Thursday 30 August 2012


There was a time when I posted poems that I enjoyed reading. I wanted my readers to read those poems as well. Today, after a long time, I present to you a very soulful poem by Wislawa Szymborska, a Polish poet. This poem was brought to my attention by one of my former students. In equal measure she is a lover and writer of wonderful poems. I am glad that I had the privilege of being her teacher. If you have noticed, this poem has been resting in the side-bar of my blog for a very long time. The periphery has taken the center. Hope you enjoy this work of art.

It has come to this: I'm sitting under a tree
beside a river
on a sunny morning.
It's an insignificant event
and won't go down in history.
It's not battles and pacts,
where motives are scrutinized,
or noteworthy tyrannicides.
And yet I'm sitting by this river, that's a fact.
And since I'm here
I must have come from somewhere,
and before that
I must have turned up in many other places,
exactly like the conquerors of nations
before setting sail.
Even a passing moment has its fertile past,
its Friday before Saturday,
its May before June.
Its horizons are no less real
than those that a marshal's field glasses might scan.
This tree is a poplar that's been rooted here for years.
The river is the Raba; it didn't spring up yesterday.
The path leading through the bushes
wasn't beaten last week.
The wind had to blow the clouds here
before it could blow them away.
And though nothing much is going on nearby,
the world is no poorer in details for that.
It's just as grounded, just as definite
as when migrating races held it captive.
Conspiracies aren't the only things shrouded in silence.
Retinues of reasons don't trail coronations alone.
Anniversaries of revolutions may roll around,
but so do oval pebbles encircling the bay.
The tapestry of circumstance is intricate and dense.
Ants stitching in the grass.
The grass sewn into the ground.
The pattern of a wave being needled by a twig.
So it happens that I am and look.
Above me a white butterfly is fluttering through the air
on wings that are its alone,
and a shadow skims through my hands
that is none other than itself, no one else's but its own.
When I see such things, I'm no longer sure
that what's important
is more important than what's not.

Monday 27 August 2012

Those awkward silences

A great man once remarked that he regretted his speech but never his silences. Perhaps, he has never faced the kind of silences that I am going to write about in this post. Well, the awkward silence that hangs heavy after a few minutes after being introduced to someone and having completed initial pleasantries; the silence that hovers when you have finished what you want to say but the listener at the other end does not hang up. These silences are something that I am not very comfortable with. And almost every time the person with whom these ‘silent’ episodes occur are people whom we either know very well or people whom we don’t know at all. Let me illustrate.

You attend a lecture by a very eminent person. While reading that person’s work, you feel that you have a lot to ask him/her but when you get the chance and get introduced to that person; you are unable to talk any further than the initial usual pleasantries.

Your Professor, with whom you have good relations with, calls you up for asking some information about the timings of the local library. You give her the required information but she does not hang up . . . she expects that you would like to talk something to her and vice-versa. Silence. It is very difficult for me to pick up courage and say, ‘Okay, then, I will speak to you later’ because you think it is impolite to hang up when someone of that position calls you. Well, one has to wait patiently till the person at the other end gets impatient and says, ‘Okay, then, I will speak to you later.’ Relief.

Now, this has to be the most interesting. You go to a social gathering and spot your friend. The friend who is extra social would like you to meet all his friends. And so, he decides to introduce you to his most exciting buddy. Well, the exciting buddy smiles after being introduced and does not even attempt to make a conversation while you are bursting with enthusiasm to answer his questions. Silence. Help comes in the form of spotting another friend and excusing oneself. Well, you might think that I could have started a conversation . . . Sometimes one is content with the social circle one has and so it becomes a bit boring to initiate these kinds of conversations. After all, don’t I have enough friends!!! (Is there something as enough when it comes to friends?)

Another awkward silence is when I write in someone’s blog and the blogger is oblivious to my presence in her/his blog and is ‘silent.’ The blogger at the other end does not make any effort to acknowledge me by either visiting me or even replying to my comment on his/her blog. Well, I am not complaining for I know that time is always the constraining factor!

