snippets of book-reviews

Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie

ACTUALLY A OLD REVIEW I WROTE FOR MY BLOG

An engagingly enough and haunting narration of how one person can make a difference in someone’s life.

What does it mean to love someone? What does it mean to watch someone grow up before your eyes? or what does it mean to grow up with someone? Can one person mean so much in life? or for that matter Can one person change your life? There are some books that sneak right away into you, which can be there always with you, for you, to pour its meaning into you, when you are at cross-roads.

It is a story of a professor stricken with ALS, a neurological disease with no cause and cure. A professor who chose to come to terms with his imminent death. It is a chronicle of his tuesdays spent with a student. A student with whom, he could relate his very growing up days. His last classes with discussion about the truths of life, death, fear, love, society, regrets, marriage, family, aging, regrets, money, emotion, culture and a meaningful life.

It was an accident that I chose this book, one lazy noon with nothing to do, visited a nearby book exhibition, took it by the mere attraction of the title. Never Knew that I wouldn’t be the same person anymore. I cried along with Mitch and fought back my tears to keep reading. I cried for Morrie, Morrie’s family and friends, I cried for me, I Cried for my Teacher…..

Have you really had that someone? or were you ever been that someone to anyone?

 Cobalt Blue
Cobalt Blue
In a time, where sexuality and freedom of sexual choice been talked over and over again, here is a book that talks in subtlety and overtly under-tones. It is not a typical tale of an adolescent coming to terms with his sexuality or that of a girl learning to cope up with her first heart-break in life.
The setting of the story in a claustrophobic middle class family with three siblings, where the daughter and the youngest son falls for the mysterious paying guest forms the backdrop of the novel.Intriguing a read and subtly disturbing; It does raise a lot of pertinent questions about the familial space and relationships that function within this important social unit.

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

The Kind of book that I sat two days and two nights, with nothing else doing to find out the ending.

A brilliant literary suspense. It is primarily the story about two friends, one a successful writer and the other an aspiring writer. The story is told by the aspiring writer who arrives in the small town of somerset to investigate about the murder of a young Nola thirty three years ago. with each turn of page, more suspense is built and more secrets and mysteries over the missing girl gets unraveled.

 

Bookless in Baghdad: Reflections on Writing and Writers
Bookless in Baghdad: Reflections on Writing and Writers
I have never run bookless in my entire life, yet I had the misfortune of reading this book, Had Woody Allen known this book, he would have definitely called it, significantly over-rated. Though in the preface, the gentleman of a writer Shashi Tharoor says “Though I have reviewed many books, including several Indian Novels, I have not included any of my book reviews in this collection. Rather this Volume seeks to assemble my ruminations on aspects of the literary experiences that go beyond any single book.” It is just an accident and the readers’ misfortune that the single book beyond which he couldn’t go is THE GREAT INDIAN NOVEL penned by yours Truly Shashi Tharoor

A glib of writer he is and every other instance he draws reference to his great scholarly and literary work The Great Indian Novel. His great desire to compare and contrast himself with Salman Rushdie alone two chapters; though he could have done it more convincing by being more self-indulgent.
It is more of him and him in every circumstance and less of ruminations about book!

Though I have to admit that there are certain chapters which thoroughly bowled me over! Can try! Nevertheless a good read

 
84, Charing Cross Road
84, Charing Cross Road
Started this book on an early lazy Sunday morning, a short read on a single sitting of three hours. A brilliant read, bringing back the magic of two lost art, Reading and Letter-writing, For someone who firmly believes that life takes you to the best people and best books, this is a greater testimony to my belief,

In a world mediated by mobile phones, internet, communication and the latest Jio-hyped-free data, it is a blessing, relief to know and to be assured that deep friendships take years to built and never in the era of blue ticks of sent items. I insist every reader to read, to know and to be lost in the thoughts of two different souls, and to see the beautiful unfolding of kindness and friendship.

