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Adieu 2013!

It's that time of year,
Leave all (y)our hopelessnesses aside (if just for a little while)
Tears stop right here,
I know we've all had a bumpy ride(I'm secretly on your side)

These are my favorite lyrics! In times of sorrow, or festivities and especially on a really rough day, I just hum to myself a few lines and wait for the magic to clear my thoughts!

So this year has come to an end, only two more days to wait for 2014--- I have a feeling its gone by quickly. I still remember what I did last year i.e, in 2012 and I wonder if my life is moving at a supersonic speed?!
Usually, I never question myself as to how the year went by but this year I feel like and want to ask myself everything that passed by me!

I am glad for some nice people who have entered my life and spread cheer and happiness within me. Some events were memorable, and some were worth forgetting. Some people I am immensely thankful to and some I am willing to forgive with all my heart! This is how one grows as a …

Marginalia - Billy Collins

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head. Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson. Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal. Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to D…

To a Young Girl at a Window

by Margaret Widdemer The Poor Old Soul plods down the street,  Contented, and forgetting  How Youth was wild, and Spring was wild  And how her life is setting;  And you lean out to watch her there,  And pity, nor remember,  That Youth is hard, and Life is hard,  And quiet is December. 


About this poem: Margaret Widdemer often wrote in traditional poetic forms, and many of her poems explore the social issues of early twentieth century. She first received widespread attention with the publication of her poem "The Factories," which tackled the subject of child labor. (Source: Academy of American Poets via Poets.org)
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At times, I feel glad to be able to read essential poetry and collect it too. While reading this poem I was reminded of "When you are old" by William Butler Yeats.
Is sorrow too private to be concealed under thicknesses of fake contentedness? Do we restrict our compassion toward…

Soul-searching with A Poem and Camus

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Does this happen with everyone? 
If there is a soul, it is a mistake to think that it is given to us fully made. It makes itself here, throughout our life. And life is nothing but the long and agonizing labor of giving birth. When the soul is ready, created by us and by pain, death is here.Wr…

Iconic Images and suffering

A friend called me late last night to share what she had done on impulse- sent an email to The Backpacker & Co., for a collaboration on a Travel+Architecture venture. Her call lasted for 30 minutes and each minute filled with genuine hope that she gets to be a part of the Backpacker team. Her post-college architecture life, she said, was disappointing and it made her not the person she has been or wanted to be. She was talking about how she has suffered for such a long time and now wanted this to be a new start to her life.
I listened to her, calming her and assuring with words that if this is what she wants to do, it is what will come to her!
Even while talking to her and now, almost 12 hours later, I realize how much encouraging words mean for a person in times of distress.

Today morning, while going through some articles on a website, I came across this:
http://justsomething.co/the-32-most-powerful-images-ever-taken/

Each picture here, reminds me that Human life is fickle and h…

A little love

My constant unhappiness over the past few days, has thankfully come to an end. And, how? Two phone calls from two very dear people. One of them, Sneha, my far-away continent friend; and the other, a not-so-far-away yet distant friend.

It never ceases to amuse me that when someone is unhappy, how little of an effort it takes for someone else to bring back the cheer in their lives. Think of a phone call from their loved ones, letters(now, emails) though infrequent, a surprise visit, an old tune, that long-lost book you've been meaning to read but didn't, suddenly it springs in front of your eyes! Such small things that bring indescribable joys!

One of my architect friends, who teaches in a school and has lots of free time after 2 pm, often would tell me that she has nothing to do post school. Nowadays, she's happy working on a project that's located in an extreme end of the city, and she has to commute for nearly 3 hrs to reach there. But, she's not complaining. I t…

Fractions of humanity

I am a little dejected, since quite a few months now. That's why the blog writing, I guess.
And the reason being- I am utterly clueless as to what Am I doing with my life? After finishing my formal education, at least for time being, I think a Bachelors is all I could really live on for sometime. I am not motivated for a master's study- too expensive, and seems pointless, as I think more about the future- trying to envisage it- of course, its everything that scares me, to take a higher leap in the unknown.

After working for some years now, I am unsure if this is the path I want to continue for the rest of my life! I cannot talk endlessly about building materials to someone, nor do I like arguing about why glass is not my preferred choice of material to other architects. For a while, I've enjoyed some group sessions on Urban renewal and infrastructure happening in mumbai, pedestrian-friendly ventures, but is that all there is to life?
All these panel discussions leave me o…

Calming Buddha

I fail to understand why people get angry so often and so quickly? And, why do they scream at the top of their lungs? Do they not realize, they are storing all that hatred in themselves and by screaming at others, it not only affects the other person but themselves most?

It disturbs me to a great deal if my inner peace is busted, say early morning, while I am boarding a train and some woman randomly insults me and pulls off a meany comment and keeps on going...or, my younger sibling starts throwing a tantrum if she cannot find her study books (which she was studying from the previous night), or her stack of project papers or even her clothes! Most disgusting is when she starts arguing in loud tones with her mother.

