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Words...and words are all I have...

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Papyrus!

Fishing for my bottle aquarium!

November 20, 2014 at 01:27AM

Just a week back, I was in my hometown in Silchar, South Assam and our ancestral place is a bit downtown (if you understand what I mean). There, surrounded by vast paddy fields is our house where I spent many of my vacation days, when I was a kid. This time around when I took my son there, it was just reliving those memories again. After a sumptuous lunch loaded with rice and fish, when you step out on the verandah you are gently thawed by the setting sun. Winter is already there, and winters are my favourite when am back home. I could almost see my grannie who is now long gone, in the courtyard along with some village ladies, and some of their conversations were strangely familiar. The domestic help does not listen…takes too many unscheduled leaves…has ruined a favourite saree. The wrinkled faces were familiar too, just that it was now my mother’s and my aunt’s. J

There is a nearby waterbody which is shallow and was used to store water before it was channelized to the fields. That is where I and my cousins used to fish small fishes and fries to make our own aquarium. This was so exciting. Our aquarium was a large glass bottle with a wide mouth (mostly empty Horlicks/Viva jars).  I wanted to show my son, how we fished for those small fishes and fries the names of which I knew when I was younger; now I am not so sure.

In villages we have small baskets made of bamboo cane closely knit, with small holes at the bottom used for washing vegetables. Our fishing was using this multipurpose basket. We would tie a piece of cloth on the basket covering the mouth tightly and then make a small hole on one side, large enough for the fishes to slip in. We would then put some cooked rice inside the basket and immerse it in the shallow water, waiting for the fishes to discover bait and get it the basket through the hole. Slowly after sometime, the basket would be filled with many fishes and all you needed to do was to just hold your palm over the hole in the cloth and take the basket out. We could then select the fishes we wanted to keep in our aquarium and let the rest go. Sometimes, we would trade the fishes for glass marbles with the village boys. The colorful glass marbles are a huge fascination for me till date.

This time around when we fished I wondered, were the fishes smart to discover the food through a small hole or foolish to get trapped?

14 years hence....

March 3, 2014 at 01:04AM

My father was the last person, who can be called a pessimist...yet on his death bad the last coherent words spoken by him was...."Do you know the grief of Macbeth?"

Like every year, I read the Macbeth on his death anniversary, and even after 14 years today, I know not what he meant.

Missing the best friend I had on this day...

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” 
― William ShakespeareMacbeth

A Random Thought

November 11, 2013 at 02:24AM

There is this Idea advertisement which is on air now, saw it first around Diwali or may be Dusshera, which shows the awakening of the conscience of a taxi driver…punch line…It’s a good Idea, killing the Ravan (Indian mythological demon almost used for everything) within your own self.

The ad as such did not catch my fancy and I was never a great fan of the Birla network, however the concept caught me thinking for a few days.

We all at times have been the proverbial Ravana, just that we at times do not accept so. Many a times the feeling of winning is far more supreme to us, than the joy of letting go. While I watch this ad there are those numerous moments which flash across in a frenzy where I just wanted to win and winning has made me lose so much. Just that I still don’t accept. None of us actually do.  Do we?

Happy Diwali to all of you!

November 2, 2013 at 08:16PM

                                                                         

Diwali...the festival of lights...with the message of the return of the prodigal prince Ram and the revival of the faith that truth triumphs, no matter what. Let this year be enlightenment for the soul....God bless you all.

Meaning of Life...

August 15, 2013 at 12:42AM

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
― Albert Camus

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” 
― Joseph Campbell

 

Didabhai...I miss you

July 28, 2013 at 11:54PM

I was lying down on my couch, looking at the heavy downpour outside. It was a perfect Sunday and my eyelids were drooping with the sumptuous effect of a late lunch. In the stupor I could feel the missing warmth of a person who I have lived very less with, but who has had a big influence in shaping the person I am today. My maternal grandmother, Didabhai…whom I lost some years back.

When I was a child we used to travel a lot, different cities, different people, cultures; my father being in the army. My education was mostly in schools where I had no access to learn Bengali as a second language. When I grew up a bit, I was introduced to story books, like many convent educated kids, all I read was Enid Blyton and the likes. When my Didabhai would visit us, on lazy Sunday’s as today, I would like down next to her and would tell her all the stories which I had read in those books. She could not understand most of what I used to say but she would listen to me with rapt attention. Today when I reflect on how her expression was, I think she was trying to understand what was going on my mind when I was narrating those stories. She could understand my interest in thrillers and one day when I came back from school, I found a packet on my desk.  She said she had got some books for me, I was overjoyed and tore the wrapper expecting the latest Famous Five. What I rather found was a hardcover compilation of the Bengali magazine..Shuktara. I was sad as I could not read Bengali, but the illustrations in the magazine told me they are going to be very interesting.

My excitement and eagerness to know the story behind the illustrations and my Didabhai, together helped me learn my mother tongue.

Today as I look through the window at the raindrops, I know somewhere you are there, looking down upon me, blessing me. Maybe through the raindrops….. Thank you Didabhai…I miss you.