Helena’s quirky personality and the ‘polite British reserve’ Frank’s blend of the personal and the professional attitude add life to their letters, be it the books, family or any odd things they talk about, they pour a bit of their candid selves into these letters.

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the shore is one of the strangest books i’ve read. A journey that stretches itself onto the realms of magic as the reader approaches it. The story is narrated from different perspectives of  Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old boy who runs away from home to escape an oedipal prophecy and thereby making it true and then the story of Nakata, an old man who gained the ability to talk to cats after an incident in his childhood.


This entire book reads like a fine collage of  intense vignettes of unrelated dreamy scenes and poignant conversations. A meandering dreamlike tone drives the entire reading experience. A surrealistic “Kafka-esque” thread runs all along the narrative tying the loose ends, before the book ends. One can sense an intentional ambiguity in the very narrative and the plot. At times, it takes a toll on the reader to make connections every now and then, that said, it ain’t an easy read.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)
Apprehensively started reading this book, on a slight intrigue by the title. A Novel that refuses to be coming off age, yet predictable at times. Nevertheless a good read! Something that grows on you, if you have had a friend, with whom you grew up on your teen years. A poignant tale of love, friendship and family and how these three entities can affect the eternity of lives

On Chesil Beach

 On Chesil Beach

“They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy.”

In a lot of ways, this still happens to be my first read of Ian McEwan. I could only feel a little bleak knowing how the entire course of a life can be changed by a single event in one’s life. Ian beautifully captures the thousand subtle emotions of two different individuals on their nuptial night. The entire novella revolves thoroughly around a number of seamless fragments of flashbacks and memories of Edward and Florence’s lives.

Powerfully through his brevity, the author captures these characters’trivial memories and tidbits of their everyday lives, hopes, dreams,disappointments and how one night that change everything.

The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things

A Fine achievement of history, science and storytelling. A tale complete in itself that I did feel like my world ceased to exist after Reading

Youth

Youth

This is the third of my coetzee’s book. somehow it was a drag right from the beginning, yet I managed to read to be drained. This narrative is painted with despair and the frustration that becomes the tryst of every day life. The wry observation of the hopelessness that one feels, wading through the alien streets of a different world in one’s youth is beautifully captured. Personally I could NT relate to the author and waited to finish off the book. May be, I read it in the wrong phase/time of life, nevertheless this is definitely not the best of his books or shouldn’t be the first of coetzee’s for one to start with.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
Depressingly funny!
Rather Funny and Depressing at the same time in different ways; absurdly philosophical and intricately subtle. An easy read though it leaves you a bit heavy towards the end

The Mirage: A Modern Arabic Novel

The Mirage: A Modern Arabic Novel

A Poignant tale about love, betrayal and family. The sketch of an overprotective mother and the nuanced observations of the conflict and working of the mind of an overtly shy individual makes this writing a brilliant psychological portraiture. The novel leaves you feeling a bit disoriented. A wonderful story teller from Egypt. Thanks Rohit for introducing this wonderful writer 🙂
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The forgotten art of getting lost into

Somewhere along the mundane morbidity of this life, I have lost being able to lose myself into something. That scares me to my wit’s end.

A phase where it is impossible to concentrate on one single thing and be able to do it. Guess it all boils down to the Perils of a PhD. I just cannot help, but relate my PhD process to a beautiful line of a Tamizh song

“நான் தூக்கி வளர்த்த துயரம் நீ” “naan thookki vaLartha thuyaram nee!”

