Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Year that was 2015

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Is the year really coming to an end? How fast time flew! 2015 has been a year that brought me both pain and joy, immensely. It saw me ticking off quite a few items on my bucket list. I visited Switzerland, which has been a dream for a long time. I read a lot of great books. Writing wise, I had started writing Gouri, a novella that I'm working on at the moment. Thanks to the A to Z challenge that I attempted in April this year, it made me realize what I was capable of and for laying seeds to Gouri. 

My blog was also selected in the top five personal blogs in India by Blogadda. I did not win, but the fact that it made it the top five in itself meant a lot to me. It gave me more confidence in my writing skills, for one. Writing for me is a therapeutic and healing experience. Couple of years back, writing did not play a major role in my life other than the occasional scribbling. But now, I can't imagine one without writing in it. That is how much I have come to value it. So much so that it is the very essence of who I'm today. 

Also, my blog was selected in the top 15 socially active book blogs by Baggout! Yes, I was cribbing and moaning about how miserable 2015 was, and I decided to stop complaining and focus on the achievements alone without dwelling too much on what didn't go as planned. Turns out, I did not do bad at all. Thanks to everyone who has stood by my side and been a part of my journey. Love you all. 

That brings me to 2016, I have big plans for the coming year. I want to do a lot more of travelling, read those books that have been piling high on my TBR pile. I also want to cover some of those classics that I have been meaning to read for quite some time now. There are a few that I read many years back and so re-reading them is on the agenda as well. 

I want to step out of my comfort zones and explore all that I haven't before. No, no resolutions for me other than to write more and be a more disciplined writer. As far as resolutions and me go, we seldom work out, so I'm going to refrain from unrealistic expectations without losing focus on the silver linings. Happy New Year, you all! 

I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Review - Half Life by Roopa Farooki


          


From the book cover: 'It's time to stop fighting, and go home' 

Those were the words that persuaded Aruna to walk out of her East London flat in the middle of breakfast, carrying nothing more substantial than a handbag. Leaving behind her marriage to Patrick, she boards a plane to Singapore, running back home to the city she had run away from in the first place. There she finds her childhood friend and former lover, Jazz, troubled by the pleas of the dying father he refuses to forgive. 

After years spent fleeing the ghosts of her past- the life that she and Jazz had together, the terrible revelation that tore their relationship apart, and the troubling diagnosis she would rather forget- Aruna is about to discover that running away is easy. It is coming home- making peace with herself, Jazz and those they have loved- that is hard. 

Set against the backdrop of London, Singapore and Malaysia, Half Life is an extraordinary, brutal yet also lyrical novel of love and conflict, friendship and sacrifice. 

My thoughts: I remember reading Bitter Sweets by the author many years back and liking it. Though much of the story has escaped me today, it was a good read at the time. So when I saw this book at my favorite bookstore, it captivated my interest from the blurb alone. It seemed just my kind of book.

The book alternates between the past and the present, narrated from views of three characters- Aruna Ahmed Jones, her ex lover Ejaz 'Jazz' Ahsan and his father Hari Hassan. All their lives are intertwined and the actions of some have consequences that echoes back many years later. 

All the characters were well etched. I particularly liked Aruna's character. Confused and a rebel, she protests vehemently against her unfair circumstances. What I also loved was that none of the characters were stereotypes. They all had flaws, regrets and a need for redemption and closure. Aruna is diagnosed with bipolar which comes to surfaces on the death of her father. She has mood fluctuations, is on and off medication and how she deals with it is written very well. I could really relate to her character, as dark as it may seem. 

Jazz is a popular commercial fiction writer who writes novels with couples who have adventures and their happily ever afters. He tries to write down what he couldn't in real life. Which is Aruna leaving him without a clue and disappearing from his life for two years only to surface back again. Their relationship, again is something that you can relate to. 

Hassan is a character that I felt sympathy for. Be it his helplessness in being tied down to a bed at the end of his ears, or the love and longing he felt for a woman that he could never have. He is a popular poet and writer of his times; his story is set against the backdrop of the partition and the politics that prevailed at the time. 

However, the character that I felt most sorry for was Dr. Patrick Jones, Aruna's husband. Though he does not have much space in the book, his devotion and love for Aruna shines in all the little things that he does for her. His frustration at having to deal with her weird mood swings, and how hard he tries to give her what she wants was all commendable. There were times when I wanted to shake some sense into Aruna; her attitude was tiring at times. Though we know why she acts the way she does, watching her husband suffer for her misdemeanors was something that made me squirm.

There are no major plot twists. The one that came towards the middle was something that I guessed when I was a little while into the book. That can be labelled as the turning point of the story and we know why Aruna takes off to London without a trace. The backdrops of London, Singapore and Malaysia served as an exotic background for the story and the author has done a good job in providing you with a feel of the respective places. I have also not read much books which deals with mental disorders such as this one and it is evident that the topic has been well researched from its tone. So, yes, for me the book wins a point for that alone. 

