Served Cold

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A series of events- which occurred in the lives of people who are very dear to me- has prompted me to think of why aggressiveness  is considered a desirable characteristic!

Being loud, rude, nasty, uncouth, objectionable, callous, insensitive, crude….hey, way to go!

Really? In which world?

Being gentle, polite and humble, not showing off, being down to earth and unassuming are apparently not good or cool anymore!  Such men and women are considered ‘weak!’

Really? In your world?

What sort of a world is it, where boisterous, uncouth heroes  and heroines rule?

Our world?

A home where the loudest voice drowns the rest? A recipe for disaster.

A neighbourhood where the uncouth decides the rules? Watch the degradation.

A nation where the brash gets away with anything? Formula for rotting away from within.

It takes character to say ‘No’ to the above. Raise your voice- against what is wrong. But if one raises the voice to subdue another by the shouting prowess of the vocal chords, that shows lack of culture.

**

 

Like it or not, we live amidst many creatures in human guises. Some are human in human guise; whether they appear so or not. Some are malignant creatures who give out bestial odours as they pass by- even if they are coated all over with Estée Lauder or Poison.

Among the latter:  a few are animals, and can be observed likewise in proper surroundings. Some belong to insect regime- will creep and crawl and leave nasty remnants in the neighbourhood .The stench will outlast the dinner remains. You can add to the menagerie with your own observations.

To remain human and civilised, to have one’s self respect in tact is a tough challenge amongst all these variegated community. Now, how do you do that?

The Good Lord in his wisdom, gave protective gears to all creatures. The serpent’s bite, the scorpion’s sting, the jaws of a carnivore…When it came to humans as a species, I think he left us a  few choices. Muscle power or brain power. Or both?

Revenge is a dish best served cold, attack is the best form of defence, a stitch in time saves nine, the one who laughs last, laughs best….so many proverbs! In my opinion, one should not underestimate the power of a well thought out retribution.

**

Post script:  About the inspiration behind the article.

To one dear person, I suggested that he block the hell out of the perpetrator who was into texting diarrhoea. The texts of course, acutely infested with capitals and malice, both. He grinned at me.

To the second dear person, who was shouted at by an uncouth boor, when she requested him to stop littering her compound,  I suggested that she call up the cops. She did.

**

 

 

 

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Without Genre: Poems (By Prof Veeran Kutty, Translated From Malayalam)

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1. Easy Cooking

One can observe

From your eyes:

Passionate love

Burning;

Intense yet controlled.

Yes, that is evident

Even in your wary smile.

Consequently one can conclude

That your life

Would be getting perfectly

Cooked.

Agree?

**

2.  Hope

The earth, which

We have damaged,

Is being steadily repaired:

The flowers  by their fragrance

The tender leaves by their colours,

The fruits by their sweetness.

The rain washes and

The wind wipes clean.

Have you ever seen the sunshine

Rest awhile?

Always in a hurry to

Dry and store

For the morrow.

**

3. Exchange

You extended your hand

Towards me,

While

Standing deep in the night.

I was entrenched in the day

Then.

It was reminiscent of the episode-

When you offered your kiss

Standing on a mountain top,

And I received it

By a sea- shore.

**

4. You and Me

I bloomed forth

Ecstatically,

On hearing your words

Which was spoken in my dream.

What of it, anyway?

I shrivelled up

With

One word

Which you left unpsoken

When we met.

Didn’t I ?

**

5. The Search

‘Where are you?’

Even as I asked,

The Tree

Pointed to all four directions

And cast me into utter puzzlement.

Perhaps

On knowing that

I was searching for you,

The guiding stars ahead,

Resignedly let go of

Their responsibility

And trailed behind me.

The wind twirled me into bewilderment.

And finally,

When I reached the edge

Of the ocean

With a rising scream on my lips,

It snarled back:

The thousand tongues,

Asking me all at once,

Where you had gone?

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Miles To Go…

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/9dyR9hntWhTRqu7AgqDipK/So-what-if-they-didnt-win-the-Booker.html

‘So what if they didn’t win the Booker?’ Article in Livemint on some of the best books out there.

Yayyyyy! K. R Meera’s ‘The Poison of Love’ is featured in that list.

DSC South Asian Literature longlist, Bangalore Lit Fest- Atta Galatta short list…

Yours Truly celebrates as the translator.

God works in miraculous ways!

**

 

Twisted Tales; Unvarnished Truths…

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The short stories written by Daphne Du Maurier when she was in her twenties – apparently rejected by the editors then – are now available for the reader.

‘Stunning’, is too feeble a word for her percipient writing! One can see the origins of  her eponymous heroine ‘Rebecca’  in a story ‘ The Doll.’ Now, that is a  truly breath taking story: apt material for any literature student who wants to research on gender, power play, and openly subversive writing.

Also, it is worth to explore the similarities of character in the two Rebeccas. The play of emotions, the hatred, the loathing, the desire, the love, the mystery and the jealousy. The heroine asks whether one can love someone to such an extent that it becomes pleasurable to hurt that person! The hero wonders whether he could strangle her to her death. The ending is….unspeakable! Ah,  definitely the twisted tale of Manderlay,  first stirred to life in that story…I  could only hum ‘ Yeh nayan dare dare…’

It was not that song which I hummed when I read  the story, ‘And his letters grew colder.’ How perfectly  the young Daphne Du Maurier analysed the mind of the player! The hunting, the chasing and the cold hearted abandonment. The callousness of the casual trickster has been dissected with needle sharp cynicism and ruthlessness by a master writer!

