Monday, November 27, 2006


some lines i stumbled upon, from 'The Odyssey' by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald:

"now from his breast into his eyes the ache
of longing mounted, and he wept at last,
his dear wife, clear and faithful, in his arms,
longed for as the sunwarmed earth is longed for by a swimmer
spent in rough water where his ship went down
under Poseidon's blows, gale winds and tons of sea.
Few men can keep alive through a big surf
to crawl, clotted with brine, on kindly beaches
in joy, in joy, knowing the abyss behind:
and so she too rejoiced, her gaze upon her husband,
her white arms round him pressed as though forever."


and talking of swimmers, a holy bow to ian thorpe:

ian, i've admired your incredible will and talent for a while now. watching each of your specatcular races, i have been left spell-bound and inspired. now, as u ask yourself "am i only a swimmer?", i wish that you may find the answers that you seek. stay well.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

mommy madness

the stroller stands and calls your name. your winnie the pooh looks at me and winks. the bal-gopal crawls closer. and the teddy on your towel throws me a smile. yes i know there's still time. but as i tick the shopping list i really wonder if you think i'm going quite mad, for i can't think of anything else.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

a gift for gift. and driving solo is ok, but parking?

for giftofwings:
in return for, and a result of, your kindness - one of my MOST favourite songs.

this is the song.


i muster the courage to drive, ALL BY MYSELF, to a meeting that i have to go for. the venue is barely 10 min away. i get there without much hassle (well, the other drivers on the road may have been hassled by my erratic changes in speed, sudden braking, wrong indicators etc...but i manage to not let it bother me :)).

i get to the venue and start looking for parking, and there i see's a miracle! in 1 min flat, i find myself a space, and that too one that's actually large enough for the car. AND, there's no "no-parking sign". god loves me! i park purrrfectly, and my heart has stopped thumping and is now singing.

i walk with a spring in my stride towards the building for my meeting. i walk out after, the spring even bouncier thanks to a very satisfying exchange of ideas. and then i think, hmm...i have time. might as well do groceries. so i hop into the store 2 min away from where the car is parked. along with getting the mundane stuff, i treat myself to delicious dark chocolate to congratulate myself on my brilliant driving and parking.

i come out of the store, bouncing and singing, and take 3 steps towards the car, and oh...what's that?

a policeman.

hovering around a car which looks suspiciously like the one i arrived in. nah, can't be. of course it is. deep breath. the bounce and the stride have disappeared. but i confidently walk towards the car and unlock, pretending he doesn't exist.

he: "madame, c'est votre voiture?"
me: "oui", i smile.

and then it turns out that i have parked in a 'no parking' space. in fact, in the whole line of neatly parked cars, mine is the SOLE place that's off-limits for parking. god hates me, of course.

so i hand him my "permis de provisoire" and tell him sheepishly (in slow and inaccurate french) that this is the first time i have driven by myself, and i'm already in trouble. he nods, with barely a hint of a smile.

i dump the bags in the car and look for the car papers, which he has politely asked for. oh, they aren't in the glove compartment. umm..ok, where can they be? s is paranoid about this and will NOT drive without them. so maybe they are in the boot? i rummage through all the unnecessary stuff lying there..AAH, THIS is where my brown coat is! but nope, no papers. so i tell him i can't find them, and will call my husband who knows where they are. i make 2 calls to s. unsurprisingly, he doesn't pick up (can't remember the last time he picked up my 1st call). right, this is great. 3 urgent messages, 2 more calls, 1 voicemail, and about 10 minutes later, the status hasn't changed. so i decide to have a tete-a-tete with the policeman.

i tell him that s is in the netherlands and i have tried to reach him and he will call back soon. in the meantime, could he please explain why this is a no-parking, cos i really did think i was doing the right thing, and i wouldn't want to repeat the same mistake. he suddenly looks thrilled that some random woman has requested a share of his vast and important knowledge. can i see the yellow line on the ground along the edge of the kerb? it's only along the length of the parking space where i've parked. THAT means it's no parking. AH! of course! silly me. i stifle my spontaneous in the world is one supposed to see a yellow line on the RIGHT side of the road, on the ground, when u are in a left-hand drive car? it isn't even on eye-level! and then he asks me if it's a new car. he shoots a look of admiration towards the car, and then one that says "you SO don't deserve this", towards me. i silently reply with a look of hearty agreement, and he responds with one of genuine surprise. i agree i don't deserve this? he shakes his head. i look at my phone and silently curse s for not having called yet.

