Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Book- Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

I got to know Elif Shafak by her TED Talk.  She discusses the politics of fiction. Watching her talk, I could reflect  on a few discussions with our colleagues. Many of us regard out how we perceive stories and what we expect from stories

 Interested in her idea, I wanted to read her novels as well. Of all, I picked Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak since, it seemed poetic and mentioned of Rumi as well.

Ella, a forty year old woman rethinks of her life while reading a manuscript as part of her work. It  takes us back to 12th century, the story of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. Like the title, there’s a mention of forty rules of love through a context. Like one of the rules, “The past is an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead, time moves through and within us, in endless spirals,” the story moves in endless spirals shifting from future to past, characters to characters, young to old. It’s a page turner!

In the past, I heard a lot of anecdotes of Rumi but, reading Rumi through this novel, I can imagine his contemporaries, his conflicts and the whole timeline.

Through a non-linear narrative, we get to read two character’s life stories and their quest for love.  One story is set in 21st century. Other is set in 12th century.  Although time advances, the quest for the love and the conflicts it come up with seem same. Be it in 12th century or 21st century.

I’m eager to read other works of Elif Shafak. Pick this book, if you’re up for a bit poetry, romance and Rumi.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Poetry- Poem but not the poet

 I'm the pen but not the writer
 I am the poem but not the poet

Like a flower that blossoms to the night moon 

I await for the darkness to curb me in.

I wrote this poem while I was travelling to Vellore. The place, I visited 12 years ago. It's nostalgic and thrilling to revisit the place after such a long time. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Interesting Interview- Sneha Khanwalkar

It's interesting to listen to Sneha as her sound is different from all the sounds I've heard in recent times. In the movies, Gangs of Wasseypur, the rich sound is fresh and multi dimensional in interpretations. 

Sneha does a lot of experimentation through electronic music. I'm not a big fan of electronic music but, the way Sneha composes and layers is intriguing.  

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Gratitude Tales

 I walk in and I got a cushioned sofa to sit. Shelves of books to read. I can pick any books. Books that remind me of the times I have bought those books. A few books I bought in college, a few books that remind me of my ex, a few books that I wanted to read but, never touched. 

I walk further, I enter kitchen. I have everything I want to eat in Kitchen. Ice creams, chocolates in the fridge. Fruits on the tables, nuts in the boxes. I walk out of the house, I have a dog that is tailing me through out the day. Trying to hug me all the time. Today, Mike was trying to play and tore my shirt as well. 

I get to have all these things in my life. I feel privileged. Every time I come home from Rajasthan, I tell myself that I'm privileged. Grateful to have all these in life. 

Stories on Wheels- The late night driver

 Arrived at Kadapa railway station at one am. I walked out of it in half a sleep. A few auto drivers offered their ride.  I turned to a driver, who seemed confident and not to pushy towards me. He mentioned his charge; one hundred and twenty. I tried bargaining, he didn't concede. I conceded and took his auto. On the way, he made his few calls. The other guy in the auto said, " I can offer my headphones if needed." hinting to put the phone away and ride the auto. On a defensive note, he shared his story,  "Dubai mei hai Beta." 

The headphones guy left and I got interested in his story. "Aap bhi gaye kya Dubai?" I asked. 

"Mei satrah Saal rahke aaya hu." he answered Talking about timezone and other stuff, he shared how it's  been 37 years since he got into this driving lane. "I drive big trucks. I'm not into this auto lane. I only drive this during nights. We pay special amount for a permission but, other people also ride autos till late night."  What do we do? He asked.  Listening to his story, he further shared, "I used to earn 70,000 a year. I managed to come to India while my children had vacations. Even my children visited me couple of times in Dubai. Everything is costly there. I was a company driver there in Dubai."

By the time he was about to tell why he left Dubai. We reached home. The time was 1.20 am. Too late to stand on the road and listen to his story. Aapka naam kya hai? I asked. "Jeelani Basha" he replied. 

Kuda Hafiz, I wanted to say but, instead bye Basha Bhai, I waved my hands and walked towards my gate. 

what do we do?

Movie- Drishyam 2

 The moment I walked into Bala's house at late night around one am. Raghu, Krishna and a few more friends were prepping for the movie screening. They got the speaker fixed, switched the lights off. I'm an early riser when I'm in Rajasthan but, not in Hyderabad. I sat with them to watch the movie. 

Dead tired but still, managed to watch the movie. I could watch till the major twist and dozed off before Mamootty surprises us with his intelligent moves. Later, I watched the rest of the movie. The director tried a lot to maintain the thrill of the first part of the movie. 

