Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Terrain de sport.
Rocky terrain.
Terra firma.

The ground below me, la terre.  I used to feel this intense connection with the earth once upon a time.

I wonder what is left of it now. Maybe I should find out.

(http://www.oneword.com/entry-form/ : Well, I needed a prompt to make me write my "one word". Talk of writer's block! )

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Savitri and Satyavan

The very first time my Appa told me the story of Savitri and Satyavan, I was hooked. How she wanted to marry Satyavan and no one else; how she went all the way to get him back from the clutches of Yama - it was idealistic in every way and the little girl in me believed wholeheartedly in the story. To top it all, there was even a ritual to celebrate her success, a vrat where women prayed for their husbands. I enjoyed the ritual and the 'adais' we typically make on this day, so much so that it is called "Karadaiyan Nombu", the fast of the karadais.

After I got married, I wondered a lot about this ritual and how all the elders around me told me that women have to observe this fast for the long life of their husbands. Those who know me, would agree that I believe a slight twist to anything adds flavour, adds more meaning to all that we choose to do. So I refused to accept their explanation. I started reading Savitri, by Sri Aurobindo. There I met Savitri and Satyavan for who they were : brave and sensitive souls, who were in LOVE with each other.

Love, that's the principal word here. Savitri did not follow Satyavan into the netherworld out of respect or duty, but out of love. She married him fully aware of his mortality and decided to get him from Yama, going where no woman would have dared to go. A fearless woman, who believed in going after what she wanted. I am sure there were may who dissuaded her from trying to win her husband back, but she refused to listen to them. She listened to her heart and it won her everything, including her man.

Aurobindo's Savitri talks of this flame within her, that grows and ultimately engulfs everything around her; Flame, light, wisdom. Those are the words I associate with Savitri. Not pious or pativrata. She was an illumined soul who brought light into her husband's life too. That is true femininity. Not sindhoor or bangles, but the ache within, to seek, to explore, to love.

For the past few years, therefore, my puja on this day includes the lighting of the lamp and reading the Savitri. Each year, I open it at random and I always find something inspiring. Isn't that what prayer is supposed to do? I do not fall at my husband's feet. I do not recite the prayer asking that my husband never leave me. I think of Savitri and the light that guides us all, everyday.
Let my husband leave me, if he likes.
I have the power to bring him back. Savitri teaches  me that.

P.S: Are you curious to know what inspired me from Aurobindo's Savitri this year? Here it goes :

......pure like the breath of an untainted desire
white jasmines haunted the enamoured air
pale mango-blossoms fed the liquid voice
of the love-maddened coil , and the brown bee
muttered in fragrance mid the honey-buds
the sunlight was a great god's golden smile
All Nature was at Beauty's festival.


Here in this solitude far from the world 
Her part she began in the world's joy and strife. 
Here were disclosed to her the mystic courts, 
The lurking doors of beauty and surprise, 
The wings that murmur in the golden house, 
The temple of sweetness and the fiery aisle. 
A stranger on the sorrowful roads of Time, 
Immortal under the yoke of death and fate, 
A sacrificant of the bliss and pain of the spheres, 
Love in the wilderness met Savitri. 

I met her too, in those pages, in those words. 
And my Life has never been the same. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Writers I like..

I do not have a favourite genre of writing but there is a certain kind of writing that I simply adore. It is a style where the writer cites other people or things, for example a band of music or the name of a particular shampoo. I stow away these details somewhere in the recesses of my mind and as soon as I get access to the Internet, I look them up. It is an interesting exercise, with one thing leading to another and at the end of it all, you would have woven a wonderful web of thoughts, ideas, things. It is like a collection, only something more abstract. I have a list of writers who do this and I thoroughly cherish their work. 

One who would top this list is Haruki Murakami. Every book  of his is like the index to a huge encyclopedia. You discover books, music, thoughts, systems : anything and everything basically.
In close pursuit would be Pico Iyer. You have to read him to know the way he spins all those tiny details together. Tiny nuggets of information, little capsules of names and events. 

I also like C.S.Lakshmi (Ambai) for this very reason. Traditions, names of singers, the moods of  raga, the recipe to a 'thuvayal' (a chutney) - she cites them all. Reading then becomes an activity of connection, of identification , of being caught in a flurry of names. It is bliss. Pradeep Sebastien also writes this way, try his book "The Groaning Shelf" for a sample. Somehow, with writing like this, the book does not end with the story, but rather, it lingers on, someplace else, with someone else.  

And to me, that is the hallmark of a good book. 
How far away it can take me, far away from the story in hand. 
For one lifetime is never enough to know it all, nay, to know even a bit.

"I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
Isaac Newton
P.S : As an aside, I had dinner with a handsome guy at Mainland China this evening. And you know what, he talks the way the writers above write.. with one piece of information leading to another...Like Bugs Bunny leading into Karl Marx. 
And you bet I love it! 
Go ahead, indulge your gossipy nature and look at the pics!

So long, until the next post! Good night, doc! 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Where is the indifference?

Warning : This post might offend some of us here. Yet, this is more of a rambling than a reproach. 

All through my childhood, I was told how indifferent and selfish my generation is/was. We do not respect the "elders", we think of ourselves first and we do not bother maintaining relationships. To give myself credit, I believed so too. I always thought the older people around me did not get the respect and love they deserved. Truly, I did. I even volunteered at an old-age home to alleviate the feelings of guilt I felt for my entire generation. 

