Wandering With Words

Random musings of a reckless soul.


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28 by 28

I guess it’s about time to change my age in the About section. 😛

28 things learnt by 28 :

  1. Learn to love your life and yourself.

No matter how messed up you or your life may seem (or people say) there’s always something unique about you. Be grateful.

  1. Chocolates, books and music can lift your mood.

In that order.

  1. The sunrise, the sunset and the moon are three beauties that come to you everyday.

Learn to appreciate it.

  1. Never stop learning.

One who stops learning becomes old. One who keeps learning stays young.

  1. Improve. Mature. But never “grow up”

Make sure you never lose the inner child in you.

  1. Smile when you wake up and forgive people before you sleep.

For your own peace of mind.

  1. Eat, sleep, laugh and talk moderately.

But smile a lot! Smile and shine! 

  1. Give charity and gifts regularly.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s small or big. 

  1. Make time for your family. Family is very important.

Love them. Serve them. Be with them.

  1. Make sure you spend some time with people below 7 and above 70 regularly.

They know the magic to make you feel better.

  1. Tell your parents you love them. You may not have the chance later.

And I mean, tell them! Like, tell them on their face, “I love you pappa” or “I love you mummy” You have no idea about the regret of letting them go without letting them know.

  1. Spend a day without your phone. Spend another without looking at the clock.

Experience the slow-mo life!

  1. Selfishness is a virtue.

Sometimes.

  1. Stop crying about how bad your life is.

It isn’t. Even if it is, get up and make it better.

  1. Spend time with people who support and believe in you.

And be that person for others.

   16. Travel

   It’s the only thing that money can buy that makes you richer.

  1. Do yourself a favour and follow your passion.

Figure out what lights your fire and then chase the match.

  1. When in doubt, always ask mom.

She carried you safely for nine months. Trust her.

  1. Not everybody will like you. So stop trying to please everyone and get with it.

After all you are not the centre of the world.

  1. Chivalry is not just for men.

Courtesy before chivalry.

  1. Listen to your body.

It talks to you. It really does!

  1. Think before you speak and read before you think.

So basically, read more, speak less.

  1. Let makeup empower you.

But never be ashamed of your natural self. Believe in your beauty.

  1. Drink more water.

Then your skin, hair, mind, body will thank you.

  1. First impressions are worthless 50% of the time.

So try not to judge people over that.

  1. Never cease dating your spouse.

That’s a fine way to keep the spark alive!

  1. Dream, dare and droll.

Get a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  1. Nurture nature.

Beauty lies in the green of trees.  

 

 


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O womania!

” I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit! “

Quote by ,

William Golding

British Novelist, Playwright and Poet


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Some books can change your life…

Yes it’s true… a good book can change your life. 

So which one has done it for you? Do leave your replies in the comments! 

Some books that have had a positive impact on my life are : 

  1. Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five Series. (Because this was my door to the world of fiction)
  2. Jeffery Archer’s The Prodigal Daughter.
  3. Tony Robbin’s Awaken the Giant Within.


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But she had gone from victim to survivor. 

“When I was a kid, my only goal was to get a good education. I dreamed of attending Harvard or Stanford, and planned to become a doctor one day. I was the eldest of four daughters in a Pakistani Muslim family. We lived in Ruwais, a small town in the United Arab Emirates, where my father worked in an oil plant and my mother was a teacher. At school, I always stood out among the girls in my class—I was brash, clever, outspoken. I took pride in acing every test. When I brought home top marks, my father would celebrate by handing out sweets.

One day, when I was in Grade 10, I was in my bedroom doing math homework. My mother walked in. She told me I’d received a marriage proposal. I laughed. “Mom, what are you talking about?” I asked. She didn’t crack a smile, and I realized she was serious. “I’m only 16,” I said. 
“I’m not ready for marriage.” She told me that I was lucky. The offer came from a nice man who lived in Canada. He was 28 years old and worked in IT. His sister was a friend of hers. The woman thought I’d make a perfect match for her brother—I was very tall, and he was six foot two. “They’re going to look so great together in pictures,” she had said to my mother.”

http://torontolife.com/city/life/forced-marriage-samra-zafar/


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Train travel 

This is the magic they call technology that sitting here in a bus while reminiscing about my very first train journey, I am writing this post. I had travelled by train for the first time almost a decade ago. Well not really, because I have been on a train even before that but I was so young that those memories are fuzzy.