Soliloquies- The Biryani Meter

Living in Rajasthan, I do not get chance to eat Hyderabadi Biryani all the time. When I get a chance, I test myself if I can finish one single pack all by myself. As long as I'm able to finish, I tell myself that I haven't lost any appetite. This time, I relished a whole pack of mutton Biryani. On top of that, I had a whole kulfi as a dessert. "Can I have this dessert after the biryani?" I asked waiter. "It'll be too heavy to complete. I leave it to your decision." he mentioned suggesting me not to order. However, I ordered and finished it. I'm glad that I could eat all of it. Now it's time I spend all these calories by running for a few extra kilometers. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Book- Happy 100th Birthday Delhi by Shashi Shetye

The Capital of colonized India was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi on 12 December 1911. 

This book highlights the capital's Marvel's. Dilli Haat, Rail Museum, Nehru Planetarium Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium and the rest. 

The 'a' in the book are wobbling throughout out the book.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Soliloquies- Overwhelmed

Two years back, on this date, 25th March (2019) I landed at Sirohi along with Dyu. Reflecting on the journey I'm overwhelmed by the experiences and learnings I'm having here. One of the main reasons to leave Hyderabad was to finish the memoir draft I began. 

With in these two years, I finished the first draft, got suggestions, improvised it and have the manuscript done. Working on the manuscript with the help of editor, I attempted a lot of times to focus and work. Procrastinated it several times. After struggling for several days tonight, I pushed myself to sit at the desk and write out all my confusions and think of them. 

After a long time, I stayed overnight working on my writings. Tonight as I look at the watch blinking 3.51 am, I cherish all those nights I used to sit with pen and paper and struggle to write stories and experiences. 

In these two years, I managed to write this draft but, skipped journaling a lot of experiences. I wish I make a writing routine and be regular at writing. 

Right now, looking at the screen and the words I typed, I'm overwhelmed by the progress. Grateful to everyone who believed in me when I was struggling to overcome my self-doubt. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Gratitude- Thanks Shiva

Shiva is Jeet bhai's friend, ex-colleague. He wanted to catch up with him and I dropped in for a while. Shiva was welcoming. We had a little conversation. "Glad to meet you. Here's a small gift from me, he handed me a book." Thanks a lot Shiva. 

Poetry- Love

 This was written on 5.October.2020. I do not know the context or what inspired to write me these words. As I went through stack of papers, I could see these scribblings. LOVE. Love is tough. Isn't it?

Thought for the day- Writing

 I talk alot about writing my book, my blog, my reflections but, hardly I write. Whenever I want to blog, I think if my thoughts words are worth publishing. Before even I sit to write, I procastinate the task, underestimating my thoughts. 

Today, I was going through a stack of papers. There are several thoughts I'm amused of. Did I think in this way,  I thought. I'm glad I penned those thoughts. Because of my self doubt, I do not how many thoughts, I have ignored, waiting for the valued thoughts. It's time I write rather than thinking so much about writing. Today, I felt strong about my ability to write. I have the best tool. I can write all my worries, fears, nightmares and come out of them. For a moment, I felt I had the power to steer through fears through writing. 

It's time, I write rather than thinking much about writing. 

Stories from Sirohi- Palaash mei Talaash

Living in a small town, we're on our own. We can't meet our friends post work. There aren't many friends to make in the town as well. We work with our colleagues. And only few become friends. Azhar is one of them.  Azhar called up on a late night. 11 PM in a small town is late night. We caught up on what's happening in our lives. Azhar lives in Abu Road. I live in Sirohi. Dyu, Shankar, Azhar and I, four of us manage to hang out together whenever given chance. It's been really a long time since we caught up. 

"What are you doing?," he asked. "About to sleep." "This summer, there's a flower that blooms," Azhar began his explanation, "Palaash. Desert rose it's called. It's bloomed when the summer has begun drying all the leaves and the mountains have turned barren." 

Azhar wrote a poem on Palaash.  He read it out to me, while I was imagining the Palaash, the desert rose. Discussing Palaash and the importance of it. we discussed metaphors and a lot more. 

Palaash mei Talaash. I began scribbling inspired by his lines. "We can work on Urdu and English." I shared my idea. 

There's a shayar, Parveen Shaakir, mentioned Azhar. We went on celebrating Parveen's life by sharing a few of her words and thoughts. I remember listening to her through Azhar very well. 

ik naam kyā likhā tirā sāhil ret par

phir umr bhar havā se merī dushmanī rahī

"She has already written alot combining Urdu and English," he mentioned. After a conversation with Azhar, I was rejuvenated by the words and the metaphors. Thanks Azhar for calling up. Love to discuss poetry with you. 

On a deeper note, I think that we share because we want to reflect on it. When someone shares something, we can call and discuss the work, idea, art. That's how we can reflect better. I enjoyed discussing Azhar's work. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Graphic Musings- Pour Painting

How do we let the time pass?? 

By being involved in some activities. I was reading this book, "Focus" by Daniel Goleman. He talks a lot about focus and how do we managed negative thoughts. Taking a break from thinking. 

