The Hapless Romantic

Standard

Grab a pint or two of rum,
And right here won’t you come?
And I will tell you a tale,
By the end of which you will be pale.

In the times of peace,
Lived a hapless romantic,
And in time, he moved to Greece,
Searching for the curse called love.

Found a girl of age twenty,
He was overcome with glee.
With her he found love a plenty,
But in time found she was a he.

Shattered, betrayed, broken,
He drifted to another city,
Travelling with a love unspoken,
And what a pity, right beside the Mississippi.

His dreams turned to dust,
And his fiery love to ashes.
And after many years in the middle of August,
Received so many crashes.

He went away into seclusion,
Away from the cruel cold of December.
Lost himself into an otherworldly illusion,
And the girl from Greece all he could remember.

Stepping outside his prison after years,
He went to the land called Greece,
Facing so many forgotten fears,
He longed for his lost peace.

Desperate for love, even fake,
He soon found out she was happy and gay.
And for his life’s sake,
He flew to a land of frost, far far away.

His time soon came,
With his tale lost in time,
Came a stop to his pain,
To the long lost son of mine.


This has to be one of my most favourite poems ever! I loved writing it, and I love reading it again and again. This was long back in 2012, almost five years. Whew! It feels almost unbelievable to think that it’s been five years since this poem. It feels almost electrifying I guess. Five years. And it doesn’t even seem like that. It feels less, compacted, as though it was less than five years. A noticeable time period, I can place it, but i can’t place it as being so far apart. Five years!
Even after five years, this poem still has that factor. The one which makes me proud that I wrote it and still has that power to tell a story in such few words. Plus, the imagination involved, and the artistic sense, which  I feel I’ve lost a lot in recent times. 
Without a doubt I’m certain everyone will love this poem!
Happy Reading!

Ramblings-Going Away

Standard

Mother always called the Northeast the Shangri-La of India. Lush, calm, serene.
A perfect place for mother to send me to.
A change in scenario to calm my nerves from the bouts of crippling self-doubt I’ve been experiencing. Though I believe mother has a lot to do with it.
She has always pushed me into unknown places and unfamiliar scenarios to punish me. She has always manipulated me into believing there’s something wrong with the city life and the seven sisters will provide me some relief.
Now she’s pushing me away to a place whose geography culture and life is unknown to me. Unknown to all who lived in the city. She wants me to lose myself in a land far far away. It’s scary. I’m scared.


This is the second time I’m posting this piece, for all those who have started following my blog now!
Ramblings was designed to be the first person narratives of people stuck in distressing or awkward situations. I wrote this one for a competition, whose topic was, “The North-East of India”.
Hope everyone enjoys it thoroughly! Happy Reading!

Writing is a lifestyle

Standard

The biggest issue with writing anything is, writing. Yes. That’s it. The biggest issue with writing anything starts when you sit down on your chair, pages ready to be written onto, and you can’t pen down a single word. It’s either because you’re tired, or you’re feeling uncomfortable, or you’re not in the zone, or you just don’t know what to write. You pen down a couple of lines, but that’s it. You scratch that out, then you write some more; either on the same topic or another topic. You get a bit on it, but then again you hit a block. So you take five minutes, think what more can you write, write a few more words, hit another block and then scratch it all out. This loop continues till either you get up, tired and exhausted or you pen down something. More often than not, we get up tired and exhausted.
Why does this happen? Why is it that we sit down to write but we’re unable to? Our heart is in it, so is our mind, our body too; why wont the words come out? Usually it is because we can’t find the right set of words to express what we are feeling. But what if, just think about it, what if it’s because we have no words? No thoughts to verbalise. We can’t write down anything, because we have nothing to write about.
Last June, I made it a habit to start writing again. I used to take time out to write. Be it my novel, or a story, a Book Recommendation, Movie Review or Movie to Watch, or musings, like this one. I wrote a lot. Much much more than February. Each time I sat down to write back in June, I had been thinking about what I wanted to write and it came out properly. What I wanted to say, how the story would move forward, who would say what, what I loved about the book or the movie, why I’m recommending it to everyone; or what I wanted to tell people.
But each time I went in without all this thinking, I was blank. I would stare at the pages, move my pen, but couldn’t get ahead despite getting a good start. After a point, I thought I couldn’t write, or I would end up spending 4 hours in a piece I would have usually completed in 2.5 hours. A lot of the times, the article would be completely terrible. I would have to drag through it rather than swim. And instead of being chirpy, I would be tired, physically, mentally and of my writing.
The pieces I thought a great deal about, they were usually the best. The pieces I went in blank with, they were meh. Improvising on a piece works when you have a plan, not when you have nothing. You need a direction in which the improvisation must take you.
Writing, like fitness, is not an activity. It’s a lifestyle. Writing, acting, painting, drawing. These are all lifestyles. You can’t just do them, especially a new piece. You need to put in time to think about what you want to do and how. Just like you abstain from bad foods for fitness, you see something happen and you think, “This is a great idea for a story”. When you’re alone in the metro, sit and think or maybe even write a new piece. Instead of sitting idle and bored, try to think of something or muse about something.
The two hours you sit down to write, a lot like the two hours you go to the gym are just another activity, not the only activity.


