Thursday 29 April 2010

Kinship through the past

Whilst visiting The Troubles section in the Ulster museum, Tanya asked me: "Do you still feel pain when you think that once you were not free?" It was an unexpected question that I have never thought about before. Today all of a sudden while watching a movie in Queen's Film Theatre (QFT), this question flashed in my mind.

Well I answered Tanya that, we were born when our country was free so I don't much feel anything but at the same time I cannot but think of our past status when the word UK is mentioned. No offense here but collective memory is something that remains. I hope you will understand this.

Tanya also shared with me about her family members' experiences during the Trouble times and we both agreed that it did not affect us much as it did to the older generation.

The movie I saw today was the 1966 released 'The Battle of Algiers.' It was an old black and white film but it did move me. The quest for being free and the ability to breathe freely in one's own country was depicted with a liberal dosage of violence and emotions.

I was left thinking how it would have been to be living in a country that was not free. Even though it would not affected me overtly, the question always leaves me a wee bit stifled. Does it really matter? Does it make a difference?

Sunday 25 April 2010

When the camera stops and the mind struggles . . .

I often wondered whether the creativity of an individual behaves differently when in  a strange place. I am afraid that it is often so as one is bombarded with an avalanche of images and newer sights that everything becomes a potential object for writing about later. Having been in Belfast for ten days now, I find so many aspects of culture, images and sounds that marvel me that I either want to capture them all in my camera or write about them.

But there comes a point when consciously the mind shuts up and forces one to be still and take in the sheer beauty of the new environs. Yesterday we visited two museums back to back - The Ulster museum and the Lisburn Linen museum. I wanted to take many pictures as I was desperate to freeze the memories but after a point, I could not continue doing that. I stopped clicking like a frantic tourist. I was not a tourist anyway. I just went around quietly taking in the information doled to us. I was quite impressed by the way these museums keep the past alive!

Like the camera, the mind also wants to register so many things. Everyone we meet has something to say about their place, it's culture, music, pubs, heritage, etc. that after a point I find myself struggling to retain the information that is so lovingly passed on to me. I nod and nod and finally give up remembering.

Does that happen to you as well when a lot of information has been passed on to you.

So far so good.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Which is the best place to visit in India?

I have been away for a couple of days and it feels like a long time. I missed all of you and let me give you lots of love from Belfast, Ireland. We (me and two other students) are exchange students from Chennai to the Queen's University, Northern Belfast for a period of six weeks. We are indeed fortunate to have landed here before the eruption of the Icelandic volcano which brought all the European flights to a standstill. Miracles do happen!

Well, being in a foreign coutry for the first time, the question: "Which is the best place to visit in India?" is quite a common one. Everytime this question is asked, I find myself at a loss for words as I start thinking about the best place. I can't think of any one place. Every place is different and India is not ONE place. India is many things. There is north, south, east and west of India and every place is entirely different from the other.

I always give the answer: "Depends on what you are looking for." But this answer does not always help the one who has asked the question. Now it's their turn to do the thinking but then I intervene and talk about my part of India - South India. In a way I act like a propagandist and convince the person that South India is lovely for a first time. And then gradually the person starts popping the names of different places in India and I have to rack my brains to figure out where the places are situated - North, East, West or South.You get what I mean? (a very Belfast expression!).

So much so for being a foreigner. But wait. This is not the only writeable experience. There are many. It's just for me to start writing.

Getting used to the lovely northern Irish accent and the cold weather.

Monday 5 April 2010

An invitation to flirt with similes and metaphors

My preoccupation with similes and metaphors has heightened after reading the almost unusual ones used by Nevine in her writings. This has created in me a burning desire to try and jot down some similes and metaphors from my immediate vicinity which can be local. Many a times I find stale similes which have almost become cliched. Similes like "As light as a feather," "As pure as milk" have been around since god knows when.

Let them be.

I thought why don't I ask you to jog your Grey cells and try some similes and metaphors from your immediate environment. For example I just brushed my teeth and the thought that crossed my mind was: Sometimes thoughts have to be squeezed like paste from a paste tube. I don't know whether this is original but it definitely seemed better than the cliches.

So readers why don't you try something NOW and put them down as comments. It would be peculiar to your physical surroundings and YOURS. And I hope this has been created by you and is not a cliched one!

Shall we . . .

Image courtesy: Internet

Thursday 1 April 2010

Weird meanderings at the stroke of 12 am

These days I stay up late writing my thesis which is pretty much engrossing but every night at the stroke of 12 as if by some inner programming I start thinking whether it’s someone’s birthday and I ought to wish them. I never quite care to stay up late in order to wish someone but since anyway I am staying up late, I start to think about birthdays. Sadly none this far!

Now this trigger of thought had me meandering about birthdays and their significance as one grows steadily older.

As a kid birthdays are anticipated with much gusto right from the day the New Year dawns and I being somewhere in the last months have to wait a bit longer. The wait makes it all the more delightful. The joy of a new dress plus the cake plus the gifts used to be the highlight of the year and I actually looked forward to getting older. I remember proudly announcing: “I am five today!” Whoa, so much for aging.

Then came the teens -- the days of falling-in-love and out-of-love. Birthdays were special but not so much as when one was four or five. Teens were times for friends and only friends. This was the time of greeting-cards and presents like nail-polish, stationery, etc.

The first few years of the twenties were full of fiery idealism. Birthdays were only celebrated by the bourgeoisie, I argued.  It was just an adding of years, so what the big fuss. In fact I used to condemn anyone who chided me for not wishing on their birthday. I wished only a couple of them and would never utter “Happy Birthday.” I just muttered a “Have a great year ahead.” The wishing at 12 was there sometimes and not there most of the times. I personally did not like to be wished for I thought it was just a formality people adhere to.

The last of the twenties, I struck a balance. Relationships were indeed important and so wishing on a birthday made the other person feel nice and good. I started thinking about the others. Finally.

And today standing at thirty, I am much the same as the last of the twenties. I do wish people at 12, if I remember and am awake. I take time to count my years and feel that in this world where tomorrow is not sure, it feels lovely to add another year to one’s life. Birthdays are no long bourgeoisie, it’s a reason to feel gratitude and warm about the milestones crossed.

And all this began when the clock struck 12!!!
Image courtesy: Internet


Related Posts with Thumbnails