Thursday, December 5, 2013

Publication_December 2013

Dear friends, do checkout my short fiction, Secret Message, published in the latest issue of eFiction India. I am absolutely in love with the snazzy cover design of the issue that features a series of young writers I am sure you will enjoy reading the issue. Incase you wish to buy the magazine, please click on the following 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thinking about Writing on a Foggy Early-Winter Morning

Cheers to Life on a Foggy Morning 

On this wonderful last day of the week, as I sit imbibing an esemplastic melody consisting of the metallic ectophony of a drill-machine, the infinite trismus of pigeon and squirrel chirrups, the occasional bellows of children and traffic noises, I cannot help but wonder about the prospect of winter. As the seasons change, the world sheds down its old gabardine and embraces the new, the latter, the youth, and the younger. And in between these changing seasons comes a time when we dance between two binaries, when the world still holding the seasonal variations of the last cycle injects in its vein the fluid of the new. It is that time of the year that interests me most. I sit here and observe the magic of that world before me. Abluted by warm-cool sunshine the conical and flat-tops of the buildings stare at me with sleepy eyes. The clump of red flowers at a distance seems to exude scarlet aura and my cold, soon-to-be evacuated balcony is littered with the dead and alive foliage. It’s beautifully calm here; the puzzles of life seem meaningless at this point. What matters are the words that cloud my head, little flowers they are too, short-lived. Every day I wake up and anticipate their arrival on my page, and when they finally come, I too like the changing season shed off all my inhibitions, worries and old tensions and plunge into their newness. From this momentary rendezvous with the new, I extract the fugacious joy that a writing life can offer. It is often difficult, nay impossible, to talk about writing, but on this morning the mind speaks only that lingo. After a hiatus of a few days the tongue is getting used to words and the morning is marvelous because of that. There is nothing more beautiful that letters forming words, than words forming sentences, and sentences forming paragraphs. The whole effect is somewhat like the unified misere of the world I hear consisting of a thousand disparate sounds striking as one synthesized hum. Today that hum in my head is the most beautiful melody I hear. The sigh of relief that escapes me as I see the words getting to know their neighbors is stupendous. It’s very easy to lose focus, to be swayed by advice that writing is a lame profession always dwelling in obscurity and uncertainty; nevertheless, the joy that a page of self-written sentences offer is greater than a monthly check of several thousand dollars.

I guess writing in many ways is indeed a lonely profession, as Hemingway said, because until you are walking away from the mediocrity of a society always ready to sway you from taking an unfortunate plunge into a future-less writing life, you don’t realize how much, just how much you love your avocation despite the contingency that our talents may not actually flourish in future. But, in spite of that, we will not let ourselves be dismayed and choose a different and more pedestrian profession. Maybe some of us are meant to struggle and produce fiction that matter to none, maybe we don’t care if poetry indeed declines with the advancement of civilization, maybe our contribution to the world are a few stray pieces that are lost as soon as they are produced; but still our figments of imagination are our world. They are the children of two extremes born in the womb of limbo that dwells between the expectations of the world and our personal ambition as writers. Having said that, I don’t think many of us would even care to dream about a glossy future full to the brim with bestsellers. I know I don’t. I live from fiction to fiction, from story to story, and still I consider myself one of the happiest persons I know. Shorn of high-flown ambitions, I care only about the page I write, and if it satisfies me, I know I will be happy for a long time thinking about that worthless page of written words. It is difficult to convince people who don’t live a creative life that the pleasure and pain of creativity is something indescribably appealing. It’s a fascination that attracts you more than a luscious lover; in fact it is a lover for life whose many facets we discover as we grow old with it.

This morning the sunshine seems so bright, the bright winter clothes crucified in my neighbor’s clothesline bathe in awesome hue, the flapping of a pigeon’s wing so much like the beat of a heart, and to think that on this busy weekday when people are heading for their cubicles, I get to enjoy them makes me feel blessed. I know this feeling of beatitude is momentary and that it will wane once I head into my house and partake of my other responsibilities of the day, but why not indulge in carpe diem when you can afford it. Right now, I think people become unhappy when they extricate themselves from their passion. And that is where negativity steps in to ruin lives. I know I am being hopelessly philosophical this morning, but my all-knowing mind is trying to convince me that there is no other life for me apart from writing, and a writer I shall strive to be come what may.

