Saturday, 27 June 2009

On a strike against all the rain Gods across all mythologies. Take that.

I don't know how I managed all that, but I did. In a span of 12 hours, I managed to somehow sprain both my ankles, get a blister on my right foot and bang that foot while walking in the dark the same night. Yes, I am multi-talented, just not quite in the manner I would've preferred.

So this is what happened yesterday, 26th of June, 2009. Delhi's temperature is shooting up at the speed of light, and giving all it's occupants a massive collective heart attack. I hared that everyday it shoots as high as 45 degrees Celsius and even higher. Yesterday, I and two of my friends decided that that was the day when we would go up to North Campus and submit our MA (English) forms. So there we went heroically in that blistering sun. I am telling you, the best part of the entire day was coming back home, followed by the late lunch, followed by the metro station (it is air conditioned, I won't crib).

The noon sun mercilessly burnt our skin and the campus of Faculty of Arts was oddly without a lot of shade. Hugzy had to make a bank draft and the only person kind enough to tell us where the nearest bank was...near Gate No. 3. The only problem, we couldn't find Gate No. 3. It felt like it didn't exist, but it did, as we figured out after stepping out of Faculty of Arts, crossing the main road, passing through buildings entitled "Department of Physics", "Dept. of Chemistry", "School of Botany" and so on. The School of Botany was a building whose architecture reminded me of ancient Greek temples, and was surrounded by, well, plants. Such a pity that Botany students or teachers didn't think it a good enough investment to plant shady trees on the road where people walk. Yes, so we found the gate and the "nearest bank" was only down the road.

By the time we walked back to submit our forms, the woman decided to go on a lunch break and told us to come after an hour. I don't blame her for wanting a lunch break, her work seemed monotonously dull and it was admirable how he didn't snap all that time. It was 1 pm at that time and we were to come back at 2. We couldn't go out to eat since we wanted to be in the line at 2 so that we won't have to come back some other day. In the end, it was around 3:30 pm that we had something to eat. More waking, more pain. I sprained my ankle, decided to put pressure n my only good foot, sprained the other ankle too. More walking resulted in a blister. To top it all, didn't get a seat in the metro. Never have I been delighted to reach home before.

I'm angry at the rain Gods for not making it rain. For ditching us and leaving us burning in that obnoxious heat. For making a simple day of life seem like a struggle to win a war against death. The rainmakers, sleeping on the job!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

This Place Called Khajuraho


It's funny how I never did blog about this particular place. This tiny place in Madhya Pradesh is among the most beautiful places in India as far as I know (which reminds me, go to Daman if you can--it's not an island as many people think, it has wonderful beaches & one of the most gorgeous beaches ever).

You must have read or heard about the architecture of Khajuraho at some point of the other...if you haven't relax, this is not a history test, just read along. That city is filled with numerous Hindu temples dating back to early AD which make them almost a thousand year old, or more. I had heard a lot about that place but when I went there this April, I was completely awestruck. I had never seen anything like that. The architecture of those cluster of temples resembles those of Konark temple (my fantastical theory: back then, there was some university sort of a thing for architecture and all these people graduated from the same place, reading similar books as the syllabus was the same and ended up making similar structures in two different places--Madhya Pradesh & Orissa!). The temples are made out of stone...but they all have beautiful carvings (I have never seen an imitations even close to the original) on other blocks of stones which were plastered or pasted or whatever, stuck basically to the original structure. And a lot of erotic art, which I think signify that a thousand years back, they were more liberal than us today and treated all levels of desires as what they actually are: natural.

The story of how these temples came up goes like this...there was this beautiful woman called Hemvati who was once bathing in a pond on a beautiful full moon night. Now why exactly she chose to take a bath in the dead of the night, I have no clue, but it's result was that the Moon (which, like in all pagan religions, is a God in Hinduism) was struck by her flawless beauty & took a fancy to her. So, he came down and seduced her. Here, my mother's thoughts deserve a special mention where she wondered whether it was really the Moon who did that, or some really handsome guy passing off as Moon. Anyways, we go by the story, and it was Moon. When day came, the Moon had to go away and Hemvati was very sad. Moon told her not to be devastated, that she would bear a son--their son--who would build many temples in order to atone for her sin (note in point of view of my feminist argument: the sin is hers, a woman's and not his, a man's which implies that it's okay for men to seduce random women but not okay for women to get seduced!). That's exactly what did happen, a son was born who became a great king and made numerous temples to atone his mother's sins and the sight he chose for these temples was Khajuraho. That son was the founder of the Chandella dynasty (Moon is known as Chand or Chandra in most Indian languages, especially the ones spoken back then, hence Chandella) which is responsible for making those temples over centuries, until the dynasty finally perished.

One must notice that Khajuraho has absolutely no forts, palaces or any of those things. It only has temples. This shows that it was not Chandella's political capital but religious capital. The city got it's name from the apt observation of many that it was surrounded by innumerous date trees...dates are called khajoor in Hindi (and obviously in the language they spoke in as Hindi evolved from those languages). The date trees are still there,but have depleted in number, which is sad.

