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wilde.jpg Reading a book is like creating a nonpareil experience for self, like taking a pleasant walk towards one’s private chambers…No one is invited to intrude upon the privacy one indulges in, as if something has changed recently, the decision has been made and one is already embarking upon a journey rich with new life-like situations. There is no experience as intimate as reading a book. And how does one feel choosing a book from one’s personal collection or from the book store and gifting it to someone? One can not resist caressing the book, running fingers through its gossamerish layers of beautiful world, lovingly, holding it close to savor the fragrance that is tucked deep in the crisp murmurs for the last time, before gift wrapping it up, admiring self for having taken a meaningful decision, as one knows the book will make a great gift. I felt and did this many a time, standing at the billing counter, beaming over my selection, feeling certain that the book would go to its new home, introduce itself to other books in the shelf, and stay there as a constant reminder of a few pleasant walks one took through the silent grassy fields with no dramatic twists. I still can recall that incident quite vividly…I have always been an admirable gifter, being aware of one’s preferences and choosing a book (as a gift) accordingly. I took this book “Cider with Rosie”, which has got a marvellous morning freshness, a wonderfully vivid memoir of Laurie Lee’s childhood and youth in a remote Cotswold village…

“from the moment he is set down in the long grass, thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers…I remember, too, the light on the slopes, long shadows in tufts and hollows, with cattle, brilliant as painted china, treading their echoing shapes…” I fell in love with the book with minimal effort and I scheduled its journey as a gift to my sister, Vani who is in US of A. But I could not resist this nonsensical temptation to have it with me, as part of my book collection….with not even a hint of hesitation, shamelessly, I wrote “A gift to Jyo-the child woman” on the book….Parting with my book certainly features amongst the toughest decisions I ever made…I cry silently, I struggle, I climb this “See-Saw wooden swing”, Should I gift or Should I drop this idea….    🙂  I do not know whether or not Abhi felt the same when he played around with this idea of gifting away his Collection of Oscar Wilde works – the most cherished book, to me.   

As we all know, Oscar Wildie, was a gifted poet, playwright, and an illustrious phenomenon in 19th century England. He was stylish to his times, and was considered a maverick who attacked Victorian narrow-mindedness. His sense of humor and wit, has been sensational and brilliant …..should I say, Oscar Wilde is   “An Event that smacks of refreshing defiance for those convoluted and staid souls”…

I, especially, adored this delienation of him ….”On his arrival to America, Wilde stirred the nation with his flamboyant personality : wearing long silk stockings, an unusual mode of dress, long, flowing hair which gave the impression of an “effeminate, and a general air of wittiness, sophistication and eccentricity. He was an insant celebrity…”

His controversial work “The Picture of Dorian Gray”…..

A distinctly subversive “homosexual subculture” within the Victorian society forms the backdrop for this masterpiece, which unfortunately was framed as the evidence against Oscar Wilde who was severely punished in 1895. The work clearly reflects, Wilde, the effeminate dandy, and his enthusiastic fascination for  “enigmatic hedonism of youth” and his disposition towards homosexuality…”If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that – I would give everything, yes there is nothing in the world I would not give! I would give my soul for that…” Ah, we mad people, in our madness, we have invented a realism that is vulgar and an ideality that is void…

So true, we always try to avoid realism like something untouchable, like plague and crave the ever-elusive ideal world, desperate to find a few hues of idealism in everyone we come across….The reader would experience a consistent  pressure as exerted by two constructs of an ideology and the resulting outcomeant : the platonic construct of “homosexual passion” (the painter Basil Hallward) and the brutal realistic construct of “homosexual practices” (the crafty and vicious Dorian Gray).  If we remove the homosexual appetites as the context and replace it with any other life dimension, there does, still undoubtedly, exist a huge disconnect between the ideologies, a human desires to have his life founded upon and the consistent realisation of his inability to follow them in real life, thus leading to the much-avoidable, yet the eventual“moral downfall” in his own eyes.

