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Ancient love


I groped through cluttered lanes
Dark and dismal
I couldn’t rally
Around or be calm or stall
My claustrophobia and fears.

I peeped through window panes
I stumbled and fell
Stuck in the blind alley
Where I could see vermin crawl;
There was no stopping my tears.

Was this the hell they spoke of?
The fire and torment
That took over the mind?
The obvious consequences
Of it’s own disarray?

Exit was close enough
But I had ignorantly spent
A lifetime to find
The signposts with directions
That would show me the way.

Now beyond the past
Out of the murky bylanes
Of ego and desire
I rest my heart and feet
I am one with the throng

The valley is green and vast
I feel lie a child again
I fill my lungs with air
My life a fluttering sheet
Of Life’s all pervading song.

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Like lamps being lit at dusk
Like homing birds in the sky
Like a stroll in the woods
Like a rivulet flowing by.
Like a patch of wildflowers
Swaying in the breeze
Like a lonely rustic path
Winding through the trees.
Like raindrops falling
On fields rich with grain
Like a nightbird sharing
It’s silent , secret pain.
Like a thirsty soul yearning
For a few drops
Like heartbeats slowing
Till they finally stop

 
13 Comments

Posted by on October 9, 2013 in Poetry

 

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Let’s merge our voices


This is response to the following link:

http://intothebardo.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/poets-against-war-2-peace-would-be-radical-by-jamie-dedes/

Here in India, we had a king
Ashoka, who gave up war
After hundreds had bled
To gory deaths and hundreds
Had been injured.

It’s way beyond depressing
To know that we’ve come this far
Learning nothing and instead
We still live with hatred
And to violence inured.

It’s those politicians , we say
And feel absolved of our guilt
As if we were deaf and blind
As if we didn’t know
That our silence would us indict

Ceaselessly and remorselessly we slay
Compassion and regret
We search and cannot find
A reason to restore
Our unfettered insights.

War will stay, we repeat
It always was there and will be
And we pretend to be convinced
Of its inevitability and our lack of choices
And the compulsions of history.

Dare we tackle and defeat
Dare we mock at the fallacy
Of believing our future is jinxed
Shall we merge our singular voices
To beckon our sanity?

 
9 Comments

Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Poetry

 

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Something there is in me


This poem is in response to the following post in “Into the Bardo, a blogozine’

http://intothebardo.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/writers-fourth-wednesday-literary-allusion/

Something there is in me
That doesn’t love a wall.
Separation always pains.
To think of destiny
As an individual call
Is like thinking of rain
As separate from the stream
And the ocean , deep
And the blood in our veins.
Life, to me, is like a common dream
Shared by us in sleep
Though different memories remain.

The first sentence has been taken from Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Walls” with a slight modification. This is the original version:

“Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Robert Frost

 
18 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Poetry

 

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Some mornings


Some mornings are more fresh
Than others
Like washed linen
Taken in after the sun
Has kissed it free
Of all the germs
And made it crisp and fragrant

Some moments are a mesh
That gathers
Silence from the din
Before the day has begun;
That makes you see
And you come to terms
With Life’s agreement.
pahalgam 061

 
8 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Poetry

 

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Frame the world


Frame the world through your own eyes
Assess the angle and the depth
Choose the right colours that will comprise
The picture’s hues along its length and breadth

Snip the edges that which will take away
The focus from the main content
Use good wood that for years will stay
Sturdy and strong and unbent.

Place it in just such a place
Where the wall is uncluttered and smooth
Where the light’s straight and slanting rays
Will not distort or hide the truths

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

“Artist”-a malayalam film by Shyamprasad Rajagopal


“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it. Remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “Its not where you take things from, its where you take them to” – Jim Jarmusch”

This was the status update that Shyamaprasad Rajagopal, well known Malayalam film director put up some months ago on his Facebook page. And most certainly, he is one of those who celebrates that “thievery” with a great deal of authenticity. Most of his films take off from works of literature and he has always acknowledges the fact with a great deal of comfort that I guess comes from the confidence that he can present it convincingly in his own style. His latest film , “Artist” too, is based on the book “Dreams in Prussian Blue “ by Paritosh Uttam. .

Creative people do indeed spark off a strange chemistry in others who appreciate the finer things of life. There is a certain awe that they inspire because they are able to evoke something in us that allows us to rise above the mundane , even if fleetingly. There is something remarkable about sentences strung together that help you forget the dreariness of one’s own routine and help you get into the skins of other people and places. There is something magical about the way composers can translate your emotions with accentuated emphasis , into melodies and about singers who can make you feel that their voices come straight from the chords of your own heart. Strokes of the paintbrush across the canvas depicting varied aspects of our lives, both external and internal, makes the artist too a charismatic person. Somewhere , somehow, we begin to believe that our lives would be richer, our existences would be more interesting, our personalities and our emotions would be better understood by such differently endowed people, that their sensibilities and empathy would be greater than the “normal” man or woman , you meet on the street.

People do talk of and assess art and writing and the individuals who create them in “objective” terms. May be that IS the right and sensible approach. And yet…and yet…..and yet….I’ve never admired Picasso. “Geurnica” doesn’t move me , not since I read about his life and the self-centred way he dispensed with the relationships in his life. Does genius absolve a person with skewed sensibilities? Can abstract ideas put forward by someone still move you, when you come to know that there is a dichotomy in the way that person has lived his life and the philosophy he professed. It doesn’t work for me .

