Something Amiss..

13 07 2008

As a sheer wave of nostalgia hits me in this sunny Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but muse on all those lovely moments of my life.. Yes, Indeed I miss

  • Those Hasty Bicycle rides to School
  • Climbing Guava and Mango trees in search of sweet temptations
  • Those Hide and Seek Games that filled lazy afternoons
  • Summer Time.. Umm.. Mango eating competitions in the village backyards.. Yummy!
  • Hosting Bicycle Championships around the village roads
  • Inventing creative reasons for missing classes
  • Those innocent dreams of Ramayan, Snakes and Shaktiman
  • Those days of ‘Chitrahaar’ and ”Doordarshan’ sans remote control
  • Bending rules with childhood pals, my partners in crime
  • Those summer rains and the lighthearted frolic on the terrace
  • The sheer joy of growing up, and the academic rigmarole

Umm.. How I long for a little drizzle of joy or a time machine… Suddenly this whole business of playing the adult isn’t that appealing any more.





the CATCHER in the RYE

24 05 2008

“You know that song. ‘If a body catch a body coming’ through the rye? I’d like —“

“It’s ‘If a body meet a body coming through the rye!” old Phoebe said. “It’s a poem. By Robert Burns.”

“I know it is a poem by Robert Burns.”

“She was right though. It is “If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” I didn’t know it then, though.

“I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body,'” I said. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.”

I was in half love with this ‘Holden Caulfield’ by the time I am through. I really am. For his age of Sixteen, I didn’t know anyone who is more clear thinking and muddle headed than he was. A bundle of teenage rebellion, that he indeed was, with little regard to play by the rules. He has these itsy bitsy darn complaints about the phoniness in the world that makes you dig into the childhood memories and offer a sigh at those days of carefree innocence. The disconnect that he feels from the world, the perils of growing up, the burden of responsibilities, the alienation from the society, the loss of his brother Allie, his pursuit for independent identity, and his naive frustrations – didn’t we all go through some of them in our adolescence?

Just like the Lagoon in Central Park which is “partly frozen and partly not frozen”, Holden comes across as an embodiment of teenager who is caught between the dilemma of growing up to a responsible adulthood from carefree mirth of childhood innocence. Holden narrates his two days of his life after getting an ax from Pencey Prep School for his poor academic performance. We share the deeply private fantasy world of Holden, through his candid confessions which fill the book and occupy your mindspace. Often endearing and often shallow, refreshingly, Holden remains the same simple ‘heart on my sleeve’ kid even as he ends his narration by celebrating Phoebe’s cheerful mood on a park ride. What is unique about this novel apart from Holden’s red hunting hat, is the flow of Holden’s experiences in first person which run as a simple commentary on life. Cynical, bitter, nostalgic and intimately introspective, one can’t help but appreciate the colorful innocent world that Holden inhabits.

Some Voice of Reason that Holden encounters in the novel:

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them – if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”





Some Story Telling Session…

25 03 2008

This moment is filled with sheer nostalgia. A chip off the memories at the IMDR personality development classes.. I do wonder at times about the things that haven’t changed, looking back at those days when we did that four princes story telling session and impersonated one of the prince’s exile story with utter glee. What I loved was the beginning of the story, the entire group gathering and the joy of offering the non-material gifts.

That was some day when that sane wise man started his session like this: “Once upon a time, long long ago, just about yesterday, far far away from here, just around the corner was a kingdom a kingdom not too large, not too small and like all kingdoms its boundaries extended to East, West, North and South to the extent of the known world…” And then we went through a racy ride over a kingdom blessed with four princes, each with his own unique skills and two unique gifts from his fairy grand mother, all set to reign the world.

The two gifts for each prince were intriguing too. While one gift fetched success in public, the other gift acted as a mirror in the closed quarters. First Prince got the Book of Knowledge and an Ever Smiling Doll, the Second Prince was gifted the Magic Sword and the Roaring Mouse, while the third prince is left with the Magic Box of Potions and the tear bag and the Fourth Prince had the Magic Cap and the Magic Wand. Faced with a challenge to live a two year exile period out of the comfort zone of his kingdom, each prince marches in the designated direction at a certain age to make his life. There the story was left open and the participants made their own journey impersonating the prince of their choice.

Little did I know at that time that my instinctive choices haven’t changed even after three long years. I am still that rolling stone, the prince of laughter, gifted with magic cap and magic wand.. What felt like fun sounded frivolous at times, yet I guess the beauty of that experience lies in its inherent contradictions. It engaged our creativity while making us introspect and reflect on our choices. It held our interest and spread a lot of cheer while making us ponder over the deeper implications. We all need mirrors at times, to see how we have evolved and how we have changed over the sands of time.





Maha Shiva Ratri..

6 03 2008

To Day is The Night of Lord Shiva.. It feels so special and divine as my mind drifts to those devotional days of childhood times where this ritual is celebrated wholeheartedly in my hometown.

