Where are all our normal girls? (Blogathon Post Twenty Eight)

The May 2012 issue  of the Reader’s Digest  had a nice article that asked, “Where are all our normal girls? ” The article spoke about the minimum height requirement at a popular beauty pageant. In a country where the average girl is around 5’2 , is it fair to set a minimum of 5’6 /5’8 ? Is beauty dependent on how tall a girl is?More importantly, when Japanese/Chinese girls are not expected to be tall to be considered ‘beautiful’ (even if it is according to a pageant!) , why should Indian women be expected to subscribe to a Western ideal? Indeed,where are our normal girls?

(I could not find the article online, I will probably scan it and put it up in a day or two.)

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Demain, dès l’aube..(Blogathon Post Twenty Seven)

What is the point of a Blogathon if there is not even one translation? So here is my attempt at translating Victor Hugo’s poem Demain, dès l’aubeThe poem speaks to me. [P.S :I have not stuck to the original word for word.]

Tomorrow, at dawn, when the countryside awakes, 

I will leave; for I know you wait for me;

By the forest, past the mountains, I hurry;

I cannot stay away from you for too long.

As I walk, my mind on my thoughts, 

I see nothing, I hear nothing;

Alone, unknown, with an aching heart and a bent back-

My folded hands, crossed, block out the day.

The gilded evening holds no beauty for me

Nor the distant sails towards Harfleur, 

I will be there soon, to place my flowers

Green  holly and heather, sprinkled with my tears.

Endless.. (Blogathon Post Twenty Six)

The moon is up
the stars peep out
Like a watchful mother,
Over her child…
Your impressions take wing,
gone astray,
scattered about,
meaningless and forgotten.
As the darkness beckons
You forget yourself
As I will too,someday..
But you continue to linger
In my deluded silence
my crankiness,
my disgust
my ecstasy and my pride..
all my joys and my discovery
Of the sweetest vow.
For you are like a piece of dust
the stray twig
the forgotten leaf
that stays on long after
I have said goodbye.
Your words are not new
nor profound,
Just a murmuring
Of a life that
might not be for long.

Yearning.. (Blogathon Post Twenty Five)

She walked.
On the dusty road.
Her clothes were dirty,her feet tired.But her eyes shone with a special joy.
She sat down under the banyan tree,near the village pond.
The tree welcomed her,the waters spoke to her.
On the tree sat the akka kurivi,pining for its sister.
In a short while, giggling girls would go around this very tree, asking the nagadevatas to answer their prayers..
Prayers for the right husband.
Prayers for his long life.
Her eyes gleamed,her soul smiled.
She looked happily at the glinting reflections of her mirrored skirt in the waters.The evening beckoned,almost mesmerisingly.
She belonged to the universe.Free.Innocent.
Suddenly she heard the laughter.Giggling girls.Oiled hair.Colored ribbons.
She belonged to them and yet she didn’t.
She had nothing to live for-no love,no friend,nothing.
And yet she did.
For the soul of the universe was calling her.
Louder and clearer than before.
The seductive call of the earth.
The haunting notes of summer rain.
The wistful ballads of her soul.
Her search for truth would never end.

Unsaid.. (Blogathon Post Twenty Four)

It was yet another day in Mr.Vikranthan’s life.Early morning suprabatham,small talk with his wife over a cup of coffee,newspaper,morning walk.The rest of the day somehow seemed to pass rather insignificantly,though his mornings were quite pleasant.
Ones he could look forward to.
Except for one thought which constantly ran through his mind and made him feel guilty and worthless all the time.A thought that refused to stay in his mind and yet was too painful to be spoken out aloud.
How would she react if I told her…’,he wondered.30 years of marriage,30 years of bliss,30 years of a secret.

Sometimes,he thought if it was that big a deal.Just a little quirk in his character,but he knew it was more than a quirk.He thought about it everyday and it made him feel extremely disgusted with himself.
How would she react if she knew that every word I spoke to her was rehearsed in front of a mirror atleast 2 times?”

