Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Octopus Hands… Keep Away

Note: Any Gentlemen who have not indulged in the below activities are obviously exempt.

Men, I do not understand and hence would like you to explain what pleasure you could possibly glean from pawing, poking, nudging and otherwise pushing yourself on unsuspecting, strange, definitely uninterested girls and women you meet on the roads, theaters, malls and most importantly public transport.

Surely you must know we hate it and you? Just as I surely know you couldn’t care less.
I thought it only right to let you know, if you are under any misapprehension, we DO NOT enjoy what you are doing.

When I was walking down the road and three of your ilk, walked right into me and I could not move away as they were blocking my path, I did not find it funny or enjoy it. I did not understand what made them give hi-fis and laugh hysterically. I was just disgusted.

When I was travelling in a share-auto and another of your ilk sitting right next to me, folded his arms I did not suspect him of any wrong doing. Until he used his folded hands to paw and poke at me.

How is it that gravity works against you when there is a gal sitting next to you? When the Share auto turned and everyone was tilting to one side, how is it that you tilt in the opposite side, where there was a girl sitting? Surely you could see the girl was trying her best to get out of your range? Surely you could see she was irritated and disgusted with you, atleast when she told you to move away in that freezing tone?
When the girl got out of the auto, just to get away from you, did you not understand it was not a bid to make you follow her? Did you really require another person to literally pound the idea into you?

If you cannot explain, then at least keep away. We just want to move around in peace and not wish you had been born in Middle east where your hands and other parts of anatomy would be severed for what you are doing

To Die For

Have you ever thought about how and when you would like to die? After all it is the ultimate goal of every living being. Something we are all inevitably pushed towards. I have been hearing about a lot of deaths and seeing a lot of sick people and this has been a topic that has been running around in my head for sometime now.

As a drunk Prakash Raj pontificating about the goodness of vellai poondu (white garlic) in the movie Mozhi, says (about his grandfather and I paraphrase) Kulichitu vandharu, thunda otharinaru, oru thumal potaru, poitaru ( Came out of his bath, flicked his towel, sneezed once and died)

No Pain, a simple death, preferably while asleep. That is what I would like. And according to our religion only the most lucky/pious get this kind of death.

Do you know there is a sloka (that I am yet to learn) on saying which one’s death will be very peaceful and painless. My g’pa was said to have said it everyday. And do you know what? He did die in his sleep. Needless to say, my people obviously believe that sloka works well.

Is it not equally important to know when one dies?
Personally, I don’t want to live a long life, just a healthy one. I think one of the most miserable way of living is, when one is unable to take care of their basic needs and is dependent on others for it. It’s a misery for oneself and for the person taking care of one. The day I become too sick or debilitated to be able to take care of myself ever, is the day I would like to die. Age no bar.


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Slave's Dream - H W Longfellow

I was able to dig out the other poem I was talking in my last post after all. I read this poem in someone's school book and since then its beauty has stuck to my mind and refused to let go.

Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
His sickle in his hand;
His breast was bare, his matted hair
Was buried in the sand.
Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,
He saw his Native Land.

Wide through the landscape of his dreams
The lordly Niger flowed;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain
Once more a king he strode;
And heard the tinkling caravans
Descend the mountain-road.

He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
Among her children stand;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
They held him by the hand!--
A tear burst from the sleeper's lids
And fell into the sand.

And then at furious speed he rode
Along the Niger's bank;
His bridle-reins were golden chains,
And, with a martial clank,
At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel
Smiting his stallion's flank.

Before him, like a blood-red flag,
The bright flamingoes flew;
From morn till night he followed their flight,
O'er plains where the tamarind grew,
Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,
And the ocean rose to view.

At night he heard the lion roar,
And the hyena scream,
And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
Beside some hidden stream;
And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
Through the triumph of his dream.

The forests, with their myriad tongues,
Shouted of liberty;
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
With a voice so wild and free,
That he started in his sleep and smiled
At their tempestuous glee.

He did not feel the driver's whip,
Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
And his lifeless body lay
A worn-out fetter, that the soul
Had broken and thrown away!

