Friday, May 29, 2009

The Archie Wedding: My Opinion (since everyone is giving theirs)

Pic courtesy: The internet

OK, so Archie Andrews is going to ask Veronica Lodge to marry him. The whole world and the next comic fan is crying foul. How could he not ask Betty Cooper? Well, honestly speaking, that was my first question too. Suddenly, from a life that I had lived long ago, the question and all that went with it popped up. Archie and his gang. A lifestyle that was so 'cool', when we were growing up.

What I remember of Archie, I ask myself. For some reason, I realised yesterday that it has been ten years now since I finished high school. That sure feels old, like when I walk into a Splash store and walk out because it has next to nothing that I could buy. Too much plastic, the teen stuff. I digress here.

Archie's used to be priced at Rs 30 back then. Expensive by the standards of that day. But from some shacks in corners of Madras (then), I used to get second hand books, some dog-eared, some torn in parts, some nice bound ones. Friends and I would pour over it for hours, try to replicate Veronica's fashions and secretly dream of finding our own Archies. Those were not times when you openly spoke of wanting to have boyfriends.

Junk jewellery was just in then. And so was cable television. Those and the loud prints, high hairstyles of the 90s, the chunky bangles in mono colours, 'Maine Pyar Kiya', 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.' Some early Mills and Boons that, in later years, grew racier. And more raunchy. And we were all suckers for love stories, in comics, in Bollywood, in desires of our own lives.

Archie's and Riverdale and the rest were the American dream. That was just before the dot com boom and America was still 'modern' and 'all-things-good' and all that. We all saw where we secretly wanted to be. Perhaps, more than the movies, Archie's, coupled with the others, was the escape we all hoped to be part of. Be a part of the American dream; the burgers, the boy friends and the rest.

Ah well, we all grew up then. And India got its own dreams too that we all became part of. Thanks, globalisation.

And so Archie is set to marry. I wish it was to Betty. But then, maybe that's just me, and the rest of the world, rooting for the underdog. Archie is perhaps following his heart. Or maybe, like a colleague said, strongly thinking Archie made the wrong choice, that he was probably chasing the money; it is the time of recession, after all!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Words. Of the Written Kind.

I still do not know who Rilke is. I suppose I could Google and read about this person, but a line he wrote is more important to me than knowing about him.

"If you think you are capable of living without writing, do not write", so he wrote.

I could not live if I didn't write. I have never been too good at talking out what I feel. Words, of the written kind, are always better. Even to this day, I vividly remember a day some five years ago. I had gone down to Mangalore University to give an entrance test. It had never been my first choice. Add to that a fight I had had with ma and I was not in the best of spirits. We had these essay type questions to write and as I began writing, I remember an almost physical weight get away from my mind.

The point is that, like everyone who knows me knows, like I have written on these posts half a dozen times, I love writing. And I don't know what I would have done without it.

Here I am, in office, nothing much to do really. And I just want to write, this and that. It is just one of those days when I feel like talking to the world with my words. Of the written kind.

Life is edging on. I have a lot of things that I am trying to do. There is 'Living to Tell the Tale', Gabo's autobiography. I am not too thrilled with it, never was with auto-bios, but I have told myself I must finish at least Gabo's. Then there is a collection of Poornachandra Tejaswi's collection, 'Kirigoorina Gayyaligalu' that I am half way through. His 'Annana Nenapu' had me in splits a few years ago. All those of you who can read Kannada, don't miss it.

I am trying to start Walt Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass', a poetry collection, after I read about it in 'The Notebook' by Nicholas Sparks. That book had me bawling my eyes out by page number 161, a very very rare thing for me; I never cry watching movies or reading books. There are some others nicely perched up in my room. Oh, there is then Jeffrey Archer's 'Paths of Glory' , specially signed for me by the author himself, mind you. (Sorry, I had to gloat!) After 'Kane and Abel', I have not bothered much with his books or those of his kind but I am told this is different from the others. Ah, well, when I have the time.

