Monday, April 30, 2007


Every morning I wake up,a night behind me and a day ahead of me.
Every evening I go to sleep,a day behind me and a night ahead of me. Black..White..Black..White..Black..White..Black..White..Black..White..Black.

This life is not a kaleidoscope.It's a monochrome.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Time to wake up and make a move
This life never lets me get into the groove

Nothing ever remains the same
Everything seems to be part of a bigger game

I reach out for something I think I see
But seldom is it where I thought it would be

Sometimes I try to think of being brave
But I stand to lose something I already have

Will I ever get to sit and stare?
Will I ever catch something when it's there?

All I want is this carousel to recede
And a miracle to save me from the stampede.

[8:30 pm,
24th August,2004.]

Sunday, April 8, 2007

On John Banville's 'The Sea'

"On occasion in the past, in moments of inexplicable transport, in my study, perhaps, at my desk, immersed in words, paltry as they may be, for even the second-rater is sometimes inspired, I had felt myself break through the membrane of mere consciousness into another state, one which had no name, where ordinary laws did not operate, where time moved differently, if moved at all, where I was neither alive nor the other thing and yet more vividly present than ever I could be in what we call, because we must, the real world. And even years before that again, standing for instance with Mrs.Grace in that sunlit living room, or sitting with Chloe in the dark of the picture-house, I was there and not there, myself and revenant, immured in the moment and yet hovering somehow on the point of departure.

Perhaps all of life is no more than a long preparation for the leaving of it." (p.97-98)

Words inspire words and it is only on occasions like this that words induce silence. Or make you dumb, you might say.

After I finished reading this book, I couldn't find myself for awhile.. I was searching for myself as if I was just another of those worldly possessions I possessed and it took me a full few minutes to get back to this world. I was affected. Deeply affected.

There's something painfully poetic about that writing that is redolent of the undeniable inevitabilities of,solitude,melancholy,loss.. The profundity of the thoughts in those pages that connote the realities we so work in vain to escape from.. The sentience of those words.. It's unsettlingly artistic.

"I was just standing. I do not know what I was thinking. I do not remember thinking anything. There are times like that, not frequent enough, when the mind just empties... A splash, a little white water, whiter than that all around, then nothing, the indifferent world closing." (p.244)

I was lost.Discombobulated.

While reading,I would suddenly close the book,place it down on the table,get up and pace around my room,unable to contain what I had just read.. I would mouth a few words to myself, and then just go calm, bathing in the depths of Max Borden's seas.. Sometimes the hiatus would last a few minutes,sometimes even more.. There was an occasion where I couldn't touch the book again for so long I couldn't know how long it was. I went for a walk outside in the evening,came back and sat on my bed for god-knows-how-long and then simply took up the book and started reading again.

The self-professed 'second-rate' writer Max Borden revisits a little seaside village where memories from his childhood are buried.His wife has just passed away and he turns to his "Memory's prodigious memory" (p.161) for succour.He spends his time reminiscing on the days gone by,afflicted with nostalgia for a lost past and gambolling across memories in his memory just as carelessly beautifully as a child prances around with his object of desire.The narrative is disconcerting,while he jumps wilfully from one mnemonic to another as he forges his painful present with a traumatically innoxious past,trying to come to terms with the indifference of life.

It is the kind of book that makes you feel gratuitous for the existence of language and human expression. The unfathomable depths of wisdom and plain truths of life contained in those pages are too simple for comfort. Those pages exude the brilliance of a man at home with his language and the kind of perspicacity of thought that probably only age can give.
Not since Rushdie has a writer's language affected me so.
I'm going to read this again. And again.

"They departed, the gods, on the day of the strange tide. All morning under a milky sky the waters in the bay had swelled and swelled, rising to unheard-of heights, the small waves creeping over parched sand that for years had known no wetting save for rain and lapping the very bases of the dunes...I would not swim again,after that day. The seabirds mewled and swooped, unnerved it seemed, by the spectacle of that vast bowl of water bulging like a blister, lead-blue and malignantly gleam.They looked unnaturally white, that day, those birds... No sail marred the high horizon. I would not swim, no, not ever again.

