Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Special Door

   May in this New Year each of us does not forget to leave behind stickers of memory, so that when your life is close to dullness and lack of memory a door opens, which takes you back, away from the labyrinth of confusion and uncontrollable splitting of selves, to the world and time which you cherish the best. 
           Hi readers, keep pondering over the resolutions you made the previous year, and making new ones. And while you get tired of thinking and in need of some refreshing thought, here is something special for all of you, published in another blog that I keep, Sidewalk. 
           "I woke up without a reeling head. Unusual; I thought. My gaze first fell upon the cell phone resting on the nearby chair that serves as my bed side table. A text message awaited me from a familiar number; after wishing a good morning back, I stared into the infinity of my closed room. Suddenly, something caught my attention there."

Read the rest here:http://open.salon.com/blog/side_walk/2011/12/31/the_sticker_day
Today's Readers: 179. 
There is a correction here; within a few hours after publishing this article today, the number of readers has risen to 311
This is the finale of  The Season of Celebration. The series ends here. Happy New Year once again, all. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goodbye Hello!


Mistakes were made; some deliberate, some unconscious, some in an effort to stand by the person who you are; grounds were held; in the expectation of a great profit, sometimes just for a feeling of security, and also to show others to what extent you can go to hold your ground; and promises were made; some were kept and some forgotten, whereas some of them you never bothered to think about; and we are here, alive, hopeful, enduring the worst but expecting the best.

The year past is nostalgia and the year to come is a dream. Reality is just this day before the tomorrow, the New Year. What is there to celebrate in it, except the sad fact that our reality only has a span of just this one moment! Can our desire to live on justify the splash of joy we experience at this moment? Our reality, this one moment that we all experience now and at present, is joyous because of our courage to dream about the next moment, our tomorrow, the future. Why can’t we do it all day and make every day a celebration?  

This overwhelming principle governs all our minds, and we exist in the induced oblivion about the now filling it with happiness, hope, and a sense of fulfillment about the times past, by dreaming about future, and coveting to live on. We unknowingly or knowingly believe in celebrations and celebrate each and every moment of our lives. This is something hardly need to be taught. But a mirror to look at ourselves is always good. And that mirror exists within each of you.

May all be well with us this coming year 2012! May we all be able to pray the right prayers, doing the right things at the right time; irrespective of how greater the hierarchy of temptations is.  

THE INDIAN COMMENTATOR WISHES ALL ITS READERS A VERY BLISSFUL NEW YEAR.
[Image courtesy: 123 Greetings and Google images] 
Today's Readers:97

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Evening in the Life of the City Barber



The barber’s assistant was new; a young man in his mid twenties. His hands were not in harmony with the scissors and knife yet.

“Don’t’ do it that way. Didn’t I tell you a thousand times, Ganesh?” the barber said furious as Ganesh, moved his scissors on the hairs of the officer from the kind’s court. The young man looked at the barber. “But Raman dada, I did it well; this is how you taught me.” He muttered with fearful eyes. His lips remained silent.

“What are you staring at?” Raman barked. Ganesh nodded with his body stooping at his master’s wrath, much for fear than respect, though it seemed rather an expression of the later. “Raman dada…” the young man tried to say something.
“Yes?” Raman asked indignantly. The sound of bullock carts rang in the street next to the shop. The city was full that day and the shops were doing good business. Because on that day was their king’s birthday.

“Nothing…I am trying to do it as you taught me…” Ganesh said.
“Oh, now you started passing your judgments at me uh? What do you mean I taught it this way? you…I will kill you if I lose my business with your stupidities…” The officer in the seat looked at Raman and then Ganesh, aghast. Even though Raman was raving at his employee, the officer was happy with the work of the young assistant. And the barber’s wrath was unnecessary.    

The young man’s face was pale from the insult heaped upon him by the nasty barber.

“What are you waiting for? You bugger!” screeched Raman. For a moment the young man stood still. Then he threw his scissors and knife on the floor with violent anger. He marched out of the barbershop, wordless.

For the barber, the British merchant and the Officer it felt like the sun melting down and the moon flown away by the fluttering of an eagle’s wings. It was like the most unlikely thing happened in the most unlikely of ways.

The day was receding into night. In the evening, the barbershop was visited by two messengers from the king. “You are asked to present yourself at the king’s court, now. Come with us.”

