The Waiting…

4 06 2008

Anticipation.. How tantalizing that anguish it is!

Counting seconds as you await the hues in the sky to bend into your will, praying in lame desperation for hours to vanish without cognition, warding the quiet despair that’s creeping into your soul with a naive faith in heart and a wry grin. Time seems to be churning its longest hour and waiting seems like the hardest part of life.

The sun has slipped his tether
And galloped down the west.
(Oh, it’s weary, weary waiting, love.)
The little bird is sleeping
In the softness of its nest.
Night follows day, day follows dawn,
And so the time has come and gone:
And it’s weary, weary waiting, love.

The cruel wind is rising
With a whistle and a wail.
(And it’s weary, weary waiting, love.)
My eyes are seaward straining
For the coming of a sail;
But void the sea, and void the beach
Far and beyond where gaze can reach!
And it’s weary, weary waiting, love.

– Paul Laurence Dunbar

Sometimes I do wonder why is that the longing or the waiting for something so intense a feeling than the fulfillment of the desire? Why do those yearnings for somethings and anticipation of many nothings ache so much in heart even when the conscious mind does acknowledge that the fulfillment may not lead to consummate happiness? Why is it that the sweet throb of anticipation never matches the satisfaction of the accomplishment?

Life seems to be on swirl, caught in run amidst the seeping sand in the hourglass.





Water Lilies – My First Experience of Theatre

1 06 2008

Many a times, our life is filled with chance encounters with engaging strangers who leave lasting impressions or thought provoking reflections as they touch our lives in accident. Ever wondered what binds those conversations together? What compels us to connect to those strangers from diverse backgrounds and worlds and what propels us to spill our deep experiences of life which we seldom share with those with whom we spend our life with?

The play ‘Water Lilies’ is filled with a set of random sparkling conversations between people from diverse backgrounds who meet in random at public places.. Staged as a trilogy of three short plays: Fawn Lilies, Water Lilies and Black Lilies, this play explores the strange tranquility that envelops us as we strike kinship with the world around us. In these short plays, a man and a woman from diverse backgrounds and radically different outlook that springs from their distinct racial origins share their world of experiences and differences only to discover a strange affinity through common values, leaving each other with a fresh set of perspectives and a new meaning behind things. What enriching reflection can happen over a harmless conversation in thirty minutes with an absolute stranger from the other part of the world? One has to watch this play to believe it.

Fawn Lilies: Set in a Park in Columbus, Ohio, a bird-watching dietitian from Vijayawada, whose boyfriend decides to give up love for war, meets a gay vagabond with a cynical feel for causes. The characterization of the female protagonist ‘Sunandha Ragunathan’ do sound like a bundle of contradictions for coming from the same place, it was a little hard for me to imagine “a bird-watching dietitian from Vijayawada”, sprouting a tattoo on her forearm and a dainty umbrella for accessory. Yet, what makes the play beautiful was the lilting quality of the conversations that shimmer with a soulful introspection. The gay wanderer shares his experiences of being a part of tree sitting movement while pondering on his vagabond nature. Trying to cope with the loss of her boy friend and childhood sweetheart, she finds comfort in taking up her boyfriend’s passion for birds, trying to hold on to those lost memories. As they spill these little details of their life and collect those life long reflections in an enticing conversation, the play ends with a poem called ‘Fawn-Lilies’ by Ashton Smith that celebrates a sense of positivity in the bloom of fawn lilies that sprang from a swamp.

Fawn-Lilies By Clark Ashton Smith

White lilies frail and cold,
With hearts of elfin gold;
Briefer than all brief things your hidden bloom,
Beneath the sombre grove –
Mournful, and dear, and fair as hapless love,
Foreknowing all the nearness of its doom.

White lilies cool and shy,
Delicously ye die,
Before the vesper dews of any morrow!
But now, on windless air,
Your perfume lies, fresh as a woman’s hair,
And faint as myrrh the dreams of noon would borrow.

White lilies cold and wan
As hands of swooming love –
As the fair throat whereon
My kisses clomb, to find her mouth’s lit flame! –
Ye die, and cannot say
Who passed beneath the April pines today;
And you alone have heard our hidden love,
And known her flow’r-soft name.

Water Lilies: Dismissing Claude Monet as a painter of pretty flowers, a Texan investment banker becomes curious about a Srilankan woman’s passion for Monet’s lilyscapes at Monet Exhibition, Houston Museum. When V.Balakrishnan as a Texan Banker subtly mocks Monnet’s landscapes, Swarnamalya as a sari-clad Srilankan woman etches a perfect picture of serene beauty and magnificent dignity, as she passionately highlights the subtle nuances of Monnet’s paintings that elevate art beyond colors and reach out to the vision of the painter. The play ends with the Banker musing on the last words of the poem by Ted Hughes, that highlights the serene tranquility of the water lilies despite of the horrors that surround their roots.

