Friday 31 December 2010

Joy and peace as you step into 2011

You have done what you could — some blunders and absurdities have crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
          ~ Emerson

Image: Internet

Monday 27 December 2010

We have survived . . . We move on . . .

Well, another year is coming to an end. The rains left the roads with potholes and broken wires. The rains stopped long ago but the scars remain. We have survived that. India saw scam after scam where the figures of the scams left us baffled. We survived. Somewhere in the world, miners were rescued. We read and heard the news. We moved on. Aung San Suu Kyi was released after many years of house-arrest. Well, so what?

Politicians squander, people die of hunger, and many many events have shook our comfort-zones. Yet we have survived all of them and look forward to another year. Sometimes I wonder how I can be happy and look forward to another year which will be an exact replica of the bygone year. I keep quiet . . . accept that politicians will loot and celebrities will flash their assets. How does it concern me?

Yet, I look forward to another year, simply because I am alive and able to understand that the things mentioned above are beyond my control. But the hope is that there are things which I can control, like, my spending, maybe my weight! Ugh. Well. Small things bring joy and make the journey into another year promising and engaging. I survive because of those small things.

Well, what do you have to say on this?

Image: Internet

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Imagining you . . .

This is a post I began months ago but did not return to it as I was not so inclined at that point of time. But now after much deliberation, I've decided to jot it down.

For many months now, I have been writing and receiving comments, which gives me joy and makes me reflect. As I read the comments, some make me smile, some think, some delight . . . I just can't stop thinking as to how my readers will respond as they read my posts. Now let me explain, I can imagine some of you sipping coffee and reading posts . . . gently placing the cup down and writing a comment . . . and again sipping the coffee. It gives me immense pleasure to imagine you sitting miles away (sometimes you might be closer to me in geography) and doing whatever you have been doing, and stopping to see your dashboard. Maybe your room is spacious and your computer beside a window. Or maybe your room is small and known as 'computer room.' I have thought of this over and over.

But there have also been times when I cannot savour the posts of my favourite bloggers due to lack of time. At those times, I try not to give in to temptation and  just race through the post for the sake of reading. If I cannot relish the post, I refrain from reading it as well. How we construct our own patterns and thoughts while performing a task, is always a wonder to me. Sometimes the tasks we do are very similar but by doing it in our own way, we lend it our signature.

A few months ago, imagining my readers was my favourite night-time activity, before sleep wrapped me up in her arms and gently led me away. Some of your faces I do not know but that does not stop my imagination. I know your names and so I think of a form and a blank face. The mind is simply amazing. It can contrive anything and colour it brilliantly. Now, I can go on and on about this strange meandering.

At the same time, I would like to know at what time do you like to post and read posts. What is the expression on your face while reading posts? Do you smile? Do you mumble and say, "Wow! That could have been me writing . . ." Do you imagine me as I imagine you?

Image courtesy: Internet

Monday 20 December 2010


Living in a hostel for the first time and sharing a room with another person has given me new names and roles. I am a ‘roommate’ now. For the first time when she addressed me like that to her friend over the phone, I was flabbergasted. Was she referring to me? I did not intend to eavesdrop but I just wanted to know whether it was me. And indeed, it was me!

I have always loved to refer people by their names and not their roles. So when I was reduced to a mere ‘roommate,’ I must admit that I was a bit unsettled. That’s when I started rationalizing this feature of roles connected to people. It is quite natural to communicate using roles and it is just mind-boggling to know that Susan is not Susan alone but a roommate, teacher, daughter, student and so on. I cannot but think that I am many and still I am me. The whole idea seems so fascinating.

After that long thought on roles and names, I finally came to the conclusion that it is not always possible to refer to people by their names. For example, I cannot talk about my mother by referring to her by her name. I have to tell the receiver that I am talking to my mother and not …. Well, so many thoughts on roles and names.

Now, all said and done, I am your blogger-friend and not Susan. Well, I might be ‘blogger-friend, Susan’ but still . . .

So, what are you? And how do you perceive roles-names and what do you prefer to be known as? I think I can imagine your answers but I will let you speak . . .

Image: Internet

Sunday 12 December 2010

I almost told her but stopped . . .

Life sure gets interesting with the advance of age. But there are some temptations which one has to avoid with the progress of age. One of the temptation is giving out free advice! Off late, I observe myself in some of my students and young colleagues. My students and some young friends are prone to committing the exact mistakes which I committed years ago. The pattern is the same, the texture is the same and as I notice their pitfalls, I am so very tempted to tell them: Better don't do this! or Maybe you should think about that. But I stop myself. I learned things the hard way and no matter what my seniors told me, I did not choose to heed. I went ahead and fell down headlong and arose.

But I should admit that staying away from giving advice does not come easily to me. I somehow have to say something about "When I was of your age . . ." I know that eight out of ten individuals do not appreciate free advice but still I have to chip in my two bits. Sometimes I try very hard to stop myself. I am compassionate that way. I don't try to imitate my seniors and advice the poor victims. But as one advances in age, there is this niggling urge to offer unsolicited advice.

But don't you think that age does this to all of us. We have walked a certain number of miles and that has made us into what we are. After reaching a point, when we look back we think that we could have avoided certain things. Perhaps when we see children and adolescents about to commit the same old mistakes, it is but natural for us to try and warn them. But somehow the free advice is not always taken in the way it should be taken. Therefore, I refrain. Let life teach them.

Now, I wonder what my readers have to say on this: Age and unsolicited advice.

Image: Internet

Friday 10 December 2010

Someone told me . . .

Off late, it has been quite hectic this side which does not allow me to post periodically inspite of bursting ideas and reflections. The meanderings go on but the posts remain elusive.

Observing people and wondering about them often proves quite engaging. I especially amaze at the different phrases that are dropped well-meaningly but unassumingly. The use of the phrase: 'Someone told me' or 'I heard someone telling . . .' has become quite common that it is sprinkled rather liberally in conversations. At that particular time it seems quite insignificant but that phrase is still carried over twice and thrice by individuals who again say: 'Someone told me . . ..' How often we just carry forward rumours and as such on and on.

I honestly believe that the art of conversation has many strategies but the most abused, according to me is passing on information without verification. I know that it is absolutely harmless on our part when we pass on something which we have heard as a second-hand information. But it would do no harm to verify our sources and then carry it on.

My students, especially, excel in this art. They always tell me something and when I interrogate them further, I get sheepish smiles and blank looks. It was then that I realised that even adults are prone to this behaviour. Most of the times these phrases might be the clever concoction of the speaker who wants to pass off something but does not want to be associated with it. Maybe it is a device to appear clever albeit till the conversation ends and a few minutes thereafter.

Well, whatever the motive, dropping phrases and attributing that to someone is not as smart. Or maybe it is smart!

