Saturday, April 19, 2014

When Ladakh beckons...

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

When you travel,

A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

John O'Donohue's poem struck a chord. With each solo travel, I have found a part of myself I didn't know existed. I have often surprised myself. Cutting through the bonds and shackles of daily living, I have found an inner spirit that is free to wander - in the realms of the external and the internal. 

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Friday, April 18, 2014

To keep going ...

We are all on a one-way street. Such is life. There is no turning back, the destination is pre-decided. Only the journey is what we undertake. That is the choice we have to make.

The meaning we add to this journey comes from our choices. Are we choosing to passively play a role, or do we choose to be vibrantly alive? The former is much easier. It comes with security and social sanction and approval. The latter--to be alive--requires diving deep within ourselves and a degree of self-awareness most of us shy away from. It is much easier to stay on the surface and skim through life. Living with intensity, experiencing every moment, revealing our vulnerabilities and desires require a degree of courage that most of us lack. 

And intensity can be painful--but gloriously painful if we know how to find joy in the pain. In this context, I was reminded of a brilliant TED Talk by Diana Nyad who crossed the 100 miles from Cuba to Florida, the longest and most dangerous stretch for a swimmer. And at 64. 

That's how I want to be. Live life with an intensity and courage that defies norms, that forges ahead with the passion of a dreamer and the exploratory curiosity of a child. 

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day...
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door...
I believe I can fly 
~ R. Kelly
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On Parting...

   All afternoon in the afterlife 
   of little things that love,
   or pain, or need could not let go of
   I hunt for the will
   that will let me let you go...

How well I know this. It is only sheer will to let go that works; where emotions burn as hot as a sultry night echoing back on itself. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

For the Love of a Child

The school bus stopped outside the gate. My little 5 year old friend S got out. I watched from my kitchen window as he skipped along holding his mother’s hand. His red school bag bouncing a little. Suddenly, to his mother’s obvious discomfort and agitation, he veered toward my window and looked up. I smiled and waved at them. We made some ordinary conversation about children and the unfairness of having school on a Saturday that steals away a child’s play hours.

S had been looking at me purposefully. I knew what was coming. “Aunty,” his voice floated up. “Come for tea,” he commanded. With S, it was never a request or a question. It was always a command stemming from the right he knew he had over me. My voice suddenly constricted, at a loss for words. “I am busy darling,” I faltered out a response. “Liar,” said my inner voice. S ignored my response and with all the confidence and love of a child said, “Come with your phone, ok.” The innocence and demand of this 5 year old brought unbidden tears to my eyes. I desperately hoped no one would notice. And smiled a little at mother and son. Not hearing a positive response from me, he looked away. With the resilience of a child, he waved back and moved into the building with his mother.

I was reminded of all the times he had spent rolling on the red bean bag in my living room or just sitting on the corner of my bed, his spot. Engrossed as only a child can be in an iPad game. An occasional demand for milk in his favorite red cup would float up. “Come up and drink your milk,” I would say. “You bring it down,” would come the response.

The red cup is waiting too, sweetheart! 

My workstation... I have kept your word. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I did not say "goodbye"

After we have said goodbye, so many questions whirl through my mind. Did it have to end? What changed between yesterday and today? Could I have done something differently?

Then, the futility of the questions drive home. "Fool," says my heart, "who is there to answer your questions". But I don't need answers. I know. Goodbye is just a word coined in the English language to signify partings. When you are an integral part of my thought and emotions, there is no parting. "So, now you are also fooling yourself," my mind mocks me. "No", I protest. "I am not". When my mind is alive with memories and every touch, what meaning does a word like "goodbye" have?

I think of all the mundane things that have suddenly taken on a special significance. The ubiquitous black and yellow Mumbai auto will forever be special. A space that offered many moments of joy. A tiny, inviolate spot of togetherness. The Mumbai rains and summer and spring...The rain pouring into the auto was a source of fun and laughter and some scrambling. And, of course, the funny blue plastic raincoat. You looked adorable in it. I wonder if I will be able to get into an auto without thinking of you. It's forever attached to your being.

Moments that to an outsider will seem absolutely ordinary was filled with charm. Your erratic habit of forgetting the most simple things... You fill me with a strange tenderness, an urge to wrap my arms around you and hold you, take care of you, caress all your pain away. Imagine, if you can, my arms around you when you need me the most. They are there waiting to hold you again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Your Image in My Eye...

Plath in "Winter Landscape, With Rooks"
...Last summer's reeds are all engraved in ice
as is your image in my eye; dry frost
glazes the window of my hurt; what solace
can be struck from rock to make heart's waste
grow green again? Who'd walk in this bleak place?
Over the past few months, this poem has floated in and out of my mind...I admire Plath with her ability to crystallize emotion and strike at its very root, her ability to get to the absolute essence and express it through metaphors that haunt, that make me feel if only I could have said it so... Through her, I know myself. I recognize my self...
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Love Song to a Stranger

Love Song to a Stranger
(Words and Music by Joan Baez)
How long since I've spent a whole night in a twin bed with a stranger
His warm arms all around me?
How long since I've gazed into dark eyes that melted my soul down
To a place where it longs to be?
All of your history has little to do with your face
You're mainly a mystery with violins filling in space
You stood in the nude by the mirror and picked out a rose
From the bouquet in our hotel
And lay down beside me again and I watched the rose
On the pillow where it fell
I sank and I slept in a twilight with only one care
To know that when day broke and I woke that you'd still be there
The hours for once they passed slowly, unendingly by
Like a sweet breeze on a field
Your gentleness came down upon me and I guess I thanked you
When you caused me to yield
We spoke not a sentence and took not a footstep beyond
Our two days together which seemingly soon would be gone
Don't tell me of love everlasting and other sad dreams
I don't want to hear
Just tell me of passionate strangers who rescue each other
From a lifetime of cares
Because if love means forever, expecting nothing returned
Then I hope I'll be given another whole lifetime to learn
Because you gave to me oh so many things it makes me wonder
How they could belong to me
And I gave you only my dark eyes that melted your soul down
To a place where it longs to be
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Mohasen Makhmalbaf - Sex and Philosophy

YouTube - Sex and Philosophy

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday - Google Video

If you are feeling down and out and at odds with the world, this is the movie to see. Directed by Jacques Tati, M. Hulot's Holiday will bring that cheer back to your soul. At least, it did to mine... on a day when I was feeling lost, sad, and mistrustful of human nature...and cynical about life...

Random Harvest--an Underrated Movie

Ronald Colman and Greer Garson--simply magnificent in Random Harvest...

I Want to Live--Susan Hayward

Has anyone seen the movie? I am desperately looking for I will cry tomorrow as well...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ingmar Bergman - Wild Strawberries

A beautiful movie--one of the classics that all students of film-making/film criticism see...but had to mention it here.