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.

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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.

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On Being Sick in Bed While Recovery A Long Haul

From the collection “The Moment and Other Essays” by Virginia Woolf is the essay titled “On Being Ill.” I accidentally came across this essay while searching for the essay as a mode for a critique of an event. Virginia Woolf is the renowned essayist who has written many critical pieces on Essay as an appealing literary format. Since I was planning to write an essay about Radha Kalyanam that I had attended over the weekend and I was exploring critical essays for better representation of the program’s impact on me.

The program was a recital of Gita Govind by Jayadev, a 12th Century Poet but not in the originally written language. The poet’s original work was in Sanskrit; but the program was performed in Tamil, one of the South Indian languages. The performers used the translated text from Sanskrit to Tamil for the recital. The program was done with the musical rendition and had a lyrical quality to it.

The fact that various sublinks took me to this essay was rather interesting. I was recently recovering from a bout of body pain and cramped legs condition with a slight touch of fever. I was bed-ridden for a day and a half. The words that illness should have an equal place in literature along with love, jealousy, and other emotions, caught my interest. I decided to find the essay and read up.

Woolf seems to be dwelling on various aspects of illness seen from individual suffering from the ailment, visitor’s behavior, environment or space in which the individual is made to rest, the window, flowers from visitors and the view. All of these become a character, and eventually, the books lined up to read is dealt in greater detail.

A trip to heaven and back is done in the duration of having a tooth pulled out at the dentist’s chair was a dry humorous note to the essay. When the dentist becomes an angel surrounded by white cloud for the anesthesia fogged mind which is working hard to figure out dream from reality was confusing for me initially as I was swimming in the play of various description that sounded like a heavenly harp. The punchline was the fact it was a tooth pulling session at the dentist.

Surprisingly, I could relate to the thought that life’s physical ailment is not given as much importance as it should be given. I remember when I was bed-ridden for about eight months in a row, my sole companion was the books that I picked to read. Of course, I would look out of the window to watch the WoodApple Tree and Koel sitting inside the dense foliage for distraction.

The current view is the road and traffic clubbed with some green here and there. Otherwise, the entire room is a gloom. With the new Kindle device, books are no longer heavy to hold reclining. I found solace from the fact that a couple of days rest and some Crocin 650 should do the trick. After which I should be fit as a fiddle. Woolf even plays with the medicine consumed and makes it into a lyrical ballad.

But Woolf’s essay was another revelation by itself. She covers all the aspects of being ill. From the point where a sick person is someone who has quit the battlefield before the war got over. Being included in the members who ran away in fear or were brave but a fallen soldier whose valor now lay squabbled on the battlegrounds while rest of the battalion forward marches to carry on fighting erect on their feet.

She then recommends, that when a person falls sick, then they no longer are thinking of arguing or justifying deep prose. She recommends and says that poets are the best speakers of that natural causation that cheer up the mind. A healthy person who is ready to contest the theologies of the poet’s thought, would now rather hear him out without putting up an intellectual block.

Surprisingly, it reminded me of the time when I was sick for many months together, I read a collection of poems written by a girl who knew she will not last for long. She was hardly more than 13 years of age. Her aspiration, yearning and a singular desire for peace in the world were beautifully written in simple free verse form. I found the book so fascinating and so genuine, that I could take solace from the fact that my ailment was temporary, unlike her health trouble.

I totally agree that the best book to read while unwell is a collection of poems by known or unknown poets. Since the text is easy to take in, given all the stress levels. At the same time, there is an immense beauty in the lines that overpowers the sick person’s impressions of life.

Woolf chooses Shakespeare in her essay as the poet for the sick; though I would have preferred Keats. She also talks about other lesser known and popular books in circulating that were pulp fiction of the time. Her description almost equates to the regular soap serials of heroine who are unendingly facing hardship only to find momentary happiness at the end. Stories that are churned out in random order and on a regular base for light reading consumption.

I found the entire essay fascinating and relevant to my condition. Yet there are a few things, that I felt Woolf had left out, which made it seem so one-sided. There are moments in the sickness when the bodily energy is drained and the entire view is blood red with pain surrounding it. In those moments, when the outside view is just a blue pattern curtain shutting out light and there is no nature to divert, then, I believe, the mind goes in circles wallowing in thoughts that are clearly not helping the situation.