The writing work of the day being done, I have a delicious book to read now over a cup of warm coffee. The book in question is Hemingway’s treatise on writing, and I look forward to what the master has to say about his art. I always thought Hemingway was rather reticent when talking about writing was concerned; I wonder what advice he will give to an amateur hopelessly smitten with the scripturient life.  I hope to write another post next week where I shall discuss about this book and other thoughts that I occasionally get. I don’t know if anybody reads my musings, but if you do, I thank you for your silent encouragement and wish you too would pursue your passion and not give in to the demands of a mediocre life. We always have the choice to adopt mediocrity, but it’s better to avoid it, if you can help it.


Friday, October 18, 2013

New Publication: New Asian Writing, October 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In Search of Happiness with Walden for Company


A note of unruffled peace is borne on the wind from over the rippling waters of the pond of imagination.

A spot of philosophy is something that rarely appeals to our taste buds seasoned by eclectic worldly incidents and fast-paced virtual life. The events of the home and the world that surround us from dawn to the death of night are like the shrill noise made by a loud calling bell that extracts you out of a happy reverie in a reclusive pad. You listen to its sudden, sharp sound and sigh; then you open the door allowing the world with its often frivolous worries to come in.

Ageing under the weight of such worldly worries, I found myself sadly sipping the potion of despondence like many others that surround me. It was this pedestrian life and its normalcy, its mediocrity, and the fact that I was not doing, or rather not living, a life different that my counterparts that led me thinking. Was I happy, I wondered, living a life based on the strictures pronounced by the world and followed by its law-abiding citizens who, even if they wish, can seldom take a break? The idea of twinkling stars dying in the dark bedspread stretched taut abaft me came to my mind. I realized I would never want to be a star whose aspirations were extinguished because she jettisoned her own terms of life for the sake of others she knew. I realized that compromise is a drug more potent that Christie’s Strychnine.
Having finished my studies recently, I decided it was time to take a break for a few months and enjoy myself. I now had time at hand to do as I choose and this freedom, this sense of relishing leisure itself was a source of happiness to me. The thought that I could spend my days reading books I love, cooking, gardening or decorating my home made me beam. Nevertheless, I thought, in order to make these few months an experience to remember I should strive and shed off negativity for good and embrace happiness deliberately.

My idea of finding happiness as I had seldom felt before led me to browse the internet. My fingers tapped on the happy letters into the search box of the all-knowing web-encyclopedia and discovered that there are now manuals and personal stories about finding happiness. You punch in the word and the web provides you a list of codes which if followed will inevitably, or so some of the search results showed, lead you the ambrosia called happiness. As I found myself reading more and more of these manuals and self-stories about being happy, I felt powerless. I knew they would not do for me.

While I was switching off my computer smiling as I recalled some of the outrageous happy-codes I discovered  online in link with happiness and its nurture I sickness and in health, I stumbled on a little image done in yellow an indigo-blue that said “make happiness a habit.” It was something to think about and I dedicated my brain to the task.