It literally translates to something like that of “You are a sorrow that I raised.”  (willingly and lovingly, [my emphasis])

At times, I can only laugh at the irony of its aptness. Given all that! With twenty five days to go, Chapters to write and Drafts to be done, Corrections, Bibliography check, footnotes and citations and corrections pending. ALL and the least and the most I need to do now, is take care of my ownself, stop panicking every now and then, take few deep breaths at every possible intervals and be on the maniac, militant and drunk writing mode. Good luck to my own self. This is the last phase of PhD and it matters more than anything now. From March 2011 to December 2017, with a break of five years in teaching, I need to be strong and pass through the final passage of rite to complete this ritual and Ordeal called PhD. Go BeeNat,  Go. Keep writing 🙂

 

 

Letter to a battered, withered soul

Dearmost I

In another world, another time, this should have been the name you must have been baptised with,

As the new adage goes, when was the last time, you did something for the first time, I wonder, when was the first time, I did something for the last time, there are so many habits that one needs to unlearn as they grow old. For people who firmly agree to believe and as well fervently refuse to believe that ‘Age is just a number’; something they overlook,

With age, comes a certain vulnerability. Say a graceful one. At times, they are visible, yet they can render a great invincibility. Being vulnerable doesn’t scare me much, but rather the lack of it scares me, more. The peculiarity, is that in a world mediated by cell phones and being connected, people have lost touch with their emotional side, that days and moments only count for Facebook or for an Instagram picture worthy moment. Just couldn’t help to smile and agree more with Ms.Buffay when she says, “How self-involved are you?”

I wish I was self-involved, I wish I could love me more once, and Hence this letter. To remind that self love can also be a worthy love at times.

To remind oneself the multitude of joys that one can attain, if only learnt how to live in this time, immediate – not the bygone, not-the-to-be-gone, but the on-going time. I have somehow learnt, say mastering the art of staying away from Social media – the way it makes me anxious, I have also realised that twenty fours hours of time is enough and adequate to sit and sulk, to bask in lazyness, to contemplate, to actually get the domestic chores done, to do run errands, to watch a film, or to re-watch-the-many-times-re-watched episodes of a sit-com,

Strange but true, I do have a better re-collection of things that happen in a day, I can cook a decent meal, read an article, read a newspaper, and write mails. ( I really should learn to cut down the number of mails i write to people, who at times, can be so emotionally retarded and unavailable, to even compose a few couple of sentences as a reply)

Stranger but truer, thirty can be quite confounding when it comes to certain conjectures about life, the way time overruns, overlaps, the way it is reluctant and reticent. It does a number on your head, mind and soul and yet gives enough time for healing. The way days plummet forward when my mind and heart race backwards in time and memory, everything seems a standstill

Which is exactly what I cannot afford right now, with work cut out to do and an impending finished PhD thesis. I race along time, day and night, in its stillness and in its momentum. All I need is a refuge in doing now. What needs to be taken care, should be taken care.

With souls departing in a jiff, all it takes is to be a still-home, in Happyness and in Faith.

Oops. Here I go,

 

 

 

A woman I loved is coming for dinner tonight.

A woman I loved is coming for dinner tonight.

So as known, I slept very early, woke up in the middle of the night, lazed around watching random stuff, read random pieces from my diary, sat across the balcony. Having fallen asleep there, I wake up disoriented.

I get up and I make tea. As I wait for the water to boil, I vaguely go through a few random memories of her from the past.

I am thirty one years old, I have been alone for almost three years now, I have dated no one since-the-last-almost-three-maybe-four-years-of relationship/being-together/knowing her. I know her for the past six years. I fell in love with her, yet. She could have fallen in love with me; may be, she did. But, she avoided it. We were almost in an almost relationship, but we averted it.

Sometimes I like to be alone, I come into my bedroom at the odd time of the day, just to lie down for a moment. I Look out at the light coming through my window, it gives me a feeling of solitude filled with hope. It seems the most human thing, i can learn to live with.

I realise how, some mornings never dawn in a man’s bedroom, the drapes of a morning never unfolds till a woman arrives.

