Ambition

Is it mans greatest shame to accept a life without a purpose greater than himself, or is the aspiration his greatest hubris. Or is it his greatest bromide, disguising his lust for immortality

its just stuff

i have been terribly upset, for the last few weeks. ostensibly, the reason i have been distrubed is because i lost a couple of things. the days were crazy. i flew across the ocean to india, met my family after a long gap of time, tried to adjust to the new house they had moved to, tried to cope with the vague sense of loss of the old familiar house, a lost symbol of a semblance of a root - of special and twisted significance to a disinherited exiled gypsy like me, i met my boyfriends family for the first time, a host of new faces, a new culture, new values, a new ethos, i met my sister and her new family, i met my friends from edinburgh, my home away from home - from where too i had been exiled a year ago, and in the middle of all this newness, i got married.
in all the chaos that ensued, i felt even more unsettled than i habitually do. i felt like everyday i was packing a few essentials and moving somewhere. to my mothers room, to my sisters room, to the wedding venue, the reception venue, to my new husbands aunts house, to his parents home, then back to new york where i live and then in two days to san francisco, where he lives. 
in all this moving and packing and unpacking, i lost two things. of all the things i had been carrying, they were perhaps the most precious: wedding gifts from my new mother in law, and from my new husband, respectively. i searched everywhere for days but i could not find them. i could not move past the loss. i fluctuated between sorrow and a vague sense of emotionless vacuum.
everyone tried to console me, to rationalise, that they were, after all, only 'things'. it didnt mean anything. when we were still there. they people. the relationships. the living. i got their rationalisation objectively, i understood. but still why did i feel the way I did? 
because maybe i am a person of symbols. maybe because i have always been, in different ways, homeless and alone, and the symbols were all i had to cling to. maybe from the earliest times life showed me that people are fickle and love is fleeting. even the most constant of lovers are sometimes lost to death or chance, and best friends to a trans-continental move.
my parents came from india and bangladesh. i was born in syria, i grew up in india and dubai. i came of age in scotland and l live in america. my life is fractured. every one i loved has been lost. to life, to death, to moves, to chance or mood. nothing has ever been constant in my life. except the symbols. so i learned to cling to them. because they are the only things you can control
but i feel inside that i need to unlearn this. that it is just a false coping mechanism of a child born in a confusing complex whirl. i am now an adult. i have a self and i have a love and i have a life. i need to rest my anchors to these things. to my soul inside me and to my love outside of me. and that is what i connot lose

a "normal heterosexual male" just said the words "normal heterosexual male" to me in a conversation (about Ulleyses, by the way). And I was struck by the staggering unspoken pride in his voice that underlined the three words ... are "normal heterosexual male" proud of being "normal heterosexual male"? what is there to be so proud of for being a "normal heterosexual male"? OR for that matter, "normal" anything? also, if you did an average of either gender or sexual attributes, wouldnt the statistical normal lie somewhere in between the poles (n.p.i)?

new york blues

In the end it is such a lonely world. Just us and our unresonated thoughts and feelings. Burning our hearts to cinder. And unseen tears. And unheard cries. It is such a private world, the world of feelings. Why then do we so desperately crave resonance? Why do we fall in love with impossible ideas and dream impossible dreams And break our little hearts againtz the rocks of cold "normal" practicality. Mindless heartless ianane ugly reality. Bye bye sweet Boston. Hello cold New York. The secret to tolerating life is twofold: blindness and fakeness.

"Shine your teeth with nothingness. And sharpen them with lies. That's how you fight it"

the footprints of pain

my pain, my agony, my angst, my anger, my hatred, my shock at the unfairness of my life and my hurt at its irony, is nobodys problem but mine, but it's leakage & footprint is suddenly everybody's business

heimat

 

"Home" is such a strange word
Can you feel homesick 
If you never had a home?
Not atlrsst any you remember
The Banished or those who have strayed 
have little, 
but a dwindling stash of hope, 
That the pain of exile might one day end
And a fading stack of snapshots
Of memories

But a

loss

The impact of loss is proportionate to how integral a part of your identity what was "lost" was. And the strength of what is left.

