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Showing posts from March, 2016

On this day!

On this day today, exactly eight years ago I met somebody who since then has become an essential part of my life. It began with a discussion on 'Illusions' and turned to literature, human existential crisis, historical references and has continued till today. We discuss, talk, argue, write long mails to each other attacking and defending our views on topics that range from Mughals, Indian History, Societal degradation, Art, institutions of marriage & companionship and a lot many things. This friend has influenced and channelled a lot of positive thinking into me. I usually talk of Keats and beauty and truth in the same breath while my friend carefully fragments beauty and truth as ideals and groups Keats with Gulzar. We meet only once a year and that meeting lasts for about an hour or two in which we cram Atticus & Morrie, gender stereotyping, political hoodwinking, architecture and social accountability whilst savouring the absolute pleasure of our brief meetings.
As…

पिवळे उन

आज मी बऱ्याच दिवसांनी ट्रेनचा प्रवास केला. तसा नेहमीच करते, पण आज पुस्तक वाचता- वाचता गर्दी कमी असल्याकारणाने बाहेर खिडकीतून बघायला मिळालं. काही विचार डोक्यात आले. जिथे उतरले तिथून ज्या रस्त्यावर पायपीट करायला सुरुवात केली तिथे ताम्रशिंबी अर्थात कॉपर पॉड ची ओळीने लावलेली असंख्य झाडं रस्ताभर मला साथ करत होती. पिवळ्या रंगाची अशी उधळून पाहून मन प्रसन्न झालं. मला उगाच त्या रस्त्यावरून परत येता जाता फिरायला आवडेल असं वाटून गेलं. मी मुंबईतल्या फोर्ट भागातल्या छोट्या रस्त्यांवर अशीच फिरते. एकटीने चालायला मला फार आवडतं. डोक्यात असंख्य विषय असतात, त्यांच्याशी एक द्वंद सतत चालू असतं. चेहरा निर्विकार ठेवून फिरणं आता मला जमतं. पूर्वी मी करत असलेल्या विचारांनी फार गुंगून गेल्यामुळे माझ्या चेहऱ्यावर त्रासिक भाव फार पटकन उमटायचे. आता थोडं शहाणपण आलंय. आज रस्त्याने चालताना, ऐन उन्हात त्या पिवळ्या फुलांनी बहरलेल्या झाडांनी फार आत्मिक समाधान आणि शांतता दिली माझ्या विचलित चित्ताला. गेल्या कित्येक दिवसांपासून सारखं माझी फार घालमेल होतेय, सतत अजून न घडणाऱ्या गोष्टींनी मला फार चिंतातूर केलंय. कोणाशी बोलून…

Of magic and childhood!

I am happy and I feel guilty about it. There's so much grief and sadness and tragedy taking place around us everyday and that makes me question if my happiness really deserves a mention here. Let me express it here though. I have exams coming up in the next ten days and I've been quite stressed over all the academic work. But I have found a great source to relieve all this stress. It's called Sketchbook Express. It is an Autodesk digital painting software. I have always been wary of using software. I love handmade stuff, designs, cards everything. I just took to using it and created something from my childhood. It's a very special dream sequence. 
As a kid, I dreamt of oceans and undersea kingdoms a lot besides dreaming of aeroplanes and skies. So, here I was recreating my childhood fantasy world. I was a huge believer and admirer of Mermaids and Magic. Just the other day my younger sister asked me if I ever felt disappointed by the fact that magic was not real, it did…

LIVE!

So March is about to end in three days. I have written a blog post every day in March, consistently. And I am so happy and proud to have stuck to my resolve of writing daily here. It is wonderful to have thought of so many things daily and have the opportunity of sharing them here. Writing without any inhibitions. Of course, this has made me realise how difficult it is to continue something every single day without pulling any stops on the way.
It's not easy to write daily. You know, open the computer, think of words to come out on subjects that vary from feminism, poetry to childhood memories. It does help that these happen to be my favourite things, my areas of interest and so I can speak, write and also read about them tirelessly. It takes even less time to develop an idea into the core of issues to fully fathom what it really means to me. The effects of everything that I have been living daily through reading, seeing things the way they are and choosing to delve into them, to…

Let it go!!