Someone has just walked over my grave. Someone."

And 260 odd pages of poetic prose later,I was as affected as a I ever could be.I won't stop at just calling this a great book.It is a work of art,as sensuous and poignant as art can ever get.It is a pregnant treatise on the recondite truths that govern a man's life..the indelible etches on the human psyche that are memories.. the impending pain of loss.. and man's relentlessly unfruitful pursuit of the union of the tenses. It reminds us of the poignant innocence that is childhood..of a lost time when we all grew up,unaffected by the world's afflictions, building worlds of our own which would crash in an instant only to be rebuilt again in the next.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

One word at a time..

There's something about the mind that regards every new bout of pain as the hardest ever..Of course,once it passes,it falls back into the past as if it were just another of those innumerable battles we've lost in life but as long as it's in passing,it is the worst ever.Why is it so? Probably because of our denial that we are ill-prepared to handle pain even after so much of experience with it in our past? Or we're just comforting ourselves that it is in fact,the worst ever and that we cannot do anything to fight it and end up experiencing it stoically?
Probably.But,I am not here to judge.

I've been reading a lot.About to start my fourth book inside three days.All very good ones.In fact wonderful ones. Mitchell..Ishiguro..Banville..Dostoyevsky.. An extended weekend alone in my room,reading such beautiful writing.. ah,it couldn't get any better.

I am in pain.
And I'm reading it away one word at a time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

On David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas'

Every Matrioshka doll has a truth hidden inside.
It's never enough to contain just yourself.You need to contain something more.

I don't know if David Mitchell was inspired by a Matrioshka or whether he just had six heads which he decided to bring together and work with for once. (Yes,for once.And only for once.Cos they blend so seamlessly into each other that he has only one now.)

Don't flinch at me if you hear me repeating some of the words to be found on the book's jacket in praise of it. Read on.

Cloud Atlas is an audacious attempt at novel-writing not because of its scope and span but because for almost 300 odd pages the book runs a risk of losing credibility in the eyes of the reader. And that is a long time for a story to unravel itself,even judging by the ordinary standards employed for something to be called 'outrageous'.I haven't read many books in my lifetime but this is truly one of,make it the boldest attempt at novel-writing I have ever encountered.I must confess I did doubt Mitchell's prowess on a few occasions in the book - 'Did he need to do that? It's just going to make it harder for him to pull this off..' But he did.And I know one man's genius I'm never going to doubt again in my life.

But I do doubt if an average reader would be able to appreciate the quality of this work.It makes for hard reading at times.. very hard.And I actually don't find it surprising that it finished fifth alltime in a list of the books started but unfinished by Britons. (Go here )
This book is not just for everybody.

The idea is simple.Write six short stories.Split five of them into halves.Place the five first-halves one after the other,then the sixth complete one,then the second-halves in the reverse order..You've got a Matrioshkaesque novel in your hands.Cloud Atlas.

Mitchell explores various genres,as if taunting and daring the reader to keep up with his whims.And you always seem to get the feeling as you read on that he's actually making life harder for himself,that he's taking the tougher way out. This is one writer brave enough to embark on an odyssey,confident enough to back himself through it all,adventurous enough to explore unchartered territory and genius enough to pull it off.

A journal of a god-fearing notary being exposed to the vulgarities of colonialism,a series of letters a penniless,eccentric musical prodigy writes to his friend,a captivating thriller exploring the long-familiar 'greedy corporation vs. struggling journalist' motif,an account of an old publisher exploring the wrongness of the wrong side of sixty,an interrogation of an alleged 'enlightened' fabricant in the near future governed by a 'corporation' and finally a 'back-to-the-future' account of a tribe surviving long after the crash of civilization..

Six arcs taken,split and re-arranged so that they all form a circle.You end back where you started.