Habits, as we know, are acquired sometimes advertently, but most of the time inadvertently. I remember an article I read in Reader’s Digest sometime ago which said that if you perform a task for three consecutive days; it will become part of our habitual activities. My task was to find peace and happiness, and I was more than keen to make happiness a habit. In my quest I turned to the one source I knew would never fail me: Walden, the book by the proponent of Transcendentalism, Henry David Thoreau.  I had read Walden before, but my reading was detached. This time I was keen on imbibing the delicious philosophy, on tasting it and savoring it and storing its wellness in my system.
My first task prior to reading Walden was to limit my virtual time. I had observed it before that people present their imperfect life in such fascinating lime-light virtually that it makes you wonder if you are on a right footing. The deluge of unnecessary notifications, needless articles on popular culture and boring news are together a concoction that can unnerve anybody. We are becoming too social, and too much of anything, as we know, is not good. I wished to curb my glutinous appetite for virtual society and see the results. I wanted to check how I would feel being abstracted from the virtual world for a time being. My idea was to carve a Walden for me, a patch of verdant greenery whose velveteen smoothness would cover the imperfections of my life.
For seven days around ten in the morning after my husband went out I would take my yoga mat out into the porch and a glass of juice and sit and read Thoreau’s book. The pretty periwinkles performed their soothing terpsichorean feat under the music of the zephyr. They entertained me in between my readings. The pigeons I feed know me and would make their customary guttural noise whenever they saw me. I was entertained by the rain as well, their pattering noise together with the bedraggled vista accentuated by the myriad other noises of a city life came as a symphony I learned to love. It is beautiful at times to be alone. People fear loneliness because of boredom and other contingencies initiated by self-company; but I have never felt that way, at least nowadays I don’t.

There is a chapter titled Solitude in Walden that I best loved. Here Thoreau seemed to answer my own queries about human company. He says that nature, if given a chance, can be a more soothing companion than any mortal friend. And sitting on my porch day after day under the shadow of my little plant breathing the smell of the earth I couldn’t but agree. My switched-off cell phone beside me didn’t ring and that fact alone made me calm and peaceful. The idea that my present state of peace was not dependent on anybody, that I would not be extracted from the seat of self-induced solitude by a ring of any bell made me happy.

I finished Walden in a week and found myself strangely attracted to positivity. Negative thoughts of failing at things, of competing for unachieved goals seemed trivial. I was refreshed by my read. Often I spend my after-reading hours writing about my diurnal activity, and now as I check those daily entries I discover how they lack remorse or off-putting contemplation. They talk about Thoreau’s little hut and life how it must have been alone in the forest in the company of nature. There were storms and long wintry days under the blanket of snow, but Thoreau didn’t let them usher him back to town. His rendezvous with nature was exhilarating; he enjoyed the diurnal and seasonal variations and let himself imbibe that essential truth that nature plates before us: in it is God, in it is love, and in it is happiness.
 Delve in nature and seek your God was what Walden said to me. Of course, I couldn’t jettison my family life and head for the hills, but that didn’t stop me from sitting on my little porch and savoring the sight of my little garden. I never knew their brilliantine green, I saw it now. I never judged the glorious red of the hibiscus, the delicate texture of a Chinese rose or the fresh smell of a basil leaf when rubbed between the palms. I felt them all now. The squirrel shooing a crow and a pigeon flying with its wings spread above me were sights I enjoyed for the first time in my life with relish. Unbeknownst to me with every passing day I was becoming more and more contented. The habit came naturally and in three days my heart yearned every morning for its customary sojourn in the porch.

It is often said that a book is a friend for life that changes your thought and moulds your character. I believe Walden has done the same for me. It is my un-mechanical manual to happiness that works right for me. Ultimately, it is nature, it aloneness, it is philosophy and a little time away from the touch of the world that made me happier and at peace with myself. That was the culmination of my experiment to find happiness. I inferred that happiness can indeed be made a habit, provided we know where to find it. 

Image from the internet

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Random thoughts on a balmy afternoon!