At times like these, if I am present in the room where such loud aggression is seen, I try to be calm; or leave the room; or mostly just try to ignore the ongoing hullabaloo. I remember once visiting a family member and as soon as I entered their house, the teen daughter w…

....Taare Zameen Par!

Sea Poison Tree- Always wondered why they are known by this name! These are such pretty flowers with their pinkish-white fibers. When I first saw them strewn on the ground, I was captured by their beauty and thought they resemble stars fallen on earth.

These were clicked in October 2007, at Bombay Port Trust Garden, also knownas BPT Garden, Colaba. The official name of this Botanical Garden is Sagar Upvan.

I first went there following a Landscaping Studio in School. Landed at the garden at sharp 8am, since its open from 5am- 9pm. Its one of the richest and lushest gardens in Mumbai along the Arabian sea.
For me, the only other Botanical garden that made my jaw drop is Lalbagh Botanical Garden in Bangalore. Its one of the biggest gardens in the city. Cubbon Park is another favorite of mine. Its called 'lung' area of the city and rightly so, for its located right within the heart of the city.
My short stay in Bangalore in 2008 was made beautiful and memorable because of these t…

A Student- Teacher Reunion

In June 2009, I read 'Tuesdays with Morrie' written by Mitch Albom after seeing it on a friend's bookshelf. And, inspired by Albom's return to his college professor, I tracked down my highschool teacher Mrs. Mandira Dutta and called her. I heard the phone ring and Mrs. Dutta's familiar voice from the other side. I was so happy that I could barely speak without being excited. In very loud tones that I didn't bother to lower although I was in my college building, I introduced myself and told her how extremely happy I was to talk to her! She sounded just like she did back in school. I almost could visualize her expressions and her cheery face!

We spoke for a long time and then I asked her address and told her that I would like to meet her. And almost the next Saturday, I paid her a visit. She lives 45 minutes from my place and my excitement knew no bounds. As I was getting out of my vehicle, I saw her wave at me from her window and I jumped and rushed to climb th…

Micro Stories by Paulo Coelho

I like Short Stories by Paulo Coelho. I came across these micro-stories (another name for Flash Fiction)- Paulo Coelho's Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren, on a book website and loved them so much, that I instantly wanted to share them here. In the future, this is going to be my referral point. 

Enjoy the stories. He is so good at them!

Rebuilding the world A father was trying to read the newspaper, but his little son kept pestering him. Finally, the father grew tired of this and, tearing a page from the newspaper - one that bore a map of the world - he cut it into several pieces and handed them to his son. 'Right, now you've got something to do. I've given you a map of the world and I want to see if you can put it back together correctly.' He resumed his reading, knowing that the task would keep the child occupied for the rest of the day. However, a quarter of an hour later, the boy returned with the map. 'Has your mother been teaching you geography…

Honor thy word!

Why does it happen that the thing you most want to do, when you are so excited about it, finally comes to mean a little less than it did when you first heard about it?

Here's what has happened! A friend of mine, asked me to attend a two-day workshop on Urban Disaster Risk Management in another city, along with her. I told her, I'll try to tell her my commitment to the workshop in a few days and I did let her know yesterday that I could come, after taking care of my exams and studies. Only to find, my friend very conveniently messages me on a social networking site, that she wouldn't be able to make it! And this is the same girl who once said to me, 'You always cancel plans Sharayu!' Really? I find it hard to believe now like I did then!
How can people not honor their word and just let go off things in such a casual manner? I've always attended events and workshops alone for most of the time, even when I was in Architecture school. This callousness of people bo…

Sara Teasdale

I fell in love with Sara Teasdale when I first read 'Gifts'.

I gave my first love laughter,
I gave my second tears,
I gave my third love silence
Through all the years.

My first love gave me singing,
My second eyes to see,
But oh, it was my third love
Who gave my soul to me.

The next poem that I read, 'Winter Stars' from Flame and Shadow had me completely transfixed with memories from my childhood. I randomly opened a page and came across these lines that just made me incredibly glad to be able to read her poems.

From windows in my father’s house,
Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,
I watched Orion as a girl
Above another city’s lights.

I have a 1920 Macmillan edition of this book. Since I am very particular about old books and always hunting for old editions, the moment I laid my eyes on the cover, I was overjoyed and hyper-excited and immediately bought it! That was the best moment. Such unadulterated joy!

It was April when you came
The first time to me,
And my first look in your …

September 1, 1939 by W H Auden

September 1, 1939: Seventy-four years ago today, just as World War II was breaking out, W.H. Auden wrote a poem that took its title from the date.
(Source: Goodreads Quote of the day for Sunday)

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them …

Anne Frank and Charlotte Bronte

I read these books, separated by a time span of 3 years. And while I would like to say that both of them represent a different time and their lives were completely different from each other, I found them both to be highly relevant in my life. 
Anne Frank with her extremely short life during the early 20th century and Charlotte Bronte with her Victorian Era upbringing during the early 19th century, both, have a definite and lasting impression on girls all over the world.
I have cried and winced in pain while reading Anne Frank's Diary and while I have not read any novel written by Bronte, when I am writing here about the two, I often wonder how would life have turned for both these women (one was a girl who died young, the other died aged 36), could their literary accomplishments fulfill their inner aspirations? How would Anne live after the war ended? Would she have published her diary? Would she chose to be a novelist? How would Charlotte Bronte come to terms with the loneliness an…

Letters to Dostoevsky!