This is a novel that contains so much more than it shows.It is a daring attempt at stretching the limits of novel-writing which seem inadequate to contain a work of such enormous depth.It is so profound beneath the veneer - a metaphorical representation of the journey of mankind in time.It is a grave reminder of the horrors of civilization and the fate that awaits it.

I am going to read Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty soon.Not because it won the Booker but just to see how it could beat Cloud Atlas to it.


My words are the bricks I use to build these walls around me.
And my memories..the mortar.

[Worried about me living in a closed,walled world?
Ah,didn't I tell you about the windows?..]

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Worldly matters..

What do I write?...What do I write?..What,what,what,what?.....
I just woke up and my mind's racing away,writing in itself at a frantic pace.Words are writing themselves,associations are being made.Images fading in and fading out.Yet not a single word comes out of me.I can't put it down here.You call this a writer's block? Ah,you've just said the magic word.Here it comes.

Why is this world the way it is? Because it is meant to be that way? Or because we deem it to be that way? Or because it can't be any other way? We know that if we all got together,created pictures of how the world looks to each of us,we would be looking at worlds which are worlds apart. Everybody has a different perception.And a different world.

Then, if we all live in different worlds in our heads,how do we expect each other to live in the same world in reality? Every living being in this world has a right to live in the world it chooses to be in. Does this happen? Do we let this happen? I am not talking just about man.This is about every being in this world.But then,even if we decide to answer my last question taking only us humans into consideration,I don't think we'll get a positive answer. ( 'Positive' as in the worldly sense.. a 'Yes'. )

Let somebody's world be a paper. And somebody else's be a knife. Somebody else's be water. Somebody else's be fire. And let's say that this whole world -the physical one- is a bag in which all these are thrown together. And using your 'rational' and 'worldly' knowledge,can you tell me whether this world is going to survive? Or to ask a more relevant question, will those little, powerless worlds inside it survive?

Or,you say that even if some weak worlds are crushed by the more powerful ones the world will be fine because we all know how to co-exist? That,if the fire starts to burn things down,the water will restore the balance? And the same with everything else? You say it's been this way forever and that it knows how to keep itself alive and awake?
You say this is nature's law? The survival of the fittest? Who said that? A tiger? Or a deer? Or a shark? Or a fish? Or a man?

But never before in this world's history have some worlds gotten so powerful as to threaten every other world in existence. This world is supposed to be an interaction of a world of worlds but of late,it has been more of a condescension than an interaction.Powerful worlds lording over powerless ones... with disdain. Man hasn't been around for too long but then he sure knows how to make his presence felt,doesn't he?

We push.We kill.We steal.We forget.We transmogrify.We grab.We torture.We lie.We deface.We rule.We define.We obliterate.

We live in a world we seek to erase,a world we work to lacerate,a world we don't care about... We live in a world we are losing to ourselves.

This is a world spinning out of control, out of control of those who have conceived control itself. It is a reality gone wrong,an education gone awry,a warmth gone cold and a rationality gone irrational.

I am an integral part of this and I can't deny that. None of us can. We are all inhumanely human. Probably something that comes with the package. But there are times I wake up and realize I'm not what I want to be. And I've just woken up.

If we are right,then I'd rather be wrong.
If we are true,then I'd rather be false.
If we are rational,then I'd rather be irrational.

Monday, April 2, 2007


What is beauty?

Something that exhilarates? Something that inspires? Something that is rare?
Something that is pure? Something that is indescribable? Something that is clever?
Something that gives pleasure? Something that is simple? Something that alleviates?
Something that liberates? Something that is intoxicating? Something that is ordinary?
Something that is different? Something that is absolute? Something that stimulates?
Something that is perfect? Something that is serene? Something that is in the mind?
Something that is timeless? Something that is emotive? Something that is natural?
Something that is ardent? Something that is powerful? Something that is alluring?
Something that is immediate? Something that is artistic? Something that is intuitive?

Or is it something that is just... something?