Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What is Potential But a Life full of Possibilities.....

Today's Wordy Wednesday Prompt has been given by Elly Stornebrink. She is a wonderful blogger and a lively person. It has been a pleasure to discover her through this platform of Blog-A-Rythm

For the word-prompt 'Potential', I am submitting my entry below.

Work hard
Believe in yourself
You can surmount mountains
You can overcome hurdles
You have the potential
To do what lies within your reach
You have the potential 
To do what remains outside your reach
After all,
What is potential
But a state of mind
That gives you the ability 
To achieve
To rise
You just have to trust -
Trust your inner voice
Prod yourself further
On the path that lies ahead
Look behind sometimes
At the footprints you leave
Learn from the places that have some muddled prints
They tell you where you faltered
They tell you that you tried
They tell you that you have lived
A life exploring your potential......

Sad is the state of those
Who trust not, try not
Sadder the state of those who stop and smother lives
Lives that had the potential to be lived
Lives that had the potential to bloom like fragrant flowers
Lives of little unborn girls
Who had the potential to do what any boy can presumably do
Lives of little aborted girls
Who might have surpassed all boys
If only their potential had not been killed
After all
What is potential
But a life full of possibilities
A heart that can beat
A mind that can think
A body that can breathe
In a soul that can believe
Many potentials don't see
The bright sun
The silver moon
The twinkling stars
The rain-laden clouds
The azure sky
The vast oceans
The verdant earth....
Many potentials don't hear
The music of life
The harmony of cool breeze
The rustling of leaves
The splashing of waves....
Many potentials don't bathe 
In the fragrance of Aurora
In the scents of blossoming flowers
In the balmy tender touch
Of motherly affection.....

Potential killed...
Killed by prejudice
Cries alone
In some corner....
Untouched, untapped
And yet sullied and stained
Irony of life.....

If you liked the poem and the thought, do read the following two posts on similar topics I wrote earlier. The first one is a guest post I wrote for ideasforideas.org and the second one is a post from my other blog meredeshkimitti.wordpress.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Vladimir : "Yes, yes, we're magicians."

Day 3 of the challenge in which I was tagged by Lata

Today I am reminded of Beckett and his powerful play Waiting for Godot. I remember reading it many years back when I was studying literature. It was a play that would bewilder me at times as it was open to multiple layers of interpretation. Till today I cannot forget it. It is an absurdist play, a satire on the kind of lives we live by repeating certain acts in a Sisyphean manner. The following lines aptly justify certain acts of ours which we do only to fulfill a void in our lives. These acts give an illusion of a meaningful existence and yet in the end, all we do is 'wait' for 'Godot' who never arrives. In doing this, we become what Vladimir calls "magicians".

Estragon: We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?

Vladimir: Yes, yes, we're magicians.”
― Samuel BeckettWaiting for Godot

Do share your thoughts on the quote, or the play if you have read.

On Day 3, I am tagging the following four bloggers:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Food for the Goddess

They often left food for her near the lamp. It would miraculously vanish and they thought Goddess Imoinu ima was pleased by them and appeased by their offering.

 Deb was an eight year old domestic help in their household. He could not play like Ajoy because he was not born with the silver spoon in his mouth. He had no access to the mouth-watering delicacies that Ajoy was forcefully fed by his mother. He had to satisfy himself with the left-overs.

One day, Deb could not clean the house as he was sick. The master of the household got very angry. He had invited the head of an NGO running in his area. The NGO worked for poor kids and saved them from child labor, malnutrition and abuse. Ajoy's father had a given some substantial amount of donation and secured his position as a good samaritan in a hopeless world. The unclean house enraged him and he beat Deb and threw him out of his house.

A crying Deb, jobless and starving, had nowhere to go. He waited for someone to come from the house and take him back. But nobody came. He decided to spend the night under the tree he had often watered.

That night, surprisingly. the morsels of food left near the lamp, for Goddess Imoinu Ima, remained untouched.

Ajoy's mother was panicky in the morning.
Ajoy's father was called.
Their was a long pause.

Then suddenly Ajoy's mother realized her folly.

"The Goddess is angry because you threw out Deb. Bring him back', she pleaded to her husband.

The husband was god-fearing man too. He rushed outside.

Deb was still sleeping. He touched his hand. Deb got up and apologized. The master of the household made him promise that Deb would do his duty well. Deb promised.

Deb was back in the house.

Ajoy's mom was feeding Ajoy. She did not ask Deb to eat anything. Deb started mopping the floor. The day went just as always for Deb.

Night came. Food was left near the lamp.
It was gone in the morning. The Goddess was appeased.

