Category Archives: feelings

Not goodbye

As we grow older the number of friends we make decreases and sadly so does the number who stay. When I was in school in each corner lurked a potential friend where now lurks a frenemy (Okay acquaintance. I shouldn’t be so quick to judge!). If you can spot it right from the outset, it will save you from a ton of drama.

Friends of convenience aren’t really friends. I can’t make a sweeping statement that they are no one’s friends. May be they are. The fact of the matter is I am too old for this. Being genuine can’t possibly be so hard. One doesn’t always have to put an act and play stupid games or be peaceable to stop someone from leaving or worse guilt trip someone into staying. Nearly half my life is gone and my energy reserves are pretty limited. I don’t want to put up with negativity which has no real basis in reality and only conspires to bring me down.

People who only look after their agendas and if your agenda matches with them fine else they won’t think twice before dropping you like hot coals aren’t your friends. In fact they will cross your name from their friend list (=people who always help them and put them first) when they know you are not so handy as you used to be or will not relent because the truth has dawned on you (cliched but true). People change as they grow and I too have changed, but in some ways I remain the same. I am less stubborn than I used to be but in some cases I would refuse to budge come hell or high-water.

I am not a fan of simpering smiles and false compliments. I’d rather we had a real conversation or you told me what you really thought of me to my face instead of tearing me to shreds behind my back but smiling benignly when I am in front of you. I might burst into tears or I might enter into a shouting match with you but I will never hate you for telling me your truth. (One of the many perks of growing up is realizing that truth has multiple versions.) People who say what they don’t mean and hide under snide comments are not your friends either. The worst of the lot are the ones who try to gloss over things when they really should be talked about in the open. Continue reading Not goodbye

Advertisements

Wild Child and Other Stories by Paro Anand

Wild Child and Other Stories contains stories about teens dealing with issues that they grapple with. Paro Anand’s earlier book School Days which I thoroughly enjoyed was about tween’s issues but this one is so much darker because of the themes it deals with. Teens are unruly, difficult and moody but always in the need of love, both tough and tender.

This is an award winning book but why does it have such a bad cover? I mean come on, YA audience is used to being treated better all around the world. So glad it has now been re-released by Penguin India as Like Smoke which has 20 stories.

The title story Wild Child deals with a girl who is always bunking school (I had read an excerpt and decided to buy the book), vanishing somewhere where no one can find her. Intent only on punishing her, the elders make no enquiry or try to find out what is the matter with her. The answer when it comes, sheds light on her behaviour. People who deal with children need to be more aware and open, not to mention perceptive, to catch what is really the matter.

This is Shabir Karam is about children whose parents have been killed in Hindu- Muslim conflicts. Kids from different religions live together in a home but they have no love lost for each other. How children, who have no clue what religion is, are caught in the crossfire of hatred and bigotry will make you very uncomfortable.

Children are vulnerable, yet to form their opinions and adults, who are in a position to influence it, do grave disservice to them when they do it to meet their agenda. It makes children easy targets. Early childhood trauma is not something that can be reversed and their childhood is lost somewhere.

They Called Her ‘Fats’ is about an unruly, unfriendly and angry girl. Fatima has no friends and the children in the school spread vicious rumours about her. It is not only adults but children also fear what they don’t understand, and Fatima doesn’t make it easy for anyone. The sports teacher sees the potential in her when she throws the javelin.

Very few people are lucky to find  something that channelizes what they have inside them. It just takes one person to believe in you. What makes the story riveting is that it has roots in reality.

Santa’s Not So Little Helper is in a lighter vein. A boy who writes a creative writing piece in class about being part of Santa’s family. It is funny and did take me back to my school days but it didn’t quite fit in this collection.

In Jason Jamison and Ia star tennis player with swoon worthy good looks is troubled inside. The perfect exterior is a facade. He is the new boy who defeats the old reigning champion. Looks can be deceiving (quite literally) and friendship can spring up in the oddest of places between unlikeliest of people.

Mixed marriages are taboo in India and it is the worst when it is a foreigner. When the marriage doesn’t work out the family is left in the deep end, shunned by the society. What is the child’s fault? But he or she is the one who has to bear the brunt of it.

