Tuesday 27 February 2024

Poem on Solo Trip

Unsaid stories -
Unexplored places
Throbbing in heart,
And mind.
Unsettled. Unsaid. 
Yet experienced -
Uninhibited.
Solo trips are God sent -
Experienced by Angels.
Stored in personal accounts -
Nothing publically available.
Solo trip is the trip of soul -
Transforming the soul and heart and mind.

Saturday 24 February 2024

The Cafe of Seasons

Chapter - 1
"Your destination is on the right", announced the woman's voice in Google Maps through her earphone. The cab driver also stopped and signalled that they have arrived. Alice always keeps the navigation in her phone on even though she has hired a cab. Just to be sure that the driver is not taking a longer route. Or the worst case, wrong route. She nodded and looked around. But she found nothing around. She expected a sign board. Or a building. Or people. At least any sign of life. Well, there were tall and bulky trees and, grass and plants. They are life, of course. She noticed that the driver is staring at her. He wanted the cash and he wanted to leave. Alice paid the cash and reluctantly stepped out of the car. The driver politely placed her luggage outside, thanked and drove away. 
Did I do the right thing? Should I have not stepped out here. Should I have just asked the driver to take me back to the airport? Or at least to a railway or bus station. Or even a market place nearby. She fidgeted with her mobile phone. Then she heard the grumble from the phone, signalling low battery. Not now, she murmured and sighed. She bent down to her knees and opened her backpack to retrieve the power bank. The evening breeze was gentle and a strand of her pixie cut hair reached her eyes. She tucked it away under her ears and looked up to see a little boy. He must be around six, she thought. Or even five. Where did he appear from? Nobody was visible until a second before! 
"Hi", Alice said hopefully. "You are hear to drink seasons?" the boy asked. She noticed that the boy's front tooth was missing making him look more cute. She nodded eagerly and smiled. Then she fetched a bar of chocolate from her bag and offered to the boy. "My ma has asked me to not take anything from anyone. Exception is..." He started counting his fingers, "ma, pa, kha and papa". Alice chuckled when he counted "and" also among others. Then he made a first and lifted it up in air as if he has finally succeeded in recalling what he had been taught all along. So, she kept the chocolate bar back in her bag and offered her hand instead. 
"My name is Alice. I am pleased to meet you. What's your name baby?" 
"My name is not baby. My name is  Sol", he said sounding a bit irritated that he was called baby instead of Sol. Alice still smiled admiring the beauty of childhood innocence. Why do we need to grow up she often wondered. Most importantly, why does the innocence die as we grow older. Or is it the death of innocence that signals the birth of adulthood?
"Sol, that's a cute name. And you are cuter", she ruffled the boys thick and long jet black hair. 
The boy moved away and pulled his hair back, making sure it's away from his forehead and face. He said, "come let's go".
"Where?" Alice asked in a surprised tone.
"To get you the seasons", Sol said as a matter of fact. Alice was surprised because she still didn't see anything that signalled that a cafe existed anywhere around. 
"You mean you are going to take me to the Cafe of Seasons?!", she clarified in disbelief.
Sol shrugged and started running as if he doesn't care anymore to make Alice believe that he knows where the cafe is. As if he is bored already. As if he had done his task well and it's upto Alice to do whatever it takes to complete the task in her hand well. As if he does this everyday and he doesn't have time to explain anything to her anymore. 
"Sol wait. Don't run", Alice collected her backpack and secured on her back. And crossed her sling bag across her body and rushed behind Sol. 
"Vroom vroom.. vroooooooom.... Vroom vroom....", Sol made these noises and ran like wind pretending to be riding an invisible motor bike.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Bed of Roses

I was young and reckless.
I thought life is a dream that comes true.
Alas! Life failed me a zillion times.
Then a gazillion times.
Yet I smiled and walked with a spring in my step.
Because life could fail you as much as it wants.
That's alright because that's life.
But if i accept the failure, 
I would have no life.
So i just walked. 
Despite the throns -
Looking for a bed of roses!