As I sit re-reading Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary on this particularly balmy end-summer afternoon, I feel a sense of unmistakable peace stealing over me. I sit on my patio admiring the queer shaped cloud-monsters staring at me blatantly and observing the pattern of the sap-green hibiscus leaves. It’s beautifully quiet save for the occasional chirrup of birds, the guttural noise squirrels make, the flapping of pigeon wings and the intermittent thudding sound wafted from the carpenters’ workshop next door. Having spent the whole day reading and writing away from the hinterland of social media and cellular phone, I feel a lambent radiance slowly illuminating the hitherto dark corners of my mind riddled with the soot of future worries. Indeed, I am now convinced that when you need answers it’s best to look inside. I don’t know how many of you are in love with solitude and occasional asocial life, but I know I am. I derived the greatest pleasure today when I directed my attention toward my avocation. Writing solves problems, I am sure it does. I know sometimes it is hard to string together the thoughts; sometimes the mind is so eerily quiet that you begin to doubt. Nevertheless, you must persevere; at least that is what Virginia Woolf did. She labored from one story to another turning a conscious eye toward her art and striving her best to perfect it through experimentation and constant reading. I have always found Woolf a darling writer. I love her, and so, I love her fiction. Her often snobbish, often prudish nerd-like philosophical stance is deliciously palatable to my taste-buds. I remember getting back to this diary of hers when I was stuck with a short story a few years ago. The reading did nothing to alleviate the stifling situation, but it sure made me more confident of myself. Woolf is my panacea; and this afternoon I feel I love her more than ever. The cloud-monsters keep changing position in the sky sometimes growing grim with sudden desperation and sometime allowing the sun to permeate through them with the vim and vigor of a teenager. I see them and wonder if Woolf too had stared like me at some cumulous populated once-azure sky and indulged in wordplay. I can imagine her frail form at her desk close in her study looking out with an admiring eye at the ever-changing visage of a day. Somehow the colors seem very bright to me today. The digladiation between contradictory thoughts is conspicuous by its absence. All is calm, all is quiet. I know sometimes I let myself go on and generally give in to lugubriousness or loquaciousness without reticence, but the process of penning rambling thoughts clarifies several of my life’s puzzles for me. At the touch of self-created philosophy and under the aegis of contemplation, my thoughts sort themselves out. I think it’s going to rain this evening; I will wait for it. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Benimadhab, Benimadhab, where art thou?

Sharing with you all an old translation done by me of Joy Goswami's Malatibala Balika Bidyalay:-)

The original poem by Joy Goswami.

My translation of the poem:

Benimadhab, Benimadhab, I want to visit your home
Benimadhab, do you still remember me? 
Benimadhab, when you played the flute of romance--
under the lush green canopy, I was a pupil at Malati School
Sitting at my desk I solved math problems in our small classroom
Outside the class our teacher alongside her groom
I was standard nine, I was sari
We met, Benimadhab, at Sulekha's home.

Benimadhab, Benimadhab, well-read and smart
When visiting from town I am but dark 
Just one glance at you and I ran to my abode
Benimadhab, my father works at a store. 
Despite it all hums the whining little bee, in the arbor blooms life decree 
And in my evening study hour I miscalculate my sums
I was standard nine, I was sweet sixteen
Clandestinely we met beside the bridge. 

Benimadhab, Benimadhab, tell me the truth
After all these years do you still remember our past?
Did you ever tell your girlfriend about us?
I saw you just once together with her
Under a light, a marvellous light
I tell you I thought you two looked smart 
The sight quenched my eyes, the sight burned my eyes
I came home and wished you good luck.

At night when I go to sleep at the basement chamber 
Silvery moon rays illuminate the bedding sheets spread on the floor
My other sister, the one younger than me, is lost in the barbed thoroughfare
She just disappeared; I don’t know with whom she now resides 
Today you have, what will happen tomorrow? Tomorrow is the devil
Nowadays I am the neighbourhood needlework tutor
Yet fire, Benimadhab, why the fire does not lit?
How will it be if I end too up being another fallen woman?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thoughts on Re-reading Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca

On certain mornings, the composition of a thousand words—the indelible part of the self-inflicted writing routine—disgorges easily and effortlessly out of the system. It just takes a spark of a thought, an iota of an idea, and the vision of the lightest hue of the spectrum to get things going for me. On such days I cannot help but wonder if there is anything better than a life devoted to writing. The composition of these daily documents are preparatory steps gently leading me to a poem or a story perhaps, and this thought  rejuvenates the wilting soul when inspiration is remote and the long face of a long day stares at me with exasperation. It is the hope of a better creative life that might enlighten my existence some day that gets me going.

