds, river Zuari smoothly flowing and the chirpy voices of students and others playing. But today summer has bathed the campus with yellow - it was a golden delight to savour the cassia, copper pods, frangipani and other beautiful flowering trees. These trees sway in the gentle breeze taunting me to capture them and save for posterity. I have lost count of the 'yellow' pictures that I have in my many folders and presently on my phone's gallery. How much we try to steal and save these sights - sometimes I never see them again but social media has given me a nice way of storing them and viewing them time to time.

While the campus is bathed in yellow, the sun also reminds me that it is summer time and alas! we aren't in London to exclaim, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" for that would be the end of any romance. But strangely I also basked in the glory of the evening sun in spite of sweating and panting during the walk.

Yellow has seeped into my being and left me like the lyrics of the Coldplay song,

So then I took my turn

Oh what a thing to have done

And it was all yellow . . .

Please do visit the blogs of KaushikClementKumutha and Pratip who are also
participants of the #CBCVIBGYORBLOGTAG2.


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