I miss Heimat, as if the places and people were my own. It's an occasional sudden twinge of longing. But I recover

But losing you was losing my whole self ... The third time over. I have nothing left to recover

It's a wound I wrap up in series of bandages, douse in opiates and hide from view. And I can even pretend I'm normal ... Even to myself!

Yet sometimes whenever it brushes against something, or the moon is full, or my old arthritis is up, or the cat walks on the right side of the room ... It rips open and won't stop bleeding

It almost doesn't hurt anymore, or familiarity & understanding has rendered the pain impotent. But still I ave to hide to stop flooding the campus with my blood. My dirty filthy blood

heartbreak

What is it like, heart break and the loss of hope? Is it like a crick in the neck from looking back over your shoulder? Or a slow nagging numbness that settles into your bones. subtle & stubborn. slow & steady. Almost imperceptible. Except when it flares up in a raging screech against tomorrow, against having to move on ... Against the flying disk that sliced away the corpse

losing

The season of losing
can be beautiful
Fall prepares trees
For cruel winter

I am tired of losing
And I am tired of losing out
I am exhausted from sucking it up
From taking a hit. Letting it go
Ignoring it

I don't want my life to be perfect

I want one thing to like

I want one ray of hope

And one day that is not worse than yesterday

the softly fading life

when i was a child it seemed strange that
one day you are so alive, and then suddenly you die
but as i grow older i realise,
you die one day at a time
Is it possible to feel alone as urgently as an excruciating stomach ache; as imperative and all consuming

Is it possible to feel alone constantly and insatiably. 

Is it possible to feel alone
In myriad shimmering shades

Is it possible to feel alone,
Terribly alone, when one is not



as long as boy in a metropolitan indian city wants to be introduced to a girl because he heard she smokes and likes whiskey

as long as my best the most allegedly liberated culture is mildly ashamed to tell me she is frustrated because her husband has a lower libido than her

as long as men reading the line above are not smirking and saying i want to meet her

as long as women cannot casually and matter of factly "ask for it", or even heaven forbid, take it whenever they want it

as long as sex is taboo and sacrosanct and not just another fun and relaxing thing to do and a prostitute is not just a service provider 

as long as whore is a dirty word

as long as tomboy is cool but pansy is an insult

as long as you feel slightly belittled when someone calls you hot

 



I'm returning "amores perros" and "the way we were" unwatched. And watching something trashy instead. I find I can no longer watch movies or read books that once really moved me, that talk about love. 

"aisa asan nahi lahu rona
dil mein taqat jigar mein hal kahan"

Have you ever felt like that?

I loved Edinburgh a lot. Leaving it broke me. I rebuilt something. But it's very different from what I was before. Now I want a safe fun pleasant place to live. I don't want to love a city as much as intensely as hauntingly as Edinburgh. I don't want something to take the place that it once held. Let it's beautiful broken ruins stay untouched & holy 
I have come here so any times now. I have never hated it so much before. Why

I feel very trapped and a little bit cheated. Suffocating and desperate to break free. Or drown in oblivion 

Jeene ke liye, socha hi nehi dard uthane hoge

What if my heart, which I dismissed as an abstract construct or an extinct volcano yesterday, comes alive tomorrow and questions me, my right to assume on its behalf it's extinction absence for a lifetime? What if like memories of a child I gave up for adoption, my right to love haunts me? What if life turns around tomorrow & question my signing off happiness & living for as long as I live, for saying I have lived and loved already more than my share, or capacity, on all of our behalf ...
Heartbreak is like a sudden accident where you we're merrily going about your day, when you were hit suddenly by a train for no fathomable reason and you end up without an arm or an leg. Everyone will sympathize, no one will quite get it. The pain will drive you crazy at first then you will get used to. Slowly you will become initiated into the walking wounded club, amongst everyone but never one of them, separated for ever by something they will forever sympathize with, but never quite get. It will slowly teach you to lie, as you realize that no one really wants to hear about your pain, because no one will ever quite know how in what way it hurts somehow they will be resentful of it in a million ways. 
What if life made you choose between loving and being loved being cherished and bored or exhilarated and Unvalued. Life offers choices like that. Sometimes I think life is ruled by a god of sadism and exquisite, and costly, humour 
Those born proud
Life will teach shame

