5 Black Things that I want.

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Black is a forbidden color in my family. As a child I was never allowed to wear black in festivals and functions. It is considered a sad inauspicious color. In my mums language “It spells doom” ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†I have never been allowed to wear it. So for me it has always been a coveted color. The times that i have thrown tantrums and rebelled for that perfect black dress…… only to be allowed a very dark blue…… but never black.

After I got married I have wanted to change things but never really got around to getting the “black dress” as I never really had a place to wear it. My mum and in laws would have banned me at any social occasion. I found it a very trivial topic to cause grief so it is still on my wish list…… since for like “forever”…… Hence my first really coveted Black thing would be a black dress.

The second is really easy. Black Stilettos to go with that perfect black dress. I have never had really really high stilettos. The max that I could get into were 4 inch pumps. Stilettos are really sexy stuff especially the Jimmy Choo ones. I’ve had my eye on the one that I want since a very long time.

The third black thing is a black box. I have wanted a black box for my camera and photography equipment since a very long time. Actually I think that it would top my black list. Especially in monsoons when the humidity is very high I live on the edge wondering what happens to my lenses and mount. A black box would really put my fears at rest. At other times I live in fear that all my photography equipment and external hard disks would get a  fungal attack.

The fourth black item on my list is black roses. I really really want to photograph black roses. I have never seen them in real and quite frankly I don’t think they exist…… but I am pretty sure that I could photoshop some dark red roses to black ones. I want to take pictures of fully bloomed dark black roses with lovely whorls of glossy black petals. Of late i have been totally enamored with black and white photography and the chance to photograph black roses has been a dream.

The thing about black and white photography is that it bares the skeleton of the photograph with out the frills of color only to reveal the stark beauty of the subject and virtually no photoshop involved. I have looked long for the really dark red roses at the florist only to be grossly disappointed. In the end I have planted my own. The ones at the florist gave me¬†a grey touch.¬†They aren’t black enough.¬†I have the first batch of buds come and I took some shots to confirm that I got the color right. Now all I have to do is wait for them to fully bloom and hope that the rose doesn’t lose the color else I am back to my list. (The pics of the bud that I posted at the start of the post are the ones that I took today)

The fifth and last black item on my list is of course the “coveted by all” black diamond ūüėÄ ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†After all diamonds are a girls best friend. It is definitely the most must have on my list or may be it is the black box which i need so badly………. Needs and wants…….Well this is gonna take “forever” to decide !!!

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com

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Three songs that are significant to you.

Music is the essence of all beings. We find music and rhythm in everything that we do. The birds chirping, the water falling, the sounds of cooking…… there is music all around as and in everything that we do. Music is a great mood uplifter for me. I can’t imagine my life without music. I would probably shrivel and die if I was denied music.

I was introduced to music at a very young age and since then my day has started with songs sung by my mother and ended with her humming a tune. Strangely my mother never required a source of music to listen to……. no iPod….. no stereo. Sometimes she would listen to the radio as she went about her daily chores….. but that was about it. I was introduced to a rather serious form of music….. Hindustani classical. It was supposed to fine tune my voice after which I was supposed to have branched into Rabindra Sangeet. I didn’t go that far as to become a maestro but enough to understand the delicacy and movements in music. I simply didn’t have the commitment and discipline required for the training….. but music remained my passion. My choice of music is eclectic. I can be happy listening to pop or disco and be equally comfortable listening to a rendition of ¬†Raga bhimpalasi.

I am an Indian so my choice of songs will essentially be Hindi or Bengali the language that I am comfortable with. ¬†I love so¬†¬†many songs that I am not able to decide which one to put up. The crazy thing is that the top ten on my charts keep changing so often that I really can’t keep track of it.