This quick-paced classic indulges the reader in conversations loaded with paradox, irony, intriguing antithesis simplified etc., with Lord Henry being the commentator on life and its weirdities or contrasts! The story keeps the reader attentive, never allows one to slip into the heady delusions of inadequacy, and it continues to unravel. Most characters, as the story progresses, tend to suggest a specific dimension of the author himself, who was well known for rebellious observations and intelligent repartee. The cunning witticism of Lord Henry, most times, left me feeling unsettled…..a moment of realisation that happened sometime ago, a few months ago, a few years ago!

Perhaps you will tire sooner than he will. It is a sad thing to think of it, but there is no doubt that genius lasts longer than beauty. The mind of the thouroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing, it is like a bric-a-brac, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value. I think you will tire first..someday you will look at your friend, and he will seem to you to be a little out of your drawing, or you wont like his tone of colour, or something. You will bitterly reproach him in your own heart , and seriously think that he has behaved very badly to you. The next time he calls you, you will be perfectly cold and indifferent …..

So does this mean that the face that enthralled one in one season hurtles towards a failure, its inability to sustain its influence over him/her? Or it’s not the inability of the face to be questioned, but the person who views the face distorts the face with his/her own grotesque interpretations or varied justifications that he/she borrows from his milieu so as to settle down with a boring and mundane existence without rupturing the rules of existence as dictated by that unseen society ? therefore, does this mean that he or she cease to use one’s will, mind, reason and all other critical faculties as a person when he/she nestles with so-perceived loved ones? or launch this charming spring-time revolution of resentment about the dwellings in a materialistic world, and broods over it indefatigably with so much fervor that the world around him/her crowd at the door, seeking his/her attention, writhing to be in his/her good books?

{Link: James Blunt Tears and Rain

How I wish I could surrender my soul;
Shed the clothes that become my skin;
See the liar that burns within my needing.
How I wish I’d chosen darkness from cold.
How I wish I had screamed out loud,
Instead I’ve found no meaning.

I guess it’s time I run far, far away; find comfort in pain,
All pleasure’s the same: it just keeps me from trouble.
Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray.
I’ve heard what they say, but I’m not here for trouble.
It’s more than just words: it’s just tears and rain.
..}

section purplised : represents the bodies of words I underlined in my book…I gloat over those dog-eared pages and underlined pages of my books…bad habit? yea so? the rest is my interpretation

me-6.jpg

When I walked past the young and restless hearts huddled around the antique coffee tables painted in vigorous shades of blue , and smokes swirled out from the hookhas, I do not know what actually I was thinking?

I was conscious of my surroundings, a wave of sadness floated in slowly like a silent river upon my shoulders, all of a sudden. As if I approached not so familiar small town tucked in behind the brooding fields of golden wheat. I walked past those windows where curtains were drawn close, and I do not know the houses were past their evening tea-time. What a bundle of contradictions a human body could be, my pair of legs glided across the room lightly, while eyes blinked out the first layer of water.

I finally let out a cry. Its voice was thin and nobody heard.  I found a new term beaming at me in my dictionary – “milder doses of humiliation that life throws at me”. I could be wrong in perceiving them so. Things became clearer to me – what happened a few minutes ago, at the table next to the other where a white man was sharing a huge cup of coffee and a bowl of German potato salad with a long-limbed black woman.

Why was I glancing towards that table instead of coming alive with the conversations at my table? Who was I, and where I’d come from, why I was ending up here with him in the first place, was it just to end one more chapter of my story bound in a dark cover?

How would both of us break miles of silence on our way back home in the taxi sitting close to each other, different worlds with some unknown distress uncomfortably wrapped around them, its head kept down on us and blinking deep into some darkish streets? Has the taxi-driver noticed how lonely my tears were in a faint light?

The streets were buzzing pregnant with people who have homes where they talk to or eat with or sleep with others. Nobody turned his head and seen my face growing paler with my eyes brimming like pools of sadness. Nobody wondered why I was so alone ?

