Saturday 31 January 2015

The joy of escaping

I have always known that reading is cathartic but only recently woke up to the fact that reading makes me come alive and that it can save me from the drudgery of everyday routine. When I escape to my College Library and pick up some random book and lose myself, I realise that I am happy, safe and sane. Reality as this is sometimes mind-boggling as you never realise how much you need reading and how much the written word penetrates within your being. Losing oneself in words is an escape - an escape into the void of no return. When you then return to reality after that escape, you realise that things are no longer the same. You carry that bit of voyeurism that you chanced upon in that escape and you personalise it - almost like how people monogram their initials on that worthless piece of handkerchief. You know the lust and joys of that place where you escaped to and it is your secret - unless you choose to allow someone to partake of that guilty pleasure. Even then, you retain parts of it to yourself. You want certain bits to your self you see!

I recently read chanced upon a back issue of World Literature Today and relished the piece, Le Suicide Monsieur M. The piece moved me - I discovered the power and magic of the written  printed word. I was charmed. Smitten. Aroused and what not. The entire piece was written in the form of a letter by a city. I assumed all the while that the letter was written by an admirer who had lust confused for love. Well, it could have been written by anyone but this was by Iowa city. Pretty neat for a city!

I wonder if you have tried reading something when you have tons of backlog - It is like forbidden pleasure - you experience longing and guilt (guilt because you should be working on something else and longing for the words which you have been ignoring for long!) Reading is like the surrogate lover who has the power to seduce you anytime and any given day. No fixed bearings and no passage of time can wane the seduction. I succumb and forgo reality. I prostrate myself and forget etiquette or morality. I drink on that word and lose my morale. I am addicted.

Reading makes me sane.

Thursday 8 January 2015

"Alone" Time

Slowly but surely the idea and luxury of ''alone'' time is beginning to dawn on India and many Indians. I think being alone and going further to enjoy time alone is or atleast was something that struck like a sore thumb given the context of India and its fetish for large joint families. Ironically, though the population is steadily rising, families are becoming nuclear and people after having short flings with diverse cultures have slowly started relishing and realising that being alone is not equivalent to being lonely.

But what strikes me is how this ''alone'' is defined and understood. The first meaning that popped out when I googled the keywords definition of alone is:

''having no one else present; on one's own''

As much as I like to think that we are closely attached to people, the thought that being away from people is equally preferred has become our definitions of enjoying ''alone'' time. But don't we have to live in a crowded set-up to realise that we like some time alone for ourselves? This contradicts the life lived by people outside India. For better understanding, let me refer to my American, British and Irish friends who have by and large lived all by themselves - earning, living, loving and doing things independently. But does being independent equivalent to being alone? Not necessarily, I reckon. On many occasions, being independent and being alone and enjoying the space is confused. One can live in a large family yet function independently. Or does alone signify getting away from people, familiar people 'only'? And like everything else being alone can be savoured, I reckon, only when one has enough and more company.

Sometimes, force of habit also becomes something to gloat about for lack of a better reason to justify one's actions.

So, what's your take, dear reader?

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Chennai - A concoction of the traditional and the modern

This post is part of the blog tag titled, The CBC Tablog - 3, where CBC stands for Chennai Bloggers Club, a group where bloggers (young, old, new, jaded, bored) from Chennai gather and discuss everything under the sky including blogging and blogs. About 20 bloggers from Chennai are participating in this blog tag where  we will write about our favourite city Chennai and how it stands as a testament to the blend of the traditional and the modern. So here's my post for the CBC tablog - 3 titled, Chennai - A concoction of the traditional and the modern.'

Writing about a place that nestled me for many years of my life from a distance seems a bit excruciating. A post on the blend of the traditional and modern nonetheless. It seems almost an impossible task for me to gather the different parts  picked from memory and desire and knead them into a post. Well, I do hope that as I chug along, I am able to relive myself in the memories that I nit pick and weave them into a worthy concoction.

First, Chennai - though the name is fairly recent but ancient does not capture the essence of the place that is so dear to me. And like the name Chennai, which is at once ancient and recent, the place also displays similar hues - housing traditional tastes, smells, customs albeit packaged in brightly coloured modern wrappers which shock you at first but later settles in familiar smiles. I think every city undergoes a change, rather it evolves with every passing year - changing governments, citizens from neighbouring states, business houses that set up shop - everything contributes to the process in different degrees.

If French style Bistros, 10 Downing Street, Thai eateries and Tibetan momos do not come as a shock, then it is because the same crowd finds solace in familiar idli-sambar-chutney-podi at Saravana Bhavan or in the comfort of their homes. The easy and effortless slipping of beer to filter coffee to Coke, stands example to the shifts in the mind sets of the people as well as the city which houses these people.

Now this traditional and modern is quite natural in some quarters whereas a bit gaudy and uncomfortable in some but both these quarters seem to contribute the wholeness of Chennai. For me getting used to the vernacular name Chennai rather than the anglicised Madras itself was a psychological effort that needed coercing and acceptance and sitting in Goa, I see the city also in a similar way - A city that is named Chennai but has embraced modernity that is more often synonymous with aspects of the Western world without much ado. Of course, the change has not come overnight and without any bumps - We have had our fair of teething problems but we have learnt to accommodate and assimilate.

I pass the baton to Deepak Raghuraman, a vibrant and enthusiastic blogger who adores his Chennai and supplies readers with a mine of information on Chennai in his blog titled Namma Area. If you require any specific information about the city, then you know where to head to - Namma Area (translated as Our Area). Please do visit his blog and show some love, dear reader.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Revival of newness - Cheers to 2015

2014 was productive and resourceful in more ways than one. It spotlighted my weakness and showed me that however I resist something, I yield at the end. The year also enabled me to discover some new people, places and traits within me. Like the beginning of every new year, I look forward to 2015 with hope, longing and joy. To be alive and kicking is something that is not the stronghold of many. Many people who started 2014, did not see its end and I am grateful for being able to do so. I believe that another year is given to me to continue the purpose of my living.

I wish joy always to you and yours and may this year enable you to evolve as an individual within and outside.

Cheers to new beginnings and strength to not-so-new beginnings.

Happy New Year 2015


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