To Paint A Lily Flower By Ted Hughes

Ignorant of age as of hour—
Now paint the long-necked lily-flower

Which, deep in both worlds, can be still
As a painting, trembling hardly at all

Though the dragonfly alight,
Whatever horror nudge her root

Black Lilies: Set in Washington Dulles Airport, two days after the 9/11 tragedy, a young school teacher from Tamil Nadu, on her first foreign trip, strikes a conversation with a Serbo-Hungarian novelist, who is on his way to meet his German translator in Frankfurt. Partly amused and partly irritated by her diffidence and irrational fear about everything from thunder to travel, the novelist shares a piece of his dark stories, only to discover faith and belief in her shy and affirmative convictions. Dhritiman Chaterji embodies the nobel award novelist with beautifully packed wit, passion, and poignant reflection in fluid and carefree ease. He makes you think, laugh and ache as he recites his story and comments on her beliefs. Parteeksha, as the Tamil school teacher matches the novelist with her shy and confident delivery of her convictions and opinions which contrast sharply with the novelist’s ideology. As they share their world of differences, they collectively discover hope, joy, light and happiness that leads the discussion from darkness to light.

Gowri Ramnarayan creates magical moments of introspection by her careful choice of words and her eminent direction. She should be credited for judiciously blending poetry, verse and paintings to enhance the swaying moods of the conversations. Anil Srinivasan with his mellifluous piano performance blends wonderfully into the play, linking the stories and ephemeral thoughts together with his transient and haunting music. His dulcet tunes match the poignant thought process that runs behind those conversations and subtly elevate the moods of the protagonists.

I marveled at the competence of the cast that enlivened the theatre and made those moments eternal in my memories. The play did leave me with moments of nostalgia of all those soulful chance encounters I had with engaging people, some who stayed on to be friends for life, while some dropped in to offer life long reflections in those fleeting moments.





The Fires Within..

18 05 2008

When Was The Last Time That I Did Something For the First Time?

I attended a dance performance by Natyalakshana, called ‘The Fires Within’ which was sponsored by Bosch Cultural Events at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall this Friday. For those who were wondering about my new found interest in traditional art forms, I have to ascribe due credit to those unconventional inspirations that result from boredom.

And how glad I was that my whim took me there. How I thanked my friends for their exotic and audacious suggestion to take me there! The show was a beautiful symphony of music, dance and art, where flying feet gave voice to age old legends. The legendary poems represented are selected verses from Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’, Bharathiyar’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and a few selection of Mirza Ghalib’s poetry in Kathak. I loved the ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Ghalib’s poetry representation, where I felt that the dancers delivered a magnificent justice to the poems.

Shama and Sanjay’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Hari and Chandana’s ‘Mirza Ghalib piece’ had a delicate balance of perfection and expression and they held me in rapture through out. The dance drama that followed, called Tagore’s ‘Tasher Desh’ was a little bit disappointing, but the blame rests with my expectations which reached the sky by the end of the first two performances. If I have to define the experience, words would surely fail me as I am running short of superlatives. I could never realize that poetry could be so brilliantly enticing and soul wrenching. I was swaying in a world, so out of myself and the feeling is liberating. I believe that the credit of those beautiful moments goes to those on back stage as well. A special mention for Usha Venkateshwaran, the director of Natyalakshana who choreographed and produced the dances. Simone for the wonderful sway of lights and Sri Gurumurthy and Ustad Faizal Khan for their mellifluous music.

This event did make me reflect on my opinions towards conventional art forms. For to achieve perfection in blending, a music so divine, a dance that lent life to poetry and expressions that tugged heart, it must either have been Divine’s grace or years’ practice. It did teach me a thing or two about the immense beauty that’s submerged in Indian tradition and art. Like a welcome summer rain, my heart kissed the joy and danced along enticed in the magical world of dance, music and poetry. A worthy life long memory that’s for me for keeps.

Here are the translations in English for the Ghalib’s poetry that’s recited in the Event.

“O God Thy blessings on the soul
Whose name just came to my lips.
And as I willed that it be sung,
My speech rained kisses on my tongue.

These images drawn by Thee to make
Thine grand image, this world
Stand there like supplicants bowed in prayer:
Their burden they can’t bear.

The Fire in me, it rages high,
Though I be bound in chains.
The chain rings bounce,for they are light
Like hair all curled by flame

No simile matches her playfulness
And her quick-silver, passionate ways,
For, lighting lacks, by far, her play
And her temper is hotter than a blaze.

It is the nature of love, no doubt:
A kind of freak fire, which
You cannot start just when you wish,
Nor can you put it out.

