Saturday 29 December 2012

29 December . . .

On 29th of December, 2008, I knew the existence of this song from Eagles, the American band who captured many a heart with their number "Hotel California." Today, the title of this song vibrates within me as I prepare myself to welcome another year - Peaceful Easy Feeling indeed!

Hope you like this song.

"Peaceful Easy Feeling"

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay,
Against your skin, it's so brown.
And I wanna sleep with you in the desert tonight
With a billion stars all around.

'Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling,
And I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing on the ground.

And I found out a long time ago
What a woman can do to your soul.
Oh, but she can't take you anyway,
You don't already know how to go.

And I got a peaceful easy feeling,
And I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing on the ground.

I get this feeling I may know you as a lover and a friend.
But this voice keeps whispering in my other ear,
Tells me I may never see you again.

'cause I get a peaceful easy feeling
And I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing...
I'm already standing...
Yes, I'm already standing on the ground
Oh, oh

Lyrics: Internet

Saturday 22 December 2012

The questions that niggled me after 'Life of Pi'

What is wrong with our culture is that it offers us an inaccurate conception of the self. It depicts the personal self as existing in competition with and in opposition to nature. [We fail to realise that] if we destroy our environment, we are destroying what is in fact our larger self. (Freya Matthew)

Watching the film is one thing and dealing with the questions that the film triggers is another. For me, films are another means to reflect and ponder. Well, I know that films for some, are only entertainment but for me even the entertainment paves way for some critical questions.

Even while reading the book, my mind was filled with an avalanche of questions about the role of man in the circle of life. If I take a minute and scan the media that attacks me from all corners, I can see that the human being is stamped everywhere. That the human is only a part of the web of life is nowhere to be seen or felt. The human being is the most important of all the species and it is his/her existence that matters. Well, these questions make the biopic Life of Pi important for me. This struggle between the human and the wild is what makes the narrative interesting. Couple of years ago, I read (I don't remember where exactly) that if the entire human race was taken out of the planet, nothing would alter but if the species of bees no longer existed, then the whole earth would face dire problems. Well, that is the exalted human for you!

I must mention my area of study - Ecocriticism, here. When I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Ecocriticism, I learnt that humans matter but not to the extent that I had imagined. It was but natural for me to imagine that the whole Universe revolved around the human species. I was sadly mistaken. I had never before thought that there would be another perspective - the other angle of seeing the human as just another specie in the food cycle.

It is for this reason that I cannot dismiss animals as species with 'only' five senses. If man/woman has six senses then that sixth sense is being perpetrated in doing the many things that are widely splashed all over the media today. If that is the sixth sense that we proudly proclaim to have been bestowed with, then I will be happy as a specie with that minus one sense.

With that one extra sense, we are creating havoc, glorifying it and unabashedly advertising it. When Pi's father tells Pi that what we see in the animal's eye is but an expression of ourselves, I thought he was quite true and pragmatic. We always like to see our projection of expression in others and other species. I don't negate that animals have their own sense of perception of relationships and all but at the same time I don't think that I can transfer my subjective feelings as the animal's. When Pi was battling Richard Parker in the vast and open ocean, he was exhibiting his true character - the constant struggle between two different species. It serves us fine to see animals in their cages - tame, placid and exotic but out in the wild, the scenario is a different one. It is these revelations that make the book by Martel a readable one for me. In the film, these aspects weren't captured in their entirety. It couldn't have been for these are questions and thoughts that are complex to be filmed and viewed. Perhaps these issues of realising the self were the questions that were also haunting Martel's mind.

When one realises that one is but a part of the entire system of life, one fails to attach the BIG self-importance to one's self. Wait, now don't get me wrong. I am no way talking about the love that one possesses for oneself! Well, this post was always meandering in my head after viewing the film and here I have tried to give the meanderings thoughts a coherent presentation.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this irrespective of whether you have read/watched Life of Pi.

Maybe I will leave you with this post until Christmas, so here's wishing you and yours a wonderful time of giving, sharing and loving.

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

Friday 21 December 2012

What if the world had ended today

Ever since the month of December had begun, some where or the other I had seen either posts or pictures about the world ending on 21/12/12. Well, writing a post on the D-day seemed exciting for it would give me some fodder to meander my thoughts and reflect on some vital questions about me and my life.

