Monday 31 October 2011

An ode to a trusted companion

For the past few months, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, (hereafter TLOTR) had been my faithful companion, never leaving my side except for the time I spent at the University and few hours on food, sleep, conversation and other things. Now that I have completed the trilogy, I sense a vaccum. For long, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Peppin and others filled my time and I laughed as they laughed and was sad when something was amiss with them. When the fellowship of the ring was broken, I was quite anxious that the party should get together again. Well, let me stop gushing and continue with the post.

A book (both fiction and non-fiction, but in this case, fiction) provides an assortment of emotional vagaries within us. Not only we are transported into the time frame of the book but we also integrate the lives of the characters within our own. Their quest becomes ours, their thoughts colour ours, and sometimes their anguish becomes ours. And if the book is like TLOTR, one spends a considerable time with the book which has three parts, with each part consisting of few hundred pages. The characters no longer belong to the book alone but are very much part of my waking time.

Not the characters alone, but one tends to imbibe the language and vocabulary present in the book. The evil characters in TLOTR, are Sauron, Saruman and the Orcs. At the time of reading the book, any student who gets on my nerves is an Orc and any person whose intentions are crooked and vile is Saruman. I don't know whether you notice but metaphors and similes are largely from the book which is being read. Ah, and how did I forget Mr. Gollum! Gollum-like is my favourite phrase now!

In more than one way, the book becomes one's companion, leading one through strange lands, people, language and experience. Now that I have parted with Sam, Frodo, and others, I am restless for laying my hands on other works of J. R. R. Tolkein's. And some works fill us with wisdom that comes in handy during unexpected times.

Before I end, let me leave you with a quote from Part I of TLOTR.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring 

Now, what do books mean to you, dear readers?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet
Image 3: Internet

Tuesday 25 October 2011

The innocence of not knowing prices and value of things

Long ago, when I was a kid, it was wonderful to think that everything was possible and easy in life. For example, it was quite common to think that I will have a house by the sea and have a large telescope in my living room which would enable me to view the craters of the moon. Alas! the world from the eyes of a child is seldom based on practical calculations and pragmatic decisions. That world is Utopia, I reckon.

It is quite amazing to observe that as children, we don't estimate wishes and dreams through money. But that innocence slowly fades when one enters the teens. The harsh reality of money and value seeps into the thoughts and slowly the wishes disappear. All that one wants, as a teenager is something removed from the fantasies of a child. The "house by the sea" slowly vanishes and what is visible is the great idea of a 'career.' The becoming of something (I mean in a profession) is the ultimate beacon to be reached. Parents, teachers and well wishing adults remind us to remember what we have to become in the future. Even the path to a career needs money but that can be attained, anyway.

In the meanwhile, the child that we were talking of in the first paragraph, starts attaching a price to everything material. A house costs a lot of money and a house by the sea costs even more. Dreams have to be dreamt based on the cost price. Then the wishes no longer remain wishes. They become pursuits.

The other day I was thinking of how as a child, I wished for so many things. The wishes were just wishes and not something that I should possess. Wishing is one and possessing is another. I hope you get what I mean. We wished because we liked to pass our idle hours in thinking of something. It used to be a lovely pass time before sleep folded us up in her loving arms. But now, when sleep eludes, I calculate the price and wonder when will I be able to accumulate money to buy X or Y. It is at this juncture, faith enters. As a child there were wishes but no faith but now there are wishes and faith.

I guess the cycle has to go on.

Well, I don't know whether I made sense in this post. If this post kindled something within, then would you care to share what was kindled? I would be all ears . . .

Image: Internet

Thursday 20 October 2011

Cannot let go . . .

Let me tell you a story: In the Mahabharata, Parashurama was the instructor of the warrior Karna, born to a Kshatriya mother but raised as the son of a charioteer, or lower class of Kshatriyas. Karna came to Parashurama after being rejected from the school of Drona, who taught the five Pandava and one hundred Kaurava princes. . . . One day, Parashurama was sleeping with his head resting on Karna's thigh, when a beetle crawled up and bit Karna's thigh, boring into it. In spite of the bleeding and the pain, he neither flinched nor uttered a cry so that his teacher could continue his rest (Sourced from:

Well, I told you the story so that my post becomes easier to relate. Like the warrior Karna, who did not budge when the beetle was biting him so that he would not rouse his master, I find it extremely difficult to budge when someone holds my hand and falls asleep. This mostly happens in the context of younger kids and cousins who come home. 