“Artist” is a very sensitively made film. All of Shyam Sir’s films explore the light and shadows of relationships. His canvasses never depict images only in black or white , but are always splashed with all the hues in between. That “authenticity “ which he quoted is clearly evident in all of his characters. They are never “larger than life”. They come to you with all their flaws and weaknesses and their vulnerabilities and endearing qualities , so that you can decide whether you can relate to them or not , like them or not.

I did not like Fahad Faasil’s character in this film.( Oh how it breaks my heart to say this) and yet, if I was really, really honest, I would have been just the kind of young girl at seventeen or eighteen that Anne Augustine was in the film , playing the character Gayatri and I would have gladly perhaps been bewitched by Michael, the crazy,handsome, utterly confident artist . Rebels who dare to break away from the beaten track are strangely exciting , one must admit. Even their self centredness appeals to your senses. One is made to feel that it is the self -awareness of their potential that makes them shy away from false modesty and indeed that if they did not indulge in self appreciation, then that would be dishonesty. But then may be it is just as well that one doesn’t have to live with them, not the Michael kinds.

Fahad is an excellent actor. One has to say that again and again. I had watched some of his interviews. The guy admits very humbly many times that he trusts his directors implicitly and just goes about doing what he is asked to do. That may be so…and Shyamaprasad Sir has taken care not to let the scenes become melodramatic or garrulous; but it takes a really good actor too to understand what the director intends to convey and how to convey it, to internalize the emotions involved in the situation being captured on the screen and carry the spectator along with it. Fahad does it beautifully and most remarkably in the scenes immediately after his accident when he is slipping into total darkness. The stillness on his face spoke volumes. He carries off the negative shades with such aplomb and make the characters come alive…you know they are real…22 female kottayam, chaappa kurishu, anju sundarikal…loved all those roles. I can’t put my finger on how he does it…but those glimpses that he allows into the tender, lovable part of all those characters keeps the female hearts palpitating , I guess

And there was this scene , where one teeny-weeny teardrop, peeps out from under the closed eyelids of Michael, as he lies down in complete stillness on the hospital bed. My heart missed many beats there.

Ann Augustine too is very promising. In the opening scene , when she is waiting for Michael in the cafeteria , for the meeting she had arranged for him with the curator of the Arts Museum, her impatience and nervousness did appear a trifle too overt. I still can’t get used to verbalizations of ones’ thoughts on the screen and when she mutters to herself quite loudly, Michael..pick up the phone and the way she kept fidgeting …I thought …oh no!! But I was wrong. She went on improving on herself. Not many actors can cry convincingly on screen. Ann Augustine can do that just as heartwarmingly as she can smile. Her helplessness , torn as she is between he love and admiration for Michael and the growing realization that she and her dreams would always have to play second fiddle , the frustration that she occasionally allows herself to reveal, all are well emoted.
I was awfully glad that Gayatri could walk away , her head high on her shoulders and with calm acceptance of the fact that some relationships do run out their course and that even the deepest and strongest of them are better given up when they become debilitating nightmares instead of being the dream that was supposed to be dreamt and lived together. Success may have knocked on Michael’s door of blindness , with splashes of Prussian blue.. One tiny part of you feels happy for him , but the empathy disappears when he answers the only question he agrees to respond to. Why Prussian blue? , asks a reporter at the exhibition held of the paintings he had done after he became blind.”Because, it is the colour of betrayal and that is what you see all around you” , says he.
The way Michael and Gayatri’s friend, Abhi gradually transforms his character from an apparently trustworthy ,well-meaning guy to an almost cruel manipulator as the circumstances change, rubs in the fact that the potential for treachery and betrayal is there in all of us and that there all kinds of betrayal. You come out of theatre asking yourself….who betrayed who ? Are dreams the monopoly of a chosen few? Do dreams have to have the same textures and hues? Can one dream be allowed to accord itself higher priority because its fulfillment will have greater visibility and greater reach? Isn’t happiness the right of every human being? Can a person’s selfishness be justified on the basis of his or her talent? What is the purpose of art? Is all art and are all artists worthy of admiration just because it is art and they are artists?
The background scores were really nice too and were not patchworked on to the scenes and the two songs were quite melodious .
I was so glad to see my friend Sakhi Elsa on the screen in that concluding scene. She is the one who has done the costume designing for the film. Costumes shouldn’t intrude on the scene. Unfortunately, in our films, instances where the colours and designs of the dresses impinge quite disadvantageously, are galore. Elsa’s dresses mould itself into the scenes and sits on the characters with unobtrusive comfort.
A film you can spend your money on . Watch it.

artist

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Movies

 

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“It’s not where you take things from, It’s where you take them to”


The river meandered across the slope
Ferrying down the silt
And sang to each civilization that dwelt
On the fertile plains it built.

The farmer fed the long furrows
With a smattering of seeds
Then tended to the crop he grew
Plucking out the weeds.

The potter scooped a fist of clay
And made it moist and soft
Then gave it shape on the turning wheel
And held it up aloft.

And the skies above witnessed it all
And this conclusion drew
“It’s not where you take things from
It’s where you take them to”.

P.S. The last two lines is a quotation from Jean-Luc Godard, that I read from a status update of a respected Malayalam Film Director, on Facebook.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 31, 2013 in inspiration, Poetry

 

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