Those born exuberant 
She will temper with sobriety

If you are born young
 Life will wear you old

There are many different kinds of love

No. Everybody does not spend his life chasing an impossible dream. Most normal people are not helplessly enslaved by ros̩ bushes. Very few people, relatively, are irredeemably fixated on a passion that is not wholesome. Only some people hold on to one love a whole long life long, even when it is irredeemable, unspeakable, unrequited and terribly completely perhaps permanently gone, long after the ghost of love has left Рthe petrified lover clutches desperately on. No. Thank god. Very few people really fall in love

letting go


first love is as arrogant as it is arbitrary
but losing & breaking humbles you
took all this shattering for me to break you out of me as a separate person

i will read a lorca without burning
to signal that i finally forgive you
and that i let her go

random things that remind me of you. arrestingly. paralyzingly

your initial
the colours blue
a good supermarket
a bad supermarket
pantene
sardines
children
old people
soldiers
mediation
breathing
my fingers
hair
yellow flowers
dandelions
books
words
poems
music
lovers
love
friends
friendship
happiness
sadness
anger
children
little boys
spring horses
mountain resorts
paddle boats
cars

Pico Iyer in interview with Sandip Ray at the Kolkata Literature Meet (KLM) Part 2

there must be another more appropriate word than "crush" to represent my feelings about pico iyer, graham green, nayangshu, budhhadeb, kookie jar nuttie corners, kwalities strawberry ice cream, bodum, yogatic, DTI tractography, MATLAB, connectionist modelling, the hindu, titas, paris ...

Loved this interview with Pico Iyer and Sandip Ray


http://youtu.be/5XKggBRhLBw


"everyone in this room has some connection with this singer or writer, where you somehow feel that this unmet stranger, gets you, knows you and your secrets better than your friends and family do. so i decided to investigate graham green, and of course as you were saying, the more I thought about it, as to why do you create these alternative fathers, these shadow parents in our heads, in opposition to the parents who really created us. the more i thought about graham green the more i thought about my father and then they did converge and I suddenly i remembered, the last conversation i ever had with my father was on the subject of graham green, before he died 17 years ago.

when you are growing up, you think, that in order to make yourself in the world, in order to define yourself you have to run away from your family, you have to become the opposite of your parents. You have to define yourself by your first name, not your family name. And then 21 years later you look in the mirror or your hear your voice on an answering machine, and you realise you have turned into your parents. You rebel against them until you have become them


Its sometimes tougher to have a relationship with goodness. There are several quotes you have from Graham Green, talking about goodness and the problems of being good. And he says I wish you had a few bad motives you might understand a little mroe about human beings. And another book where he says its the good in the world that do all the harm. What was your relationship with goodness growing up? Where you the quintessential good boy? GG's relationship with goodness was that of a child with his face pressed against the window fascinated by integrity purity and simplicity which he could never get to himself. And the poignancy of his books is that he had such respect for goodness and felt he was so far from goodness. That tension is at the heart of most of his work.

When I was growing up I had one goal in my life when I was a boy and that was not to listen to my father and when he was gone I realized that the best source of wisdom I had was probably my father and I through my pride had squandered that opportunity.

