The Girl Who Fell In Love With Words

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl…

Tall and lanky… Her hair, the colour of ginger…

And she fell hopelessly in love…

With words…

It is that time of the year when the internet is awash with reading lists of the affluent and the scholarly, referred and shared to viral proportions. Yet, the jungle would indeed be rather monotonous, if only the peacocks were to flaunt their plumage and only the cuckoos decided to sing. So, I thought I’d put in my two pennies worth, to add to this annual cacophony.

I stay clear of ‘5 days to success’ type of books as I firmly believe that ‘success’ entails different things to different people. For some it is amassing huge wealth, for some, it is heading a business empire, for some, it’s losing oneself in service. Success to me certainly involves proximity to nature and the luxury of time to curl up with words, reading, writing or simply cradling them with my soul.

Here is my pick of the best 4 books I have had a chance to read in 2017.

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Prose as beautiful as poetry; yet barbed and searing. Set in Germany during the Third Reich period, this story is narrated by none other than Death. I fell in love with the lead character Liesel who is fascinated by the power of words. It is, in fact, she who inspired me to write this post. The Book Thief is that kind of a book which will render you incapable of opening a new one for several days. Instead, your heart craves to linger longer with the characters who are now your closest friends. You are sure to miss Hans, Rudy, the accordion and their endearing personas for a very long time to come.
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – Non-fiction, guaranteed to invoke a survivor guilt feeling that such a brilliant mind was snatched away too soon. In the end, it is with the epilogue penned by Lucy, Dr Kalanithi’s wife, that your molten heart will finally break free through eyes and burn your cheeks.
  • Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi – A political thriller, and an eyeopener to someone who is naïve about Indian politics, merely a reaffirmation of own convictions to others. To put the message of the book in my own words: “All politics is drama. And there are no saints on stage!”.
  • The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins – A story weaved by the drunken delusions and misconceptions of the protagonist Rachel. A page-turner. The characters are raw and despicable; yet hurting and so real.

 

But wait, what’s with the girl mentioned in the title?

Well, here it goes… Once upon a time, there lived a little girl… Quiet and shy… Restless and wild… One day she received a gift…

She was soon to board a long-distance train from the southern tip of India to its capital territory, Delhi, in the North. It was going to be a two-day journey travelling the length of India with nothing much to do. Her parents knowing the girl well were anxious to safeguard their inner peace during the lengthy journey. It was an era before tablets and smartphones sieged childhood. The obvious choice of a book as the remedy for the forthcoming crisis resulted in a short stop at the Higginbothams bookstore right by the entrance to the railway platform. That’s how the girl, who had read only comics and magazines until then, received her first book. She must have been a little over 11 and it should be mentioned at this point that she didn’t feel any great sense of joy or triumph on holding the book… her own book… for the first time. The sirens bellowed with zest as the train pulled away with the girl, her family and the unread book. Swaying palms, green fields and throbbing rivers hurried past the girl in humdrum succession, hour after hour. That’s the exact moment when the girl fancied a change of scene. Gingerly she picked up the book and held it in her hands, gently flipping it around and feeling its glossy texture with her thin fingers. She started to read the summary on the back cover. Many of the words escaped her; Yet she persisted, trying to memorize them and guess their meaning. As the train gathered speed, so did her reading prowess. Absorbed by the story, hooked by the lure of the alluring words, hours vaporized, rendering food, sleep and the window scenes bland. Two days later, when she set her foot on to the Delhi platform, the book had become her most treasured possession.

Several weeks later, on her return back home, she craved nothing but books. She was lucky to be blessed with a new source. A retired ex- Airforce gentleman who now worked as a librarian and whom everyone called ‘Uncle’ would now bring her books each day after work. The girl would stand impatiently by her gateway with the stars powdering down on the magenta Bougainvillea blooms, awaiting yet another cherished reading. The books arrived in quick succession, and much to her mother’s alarm, the reading time crept up and annihilated sleep one hour at a time. Rules were prompt to be passed that books will now arrive only on the weekends. In a way, this pleasurable anticipation only added to the charm of reading; making the craving stronger and the rapture of reading more enticing. This ritual continued for years and to her mother’s dismay, the girl decided to spend a good half of her 10th grade board exam study holidays with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, reading his complete collection back to back, dreaming and sometimes waking up hearing the low whistle of the ‘Speckled Band’ or having visions of the luminous ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’, in the silence of the night. She had just gained her first hero.