I remember a portrait of us together in a friends house. Probably the only picture of us together; me in a white tee and a black shorts after giving bozo, the chocolate lab, a shower and she in her pantsuit. The picture is a testimony of our worlds apart, Yet S’s mom finds that a cute picture, “No two same people ever fall in love”

There are times, I feel so ditsy, dizzy and disoriented. I do take refugee with some of my couple-friends, Three to two to be precise, for they make you feel better and humane. I remember once at a late dinner at their place, I could hear their baby whimpering from the bedroom. I was about to stop my story-telling as she paused for a second and asked me to finish first. I was a bit taken back, She got up as I finished with the anecdote, Winking at her husband V, she said, “I will get the baby, you take care of this one.” I am grateful in life for a few deep friendships that I had earned till now.

Sometimes all I do is sit at my sofa or lean against the counter in the kitchen or even without realising as I open my fridge or when I am about to leave for work, I start to think about the home that I have made in the last lustrum. The guest bedroom, the way the laundry bag is hidden from the view, the way the bamboo plant is kept facing the sun, the arrangement of rugs.The idea of an hand-sanitiser within the reach as you snuggle onto the sofa. The chair right near the front door so that one can ease into it, as reaching for the footwear. In some ways every little precise detail matched the version of you in my head.

At times, it gives me an immense feeling of a home, a family, when there is someone sleeping in the next room, the way I tip-toe across the entire house, the way a door should be closed with a silent hush. Something I picked up from somewhere,

just like this weird habit of mine – Celebrating either a 10,000th day or Eleven thousand eleven hundred and eleventh day of someone, I missed the first. So i planned the latter on April 1st 2014. How I bugged her all day to bunk, just to cancel my plan on the last minute. Yet Fahadh came to the rescue, planned the whole thing, A cake, a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, I do have the small video of someone, mellowing down, the welling up in the eyes and a slight smile of mouthing the words, Thank you.

I imagine at times, the house filled with people, the two kids and the dog. As I have this space below the window sill, large enough to fit a small bed for a dog. Of her in the study, pacing deep down in concentrating on work, the kids sleeping, me sitting with the dog, talking to a friend/student. May be its a way that one is growing up without a family around.

May be somewhere a home awaits you, as the woman I loved is coming for dinner tonight.

 

 

 

To be Cared for,

Here I am back to my blogging life, interspersed with random thoughts, frequents cups of hot fluids, evading abstract memories of fading yesterdays and an impending finished PhD dissertation, nursing myself back to health, like an wounded animal in a battle for survival.

My mind chose this night to recount a few memories, draped in a moon-lit solitude and a flickering candle, I sit helplessly and sleeplessly ruminating over a few hundred moments of what could have been the point of breaking down. Writing could be a wonderful way to exorcise past and to confront the violent ugliness of reality. Its the point in time, when people see that lane of exit of the past, parallel to their actual days of life.

Most times, our lives are never about ourselves alone, it is so more about a few people who do become a part of you and your everydayness of life. It is strange when people decide to leave, all of a sudden. The silence, sullenness, the aloofness, the cold distance, the indifference and all of that together in a single look, word or a phrase, and to realise at a precise moment in time; to be left alone,

” I was certain he would turn my way. He would look at me. He would flatten his ears. He would growl. In some such way, he would conclude our relationship. He did nothing of the sort…
…. I was weeping because Richard Parker had left me so unceremoniously. What a terrible thing to botch a farewell. I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape.. It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then you can let go, otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did and your heart is heavy with remorse, that bungled good-bye hurts me to this day.. But I hope you will remember me as a friend. I will never forget you, that is certain. You will always be with me in my heart…So Farewell, God be with you..”

– Life of Pi- Yann Martel.

The adolescent longings of an unrequited love seems much more of a mirage in the scale of pain as one grows up to be an adult. Those winter evenings as I stay hidden on the sides of the wall, looking up on balcony for a sight of her. The exhilarating joys of a puppy love, the rush of hormones, the inevitable shyness even to look into your eyes as we speak. The innocence of then love held a promise of being cared for, with no apprehensiveness. Was it the age? was it the heart? Was it the mind?

Life then sucked too.

Yet.

