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Thursday, October 25, 2012

CAN CREATIVITY BE ENSLAVED?

Would you believe that my creativity quotient has touched an all time low for the past so many days? Laughably I’m being wedged in the maze of dust and dusting? Rightly you’d respond, how silly and confusing! To be frank and precise, my wits are miles away from the ideas stage, why? Because of the onslaught of the paraphernalia you are surrounded with, when you finally plunge into million times postponed venture of renovating your house.

In fact our house was crying hoarse and showing its displeasure through tell tale signs of chipped wall paint and minor cracks in the floor chips for quite sometime. Probably you’ve seen the SBI debit card TV ad showing its annoyance via crinkled nose, for being used only in the ATM and not for shopping and eating out. Similarly via a tactful move our house ensured the end of the overdue rot.
The nemesis came when the kitchen hob, which has served us loyally for more than three decades, suffered a gas leakage, which was beyond repair. It was really an alarm bell for our dithering decision making. With a heavy heart and patting our limbs before they could express their inability to confront the heavy handedness of the labour force and face sundry hitches and glitches which are unavoidable in such situations, we took the plunge.
With all my apprehensions intact we’re in the throes of the elephantine exercise of restoring the lost glory to our house through a make over of sorts. It is like being skinned a wee bit every day.
Just as one feels scared even before a minor operation likewise I balk every morning before the brigade arrives. Anxiety, tension and inconvenience were daunting when the new hob was being installed on the kitchen main counter where a new granite slab was also put in place. Imagine the unenviable task of improvising the cooking process in the lobby and utensil washing in the back verandah by a snooty part time help.
With my mind overflowing with these ‘must happen inanities’, no more do I assert with Descartes 'Cogito ergo sum’. I’m just being mechanical. Not only I’m unable to squeeze any time for the luxury of thinking thoughts with the masonry scattered around but ironically enough I’m also unable to assuage a nagging minuscule part of the brain, for being deprived of its pleasurable pastime. I know you know, what am I referring to? May be you’ll say smiling, what a bundle of contradictions this!
Actually restoration work is a lot more cumbersome than building a new house. Here your fully operational house is turned topsy turvy and your movements are restricted. This apart you’ve to be at the beck and call of the workers for meeting their demands of fridge cold water and cups of strong tea overloaded with sugar. But your patience boils over when at the end of a hard day; you find a lousy job done.
So friends howsoever much I tried to put some thoughts together yet my brain did not budge as if the creative sap has been dried up in retaliation of its neglect.
In fact missing my morning walk is a dampener for my spirits as well as for igniting the creative spark. I deliberately avoid going near my computer, imagining the blank screen giving me disparaging looks. Hence no new posts. Today however, I had made up my mind, took a chance and dragged myself to my study lest I should face a drought like state. I egged my mind to offer at least a little bit of inspiration to break the writing impasse. Thus here I am with this short piece underlining my tight spot in a self created situation.
I think this is the dilemma every one faces at one time or the other.
Do you agree?

Pl. give your comments.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DUSSEHRA GREETINGS TO ALL!

Wish you dear friends a very happy Dussehra! This great festival is celebrated in North India with enthusiasm, excitement and joy. It has a deeper signifance as it represents victory of good over evil. With the start of  Navratras( nine nights) stage performances (Ramlila) depicting scenes from the epic Ramayana are brought forth by amateur artists in major cities. The audience in these late night shows are regaled by a fusion of piety and enjoyment.  On the tenth day (Vijay Dashmi) i.e. today, the effigies of demon king Ravana along with Kumbkarna and Meghanand,  stuffed with fireworks and crackers are consigned to flames to the joyous uproar of crowds ,timed with the setting of the sun in a central place of the city, where hundreds converge to witness the celebrations.The sky around the venue of the event becomes resplendent with red and golden flames devouring the evil within  all of us, through the symbolic medium of Ravana's destruction.

The sun is on its last leg and I do hear explosive sounds in the distance. The grand finale is certainly on!

Friday, October 12, 2012

....LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER?


The other day I read an article in one of my favourite blogs,* about the first year of marriage being the hardest in compatibility, understanding and adjustment. I got interested. To brainstorm on a subject that never loses its sheen and element of curiosity is creatively challenging. After some pondering and empirical debate within, my take on the fascinating theme emerged. This is how I figure it out.
I feel marriage is a rediscovery of oneself at every stage. But let me begin at the beginning. This particular journey starts on a high melodramatic note, accompanied by no holds barred celebratory grand show of jubilations, excitement and enthusiasm. Euphoria as always is transitory. So the hyped tempo changes dramatically soon after. Within a few months of marriage, the intensity of physical attraction starts waning and the mystery of romance and union ,the powerful factors behind the feelings of mutual passion slide down. The mundane routine sets in. A girl who had drawn an idealistic picture of marriage feels disillusioned and bored to tears.
Men regard marriage as a part of life, subservient to their career and other interests. A woman on the other hand stakes everything on the premise that she is entering into wedlock with her dream prince charming and a rosy life of love, romance and passion is there for her, as a matter of course. How stupid dear darling! Her feel good hormones around matrimony elevate her spirits into an emotionally excited state which is akin to sweet insanity. She remains in a state of blissful day dreaming when the ceremonies are underway, anticipating vague magical moments, with the handsome young man entering her life. Her fluttering heart places him on a high pedestal ,where he epitomizes grandeur of undying love, chivalry, goodness and images of how he would sweep her off her feet in an electric embrace. The emotional roller coaster of her heart freezes the voice of her head.
But sadly the sensuous sandy castle crafted by the bubble of honeyed prospects, bursts too soon ,throwing a young lady into a shock. She feels cheated by deglamourized reality.
A man doesn’t have such unrealistic expectations though. After the honeymoon is over he resumes his routine as usual and his girl feels let down and confused. She faces unpleasant surprises, which are bound to be there.
This I think happens in every marriage because a girl has grandiose notions about her dream man, who fast enough turns out to be no way nearer the image of a debonair and a gallant young man portrayed in Mills and Boon romances of her adolescent years.