Woolf keeps to the text of cheering the sick person on the bed with things that would calm them down and give them the well-needed rest to recover. I believe the recovery achieved at the cost of gloom is one of the priceless achievement. When many days pass with no sign of hope and a healthy day in a sick person’s life seem a far cry, then I believe the victory of recovery should be talked about too. But then, her focus was on influenza and how the ailments turn the mind and perception.

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Finding the Writer’s Flow

Have you ever experienced that sense of lightness that comes while working on a special piece. There is such a race of ideas that nothing else count for the moment but the task at hand. I have had those moments but they are like the butterflies wings. Touch it and your fingers are colored with their skin dust. The Positive Psychology calls it as “Flow.”

Steven Kotler in his article “Flow States and Creativity” in Psychology Today, provides a technical definition of ‘Flow’ as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”

I found this state, whenever I have found myself just sufficiently challenged. At the same time, if few of the information were backed by my past experiences, then the combination is a killer one. Within this relative familiarity section I discover my inference of the self in slow disclosing pattern.

Flow according to me is something that happens to your state of being. It is like, I find myself inside a warp-hole where everything is about what I am doing. Somehow, I am accomplishing it but blocking rest of the noise and distraction of my reality. I become engrossed in my own little world that I have made for myself.

But generally a Flow State is a human experience that an employee goes through in professional place, while accomplishing a slightly beyond the reach of the employee’s limit challenge, with their entire focus of attention zeroed in on the task.

There are many books on the working of human brain that have explained how the various processes happen within the brain. Encyclopedia Britannica even goes to the extent of explaining that the brain processes less than 50 bits in a second.

Psychologists in their line of research have found that when a brain is engrossed completely to exclusion all other distraction, then the subject under study is experiencing the “Flow state.”

A Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who was the pioneer of Flow research has found such wealth of information about this state. He founded the Positive Psychology and propagated ‘Flow’ concepts. He began his research in 1975 and since then, much development in the research has happened.

What brings about this state? This state happens at what condition? These and other questions are far more interesting to note. The flow state needs certain individual’s internal physical and psychological weather condition to kick in.

He kick-started his tests with artists and creative types; later he expanded his research work towards other professions too. He used experience sampling method (ESM) to observe the subject under scrutiny.

It was in these tests that he came to know of High-flow and Low-flow states, where he also found out how these states influence his subject under study.

Csikszentmihalyi’s research had brought out the following six factors that result in the occurrence of flow in individuals:

  • Completely intense focused concentration on the current moment
  • Action and awareness become one
  • Loss of reflective self-consciousness
  • Complete control of the involved task
  • Distortion of temporal experience
  • Having an asautotelic or activity providing a intrinsically rewarding experience

He states in his book “Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life” that “if you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.”

In our work day we make a number of choices and decisions. The flow depends on what we choose to do and how we planned to perform it, this then would make our evaluation of our tasks as blur of events or almost art form of accomplishments.

Of late, I am watching the Flow word in my workplace application. My mind goes to the other meaning of the word Flow. When words “work” and “flow” combines in my brain I’m busy thinking about the flow happens within me.

When I get interested in the task I completely forget the office and people around. That kind of state, I actually don’t feel hunger either. I found the trick to be happy in my flow doing any type of writing tasks. The point is, the state of flow is an intense feeling that grips the experiencing person’s complete attention to exclusion of everything.

Within this state one could be close to the state of meditative silence. In this silence creativity can be nurtured and expanded to its relative stretch. Writing act is also a kind of experience that takes over all other distractions into its vortex of creative silence.

I usually have a set of activity such finding a uncluttered spot and use the same device to write. I would begin with reading up a little of the draft or old works to get into a swing. Once the mind kicks in I am ready to give free reign to my imagination.

I absolutely, love to be in that state and to explore until I feel content. Check out for yourself if you can find your flow in blogging or any writing activity!

