Roots

IMG_20170521_193749_969.jpg

Try to wash the dirt off my leaves,
The sun would make the drops fly,
Brown would coagulate,
And then you’d sigh.
Green would sprout
With an outward brightness,
An inward progress, shining loud,
Only if you water my roots
That burrow far from the hyped cloud…

 

Travel Archives: Almora

DSC00252.JPG

Yesterday, while scrolling through some old photographs on my laptop, I found this one of me and Munni Devi. It was clicked in December 2015 when I took a sort of cultural to Almora, Uttarakhand.

I met Munni Devi at Nanda Devi Handloom and Heritage Centre that sits peacefully amid the Himalayas, supporting and empowering rural women. She showed us around the museum―a recent addition to the place―and took us to the workshop to meet the women artisans. Some of them had been working there for more than a decade!

Weaving.jpg

Scarves and shawls knitted with the indigenous nettle grass, hand-woven carpets, and an argosy of trinkets were put out on display. What stood out to me more than the material objects, though, was the affection that was raffled off to us.

12362777_1231351836880607_921979603364908721_o

An Aipan artist at Nanda Devi Handloom and Heritage Centre

It was so easy for them to trust a stranger. To happily take a break from their intricate work and strike a conversation with some curious students who’d come from a gummy city to know more about their art.
But, did these students know the story behind the wedding ritual of a traditional pichhauda? And that they shouldn’t go home without tasting the signature Bal Mithai! Had they tried the folk dance of Jhoda?
They didn’t. And no, they hadn’t. But suffice it to say that they left the Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi much more enlightened about Kumaoni culture, and a lot more in awe of this land’s warmth.

Munni Devi1.jpg

Also, Munni Devi gave me the biggest hug as I said goodbye! Recalling that feeling twists my tear ducts even today.

This Chatty Bench

bench-1190768_960_720.jpg

Can you hear the lullaby

Or my mother’s touch feel.

Can you see the Alphabet

That I learned here to read.

Can you picture that first kiss,

Sense how it filled me with glee.

Can you listen the sweet warble

Of his first letter to me.

Can you tell the heartbreak

Didn’t fight shy of cutting deep.

Can you grasp the moments

Of which this bench holds memories.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

for you.

 

                                                                                                     

That lonely stump in the park

those ringing sounds of the dark

lifeless leaves on the bottom of your shoe

make up a song of fright and gloom

a rant, and maybe a terminal note

that spiral the tiny ball in your throat

that burrow far from the good-natured sky

like slouched soldiers on the sly.

 

Oh, rip that piece of paper

and don’t let those hands waver

for the fledglings of joy will soon stop by

cancel the noise like the songs that got you by.

 

I know you’ll rise from under this rock

pick up your head and walk

give me a list of all the things you like

and I’ll give you one of mine

if it is the conversations that you crave

if it will bring a smile to your face

we’ll talk about the bits and bobs you want to buy

heckle and joke, watch the time fly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The God of Small Things – A story that stayed

I usually end my day with either reading or writing something. Today, I thought of welding the two worlds together, by writing about a book I read by my night lamp: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

 Roy delves into sexual abuse, gender bias, and untouchability in a subtle and poignant manner, stimulating deep thoughts on these issues. The story is set in 1969, in the south Indian state of Kerala. She narrates the story as if it were unlayering the thoughts of the two twins, Rahel and Estha, with words which evince innocence – Orangedrink Lemondrink Uncle, light blue carsounds, bumpy red road, . The sentences are as rich as they are moving. Twins separated following an unfortunate incident, a loved one dying because of a wretched system, and a mother spending her last moments alone after a series of unfair events – everything transpires as if one were half expecting it, but shocks and saddens in equal measure as the story unfolds. “Who should be loved, and how. And how much” is a question which forms the nub of story. The question is posed when the twins’ mother leaks her “Unsafe Edge” that leads her “to love by night the man her children loved by day.” It is posed again when the society looks down upon it. And yet again, when Estha’s quietness and Rahel’s emptiness finally merges. Roy depicts the malaise of the characters’ lives through words which depart from the literal sense, thus evoking deep emotions in the reader’s heart. It’s a beautifully written tale about love laws, and how they destroyed lives. How the small things led to a sad turn of events and shook the big things. It is a story I read months ago but one that has stayed with and will stick around.

Follow me on Goodreads here.