These days, when I paint, I do not think much. I paint. And I enjoy it. I mixed the colors, I enjoyed observing how they blend and gleam. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Book- Where Does the Wind Live

It's a story of a prince Hamid and a friend, Rashid.  Prince Hamid is an arrogant ten-year-old kid who wants everything. Everyone in the court acts according to his whims and fancies. Hameed spots a kite and orders to get one. That's how he meets the kite owner, Rashid. Bent upon flying the kites against the harsh wind, Rashid tries and fails. Rashid gets pissed off and confronts Hameed on his stupidity. And then what happens is the story. 

With traditional Madhu Bani art paintings, the book is colorful and interesting to read. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Soliloquies- Five KM Run

Mark Twain words rung out in my ears "Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times" as I ran around the ground at evening. 

I relate to this quote not regarding to smoking but, to repeat the exercise. 

Many a times, I began running for five km. I run for a few days, I stop running and start playing basketball. Without a regular warm up, I play basketball and it has strained my knees. Falling out of form, I stop playing all the way and I laze around waiting to start again. 

This happened for months. In this way, I started again, running now. Hope I stick to this habit, despite I may go to playing basketball soon. 

Graphic Musings- Color Play

 I bought black sheets to dabble with colors. What is it to pour colors on the sheet and paint through fingers, I thought to myself. 

Observing the way the yellow color stands out on black sheet, I pour a little green color and stroke it fingers. Playing with colors for hours, I painted a lot. Never decided what to paint. I painted as I felt. After a certain time, I look at the paintings and interpret in my own way. Had a great time. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

In dialogue with Srikanth- Hobbies and interests

Srikanth called and shared his new hobby in a passionate voice, “I’m dabbling with origami and I’m enjoying it.”

 I met Srikanth during intermediate(2010) years.  Srikanth, Abhilash and I are a trio. Three of us are at three different places, Bangalore, US and Rajasthan.  Three of us are pursuing three different things, Software industry, automotive industry and Education. Three of us are a lot different yet, have a lot of similarities in our interests.

Caught up over a call with Srikanth after months.  Both of us shared what we're doing these days. Not about work, not about the big feats in life but, the little hobbies we're picking up. Srikanth is dabbling with origami and is keen to pursue it whenever possible. “At the end of the day, these little things are what gives us happiness.” he shared. I'm happy to listen to Srikanth all day, for he shares his interest with passion. Often, I love to be amongst people who're  passionate about whatever they're into. Whatever they share, there's a passion and a craving to share what they've discovered anew. Srikanth's new found hobby is Origami. 

Till I listened to him, I knew origami as just a craft.  But, when he began explaining about it, I had my jaws dropped in surprise, trying to relate the science as well as math behind it. He mentioned about Robert Lang, a guy from NASA, in his 70s getting into origami for full time.

Srikanth discovered Robert Lang’s origami and got interested in it. Slowly, he spent time on it, learning origami as well about it. Talking about Satoshi Kamoiya’s art, Srikanth mentioned, “Sometime in life, I want to do it.” 

How often are we passionate about things we do. Why do we always want to be passionate in the work we do but, not passionate about the little things we do.  Yes, there are high chances that we may are not as passionate as we're about in later stages. I know Srikanth for ten years. He takes interests in a few things. Whatever he's interested in, he always is passionate about them. Be it classical music, science experiments or this new craft, origami. 

We discussed a lot on classical music. I got to know many new artistes. Sudha Raghunathan, Maharajapuram Santhanam, a lot of song suggestions as well.  I find it awkward to mention, 'thanks' to Srikanth for, I shared my gratitude with him. I'm elated and grateful to have him in life for I am always inspired by the passion he lives with. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Little things I learnt- Learn and Unlearn

On TEDxHYderabad Live night 2016, I walked out of the room interacting with breaking the ice with an  elderly person. What do you do? He asked.
I'm graduating in mechanical engineering. Over discussion, we discussed what's the future of the mechanical engineering graduates.

"You don't need to stick to what you have studied just because you spent four years in it," he said. 

"Really? Can I do that?" I was curious.

"Yes. I'm a civil engineer, worked in IT, working in management, and I may do something else in five years." he shared his piece of advice. "You need to unlearn, learn and keep learning."

At that point of time, I needed those words to believe that at the end of the  day a few years of education can't dictate what  my life is  going to be. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Poetry- Khat ki Khushbu Prompt

Azhar recited the shayari, khat ki khushbu. Picking those words, penned down these words.
Both of us imagined and wrote the unwritten words. After a long time, wrote a few lines by a collaboration.

Thought- Being healthy is a commitment

Being healthy is a life long commitment we need to give to ourselves. Many a times, many friends hinted me that there's a lot that goes ...