Overall, it was a good read. The climax at the end in revealing the big mystery was a tad disappointing. It would have helped if we were given more of a glance into the past to know what really happened. All the characters however, get their closure and I was happy with the way things turned out for all of them. At 250 odd pages, the book is a short read and I finished it in over a day. A light read with interesting characters that dwells into their psyche, it is well worth a read and your time. 


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Waves


                  


Missing you comes in waves. Sometimes it's the gentle lace wave caressing my feet, carrying the sand beneath them without a moment's notice. 

At other times, it comes crashing down, drenching me from head to toe. And when I least expect it, you are a whirlpool as you drag me down under. Smothering me, the salt water in my eyes and throat, blinding me, not allowing me to breathe, cutting down the flow of oxygen in my blood. 

But I'm still waiting for the day to let go, when I can finally drown in you. Won't you come? Or would you leave me here dying alone on the shore...

Monday, December 21, 2015

One Kiss

Image Source: Magpie Tales


In one kiss you'll know all I haven't said 
When Neruda wrote those words
He must have been where we are now
With that one kiss you sealed my destiny 

In that one kiss, all the unspoken words 
Were heard, crystal clear as the skies above
You fill my head, my lungs, under my skin
In the hollow of my throat, under my fingernails

In this one kiss you drown me in passion
I don't want to let go of you 
Who can say when the next time would be?
Every cell of my being is etched with your name

It maybe time for goodbye, yet in this kiss 
All that I hold dear is mine to cherish 
Until next time, my dearest, my love, my life
Let me carry the imprint of your lips on mine...

Linking this post to Magpie Tales - Mag 299

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Memory Box - Part 2

Read Part 1 here.
Image Source

My Dearest M, 

How I long to be with you right now. Vacations may have taken me away from you but my mind continues to linger on you, on us. Your smile that warms my heart even on the coldest of nights, your dark eyes that holds so many secrets in its deaths... How I yearn to hold you in my arms once again. I pray that these days would just fly and you would be my side soon...

Yours, 
R

She takes a deep breath and moves on to the next letter. Some are short, some long, running many pages. 

My Darling M,

Please accept this rose as a token of my love. Yes, I know that a red rose is definitely the mother of all cliches and I know how you detest stereotypes! But when it comes to love, I couldn't think of anything better than this. Yes, my mind seems to stop thinking logically when it comes to you. How else can I give you what you want? I want to grab the world by its throat and place it in your palms. Consider this rose, that I have painstakingly grown on my own, one that is a part of me, of my world, as a small token of my love. Call it a coincidence, I planted it the day I saw you for the first time. But I like to think of it as destiny...

Yours, 
R

Her hands begins to shake as she skips the many letters and moves towards the last one in the bunch. 

My Love, 

It is with a heavy heart that I write this. We can no longer meet, it would bring disastrous consequences to both our lives. I wish things were different, that there was some way for us to be together. But our love seems to bring only hurt to those around us. I wish I could throw caution to the wind and run away with you to a world that we have dreamt of together. If only things were that simple..

Tomorrow is a new day. I want you to move forward. Burn these letters, destroy it, if it will only bring forth pain each time you come across my words. I do not ask for anything more, allow me to live on in your memories. Where our love is never questioned and distance no longer tears us apart. Do not think that I have ever stopped loving you. I will continue to love you till my last breath, my dearest M, no matter what...

Yours, 
R

She closes her eyes as a tear drop makes its way across her cheek. Outside the rain seems to have stopped sometime while she was lost in his words. It feels like someone has clicked a pause button on time; her heart feels heavy. Life was offering her a second chance as her mind lingers over the phone call she received that afternoon. But does she dare cross those boundaries once again? The call had taken her all those years back, a time where two souls belonged only to each other. A second chance at love was being offered to her. But was it worth it? And if she took it, what would be the price to pay?

... To be continued. 


Friday, December 18, 2015

Book Review - Without You by Preethi Venugopala



From the book cover: When Ananya, a bubbly twenty-year old engineering student, reaches her Grandmother's house in Sreepuram on a month long vacation, romance is the last thing on her mind. However, she meets Dr. Arjun there and falls head over heels in love. 

As it often happens, the path of true love never runs smooth.. Circumstances force them apart even though they were madly in love. She becomes a victim of depression. When everything fails to return her to normalcy, help arrives from an unexpected source. Will she ever find happiness again? Will time allow her heart to heal and forget Arjun? What indeed is true love?

Travel with Ananya to the picturesque Sreepuram, face the chaos of Bengaluru, and relish the warmth of magical Dubai in this heartwarming tale of love, betrayal, friendship and miracles. 

My thoughts: When the author is a good friend and when it's her debut novel, you are definitely curious as to what her story would look like in print. I have been a small part of this book before it got published and it is one very dear to me. I was one of the lucky few who got to see the first 3 chapters initially and so I couldn't wait to read the rest. 