Oh, I also met the master storyteller some days ago, making a lot of people I knew suitably jealous! LOL. It was nice meeting him; I did not leave with any lasting impressions though. As a journalist, I guess you lose that awe towards people famous. It was nice though, I enjoy meeting writers and he has a great sense of humour; a showman on stage, I must say. I wrote about it here for my paper. (Its the e-paper, click on the story to enlarge)

The other renewed passion, after catching up on a bit of reading has been yoga. I thought Bharat Thakur's style would be good; but ended up not too impressed with Artistic Yoga. But renewed yoga has been good.

Meanwhile, found these two links. and good stuff on yoga.

That apart, Raksha is back in Bangalore. I am so thrilled about that fact. Friends are good. Life in general could be better. But I complain not, it could have been worse.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Story of a Letter

Disclaimer: This story is purely fictional (even if you don't think so). It has absolutely no reference to my life or that of any person that you may know. Is not a message to anybody, nor am I hinting at anything. This is just my first attempts at writing fiction.

Someone, a long long time ago when she was living another life, had told her that she wrote the best when she was in deep pain, when her tears blotched the paper she was writing on. It had then lead to an argument between them. She had said that a writer should be able to write at all times, that the words should flow with a tingle, like the brook that they were sitting besides, in that other life. It was not a serious argument; that someone else was not being too serious either.

And then suddenly one day, she was called upon by the world to write a letter to the one she loved the most. She had, by then, begun to understand that she had an almost physical need to write, everything else seemed secondary. She knew that the day she could live without writing would be the day she had to stop her thoughts from struggling under her skin, fighting with each other and many things else to change into the words she wrote here and there. She understood that she had to write, it was not a mere obligation, but almost a force she simply had to comply with to stop the voices in her head from shouting in her ears.

And so she was asked to write a letter. That was the only brief that she had to write a letter to someone she loved a lot. She was not told what she was to write about, or even why. Just like she had, countless number of times all her life, done, she was asked to string her words on any number of thoughts she wished to decipher and express, almost in abstracts. And so she began.

The first problem was whom she would write to. She had been blessed with several people that she loved in life and most of them loved her back. She loved God too. And she loved her pet. And her friends. And her writing. But she did not want to write to those who knew that she loved them. On a cold night, she looked out of the window in her room. If she craned her neck, she could see a glimpse of the crescent moon. Interspersed with the blue lights she could spot from a corner of the city she lived in, she could count a few dozen stars, none from her favourite Orion constellation though. And then it struck her. No matter whom she referred to in her letter, the others would get offended. "It's best if I address this letter to someone non-existent, someone I hope to meet someday," she told herself. "What if you never meet this person?" asked an evil voice, but she quickly told that cynic in her to shut up, before it unleashed another painful stream of thought.

And so she sat down to write.
Dear.... for lack of a name or a better term, she wrote,

Dear love of my life,
I am to write a letter to you. Don't ask me about what or why. It is one of those things that the world has asked me to do, to express myself and let this be an outlet for all that I want to say. I wonder what I want to write about when I don't know you, when I am not even sure you will ever belong to me completely....

The words began to trail off, leading up to her old desires and many little wishes. So what if I have not met this person, she thought, her stubborn streak making an appearance there. She was to express something in the letter and in the realm of the abstract, she had the privilege of fantasy that her real life seldom allowed her. And so she fantasized.

It was easy to convert her fantasy into fiction. Pretence. With a smile, she pretended that she had already met this person, this love of her life. She began to think that they met every day. Sometimes when mundanities of life kept them away, they would still meet each other in dreams and thoughts; the physical realm was inconsequential when their hearts were constantly in conversation. The soul was one that they shared anyways.

The writer in her thought of putting into verses and one liners her love for this person. And she miserably failed every time she tried expressing how much this person meant to her. But here was a chance, in reality, she thought to do just that, say all that she had to.