And the storm rages on!
There is a big one inside me, right now. I don't quite know how to contain it. It's a very confusing thought to ponder upon because everything is so hazy and blurry and I can't see clear through anything. I have always had a strong clarity of thought since I know how to express and articulate the happenings in my life. But I just don't feel so confident or self-assured about my strong convictions these days. It's like a bizarre dream I am in, only I can't see what it ends in and where it leads me ahead. I have always, always had a very clear journey chartered in front of me, I have visualised the paths that lead me to my goals. I have been headstrong about having a desire, a dream and a vision and the fiercest of beliefs that I am going to make this all come true. Down these years, sometimes my focus has loosened its hold upon the dreams and the passion too, so I feel haywire now. I am constantly looking for inspiration from outside. It…

10 ways to be happy

I just came back from meeting a friend who is home on a holiday. I was excited about meeting her because she only flies down home once a year and her stay at home lasts exactly a week. So we met and got talking about life, hers and mine, and friends when I told her about my academic plans. Now I regret it. A casual interaction with her has left me feeling depressed about my choices in life. They might not have been as brilliant and bright like hers but they have been my own. I take full responsibility for my life's decisions and how I have handled different things to come so far. It hurt to feel so demeaned by someone I once looked up to.
So, while walking back home I kept thinking of ways one could be happy or at least pretend to be to avoid some embarrassment in public or with friends and family. Since I am no Mr. Bean, this post does not display any humour and perhaps the seriousness might not get down well with everyone reading the post. I go ahead with these TEN WAYS TO BE H…

तर्काच्या खुंटीवरून निसटलेलं हास्य

केवळ काहीतरी रोज लिहायचं म्हणून लिहिणारे असे कितीक असतील आणि मनातलं कागदावर ओथंबून देण्यासाठी लिहिणारे किती असतील? नुसती उगाच आकडेमोड नकोच. हल्ली लोकांना फार लवकर राग येतो आणि तो लवकर व्यक्त सुद्धा होतो. तर्कावरून सुरु झालेला प्रवास तर्कशुद्ध विवेचनावरच थांबतो असं तर अजिबातच होत नाही. काल एका मराठी वृत्त वाहिनीवर हैदराबाद मध्ये कन्हैया कुमार वर चप्पल फेकली गेली त्यावर चर्चासत्र बघितलं. इतके खुजे लोक राजकारणात आहेत आणि असं विषारी राजकारण करतात हे बघून वाईट तर वाटलच पण आपल्या देशाच्या गौरवशाली परंपरेबद्दल ह्या लोकांच्या मनात किती भ्रामक समजुती आहेत, याचादेखील प्रत्यय आला. 
मुळातच विद्यार्थी चळवळ हि काही आज किंवा काल सुरु झालेली चळवळ नाही. तिला देखील काही इतिहास आहेच. आजच्या राजकारणात मुरलेली मंडळी जेव्हा इतका विखारी विद्यार्थी द्वेष व्यक्त करतात तेव्हा आश्चर्यापेक्षा त्यांची मला कीवच जास्त येते. एका विद्यार्थ्याने तुम्हाला एवढं जेरीस आणलं आहे कि त्याच्यावर तुम्ही आता चप्पल देखील फेकतात, त्याला जीवे मारायची धमकी देतात, हात पाय तोडणे यासारख्या फुटकळ घोषणा करतात आणि त्याला तुमचे तितकेच मह…

Blue blistering barnacles!!!!!

Conformity may give you a quiet life; it may even bring you to a University Chair. But all change in history, all advance, comes from the nonconformists. If there had been no trouble-makers, no dissenters, we should still be living in caves.  -A.J.P. Taylor, historian (25 Mar 1906-1990)
I have never been this frustrated with people or events or my country. Sure enough I always remember what John F. Kennedy said about "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Yes, I keep this quote in mind but the current political monkeyism is getting on my nerves.
How on earth did we come to this point of having to threaten, thrash, jail, molestate students who are protesting for their rights and exercising their fundamental constitutional right to speech and expression? I am baffled to see the top guns in the government especially the HRD minister who about a week ago cried in Parliament and passionately explained her love and concern for the studen…