The promise of a love and a faith in the togetherness of a tomorrow was quite reassuring.

I vividly remember a new years eve. Following a promise made to A, I began to read my first Classic, Of Human Bondage. Any plans for a celebration looked futile. I was half cursing and sulking at my room-mate who left earlier that evening.  I took my pills, covered myself with two sheets of blankets and held a book on top of my chest.  It was cold and difficult even to hold the book and worse it wasn’t a book that seemed to move forward as one reads. I remember this place in the book, where an unhappy orphan kid feeling far worse alone and painful as he couldn’t be consoled by his care taker, a barren elderly women who never had a kid. The kid shouts out his vengeance”I hate you, I wish you were dead”. The poor lady who never knew what it is to be mother breaks down at her failure. She breaks down and sobs as the kid reaches to kiss her. “She loved him now with a new love because he had made her suffer”. That was a moment of a sublimeness and I was overcome with such a spiritual feeling. I went off to sleep, closing the book and remember waking up far better in reality.

I knew very little of A’s own journey from her childhood. She married young and got divorced with a little boy even before she turned twenty five. Having lost her father at a young age, it was her mother who raised her; and life can be indeed cruel when you are violently brought back to square one. I knew somethings about her life as she told me, what she had to fight everyday and what follows her like the shadows of demons. I know our lives are not destined to be the same in our adulthood, yet I know, how I once felt close to her as how I would have for a sibling.

At times, life spins a tale, a far fetched joke, taking someone far away from everything they knew and they loved.

I remember writing once in my diary, “Love is an ability. An ability to be humane.” I have had known, what is when people leave, when they grow up and move on. Yet some times, when few memories catch you, so off-guard.  A trembling moment of resonance as one sees, when things come crashing down. Stay put. Hold onto your ground. Look up as they soar high and smile, knowing deep down, they are not coming back.

May be. Sometimes they do.

Sometimes this wound occurs at the moment of birth, sometimes it happens later. We are all fixing what is broken. It is the task of a lifetime. We’ll leave much unfinished for the next generation. 

Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese

 

‘My Sister always thought; you were a complete mess in your head.’

That is something probably he is used to hearing from F, whom he considered more of a Kid Brother. “My Sister always thought you were a complete mess in your head.”

Something that stuck with him for life. There is a stagnant place in life, just like we all believe there must have been a simpler place in time. Strangely life takes you more often there, leaving you bewildered.

Like the tempting waves of the sea, as one steps into the shore, the water soothes you, caressing you and thereby slowly touching each fibre of your soul and wading you into it. There is a moment when you let go of the fear and step into the horizon of the unknown as the ocean engulfs you into it completely. Few people rarely get into ocean that way, to completely give into it.

Those countless hours they have spent on the sea, her fascination for water as F puts it. He was taken completely by the charms of the siblings. They are quite apart yet they are so similar. As we all grow up, we outgrow the intimacy of being brothers or sisters. What charmed him more, is that he can see himself as the brother and the sister and how much he miss being a brother to his own brother. As D puts it often, “Cranky families produce better children” Yet they are his own dysfunctional idea of family and love.

The girl that he fell in love, a girl who who grudgingly yet soulfully built a home in a house full of strangers. A girl who painfully transformed herself into a woman, having fought for a place in the world. A woman who with an easy smile and with a sip of wine can be dismissive, “Yeah.It all happened. Everything was given to me at the right time.” He did wonder at how many people, actually would be so nonchalant about growing up.

A few remnants of the residual love, the slight amused tilt, “You are so much a kid, still.” the smile she had for him through the side mirror as she parks her car in the reverse, a momentary pause to decide whom to greet first, the dog or the guy. The way he longs for those rare moments when she leans onto him, the smell of her morning shower, the smell on her hospital dress, when she is back home. The way she closes her eyes as a test and a thought to decide how much water for the rice to boil. A tired greeting on the phone at the end of the day. The twinkle in her eyes at his every gesture of love and surprise. Her resignation for his ways into the future, “You are still a student, bubby” Her habit of flicking off the TV for a second to see him in the screen, sipping the cup of tea for sweetness. The way she raises her voice stern and firm, when he is all bugging about ,”Bunk today, Please.” The memory of a woman checking her Kohl in the mirror as she gets ready for work.

