Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some people create hinky punks, Hobbits, Electric Monks, and Wee Free Men, others construct human characters. Some create Discworlds, Hogwarts, and Mordor, while others re-map Earth's land spaces and the interior landscapes of its inhabitants. Sometimes we get a glimpse of the blue green planet we call our "home" from far away, sometimes we are too close to see the alien view.

The Otherworldliness of the Other verses the re-inscriptions of the Real world. Whose to judge between them to present one above the other? Yet I am increasingly drawn to the Other World, as are many others. Does this indicate the deep rooted human intimation of Otherworldliness? Intimations of the deep desire we have for the Othering of our existence in a place far beyond, Worlds beyond and far away.

I am just re-encountering the Electric Monk. With his cowl and bemused horse, his predisposition to see things as pink (that doesn't endear him to me), to shoot humans at blank range and then worry that the reaction of the human was rather strange and excessive, and his wide-eyed view of the world he enters. I am also relishing the fundamental interconnectedness of things, time travel, sofas stuck on stairways.

For sheer genius one cannot beat the imagination of some 20th century writers of fantasy: J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas Adams, C.S. Lewis. Terry Pratchett, J.K. Rowlings. There are few realistic novels I re-read, but as for the niovels of these brilliant Otherworlders - I am compelled to revisit their work time and again, and each time I relish their power to excite, entertain, enthrall, and fire the imagination. Thank God for the visionary Otherworld writers who remind us of the Spaces beyond our blue green and the traces of the divine and supernatural that lurk within and around us.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Is there a cure for CDT - I have an acute case of it.

Something there is that does not like a second pair of eyes. I sit on them, stand on them, drop them, lose them.

I am allergic to specs. I destroy them with alarming regularity. I
also break them with variety - today it might be an arm, tomorrow it might be the lens, the next it might be the frame. So regular it is that the opticians know me very well, and greet me with a smile and the query "Your glasses broken again madam", This time around one of them tactfully suggested that I get a "Stronger pair" with "flexible unbreakable arms" :D

I still remember one particularly bad breaking moment - the horrible "kerunch snap" that I heard when I climbed onto the table to reach over and close the window. I felt the thought zoom through me "It can't be my glasses...not again". Well it was. Again!

What does one do with Chronic Destructive Tendency? I need to be able to sustain a FES (Four Eyed State) without it burning holes in my purse. Someone suggested Contacts - but that has an even more alarming range of possible cases of CDT: I can not only break them, I can drop them, lose them when washing my face, see then go down the toilet (I have dropped mobile phones and books down the toilet, as well as a earing) A contact lens is easy peasy.

And one of these days I will get behind the wheel of a car - by myself. Sceeeerrruuunch. Tinkle Crinkle Bang...tinkle tinkle tinkle...I can almost hear it myself. At that point of time CDT targeted at specs seems a very minor matter in terms of other, bigger possible scenes of devastation.

Is there a cure for CDT - I have an acute case of it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I was thinking the other day about the paradoxes in life.

That our birth is the beginnings of a pilgrim journey, that is beset with vagaries and has no set or known destination except the final one.
That although we are creatures with intimations of eternity we know time by that which we read by the hands of the clock.
That loving is like a two sided coin - intense love is wedded to intense pain.
That we are given life only with the assurance of our death.
That we desire predictability in life, when the only predictable thing about it is its unpredictability.
That we expect others to know us deeply and intimately. and understand us, when we scarecly scratch the surface of knowing and understanding ourselves.
That we often choose a path of destruction with open eyes and clear sight.
That people we least expect, turn out to be friends for life.
That people we place our trust in, are often the quickest to destroy us. of all...
We encounter God, and God meets us at the places that we least expect Him to.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Only Dream worth having...Arundhati Roy

"The only dream worth having ... to dream that you will live while you’re alive and die only when you’re dead ...
To love. To be loved.
To never forget your own insignificance.
To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of life around you.
To seek joy in the saddest places.
To pursue beauty to its lair.
To never simplify what is complicated or to complicate what is simple.
To respect strength, never power.
Above all, to watch.
To try and understand.
To never look away.
And never, never to forget."

Arundhati Roy - The Algebra of Infinite Justice

Sometimes a passage you read, rings like music in your mind, and commits itself to memory and almost instantaneously at that. Not that you remember every word but you remember phrases, and you certainly remember the powerful thought within it. This is one such.

Arundhati Roy is perhaps not only one of the greatest wordsmiths, but one of the greatest painters of emotion. Besides which she is also a woman of passion - not just the passion of an individual with deep feeling, but passion for the humanity of the world, and a passion for life.

For those who never read Arundhati Roy's God of Small Things, and Algebra of Infinite Justice, I would say read them! They are powerful words of passion, power and hope. Hope because one human being dares to write about the things that matter. The former is perhaps the only tragic novel I have read, that nevertheless has a vibrant hope within its celebration of life itself. The latter is a powerful, even if sometimes emotional (this is for some who feel that if writing is emotional it is unreliable!), honest appraisal of the way the world works the way it does, and why. We may not agree with all she says, but she has cared enough to think, feel, research, agonise, and write. And that perhaps for me counts.

If I can do half as much with words and live the same passion for life and the world, I would be satisfied.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I've looked at Clouds, Love and Life

People turn up their noses at "pop music" but sometimes it says things so excellently, and actually hearing the words makes a lot of sense. Joni Mitchell's Song "Both Sides Now" is one such.

When one is flying you get to see Clouds from Both Sides. It really doesn't help you to know clouds at all. They remain a mystery. In fact they are more of a mystery. And they get in the way of the beautiful landscapes that you fly over, and instead of seeing the contours of land and mountain, there is just white fluff.

Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, i've looked at cloud that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things i would have done but clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,

From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions i recall.
I really don't know clouds at all.

And then again many of us have looked at love from many ways now. The dizzy dancing ferris wheels and fairy tale romances. One just has to follow them up 10 years later to find that there is little of the Moons and Junes and wheels. Unless of course it is a treadmill type of Hamster cage wheel! How many laugh, maybe cynically, and never say what it feels like.

Moons and junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real; i've looked at love that way.
But now it's just another show. you leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know, don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions i recall.
I really don't know love at all.

Something's lost and something's gained in living everyday. I am trying to focus on life's realities, not the illusions. But when there is so much lose and when one struggles for the win, one's attention moves to the illusory and one can end up a cynic. Looking at life from both sides now is a eye opening experience. In childhood we see life through a spangled veil and then we grow up and see the other side of life, we understand illusion and reality.

Tears and fears and feeling proud, to say "i love you" right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, i've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads,
they say I've changed.
Something's lost but something's gained in living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It's life's illusions i recall.
I really don't know life at all.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment...

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. (Shakespeare - Sonnet CXVI)
I think this sonnet of Shakespeare's is my favourite. Specially the first few
I love the musicality of its ryhythmic lines as well as its suggestion
about what love might be. In the endless productions and reproductions, the
centuries of contemplations on Love, I find this to always stand out. I wonder
how many will love with a marriage of true minds, and find a love that does not
alter or bend, which is a ever fixed mark, looking on tempests and not shaken.
Having said all of this, I am not quite sure that Shakespeare was the greatest
of lovers after all! Which makes it a bit dubious after all. But then at the end of
the day, there are many whose theory might be celebrated although they are
unable to sustain it. Still I like the poem - it epitomises a kind of relationship
that one suspects is somewhat rare - both then and now.