Category Archives: Reminiscing

Addiction

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We meet everyday
for coffee
even though you
can barely stomach
the taste of  it.
For years,
of our friendship,
I didn’t know better
and thought you simply
did not prefer it.
Even now, when we meet,
I have a cup
and so do you.
I’m addicted…
as are you.

 

Photo courtesy Anamika

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Filed under Introspective, Poetry, Reminiscing, The world around me

Connection

You don’t
have to
speak;
but I
know when
you’re unhappy
just
the same.

I don’t
have to
feign ignorance;
but
I do
just
the same.

Years
together,
arm in arm
have condensed
to
reading
what’s left
unsaid.

My homage to my best friend. You knew it was about you without me even saying so. 🙂

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Fireworks

Red streaked sky, water rushing by…
A kerosene lamp illuminates
the boat’s inside.

A soft, lingering kiss
and fireworks light up the sky.

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Filed under Poetry, Reminiscing, The world around me

Nostalgia

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I remember
huddling over the table
speaking softly;
offering you coffee,
and your fleeting touch
on my straying strands
of hair that escaped
into my eye.

I remember
you ordering a cookie
and crumbling it up
saving me a big piece
while I ate my sub
slowly…haltingly.

I remember
wanting muri,
and dangling my feet
at the edge of the lake;
feeling alone
in a crowd
and you whispering
the shapes of floating clouds.

I remember
all our times
and everything
that has changed.

I remember…

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Filed under Introspective, klash, Poetry, Reminiscing, Uncategorized

Why School Means The World To Me

On wednesday, I’d gone back to school due to work. I met a few of my old teachers and it sent me on a spiral. I realized that for all the stories on this blog, a very prominent one was missing. That of me. How I came about to be. I’m going to start putting out my experiences as a pre-teen. And this is just a very raw, completely undedited start to it.

I’m not even sure I’ll edit any of it. I still don’t have the slight detachment needed.

Word Count: 1200.

 

I still remember my first few days in school vividly. I’d shifted from the hustle and bustle that was Calcutta to a laid-back place like Jaipur. At the age of 12, I’d seen the insides of more hospitals than I cared to count and I’d spent less time with my mother than with every other member of my household. I hadn’t been fond of communicating. I always talked nineteen to the dozen but, I never communicated my needs, wants or fears. I’d learnt to accept that mum and dad needed to take care of my ailing brother and that being a baby about it wasn’t an option.

My parents loved me dearly. In hindsight, I can now understand their pain in having to leave me with my grnadparents and aunts because their lives revolved around hospitals. But back then, I wasn’t so understanding. I wasn’t very accommodating either. In my eyes, they’d left me coz I wasn’t important enough. And now, for their personal reasons, they were uprooting me. As a result, I didn’t want anything to do here. I didn’t want to go to school or even try to be nice.

My first few days in school were intimidating. I’d joined mid-session and friendships had already been formed. I was the new girl from out of town with a strongly accented Hindi and really fluent English. I was the girl who couldn’t fathom the joys in visiting historical places every weekend. I was the girl with the strong opinions or the one who already knew most of the syllabus, coz she’d studied it last year. And pre-teen years, in an elitist school in a tradition rich city, can be harsh.

Back at the beginning of the new millenium, the city had very few children specific places. We didn’t have good eateries offering multi-cuisine food at all. I know Indo-Chinese is a different cuisine but Jaipur had its highly ketchup-ed and lemon juice version. From a city where we had computer classes and activity outlets at every corner, I had been shifted to a city where all I could see was tradition. Books became my solace. And yet, it was impossible to source good books.

At that point in time, I didn’t think my life was going to get better. I didn’t think I would ever learn to like any aspect of this city. But then, I went to school. I did make friends, but it wasn’t easy. It took my friends a long time to figure me out but, I’m glad they did. We’re still going strong so…I’m going to hazard a guess and say that we did good. But even before I made friends, I found loving, caring, kindred spirits.

If I’d met just one teacher who touched my life and made it bearable, I’d have a very short story. And my life wouldn’t be what it is. But I didn’t meet just one. I didn’t meet just two either. I met a hoard of them. Somehow, in that expansive school with a million students and unending classrooms, I found people willing to look into me.

I often found my librarians wondering why I’d always sneak into the library. I’d devour books like they were the only thing keeping me sane. I’d lug tomes off the shelves and sit with a dictionary and immerse myself in literature. And if I’d missed a class or two, they were kind enough to pretend to not notice. They offered me a sanctuary. Even today, everytime life seems to crumble around me, all I have to do is sit surrounded by books.

I had teachers from all departments, teaching all subjects, play a very pivotal role in shaping my life. Fortunately for me, I remember my first encounters with all of them. Right down to what I felt, what I was doing, which school building we were in and what they said to have carved a place in a very stony heart.

I don’t think I was a very easy student to deal with. I was naughty, really talkative, outspoken, opinionated, extremely irritable and with a very very short temper. If I was really ticked off, I was completely capable of excusing myself with an excuse and not returning to class. I was also extremely inquisitive. It didn’t have to be on the subject matter being taught. If it was of the topic, I’d ask it. And surprisingly, my teachers didn’t end up making me stand outside the class all day. You see, it was surprising because everytime I’d been unable to do my homework or was late to school, it was because I’d been running around a hospital and hence, I was itching for a fight. I was itching for someone to tell my parents that I was horrible and needed to be sent home.
They never did that you know. They didn’t even know about my ailing brother or anything till I was in senior school. So I know that when they overlooked my behaviour and focussed on something only they could explain, it didn’t come from an understanding of my issues or pity. It came from them being them.