Those evenings, when they all huddle together on the floor around the sofa, Tea, snacks, Wine, endless chatter and banter, the movies, the cards, the board games, those dumb charades. Its the time, when all he looks is for a moment when she would little brush against him as she gets up to leave or snuggle quietly into his lap, humming along a song quietly, as she winks at him. Those myriad memories of her. As F teases him, “You are way too smitten,” And remember, “My Sister always thinks; you are a complete mess in your head.”

To meet and part; To part and to meet. And the final memory as she closes her eyes and sings in a soothing voice and in tune with the pitch as she raises in the timbre,

Kaatru Veesum Veyyil Kaayum Kaayum Athil
Maatram Èthum Illayae.. Aaaa..
Vaanum Mannum Nammai Vaazha Chøllum Antha
Vaazhthu Oayavillai Èndrendrum Vaanil..,”

In that Ephimeral bubble of eternity, he rests his life as she opens her eyes with a smile. The unmistakable sad silt of her head with the twinkle of a small sigh.

The meandering memory of love

Where could i possibly begin?

At an ending. May be an impending ending. That kept us Waiting.

i couldn’t possibly start counting the memories we are both bestowed with, And in great vain, i attempt to remember the mortal remains of memories of togetherness.

For Memory is a burden.

How do i remember thee? Let me uncount the ways
i remember thee to the depth and breadth and height
To the beginning of the warmth in your touch

i remember thee to the end of every next-day
Most quietly waiting by my g-talk for a message to pop up
Into the laziness of your day-ending as my day dawns to the sound of your voice

i shall wait, my time to serve with memories intact
To see you somewhere in all my griefs and faith.
i shall but remember thee Always

For i  know no greater love than, of remembrance
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

A year that just slipped by, a year of grief; certainly,`The Year of Magical Thinking’ when a thousand things dawned onto the quiet mind basking in laziness. An urgent need to seize the slyly time that refuses to wait for any tides. A few memories, that needs exorcizing, if not will continue to haunt the remains of time. A happy memory of learning, loving and living together for a short worthwhile. As the year ends, a few deaths that scarred me remains untangled, in the web of memory. An haphazard need to bid adieu to a thousand things as the year nears its end.

At times, Waking up is a like a dream. A certain kind of feeling it evokes as one wakes up from/to a dream. She did remember this; a distant memory, a near-fading past- his feel of lips on her navel. She could only chuckle at the memory, his less than short of obsession with navels.

Next only to books, those unread, but buying books at every other day, the untidy linings of the books along the walls of every shelf. For only the beauty of Japanese language can find a word for book hoarding – Tsundoku.

To end the year with something that i recently read/lived through. Kafka on the shore is one of the strangest books i’ve read. A journey that stretches itself onto the realms of magic as the reader approaches it. The story is narrated from different perspectives of  Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old boy who runs away from home to escape an oedipal prophecy and thereby making it true and then the story of Nakata, an old man who gained the ability to talk to cats after an incident in his childhood.

This entire book reads like a fine collage of  intense vignettes of unrelated dreamy scenes and poignant conversations. A meandering dreamlike tone drives the entire reading experience. A surrealistic “Kafka-esque” thread runs all along the narrative tying the loose ends, before the book ends. At times, it takes a toll on the reader to make connections every now and then, that said, it ain’t an easy read.

One can sense an intentional ambiguity in the very narrative and the plot.

May be the book speaks to me in a way, as to the threshold, that had been pushed onto me.

“Listen, Kafka. What you’re experiencing now is the motif of many Greek tragedies. Man doesn’t choose fate. Fate chooses man. That’s the basic worldview of Greek drama.”

