Thursday, March 24, 2011

"I read, therefore I am"

While I was growing up, my paternal grandfather always encouraged his grandchildren to read. He nudged us to go to the nearby library and borrow something, anything. Since he was good friends with the library owner and often sat there, it sparked our reading genes. Thus began a long standing relationship with books and me. Ever since my attachment with books and stories has only continued to grow.
Tales of the faraway tree, the famous five, Nancy Drew, Perry Mason, Roald Dahl's children collection and finally to authors for whom a dictionary was a must. Books have always been my escape. Whenever I am sad, I read a book and drown myself in those tales and forget my woes. I was never a picky reader. I loved discovering new authors. When I uncovered someone not so popular, it gave me a high to read what they had to say. But it has to be said that over time some writers left a more lasting impression on me. The elegant style or the power in their simplistic words left me wishing I could have the same effect on someone. I believe my love for telling stories ignited on one of those days. Often I would read phrases that would voice an emotion I was unable to explain. That's the first thing that attracted me to reading and one of the things I love most about books; their ability to reach out to you and do the talking.
They even pull you by the arm and help you dive face forward into that world; that magical world that the author created. I get so lost in a book that I completely zone out. To me, it is a classic sign of a great book and an even better story teller; the unwillingness to put the book down; the uncertainty of whats lurking ahead; the inability to leave the scenes of the book.
While working on my dissertation which focussed on literature I encountered a brilliant writer and poet, Ted hughes. Not so popular as a writer, better known as Sylvia Plath's husband, the man radiated inexplicable talent. He made me dwell on the thought of how tough it is for an outsider to ever understand your pain. I personally believe, he did a magnificent job of putting into words his wife's pain on several occasions. But I think the more you read, fiction as well as non-fiction, you learn to see the world from others points of view. It helps in opening your mind to varied views, thoughts, musings and feelings.
So, I wouldn't be entirely wrong if I feel that my reading helped in shaping my thoughts and in turn shaping me. For indeed, I read and hence I am me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Truth lies in the eye of the beholder.

Recently I spent a lovely weekend with my darling mother, her sister and her mom. Three generations of women sat around one evening and the conversations led us to topics of religion and prevailing circumstances in the streets, temples and corners of Chennai.
For my uneducated mind all the castes and sub castes they mentioned were alien to my ears.But they seemed to know a lot about what they were saying. They had experiences to verify the tale. They discussed the animosity and unreasonable associations people seemed to make to some castes. They noticed a superiority complex prevalent.
After studying about Endogamy, the prevalence of these impressions in peoples minds was reinforced in my thought process. But to hear them discuss how silly it was warmed my heart. It made me see that among all generations there were some that were aware of the insensible discrimination.
My mom is a traditional, spiritual and religious person. Often these terms are associated to a closed individual and sometimes even an orthodox person. But my mom was proving that stereotype wrong. Her faith in God was unwavering and inspiring. She went to temples regularly and attended every Bhajjan she could.For her, the Lord above had multiple forms and faces. If she spent a few hours a day basking in the positive thoughts of any one of the forms, she was happy. Buried beneath all her beliefs was a maturity that enveloped everything else. She put her trust in the power above; without naming God; without questioning size, colour or gender; by just believing in a force superior to her and this world.
When she voiced these strong views, I felt a sense of pride in my smile. She is indeed extremely traditional and religious but her heart is in the right place. And that place has not been touched by discrimination.
If only there were more of her kind, we wouldn't have to hear of the horrid crimes the one we term as "lower castes" are subjected to. I am no body to speak for my experience is not one of isolation or discrimination. But I would want to learn from my mother, to be accommodating, tolerant and imbibing of all faiths, religions and beliefs.
IF not anything else, we have no pre-gifted authority or power to choose a particular kind of life for another soul. No matter what we believe in.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I watched tons of people colour themselves and their lives from the safe confines of the bars of my window today. It pleased me to see the sparkle in their eyes; their joyful screams of surprise when spurts of water hit them. But it did not tempt me to go out and join them, not even once. I enjoyed watching them from the distance I had put between us.
Hours later, I stood at the same window wondering how I had gotten here. How my life had become something I lived so differently from everyone else around me. Have I become so damn serious that I couldn’t go out there and just have some mindless fun? Have I become so uptight that the only joys I get are from working? I have no damn clue.
I am told by Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill that there are several moments in our life when our life goes terribly off course. It is about fighting to get it back on the right track. But what if what I perceive today as an aberration is indeed not.
I step away from the window, putting more distance between the Asian College of Journalism and me. And as I walk towards the mirror contemplating about the past ten months, I realise life is not about what I do, but who I do it with. The void in my life that is still empty after these months will probably stay that way for a long time to come. Somebody, somewhere, at some point of time will probably fill them. Until then, I can do what I like to do and be happy. Even if it is watching from the window.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Danger looms, attachment dooms.

It has always been so easy,
to whine, crib and cry,
to let my darkness grow,
And overcome my soul.

Yet you believed I was superior to it,
you were stubborn that I was stronger,
I stared at the blank ceilings,
to coerce myself to see,
the ache will soon be history.

Just what you hoped I would feel.

I believed it for long enough
I even survived a while,
but the minute you left,
I was lost like a child.

Our relationship is such a cliche.

When I was falling into that abyss,
You saved me,
You brought me back to life,
You put up a fight for me.

In a place where negativity overwhelms
your voice in my head stood out,
it allowed me to feel,
to believe, to love,
To know life is worth living.

When everyone left,
you were still around,
you put me back together,
like a caring mother with her son.

It isn't your fault,
I fell too much in love with you,
your heart, mind and soul,
became the light that guided me forward.

I have grown dependent on you,
you don't see, but it's true.
I cannot live without you.
For you are my light,
in this darkness I live through.

I can't fight it alone.
I still need you around.
For you my dear,
have driven away my every fear.

My dependency is dangerous,
And you must already see,
That I can never probably be,
or even breathe freely without thee.