Hmmmmm, so did someone say that conversation is an art and one can have the liberty of saying anything? What do you think?

Image courtesy: Internet

Saturday 4 December 2010

Alas! What has plastic done!

While I was growing up, the corner shop was a vital part of our life. Every now and then, while in the process of cooking, my mother would need something and I had to run to buy that item. The best part of those shops, for my mother, was the bits of paper which were used to wrap the items. After emptying the contents, my mother would settle down to read whatever was printed on that bit of wrapping paper. Since many shop-keepers used newspapers, the wrapper would invariably contain parts and if lucky, full articles. If I was standing nearby, she would say: “You know these small bits of paper contain the best of reading material and you should never discard those without reading what is on it.” And she would go on reading whatever she could manage to read.

I was never very particular about that exercise until I suddenly noticed that we no longer had such small bits of stories (as I would like to call it) as wrappers. The papers were replaced by glossy plastic sachets and packets which had fine lettering printed on it. Then, I started missing those bits of paper. Sometimes the bits of paper would be answer sheets of students with the comments of teachers. It used to be quite interesting to stumble upon such items unexpectedly.

It so happens that whenever my mother used to get these wrapped papers, she would end up reading some beauty/cookery tips or some yummy recipes. My mother always would say: “I must remember to write this down.” But she will invariably forget and often times when she is preparing a dish, she would suddenly remember about that bit paper and rummage the house to find it. Little did she know that the paper would have been discarded by some smart member of the family who would see it as another waste material fit to be thrown away. But as history often repeats itself, my mother would get another bit of paper like that and would want to remember to write it down but would forget and the cycle goes on.

Last evening, I wanted to dispose something and so I tore a piece of paper. But that piece of paper had some interesting tid-bits of news and I ended up reading that whole piece of paper. And since the date of that particular paper would be somewhere in the past, it also carried some element of recollection of that particular day. While I was reading that piece of paper, I silently lamented the vanishing away of those corner shops and their paper wrappers. Alas! Plastic has stolen the small pleasure of reading unexpected stories and experience. And this is not the only thing that has been usurped by plastic . . .

Reading bits of paper, anyone? I am sure we all love those treats which come our way . . .

Image courtesy: Internet

Friday 26 November 2010

A conversation . . .

I don’t know how this experience will affect me but I know that it has touched me. For the first time in my life, I had a conversation with someone who was a bit soft in the head. She was smiling to herself and seated on the row of chairs arranged for passengers to sit. I was waiting for my train to arrive. I was travelling alone to Chennai. I sat down beside her. She looked intently at me and exclaimed: “You look very beautiful.” I smiled. She lovingly caressed my left cheek and again said: “You are a beauty —calm and quiet. You smell very good. I like the way you look and smell.” I again smiled at the obvious admiration. I still did not think she was mad.

Then she asked me about my education. I struggled to tell her as I was not sure if she would understand. I anyway told her. She smiled and said: “You are very intelligent. I am not. But I have mingled with many people like you and a bit of their intelligence has rubbed off on me.” I patiently listened. She went on: “I know many wise people like you. What I know is nothing. My knowledge is but a drop.”

She told me that I reminded her of a person she used to know who also quite beautiful and smelled good like me. She looked at me intently and smiled. Then she started talking non-stop about the entire pantheon of Hindu goddesses and how we should not burden the earth. It was only then I started feeling a bit uncomfortable as I wished to be with myself. She talked and talked and when I did not respond by saying ‘yes,’ she would force a ‘yes’ from me. I was a bit reluctant to continue sitting there.

From then on started my meanderings on madness. She seemed much wiser than many common people. Her examples and diction were impeccable (in Tamil). Was she mad? By the standards of the world, yes but otherwise . . . I don’t know.

What makes someone mad? There are degrees, I presume. I might be saner than X but less sane than Y. Is there madness in everyone? Maybe . . .

Have you pondered on madness? Do you think that you might be mad in some way? Maybe . . .

Sunday 21 November 2010

Same song . . . different meanings

Songs and books have the unique quality of surprising us at different times of our lives. While listening to a song at fifteen does something to you, the same song has a slightly different colouring while at thirty. The song which strikes my mind at this minute is SWAY. I listened to the long some years ago. That time the song was just another number by the group Pussycat Dolls. I loved the jivy rhythm. And at that time I was also learning to dance. The song was a lovely number to jive.

In the meanwhile, I tried to listen to many versions of the same song and was absolutely delighted to find many old time favourite singers render that song. Well, now when I listen to SWAY it sends my senses tingling. A delicious feeling wraps my body and mind and seem to physically take in the song. Every pore within me responds to the lines: "Like a flower bending in the breeze, bend with me." For me that line can take so many layers of meanings. Wonderful.

Sometimes the song does not have to have lyrics that are quite poignant or insightful. A simple song can kindle the senses so much that one can actually feel the song traveling within. I can list many such songs but what has captured my mind at this instance is SWAY.

I don't know if you have listened to the song. If no, please do listen to this old version. You might like it.

So what does the same song do to you at different time-lines of your life? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Sometimes I like to use the language of smiles rather than words

Well, there are so many words spoken at any given minute that sometimes words seem a burden. I know that words are indispensable but sometimes, not too often, sometimes, I would rather seek refuge in smiles. Come to think of it, a smile can convey so many different things.

How was the food?
A lovely smile

The point is conveyed. The food tasted delicious!

Had a good time?
A tired smile

One had a good time indeed to the point of exhaustion!

After a great session of working out
A content smile

How often I have wondered about the language of smiles. How would the world look like if the only language we used was that of smiling and conveying our thoughts. Not possible for every thing but aren't most of our thoughts an outcome of exaggerated imagination.

Smiling also saves a lot of energy. All one has to do is smile! No thinking of using the appropriate words. No bothering about diction/pronunciation/phonetics and other trappings. The anthropologists would not worry about dying languages. Well, I can go on and on.

Sometimes words fail me but that does not mean I can do without words. But I am glad that I can atleast substitute words with smiles sometimes.

As I sign off, a big smile to you from me. And don't forget to give a smile to someone who does not have one.

So, what do you think of smiles?

How can I forget? My dear friend Myrna's post prompted me to write this one on Smiles.

Image: Internet

Sunday 14 November 2010

On eating crisps/chips when in a meeting of people

When I was a kid, I was often amazed at the ability of grown-ups to eat crisp eatables rather soundlessly. I still continue to be amazed. Sometimes at a meeting or gathering where we are offered crisps that make noise while munching, I observe that many people do it quite effortlessly. But I always have to struggle with keeping the volume of my munching low.

I love the sound and feel of crisps but unfortunately I wonder if I am making too much noise while consuming those. Or another probability would be that I can hear those noises but not the others. But then there are certain eats which do make a lot of noise while being chewed in the mouth.