Or was I a loner by choice, as the boy nodded back at that fact, my dress soaked with thin layers of sweat, which sticks to the corners and folds of my body, as always, I struggled to be in a group of humans as ever before? Or has the world failed once again to make me talk about – all those simple things I wished to bring onto the table, a gentle heart, a few kind words, a bunch of playful giggles, a few tales of woods I read about, the trees throbbing with the positive energy of highly articulate birds, bees, and insects of many kind? Or has the world lagged behind me to understand all those trails I take in solitude? Or the world has forgotten to wonder at me as I carried on without turning back to see him for the last time?

I had sad stories of my own, like each one of you, am sure has, and they make me quiet at times when I see skins glowing with happiness.  I lay a long time without the energy to do anything about the sadness that pours out – from the corners of my mouth and eyes, everything looks so basic and raw.

Walkers in the airport looked down on me, a gunny bag of sadness, turn their backs as if having second thoughts about leaving a woman on the edge of some unspeakable personal grief like that. But most hurried on, that man sat to next to me for a while, but then moved on – much to my relief. Yes, for one more time, I faced it – a thin sliver of pleasure with slippery coat, which, in fact, is sadness in disguise.

Thus I wrote a report – of an evening when everything went wrong.

{link :Nelly Furtado – All good things

Flames to dust, Lovers to friends
Why do all good things come to an end?
}

01052007149.jpg  Under ÓBUMBLE-BEE series on my blog

If you allow me, I will go back to those walks we took after breakfast. To those words, in our mouths, tumbling out in low,hushed voices. To those walks when we acquired whispers and developed soft feet, a genuine desire to sink down into the calmness around us. To those conversations clad in philosophy at the dinner table. To those brief sweet slumbers that devoured us in the afternoons.   

If you allow me, I will go back to squint at the sun, huh, how intrusive one could be,  bringing in nameless yet rich warmth, crawling over our bodies that seemed living with stillness and stuck with the tail-end of some unknown dreams, bending his way into the crumpled white sheets, parking his glow at the naked shoulders, and gleaming on our lips.

If you allow me, I will go back to stand near the wooden window, 300420070791.jpgwhich opens to the wild and unruly forest, oh! what a respite from our regular days and nights that march with the hands tic-tocking in the clock, from organised frames tucked in semi-formals : I slip into my Levis jeans and Pure white shirts, you strut about Pure whites and Dockers. Remember, I murmured to you, fighting to open my eyes, about the wild development in dense greens, bright chirpy yellows, pinks and rusty browns around the fence, seemed filled with excitement, of different kind , every day, and those birds, so far away from us, like tiny black dots perched on 02052007187.jpgthe topmost branches of the trees, chirp at practically anything that gets their interest pricked. To lean against the walls dripping in dense hum of insects, to the summer woods that are busy with a constant rush of a different traffic. 

If you allow me, I will go back to many moments when we stared, hand-in-hand, from our bike, at  the grandeur of Goan homes painted in solid colours bright yellows, deep blues, pale brownish yellows, mostly vibrant hues of life. To that post-breakfast session we had with the old gentleman, how laboriosuly he moved around, who took us through the interiors in yellow ochres, natural pigment hues, heavy wooden doors that can be folded like windows, windows whose slots are made of fish shells,those huge jars used to store wine, grains etc.

If you allow me, I will go back to those rides on the bike I took with you, my head rested on your back, ran past us those balcaos facing the street  where women sat together on Built-in seats placed – on the steps with each seat on a step or facing back-to-back on the balcão- to gossip, Young men immersed deeply in the games of Carroms, or sitting on the low walls buried under deep-bodied vines. Single-storeyed houses, half-storeyed houses, double-storeyed houses, with tiled-high roofs, allowing Sunlight to play hide-n-seek games. 