Whenever I see any post about the world ending, I would always stop to ask myself whether I was prepared to leave. I have also thought, 'What if the world was just ending as I was thinking about the world ending?' How would the end be, I wonder. Will the entire world just become ashes or will it be continent by continent. Somehow, I always think that the process of destruction will begin elsewhere but not in India. Like everyone, I imagine that the process can be delayed.

The thought of the world ending is not something new for a person who is born and brought up in a Christian household where Sunday-school becomes mandatory and Sunday-school teachers always harping on the fact that where would you want to go after you died. I was very scared when the teachers broached that topic, which would be invariably always. At the tender age of say, seven or eight, I had assumed that I was a bigger sinner than anyone else and that only hell was my final destination after I die. I would always be negotiating on the possibilities and pray, 'Please don't let me go to hell!'

Hell was nowhere when I started College. I was quite fascinated by the saying which adorns many a faded Tee shirt and quotable quotes for students - "Good girls go to heaven; bad girls go everywhere." I loved travelling and hence with a fierce mind started associating hell with excitement and fun. After all, one thinks that one is footloose and fancy free when in College. Whatever, I didn't want a destination in heaven.

Well, coming back to the world ending today, I would say that I would be glad to leave for I seem content and happy in my present state of mind. There are many things that I would have liked to do but they don't seem very important if the world is to end today.

What are your thoughts on this? I have already got the gut feeling that the world wouldn't end anytime soon but some of my friends ask me to wait till the clock strikes 12 tonight for that is the time the prediction time-frame ends. Why wait when I have better plans. See you on the other side of the date. Until then, be happy and sane.

Image: Internet

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Why I stopped reading Ayn Rand

Some books change your life . . .
On hindsight you discover that the book has changed you for worse. But while reading the book, one doesn't realise that the change has already begun within unbeknown to you.

After lofty recommendations from friends, teachers and local librarian, I set my hands on my first Ayn Rand book - The Fountainhead. Like everyone who raves and rants about the book, I had my share as well. Howard Roark was the epitome of everything ambitious, passionate and superior grit. I was floating in the cloud of pride that unites Ayn Rand readers, more so Howard Roark admirers. Well, I starved for more of Rand's books - I started reading Atlas Shrugged. Same sentiments followed. I was glued and had the potential of becoming a Rand fanatic - her arguments became mine. She possessed my thinking and gradually the 'I' in me became rather pronounced.

I continued reading Rand and slowly I started reading her philosophy of life. Two years passed by. I was haughty. In 2009, I started reading We the Living. As the book progressed, I was getting restive. Selfishness was romanticised and individualism was the only thing that mattered to Rand. Parallely, I also started reading the biography of Ayn Rand. The more pages I completed in We the Living, the more I started becoming disillusioned by the characters' selfish demeanour especially the character of Kira Argounova.

Kira's high form of individualism was appalling. I realise that the self is important but not to the extent of manipulating the lives of others. Tenderness and compassion was something that the characters never showed and if they did display those emotions, it was as a tool to achieve something. I found that sinister and cruel. Perhaps the conditions in my life at that point of time swerved my judgment of Ayn Rand. But that was it. I knew that if I read her further, I would grow to be a cold and heartless woman whose only ambition in life was being superior in reason and self. I stopped reading Rand. And to this day, haven't ventured anywhere near her books.

If Rand read this post, she would have called me a chicken and a pretender but my decision wouldn't have changed.

Now, if you think that this is too much for a book - I would say, 'Don't undermine the power of a book,' for you don't know how it will alter your perceptions and perspectives.

And to all those Ayn Rand lovers and followers, no offense. You are welcome to challenge me in the comments' section. Hope to meet you there.

Have you stopped reading any author simply for the reason that the toxicity was smothering you? I will be glad to hear your stories.

Image 1: Internet

Monday 17 December 2012

What Chennai Means To Me

This post is part of the blog tag titled, The CBC Tablog where CBC stands for Chennai Bloggers Club. About 37 bloggers from Chennai are participating in this blog tag where everyone will write about their favourite city Chennai and what it means to them. So here's my post for the CBC tablog titled, What Chennai Means To Me.

I came to Madras in 1989. I was about 9 years and seven months old. I didn't want to leave the city where my formative years were spent - Bombay. I still vividly remember that I cried and cried and pleaded with my dad that we should not go to Madras or rather we should not leave Bombay.


Madras or Chennai slowly became my home even though I didn't particularly like the place. We both grew with each other. I fell in and out of love many times in this city. Madras gradually grew from a place with only roads to a city of long fly-overs. Many of my firsts are associated with this place which I fondly cherish. I never let any opportunity to compare the city with Bombay, go past me. I always defended Bombay whenever there was a discussion between cities. Inspite of living in Madras/Chennai, I dreamt of Bombay and the life there. I never reconciled that I was a resident of Chennai.