The Sakura

The beauty enraptured him, distracted him, and injected a new energy in his days. A sweet smell rode the air again. The newness had brought with it the curiosity, and a hundred different ways to unravel it. The raconteur in him yearned to chart the course, to peel off the silken layers and imbibe the splendour. He liked how he had woken up one day to find all the trees effloresced. He liked how it all happened without any warning. The wind carried contours of a melody. Sometimes the moonlight set the red trees on fire.

But the moon soon began to wane. The trees soon began to shed the frills. His interest soon began to fade and his mood plummeted. Had he anticipated this to be as graceful and fleeting as the fall? Had he only admired the exquisiteness, knowing that it was ephemeral?

The beauty enraptured him, distracted him, and injected a new energy in his days. That sweet smell rode the air again. The Sakura had bloomed again.

The Sakura or the cherry blossom flower is a celebrated feature of Japan’s spring. It is revered as a symbol of exquisiteness and transience. The bloom of Sakura is associated with the traditional custom of Hanami, or flower watching.

Photo courtesy of Timothy Ries via unsplash.com

 

From Sad Languor to Creative Ideas: Lessons that helped me start this blog

Our frenetic pace of life, of the so-called digital natives, leaves us with no time for even cursorily glancing at the path that we’re so frantically pacing. As for me, I realised what havoc my lifestyle was entailing when I started spending more than twelve of my waking hours with my computer and phone.  I turned into an irritable, lazy, and of course, unhealthy person who went without speaking more than 10 words to any person, in person, in a day. I couldn’t concentrate, and fell prey to a major creative-block. And so, I decided to take charge of the situation (after my ears were almost bleeding from my mom’s constant chiding). I translated my constant need to remain plugged to a digital device into a plan of action to help me connect to myself first. And while most of it may seem clichéd, I can now say from experience that it helped. Here are the 6 things that helped me keep my sanity amid the digital frenzy:

1. Exercising

I have been waking up early and exercising for half an hour for over 21 days now. And it has done wonders for me, and not just in beating the languor of the start of the day on its head. On the most days I wake up cranky, I feel refreshed and inspired after a jog. New ideas strike when you start your day well. Starting this blog was one such idea for me.
And like we’ve been told several times: exercising regularly, irrespective of being a lark or an owl, generates immense gains in the health department.

2. Reading

Words have a cathartic power. There’s always something you take from what you read. Reading stimulates thoughts and makes you question things that you’d normally not bother about. So, what I did was to simply set a reading challenge for myself and put it up on Goodreads to keep a tab on my progress.

3. Eating Healthy

A healthy mind resides in a healthy body, and that depends on what you feed it. I start with the first meal of the day and never skipping it (even a bowl of fruit does the trick). I eat something every three hours and drink 6-7 glasses of water in a day.  An interesting revelation I made is that when I keep eating small, healthy portions after right intervals, I don’t hog on junk later.

If cutting down on all the junk we love so dearly might seem too much, we can at least try to accompany our meals with green foods and salads. What’s also important is to have a buffer in your diet for cheat days.

 4. Prioritizing

As a student, I do most of my work online, and there’s no escaping that. But the key to time management is curbing that urge to log in to your Facebook, or watch that cute cat video on YouTube or Ellentube, if you may. So, why not assign an hour of the day for all that entertainment, and try to stick to your schedule? Why sneak that email during dinner when you can answer it easily (and without embarrassing typos) later?When fully immersed in writing that kick-ass project report, learn to politely say no to that friend who calls just to ‘catch up’. If they’re not calling for anything urgent, what’s the point when you’ll meet them the following day in college anyway!  Productivity is directly related to prioritization and concentration, or so I’ve learnt.

5.  Observing

When was the last time you took a walk in the park, or looked at the stars? If your answer to that question is somewhere around a month ago, we’re in the same boat. But I recently tried to change that. And things like a stroll in the public park, a walk to the stationery shop, have helped me appreciate my surroundings more. It has opened up my thoughts to interesting ideas and creative ways of putting them into action. So, try it before you dismiss it entirely.

6. Valuing Relationships

Making some careful lifestyle changes also helped me take a step towards feeling internally fulfilled, and ultimately communicating better.

We often take our loved ones for granted, and subject them to the horror of our irascible selves when we don’t feel good. We bottle up our feelings and start holding grudges against one another. We may think we are A-OK keeping to ourselves, but we do need human contact. We do need conversation. We do need the lovely, often underestimated, exchange of different viewpoints. 

All this led me to start a blog to give form to the million hums in my head, and to share with others what I experience as I find the tricks to mastering the art of getting by. 

To the daily grind!