The barber had never before seen the king’s court and it seemed a place fit only for dreams. It was very much unreal, and it scared him, because he was there, wide awake, inside that dream. The court was full; with dancing and songs. As the messengers brought the barber, the music died down and the dancers teetered to each side. The throne glittered like a huge diamond, revealed in the middle at the far end of the court, and there on the throne was the king of Malabar.

“On this day, I have chosen someone special to be awarded for the generous lessons he gave my son. Here is Raman, the barber.” The king said.

The whole court rang with applause. The barber was flabbergasted. Some one entered the court from the grand entrance on one side. The court stood up. It was Ganesh, the barber saw it with a frightening stupor.

“Hail prince of Malabar!” The courtiers sang in one voice. The king stood up. There came on a platter, a heap of gold coins. Ganesh stood beside the king, smiling. The king said; “It was indeed, a great lesson. My son told me everything, Raman. You taught him what insult is and where is the limit at which one should draw lines to separate humiliation from insult. Take this small gift, as a token of appreciation.” And he gave Raman all the gold in the platter. The barber could not move his hands.

As the courtiers watched, his lips contorted, and his body sloped to one side, fell down. Emotional shock is like a ghost; a spirit, which finds curious ways to move in and out of human body. Sometimes they break into blood vessels and hide themselves in the skull, away from any physician’s observation.  

Today's Readers: 101

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Salt and Honey


“There are not many readers in your blog these days, are there?” some one commented. I didn’t say anything in return. Instead, I decided to quote this story here.

The people who live in the shores of Dharmadam say that each drop of water in the sea has a unique life. Each drop is special and has a destiny to fulfill. They use this story, to explain this principle to the younger generations.

“Once, a drop of water in the Arabian Sea dreamed of becoming honey. But it knew that upon the surface of the sea, which is full of salt, his dream would never be possible. So it decided to pray to God. The water drop rose to the surface, and swayed upon a wave, up and down. Even though, it appeared merged with the seawater and the thousands of drops surrounded it looked alike, many of the sea dwellers had found that there was something different with this drop.

“A shark came by and said to the drop: “Every water drop at one point in its life would be transformed into honey. It’s a natural process and no one waits for it. But no drop ever would have done what you are doing now; proclaiming your desire and to pray for it. I pity you.” And it took a deep dive and disappeared. The drop became sad. But there was someone who was constantly watching over the enthusiastic drop: the sun.

“As the sun saw the confidence of the drop sinking, it shone brighter and warmed the drop. The drop evaporated and reached the heavens. It became a cloud and traveled to the land. When the rain poured over a beautiful garden, the drop was caught by one of the flowers and transformed into honey.”

“This is how the younger generation of storytellers ends their tale. And they would say, the message of the story is perseverance,” said the man who told me this story. “But the real story doesn’t end then. The story has much more to say than just teaching the importance of perseverance.” He was an old man, well beyond his seventies.

“The drop of water transformed into honey. It was golden brown, sweet and delicate. Situated within the flower, it had even had fragrance. The drop started considering itself to be more prominent and started constructing rules for others rather than following its own destiny.

“‘No one must touch me,’ it said as the bees approached the flower for reaping honey. It even made a bad face to the bees. The sun saw this again, but this time didn’t do anything. Slowly, as the time passed, the flower started withering. One day it fell down, and found by the ants. When the ants came for the honey, the honey became infuriated, ‘The flower was weak and could not support me. That doesn’t mean I would come along with you. Go away,’ it said. And the ants went back. The sun saw this and didn’t do anything again.

Finally, one day the rain came back again, the same rain through which the drop made its transformation possible. But this time with the rainwater that formed streams upon the land, the honey was washed back to the sea. And soon it became yet another drop in the saline vastness.”

The old man then said, “Some would end their story here; especially those in their middle ages and say that life always goes back to the start and the sense of loss is permanent to life. But those who know the real story would not stop it here. They know that much of adventure is still to come and life is not a hopeless return to where we began, but a journey that appears cyclical, though each time we are taken to meet a different world, full of different possibilities.”

I looked at him disbelieving.

“Another day, the sun heard this pleading: ‘I made a mistake. I would not repeat it again. I was trying to be myself, a drop of the sea water, even when I was given the chance to be the sweet honey. I realized my mistake and would not repeat it. Forgive me please, and give me one more chance. This time I would feed the bees and wouldn’t insult the ants. I have learnt how to respect my transformation.’

