Friday, February 29, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

THE LONE CYPRESS


17 mile drive, Monterey, CA

It is always & inevitably lonely out on the growing edge.

I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.

Its no good trying to get rid of your aloneness, you got to stick to it all life .
Only at times the gap will be filled in, at times!
But you have to wait for those times....

~Source Unknown

Monday, February 25, 2008

YEARNING FOR SPRING


17 mile drive, Monterey, CA

This tree, like me and probably many others who have had enough of winter, seems to be yearning for spring...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

THE LIFE OF PI


Beware: Potential spoilers ahead.

The words maths and sci-fi came to mind as soon as I heard about the book that goes by ‘The Life of Pi’. Long, complex looking mathematical equations started darting in front of my eyes whenever I thought of the book. I must mention that the book was recommended to me by a ‘maths-science-and works’ aficionado and I am sure you will agree that my mental imagery wasn’t unfounded. Of course, I couldn’t get myself to read such a book!...it wasn’t ‘my types’…
I don’t remember what exactly made me pick up the book, maybe, it was the knowledge of the fact that India featured in the novel or maybe it was the cover (it sure didn’t look like a sci-fi novel from its cover) or maybe it was just to satisfy my curiosity about the queer title. V started reading the book before me and whenever I’d ask “So what is the book about?” I would hear something like “Don’t know yet”. I decided to find out for myself.
How right he was….believe me, you don’t know where the story is headed till you finish part one of the book, unless of course, you have done some background reading about the book and tried to put the cover in perspective.
Some books get you hooked up from page one, and then there are those that you have to plough through till you get to the interesting parts. I would say Yann Martel’s Life of Pi belongs to the second category. The initial pages are not drab, but as a reader one needs to know where a story is headed no matter how entertaining the read has been so far. “Hang on till part one and then you won’t realize when you finish the book”, some friends had mentioned. So with that hope, I continued to read, page after page, and then I reached a point where I couldn’t keep the book down.
The book begins with the author’s note about the story behind the novel. He mentions meeting an individual in a coffee shop in Pondicherry, India who tells him the story that is now the novel. The references of people and places made me believe that it was a real story that I was reading. Silly me, actually started googling for Pi Patel (the main character of the story) hoping to find some clues about his existence and wondering how I had missed a story so fascinating. Alas, I found out that the novel is a work of fiction. I felt betrayed and berated myself for being na├»ve, but, full marks to the author for making the story so real and believable. Definitely worth reading!

A SILENT RAIN


Dear Baba,

I am sitting by the window of my apartment as I write to you. The weather forecast says, rain and thunderstorms are headed our way. I am excited; you know how we looove the rain! :)
The gusty summer showers that relieve us temporarily from the heat….the intoxicating smell of the wet hot earth ….sometimes there is hail and we would run to collect it…if the hailstones were small they would melt away as soon as they’d hit the ground….the bigger ones would stay and we would eat them…sometimes, one of them would hit us hard on the back, as we stooped to collect the ones on the ground.
The monsoon is a different ball game altogether…..the early showers are heavy and make a lot of noise…as if the heavens are lashing out at the earth…or like a child throwing tantrums….then the rain settles into a rhythm….a daily incessant drizzle….as if the heavens have made peace with the earth…. there is another phase of heavy showers before they are gone for good till next year…
I close my eyes and can hear all the rain sounds……the growling thunder…the howling wind……the rustling of the leaves…..then the different sounds of the rain drops…..the first few coming down tentatively tap, tap, tap…….tap, tap, tap, tap,….falling on the ground, on the road, on the roof and the awning outside our verandah….soon the drops would gather speed and before you know they would be coming down in torrents… when it stopped raining, the tip tip of water droplets trickling down from the trees or the window sill or the awning onto the ground…
The initial heavy showers would always mean a power cut; due to a fallen tree over the power lines, or, some other fault…..power cut or otherwise, we would huddle up in chairs in the verandah and soak up the view… sometimes we would need to rush inside to secure the windows, for the haphazardly slanting rain would send water through the windows inside the house…..we would speculate about the rains for the year, make phone calls to friends and relatives and excitedly exchange the rain info …..ginger and lemon grass flavored hot chai and bhajis would arrive from the kitchen….we would continue to talk for hours about this thing and that, until it got too dark to see the rain or, the mosquitoes shooed us away….you would turn of the light in the verandah, because it would attract scores of bugs that would dance around it till they died, and left a mess of their dead bodies on the floor…..you would play a beautiful rendition of some monsoon raga ……we would drift off to sleep listening to the sounds of the rain….
Often I think of the monsoon as a naughty, undisciplined brat, up to some mischief or the other, but, completely unbothered by its acts….yet, I like this brat…..it never fails to evoke a rainbow of emotions; joy and exhilaration mostly dominate the spectrum……it has opened hearts; mine to other people and other people’s to mine….I have noticed a surge in my creativity in its presence …..Alas, I don’t know when I will enjoy the Indian monsoon next… :(
Nothing can compare to our monsoon….O….it has started raining…here the doors and windows are all securely closed; not a sound can be heard, unless, I strain my ears, to hear above the drone of the heater…..neither can I smell the earth…….there seems to be a lot of wind for the trees are shaking violently, but of course, I don’t hear the wind….The rain here is nothing like our rain…..it is disciplined, just like the people here…..it never makes an unexpected call….it arrives on time like a punctual guest and never lingers…there is no informality…..no liberties are taken or given….its well manneredness hurts, seems fake and it fails to reach my soul….
Oh well….is it just me or …? ……..Maybe I should open the windows and try to listen…
~A