I value food for its smell, taste, texture and even noise. If crisps aren't meant to make noise, why are they so made? Sometimes very small issues as these niggle me to no end. I always have the fear that people might think that I am not observing etiquette while in the midst of a group but then on second thoughts, why should I? The joy of eating crisps is in the munching, after all.

Strange concoctions of the mind and eating habits.

How do you prefer to eat your chips/crisps? Do you take extra care to munch it softly? If yes, you must be an icon of patience and civility.

P. S: This post is only about eating crisps and NOT on the health stakes of eating crisps. Please do note the difference.

Image: Internet

Thursday 11 November 2010

I continue to surprise myself

Sometimes when I stumble me doing something that I never imagined to do, I am quite perplexed. Is it me? Can I do something like that? Well, I wonder when this element of surprise will cease confronting me. Every time I think I know that I will never do that, I prove myself wrong. This state has two sides to it: One, I discover myself each time I stumble upon something new and Two, I am proved wrong in my judgment of ME.

This element of surprise, er, sometimes shock, confuses me. Most of the times the discoveries aren't very pleasant. The very same qualities I would have detested in someone else surfaces in me and my thoughts immediately run to that person. I feel sorry for having judged X on an earlier occasion. Now this puts me into another dilemma. The dilemma of acceptance. If I find a flaw in me that I resented in another, would that mean I have to accept the other person now? But that trait in X was different, I try to justify. I wonder.

Maybe Susan Sontag was right when she said: "The Self is a Project -- Something to be Built." But for how long should I work?

I know all of you face this. How do you resolve this issue?

Friday 5 November 2010

Questioning Archetypes

During a chat with my room-mate, she expressed: "I wish I have you as my mother." Why? She feels that I take good care of her by sometimes making coffee for her and washing her cups. Well, this made me wander off in a trail of thoughts. I began questioning the archetype associated with mothers. Caring for one another and being affectionate are qualities that every human should possess by default (or am I expecting a bit too much, here). But when one attributes qualities as the ones mentioned above only to mothers, I start wondering. Why is it that every culture deems the mother as THE epitome of love, sacrifice, affection and care. I have always heard the very common phrase: "There can be no one like my mother." I, for a fact, accept that no human can be like the other but why mothers alone.

Popular culture also propagates this grand idea of raising the mother to a pedestal. But there are problems in this type of deitifying a role. One: the mother is not seen as a 'normal' human who is prone to committing mistakes. Two: the mother has no individual personality except that of a nurturer, care-giver and a person who holds the family together. Aren't we placing an enormous responsibility on a human being by placing the weight of so many qualities and responsibilities?

A mother goes to any length to sacrifice for the well-being of her child/children but doesn't the father also do the same in a different way. Culture demands that the mother be exalted at all times. But why? There have been instances when I have been reprimanded for even raising this issue of 'mother-worshiping.' Let it be clear here that I am not slighting the role of a mother. She is the one who brought me into this world. She carried me within her for nine months. But that does not mean that I see her as the highest point of every possible goodness. The mother I know is capable of committing mistakes, sulking when she finds the weight of cooking a tad too much and also complains that the world is too much extracting on the role of a mother.

Well, this is quite a touchy subject. I would like to read your thoughts on this. You are free to condemn my thoughts, if you find that it is unpardonable.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Picking up bits without knowing where to place them

 Thinking of bygone days and people from the past fills me with quite a bit of nostalgia. In fact, I can soak in emotion pretty quickly but after all that downpour, I ponder. As much as I would like to reconnect with people from a time that was wonderful, I wonder whether the same vibrations will pass while meeting all of them years later.

I am often quick to suggest reunion plans, but the euphoria slowly fades away and I rethink on meeting up with old chums. Why? I don't much know. While it is quite nice to think that the same people once coloured a part of my years long ago, it does not actually excite me to think of coming together again. I would gladly meet one or two close friends but . . .

This happens almost every time. I get quite happy and chirpy when I stumble upon a person from the earlier pages of my book of life but I quickly lose that enthusiasm. Mind you, the warmth is still there but I wonder what will I talk to them and how will I sustain a conversation. Now this is not a great situation to  find oneself in. People can easily misinterpret that I am being snooty or insensitive but this is what happens to me. I find lost in reunion meetings. Well, I can manage for the first fifteen minutes when pleasantries and news are exchanged but after that, I yearn for the entire drama to be over. I cherish the memories but reconnecting in reality is a bit hassling for me.

We all change over the years. While some deem it a great compliment to receive the phrase: "You have not changed a bit," for me it is an insult. How can anyone remain the same throughout the many many years. The figure remaining the same is worth two bits of compliments but personality. If not completely, atleast here and there some changes do happen. And the fodder for reunions are always nostalgic moments where we looked slim, dated hot guys, my daughter is this and my husband bought me that and blah, blah, which is a bit too stifling.

I'd gladly pick up the bits but those bits cannot fit into the whole picture. So they are better left as bits from a bygone era. I guess I have rambled a bit too much here. And no, there was no gin and tonic involved.

Maybe you like reunions and can give me some advice on how to go about it.

Saturday 30 October 2010

i wish i was somewhere else . . .

Certain times a strange feeling envelops our being. Now this is a bit difficult to explain in words. One just wishes that he/she is somewhere else but here. Sometimes when I am in the middle of my usual day doing the usual chores and duties, I feel that I should be somewhere else. Mind you, this feeling is not caused because I dread the day or the chores. It is just a surreal feeling that encompasses me. It lasts for more than a few minutes, say for about eight minutes or so. At that time, I just stop whatever I am engaged in and suddenly wish that I was in a different place and an unknown time-zone.

This feeling seizes me unawares. After that gush, I wonder what accosted me. I am left with a lovely tingly feeling. It seems quite real and also surreal. During those few minutes, I am not where I am. I am there and not there. I imagine but that imagination is real for those minutes.

The realm of imagination for those eight minutes is always something happy. I am either singing or smelling roses or eating a lovely meal in a quaint wee place. I wish that I am transported. I am not me but still I maintain my identity. Slightly confusing? Well, those minutes leave me so.

I wonder whether those moments have some purpose to occur in my busy day. I don't know. That feeling does not come often. It comes when I least expect it. And it is not a fanciful forced imagination which is fantasised by me. The feeling holds the reins rather than the other way round.

Some things are lovely when it happens. But they do leave us a bit confused.

Strange fits of passion have I known 
And I will dare to tell 
But in the lover's ear alone, 
What once to me befell.

~ From William Wordsworth's "Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known"

What say? Do you experience these strange transportations?

Wednesday 27 October 2010

The hidden power of the monosyllable NO

Have you ever tried saying NO to someone close to you or somebody whom you think will understand when you say a NO. Well, if your answer is in the negative, you belong to a luckier selection of humans. I am tempted to use the cliched sentence: There are two kinds of people in this world -- the forever 'yes' ones and the 'no' ones. The former are found everywhere but the latter exist in obscure pockets.

