Confidence in nonsense is a requirement for the creative process

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chocolate or strawberry?


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How does one make decisions? What is the process? writing the pros and cons..evaluating them..weighing priorities ..

coming to a conclusion..

but when your brain has tied all the loose ends into a tidy little bow..

and you are feeling mighty pleased about the achievement..

the heart pulls a little nagging string.. at the very edge..

so tiny you don’t see it ..

because that’s the thing with the heart..

it doesn’t like to impose..

it won’t state out loud..

it will be shy ..

it will hope and wait for it’s turn

which we rarely give it..

and then when we don’t..

..it decides to win.

 

Aside

 

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does age reduce creativity?

wanting to write and being able to write are completely different things now..

that wasnt the case.. words would flow.. they would capture me in the oddest of moments.. not necessarily beautiful words or thoughts to move anyone.. but words nevertheless.. they used to be my friends.. my companions in the solitude ..

now they seem to have de-friended me..

age was easiest to blame.. but maybe it is life..

maybe it is getting caught in this trauma of a daily routine..

of running madly..

not having a dream.. or being afraid to have one..

or finding them too hard to accomplish and just burying them in the sand..

now washed away by the tides..

with no time to look for new ones..

 

found a piece of paper..


There’s this problem always of being unsatisfied with anything that goes on…

this longing…

this urge for change..

to go ahead of where one is and at the same time to stay and relax and think..

none of these happen…

all that happens is a run

a continuous fight against fate willing it to change..

never feeling good about what it sees us as..

rather wanting it to see us the way we want to..

and then end up in despair..

only to get up and go on again.. 

 

on this corner of the road I stand waiting for a signal…

Let him keep the rest..


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One of my favorite bloggers, wrote a poignant post exploring the need for a ‘defined’ self. It reminded me of a poem which we learnt in school, the Pulley, which has always stuck with me. The possibility that restlessness, is a steady state for man.. Of others, I don’t know, but it holds true for me. I am not an extraordinary brain .. just your average Jane and yet I have never felt satisfied. With a good life, a great job, amazing family. Having everything that is considered a privileged life.
Its never about having more.
Its always about having ‘right’. and what is right, I don’t know ..yet. Not knowing what I want can become a major hurdle in getting it..sounds paradoxical..
but that’s what it is.. the constant longing of wanting to be in a place where I’m not. The constant desire to be at peace.. which I am told can only be found within me. It is in me that I can seek the answers to my questions. But the questions .. they are yet not complete..

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When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by;
Let us (said he) pour on him all we can:
Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flow’d, then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all his treasure
Rest in the bottom lay.

For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.

– George Herbert

Aside

Facade..


Image

They say

it gets easier..

the pain fades

the nicks and cuts disappear

bruises heal

as time flows .. the sharp edges smoothen..

but that’s just the surface, isn’t it?

All grimy cities have pretty facades..

The shorthand of emotion..


is what Leo Tolstoy calls music..

The portraits are of one of the greatest musicians India has known, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. He is the master of the Sarod which is also known as ‘Shardiya Veena’ which basically implies that it is an ancient instrument. I recently had the good fortune of attending his concert and this was the first time I had the opportunity to photograph an event like this. Magical is all I can say.

Music is not something I’m qualified to talk about but I’m passionate about it. Indian classical music more so..because of its complexity and simplicity.. I’m not at liberty due to copyright to post video or audio files from the concert itself but attaching a clip of the Maestro playing the sarod in case you have not heard him play before..

also, the ISO was purposefully high to get the grainy romantic feel…and also because it was too dark :p

"You are the music, while the music lasts" - T.S. Eliot

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. ~Ludwig van Beethoven

It is incontestable that music induces in us a sense of the infinite and the contemplation of the invisible. ~Victor de LaPrade

happy feet..


Two of my colleagues and now friends in the organization I work with, have year and 3 year old kids. And I was completely bowled over when they shared how they celebrate their kids’ birthdays. The one year old tot had his very first birthday in life a couple of weeks ago and his parents took him to an orphanage, where he gave the kids all sorts of gifts useful for them to go to school and a little party so that they could have one evening of indulgence. Since these kids live on charity and are more often than not starved even for the basics. The joy on the mom’s face as she described the day to us the next morning was unbelievable.
But what I envy most is the legacy her little kid is going to carry with him as he grows up…

After all my grumpiness at the intellectual progress and increasing shallowness of people around me and all that jazz, it was a heartening story that fell in my lap..
it brings a smile, doesn’t it?

PS: tiny little adorable feet, courtesy of my two year old niece Gargi.