So I am going to go with my first song being my all time favorite. Its a song by Pankaj Udhas from the album “Aman” : Song is Abhi ghar na jana.….. This song gets me nostalgic every time I hear it. This song is something of a blast from the past that I have not been able to shake off till date. I don’t know¬†whether it is the slow tempo or the lyrics or maybe the piano used as the main musical instrument…… the song always has me in a sort of nostalgic and melancholy mood. I remember when I first heard the song I was in college and I must have replayed the song a hundred times. ¬†The song really has no significance just that it is a beautiful piece of music by a great singer that I had come to adore. The music is light and it is soothing to hear. The lyrics are meaningful and there isn’t much as far as instruments….. just a piano. ¬†I am posting the video of the same. (Courtesy You Tube)

 

The second song that I chose came to my mind as soon as I read the post. It is a very strange choice of music. It is a bhajan¬†by Saint Kabir. Why it was my choice I wouldn’t be able to tell…… just that it was something my mother left in some corner of my mind. My mother would often sing this song. More often than I can remember. It made quite an impact on me. (Courtesy : YouTube )

LYRICS

Maati Kahe Kumhar Se, Tu Kya Rundhe Mohe
Ek Din Aisa Ayega, Main Rundhungi Tohe…

Aaye Hai So Jayenge Raaja Rank Fakir
Ek Sinhaasan Chadh Chale, Ek Bandhe Janjir
Durbal Ko Naa Satayiye, Jaaki Maati Hoye
Bina Jeev K Shwas So, Loha Basam Ho Jaye…

Chalti Chakki Dekh Ke, Diya Kabira Roye
Do Patan Ke Bich Me, Sabut Bacha Naa Koi
Dukh Me Sumiraan Sab Kare, Sukh Me Kare Naa Koi
Jo Dukh Me Sumiran Kare, To Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye…

Patta Tuta Dal Se, Le Gayi Pawan Udaye
Ab Ke Bichade Kab Milenge, Door Padenge Jaye
Kabir Aap Thagiye, Or Na Thagiye Koi
Aap Thage Sukh Upaje, Aur Thage Dukh Hoye

TRANSLATION

Clay asks potter why do you knead me
one day it will be my turn to knead you
( it refers to the day when the potter will be dead and would be buried in ground).

Everyone who is born will die some day, be it a  king or a poor man.
one goes on a throne and another one goes with chains on its body.
Don’t harass the weak, there is a lot of power in curses.
just like a lifeless dhokni can melt a strong thing like iron. 
( Dhokni is a hollow cylindrical tube used to blow air in furnace to make it hotter) 

On seeing the grinding stone (which grinds the flour), Kabir cries
nobody can survive between the two stones of karma and family 
Everyone remembers god in bad times, no one remembers god in good times.
if you remember god in good times, then you would never have bad times .

A leaf  falls off the branch and is carried away by the wind
Now that they have got separated who knows when they will meet
Kabir says don’t con others and don’t get conned by others as well , ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
You cant con anybody and get away with it.

The third song is by Frank SinatraMy Way“. I love all his songs but this one especially for the lyrics. He kind of talks about my motto in life. I love the song simply because it is a very meaningful song and a very beautiful rendition. ¬†I identify myself with the song and the way he has sung it. He has encompassed his whole life in the song. It is a beautiful composition. (Courtesy : YouTube)

If you had the power to get somewhere where would you go right now?

Memories are tricky things. Bad memories¬†can take us to a place where we are uncomfortable and unsafe…… ¬†whereas a Good and Beautiful memory can take us to a place where we not only feel safe but also it is something that stands out in the course of our life.

In my case some of my best memories are at the fort of Sinhagad, ¬†in the outskirts of ¬†Pune. ¬†The winding lanes leading to the fort are lined with little yellow and orange wild flowers. So much that from far it looks like a carpet of yellow and orange. The low clouds touch your hair as you drive up the lanes. The cold wet feeling of having them over your face ¬†is a wonderful feeling. Then comes the lovely trek up the fort…… Yeah it is tiring but reaching on top is worth every drop of sweat. By the time you are on the top you have the blood pounding in your ears. You stop awhile to catch your breath and take a small break and drink the cool clear water from the well and then look down to the beauty of the city way below you.

Everything seems so small and inconsequential at that moment. No problem or worry seems too big that it cant be handled. You feel invincible…… you can do anything. The moment of peace envelops you and you feel calm. Thats the feeling everytime…… every single time.

That moment when all the sounds in your mind stop and you can not really speaking hear anything, is what I try to capture. I dont really have any thoughts passing through my mind at that moment….. just a sense of stillness. Nothing seems to matter at that moment. I get that feeling every single time I have been there.