It has been a decade since. I have been married for quite a few years,I do not want to mention how many for fear of triggering off another impertinent question : " When do you plan to have kids?". Anyway, I digress. Over these years, I am afraid not one uncle or aunt of mine has visited me. My husband's family is worse. He has an aunt who lives practically next-door and she does not even call. We do our bit, maybe not the " best" : We visit family on festivals ; we try to squeeze as much time as we can on short visits to our home towns to meet everyone. I must add that we do not do this out of some sense of duty, but because we really care and want to see 'our' people. I am truly ashamed to say, the only people who really return our favors are friends. Never someone from the family. Just once, we had someone over with their two daughters, and I was over the moon. I might not make the perfect meal or set out a picture perfect guest bedroom, but I enjoy entertaining. I know relatives who drop in and out of Bangalore often, but NEVER visit. Where is this love, that they often speak of? How can I still believe in the old wives' tale (that's what you call incredible stories, isn't it?)That the older generation truly valued family? 

When we put these questions to them, they often reply " Oh, but you are so busy! " 
Perhaps. But when I think of it, if I had to see a favourite niece or nephew, I would do it. Even if they were busy. I always drop in to say a simple hello. that does not take a lot of time, does it? I will not stay the night but I would definitely ask for a cup of tea. I deserve that much, for my love. So, do these people mean to say that I would not extend the simplest courtesy of a glass of water or a cup of coffee, just because I am busy? 

If that is the case, then they'd rather not visit. Thank you very much. 

Friday, 22 February 2013


Yesterday, at around 11 AM, my Internet service slowed down and in a while, it shut down completely. I tried rebooting the modem, restarting my laptop, everything to get back as soon as possible to ' my world' : of likes and tags and general site hopping.
Nada. The connection showed no sign of returning. With a huge sigh, I set down to preparing my lunch. Normally I just toss vegetables and rice together in a pressure pot. But now, it felt like I had all the time. I chopped carrots and cucumber and made a salad. I cooked rice and dal with garlic and coriander. Ummm.. the aroma was appetizing. I added chopped onions and tomatoes. I even fried a few home made crisps. I arranged it nicely on my plate. As I sat down, I remembered a certain episode from a Haruki Murakami story, where the wife cuts Tofu, makes salad and cooks buckwheat noodles. I picked up Dance, dance, dance by Murakami. With every mouthful of the wholesome fare, I tasted the beauty and sparsity of Murakami's words in equal measure. It was blissful, indeed.
I checked my laptop again and voilà, my Internet was up again! The entire episode reminded me of those days back in childhood when a power cut meant long conversations under the moon light, enjoying the evening breeze. Once the power came back, we'd all huddle back inside, to watch TV.
Was I addicted to the TV back then?
And am I a slave to the Internet today?
Something to ponder over.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Cold Feet

Inside the house
it feels lonely;
the dog breathes,
the clock ticks
and your heart?
Frantic typing
on a chat window
only to delete it all
and say, "LOL"
at something random.
If you screamed
would you be heard?
If you cried
would someone hug you?
Right, not right;
Yes, no, yes-yes-no
Pity you never learned
Yes into No equals what
in that noisy sixth grade.
Drift, Lose, Worry;
can you change
what you have hugged close
what you have dreamed of
what you ached after
Just because,

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The gift of Time...

I kept touching my watch all through the day the first time I wore it to school. It was tiny, gold plated with an extremely small dial and even smaller needles. It was the very first watch I owned and I was proud of it, though it was a hand-me-down. 
In high school, I was crazy about square dial watches, they looked so trendy and cool. I experimented with my watch constantly : right hand, dial facing up; left hand dial facing down, and so on. I made up personality profiles based on how a person wore his/her watch-
Right hand : Too masculine (if the wearer was a girl) , or Too conservative (if it was a guy) .
The possibilities were seemingly endless. In college, I wanted a Raaga, the feminine watch. Delicate, with floral patterns and made for a true woman. My watch was my identity. I would be woe-struck if I misplaced my watch somewhere or if I had to wear another one, because the batteries in mine had to be replaced. In short, a watch was my most important accessory. 
I changed with the times, yet, I always felt a watch was an expensive addition to the wardrobe. It was a gift that came to you when you were being responsible. 
When you top that exam with flying colours. 
Or when you get admission into a good university. 
When you cross a milestone in your life, say, you turn twenty-one. 
The gift of Time was a grand occasion and you always had to prove yourself worthy enough to wear it, I felt.  I fiercely protected my watches, never letting them go. 
Yesterday, I bought a watch for someone I know. I went into the store expecting a huge rise in prices. After all, it was a WATCH and inflation is everywhere. Strangely, it was as expensive as the one I bought in 2006. Same styles,similar prices. Then it struck me. Time is everywhere. On our computers, on our mobile phones, in our mp3 players,in our cars and buses, you name it. It is no longer precious, made ordinary by banal display. Then I thought some more and wondered : is that why we are always short of Time today? Because it is no longer a gift, but a pervasive non-entity? Is this what happens when you get something you do not deserve? Where you spend the rest of your life caught in its clutches, trying to 'control/manage/allocate' it? 
Perhaps that is why Time always has the last laugh.