Monday, October 29, 2012

Ritual nostalgia

the emblemic deity - the ghot 
by Subhrangshu Chatterjee

This time of the year is drenched in nostalgia. Always.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pre-anniversary confession

You never know. You never know what beautiful rock, designed by the river will surface when the river dries 'cause of the dam (reference to this earlier blog post).

That is the beauty of a journey.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning to breathe - part 4: What life usually has in store is experience

Sometimes when you get tensed, do you feel you can't breathe? Here is someone who does  feel like that sometimes. She imagines the blood rushing through the veins and flowing into the brain, instead of the heart. And then dizziness sets in. Well, it was until she figured it out that all that she needs to do in such circumstances is breathe in and breathe out. Breathe in and breathe out. And, the heaviness passes, giving way to something that is a brilliant concoction of calm, confidence, excitement and inspiration (Share with me one word for this if you know. truly) .

Well, that is pretty much the thing that happened when the Lustrous Lives blogger found that a blog branch-out of Brit WritersThe Unofficial Blog of Brit Writers and Writers Everywhere! is looking for writers at all spaces and all places. The first thing she felt was exhilaration. The next was dizziness.

When she had breathed in and out, she managed to write and edit and send in her first blogpost for this amazing blog. Click here to read her first blogpost in The Unofficial Blog for Brit Writers and Writers Everywhere!.

She is breathing in and out, right now, as you read the concluding sentences of this post. because she is going to send her second blogpost in to the unofficial Brit Writers supported blog. Ew!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Learning to breathe - part 3: Some confusions are good

After reading the last post in the series, a friend of mine asked me: What was that!? The face shone bright with disappointment- this was not expected; especially, after the first post that was all about wisdom and knowledge, and, inhalation and exhalation. It is true.

At first this post was supposed to be the 'part 2' in the series. But then, the perspective changed. Instead of brewing the theoretical concept of breathing while breathing (meditation is another name of the same) in abstract terms of wisdom and knowledge and their Spanish counterparts, it was decided that Chris Powell's reality show would take centre-stage. But why?!, my friend asked.

Well, it's simple. We do not live in any abstract idea called 'life', but we do live with several abstract beliefs, notions and concepts. For instance, the concept of hope of something better than what is a distant notion for some to cheer their bad days, while for some it is a belief that forms the crux of their existence. Or, love. Or, happiness. Or, gloom. The abstract appendix to the real life is pretty long. There has to be a link between the 'real' world of action-filled descriptive life and the abstract appendix to it. I like to believe there is.

When we are looking for wisdom and inner peace we look for the sublime elements. We look outside our everyday mundane lives. This is because we think that there can be no way up in the tiers of consciousness through the grisly real world.

Imagine what happens when we stop breathing. We lose the connection with this action-filled world of ours. That was simple to understand, wasn't it? Now, try remembering all the details of the shop that you went to for coffee. Or, try remembering who was with you in the lift this morning? Or, better, try remembering the facial expressions of all the people you said : "Good morning!"

This appears to be a difficult exercise for me most of the times. It is here that the connection between breathing and our lives are lost. We do not think there is any action in the inactive moments. We look forward to the physical action.  Our mental world channelises all its energy and ability towards it. Our mental world lives the way we do. Always on the go, always for something else but the now.

(To be continued)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Learning to breathe - part 2: Are transformations wishing wells?

So who's your Chris Powell?

The habit of watching real people living through ups and down die hard. The viewer-writer is always looking for more and more stories to inspire, to tell, to refashion into a poem or a non-fiction piece. Sometimes the lives of these real people whom she watches only from a great distance in time and/or place finds a seat in the corridor of characters she assembles for her novel that she will write someday. Either way, she can’t stop being a voyeur to life.

A character in a medical drama on a television channel once said that people watch reality shows in order to escape from them. That is but only one side of the coin. There are couch potatoes and then there are potatoes who want to be French fries. Okay, that was a really bad metaphor, but do you not agree that life is like a coin with two sides and the connecting joint that has no name?