Research

Flow, the secret to happiness

http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?language=en

Alex Vermeer, works for MIRI

http://alexvermeer.com/finding-flow/

Leo Babauta, Zen Writer from San Francisco

http://zenhabits.net/guide-to-achieving-flow-and-happiness-in-your-work/

Pursuit of Happiness

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/getting-in-the-flow/

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi/

Quotes

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/27446.Mihaly_Csikszentmihalyi

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Feeding the Child Right

I feel truly inspired after my solids feeding session with my youngest niece D2 and the idea was to write a fairy tale; but then here I’m writing a CNF. Life is truly a wonderful gift and if one could spend time seeing it with the right attitude.

My nieces and nephews have always been my inspiration. I still remember that I wrote my first short story for my brother’s first daughter N. Then, I wrote a poem for A and for K my brother’s youngest daughter, I wrote a ballad. Then both A and K together created a partially done story-line which was converted into visual medium, my little Minions!

Whereas, in my sister’s children case, I wrote a story for my nephew D and for Niece D2, I was inspired to write a fairy tale. There was such great fun with children. Actually, D2 is watching me write lying on my lap. She wants to type too, but then I have to tell her, that “Dearest, I will give you a chance like your brother.”

Life is all about learning new things and with children you learn a lot more. My first experience with feeding my nieces and nephews began with N when she was returning to her home. We had camped in our eldest uncle’s flat in Mumbai and that is when I had the pleasure to hold N on my lap as she was fed by my SIL.

I watched her eat her solids and something in my heart moved and the story found its nebulous start to form in my mind. It took me more than three months to write that story. I even sent it to my brother to read out to the baby N who will not understand a word of it.

N was the first for so many of first time things story-wise. When we paired up to create imaginary things it used to be complete March Madness and peerless Spring Equinox. I feel that it is easier to write if I used my little family members as audience for my stories. I found stories that used them were more interesting and compelling.

My sister’s son D was so interested in Russian folk tales. I, somehow am attracted to folk tales and fairy tales, which gives me great inner pleasures to explore in great depth. I have a latest collection of folk tales by Nelson Mandela presented by SIL after her Africa vacation.

Even today, I can still feel the magic of watching Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre production of fairy tales. There is much that can be learned and unlearned with children. When we become adults our sense of finding right and wrong becomes too strong. See life with a child’s mind everything will be funny and absolutely comical.

But for the first time D2 inspired me to write a magical realism story. Why not a fairy tale that has a single heroine! It should be her adventure and doesn’t end with her married and living happily ever after in a castle in the far away rich kingdom.

Long time ago in the land far known to all the little people, there was a little baby Rose. Her father was an adventurer who was lost in the search of a unique star outside the rims of the Universe. Rose wanted to find her father, so leaves her mother’s gentle care, and goes in search of her father. With this base, any level of expansion can be done.

But then, where is the magical realism in this?! But then, it is a nebulous and much is unsaid. D2 is interested in the story since she is eager to type. Okay short break. While D2 is happily playing in her Gimboree figuring textures, I get to write.

Both my brother’s and sister’s children are keen readers and their sense of humor is so typical of fun loving children which is part of our family DNA. I enjoy reading magical realism so much, that I feel, the stories with magic in them makes them truly wonderful.

Annotated with my niece’s musical rendition of happiness that can be found in her singing voice, I find that books of fairy tales and folk tales could provide children with innumerable new understanding. Nebulous is expanding and finding it own creative energy which means it is time to write that story.

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On the Wings of a Butterfly | A Hope!

Life is always about perspective. There is much joy in observing the world from various angles. I feel the best view is yet to happen in my life. In search of such a view, I keep my heart in a state of baited breath, which is held within me.

There is much to be spoken about dreamscapes and when these dreams happen I feel an intense longing for more. One such frequent dream is when the flight happens on the wings of a butterfly. I hold on to the slippery wings only to be colored by the spectrum of the wings’ colors.

The view is from the upper cut perspective. Sometimes, they are sharp and sometimes, they are far off. The littleness and greatness of things become clearer as the dream progresses. I happily fall for the spell of the moment.

Then, when flying over the vibrant river, it becomes a pleasure to trail my fingers on the flowing water. The night and the moon for company, I become a formless spirit who is in communion with nature.