 

My biggest fear

Standard

So you want me to talk to you eh? I keep on telling you things and you keep on listening, enraptured by my heavy voice and poetic words. Having the image of whatever I speak settle in your mind, which you will keep forever with you.
But this can’t start all of a sudden. I need to think. What will I speak about? What? What was that? Speak about my biggest fear or phobia you say? So, I don’t even get a choice in this matter either. Settle yourself rigidly in your seats and prepare. Empty your mind. Let go of all which you have swirling around in there. Prepare to be enthralled.
It was an era long ago; it’s been that long now. But it feels just as real for all of us, no matter how many eras may pass between then and when my words are heard. Just as important. To know, to believe, that your life will be as you want it to be. Nothing, not a job, not heartbreak, not loss, will ever take away your ability to make your own life your own.
I remember. I was free. I could have done whatever I wanted, and how ever i wanted. I could write and talk, watch movies and play Pokémon, enjoy with my friends, enjoy my time. For when there is nobody with a claim on your time, your soul is your own. You can do whatever with it. But the moment somebody claims your time, they have you for that collection of seconds. For that collection, you are not you. You become a waiter, a survivor. You aren’t yourself for those seconds.
But only, I emphasize on the only, if those seconds are against your will. If you instead enjoy the seconds which somebody else claims, they don’t feel like survival or wait at all. They feel like the seconds when your soul is your own.
So, all of a sudden, one day my time was claimed by my future. I found myself being engulfed by my uncertainty of the future. I was stressed, and with a strange form of anxiety taking over me at discrete moments. These discrete moments were wars between my conflicting thoughts. I wanted to sit back and relax, read a book or write one, or watch a movie, but my future wouldn’t allow it. It would instead press me to do something else for its own betterment. These moments were the wars, when I couldn’t decide what i wanted. Because my future is an extension of me.
But those moments were not it. Another fear had set into me. What if one day, somebody but me had a claim on my soul for a set amount of time per day? What if I didn’t like it? Maybe I would hate it. I didn’t know what it was like, the future. And i didn’t know how I would be like then, because of it.
I feared my life, with so much time not being my own, would slip away from me; just as I saw it slipping away in anxiety and uncertainty.
Too this day, that has been the greatest fear I’ve had. I never felt so uncertain, so helpless, because it was inevitable. The change, was a step forward. Nothing I could have done to stop it from coming.
That phase ended. It did. It lasted less than half a year. It seems small, little now. But then, since I didn’t know when it would end, it was endless. There were stops in the way when the uncertainty would recede, but it would always find its way back. Until one day, it went, never to come back, drowning away and mixing with newly discovered confidence. That particular moment, which came over days, gave me belief. SO what if my time is claimed by somebody else for a lot of seconds every day? There will be a time when my soul would be my own. I believed, I could shape my life, regardless of the quantity of control I wouldn’t have over it, only if I put in the effort.
That is, and will always be my biggest fear. My Mount Everest. The huge hill standing between me and the rest of my life. As you go up, every step that you take, you feel less anxiety of uncertainty and more of falling down. Eventually, when you reach the top, you lose all anxiety, and the uncertainty doesn’t worry you. And as you come down, you’re careful to not fall harsh and land on the other side again; but since it’s been done once, you are more confident you will do it again.


 

Book Recommendation-The Shakespeare Curse by J.L.Carell

Standard

The Shakespeare Curse is a great book, in every sense of the word. Thriller and story. It is a complete and wholesome book, especially thriller. It has meaty twists and secrets, misdirects, fleshed out and interesting characters and a well-conceived lore to fill the secrets in with.
Like the name suggests, the story revolves around Shakespeare and his plays, especially Macbeth. Apparently, Macbeth has a long and complicated history and mythos surrounding Macbeth, which J.L Carrell has articulated beautifully in her author’s note and in her novelisation of it as well.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the times when Shakespeare wrote. One says Shakespeare was a spy; another suggests Christopher Marlowe actually used Shakespeare as a pen name. None of these theories or any other well-known theories are used in the novel. Instead, the novel presents one of its own.
The book delves into the world of wizarding and witchery. Since Shakespeare’s works often have witches or the dark arts in some manner, the book takes the liberty of assuming he knew something intimate about it.
The importance of knowing about the controversies and what the novel puts forward is important, because it enumerated how little we know about some eras and how much could actually be.
The Shakespeare Curse has a tense narrative, even and fast paced and keeps you in the dark. Just about what every thriller must do, but doesn’t, so it’s important to articulate.
Like I said, The Shakespeare Curse is a great book, and it gets two things on point.
One, the immense lore set by J.L. Carrell. It is big enough to span 490 pages without it feeling stale. J.L. Carrell has put great insider knowledge regarding Shakespeare. Characters often quote lines from his play to move the conversation forward. Then, J.L. Carrell has filled the book with everything: Dark magic, Ancient Rites, Witchcraft and Wizardry, Secrets, Family Ancestry, A killer aiming to use these to gain power. Everything in the lore is so well though our and insanely immersive.
Second, the writing style. I love how J.L. Carrell has written every character, described every location and action, and detailed every aspect of the lore with accurate and precise history. J.L. Carrell is spot on with her writing.
I finished the novel at 1 PM. While taking out butter for lunch an hour later absentmindedly, I started remembering events of the book rather vividly, as though I had seen them all on a TV.
The Shakespeare Curse is a very fine thriller and a book. It is sharp, very well written, and littered with Shakespeare. The amount of effort J.L. Carrell has put into the book is amazing. This book is not a very grand affair, like a high budget action movie. It is a medium budgeted, well directed, fine story driven action movie.

Land lost somewhere in time

Standard

It was a land lost somewhere in time in the far reaches of our mind; the land we only visit in our terrible dreams. It is the land where fear and hatred twist our perception of time and place.
Time stops flowing like a river. Instead, it is discrete puddles. Specks of water here and there we experience one after the other. No starting or ending anywhere. Just experiences connected to each other by virtue of being on our path.


 

Book Recommendation-Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh

Standard

The partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 was one of the bloodiest, brutal and harrowing events to have taken place. Hindus and Sikhs fled from their homes which are now in Pakistan; Muslims fled from their homes which are now in India.
India was to be a Hindu and Sikh state and Pakistan to be the Islamic state.
People were killed in large numbers. Trains started out filled with Islamic people in India and reached corpses in Pakistan. Trains which started in Pakistan to come to India with Hindus and Sikhs faced the same fate. Men were killed. Indian or Sikh men in Muslim areas were stripped naked and their penises were cut off. In Hindu and Sikh areas, men were stripped and every circumcised penis was killed.
Women were taken a hold of and abused and raped. Hindu and Sikh women were paraded around naked in Muslim areas before being raped by a number of men in front of a throng of onlookers. The same fate fell on Muslim women in Hindi and Sikh areas.
People killed their own children before killing themselves too. They would spare their children and themselves the horror of the Partition, where Hindu, Muslims and Sikh forgot humanity.
Nobody knows which side started the mass atrocities. But neither side stopped. Both were led by people aiming to do worse to the other side than what had been done. Fanatics with the twisted thinking to rationalise killing.
Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan revolves around a little village on the India-Pakistan border, Mano Majra. Mano Majra is in the summer of 1947, when the partition’s atrocities were underway.
Train to Pakistan is written very well. It is an old book, written in 1956(WOW!). It has various elements which were present in older books.
Train to Pakistan’s imagery is beautiful. Khushwant Singh’s Mano Majra is one of the fullest, most complete and fleshed out setting in any book I have ever read. The Fault in Our Stars, All the Bright Places, and The Shadow of the Wind have beautiful stories, but they don’t feature set locations where the story takes place, such as a city or a town.
Everything about Mano Majra is explained.
How people wake up in the morning, their morning rituals, the work they do, how and when they eat food, the interactions they have with each other and when they sleep. The structure of the village, what is at the centre, the lanes leading up to it. The world surrounding the village. The railway station, the rest house near Mano Majra, the fields near the village and the tonga used to transport people to the nearby town of Chundunnugger, where there is the police station.
The host of characters in and around Mano Majra, coming in all throughout the story are as full as Mano Majra. They are interesting, riveting and exquisitely written. You hate some, and love some. They’re all real. And depending on mind sets, everyone will love and hate different characters. That’s the power of this book’s writing.
The characters are riveting in portrayal but polarising in reception.
I curse my writing skills here. Because at times when I want to be more expressive, my skills are insufficient in completely describing my feelings.
Going on a tangent, the thing about life is that at times, things happen to people which are not fair. Maybe because they don’t have enough exposure, or maybe because there were people who were more cunning and enterprising. Such situations have happened to all of us; more often than we would like to admit. And we face these more often than the good ones.
The people in Train to Pakistan often find themselves in such situations, through no fault of their own. Due to most of our upbringing revolving around action movies and heroic caricatures of characters, we feel something heroic could have been done. But the truth is, in such situations, we all often lack the awareness, courage and spontaneity to do so.
And the ending!! I loved the ending! Another facet of life, is that in desperate times, we take desperate measures. Those desperate measures reveal who we are. The ending was perfect, so beautiful. It summed up everything, perfectly.
Like I said, my skills aren’t at the point where I can frame and tell you how much I loved the ending.
Train to Pakistan is a terrific novel. I loved it. It is a story about the Partition, people, and morality of people. It’s a book which everyone will find to be enlightening and a very fluid read.


Train To Pakistan has been the best book I’ve read in 2017 so far, which comprises of four books right now(This, A Painted House by John Grisham, I Will Marry George Clooney(by December)  by Tracy Bloom, The Shakespeare Curse by J.L Carrell), this is by far the best. And this book will continue to be one of the best of 2017 as well, no matter how many more books I read this year.
An amazing book!
Happy Reading!