Most of us flip that coin around all the while, unable to hold onto any particular face of it. Most of our lives are like the edge of the coin- connecting the heads and the tails and existing without an identity. What happens when we actually, I mean, really, really, truly recognize this fallacy of our lives? Either, we choose to live on in this in-between-ness with a sense of never even wanting to achieve either the heads or the tails of it. Or.

Or, we choose to push ourselves across the boundaries of this in-between-ness and into the domains of the extremes of either head or tails which in turn calls for an intense overturning of what we know of our existence. Ah! That sounds like the material of fictional protagonists!

The difference between the fictional protagonists that we usually encounter in films and novels and short stories, and us plebians, is that, they usually achieve a successful transformation, and the story ends there. We, on the sadder hand, always remain tangled; or rather, mostly remain confused and tangled in the matrix that is the process of transformation. So, what should plebians do? Here's a shortlist of choices:

  1. Never venture into the extremes that create confusion and tanglement.
  2. Forever venture into the extremes that create confusion and tanglement.
  3. Think for ever and ever about what to do and hence remain indecisive forever.
  4. Live a thriving life filled with ecstasy and injuries, choosing the opportunities of purposeful living over the ever-present fact of life being a wipe-out show of sorts. (another show I sometimes indulge myself with)
Chris Powell in the reality television show "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" urges his clients to choose option 'd'. They appear on the show with unbelievable amount of excess weight. During the course of 365 days, the client is shown to achieve a goal to lose whopping amount of fat from the body. Now, these are usually people who instead of dealing with some kind of personal issue, had chosen to not care about themselves and participate in binge eating. And then, this guy who introduces himself as the one specialising in transformations, appears. 

This guy, Chris Powell, takes them on a journey of realising and facing some of their well-hidden emotions. Does this show have a fairy tale ending? It does and it does not. Some of these people do fail to keep up the motivation and falls back to old habits of binge eating and/or not caring about themselves when things get out of hand. You know old habits die hard. While some keep trying. They slip off their mark. They get up and they keep trying.

What does one do when one has a bad bugging old habit that die hard? What does one do when in spite of that habit one desires to lead a purposeful life, acknowledging the bruises that come along with the joys of life? Think of a rose, and, breathe. Sit up straight wherever you are. Feel your spine stretching down your back. Roll back the shoulder blades. Look up straight from your computer screen and breathe. Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Repeat till you feel profound as a wishing well. 

And then, maybe, write a response to this post? 

After-thought: A., my husband, sounds like Chris Powell when giving me a pep-talk . Hmmm. 

(To be continued) 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Learning to breathe (new series) - part 1

Inhale. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exhale. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Inhale. An easy thing to do. To breathe. Or, so it seems. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ides of March - 2

When his friend met him after years, the friend observed with a smile, "You look sukhi". He was scandalised. Sukhi is a Bengali term that has no English equivalent, according to me. It is an adjective to define a settled-into-life state of mind and being. The comfort of having a pattern of life that one is well-accustomed to creates a sense of security and safety. When used to this state of being, a small attempt to step out of this zone of comfort (for instance, when the brand of shampoo that you use is no longer available in the market) appears to be very unsettling. There is nothing criminal in being sukhi; just that there is a little less opportunity to live vibrantly.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ides of March - 1

At a once-upon-a-time family gathering, youngsters huddled up to discuss our latest fads - the recent Aamir/ Shahrukh blockbuster that hit the screens (Indian superstars they are, but to death-do-us-apart fans, they are heart-throbs over whom there could be unto-death-of-the-vocal-chords debates!); or, the most recent 'hobbies' ... Which brings us to the point where the blogger can finally begin this blog post- phew!

There was a kid who had gained an interest in palm-reading. The blogger put forward her palm to be inspected and the kid-astrologer said - 'You act like a spring. Sometimes you are bugged down so much that you can crumble to dust, and the next day you can be jumping out of the pandora's box'. The blogger remained unimpressed since the kid was a cousin who knew her well enough to make such observations.

