Category Archives: dreamer

To catch a bus

One fine Sunday against my better judgement I decided to step out of the house and take the bus as usual. I thought it’s Sunday and the bus would be relatively empty but it was jam packed like weekdays. (I’m talking butt to butt cramming. You don’t want to experience the horror.) The entire city decided to grow a conscience and use the public transport on the same day. Please increase the number of buses, BMC (= Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation).

The light shrug I was wearing went into my bag as soon I got out of the house and started walking. I should have done the same with the woollen stole when I still had my hands free. Because it was hot and sweaty inside the crowded bus and being unable to peel off layers is the stuff of nightmares. You are dressed for the winter outside but it’s summer on the inside.

The swiveling over road humps, bumping into the mass of humanity was almost painful. I like fun rides but they belong in an amusement park. This is icky not thrilling. It was filled beyond capacity and the conductor was still taking on more  passengers. Am I the only one who thinks he’s bonkers? The conductor was hanging outside the bus. Literally. I’m not kidding. These were dire circumstances.

The ladies seats were occupied by lovely gents and today I wasn’t able to get the conductor to give the ladies their seats. I asked once and he ignored me. Sometimes I am too tired to argue. These men should be seat shamed for taking ladies seats and  they sit there almost flaunting it, daring people to call them out on it. What can we do? it’s a pity there’s no provision to make citizen’s arrest in India. Continue reading To catch a bus

Advertisements

The English Pupil

Time flies. Staying at home for extended periods of time when I was unwell I could feel the passage of seasons, days going by excruciating slowly, each day with its own set of struggles and now I cannot believe such a large chunk of time has passed. The descent of time?

Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett is a collection of short stories I wanted to reread as soon as I finished the book, and it has taken me nearly two years to do it. I bought The Voyage of Narwhal immediately after finishing Ship Fever, and recently The Air We Breathe has come into my possession but I still haven’t read them. What am I scared of  – her not meeting my exceeded expectations or idiotically trying to collect all her other books (very hard to find in India) while not reading the ones I do have. Life is too short to wait for a complete collection. You read along and hope for the best.

In The English Pupil Linnaeus is nostalgic for the past and remembers his apostles (read pupils), who went about the world carrying forward his legacy, sending him specimens and discovering new species. All of his apostles are dead, and he’s inching closer towards his own.

Linnaeus and his wife remind me of an old couple, who are in the autumn of their lives and are not at peace with it or with each other. (What is the point of companionship then?) His wife doesn’t care about his work or his legacy. His work fulfilled him but didn’t make him rich. The family’s demands weren’t being met and to her that was what mattered the most. She was the pragmatic sort. A dreamer has to be paired with a realist. It is a question of survival, you see.

A man who is known as the Father of Taxonomy, and spanned such a legacy now has trouble remembering his own name. He finds it hard to deal with the fact that he needs assistance to do the most basic of things. Life is nothing if not ironic. I would say it is greatly satisfying to look back on a life well lived. He had an illustrious career – his binomial nomenclature is the accepted standard for naming living beings worldwide. The thing is, he doesn’t dwell on what he has achieved but what is lost, the difference between what he was and what he is now.

Andrea Barrett pieces together the story in a manner where fact is melded with fiction so convincingly that one believes it has a kernel of truth in it. I know what she is talking about on account of my life science background. I know the scientists and the work they have done but unfamiliar with their personal lives. And this is where Barrett steps in with her historical fiction narrative.

The writing is beautiful and melancholic but (for me) ultimately uplifting. He has his memories which are fading away fast but if he hadn’t lived life there would be nothing to remember in the first place. He knew what it was to be young and full of ambition. Some people live their lives without finding their purpose, searching for meaning but never finding it. Some people grow old without knowing what it is to be young. If we are not careful, this is the end that will await most of us.

The story is crammed with information for a life science student. I was delighted to see Potamogeton mentioned. After so many years of making fun of the name I find out it means something beautiful.

If you appreciate science, especially the living world, I suggest you give the short stories of Andrea Barrett a go. Start with Ship Fever, which won the National Book Award for fiction and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Rains Ridiculous

Like a typical Aries one day I was returning after experiencing something practically life altering (to someone else it would be lunacy not path breaking), I decided to take a chance and get wet in the rain. My God it was a scary experience. So much for new experiences. It’s so not true what they show in movies. It’s the opposite. And highly impractical might I add.

It was humid, the clouds were mongering and I was waiting for the bus for what seemed like an eternity. I was so busy writing I missed two buses. I people watched when I felt tired and fatigued (Man watching is the term). Finally got on one when I waved my hands madly and the bus that was moving away screeched to a halt.

Getting wet in the rains is overrated. (God help me if I am ever stuck in the Mumbai rains.) You soil your clothes and shoes, which take forever to dry if you live in a humid place like I do. Cleaning them is a task, and then there is the imminent threat of a raging cold. I felt nothing but tedious. Where was the magic I wondered, when I was dragging myself home.

Rainy season is the least favourite of all the seasons though I love the accompaniments – clouds being formed, the colour of skies darkening and the streaks of lightning, sudden and unexpected. The dreamer in me cannot ever reconcile with the realist that shows up from time to time.