I classify myself as occupying a place in between: A sometimes 'no' person but that does not work well with me. Eventhough from childhood, I have been taught to state my preference, I did not know that certain preferences are taken far too personally.

Sometimes my mother assigns some task to me and she also tells me that I can either do it or not. I opt for the latter and then . . . everyone in the house seems to think that I am a disobedient child. I have grown up too much that I can vociferously say a 'no.' I get confused by this outbreak and finally do the chore assigned to me to prevent further outbursts.

I thought it would be easier with friends. But no. Many times, friends take it for granted that one should always be a 'yes' person if we are united by the thread of friendship. A simple 'no' can lead to a cast-down face, sullen expression, stern behaviour and some talks on the bond (age) of friendship. So much so for a 'no.'

For many years, 'yes' and 'no' were the same to me. I could either choose to do something or not but what I did not realise was that there are many emotional strings attached to these simple words. An 'yes' can open up joy and happiness while a 'no' always triggers negative vibes. It is very rare to stumble upon a person who can take both answers in the same stride.

Probably that is why in this part of the world, no one easily utters a 'no' for fear of many repercussions. Most of us are 'yes, I will do it' people. Examples of 'yes' seeps into almost every aspect of our life: relationships, food, jobs,  and others.

Does your culture allow you to say 'no'? Leave culture, what is your idea of uttering 'no' to someone?

Image: Internet

Sunday 24 October 2010

Pre-meditating the usage of foul language

In today's world, it is almost next to impossible to refrain from using unparliamentary words in every context. We have a Hollywood movie channel, which has subtitles for its films and every time a character uses foul language, we can see four asterisk symbols (****). This is the norm as it is not 'nice' to display four-letter words on the screen while screening the movies for Indian audiences. Fine. But in today's world, usage of these words has almost become a part of the daily parlance. There were times when I used to detest these uncouth words. I strongly resolved not to use these words. I still do but in fits-and-starts. There are some absolute places where the usage cannot be restricted. Let me illustrate. If a man tries to grope in public transports, I cannot pass him off with a mild 'Stupid' or 'Idiot.' I am forced to use expletives not only to convey my anger but also to make him feel small and dirty. Whether I succeed or not, I cannot know but I am left with the small pleasure of having given him a piece of my mind in just FOUR LETTERS in addition to some three or more words.

Despite the fact that I use expletives on choice ocassions, I cannot help but detest the usage of these words in every context. Sometimes I wonder about passing off these words as interjections, but no. I believe that the usage of four-letter expletives are something that should be reserved for special occasions. Most words that are part of expletives are sprinkled in every sentence and used as a noun, verb and an adjective. I can understand when out of sheer frustration, someone says: **** but uttering it with every action is taking it a bit too forward.

Today's children use these words to look 'cool' and 'in.' While everyone who uses these words know that they ought not to be using it, few seek to rectify it. I can understand if an old sailor or a man from the army uses foul language a bit too frequently but others.

I always seem to regret the usage of four-letter words after I spew it out in an extreme passionate emotional status. The process continues . . .

Do you believe in clean speech and using words with hygiene? Tell me . . .

Image: Internet

Friday 22 October 2010

Is complete freedom possible?

I have wondered many times about the oft repeated word "freedom." As children, freedom would mean to not complete homework or staying home and missing school. We would often complain: "We don't have freedom to take leave as we want." That was freedom those days. As years passed by, freedom took on many hues and definitions. Prime among them were the freedom of speech, religion and expression.

At different stages, within my limited parameters I weighed the thoughts on freedom in life. I pursued different schools of thought which passionately dialogued with liberation of the self and freedom. I tried that process of "liberation." I succeeded for two and a half days.

Whenever India celebrates its Independence day, I wonder whether we were really free. Though we were free from our colonists, we possess the colonial hangover in every facet of our life and so much so, we happily wear it on our sleeve!

There is no complete freedom. Only degrees in pockets here and there. If we don't worry too much about the thought processes and the like, we are "free" from the chains of "freedom." But if we choose to debate on whether we possess actual freedom, we are chained. Chained not by not being free, but by worrying too much about freedom.

While pondering on freedom, I cannot but help think of the last two lines from Auden's The Unknown Citizen
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: 
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

Hmmmmm. So do you think you possess complete freedom or is the question absurd.
Image: Internet

Monday 18 October 2010

I am a lyricist

Sometimes a tune is so beautiful that one can't help but trying to sing that song with our own lyrics. This is a trait mostly seen in kids who just invent their own words to a song they don't know very well. But somehow I don't seem to outgrow that trait. And this can be quite embarrassing at times. But I can't be blamed you see as the lyrics I invent fit in so very well.

Sometimes the singer's voice is not quite clear and the lyrics are misheard. But it so happens with me that I don't mishear the song but think that what I sing is THE right one. Finally one day I get to hear the song and then I realise my mistake. But whatever said and done, the original lyrics never replace my old lyrics.

I thought this problem was unique to me (as I always do) but there are many like me:

* When Bob Dylan first met The Beatles, he told John Lennon he liked that song of theirs where they sing, ‘I get high, I get high’. Lennon embarrassingly pointed out the line was: “I can’t hide, I can’t hide.”

* This song is one of the most misheard songs out there. "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix. The lyric is:
“Scuse me, while I kiss the sky.”
It is often heard as:
“Scuse me, while I kiss this guy.”
“Excuse me, while I zip my fly.”

“Excuse me, while I eat this pie.”

* This is a 1970s song that was often misheard by a lot of different people. The song is "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedance Clearwater Revival. The lyric is:
“There’s a bad moon on the rise."
It is often heard as:
“There’s a bathroom on the right.”
“There’s a baboon on the right.”
“There’s a fat man on your wife.”
“There’s a bad move on the right.”

“There’s a bathroom on the rise.” 

Well, I told you I was not the only one out there who hears wrong lyrics.

And I know for sure that there are many of you who are also budding lyricists. Right?

Misheard lyrics courtesy: Internet
Image courtesy: Internet

Thursday 14 October 2010

Things no one will tell you

There are some situations in life which come to us headlong and we have to tackle it first-hand. For instance, today, someone very close to me bought some eatables with great love but since I did not want to eat, I refused the food item. The person felt quite offended. I did not know how to react or respond to the situation. I felt small. These kind of things are something that no one can explain to us before hand. One has to be in that situation and learn.

Another instance like that is the issue of people (people always confuse us in different ways). There are some individuals whom you like and some you don't. But there is another category: Those whom we don't like or hate. I would call these people, "the ones in the grey area." In life, no one prepares you for the "grey" people. We learn at a very young age about dualities: good and evil; love and hate, etc., but what about those in between. I can never fathom how to deal with the grey areas. I let them be. Rather, let them rest.