But I remembered a few moments ago that I had written something about that decade ago journey and now I have successfully retrieved that file. So here goes…

“Train travels are fun, fun, fun; when made under the sun. If that not be the case and one has to travel thirteen hours, majority of which are hours of darkness, then it is an absolutely different experience . 

Pity I never knew this before the train started moving. When I say it is a different experience, I do not mean that it’s a bad one. Let’s just say a writer would enjoy the day journey and a poet would love the night.

Since this was the first time I was inside a train, I was too excited to retch over the malodour from the ‘latrine’ or the dirty curtains or the paan stains in the corners. My lips were zipped and my head would have done a 360 if it was possible. Thrilled to the core, I looked around at everyone, making mental notes of their actions, looks and strange (in some cases disgusting) behaviours. Some of these people smiled back at me while others glared, muttered something and looked away. Half an hour later the excitement started waning and it was completely smothered when a child in the neighbouring berth started crying so shrilly it hurt my ears. I would have understood if he would have been anywhere up to five years old but he must have been around twelve and I had to stifle the urge to ask him to shut up.

All this reminded me of a friend who would never endure such things and the thought of her face in the exact situation made me smile. Power of friendship!

At about 10.30 p.m. people began climbing their berths and started switching off the lights. I have never been able to sleep before one a.m. so I took aid of a dim light to read the book I had brought along. Around midnight, I turned for a ‘good-night’s-sleep’. But, alas!

I have no problem climbing up to my berth but then I notice the six feet difference between me and the floor. Already resentful at having to give up the window, I look down and my stomach starts rumbling as the phobia creeps in.

Somehow I lie down, shut my eyes and try sleeping. But the constant joggling hampers any kind of sleep. So with some hope and much understanding of the fact that I still have ten good dead hours of the night to pass, I stuff the earplugs into my ears. After what seemed like eternity I checked my watch just to be shocked that only an hour and a little more had passed.

Cussing under my breath, I blame my frigging self for insisting on this many wheeled transport. In my defence, train travels had always been described so amazingly in books! Finding no respite, I leapt down and sat by my slumbering mumma’s head and watched out of the window. The view was superb.

Nope…actually there wasn’t much of a ‘view’. 😦 Just darkness and what I thought were trees. I move and with me moves everything.

For no particular reason I peep at the sky and hold my breath at the beauty of it. Has it always been like this?

The moon was its yellowish colour (which I prefer to its usual white shade). The stars twinkled as if smiling and the clouds all had a mystical touch to them. For some reason, I was comforted by this sight and felt immensely peaceful.

Astra Castra, Numen Lumen.

I spent a long time watching the sky and thinking of nothing in particular.

Then the train started to slow down at Guntakal station. Brightness filled the train.

Here I was in for a shock. It was four a.m. and people were sprawled asleep on the floor. Some of these were in rags, obviously beggars but some of them were passengers.

When the train started moving again I rested my head on the window sill and let the wind slap my face.

I changed my position when I could no longer feel the right side of my face. As I did, I noticed my neighbour who was a young woman who had been incessantly fidgeting. She sat up, jumped down and shook awake her companion who was a young man. The husband/boyfriend woke up, befuddled. When he was fully awake, she made him sit up, sat herself beside and snuggled up to him, closed her eyes and fell asleep. A faint smile played around her lips that said ‘I am comfortable now!’

I thought of a thousand things then. Being able to hold your loved ones whenever you want, is a lucky luxury.

Tired, I then flaked out. I remember waking up with a crick at seven thirty. ‘Damn! I missed the sunrise!’

My head was soon filled with croaky shouts of ‘idly-wada’ and  ‘chai garam’ and a lot of common buzzing.