When I finally started reading, Preethi managed to surprise me still. There were quite a few plot twists that I did not see coming. Coming to the story and characters, they are well etched, especially that of Ananya, her grandmother and friends. Coming to Arjun, another version of Mr. Darcy, though he is in love with Ananya, he has his own flaws, which makes him believable. Of course, I could relate to Ananya and love her a teeny bit more. 

The description of the places, be it Sreepuram, Bengaluru or Dubai, the author has done full justice in bringing out a clear picture in the minds of readers who haven't been there. Living in Dubai myself, it was fun to see this place through Ananya's eyes. Turning points in the story like Ananya trying to commit suicide and later her coping mechanisms in dealing with her depression are expressed very well making it easy to relate to. 

Ananya's traits are borrowed from the author herself, like her love for painting and reading and journaling. This is not just a romance novel, it is a story on relationships and I loved the various themes that Preethi has explored, be it the relationship of Ananya with her grandmother who plays an important role or the friends that Ananya makes in Dubai, they all have a vital place in the book. 

I do not want to give too much of the story away, as it will take away the fun in reading it. But read this one, it is an excellent debut and I'm definitely looking forward to the next book from Preethi. The book is well edited and has impeccable language, as is to be expected if you are familiar with the author's blog and her writings, which in itself makes the overall read a pleasant one. A light read, I read the book in a little less than a day. Read it and fall in love!


   

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Learning to Live with Anxiety

Image Source: Purple Clover

I'm a born worrier. Yes, I worry right from the little, insignificant things to the major, life altering decisions. Add to it, my OCD and you have a mess, right there.

While travelling: Did I forget anything important? I'm sure I must have. What about my passport and tickets? Let me double check. Just in case. OMG, did I switch off all the lights? 

While talking to someone: Oh mind, why do you wander so much? Why can't you listen to whatever it is that the other person is talking about. Wait, did she actually ask me something while I was dissecting something I read earlier on in my head?

While starting a new book or movie: Oh wait, this one doesn't seem to be that interesting. What about the other one that I had been planning to read/watch since forever? Now that I started this, should I continue and finish it off anyway? 

Well, you kind of get the drift. This is me. This is the way I function. Yes, it is utter chaos in my life and head most of the time. Worries can quickly turn into anxieties if not addressed properly and at the right time. I have not suffered any anxiety attacks so far and that's just another one to add to my list of anxieties today. The day is not too far away, a nagging voice at the back of my head reminds me.

If there is one thing that I have learnt after all these years is this: there may be days when you will feel better, much better when the worries and anxieties decide to give you a break and go for a break themselves, but they will be back. The trick is not to let them take over your life completely. A healthy amount of worrying is normal, it is only when it escalates out of your control and turn into an obsession, do you need to be concerned. 

Here is how I try to deal with mine. 

1. Accept it. Ignoring the issue is not going to make it go away. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to solve it. There are a lot of things that are beyond our grasp. In such cases, accept the fact that you have done your best. Learn to let it go. 

2. Writing down your thoughts. Yes, writing is my form of therapy. I write down my thoughts, even those crazy ones. Start a journal, if you want. I have a lot of folders on my laptop where my deepest, darkest thoughts reside. These are for your eyes alone and you don't necessarily have to show it to anyone if you are not comfortable with it. Of course, there are others who go ahead and post them online. It's entirely up to you. Whatever rocks your boat. I make sure mine are locked and safe, it's way too intimate for me to share with anyone else. 

3, Talking about it. Well, if you have friends or family who understands you or who have gone through similar experiences themselves, you may want to confide in them. The fear of judgement will always be there, lurking in a deep corner of your mind, I know. Yet, talking about it helps. Sometimes, a listening ear is all you need. 

4. Meditation. This is one exercise that I started and gave up after a few days. As easy as it may sound, learning to quieten your mind is no easy feat. Especially when you have thoughts and stories buzzing around your head all the time. But I'm determined to at least try. A few minutes a day for beginners like me. 

5. Make time for yourself. Pamper yourself, enjoy your me time. Do not always rely on others for your happiness. Happiness is definitely an inside job, as I read somewhere. Take up a hobby and concentrate on just that. Reading, painting or even just coloring can be great stress busters. 

6. Living in the moment. This one can be a struggle. At least for me it is. I worry too much either about the past or the future that I end up not really enjoying the present. So, I'm trying not to rush and savor each moment as it is handed to me. 

7. Do what you love. You are the only one who knows you best. So do all those things that make you happy. Do not give two hoots about what others may think. If it makes you happy, go ahead and do it. Listen to your heart, follow your passion. Nothing makes me feel alive as much as writing. Find what you love and follow it. 

All the above mentioned points are easier said than done. One step at a time is the key. Do not be too hard on yourself. Accept that all those broken parts of you are beautiful too. Learn to be kind to your own self. Have you had similar experiences? If so, how did you cope with it? Write to me at aathira123@gmail.com if you are not comfortable in posting a comment here, I would love to hear from you. 