A trip down the memory lane reminds me of those days of Diligent fasting the whole day and night, Melodious and Soulful prayers like Chadrashekhara Astakam, Shiva Panchakshara Strotram, Linga Astakam, Scrambling for various fruits, Decorating the idols with various kinds of flowers for symbolic ritual of Shiva’s marriage to Parvati late in the night, Passing the entire night resisting sleep, playing with pals or watching the good old black and white Lord Shiva movies like Bhakta Kanappa, Markandeya and so on, marching to River Krishna or Godavari and taking a dip early at the crack of dawn, soaking in the fuss of all the elders and inventing our own form of mischief.. Those are the days of fun, play and prayer as they paint my memory with nostalgia and warmth.

I am planning today to take the fast, visit Lord Shiva’s temple and complete it by recollecting all those fond memories of this ritual. For all those agnostics, devotees, cynics and confirmed atheists, I have nothing to say, as belief is a very personal concept. God for me is as much true as the faith that I keep on him or her. Yet, a little reflection makes me dwell on how my feelings towards rituals have evolved over all these years. My awareness, understanding, and the actions towards the rituals take a new definition every year and they reinvent themselves both qualitatively and quantitatively. And that makes me reiterate my inner belief that only experience matters in the end.





Its Yesterday Once Again..

2 03 2008

I had a really rocking weekend. Yes, the emphasis has to be there, as its been ages since I sampled those happy moments of yesterday again. Thanks to that quirky mind of mine, which made a spur of moment decision to treat itself out of cold with loads of love medicine of Grand Parents. This little last minute trip to my granny’s place has really made me alive and probably this forced intimacy is what I needed to shake me out of the cloistered work environment. I really can’t tell you how much of a shift I experience, especially coming from the corporate metro world where every minute can be accounted for to my Granny’s place, where clock holds no meaning and day light pretty much dictates how the day passes by.

Waking by to the chirping of birds, climbing walls to collect those hiding jasmines, out running little kiddos during lazy evenings, collecting veggies from the kitchen garden for lunch, helping granny in little chores, collecting firewood for the heating water, fashioning myriad flowers for God’s garlands, the poking fun on those legendary TV serials which occupy those dusk hours, wrestling with little sis over the primitive fire place, sharing the starlit blue sky for the blanket at the night.. Life suddenly feels as if its yesterday once again and life is not so much complicated after all. Every corner that I walked to, I would find a rose, jasmine, lemon, goose berry or mango and I can feel a mild fragrance enveloping my senses. That’s when I succumb to those feelings of contentment and joy.





Blind Men And The Elephant..

9 02 2008

This is a story from my Granny’s collections. One of those fond memories of childhood and yet such a lifetime lesson to practice. A little googling helped me locate this story and saved me from recreating its fondness from memory. For the trading with memories involves dealing with interpretations and perceptions which may not let you remain true to the original. 🙂

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Once upon a time there were six blind men. They lived in a town in India. They thought they were very clever. One day an elephant came into the town. The blind men did not know what an elephant looked like but they could smell it and they could hear it. ‘What is this animal like?’ they said. Each man touched a different part of the elephant.

The first man touched the elephant’s body. It felt hard, big and wide. ‘An elephant is like a wall’ he said. The second man touched one of the elephant’s tusks. It felt smooth and hard and sharp. ‘An elephant is like a spear’ he said.

The third man touched the elephant’s trunk. It felt long and thin and wiggly. ‘An elephant is like a snake’ he said. The fourth man touched on of the legs. It felt thick and rough and hard and round. ‘An elephant is like a tree’ he said.

The fifth man touched one of the elephant’s ears. It felt thin and it moved. ‘An elephant is like a fan’ he said.

The sixth man touched the elephant’s tail. It felt long and thin and strong. ‘An elephant is like a rope’ he said.

The men argued. It’s like a wall! No, it isn’t! It’s like a spear! No it isn’t! It’s like a snake! They did not agree. The king had been watching and listening to the men. ‘You are not very clever. You only touched part of the elephant. You did not feel the whole animal. An elephant is not like a wall or a spear or a snake, or a tree or a fan of a rope’.

The men left the town still arguing. A little girl heard them and said ‘Each of you is right but you are all wrong … but I know what you are talking about.’

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A nice illustration of this story in poem is available here. This story leaves me with a lingering echo that sounds like this.
“O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing”

Well, thats the thought that stayed with me since carefree days.





Bookworm Glows..

6 10 2007

I am tired and weary after a lot of binge shopping! Yet, I cant resist singing in my heart ala Arnold Lobel style..

“Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky.
My pile of books are a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them. ”

So now you know where the Saturday shopping bug has taken me! 🙂

I was wandering around the M.G. Road in Bangalore and was pulled to a shop by name Bookworm and ended up picking a pile of books. After spending around two hours I realized how much I missed my collection of books after coming to Bangalore..

Now I am richer with

Konrad Z Lorenz’s ‘King Solomon’s Ring’,
Ambrose Bierce’s ‘The Devil’s Dictionary’,
Nathaniel Hawthrone’s ‘Young Goodman Brown and Other Stories’,
Colleen McCullough’s ‘Fortune’s Favorites’,
Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why A Caged Bird Sings’,
Colleen McCullough’s ‘The Ladies Of Missalonghi’,
Charles & Mary Lamb’s ‘Tales From Shakespere’,
Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’,
Poems Of Stevens Wallace,
Stephani Cook’s ‘Second Life’,
Geoffery Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’,
Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis and Other Writings’.

I am stuffed with books for the next three months I guess!

The celebration of this bookworm is on!