Having spent half of last night finishing Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, I feel both tired and excited this morning. The cup of steaming Dutch coffee offers refreshing assistance. I sip it and dream of Manderley. In fact, I have been dreaming of the marvelous mansion since last night. I wonder if I ever ceased thinking about it. Surely, Manderley has been nestling in my subconscious mind since the time I first read about it years ago as a naïve undergraduate student of literature. At that time, I was really close in character and personality and in my aimless juvenile ways to the nameless heroine of the novel who speaks the famous opening line of the book: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

I find the aforementioned line particularly fascinating. This simple sentence is so as thickly encrusted with deep esoteric meanings as the woods neighboring Manderley are covered with irrepressible foliage. Apart from the unforgettably witty opening lines of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, it has been Du Maurier’s Gothic romance whose first lines I never forgot. I find myself again in pursuit of the unmistakable something that paints this little line, the mysterious ingeriedent that strikes the ambiguous note of thrill. A reader can imagine things and so I did half of last night. I found myself susceptible to the eerie and cold atmosphere of mystery surrounding the book encroaching upon me with its “long, tenacious fingers;” I yielded under the pressure of its cachectic fingers.

The real heroine of the story of course is Rebecca, the dead wife of Max de Winter. Despite her death and consequent physical absence she lives on in Manderley. Manderley is a living citadel of her haunting presence. It is she and not the narrator, the second Mrs. De Winter who remained anonymous throughout the story, who steers the story along. Rebecca is conspicuous by her absence, we don’t see her but we know she is there, in Manderley. As Mrs. Danvers the frightening housemaid said she could still hear the rustle of her dress or her gentle footsteps in the hall, we too can hear Rebecca, her laugh, her voice, soft yet firm and unyielding. I feel I could close my eyes and imagine her standing in the threshold separated from me by the thick miasmic fog of death, her ectoplasm slowly generating form like a magician’s vanishing-reappearing trick working slowly, listlessly.

Having read the book in the silent hours of night under the white light of my table lamp in my own rented-castle, I found myself more sunk in the mystery. The discrepancies in the text especially the portrayal of the weak and feeble narrator has disturbed me. I didn't quite like her thinking she was a quadruped whenever her husband played with her hair and her habit of sitting at his knees. Evidently, she lacks the force of personality and her display of weakness only strengthened the already well-nourished character of the dead Mrs. de Winter. Rebecca seemed like the blood-sucking fiend who abstracted the life-blood from the nameless heroine and further weakened her. The two Mrs. de winters are binary opposites, one weak, good, morally potent; the other evil, licentious and dark-haired. Now, here we can raise several intellectual queries: first, does a woman who is free-spirited and adventurous deserves to be killed, especially when she has made her position clear to her husband upon honeymoon? Does a woman who is forceful and upright deserve to be nullified? Why did Maxim de Winter hate her; was he himself like our nameless heroine wilted and de-manned by Rebecca’s masculine adventurous ways? Seeing the story from this angle, we can safely say that Max de Winter suited the nameless feeble wife than Rebecca.

To tell you the truth, I am fascinated by Rebecca. I guess I belong to the devil’s party too. After I’ve close my book and rested in bed, it was Rebecca I tried to see and not the naïve heroine, a vignette of yester-year better forgotten. It’s she and Mrs. Danvers, the Lady Macbeth type housekeeper dressed in black who keeps Rebecca alive despite her untimely demise by keeping her quarters in the exact order as it used to be when she left, that we remember. I would say this that the somnambulistic housekeeper who finally incinerates the Manderley edifice has succeeded in keeping Rebecca alive for us; in our mind she will live her mysterious-adventurous life.

Finally, in the end, we cannot but give credit to Daphne Du Maurier for crafting this exquisite Gothic romance. The writing is excellent and effortless; you can see she was inspired the time she wrote it. So deftly she wielded the plot and placed her characters therein that you’d be left wondering at her creative potential and wishing one day, after years and years of perseverance, you too would think of something close it. Of course, it all dreams, the stuff we are made on, that cloud my eyes right now; nevertheless, I prefer to marinate myself in the salty-sustaining fluid of reverie and rest awhile in peace away from the demands of the world and its serious un-fictive ways. Building a glass palace may be a mark of weakness and escapism, but fiction always never fails in giving me the opportunity to superintend the building of one in the sprawling green grounds of my mind.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Random Thoughts On a Wednesday Morning

It is a gloomy Wednesday morning in the city of skyscrapers I call my home. The sun is invisible, hidden under extensive sheets of cloud that shapelessly and starkly embroider the firmament. Seeing it now you would not even guess its watchet past, its wooly cloud infested corpus stretched taut over a happy looking green earth.