(Actually the success of soft romances is due to this very fact that these take a woman on a fancy flight into a paradise of sorts where the hero is strong and dashing and prepared to risk jumping into the lions den for his lady love. But such romances are comforting as leisurely read for pure pleasure of expressiveness.)
Such is the stuff that an educated girl feeds on – a world of fabulous fantasy where she and her dream guy are the protagonists and nothing else matters.
But if a young girl overcomes this period of unpredictability and opens up to ground realities, slowly overtime the married state falls into a pattern of  modest love hate relationship, alternating between intense moments when you hug your man on impulse of reminiscence, or teary eyed you use choicest expletives under breath to vent your anger at his stubbornness or some perceived injustice.
This is the beginning and married life goes on, competing in a continuous hurdle race. And the show goes on with twists and turns, with some hotspots, some spills of over reactions, some wordy battles and some placidly flowing serene moments of togetherness.
For marriage to sustain, being incommunicado is no option at all. Anger and grievances fester in silence. Ego should not be allowed to impede the first move to break the ice.
Respect and acceptance of each other, an apology here and there and a caring attitude, go a long way in smoothening the furrows and abrasions of hurtful situations. Though the two bars of the rail track never meet, but they reach the destination at the same time.

*

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

THE BLESSED MONTHS

Nature is a great puppeteer and shapes our moods, according to the seasonal changes in its persona. With October finally stepping in our midst, anxious wait has come to an end. We welcome it by soaking in the cool breathing space which it has blessed us with. We in North India were restless in the sea of sticky heat and suffocating humidity. Undoubtedly the last many months had been hard on us. Thankfully this is the beginning of a much deserved respite from the bone aching syndrome, caused by whirling fans and whirring ACs.
The scenario is changing .The ravages and last remnants of the unruliness of the rainy season are being eliminated at an express speed. The lawns and plants are getting a face lift. Home owners are busy in getting the lawns mowed and weeded. The plants are being rid of unwieldy and haphazard growth. The gardeners are cutting the unnecessary shoots and pruning the extra growth here and there. The flowering bushes are also under the scalpel for restoring the erstwhile presentable look. Hoeing is being done in the flower beds and excess bulbs have been uprooted from my lily patch ,to give it a neat and manageable look. The Tulsi plant and mint bed’ve been subject to a thorough cleaning, to remove dead, diseased leaves and already fresh green leaves are on the way. A small bed has been readied to sow fenugreek-methi-seeds, my winter weakness.
The wild growth in my favourite park has been taken care of by the extra hands engaged for the purpose. The water logged patches are drying (the park lacks drainage system) and the fungus ridden walking area has been swept clean.
It is actually the assorted bird families and lovely squirrels who show the utmost pleasure in the changed weather. The gay abandon is obvious in their every flight and in their lively tweets My freshly mowed front lawn attracts many winged friends in the morning, who busily nose their way into the soil for some grain or grub.
The wood pecker, a frequent visitor, wastes no time in looking around while gorging on the delicious fare which only his long and sharp beak can procure from deep under.
On the Neem trees across our boundary wall an exciting orchestra is played in the mornings and evenings as the birds assemble their in the safety of the thick spread. Probably to exchange views or to plan the day’s rendezvous or simply to gossip. However, what these notes convey I don’t know, apart from feeling the sheer mystique of the music.
***
Nevertheless, calling October and November as blessed months reflect my personal perception based on observation and experience. Let me share it with you.

Instead of the debilitating sweaty mornings, the fragrantly cool breeze welcomes you when you venture out first thing in the morning. You relax sitting in a chair with your cuppa of tea in one hand and the newspaper in the other, to spend your quality time with both, while fanned by the gentle wind which slightly ruffles your hair and stealthily enters inside through your loose clothing and softly tickles your body into a kind of stupor. Result: the mind clock stops ticking. It is you and the soft feeling of a mystic experience, making you feel feather light.
The soothing environment bolsters your spirits. It motivates you go to the nearest park for a stroll and feel the freshness in your limbs. Your arms automatically move up and back, exercising your shoulders and stabilizing your neck muscles, relieving the annoying stiffness and aches. The muscles of your lower back, pelvic area, buttocks, thighs, knees and lower legs are lubricated and strengthened and you feel more energetic and confident
The outdoor activity around plants, birds etc. help you relax and unwind your stressors. Who wouldn’t be enchanted by the playful squirrels when they tease you by jumping ahead of you, behind you, around you and at the sign of proximity, make a single flawless jump onto the nearest tree trunk?
The comfortable weather conditions give an impetus to creativity. Ideas germinate and blossom into works of art. Writers, painters and proponents of other art forms get enough inspiration for their craft and food for thought. Moderate weather of these months enhances productivity and wellness.
If we can’t live by bread alone, likewise we can’t live by creativity alone. We need good food to keep the fires burning. Markets are all agog with fresh vegetables and fruit and you can luxuriate in the sensual pleasures of the palate with combinations of various haute cuisines.
Just sitting alone in the open in a contemplative mood, listening to the music of rustling leaves and chirping of birds is a reward too deep for words.
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