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Saturday, October 29, 2005

White cotton clouds!

Yesterday I flew over the white cotton clouds
That rolled and puffed below a blue sky
Were hung up there like my love for you
Pure and white, fluffy and foggy, soaring high

When I looked at the world perched in your thoughts
The cities were below and beyond, little and distant
Your love gave me wings, the dream of the flight
Made me freely surging soul in an instant

In the slowly moving drift of human imagination
I flew far and wide and yet never away
For like a kite I am always threaded to you
In the deft hands of your love, I fly and soar!

Written on a flight
March 2005

A Poet and a Sanguine Brat!

We share this and that
Daily we meet and chat
We amble and we ramble
A poet and a sanguine brat

I am high on the past
Her future pulls her fast
At present we're "just friends"
Such friendships seldom last!

We are an unlikely company
Bruised bard with bugs bunny
Loud laughters of our together
Sound like a pure symphony!

She'll be gone now or then
I won't know why or when
And left again for that matter
Will be me and my inkpen!

Oh! Butterfly on a wing
She can dance and sing
I am only words, she says
Maybe rhymed, deep, lasting

But I am only words, she says
Yet I am speechless, dumbfound
She is the music of my present
But its nothing as it might sound!

Its probably not me!

It is not my day, it is not my style
I haven't been me, not all this while

Forget what I uttered, forgive what was muttered
In this state trust me, was unsaid what mattered

I am usually in control, usually I know my way
I don't know why today, why today I am astray

Maybe in your proximity, modulated by your attraction
I have lost my wits, got bewitched by this distraction

Oh! So much remained unsaid, oh! So much is unsung
But today I err and mistake, today noise rules my lung

Come tomorrow my dearest to see, the real side of me
I am usually funny and charming, ah! This isn't at all me!

*****

The poem was written while attending a lecture; the professor was having a remarkably bad day, as he struggled with derivations, he muttered many sentences, which actually got woven into a poem of a lover who loses his wits in her presence!:)

October, 2005

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Book Rev: The Unbearable Lightness of the Being by Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of the Being is a pithy masterpiece. The author captures the essence of the being of four or five chief characters, describing in an achingly beautiful, yet unobstrusive fashion, their thoughts and deeds, what weighs upon their souls, what rescues their selves from onerous existence. The infedilety and philandering of Tomas, the doubts and dreams of Tereza, the artistic idiosyncracies of Sabrina and the intellectual myopia and indulgences of Franz are as engaging as the philosophical and historical notes that flow through the story.

The novel is a deep and defining study of humanity in 20th century, of our hopes and failings, of the moral and material needs and our capacity for being tormented by our pasts and passions. There are paragraphs and paragraphs of poetic beauty, and yet everything is written in the most simple, straightforward sentences. The description of Karenin, the dog owned by Tereza, is brilliant, especially in the final chapter of the book. Another favorite chapter was on "words misunderstood", for in the romance between beings belonging to two different pasts and countries, seemingly same words assume drastically different connotations.

This is a mature novel, meant for readers who can look beyond the surface. On surface this is novel laced with sexual content and contexts, a novel that describes the gimmicks of communist Russia and their stay in Czech country, a novel that spurns philosophical ramblings interweaven with discussion about the "shit being a onerous theological problem". On surface the novel is story of infidelity. But deep down this is a novel that strikes chord with the intelligent reader on so many different levels, be it romance, ethics, interpretion, or our own complexities arising from our own unique pathways of life.

The novel weighed on me, confronted me with many issues, ideas and memories, and then at times, it relased me from my own suffocating and smothering thoughts and experiences. I highly recommend this novel. If you enjoy Lawrence, Joyce and Gibran, be introduced to Kundera, who carries the torch of modernist writing ahead: and in what style!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Random thoughts of a chaotic being!

What? When? Where? Why? How? Who?

To focus on research without worrying about papers and thesis, to get to thesis and publications without getting lost in endless tangents of ideas, to cultivate ideas that bring freshness and innovation without plunging headlong into the tunnels of inconsequence

To write freely, in verse or prose, as I always loved, but to write to be published, but how to find an agent to review my work, how to find interested publishers to talk them into showing interest in my poetry and unfinished novels, where to begin, where to end, how to do it without affecting my academic pursuits, how to priortize

To know more, must read more, and yet how to avoid becoming a cow that just chews the cud, feeding on the overgrowth coming from past and from feed collected by other hands, and to see to it that I know it all without being driven by the ideas and thoughts of others and yet being driven to think without influences when I know not right from wrong

To wait for the right person, yet spend no time or attention for looking for her, and to love without hurting, and yet yet hurting to love, and then dismissing all emotional stuff as farce and impediment in the pursuit of my goals, and then revising my goals to be utlimate happiness that requires both this and that, and yet it is quite so complicated as it is easy to fall prey into the reasonable and unreasonable demands of mind of body

To wake up and know what lies ahead in the day and to sleep with the knowledge that I accomplished what I planned, and yet to want each day to be a surprize and each day to be a discovery and to have the knowledge at the end of the day that whatever happened what an enriching experience, and yet not be lost in the grammer of experiences and acquiring vocabulary of knowledge to become literate and yet not literary, to become educated though not erudite, and yet requiring all it to happen at the same time in an ideal way

To labor in pursuit for acquiring requisite wealth to comfort aging parents and relieve myself of concerns that haunt my finances, and to have enough to travel across the globe and do so in an unplanned way, to discover humanity in the most unplanned destinations and yet know through my journey that there are no destinations that would be as enjoyable as the wanderings themselves

To progress without reducing myself into a machine set at achieving targets, to write without turning me into a loony scripter of freely selling nonsense, to have the child-like spirit of inquiry with the ability of an aged teacher, to have it all without the greed of anything, and to do it all and yet be detached enough to proceed without letting myself be engulfed by the endless potholes that are imbibed in the tortuities of illiterate self.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Book Review: Don Quixote by Cervantes

Don Quixote by Cervantes is often called the first modern novel and many rate it as one of the best novels ever written in any language. That itself stirs enough interest and curiosity for a reader like me, and trust me, reading the novel is a highly rewarding and entertaining experience. The plot and sub-plots are primarily guided by Don Quixote's obsession with knight-errantly, forming acts to chivalry and participating in adventures in a manner he read in such books. Sancho serves as his squire and complements and supplements his master in every possible way. Quixote is kind at heart, his every act is inspired by a good intention, a dreamer trapped in a body that prompts him to be called the "knight of rueful countenance", a loyal lover whose never set eye on her who he so praises and desires in a chaste way! Yet he is so full of imaginary tales and characters that he lives in a make-believe world, where he mistakes windmills for monsters, herds of sheep for armies, and so on, attacks them, defends them, and Cerventes manages to weave a saga of such events in a form that identifies with allegory, fable, epic and comic drama at the same time.

Panza, on the other hand, is a fatso, ever hungry for food, wine and money, full of practical sensibility as well as easily misguided simplicity, and is as entertaining a case study as his master. To complete the cast, are two unlikely prime characters: Rocinante, who is a horse as old and shrivelled as his master and Dapple, Sancho's donkey who Sancho considers more dear to himself than anything in the world.

The novel starts at a slow pace, and with the mention of alll sorts of established names of knight-errantry that must have been vogue in those times, Cerventes builds the stage for the rise of our hero. Since I have never read any of the described references, the first fifty or so pages seemed quite obstruse to me. Like for every classic, I knew I had to read on atleast 200 pages for characters to establish themselves. Thereafter, the various escapades and misadventures described in the two books follow like eagerly waited episodes. Again this is a novel that must be read piecemeal.

Besides the humor, knight-errantry, a quixotic master and a pragmatic but simple squire, Cervantes masterfully creates a plethora of characters and situations where he writes about love, war, God, Moors, government, wife, and every conceivable thing related to man as a social being. In some ways, the book is an elegant discourse on how things are and how they could be. Even the humor laden with satire is a subtle taunt at the way good people eat humble pie when their dreamt adventures are deemed ordinary by plotting evil enchanters.

The book is full of proverbs that Sancho throws into his every sentence, so many of these are hilarious and yet all carry the wisdom of that age saved in one epic saga. Similarly, there must have been a considerable play of words, as Sancho misuses and mispronounces many words, and the translator Smollett tries hard to capture some of these.

Don Quixote, in effect, has the appeal and humor to last the humankind forever, and we bow to thee O Cervantes! for creating such a cornucopia of wisdom and instruction for us humble readers.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Come, lets in the wilderness meet!

Come, lets in the wilderness meet
Beneath the glittering night sky
On whispers of wind happily sing
In each others arms, snugly lie!

Come, lets in the wilderness meet
Beat in unison in passionate sighs
In labor of love discover together
Depths of feelings, ecstastic highs!

Come, lets in the wilderness meet
Leave the cares of world behind
In beastial, blissful moments enjoin
Unique, etheral memories of joy find!

Come, lets in the wilderness meet
From our city selves detached, free
In mystic hours of darkness reflect
The limits of us, the limitless me!

Vivek Sharma
Oct 04, 2005

Written while attending a seminar
Between 4 and 5 pm :)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu!

The way of Tao!

"True words are not fancy
Fancy words are not true"

The ancient wisdom flows across the centuries to illuminate us. The simple sentences are like calm seas, they have a great depth and greater treasures beneath, to be revealing only to them who dive and seek them.

"There is nothing better than to know that you don't know"

The whole text is laced with wisdom, insight, instruction and knowledge. A must read for everyone interested in Taoism, philosophy, morality, spirituality or with the plain desire to benefit from the immortal thoughts and works of this ancient great!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Broken Wings by Khalil Gibran!

Love, the source of eternal bliss and spirituality!

Gibran says, "I was eighteen years of age when love opened my eyes with its magic rays and touched my spirit for the first time with its fiery fingers and Selma Karamy was the first woman who awakened my spirit with her beauty and led me into the garden of high affection, where days pass like dreams and nights like weddings."

In his typical lyrical prose, interlaced with subtle imagery and deep philosophy, Kibran creates a masterpiece of first love. The story is poignant, and is full of platonic ideals, so characteristic of first love, especially in the East. I say so, as in the East, be it South Asia or the Middle East, first love is a cherished territory where spirituality overwhelms every idea of sexuality. The prose is delightful in content as well as intent, and is laced with a wisdom, so reminiscent of his most famous work, the Prophet.

Gibran always wrote short novels, and this one too is a short, but intense read. The sentences are rich with poetic descriptions, and the way author describes nature and love is refreshing, soothing, and beautiful.

I recommend Gibran to one and all. His writings may not appeal to you if you are looking for cheap thrills, but if you pine for a love story that defies the usual pot-broiler stuff, a love story full of purity and selflessness, read this one.



The Prophet by Khalil Gibran!

Deep thoughts, simple words!

Gibran's Prophet is the best example of how simple prose can be used to convey deep and powerful statement. As the name suggests, the book just recounts some sermons given by a prophet. The themes discussed include love, family, friendship, freedom, etc. This is one of those classsics that one must own and read every once in a while, for the wisdom in these words is bound to make every reader a better, completer person. It is a spiritual prose, full of deep insight and inspiration for one and all.

Some qoutes that I particularly like:

And ever it has been that love knows not his own depth until the hour of separation.

When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep.

Work is love made visible.

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy can it contain.

Your house is your larger body.

And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than thier misdeeds.

For reason, ruling alone is a force confining;
And passion, unattended is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Your pain is breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

For self is a sea, boundless and measureless.

For vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

In longing for your giant self lies your goodness and that longing is in all of you.

Trust your dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.



Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Reading this classic is like going down with fever!

Reading Crime and Punishment is quite like going down with fever, your mind is likewise affected for the while you are at it, and even when the fever is gone, you take some time to recover. Whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger, and so does this reading. Raskolnikov, the chief protoganist is a student who justifies to himself that a pawnbreaker must be killed, for betterment of world and himself; world as she cheats and leeches money from poor students and people like him, and himself as by taking her money he could use it for his own advancement. The first part of the novel describes this crime, while the latter part deals with punishment, most of which comes from within.

The novel is a forceful field of philosophy and religious undercurrents, that are primal forces that keep the reader in a state of feverish interest and persistant agony. Dostoyevsky's great success lies in creating this character, who in more ways than one, represents the nihilists in our inner selves. His character is a person that could reside in any one of us and his dark tale awes, bothers and compells the reader to delve into various moral and philisophical questions that form the subtext of this masterpiece.

Besides (the famous) Raskolnikov, there is a whole range of cast that completes Dostoyevsky's world of trauma and drama. The other main character of interest is Sonia, who must sell herself to keep her family well-fed. Raskolnikov encounters her, and their parallel sagas criss-cross many times. Right after committing the murder, Raskolnikov's mother and sister make an appearance, and without divulging much, I can say that with them the entry of several characters into the novel make it full of suspense and mystery as well. There are a bunch of detectives trying to discover the murderer of the pawnbroker and their efforts bring a sense of thrill into this otherwise dark and complex novel.

Like all classics, the story is just one aspect of the novel. Dostoyevsky is remembered more because of the narrative that forces ethical, existential, social and religious questions into the head and heart of the reader. This novel is a classic read for it pushes the reader over the edge of self-abnegation into a wild current of poignant self-appraisal. It is brilliant in its bringing a character like Raskolnikov into literary circles, and composing a story that will ail before it can cure.

Not an easy it. Not happy either. Classic and must read, nevertheless!

Lost in translation (v) song from Daddy (1991)

This is a beautiful song from the classic Daddy (1991), an inspired act by Anupam Kher, in Mahesh Bhatt's heartfelt direction, sung by Dilraj Kaur and Talat Aziz, Music by Rajesh Roshan and just incredible lyrics by Suraj Sanim).


Attempted translation


Sometimes in my dreams or thoughts, sometimes on the current of life
I am like an incomplete song, prim and polish me to give me a meaning!

That one some unnamed desire, those conversations with my self
On touching you I figured, the days of satisfaction have dawned!

Come and make abode my heart's city, I will grant you the earth and the sky
For I am afraid that your promiscuity, may not just the two worlds destroy!

I was living when I hadn't met you, but I won't be able to live if I lose you
My thirsts have been kindled, awakened, by your companionship, by your love!

Oh! This is the first night, when my hand is in your hand
It was decided from many days, I will win you by losing my all!

********

(The song in Hindi or Urdu :)!

kabhi khwab mein ya khyaal mein, kabhi zindgaani ki dhaar pe
mein adhura sa ek geet hun, mujhe arth de ke tu sawaar de!

woh benaam si koi juftzu, woh apnay aap se guftgu
tujhe choo liya toe mujhe laga, din aa gaye hai karaar ke!

mere dil ki nagari mein buss bhi jaa, tujhe baksh dun zameen aasmaan
mujhe darr hai teri awaargi, kahin do jahan na ujaar de

na milli thi tum toe tha ji raha, na milogi toe na ji paunga
meri tishnagi ko jaga diya, tere saath ne, tere pyaar ne!

go aaj pehli yeh raat hai, tere haath mein mera haath hai
tha bahut dino se yeh faisla, tujhe jeet lungi mein haar ke!