Any day, any century, any era, a woman can benefit by reading that story! Poor Mrs.B, or A : how you fell for the hunter at large! It is a tale which will hold true in the age of tinder and instant messaging; and probably save a few lives from unwarranted suicides too.  Apparently,  from reading reviews of that story , a lot of women across the world agree on that particular chronology of Daphne’s surreptitiously sly narrative.

The perfect song to hum is Kelly Clarkson’s of course.. ‘Baby you don’t know me..what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…’

 

**

http://lereis.blogspot.in/2007/05/and-his-letters-grew-colder.html

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/apr/30/the-doll-daphne-du-maurier

P.S. For all who love Conan Doyle. He could write some real creepy stuff too! Check out ‘ The case of Lady Sannox.’  Now that is another story which can fit in this particular genre. Du Maurier would have applauded.

http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/19/tales-of-terror-and-mystery/75/the-case-of-lady-sannox/

 

 

And He Said, Speaking Low and Nervously…

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So I told my daughter, ‘Read M.R.James. You will be surprised and delighted with that horror genre! Besides, you can enjoy the BBC versions of every story!’

As a beautiful eyebrow was raised-the owner contemplating on the utility of reading a Cambridge  don exposit on the supernatural and the impalpable in exquisite English -I rushed in: ‘ Start with ‘The treasure of Abbot Thomas’! Bet it can enchant you as much as the twistor theory..’.

This time, she laughed indulgently. She knows me well. It is better to humour me , when I am on a pulpit preaching the virtues of reading classics.

‘ What of it?’ She asks, with a smile.

‘ There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…’

‘ Ha!’

‘ Ciphers! Zacchariea 3:9  Super latinum unum occuli sunt!’

‘ Eh? Latin?’

‘ Upon one stone are seven eyes…’ And that is from Zachariah! More from Job and  Johannes…!’

‘ Eeeks!’

And a warning. In French! Gare a qui la touché!’

‘ What?’

‘ Beware, whoever touches it!’

‘ Ugho!’

‘ Yup! There was a Guardian! Depositum Custodi! Keep that which is committed to Thee!’

‘ And you want me to read it before going to bed, Amma?’

I laugh in a theatrical manner!

‘Do tell me if you enjoy the imagination of a brilliant Cambridge don!  He was a genius. Your generation probably has not appreciated him enough. He used to read  out his horror stories by candle light in the Cambridge Chit Chat Club!’

‘ What an ideal life!’

This time we laugh together.

My teenager promises that she will meander from her safe Physics turf into some intriguing classic horror genre.

I grin happily. I know that once she starts with the wicked Abbot’s tale,  ‘The Ash Tree’ and ‘ Casting the Runes’ will be  consumed soon enough. After all, no one can stop with eating just one chocolate, can they?

And as for me, The Tractate Middoth awaits! And the warm afternoon sun is so delightful in accompaniment!

**

 

 

 

 

Poems of Pain : Prof VeeranKutty ( Translation from Malayalam)

  1.  Your Life

The plant that has grown

Over your burial site,

Is resplendent with flowers!

I cannot believe

That you went back

With so many love- secrets.

**

2. Forgetfulness

The Secret which I kept

For your ears

Was lifted away by the breeze.

Wonder on which branch

It has kept it dangling!

In what fire has it got scorched?

Where is the earth,

Which has buried it deep?

What was the secret

That I had kept for

Your ears?

Well, now it seems

You will have to remind me

Of it

Yourself.

**

3. Confrontation

I cannot bear to look

At that emptiness

That was left behind,

When you went away.

How am I supposed

To confront

The void

Which is growing

To your proportions

Over there?

**

4. Unspoken

I might die

In the contraction and dilation

Caused

By the word

That you left unspoken-

Even when  life

Was  being snuffed out of you.

**

5. Loveless

Without love,

The body becomes

The most unyielding tree

Ever.

Though the lips may struggle to sculpt,

It simply does not oblige:

Refuses to transform into an idol.

**

 

 

 

Painting Once Again…

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In a way poetry and painting are kindred souls. What some accomplish by a few words strung like beads together, others strive by mixing dots of paint. There is an inevitable catharsis- the hoarded up emotions furiously burst- and all is well again.  Some kind acquaintance might exclaim over your lines or appreciate your painting. Added bonus.

Why do we stop doing those things which we love, when we grow up?Because, we get into the business of living. And when life becomes regimented with multifarious responsibilities, happiness inducing hobbies take a backseat. It is only after a bad crash or two on life’s highway that the  Master Guardian-intuition- whispers again: ‘maybe time to trust the silent spectators sitting behind you offering help.’

So you pick up that dusty paper again. The paint is half dried up and the brush is so stiff that no amount of softening it with a water treatment works! You hesitate between a sketch pen and a black crayon. Then you start…And like a poem, beauty reveals itself, very sweetly.

And one remembers the sentence about the soul being on its knees….praying.

**