It’s not just me!

It has been tiring

said she

holding on to

what was never there

yet have I tried my best

even holding a few others together

as I went falling

they fell too, with me!

the constant pounding

the massive howling

the dynamite

the jcb

then you dear lover

your anger

at what was never my fault

have caused me to tumble downstream

no house holds without a hold

neither can I

when I give up against indifference

don’t blame me for weakness

yes, I fail at times

my failure is yours too

that’s all I would ever say

It’s not just me

it’s, whatever it is

is in spite of me!

PS: lands go tumbling in the rains

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Unishe April and more

All my interest in Bengali comes from my love for my sweet friend Oditi, I mean Aditi Ghatak.

While I had been reading a lot of Tagore and a few other writers its not until recently that I felt drawn to Bengali music and cinema.

Unishe April was an experience. A beautiful narrative scripted around a simple story of love, angst and the complexities in the relationship of a mother and daughter who discover each other.

Then I watched Punashca 2014. An elderly writer develops a relationship with his college mate, an old flame and the unexpected and complicated events this leads to is what the film is all about . With some great acting by the beautiful Rupa Ganguly, Soumitra Chatterjee and Sayani Ghosh, the film is a treat to watch.

Regional literature, music, films in India are a hidden wealth, unexplored by most Indians due to the language barrier, which I believe only adds to their beauty.

While there is the constant agony of being subsumed by the more powerful, techno-savvy and rich Hindi Cinema, regional cinema hold on its own self and is constantly improving in terms of regular and loyal followers.

But I am afraid we can’t say the same for music because as we were working with students for the Independence day celebrations, we realized that singers are unable to sing in their own mother tongue with confidence.

Hindi songs, we know a plenty, they said. So any Marathi, patriotic song.. ‘no mam’, ‘Bengali, can’t remember mam’.. so on and so forth came the excuses.

It is important that every educational institution, works with the youngsters instilling a pride in them for the place of their origin.

Watching films from across the country could be a good way to learn other Indian languages!

To dance or not to dance, Science vs Arts

Prostrating at the altar of science

arts cried

Sir, your vision is inimitable

your techniques sharp and crisp

your points are yes, points

valid in their precision

you have come up with

unctions to cure and to excite

instruments to fascinate and experiment

weapons to destroy and discriminate

contraptions to add variety to living

I hear you are traveling to space

thank you for teaching us

to escape the reality

Moon is the next trash can!

Captured images are somehow priceless

a rhino horn adorns your walls

a stuffed deer mocks you

you have taken us far

too far indeed, from where we ought to be

Sir, I salute your temperament

your umpteen Nobel sacrifices

and the many prizes for such selflessness

( who can ever forget Curie?)

I don’t deny you the power of your logic

the talent of your intellect

but did not man first in his mind see

what he then produced

if he did and you know he did

then that is art sir, that is art

the songs of the wild are not silly

the chorus of the skies are not ignorant

the dance of the bees

is much more than what science knows

ask the octopus, he knows what you think

Sir, I beseech you not to mock language

literature, theater and poetry

oh! please don’t quote Plato

he knew but half the truth

add some joy to your life

come join me in the laughter club

let’s escape the prosaic of the science

to seek the poetry of thought.

Take up that chisel

dip that pen in the love potion

pinch some colors of that palette

let your hair down, relax.

PS: To dance or not to dance!

The Voice

It is the voice that matters after all

deep,sonorous, sensitive

uplifts, holds, cares

speaks from the heart

connects straight to the soul

little goosebumps on the skin

little tear drops in the eyes

the voice

calming, soothing, loving

‘afghan match-makers say

is more than half the love’

she carried a voice in her head

desperately trying to fix a body to it

haunted by the voice

she scoured the faces

not this

not this

not this

the voice, the body, the soul

and the face?

it could be any, she laughed.

PS: Shantaram

Office Vibes

She liked the eye. Deep. Contemplative.

Such are the eyes I would love to look into, she thought oddly.

She was arranging the files, the manager would come any moment.

The old fool. He walked fast, the manager. His paunch though walked far ahead. It was like two of them, the paunch, the man, the paunch, the man.

There was a certain music to his movement, she had noticed it yesterday. He was called to the office of the manager, the senior one, his manager, the manager’s manager.So he must have felt important because there was a lilt to his movement, a push, a start and a settling down, again a push, a start and a settling down. It must be tiring to walk like that, she thought.