Not just what he spoke to her,though.He had always practised his dialogues.Even the ones he spoke to his barber.And since the birth of his grandson,he had been having one more set of dialogues to practise each morning.And that’s why people had always called him a little weird.
For his silences were always awkward.
And his speech was always stilted.
In spite of all the practice.

He’d tried everything to break the habit,of no avail.Ah,what would he not do for one spontaneous expression of the thought in his mind!It was almost as if the idea in his head,starting out as a fresh clear tender thing,lost its way somewhere in the dark alleys of practice and hardened thought.If only could someone could save his pristine idea from getting lost,if only he didn’t have to practise his lines..
Sometimes,he wondered if life was really a play with him being more of an actor than the others.For none of his dialogues had ever been his own,from the warmth of his heart.Not to say he didn’t feel.He never could express himself.

He walked out onto the veranda to watch the afternoon sun.His grandson would be home any moment from school.He would be his baby-sitter till his parents came back home.He waited patiently,his lines were ready-

Hi Pichoo..how was school?

Let’s go inside,it’s hot here.Grandma will give something to eat.

Do you have homework?

I will help you with the maths sums.

Okay now go play.


Ready to meet his grandson for what would be an ordinary event in life,almost mundane,he waited.
Suddenly he felt dizzy and sweaty,he could identify symptoms of a stroke-he’d read so much about the topic that he almost felt like a cardiologist himself.
Pichoo barged in through the gate right then,screaming for his grandfather.

‘THATHAAAA”

Vikranthan was down in a swoon,when Pichoo ran upto him,hugging him,

Thatha,I wrote an essay on you in school today,’The Family member you like the most and why’..he said,his eyes gleaming.

His thatha’s eyes opened slightly to look at his grandson,Looks just like our Vinu when he was his age..,he thought.

His wife was now bent over his face,worried and teary.He looked at her ,smiled and said,”Looks just like his father,my grandson..”

The last and the only unrehearsed line of his life.

As his wife’s tears made his shirt wet,Pichoo found something in his thatha’s shirt pocket.

The last dialogues of his thatha’s life.
Always the actor who knew his lines by-heart.
Almost.

The Beginning? (Blogathon Post Twenty Three)

He’d seen her many times in the library.
The woman with the slightly lost expression.
Amidst Milton and Asimov she was his very own Shakuntala.

What is it that you read,
Pages after pages,
When all I can see 
is the look on your face
and its intelligent cut?

She was there today as well.God,she was something,he thought.He looked on as she sat at the table,seemingly lost in John Keats.Somehow,he wondered what it was that she saw in all that poetry.

It is not Keats that I love,
If only you knew..

He went upto the Physics section,looking for something else to rest his mind upon.He did find something and he sat down with it,lost in its pages.Only to look up after a while and see that she was gone.
Damn!

Maybe I am not as intelligent as you are..
John Keats and William Blake do not a woman make..

Next day he saw her in the physics section.
Browsing through a magazine.
With the same lost expression.
Has she forgotten Keats,he wondered..
He gave her a raised eyebrow.She looked away.

I know what you’re thinking.
I hope you understand what I’m thinking too..

He went back to the familiar smell of the rusty cupboards and yellowed books.Sometimes,in the midst of his reading,he would just look up and she would still be there,poring over something.He always left her to continue her reading.

Why do I get the feeling 
that you have something to say?

Today.
He decided enough was enough.I can atleast make conversation,he wondered..

I will walk upto you 
and say Hello..

Apparently, she felt the same too.For here she was, walking upto him.She sat down on the chair and extended her hand.
Hello.
Hello.
Seen you around the place,thought I’d make conversation.

Well,that has been on my mind for a really long time.

Ah,I was wondering about that too.
So,you seem to like physics a lot..
Well,I do love Physics.

There,she just spoilt it!He didn’t want to discuss Physics..It was just a part of his life.He wanted her to talk about herself,or maybe even tell him about Keats,not ask him what he thought about physics!

I think I saw a new book of Keats on the display this morning,he reminded her gently,scratching his head.

Oh,that sounds nice..will check it out.