The Best of Quest: Book Review


When you are reading a book and you are aware that you are reading a book then the book has failed you. That’s my logic of deciding whether or not those printed pages receive special heart space or not. Boring preface aside, excited doesn’t begin to describe how I felt when I laid my hands on this book. It’s no secret that I am a geek but a peek into history turns me into a super geek. To say the least, I LOVED it.

Now onto serious matters. The Best of Quest is an anthology of essays, fiction and poetry published in the quarterly magazine Quest which was in circulation in India during the 60s and 70s. Quest was an offspring of the Cultural Congress movement that took birth in Europe and the rest of the world post the cold war with many siblings in US, Africa and Europe. A Jewish Bombayite Nissim Ezekiel being at the helm with editorial responsibilities, the magazine gave the first opportunity to many well known Indian authors of today. With the emergency being declared, Mrs. Gandhi wanted control over what was being printed in the magazine and the stalwarts who wrote for it preferred going out of publication rather than accepting to lose their freedom to write. This tidbit about Quest’s history sets the tone of the book.

The book is an ice-cream sundae experience. It is the optimistic philosophy of a teenager along with the acerbic wittiness of a 30 year old just realizing the realities of life. And no wonder. The Indian democracy was barely in her twenties during the 60s. The entire world was going through a change (That particular decade holds endless fascination for me. From the ideologies to the movies and music and even fashion. If I have a time machine that’s the time I would choose to visit) and the future of a new country lay ahead.

And not every essay may be something you would be interested in. But considered as an entity its a treasure trove. Some of the memorable essays for me were those which dealt with contemporary issues of the time but are as relevant today as then. The dichotomy of Hindu life talks about how Hindus through their ancient history have developed antithetic personality traits like megalomania and insecurity at the same time. Throughout I found myself nodding at the accurately made observations. Use of personality assessment of some of the great political leaders to determine their impact on policies and politics is an immensely interesting read even though the name sounds boring. Comparing popular leaders like Nehru and FDR with the likes of Shastri and Nixon and describing their personalities against the political environment they created was unexpected. And yet educational. Not everything is heavy duty though. Dilip Chitre’s ‘D’ is a tongue-in-cheek brat who has lots to say on Bollywood movies. He discusses the charisma of one Rajesh Khanna and mass hysteria when it comes to good looking movie stars. D makes you laugh by saying things like ‘Dilip Kumar’s screen deaths brought no shock to the audience since he moved and spoke, from the start, as if he were his own pall bearer’. And he is equally nonchalant in discussing sex, equating it to ‘samadhi’. I can only imagine how my grand parents’ faces would have been had they read this at the time. That is the appeal of the writing. Even though written some 40 odd years ago, it’s still relevant and yet not. Plus the English is impeccable. And if you are a sucker for the language you will appreciate the perfect grammar, punctuation and use of words.

Apart from the essays, there is a poetry as well as fiction section. There are some gems there as well. And finally a very unique addition is that of retro looking product adverts of the time to give you the magazine feel.

All in all a five star read and highly recommended as long as you are open for some serious thinking.

mind depth..


I’m bothered by the contemporary need of keeping everything light. I have nothing against humor and that’s not what I’m referring to. The incessant effort made to stay away from any topic, event or person who makes one think and feel uncomfortable is my problem. Anything deeper than a reality show is now considered boring. Movies dealing with serious real world issues do not get patrons whereas mindless drivel makes millions. Let’s not even get into the kind of authors who are getting recognition today. I miss the times when shows like M.A.S.H were considered quality humor and newspapers discussed news and politics instead of making a hullabaloo about a politician being slapped and an entire state being shut down for business . Is this a price of progress? Have we reached a stagnation point for good taste and intelligent development of the mind? Or have we gone in denial?

Things that matter…


there’s a Marathi (my mother tongue) song which goes ‘rakat desha, kankhar desha, dagdanchya desha’..
hard to translate in English but it’s a love song for the land we live in describing it as bold, strong and rocky ..as in literally full of rocks. It takes a special kind of love to describe something as rocky and yet mean it as a compliment.

This image is from the backwaters of a little mud dam located in a village some 100 kms from Pune. The landscape of India is what keeps me rooted here.. Because every time I spend 45 minutes in traffic for a 10 minute distance, get rudely called off by people on the road, face immense amount of resistance to good ideas just because of cultural attitudes or never get work done in public offices, when life is so busy that work days become 12 hour stretches with no time to spare for things I love.. I have to keep reminding myself that there is beauty here. It needs to be unearthed… Under the callous exterior there is tenderness somewhere. The scruffiness is brought upon by circumstance and not by choice. No matter how I hate the everyday life..I still love being here.. It seems to be a hard comparison to make. But how do you decide if you are happy even when days are spent in misery? Probably because at the end of the day, sleep comes with a satisfaction of being at home…
I don’t know.

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