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BOOKS & READING!!!!

Before 2014 ends, and I actually say this to myself before every year comes to an end, that I should pen down a proper list of to-read books in a diary, so that, I won't trouble the booksellers trying to remember names of books/authors/publishers etc. when I buy them. This rarely happens though. Every time I am in bookstores, I usually have this printed Excel list of to-read books I've exported from Goodreads. It happened only once that I took some other bag on an outing and hence, forgot to transfer the contents including these printed pages that run over about 20 in number.
I've since grown wiser. Now, I also have a quick list of essential books to buy in my wallet, so that I always have access to the list. Since the beginning of this year, in 2014, I've also been writing in a small diary about books that I've come across, essays to read, excerpts from Nobel Prize Acceptance speeches and poetry too. These days I am reading a very interesting diary of a voracious…

Remembering the Iron Lady!

31st October, 1984.

Indira Gandhi- Prime Minister of India assassinated.

31st October, 2014- 30 years since her death.

I was born in 1988. So, I have always heard about our First Woman Prime Minister with awe and pride. During my school Girls Guide camp, I spoke about Mrs. Indira Gandhi as my inspiration and she is till today. The new BJP led govt. celebrated Sardar Patel's birthday with a Unity Run but failed to pay homage to one of the strongest and most influential Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Not a single person from the NDA govt. visited Shakti Sthal to pay respects to the late PM. If twitter is now going to be an official medium used by the current PM to voice his thoughts, and also paying tributes then lets rest the case of official protocols altogether.

Its sad to see that former Prime Ministers will be insulted and ignored just because their ideology is/was different than those in power. I wish the young generation looks at things rationally and not merely …

Disappointments and New Ventures

So, I did not make it to a very prestigious Entrance Exam conducted throughout the nation. And, I am disappointed. Although, I was quite calm when the results came out, now after a day or two of pondering excessively on the failure, my misery has finally got a better hold of me. Because, I was studying for over a year for this exam, and had quit my job I feel really low right now. I have gained such immense knowledge in this last year, yet I've lost a lot of hands on experience from my job.

I, now have decided to apply for a PG Diploma in Urban Planning and Development via a distance learning programme, so it means, I will continue studying for my exam till next year and also, get a degree. Perhaps, I could also work part-time somewhere. Because Architecture is such a hectic and stressed vocation, I need to include academics, a job and the exam prep in a balanced way, so as not to ruin everything.
I am being positive about this new venture, and I know I can do these three things …

Watercolors

Watercolors are my least preferred medium. I love watercolor art, but since I am not a trained artist I cannot use watercolors to their maximum effect. Recently, I came across a very gifted artist who paints using watercolors and writes for NatGeo Traveller India. His work is so phenomenal, that I took some inspiration and decided to try my hand at watercolors after three years. I kept it simple. Just painted a few paper craft flowers I have made as part of a greeting card. It was all plain white, and I thought of adding some fresh color to the flowers. My hands were wobbly and I couldn't judge how thin the color layer ought to be on the paper, so my first flower got painted with a very watery yellow and it made the flower saggy too. My second attempt was fair and I colored all of them with a very satisfactory even layer.





The last time I used these watercolors was while watching a movie at home- 'Wake Up Sid.' Something during the movie made me get my colors and randomly …

Hamara Bajaj!

I am a Bajaj Kid! I belong to that generation of kids who grew up riding on Bajaj Scooters and listening to '....Buland Bharat ki buland tasveer- Hamara Bajaj.' And, what fun memories do I have of our scooter! I distinctly remember the time Dad bought it home. I was Four years old, and stood in the doorway eagerly waiting for my Dad and Uncle. It was getting dark and then, I spotted them. Don't remember much from the night. It is blue-coloured and the number plate is 8847- I remember Dad once told me the trick to remember the number plate. He asked me, What is the height of Mount Everest? It is 8848 m. Isn't it an easy number? he asked. I never once forgot it since. Years later, I however, had some trouble memorising our Car number plate. There was no logic there to help me.