The library books were supplemented by visits to Balan’s circulating bookstall on the old Link Road, a tiny second-hand bookstore stacked with serpentine columns of well-thumbed books. The proprietor, a thick bespectacled elderly gentleman with a quiet demeanour often roused the girl’s envy with the sheer treasure he was blessed to handle. Each vacation, piles of books stacked into the boot, the old car will drive a girl sparkling with anticipation and a father reassured of some peaceful days ahead.

Decades later, as the girl types these words with the rain lashing the window panes, her two little munchkins are fast asleep with half-read books carefully tucked beneath their pillows, a smug little smile plastered on their delicate lips. A smile, that can be brought about only by the companionship of a good book. The string of words that offered the little boys’ company, leap up from those well-thumbed pages to embrace the mother’s soul. Yes! … the gift… the gift of words… The gift has proliferated and has been delicately passed down… sans force… sans fanfare… The mother sighs, grateful, content… In the event of any adversity that future is likely to summon, their solace lies close at hand… Cheer, after all, is only a book away…

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When I am Gone

When I am Gone - Minds Journal

End of a dreary day,
Tread weary with grief
As you mount the portico stairs
Would you, my darling, sense
My aching soul brimming with warmth
Rushing to greet you as I always did
At that familiar click of the lock
Longing to plant a tender kiss on your high forehead
On which pain has now carved wrinkles o’ so grim
Would you with quivering fingers fondle
That strand of hair lodged
In my purple sweater still hanging by the door
Would you then in woe toss yourself
On that well-worn couch on whose cosy bosom
We weaved dreams of love on many a Sunday noon
Stroking in vain the velvety fabric,
In hopes to feel my warmth one more time
Wine poured out of habit, in two glasses;
Swallowing hard the sorrow
That lumped up in your throat,
Would you with glistening eyes seek
Fringes of my gown in the scarlet swirl
Would you let the howling wind
Play with the window drapes and whisper
In your ears – Hey wayward Death,
What thou shall part, thou shall unite!

Would you in your dreams
Hug me tight my love
To keep memories warm, until we meet
Across the bridge of forevermore!

 

Previously published by The Minds Journal at www.themindsjournal.com.

 

Solitude

 

solitude

 

As we share a cup of steaming tea

O’ so warm, on a rainy day

Train of droplets slithering down

To lock their lips on a glassy pane

 

Rising up the browny brew,

A film of vapour twirls and swirls

A dance of intimacy that holds us tight

A solitaire of silence in your eyes

 

To read the full poem, click here 

 

What a Wonderful World !

What a wonderful world If everone was as treasured in life as in death

Winter

20151114_162551

 

Winters are inevitable in life …

What matters is what you make out of it …

Wrinkle crinkle and perish;

Or

Flaunt the scars with pride,
And bloom all over with renewed vigor !

Wish You A Happy New Year !

May you have the strength to break the shackles of routine
May you have the will to rise above the mundane

May you tread, off the beaten paths
Collecting pearls of learning, on your way

May you be somewhere, where you have never been
On the sun-kissed sand with windswept hair
Wading in the waves, wallowing in its ripples

May your eyes gorge on the ravines and chasms
Gaping in wonder at the snow-capped peaks

May you lose yourself in a well-crafted book
May you earn the love of a wagging tail;
The trust of a little child

May you pause, to watch a bud in bloom
May you feel the silence of the swirling snow
May the rain drench your soul and wash away the blues

May you pursue a passion for pleasure
Not for the riches, not for the glory
Just to keep you sane in a world insane

May you be blessed with a friend
Who will stand by you, no matter what
May your heart be treasured by the one you love

May you widen your mind a wee bit more
May the tears make you smile brighter
May the sorrows make your deeds kinder

May you have the courage, to do what you always wanted to
May you be brave, as the child in you!