Similarly, early in life we also learn that there are some people who are friends and only one person is a lover. But as one advances in age, there are grey areas where the boundary between a friend and a lover always seem hazy and clouded. No one tells you about all these things. We have to figure them out by ourselves. 

Sometimes the whole process of life seems like a journey of trials and errors. We grope, search and wonder about things which we think are strange and confusing. But is it really that way? Or is it the 21st century with all its trappings and pseudo-realities which confound our sensibilities? I am sure that whatever we experience are "twice removed from reality and a shadow of shadows," as quoted by Aristotle. But still we feel that the experience is unique to us! Irony and paradox, thy name is Life!

Well, what do you  have to say on this?

Image: Internet

Tuesday 12 October 2010

"If I had another pair"

Traversing through the different chores of the day many times we wonder: "It would be great if I had another pair of hands." Well, the one pair that I have doesn't receive its due and here I am signing an ode in prose to the hands. Last week as I was roughly scanning a weekly magazine, my eyes fell on a group of athletes who were celebrating their victory. They wore jubilant smiles and stood tall with their laurels. Everything was fine except for their hands: They did not have hands. I was amazed at the tenacity of those young athletes but also wondered about how we take certain things for granted. As a reflex action, I held my hands in front of my eyes. I saw them line by line, finger by finger as if I was a Quality-control Inspector.

I spoke to my hands and rendered a silent gratitude to them. When something is very close to us and made use of almost every second, we seldom realise its importance and worth. I mentally tried making a list of the things that I do with my hand. Ah, I don't think I should list the actions here. Let me give some time to you for making your own list. The list that I had mentally made was mind-boggling. I use my hands for everything.

I wondered about the possibility of showing love without hands. I had to discover new ways to touch. I cannot imagine touching without hands. However good I am with my words, sight or any other expression, I cannot touch someone physically without my hands.

When one loses a part of the body, nature always enables to substitute that particular organ with an intensified another organ. But that is a bit too complex for me to think. I cannot do that. Even for typing this post, I have to use my hands.

And anyone can identify people with their hands: Mothers by their coarse yet loving hands; fathers with their rough and callous hands; friends with their tender and caring hands. One just knows. Sometimes when I am sleeping and someone touches my cheeks, I can (in my sleepy state) recognise the hand by the touch. Marvellous, isn't it?

Why don't we stop to reflect on something that is US invariably? I refrain from saying 'part of me' because I see every part as wholesome which makes me. So every organ is at once a separate as well as a complete being in itself.

Speaking of hands, who can forget the lovely painting "Praying Hands" by Albrecht Durer.

Hands!!! What do you think is the best use of your hands?

Do you actually give them the worth they deserve? Show them some love as you charge through the day.

Image: Internet

Saturday 9 October 2010

Looking at the other side of life

Knowingly or unknowingly we all think of death and how it might come to claim us. Quite natural. But there are some of us who anticipate it every time thus losing out on the present scenario called 'living.' This post was gradually born when I was in the midst of a lecture on British Literature. The resource person is a retired professor of Literature and a charming old man. But I noticed that many times in the course of his lecture, he invariably spoke of death. He told us about a man who travelled with him the day before in train but died due to cardiac arrest this morning. And after that, he remarked: "What if I die the same way today?" While adjusting the microphone's volume, he would say: "What if there is a shock and I die?"

I quite agree that for a man of his age, death is something that constantly niggles the mind but to anticipate it all the time is a bit unnerving. It is a fact that everyone who comes into this world must go, but why waste the precious moments thinking of something that will anyway come.

At this juncture, I would also like to cite another example. There is a man who serves as a gate-keeper in our University. He happened to chat with us a few days ago. He is a man who has retired from the Army. What he told us never left my mind: "The life in Army was wonderful. Even though death was always lurking, it was a great life. Now there is nothing left. Life has become boring." His words stuck me. Imagine always living in the shadow of death! There might be a bomb-blast or a bullet-rain anytime. But that man was very happy. In fact, he even has a bullet wound on his shoulder and left thigh but it has not deterred him. He finds civilian life boring! What a contrast between the old professor and the retired army gate-keeper.

I often think of death and the various things associated with it. In fact I have even imagined my own death with people saying things like: "Even yesterday, she was having coffee with me and talking about D. H Lawrence!" Well, so much so for death.

Let me pause with a lovely poem on death by John Donne:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

So, do you ever think of death? Does it scare you or does it seem like an extension of life in another form? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Poem courtesy: Internet

Wednesday 6 October 2010

do you think you have your landscape in you?

all of us come from a specific region. but sadly even though our roots belong to one place, we are far removed from our roots physically. but inspite of that, one inherently possesses some traits that belong to the place of our roots. for example, whenever i eat, my mom points out that i closely demonstrate the eating patterns of the place from where my father came. sometimes her comment quite irritates me but it is something that i cannot change. the same can be said about the way i argue: another trait of people from a specific place!

it is quite interesting as to how we possess traits of our ancestors even without us consciously realising it. it can be called 'genes' but i prefer to see those traits as the cultural habit of my landscape: the place where my roots lie. what makes it more interesting is the fact that inspite of having no much connection with the place of my roots, i have traits that are common to that place!

i have heard some people saying, "the sea in me makes me crave for fish and crab." probably that person might just use the above line as an expression but digging into that person's roots might point out to the fact that that person is indeed from the coastal region. when one pins down oneself to one place, one ceases to be a citizen of the world. while the term 'citizen of the world' sounds quite grand and cool, it seems quite generic and all-encompassing. and this is too grand for me to think!

long ago, i read a novel and something from that struck within my mind. the protagonist says something like this: Long ago we could identify people by the shoes they wore. But now everything is uniform. Everyone wears the same Nike shoes and trainers.

so, what landscape do you belong to and what trait reaffirms that? your grandma would have told you something about that trait!

image: internet

Sunday 3 October 2010

Tongue in cheek?? Nah!

Sometimes when one is not in control of food that is available for consumption, the realisation that the tongue has a separate personality comes into being. In Tamil, people use the phrase "My tongue is dead" to refer to ill-treatment of the tongue by the quality of food; The food that is served is so bad that it has caused the death of the tongue's ability to taste (metaphorically of course). Well, one comes to know about the tongue only when an individual is in a situation where the food has to be eaten for the sake of survival and not for taste.

But a person who loves food not only for survival's sake but also for the food's smell, taste and texture will surely find his/her mettle tested when forced into a place where the food is not exactly to one's taste. And this is what I found out when I recently shifted from home to another place. Eating the same food everyday for breakfasts and lunches has rendered the tongue quite 'dead.' More than the actual food, the predictability makes the tongue suffer.