I have fond memories of travelling on the scooter with Dad during summer holidays. We would ride outside Nashik and then stop by the roadside under Gulmohar trees. Dad would help me pluck the flam…

Happy Birthday, F.Scott Fitzgerald!

Happy 118th Birthday to F.SCOTT FITZGERALD! A beloved author. Oh! How I love thee!

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” 



I've been swooning over his dishy looks ever since I read him. ;)

Youngsters

Of late, I've realized how grumpy I've become. I crib over petty issues, over the neighbors, over people behaving crassly in public and so many million things.

Case in point, this: I was at the post-office yesterday and there was a long queue of bored people awaiting their turn. Some youngsters were idling their time by sitting on motorbikes parked in the vicinity. Its quite a common sight to see young men ganged up in groups playing loud music on their cellphones. One of the young men stood in the queue ahead of me and kept shifting restlessly, breaking the line, yawning, stretching his body- things I consider highly inappropriate in public. He kept fiddling with his phone for a long time and suddenly started playing an audio clip that was so loud that it only invited irritated faces and mean looks from the others in the queue. Nobody, however, said anything so he kept playing more tunes and it was unbearable. This went on for quite sometime and I kept thinking of an appropr…

Dance Dance!

Today, I felt the impulse to dance! Somebody in the adjacent building was playing loud music and those were hip-hop beats. I instantly found myself on my feet and got grooving to the music.  I am NOT a dance person. But I do feel beats and rhythm when I hear some. I have never tried myself with dancing.. not even a little. I ran away from my college prom night because I did not want to embarrass myself with all the good dancers that night. I was told later, it was a smashing event. Oh! How I regretted it for a while! For some strange reason, I think I might be a clumsy dancer. Although, it has never been proved simply because I maintain my calm in public places where dancing takes place, like weddings, birthday parties, festivities. But I would love to dance without any inhibitions.. go wild and crazy with the music and good spirits.  Perfection has ruined the joy of so many activities. I wish it were simpler to live than talking about ways of keeping it simple. All these lists that spe…

September blues!

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” 

― Anaïs Nin Something odd happens around this time every year. If I am not in good spirits and feeling low, I instantly get rejuvenated and a new energy engulfs me. If I am already doing good, then, I become more focussed in whatever task I am accomplishing at that moment. Somehow, September has always been a month of anxiety. And, that oddball song "Wake me up when September ends" finds more relevance each passing year.

My mother has been unwell since a week. This is the first time I've ever seen her so weak and sick. Her two older sisters have also been battling health problems, and I only hope she isn't taking too much stress abo…

Three Women

‘THREE WOMEN’ IN MUMBAI‘Three Women’, a musical theatre written and directed by Isheeta Ganguly and staring Dipika Roy, Amrita Raichand, and Madhurima Nigam is all set to hit Mumbai on Friday September 5th at Tata NCPA theatre at 7.30PM. ‘Three Women’ is a musical theater and a modern response to Rabindranath Tagore’s nineteenth century Bengali Renaissance literature. The performance is crafted on the evolution of two female protagonists from Tagore’s novellas, Bimala from ‘The Home and the World’ and Charu from ‘The Broken Nest’, seen from the perspective of Kadambari Devi, Tagore’s sister in law and lifetime muse. In Tagore’s original works, the female protagonists instigate change from their patriarchal setting towards their progressive aspirations, but the sustainability of their newfound freedoms remains unanswered. ‘Three Women’ illustrates the continuing relevance of Tagore’s work as women today negotiate similar issues of identity and empowerment in the public domain. This wou…

Soul Poetry

My favourite poetry...





The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency!

