Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Poetry with a spine

Last weekend, I came across this very fascinating kind of poetry, thanks to a friend's update in Facebook. Book spine poetry. What a grand yet simple idea it is - pile up some books, pick up a few interesting titles, weave a little story and voila! An instant poet you become.
I'm sure many of you might be already familiar with this but I just had to share it here. The moment I read about it, it so tickled my imagination that in the middle of preparing dinner, abandoning everything - a hungry husband, a favourite sitcom, and a friend's phone call - I dawdled near the bookcases, restlessly skimming across the titles, creating stack upon stack of spine poetry in my head. While some overbrimmed with sentimentalism, others were oddly incoherent. This, perhaps, was the most balanced of them all.
And thus ended my obsessive urge of stacking books and searching meaning in their titles.

PS. A very happy Halloween to all of you. I miss the eeriness, the pumpkin painted world and the chance to be someone else for a day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Durga's October

The end of October draws near, that much awaited month of celebrations. The monsoons are long gone and there is a sudden crispness in the air, particularly in the late afternoons. True, one doesn't have that quintessential kaleidoscopic autumn of the West here, but the air still smells as much ripe. It is plump with expectations - of days of revelry and restlessness, of streets thronged with enthusiastic faces, and of homes filled with a harmonious warmth. During this time of the year, a meaningless mirth floods the city, reaching to its very nooks and crannies, even to its most hideous, unsightly of gutters. After all, joy never differentiates between the beautiful and the ugly, the rich and the poor. Joy is joy, unpretentious and a shade of pristine white, like the untainted heart of a five-year-old.

Today marks the tenth and final day of Durga Puja, the time when the goddess Durga completes her annual journey in the world of mortals. Ten days of her overwhelming presence take one to another world altogether - the charged, carnivalesque atmosphere (not so much here as much as back home, the eastern part of India that is); narrow lighted streets chocked with busy hawkers; the air smelling of incense, ghee and happiness... The three-eyed and ten-handed goddess is the harbinger of good times for the Hindus, and for us women, she is the Maa (mother) from whom we draw the strength to battle evil and the fortitude to bear the worldly burdens. 

After the immersion of the idol this afternoon, though not many here in the southern part of the country, there's a sudden, pervading emptiness. Perhaps it's the accumulative nostalgia of the void since one's childhood, when we would all utter bittersweet sighs after seeing the idol sink and reappear, before finally disappearing into the silty depths of the nearby pond. Time hangs like a giant caged bird, still, yet breathing, and even the blaring highway right next to the apartment cannot wipe out the uncomfortable silence. The wind-chimes in the balcony make the only din in this otherwise empty evening.

Here's a lovely painting of Maa Durga that I stumbled upon in a nearby community puja. Until next year then...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bukowski's bluebird

"there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see

~ Charles Bukowski, Bluebird

Turns out, there has been, after all, a blue bird sitting idle and unnoticed in my photo archives. I know it's not a bluebird. I know it's a stellar jay, the darker and shabbier cousin of the pretty blue jay. I know it belongs to a green, green land and scented, mossy boughs. I also know, if it flies here (ah, the utter foolhardiness of it!!) and cages itself, it'll forget to sing.
But does any of that matter now? Perhaps not anymore.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing, editing, remembering

"Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”

~ Rilke

"Has she stopped writing?", asks a somewhat worried father to the husband, and before the latter could come up with a suitable answer for one who harbours strong hopes of seeing his daughter as a successful writer some day, the father concludes, "I can see her writing has deteriorated a great deal after your move back to India."
During this habitual weekend phone conversation, the daughter lurked conspicuously in the vicinity, trying to be a part of it while idling with a cup of tea and a fat, never-ending Barnes and Noble copy of Anna Karenina. But somehow the sharp din of the word 'deteriorated' reached her ears and stayed there for some time. It wasn't like she waited to be told about it, because she knew, deep down in that iffy corner of her heart, that there is some truth in her father's doubts. That these days, she cannot write.

For a myriad of reasons, both wrong and right in their own situation, it has been like this for the past couple of months. 
True, there's an absolute lack of inspiration in this coldhearted, perpetually shrouded by pollution city. Concrete cannot lead to creativity. Period. Then there's this recent job, where I sit, for the most part of the day, editing manuscripts of others' writings. When you have to pin, tuck and shape someone else's stories, it's a little difficult to find your way back to tales of your own. While being a part of their imaginary worlds, I often get wrung out of mine. 

And then, the autumn child remembers. With uncountable sighs. It must be autumn somewhere. The leaves must have turned somewhere. The trees must be spitting flames somewhere. It must be like this somewhere. Somewhere, but not here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Night bazaar

Another revisiting, another retelling.
Another attempt at unearthing the familiar, at walking the beaten path.

The night bazaar at Shilparamam. An enchanting heaven for all art and craft lovers. A weekly pilgrimage it was, once upon a time. A forever coming together of artists from all corners of the country. A perfect microcosm of 'unity in diversity'. The midnight air swollen with nocturnal blooms. Sprinklers stirring the tired, sleepy earth. Ah, that intoxicating, balmy scent! Deserted shops, many closed. Murals reciting pages from mythology, stray terracotta urns, familiar paintings of alluring village women, Rajasthani sequin work, Kashmiri beaded beauties, marble work from Agra. There's more to this place, I know. 
A kaleidoscope of colours and creativity. Daylight will tell more stories, weave more magic. I know. I know them all too well. 

I will be back. Soon. To the well-trodden ruts, once again. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...