There came a time when I had an opportunity to leave Chennai and shift to another place for work. I was glad to move out of the city. Even then, it didn't matter that my family, friends and other interests were in Chennai. I was happy for two whole years in the other place, coming to Chennai only during vacation breaks. Chennai was still a surrogate city. It was 2006, eighteen years in Chennai but still the city did not fascinate me at all.


Then I got married. I left Chennai, coming only for a few days or so. Now my mother's house was in Chennai. After getting married, you don't say, 'My house is in Chennai' rather it is, 'My mother's house!' Slowly the idea of my mother's house and Chennai became synonymous. Whenever I came to Chennai, it was always early morning when I arrived, I started seeing the city differently. I don't know whether it was the early morning's aura or my nostalgia soaked visits. The coolness of the air when I travelled from Tambaram to my place was magical. I yearned for that magic always. It was bliss. So far, I had always felt restless about home. But whenever I visited Chennai after my departure from there, it seemed that I had come home. This feeling was absent in 2006 when I was working outside Chennai. I started longing for the small pleasures of Chennai like the crowd in T. Nagar, the colour or Express Avenue, the smell of the bazaars, the posters on the walls, the Gemini fly-over and so on. Whenever we went shopping, I looked at the city with an intention of taking in much so that I could preserve for later use when I'm away from it. I started collecting memories of Chennai and pickled old and new memories together with the preservative of smells, sights and sounds.


Today, I am far away from Chennai and family. I realise that I had lost many years by being in a trance about the then Bombay and now Mumbai. The Bombay that I know is but a memory that is very very old and maybe I won't recognise the new Mumbai but Chennai isn't so. I don't know 50% of the places in Chennai but I know what I want to know - my home and places that matter to me.

It's very rare that I get to write about places in back-to-back posts and that too about Chennai of all.

This post will be succeeded by Anne John who blogs at Abstract Admissions, who calls herself an engineer in her past life and is an active member of Women's Web. Visit her blog to know more about her writings and passions.

The Chennai Bloggers Club Blog Tag has come full circle with Bhavana Nissima's post on Chennai today (01 Feb, 2013).

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

Thursday 6 December 2012

Travelling vs Living

When I say that I live in Goa, everyone gasps and sighs and thinks that it would be absolutely wonderful to live in a place where everyone goes for vacationing. Well, why not? After all the place is beautiful filled with beaches and lovely people. For a long time I had imagined how it would be to live in a place where everyone vacations and now the imagination has become a reality. Wow is the most cliched expression to Goa!

But seeing a place as tourist/traveller is a completely different perspective. A tourist does not stand in long queues, runs about for gas connections and feels that the heat is absolutely draining. Living in a place demands a removal from seeing the same place as a tourist destination. The vegetable markets which sells fresh vegetables are not seen by tourists unlike the one who dwells here. Beaches which are synonymous with Goa are not even seen where I live! But I know that there are beaches somewhere and I will get to see it soon. That promise of being surrounded by sea on all sides makes one feel glorious. But as a dweller, the taxi driver tells you that the sea around Goa makes it a humid place. He will not tell this to tourists. Sometimes I wonder whether the actual place or the imagination of a place makes a person go gaga. I guess it's a bit too early to comment. Every place, no matter a tourist destination or just another places has pluses and minuses which start raising its head slowly but I realise that I asked for it and so I will focus on the best this place has to offer.

I have always had a special relationship with places. I have either loved them or hated them. But as I grow older than what I was yesterday, I realise that perceptions change. One can hate a place and continue living there for certain things just cannot be changed. As time goes, the place and the individual grow together and both are part of one another even without realising the same. We form our own comfort zones - the domestic help, the vegetable seller, the milk-man, the newspaper vendor, the local market, the community around and others. I had a comfort zone in the place where I lived before and I terribly miss my domestic help - she knew my rhythms and I hers. We were just acquainted for about eight months and I had to depart. She called me yesterday and told me that I should be careful in a new place - people are not the same everywhere. She also asked me whether I had found a new help. I miss her.

As I begin my stay here, I am looking for the coordinates that will connect my comfort zones. Until the comfort zones are in place, I will be a restive dweller.

So, dear reader, how does relocation and new places work for you?

Love from Goa :)

Image: Internet


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