Dear reader, how do you tackle silences that are not meditative and reflective?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

Thursday 23 August 2012

How personal can the virtual become!?!

When I told my friend that I was going to attend a bloggers meet on Sunday, she asked me, "Why?" I couldn't understand the reason behind her Why. I tried to give her many answers in the line of, "Isn't it wonderful to connect with people whom you have only virtually met?," "Come on, it's fantastic to meet those people whose writings one has followed and admired." My friend was unmoved. She replied, "Why on earth do you want the virtual to become real?" Well, I muttered, "We want to extend the relationship of the virtual into the real. Who knows, we might also become best of friends." Still not convinced, my friend said, "Let the virtual be virtual and the real, real." I couldn't have the last word because I didn't know what to say.

Much thought has gone into the topic of virtual relationships. Today many of my phone contacts are people whom I had befriended over blogs, Facebook and the then Orkut. I interact with them, share thoughts and call them up to just have friendly chats but does that mean I know them up, close and personal. I don't know many of them personally. Perhaps I would know their addresses, their birthdays and their favourite food but does that mean I would call them when I am in a very bad situation. Will I reach out to them when I need some financial assistance or a shoulder to cry on? Well, no. The reasoning, "But I haven't met them for real" will always be somewhere on the back of my mind when I think of even seeking any favour, no matter how small. Are virtual relationships only for good times and a pat on the back in terms of "like" or do they even go beyond that?

I have been writing hand-written letters to some of my blogger friends since I enjoy writing letters. Does that mean that I am very 'close' to these bloggers. Perhaps, I have that extra special liking for those individuals who seem to radiate warmth and joy through their words on their blog and Facebook page. Am I very 'close' to them? I cannot say. Will I tell them that a certain X has broken my heart and that I am down in the dumps? Will I talk to them about my financial anxieties? Maybe I think, "What will they think of me if I start unloading on them?" What is the nature of these 'friendships?' How personal can we get to our virtual friends?

Here, I should also mention that I have had a handful of virtual friends with whom I have become very personal. But when it comes to comfort levels, nothing can beat a face-to-face conversation, says my friend. I beg to differ with her because I think there are different levels of virtual friendships - some shallow and some very deep. It is because we believe that the virtual will lead to real and lasting relationships that we are quite eager to meet in person and interact. But some, like my friend, would like the virtual to be virtual and the real, real.

My dear reader, what do you think of this topic. How has the virtual life mingled with your real life? Do you think that the virtual and the real should be separate?

Image: Internet

Monday 20 August 2012

Have you ever plotted anyone's murder?

Well, the title of this post can raise eye-brows and make the reader gasp saying, "How on earth?" But the truth is at some point there comes that one individual who induces us to plot his/her murder. I have thrice plotted a murder in my mind (but never ever had the courage to actually doing it). Most of us know the Ten Commandments and the commandment which says, "Thou shalt not kill." In spite of the commandment and inspite of knowing that no one has the right to take away another's life, the thought sometimes feels justified when certain actions of people are seen. 

The three murders that I have plotted in my mind, according to me, are justified because of the nature and deeds of the people involved. Now, I know that I am not the one to decide on anyone's right to live or die but the actions that were committed by the three are worthy enough to kill them. The three in question have a deep ability to hurt and upset not only me abut also many other individuals. Now, one doesn't plot the murder of every third person we know but only some who possess that potential weapon which can be used to upset the balance of life. 

While I write this post, I also understand the words, 'kindness,' 'compassion, and 'forgiveness.' Well, if I say that no matter how much I try to be kind and forgiving, the individuals just don't stop themselves from doing harm. So much so, my kindness is seen as weakness and an attitude which is not capable of standing up. 

Coming back to the "plotting murder" part, I have let myself have the luxury of taking cues of murder from the various books I've read and the many films I watched. And how juicily I try different ways to kill that special individual who has managed to incite so much anger and hate within me. Given my peace-loving disposition, it takes a person of great failings to drive me to think of murder. I have been saddened by my thoughts of plotting a murder to the extent that I have had doubts about my self but those doubts were laid to rest when certain other individuals also confessed having similar thoughts about people whom I would have liked to eliminate. 