As often, i feel the lure of the unknown quite regularly. May be like everything else, Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum”


In case, if anyone out there is wondering, if I kicked the bucket. Nope. The bucket is pretty much kicking me

It seems like the last time, I wrote anything was aeons ago, I don’t have a faintest memory of ever being committed to a paper and pen in the measurable last seven years of my life. Simple. Life happened. I was not jobless anymore.

I quit Hyderabad. I moved  half-way-across-the-country to Shillong, Trust me, if there is anyone reading out this. I shall dedicate more space here for my lives in Hyderabad and Shillong. Moving into Shillong costed me few precious things in life, Yet life moves on and yours faithfully moved on. On.

It all began, when I applied for a post in NEHU and that was in 2012. As the stars favoured me  “and, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. I fell into the conspiracy.

It was not a happily-ever after story. Life’s blues began. The prospect of being a twenty-six year old with a job and the stillness and stubbornness of Shillong scared the living day-lights out of me. It turned out that this wasn’t that bad after all. A new Place, a new Home, a home that I designed and something where I put in  all efforts to build.

And all through this, something that stuck in my head was the odd belief that this was all temporary. Something that I had to put up with, till some better greener pastures comes my way.

Yet the truth was, it was hard to resist and at times, easier to accept and fall into the charm of this small sleepy little English town. It was not a perfect place, but no beauty lies in perfection as I knew and learnt.

Slowly I learnt to accommodate and acknowledge my very presence here. But grudgingly.

Honestly, I wasn’t ready to regard the good side, that Shillong and this new life came with. Yet Shillong was nicer to me, I learnt here to not to heed to pretentious people and the artificiality that they naturally come with. I started painfully to carve and define me in the very solitude I was bestowed with.

It was a painful transformation.

I realised the real reason that I could not like this place was the remnants of Hyderabad that I carried with me,
I missed Hyderabad terribly,
I still miss. I have learnt not to fall into the pit-traps of Nostalgia.

Now the very memory and thought of Hyderabad serves as an elixir to regain my sanity. The places and people, the freedom, the mobility, the teachers of HCU, friends made, friends lost, acquaintances, the trekking in the campus, bonfires, Nalagantla wine-shops, Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad RTC buses, MMTS, share-autos, auto-driver annas,  Gachebowli, mid-night strolls in the campus, buffalo-lake, peacock lake, F hostel, H Hostel, Ladies Hostel Complex, SN School, CCL, Friends in the city, coming home, Hostel food, not being bothered about food, not having to bother to remember to buy and stock up and to decide on the next day’s menu, Biryani and the craving for it at midnight and the fact that it will be brought to you by the lovable roommate Sudarshan anna, Hogging of food with Adil and Winny boy, Lazy Sundays, Mess food, Old monk, Booze, bike-trips, Silences, Reading into the night, watching sitcoms all day, The night canteens, endless chais and conversations, the movies, DST auditorium, birthday circle, classmates, roommates, glass-mates, soulmates and knowing that you will never be all alone and friend-less. I miss the camaraderie and companionship that Hyderabad gave. Truth be told, NEHU did not give me any friendships nor it let me, earn any.

I miss a life, that will never be again. I knew When i moved out of home, that on some levels, that I will never be home again. Its just that these thoughts lie dormant at the rock bottom of my heart and when they re-surface, life just becomes a wishful and wistful longing, It is a phase, a phase that phases me out for a while.

A mild-longing for a warm-familiar something, like a baby that snuggles unto the warm-confines of mother’s cloth, my hearts leaps into the nostalgic memories.

I for one, now know that this fifth year of me in Shillong will be a tumultuous year ahead with important decisions to make. I look forward for the uncertainty. Amidst all this, being a teacher with students gives me a fresh leash of breath in life.