I will never say rain demands to be felt. Big fat drops hitting you with all their might making the short stretch leading home seem like an long endless road. Shudder! Continue reading Rains Ridiculous

Upagupta

 

  Upagupta, the disciple of Buddha, lay sleep in
the dust by the city wall of Mathura.
Lamps were all out, doors were all shut, and
stars were all hidden by the murky sky of August.
Whose feet were those tinkling with anklets,
touching his breast of a sudden?
He woke up startled, and a light from a woman’s
lamp fell on his forgiving eyes.
It was dancing girl, starred with jewels,
Wearing a pale blue mantle, drunk with the wine
of her youth.
She lowered her lamp and saw young face
austerely beautiful.
“Forgive me, young ascetic,” said the woman,
“Graciously come to my house. The dusty earth
is not fit bed for you.”
The young ascetic answered, “Woman,
go on your way;
When the time is ripe I will come to you.”
Suddenly the black night showed its teeth
in a flash of lightening.
The storm growled from the corner of the sky, and
The woman trembled in fear of some unknown danger.
* * *
A year has not yet passed.
It was evening of a day in April,
in spring season.
The branches of the way side trees were full of blossom.
Gay notes of a flute came floating in the
warm spring air from a far.
The citizens had gone to the woods for the
festival of flowers.
From the mid sky gazed the full moon on the
shadows of the silent town.
The young ascetic was walking along the lonely street,
While overhead the love-sick koels uttered from the
mango branches their sleepless plaint.
Upagupta passed through the city gates, and
stood at the base of the rampart.
Was that a woman lying at his feet in the
shadow of the mango grove?
Stuck with black prestilence, her body
spotted with sores of small-pox,
She had been hurriedly removed from the town
To avoid her poisonous contagion.
The ascetic sat by her side, took her head
on his knees,
And moistened her lips with water, and
smeared her body with sandal balm.
“Who are you, merciful one?” asked the woman.
“The time, at last, has come to visit you, and
I am here,” replied the young ascetic.
Rabindranath Tagore
We had this poem in our English Literature syllabus. The well thumbed Wings of Poesy ,the  poetry book which contains the above poem still exists. I can’t help but go back to that time,to the naive thirteen year old with a million crazy ideas and romantic dreams of becoming a writer someday and living in the country. Whenever I read the poem I am transported back into school,sitting in my assigned seat in class, listening to the lilting voice of our teacher and taking notes when required. It’s as if nothing has changed but everything has changed,on the outside at least.

HARRY WHO??

Hello blog people 🙂
Uh umm I know it’s not very apt or polite.I dare say me even giving this a second thought, it’s her influence!!!!Otherwise who cares to be grammatically correct and use just the correct word for every little situation, duhh not me!Anyways what else should I address you guys as???Should it even be plural?
And who is this you ask?Pssst. It’s me her super cool sister 😀 She has mentioned me quite a few times ,so y’all should be familiar with me, I suppose(looks around expectantly for applause).Let’s get on,shall we…
An obvious observation-I dare say nobody reads her precious blog ,why else would it wear such a desolate look,eh? But the background is blue and its sparse and without frills.It’s her alright.”Keep it simple,silly!” ,for me she got there long before Ranbir Kapoor did (sorry RK).
Now to the topic.I can’t believe its Tuesday already.I can break out into a song and dance routine right now(totally spontaneous and unrehearsed but fab all the same =)). But I’d better not lest the fat cat wake up and raise hell!!Lately I have taken to calling her troll and it irritates the shit out of her.Nowadays she’s being called MANTAL Boy(Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara anyone?).Evil laugh!!!
Three more days  till Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part-2 releases in cinemas.I can barely contain myself.No point in asking me if I’m a die hard HP fan cos there’s no doubt about that.I.AM.NOT.A FAN.But I don’t hate the books,they were good but nothing life changing.Maybe it might have been different for me if I had read it the way my sister did and not in the span of a couple of weeks.I just read it because all the guys in my class had read it(peer pressure I tell you,makes you do the stupidest of things)and the books were already there,courtesy my sister.
I just had to beg,borrow and convince her to part with her precious books.She was very suspicious at my sudden “interest” in HP and kept a close watch on me.She still thinks that I buy her “Oh I came to see which page you are at?Isn’t it exciting?Did you notice how … “And there she goes again,launching into an impossibly detailed and verbose explanation(without even being asked) ,speaking faster if it’s even humanly possible(she’s the fastest talker I know) and ending at a obvious point(according to her not me)which my  puny brain couldn’t possibly comprehend even if she had told it slowly and in a normal voice as opposed to the shrilly voice she shoots off in, eyes glinting with pleasure and something otherworldly.
She’s already gone mad.She spent all Sunday practically on Mugglenet and YouTube , reading up and listening to all the buzz, and watching interviews and the premiere with headphones on!!!!!I won’t even go near obsessive reading of Fanfics and other crazy stuff!
When I had been consoling myself that all the madness will be over with when the final movie is out ,J.K.Rowling had to go and bring out POTTERMORE(believe me I have heard enough).Now its like HP forever.She’s in 7th heaven and I’m plotting my escape by immersing myself in law.Yep,you heard right.I’m going to go to Law School!!!What can I say,desperate times call for weird solutions! Mama and Papa really indulge her (which obviously I don’t approve of ) and practically coo at her ,oh she’so adorable,their darling daughter ,reading so many books that she forgets that there exists a world outside of it (where’s there’s no magic but beauty still abounds)and living in a fantasy dream world which runs according to her rules and diktats.Where magic is a reality!!!And whenever she’s in the so called real world ,something inevitably goes wrong and she goes flying back into the escape and comfort her world offers from the grim reality she can’t stomach.
Gimme a break!!Grow up kiddo and grow your own wings to fly.
Earth to sis,the real world is waiting with arms wide open to envelope you in a bone-crushing hug.You have to give it a chance…