   

Random Thoughts

June 3, 2013 at 01:31AM

When you deny things you have got to pay up, pay up double or more. This could be true for individuals, families, societies and countries alike. This is true for the entire human kind as well.

Remember when we were kids, and we were denied something, we would wail our lungs out and our parents would have to budge. The sense of denial and subsequent use of power to get the denied would leave us asking for more. Initially it was two chocolates instead of one and then as we grow up, it moves to more material things.

As a society when we deny a section of its people essentials of life, be it in the name of caste struggle, religion, gender or economy; we should remember that this is not permanent, and the denied would garner power and then the oppressor would end up paying double. The problem with power is that, the oppressed when they garner power, it does not take time for them to be the oppressors.

Look around you, families, friends, colleagues…you will see examples of this all around.

Case 1: A child while growing up has seen his father being unfair to his mother, beat her up, and deny her the independence of existence. What does he do when he grows up? He grows with a protective behaviour for his mother, and goes to the extent where he sees everything as a threat to his mother. Slowly he grows more and then he lands up in a job, sees a girl and then gets married. If he has the endorsement of his mother, he is very happy; else he figures it as an act of denial towards his mother and then somehow a psychological struggle builds up. It messes up the whole god darn fabric of the family. Nothing remains the same again.

Case 2: A child while growing up has seen her father being unfair to her mother, beat her up, and deny her the independence of existence. What does she do when she grows up? She grows as a rebel, a staunch feminist, believes in changing the world and making it a better place to live in for her mother and the likes. She falls in love and quite easily and falls out of it as easily too, because she cannot trust anyone. She cannot compromise, because she has always seen her mother compromise and nothing good has come out of that. She has seen her mother cry and hope things will be alright someday. Now she does not want to leave that to chance or to God who was her mother’s refuge. That is a task she takes onto herself. She breaks everything that comes in the way of her independence and in the process breaks herself.

There could be many such cases and I am not saying that this is what happens all the time, but this happens often and when this happens we leave behind a trail of destruction, for generations to come. Standing up for what we believe is always the right thing, standing up with people we love is better.  

Random scribbles from an old diary - Mridul

 

Choose your attitude!

May 29, 2013 at 12:52AM

Till sometime back, I was sceptical and now it seems to be working.  Each day when I walked into office, I used to tell myself that I am going to be happy and make others happy. I did not know how, so I resorted to my school day tactics of a terrible sense of humour. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it left a tumour on the temples by my knuckle happy teacher. Now at my workplace it raises brows, sometimes leaves a smile on otherwise grumpy faces and the goofy like me, roll with laughter.  And me, I have a huge sense of being blessed. Like they say in the ‘Fish Philosophy’, Play, Make their day, Be there & Choose your attitude. I have definitely chosen one.

50 books that changed the world!

May 21, 2013 at 12:51AM

If you have been wondering what books to read before you die....may be a list of 50 books  by Paulo Coehlo could help you choose.

For centuries, books have been written in an attempt to share knowledge, inspiration, and discoveries. Sometimes those books make such an impact that they change the way the world thinks about things. The following books have done just that by providing readers an education in politics and government, literature, society, academic subjects such as science and math, and religion.

1. The Republic by Plato.
2. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
3. The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine.
4. Common Sense by Thomas Paine.
5. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.
6. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli.
7. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe.
8. On Liberty by John Stewart Mill.
9. Das Kapital by Karl Marx.
10. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
11. Guerilla Warfare by Che Guevara.
12. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
13. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence.
14. Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
15. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
16. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
17. Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
18. 1984 by George Orwell.
19. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
20. Iliad and Odyssey by Homer.
21. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.
22. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
23. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
24. The Arabian Nights Entertainment by Andrew Lang.
25. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
26. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupry.
27. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
28. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
29. Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi.
30. The Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft.
31. The Second xxx by Simone de Beauvoir.
32. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.
33. Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
34. A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson.
35. Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton.
36. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud.
37. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
38. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
39. Geographia by Ptolemy.
40. The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein.
41. The Bible.
42. The Qur’an.
43. The Torah.
44. The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
45. The Analects of Confucius.
46. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas.
47. The Bhagavad Gita.
48. I Ching.
49. Tao Te Ching.
BONUS:
50. Bartleby by Hermann Melville.

100 years of Indian Cinema...the cinema we know of losing its power.

May 19, 2013 at 03:18PM

There was an article today on Sunday Times today, ‘100 reasons to celebrate Indian Cinema’, with glimples of the golden hundred years of Indian Cinema. In the Indian sub-continent Cinema is not just another form of entertainment, it’s a part of our lifestyle.  Bollywood alone supports so many industries that revolve around it which we do not see amidst the glam and sham of the lights, camera and action.

Shekhar Kapur says, “The kind of Indian Cinema that we’ve enjoyed so far won’t last in the next 100 years. The form that we’ve loved for this long won’t hold the same power in the wake of the massive technological revolution, and with the power of social media taking over our lives. Isn’t it worth celebrating that cinema while it lasts?” I want to build a Sunday debate around this. Any body interested?

 

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