The Chosen One





Image Source: Google


He watched her from the corner of his eye. His hands holding the newspaper in front of him, his eyes taking her in. Drinking in the sight of her. Bouncy curls that kissed her naked shoulders, a laughter that made him go weak in the knees, rosebud lips and a pink tongue that snaked out to lick the chocolate sauce that had dribbled at the corner of her mouth. He wanted to reach out, take her in his arms. 

She was the chosen one

He felt a stirring in his loins, making sure that he couldn't simply sit by and continue to watch the tempting receptacle in front of him. He had to do something and fast. He wanted to know what she would smell like, what her skin would feel like under his fingers. 

2 days later

Girl, 5 years old found brutally raped and murdered...

In the comfort of his home, the man ran his fingers over the picture of the smiling girl. Such a delicate child. How she had cried, this one. She had smelt of milk and candy as she struggled in his hands. And later, the pungent smell of her blood had repulsed him. 

Calling out from the next room, his wife reminded him of the movie date that he had promised his 13 year old son. Pushing aside the newspaper and shaking the thoughts of the little girl from his head, the man got up to get dressed,

The beast inside him gave a satisfied yawn and went to sleep. For now. 


P.S. There are certain stories that come to you when you are least expecting it. Like a festering wound, it stays lodged in you, oozing blood and pus finally forcing you to do something about it. This is one such story that broke me. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Apple Of My Eye



She sees the plane flying overhead 
Laughs and calls it a giant butterfly 
She is bright, my little one 
Has her heart in the right place 

Blowing pixie dust my way 
Her giggles are the sweetest sound
Music to my ears, apple of my eye
Grasping dreams tightly in her palms

Ground her in reality
She is bound to end up in trouble 
Just like her mother 
I pay no heed to those careless words

They are born out of spite 
Each time I let the string tying her
Fly a little higher 
Carrying her laughter out loud in the wind 

She wants to be a dragon slayer,
A warrior when she grows up 
I blow kisses her way
There's no stopping her

And today we chase the end of the rainbow together...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's Birthday Time!


No, today is not my birthday in case you were wondering. Neither is it my blog's birthday. But yes, Bewitched by Words is turning four in a few days time. On 20th November, to be precise. But since I won't be able to post here then, I thought of wishing my blog a tad early. Happy birthday, my dearest blog! You are turning four soon and I'm as proud as a Mom showing you off to the world :) 

We have come a long way together; the highs and lows, the little things and the big stuff. You have been there with me to share my happiness and also when I was going through major shit in life. So, thanks, for just being there for me. Thank you, my readers. For having faith in me when I didn't myself. For nurturing the writer in me. To the friends I have made on this journey and to the few who have left because what I write here was just not to your liking. To each and everyone of you, thank you! I shall continue to write in all that I believe in, no matter what. 

I have been falling out on the writing front lately. No matter how hard I try, I feel all that I write have been going down the drain. I have some personal stuff going on in life too and I don't want all my negativity being festered here. Yes, I'm doing okay but let's just say I have seen better days. So, I'm thinking of taking a break. Sure, I will continue to write here, this space will never cease to exist, it's way too precious to me for that. I intend on completing 'The Memory Box', a series that I started writing a while back. The first part has been posted and I shall write the rest sometime soon. I don't want it to be half baked and rushed, so I shall complete it giving it my best in my time.

I shall continue to write, just not sure if I shall be publishing it here. Like I said, don't want my blog turning too dark. So, wish me luck and hopefully I shall be back soon with a fresher mind and a lot more of better stories and poems that are bubbling inside me. And once again, Happy birthday, Bewitched by Words! Thank you for making me who I'm today :) 




Saturday, November 7, 2015

Desperation



When you hold me against my will 
Desperation
Each time you turn my no into yes
Desperation 
The black and blue eye that you give me 
One that I hide carefully behind makeup
Desperation 
Tied to you eternally by invisible chains
That you lock me with and throw away the key
Desperation 
Deafening silence greets me day and night, stifling my thoughts 

Sophistication I don, a charming smile on my face 
Glossy lips, lustrous hair, a svelte figure
They look at me in envy; she has it all
They don't see the pain behind my smile
The scars on my soul, the bruises on my body
My silence is my armor, the words I form are mute on my lips 
I want to scream my lungs out, but you know that I won't 
For I will always belong to you
Just like another one of your possessions 
Sometimes I curse myself, for it's my desperation too...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Memory Box

Image Source

Outside, it is raining. The dense fog mists the locked windows. Like from a faraway world, the rumble of a thunder is heard. The house is covered in pitch black darkness as the electricity goes off. She makes her way to the kitchen and finds a candle by the window sill. Power cuts during the monsoon was common, yet she hovers around the kitchen shelves uncertainly searching for a box of matches. Finding it finally, she lights the candle. In the lick of the golden flame, an unknown feeling grips her heart. A feeling that's as new as the flame she lit and that's as old as the rain pouring outside. She wishes to turn back time and go back to where things were not so complicated; days that would merge into beautiful nights with ease. Nights that were free of guilt and filled with longing. 

