Tuesday 31 March 2009

Another poem that can never cease to move me

What He Said
What could my mother be
to yours? What kin is my father
to yours anyway? And how
did you and I meet ever?
               But in love our hearts are as red
earth and pouring rain:
               mingled beyond parting.                       
-  Cembulappeyani:ra:r (Kuruntokai 40)
The best love lyric I have set my eyes on. The last

three lines never cease to make me wonder
about the person who has penned them.
The best part of the poet is that
they never sign their name under
the poem but choose to name themselves after the
lines of the poem.
The poem belongs to the Sangam love poetry collection and
is translated by A. K. Ramanujan.
The entire collection is lovely but this
is one of my favourites.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

"Kangaroos in the firing line"

Another news clipping, in a very obscure corner of the newspaper. Why do I choose to comment on articles like this? Probably because it affects me and I am hapless as I can only take the easy way - to write about it rather than raise my voice of protest on the streets with hep placards and slogans. I am not for that! Excuse me, please. Well, the news item was about how the officials in Canberra want to reduce the kangaroo population by shooting them in regular culls. Atrocious. Well, humans always seem to take it for granted that every place, space and other aspects are the sole propriety of theirs and any non human that interfer es with this is tried to be eliminated. At this point, I stop to think about the kangaroo's thought process (I do not know if the non human world thinks, but if it does, this is what I presume it to be). It might think about the many humans everywhere, destroying all its habitats, and think of a way of reducing the human population drastically. Being at the top of the food chain (there are scientists who say that the cannibals are at the top of the food chain, buts for now lets presume that humans who are not essentially cannibals occupy the priced top position of the food chain) does not give man the authority to decide about the non human world. Now, you may argue that since we are endowed with the power of thinking, we can very well 'think' for the non human species too! But, are we justified here.
The philosophy of Deep Ecology propagated by Arne Naess, who passed on recently (Jan 12th 2009) talks about the intrinsic worth of every organism, be it a small worm, a grizzly bear or a mountain. Well, if the kangaroo possesses an intrinsic worth in itself, who are we to control their population by shooting them or slow poisoning the species. Can the governement (any government) force sterlising the human males of the country once they have fathered a kid? (Here, I am imagining officials roaming around places and as soon as a child is born in a household, drag the man and force sterlisation as a method to keep the population in check). Well, this will never ever happen, for man is seen as a highly evolved organism, who is regarded in high esteem. Well, I wish all of them could read 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell, though the book is not a very great example of the thought process I am affecting in this post, it is a beginning, nevertheless.
The poor kangaroos will not even know that they are going to be shot at. They will innocently hop into the shooting range and will be dead. If that is not sufficient, after their death, the officials will not even give them a decent burial but will take the opportunity to use their hide and sell it for the 'economy' of the country. When will we cease seeing animals as 'economy' improving assets. Can the non human world be seen as organisms who should exist for their intrinsic worth rather than their tourist attraction, their skin, their bones et al.
Reader, I am justified by seeing them for what they are rather than as for what they can be useful to us (humans).

"Art Garfunkel jeers at disabled fan at poem recitation concert in New York"

This bit of news appeared in yesterday's daily and I was nothing but shocked as well as a bit sad. Why was I sad? Well, i have many reasons for that. My post graduate days were filled with the rhythms of the duo - Simon and Garfunkel. I have still not outgrown them and I think I never will. Not only S & G, I have also enjoyed spending time listening to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel individually. When one listens to music, there is a certain internalisation of the sound, the lyrics and after a point, the artists themselves. S & G seem like an extension of myself. I have spent time perusing through their lyrics, digging into the background of each song and connecting many aspects of their lives and songs.

It naturally came as a shock when I read the news clipping as I tend to sheepishly connect artists with their songs. Maybe a stray song here and there talk about violence but mostly their songs talk about everyday happenings with a philosophical lacing. Now, if I choose to connect the songs and the lives of the artists, would it be a sin? The same Art Garfunkel who renders very sensitive music can also jeer at a disabled fan seems to reflect a new turn to my supposition that musicians and artists can be identified with the work they render. Having said this, I wonder if it was the same person who sang 'Cloudy', 'Mrs. Robinson', 'Sounds of Silence' along with Paul Simon. Well, aren't artists in a way representative citizens? That they are also human, cannot be validated. No. It was quite not nice of Mr. Garfunkel to jeer at a disabled fan. I still shall continue to listen to the duo and of course the individuals too but not without the thought, "Art Garfunkel jeers at disabled fan at poem recitation concert in New York."

Sunday 22 March 2009

Another poem about the journey/voyage . . .


C. P. Cavafy

Translated by
Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

From Selected Poems of Antonio Machado

Wanderer, your footsteps are

the road, and nothing more;

wanderer, there is no road,

the road is made by walking.

By walking one makes the road,

and upon glancing behind

one sees the path

that never will be trod again.

Wanderer, there is no road--

Only wakes upon the sea.

Translated by By Betty Jean Craige, University of Georgia

Saturday 21 March 2009

What prompts those tears . . .