 
This is my wish to you and self, this New Year eve!

 

All Rights Reserved        © Forever Free 2014

In case you ever wondered – Here’s Mrs Claus

Now that people are closing their chimneys with exhaust hood, how is Santa ever going to climb down ?

 

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Art and thought by my little boy

 

In case you ever wondered, Marks and Spencer has the perfect answer : Meet the cool, calm and collected Mrs Claus !

 

Here is a more detailed post on the advert by slipperyedge.com

Wishing you my readers and fellow bloggers, a very happy Christmas !

All Rights Reserved        © Forever Free 2014

Do you write five poems a day ?

Someone asked me the other day.

Do you write five poems a day ?

That perfect day flashed before my eyes. Trash has emptied itself… Meals cooked themselves… Children have grown large receptive ears… I could almost see my washing machine climb the stairs on its mission to hang the washed clothes. I sit by a bright window, framed by a beautiful sunny landscape, chirping birds flitting on my windowsill. Words just flow from my pen in volumes, filling up the pile of crisp papers on my cosy tabletop. Wow ! What a blissful scenario !

Well, it seldom happens this way.

More often than not, I am rushing to catch a train, sitting through a boring presentation, standing in the hot shower, or slicing potatoes for a meal, when a notion is conceived and gets lodged in the soul. It could have been triggered by the shimmer of melting snow dripping from the trees that I walked under, by a word that I chanced upon in a conversation, or by the pain I saw in a bearded stranger’s eyes. Whatever it is, there is only one path ahead. It is pointless (at least in my case) to hurry and write it down at this point, for it is as tiresome as a woman in labour trying to push the baby out, even before the onset of her final contractions.

So, I just let it be. Slowly as time progresses, the notion starts to whip up emotions within me until my whole self is ablaze. The ecstasy, anger, agony or despair that builds up, consumes me to an extent that I simply must vent it out. It is at this point, when I have my seams bursting, that I write. Words flow unbroken and effortless culminating in sheer euphoria; my soul, a sea after the storm. My baby is born. This and only this, is the primary reason why I write.

Of course, no word was ever written, that doesn’t crave itself to be read. I am no different. After the bliss of creation and seeing your soul roll out into words in front you, the next step is dressing up the baby and presenting it to the world. So, I do minor tweaks, such as, search for a better word to use or do a more proper line break scheme. Then, I sit back with hope, and watch my baby take the first steps gingerly, out into the big wide world.

The third and the most painful stage is, if and when your words fail to strike a chord with your readers. More so, because it is nothing but your raw soul, that is at display.

Still writers write. Why? Because, they won’t have it any other way. Once you have experienced the jubilation of creation, it’s very hard not to. I have been part of three poetry anthologies till date and am also part of numerous online writers’ groups. I have met so many learned people in these forums – PhDs, medical doctors, professors – writing poetry, even if it provides them with no material gain. I have met people grieving the loss of a loved one, those battling serious illnesses, those who have survived personal tragedies.

Why do they write?

I can think of only one reason. Writing is cathartic. It cleanses your mind and sews up your tattered soul, making you ready to meet life head-on, yet another day !

And incidently, this marks my 100th post on Foreverfree 😇


Inspiration courtesy: A post by a friend, Radhika Gopakumar on her blog insanereverie.in
Read the post here > http://insanereverie.in/when-words-get-stolen/

 

All Rights Reserved        © Forever Free 2014

Boys!

Mama! He is irritating me

What did he do ?

He is looking at me !

Five minutes later ….

Mama! He is irritating me

What did he do now ?

He is NOT looking at me !

“Cocooned Verses” on The Minds Journal

A poem on me, by me   –  on the The Minds Journal 

Please consider rating the poem on their website http://themindsjournal.com/cocooned-verses/

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All Rights Reserved        © Forever Free 2014