Maybe as an individual, I can pacify myself by saying that food eaten is only for survival but alas! my tongue does not think so. The tongue demands that it be served tasty food at least once a while, if not everyday. There have been days when the tongue refuses to be satisfied. It is almost as if the tongue will go on strike if the food does not scale to its taste. I am rendered powerless in controlling the tongue and in turn the reverse happens.

How often I think that certain organs of the body function independently! The tongue is the most notorious for functioning like that. It demands, coaxes, pleads and curses if the food is not to its standards. I cannot control that teeny-weeny muscle. People talk about controlling the tongue when it comes to speech. But speech and food, I reckon, is the domain of that wee muscle.

Now if I start about the heart controlling the human existence, I can go on and on. Let me pause.

Do you think that your tongue controls you when it comes to food? Do you feel tamed by its demands and tastes? What is food to you: taste, means of survival or just another mundane activity?

Image: Internet

Friday 1 October 2010

Losing a bit of Myself and gaining a bit of Me

Every year, apart from the New-Years, there is day which pleasantly reminds one of the year that has passed by. I am referring to birthdays. It is a time of the year where one can reflect, ponder and hope about an assortment of things. Birthdays not only mean years or passage of time, it is an occasion to check our growth and our shortcomings as well.

As the clock strikes 12. 00, I love to look back at the year that has just ended. I wonder at the times when I was down at the dumps but still managed to get up and move on; laugh at the stupidities that were knowingly or unknowingly committed by me; shed tears at apparent loss of certain vital things; recollecting the new things that happened to me in the bygone year and be grateful for every single day of the previous year.

Sometimes I just can't help crying while thinking about the joy of being alive and happy. It is sad when one observes the world around with its face that is scarred with gloom, despair, inhuman conditions and sickness. Entering into a new year is truly something special and fortunate.

In the process of growing older, one also leaves a bit of something that no longer seems to complement the self. But at the same time, one gains common sense, wisdom and practical knowledge by the experience of the passing years.

In a previous post a few months ago, I had pondered on the changing faces of birthdays as the years increase and this post is an addition to those thoughts. After all I love to meander and reflect on things over and over!

Birthdays are to be taken with the sagacious advice of Mr. Browning: "Grow old with me, the best is yet to be."

So, how do you see birthdays? Happy to grow older and wiser??

Image: Internet

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Behind the scenes . . . literally!

Many of us have been in that place. If we observe enough, we shall never fail to be amused and entertained. Oh! I am talking about sitting behind tinted glasses and watching the world pass by. I call this a specialised form of people-watching!

I don't know how many have actually done this. Have you been seated in a room or a vehicle where people outside cannot see you but you can see everything that is going on outside. A hilarious experience, by Jove! Well, there are many sorts of people who pass by, giving you ample laugh bytes. Some narcissists take pleasure is admiring them in the glass (behind which you are sitting and grinning); some check their nostril hairs! Phew! There are some who check whether their make-up is fine while some just wink.

There is voyeuristic pleasure in this act as the person outside the glass (doors/car-windows) is most of the times oblivious that someone is actually inside. Even though common sense knows that since the glass is raised, there ought to be a person inside, is never thought by any individual. Sometimes life is like that!

We are quite oblivious of what is actually happening. Probably the term 'rose-tinted' came from that. But the only difference is that as a pass-time, we are inside and having fun while in the real sense, the individual covers the mind and imagines fun!

And sometimes the reverse can happen. We imagine that since the glasses are tinted, people outside cannot see us and therefore we can have our time. Not always! If the person outside looks carefully, (s)he can look through!

Rose-tinted glasses, anyone?!?!?

Image: Internet

Saturday 25 September 2010

Where did I leave my innocence . . .

I have recently started teaching as a guest faculty in a University. The place is a rustic one and most of the students are from in and around the place. Though the institution is a University, it is still in its formative stages.

One thing that constantly captures my thoughts while interacting with the students is their obliviousness to an assortment of things. The students, if I can say are 'raw' and an epitome of bliss. They are not exposed to the bigger world around them and are quite happy. Observing them, I have often wondered: "Have I lost my innocence?" Being educated frees the mind of different trappings but the price one pays is the loss of something primal, instinctive and blissful.

Education forces us to think beyond the seen and coaxes us to question almost every single thing. This can get stifling at times. Blissfully unaware of existential s***, post-colonial angst and whatever, the students here meander through life. I know they might see my position as quite privileged in comparison to theirs. But looking at them, I cannot stop thinking: Where did I leave my innocence? I would love to answer: School, University and Mind boggling Theories.

Do you also sometimes feel like the way I do?

Image courtesy: Internet                                           

Thursday 23 September 2010

Just for laughs and thoughts :)

 If I see something that I think my readers will enjoy, I cannot but post it here. This funny poem had me in splits and I thought why not share it with you. Hope you enjoy Michelene Wandor's poem.

~ Michelene Wandor

Medusa. Sit down. Take
the weight off your snakes. We have
a lot in common. Snakes, I mean.

Tell me, can you really turn men stone with a look? Do you
think, if i had a perm -
maybe not.

Don't you think
Perseus was
a bit of a coward? not even
to look you in the face

you were beautiful when you
were a moon goddess, before
Athene changed your looks
through jealousy

I can't see what's wrong
with making love
in a temple, even
if it was her temple

it's a good mask; you must
feel safe and loving
behind it

you must feel very powerful

tell me, what conditioner do you use?

I would love to hear what you have to say on this.

Monday 20 September 2010

Soaking into a new place

Places are strange. With some you fall in love instantly, while some tease you and coax you to leave. I have experienced both. But some places just don't gel with you. While I always keep my eyes and mind open to a new place, I can immediately sense the feeling of being a bit stifled. I allow that to pass. I imagine that the place and I will gradually fall in love.

I have often wondered whether it is the place or the elements of a place which warm the insides. Do people matter when one does not like the place? What if the place is lovely but the people aren't? Does it make a difference?

I had imagined that I don't much like big cities. I was wrong. I like them. I like them to the extent of having a dispassionate relationship with them. It is a paradox. Cities like me. They seduce me with their neon lights and bright sights. They sometimes take me on never-ending journeys into labyrinths of pleasure and love. They have long trains and bus-rides. I love sitting inside those buses and trains imagining that it would last forever.

Sprinkling mountains, lushness of green and quiet nights: Can they satisfy me? Once they did. But that was a dream that was fulfilled. And I was young and willing to let go. I still would let go but the place does not allow me to.

Places and I have a strange love-hate relationship. What makes you like a place? What do you expect from a place? Tell me . . .

Image courtesy: Internet

Saturday 18 September 2010

Hands stretched: The other side

Travelling regularly in trains, I often encounter beggars of both genders walking the aisle and stretching out their hands. The stretched hands belong to different age-groups. I don't like giving alms for various reasons which I will shortly discuss. Today when an old man stretched out his alms, I looked at him and nodded a 'no,' indicating that I will not give him anything. He immediately started mumbling something in an angry tone. It seemed that he was abusing me for not giving him anything.