Hearing My Own Story talks about abuse that goes on inside the house. Physical and mental abuse is a reality for many married women. They have no clue that they can walk out of their abusive marriages and claim compensation. But the ground reality is murky and in India where marital rape isn’t a crime, women are helpless. The social fabric is at fault. Both people, outside and inside the home tell you to keep mum. 

Like Smoke was gut wrenching but felt short and abrupt. Maybe that is what the author wanted to show, how living in terrorist climes is, with bombing and shooting being everyday affairs. How uncertain and fragile their lives are with the threat of death looming on the horizon.

It makes you think about what is really being done about the situation in Kashmir. The militancy is destroying the lives of so many people, who are easy targets because they refuse to leave their motherland; it is the civilians who are paying the price for the unrest. Continue reading Wild Child and Other Stories by Paro Anand

The Postmaster

After watching Satyajit Ray’s adaptation of The Postmaster, a short story by Rabindranath Tagore, and I am forced to think how little I had understood of Ratan’s plight, and the subtext, when it was taught to us in school. I wonder if the opinions were even our own. Then the only interpretation that flew was the teacher’s. We weren’t encouraged to apply our brains much those days. So many years down the line I don’t even remember who taught it. That’s what memories are. Fleeting and evasive, just beyond your grasp when you need them. You seem to remember some things while forgetting others. That’s where people come in. You ask them what they remember of an incident or something that happened, and you will be amazed to hear the stories, real and imagined. Everyone thinks they remember it correctly, the way it happened. But it is the prism of perspective that colours everything we view.

Chandana Banerjee as the young Ratan is outstanding. I couldn’t have expected more. She brought Tagore’s Ratan to life. I have no love lost for the postmaster but it was portrayed well by Anil Chatterjee. Incredible acting. The fish out of water-ness and his loneliness were apparent. I can’t exactly call him unfeeling or unkind but in the end he thought only of saving himself. That is human nature, the survival instinct kicking in. I won’t reveal much that may spoil your reading or watching. But I shall say this, you will be surprised by what you feel once you have finished watching or reading it.

It’s a pity I found subtitles only for a part of the story.  It wasn’t that big a problem because I do understand a bit of Bengali, especially when it is spoken slowly, it being similar somewhat to Odia and all.

The Postmaster is one of three short films collectively titled Teen Kanya. I have only seen The Postmaster which is so nuanced that even though you don’t understand the language completely, by dint of what’s unfolding on the screen, the feeling will find its way to you. What the director was trying to convey  is in tandem with what the writer was trying to say. Do you know how rare that is?

I loved the black and white minimalist cinematography where every single thing that unfolded on screen added something to the story. Nothing was extraneous. I found this podcast online where Anita Desai narrates The Postmaster which is followed by a discussion. Listen to it now. It is of course thousand times better than me reading the text. Needless to say I love and admire Anita Desai having read her The Village by the Sea when I was young (for school again) and the book has stayed with me all these years.

It’s been a while since I read Tagore. It’s time to reacquaint myself with his prose. And what better time than the monsoons, when loneliness and desolation walk hand in hand.

Chokher Bali is much more than a grain of sand !

A Grain Of Sand by Rabindranath Tagore
 What can I say about the book? I’m speechless, spell bound and God knows what else. Also my mouth was wide open in surprise many times during the book, which is pretty much equivalent to my jaw dropping to the floor. How do I feel? Oh that is difficult to answer because what I feel can’t be expressed in words (cliched yes but the truth nonetheless). I was mesmerized by the prose, reeling from the doings of the characters in it and overall just stuck in the gap between old and new worlds. Did I just write that? I suppose I did. This is why I don’t write book, movie or music reviews because I don’t really review it in the true sense of the word rather put up my jumbled thoughts on the matter (which is never even clear to me then how can it be clear to anyone else). Also, I end up gushing or hating (depends) and not saying anything important about it. Anyways there are people far more qualified than me to review so let’s leave it to them.

The book has given me loads of food for thought. I think I will be ruminating on it for ages. It made me  think- are we really modern ? After seeing the treatment and the dissection of  the psyche of women by Tagore during that time I’m not too certain of anything now. I already knew that he had a fine understanding about how a woman thinks and feels, I had gathered that from reading his lovely short stories. As everyone knows he was far far ahead of his time (my goodness, I really can’t get over it). He can give every modern author a run for his money.