Thursday 8 February 2024

Words

Words... 
Words - when we read or hear the word "word" or "words", it makes us think of many words we have liked or use regularly or some words we don't recall what it actually means. We all have favorite words and words that don't sound quite right. For instance, i love words like tintinnabulation. Phantasmagoria. Panache. Rendezvous. Ode. Slumber. You see, each of these words carry an aura. Aura.Alright, there are many such ones. Then there are words that sounds beautiful but are actually dangerous. Like spiteful. When you say that word, it's like you are saying skillful. Or even grateful. But see what it means. Or vengeance. It sounds elegant, doesn't it? Like brilliance? Now words like depressed  supressed, oppressed sound like what they mean. Even words like baby, love, children, happiness, serenity and all that.

Anyways, what I have been thinking is that words make our existence beautiful whether they are written or said. Read or heard. Of course, there is an undeniable charm in written words, especially those passed down to paper using a pen and specifically aimed to be delivered to someone. Letters, i mean. Letters are like photographs, I mean the printed photographs that are thoughtfully and carefully encased in albums. Now we have a gazillion photos in our phones and hard disks and cloud and where not. But how often do we revisit them? Do we even visit them? Similarly, we maybe chatting with people over apps. But how often do we sit down and write? Or make the effort to meet them in person. Or even call over the phone and have a conversation? 

Let's imagine, we went to a book shop today. We will ping our dear ones and say, "went to book shop. Bought 2 books" and send the pics of those two books. What if we had to write/type about this? 

Here you go.. 
Hi dear.... Today i happened to visit a bookstore. It's been ages you know. You remember the last time? We visited together. It was such a lovely day. I think it was during Christmas. The roads were lit and people were wearing red clothes mostly. We even bought those tiaras with lights. So silly of us. I remembered all this and thought about you. I think we should do that more often.  Ended buying two books. One is this amazing book set during world war... it's called The Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society. Apparently, there is a Netflix movie also. You know Guernsey is actually a place? Anyways, another is called The Mountains sing. It's set in Vietnam during their war time. I just noticed that both the books are set during war times. Have you read these books? I can't wait to read these!" 

Now you see the difference. Doesn't this seem more personalised? If we had talked to that person, we may have said more. It may have felt more real. 

In these times of instant pings, the charm of words is missed.  Hmmm... K... Haha... Lol... Yeah... What do these even mean?
Where are the words that rolls and twirls... That spikes and shrills... That whispers and sighs... Since the advent of internet, why do we write less? Talk less? Why do we not read anything personalised anymore? We are surrounded with memes and trolls only. Why don't we meet people more often? Why are we so connected (pun intended) yet so disconnected and isolated?

Words... That's a gift that only human beings have. I don't see us using it much anymore. I wish we treat words with the kind of love and respect they deserve.

As a staunch romantic when it comes to words, it hurts.

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Yellowface - Book Review

R.F. Kuang’s Yellowface is alluded to be a satirical take on the racial diversity in the publishing industry and the social media bubble. It is presented in a quirky package though the premise per se is very appalling.

Athena Liu, a celebrated Chinese American author dies in a crazy mishap. Juniper Song Hathway, a jealous struggling writer, witnesses the death. She battles a string of emotions starting from shock to helplessness to opportunity! She steals Athena’s manuscript which is still in a draft level, rewrites and sells it as her own. Thus, she strides in the path of superstardom. She is appreciated by many. At the same time, many question the authenticity because the story is about Chinese laborers during World War I. The social media speculates that it must be Athena’s work. The rest of the story is about to what happens to Juniper’s super stardom.

The author has such an exceptional writing skill  and character dimensions that she makes us question a lot of things that we don’t think about otherwise. For instance social media is both a villain and hero - A villain when it comes to hours of aimless scrolling, trolling, and shaming. A hero because the one who is trolled and shamed is viral and relevant, if we think about it? Then there is this question of right and wrong. What is right for me, maybe wrong for you. The characters in this book are so grey that the line between hero and villain blurs. And is the world of publishing so absurd? If it is, it looks like a lonely and scary world. I started reading this book with a certain end in mind. How wrong I was proved. I also hallucinated like Juniper? The plot and situations are thrilling, yes.  The characters are chilling. That’s a perfect c combination.

Highly recommend this one. It is one crazy book, in a good way of course!