My Favourite Three Humourists

I am not talking Stand-up Comedy on current affairs who work as overworked social media propagandist and throw in a couple of cuss words and that is not humor for me. I am talking about supreme quality, a balanced, and a wonderful representation of a situation that brings out that human smile even when the person is super serious. That gentle smile is the one I am talking about in the word Humor.

One of the best things in my life was my English classes at my school. I woke up to studies only in my 5th grade when I began reading books on my own. Of course, it is a different thing that my 7.5 had just passed by and happier days were etched in the Indian natal chart. Somewhere there, I believe my sense of what is now my maturing humor’s birth lies.

Honestly, there is such great capability of being able to appreciate literature and love the way it goes into the spaces of the mind. I believe Humor is possible only when there is a great in-depth knowledge of the world and its natural ways.

That way there are specific essays by some people that I really love to reread as many times as I can. There are three writers’ whose works I absolutely love to read over and again. The three of them are

  • Charles Lamb
  • GK Chesterton
  • PG Wodehouse

All three of them are my super favourites and in their style of saying things has been my aspiration all my life. I still don’t sound good or even remotely fair. I am still a struggling artist who is grappling with her tools. I don’t have in depth relationship knowledge since all my time is spent with books and stories. I know the theories of it but then, I sadly am missing on the practical parts. So, I feel that humor is experienced from within and there is no huge laughter, maybe sometimes, but usually it is a gentle nudge of pleasant feeling that brings out the small smile.

Then humorous writing that can be one man’s nourishment while becoming one man’s punishment. I love big vocabulary writers and in that PG Wodehouse is such a wonder pot of a fascinating language workshop.

Humor has its own specific logical order since it permeates throughout my thinking process, I believe to master it requires a mentor who you can really rely on to be an honest feedback provider. Because of the fact that my humor is sometimes very dark but at the same time, I know that I like lighter wordplays too.

Jeeves who is a gentleman’s gentleman is such an exemplary English Butler that I am so thrilled to just read the novels of PG Wodehouse on the Jeeves series and those of Blandings Castle series. Somehow it never felt that I was reading another culture. The important thing that is required is to be really crisp and to the point. If you amble in the narrative of humor then, the punchline is long past miss punched.

One of my secret desires as a writer is to be a humorist on the above three writers’ cadre. Charles Lamb’s essay The Dissertation on a Roasted Pig is one of the best and I fall in love each time I read it. The way he describes the pig and the pig roasting history is such a pleasure and treat to even a staunch vegetarian like me. The inference was funnier because it has some amount of sadness attached to it.

Now that I call humor since it brings out the human aspect of a person. Humor also speaks for the quality of life of the people and society at large. That way I believe G K Chesterton is another favourite of mine. His political essays are more commentary on the social lifestyle structures found in the various people and their behaviour that GKC observed. The most important thing that I need to understand as someone who is just learning to write, is that when you aspire to be a humorist then it becomes important that you place yourself in the human situation and not balk from it.

That way my experience in life is limited, and I need to open up to my community that is there in my flat that I live and maybe make new friends, both the art of friendship-making is pretty much a Herculean task for me. But one can assume that one has understood the situation and work out the relationship. The art of bonding in humor takes synching in humor.

Sometimes I connect with people’s humor, and sometimes I don’t since it was out of my signal range. No neural network connectivity simply didn’t support that mismatch of software and hardware. Then it becomes all the more important that the command on the language become very stringent so that the humor comes out naturally instead of being forced.

My aspiration is still alive even today when I read humorous piece of creative fiction or creative non-fiction. For instance, the humor that I have grown up with is wordplay and slanderous potty jokes that grannies just enjoy saying. They are so familiar that the sentence is not even completed, and the listener immediately gets it.

If I should dare say that I may have to labour with love on my humor and then I say Love’s labour is lost and found.

Image Source: Pexels.com

 

My Language Learning Lounge

I am very picky about what I see on Television. So there is a huge debate within me for viewing a show and only when it is justified, do I watch the serial! There is a sense of purpose which moves alongside of the viewing activity.

I have always been fascinated with Language and learning new ones is such a pleasure. I love the fact that I am from a place where there are multiple languages that you could find uniqueness in each of it.

During my childhood I had for a long time just listened in to Hindi movies even if I didn’t understand the dialogue and slowly the language opened up to me. It was nearly 8 years later that I spoke my first sentence to another person who knew Hindi. That is being very brave.

I love listening to people, especially if they are excitedly talking. I don’t mind eves-dropping on conversation if it would teach me language. But I make sure I don’t judge the person since the activity was aimed for learning the language.

It began with Hindi in Chennai, Mandarin and Malay in Singapore, Spanish and Korean in San Francisco and now written Hindi and Samskritam. There is a force within me that wants to self-learn languages and to do that drama was clearly the best source. This way I will not be violating rules and eves-dropping on personal conversation.

Those days of watching Doordarshan channel was such a pleasure for me. I always felt that you learn better when you listen to songs. So Wednesday Chitrahaar was a must watch for me. I looked around and this one had a sample of the Chitrahaar I knew from my past.

Back then there was just one channel and it had a fixed duration of viewership. I think I like those days since there was more time for children to play and participate in sports.

Once the Regional Doordarshan channel came in then it became a more full time affair. I think the content in those channels were more towards regional aspects. The drama soon became a regular affair then slowly when regular serials became a daily based one, I think it happened as an unconscious affair.

When I went to Singapore the first thing that I checked out for my language learning need was to listen in on those Chinese and Malay programs. I found it a little complicated because I didn’t have a reference to their facial expression. So it was hard and that fact that I was little pre-occupied didn’t add up.

Till this day I have never been anywhere that I hated. I always had been in a state of merriment when I am in any new or old places. Even though my experiences in Singapore were a little challenging, I still look upon the city with much affection.

I wanted to see those cultural entertainment events and observe the culture without questioning any of its reasons. I love accepting culture as is and enjoy the uniqueness that is special for each culture.

The Traditional Chinese Theatre or Chinese Opera is such a wonderful experience to have and somehow it feels that drama whether in the West or East has a common element to entertain with some message. The beauty of watching the ancient drama kind of gave me a sense of continuity that seems timeless.

There is much that I learned about Language and how it becomes a part of a community. There is so much to learn and to say that you go to school only for the duration of your educational life. I feel education is something that is simple, unstoppable and happens at every turn of a human life events.

So that is when I ask myself, this question, are we really teaching love for language in the best possible way? Even now I know that if I keep exposing myself to a oral and written language then, rest assured I will also learn to write.

Language is a way of being able to express the complex thoughts in a familiar pattern of script which gets transferred between two conversing persons using a single language. Now the extent to which actual communication happens is entirely limited by the understanding levels of the participants. So though skilled are people really communicating? That is the question!

It is a weird combination of partially or complete lack of understanding of the medium of communication, thus, resulting in misinterpreted communication. For instance in the fact that most of our advertisement play on the facts of language and its usage. That way I feel there is much in the scope of the way things are being communicated.

Image Source: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

When There Is Clarity in the Thought

Product @ Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/9384454117/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The most brought item in Amazon India is books. I began with Amazon.com in US, buying my course books and maybe a gadget here and there. Amazon website is so easy to figure out for a confused person like me. It also made me feel safe when I ordered books from them. So even after switching continent I still enjoy shopping in Amazon.

Among the various books that I have got, spiritual books are slightly popular with me. I love to collect The Bhagavad Gita. I collect them not to gather dust; but the book to become dog-eared due to constant reading and annotated with the inner reflection.

The above URL is my latest collection of the books. The first time I encountered Songs of God (The Bhagavad Gita) was when I was in my 8th Grade. It was well worn out copy of my youngest uncle. All my uncles, aunt and my father were believers in this book. Each incorporated the teachings in their own way and with their special quirks. But the Sanatana Dharma was very much a way of life in my family and I believe it has filtered to the current generations with their individualistic version of it.

But these are all incidental events, the main reason that I have such fascination for this book is the fact, that the various version that I read gave me insight only to that level of emotional growth that I held within me at that moment. During the 8th grade I understood nothing of the book, I flipped through with earnestness of course, but did not understand anything. After the rush and stress of 10th grade, I again settled to read the book. This time the chapter on Karma Yoga was very appealing. I kept reading it repeatedly.

Then, when I reached my first year of college, I decided that I would club lamp lighting activity with reading the book, in the hope, maybe I will get clarity of the ideas given in the book. The Gita is a huge tomb of footnoted explanation for which you need to read up a lot on the other explanatory books. So then, I checked out various schools of thought, which included, Sri Aurobindo,  Paramahansa Yogananda, then many other explanation providing shows by many gurus from north to south. These gurus excelled in the art of pravachan or discourses.

I somehow showed a greater inclination towards the South Gurus since it sat well with my sensitivity. I am greatly influenced by Velukkudi Sri U. Ve. Krishnan Swamy. I found his discourse far more convincing to my seeking soul. But I never stop at one Guru, my nature is to keep searching until I can say, ah! Now I know.

My quest never stopped at any given point of my life. The progress that I have made is based on the emotional growth and psychological effect that was present in me at the time of reading the text of Gita. So why does this specific book be over and above other scriptures. I would say the simplicity of the entire work.

The fact that I cannot read the source language in which it was written, Sanskrit, it didn’t stop me from perusing to read it in English translation. My Uncle’s copy was a very poor translation and later when I began collecting other translations, something was always missing in it. But the English part didn’t sit well or resonate with my inner writer’s spirit, until I picked my latest copy from Nightingale’s Vedic Cosmos division’s, which is involved in publishing Vedic Literature with the true aspiration to bring to the seeking soul the lessons from the ancient past.

For the first time, I understood Sri Krishna better. I found a connection between each chapter and how they were interlinked. It is like any Analytical Essay on the Soul and Its ultimate goal on Earth. I personally feel that this life is rather interesting, given the fact that, I am seeing it emotionally, scientifically (theory and practical), philosophically, and essentially to discover what really happens to humans whether individually or collectively.

I was greatly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s speech in the World Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893. Though the import of it took a long time to happen for me. By some mysterious logic which I don’t even know, my mind understands of things related to spirituality. I always believed that my life was a spiritual progress with a process already settled into my inner Self.

Spiritualism is never far away from my thoughts and I try to understand this mystery called life in my own ways. In that self-discovery process I have used The Bhagavad Gita a lot. Among the many books that I read about the interpretation of the Gita, one of them was Devadutta Pattnaik’s My Gita. which was an interesting way of looking at the text.

But this time when I read the Vedic Cosmos’s version of the gita’s translation, I was blown over. For the first time, I saw the logic in the text. I might still not have got the complete import of it, but I figured out the points covered and the sequence in which Sri Krishna places these ideas as progressive path of improvement towards self-realization and reaching god head.

See the whole piece starts from when Arjuna is confused and reluctant to fight. From 0 -100% switch of attitude was achieved with remarkable oratory accomplishment by Sri Krishna. I feel that each chapter deals with specific issue at hand and then show how to progress forward with utmost care. Given my nature, I tend to pursue ideas and cross reference them with actual performance by me.

I have been reading this book since Friday last for personal and work related need. The level of clarity that I felt this time, while reading the book, was extremely surprising for me. The translation was done with great care for details and part of the manodharam could be deeply felt. Yes, it did have a few places where I felt, that it could be done well, which is atypically just my personal quirks on certain kind of sentence. But my critic cannot be fully acceptable, since I am seeing this work from just the English translation angle. Yes, the fact remains, that I am seeing it with many other translated versions from my previous reading. I feel this one was the closest that brought my thinking mind in alignment with the text.

I am enjoying the connectivity that I felt with the text and the fact that it was there all the while but, the Supreme gives the understanding that is needed for the text. I am grateful and humbled by the new understanding and the seeker is resting at base camp 1 and it is a long way to the summit of complete understanding.

Image Source: Amazon India

The Bhagavad Gita of My Life | Exploring Inquisitively

This goes back to that time when I was just out of college and I was still figuring out my career path. I am a naturally confused person, surprisingly even today, I am the self-same confused person. Now I feel that the confused state is to bring order and well-being through analysis, which I take it to mean, as a strength of character for me. Back then, I was double-minded, if I should believe in the presence of God or not.

But then, I had this sense of unshakeable faith in my Personal God; but reluctant to accept certain concepts of my Hindu religion. After all, my personal god had got me out of all the life challenges. He had ensured that I was safe and learned something at every struggle that I had faced in the course of my living. So, during one of my breaks from work, I was at home figuring myself out. When naturally I hypothesized, that if I were to study something then, I can figure myself and the Society surrounding me.

I believed, if I learned some life-skills more then, I will be able to work better and be able to handle people with the finesse of well-developed character. It has taken me many years to understand that you learn on the job by doing it. The art of working in a team is an energy exchange, that is what happens when the entire team reaches the right level of comfort and of complete confidence within the group, that the participants are willing to place their sensitive thoughts with freedom within the team’s brainstorming. I still have a long way to go, before I can say I understand the dynamics of teamwork.

So, coming back to my story of self-discovery, in this break post-college, I was learning to play the Veena and that instrument actually made me more focused on my inner being, than those singing lessons during my childhood with my sister. I was a grown up and I knew the challenge ahead was steep. Though I was struggling with the notes, given my learning disability, I did enjoy the instrument. But I could hold a raga and play relatively okay. My music teacher was blessed with great patience because he would wait until I got the fingering right on the fret.

Veena playing is like performing an arthi. You have the arthi plate in one hand, while the other one is ringing the bell. Likewise, your left hand is on the frets and the right one is plucking the strings. It takes great coordination. There is something to learn here for my entire life.

Meanwhile, I had one besotted listener, who was a little mouse, our resident pest. Once he came close enough and sat on the corner of my mat made of grass. I looked at him and he looked ready to run, if I so much as moved a muscle, but I continued to play my Veena without noticing him, hoping that he will remain to listen in. That was when I gave my first concert for a single other than the human audience. I could only play for half an hour, it was clear that the mouse heard a mini version of the concert which was not even half the ticket value.

During this time, my mother was making one of her visit to my brother’s place and I was responsible and in charge of the house. I was super nervous and tided it over with being super organized. The housekeeping was already in my bucket since we had run out of maid choices. Though I was doing this with confidence as if I knew how to do it.