The mind and imagination can go to any lengths in thinking and plotting and sometimes this license enables the individual to travel and explore the darker and unsought realms of fantasy. Afterall there is no ethics, punishment and judgment involved when it comes to imagination!

Do such sinister thoughts surprise you, my dear reader?

Image: Internet

P.S: I have done away with those plottings, as I seem to be tired of thinking about those three individuals. I'd rather think of exotic places, dark knights and fantastic blog posts!

Wednesday 15 August 2012

There is comfort in routine

When I finally got hold of a real computer (not internet on my wee but smart phone), a thousand ideas for posts came rushing in from various crevices in my mind. I had great difficulty in taming them lest they confuse me thus leaving me with no tangible post. I realised that my earlier routine was to post atleast two to three posts per week but now I have no choice but to post either once in two weeks, or sometimes even once in three weeks. The reason: I have adjusted my routine without computer or internet and so getting ready to go out to the browsing center seems a shift in the daily routine. Of course, I have the eternal tug-of-war between the mind and the body; my mind nudges me everyday to leave home and go to the browsing parlour but I conveniently ignore my mind's nudge. The mild nudge slowly becomes a powerful sounding order to which also I turn a deaf ear. It seems unbelievable to think that life was quite different three months ago.

Inspite of welcoming change and newness, there is a certain comfort in routine. I agree that the safe zone of routine becomes stifling at some point, but still routine is something that makes me feel just fine. But this routine was a change before three months  . . . perhaps there is no routine without change! But why does everyone choose to blame routine? How long does it take to make the change into a routine? I (and many others around me) crib about the same old routine but we don't realise that this routine is a result of a change that came upon us after we decided to end a routine. The routine which is now mine was unthought of before three months and at that time if anyone mentioned, How would life be without internet? I would have said, No way. But here I am sitting smug in a routine that has made me so lazy that I refuse to leave the house to do something that I most enjoy doing! Phew! As I write this, I realise that inspite of not welcoming the change, the change came and inspite of resisting the change, I have made it my comfort zone.

Well, this hide-and-seek game of change and routine lies close to each other and it does not take long to make the change into a routine. After all, humans are adaptive to anything and no matter what the change, a routine is sure to follow. Perhaps, it is wiser to introduce change before the routine sets in but how is that plausible.

So, how goes your routine? Any changes needed!?!?

Image: Internet

Friday 3 August 2012

Of eating beet and still feeling hunger's heat!

I can still feel the mawkish taste of the beet that I had for lunch last week. It so happens that if I tend to eat anything that I don't much like, the hunger never seems to be satisfied. I don't know whether it actually happens or it is the dissatisfied state of my mind which negates the feeling of having eaten a meal.

Last week, I had three dry (oil-free) chapattis and beet curry. I must mention that beet, however prepared, does not excite me the least bit. I cannot manage to eat it, for its sweetish taste has never been compatible with my idea of curry. Even carrot and peas fall into this category. But carrot I can manage and peas - I never even try.

Coming back to the subject of beets -- Inspite of having the usual fare of three chapattis, I still felt as if lunch was incomplete. Surprisingly, I went forth and made two dosas which I happily consumed with a smile and a tune in my head. As the process of giving in to my taste-buds was in progress, I could not understand the whole game of my hunger not being appeased. Was it my feelings rather than my body's signals, I can't understand. Even if I had listened to my feelings, how come I was able to gobble up the extra two dosas which was a foreign practice that day. Maybe the dieticians are right when they say that craving is a false signal let out by the body. But I didn't crave for dosas on that afternoon!

Well, I rest my arguments here by crowing the beet as the vegetable that is solely to blame for all this furore. Nevertheless, the beet gave me a whacky post!

What are your hunger stories? Do you like beet?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet


Related Posts with Thumbnails