And also, there's mixed feelings. Also I think we have a double standard. Its very difficult to look at yourself, and navel grazing just thow's a blank wall. But the minute there is something external that reflects yourself, you can bring a much more penetrating gaze"

PS: Who said recently in an article something to the effect that Calcutta is so full of itself and it and its under-cultured-ism, that it needs two Lit-Meets?
i have messages saved in my to reply folder, which I really want to reply to. i feel like they got here yesterday, but whenever I open the folder I am shocked to see some from 2011. Since the last year didnt really happen for Rip Van Winkle, and my usual reply rate is so bad, it makes sense, in a twisted way. The thing is when I am not working, I would rather idly google "bitter and twisted" long island or Aethelstan "first king" english or posting random thoughts like this and then time flies ...

before it is born and after dying, 
be it a person or a thing
is only an idea, 
and exists only in the minds of people
as independant, potentially different and dynamic
as the people and their minds
and also, just like, a collective trait
be it a conscience or a choice
of a people or a relationship

a lost poem. marked calcutta, india. returned to sender. no such city. no such place

hijacked by a poem
as urgent as a sneeze,

about an NRI with the latest model camera
with eyes blurry with apparent sympathy

molesting the personhood of the semi-nude sleeping rickshaw puller
who had called time out from his justanotherordinaryday

he scribbled frantically on a plastic bag
hiding under the stairs, with a spider peering over his shoulder

the bag was lost like a baby
which had climbed into someone else's basket in a railways station

the poem belong to calcutta
the said there was no such place
when we had first met,
i used to feel like a child
by the time you were done with me
i felt like i had lived all i could bear to
is that what they mean, when they speak of growing old together?
label-o-phile me.
saved and pinched to buy an hermes
i gave you the tie, and kept the box.
 and put in it the dead blossoms of your love
yes and i did miss the flight from milan in the process
its all so pointless to stay.
to go. to give in. to fight on
yet we go on. and on.
day after zombie day
when the pain is desperately bad,
we stare in to the horizon
and wait for it to pass
or grab a random stranger
and try to laugh and talk till it passes.
and it does and we go back to nothingness
no pain. no joy. no hopes. no fears
just a memory.
like cramp in the lung
it is 11 o clock.
the world and her baby is asleep
i helped a new friend shovel snow all day
then an old friend telephoned
and we hicupped through pleasantries
maybe she thought to herself
as she hung up the phone,
how much i have changed
my friend joked about how in her house,
it is her man's job to shovel the snow
i smiled meaninglessly
and got back to sorting my bills
its such a strange divide,
between being somebody's woman,
and your own, own, your very precious own
to be protected by someone "bigger and stronger"
than you bigger and better and stronger.
bigger how?
by your subscription
to the company, the state, the patriarchy,
the mafia
and now i am suddenly, desperately lonely
but once i ride that choppy part
where the wave breaks,
its such an exhilarating feeling
each window in my house
is filled with black and white streaks
of bare branches
clothed in white
against a neon sky,
till it blinks and blacks out
 and another day has passed away
he said he really loved me
so i said, if you did,
then how come it just stopped?
he said, how could you say that. i still care!
 i'd just laughed then. but this morning i remembered,
and cried you see, love is such a strange word
you can use it for any sin.
and noone quite knows what it means
i woke up a little after midnight
the wind was screaming furiously outside
and the window glimmered
with shiny drops of rain in the moonlight
dear dream
how i chased you
and you slipped away
dear joy how jealously i gaurded you
yet you were lost
dear love how i bribed, threatened and reasoned with you
and yet you left
i must periodically revisit
the beginning
the scenes of the darkyears of my life.
the bleak years.
the hopeless years.
the years of helplessness, weakness,
painlessness, of glorying in evil,
of accidental humiliation
and mute injury.
if only to remind myself
how powerful the lumbering giants of childhood still are,
how unhealed are still the wounds,
which scream when the amazon brushes against it unawares,
how cowardly is still my heart as a flinch
and almost freeze when the lion growls up close without warning.
how fragile is recovery
and the illusion of the self remade self
and how full of grace
maybe noone misses anything as much
as a recovering patient misses his illness
my most dearly beloved city,
today i cried for you
i thought of everyone
who can walk your streets
hear the laughter in your air
smell the magic everywhere
while my heart freezes
here in exile.
 on the outside