Chai garam was nothing like chai. I missed my green tea.

But the morning sun and the green fields that met my eyes made up for everything. The kid who was crying the previous night seemed very happy stuffing idly into his mouth. The couple was gone and in their place were a group of young men who I guessed by the uniform were students.

Fresh air, a few songs and many photos later we reached Bangalore. Not exactly a dream journey but at least a memorable one. I am not sure if I would consider travelling by train again. The one-hour plane back home was pretty comfortable.”

P.S  I have travelled by many trains many times after that but that journey and that couple will always have a special place in my heart. 



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What teachers make?

Taylor Mali is perhaps best known for his poem “What Teachers Make“. The following poem is perhaps one of the best poems in praise and respect of teachers – the unsung heroes of the education system. It has successfully motivated many teachers, including me, to love what we do, and to do it better, everyday. It is said that the poem was born out of an actual dinner conversation Mali had.

The following illustration by Zen Pencils is my personal favourite as it combines my love for comics and poetry.
2013-07-23-teachersNEWThere are many reasons why I love teaching – Because :

1) I get to share my passion for reading, writing and learning.

2) My students constantly surprise me.

3) I get to see the world from so many different perspectives.

4) I get to learn new things.

5) I touch lives.

And even though I have a big problem with the current education system, I enjoy being a teacher for the love it brings me everyday.

A week ago, a group of students whom I had taught around two years ago called me up and invited me to their farewell party. I had already made some other plans for the day so I politely declined. My phone had no rest that day as there was an influx of calls. I eventually cancelled my other plans and decided to go to the party. And that was a wise decision.

The girls looked oh-so-pretty and the boys, suave. And I felt old. And blessed. And like a celebrity – because they all wanted to click a pic (mostly selfies) with me! 😀

And even though it was not a farewell for me, I was given presents. This brought tears to my eyes.

farewell Class X Mps (1) farewell Class X Mps (3) farewell Class X Mps (4) farewell Class X Mps (6) farewell Class X Mps (7) farewell Class X Mps (8)

So yeah, I love teaching because it is indeed the most satisfying job in the world. 🙂


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Success

Stasis in Darkness

So they preach you what success is;

Sunlight through the vacant mist,

They tell you you need to fall in love

Whilst the sun shines up above,

And get your grades, your degree, your career;

Pass away each ugly year

Washing pans, eating food,

Act all kind, nice, subdued,

Raise your kids, slip on a ring,

They mean more; they’re your everything,

Your husband needs his clothes cleaned,

The children need their parties themed,

And the office goes out for a Christmas do,

Get really drunk, you do too.

But you wake up in the early morning.

You feel sad, mourning, yawning.

Your life has passed and your husband snores;

Only now you notice all his flaws.

You never did go travelling, did you?

Not like you said you would do.

And you never found yourself; you’re still lost,

Your heart as cold as winter frost.

They told you to…

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Nazm.

O. Henry was known for his strong portrayal of simple things in his stories.
For those who know Gulzar – legendary Indian/Urdu Poet – here’s his outstanding poem from the movie, Raincoat which is
loosely based on “The Gift of Magi”. It’s a simple story of two people who meet one rainy afternoon and reflect back on things that could have been.

This nazm evokes a lovely imagery of lonely, rainy afternoons. There’s an English translation for those who do not understand Urdu but needless to say, Gulzar Sahab’s version remains unmatched.

~ Kisi mausam ka jhonka tha jo is deewar par latki
hui tasweer tirchi kar gaya hai
gaye sawan mein ye deewarein yun seeli nahin thi
na jane kyon is dafa inme seelan aa gayi hai,
dararein par gayi hain
aur seelan is tarah bahti hai jaise,
khushk rukhsaaron pe geele aanso chalte hain.
ye baarish gungunati thi isi chath ki munderon par
ye baarish gungunati thi isi chath ki munderon par
ye ghar ki khidkiyon ke kaanch par ungli se likh
jaati thi sandese
girti rahti hai baithi hui ab band roshandano ke peeche.
dupehrein aisi lagti hain,
bina muhron ke khaali khaane rakhein hain
na koi khelne waala hai baazi
aur na koi chaal chalta hai
na din hota hai ab na raat hoti hai sabhi kuch
ruk gaya hai
wo kya mausam ka jhonka tha
jo is deewar par latki hui tasweer tirchi kar gaya hai. ~

