Another Such Victory



Is there any God greater than time?
At his altar loved ones wait in a line.
No bond undying, though it hurts to think so
Wonder where whose pyre must glow.

The carnival ends. The lights go out.
Fog rushes in, floods the emptying ground.
Empty of exchanges. Love, acclaim, censure.
No one knows where whose pyre must glow.



Surajit Dasgupta (July 31, 2013)
Translated by Subhorup Dasgupta

Consort Of Voices

Voice at first assembly: Superhero do not. Me do. Me tire. Often and easily. Rules forming systems. Discard not infringe. Many I know, love, and admire who persist. Then those who will not care. Respect to them all. The dark stillness of the heart knows the rising. Knows that rising and falling are one, inseparable, vital. Standing silent. Returning. A shipwreck. A fire. Diving straight back. Knowing. Understanding. Reach out. On good days, you hear music. The senses filter all else out. The analytical mind wonders where you lost it. As do the cursed. Superhero.

Voice in the air: Gladness and pain – looking out at the forest of desire and wishing for what was true, even a while back, but is not any longer. Blackness, fear, despair, hope. Accepting nothing suggested, knowing all knowledge to be misconceived, I never was just as I always am. Courage and grace superhero stuff. Whitman stuff. Nietzsche stuff.  I do not need to be known. Or to be understood. Does not mean I do not care. It only means I tire.

Voice at third assembly: The Bible that the daughter reads, the psalm the son sings and wonders, is this about me? Strange how coming of age means different things “in” different ages. To the flamboyant and frivolous and persisting, respect again. I am content with my pulp fiction and The Bad Plus. Is jazz discourse? Discourse leads to nothing. Nothing is as desirable. The fortunate few. Do not form systems. Look up, look up, look up. No conversation please. The word. Meaningless. I am everything. Ever was and ever will be. Not Buddha do. Not superhero do.


Disclaimer: This post is about representation, language, and spaces. My heroes include S. Dasgupta, Superman, S. Buddha, Beatrix Kiddo, Zarathustra, and the body electric. If anything in this post is perceived as offensive to any of them, please talk to my Dad.

Sleep Little Darling

Most people do it at night. Some take a go at it during the late morning, while others prefer a quickie after lunch. Some swear it is best in the late afternoon. There is really nothing quite as deliciously decadent as a snooze during the day. The problem is that for most, it is not an option during working hours. If you are at work during the day, it might not be possible to catch a nap on regular days, and if you work at night, your daytime sleep is really your night’s sleep.  With the new global economy and teams working across time zones, the sleeping hour has turned into an abstract concept. I am a sleepaholic, and like all good -aholics, I have tried to sharpen my understanding of sleep, albeit from a very subjective point of view. So on the occasion of International Women's Day (don't ask me why), here are my sleepy thoughts. I hope to be able to touch on daytime sleep, sleep hygiene and early rising in this post. And if you start feeling sleepy while reading this (an outcome my writing is well known for), you will know what the universe is trying to tell you.


Sleep is fascinating. How the most energetic, loud-voiced beings, regardless of age, gender or social standing just have to crumple down and recharge through cycles of REM and non-REM sleep is rather  amazing. Just think about it. No matter who you wish to be seen as when awake, when you have to go, you have to go – without a care for snores, drools, restless legs, sleep-talking, or throwing your arms over whatever or whoever is next to you.  The most aggressive or nasty of adults become childlike and angelic when they curl up and enter deep sleep. Like food, love, life, Buddha, and jazz, it is a universal secret code, one that nobody fully comprehends yet everyone is familiar with.

Condition Serious Hai

This one, nothing really really serious, is for all of you who wrote in over the last few years to tell me that you missed me. In this post, I try and be my old, lighthearted, loving, kind self. 


Explanation of the entry:

Recently, a friend sent me a book that s/he had written. It was a book of verse. Fairly straightforward, loosely asym-metric, everyday stuff. Very similar to what I write. What was interesting was the format of the book. Each poem came with an introduction, putting the poem in context. In some cases, the introduction explained why the poem was written. In others, they explained why the explanation was written, which then dutifully followed. Half way between Angelou and Spark Notes in terms of self image. After a few days, s/he asked me what I thought of his/her book. I was tempted to say what I say every time the mother (not "necessarily" the mama this post is about) cooks up one of her obtuse dishes, “Interesting and courageous.”

I did not though. The only reason for my compassion was that unlike many of us who sell shampoos, the future of the nation and cars (or hope to win contests) in order to support our creative selves, s/he teaches. To me, that is noble, no matter why (or what, heh heh heh) you are teaching. So I said something like, "I appreciate your commitment to what you are trying to do." I thought I was being pretty kind. Those of you who know me know that I was. Those of you who have read the book in question must be jumping up and down by now.

But then I thought, maybe that is why people don’t like what I write. Especially my poetry. Because I don’t throw in an introduction and an explanation. You feel cheated. Hence this preface. But then, thankfully, this love poem (please note, not about politics) is a contest entry. For a Cadbury 5 Star contest. With really one condition. A serious one. I will confine this overture too to the same condition, a small request not to be serious. At least not about the subject of this post. Because seriousness, as they say, it’s contagious. May the contagion always be with you.

Politics Of The Funeral

Anita Desai (not to be confused with her more popular namesake) is an upcoming story-teller, poet and song-writer from Hyderabad. This blog is honored to feature this piece by her.