I havent been to sinhagad in a very long time now…… almost a decade plus……. now that I¬†go back and calculate. Guess I have to rectify that before long. ¬†With the industrialisation and IT boom in my city there has been a total geographic and demographic change in the city and the outlook of the people of the city. I doubt whether things are still the same….. or is it just me who has gotten older, bitter and disillusioned.

Sinhagad has been and will be for more years than any person living right now on earth. ¬†Only people change around it. ¬†A new generation looking for peace and solace like I did years before…… I hope they find it as I did and still do!!!

 

 

wo kagaz ki kashti wo barish ka paani

Contrary to what u r thinking on reading the title of the post, this post is not going to be regarding childhood. I wanted to clear that right in the beginning of the post lest the reader starts making a visual search for school and tiffin and bunking classes. I have picked the lines from a popular ghazal by my favorite singer Jagjit Singh where he reminisces his childhood stories and going back to being the little child that he was. But I am taking the lyrics very literally……. rains…….. water!!!

Just a week back I was warming my comforter in the warm sun and now I can’t step outside the realms of my home without getting sun burnt dehydrated and tanned and perpetually craving for the AC not to mention the dreams of having a dress with embedded aircon in it. ¬†Well one week into the summer and I am already wishing for the rains.¬†It’s not only me, the little sparrows jumping around my home have been¬†flouncing around me when they see me watering the plants. I kept a bowl of water for them today and they treated me with non-stop chatter all day today. The thought that struck me then was that……. it is so easy to please these little beings (though I would really have appreciated the fact a little more, had they been potty trained). All it required was a bowl of water.

Nature is like that. You give it a little and it gives you back in abundance. I have been making friends with these little birds for some days now. Today they are quite used to having me around them and are no longer scared or threatened of me. So today for me it was a new breakthrough in our relationship. They trusted me a little more and believe me I have been at it for a very long time. I’d like to believe that we are in a great place relationship-wise. ¬†I haven’t even got the camera out, which lately has been the reason for tolerating most insects and birds. Me still having some birds around in itself is a luxury considering I live in a concrete jungle with almost no trees around.

I would love to vouch the “save the environment” slogan at this juncture, but I will stick to the little sparrows that I made happy today with a little gift of life….. water. I agree as you read this, your mind is whirling from global warming to save the earth to grow more trees water shortage plastic pollution carbon monoxide mutated tuberculosis virus…… you name it…… Well, I will leave you with all those thought provoking issues while I wallow in the simple thought of giving my new friends a little thirst quenching happiness….. till the rains come back ¬†and I can sail some paper boats in the water.

(This post has been published in OURMINDSTREAMS)

The Learning curve!!!!

I recently read somewhere that every incident in your life is supposed to increase the length of your learning curve. Sometimes it is to give depth to your character or sometimes to give it strength, sometimes it is so that you can appreciate what you have or give a certain direction to your life. Some people believe that everything in life happens for a reason and that it will happen to us only because we can handle it. It is all about the so called learning curve and its length. It is all about “what do you learn from it??? ”

As for me I have a particularly LONG learning curve……….. like everybody else, only at times I feel mine is way off the actual graph and I would really like it to remain within the realms of my life and most importantly I would like it to stop growing for sometime and I would like to vegetate for sometime. I wish the curve would stop being so steep. It is more of a vertical line up than a curve. I would really and truly like to stop taking life seriously for sometime and just CHILL and wake up someday without a schedule or an agenda or a to-do list.

Every time I feel I am through with the thing some new thing overlaps the existing dilemma. Also incidents in life are supposed to teach you things and once you have learned them, they are supposed to pass or we are supposed to learn new things. I have seriously had enough learning this past year……… enough for a lifetime. I wish it would just stop……. I have seriously had enough……… I have a very long freaking learning curve……… I don’t need more!!!!

How about me learning some good and nice things for a change???

IS SOMEBODY LISTENING !!!

If wishes were horses……………….!!!!

Laws of Nature

“Whatever goes up…… comes down”. That is the law of the nature……….. the law of gravity……….. something most people who are on the top…….. forget. It took apples for Newton to realize……. I wonder what it will take for others to realize the same.