Many a times sitting in the train, i have seen people quietly let down tears simultaneously while talking over the mobile phones. i wonder, who is that at the other end, who makes those worthy tears fall without even realising that they are being a reason for someone to shed precious tears. The tears that fall from the eyes are filled with many stories and memories. My mother while recounting a simple incident from her childhood, sheds tears and the tears seem to be shed effortlessly almost saying that they are interwined with the story being narrated. The tears that some shed while watching an emotional movie also seem to say that. The tears that flow while a particular scene is enacted is almost from a memory that mingles itself with the enactment that prods the tears to fall. i have also witnessed people standing in front of their deities and shedding copious tears as naturally as praying. The tears seem to evoke the same passion as a prayer and many a times they seem to have a cathartic effect on the person. Some songs evoke that response in me. i cry when some lines of a song are rendered but at the same time I am quite unable to actually communicate the reason for the tears. Joy in abundance, a joy that overwhelms us also seem to surface as tears and oft times i have wished for the tears never to cease from pouring forth. Reading the bible sometimes makes the tears flow profusely, sometimes threatening never to stop. Love, joy, pain and a myriad of emotions cause those tears to fall impromtu, which seem as natural as the act of smiling or blinking. Recently, a passionately written email made me cry. The reason for the tears was not the mail but memories and stories which surfaced as the result of the mail. Tears always have memories, stories with a pinch of salt (literally!!)

Saturday 14 March 2009

Deciphering the gay mind

the international conference just got over yesterday. it left me with a richer experience and lovely images. one such image is the image of an impressive individual - long white hair tied neatly into a pony and flowing white beard equally white like the hair in the head (reader, i must confess that people who choose not to dye their original white, evoke my admiration. well, that is a personal fetish. you can forget that part!). the man in question - hoshang merchant! impressive, cerebral, charming and above all a poet and a theoretician. well, i must admit i could not take my eyes off him! the audacity with which he refers to himself as a gay poet is something i encountered for the first time. after conversing with him and basking in his company albeit for a few minutes, i cannot stop to think if there is something like a gay mind. i am definitely alluding to a certain dichotomy here. i am trying to unconsciously create a self and the other. i know that i cannot avoid this. i tried my best to fathom certain aspects while talking to him and i find nothing like that. can i therefore conclude that there is nothing like the 'gay mind.' my mind refuses to take 'no' as an answer. maybe i am thinking so much because this is the first time i am talking to a cerebral gay and therefore the questions choose to arise even without me coercing them too hard. that they are no different from heterosexuals is a known axiom but still deciphering the gay mind for me seems legitimate enough. probably the situation is exaggerated by me. i am tempted to say to myself, 'a gay is a gay. period.'

how does the gay mind perceive a woman, how does the gay mind perceive lesbians, do the gays stand up for matriarchy than patriarchy, why do gays associate themselves with women more than they associate with men (does it operate the same way as a heterosexual), is it only the sexual preference that makes them adopt a different normalcy. . . these and more are some of the aspects that kept churning and turning my thoughts. well, hoshang! are you listening? answer me . . .

Monday 9 March 2009

Some wise/nice sayings

these are some sayings I shamelessly cut, copied and pasted from the Big B's blog. Sayings like this are universal and so I thought its no plagiarisation or infringement of copyright. The entry was on September 30, 2008 - 1:23 pm.

“A tree is known by its fruit, a man by his deeds”
“Two thoughts that decide your attitude in life - one, what you think of yourself when you do not have everything and two, what you think of others when you have everything”
“There are two ways to attain the number one position - one, do it more than anyone else and two, do it first and before anyone else does it.”
“It is hard to wait for something you know might never happen - but, its even harder to give it up when you know its that very thing you wanted”
“To ask for respect is like begging for it ! Instead if you keep giving respect to everyone, they will automatically give respect to you”
“Love yourself. Flirt with your understanding. Romance with dreams. Get engaged with simplicity. Marry genuineness. Divorce the ego. That is a good life !”
“Words are under your control until you speak them; but you come under their control once you have spoken them.”
“The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigator.”
“The road to fulfillment is never a straight line; learn to navigate the twists and turns and you will find something of value in every result.”
“Achievers never expose themselves. But their achievements expose them.”
“When God drops needles and pins along your path in life, do not avoid them. Collect them. They were designed to teach you to be stronger.”
“If you find the whole world against you and you are alone, what will you do ? Just turn around and you will become a leader of the whole world.”
“Never design your character like a garden where any one can walk. Design it like the sky where everyone aspires to reach. Aim high. Reach high.”
“You give little when you give of your possessions. You truly give when you give of yourself.”
“Never criticize in anger but criticize constructively.”

Hope you enjoyed the reflection and mulling it provided as much as I did!

Sunday 8 March 2009

'Waiting for something nice to happen'

writing after a brief gap of sorts make me wonder if i actually did write all my posts? that's a very moony notion of the whole act of writing. the title for this post is inspired by an older post that incidentally belongs to me and brought to my notice by a kind person, ND. at that point of writing my entry, i was waiting for something nice to happen. you must be wondering (as a reflex action) 'did the nice thing happen?' well, i realise that nice things don't happen. we should make it happen by our thoughts, our words and our deeds. the given order is given consciously as first the thought occurs, which translates as words from our mouth and finally manifests as deeds. well, so when we hold the key to what we think and what we say, we can make nice things happen to us. reader, be informed that this is not an original thought but this is something which many philosophers, scriptures and wise men say. don't you agree? well, i guess you should! when we have our thoughts in control (i think 'control' is too forceful a word but still i use it for any other word would dimnish the effect) we make things happen to us. if it is so easy, then why do we always wait for something nice to happen? (as i did previously) probably we sit there doing nothing and allowing the mind to force its thoughts of helplessness, negativity and nothingness to influence us. when the same mind which can force all the negative aspects can influence us, why not try and tune the mind to a tune of positive well being and thus in the process make nice things our way of life.


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