Tuesday 20 December 2016

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Yes, indeed, it is the most wonderful time of the year. It seems like a saccharine sweet cliche but I must admit that the mood is generally upbeat at this time (if I choose to forget painful deadlines which call for attention and the details that drive me to a state of anxiety) of the year. This year marks the first time where we have done up our living room with lights and hollies and bells and all that jazz. Well, doing up the Christmas tree was fun this year -- a child-like joy filled us as we were selecting spots for the assortment of knick-knacks. My usual cynical self has somehow turned pleasant and jolly. Perhaps I am growing saner and wiser with the years.

So, how has it been for you this merry season?

Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful season of love, joy and cheer.

Joy and love always

Monday 19 December 2016

The dog with the bell

Today while I was in our car, my thoughts, without any whim or fancy flew to the days I used to know a guy and his dog with the bell. The dog's name was Bobby and it had a bell on its neck. As the dog walked, the bell chimed and it was like a signal - Bobby and X have arrived! Ah! that there was a special connection between the dog's owner and the writer is immaterial here. Aw! Did I just say that! Ah! well, I just did. I would be having dinner, when the rhythmic sound of Bobby's bell would announce their arrival. I would then squirm, try and hurry my dinner, and jump into the road to join the walkers. Our post-dinner rendezvous punctuated by Bobby's bell. Bobby was a smart dog - he knew the places of affection and love and was a silent spectator to the laughs and undercurrents.

He would walk, sometimes run after spotting a nocturnal creature or find his favourite tree and pee. I knew he looked forward to those walks like us. He was the excuse for our walks and we were the reason for his walks - it was a mutual understanding.

I wonder where Bobby is. I suspect he has passed away and would have found many similar companions to walk with while tinkling his wee bell. I also wonder what happened to that bell. Perhaps it was buried with Bobby or it was just discarded now that there is no much use for the same. As for the owner of Bobby, I guess he is out there doing his own thing and probably owning another paw to take care but I guess he won't need the bell because he is now married with children and he does not have the need to alert someone of his presence. Maybe he might be wearing that bell as a talisman or as a signal to alert his family of his arrival from work, gym, church or just the corner shop.

Memories, very funny, aren't they?

Hope you are revelling in the season of fun and joy.

What are your childhood memories of Christmas?


Monday 12 December 2016

The year of deaths and reminders of mortality

Every year is another beautiful opportunity given to us in terms of improving ourselves and actively chasing our desired goals and dreams. But along with that is also the realisation that our life is slowly heading towards death. The feeling is humbling as well as scary for it drives hard the fact that we do not have time at our behest. The passing away of diverse personalities this year has insinuated many thoughts of mortality and life within me. As I hear news of people who names have been part of my growing up years and adult life pushes me to think of my own life and its fragility. The hardest blow was when the news of our honourable Chief Minister, J. Jayalalalitha's passing away flashed across the many internet websites. The knowledge that someone who was a formidable presence, inspite of the autocracy, drove hard the nail of mortality. The feeling, for quite some time, has been in the air, when Cohen, Bowie, Balamurali Krishna and others left this earth. Well, as one grows older than the previous year, thoughts as these prevail like the dark clouds which cast a spell for a while either passing away or bringing rainfall.

Growing older means that loved ones are becoming fragile and losing the former agility and taut. The body also plays truant especially while getting up in the morning or that stubborn fat which refuses to budge from a you-know-where spot. Enough! I am not here to whine or complain about facts that are irrevocable but thoughts as these cannot be dismissed without the thought running its entire course.

I know many whose lives started by mid-50s or early 60s. I love the energy they display. Yesterday, I was at the venue of the Goa River Marathon. My oh my! The energy in that place was all-consuming - people of varied age groups feeling smug after completing the 21 kms. I wonder how it might seem to them while running and after completing the long run. The myriad emotions visible on their face was radiant, to say the least. Perhaps, this is one way to push fears of mortality and delay the same. Perhaps, it is a way of cheating death. Perhaps, it is the knowledge that death might come any way so let us try adventure and push our limits, raising the adrenaline meanwhile. Whatever it was, the vibes of the place was so invigorating that I felt stimulated to run at least 5 kms next year. In fact, running a marathon has always been a wish/dream/desire but then as always, I was pushing the dream behind everything else instead of pushing myself to run. Ah! I should read Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and of course there's is Milind Soman who is successfully pushing away Lord Death from approaching him in any direction!

Let me close with a loved and oft read sonnet by John Donne:

Death, be not proud

Related Poem Content Details

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee 
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; 
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow 
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. 
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, 
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, 
And soonest our best men with thee do go, 
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. 
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, 
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, 
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well 
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then? 
One short sleep past, we wake eternally 
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die. 

Wednesday 7 December 2016


December has always been a lovely month for me. It is an amalgam of many sweet things, like, the chilly evenings and mornings, the Christmasy feel in the air, a sense of new beginnings and many others. The image of December that first comes to my mind is the delicate flower of either white, yellow, purple or pink that blooms during this month. Many women in Tamil Nadu string these flowers to adorn their hair. Once when I happened to look out of window here in Goa, I spotted many white December flowers. For few seconds, I wondered whether I was at home or in Goa. These flowers start blooming by mid-November and are sighted till mid-January, till the winter has packed its bags and left, giving way to spring and pongal.

This December and last has added a new set of memories for me to associate with this month - the floods of 2015 and the deaths of 2016. While the chilly evenings still remain, the thoughts are punctuated by the knowledge that people who were part of our collective memory are no longer alive. It will be quite strange when I go home in Chennai with the knowledge that our Chief Minister is no longer there. Sometimes, when bad news of home is heard when one is miles away from home, I guess the impact is slightly deeper. On hindsight, the emotional outburst at the loss of someone who I was not quite familiar with, seems a bit strange, December will always remind me of 'Amma.'

December also brings many other memories of songs, music and imaginations. But then I blame the nip in the air for those melancholic thoughts. Sometimes melancholy is sweeter than joy; The knowledge that the melancholia was once a lovely page of memory brings sweet joy.


"All in the saddle we spend Christmas Day, / Driving the cattle over snow covered plains. / All of the good gifts given today, / Ours is the sky and the wide open range.…"


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