A fire is raging in my heart
On this lonely night
My own shadow doth run from me
A smoke from fire takes flight.

It is ages since my beloved’s feet
Did cross this poor threshold.
So let her, with her twinkling cups,
Light up my dark abode.

My bustling crowd of desires
Each took my breath away!
Though I could quench many, many of them,
Yet millions remain un-slaked.





Dream Merchant Strikes..

15 10 2007

Though a piece of fiction, this is a beautiful composition so I thought I would share it. I fell in love with it when I read it over a mail. I am not sure of the author to acknowledge (as I guess both these poems are written by different people and are connected by someone), yet kudos to him as he laces words beautifully to create a fairytale. Now don’t you dare wonder whats with me and horse riding metal guys! I just happen to like that idea! 🙂

****************

She dreams of her knight and longs for companionship. As her thought shapes into an expression, the words sway like this.

“In this world full of hurt and pain,
I need someone who would help me through the rain.
To comfort me when Im sad,
Doing everything just to make me glad.

In this world I need a Brave Knight,
Who would never give up any fight.
A knight who would dry away my tears,
Telling me to overcome my fears.

A knight who loves me for who I am inside,
With him there’s nothing more I need to hide.
A person who will still be standing strong,
Even though everything has gone wrong.

I need someone who is willing to give me more,
Someone I can call my Knight In Shining Armor”

And the Knight muses on and fills all his love to pen his promises which flow this way..

“Love is a many splendored thing, they say,
And I believed it when you looked my way,
Out of the blue, things seemed to happen
By chance or destiny, is the question.

Living my life so long, without knowing your existence,
Then came a day we felt each others presence,
Guess what’s meant to be will always find a way,
Love creeps into hearts and decides to stay.

A love so exquisite, yet so intricate,
In a world of only “you and I”
A love we can’t even demonstrate,
A secret we have to keep for life.

I love you, honey, and it’s from the bottom of my heart,
I would wait for the day when you say “I Love you” back,
You make me fly without wings,
You make my heart wants to sing.

Every moment I spent with you,
Is every one of my dreams coming true,
More than words, I want to show you how I feel,
Someday, some place, sometime, I will.

Love is a journey for two,
Step by step, me and you,
The future we can’t see,
Let love lead the way for you and me.”

Their dreams connected and as the fate choose to unite them under the blessings of heaven. And then they lived happily ever after.

*****************************************

Note: Now you may wonder why its titled Dream Merchant? The story rings so good and runs like a dream, yet I want to be connected with the reality that not all verses are true and not all stories end up with happy endings. There are times when life plays the dream merchant, be braced for that. There is a thin line between truth and fantasy. How much ever we wish we want our wildest dream to be true, life will have different plans.. The best way to brave it is to greet the situation with a big smile and savor moment by moment with no expectations. Tough call indeed! I wish u all the best!





Frozen Dreams!

26 04 2007

Kudos to Paul Laurence Dunbar, for he says

“What dreams we have and how they fly
Like rosy clouds across the sky;
Of wealth, of fame, of sure success,
Of love that comes to cheer and bless;
And how they whither, how they fade,
The waning wealth, the jilting jade —
The fame that for a moment gleams,
Then flies forever, — dreams, ah — dreams!”

Life for some is living a dream, and for some, its outliving them! There is always a time, a space when I am my idealistic best and strive for what I dream.

Yet, alas.. I wake up to greet every rising sun with a realistic gleam expecting a predictable rhythm.. Masquerading as a practical, rational entity!

I only have to look in myself to find those frozen dreams inside.. Hanging suspended in the isolated vacuum of my demented mind.. Yet, I hold fast to the dreams, for life is a barren desert if not for them!

One changes with time and dreams change too. As I grow with life’s experiences, my definitions change. Reflecting upon, I realize a new tone of tolerance in life, and a fresh perspective to things. And I retire to every dusk for a new set of dreams..





A Poem with a Soul!

29 01 2005

Just read about Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning’s love story and got to understand the meaning and sense in this poem.. I read it aloud and felt the experience of love! Really its a poem with a Soul..

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

By Elizabeth Barret Browning





Sonnets from the Portuguese

16 12 2004

Elizabeth Barret Browning is my goddess of romantic poetry. Why do I love her Sonnets from the Portuguese? Its because she gives me hope and puts a twinkle back in my eye! 😉 Her poetry is for keeps and I treasure most of those 42 sonnets by my bedside.

Why this poem moves me? Why it touches my heart like a gentle breeze? Why I feel moved by the intensity of these emotions? Never could answer that. I hope you will enjoy this the way I did…

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
‘I love her for her smile–her look–her way
Of speaking gently,–for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,–and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love, thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning