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Showing posts from June, 2018

Truth

Each truth, each lie, Die in unjudging love. [Dylan Thomas, ‘This Side of the Truth’ ] What matters is not truth, nor falsehood, but your heart, my beloved. The galloping horse has a truth whose rhythm resonates with the beats of your heart unlike the infinite truths in the dictionary. Definitions are too definite, teetering on the edges of graves that hold your sighs and mine. Let us bury definitions and resurrect our sighs, our truths. Immortal truths. PS. Written for In(di)spire Edition 227: #Poem I was delighted to get the following review of my e-book, Life's Magic . ´Life´s Magic´ by Tomichan Matheikel has an international flair to it. Tomichan aces the game like a veteran. His insights range from literature, philosophy, religion, spirituality, science, art and politics. ´Life´s Magic´ is a book that I personally believe should get published in print. I hope the author writes more such inspiring gems. It would be interesting to

Is the dawn far?

For a considerably long period of my youth I was important enough to draw the attention of too many unwanted people who didn’t like whatever I said or did. One of the too many things they didn’t like was my love for old Malayalam film songs. The well-wishers thought that my love for old songs was a sign of my regressive tendencies or equally unhealthy romanticism. It is true that I was not happy with the ‘present’ that was available to me then. It is also true that there was a pining romantic in me. My well-wishers tried their best to cure me of the perceived disease as they did with everything about me.    I’m not blaming them, of course. The truth is that even I didn’t like me; how could I expect others to like me? They were not successful, however, in curing me of anything. But I must acknowledge their relentless endeavours that lasted about five years to wean me off a whole continuum of evils that befriended me like original sins .      When their good wishes and bette

Meeting deadlines

  I take on the Baton of Blogchatter Ebook Carnival from Medha whose ebook ' The Last Seychelles Flame ' is also part of the mix. About Medha's ebook: Adrija has all the qualities for a boy to reject her marriage proposal, and so her parents are worried about finding a groom for her. She moves to Mumbai to become the best fashion photographer and Cupid strikes.. or not.. Will she unite with her true love?    I took up the Blogchatter E-book challenge for a few reasons chief among which was learning to meet deadlines when it comes to writing. I find it easy to meet deadlines where my profession (teaching) is concerned. While writing, on the other hand, I have been quite a dismal failure. There are two books that I have kept half-finished. Both of them are very important for me and yet I have not been able to find time for completing them. So I decided to give me this challenge: complete the A to Z posts, 26 of them in a month’s time. I succeeded. Of course, I kept

Friends

An old friend of mine underwent angioplasty recently and I decided to visit him today. I asked Maggie to join me since she knew him and more since I loved company for the hour-long drive. The friend is a Catholic priest who was a classmate of mine for 6 years in the seminary. Let me call him S.    Our conversation happened to graze religion and I mentioned that I was no church-goer. Maggie thought that the priest would find that scandalous. On the contrary, S asked, “What’s the use of going to church if that doesn’t make one a good person? I know a lot of people who attend church as a mere duty. If you are a good person doing good to others, it hardly matters whether you go to church or not.”    “He has his own spirituality. He meditates.” Maggie offered.    “What more do you want?” S asked. “God is not the private property of the church.”    Maggie was neither shocked nor scandalised. Living with me had made her familiar with similar, if not much more radical, vie

Abraham’s Offspring

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“There was a time when we used to carry something home from the theatre after watching a movie,” Maggie said as we were driving home having watched the Malayalam movie, Abrahaminte Santatikal (Abraham’s Offspring) . “Why are today’s movies so hollow?” She asked.    “Can a movie reflect anything other than its times?” I answered. “But this one was not entirely hollow,” I added.   “Is there anything you’ll remember tomorrow about this movie?”    “I don’t think so. But the plot was brilliant.”    The plot is what makes Abrahaminte Santatikal entertaining enough. The movie is just a thriller, a perfect drama. There is crime, fraud, deception, revenge: the usual ingredients of thrillers. But Abrahaminte Santatikal begins with a serial crime: nine murders committed by a religious fundamentalist. The way that murderer is caught before he commits his intended tenth murder is based on too tenuous a reason and it will fail to satisfy any intelligent viewer.    Soon t

Ugly Middle Position

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Fiction “How do you create a story?” The English teacher asked in the class. After listening to the answers from various students he said, “Imagine a character, give him a problem, and voila there begins your story.”    The day’s lesson was John Updike’s story, Should Wizard Hit Mommy? In that story Jack tells a bedtime story to his daughter. It is a story about a skunk named Roger whose problem is his foul smell which drives away all his potential friends. “Children can be terribly insensitive sometimes,” the teacher said. “They are not as innocent as they are believed to be. Imagine our little hero being pooh-poohed by other children calling him Roger Stinky Skunk.”    Jenny was sceptical as usual. Children , he said. Weren’t they animals ? She didn’t like many things that her English teacher said in the class. She thought his views, quite many of them at least, were outlandish. He would say things like “Miracles are dying to be born in your minds; just change the w

King’s Dharma

“Treat me as it befits a king.”    Alexander was amused by the demand from a vanquished king. Porus stood before him as a prisoner but with all the solemnity of a king still playing on his anguished visage. They peered into each other’s eyes. Alexander could easily gauge the depths of Porus’ mind. Real kings understand other real kings. Only those who are slaves at heart will demean real kings.    Those other kings were not real kings. When he asked them to attend the meeting he had summoned in order to demand their allegiance to him and tokens of that allegiance, they came meekly. They were intimidated by his successes hitherto, the last being Gandhara. They were not kings at heart. They deserved what they got.    Here was the real king.    “How do you want to be treated?” Alexander had asked him with much amusement. Standing before him was a king who had refused to attend the meeting he had summoned. “Yes, I will meet you,” he had sent the message, “but as a king

Whose India?