With the candle in hand, she makes her way to the attic, climbing the stairs carefully, not losing her grip. The attic lies bathed in a thin film of dust, years of disuse lying around unmasked. There are a child's toys, once loved and now discarded like many other things here. The rocking horse grins maniacally in a corner, the wooden cradle next to it. But her eyes goes to the small cardboard carton that has been sealed and left there for some years now. She had made up her mind long back not to open it, but neither did she have the heart to throw it away. 

Placing the candle on the dusty floor, she sits down next to the box, the memory box, as she likes to call it and unseals the tape after a moment's hesitation. She takes a deep breath as the memories tumble out, one by one, and then flooding her all at once. Smothering, threatening to drown her in its depths. It rises, holding her in its clutches. 

The letters, tied together with a piece of string, the few books that had grown yellow with age. She picks one up. The Mill on the Floss. A book that was a part of her syllabus then. All these years and one would have thought that the memories would have faded with age. Certain memories have a strange quality to them, the harder you try to forget, the sharper it gets, like the pixels of a picture coming together to form a clear focus.

The details of the day comes rushing back to her, pricking her like icy needles. The bright red rose that she had laid down to press in between the pages. 

Would it still be there? Or would it have crumpled to dust like many feelings? The incessant thoughts continue to linger. Well, only one way to find out. 

She opens the book, holding it tenderly, like a new born child. And there it is, the red rose, but no longer red. In muted shades of yellow and a color that was almost black. The petals delicate like a fluttering moth's wings. A smile tugs at the corner of her mouth seeing the rose still there. How often we wish to hold on to those things that we know we should let go. Yet, like a stubborn stain that refuses to leave, it stays, lingering in the deep most caverns of your memory. Guarded like a fierce secret. 

Bottles of dried up ink, old notebooks covered in her handwriting, secret messages scribbled hastily on the back, random notes that she had penned whenever something got her fancy, greeting cards... 

Her hand trembles before picking up the tied bunch of letters. Somethings are better left where it is, in the past. No harm in looking, a stubborn voice inside her head nudges her. She unties the string before having second thoughts. Her eyes blur as it roams hungrily on the pages, taking in the beautiful curved writing in ink that has filled it. She takes it along with the candle and sits near the window, holding it close to her so that the occasional raindrops that breezed in through the open window would not smudge those precious words of long ago and begins to read...

... To be continued.   



Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Irrevocable Love


                         Image Source: Tumblr
                               Words: My own

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chaos and Confusion

Image Source: Magpie Tales


They call me an artist
I create masterpieces after all 
But what they don't know 
Is that my art is my life 

That the sketches on canvas 
Are chaos and confusion 
Reflected from my thoughts 
It keeps me sane, these ragged lines

They interpret my art in different ways
While I want to laugh in their faces
That feeling fleets as soon as it comes
They have made me who I am 

But the only person I'm doing it for 
Is myself, that's who I am, a selfish creator
I shy away from colors
I prefer my art like my life, in grays and blacks

A brush stroke here, a smudge there 
I search for answers in between
They continue to delude me however
Still I take a deep breath and continue...

Linking this post to Magpie Tales - Mag 290



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cold




There was once a girl who was born with a void inside her. As she grew up, she tried to fill it with people, things and places. But the harder she tried, the bigger it grew. Until she gave up and tried to build her life around it. It wasn't easy, but on some days she could pretend that it didn't exist and get on with her life. And that was when he entered her life. He filled up the void with an emotion she hadn't experienced before. For the first time in her life, she felt she was finally going to be all right. But when he decided that she was too much baggage for him to handle, he left, taking with him all that he gave her and then some more. When he left, he took a part of her with him too. The void grew, a gaping hole in the centre of her being. A hole where her heart was supposed to be. A numbness in her soul. They called her cold after that. Emotionless. A cold blooded bitch. But she knew that anything, anything was better than being labeled a fool of love. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sylvia




So, the other day I watching the movie 'Sylvia' which is based on the real life story of Sylvia Plath. Plath has been portrayed onscreen by Gwyneth Paltrow. It's a beautiful albeit tragic movie. It shows the love/hate relationship that she shared with her husband, the poet Ted Hughes. This is not a movie review, but I would recommend you to give it a watch as it is one that made me think A LOT. It shows the emotional turmoil that a writer undergoes; how frustrating it can be waiting for the muse to strike and once she does, the words certainly flow and how! Now, I must confess that I haven't read any Plath except for the few poems here and there. But this movie certainly had me intrigued and I'm hoping to lay my hands on Plath's semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar real soon in addition to reading more of her works.



Sylvia is a movie that deals with the depression that Plath had been fighting and finally succumbed to. Even today, there is a stigma surrounding all sorts of mental illnesses. Rather than showing empathy and kindness, we live in a world where people are ridiculed and shunned by society. Battling with mental illness is not easy, the least you can do is show your support. I was reminded of another movie that I watched last month called The Hours which is loosely based on the novel Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. 