Dear Fyodor,
                    Long after you were gone from this earth, a reader found and read your letters written in 1870 to your sisters.
                   The reader is a young girl who winces in pain as she reads about your wife, Anna & your newborn Lyubov's health. Were you lonely when you had to leave Russia? How the reader wishes to comfort you by letting you know that your 'The Idiot' will sell copies & will get you money and free you from the creditor's shackles!
                    Do not give up on the world yet! The people will know your troubles and they shall feel the pain too. Know that you'll have readers from all the imaginable corners of the world.
                    You'll live forever, Dear Mr. Dostoevsky!

                                                                                           With all love and respect,
                                                                                             a young read…

Self-conscious feministing!

I found this letter today. A few years ago, a dear friend and me wrote to each other regularly talking about issues and mostly, reading material from books/magazines/internet. I was still in Architecture school and at that time, I was reading a lot on Gender Studies & Feminism, so my views were full of anger and rebellious in nature. I am putting down an excerpt. After re-reading it today, I feel so assured that I am still the same person who's affected easily and fiercely argues on Feminism. It made for an interesting read to myself after all these years.

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Something about our love now- I am reading a book titled'Journalistas'- 100 years of the Best Writing and Reporting by Women Journalists edited by Eleanor Mills and Kira Cochrane! So whats new with this one is, its so refreshing and something to be proud of while reading about what women in 1900's reported till al…

Tujhse Naraz nahi Zindagi.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KbhG64nLaM

Particularly during a rainy day, will I find myself mellowing and these words start playing in my mind.
Why do only 'certain' words/lyrics/tunes bring us melancholy and nostalgia?

A few years ago, when I travelled by the early morning train I would close my eyes while seated next to the window, and always see some hazy images in front of my closed eyelids. And, not knowing what it was or what they were saying to me, it would always lead me to a sublime and sombre mood.

Now, a rainy day does this! Its dark and hollow outside, and I am rummaging through my memories- half baked thoughts- some diluted, and others diminishing. I can see images flashing through a quick slideshow, and my heart all heavy with this melancholy. It grips me no matter wherever I am.
On my trip to Agra last year, stopping by at the Mehtab Gardens in the evening, and looking at the Taj Mahal across the yamuna left me saddened. The sunset with its warm yellow scaled…

Anne of Green Gables & Me!

Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? - L.M.Montgomery
I came across author Lucy Maud Montgomery very late during my reading life.
My quest for a return to childhood innocence was fulfilled by Anne of Green Gables, with her Red hair and her vivid imagination. We shall never be too old to read about Anne and her Green Gables family. I've so far read only the first book in the Anne Shirley Series. Hope to read the others soon. Also, wish to visit the Green Gables Farmhouse at Cavendish, Prince Edward Island.
I procured a lovely 1994 Reader's Digest Edition with illustrations by Mick Ellison from Butterfly Books exhibition, last year. As much as I want to introduce my younger cousins to Anne, I do not want to part with this beautiful, illustrated edition. It's always a delight to enjoy a book with a charming front cover and similar pictures inside.


L M Montgomery revived generations before Enid Blyton created her Famous Five and th…

My Postcard Story!

So, I am completely blanked out while attempting to cook a story for this 'postcard story' contest! Really, Am I this bad at thinking of stories? I mean, we all go through so many incidents everyday and I always thought while reading Jhumpa Lahiri's books that she writes from her experiences, essentially the reason they touch us readers, so writing from memories should be easy! But here I am- s t r u g g l i n g- literally! I think, its a bad sign, probably I should take cues from this current writing crisis and just stop!

How do people write, concoct stories? On such large numbers? I think of Ruskin Bond, Jhumpa Lahiri, and all of Readers Digest Short story collections- everything seems so easy! But then, they also say that, Writing is essentially a creative process! Is it? Because if it is, then that implies that amateurs like me stand no chance!

Perhaps, a workshop on writing could actually solve my dilemma and clear my head and also teach me to write stories. Till the…

Wednesday Musings!!

A guy, whom I had not known for long but now is a friend, once said to me, "I want to be like you!" When I heard him say that, I was a little surprised, and maybe out of sheer amusement over his statement, could not react or I did not ask him why he wanted to be like me? Isn't it funny, how we constantly think of approvals or opinions from people, and even mull over what they think and say about us!

I think of my school friend whom I got in touch with after 10 years, and thought will always now stay in touch, but surprisingly and sadly, that did not happen. We were very enthusiastic about knowing each other and filling the long 10 year gap, so we were very close for 4 years which also happened to coincide with our graduation. And, once we were out of college, we also were out of each other's lives.
How much I miss our talks, the pondering over social issues, and the common high enthusiasm we shared over so many things! Initially, I was so angry and could never under…