This should have been a #weekendcoffeeshare post but I has having too much of a good time to open my laptop. So, this will be a #MondayMusings post.
Over the weekend, I met my school classmates after 27 years. Yes. 27. For the generation today, this is unimaginable as they have reunions every year. Even my son had a class reunion within three months of their school closing. But, we lived in an age when telephone lines were scarce. We would phone people only if we need to. We would talk only what was necessary. We were forbidden from sharing our phone numbers with sundry people. There was no internet and computers were hardly beginning to make their presence felt. Even television was not 24 hours. Yeah, we lived in the dark ages. Continue reading →
“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” – Anonymous
Mountains are a favorite destination. Majestic and statuesque, they make you feel tiny, inconsequential. I look at them and think, while we were being born, growing up, surviving, having children, the mountains have just stood there for billions of years. Stoic, unmovable, permanent and reassuring. Every time I look at them, I am humbled. Mountains bring peace to my mind.
Squeezed between the sea and the Western Ghats, I see mountains every day. And every time I have to go from Western side of Mumbai to Eastern side of Mumbai, I have to circumnavigate a small range of mountains. They become green and alive during the monsoons with waterfalls. A bus ride through this region is mesmerizing during the monsoons. I have also experienced the monsoon when traveling via the Konkan Railway which passes through the Western Ghats on the western coastal borders of India. It is an incredible journey through tunnels, bridges and vast canvases of waterfalls and mountains.
“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary
My next wish is to see the Himalayas and Mount Everest in particular. Looming at 8848 meters tall, its peaks are perpetually snow-capped. I can only imagine standing there in awe. I would like to climb it or atleast see it. But before wishing or dreaming for it, I have my own personal Mount Everest to conquer.
First is health. The arduous 14-15 days trek to the Everest Base Camp needs a healthy body and a strong mind. 7-8 hours of walking through adverse climate is not easy. My friends who have been there tell me that for reaching the Everest Base Camp, one has to overcome personal, mental and physical limits. I am not sure my physical health can sustain the arduous climb. Years of sitting in front of the laptop has not really helped my health. The next is to get my family to agree to let me go.
Last year I had climbed to the top of Pratapgad fort which itself was difficult and exhilarating at the same time. But there were steps and a clear path to reach the top. And the year before that, I had climbed the hills of Ponmudi in Kerala. Another easy climb with the weather being so pleasant and the climb at a steady slope. But it still put me out of breath by the time I reached the top. Looking down at the spectacular view was the best reward. We could see clouds floating below.
My personal mountain to overcome is to get more self-confidence and a healthier body.
A non-fiction book is perceived as boring, just facts explained in a dry manner. So, I was not sure what I had signed for when I agreed to review ‘Kissing the Demons’ by Amrita Kumar. It is a self help book for Creative Writing. Its directly mentioned in the tagline as ‘The Creative Writer’s Handbook’. It pulled me in with its first two lines. I instinctively knew I would love this book. Here are it’s first two lines.
Among all the miseries heaped upon my generation was a fat squat book with a shiny red faux leather cover titled High School English Grammar and Composition. It was the stuff of nightmares and it was authored by two men, Wren and Martin, who for some inexplicable reason I imagined as Laurel and Hardy with bowler hats and walking sticks.
During my school days, I did not own one while our English teacher used to spew the virtues of the book. I borrowed it for a few days from a friend to understand what it is. A decade or so later, as soon as my son reached school, I promptly bought a Wren and Martin for him. Alas! it laid there unused for years till I gave it away to another child.
Women have always pulled down other women. Personally, never seen men do such things. The world would have been a much different place if we were more united and supportive of each other.
The lines below are from the book ‘Pyre’ from one of my favourite authors, Perumal Murugan. The hero, Kumaresan elopes with Saroja and has an inter-caste marriage. A newly married couple full of dreams and love go to live in Kumaresan’s village. But Kumaresan’s old mother Marayi is not happy about it. First, it is an inter-caste marriage, second she is from a city and doesn’t understand village life of farming and third, there was no dowry. Marayi feels Saroja is as useless as a pretty picture hanging on a wall. She is just good to look at.
One of the visiting women gossiped, ‘As soon as he got a wife, he made an enclosure for her to bathe in. All these days, he had a mother. She never got a private spot like this.’
‘Can a mother and wife ever be equal?’ retorted another woman.
The book is translated from Tamil (Tamizh) by Aniruddhan Vasudevan. He had also translated Perumal’s award-winning book Madhurobaagaan into English. Perumal’s writing is rich with regional accents and simple in its narration but complex in highlighting the nuances of mundane lives. Have you read his books?