My father had to put up with my cooking behavioral quirks, of course, he helped with the roti rolling activity. That way papaji was a very considerate person. During one of our conversations, he explained about his practice of holding silence every Sunday helped him but was disapproved by my grandfather. But I learned something about my family though the elders disagreed with younger generation thoughts, we were yet given the right to explore spirituality in our own ways. That thought of my father’s perked my interest and I decided to find some daily rituals for myself like him. That is when I remembered the lighting of lamp activity that mummyji would insist that I perform.

That is when, I choose the idea of working on the spiritual aspect of my life. So, I decided to take up the lighting lamp activity, at the same time included reading a book or scripture anything that was in book. So I had the choice of book from the past gift. I found a version of the Ramayana and a small box of the Bhagavad Gita well worn out. It was my youngest uncle’s copy. I got comfortable and just read the English part with great faith and hope of transformation.

I was fascinated with the Sanskrit text and sometimes would just gaze at it. Of course, I couldn’t read any of the Devanagari scripts, neither Hindi nor Sanskrit, so that left just the English text which I could make out. I was not happy with the translation of the texts, but still, it was prayers for me. It was later, many years after, I could read and recognize one conjugation of the Noun Rama.

Each chapter was read with a great eagerness and sharada, while on some days, my pestian friend would check me out from his corner and silently join me in the lamp lighting ritual. I don’t know if God thought to Himself, ‘what an odd pair of friends are seated together in front of me and wool-gathering. Both of us were evaluating, whether to risk licking the rock sugar that I have offered to the Lord, both were kind of eyeballing each other for those thoughts. This cat and mouse interaction with my pestian friend kept happening since my focus was divided between the reading of the shlokas and watching out for my prasad.

Over the years our small-sized species of mousy rat problem was completely solved and the reading after that period became very spiritual-centric. When I got married and went to Singapore the first housekeeping task that I did was to set up my prayer room on the edge of the Kitchen counter. The assembling of the pooja stand was fulfilling by itself. But one leg had not traveled well. So I had to find the zen spot for the stand to be perfectly still, almost an act of  Zen spirits.

I enjoyed the self-assigned task of balancing the entire pooja stand. I stuck all my Gods and set up the silver murthi and brass ones on small space for display. I had a Gangajalam brass sealed container which is a compulsory inclusion in the gift of pooja articles.  I had the brass vessel cleaned and decorated with sandal paste and vermillion marking the auspiciousness. These, according to me, were my personal activities, that calmed my mind, as I struggled with coming to terms with the new place and culture.

The one thing that I found out about myself is that I am not frightened of new places. Because I picked lines from my past reading of scriptures, which became the reference point for all my life situation. I connect with my spirit and the blue sky is always blue everywhere (maybe a different shade, but still blue!) and when we meet people they are just like each other and their nationality doesn’t matter when we see them with humanitarian eyes. I always carried Bapu’s peace and thoughts of Ahimsa in my heart. I rarely get angry, because I spend a lot of time with children and their literature in my free time, I am aware of the level of patience one needs and requires to work with a child. It is almost like a zen practice of watering a plant with mindfulness. Life is about being curious like a child and be childlike in your approach to new things in life.

So, my spiritual practice was all about peace and finding it within. I started listening in to shlokas and reading books that were in English about spiritualism. I wanted to know what constitutes my Soul? The science and art of my personal soul and I was recommended to read the Bhagavad Gita. So I began reading online and later during my Master’s in the US, I was gifted the book titled “Autobiography of a Yogi” written by Paramahansa Yogananda and gifted by a good friend and professor of mine. I read the entire book in a week without putting it down. That was when I saw his other book on the Bhagavad Gita interpretation, so I got the copy which was titled, “God Talks To Arjuna.”

A take away from the book was the one question, placed at the end of every day which even now I ask myself, “Today then, Vidya, who won the battle of Kurukshethra?” There are days when its either one of the Kurunandanas. But the idea was relentlessly to respond to that single question with complete honesty. I am sure one day, I will figure out that, the side of the Dharma won always and the right thing was done even though I was up against my own human families. In this, could I call me, as a scientific person living inside the material body or an artist living inside a being while finding the random connection of my life?

This confusion has persisted in life for a long time and I have still not found the answer I am seeking. This is interesting – are we then seeking for the very same answer we assume is true or are we seeking answer which is the ultimate truth? This, then means, the answer could not be the answer that you feel is right; but entirely something else? To renounce and leave to the jungle has been a greatest inner desire, but then if I cannot handle the concrete jungle I am just running away from one unexplored place to another place. So, despite the need to give up the life of being a part of the social life circle, I seek solace in small pocket size moments. There are times when there is complete peace, it is not a state, that I need to get to, but I am the peace. That realization has been happening a lot these days.

