Tuesday, September 25, 2012

John Keats

New historians have always made me a little edgy, and this is yet another of those times.

John Keats. He has been my unwavering bright star, from the word go. Ever since the nightingale song, he has been my hero. As if his enchanting poetry wasn't all, there was Fanny Brawne and then, that untimely, miserable death. His name echoed a string of tragedies - deaths in the family, unrequited love, a consuming illness; everything that endeared him to a teenage heart then.
But then came this, and ever since the morning, after reading it at a rather deliberate confusing haste, and re-reading it later to register it all, in between flashes of denial and doubt, I have reached one conclusion: I still don't understand it. May be I don't want to.

True, a languorous, dreamy aura pervades his poetry, but that cannot necessarily justify a laudanum haze. Yes, if one looks with the intention of confirming him as an opium addict, his poetry is a deluge of visions, chockablock with reveries of 'drowsy numbness' and 'a life of Sensations rather than Thoughts'. But is poetry to be read and understood literally? Isn't that against the very grain of it? Moreover, what happened to the good old trap of intentional fallacy?
On the contrary, it is this very element of detachment from the pains of the physical world and the transportation to the higher realms of tranquility and aestheticism, that makes Keats so very memorable and different from the other Romantics. The world would be a rather dull place if not for his 'Poesy' - a strange, yet impressive combination of beauty and melancholy.

And so, the bright star shines on, steadfast as ever.

"Here lies one whose name was writ on water."

~ Keats, epitaph for himself

(Portrait of Keats by William Hilton.
Source: Wikipedia)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Patchwork Friday

a withering stalk of gladiolus. a cherished gesture from a long lost classmate. a blue dreamcatcher hung whimsically on a potted palm. flashbacks of a Utah getaway, an orangish September. gaping silver pomfret at the local fish market, one makes its way into our home. Saturday smells great already. steaming chicken momos. a trusted cure for overcast, moody days. a neglected pair of silver earrings. the turquoise winks at me from the rusty corners of a forgotten trinket box.

Invoking memory and inviting the present, I gather these small joys or the more poetic - little somethings. Patch by patch, frame upon frame, I weave my Friday for that much awaited weekend, that just comes and goes in a wild flicker. 

Happy Weekend, you all!

PS: Instagram has soon become my photographic mainstay, and as you can see from the above pictures, it tells the tales well. For more such tales you can visit here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Buddha beckons

As I try to gather the loose strings of this post in my mind, a faint, haunting smell of mustard wafts its way through the windows. Being the queen of associative nostalgia, I am at once reminded of my most favorite comfort food - roasted potatoes mashed in a drizzle of mustard oil, with a bunch of chopped onions and green chilies thrown in for that aromatic kick. And that settles it, the tonight's dinner dilemma.

Before I confuse you further with the mismatching of the post title and its beginning, I must very quickly come back. Straying, as you must be quite aware of by now, comes so very naturally to me.
So Buddha, the great Gautama. Neither am I spiritual, nor am I a regular reader of his teachings, The Dhammapada, like my father and his childhood friend. It's just that face, that radiant, reverberating pool of wisdom and serenity. Those quiet, half-closed eyes and the kind lips curled into a forever understanding smile. They are my collective refuge, from the woes of inconsiderate, loud neighbors, the downsides of staying in a ground floor apartment and the soot making its way into our lives from the nearby, always running highway. Sure, one cannot immediately find a new place and afford to go through the settling-in drama all over again, one can only hope to adapt. To the noise, the blackening doom and the growing restlessness. The face muffles it all, for a while at least.

"Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without."
~ Buddha

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lotus Pond

A humid, overcast September afternoon. The impending rains fuel the end of the weekend lethargy, and make buzzing, predatory circles inside my head. An equally wearied husband comes and says, "May be we should go out." And that settles it. We head towards the Lotus Pond, a place that had been on our minds ever since the days have become cooler and the sun a tad friendlier. A man-made pond, surrounded by a kilometer and half of walking area, the park is a lush green palette in the middle of the screechy, sooty cityscape. Well maintained and easily accessible, if one forgets the mean mosquito rampage, there is a diverse beauty in the park's chaotic wilderness - bamboo groves, colorful reeds, wildflowers, rock formations, and myriad water birds are just some to name a few.

As soon as one gets on the winding, reed-lined path, "Bow down to nature" commands an old tree and actually makes you do so! The late afternoon light paints a surreal picture of the pond, highlighting the pink glow of the lotus against a backdrop of muted blue-green. The carpet of beautiful leaves spread here and there, some dry and shriveled, give one the impression of a pond-upon-pond palimpsest. More than the dreamy lotuses, I am in love with these leaves and try to capture them greedily from every which way possible. However, more drama, more illusion beckon. A wooded path leads to more flowers, more charm. Dragonflies galore, and with their skittering wings of red and rust, the air is abuzz with flickering sparks. A pair of squabbling cormorants, carefully avoiding each other's eyes. The colorful melange of the pink and white bougainvilleas punctuated by stray bamboo groves. Soon, dusk falls and the twilight veils the pond in a magical hue. The lotus leaves turn a somber dark green and my heart moves back to them. Pearly water droplets slither and dance on their waxy bodies before finally calling it a day. An elfin, enchanting world. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rilke answers...

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke has always made things a tad easy, breathable. Like the lucid laugh of a child. Like the gentle unfurling of a touch-me-not. Like that unnoticed fall of the last, rusting leaf. Expectations will nag, questions will pester, and yet life shall continue to unfold and happen. Day after day, year after year. Like it always has. 
For, to borrow the great poet once again to my rescue - "no feeling is final."

A very happy and happening weekend to you all. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012


"Everything I know I learned after I was thirty."

~ George Clemenceau

Another birthday, another number. The big thirty. The thrill of rolling ahead with a dash yet holding back with a whimper, like that slim, slippery place between sleep and waking up. An envelop of expectations. A medley of confusions. Of leaving the waning wheel ruts behind. Of looking forward to a new horizon, painting a new sun. Of stealing a few carefree breaths before life's alarms go crazy.

A new beginning.

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