Translation:

~ Was it a whiff of the season
That skewed the portrait hanging listlessly.
Last season, the walls were not so moist
Who knows why it’s moist now…
Why the cracks appeared…
And the damp shows
Like the tears on a face so blank.
The rain once sang on these
rooftops,
It used to write on the windowpanes.
Alas it weeps away behind a cage now.
And the afternoons are so
Like a chess without the pieces
There’s no one to play , no bets laid.
Neither the day breaks, nor night snows.
Everything seems forever stopped.
Perhaps t’was a whiff of the season,
That skewed the potrait on this wall. ~


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Do you remember this maze?

The Crystal Maze !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJCQbQ_azpM

 

In my opinion this was the coolest game show ever! 

maze

 

You know what they say about being beautifully bald? 

 cool

 

And as a kid I always wondered….

meme  


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Happy Birthday, William Butler Yeats!

William Butler Yeats is one of those poets who was not a solitary creature, writing in isolation. He wanted to start a “movement”, and he did. And that is the reason that even 75 years after him, his poetry still remains magical.
I won’t delve into who Maud Gonne was and what she meant to Yeats, but she rejected Yeats, telling him, “You make beautiful poetry out of what you call your unhappiness, and you are happy in that. The world should thank you for not marrying me.”
I shouldn’t be, but I am happy she didn’t accept his proposal.

To Yeats, my favourite poet of all times – Thanks, for stirring a storm in heads, hearts, and souls.

Below you’ll find my most favourite of his poems. 🙂

 

 

This poem introduced me to Yeats and I fell in love, instantly! – The Drinking Song: 

 

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and sigh.

 

 

I have been told that the following poem was written for Maude Gonne after she rejected Yeats for almost 5 times. All I know for sure is that I love this poem and have loved it since the moment I first read it.

 

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changingface;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

 

This is about as close to free verse as Yeats ever got and yet there is still a definite rhythm to his words: The Realists:

Hope that you may understand!
What can books of men that wive
In a dragon-guarded land,
Paintings of the dolphin-drawn
Sea-nymphs in their pearly wagons
Do, but awake a hope to live
That had gone
With the dragons?

 

 

 

I delight in poems that encourage one to carpe diem and be run away with love: Brown Penny:  

 

I whispered, “I am too young,”

And then, “I am old enough”;

Wherefore I threw a penny

To find out if I might love.

“Go and love, go and love, young man,

If the lady be young and fair.”

Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,

I am looped in the loops of her hair.

O love is the crooked thing,

There is nobody wise enough

To find out all that is in it,

For he would be thinking of love

Till the stars had run away

And the shadows eaten the moon.

Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,

One cannot begin it too soon.

 

 

Aedh Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven: for those who do not know Aedh is, according to Irish mythology, the god of underworld.

 

  Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.   

For I am a ‘crazed girl’: 

That crazed girl improvising her music.

Her poetrydancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself

Climbingfalling She knew not where,

Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,

Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare

A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing

Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred

She stood in desperate music wound,

Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph

Where the bales and the baskets lay

No common intelligible sound

But sang, “O sea-starved, hungry sea.”

  

 

 

When a great poet writes, it is pure delight! 🙂 This poem is dear to me as it awakens my desire to escape to a quieter and beautiful tranquil world.   

 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Shortest favourite: 

The friends that have it I do wrong
Whenever I remake a song
Should know what issue is at stake,
It is myself that I remake.

As relevant today as then:  

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

 

 

A long but another extraordinary poem – Adam’s Curse – was again written with Maude Gonne in mind. These heroic couplets, no matter how many times I read, leave me speechless.  