If you allow me, I will go back to the afternoons when we followed the road all the time, through the villages, through the villagers with tough, rugged yet pleasant faces, through the dark unflinching bodies of sweat and labor, descending from the mountains, the road curved and curled waving at the natural contours of the shoreline, to introduce us to the evenings and the sea. To those evenings when we walked through the heavy scents of sea, through the white, brown and black bodies gushing over the sea like children, through the little hands and toes laboring over castles in the sand, to those many pleasant interruptions when the sea flooded our limbs, entered us ravenously with its friendly waves, playful gushes, treacherous and schematic games, tell me was it enough for us? how effortlessly, the sea turned everything in us solemn, at times, I moved away from you, you moved away from me, brooding over a melancholic trip, thus I thought of “A heavy surf”….

{{The wind is insufferable. It catches us unprepared; and to keep
up our courage each does what he can – we climb bridges
and stairways and ponder. Then a gust empties our heads
-strange to say- and all of a sudden we feel
Better. Headless, we can talk with the wind….Pablo Neruda}}
30042007139.jpg 

To that brief sleep stretched  languorously on the black rocks with those jig-jagged formations, as if a town is built in stone with criss-crossed pathways, tiny houses with balconies facing the streets, washed up by the sea, the air is crackling with salt, one of those stone houses, dazzled, we checked in for an evening  to  watch the sun setting down, at times my eyes closed  I delivered myself to my loneliness, to my pain, to the impending moment of farewell, gust after gust, like a  wind, I do not know what you were thinking of then. To the moment when my eyes ran after the trail or the fight in great solitude, that black bird indulged against the gusty sea breeze, overhead in the skies, a vagabond whose grievings woud be resolved by the setting sun…{Abhi’s POV about the bird’s great solitude!}

 If you allow me, I will go back to the moody trip over the beaten path, fast-tracking up a forest trail that tucked in many browned and rusted fallen leaves, the sun was peaking through the trees arrogant heads, at us the intruders, meandering to soak our weary bodies in the tingling waters of the falls, hugged by clouds, and then chugged out the train with no human passengers,01052007154.jpg from the black stolid stone cut from the mountains, rambling some song from its snub-nose face, peeking deep down the valley below, we waved at it fervently, am not sure it heard our shouts that were rendered like whistles across the wind. To the long waterfall shrouded in a heavy forest of herbal trees, flied down sky disgorging milky-white water, spreading in the air around the green mountains, the quiet chill of crystal waters murmuring those tales we hear in our dreams and forget when we wake up….

If you allow me, I will go back to the woman in her pale blue top and aqua green colored skirt, who gushed over the boyish-looking man in Pure whites and
Levis, hiding a twinkle behind his Ray ban. To the hands slipped into a silent clasp, after a brief introduction and a shared smile, drove past the village women selling baskets-full of silvery fish on the roadside, the village women carrying woods and bundles down a dirt road….  

{link : Abhi’s version :Life in its own unique way provides an ambience for one to meet someone who she’d stumbled upon, it was almost a pleasant collision just around the corner and all the required variables fell in place in no time, as if they were progammed to work at their best pace to enable a “human interaction’ to happen…… Abhi maintains a low-profile, but certainly is an entertainer with words, which is further fortified with his educational background. Finally, he, the busy-body, wrote his version of our vacation. Yes, it can be agreed that women and men tend to write differently….the  first-person narrator in my case is all about falling in love with the land and the man, while the male narrator had given a full-fledged rendition to the topography. But I would say, his version is a lot more mellifluous and pragmatic than mine….umm, he did touch upon that woman with a payal (anklet), a slender body in a black top and a floral-printed flimsy skirt!}
 

 ….with Abhi, I learnt this insight : Be a Goan when you are in Goa. Be an Italian when you are in Italy. {Link : The Place we stayed, watched movies together, took quite a few walks….Goa Astoria, 400 200yr old family run heritage hotel To taste the truest flavour of a journey, one needs to take genuine desire to succumb to various nuances of the local culture, the local way of living} It would be an empty experience if one moves around a strange place as a tourist.  …..{the images you looking at are captured by my Nokia-N series}