Now I have a different level of comfort with the place, A distant and a detached familiarity, at times, the place suffocates me, yet it makes up by springing its hidden beauty. The sight of a mist clad afternoon view from my window is one, worth living here.

Four-years and going, Hoping to see more here 🙂

Random Musings from not so recent past – I


       

         He wished, it rained yesterday, when he was with him 

         He loved listening to his poetic voice rambling stories of bygone youth, to the music of                      rain drops
         He loved leaning onto his fragile chest and listening to the melody of his heartbeat
         He loved holding his hands and walking in the rain in gay abandon
         He loved to hear him recite Tagore Poems.

         He wished it rained yesterday, for he could have had a last rainy day with his grandpa.

        


“Like a museum devoted to an absence.”

It’s been almost forty hours since I last slept, the house is in a mess, things strewn around and cupboards all emptied of its contents, pieces of papers lying around. I have checked into the pages of every book, note book and dairies I have ever owned or written in. I frantically flip through the pages, searching for a word, a phrase, a doodle or a code word into which I had once etched and emptied a memory into. A memory of a life-time; love, friendship, devotion, obsession, crush, puppy-love, fondness and affection that crept into me slowly yet slyly, when I was a teen.
 
A soothing calmness embraces my soul as I think of him.
 
I remember that winter when I first met him; a boring evening at a cousin’s home, where we gathered for a Christmas carol practice. To be honest, I don’t have a memory-picture of him.  I was hardly thirteen and he was twenty five/twenty six, yet what I remember distinctly was how he and S were holding hands all the time when they were seated among us. All we did was chuckle and giggle whenever they looked at us, smiling. Probably I believe that was my first ever idea or imagination of what it would be, to be in love. I was naive then and much more naiver now.
 
And it happened that there was always a whooshing of silences and whispers each time, as one of them would walk into the room. It was a common knowledge among us children, that they were in love and were betrothed to each other; a word that I fancied a lot, all through my adolescence. He was at once; this brother, a friend, a partner in crime, a joker, a merry-maker, a charming young man for all the mothers there and to my horror, my first ever adolescent crush. 

I knew deep inside me that I will not and cannot love him as how S loved him.  Yet my fondness grew aplenty, platonically. He made me grow into the person that I always wanted to. He taught me; how to dribble a ball, climb, swim, trek, to whistle with fingers, tie a sailor’s knot in ropes and Windsor’s knot and seventeen other ways to tie a necktie, something that my children adore in me now.
 
Three decades of life passed by; turning me forty five, yet I am that wistful teen still, when his memory crawls into me unaware, as I read this phrase, “Like a museum devoted to an absence.” from the book, After the Crash. My life came crashing down to a stand-still, lost in an abyss of over-whelming desire to know what happened to him after he disappeared from our lives. we all knew what happened to S after two years. A story that cannot be simply summed up in a few sentences and yet it is something that we all learned to live through. 
 
I feel closer to the memory of my fifteen year old-summer as I close my eyes. I feel the years begin to fade in reverse, blurring my memories, yet reminding me of that ephemeral moment of innocence. That afternoon when a few dozen people walked back from the church after the service, I saw him walk aimlessly along the fence. Leila was tagging along him, with such sadness in her eyes that could only worsen his loss. I saw him, crumble down and lean onto the wall as Leila went and sat between his legs and started to lick his face. He hugged her and kissed her head and broke down, sobbing into her. I watched him from distance and knew for sure then; that I loved him more for what he has been to S in all those years.
 
Jeevs! I wish you are somewhere safe; tears in my eyes and hands folded in prayer, I send a wishful thought to heaven, that you found/made peace, for I never made mine knowing that you left us. I am a teacher and a parent now; I wishfully look at all my high school kids and wish you were one of them.
 

And, as I always remember being the youngest and only daughter, how it was to be treated a-bullied-yet-the-princess of the world by my brothers. I wish my two daughters would stop constantly picking on their brother and leave him to grow up like, the memory of mine-You.