Personally, I feel that begging will not solve the bigger problem. And another reason that I refuse money is that there are many beggars who fill the trains and streets of Chennai. One can see different groups of people: blind, lame, with children, singers, old people, etc. I think that by dispensing a few coins when hands are stretched out will not yield anything. Sometimes I throw philosophies outside the window and don't mind giving coins. But I am always confused by this persistent problem.

There are some beggars who tag at clothing and follow the person for a distance. Many individuals give a few coins just to get rid of the persistent member. Another instance is that of beggars hurling insults if you refuse them alms.

In India, the problem of beggars is increasing by the day and there seems no solution either by the state or central government. It is sad. I would love to contribute something where the problem is solved at the level of the root.

There have been times when I have seen children begging and when I offered to buy them food, they bluntly refused. The wanted money instead. There have been reports that there are syndicates which employ people to beg and collect money. The point of begging as an employment is also somewhere at the back of my mind.

When I was in UK, I was happy to see that there were hardly any beggars who hound you on the streets. If so, what is the problem in India? Maybe the alarming rate of increase in population or are people opting the easy way out.

I am still wondering about the old man who mumbled abuses at me. Why does he beg?

What do you think people should do when accosted by beggars?

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Have I told you lately . . .

You know we take a lot of things in life for granted. Take for example, saying 'Thank-You.' There are many times when we feel gratitude and warmth for something that happened to us but we seldom express it. Well, this is my 200th post. Not a very great milestone, nevertheless it makes me happy happy. I did not intend anything like this when I started this blog. Starting this blog was a very personal motive which I thought will enable me to rid my emotional baggage. But here it is, read and loved by all of you.

So, today I am expressing my gratitude to all my followers and my commenters. You have made me feel special and worthwhile. Exchanging thoughts and ideas across ether is something that I enjoy and look forward to every time I post.

And I should add that you have given me the opportunity to be part of your excellent blogs. Reading your posts, expressing my thoughts and waiting for your next post is something which is cherished and loved by me. We are all fellow travellers in this blogosphere and I must say that the journey is/will be quite eventful and nourishing with you for company.

So let's uncork the champagne and toast for US!!!

Joy always :)

Image: Internet

Sunday 12 September 2010

Working hard to reverse stereotypes

Once upon a time, not so long ago, we were fighting stereotypes and tags attached to a specific gender or group. But now that is gradually becoming passe. Now, we have left stereotypes and are working pretty hard to reverse stereotypes.

Branding a woman with specific colours, chores, views and jobs, though still exist are giving way to something else. People, these days try to defy what is stereotyped about them and work hard to present a 'different' view. Now this is not something 'bad' or 'uncalled for.' But the very idea of defying stereotypes is slowly becoming a compulsive obsession. For example, the colour 'pink' is always seen as a woman's colour. But despite the fact that some women love the colour, they opt for other colours which do not essentially carry the 'feminine' tag! In the process, one is trying to consciously reverse stereotypes.

It is remarkable that in many issues, stereotypes are gradually melting. But I wonder whether going against stereotypes leads one to consciously avoid certain things that one loves and wishes to adhere to. If a woman feels good about getting manicures and pedicures, it does not point to the fact that she is very feminine and loves to pamper herself. Even if she loves to pamper herself, why not. Is it a stereotype that women who admit that they love the beauty parlours are vain and overtly feminine. No. A man may pamper himself by discussing about politics passionately but does that limit politics to men alone? No.

When I look around, I see many women who say: "I don't much like the colour pink, you know. They call it a feminine colour but I prefer black." I have often felt like asking: "Do you like black because it is not a feminine colour or because you genuinely like it?" This is but one example. There are many all around us if we care to look.

These days men try pretty hard to assist women in chores around the house. Why? Of course they care but they are also aware of the stereotype that is merged with their sex: Men don't involve with the chores around the house. Again a case of trying hard.

Well, as much as I am against stereotyping, I am also in chagrin of trying hard to go against stereotyping. On second thoughts, maybe trying hard to break stereotypes will help in complete wiping out the old stereotypes before the new ones come searching. A case of standing between the devil and the deep blue sea!!!

Image courtesy: Internet

Friday 10 September 2010

Throw in a couple of stars, will you!

Walking across blogosphere throws many wonderful sights and words. You would definitely agree with me on this, won't you. I must tell you that Mr. van Gogh is spread all over this terrain in many forms. Let me pin down to one of my favourites: Starry Night. When van Gogh painted this in September 1888, little did he know that this piece would become the most reproduced one from his collection. It is said that he painted the piece 'Starry Night' from memory.

People have used this painting in many forms:  an expression, a greeting card, a song, to refer to a beloved's eyes and so on. Some people have blogs which are named "Starry Night" or "Starry."

I can get lost in this piece as I love stars and also the works of van Gogh. Perhaps his tragic life has given more mileage to him. I have explored this topic in one of my earlier posts. I have also talked about stars. But the desire to make a combination out of stars and van Gogh is something I have been  yearning to do for a long time.

Whenever I see this piece by van Gogh, I get a bit melancholic.  Not exactly melancholic, but reflective, I guess. The more I gaze at the picture, the more I allow myself to be transported into that scene. And when I am transported, I feel that I am not alone. There are thousands of people and stars. Perhaps this is a collective expression of a piece of art. There are so many out there who feel the same way about "Starry Night." I almost feel that all those people are standing and becoming entwined with the stars. What a lovely transportation!

Now another experience is when I hear the song "Starry Starry Night" by Don McLean. McLean's voice gently leads us to the wonder of van Gogh's paintings. It is a lovely tribute by one artist to another.

Let me give you the lyrics of the song "Starry Starry Night"

Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the strangers that you've met,
The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will... 

It is amazing how this man Vincent van Gogh with a simple theme like stars has captivated so many different thoughts, souls and works of art.

After seeing the painting here, what do you think. Does it remind you of love, Vincent van Gogh, Don McLean or NOTHING.

Image: Internet

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Pockets of joy

This week has been a bit hectic. Many things going on in my mind scape, many forms to fill up plus the corrections in my drafts. The list is endless or so it seems. I have yearned to write a blog post since the past four days but it just did not happen. Though I am not yet on the verge of addiction, blogging does give me joy. Reading comments on my posts and writing comments on my favourite blogs is just wonderful and uplifting. This is what I call my 'pocket of joy.'

On a hot summer day, while I was waiting to cross the railway line, I noticed a few crows playing in a small pool of water. The rain had left its mark in the form of a wee pool and the merry crows were cooling their bodies in the water. Though I was sweating, it was interesting to watch those crows wetting their feathers and having a good time. A pocket of joy for the crows on a hot day!!

