Dec 16, 2015

A Date With Solitude

Solitude with fortitude is really bliss
The journey of thoughts runs across the mind
Bringing some memories of the vaporized time
Never give a date with solitude a miss
Or you will never have a divine fill.
Some thoughts are uplifting
And some are poignant,
Some are melancholy,
Others are enchanting
But these precious thoughts
Like prized jewels
Get intertwined among themselves
And amalgamate into our deepest consciousness.
And when I land back to reality
From my date with solitude
I feel a sense of serenity
Long lost in the drought of thoughts

And now I feel energized
To begin a new day
Amidst the crowd of unknown faces
And turbulent feelings

But my solitude gifted thoughts
Slip from my mind
Like smooth sand
Gone very fine
 And then I feel a void so deep
I have bled my cherished memories,
My thoughts, my imagination
All entangled among themselves
Amalgamated into an alloy
What is real; what is surreal
I cannot make out it seems
But Solitude with fortitude was indeed a bliss.

Dec 7, 2015

Alluring Aroma

Today morning, when I was having my first cup of hot coffee, its revitalizing aroma made me gather the scattered thoughts aromas in our lives which we usually take for granted; but they sometimes bring a satisfactory smile on our faces, a nostalgic pull in our hearts. 

This is just to share some of my favorite aromas which often make me realize that I have a sense of smell too!
  • First and foremost, invigorating aroma of freshly brewed coffee (especially in early winter mornings)
  • Rusty smell of old books (which often make me want to get lost in an old dusty library)
  • Inky smell of new books (makes me nostalgic, reminding me of school days when we used to get the new set of books for the new academic session)
  • Aroma of bakery products in a small bakery shop (surely makes my stomach rumble!)
  • Fresh smell of earth after the first rains (makes it hard to resist getting drenched in the rains)
  • Muddled smell of impending dust storm
  • Eerie, chilling smell in the historical monuments (especially the deserted ones)
  • Earthen smell of water kept for long in a terracotta pot
  • Misty smell of damp freshness in dense fog
  • Moist smell of pine cones in the hills
  • Soothing smell of incense sticks  
  • Last but not the least, mesmerizing, salty smell of sea in the air
Please feel free to add to this list of everlasting …..unforgettable…..AROMAS!

Dec 4, 2015

Salute To Chennai

What to learn from Chennai?

No, I am not talking about the administrative issues, drainage, political issues or even environmental issues. I am talking about the SPIRIT of Chennai. In this difficult time of natural calamity, the people of Chennai have come out united as ONE common force with the aim of helping one another.

  • Many Chennaites opened their homes to stranded strangers.

  • People are seen helping one another irrespective of one’s religion or economic status.
  • Stranded people are being considerate about relief materials and food packets. No hoarding seen.
  • Many youngsters arranging rescue mission teams on personal levels.
  • Some people arranging for divers and swimmers to pull out people from flooded areas.
  • Someone created a website in a few hours to channelize better communication.
  • Malls and hotels are seen sheltering people.
I do not see any hysterics or or angry outbursts from Chennaites. I don’t see people making a quick buck taking advantage of the demand-supply imbalance. What I see is the SOLIDARITY of the people of Chennai in silently, diligently and persistently helping others in this hour of crisis.

Hats off to the people of Chennai! We are so proud of you.
This is what our culture is all about.
Jai Hind!

Nov 25, 2015

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This was a book suggested to me by one of my surgeon friends. I had never heard of this book or the author before this. I have always believed that there is just a very thin line of difference between a comedy and a tragedy and this book shows that line amazingly well.

Its a sneaky kind of stealthily paws you in the beginning and somewhere near one fourth of the book, you wonder what exactly is it all about. And its then, the book starts gripping you. The author deftly like an expert magician keeps on pulling out one screen after another and shows you entirely different perspectives. Simply superb. Its like a movie unfolded into a web of words.

It brings out myriad emotions in the reader. It makes you laugh and cry at the same time. In fact, one moment I was crying with tears rolling down my cheeks and just as I turned the page I was laughing loudly with tears still in my eyes. Very few authors have this kind of talent to write HUMOUR with a perfect sense of timing, and something POIGNANT without excessive emotional baggage, with as-a-matter-of-fact kind of language, churning the readers' emotions. Reading this book felt like going inside a blanket of fog, wandering inside it initially like a lost soul and then fog lifts layer by layer, exposing the picture in bits and pieces and you come out feeling refreshed. A warm and effortless writing style makes it an enjoyable read.

Some of the lines that remained with me even after putting the book down:
"He was a man of black and white. And she was colour. All the colour he had."
"Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet its often one of the greatest motivations for living."
"This was a world where one became outdated before one's time was up. An entire country standing up and applauding the fact that no one was capable of doing anything properly any more. The unreserved celebration of mediocrity."
"Loving someone is like moving into a new house."
"Something inside a man goes to pieces when he has to bury the only person who ever understood him."
"Time is a curious thing." Most of us only live for the time that lies right ahead of us. A few days, weeks, years. One of the most painful moments in a person's life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. Memories, perhaps."

Oct 4, 2015

Book Review: I Am Malala

This is a memoir of a teenage Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai co-written by a 49 year British author, Christina Lamb. A very inspiring and simple read; I would like to recommend all the readers age 10+ to read this book; meant for both young and old readers alike.

It is indeed wonderful to read about the youngest Noble Prize winner and how her life has been an epitome of struggle against the wrongs of the society. This book also throws a very non-judgemental insight into the sorry plight of the common man in Pakistan and their dilapidated education system. Not only the historical facts taught in school are politically distorted and factually incorrect but also very religiously inked. This kind of influence right from the childhood is a significant instrument in shaping the mentality of the people in Pakistan. This book very fluidly shows us that how the seeds of ‘misplaced’ hatred sowed in the minds of people can lead the nation into mental and intellectual drought. The objective and unbiased way in which this book talks about the complex relationship of Pakistani army, ISI, Taliban and USA is commendable. 

It raises a lot of speculation on the birth of Taliban, the competence and integrity of Pakistan army, Talibanisation of Islam, and the dismal state of Pakistan. There is a very interesting perspective on Page number 186, where Malala wonders if the news of Jinnah having Tuberculosis, made public, would have deflected the partition of India and Pakistan.

The narrative is on a very inspiring and innocent note. It is remarkable to see a combination of empathy, maturity and courage at such a tender age. Malala’s innocent tone with Christina’s mature narrative renders this book very captivating.  In short, this fast paced book portrays a non-biased history and political scenario surrounding Taliban.

Here are just a few (of the numerous) insightful lines from the book:
·         “It was wonderful that my friends wanted to share in my success. I knew that any of the girls in my class could have achieved what I had achieved if they had had their parents’ support.”
·         “Children in the refugee camps were given school text books produced by an American university that taught basic arithmetic through fighting.”
·         “If Christians, Hindus or Jews are really our enemies, as so many say, why are we Muslims fighting with each other.”
·         “I am in a country which is five hours behind my beloved homeland Pakistan and my home in the Swat Valley. But my country is centuries behind this one””
·         “The Taliban could take our pens and books but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking.”
“Kindness can only be repaid with kindness. It can’t be repaid with expressions like ‘Thank you’ and then forgotton.”