The finer points of the view from a butterfly’s wings are when the view tilts, dips, swings, sways in any which way. The landscapes pass by in varying speed, thus making the experience magical. There is much that happens within the dream.

Sometimes, life’s issues are also best to be seen from varied angles. The dreamer within me keeps seeing positives in all situations. There is insulation around the sensitive mind that filters out information in general. The need to remain positive at all times is a hard victory in the game of life.

The daily news hasn’t been my favorite read; but then, I get my most of the information of the world around me in the partial view from Social Media. I frequent social media channels only on fixed time and logout after the fixed time is over.

I sometimes feel that what is right doesn’t exactly fit with what is expected. There is a huge difference with reality based truth and assumed truth colored by views. In all these views there is a huge debate that keeps rotating within the intellectual mind.

Then, I think about the way I handled views and news in my life. Sometimes, I think I become a deaf frog climbing the mountain of improbability. There is hope only when humans don’t complicate their thought process with negativity.

Reading should happen with a sense of hope and aspiration for the future. But of late, the newspapers have been showing stark pictures of a future that looks like a death wish.

I remain eternally hopeful for the future. The Golden era of just and fair world is not far off. The process through which it gets created is equally a soul-wrenching experience. There is much to learn and process within me, that I find satisfaction in the self-discovery.

Sometimes being this stupidly optimistic becomes a desperate need within me. If I let this process drop, then there is no opportunity to make something better. I keep shamelessly being hopeful at every dark event, steeped in the hope that things will change for the better.

 

Finding the Joy of Traveling In Pallavan

There is something magical about a window seat that a travel nervous person like me can understand well. Moving sceneries produce a feeling of emotional high that no drug can replace. Window seat travel is almost an addictive drug that sets my mind dreaming like the opium induced British Poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

There have been innumerable opportunities to travel by the public transportation and it has given immense joy. My trapped spirit finds its freedom with the blowing wind through the window. The dreams that visit during the interim of the travel are spectacular to recall on lull days.

I remember a moment from my Childhood. I used to visit my maternal grandfather during my summer holidays. The house belonged to the old time architecture and so there is a step leading to the kitchen set in a little higher level to the rest of the rooms. I was once seated on the top-most step. As I sat there, I gradually slipped into an almost real-life dream of train travel.

The dream had the complete package of sound, smell, light, things and taste of the Central Station. The dream lasted for a countless time until my grandfather returned from his morning socializing. It was a Sunday and no one to mind me in the house, so I was left to my devices. My travel in the imaginary train was such a pleasure and filled with minute details, that it took me a while to shake off the imaginary train station.

Later, in my years I travelled in a real-train I was surprised that I had captured the vibrant station in my young memory without having travelled in one. The train and flight travels were very limited but it gives the mind the feeling of having explored like a mendicant. The best ones were those on the bus.

I generally tend to panic first and foremost when I am traveling by any mode of transportation. But then, within this limitation is the place, that I find my central sense of peace too. That fact surprises me more than others.

Traveling by Bus happened out of desperation because when I was in middle school and I was a grownup who took more space than the other younger passengers in the autorickshaw. So our natural choice was to take the public transport in Chennai – The Pallavan.

Life is filled with so many first times that it gets really interesting if you are not frightened always. I was so fed up with the auto discomfort that I was willing to venture in the wild of bus travel. My memory of Pallavan was the accident in which I should have been the person who got hurt instead of my little friend who got hurt in the process during the reckless driving incident.

I love traveling in an empty bus in the early hours of the dawn the most, because it comes from my semi-empty bus traveling experience. Actually during my early days I used to struggle in the crowded bus and constantly fear missing the stop. But I would still feel squished and wasted. The best solution, back then was to take the early buses which were not overcrowded.

This feeling of traveling in a semi-empty bus is such fun, that I simply had to start early and enjoy the trip. It always felt like flying on the wings of the butterfly. Gentle and smooth breeze of life crowds my being. Even today, if I start early and the roads are empty with some chill morning breeze, I almost feel that I am new born child in communion with the world.