My heart leaps up

MY heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety
- William Wordsworth
The beauty of poems according to me is that, while the poet might have meant anything while writing it, but its the meaning that the reader puts to it, that is most apt to it. Like a painting it can talk to different people differently.  In fact, I have read atleast two different perceptions of  the above immortal lines by William Wordsworth. One says that the child represents Jesus, who was considered the father of Man and the other says it means what we are when young gives shape and, in a sense, gives birth to what we are when grown.
I once read a beautiful poem about the dream of an african slave. Unfortunately though, while the essence stayed with me, I forget the lines or even the poet. I shall post it if I can get my hands on it again.
Meanwhile I shall leave you with the below poem by David Diop.  I love the last stanza for its simple dignity and pride

Africa my Africa

Africa my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
The slavery of your children.
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this your back that is unbent
This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying no to the whip under the midday sun.
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.


A state of mind than a physical situation, that is either dreadful or Joyful

There was a time when I had to spend a weekend alone in my apartment. I was new to the place and having never been alone before, was frightened and bored out of my wits. I did not step out of my studio for almost 24 hours and became so claustrophobic I was climbing walls. The loneliness was killing me.

A few months later, my two room mates went out for a weekend and I had the whole apartment to myself. What bliss!!!! I had movies to see, books to read, friends to chat, dreams to dream, fantasies to weave and always places to go, if I wanted to. But I was home alone and loved every minute of it.

The two situations were essentially the same, but what different reactions.

A school friend once told me that she used to talk to her bedroom walls when she was feeling lonely. She was an only child to yuppy parents.

Have you ever felt the bite of loneliness? A feeling you are alone ... even in a crowd, even amongst friends, parents or relatives. Not being sure that if you share with your best friend will they empathize or say some callous statement and brush you off. Not being sure if you want to even share with anyone at all. Wondering if someone would understand what you are feeling . Would screaming help? Feel like you are in a bubble and see no way of breaking out? Feel like everyone is passing you by but no one is able to see you?

On the flip side, Have you felt the beauty of solitude? A time just for you. Someplace/time no one else can impinge on. Where you can fill your lungs with fresh air along with the beauty of life. Listening to music, thinking deep thoughts , reminiscing happy memories , reading, writing or just plain lounging.
I just love the clear night sky, when I have the lights all switched off and just have to tilt my head to see, out of the window, the moon waiting to wish me good night.

मै और मेरी तन्हाई अक्सर ये बातें करते ... मै और मेरी तन्हाई

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Problem with NO

My problem with no is that I have a problem saying no. I am like the Chinese language, which I am told does not have any word equivalent for NO.

I get this really guilty feeling if I am even thinking of saying no. It causes me no end of trouble with friends and relatives, but think of what I get into when it comes to work.

However busy I am, I cannot say no when someone comes to me for help. I might qualify it by saying I shall do it later, but I almost always end up doing quite a bit of their work.
And I do get surprised and yes!.. shocked, even insulted when I am told no.

When I asked a colleague to help out another, he said NO, and I was shocked and insulted. The colleague snapped at me saying that he had a right to say no. Logically I know that to be true, but in his place, I might have said sorry, I am busy or Sorry, I don’t know or most probably helped the person out. Even in the few cases I say no, I always qualify it with a reason or an alternative, but I can never just say NO

Sigh! I must gird myself to say the dreaded word and not feel anything but relief

Friday, August 13, 2010

It was Friday and I was planning all the goodies for the evening and weekend, when I get a message asking me to check my mail. I have a meeting until 7.30 in the evening and I have also been given some .. ok, loads of extra work. There went my good mood. Cursing and grumbling under my breath I get ready for work and come out of home and BAM. I literally walk out into this wall of Heat. High humidity and higher temperature. *Phew*

Miserable all around I sit in the share auto squeezed next to other equally miserable folks heading to their offices when I see this woman sitting on the platform. She has a baby, of perhaps a few months, lying on a rag next to her and she is gesticulating to someone.

Curious I peak out of the window and I see a little girl and a little boy with tin cans in their arms begging. The woman was directing the kids. The little girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old was clearly frightened to get down from the safety of the platform and get down amidst the huge vehicles waiting for the signal to fall. But at the screams from the woman, I could see her literally gritting her teeth in determination and getting down to walk in between the vehicles.

My auto-wallah meanwhile had started to scream at the woman, and he was being ignored by her and her kids as so much back ground noise.

A movement by my side caught my attention and I turned. It was the woman's 4th kid. A toddler , who had not yet mastered walking. She was trying hard to maintain her balance but was imitating her brother and sister perfectly. The child had not even learnt to walk yet but she had learnt to beg and to whine in that pathetic way of beggars.

I have never claimed to be a bleeding heart nor am I a very socio-aware person and I have surely seen kids beg before, so why did these children affect me so profoundly. I am not sure.