I have often found myself gloating on the atmosphere and the colors of the day: the greens unleash creative thoughts, the blue vintage memoirs; I find brown sanctimonious and grey difficult to interpret. A cool breeze playing on my face during an evening walk makes me stop and savor the sweetness of those balmy fingertips. As I abstract myself from virtual reality and delve into the indwelling actuality of the world, I feel more real myself. There is no cooked-up happy thought to allay my disturbed senses; when pain comes I must accept it as frequently occurring episode. For days I have been following the news of the great deluge that unleashed havoc in Uttarkhand. Having once visited the shrine myself as a young lady, I feel the mayhem of nature as something too emotionally disturbing  to handle. The sight of the corpses inside the peaceful temple, the sight of death in such close conjunction with impressive natural beauty, surprised me. I still remember how apprehensive I was of climbing the steep terrain that led me to Kedarnath, for the road is unpropitious and even dangerous. I can still see the silvery river snaking at the foot of the hill, the same river otherwise calm that has burst into deathly activity like some dormant volcano coming to life. Maybe nature too has a breaking point; may be it too reaches that stage when the elastic band gives out and there is a tear. The country steeped in corruption and crime, the environment reaped off its milk and rendered scarred and marred by human hands may have caused even the gentle sleeping god to awake and dance his dance of death and destruction. This is a purely romantic view, I know, but not being an atheist or an agnostic, I am prepared to consider all possibilities—logical and illogical.

The video footage flashing on television news channels of two-storied buildings crumbling like a house of cards remind of Dan Brown’s Inferno, a text I just finished reading. The antihero of the piece is bent on relieving the earth of its surplus population. But we don’t approve of such arbitrary excision, such amputation of human life on a massive scale. I wish we could communicate with the supramundane agency and ask it to rear life not unleash death and suffering. 

My readings of Renaissance literature have made me regard, though momentarily, Sir. Thomas More’s Utopia as a thing possible; who knows, I say myself, in some future time may be we can have a perfect country with a benevolent government unheeding to discrimination. But Utopia means nowhere; and discrimination is all we see nowadays—Paula Deen’s racist ideology is a living proof of that. I never believed that Mrs. Deen, whose cooking show I so enjoyed, would turn out to be a racist Southerner. The mask of forced pleasantry being pulled off, I now see her as an ugly white lady devoid of compassion. I always think literature makes you compassionate and in this world where disillusionment is inevitable, literature (fiction) gives us a temporary womb to rest before we are thrown out into the horrible real world, so to speak.

As we dwell this morning in my random thoughts un-clocked by the grey looking sky and these tall buildings with tapering heads reaching for it like the leafless emaciated fingers of branch reaching up in desperation. The daily thousand-word routine being the first thing I tackle every morning, I get to see the myriad emotions of the mind lying bare every day. On some mornings, gaiety is profound, and on certain days all I discern is despondency.

As I vacillate between the extremes, I see the virtual papyrus slowly getting populated with words, one word after another forming a sentence, one sentence after another leading to a paragraph, and so on. And however much incoherent and meaningless the word-structure strikes, I am never induced to erase them. I feel close to these words, a sort of invisible umbilical attachment connects me to them that prevent me from destroying them. In my own little world of words I act like a minor goddess refusing to accept the truth of death and deletion.