On a cleaning spree

My Dad is on a cleaning spree today. So, I joined him too. We started from cleaning the Air Conditioning unit. Much to my Dad's chagrin, a pair of pigeons had set up their luxurious abode behind the unit. I pulled a face at the items we found in the nest; long thin knitting needles, chocolate wrappers, cotton, pigeon poop, yarn threads and pen refills. My Dad meticulously cleaned the area, sprayed a disinfectant over it and dusted the cobwebs off the external walls. It was a lot of work. Dad is like a superman with a vacuum cleaner and I was his glad assistant. It's fun to work with my father. He cracks jokes and tells me his school memories, we often end up laughing for long hours.
Tomorrow we are cleaning the old trunks and the books inside them. Since we are running out of space now in our house for stocking newer books, Dad and me have decided to have a look inside the trunks and chuck unnecessary material. Both of us have an undying love for the old. We store magazines, …

Too much of everything

There is simply too much to do. Too much academic strain, too much to stress about life's not-so-good moments, too much sorrow, too much work I would like to accomplish in 24 hours than I usually get done. This 'too much' is creating a big havoc in my brain right now. I find myself in a constant dilemma to wade my way through all this seemingly messy chaos. Is chaos ever organized?
As I go through another round of exams and academia, just for a tiny second a thought about whether this is all really worth crosses my mind. But it's best to shove all this unwanted negative thinking under the carpet. Some days are bad, some days are good, but in the end it all comes down to our grit and self- confidence. Yes, yes, I have been falling into a quite persistent cycle of hopelessness, self-trust and misplaced faith. It's a chakra- an endless rabbit hole where I keep tugging towards a spirit that pulls me down at ends and sometimes just lifts and soars my heart to great hop…

The Third Eye

I began photography when I was 17 and my Dad gifted me an expensive Casio Digital Camera for college. Prior to owning a digital camera, I had only clicked pictures through a 35 mm Kodak camera. My father never refused me the access to his camera and even printed the pictures I had clicked which sometimes were blurred, or in tilted angles which we can say, bad quality pictures. He would sit me down and explain me the techniques of holding the camera, looking through the lens and at the subject, arranging a frame and such details.
After I got the Digital camera, I made a great use out of it. Wherever and whenever I travelled, my camera would be packed first. It gave me a great sense of freedom of storytelling as I captured numerous images and almost became the official family photographer. Both my great grandmothers were alive till 2007 when I clicked many of their pictures. Unfortunately, my grandpa died in April 2005, and it always made me sad that I could not click his pictures or c…

The School of Life

I just learned the biggest lesson of my life. GIVING is the most beautiful and selfless act of compassion we can commit as humans. A beggar woman came wandering in my apartment complex with her two young children- a toddler boy and her infant girl. She asked for some food and clothes for her children. It was a heart-breaking sight. My mother heard her and packed some food and clothes for the kids and a saree with blouses for the woman. As I went down to give her these things, I heard some woman shout angrily at her about entering the complex saying it wasn't open to beggars. The woman kept pleading about her kids and to have some mercy. I reached and gave her the food first and she kept blessing me, until I gave her the saree seeing which her eyes filled with tears. She lifted aside her torn shawl and said she has been wearing rags so that she could cover her kids. When I handed her the kids clothes, she almost sprang to touch my feet. I was in tears to see her do it. What have w…

Over the moon

I feel over the moon right now. Two reasons; first, I finally seem to have mastered the map of the world and second, one of my dear friends who had been busy studying Law at a faraway place wrote to me after a long time. It's the happiness from two good things that have happened to me today and I am just so overwhelmed. The geography of the world was really getting under my nerves. I had always been a good geography student during school and then also during architecture, when we would roam cities and distant places, with maps, without maps. I used to take pride in the fact that unlike the stereotyped notion of women having no sense of maps and directions, I could actually read them, understand and arrive on locations and could also direct people in need. But this world map was mocking me and teasing about having lost practice of locating places on maps. One of my favourite childhood games and even today, is naming countries and their capitals. I was obsessed with information abo…

Summer nostalgia

Everything that announces the onset of summer is here. There are watermelon mounds arranged everywhere in the market, the Gulmohar has started blooming its red blossoms prominently, the plants on my mother's garden sill have started flowering with a rage of colours and birds are making their nests on our Air conditioning unit. The hot, sticky summer nights are here and I have been gorging on ice creams almost daily. My mother has stacked our refrigerator with different flavours of home-made cold syrups. Hot nights are making people go for long walks post dinner in my town which is nice since this way everyone gets to meet each other. The mornings are still a bit cooler than the daytime but the poor ducklings in the lake prefer to stay in water and have stopped moving around the jogging track around the lake. I miss their familiar greetings on my morning jogs by the lakeside.
Summer brings nostalgia too, esp, visiting my grandparents home during school holidays. Now that I have gr…

Happiness!