There is a proverb in bengali saying “Ghute pore gobor hashe”.¬† Artharth : the Cow dung cakes are burning and the cow dung is laughing. You can distinguish your friends from your foes. This law is amazing because at times though it is testing it can amazingly churn you up totally and get the best or the worst of you. Sometimes I am immensely hurt at others I am amazed, but it does get a reaction from me. I get to meet amazing people these days who come up with so many advices and ideas and their eyes and body speak only one thing………. “thank God its not me”!!!! hypocrites I tell you!!!! not because I am not on the top but because I have been there and done that but never did this…….. It’s not a case of perception but these days the intuition is also working overtime. I am usually right. I try to stay away from them.

Be it life…… or object everything that goes up eventually does come down and usually on your way down you do meet all the people whom you met while climbing up. The point here is that on your way down can you look them in the eye and still smile and most important will they smile back at you. I know a lot of people who could not look me in the eye on their descent.

Fortunately for me a lot of people are smiling back which makes me an okay kind of person…… I think. The others……. I don’t care about them which brings me to the second law of nature…… “whatever goeth…… cometh back“……. I call it the law of boomerang!!! I think that hurts the most. Again fortunately for me I still able to stand up…….. without falling but most people I know can’t face their own failings. I mean how can you put others through things that you yourself can’t go through??? Rules are different for different people eh??? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”……… what happened to that ????? Forgot about that???

Third law…………. “law of uncertainty”. Now that is the deadly one!!!! I can’t beat that one even with all the positivity that I can muster (I don’t have much of that) and I am mighty scared of that one. It has the potential to undo everything that you have done.

Lots more but these are the prime ones plaguing me these days. The only difference is that the black and white world does not exist anymore……… just all the rainbow colors…….. all of them!!! right now it is SEA BLUE

Ending with this song……… why????……………. isn’t it a lovely song???? enjoy!!!!

Ohhhhh Kolkata

Truly and officially Kolkata is just not my city…….. Honestly I went there with an open mind…….. totally OPEN as OPEN as I could get but NAH, the way things work there is truly irrational and beyond the realms of my pea-sized brain!!!

The hospital is a place of worship where doctors are put on pedestal (like tons and tons of swamijis) and once they are found not so up to the mark they are whipped of their god like stature and brought down to the stature of dogs. I think I like it here where doctors rather be questioned and thought of like humans beings who could falter and thought of as people with a different line of education who have the capability to heal people of their sickness and in the process of treatment they explain to mere suffering mortals the reason for their ailment and the subsequent treatment.

I met the sweet tongued sari clad ladies who had soooo sweetly abused me on phone and guess what they didn‚Äôt actually look soooooo good to me rather they lived up to their sneaking selves of being unscrupulous thereby pacifying me that my judgment of them was not so wrong also they put me off my guilt trip. What works in the passionate city of Kolkata is sob stories…….. yeah that sells like hot cakes especially if you have somebody sick, somebody cheated you, denied of inheritance or just plain you being sick…….. so much for me putting up my brave facade of being totally well and sneaking pain killers down my throat and hiding my swollen legs.

My pa-in-law is well. Hospital’s patient care was good but can‚Äôt say the same of their information section or their billing section. It sucked!!!! They have employed a bunch of female nincompoops totally wet behind their ears…….. fresh out of college, totally unprofessional, who were getting slapped right left and center by one and all and took it all well without complaining…….. to repeat the same mistakes again and again.

Screaming at those people was just so normal that it did not even raise my bp this time……. everyone was screaming at them. It took us five hours to get our patient admitted in spite of making pre-arrangements and the hospital calling us in the morning to confirm every detail. Waiting five hours meant waiting/standing for five hours in the OPD as they did not have a separate waiting area and since OPD was in full force there was no place to wait……. emergency patients also were made to wait. Similarly clearing bill and getting together and clearing up took a long time……. because they had obviously wrongly billed us and after a session of table banging (by hubby) everything worked smoothly and the bill was reduced.

What was very alarming was the rate of bypass surgeries and angioplasties done in a day at the hospital. It seemed like an epidemic of heart diseases there. Very scary!!!