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvFLKyAGzzI

loving me

when you have tried and failed
when you are ashamed, and feel small
 you must comfort yourself
who else will comfort you

when you have worked
to overcome but found yourself
back at the start
you must fight bitterness and resentment
who else will fight for you

when a moment of grace
passes like a mirage
and feels like life too,
was laughing at you
when you are alone.
when you hunger
and life floods you with chalk for bread
you must stand by yourself
who else will stand by you

when you are defeated
when you are broken
you must carry on
who else will carry you
when you are scared
when you are sad you must heal yourself
who else will heal you+

when you have loved, and been laughed at
when you feel ashamed, and cheap
 you must teach yourself
 to let the waves of feelings pass
 perhaps all of this hurt will make you stronger,
if you bear it well pain wont kill you it's not poison*

*+borrowed & para-phrased from buddha and dylan, respectively :-)

a fall evening

there is something magical about fall evenings.
like old photographs in sepia.
a soft fading of the images
like cushioning times blows
 the skies peep silver
behind mountains of grey
 and across them, the trees
spread cobwebs which glint
and wink with drops of rain
 there is something defiant about fall evenings.
 as the day looks its fate in the face
love's assumptions and liberties
will sometimes waft
into a dream
in an hour between late night
and early morning
like the hint of a fragrance on a breeze
and be gone, before you can be quite sure
if you imagined it
it was a day full of sun-warmed grace
it was a day of ambling down
almost familiar lanes life gurgling inside,
and bubbles of words floating up in the breeze
then suddenly evening came.
and the bubble burst
there an almost missed train as i walked by the station, an older man and a young boy, suddenly woke up from the conversation they were lost in and scrambled out of the car when the whistle blew there was an air of affection underlining annoyance as drivers half-smiling as they squinted into the near-blinding sun there was a story abandoned in labour there was laughing stumbling and awkwardness as the forgetten words, lives, and selves were re-embraced possibly the last time before this life dies
it feels like the nights
 are the best parts of the days
in the night dreams
bring us back memories
the days sunlight
softly fades
but you have bear the reality of a day
to earn each night
when there is no escape,
to dream of escape
becomes an escape

winter falls

after the last burst of colours
trailing summers bloom
in the soft bittersweet poignancy of fall
winter sets in.
bleak and cold
with an occasional bright sunny day; and often
a dark stormy spell.
cold days with sharp winds and the little leaves that have died
fallen of the trees run away from the wind in hordes,
like little children but mostly
the days are just empty, like the branches of the trees
what you feel is your problem
what you do not, is mine
she said, how do you know this story so well? i said, i was ensnared by a man who was captured by a girl who was in love with this place except, none of us saw the golden goose
few understand how badly i failed perhaps i even failed at failing
quiet desperation is when you feel like your insides will burst. when you want to cry scream or jump off a bridge. when there is no hope no end no escape. when you most desperately want a friend, but know you are most absolutely alone. but when you stare blankly at a empty wall. or laugh and talk to people around about in-consequentialities. for sharp sudden fits. like vertigo. inbetween long days and nights of feeling blank while you stare blankly at a empty wall
i had never been able to finish reading anna karenina. its too sad. yesterday someone let slip that she dies in the end. i feel so sad ... yet its fitting. anna had to die. as maggie died (mill on the floss). as the same someone said, when you make love your god, that love becomes a demon. then you either have to run away from it, or if you cant, then you have to die yourrself that is why patricia (breathless) turns him in. she sees that once she falls under his spell there will be no escape, no "she" left that is why Lucy dies if not they would become what heathcliff became i think its a disease, letting someone else become a part of you too much & for too long. its a natural & important capacity to be able to (mother child, start of affair, community bonding) grown dis proportionate & malignant like a cancer