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Showing posts from April, 2016

Reflections

Good writers read more, then do good readers write more? I have always been quite fixated on counter-questioning everything I read/see/hear. This became more prominent during Architecture school. In a sorts, it was the perfect place that allowed me the time and opportunity to become what I wished to. I never possessed a rebellious streak. School was more about competition for the top three ranks. It did not foster the kind of person I would have liked to become. It was cut-throat competitiveness over grades and being teachers' pet. Every child seemed to vie for attention from teachers. It didn't help that my class was full of smart kids, who excelled in sports, the school curriculum and popularity among peers. Since thinking about those days, I now laugh over how each one of us wanted to outsmart everyone else.
Architecture really gave an open challenge to a lot of people I met in the beginning. It was supposed to be the creamiest of professional courses, something that would…

The Geography of Nowhere

I got caught up and obsessed with sculptural edifices for the entire day yesterday. Somehow a dream from Jhumpa Lahiri's An Unaccustomed Earth made me think of winding, narrow brick lanes and stone sculptures set on pedestals, looking over pedestrians and tourists walking in their slow pace. I ended up browsing pinterest and creating a sculpture board there, pinning and collecting more than 150 sculpture images in about two hours. Was it worth spending two hours on looking at pictures? I definitely think yes. All sorts of stories and theories accumulated in my mind while staring at each one of them. I saw the classical sculptures by Michaelangelo, Bernini, in ancient Greek and Hellenistic styles, by Auguste Rodin as also a lot of garden sculptures and with experimental material usage like hairpins, plastic, masking tape, brown paper. It amazed me and filled me with an acute curiosity to know of what went through the sculptor's mind when he embarked on creating one of his crea…

An Awakening

I wrote a short story and shared it with a friend for his reviews. Now, I am unable to improve upon on the suggested changes. I am stuck. I now understand what a writer's bloc is. It feels like I can't progress beyond what I had originally penned down. Sometimes, it becomes so important to change the course of things in our own way. My friend's suggestions are excellent and all are completely relevant, I still, however can't come to terms with an alternate solution for replacing situations in the story. Partly because, I was the character who lived through every word and moment of the story. 
Suddenly it feels like I am being thwarted from my seat by a force that wants me to be more angry and powerful than I am in the story. My emotions need to be more raw and hard than I let them to be. It is difficult for me to transgress into an unknown territory of emotional upheavals particularly when I lived through the characters' persona. Nevertheless, I keep reminding mys…

Our Future Investments

The shadows engulf me on all sides while I stand in the blazing hot sun looking for some respite from the tireless walking I had been doing all afternoon. I found a large canopy of the Mast tree drooping towards the roadside over the half-broken compound where it stood tall. I always feel that trees have a lot of self-pride for the way they stand tall and long on their ground and a drooping tree is merely an aged soul. Why I am writing this is because of the solace I felt in that intense heat in the shaded enclaves. While walking I was thinking of the story I had been working on for a competition organised by a daily newspaper. As I almost struggled with piecing the sequence of events in my story mentally, I became aware of the surroundings I walked past. The vivid blue mosaic tiles of a nearby recreation centre caught my attention and instantly lifted my spirits. Some colours carry an intense mood changing character like fuchsia, blue, yellow, orange which brighten and uplift a spac…

Season of Sharing

What a beautiful day! I would have not imagined spending another seemingly important day of my life doing all the things I love better than today. I went to the library, picked a Kazuo Ishiguro book, my first from the author to begin on the Bard's birthday. The newspapers had well-written articles on Shakespeare's literary genius and uncovering the man he was beneath the playwright and sonneteer. 
It's the love and longing we all desire from our loved ones that makes us humane. In all our capacity as individuals who are rooted with their hearts in their families, friends and the people we connect to over our lifetime. I received a beautiful letter from my faraway friend and she captured the essence of a happy day in few words and drove me to tears. Isn't this an intrinsic quality of us humans, that we heal and melt with a few kind words and deeds? It was Vincent Van Gogh who said, Nothing awakens us to the reality of life so much as a true love. And who could say he w…

The bricks that built houses

I woke up today morning smelling the sickly sweet fragrance of Champa. Perhaps it was but a dream. I sprang up as quickly as I could and walked through the house to see where the illusionary fragrance of flowers was drawing me. The house was dark and the faint light that crept from the curtained windows made me sit in the dark for nothing. I sat down on the floor in a yogic pose, drew in deep breaths of air and sat still, waiting for some feeling to flood me over. All I felt at that moment was a sombre sigh at the darkness that engulfed me. I drew the curtains and peered out at the morning glow. It left me with an awakened sense of belonging. I thought of the rising sun and my heart was awash with joy for some unknown reason. I slowly opened the windows and the gust of cold wind gave me a rare pleasure. While growing up there had been umpteen times when I stood by these windows and looked outside at the sky and the Jamun tree with its fruits squashed and spread underneath its huge le…