Everyone was happy in the household.

Picture Prompt provided by blogger Parul Kashyap Thakur


'Without music, life would be a mistake'

On Day 2 of the 3 Day Quote Challenge, I again thank Lata for tagging me. 

The rules for the 3 Day Quote Challenge are simple.
  1. Post a favorite quote of yours for 3 consecutive days,  obviously  a different quote each day from any book, any author of your choice. It could also be your own quote.
  2. Nominate 3 bloggers with each post to challenge them.
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.

Today's quote is from one of the greatest philosophers of all times Friedrich Nietzsche:

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” 

I have often felt that only those with a sensitive heart love music. Appreciation of arts, in any form, be it music, painting or theatre comes from someone who can empathize, someone who has a receptive personality. My grandfather often used to tell the story of the ruthless Mughal king Aurangzeb who hated and banned music from his kingdom. In recent history, Taliban are an example of the same brutal force that stifled art in any form. Do read a fictional piece by me here - Have they come to take my Doll? It is a short story of a girl who loves her doll a lot. She does not understand what animosity can someone have with her precious toy. 

I do not know the context in which Nietzsche wrote these lines but they hold the truth of life. Without music, there is no life. We are mere robots dancing to the tune of things that happen to us on a day-to-day basis. When music happens, the heart beats in a lively tone. When music happens, life sings to us the songs of joy as well as sorrow. When music happens, ego melts away. 

My mom was a wonderful singer. She still has a great voice but does not follow her passion anymore. Do read a short write-up on her I wrote a few days back - Songs Mom Sang

Today I am tagging the following bloggers

For Day 1 quote, read my entry here - A Small Ration of Tools...

Monday, June 22, 2015

'A Small Ration of Tools'

I have been tagged by Lata Subramanian who blogs at Lata Wonders for the 3 Day Quote Challenge.

The rules for the 3 Day Quote Challenge are simple.
  1. Post a favorite quote of yours for 3 consecutive days,  obviously  a different quote each day from any book, any author of your choice. It could also be your own quote.
  1. Nominate 3 bloggers with each post to challenge them.
  1. Thank the person who nominated you.

He had what he called just a small ration of tool:

A painted book.

A handful of pencils.

A mindful of thoughts.

Like a simple puzzle, he put them together.

- The Book Thief by Markus Zusack

For an avid book lover inside me, the title of this book was intriguing enough. I did not know what the book was about until the day I grabbed a copy of it from the library and started reading it. It is one of the most poignant books I have ever read. This is just one of the most memorable lines from the book. I don't know if it will fall in the category of a proper 'quote' but I begin the challenge from this one.

Thanks to Lata who has nominated me for this challenge. 

I am nominating the following bloggers for Day 1

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A World full of Small Spaces....

An excellent prompt by a fellow blogger I have recently discovered - Usha Menonji

Being new to B-A-R, I just busied myself in submitting prompt-based posts. But when I read what others are writing, I realized my mistake. I seek apologies from all the previous bloggers who gave such great prompts to write on, and who I did not acknowledge in my blog posts. Do overlook this fault of mine. 

This world is a small place
A cozy nook 
Where love ought to flourish
But sadly it just perishes
As we all fight for space
Space built by ego
Fed by anger
and jealousy
We need a smile
And a hug
To break barriers
To come closer
But we know not how to bring that curve on our lips
We know not how to loosen up
We forget the magic of touch
We forego the magic of compassion
It is so hard to let go
We keep holding on to regrets
Nurturing hatred and indifference
Creating chasms where bridges ought to be
We pull down the curtains to let others out
Out of sight
Creating foggy visions
Straining stares
Frowning brows
Contriving in countless ways
To make an antagonistic world
Which is not small
But home to small thoughts and petty minds
A world of alienation
Of isolation
Of distances
A world full of small spaces.....


My other posts on B-A-R prompts

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review : Kaleidoscopic Lives – Ensemble Narratives of the Common Man by Roji Abraham

Man has always felt the need to tell stories. Ancient people told their stories through art. With the development of language of communication, narratives flowed from one generation to another orally in the form of folk tales, fables and legends. On the way, the plots and characters changed and were embellished as per the perspective of the teller. These stories survived by word of mouth, although they kept changing in one way or the other. With the development of scripts and languages, stories came down to us as the written word. They became permanent. While initially, stories were meant to teach a moral lesson, with time, they evolved into a complex form of literary art. Today, short story genre is a recognized field. It is a genre that is not easy to write. Therefore, mastering the art of writing short stories takes time and effort.