The semi-empty buses always ensured that I got a window seat and the wind of morning breezes in with gusto. One couldn’t ask for more. Even today I take the window seat, even though, it is rather hard to navigate to the aisle and get down from the bus. But nothing can beat the joy of the window seat travel.

PS

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Stories That Border on Euphemized Indian Lives

Book Title: At Close Quarters

Author: Sonia Narayanan

Translator: N/A

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: N/A

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Sonia Narayanan is based in Bangalore and as a writer; she creates stories that are captivating with a nice human twist to it. The storyteller of these pearls of stories has a unique understanding of human mindset. The author weaves in and out of each story with relative ease and she has set them in different parts of India, thus diversifying the whole collection. The characters are built with such care and details that it showed the writer’s sparkle of writing talent.

Story in a Nutshell:

The short stories in this collection are really interesting with multiple level of flavoring, that it covers all the reader’s entertainment requirement with ease. The collection has 10 short stories set at various places and with different types of personalities. The stories start off, as if ambling into the park of storytelling, while holding the feeble thread of an audience attention with great care. These stories are emotionally mature and yet so filled with human fallacies that become the part of our everyday commoner’s life.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

More than likes, I would say I found a writer who conversed with me. I was captivated by her storytelling style. I loved the fact that the characters were either casual stroke of the brush or intricate painting of Dorian Gray personality feel. There was a taste of R. K. Narayan in the description of the settings but the characters were Sonia’s own. I enjoyed spending time in the scene, while my emotions were the crumbling fourth wall.

There wasn’t much that I disliked about this book, but I did feel that she was hiding from actually placing the dark side without any obscurity. Because in the short story “Anand” I felt she played it safe and left the death of Anand’s wife as a mere apology. Maybe that is the only thing that I felt that the author was not doing it right. I think euphemism is good for certain stories and sometimes one just has to be brutally true in some stories.

But that brings up an unique question within me. Do we have to be graphically explicit in our stories to be authentic? Or just not talking about the bad stuff makes us more palatable writer of reality and social activist causes.

My Opinion

I enjoyed all the ten stories and would love to read it again. But the first impression of the stories can never be replicated. It was a wonderful Indian flavors presented in gentle spirit of being socially right. Great read!

To Read or To Write | That’s the Question

There are two activities that I really love doing in my free time. I like to read books unending and I also love to record my emotional reactions to the specific book. Both these activities make me the person I am.

My experience as a reader and as a writer is two separate lifestyles. When I am reading I usually seek entertainment that is above board; but when I am writing I am generally over analytic coupled with a general angst to the topic.

It is haggering to be a writer than a reader. As a reader, I feel I am far more forgiving, than when I am a writer. Partly, that is the reason why I don’t even attempt to send my work out for publishing.

Writing is a very haggering process, when the topic is weighed and balanced for an authentic voice. So the amount of writing that really gets done is relatively little. I’m still learning to love the process and have a long way to go.

I am searching for a specific voice that I want to learn about and use it in my writing. I am a very slow reader generally, so it really takes time to review a book. At the end of the reading, I usually have a global feel for the story and the rest of the details get diluted as points in my mind.

Both reading and writing cannot be present at one place at the same time. Because I have seen that when one reads with a writing mindset a different kind of perspective happens. Like for instance, I am currently reading a book titled “At Close Quarters,” and I am not able to stop analyzing it as I read it.

This is my first experience of reading to analyze the content. Of course, it gets in the way of your entertainment mindset. Even when I was a student, I never analyzed the work given to me. Since I felt the point was to enjoy the reading and the story.

I always saw stories as a part of my enjoyment. There were certain topics which were interestingly handled and had entertainment factor in it. It is true that all the stories have been told. There is nothing much left for the future generation to follow. Maybe these recycled stories are just fixed motifs that get repeated within the unlimited field of storytelling.

So the question of reading over writing is more a cerebral activity for the fun of debating. My journey as a reader and as a writer has gone a long way and I believe the reader is far more active than the writer. But the writer’s thought waters are far deeper than the reader’s thought.

I think both these activities become prominent, because it is essential part of my personality. I enjoy both the activities, while I am trying to excel at writing maybe.