I couldn't help but compare the two writers from two different periods and the tragic ways in which they chose to end their lives, which reminds me of this dialogue from a brilliant book that I read recently The truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (I'm in love with quotes, in case you haven't noticed already) between Nola and Harry where she asks him as to why writers are such lonely people, perhaps the loneliest in the world. And the reply given by Harry still blows my mind away:

"I don't know whether it's that writers are lonely or whether it's loneliness that makes them write..."

Writers are definitely an unpredictable lot, after all, how can one really know or even begin to understand how the human mind works? 



Sylvia or Woolf, these are writers that I look up to and one can only try and be a better writer by learning from the best. I may have digressed a lot while writing this post but I certainly had fun writing it, which is what I love about writing. I found the above quote while I was spending my time researching (also read as googling) Plath. I couldn't find a better one to conclude as this one resonates with me on all levels. And this, is exactly why I write. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Colors of Love

Image Source

What is the color of love, you ask me
Is it the blushing pink on her cheeks
When she smiles for me 
Is it the scarlet red on her trembling lips 
Just before she kisses me
Or is it the coffee brown of her eyes
As she locks hers with mine

Sometimes it's the orange in her hair
When the sun strikes it from behind
Sometimes it's the color of honey on her skin
When she holds me close 
At other times it's the silvery moonlight
That streams in between the window panes

Or the turquoise of the river 
When I row across it for her 
Sometimes it's the color of lavender
When she embraces me 
Black, white and all the colors in between
That's what she will always be 
A kaleidoscope of colors, a mirage... 

Linking this post to Theme Thursday - Colors




Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review - Kith and Kin - chronicles of a clan by Sheila Kumar


From the book cover: Wimpy men, whimsical women, people trapped in their own time zones, cuckolding wives... Meet the Melekats. They are an inimitable lot!

Theses are slice-of-life stories about an old Nair family from south Malabar in Kerala. The Melekat mosaic includes Ammini Amma, the matriarch of the family, and her large brood of offspring and descendants. A wannabe journalist in search of the perfect story, a girl in search of a husband, a woman in search of a reason - any reason - to leave her husband...each character arouses curiosity. 

There is love, laughter, betrayal, hurt, anger, meetings, partings, and even a chatty ghost, in this fluid and engaging narrative. 

My thoughts: A wide variety of interesting and intriguing characters is what makes up the gist of Kith and Kin, as the name indicates. When I started reading, I couldn't help but compare the stories to that of Anita Nair and Kamala Das, some of my favorite writers, primarily because of the setting in Kerala, which is home for me. But that was where the resemblance ended. Sheila has brought in her own distinctive voice and narrative to the story while breathing life into her characters. 

Though the book is a novel, the chapters read like short stories on its own, each one dealing with a different theme. There were quite a lot of characters who are all related and once you get a better grasp of who is who, the story progresses along smoothly. I loved the characters of Melekat Ammini Amma, the matriarch, Suvarna, Seema and Sindhu, her granddaughters, Sumant, Suvarna's childhood friend to name a few. 

Reading the book was like taking a trip back home. Yes, it evokes a sense of nostalgia as you go along with the characters in their journey. The book is well written and edited, with impeccable English. I had to pick up my dictionary quite a few times, and this is certainly a good thing if it helps you in learning new words. There are so many topics that the author has tried to cover including infidelity, complex human emotions and its vulnerabilities, marriage and love. I also loved the title of each chapter which gives a thoughtful preview of what is to be expected from the coming story.

At two hundred odd pages, the book is a light read and I finished it over a couple of days, relishing each one of the stories. Read this one not just to get a peek into the Melekat family, but to dwell into some of the darker emotions and stories that we keep hidden, not daring to voice them out aloud. 


The book has been sent to me by the author in exchange of an honest review. All the views expressed here are my own. 


Monday, October 5, 2015

Rock Bottom




Destitute.. Plain. Black. Hollow. A never ending spiral through which I'm falling. Grabbing the bannister, but clutching empty air in my hands. Falling, falling, falling. A rock hard bottom perhaps? I do not know. But what bothers me is that I couldn't care less. A bottomless pit. That's what I crave right now. For now, that is oblivion. A haven. Away from the noises of the world, away from its clutches. A void that refuses to be filled. One that refuses to leave the caverns of my mind. Thoughts, sliding inside my head, deep and dark, slimy like worms. I cringe. Why does it feel like I will never get out from here? Do I really want to? For now this feels dangerously close like home. 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ecstasy


My vision seems to be clouded
I see things through a pink haze
For unwavering things I was moulded 
Yet how beautiful it is in my smoldering gaze 

Love; true, true love, words I scorned 
And now my world revolves around it 
The smile you gifted is now adorned 
Like a million twinkling little lamps lit 

Scribbled lyrics on the last page of an old notebook 
Your name and mine, hearts and arrows 
Your favorite dishes I cook 
Humming around like a song sparrow 

A handful of sunshine yellow daisies I plucked 
They sit waiting in the water for you 
Finding you, I still can't believe my luck
I'm over the moon, people like you are certainly few



Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Midnight Affair




Midnight lost its charm
Stars went into hiding 
Moon wept behind the clouds
Lost wishes and shooting stars..
The wind, the night mist 
All seems to be missing you 
But none as much as me..