Another thing that I was exposed to this time was the disparities in the city………. the disparities between the haves and the have-nots……. the elite and the not so elite. My side of the family in Kolkata comes from the northern side…… the displaced partition stricken people whereas hubby’s family is the British Raj worshiping elite of Bengal. The difference is so striking that I was actually shaken.

Just 30 km apart from each other but the difference hits you like a punch to your stomach. On one hand you have a whole family living in a 12 by 12 room and on the other hand you have a family of 4 saying that 3000 sq worth of carpet area is not enough…… that is the part of Kolkata that totally still lives in the era of British Raj and the glories then even though the current generation has not seen anything of it…… they live on memories and on imagination of the utopian world fed to them by their parents and grandparents.

Memories of hoodless convertibles, of waltz dancing in the balls given by Horton Sahib, innumerable servants, going on drives whereas the other side talks of the crossover, of poverty, of going without food wearing the same clothes till they were tattered and moving from house to house in search of shelter. Where on one side the elite discussed how Rabindranath was the epitome of all Vedas and Upanishads put together and bramho versus Hindu religion and sociological developments across the coffee table, the other side family is discussing the factory’s closure with the wife who patiently cooks fish on the earthen stove for her family.

I experienced all this in a span of hours…… all in the same day. So much disparity!!!! Also another factor that everybody talks about is inheritance…… The son of Bengal survives on the inheritance left by his father or grandfather. Most discussions usually revolve around who got what and how much…….. kind of disgusting to self made people like me.

With this scenario in mind I am not surprised why the Communists have ruled the state for decades. I always wondered why and how the CPM came to power year after year……. the mystery is finally solved.¬† The truth is finally evident to me.

On the lighter side whenever I wanted to go from one side to the other I used to get a lot of advice take a rickshaw (hand pulled ones) then take a metro then take 52 no bus, then an auto (auto rickshaw or cycle one)etc etc….. It used to really scare me to even me imagine me on all these modes of transport with my broken leg and my rheumatic arms and legs!!! as scary as JAWS!!! I used to have my eyes like golf balls and my mouth hanging open just thinking of doing all that they had suggested.

They really have a lot of modes of transport. When I was young I used to be totally terrified of the tin buses with wooden floors which moved on the roads and looked slanting to me…… I always thought that it would turn turtle but it never did. All you have to do to stop a bus is to raise your hand……… unlike us who run like the devil is after them to the bus stop to take a bus. The trams were another experience I could easily walk faster than the tram I wonder why people bother sitting in them. I remember not so long ago, dad had told me how the whole city had gone on a strike because the fare had risen by 25 ps. (talking of paises, we had a real tiff with a guy and lot of screaming because we did not have 25 ps change…… it still works there……. I haven’t seen one in a long time.) There is the popular cycle rickshaws and the hand pulled rickshaws. You wont believe it but really fat women even fatter than me…… two of them…… sit on one, which is pulled by a really scrawny thin guy. There is also the jetty, the popular metro and the of course Mamta Banerjee’s Indian Railway. This is one city where the Ambassador totally extinct elsewhere still rules the road and it is amazing to find how good it still is.

Another striking similarity both sides is that they have huge large windows and at least two doors in the bathrooms and since Kolkata is a congested area there is always somebody else’s window on the other side. I don’t understand why anybody would install huge windows and so many doors in the bathroom. For a maniac like me with bathroom phobia this is a total nightmare.

I did visit Dakshineshwar and Ma Kali…….. my second mother!!! It was so peaceful there. It kind of sucks in everything from inside you and keeps you just peaceful inside….. total silence!!! I have no idea but the inner sanctum of the temple is really beautiful and the Ganga flowing by is so beautiful. It always takes away everything that you have inside you to put in just peace in there. That is the only place in Kolkata that feels like Home!!!!

Apart from all that I did have a lot of sweets and bori and saw the city totally buzz with activity for the upcoming Puja. Shopping everywhere……… sadly in my case I did not have the time. Also owing to my grand mother-in-law’s death this year we will not be celebrating the festival.

I came back with a different point of view and appreciated my city my home and my family a lot more.

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