I am a person who can sense energies around me, I know which ones make me feel safe and which would provide me space to improve. No energy is right or wrong, it is just that ethereal truth of life which is been guided by the Divine. I cannot understand human body languages or their verbal interaction, because I am often baffled by the reactions to my thoughts. But I know that, if there is peace within me then it is there in the conversation too. I then, feel that everything will be alright. This belief that even in the energy of disagreement there is scope to expand the spirits of peace within our being. This is a brand new understanding, that I am learning in my life, given the set of challenges, that I am facing currently in my personal life.

Image Source: Pexels.com

 

 

A Personal Favorite Poet Who Inspires My Work

Poetry is my passion and I love to work with words. It has been my companion since my coming of Age days. I have found innumerable moments of pleasures reading and writing poems. I have a few favorites who have shaped my thoughts and emotions over the growing years. Among them is John Milton, his “Paradise Lost” was a compulsory reader for me during my college years. It was part of the books listed for the Poetry paper and I was so moved by Lucifer’s fall that I wondered at the space of information about the fall that Milton explored. Here is a poem which truly inspires me and is still my personal favorite.

On His Blindness

By John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Exploring the Poem My Style

The last two weeks, I have been experiencing some problem with my eyesight and somehow I panicked to have it tested. I wear progressive spectacles and never learned how to look down in the lower rim to read, so I land up having the habit of lifting my spectacles to read.

The first time, I went to Rajan Eye Clinic, I was seen by Dr. Rajan, himself. He was the first doctor after my family doctor who made me comfortable talking to him. That was the first time that my eyes were dilated and the eyesight took some hours to get better. These days due to overuse of laptop has rendered my eyes incapable of being dilated and so the extra drops to force it to dilate. This then, means that it takes longer to settle down. I am slowly learning to give up my fear of hospitals and being in those spaces.

Somehow hospital experience leaves me in a state of unrest and agitated feelings. There are very few doctors who really take time for the patients to settle down and understand that the person is worried, scared and tensed about the outcome. Even if the sight were to be lost completely a humane doctor can make it seem less stressful.

Somehow, I feel that is something that comes from the old school of hospice, which is slowly been taken away by the money making trends of doctorhood. But this time, the doctor who attended my case was truly humane and I was so happy talking to her. She made me less nervous and this time also I had made sure that I had not come in a rush to have my eyes tested, but relaxed to spend the rest of the day in the hospital.

But surprisingly, my reading power had gone by a few points, of course, I still need to learn to look down using the progressive glass and that happens only when my laptop is on my lap and I am comfortably seated on the sofa. I tried to understand, why is that I feel super inspired at home and my quirks of working are really getting me to be such a clown.

So, I looked into my past and I remembered John Milton who is my inspiration for most of the Miltonian sonnets that I wrote in my young days. I love to play with words since it gives me spiritual pleasure. Everywhere I worked, I would have a word file, where I would have written poems.

I often think about why I have been born in this world and what are truly my roles. The fact that I only have a single-minded talent to write with emotions which I believe would be the gift of words that I leave behind after me.

I fear not death so much as to lose my eyes not just for myself but for others too. Then again, there is much technology that will help to live a life of high quality even when the eyesight is lost. It is not how long you live, but how well you live, that really counts. I have learned to accept some of my quirks and have gathered sufficient courage in life to be able to handle things my way.

So talking about this poem, I first read this poem in seventh or eighth I am not sure. I must say that my English classes were of a higher grade than the regular schools. So I was exposed to much poetry at a very early age. I also had my uncle’s library where I checked out a collection of Shakespearean sonnets and plays. My uncle had a good collection of the bound classics which were truly inspiring to read.

I have been a little careless with my eyes and I love to read lying down and removing my spectacles. This kind of makes my vision power to increase, but the pleasures of reading is taken over by even the risk of reading improperly.

I found in this poem an interesting connection, that I am drawn to explore. For instance, much like John Milton, my eyes even now hurts a little and throbs, as I am exploring the poems as personal experience. I will never give up writing, at whatever cost. That passion has been the founding stone of my very being.

So much like Milton, I do have a question for the Lord, if I would be of any service to Him. But it is all in the patient waiting for the call of the muse and the sanction of inspired writing. There are days when, my inspiration to write is so high, especially when I am well rested.

As Milton, the poet who is close to my spirit of writing, because I am a tone-deaf poet who loves to rhyme, unlike Milton whose poems were all about sounding right. I have written some collection of Petrachian sonnets and enjoyed thoroughly the experience of playing with words. Sometimes, it is not about doing as bid by the Lord; but it is more being in the moment and just transferring the text flashing in the mind’s eye. I sometimes feel that I cannot take ownership of the poems written by me because it was just recording the muse’s words. Now I stand in wait for that command to write from my Creator. Waiting for my inspiration with suspended animation.

