Friday, August 5, 2016

The stinks

Every time I look at RRJ and every time  I look at my parents I am so tangibly aware of time that I can almost feel it, elbowing past in the most reckless manner as if there is no tomorrow. I wish I could hold on to the present, it is a good place and a good time and I love it this way, but no, it seems that is not allowed.

One of the noticeable changes from RRJ's younger days is the number of conversations that we have now which are centered about his hair. A couple of months ago:
Amma: When are you going to the barber?
RRJ: Not anytime soon.
Amma: Why do you want to grow your hair long? I thought Christiano Ronaldo doesn't have it long....
RRJ: And I thought you didn't want me to copy anyone.
Amma: That is true, very true, I have said that. So no need to copy but still it is hard to keep it clean, you know, you sweat so much and your shower lasts no longer than a sneeze...... I am sure it stinks.
RRJ: I just took a shower, it is very very clean.
Amma [lovingly leaned over]: Haha... let me smell....Ooooh [gasps for air]  Oh my god, it stinks......very much like wet socks.  What have you been doing? [The stink was so bad that it was impossible not to laugh]
RRJ [feeling as if he is missing out on something]: I also want to smell... please please.
[Amma, still laughing hysterically, rubbed his hand on his scalp and offered it for smelling.]
RRJ [shocked by the stink, started laughing himself]: I know this smell.... it is exactly like my friend SN's football boots.
Amma [not laughing anymore]: SN's boots? And how do you know?
RRJ: We had sort a competition...... who can smell SN's boots longer?
Amma [thinking 'WHAAAT!!']: Oh, hmmmm.... and how many competitors were there?
RRJ: We started three and then one pulled out so only two...
Amma [knowing the answer fully well]: And don't tell me you were the winner?!!!!!

 I am sure he will outgrow being silly and cute and perhaps I will outgrow finding it silly and cute. But till then I must dig my heels a little deeper...... and slow time down.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

An unnecessary woman- the book

There are people who live and breathe books, I, most definitely, am not one of those and yet I loved every bit of this book in which Alia, the main character, is all about reading books, quoting authors and judging translations.

On my way back from work related travel, which went rather well, with the intent of treating myself  I gravitated towards the shopping area looking for a shoe shop. Quite unfortunately Bangalore airport has no shoe shop, and tired hunting for it I found myself, quite accidentally, in a book shop browsing books. The first page and the blurb of this one suggested it to be a light read with an interesting premise which matched pretty closely with the level at which I wanted to be engaged in at that point in time. Well, it kept the promise of being sharp, witty and full of humour but while I laughed reading some of the passages, the grim realities of the back drop stared at me deploring each time I did so.

Set in Beirut, the story is structured such that while Alia's present life evolves slowly, Alia takes you back to its connections with her past. As you get to know her better, from each incident she narrates and analyses, you can figure out that her interactions with the world at large have been disappointing at all levels. Her coping mechanism to deal with this monumental disappointment was to dive deep into the world of written word and western classical music. Not only her immediate surroundings and interactions could never measure up to the immense possibilities and choices that this world could offer, it also conveniently demanded nothing in return. She is most animated and passionate when in this space for herself that allows her to be actively engaged with literature and music, it is the real life happenings that reveal her vulnerability and her unpreparedness to deal with it.

Her immense sense of self-belief  and ability to see humour in everything is so endearing that you do not want the conversation with her to end. I wish there were more such books which are light but don't necessarily lack depth.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Painting the lady with a parasol

Summer time in Kanpur can be pretty devastating unless you are prepared with stuff to occupy your mind so that your body doesn't feel the scorching heat in its entirety. I am sure this wasn't the thought process then but perhaps just a lot more time available time on hands that led my younger self to sketching and painting during the summer vacations. My subject would most often be the back cover of older copies of reader's digest that I had taken from my grandmother, a regular subscriber. They often used to have reprints of famous works of art during those times. It also happened to be a time when I was greatly inspired to try oil-pastels thanks to my father's  very good friend who once made a beautiful birth-day card for me, a bunch of flowers in a vase done in oil-pastels. It was a wonderful painting, rich in colour as well as texture, it captured the essence of the flowers so well but most importantly it was made specially for me!

The choice of subjects in my case, being reprints of famous paintings, of course often had a great disconnect with the local setting. Like this oil-pastel painting I made was of a lady with a parasol!

I was curious if after all these years I could trace the original painting. Thanks to Google and my honed-over-the-years googling skills, sifting through several images of various ladies with various parasols, was I guess quite a favourite subject with painters at one point, I could find the original…..