“The sun looked down. It was the same drop. Gleaming and swaying back and forth upon the shoulder of a wave. The sun shone brighter and the heat became large.”
***
This is the lesson in blogging too, I believe. Over the course of this journey, I have met people, shared wisdom, learnt new things and humiliated for my own incapability. Success is like seasons. Life is a cycle of opportunities and chances to excel at each turn.

My special gratitude goes to the respectful old man who shared this beautiful and witty story with me and made one of my evenings memorable on the shores of Dharmadam, much close to the drops of the Arabian Sea.
Today's Readers: 118        

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Season of Festivals

“On this day we shut out Nothing!”—Charles Dickens    

To be surrounded by people who care about you is always a nice feeling, one of the ever charming feelings a human being remembers all through his lifetime. It is to light this gleaming dot, once again, in the mind of all of us; we celebrate, move close to each other and share the warmth of love and the smile of care. But what would we do when we are with solitude? Before the numbness of loneliness corrodes your joy, you must want to celebrate. You either create a reason to celebrate, or a wait for a festival to warm you up with nearness, laughter, and stories.

We are very close to the grandest celebration of the year: Christmas. Like every year, The Indian Commentator too is participating in the vibe of the time. There is hardly any difference between a festival and the smile that follows a story, much due to the unignorable relationship between festivals and stories. Every festival is preceded by a story, or it could be the other way round too.

It’s all the same all over the world, how we all enjoy, stories being told by some one around a fire at night. Therefore, this interconnection is not at all strange. Stories are inevitable part of festivals. It’s curious to think why we like stories; different sorts of them, some terrifying, some soothing, some sad, some joyous. The reason for liking stories might be the fun they give us, or it might be the sojourn they make us capable of taking in some far distant land of fairies or people, fighting their battles and living their lives, sometimes, or just the pleasure of looking into their worlds, without doing much, just as an observer.

But this is not all. There is one more reason why we all love to listen to tales, and if possible try to tell them ourselves. The reason is not much the aesthetic craving to indulge in the creation of a form of art. It is a different desire, a desire as old as the story of humanity itself: togetherness.   

I was feeling lonely; and so decided to celebrate the lack of numbers of readers in my blog, my loneliness. Though I know my readers always keep me in their hearts and are waiting for me just in the turn of the corner, I confess I miss you all.

There has been a situation in my blog when the number of readers visiting each day took a dip down from about 200 to 70s. The reason for this dip could be the less number of posts I made, which in turn owes to many of my professional worries and also the death of my grandmother. The loss in my life seems interconnected with the loss to my blog, and both these losses, I feel, will be compensated with the help of a Higher Authority.   

With the hope that once again we all, and a lot of new friends, will come together and sit around a fire and share our stories, I hear by announce The Season of Celebration. This Season of Celebration will continue until the New Year’s Eve. You bring some fire, you share some cakes, you sweets, you some milk, you some fruit juice, you sausages, and I will bring stories.

Today's Readers: 105   
[Image Courtesy: Google Images]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Plexus


There is always a new book awaiting. One I have just finished; The Box by Gunter Grass. I stand up from my office chair. Like all office chairs it’s comfortable in a profane sense. It always seduces me to sleep; makes me work one minute less than the time to finish. It loves me lazy. I hate it. But it stood by me this time, partially oaring me to an unknown island of sleep; flashes of faces, words spoken in English, a fairy tale divulged each time; and partially fixing me where I am, with the hard cover volume in my hand. I love the later part.

When my feet feel swollen, I stand up and contort my body once or twice, and then sit down, pushing forth my eyes on the white paper, only to find how familiar words dance to some mysterious tune to concoct the most fascinating potion of literary alchemy.

This time I stand up again; take a stroll around my chair in a ritual to warm up my legs. I finished the book, which I have been reading from the previous week. A thread sized stream of contentment oozes down into my mind. A smile spreads on my lips that takes a rightward move and settles on the right side for some time.

Another irritable pleasure I seek is to return this book at the library. I imagine my walk to library; contented, poised, with the same right corner smile. I may meet my students there, too. One inexplicable advantage of teaching profession; you get a tremendous amount of spare time. It is two in the afternoon, and I still have two and half hours left, which I can spend in the library. Thursdays are usually off days for me, due to some technical requirements, in order to balance the total hours of lecturing among other teachers: a whole day between me and my muse.    