The Story

Does it ever happen that we completely run out of words to say or things to express? I have started thinking it has happened to me this month. April is Academia time and I've had hands full of academic work- exams, assignments, deadlines. My work got the better of my desire to write everyday or regularly at least. Now, April is ending and here I am looking towards the many possibilities and events that shaped the past few days.
A very interesting conversation that came up between my parents and me last night was about living according to society's will and living on individual principles. While they said, that us humans must make compromises and settle so that we fit in the society we live, my mind was churning exactly different thoughts. One part of me was saying that we ought to mix in the society we live in and other said, we ought to also live on our terms & principles. Is that too much of a chaos to deal with? Why are we so tied with a society that doesn't believ…

Architecture systems

One of the outright benefits of being a voracious reader is getting asked questions and research help on architecture and history. I am always a bit too happy to read/talk on Architecture. It gives a fresh sense of belonging even when my design philosophy doesn't agree with the current practices and state of Architecture in India or other places. One, I am anti-glass. My visualisation of Architecture has been and will always be devoid of glass. It is disruptive to put in one word. It is distracting too. Not to forget the extra essentials glass buildings demand in hot climates. It is not a very viable or suitable material for tropical countries. Yet, our fixation with glass has overgrown over the years. Partly because of a blind imitation of western architecture? Perhaps. Also, partly because of the lack of visionaries who had a big say in channelising the architectural traditions in this country. Today when I look around and read about the glossy outcome of architecture that incl…

Musings

I was going through my diary entries from last year and found the following lines written on one of the pages.
'Summer days I remember The Sultry melanch'
I don't quite recall now why I have left that word incomplete and where do these lines belong. I have never left anything unfinished and this is really a mystery to me. The first two entries on the diary page are lines from Dylan Thomas and T.S. Eliot. It's quite strange to be honest. I have googled a very many combinations of these incomplete lines but nothing has turned up so far. I am not sure if this is a poem or a verse. Aah! I wish I could just go back to last year when i was writing it and finish the lines. I get quite restless if I can't decipher a puzzle. And this is nothing short of a mystery.
I suppose its time hasn't come yet. Someday I will know what words come next to melancholy. Right now I feel what Virginia Woolf once felt.

I wish it were possible. Things come to such a standstill when we don&…

City Trees

THE trees along this city street Save for the traffic and the trains, Would make a sound as thin and sweet As trees in country lanes.
And people standing in their shade Out of a shower, undoubtedly Would hear such music as is made Upon a country tree.
Oh, little leaves that are so dumb Against the shrieking city air, I watch you when the wind has come,-- I know what sound is there.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay




Some of my most favourite illustrations that accompany certain poems happen to feature trees in them. Cassia Fistula also known as Amaltaas in India, Copper Pod, Laburnum with its golden shower is also described in a lot of novels written by C.S.Lewis, Oscar Wilde, even J.R.R.Tolkien. In urban spaces, increasingly as there is a shortage of space for housing, on-site trees are often cut by builders and property developers to build a concrete community. We don't even feel the lack of green where we live as anything amiss in our surrounding environment. Many years ago, I witnesse…

Babbling April, 1925

"And beauty will return again to common things, And firmness to the heart's resolvings. No fear will haunt the drift of fancyings." And here I pay a tribute to the man who died this day today, 25 years ago in 1991, Graham Greene. I have not read his novels but I have read his poetry and his poems have made a great impact on me as a sensitive person. I am not into reading fiction and this is why I never read Greene's works. The local library I frequent has shelves stocked with Greene's novels and yet I have managed to go past them without ever casting a glance over the titles. Some of my friends are huge fans of Sidney Sheldon, Stephen King, John Grisham but I have never heard any of them speaking of Greene. It's strange but perhaps Greene demands the kind of serious attention that these other mentioned authors don't. Let's not be judgemental but Greene wrote on a serious Catholic perspective in his novels. The moral and immoral fight against each oth…

April Authors

Yay! 'Tis the month of April, and April brings so much literary joy to me. The number of authors born this month is humongous. 
Let me start with Emile Zola. Born today in 1840, Zola was influenced by Balzac, Stendhal, Charles Darwin and Flaubert among many others. He wrote about the derelict society under the influence of alcohol and violence which became more prevalent during the second wave of industrial revolution in France. In one of his most famous works, The Masterpiece he wrote, From the moment I start a new novel, life’s just one endless torture. The first few chapters may go fairly well and I may feel there’s still a chance to prove my worth, but that feeling soon disappears and every day I feel less and less satisfied. I begin to say the book’s no good, far inferior to my earlier ones, until I’ve wrung torture out of every page, every sentence, every word, and the very commas begin to look excruciatingly ugly. Then, when it’s finished, what a relief! Not the blissful d…

April, here you come.

Four months into the year already. How quickly is time running by us! One moment it was the first day of a new year and the next, we are onto the beginning of summer. Each year, I go through the April anxiety I have lived for the past decade. It is a divider between my to-do things in year and the ones I've accomplished. Somehow, the first three months always are terrible. I go through a lot of disappointments till March. Probably it is because I am always unsure of what I am supposed to do and I cannot get out of the 'will fail' mindset. But then April arrives and everything turns over, takes a new leaf over my messed tree of thoughts.
Something about time is so colloquially apt in our lives. Our race is not against time, but against ourselves. I don't hint to the past or the future but the present in which we struggle so hard to establish our existence on the timepiece. My Dad always said to me after I failed at something that there's always a next time. I never…