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency caught my attention with its bright cover art.  Its so African, I thought. I love reading about cultures and I am still not over my fascination with Turkey. This has been on my to-read list since a year and I couldn't have got a bigger surprise  than yesterday after spotting this book in a monsoon books sale at a very charming place nestled in Khar. 
I adore books that revolve around women (except maybe, Catherine Earnshaw). A lady detective sounds supercool when Sherlock Holmes is being watched religiously in my home.  While reading this book on the train, so many young girls asked to see my copy and were very eager to hear about the plot. It was exciting to see their zeal caused by the title during their conversations. My experience hasn't been any different. Like I imagined it to be, this is the simplest books I've read that has bought happiness to me. It has been such an easy read. We should say it brings out the essence of simple &#…

"Unconditional Love"

I came across a beautiful braille inking reading "Bezuvjetna Ljubav" that translates to "Unconditional Love."

Is this not what all of us are looking at and craving for in our lives? The language of love is perhaps the most sought after in this mortal world. People fight, then reconcile, not because of affection but because of the power of love that binds their hearts forever.

Love makes the world go round... sang the powerpuff girls. Oh yes! I still remember them jamming on guitars and drums and dancing to colours. LOVE sure makes the world go round! *smiles*

*You can't hurt me with the things that you do. I'll pick up dandelions and I'll give them to you ♥ 







Here are both the English and Hindi audios. Indulge in some hearty laughter. :)


Hours by Hazel Hall

I have known hours built like cities,
House on grey house, with streets between
That lead to straggling roads and trail off,
Forgotten in a field of green;

Hours made like mountains lifting
White crests out of the fog and rain,
And woven of forbidden music—
Hours eternal in their pain.

Life is a tapestry of hours
Forever mellowing in tone,
Where all things blend, even the longing
For hours I have never known.


(Source: Academy of American Poets)

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Hazel Hall was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1886. She published three books of poetry, including Walkers (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1923) and Cry of Time (E. P. Dutton, 1928). Hall died in Portland, Oregon, in 1924. “Hours” was originally published in Hall’s collection Curtains (John Lane Company, 1921).

It is a poem that brought me to this country by Anupama Raju

It is a poem that brought me to this country,

a map of rough words, a field of empty seeds.

The first line threw me into a well

of floating foetuses, limbs and two-finger test kits.

I could not breathe.

India is my country and all

Indians are my brothers and sisters.


The second line was kind, pulled me out

in a town where

trees waited for men

men waited for night

women gathered to fight.

I could not breathe.

I love my country and I am proud of its

rich and varied heritage.I shall always

strive to be worthy of it.


The third line flew me over a village where

snakes drank white rivers

hissed at unfaithful gods

and babies slept rocking

to heady songs.

I could not sleep.

I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy.

The fourth line drove me to a mall

of glass fantasies, debris and discounts

where families shopped on delusional credit

Money can buy you love, they said

as they dropped dead.

I did not say goodbye.

To my country and my people,

I pledge my …

Gaza - Sudeep Sen

Published as Gaza - The Hindu, August 02, 2014, written by Sudeep Sen.


Soaked in blood, children, their heads blown out even before they are formed.  Gauze, gauze, more gauze — interminable lengths not long enough to soak  all the blood in Gaza. A river of blood flowing, flooding the desert sands with incarnadine hate. An endless lava stream, a wellspring red river on an otherwise parched-orphaned land, bombed every five minutes to strip Gaza of whatever  is left of the Gaza strip. With sullied hands of innocent children,  we strip ourselves  of all dignity and grace. Look at the bodies  of the little ones killed —  their scarred faces smile, their vacant eyes stare  with no malice at the futility of all the blood that is spilt. And even as we refuse to learn from the wasted deaths of these children,  their parents, country, world — weep blood. Stop the blood-bath — heed, heal.

Biography by Ian Hamilton

Who turned the page? When I went out
Last night, his Life was left wide-open,
Half-way through, in lamplight on my desk:
The Middle years.
Now look at him. Who turned the page?

In an article written for The Guardian, Blake Morrison describes Ian Hamilton's poetry and life's burden's. Here's what he wrote about the poet: "Hamilton, did write about "true things, significant things". And burdened though he was, the best of his poems are marvellous for their unburdenings - for seeming to come out of nowhere ("miraculous lyrical arrivals") and to leave all the doubts behind. This is "Old Photograph": "You are wandering in the deep field / That backs on to the room I used to work in / And from time to time / You look up to see if I am watching you. / To this day / Your arms are full of the wild flowers / You were most in love with." A photo records an instant but the person captured in this one looks up "from time to time", …

An early morning dream..