And that is why school has always been this place that I’m extremely sensitive about. Everything they ever tried to teach me runs around my head repeatedly. You know, everyone says teachers affect changes in futures and that they help you to evolve but I honestly cannot say that. For me, they created a future out of a very bleak present. They sculpted a person out of a glob of clay which hadn’t had a chance to be moulded by her parents. And so, whenever I go to school to pick up one of my cousins who is now a student there or to visit; I’m not just nostalgic about the times spent with my friends. I’m not just nostalgic about my pranks or my past. I’m overwhelmed by how much of an effort the teachers made with me. I miss classes and I miss extra classes where I’d carry poetry by Christina Rosetti or Tennyson and my teachers would patiently help me grasp their beauty. I miss the creation of me from absolute scratch. And nostalgia seeps in much after I’ve left school and returned home. For when I enter those hallways, I feel like the lost little 12 year old who had no clue what she was getting into.

Even today, when I walk into school and I see teachers I recognize and they recognize me, I don’t just feel happy that they remember me. I feel grateful that they took the time to look past a really prickly exterior to my angst.

They say that one shouldn’t crave for approval or being remembered. But somehow, I can’t seem to do that. When I meet my old teachers, I want to hug them and tell them exactly what they said to me that changed my life and then I want to gush and expound on all the circumstances where their teachings brought me accolades. But instead, I become the same 12 year old I was. Really talkative, barely communicative.

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Filed under Childhood, Introspective, Prose, Reminiscing

Nostalgia

The same steps,
and clatter
but
someone else’s stomping feet.

The same class
and teachers
but
someone else sat in the seat.

The same foibles
and mischiefs
but
of someone else’s cheek.

The same fears
and hope
but
not the same dreams.

I’d walked back in time
and yet,
it wasn’t the same
as it seemed.

This post is inspired by my recent visit to school It was a beautiful day and a memorable experience, but…for all it’s perks, there was a tinge of saddness that I’d outlived my time there.

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Filed under Childhood, Introspective, Poetry, Reminiscing, The world around me

Wordsworth’s words

Word Count- 820. Read at your own peril 🙂

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
-William Wordsworth

I read this quote today and it stuck with me. It stuck with me because it reminded me of a time a few years ago when I only wrote poetry as a means of expressing my emotions. It stuck with me, because over the years, I’ve come to see poetry more as an art and less as a blurb about my feelings. It also stuck with me because, for all my critical analysis of poems and poetic techniques, I still feel like whatever we write comes from a place deep within our hearts.

A fellow writer once told me that each and every one of his poems or writings was a piece in isolation. That he didn’t feel anything that was projected onto his work. That his writing was devoid of his yearnings. I was younger then, more naive and very gullible. He almost had me convinced. Why wouldn’t he? I loved his work. He was adept at making things come to life. And he truly is a master of writing. And yet, I remember spending long nights fighting him on it. I remember telling him that he’d been writing for so long, he’d learnt to call it technique. I also remember him crapping my claims. And the discussion had only ended when he played the card of my immaturity.

Today, I’d like to think, I’m slightly less naive and gullible. That I have a scintilla of insight into the world of words. And as much as I’d like to believe his assertion that poems are merely technique, I can’t. Cause, if writing was truly, merely a technique; if it were simply a matter of stringing words together, I wouldn’t sit and stare at my sheet of paper unendingly without any idea as to what I wanted to say.

I remember asking one of my favourite contemporary poets how he channeled his voice onto paper. And he’d said that you have to completely immerse yourself in an emotion and feel it to be able to write about it. He told me that sometimes, you have to turn off the editor in your head and you just have to write. I remember asking him what he did when he’d felt a burning need to pen something but halfway through it he didn’t know how to say it or there was too much to say or too little. He smiled, and told me something that helps keep me sane. He told me that sometimes external factors contaminate our emotion to such a degree that we can’t really pen it down. He mentioned “Daffodils” by Wordsworth as an apt example. He told me that Wordsworth had seen those daffodils on the hill a long time before he got down to penning the poem. At that moment, much as he’d have liked to, he didn’t write it. But years later, when the extraneous factors had diminished in strength, he remembered that excursion for what it truly was and distilled that one emotion into a poem.

Now, I’ve heard this same advice in a lot of spheres of life. And I know it by heart. And yet, somehow, I don’t always accept it. I don’t know if it was the not-condescending smile or the fact that my favourite poet took the time to satiate my curiosity or the fact that he sounded sincere or simply a combination of all three, that made me understand, but ever since then, I’ve become ok at leaving something half-written. I get back to it later. Sometime it tanks, maybe the emotion wasn’t strong enough. Mostly, by the end of the poem, I’ve said all I needed to without it rambling.

And this neatly sums up my dilemma. If it were merely technique, writing shouldn’t be so gut-wrenching. And if it’s merely about penning a strong emotion, it should be easy to pen when you’re deep in the throes of the feeling. Sadly, neither extreme worked for me.

Now I didn’t have either side to pick. I was way in the middle. Then this article popped up. This man was trying to provide amateurs like me an insight into the art of reading poetry. He makes sense in a strictly reading poetry kind of way. But more than that, he answered my dilemma. Poetry isn’t just about technique or emotions. It’s a fine balance of the two. It isn’t just about having something nice to say, it’s also about saying it beautifully.

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility.”
-William Wordsworth

And what stands out for me is that this entire questioning of poetry took place over 2-3 years with numerous people and Wordsworth popped up everywhere. And it took me the course of these 800 words to make the connection.

I wonder what else Wordsworth had to say…

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