24 May 2010

flying by

it's the end of may already!! where is the time flying and why is it always in such a rush?? i want to walk slowly, to savor all the individual moments.. and yet i can barely recall where any given moment begins or ends.. instead of thoroughly being present in the moment, i am simply left with a memory..

memories are good, they are what will keep me going later on, they will remind me of a life well enjoyed, but right now, i want to enjoy my present. i have a list of things i want to do, places to see.. this list came into being much before my india trip, and i was never too bothered with working through it, as i thought i had all the time in the world, and also, because i was happy doing things not on the list, or simply adding to the list. i am still happy with that, but.. what am i really waiting for? is this denial?

if i don't really accept moving on, i most likely will not be able to thoroughly enjoy the present.. as in so many cases though, easier said than done!

[update: i wonder if it's something about the month of may that brings on such introspection; last year at this time i was also looking for a pause button..]

21 May 2010


related to exile and emigration, naomi lazard's 'Ordinance on Arrival' is awesome, and holds as true today, as it did in 1936 (which is pretty sad):

Welcome to you
who have managed to get here.
It's been a terrible trip;
you should be happy you have survived it.
Statistics prove that not many do.
You would like a bath, a hot meal,
a good night's sleep. Some of you
need medical attention.
None of this is available.
These things have always been
in short supply; now
they are impossible to obtain.

This is not
a temporary situation;
it is permanent.
Our condolences on your disappointment.
It is not our responsibility
everything you have heard about this place
is false. It is not our fault
you have been deceived,
ruined your health getting here.
For reasons beyond our control
there is no vehicle out.

language and exile

i wanted to share more poetry from my anthologies! the following two poems are about language and exile.. as noted by denise levertov, 'Looking is a way of being.. And language.. a way of breathing'.

The Armenian language is the home of the Armenian

Moushegh Ishkhan

The Armenian language is the home
and haven where the wanderer can own
roof and wall and nourishment.
He can enter to find love and pride,
locking the hyena and the storm outside.
For centuries its architects have toiled
to give its ceilings height.
How many peasants working
day and night have kept
its cupboards full, lamps lit, ovens hot.
Always rejuvenated, always old, it lasts
century to century on the path
where every Armenian can find it when he's lost
in the wilderness of his future, or his past.

My faithful mother tongue
Czeslaw Milosz

Faithful mother tongue,
I have been serving you.
Every night, I used to set before you little bowls of colors
so you could have your birch, your cricket, your fmch
as preserved in my memory.

This lasted many years.
You were my native land; I lacked any other.
I believed that you would also be a messenger
between me and some good people
even if they were few, twenty, ten
or not born, as yet.

Now, I confess my doubt.
There are moments when it seems to me I have squandered my life.
For you are a tongue of the debased,
of the unreasonable, hating themselves
even more than they hate other nations,
a tongue of informers,
a tongue of the confused,
ill with their own innocence.

But without you, who am I?
Only a scholar in a distant country,
a success, without fears and humiliations.
Yes, who am I without you?
Just a philosopher, like everyone else.

I understand, this is meant as my education:
the glory of individuality is taken away,
Fortune spreads a red carpet
before the sinner in a morality play
while on the linen backdrop a magic lantern throws
images of human and divine torture.

Faithful mother tongue,
perhaps after all it's I who must try to save you.
So I will continue to set before you little bowls of colors
bright and pure if possible,
for what is needed in misfortune is a little order and beauty.

10 May 2010

happy mother's day

to all those moms out there, happy (belated) mother's day :) i am still bemused by the fact that so many of my friends are now mothers!! i hope you were all spoilt and surrounded by love.

for a pretty detailed history of the origins of mother's day, as well as the variations of the celebration in different countries, click here.

i liked the title and spirit of the article, 'Celebrate: Save a mother' and wanted to share:

"Happy Mother’s Day! And let me be clear: I’m in favor of flowers, lavish brunches, and every other token of gratitude for mothers and other goddesses.

And because so many people feel that way, some $14 billion will be spent in the United States for Mother’s Day this year...

To put that sum in context, it’s enough to pay for a primary school education for all 60 million girls around the world who aren’t attending school. That would pretty much end female illiteracy.

These numbers are fuzzy and uncertain, but it appears that there would be enough money left over for programs to reduce deaths in childbirth by about three-quarters, saving perhaps 260,000 women’s lives a year...

So let’s celebrate Mother’s Day with all the flowers and brunches we can muster: no reason to feel guilty about a dollop of hedonism to compensate for 365 days of maternal toil. But let’s also think about moving the apostrophe so that it becomes not just Mother’s Day, honoring a single mother, but Mothers’ Day — an occasion to try to help other mothers around the globe as well."

02 May 2010

life's first drafts

i came across a post on rewriting draft manuscripts the other day, and the following in particular struck me:

"It is in the rewrites that a book gets beautiful and worthy of anyone else's eyes but yours.

In some ways life is like that. When we first began communicating we babbled. When we first walked we staggered. Most of us study for the grades we get, practice the cuisines we have now perfected. Life is rife with first drafts, opportunities we refine and from which we grow.

...as with all things in life, the beauty is in the refining, the polishing until it shines like gold".

how true. and timely; i hate to admit it, but in many ways, i am something of a perfectionist. to the extent that i am reluctant to try things i may not immediately excel at.
i am about to begin several 'first drafts', (which will definitely not result in polished perfection) and it is reassuring to realize it is but natural that they will not be spectacular, but that eventually, with some work and practice, i will get there, inshallah.. i can even look forward to the journey!