Friday, June 30, 2006

In Pursuit of ...

While lazily browsing across the internet, I came across this book extract from internationally acclaimed author Manju Kapoor`s latest book "A Married Woman". It is to be noted that Manju Kapoor, is one of the authors who had criticised authors like Salman Rushdie, for their depiction of India, without proper research. So it is with some excitement that I started reading it. Though the title sounds familiar, as I kept reading the extract, I found in it an hidden inherent freshness of subject. An interesting insight and a bird`s eye view into the minds of the Indian middle class.

A Married Woman is the story of an artist whose canvas challenges the
constraints of middle-class existence. A beautifully honest and seductive story
of love, set at a time of political and religious upheaval, A Married Woman is
for anyone who has known life’s responsibilities.

At times, reading extracts satisfy the thirst of reading a particular work, at times it aggravates the thirst... I guess, it is one of those times, when my thirst has multiplied.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Quest for a Woman.

Pic Courtesy -
High sat white Helen, lonely and serene.
He had not remembered that she was so fair,
And that her neck curved down in such a way;
And he felt tired. He flung the sword away,
And kissed her feet, and knelt before her there,
The perfect Knight before the perfect Queen.
Menelaus, the king of sparta was betrayed by his wife, Helen and therefore Menelaus wages a great war, the battle of Troy and marching through Troy`s ruins, sets out to kill her, to avenge her betrayal. In the words above from the poem “Menelaus and Helen”, by Rupert Brooke, he describes how inspite of all the hatred and anger, how helen`s beauty pacifies Menelaus and how he bows down before her kissing her feet.

Women have since time immemorial been an object of beauty for Men. Man falls for her, he desires her presence in his life throughout. The feeling is a myriad of emotions, awe, happiness, thirst, sadness, and last but not the least lust. Though any woman would despise such an intrusion into her privacy and her life by a man glaring at her, a man continues to do the same. A man is alone once he grows up to be one and desires the presence of a woman companion. Animal instinct you might say, but it`s definitely more than that. We all know that by now that by his abilities to think, percieve and analyze, he is no more just a wild animal. Now when a man searches for a woman of his dreams, he does not have in mind a woman with a good figure or heavenly looks alone. He is also in search for a close companion with whom he can share anything in his life, someone with whom he can confide anything, anytime, anywhere. Not just a friend, because life is a complex jigsaw puzzle and it is the divine union of Man and woman, that helps this puzzle gets solved. There are things a man, can discuss and feel comforted, when he shares or spends time with a woman, which he cannot do with a man, or maybe I`m ignorant,but I do not stop.

Now, If you think I`m all out in support of eve-teasers, harassment and rapists, I`m not.! I support Blank Noise Project for it`s cause and I can perfectly sympathize with keshi`s posts here and here. And in fact I would sadly agree that the lack of women in many of the prominent industrial sectors, especially research institutes is due to not just internal politics, but also fear of sexual harassment, about which I`m aware of due to many friends sharing their traumatic experiences with me.

There are eve-teasers and perverts out there, I agree, but this post is mainly to insist that there is a man out there too who is sincerely looking for his woman. Physical beauty may just be an initial attraction, but there is a man who would like to look into the soul of that woman, all the while earnestly yearning that she would look into his soul too.

Again, there is an argument as to why he should admire the beauty at all in the first place. Well, I shall be very candid that it is definitely a major distraction for Man. Aren`t we all aware of how in the puranas, the gods would sent heavenly courtesans to disturb the penance of the sages. But I would persist that the distraction remains just a distraction for many a man. His quest for a woman gets completed only when both of them see and perceive each other`s souls and understand each other`s lives.
Going back to Menelaus and Helen, Menelaus never really looked at helen`s soul. He was just an admirer of her beauty, and in the second part of the poem when the poet visualizes how their life would have been afterwards, it definitely strikes a chord.
Often he wonders why on earth he went
Troyward, or why poor Paris ever came.
Oft she weeps, gummy-eyed and impotent;
Her dry shanks twitch at Paris' mumbled name.
So Menelaus nagged; and Helen cried;
And Paris slept on by Scamander side.
Paris, of Troy had been on a quest for the woman of his life and then he met Helen, thus completing his quest. Having realized after having lost the war that there is no meaning in another quest, he slept on by scamander side.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Homecoming

Chugged, the train, on a roll
Screeching to a swift halt.
I jumped, quick, a happy doll
A pleasure, both sweet and salt

The morning, fresh, and dew clear
Lazily lifting fog, and wet earth
Walking along, a hero`s tread
With pride, adventure so near

Filled the lungs, of sweetest air
Whistling along, a hip hop song
Wind sweeping my gentle hair
Smiling at the birds, road so long.