Suddenly after a regular, mundane week of carrying the same activities comes a day like today. I am super happy. I revived my National Geographic account on the internet and posted a few entries. They received such a tremendous response that this encouragement has made me look at everything in a new light. Suddenly, everything seems full of life and lively vigour and my spirits have undergone a positive change. I feel that the spark I felt was missing is here for me to reclaim and embrace again.
I wish to share a photograph here that is very dear to me. I clicked this last year during a Christmas vacation on a hill- station with my family. All of us went for an evening walk to see the sunset and hill tops tend to surprise walkers. We were transfixed by the changing soft glow of sun and the incessant chirping of birds that seemed to magnify its sound over the quiet walkways. Somewhere between walking through the uphill roads, my father stopped and took out his cell phone to see the ti…

Into the caverns of memory

......Books, quotes, poetry, words, images, music, conversations, people, laughter, sorrow, belonging-- things that I discover fresh from my memories. Umberto Eco makes me want to dwell into the many confines of events that now lay bundled together in my brain. Sometimes, rain does this- invokes a melancholy of people and bygone events. Music also makes me wander into the deep recesses of my dreams and nostalgia stored away. I remember a time when I thought travel was the ultimate way of getting away from stress and the mundane chaos of everyday life. But even this illusion broke its wings quickly. I realised and understood that travel couldn't substitute for the longing I felt in my heart for things unknown. It was just another route on the way to discovering ourselves, a means to say.
Sometimes after reading auto-biographies I fall in awe of all these greats who could remember great details from their early lives or perhaps, they had made notes of it. What an absurd thought tha…

Jolene and Russell on relationships, marriage and morals!

This has to be the longest title of any post I've written here. Like I wrote in the last post, I attended my best friend's wedding, then came home, went to my local library and picked up a book on people who love to read. Therein, found Dr. Shriram Lagoo's personal experiences of how he started reading and what he read through his medical college years, as an actor which he admitted gave him a lot of time to read. One of the books he mentioned was "Marriage and Morals" by Bertrand Russell. I did some internet searching and settled on an online reader. That said, Russell kills the traditional conservativeness SO, SO, highly prevalent in the Indian society today as was in the western society back then. The European conservatives were not impressed by Russell's rather outrageous take on something of an institution that was made sacred through ages of hard work of bourgeois and puritan value enforcers.
I have also quite coincidentally been listening to Dolly Par…

My Best Friend, Me, and a Wedding!

Two days of inadvertent internet detoxification did me no good. Instead it served to my ever increasing anxiety of not meeting submission deadlines, missing important mails and also, feeling handicapped about not knowing the world news. I say this with such ferocity as if all this matters hugely. At that moment, it seems like it does. Mostly, our own preoccupied notions of being busy does the bit.
Today is different. Everything seems so different and a soothing calm reigns over today. One of my best friends, Sneha got married today. Seeing her in the traditional wedding attire and all decked up in jewellery and make up, smiling every time the photographer asked her to, made me nostalgic of our times together. How in knowing each other since 11 years has made us finish each other's sentences, from passionate, long book conversations to feminist discussions at Anand ice creams, not giving hood to passers by and indulging in endless hours of talk. Our journey really began during a t…

Wake up and smell the coffee

‘The only way to get rid of temptation,’ Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ‘is to yield to it.’I am yet to experience this personally. The temptation to keep buying books when I enter book stores doesn't end even after buying more than I can carry back home. The temptation to eat sweets even though I have had more than my share is difficult to get rid off merely by yielding to it. The temptation of spending time with my beloved ones without watching the clock ceases to come to reality. Good things end so early. But then, we need these restrictions. We really do. Our fickle minds need some discipline.