Sometimes, my dreams are so incoherent.. not that I would like them to be rational always, but when they make sense, it feels great! Last night, I had a long conversation with one of my best friends, and such good talk always leaves me in a very happy spirit. Because I was happy when I went to sleep, I had a really happy yet weird dream today morning. It has been raining continuously throughout the night and the sound of rain partially awoke me, so that I was still half- asleep yet could sense the movements and chaos in the house.
Here's what I dreamt of!

I am walking on the road with my younger sister, and we stop by a stationery shop when I see some Inland letters and Envelopes on display. I ask the shopkeeper for them, and he promptly hands them over to me, when to my surprise I see my name on the envelop. Its addressed to me, complete with my name and an affixed stamp. I read it and its from one of my lost mails. (Since a few months now, my mail is not reaching my address- I …

The wall hanging I never noticed by Dorothea Lasky

I never noticed before
How the red flowers hang from the blue branches
I never noticed before the light in this room
I never noticed the way the air is cool again
I never noticed anything but you
But you but you
So that I couldn’t sleep
I never noticed what was anything but you
Until I noticed you
And could not help it
Until I noticed you I could not help it
Until you made the red flowers alive again
Until the blue branches
The lemons you loved, but also the way you loved me, too
Until all of this I never noticed you
But once I did
I never minded noticing
I never stopped noticing
Until I noticed you
I never stopped noticing
Until you, I never stopped.

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About This Poem “I have a giant piece of Marimekko fabric of blue birds sitting on big branches full of red fruit that hangs in my kitchen window and I wrote this poem while looking at it. This poem is about that feeling you have when y…

Ecology lessons!

Its raining since morning in Mumbai, and although its good to finally have monsoon moisten the dry earth, its not raining hard where it rightfully ought to-- in Eastern Maharashtra, parts of Vidarbha, Marathwada- drought stricken agriculture fields make headlines every day. Its heart-wrenching to watch images of farmers crying for the caked lands bereft of rains on TV.
'Water Conservation' has never found a louder voice than now owing to the depleted water levels in dams, lakes and rivers alike. And, when we thought access to clean drinking water is an issue, access to water itself seems a big problem in the coming years.
I wonder if we are going to learn any ecology lessons now, from these environmental problems signalling trouble since the past five years? We still have nil infrastructure to arrest the wastage of water and sustaining villages on tankers is a high price we are paying for neglecting primal duties of conservation of water resources.

Why do we never learn from o…

Les Miserables

This is from chapter 04, titled 'A heart beneath a stone' from Les Miserables. I first read a translated version in Marathi when I was 14. Those were summer holidays, and I had been pestering my Dad to take me book shopping. He was very busy during those days and now that I remember my adamant and angry behaviour I realise what a tough time I gave him. One sunday afternoon, he took me to a travelling book exhibition, and we spent the entire day by ourselves picking up books, making a list of authors and publishers, reading aloud excerpts.That was when he suggested me to read the translated version of Les Miserables in marathi; I read very little literature in hindi and marathi back then. I took to reading Les Miserables immediately after arriving home. Finished it late at night, and while I thought of the pool of sadness it pushed me unto, it got me thinking about human suffering and sorrow. Many years later, during a monsoon stroll through Flora Fountain after college hours,…

Parched Rage

"At night we will set our poems 
adrift in ginger ale bottles 
each with a clamshell rudder 
each with a piggyback spider" -Maxine Kumin

Today is the last day of June and there's no rain yet. The Earth is parched with the farmer's dry brow, and the heat refuses to heal the chapped lips. The gods are angry, and his children lay awake at night to sleep forever, till dawn, leaving behind those they created to battle everyday deaths.
And I read poetry, trying to figure out the melancholy that leads its way to my heart.
There are weddings happening in the square near where I live, and people dance to music, all frolic, brightly dressed, laden with jewellery, crackers bursting in the hot sun, remains of leftover food lying around, and stray dogs sleeping in the shade of roadside trees. All makes for a depressing sight, and heart-breaking too.
The man who sells flowers sits in a corner on a nearby pavement, busy rolling the jasmine, kewda and frangipani flowers in Palash lea…

Birthdays.