I used to think I could express myself in my words, that I could, without much effort, pour out my thoughts onto paper. But you my dear, because of you, I seem to be at a loss every time I try to tell you how much you mean to me. There was never a definite moment when I let you become my life; you tell me that you know exactly when that happened with you.

If I were to tell a story of us, I would not start from the beginning, for, the sequence is not so important as much as where we now are is. I would narrate those little incidents when you made me angry, when I wanted to cry and yet you made me laugh; when you let me break down; when you were there, always. Flowers and music and food and rain, I would tell stories of moments when you and I shared all this. When we built all those memories that makes life so beautiful.....

And then other memories butted into her fantasy. Other not too nice stories that she wouldn't have minded narrating either. But the letter was to be a happy one; she wanted it to be so. This love of her life knew all there was to know about her, knew why she was the person she had become and loved her for all of that. But still she wrote about herself, she wrote of her village and her school and her friends and her past loves. She wrote because she was always better with written words. The letter got longer but she couldn't stop. There was a life to explain to the one she wanted to spend her every day with.

She wrote how this person had taught her to smile and worked hard to keep her that way. She wrote about the differences her life had seen and how she was happy and how she wanted to remain so all her life. She wrote that she loved this person more than anything or anyone else in the world; how they could both look into each other's eyes and drink from that pool of longing to the background of their song. She wrote all that she wanted to feel, all that she knew existed for her and her alone, somewhere, in another world.

A deep sigh escaped her. The coffee before her was growing cold and she needed to submit that letter to the world soon. She checked her mobile phone for messages, there were, as always, none. She knew that there was, in her present world, several other things she had to do, shop for groceries, do the laundry, the most mundane assortment of mundanities. But the fantasy had to be completed, at least in her letter.

The love of my life, what can I say more that I have not already told you in my actions and the love that you see? I take refuge today in old wise words that people resort to when they want to console themselves when in pain. I must let you go now without making you feel guilty. Nothing any of us ever do is just our fault; it is a concoction of several of us, of time and situations. This journey we have to make separately, you say we must... she wrote, hoping it would be the last time they had to stay apart.... We shall journey together even in absentia. You and me. Us. I write even when I am pained, this is my refuge. And one day, I know you will be back. I shall wait for you and I shall not talk of time or space then or now. I shall wait.....
Yours forever.

And then she finished the letter. "I wanted the letter to have a happily ever after," she thought. Another sigh escaped her. But she had to end it that way. She knew that even fantasies should not be too good, the reality would hurt more so later.

After handing over the letter, she shut herself away with her words again. And waited. For the love of her life to be back to her.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lessons Learnt This Past Week

That thing called Life teaches you a few lessons, whether you want to learn them or not. Here is what I learnt recently:

* Nothing much in life is permanent, not relationships, not sentiments. Let alone other assorted mundanities like jobs and some friendships. Probably only the knowledge that you love and you are loved in return is the only thing that's long lasting. But then, even that comes with a little star, 'conditions apply'.

* Some things in life are worth their wait in gold.

* People, even those you have seen all your life, never cease to surprise you.

* Everyone has the right to be happy, even if the rest of the world does not think so.

* Sometimes, you have to do things for yourself, for sanity, for peace. Even that little indulgence may be called 'selfishness'. So be it.

* Girls also make quite good friends. I surprised myself with this too. For most of my life, I did not think this to be true.

* Watching your best friend get married and begin a new life is so beautiful. She was such a lovely bride.

* Life, though strange and stressful and all that, is still kinda good.

* And you still cannot trust or have faith in a lot of people in life.

Monday, May 04, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding

I wish I had a great picture to put up here....but I have none that are not too personal.

My best friend gets married in two days. I cannot wait to be there. I couldn't be happier for her at the moment. Raksha, my soul sister for the last 15 years, may you forever be happy. May you have the best of days ahead and the happiest marriage ever.

I have too many wishes for the babe. All those memories and the years behind us flash in front. I shall be there to give her a hug and wish her well. The bestest days ahead for you sweetheart :-*