The young ones hold my hand and drift away to sleep. In spite of sleeping soundly, they don’t let go of my hand and this causes immense conflict within me. When I sleep, I always like to toss and turn until I fall asleep and hence would like to be free of any physical contact. But some of my cousins and sometimes even my sister tend to hold my hand which restricts my movement. Somehow, I think that if I move or try to disengage their hand from mine, their sleep will be disturbed and so I continue to lie motionless. Many times it has so happened that when the person holding my hand tends to snore, I think that I can safely but gently disentangle my hand. But it seldom happens so. The person immediately stirs and also awakens. When the person’s peaceful slumber is disturbed, it causes quite a furore and hence I tend to avoid movement of any sort. I patiently wait for the time when the person turns to the other side eventually letting go of his/her clasp on my fingers. Until then, I somehow try (sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully) to unclasp my fingers from theirs. Sometimes even when mosquitoes tend to bite me, it is difficult to unclasp the fingers.

Though Karna’s sacrifice was quite an extreme one and mine cannot come anywhere close to his experience, the basic premise of the argument is movement. 

Well, how comfortable or uncomfortable are you in disengaging yourself from another’s clasp while they are near-sleep or sleeping? 

Image: Internet

Saturday 15 October 2011

Signature and related thoughts

Our signature speaks for us. I don't mean the way we sign our names but the words we use to end the post comments, mails and letters. For about three years now, my signature line has been "Joy always" and the reason for that is a wee story that I would like to share with you. But for getting wind of the story, I would direct you to my dear friend Corinne's page, where I have the honour of writing a guest post titled Joy Always.

Corinne's blog which is titled Everyday Gyaan (Gyaan translated as knowledge in Hindi/Sanskrit) is a place where one could find inspiration for living life amidst the ongoing stress, tension and niggling emotional downsides. Corinne infuses wisdom and knowledge through her personal stories, which in turn leaves the reader with warmth and calm.

I leave you with the pledge which is found in Corinne's blog. Be refreshed and strengthened at her place.

Joy always :)

Images: Sourced from Corinne's website.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

A worthwhile journey this far

It has been quite a journey and how! This day, the 12th of October, 2008, my first post titled Coversations while traversing on a rainy day in an auto was written. That day I just knew that I had to write down my experience of that travel and the platform provided by Blogger seemed ideal. I didn't even know about comments, followers, templates and other things. I just chose a name for this corner and typed in my first post and hit the 'Publish' button. The thought that people would read a post by me did not enter my mind. I imagined that this wee place would be the one where I would record my insignificant observations and personal reflections.

After I wrote the first post, I didn't even check my blog. I had forgotten all about it until November, when something painful happened. I wanted to escape the pain. I wanted to divert myself. I wrote . . . and wrote. I never looked back. Blogging has come to mean many many things now than the first time I wrote that post on a rainy day. That post was published in the morning at 07. 09 am. I wonder how I got to writing something that early in the day. And that post received only two comments :)

The journey has been wonderful this far. To all my followers, commenters, blogger-friends and anonymous readers: THANKS. You have been the best part of this endeavour.

Image 1: Internet

Monday 10 October 2011

SLR clicks, stale jokes, a big TATA Grande and lots of bloggers

For the second time, I bravely attended a bloggers meet alone. The last time, I attended one organised by Indibloggers, I met some good bloggers with whom I am still connected via blogs. This time the meet was at The Hyatt Regency and Tata Grande sponsored the event.

Though less apprehensive than the last time, I put up a bold front as I was a 'veteran' blogger and one blogger meet old. I slowly walked in and registered myself and got a stamp on my wrist which confirmed my registration. Picking up a tall glass of juice, I scanned the room for familiar faces. I was disappointed as I could not spot any (either no one from the last meet had come or I had forgotten faces). I settled beside an animated group and after few awkward moments of silence, I barged in: "Can I also join you guys?" I was warmly added to the group and then on I began non-stop . . .