When I picked up Roji Abraham’s Kaleidoscopic Lives – Ensemble Narratives of the Common Man, it was the title that first caught my attention. Titles are like windows. They let us see something but leave the rest to imagination. The title speaks of narratives of the common man, a figure appearing frequently in present day political discourses. It hints at the variegated colors of life.

My expectations were well-raised and the very first story hooked me completely. Chocolate Uncle left me mesmerized, making me relive my memories of childhood. It is a tale of sweetness, a short but well-spun yarn with strands of historical forces intertwined into the personal lives of the characters. There is no detailed analysis of the historical tensions at work but they are subtly hinted at, which adds to the text’s richness and the responses it induces in the reader.

Life devoid of humor would be very dull. So we have the Thai Massage, The Court Witness and The Cripple. These stories evoke contrasting responses from the reader. The titillations of youth, the worries of a legal tussle the character is involved in and the sympathy aroused from hearing the story of the crippled man are well complemented by the climax these stories reach. Expected behavioral reactions are dealt with in a clever way making space for subtle humor.

The First Fan and Pilla the Thief deal with both the past and present lives of the protagonists. While the former deals with first impressions which are often misleading and throw light on individual biases and social prejudices, the latter is a tale of reform and social acceptance.
The sexual promiscuity in The Talented Cook weighs well against the poignant tale Till the Day I Die. The care-free joviality of the cook is well-documented in not just his cooking skills but in the other ‘passionate’ spheres of life. The young men learn important life-lessons from the cook’s escapades but also risk running into trouble. Till the Day I Die is placed at the opposite end of the spectrum. It deals with true love in a restrictive society. It is a befitting end to the motley of emotions that pervade the book.

Shahab is another narrative that registers unconditional love and nostalgia for unfulfilled dreams. Sometimes, some people come in our life without knocking the door and they fill up a void that nobody else saw or sensed. Shahab is one such story that registers a good deed done and a cherished dream fulfilled. It leaves the reader with a feel-good factor. So does The Cab-Driver’s Story. Responsibilities force the cab driver to choose a career he had not sought. What the story does to him and to the person who hears his story is what one needs to look out for. It is a touching narrative with positive ending.

One of my favorites in the collection was The German Housemate. What happens when two opposite personalities share one roof? Do they fight, ignore each other or become friends? What exactly is ‘friendship’? Is it the unspoken bond between two people who come close to each other just because of spatial proximity? How much can one overlook the mannerisms of a loud roommate? Does an ‘awkward hug’ seal the friendship bond for good? It is a story that will stay with the reader once the book is completed – a special treat of words and wonderful characterization.

 There is a beautiful line at the end of the last story in the collection Till the Day I Die. “The curse of education is a rational mind……it takes away the beauty of dreams.” Roji Abraham has lived his ‘beauty of dreams’ by weaving this narrative collection by creating characters we meet every other day. For those who want to read something that connects them to their real lives and yet transports them to a distant world, then this book is a must-read.

 “A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph, a novel is a film.”           - Writer Lorrie Moore  

To buy the book from amazon, click here

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Power that is Kind Stems not from cruel Mind

(Power is derived from Latin 'posse' which means to be able. Grace takes its roots from Latin 'gratia' that means pleasing, kind. French grace means forgiving.)

The notion of power has often been linked to physical force. Power and its use and abuse are associated with control, confinement and conformity. This kind of use of power has at different points of history seen the rise of dictators and tyrants. Power that verges on senseless massacre of minorities and those considered 'rebellious' and 'deviant', is, not surprisingly, devoid of grace. This kind of power functions not just at the dominant levels of hierarchy. It is prevalent in almost every strata of social structure, as Michel Foucault, the French historian of ideas, had pointed out. It seeks to control and legitimize ideas and belief systems that are in harmony with the ideologies that are considered 'normal'. Foucault's analysis of 'madness' in this context is relevant here. He describes how 'madness' has been 'used' for conveniently muting voices of dissent and disobedience in an age of reason.

Power is all these examples has been used to mean something that restrains, something that contains. But there is another kind of power which is completely free of brutality. It is a strength sages derive from self-control and disciplining of the senses. It is a virtue that calms turbulent minds and stormy hearts. 

Remember the story of Buddha taming the wild elephant. 

When Buddha's cousin Devdutta unleashed his jealousy on the great sage by letting loose an elephant that was drunk and enraged by the cruel treatment he had been subjected to, Buddha remained unperturbed. A woman cried for help as she felt that the mad elephant would trample her child. Buddha did not succumb to any fear. Nor did he administer cruelty on the animal. He reciprocated with love. He touched the elephant. There was magic in his touch, a magic that stemmed from love that was powerful yet graceful. It was an affectionate caress that understood the pain of the mad elephant. The touch did not desire to defend. Rather it wanted to help.