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Smell of Home

Image Source

The smell of hot coconut oil wafts into the room and wakes up Mittu from her nap. She smiles to herself, stirring half asleep. Her Amma would be getting ready to make her favorite snack, pazham pori. Even in this blissful state between dreams and reality, she could see her Amma slicing up the bananas, thin and smooth, as the knife slides into the flesh of the bananas, so as to make them extra crispy, just the way she likes it. She would add in a pinch of tumeric to the batter next, giving the pazham pori a nice golden color, making it all the more appetizing.

Mittu hears the bananas dipped in batter being dropped gently into the hot oil, the sizzling sound confirming her suspicions about her favorite snack. Reluctantly, she wakes up. The smell is too tempting, though her sleep feels disturbed. She walks into the kitchen and sits on the kitchen counter, closing her eyes, relishing the delicious aroma that has filled the entire house. Her mother looks at Mittu and smiles, she knows that this is a sure way of waking up her daughter. 

They don't talk; words are unnecessary between them right now. The freshly cut and washed banana leaves sit on the counter, waiting for the fritters to be placed on them. This was how her mother always served up the famous pazham pori. She was a stickler for doing things the traditional way, unlike Mittu, who made do with instant things in an instant world.

As soon as the first batch is fried, Mittu grabs one and takes a bite, burning her tongue slightly on the steaming hot fritter. The flavors explode in her mouth, making her eyes water. After the first one, she waits for the rest to cool down, her craving satisfied for the time being. No matter how hard she had tried to master the recipe, hers always turned out soggy, the batter and the bananas separated, turning it into a pathetic mess. She had abandoned the attempt the first few tries. 

Outside, the rumble of a thunder breaks her from her reverie. She goes outside and sits on the verandah, waiting for her mother to join her. Tomorrow she would have to go back to work, away from home, from her Amma. But for today, she wanted it to be just like the old times, just the two of them. Her mother comes from the kitchen and joins her with the rest of the pazham pori and two cups of piping hot tea. There is a gentle breeze that rustles up the dry leaves on the ground, sending them quivering and dancing, never failing to amuse her, like they have a secret life all of their own. 



As the rain begins to fall, Mittu looks up at her mother. She sips her tea, her eyes distant, looking at the grey horizon, but not really seeing. What is she thinking about? Is it about Achan? Of why he had decided to vanish from their lives one fine day, without any reason? Or was it about the loneliness that would shroud her till her next visit home? What were her secrets, ones that she seldom spoke about? No matter how hard she tried, her mother refused to leave home and come stay with her in the city where she worked. For her, this was home, this was where she had turned into a wife, a mother. The walls plastered with pictures from the various stages of Mittu's life, right from childhood to her adolescence. Yes, this will always be home for the both of them. 

Mittu scoots on the floor next to her mother and lays her head on her lap, watching the rain begin to fall outside. Tiny droplets of rain water falling on the verandah, on her face; drenching them both slightly as Amma's slender fingers runs it through her hair, massaging her scalp gently. Lying on her lap, Mittu smiles to herself and watches the rain while it beings to pour down as the smell of wet earth rises up and lingers in the air around them, mixing with the fragrance of the pazham pori and tea. For her, no matter where she is or how many years shall pass, this shall always be the smell of childhood, of Amma, of longings, of where she belongs; of home. 



Monday, September 28, 2015

An Update on Me and the Blog


Image Source: Tumblr


So I have not been posting much here and has been MIA for quite some time now. Definitely not a fact that I'm proud of. I have been away on vacation for a week and rest of the time I was procrastinating, stuck by the dreaded block, call it what you will. I was unable to write and I thought the muse had left me for good. And just when I almost gave up, I got it back. Or at least I'm pursuing it. Writing has been a part of me for so long that it's really difficult to find myself when I don't write. 

I'll definitely write more and try to post more as well. I owe to my blog, the one constant that has been in my life throughout it all, good and bad. And thank you, my readers, for coming back to read me, even when I was behaving in a not so civilized manner. I know I haven't been blog hopping as frequently as I may have liked. For now, all I can say is that I will be back to read some of my favorite writers. There seems to be a lot of catching up to do on more than a few blogs. So thank you for being patient with me :) I also miss writing fiction, there are a few story lines running around creating havoc in my mind. The only way I can lay them to rest would be if I pen them down. So yes, expect to see more stories floating around here! 