Coming back to blogging. Inspite of having a tiring day and being fatigued, the moment I log in and see my page, I am thrilled to bits. I cannot say that I can blog or visit blogs endlessly but doing so in the midst of many things makes it unique and joyful. That is why blogging is one of my 'pockets of joy.'

I think all of us have our own 'pockets of joy' that we indulge in to make us feel good. This cannot be a 'forever moment' that was written about a few posts earlier but it definitely makes our day nicer.

So my dear readers do you have 'pockets of joy' in your busy and gruelling schedule. If so, why not share it with us.

Image: Internet

Saturday 4 September 2010

Love Love Love

The title is a bit mawkish, I admit but I sincerely hope the content is not! Sometimes one needs to say a word twice or thrice to bring out the REAL emphasis of the word. There are times when I feel overwhelming love for my mother, sister, grandfather or friend, so it is just not enough to say what one feels in a plain sentence. And so I go: "I feel love, love, love for you" coupled with a tight hug and big smile. It just captures the mood right.

Now using one word thrice can be quite contagious. The first time I heard this was in a place I cannot remember now. The girl was cooing to her beau: "I am in love, love, love with you." He smiled. The smile said it all. And at the end of it, all I could remember was "Love Love Love."

Using the same word twice or thrice does not make a great difference but it does describe the overwhelming state of the person's heart. And the best part part is many individuals use a word twice or thrice to place greater emphasis. Take, my dear friend Nevine who says: "I have Home Home and Other Homes. Home Home is Cairo, Egypt. Other Homes are every country and city I've ever lived in... and there are many." I found that rather cute (another cliched word in today's world). Instead of explaining what we want to say in four or five formal lines, we resort to using one word twice for the emphasis.

But this usage seldom works when we need to express anger or pain. It dilutes the essence of the emotion. So finally we have a usage which should be exclusively used for happy times.

While writing this post, I took off for a few seconds and imagined saying the same for lust: "I feel lust lust lust for you with a pinch of love." Now that seemed funny but not entirely. Try saying that in a husky tone!! (Winks and smiles)

After completing this post, I am happy happy. How about you? Are you feeling jumpy jumpy today? :)

Image courtesy: Internet

Thursday 2 September 2010

Lady Macbeth syndrome in continuum

Lady Macbeth washed her hands and rubbed so hard to get rid of her guilt. This washing of hands to get rid of guilt was christened 'Lady Macbeth Syndrome' by clever psychologists. Now this syndrome, I figured could be applied to many other facets in life. Take cutlery and china for example. When I feel quite angry about something, I would like to break cutlery to rid my anger. I picture the object of anger in the innocent cutlery and have this urge to break them into smithereens. But alas! I cannot do that.

But washing of hands is the act that is done more often to rid of something within us. I have seen friends who have done something they should not, take a bath two or three times. A symbolic cleansing of the within through the outside.

Playing football and handling the ball to rid of some pent-up emotion is not new to us. Imagining the ball to be the impossible opponent, one hits the ball so hard that if the ball had a voice, it would have used the foulest expletives.

Now how much relief or succour does this kind of behaviour give us? It helps us vent for some time but does not guarantee the complete wiping of the guilt, anger or thoughts of failure. But in those small actions of ridding ourselves of a particular emotion, we demonstrate that we would indeed like to get rid of something that lies within us but is not good for our well-being. Just that thought will enable us to take further steps in finding a way out. Maybe Lady Macbeth's guilt was so much that she found her own doom. I wish she had waited for the guilt to melt away.

This post is another ramble. I would love to know your thoughts on this expression of the inner mind on external objects.

Monday 30 August 2010

The tussle between Indians, instructions and instincts

Indians and Instructions don't get along quite well! I observed this while I was in Belfast for six weeks. Our fellow hostel-mates followed instructions of any kind quite judiciously: Microwave cooking instructions, gadget instructions, and all the others (not the late-night ones, of course but we followed that well).

On the other hand, we (three Indians) who were absolutely unaccustomed to reading and following instructions found this a bit amusing. They thought the same about us!!! Now, why we don't follow instructions are because it leaves us confused and stifled. For a change, we thought we will also follow the tiny-lettered lines and to our utter dismay, we would stop after the second one. First, it was mundane and boring. Two, simple things through formal writing make it convoluted.

We best trust our instincts. I just about know if the vegetables are cooked or the food is heated. I don't have to rely on the clock to wait for the two minutes to get over so that I can switch off the gravy. I cannot do that.

Another flip side to the timer usage is that I keep checking the clock every now and then and the process leaves me so bugged that I switch-off my mind. I focus on something else and in the whole thing, forget the dish that is cooking! Phew!!

Well, now this instinct works for cooking but not for fixing gadgets. People of other nationalities (I think) are adept in that. Indians (well, mostly) are slower in that area. The first-time reading is out of curiosity and as the second instruction comes by we say, "Oh! I know this" only to later realise that we got stuck. Then we again read the instructions. And we don't understand or simply lack the patience.

Well, Indians, Instructions and Instincts! Quite a package, isn't it. Okay, now your turn. Do you religiously follow instructions while doing something for the first time? Do you like following them?

When I started this blog, there were simple instructions . . . which I could understand and well, follow!

Image courtesy: Internet

Saturday 28 August 2010

Branded for life

Mithila. Madhubani painting on hand-made paper

It is about to rain and the signs loom large: dark clouds pregnant with water, dragon-flies flying closer to the ground and gentle breeze which carries a faint smell of the earth. But you know that there are clothes which are out in the terrace for drying and it so happens that only you remember that. Off you scoot to the terrace and collect the clothes and just as you are taking the clothes-peg off the last bit of semi-dried underwear, it starts raining. Sigh. You are happy that you were able to get the clothes intact otherwise hours of laborious washing will be rendered useless. Everyone is happy. And there is a smile like a jubilant war-hero on my face. 
That was a week ago.
It so happens that today is also another such day. Read the first three lines of the first paragraph. Almost by reflex, every pair of eyes starts to look at me. No!! Not again. Okay, it is just fine and off I scoot again. But no, it happens all the time. I am branded to be the runner to get the clothes every time clouds threaten. And I know this happens in many houses.
If a person does something one time, then it so happens that for that particular work, everyone expect the same person to do it all the time. Every time, I tell myself: You are the best for the job! Come on, be a sport but I do get stifled at times.
But I do have an inspiration: My mother. I often wonder how she manages to cook and cook and cook. She makes the breakfast, lunch and dinner and for how many years. Of course, now and then we do help her but that is nothing compared to the selfless service she does without any grudge. How many times I have taken that for granted. Well, she is branded as a life-long cook! Then I wonder, just imagine how many times she would have felt bored to go into that kitchen and start the process. She loves to cook and feed but still that is not an excuse for me.
Being branded is not bad after all. What say dear readers. I am glad it is sunny today!
Image courtesy: Internet



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