It was Ben Franklin who wrote in his Autobiography- ‘I wish’d to live without committing any fault at any time; and to conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into.’ The virtues he listed were temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquillity, chastity and humility.

A new acquaintance

I got acquainted with a young poet blogger recently. She has just appeared for her Class Twelfth board exams. I am so happy to see her innocent and non-judgemental approach to everyday things in life. It feels a very long time to have met a fresh and bright youngster like her who has a way with words. She wrote to me about how she knows her poetry is childish but she is thankful for the encouragement she receives. Made me even more proud of her. It's rare for her age kids to have a sense of self in this increasingly self-obsessed, social media world full of narcissist people.
I look back to myself at her age and realise times even then were changing so fast. It's just that we didn't realise they were and we did not get pulled into a bubble as fast as today's children are into a consumerist world. The capital waving, spending teen was yet to be manufactured on a large scale. But I also remember the same uncertainties that teenagers face regarding their careers, educati…

O' Womaniya

I watched 'Prem Rog' today. Yes that movie which is tagged as a super hit romantic movie on youtube, for reasons unknown. Raj Kapoor is said to have returned to making movies on social causes with this in 1982. It has been 34 years since then that the truth of widow remarriage as documented in the movie is a harsh reality even today for millions of young girls and women across India. Why can't we really let go off these horrendous cultural norms passed off as traditions? Why can't we let them go?
My heart cries knowing that in remote areas where the families don't have an inkling of their constitutional rights but only the village council decrees and rely on their unfair verdicts as justice. There is so much angst building up inside me right now. Anger marrs sense of judgement and ability to distinguish between right and wrong. There is this helplessness against the shoddy condition of women in villages, hamlets, tribal districts and places where they are still sh…

The Bell Jar and me

“I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.” —Sylvia Plath  No amount of feminism is ever going to stop mothers from constantly worrying about the presence of grey hair on their daughters' heads or their sense of clothing. My mother is also no exception. When I ask her opinion about what kind of outfit to wear for a dear friend's wedding, she gives me a list of the entire wardrobe, some of which I don't even remember ever putting on myself. And when I reject outfit after outfit giving reasons like the colour's too bright or too embellished or too fancy for a wedding, she shoots me her awful look and goes on a long tirade. Some of which includes how could I possibly not want to wear good clothes or if I buy them to adorn the wardrobe or that I had no sense of personality and that people judge you by clothes and me looking like a hawk alienates people. There is more but I can't…

International Women's Day 2016

"One of the things the women’s movement does is to make you feel pain. You have to have a lot of courage to accept that if you commit yourself, over the long term, not just for three months, not for a year, not for two years, but for a lifetime, to feminism, to the women’s movement, that you are going to live with a lot of pain. In this country that is not a fashionable thing to do. So be prepared for the therapists. And be prepared for the prescriptions. Be prepared for all the people who tell you that it’s your problem, it’s not a social problem, and why are you so bitter, and what’s wrong with you? And underneath that is always the presumption that the rape was delusional, that the battery did not happen, that the economic hardship is your own unfortunate personal failing. Hold onto the fact that that’s not true: it has never been true." — Andrea Dworkin, “Feminism: An Agenda,” from Letters from a War Zone, 1988


We would have hoped that 16 years into the 21st century would …

Ek Radha, Ek Meera

I first heard this song in late October two years ago. Then on International Women's Day on March 8th last year, a casual talk on the portrayal of women in movies and literature on twitter set a discussion going. There is always a Penelope waiting for an Odysseus, who remains faithful and protects her virtue keeping suitors at bay, while her husband is away. Why? Why do we never find an Odysseus who waits for his Penelope when she is not ready? Do we ever find representation of women as other than waiting damsels in distress?
This song titled, "Ek Radha, Ek Meera" from the Raj Kapoor directed movie, Ram Teri Ganga Maili speaks of the anguish Meera and Radha go for loving the same person. I am not going to dissect the song, but hearing it over and over, one can't help feel a bit sorry for Meera. Torn between bhakti(devotion) and love, these two represent women from all ages and lands. Why, it is Descartes himself who wrote something on the lines of how both men and wo…