Amidst crowded buffalo herds
Trotting upon paddy fields
Greeting sunshine with pleasant words
On my toes, with restless heels.

At the gate, floating at heart
Fluttering butterflies, a thousand,
Fluttering in my stomach; I shout!
“I`m home!” Home sweet home!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From Freedom to Justice.

When a person walks across the road, and meets someone, who is exactly behaving or even expressing his opinions in a similar fashion as what the person had already done before, he feels a sense of pride, a sense of company and immediately starts voicing his own opinions himself. He has this sense of courage and ownership as both of them become either common victims or the perpetrators.

Now, I had this same feeling of joy, when I started reading “The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian”, by Nirad C Chauduri. I haven’t completed the book yet and so will talk about it in a more elaborate manner later. But there were two things or rather sentences in it, which immediately grabbed my attention. Things which I’ve felt about and thought about, things which I’ve wondered about, like a child sitting on the sea shore and wondering, where it all ends.

First, there was this mention of how freedom, was fought for earnestly, how it was much yearned for, and yet, when it came, how we hadn’t learnt to respect it. I too had been wondering about the same for quite a long time. How much do we value our freedom ? What is freedom to us ?. When we read about the hardship faced by the gallant freedom fighters, we tremble with transient patriotism, yet have we really learned to respect our freedom and freedom of others.

Freedom, for us, is rather a very misunderstood term or it is piteously overlooked and as youth of the 21st century, we are yet to discern the sweetness of having our own free land. Or, in another way, we do not realize that we are free and take our day to day problems, to be an antithesis of the term ‘Freedom’. Like, let me take a simple example of a dream like thought which has stayed in my mind almost poetically. It is the 14th of August, 1947 and as India, celebrated it’s Independence, an old farmer in rural Andhra Pradesh woke up, amidst the noise of fireworks and realized he was free. He smiled. Then he looked at the dry fields, on which he had to work the next day to earn his daily bread, as usual. He frowned, and cursing the noise of fireworks, went back to sleep.

Even in these very modern times, there is slavery all around in different forms, so all of us are not free yet, maybe that is again one reason, why we still do not respect our freedom. Whatever, the case, thousands have perished in pursuit of freedom, of a better tomorrow, all over the world. Remembering them, respecting their struggle is, I believe one facet of freedom, which we shall cherish and respect, however.

Now, having read this, I kept going through the pages and pages of thoughts and experiences, highlighted in the book, when I stumbled upon this phrase. “Belief in the innate justice of society”, words, which immediately put a frown across my face. Where is justice in the society ? When I say justice, I am not talking about lawsuits, I am not talking about celebrity bashing or Jessica Lall. What about the sense of justice, each one of us, the common man needs to have. How many times have we witnessed fights and verbal duels while waiting to pay an electricity bill and when there’s a long queue. How many times, have we been witnesses to road accidents, just because people don’t believe that the traffic policeman on duty is just.

Recently I boarded a bus, in hyderabad to go to have my lunch on a weekend. At the time of getting down, I had already inched my way to the exit, with great difficulty. I was about to get down, when around six to seven people started boarding the bus, without allowing me to get down first. They kept pushing me back, with a deaf ear to my protests and at last, the bus also started moving and there, I was, all tired and angry. I ended up walking for an hour, to have some food at last.

Why is it that we don’t have that sense of justice inherent in us, so that we give space to others as well, to co-exist in harmony in this world.? It’s not that I am cribbing, about the difficulties of life as such, but trying to find an answer to the question above.

I had felt like shouting at those people. “ Don’t I have the freedom to get down first.?” Or even give a piece of my mind, quoting the age-old saying “ Your freedom ends, where my nose begins “, but I bit my lip. Who knows how they perceive freedom ? Who knows how much they respect their own freedom.
Freedom and justice are beautiful strong words, but what we lack is the knowledge as to how we must imbibe them as values in our lives.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Silent words...

Pic Courtesy : Lindys Graphics
When totally blinded by light
Shadows, there are none.
Disappears, the soul in flight
Yet, thy journey is all but done!.
Dear Grandfather, you have bid farewell to this world.
You have reached that higher state of existence, where pains, there are none.
Your soul`s journey is complete for us. Take rest, Have peace…
Update 13/06 : I had been to my hometown to perform his last rites, so haven`t been able to keep in touch with the blogosphere. Looking forward to catch up!. Shall take my time replying to your comments, but at the outset, thanks to all who dropped by and shared my sorrow. Life moves on.. and like I always like to say... The journey continues...