Reading my random free-written thoughts one may laugh and doubt my sanity, but I wonder if not sanity is overestimated. Come to think of it, are we all sane? A deconstruction of the term sanity will lead us to a labyrinth of significations none of them correct in totality, and finally, to a den of aimlessness when we must give up our quest altogether. Such heavy thought on a breakfast bereft stomach is painful for me. I must get back to contemplation after the nourishment of the day is partaken. I totally believe in Virginia Woolf’s words that one “cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” The intellectual Woolf must have got this right, she being a great cook herself. I remember reading an article somewhere about Woolf’s cooking and how wielding the skillet made her happy. We all have our little pleasures, those activities that give us incessant happiness and make us forget all that’s wrong and ugly in the world. Call it escapism, but it surely has its merit. For me this little activity of free-writing every morning, gardening and decorating my home form a triad of happy exercises  Reading and cooking are extended arms of this triad that help too.

I look at the clock and see my hour of writing is slowly reaching its finale. The day stretches before me like the desert with things-to-do rippling before my eyes like the illusory vision of an oasis. So, I bid you all adieu and hope you all have a good day! Here is one of my favorite poems for you to enjoy:

Welcome Morning

by Anne Sexton

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,

dies young.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Publication in Mused-- Bella Online Literary Review

Read my latest publication in the esteemed literary journal, Mused Bella Online Literary Review:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A spot of philosophy is something we all hate to digest. It strikes us as medicine fit to be discarded; or, like old, yellowed linen meant to be stuffed in those boxes hidden in cupboards that never see the sun. Nevertheless, self-made philosophical thoughts, those nuggets of pure, unadulterated wisdom that come to you on certain contemplative mornings/nights when the earth with all its noises seems to be far behind, are little gems we all cherish. Tonight is one such contemplative nighttime for me.

Tonight, as I sit in my bed listening to the three-speared ceiling fan make its customary din, I feel relieved. Having switched off all the devices, websites and applications that grab my attention for good (except for the laptop and the virtual papyrus I now use), I concentrate on the real world surrounding me and dedicate my undivided attention to its silent syncopation.

The night outside is still; the house noiseless. I close my eyes and listen to my  breath and smell the curry-infused odor of my home. A little quote I read in the Paris Review has got me thinking once again about home. “Do buildings,” it asks “absorb traces of their inhabitants? Can yesterday’s private joys and pains retire—like stale nicotine—into the walls?”

With the advent of the virtual-world with all its mind-boggling applications and time-passing devices, we hear the rumbling noise of time’s “winged chariot hurrying near” with such swiftness that we can hardly keep pace with its contrapuntal rhythm. Oftentimes, it feels we are walking away from the quintessential joys of old-world life, the kind we experienced as we grew up. Home, as we now see it, has changed its form too: the open-spaced two-storied structures of youth have taken on the form of sky-scraping apartment buildings. Still, despite the transmogrification, we always regard home as a beloved space of comfort and joy.

I look at my own little house: the lemon yellow walls, the antiques I gathered painstakingly, the family heirlooms I restored, the flowers I planted, the furniture I organized, the pictures I hung, and come to the conclusion that this eclectic bunch tells a story— a story about me. My house makes me feel special; it’s my own creative space where freedom of mind reigns supreme.

The house is my ubiquitous friend who knows me well having seen me laugh and fight, fail and achieve, sleep and dream; I have nothing to hide from this beloved space. I don’t have to change for the house; I can change the house if I wish. Nonetheless, behind all the changes, all the alterations, I see myself change as well. If you are sensitive enough you too can experience this brilliant sensation of silently acquiescing to the unsaid wish of a brick-and-mortar structure of being good to it, and everything that surrounds it.

Being an enthusiastic interior decorator, I have experimented with several décor techniques in my home. The crafty little home that bears the fruits of my limitless experimentation is no olla podrida, but my dreamscape surrounded by things I love and cherish. It is those sweet nothings that together give me the peace and comfort I need when the world outside seems too demanding and un-creative. Like a child returning to a beloved grandparent, I return to my house to be mollified.

Sometimes, on lonely afternoons when faint rays of sunshine make their way into my room, I feel that anybody who came to my house will sense a great deal of love in its atmosphere. The thought is usually followed with the trepidation as to what might happen if I have to leave this house and move into another. If such be the case then maybe I will recreate another haven of joy and comfort and move on, so to speak.  But will this house ever forget me and my love for it? Will not the walls hold in its womb the invisible, yet colorful imprints of my palm? May be it will; and maybe someday somebody sensitive enough to imbibe the unforgettable echoes of past will listen to them and contemplate if the houses that build us remember or forget us when we move out of their comforting crevasses.    

