Friday, February 24, 2012

My iridescent bubble

These are such perfect alone days of contentment. I converse when I want to, I clam-up whenever I feel like. I'm  no longer good, no longer worried about being good. No pressure of trying to live up to an image that people conjure for me. I, somehow, could never live-up to anyone's expectations, I frequently disappoint. 

Perfect days of contentment,
stretch their legs in my chair,
and sleep in my bedroom.
While I watch, 
from another room.

We don't talk,
the days have their hours to keep,
I have some words.
To write,
from another room.

There are no curtains though,
I remember who wants them,
There are no sparrows too.
An empty room,
from another room.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A happy insomnia

I wonder what could be the cause for me being awake every night these days. I'm not worried or tense, I just find it very soothing to be up till 4 a.m. The world is quiet and the early morning cool steadily creeps onto you and makes your toes go cold.

Cold, that is one thing I miss from my Doon, the winters when the hands go numb and the eyes water. February is a strange month in Dun, just like September. It's too cold inside and too warm in the Sun, there's a steady breeze that blows throughout the day, making those curtains flutter.

Aaaah and the nights are amazing. I usually sit out in the verandah, jostling with my ageing dog, who still likes to think he has the vigour of a two year old. You can smell the weather changing, the wet clammy monsoon giving way to the clear, crisp autumn.

The freshly painted night sky with the Orion and his dog, rising in the south, chasing Lepus. There is a slow moon that rises from the East, starting just under the hills, and about as big as my palm. On nights like these, I just sit out and stare at the skies, tracing those stories. I miss such a sky in Bangalore. I miss those mango trees, our red gate, the seasonal river, that road up the hill.

But then I forget all this when I am in Bangalore, I never seem to hanker for anything from home. I think they go into some dark corner of my sub-conscious and snapped shut. Only once did I dream of those wild flowers that grow on the hilly slopes of Mussoorie. I could feel that dew, cold on my palm, and smell that wet grass. I woke up. Funny, how it's never funny.

I guess in these early mornings, I remember a lot of things that I loved and have left behind. What I wouldn't give to watch the Sun rise from behind those mountains and sit in the bare branches of that gigantic semul tree.

Ending summer

In days of despair,
I offer a prayer
of breaths and whispers,
half-lies and apologies.

Hope ferments
a dreamer's mind,
drunken wild with visions -
of mountains and a stream.

To have a home
beneath those stars,
while the world goes round,
chasing its tail,
giddy to its teeth.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A letter from Israel

Life has a habit of surprising us, I'm saying this because one fine day I received this bit of very personal information in an official communication from a colleague in Israel.

He, I imagine, would have been pleasantly surprised to find somewhat of a Jewish name in far-off India. And I was equally pleased to receive these following words -

"You might find it interesting that your first name "Shakul" means: a person who is responsible and gives a good thought to things before he/she makes a move. Shakul comes from the word "lishkol", which means to weigh stuff, like fruits for example. :-) I thought I write it to you even that it has nothing to do with the CSN."

Thank you Roy for taking the time and effort to provide me with something that I'm going to cherish for the rest of my life. And now I can tell my mom where the most probable origin of my name lies :)

The entropy of elegance

Can we say something without saying everything? What determines the threshold of words to express our ideas? And what is elegance anyways?

Haven't we all faced that time where we could have said something in a better way? A witty repartee, a quick retort. A swan gliding on a stream; watching as the interlocutors' questions unravel on themselves.

Somewhat like an implosion, eating up its dust. How beautifully unrealistic. Do you remember the scene where an expression says it all? No words could have expressed whatever that gesture did, not so perfectly at least.

Why do we still cling to poetry and aphorisms to express and understand the world around us? Does a limiting structure guide and compress our expression into a powerful idiom? I believe it does. Words in an insipid sentence lose their rhythm and convey a meaning that is bland to clerical precision.

How many times has a legal paragraph stirred you? It makes perfect, technical sense and yet it conveys nothing. It just trots along mechanically, without breaking a sweat, while our fallible minds and hearts respond to that mystic rhythm of line and metre.

An elegance conjured out of words, their placements, their meanings and contradictions and the apparent dissonance between them. A harmony from the entropy of alphabets.

I ask them to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide or press an ear against its hive. I say drop a mouse into a poem and watch him probe his way out, or walk inside the poem's room and feel the walls for a light switch. I want them to waterski across the surface of a poem waving at the author's name on the shore. But all they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a confession out of it. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.

                   - Introduction to Poetry
by Billy Collins

Thursday, June 16, 2011

An anthology of Urdu poetry

I have to admit it is one of  the most prized books in my collection, being my first and only copy of Urdu poetry, gifted so thoughtfully by Raj.

Urdu is a fascinating language, so delicate and graceful that you cannot go wrong with it even if you were to pronounce the basest syllables of it. It gives human speech a whole new dimension, an almost unspeakable aura of ethereal beauty. And to think that it was born in the military camps of the Persian rulers of India; a child of Pharsi and Hindustani.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My alarm clock

I just unearthed the alarm clock from my college days.It had been lying in a pile of forgotten belongings for these past five years, until I decided to rescue it. A battery change later, it's ticking off cheerily and has even assured me with its shrill electronic dual tone alarm.

Hmmm ... wonder why I feel so rejuvenated, so young because of a ticking clock. Isn't it supposed to work the other way? The clock running our youth down, grimly indicating to us the fleeting nature of time.

I guess it reminds me of my college days, when it would sit pretty on top my study table and when my life used to be regulated by its two unequal whiskers. All these years, I have been free of it, waking and sleeping and slouching as I please but today I have found that determined friend who will goad me to a schedule.

Its good to have friends.