He was always shouting, shouting in general. Move that file, bring this file, give that paper. If he got up to get a few papers it would be good for his paunch. At this rate, the guy is not going to live long…. she shrugged indifferently.

How does his wife tolerate him?

Then came the deep eyes, yes, the new transfer. Oh! when did that happen?

‘I know you can’t tolerate a good guy looking at me, can you?’ She was annoyed at Meenu, the secretary.

Meenu only liked guys to look her. Her huge buxom self ever eager to hug every one. What’s with this hugging? Once she just wriggled off the hug not bothering about what Meenu thought. Maybe not enough hugs back home.

Too much of cynicism is creeping into me these days. Where’s this coming from though? After a point of living alone. spinsters get it apparently. That’s what Raju told her last time.

‘You need to find someone ok. The cats and dogs can’t do to you what a man can do.’

‘Like ,like what? hurting ?’she demanded angrily as he walked out to smoke.

He came back smoldering an hour later and glared at her, ‘The problem with feminism is that it is somehow half-brained. You women with the notion of self hood have no sense of self good.’

‘Yours or mine!’ She was not in a mood to give in and he threw up his arms helplessly. ‘Whatever!’

How many times have I told the old fool that it is not ‘cha’ as in chai but ‘ch’ as in champagne…ha..good sense comes with good living…who can help that…

‘Charlene’, and the call comes.

‘Go, your darling can’t wait to see you,’ said Raju as she got up with a start.

She glanced at the mirror before entering the manager’s cabin. With all his lack of class, the man was still good at his job.

Hmm…got to brighten up the lips. A hint of mascara has added depth to her eyes. ‘Love you my beauty.’

With a toss to her mane, she said brightly

‘Good morning Sir!’

Perfectly lifeless

perfect

measured figure

smooth ageless skin

manicured nails

slim waist

eyes so sharp

see nothing

ears so good

hears none

the lips

never move

hands flailed

looking macabre

stacked up one on another

a pile of posteriors

butt heading one another

awaiting sermons

some postures

some standing up

some warm cloth

in this cold weather

lifeless yet living

they in the changing rooms

and them nearby piled up

just piled up

a single grey hand reached out

not a cry, not a tear

just a chiseled hand

polished nails

‘I would never want your place

mine is none the better, still’

the girl said

a thud was heard

that was it.

Of re-reading ‘Shantaram’

I remember setting my eyes on ‘Shantaram’ in the hands of one of my colleagues at Daly College, Indore and yearning to look at it closely. In fact, I feel an irresistible urge to ask ‘What are you reading?’ to every person who seems to be hugging a book!

Somehow, I lost track or I didn’t get any encouraging reply and being not one to buy a book, I left it at that.

Years later, it was at Just Books outlet at Kammanahalli in Bangalore that I actually got my hand to the book. https://justbooks.in/

I devoured the book eager to reach the end and unable to stop the urgency to know what happens to the protagonist. I like the book immensely and it stayed in some corner of my mind and I caught myself wistfully thinking about the book. By the way, why is there no film on this book?Or is it there?

Got to find that out. However at the university library I again run into Shantaram sitting pretty among a handful fiction and non-fiction for the not so technically inclined like me.

In fact, I never miss a chance to give my own list of 100 -200 books for the library to purchase happily adding poetry, philosophy, memoirs, biographies and everything and anything that is not even remotely technical.

I seriously think it is misuse of any library to simply stock up merely science and math without any regard to literature. Did they never hear that ‘art precedes science?’

So, there it is Shantaram, what a delightful reading it makes? The funny appellation ‘Linbaba’, the betel chewing, ever raucous Prabhakar and the green eyed Karla.

As I read I wonder at many places, did I notice this before? Oh! wow! what a beautiful narration, this is amazing and am also cracking up at jokes which I have forgotten so long after my first reading.

Re-reading a book is like navigating a known place and yet coming across something new and wondering how did it escape your attention before. A sense of wonderment fills you and there is always the comfort of familiarity.

Now, that reminds me there is a lot more to read again…like all of Charles Dickens, most of MT Vasudevan Nair, Benyamin, Tagore. Well as for Shakespeare and Kalidas my knowledge is mostly limited to the Paico Classics I read as a kid..hmmm. where is the time though? Where is the time?

There is much to read and much more to know

in the vast sea of knowledge

yet, caught between chores and EMIs

I know not where to go!

As for now…I back to the second chapter in Shantaram.. Will Linbaba get close to Karla? Will he be able to retain his freedom?

So, I got to get back to reading!

Which book are you reading again btw?