This novel has lies, deception and so called illicit relationships that borders on scandalous but somehow it all feels natural. It was a page turner and totally unpredictable. Riveting. The emotional turmoil and the ministrations of all characters was so deftly expressed.It was nothing like I have read before. I had read many short stories and a poem( Upagupta)which I loved but this was the first novel I read by Tagore and I want more. I wonder how will it  feel to read it in Bengali, lovely I suppose more lyrical and more meaningful and the context more understandable. Sheer genius! I am looking forward to the movie version. I hope they don’t ruin it.

Two words-read it.

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…

Notes of the diary on the diarist

What does she keep scribbling in me all the times?Not that I’m complaining(in fact I love it) I’m always there for her,after all that’s my job.Though the world considers us to have no feelings(being inanimate and all) I feel every stab of pain and every whoop of happiness by the words she chooses to write in me.

I like it when she takes her time and writes lovingly in me caressing the pages and feeling each and every word.The cool handwriting,the light slant of the pen shows me that she’s happy and good memories are being recorded.When the writing is irregular and sloppy and too much pressure is put on my delicate pages and its more scribbling than writing, I know she’s troubled and something bad has happened,which she is letting out of her system the only way she can.I feel sad when she gets like this but I’m relieved that she has me to help her get through any trying time in her life.She goes on and on for pages and pages and I know the end is near when her grip is not that hard and she writes at a slower pace, steadily empty of all negativity and almost always ending on a hopeful note.That’s one of the things I like best about her.She will start out a cynic and end a dreamer which is the only thing definite about her.All other things keep changing.She’s really mutable.A human yo yo would be more apt.One day she’s on cloud nine and the next day she’s down in the dumps,both because of the very same incident.What changes, then, is her perspective which is inextricably linked with her mood,the prism through which she views things and which colours everything.I really wish she’d be more optimistic and also more pragmatic.I worry about her but I know as long as she writes she will be just fine because that is the way she deals.

I wish she would write about her good days more.Not that there aren’t many good days but that she writes very few sentences about them(in comparison to the bad days) and ends them very soon.I wish I could change that.Not because I want to hear about good things more,I  just want her to have vivid memories of good things so that she can go back to them later and relive them.They will be her guiding light,her beacon,her light at the end of the tunnel or her silver lining,whatever you choose to call it, in the tough dark times and bleak moments.And of course it is the only thing that’s worth its weight in platinum  when warm feelings of nostalgia envelope her.

More on her idiosyncrasies later.

Define Love


Love is a soulful melody.
An earful keeps you going for life.

Love is a delight.
Of delicious aromas and pungent smells.

Love is where silence speaks volumes.
Eyes the true window to soul.

Love is doomed from the beginning.
Expectations paving the way for destruction.

Love is optimism personified.
The glass always appearing half full (of warm soothing amber coloured honey ).

Love is a pessimist’s heaven.
The glass always half empty( of poison).

Love is a boon.
It saved the human race, fierce competition aside leaving space for humanity and humility.

Love is a bane.
An opiate which can leave you feeling high for days, months and years.

Love is a safe cocoon.
Shielding you from harsh reality engulfing you in its kind embrace.

Love is cold-blooded.
Mercilessly breaking hearts which can never be whole again.

Love is a fresh flower.
Wafting its fragrances far and wide.

Love is effervescent.
Perking up sad, sorry days where it’s the only bright spark.

Love is doldrums, sad and static.
Where it’s not love at all but a heady infatuation.

Love is eternal.
Forever and unending, binding until death comes knocking.

Love is in the moment.
The moment is all you have, instantaneous and fleeting.

Love is selfish.
Throbbing with desires and wants.

Love is selfless,
where the I has dissolved.

Love is the light of a thousand shining suns,
gleaming and illuminating the vast empty canvas of life.

Love is the pitch black of the night,
no one in sight,inky blackness all around.

Love is a feeling, a state of mind.
A tender touch, a shared moment, a life together.

Waving off all definitions
Love just IS.

This was my second poem posted in the Goodreads writing section.