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 d├ęcor 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.