Outcasted Life in Colors of Social Inequalities

Book Title: Two Leaves and A Bud

Author: Mulk Raj Anand

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: Amazon

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Mulk Raj Anand’s style of writing sets the reader to think deeply and it also evokes a reaction from the reader. I read this book as part of my Indian Writing in English course, in the second year of my BA (English Literature). It is a fact that English Writers of Indian origin spoke of highly serious topics such as caste and social discrimination. Or it could be that the choice of Writers were the ardent freedom struggle activists. Some Writers used humour while some believed in holding the note of deep contemplation in place during the course of their narratives about the British rule in India.

It was almost like Gangu’s the protagonist and his family’s troubles were never ending and the way out of the situation does not seem available anywhere. In that way, the plot’s moment of happiness was also colored by the protagonist’s non-achievable delusion of future happiness. While reading Anand’s work, I felt it, that it was a rather overload of sadness which kept lining the story from start to finish. It was never dropped even during those small happy moments in the life of the major characters. In this Anand reminded me of Charles Dicken’s writing keeps making things harder, especially to find even a moment of joy in any described situations in story.

The Story in a Nutshell

A Farmer of Amritsar who has lost his land to the moneylenders is forced to move out of his familiar hometown to an unfamiliar state in Assam where he struggles in the pathetic condition to just live one day after another with his family being safe. What happens to his family and to him in the new place and how the contractor just painted a life of prosperity which turned to nothing but a mirage of horror.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the intensity with which Anand wrote this story. There is no rest from the constant feeling of desperation and desire that something good would happen makes a refrain in the mind’s of the reader; but then, there were no breaks. The strength of a human’s mindset of hope that keeps ebbing and flowing through our being is reflected in Gangu and his family too. But eventually, reality strikes and everything is just darkness. I also liked the flow of words when I read it and it felt like I was living in the British rule era.

What I disliked was the few characters major evil ones, but they were the plot progressing villains who were the catalyst to moving ahead of the story. But I think if you can make some character to be hated by the reader, then the readers are invested in your story and the protagonist.

That way, this book had a lot of interesting paragraphs where the author’s ability to describe the scene and emotions of the characters comes out very well. This novel was very sad and at the end of it, you are happy because it was a definite tragedy and it is a little over the top with injustice hanging on the hinges. But then, it kind of opens up the mind’s eye towards what could possibly be the reason for the existence of such discrimination and why is that the fellow human beings do not have the basic rights in their life and working condition.

The human’s rights are violated in the working condition of the plantation at every given point. This leaves a sense of constant injustice which becomes a given fact of the contracted workers’ life. That sense of injustice and inequality really gets to you when you read this novel.

My Opinion

The fact that I had to read this novel as a compulsory novel of the Indian Writing in English paper, I felt a sense of dark brooding when I read it. I don’t pick books which are unhappy, but then being socially aware is also part of the deal to read up books that are written with sadness in it.

I do want to read up literary works of Indian Writers, but their grammar is so hard and that of the Wren and Martin variety. But then you have rare thoughts of progress and advancement from these Writers which moves one’s sense of right. But I was someone who enjoyed styles of varied kind. If I read for a specific time a specific style, then, I tend to be able to pick it up.

Like for instance, there was a time, when I kept reading Shakespeare’s plays and landed up being able to read like natural English. I side poetry more than prose. Anand’s prose was one such pleasure to read, but the subject left me depressed and a little disappointed about the inequalities in a society of that time.

The people who live in the delusion that all is well and continue life in stupor, sometimes need to get their jolt in novels such as these. The novel brings out the oppression in plain statements and in turn showing this mirror of society the reader is not given any space to escape. I believe if the book does that to you, then you are reading an exceptional writer’s work.

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L’sLT Series | Finding Peace In Confusion and Cluelessly Figuring Out

So, a few months back in December 2018 I believe, that all channels were advertising for channel selection and TRAI rules and regulation. I, for my part, was sure cool, I could see it and there was so many an actor explaining it. But for me, I was clueless, I only understood that I had to pick a family pack or Mera walla pack. Guess what do I do, I wait for these guys to call me and ask! Urgh! But no one called and one fine day channels started disappearing. I am in like ‘where are my channels?’ – a questioning mode, while I am looking on clueless as ever?

This led to a fictionalized mixed reality of creative non-fiction which of course I am enjoying writing. I do not have anything against anyone, but just that when procrastination leads to a mess eventually which becomes harmful for the procrastinator. These last-minute rescue decision-making has become a way of life for me, which I am trying to change. But sadly, not even the 48 days or oru manadalam (Ayurvedic time duration of a medicine course) practice seems to be working.

So let us talk about doing the right thing at the right time is the wise thing; while a right action, if delayed then, it is not the right action at all. Most of our life’s situations are time-bound and some require an instant decision, while some can afford to be thought over before arriving at a decision.