But I still had this weird cauldron of emotions bubbling inside me. Helplessness for not being able to do anything, gratitude, for but for a chance of birth, it could have been me on the other side seeing in, Anger and a lot more.

It’s really a frightening world out there. :-(


Monday, August 09, 2010

On Movies, Books and Blahs

Alright! Its 10.30 AM and I am at office, wondering what next. I have been in here for all of 10 minutes and already bored. Its especially painful, since I am generally loaded to my gills and this sudden let down is making me crazy. I have books and movies and so many interesting things beckoning at home, but I had to come to office, which is ever so sad.

This weekend was pretty eventful, guess that explains the extreme case of blues and blahs I am having now.

I got my hands on a copy of the “Palace of Illusions” AT LAST. I have been searching for that book for sometime now and found a copy in my library on Saturday. I kept seeing similarities between Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood and this book. Maybe just coz both showed off the women as having some substance rather than these vague somewhat insubstantial figures or maybe its all in the perspective. But I loved the way Devakaruni has written the book and have decided to get one of my own.

Saw 3 Idiots again and liked it better this time. Why did I not like it the first time I saw it on theatre? I don’t really remember. I think it had something to do with Airbrushing Aamir to look half his age and the All Iz well mantra. (God!!! Did u hear, Vijay is going to act in the role of Aamir in the Tamil Version of this movie. Gah!!!).
Saw “I hate luv story” and I can totally understand why Imran hates them if love stories are made the way this one was. :-(

How could I forget to mention Madaraspatinam. Wow!!! Arya rocked and he has built a great bod for the movie and it was a pleasure to watch . Oh! And the movie was great too. Hehehe. Pretty clean stuff with a cute heroine doing a good job, especially considering that it’s her first movie. The gang sitting behind us who were re-enacting their college days added to the fun (some!). Despite my friends’ feelings that the story had lots of dangling thread, I enjoyed the movie. (I don’t really give any importance to stuff like that as long as I like the movie). It started slow, and the first song was ghastly, but the movie was definitely worth a watch.For those who are yet to watch it, its Titanic and Lagaan meet at Chennai Central

I saw Thillalangadi too.. A complete waste of one hour!
Oh! And trailers of Enthiran. Everytime I see Rajini, I am totally awed by the power of cosmetics and plastic surgery. Talk about Dr Jekyll and Mr.Hyde.

I have “The Myth” with me. In Chinese. Without subtitles. Its very difficult to see a Chinese movie in Chinese, trust me!!!

Hmm! It sure looks like I have been seeing a lot of movies Huh?! You ain’t seen nothin yet buddy!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Random thoughts!

=> I was planning to write only about Amar Prem but got too many things in mind. Borrowed the DVD from a buddy and was watching it en famille and silently tearing up. My mom staring at me now n then like I had grown a second head. What music!!! Sigh! you just don’t get music like that any more. Wow!!! and SD Burman's voice. Love it!! Its such a feel good movie.. Pushpaaaa! I haaate tears. (And PSR, I am still in shock about your views on this classic!!!)
=> Well then, I come to office to find that my work has already been completed by a great guy at onsite, leaving me free. Woweee!!! Until I see another mail asking the whole lot of us to stay back for a meeting with the client's head honcho LATE in the EVENING!!! NOT FAIR!!! I am borrreeedddddd, stuck at office, with nothing to do. *SULK*

=> What an absolutely lovely weekend I had, I was able to get 60-70 movies from my friend, some of which I had been dying to watch. Needless to say I have not been getting any sleep. :-(

=> Oh! And I can vouch that the Tanishq has a great variety of ear studs and drops. :-D

=> Was reading yet another blog about the gender stereotyping and became all introspective. I sometimes feel I have moved from moderately tomboyish to downright feminine. Used to love climbing tress. Catching squirrels with brothers was so much more fun than playing with dolls. I used to hate shopping, but now love it. Love dressing up, but think nail paint is too high maintenance, as I don’t like chipped enamel and am too lazy to remove it properly everytime. Still hate cooking. Love to clean, but can live with mess (for a little while at least).

=> I need a vacation. Preferably for about 1 month. In which I get to sleep, Read books, see movies, lounge in bed and just do nothing more strenuous than a walk to/on the beach. Oh! And some DBC now and then and Pasta. Some chocolate fudge. Sighhhh!!!!

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Have you seen the movie The Blind side? Since I saw the movie, it has made me, all the more, appreciate this poem

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Memorializing Events in the Battle of Balaclava, October 25, 1854
Written 1854

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd & thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack & Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter'd & sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse & hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!