On a happy note, my blog had been selected in the top five personal blogs in India by Blogadda for #WIN15. I may not have won, but the fact that it came in the top five itself is a huge achievement for me. Me, who started writing without any idea of what I was getting into or the impact that it would have on my life. But once I stepped into this world of words, there has been no looking back. I'm so glad that I wrote, irrespective of the fact whether I was read or not. 

There have been people who loved what I wrote and few who thought that I was wrong to write what I did. I'm glad I have both for it leaves enough room for improvement for me. This is not a place where I intend to offend anyone, but if you feel offended by me or my writing, feel free to leave. I certainly don't wish to be shackled by chains and writing should be liberating, if it's not then I don't see any point to it. I was however, lucky enough to have readers like you who has been with me through thick and thin. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Love you all. It has been a wonderful journey so far and I'm looking forward to the rest :)

Misty Days

Image Source: Tess Kincaid

The drizzling rain outside 
Our breath that fogs the windows 
Inside this tiny cafe, you and me
Smell of coffee in the air around us

Sprinkled with the spicy smell of cinnamon
And the unique fragrance of you... 
Like a freshly plucked flower 
Your palms gentle in mine 

Time ticks away, the wind takes it afar
Like the rain that blows outside 
Your deep, dark eyes with just a hint of gold
Like those lost sunsets of my childhood

The smile that touches the corner of your eyes
The only one thing that gives me warmth 
On cold mornings when I wake up 
Like the steaming cuppa that I drink daily

A million things to tell you 
But in your gaze, I'm lost
In their depths I swim to find myself 
In them I rise again, only for you...

Linking this post to Magpie Tales - Mag 286


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall





From greens to yellows and reds
The leaves change color 
Summer to autumn to winter 
Falling down, one by own 

Change in seasons
Change in moods 
Changes in you and me 
Changes in the world all around

A leaf swaying gently in the wind 
A journey completed 
Sights like these makes my heart weep
For things that once were

The tree would stand bare at last 
The dry leaves a melancholic carpet 
On the ground... 
Watching it, I drift further and further away from myself 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mountain Roads and You

Image Source: Magpie Tales


Riding along the mountain roads
Clinging on to you 
Fresh air greeting us as we climb higher
Getting crispier as we go 

Twists and turns along the way 
Some shallow, some steep
My fears disappear with you by my side
The wind messes up our hair 

Neither of us could care any less
We are together and that's all that matters
The hum of the bike, the cool atmosphere
Breaks my face into a wide smile

I can smell your hair from behind
There's the scent of wet earth and sweat
That's only belonged to you 
There's a cottage waiting for us 

Right at the hill top; a tiny alcove
A fire shall crackle tonight 
Warming our frozen bodies 
As we consume our love 

Twilight has bathed us both in a golden sheen
The colors have merged into a bright neon sky
Here time seems to have stopped
As we make our way towards home...

Linking this post to Magpie Tales - Mag 284

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Garden of Paradise

Image Source: Tumblr

I walk barefoot through the garden
The morning dew tickling my naked toes
Blooming flowers all around me 
Orchids, Roses and Forget-me-nots
Pinks, reds, yellows, like a scattered rainbow

I don't stop, I keep walking 
Till I reach the end of the stream 
The water trickling melodiously 
Music to my ears 

The air is heavily scented 
The fragrance of wild honeysuckle 
Makes me miss a certain time from my past
But I don't dwell, I drink in the beauty around 

It is here I shall wait for you, my dearest 
It is here that our love shall finally bloom
In here lies paradise, just for the both of us
Here I shall wait till the end of eternity
 Only for you...


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Destination Unknown

Image Source: Tumblr


City lights twinkling in the background
Rain pours down all around me 
I walk barefoot through these streets
The honking of vehicles seems like blasphemy

My ears seem to have shut out the mad world's din
I allow the raindrops to pour down on my face
Mixing with the teardrops clinging on my eyelashes 
My wet clothes sticking onto me like a second skin

My feet have started bleeding 
Have I stepped on a shard of broken glass?
Why then is it that I can't feel the pain 
The pain that I so desperately crave?

My heart beats like a caged bird in my rib case 
A dull ache spreading all over my body 
From my fingertips right down to my toes
It feels impossible to move forward, yet I must

I keep walking into the darkness of the night
Not knowing the destination 
One foot after the other, step by step
That's all that I can muster for now



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I Write To...



I write to remember 
I write to forget 
I write because I know no other way
To find myself 

I write to catch my dreams 
Ones that flutter on the dangerous 
I write to face the demons that haunt me 
I write because I have no other choice 

My words are sometimes stained 
With blood and tears
The blotted words spreading on paper 
Each one speaking out a thousand stories 

I write to heal, to nurse those age old wounds
I write to seek closure from the callings of my past
I write to dwell into the wonders of my future 
I write to live, to feel whole once again 

I write to venture out into the unknown 
I write to seek shelter in the dark 
I write to feel the raindrops kissing my face
And to feel the wind run wildly through my hair

I write to catch hold of a love that deludes me 
And the love that consumes me, body and soul
I write because I have no other way
To discover who I am... 

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