My colleagues raise their weary glances up at me, while I pass their cabins as a traveler just back from his inter-continental mission, content.

The library is not as crowded as I expected. I see the librarian lady passing a curious glace at the stack of papers in my hand: a short story I downloaded from the internet. She hands over my library ticket, which I have to exchange with each book I take. But today I have no intention to take another book. The Box was a hard read. Words dancing, changing into voices and creating a mysterious alchemy.

The short story with me serves for another plan. It forms part of my creative writing practices. The story is by a writer who is new to my reading universe, so I am keen in observing him in action.

I am standing among the bookshelves now. I feel my legs need a real nice stretch. A stroll is needed, at least. So I take a round among the shelves, just dab my fingers over the covers of books, leaf through some and just move from shelf to shelf. The reason why I don’t want to take a book today is that I already have one at home; the biography of C. G. Jung, which seems to be a good one, though I haven’t started reading it yet. Some books create an impression upon us even before a page is turned.

Henry Miller: Plexus: the cover read. It was just a brown cover with the title in white with red bordering. I have been searching for any book by Henry Miller for a long time. Though, enough attempts were made I could not succeed. Somehow his books are not in many numbers in libraries; not even present in most of them, neither at book stores around in Kannur. May be the reason is their covers with pictures of naked women on most of them. That is why the cover of this edition catches my attention. It is a 1963 edition by Granada publishing company.

I take it in my hands, look at it and put it back from where it is taken. Promises have to be kept; I decided not to take a book today. I take it once again; turn the pages; they are yellow with time and the print is crammed. I put it back. Promises are promises, even if they are made to oneself. I am walking out of the library after 4.30, with a paper stack and a brown covered book. Plexus.

Sometimes it’s ok to take a chance if it’s worth it…I guess.    
[Image courtesy: Image 1, and 2: Google images]

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Drop of Love


A dewdrop found itself resting on the petal of a rose. That was the only memory of the drop. It was born there, separated from a cloud of fog and felt happy to be there.

There was something that lured the drop; a pull towards the heart of the flower since the petal was sloppy. The dew felt its destiny already marked out.

It said to the rose, “What would happen if I slid into your heart?”
The flower looked at the drop. There was a peculiar grace to the dewdrop. And the sun was sharing its gleam with the crystal soul of the drop. The flower fell in love with the dewdrop all at once. “I will…” the flower blushed, “I will receive you into my soul and transform you into honey.”  

The dewdrop could not decide what to choose. The company of the flower was mesmerizing. Its fragrance was unique. But what it said was dubious. It said it will transform the dewdrop into honey. ‘What is honey?’ The dewdrop thought. ‘Would it mean I have to disappear? Whom shall I ask?’  

Then, as if the thought of the dewdrop came to life, a sweet little humming was heard. The flower and the plant danced with slight tremor. The drop did not see anyone. But there came a question, “Who are you looking for?”

“Who are you?” The dewdrop asked. It was a surprise that still there was no one in sight.
“I am the breeze,” said the voice, still invisible.
“Why are you invisible?” asked the drop.
“This is how I am, if you are born with your guileless soul, I am born with the cloak of invisibility.”
“Can you help me?” asked the dewdrop.  
“Sure, tell me how.”
“What shall I do? The flower asked me to come inside her bosom, and she would transform me into honey. I do not know what to do. Do I have another choice? If I go out of the petal, I will fall down into hell,” the voice of the dewdrop was sad when it said this.

There was silence for the next moment. Then the breeze said, “Down below, there is the earth, not hell. However, you have another choice; you can contemplate the sun and when its rays are powerful enough they will lift you up to the heavens and take you back to the place where you were born.”

“Am I not born here?” the drop asked.
“No, you are taken here, from the sky. The sky is your birthplace.”
“Then I do not want to go back,” said the dewdrop, “I want to live and experience the most beautiful thing in life. How can I do it, breeze? Can you guide me please?” When it said it, the dewdrop’s soul took a ray from the sun and reflected it in a thousand colours.

“The flower is in love with you and is ready to transform you into the sweetest thing within its heart; how foolish you are not to realize it,” whispered the breeze, which the dewdrop could not hear. “How easy it is for someone to ignore the transforming power of love.”