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Since my childhood I had come to see funerals as extremely poignant and solemn rituals. The thirteen days following the passing of a dear one would be simple, unpretentious affairs. All family members; relatives; friends and neighbors would be completely shorn off all kinds of emotional pretense except grief for the departed soul. That would be the time when even sworn enemies would offer sympathies.  However, recent deaths in my family exposed some funeral behaviors in contemporary urban families. I share below a few observations.


Genuine Condolences
For any funeral, there are always a few concerned elderly people who turn up to offer genuine words of comfort to the grieved. For them death is the eternal fact of life, unconquered by mankind. They put in their years of experience,follow all rituals of fasting in the presence of the body, shoulder the deceased on its last journey and take charge of necessary arrangements. Sometimes help comes from unexpected sources, those who may not even be close to the family but land up at their doorstep to bring in food &tea, and reassurance. Some kind hearted folks stand by as they recollect the past association with the deceased. Someone stood by as they had not known their father, and this kind soul provided emotional stability. Some friends of an elderly gentleman who passed away tearfully regretted that they could not be with their buddy on his last journey, as they received the news of his passing much later. These are heart-warming moments which reinforce our belief in humanity.

Payback Time
A funeral can be used as a platform to settle past scores.  Some relatives decide to show up only for the sake of visibility among other relatives, devoid of any emotion for the departed soul or the aggrieved family. One close relative, who had been incommunicado with the grieving family for years,surprised everybody by just walking in straight up to the body, stared at it for a few moments and walked out. The person was later seen outside the house chatting up people. Some closest relatives turned up only an hour before the funeral,  passed a few comments on the generous soul and left without so much as a sympathetic pat to the grieving family. Other acquaintances called up to say “they had something important to do hence could not make it"; some bluntly said "be practical, if we have time will come."For some others, death wasn't serious enough to even call to offer condolences. All this only to settle some past differences. What better time for payback.

Grammy 2014: Press Play, Don't Press Pause!

Writing is therapeutic. No better way to experience this than by writing a post as one watches the Grammy Awards show. I did this a couple of times in the past and in addition to therapy (music covers up rising bile) it is also a self-declared challenge. I know many writers, well organized and eloquent, who write their pieces at one go, but I suck at it on my best days.  I prefer a slow and deliberate stroll, closely tending to clauses waiting in the wings. It is a good writing exercise still, especially as it ties in well with a project on my mind for the near future. The creative arts are intrinsically linked – with each other and with the state of the society. Listening to what the industry thinks is its best-of is a good way to reflect on this interconnectedness of all things.


Disclaimers and Requests: Since my attention is torn between things (getting my morning started, making tea, and a wide range of music, much of which I do not understand or appreciate), get ready for a rambly ride.  If music is not your thing, you can safely skip the next couple of paragraphs. If reading is not your thing, I have included a few videos obliquely related to the awards, but hey, you can still like my Facebook page. And finally, this post is going live on this blog because you guys don't follow the junk I write about music over at The Operative Note.

Before we set out, and as I let Lorde wash over the morning with her performance of Royals, let me share what I am looking forward to this morning. Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson regrouping (with Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton) and the possibility of Paul (chappie won the best trad pop album last year with Kisses on the Bottom and is up this year for the filmed live version of the same album) and Ringo playing together (happened!!!) are on top of the list. Somewhere nearby is a hope for a tribute to Phil Everly, someone who ought to be up there along with Robert Johnson, Buddy Holly, Elvis, and The Beatles in the scheme of things. There is no middle or bottom of the list for me, so anything that sounds good (both Lorde – check out her cover of Everybody wants to rule the world from the new Hunger Games soundtrack - and Kacey Musgrave are incredibly promising) will be a bonus. I never “enjoyed” much of the harder variants of rock, but am convinced the NIN-QOTSA act will be more of a massacre than a true McCartney-Grohl moment.  I am totally indifferent to both EDM and rap, so that leaves with nothing else to really be waiting for. Not a very optimistic view of the future of music, I admit, but usually by the end of the awards ceremony, like a Bruce Willis movie, music somehow redeems itself.

Forgiveness is Divine!

The new year, for most people, is a time for reflecting on the values that drive us. For me, the new year is also a time to cherish the gifts that life brings to me, often in unseen, unmeasurable ways. As 2014 started, one of the first gifts that came my way was a guest post from Rachna of Rachna Says. Rachna is one of the first bloggers I read when I began considering blogging seriously.  I learned a lot about how to balance personal and professional opinion by reading her posts about family, society, and blogging. This was of particular relevance to the newbie blogger in me since I meant to share my personal views, but was not sure about the boundaries I needed to draw. Over the years, I came to know her as a person, and her clarity of purpose became my inspiration. Her interactions with the readers of this blog through her comments often brought in valuable perspectives that I had overlooked, and her friendship filled me with hope and confidence. In this new year post, she explores one of the essential ingredients for a meaningful and happy life, that of forgiveness. Over to Rachna.

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To err is human, to forgive, divine!

Haven’t we heard this phrase and quoted it so many times? I know, I have! Yes, I do agree that on many levels, forgiveness is divine. We all have had people and memories that rankle. We have bitter experiences that are often hard to put behind. Just the thought of a particular person or the memory of an incident is enough to make the blood boil. And every single time that memory haunts you; your soul singes some more. Now it may not be apparent but all the tension, stress and negativity that we accumulate within festers and rips us apart, slowly gnawing and eating away at our mental peace and health. So, even though it may seem strange and even unfair at times, it is only with forgiveness that we can move on.



Forgiveness is something we do more for ourselves than for the offender. Remember the other person goes on living happily while you stew in your misery. It is time to let go to allow yourself to heal.

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