So why is taking a quick on the spot decision is so vital? My life is filled with decision taking on a daily basis and it is nothing different or unique about it. But over the years, I have started to learn how to take the decision not just for me but on behalf of others too. There are moments when I want to chew on a decision like a cow’s cud process time, but then time is premium so some decision is taken on the spot.

When you take decision for yourself and if things go wrong despite one’s best efforts, then it is easier to just tell ourselves that we will live with it. But when the decision is on behalf of others, then I become super conscious of the extent of responsibility that lies on my shoulder.

There are moments when I freeze while taking a decision, then it starts the chain of events and choices. The postponing of decision-making has a huge impact on a later date. In my earlier days, I was such a free spirit who never thought again of any decision, made a choice and then move on, was my attitude. Even today, I have that free-spirit surprising me with its presence. There is much that is mysterious in life among them is my logically processing to a decision.

I always keep thinking, that should one take the instincts’ hint or think it through logically and then take a decision? A Egg and Hen question. My twisted logic series is a different track altogether, maybe should be another of this series entry. So, for instance, there are moments when I am completely in swirls of logic because I think in circles and it can be very tiring. I love to keep pondering and if the material I am pondering on is literary then, I am super happy.

For instance, when you need to take a decision on a text, even though I don’t know it that well, it seems easier to decide, but not with live people. But I have improved by far in these many years of experience with collaborating with people. Honestly people are far more fun and you learn with them too. I still feel that taking a decision on behalf of others is very super tricky. But then, if we must, then we must. The rule of my thumb is to make sure it is for the common good for all involved.

Eventually, the act of decision making is sometimes art and sometimes science, but then also an experiential learning that grows the being and the spirit. I wish there were some quotes to give away as I think of all these wonderful things about decision-taking the swamps around my thoughts. Life is about upgrading non-stop and don’t settle quickly.

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Podi from the Online Outlet Idlies

How many of you can remember your patti’s kaipakkuvum? I come from a joint family system where uncles, aunts and galore of cousin team up to make an experience well worth it. A brahmin household is teamed with specific food items which are exclusive to that community.

Our signature food items come in a set. Like Vetrikuzhumbu with Parruppu Thovaiyal, Sutappalam with tomato rasam seasoned in ghee and spluttered mustard, Adai with Avaiyal and Idli with Milagaipodi.

Ah! When I think of Milagaipodi, I am reminded of my mother, I learned the making this side-dish from her. When she religiously makes it and the visitors praise her effort, I think my mother felt great pride in her cooking.

Since the making of podi quantity was for a larger audience, so, I felt it was easier to buy them for just a single user. I have been searching for that specific amma’s brand of milgaipodi and have been sadly disappointed. Since even the Sharada Stores ones also was not close to Amma’s style. About a few days back one of my new friends suggested that I try Idlies an outlet of all Brahmin cuisine to check out the Podi.

I was nervous but then, I knew I am being guided by the authentic source. When I tried the Podi this past Saturday, I was lost in thoughts and missed my mom the most. I felt sentimental and remembered how my grandmother used to have idles, podi and curd combo.

There are some stylistic preferences that one would almost remember WB Yeats’ poem A Prayer for My Daughter, where he explains how girls eat crazy salads. In many ways, life is about food and various unique ways that people have it. Like for instance, having curd rice with mixture or omapodi. There are some really weird combos and I have such preferences too.

The interesting part was the fact that Podi’s package had one of the best themes and the color combo was simply fantastic. The touch of color scheme and the caricature of grandmom with the little girl in the kitchen was such a wonderful design theme.

But I am more used to the Meenakshi Ammal “Cook And See” the every new bride’s mother’s gift to her daughter. I tell you, Meenakshi Ammal used words that were hard to understand. She spoke about how to cook rice on Vengalapanai. Of course, she would describe how to do the scare thing of draining excess water.

But there was much that I learned from cooking various dishes. My mother taught me a few signature dishes which I kept repeating but I would experiment too sometimes. There are days when I feel like cooking up a storm and there are days when I would not move my being to even boil water.

But there are days, when I feel truly inspired to create a most complicated dish I take all efforts. Pappaji loved my subzi and amma didn’t like Northern spices. So I had to strike a balance for both of them. Among the many things, there is a certain food that reminds me of specific people in my family.

Food always brings the family together and binds us in a common understanding of people who you love-hate and everything in between. Podi reminded me of three people when I tasted with my idlies. My athai who passed away recently and she was a rock of Gibraltar in the kitchen. The food preparation was a joint effort of all the brothers, daughters-in-law and athai. Athai used to be the main cook with my mother making sure she gets the ingredients that are needed. So when my athai makes Podi it is wonderful to taste.

The brahmin household is never bereft of this ingredient. It is a quick breakfast side-dish solution. If you are pressed for time and cannot make the chutney, use the Podi, the all-purpose side-dish for Idly and Dosa. If the hunger factor is beyond a bearable point, pull a plate, make some quick swish Dosas and have it with podi. The countless joy of having that podi was to refresh the mind of past memories of my childhood.