“I will help you,” said the breeze.
The dewdrop felt the tremor once again, this time much powerful; and it felt itself gliding down slowly. Before the next moment, the dewdrop embraced the heart of the flower. There was a trail of chill left on the petal. The flower smiled at the dewdrop and the dewdrop felt happy for the touch of love. It didn’t ask anything else, for by then it new everything to be known. 

[Image Courtesy-all three images: Google Images]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Poetry


If what you know leads you to the unknown,
What you know is poetry.
If what you experienced takes you beyond-
Your expectations,
You have experienced poetry.
If the words on a paper makes you wonder,
How you wrote it,
You have written poetry. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Shooting Star

It is said that those who die, become a star in the sky. This story is dedicated to that star who told me several wonderful stories, and enlightened my mind; my grand mother. May her soul rest in peace.         
Anna, my grand mother. She passed away on 26-11-2011
“Silence is the language of the cosmos. From the smallest stone to the sun itself, they all communicate through silence, greatly rich with meaning and deep, very deep. In order to understand it, we need to have a special mind. You have it, don’t you?” A pair of eyes, surrounded by numerous wrinkles, slowly connected themselves with the boy’s.

He was silent for the next half of a minute. Yet another story! Why do old people tell so many stories? How do they remember a great many of these details? And how on earth does she know about the language of the cosmos? He thought.

“I don’t know,” He answered.

“Yes, you know. You are like that small stone that wandered all around the cosmos to find an answer to what puzzled him for a long time,” the grand mother said.

“What stone? A meteorite?” The boy looked up at her; the old face smiled with the creases of old age forming an art work of smile, with least effort.

“Yes,” She said. “The stone was wandering in the universe, asking for an answer. It wanted to know how to make others happy.” Then there was a pause. There was something that the old woman wanted to read from the face of the young boy. But the boy looked away.

“The little stone, met the Saturn. Saturn offered the stone a place in his colorful and vast belt of stones. But the stone wanted an answer. How to make others happy? Then it saw a gas planet. But the gas planet offered the stone a passage through it and said something the stone could not understand. Remember, silence is the language of the cosmos, and therefore no one can evade an answer. Something has to be told, something you will listen. That deep is silence.” She paused. The boy was now looking at her as if bewildered at the magical depth of silence.

Image Courtesy: Google
The old woman continued, “the little stone met many planets, stars—hot and cold, but could not find an answer that made sense to it, and then it crossed Mars. ‘It’s futile to try to make others happy,’ the silence of Mars said. ‘Live your life with whatever you come across and make the best use of every opportunity to live your life.’ The message was great and the stone moved on.”

“—was that the answer it was looking for?” The boy intervened; with his eyes full of the same quest that of the meteorite.

“On its path to circle the sun, the stone then visited the Moon. And by that time the stone had grown wiser from meeting many planets, stars and clouds, and learning from them. It said to the Moon, ‘I know it’s impossible to make others happy, and I must live my life making use of the best of opportunities. However, this is the ultimate end that I see to my life; making others happy. This is the only thing I want to do. How can I do it?’

“The Moon smiled, spreading its golden rays around and said, ‘you are already doing it.’ The stone was confused at the reply of the Moon. It asked, ‘what do you say? I don’t understand.’ The Moon, seeing the confusion on the face of the stone, smiled again as if playfully teasing the stone. The stone’s face grew darker. ‘Don’t worry. You will see what I mean. Go to the Earth and ask her,’ the Moon said.”

“What was that the Moon said, Granny?” The boy asked.
The grand mother’s eyes gleamed. She resumed, “The stone approached the Earth. Before it could ask anything, there was something that took the attention of the stone; a bright line of gold upon the surface of the sea. It was the most beautiful sign the stone had ever seen. ‘What is that?’ the stone wondered. Then it found something else too; the creatures on the planet, humans and animals, all are waving up at him, smiling, praying, wishing, and happy. The sea was reflecting the shining air that the stone carried with it, its own golden tail wisdom. ‘You are already making everyone happy,’ the Moon’s silence echoed through the air.

“The stone was happy because it received the answer it had been searching for. Then the stone became a shooting star and shined down to meet the earth and disappeared in the air, leaving a tail of happiness forever.” The grand mother finished her story and looked at the boy. He was asleep, dreaming, perhaps searching for those shooting stars that wander in search of how to make others happy.
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