The blogger continues to remain unimpressed about the expression of the kid-astrologer till date. However, she has been intrigued by this peculiar springy character of hers. Like the millions of people across the globe, like you, my dear friend, she wanted to know herself better. But there was no light at the end of the tunnel as such. The truth is, there was no tunnel as such either.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

just telling-

Time flies, time crawls, time jumps up from behind and says - BOO! In all the cacophony of time that passed in the meantime, some songs were sung in the hoarsest voice possible. Some poems were stitched in the jamboree. Some written words were printed, some were not. This is just a quaint announcement that at the middle of the first quarter of this year, the outflow of blog-posts restarts, once again :)


Friday, January 6, 2012

Technological disasters and new year resolutions

2011 was a year of technological disasters at the home-front. Or, something like that.

The DELL, that was passed on from the elder brother, almost like a heritage, had to be put to rest because of an unintended forced feeding of 'dal' (Indian soup made of pulses). It was a sad day to part with it, and so the status update of her social networking site read : R.I.P. The DELL that had dal. There is a rumour, that,the DELL might experience a resurrection back in Kolkata. But that is still a rumour her in Ha Noi.

What isn't a rumour anymore, is that, another piece of handed down heritage, a NOKIA 2630, had its memory washed away in the washing machine. It just happened, unintended. The blogger washed her clothes with the mobile phone in one of the pockets. Earlier, she had washed clothes with cash notes, bus tickets, safety-pins  and ... Well that's the list as far as it can be remembered.

The mobile phone was not much in use here in Ha Noi anyway.It was rarely used to make or receive calls. Ah yes, there were a few intense sessions of international calling and SMS-ing friends in Ha Noi. But that was it with regards to the facility a mobile phone is supposed to provide.

It was however used for one other thing. For recording suddenly sprouted moments of poetry in the form of drafts. When standing at the red light, when travelling in the bus, when waiting for a train, and more regularly, for saving the last poetic thoughts that occur just before she fell asleep. The last instance had become a regular phenomenon almost. It was discomforting to lose any poetic phrases or verses, or even whole poetic pieces in the darkness of the night. The blogger was too lazy to put on the light and scribble them onto the scrapbook at least. She used to half-open her eyelids (often of one eye only) and grope for her mobile on the side table and save the poetry as a draft message in it.

Though all the data in the DELL laptop was safely recovered, she has little hope of recovering the lost poetries saved as drafts. Drafts they were, but to lose a bunch of words that had appeared in the most potent moments of silence grieves the blogger. However, ironically, this seems to be the perfect start of the year in which she has a resolution of living each day as it is, each moment as it is (read about the magic of new year here).

it is the tide :)

Each day has its own sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonfade. Some poetries are best washed away, while some are lost in that washing. But today is another day. And life is about keeping the doors open. The blogger plans to stitch a welcome poem for the new arrivals this season.

What are YOU welcoming this season??

Image: a half submerged boat in Phi Phi Islands, Thailand © Susmita Paul 2011-2012.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New years = Magic?

The new year wishes popping up in the inbox and the social networking sites remind me of a scene from the film The Runaway Bride. The 'runaway bride' of the groom who truly loves her sits in front of him, after quite a time since she ran away from the marriage ceremony on the day of the wedding. She tells him that she loves her and proposes marrriage to him. Further, she guarantees tough times in marriage. She also guarantees that if she didnot ask him to be hers, she will regret it for the rest of her life.

The list of resolutions are hung up on the virtual walls already, or, in our internal spaces. That is how it usually is. We promise this and that, to ourselves and to the world. To give up a bad addiction (of chocolates and chips, for me). To get up early from bed. To study way before the exam dates are announced. To relax and destress from tensions in the office. 

The list is endless. At the end of the year, we usally can't remember the promises tht we had made to ourselves 364 days ago. And, so, we make another list of promises.

My list of new year resolutions have consistently been as varied as 'I will be less lazy' to 'I will make new mistakes'. But this year around, my primary new year resolution is, to remember to live each day, one at a time, and, live each moment one at a time. This way, I hope, I would guarantee myself to remember the promises I have made to myself. Guess, that would be magic for sure!

What about YOU?

Here's wishing all the readers of Lustrous Lives a new year filled with possibilities to outshine the you, that was in the previous year, in mind,in body and in spirit. 

Happy new year to you, my co-walkers in this road of life!