 

We sat together at one summer’s end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.’
And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There’s many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, ‘To be born woman is to know —
Although they do not talk of it at school–
That we must labour to be beautiful.’
I said, ‘It’s certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam’s fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.’
We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.
I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we’d grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.

 

 And to end with, this was what W.H. Auden penned in memory of W.B. Yeats: 

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountains start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

🙂


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Colours of Life.

Image

 

 

“The stone rolled aside and I was born again.”

Memories have become vague.

But I remember lying in bed, scared. On a hot summer day, covered in sheets, I waited for sleep – the only reprieve for my dying soul. I pulled the sheets over my head and tried hard to hold back the tears that fought wildly.

What happened? Why the betrayal?

Strange cruel people in my dream repeated these questions. They cudgeled me with it and I couldn’t find an answer.

It was the moment in life when every breath you take hurts. The darkness around me screamed. In the land of grief, once again, I began to cry.

And then I heard the noise. It started soft but then slowly, as if to remind me of my grief, it turned violent.

My fingers closed into fists and my nails dug into my palm. I wished that it would all stop – the screaming in my head, the heavy pattering of rain and my heart.

But it didn’t.

Sleep continued to play coy and finally not able to endure it any longer; I pulled the sheets aside, swung my legs over the edge of the bed and sat with my head in my hands. The noise of the downpour was louder than ever. It wasn’t just raining, it was pouring.

For a reason I can’t remember, I stood up and walked stealthily to the terrace. I stood at the centre, allowing the raindrops to hit my face; to hide the tears. The last two weeks had been horrible. Perhaps I wished that the rain would cleanse me of the pain. Or perhaps I just wished it would drown me.

But the longer I stood there – with my eyes closed, hands still curled into fists – miraculously, the pain started to wane and the pricking of the raindrops started to feel sickly sweet.

I had never enjoyed rain until then, not in that way. I had danced in the rain with friends, walked in the rain, but never alone.

That sunny evening marked my friendship with Her.

Slowly my fists loosened and finally uncurled. But my eyes remained shut. “No,” said my mind. “The pain will return.”

“Let go,” whispered my heart.

“You will die!” argued my mind.

“You already have died,” said my heart, “It’s time to be born again.”

Once more I do not know why I paid heed to the heart that had caused me so much pain. But I opened my eyes. What I saw awed me and it filled me with pain but unlike the previous one this pain was sweet, very sweet.

She kissed me and welcomed me to this new world while I simply stared and continued to be awed. What I saw spread a warmth through my body and gradually for the first time in days, my lips curled into a smile.

I stood there for a long time, getting drenched, embracing the beautiful sight.

The Rainbow.

Nature became my best friend; and that’s how I was born again.


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Image

It is very easy to be starry-eyed about a place you have never been to.

It’s strange when the life you had wished for, but never had, flashes in front of your eyes.

As I hobbled alone on the street, my satchel of clothes- which I had made out of my dupatta – in my hand, I could think of a thousand ways to end it all right there.

Abandoned, jilted, lonely, homeless and hungry, I walked the dirty roads of the city. The same city that until that morning had been my very own … now it was strange and scary. The streets were unknown and dark.

I had never been a loner. Rather, I had always enjoyed being around people. But at that moment it scared me. The slightest glance chilled me to the bone. But somehow I kept walking, going nowhere in particular.

As I crossed a bridge the river beneath enticed me. It seemed so welcoming to my eyes…its cold, gushing water.

Just one leap…

As I waited for the signal to turn red, the speeding vehicles invited me.

Just one step…

The vendors on the footpaths with the rat poison and the naphthalene balls for sale seemed to be there only for me.

A swallow….or a cut….or a noose….

There were so many ways to end it all.

Then there were ways to do it painlessly too. In my state of circumstances these were most tantalizing. But I kept my legs moving until I was tired and it was night. Having no second wind I settled on the footpath beside a pauper who was asleep. There was a matchbox by her hand.

Just One spark…

But I did not.

AND, IT WAS THE BEST DECISION I HAD EVER MADE.