Thursday, May 16, 2013

On Translation: a Poem

Of late I have been thinking a lot about the process of translation. And this morning as I deliberated more and more on the topic, this particular poem came to my mind.

On Translation: a poem

It feels like the warmth of May—
the page of roses with their beaming soul,
their thorns being ideas frozen in time,
like barefaced thin rods sticking out of unbaked buildings.
Their sepia-tinted eyes with pupils dilated
stare at me with unbecoming haste,
inviting me with their animated glance
to savor the mirage those frozen ideas create.

I see the wonder-worker work in haste
and tear away the page into defaced strips.
He then gathers the bits on his palm
and lets the east-wind have its way.
                          Away they fly like chirruping birds                                                                                                 
cloistered till now in some rusty cage
of stagnant time, living and feeding
from a painted trough with seeds
for alphabets and letters language bound.

I walk away from his shadowy form and behold
the constellation of dried paper animating
the sky of my local hemisphere.
Their myriad hues, their bewitching charm
weave tenebrous waves on the vault abaft.
And there I stand under this illuminated map
of tessellated paper with foreign letters,
imbibing the Pierian tune of re-creation
now in  my native tongue.

Many of the red petals fall on the grounds,
and some are stamped on by the populace.
But as I walk away, I perceive those same sepia-tinted eyes
half-smiling at me from the  renewed spectral-shape. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blogging from A-Z: Z for Zilch

Z for Zilch
Image from the web

Everything that starts must come to an end, everything that begins shall encounter a finale. We start our journey full with aspirations and desires and then enter the hemisphere of zilch, the ending, the nothingness. Nevertheless, the aftertaste of fatigue and exhaustion of our journey is often accompanied by a feeling of bliss and satisfaction that generally qualifies the ending.

 In the middle of the nil of the null and the void of the virtual world, we have been exploring our creative talents for a period of thirty days. Here, for the last month, we have been posting our daily compositions of a myriad nature thereby proving that even virtual zilch is not devoid of merit and emotion. Our journey together testifies to the fact that despite the strictures of form and aspect we have been taught to attribute to any writing activity of a formal, and even in many cases informal, writing, the proper usages we must remember, the clichés we must never use, we ultimately learn that what matters is the development of one’s own style, one’s own comfort zone within oneself as one writes and nothing else. This is the truth that I gathered from my month long activity of writing from A-Z.

 Over the month, I have read blog posts on fictional characters and books, on herbs and cooking, on philosophy and daily ruminations, and they not only proved to me that all it matters is the task of putting pen to paper or more exactly, typing words and letters in a virtual papyrus, but also that in most cases, all it needs to begin a writing activity is as simple a prompt as a word beginning with one particular letter or the other.  I am at awe with the immense capability of the human mind, the talents it possesses, and its intrinsic philosophy only ready to pour down with a tilt of the beaker that sustains it. One letter, one simple letter led each of us to consider so many things: places, characters in novels, recipes, décor, etc, and still we are not satiated. The jorum still holds more ideas that will bloom in the course of the future life.

I stand under the hallowed portals of nothingness with a mind not empty, but rather full to the brim with happy experiences of writing. I agree I have taken a lot of liberties with the creative challenge of blogging from the first to the last letter of the English alphabetical series, but in the end as I check the posts submitted and posted in my blogger page, I am satisfied. I indeed have written on each and every letter, and in the process have discovered a fresh knack for writing poetry again. The escapades into the past also offered me immense satisfaction and joy as well the suspense of thinking about a word/idea to write daily. 

 I know that even though we are not to type any post tomorrow, that we will have zilch at hand tomorrow concerning this writing challenge, I will find myself happily dwelling on the fulsome experience I gathered from my own writing and from the others’ I read.  In the zilch and negativity of the world, tonight I wish to depart with a happy note of a fulsome tomorrow.