If only you would realise
that it is not Keats that I am trying to understand,
Teach me something that I do not know as yet..

I have to get back home,he said.
Ah,same here.See you around.
Tomorrow was after all another day,he thought.

We’ll do better tomorrow..that was some beginning.

The defining moment. (Blogathon Post Twenty Two)

I saw this picture on my friend’s blog (Thanks again, Munish!). A very interesting question.

I am sure there are many defining moments in life, but, for me, the most defining one was when I decided to quit my Masters in science and opt to teach a language to third-graders in an obscure international school. It was scary, challenging and beautiful, all at once. For the first time in life, I learned to speak up for myself and follow my dream. I am thrilled that I have crossed off almost every dream as done since that day. Only a few more remain before I can make up a fresh list! Awesome, right?

So, what is your defining moment in Life? The comments section is all yours!

Thoughts… (Blogathon Post Nineteen)

The trees shook violently to the coaxing of the wild winds.They swayed with an unearthly grace and a terrifying violence.The winds moved her too,as she stood,letting the power of that mighty anger seep over her.
‘Ravage me winds,till all your secrets I know..”

Her feet were restless.Her mind was thirsty.As if in answer to her prayer,the clouds gave up their slumber and come down,pouring in mad fury.She let the rain into every pore of her body,soaking wet.
‘Conquer me waters,till all your secrets I know..”

She was reminded of the previous day,a different day in history,another page of memories.
Memories of a blazing sun streaming into her face,reminding her of her own fire within.
And memories of getting scorched by it.
And the spicy scent of tamarind in the air.
‘Burn me sun,till all your secrets I know..’

No more the endless waits.She was ready,to give up what she knew and learn what she didn’t.
Her passion flamed within her,taking hold of her entire being.Till it evoked all her wild desires.
Of running amok.
Of breaking all bonds.

No more would stories of the unknown suffice.Her exigent mind would accept no more tame tales of what lay beyond.Taming was not for her..
If she had to be untamed to see what the real world was like..then so would it be.

She kept walking.In search of new memories to replace the old.

The lost temple in the woods.
The yellow kite entangled in the neem tree.
The bright mirrors on the village girl’s skirt.
And her muddy feet.
The scent of snakes in the anthill.
The sound of the temple drum.
The color of the sky after a shower.
And the rain drop caught in her eyelashes.
The drunkard’s false promises.
The tangy taste of raw mango.
And the rosy dew on the blushing lotus.
The sound of her own voice,echoed back by the mountains.
And the taste of jackfruit dipped in honey.
And the pleasure of drinking Bovonto(orange flavour)sitting in the small motel down the road.
Watching the ant move up her fingers.
And the feel of tree bark.

And then running away from it all.
In search of a new destination.
Tomorrow would be another journey.

Ravage me wind,
Conquer me waters,
Burn me sun,
Till all your secrets I learn..’

When does the river sleep? (Blogathon Post Eighteen)

When does the river sleep?
In the deep darkness of the night
You can hear her tinkling laughter.
And when the dawn unfolds
Her laughter is still reverberant;
Does she have an earnest longing
Is she overwhelmed by thoughts
Of one she hugs close to her soul
Such that she cannot sleep?
Does he dance in her manouevres
Does he sing tales to her
In ballads wistful and compelling?
Sans respite she listens and pours
Herself out in a mystifying torrent
Such that she cannot sleep?
Does she see his face ethereal
when he looks into her waters..
And finding him within herself
Her ecstasy knows no bounds
Such that she cannot sleep?
And when she changes hue
And form and her crystal smile
Does he run along the shore with her
Such that she cannot sleep?
And when he puts his casket
Of fragrant flowers into her hands
Is she earnest to please him so
Such that she cannot sleep?
And when he puts his feet
Does it tickle her gentle hands
such that she cannot sleep?
And when she stops for a rest
Time for a sigh,at the base of a tree
Do his ballads haunt her every second
Such that she cannot sleep?
When she sees,in a moment of despair
the ocean beckoning,not far away-
Does the ache of not seeing him
Ravage and destroy her innermost core
Such that she cannot sleep?