I have started feeling too old for birthdays now. Not only my own, others as well (my friends that is!) I wouldn't want to snatch the joys of younger cousins. Is it owing to a phenomenon known as 'GROWING UP?' I've even started receiving birthday mails that speak more about getting old and grey-haired and wise that saddens me for no reason. Not that I was always a very excited-about-birthdays person, but its nice to see people remember and call you which otherwise rarely happens these days ever since whatsapp has taken over all other forms of communication. I know that I look forward to birthdays only to hear my not-so-distant friends call me and then we catch up on all the long due conversation that could have happened had we not been so busy in our professional lives. Such lies! I have given up feeling sad because a friend I expected would call did not. Honestly, we all should brace ourselves now for such disappointments as we grow old. In fact, I remember what a fr…

Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he’d call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house, Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?
(I cried and cried and cried while reading these lines and for a such a long time after being done with it.. I LOVE YOU, DADDY... I haven't put these sentiments into words yet, trying to...) ***I am such a cry baby!

An interpretation about Sustainability and Sustainable Design

The Merriam-Webster’s have an insightful definition of the word sustainable.
: able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed : involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources : able to last or continue for a long time
When humans first started their civilized journey, this revolution consisted in the development of the domestication of plants and animals and the development of new sedentary lifestyles which allowed economies of scale and productive surpluses. According to Terri Peters, the terms sustainable design and ecological architecture are firmly a part of the contemporary culture of architecture and building. Conservation today aims to preserve the resources available now after the enormous usage and abusage in the past few decades.
Environmental concerns and crisis is now being reflected through the design solutions seen in developing economies. Where glass facades are still seen in aplenty, exposed brick and mud made popular by Laurie B…

"On the Contrary"

We mustn't judge harshly- after all, we must always remember that many times our own actions may be misconstrued. One of my most favorite things to do on an idle day at home is to go through book shelves and leaf through passages from some beloved books.
I laid my hands on "On the Contrary: Essays by Men and Women" edited by Martha Rainbolt and Janet Fleetwood. This book has the finest articles contributed by social and political thinkers like Aristotle, Maya Angelou, Eldridge Cleaver, Simone de Beauvoir, Joan Didion, Lillian Hellman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Adrienne Rich, Mary McCarthy, John Stuart Mill, Susan Sontag, E.B.White, Virginia Woolf..and many more.

Adrienne Rich in an article titled "Taking Women Students Seriously" writes:
Suppose we were to ask ourselves, simply: What does a woman need to know? Does she not, as a self-conscious, self-defining human being, need a knowledge of her own history, her much-politicized biology, an awareness of the crea…

Journalistas- 100 years of the Best Writing and Reporting by Women Journalists

This is one of my most favorite books on Essays by Women. This list of contents was written by someone on Goodreads and I am happy to share it here because its important to have access to some of the most brilliant minds in Journalism. Not all of these articles are written by Journalists. Feminists and Social Thinkers and Writers like Susan Sontag, Alice Walker, Erica Jong, Sylvia Pankhurst, Betty Friedan, Joan Didion, Rebecca West have written searing pieces that ought to be read by all men and women, alike. 
I read this book, way back in 2010 borrowed from American Library and still remember sharing my views and discussing articles while reading, with women co-passengers  during train journeys. They were all pretty excited about the title of the book. I remember talking about Godhra Riots and Women Journalists like Teesta Setalvad who took up the fight on behalf of the victims. Its all fresh in my memory. I long to read this book again. Its tricky to find it in bookstores. Hope many …