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Salman Rushdie once mentioned a seminar organised in London on Indo-Anglian literature. It was attended by leading Indian English writers. On the first day an eminent novelist from India began his speech with a Sanskrit shloka which he refused to translate saying that every educated Indian was expected to understand the shloka without translation. There were Indian writers present there belonging to Muslim, Parsi, Christian and Sikh backgrounds, people with hardly any knowledge of Sanskrit. In one fell swoop the speaker had made all those writers outcasts, people who did not belong in India.    That happened about three decades ago, much before Hindutva emerged as a dominant force in India. A few days back the Times of India reported that CBSE had decided to remove all languages except Hindi and Sanskrit from the list of options for Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET). The decision was revoked immediately because of strong protests from Tamil Nadu and the foresight of si

Warmth of a crackling fireplace

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Book Review There are some writers whom you wish to meet or at least watch secretly from a little distance because you feel that they carry a lot of secrets, if not subdued pain, in their mellow hearts. Reema D’Souza comes across as one such writer in her book, Peiskos . In the brief preface to the little book, the author says that the 26 pieces in this book are stories woven round remembered “titbits of life”. The pieces read more like recollections scribbled in a diary than fiction. What drew me to the book is the exotic title given to each story such as Quicquidlibet and Wasuremono . The author acknowledges her love for words which prompted her to weave the stories with the exotic titles. I soon fell in love with the writing more than the titles.    Most of the stories are about love and relationships though much of the love remains unrequited and the relationships remain distant. There is dulcet nostalgia in almost every story most of which are narrated in the first p

Why I can’t endorse BJP

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I have often been awarded epithets such as Rice Bag by some people in social media who have no idea of what I am. My disapproval of the Right wing politics in the country provokes too many people. So I thought of explaining why I can never endorse BJP and its policies particularly under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.    My only real objection to BJP lies in that party’s hatred of certain sections of citizens. In fact, the entire superstructure of BJP is built on hatred. They think that the Hindus have been discriminated against by the Congress after Independence. They think that the Muslim rulers discriminated against the Hindus before Independence. They think that the British discriminated against them by bringing Christian missionaries to the country.    Some of these notions are not entirely wrong. But they are only fractional truths. First of all, if the Muslim rulers were indeed as ruthless as the Right wingers in India believe them to be, India woul

Questions for the Dancing Girl

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Dancing Girl If I were to time-travel, one of the persons I would meet is the Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro. I have a few questions to ask her. After all, she had the guts to stand stark naked with her chin up looking smug. Was she rebelling against something? How did she get away with that aplomb some four millennia ago? Were the men of the Indus Valley civilisation so broadminded as to accept such naked self-confidence of a pubescent girl?    Well, I have some more serious questions for her or her people. Since I don’t know anyone else from that time, I’m just choosing the Dancing Girl. Some elder would suit me better. I have some serious questions to ask. For example, I would like to enquire about the writings discovered from the site of that civilisation. Some 400 characters have been identified in those writings. Each one looks like a word and none of them has any resemblance to Sanskrit, the classical language of India which was quick to lay claim to the Indus Valle

CBSE rockets

I have been associated with CBSE for the last 17 years, both as a teacher and an examiner. When I completed just one year of teaching with that Board of education I was appointed as an examiner. I hesitated to take up the duty and informed the concerned authority about my lack of experience. “You have 15 years of experience as a teacher,” the authority told me on phone. He had my entire CV in front of him, apparently. I was forced to join the duty. On the very first day, I got just what I wished to avoid. As soon as I completed checking the first answer script, I was ordered to be magnanimous. The Head Examiner as well as the Nodal Officer (the authority who spoke to me on phone) re-examined that script and showed me how I had awarded much less marks than the examinee “deserved”.    I realised that CBSE was as magnanimous as the North-Eastern Hill University for which I evaluated answer scripts for a year or two. I learnt the lesson quickly. I’m a quick learner when it comes t

Shashi Tharoor’s Hinduism

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Book Review Image from DCBooks Title: Why I am a Hindu Author: Shashi Tharoor Publisher: Aleph, 2018 Pages: 302 “The harm religion does when it is passionately self-righteous – wars, crusades, communal violence, jihad – is arguably greater than the benefits religion produces when it does well (teaching morality, answering prayers, providing balm to troubled souls).” That is one of the concluding remarks in Shashi Tharoor’s latest book, Why I am a Hindu . The book takes a very intellectual and simultaneously pragmatic view of the author’s religion.    The book is divided into three sections: My Hinduism, Political Hinduism , and Taking Back Hinduism . The first section tells us what Hinduism means to the author. It is both a personal interpretation of Hinduism and an objective presentation of what that religion really is (as distinguished from the distorted versions we get these days). The author’s admiration for his religion stems from his realisation that it i

Smile

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Photo by Joshi Daniel I love smiles. They make a huge difference to the way people perceive and communicate. A smile can melt the snow that envelopes the indifferent heart. It can douse fires and sprout blooms. I consider myself particularly fortunate because my days begin with a thousand smiles. The way from the parking space to the staffroom of my school is strewn with angelic smiles.    One of the unwritten rules in my class is that everyone should keep a smiling face. Smiles make the classroom almost paradisiacal. Both teaching and learning become fun with all those smiles lighting up the air.    Once a student decided to exhibit her displeasure with me by presenting me the most stoic indifference possible because I had given her less marks in a test than she thought she deserved. My explanation that her answer did not match her potential did not convince her. I waited for her natural beatific smile to return to her naughty cheeks below her dancing eyes. But her resolv