Another thing I noticed about Khajuraho temples was that they are devoted to Vishnu and not His incarnations. I mean, these days, and in a lot of places (like Haridwar, Chitrakoot and so on) you'll find temples devoted to the incarnations of Vishnu--Ram, Krishna, Buddha and so on--but not Vishnu as such. But here in Khajuraho, they are devoted to Vishnu, not one single temple to His avatars. Maybe it was yet not in vogue back then.

Yet another great aspect of those temples are the Gods & Goddesses that are husband and wife in Hinduism had their temples facing each other or next to each other. Almost all the temples are inactive now as over the period, invaders destroyed the main idol of each temple (Hindus don't worship broken idols), thus wasting the temples, but there are few that are active few times a year. So much thought could have gone into building anything so perfectly is mind boggling especially when it strikes you that today, with all that technology, we can't construct anything even close to it.

It's an amazing place. Trust me. Go there. It's breathtaking.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Epiphany

"I'm tired of everlastingly being unnatural and never doing anything I want to do. I'm tired of acting like I don't eat more than a bird, and walking when I want to run and saying I feel faint after a waltz, when I could dance for two days and never get tired. I'm tired of saying, 'How wonderful you are!' to fool men who haven't got one-half the sense I've got, and I'm tired of pretending I don't know anything, so men can tell me things and feel important while they're doing it..."
--Scarlett O'Hara
(from Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind)

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Coffee Conspiracy


Yes, so I admit that I am one of those people you’d generally label as a coffee addict. The thing is, I need to have coffee (well, let’s say everyday and leave it to you to decide how many times) to well, be me. There are days when I decide that I’ve had just about enough & it’s time I cut down my coffee intake…and those are the days I drink too much Coke, which have caffeine. So much for the sacrifice.

These past five days, I did something spectacular. So spectacular that I surprised, nay, shocked myself. The only problem is, that the shocking bit was accompanied by a strange withdrawal symptom. As it happens, I somehow managed to avoid coffee for five straight days.

Note to self: Never do that again.

It was a sure shot way of torturing myself. Yesterday, I woke up and I thought I was dead. One of those days when you wake up and you’re tired. And you feel ugly. And just dead. Today I woke up, feeling dead since a century. Maybe that’s how Edward Cullen feels every morning? I don’t know. Yes, so I wake up today at 4:30 am (I got a ridiculous SMS from someday who had woken up to get a drink of water & then blissfully fell asleep) and I realized I was up before the birds. The entire day, I had a headache and irritation. I slept and that didn’t help one bit.

And then it hit me. Hit me with the strength of an iron load. The coffee conspiracy! For five straight days now, I had been kept away from my elixir of life! I rushed to the nearest café and drank the wonderful liquid. Instantly, I was given a new life. I was overwhelmed by the wonders of our word. It brought forth tears in my eyes. It did.


And it was good.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

It may be normal darling; but I'd rather be natural.


"I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany's."

--Holly Golightly

(Breakfast at Tiffany's)


"...it could go on for ever. Not knowing what's yours until you've thrown it away."

--Holly Golightly

(Breakfast at Tiffany's)


So i finally read Capote's masterpeice. Breakfast at Tiffany's. Now the thing is, Harper Lee is one of my favorite author, ever and her book is my the favorite. So when I was reading someone's blog last year that praised Capote's In Cold Blood, I was intriguiged. That's beacuse Truman Capote & Harper lee, as it turns, were best friends. miracles do happen, that someone like Harper Lee and Capote could be friends, good friends. This bit came around after I took the pains of finding, buying (there was only one copy of it at Tekson's) & reading it.


Very frankly speaking, I didn't like In Cold Blood as much as I thought it would, which was disturbing mainly because the person on whose blog I discovered its existance is somebody I respect a lot. The reason I was shocked was beacuse the author was my favorite author's best friend!


But then I read Breakfast at Tiffany's. And I saw the difference between Capote, the ordinary man and Capote, the author. This novella is an absolute masterpeice. I love it! Ofcourse, if you've seen the movie & read the book, you'll see a lot many variations, so many that Capote wouldn't have even recognised this a his own plot. Now, while I do think Audrey Hepburn was the mot beautiful woman ever born, she was not blonde as Holly Golightly is supposed to be. The unnamed narrator has a name in the movie. Holly finds her cat and her true love in the narrator. It didn't happen.


But that does not stop Breakfast at Tiffany's from being one of the most amazing books written in istory. The plot? Pretty simple. Some may even describe it as one of those tales where nothing happens, but then, they haven't read Waiting for Godot. So there is this guy, a struggling author (all authors struggle in the begining; I should know that) who lives in New York City in an apartment which he has rented and below his apartment is Holly's apartment, a caf girl who makes a living coaxing money off rich men. Obviously, our otherwise boring narrator falls for Holly. The ctach? Well, Holly isn't exactly 'conventional', she's well...very...bold.


Anyways, its a lovely book. Read it. It's not a mushy love story. Its a story, a simple story, written brilliantly.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Feeling...after a long winter of numbness.

"Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second hand aches like the pulse of blood on the bruise. It passes evenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but passes it does. Even for me."
-Isabella Swan
(from Stephenie Meyer's New Moon)