 

 

 

Thiruppavai – Godai’s Gita Volume 2 | My Notes

Book Title: Thiruppavai – Godai’s Gita | Volume 2

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha’s narrative style has the old South Indian tradition of storytelling clubbed with loosely knit story format that works wonderfully for this commentary on Andal’s Thiruppavai. There are so many micro short stories woven with such sensitivity that it is an experience of being in a timeless boat floating on the oceans of never-ending stories.

The Story in a Nutshell

Goda, the composer and the versatile story weaver of the Thiruppavai brings out the deep-seated desire of the girls in Ayaripadi to celebrate and to get Lord Krishna’s exclusive companionship. Goda in this volume is visiting every missing girls’ house to personally awake them from their slumber to join in the Pavai Nombu celebration.

The Volume 2 stories are as compelling as those from the volume 1. These are small incidences picked from various Puranas and Vedic time stories. She also picks up stories from the contemporary era too, when she talks about the Alwars who lived before her and their life stories. The never-ending link of stories and facts of the rites provides for an entertaining conversation among the girls.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all little and big stories. I didn’t feel tired from the constant deviations from the main event of the Pavai Nombu. The stories felt like an ambling aging river carries with slush pile of silt in its bed. The time spent on the three girls in Goda’s list of missing girls is well spent on learning so many interesting news bites about the Lord and His gracious benevolence towards His devotees.

Some of the stories were rehashed, but then, they still were entertaining to listen to again. For someone like me, if you are also interested in listening to stories then this Kindle book will entertain you immensely. There is a lot of information about the various religious figureheads and stories related to them are narrated with equal passion with which the other Puranic stories are narrated.

My Opinion

The Volume 2 keeps the interest going while providing new information about where the Pavai Nombu gathering has arrived at. This volume may be spent on waking up the girls, but at the same time, there is a lot happening with the internal cleansing process. With every discussion and arguments with the Goda and her friends to wake the missing girls, the internal thought is cleared and focused on Lord Krishna and his many avatars.

Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita Volume 1 | My Take

Book Title: Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita | Volume 1

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha Sundaram an Instrumentation and Controls Engineer who lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her narrative style was exactly like the ones of my grand aunts who would entertain my siblings, cousins and me with stories from various Puranas. Her narrative had a similar fault of meandering through the maze of stories.

Of course, there is no doubt that the stories are so interesting that you would not mind being deviated from the main course. In this volume, she sets the stage for the pasurams by providing a wonderful introduction to the primal God Varahar Perumal. She informs the origin of the thought seed of Thiruppavai to the moment when the Earth got saved by Varahar Perumal.

The first volume covers five pasurams and the main space is provided to the beginning and the life story of Godai and how her adoptive father Periyalvar found her under the Holy Basil plant. Her brilliance as a child and her love for Perumal is beautifully articulated in the early chapters.

The Story in a Nutshell

The story is about gathering all young girls to perform the Pavai Nombu with a secret agenda of acquiring Krishna for a husband. Godai the cheerleader of the group of young girls undertake the task to bring about this group worship of Lord Krishna. The first five pasurams deal with the first meeting to undertake the fast.

The entire setting is Gokulam of Godai’s imagination with River Yamuna playing some lead parts in the narrative. This volume deals with the part where the plan is set up to meet at predawn hour and perform the fast on Lord Krishna. The setting is a group meeting near the Yamuna with elder’s consent and a secret agenda of unifying with Krishna.

Godai and girls meet near the River Yamuna and discuss the purpose of the meeting. They then set up a plan to worship Lord Krishna with the secret agenda of getting Him for themselves. The girls are thrilled about the agenda and are excited to start.

Next day, after the late meeting, some ten girls are found missing. So Godai with few other girls who have arrived for the meeting sets out to find them. In the course of finding those girls, Godai wakes up each girl giving her some really nice stories in the wake.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all the connected stories that are displayed like a bouquet of fragrant flowers. The stories brought back childhood memories of how the story used to be told. There was no fixed rule for the order in which the story needs to be told, a story could evolve from one look or one word uttered and completely sidetrack the narrator and listener. But then when it comes back to the strayed track to the main agenda, that is, to attain Lord Krishna; it has been beautifully done.

One thing that I would not say that I disliked it; but more out of concern for the readers who are not well-versed with Indian Mythological stories may need some context fixing especially when the conversation moves towards Alwars and their magical experiences.

My Opinion

I feel this volume was such a pleasure to read for two main reasons. One reason is that the small and big stories about Lord Vishnu and his many avatars were simply superb to read. The other reason being that I got to know so many unknown stories and the wonder of it is present like nectar consumed in Godai’s Vrindavan along with the Gopikas as another Pillaiy.

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