And I recommend at the counter : {link:Frenzy about the windy skies} and  Floyd’s India

vodka.jpg {this new post heralds the launch of ÓBUMBLE-BEE series on my blog}

I view this movie as a series of “Postcards from desolate and snow-covered village in Armenia”, portraying a heart-warming tale of human optimism amidst lonely and frozen  mountainous landscape. And the poignant note, which this tragicomedy tale opens with, introduces you to various facets of the admirable survival instinct of  the village – the gentle conversations at the graveside, surprisingly not laden with sadness, but more like daily updates, the town market where one’s possessions are sold, the journeys and the shared grief lonely hearts indulge in a green bus, the cigarette smoke swirling within the circle of chairs occupied by elderly gentlemen ruminating the likelihood of receiving a huge parcel presumably bearing money from their sons who  emigrated to foreign lands, the photographs that came from Paris – a momentary escape from their meager existence, the empty chairs, the empty hands with no work, the heartfelt love songs sung by the bus driver ….a gentle portryal of human hardship laced with whimisical fantasy and subtle humorous grief. The bleak poverty stares deep into one’s eyes and chills one to the bone, but crushes under the unflinching beat of optimism…..what I truly liked about my brush with this movie is the excerpts of Interview given by the director – Hiner Saleem….

Hiner Saleem says : I like to quote what my grandfather used to say on the Kurdish misfortunes – “Our past is sad, our present is catastrophic, but fortunately we have no future”

In the case of the Kurds, or the Jews, or the Armenians, or of other people who have known misfortunes, if they do not have a little bit of humor, if they do not manage to put things in perspective, they can not survive. According to a famous 17th-century orientalist, “the Kurds are both the saddest and the most joyous people”. Even in truly difficult and tragic moments, there is always a little thing that makes us burst out laughing. {link: I like to view tragedy as a period, a stage that is going to pass}. I do not like playing victims.

The film is a tender fable about misery, a baring down to white in the vein of “la vie en rose”. He says, I have always longed to film Kurdistan, the mountains, the trees, the pomegranates, my mother, the Kurds! then I tapped into the ruins of post-Sovietism……      

Despite everything, Armenians remain incredibly optimistic. Hiner furthers on, all Armenians are magicians because I do not understand how they manage to live (maybe they do not understand either!}.

The Kurdish anecdote he shared with us created ripples of goosebumps all over me. “One day my friend’s friend has been forced to sell his color TV, but he did not want to leave his children without TV, so he had sold the large, beautiful color TV and bought a small black-and-white one. At some point, his 5-year old daughter asked him – daddy, why does Catherine no longer have red lips? they have become all black”. Hiner adds, “this absurdity and optimism, this misery and love, this life that veers between tragedy and comedy, these red lips become all black – these are all the reasons that pushed me to shoot Vodka Lemon in these Kurdish villages of Armenia”

When he was asked, “Two images echo one another : in the beginning, the image of the old musician who arrives on a bed, and at the end, the piano that makes a false getaway, if we can put it that way. Was this done on purpose?”…he says,we are in a barren country, yet despite everything there is hope: people do not sell their piano, they do not sell their dignity. In the last scene with the piano, it is especially love, that matters, the love that begins to grow between Hamo and Nina (the leading protagonists), this amazing power to resist the odds together and to find solutions..”

I am enthralled by the last scene – with practically all of their possessions sold, bare walls and bare corners around their homes, as a last resort, they sit huddled in warm clothing, against the frigid layers of silence, on the piano bench waiting for someone to buy the instrument.  When a prospect approaches them “Is it for sale? or you bought it”, they both without a word, go rolling down the snowy road with the piano….

{link : The Cemetery – a key element in the movie} http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACwkJOBbjwU

Hiner says Kurds have a particular relationship with the dead. The dead are not really dead.They are no longer visible to men but they are omnipresent in everyday life. People go to the cemetery with vodka and food. Family, friends…everyone sits down by the graveside. Then they drink to the health of the deceased and talk to him. The cemetery is not a place of sadness at all. When he greeted a few young people at the graveside, “what are you doing here?”. They answered him, “we smoke.we chat.where else should we go? there is no cafe. this is our buddy, who is dead. There is a chair. we sit here and keep him company”……

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