This kind of power that Buddha possessed was power that was ‘able’ to ‘please’ rather than condemn or demean.

‘Graceful power’ or ‘powerful grace’ are not oxymoronic phrases. They define an attitude. They exemplify a state of mind that is free from bias, jealousy and barbarity. They define a mindset that aims not to curb but set free.

Power that pleases
stems from a heart
that is kind
not a mind that is cruel....
It is grace 
that pleases.....
Calm and serene
Like the ocean's water
Placid and balmy....
Powerful yet graceful.....

Do spare some time to read my other Blog-a-Rythm entries by clicking the links below:

Silly Stillies

Footprints That Changed My Life

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Haiku Attempts

With the help and encouragement of friend-blogger, Vyomi, I have written these two Haikus. The second one is in response to the prompt given by Vyomi who is herself a pro at writing Haikus. I thank her for her guidance. Do spare some time to read some wonderful pieces written by her. She blogs at A rhyme a day to keep my blues at bay.

At First Sight

Unsung Heroes

Wooden Sandals

The Ancient Woman

Before you read my novice attempts, I insist you read the above gems by Vyomi.

Now for the two attempts I have made -

Choking Relationship

Image Source here

Struggling for some space
Obsessive suffocation
Churning death through love

Dew Drops

Image Source here

Do share your thoughts on my attempts. Thanks!

Scent of Aurora
Reminiscent of Ersa
Touch of tenderness

(Ersa is the Greek Gooddess of dewdrops and Aurora is dawn.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Scream is a stream of anxious mind....an outpour of an injured heart. Scream is also a deluge of happiness, a rush of joyousness. Scream is emotions, in their extreme form. Sages say do not over-react to situations. They tell us to be calm, to maintain a sort of temperateness of spirit, a spirit that is balmy, still, serene.

I wonder how they do it. I can see pictures of the enlightened Buddha and imagine how gentle he is. Even in the face of adversity. I can read many inspirational stories that tell me to stay calm and unaffected by joy and sorrow. But I do not know how to do it.

I remember the story of Buddha where a woman wailed the death in her family. Kisa Gautami's little son died and she was inconsolable. Buddha asked her to bring a few mustard seeds from the houses of those who had not seen death. Kisa went from one house to another. But she could not get even one. She returned and Buddha made her understand that death and suffering were part of life. There was no escape from that for us mortals. Kisa found solace in the learning and became Buddha's disciple.

I wonder how Kisa did what she did. Maybe the greatness of Buddha was transferred to her. But I do not have that great power around me. What do I do?

In joy, I scream. It is the scream of happiness.
In pain, I scream. It is a scream of sorrow.
When I see some injustice happening around, I scream.

When I read about some horrors that humans wreck on other humans, on animals, and on nature, I scream. This scream has no sound. It is the scream of silence. A silence that is deafening.

Edvard Munch's The Scream is emblematic of all humanity. I am no art connoisseur. But some things just speak to me. The Scream is one such painting. It depicts us humans, the suffering humans. In the expressionist medium, it puts on canvas the plight of our minds. How the entire world comes tumbling down.
We scream. Some scream loudly, some silently. But we all do. We are not the sages. We do not try to be like them. We fail if we try to be like them because we do it with doubt and skepticism, because we do it halfheartedly.

On the other end of the spectrum smiles Mona Lisa. A picture of total serenity, devoid of the dread and angst, free of turbulence, distant from the stormy spirits.

Can we find Mona Lisa in real life? It will be difficult. Can we find the subject of Edvard Munch's The Scream? Almost everywhere.

The Scream (Image Source here)

I remember one more Buddhist fable. Once a man comes to Buddha and abuses him verbally. Buddha asks him, " If you give someone a gift, and that person does not accept it, what happens to that gift?" The man replies, " It stays with you." Buddha then answers, " I refuse your gift my friend. You gift of words." The man is at loss of words. What this fable tells us is to remain unaffected in face of anger. Do not let the other person feed on your reactions. Anger grows when met with anger. Stop the flow of this negativity by refusing to react.

This reminds me of Gandhi and his non-screaming and non-violent ways. This also reminds me of the line that silence is the most powerful scream.

Do spare some time to read my other Blog-a-Rythm entries by clicking the links below:

Silly Stillies

Footprints That Changed My Life

As always, will love your comments!