All the while we were in that ball room of Hyatt, someone or the other was clicking pictures, either in posh SLRs, or digical camera or through mobile phone cameras. For once, I did not mind the flashes though making myself unconsiously ready for the angles.

Some bloggers were given 49 seconds of fame which allowed individuals to talk of ther blogs and other things. The Tata Grande people were also there to promote and sell their 'grand' SUV. Well, people were given test rides and so on before the actual meet took place.

After some time, I did spot few familiar faces and I was genuinely glad. It was wonderful reconnecting with Websnacker, Srivalli and others. In both the meets, I met a blogger who maintained 49 blogs!!! Can you beat that? I was astonished at his ability to prioritise time for all his blogs.

The food was sumptuous comprising of blueberry tart, chicken roll, potato croquette, chocolate . . . (I don't remember what it was. Maybe a pudding or a cake!) and tea/coffee. I met some more bloggers over food and chatted about their blogs and interests.

The clicking and flashing of SLRs were still going on. I bet I am there in many photographer's pictures (I hope that people do trace me and send the photographs).

Like last year, we were all given free T shirts. This time it was a grey one unlike the last time which was black. And, again like last time, I walked out with a lone kid who was working at Amazon in the books section.

I came alone and went home alone, just like last time. I guess this would be the norm for me.

Friday 7 October 2011


When sloth determines our actions and words, we do the most funniest of things. And these actions are funny not to the doer but to the observer. My friend, let's call her Z, always has the habit of picking the clothes that are right in front of her, in the cupboard. She never finds it necessary to look thoroughly for other clothes that are neatly folded inside. She just picks the one that is in front of her. This could be said of undergarments too. What is arranged in the contact position of the eye is the one that is immediately picked.

I have observed this trait when men buy vegetables and fruits. When I say men, I am of course generalising. Not all men have this trait. Well, . . .. Men tend to pick the veggies that are just in front of them unlike women who dig through the basket and look for the 'good' ones.

My students!!! How can I possibly forget them. Any assignment or any essay BANG, they go to Google and pick the very first link, which ultimately happens to be the great Wikipedia. And when that 'wikipedia' essay comes to me, I promptly mark PLAGIARISM and ask them to revise the same with an original analysis.

This habit also talks of something else. The act of complacently picking what is RIGHT THERE. If only one digs deeper, there could be the possibility of getting better things. I can understand that on certain days, one is too lazy to look for better clothes hence, selecting something which is right there in front.

Similarly, when one is not too bothered to cook food, every food item that is readily available on the table is eaten, and the person in turn, gains a lot of extra calories.

So the key word is time here. Lack of time, zest and interest paves way for picking up something which is right in front. The extra step to find out if there are better options is usually overlooked.

Well, are we grabbers of what we see in front of us or are we diggers of the unseen.

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

Monday 3 October 2011

"I feel as if I was inside a song"

If you've read The Lord of the Rings, Book I, then you would remember the lines that make the title of this post. Sam utters the line to Frodo, after listening to a song. After much thought, I realised that there are some songs which leave you much with the same thought: "I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning." Some deep baritone voices have this effect on me. I can almost picture myself within the song and after the song is long over, the trance remains.

The genre of the song does not matter for this experience. The song could be a spiritual or a romantic love rendition. Whenever I hear Denver crooning You fill up my senses . . ., I always find myself inside the song, almost feeling Denver singing to me and telling Like a walk in the rain . . . The same feeling happens when Presley croons, Wise men say, only fools rush in . . .


I wonder what gives this feeling? Is it the voice of the singer or an experience or the effect of the lyrics. The song, voice and lyrics envelops the being and one is transported into a different time and environment. Sometimes film songs do this as well. Probably that is why many Indian films have songs to describe a particular emotion. When love happens, the girl and the boy are transported into a place where the scenery is lovely and both break out into a song filled with thoughts of love, longing and desire. And laymen, who fall in love, take refuge in those songs, imagining themselves instead of the actors. Like Sam, common people get "inside" the song.

I am sure that many songs also have the same effect on you. They pull you such that you find yourself inside a song. Have you felt the same way as me?

Image: Internet


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