the policeman now tells me merrily that if i park like this during my practical exam, i will fail. thank you, like i didn't realise that already. and then he tells me that he was about to tow away my car, and getting it back along with the penalty for wrong parking would have cost me 150 euros. i'm genuinely horrified. i look at my phone again and ask him if he knows why husbands are so unreliable. he then just walks around the car, looks at his watch, and says that i can go. i'm amazed. i say "vraiment?? vous etes tres genteel!!!merci!". i ask him to wish me luck for furture parking. "bon chance", he smiles.

i get into the car, start the engine and s calls. i tell him crisis resolved. he asks me how. i say maybe god loves me after all :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

will, i know you
you do your own

when aligned
you liberate me
in absentia
a tiny step
a huge leap

i gently float
your shadow deep
a cool caress
your lullaby
merges me
with my own

will, i know you
you will be done
as i do my own

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

thank u kundalini for these lovely lines

"be still my soul
hold not a harp
of pitiful melody
you would have flown
a kite up on your own roof
but the roof is crowded
and kites and reels
come too dear
be still my soul
for you have no way of knowing
be still my soul
this be a call
of the real"

you wrote them months ago, but they just seemed to fit this mo for me.

(ps: i shamelessly hunted them down on your blog when you weren't looking :))

Monday, November 06, 2006


the beaux-arts in brussels is hosting an 'india festival', from oct 2006 to jan 2007. all sorts of, dance, films, literature, exhibitions. 3 months sounds like a LONG time for a festival, but most events are only on weekends, so actually it isn't as extensive as one may think.

so far, we have caught some really nice performances.

1. sanjeev abhyankar and pt. jasraj.
abhyankar, as i realised later, has sung some stuff that i had been listening to of late (the vir-rasa-shloka mentioned in the tag 2 posts ago). he charmed me instantly with his humility and constant smile, as much as he did with his music. he requested for some soft light to be thrown on the audience, so he could see our expressions and ensure that we "weren't falling aleep". and while the technician gaffed the lights for the next 10 minutes (first they didn't come on, then they were too bright, then they wouldnt go off), he at no point showed the slightest sign of frustration. he explained each song before starting it, which was particularly helpful for me. and i could tell that he enjoyed himself every moment as much as his audience.

am sure many of you have had the chance of watching jasraj. he is now almost 77, and still can be as impressive as 20 years ago. i don't really "understand" classical hindustani, but enjoy it from time to time. while i couldn't appreciate nuances, i was completely absorbed nevertheless. but, i must confess, i was disappointed in his manner. he entered the stage quite grandly, separately, after all other accompanists and singers were already seated (they had walked onto the stage together). he entered to a standing ovation, with his arms raised in blessing. dressed in orange silk dhoti and a prominent rudraksh and gold mala, he could have been a modern swami. i don't recall him in such an avataar, maybe the last time i watched him i was too young. after seating himself, a lady from the group picked up the mike and said, "panditji wants me to tell you...". that disappointed me further. why couldn't he just tell us himself! it all just seemed terribly lofty. of course, i forgot all this as soon as he started singing :)

2. trishul: martin speake, dharamveer singh and sarvar sabri.

a jazz-cum-classical band with the sax, sitar and tabla. they started off quite slow, i thought, but picked up soon and performed some really good compositions. in one piece, sabri played the ghatam, and it was truly refreshing to hear its sound along with the sax (this may not be a new thing for those of you steeped in music, but for me it was a first and i really liked it). it lasted barely an hour, and i wish it had been longer.

the opening act was a stunning dance dialogue between an odissi and a bharatnatyam dancer, madhavi mudgal and alarmel valli (i wrote a few words on this one a couple of posts ago). in addition, we watched a part of a kathakali performance by the kalamandalam group from kerala. this was my first experience with kathakali.

the entire performance lasted more than 4 hours, and the theme was 'scenes from the mahabharta'. we stepped in after the 1st half, and watched for about 1.5 hours. the first 20 minutes, i was completely lost. they had put up wide screens with some sub-titles in french and ducth, so that helped. but it took me a while to get used to the music (that specific drum they use). initially, i just took in stuff and tried to make sense of it. the 4 musicians were standing around the 2 kathakali dancers, quite a change from other sorts of dances where the musicians are seated to one side. the dress was more ostentatious than i had imagined, and the gestures were less grandiose and expansive than i had expected.

once i got accustomed to these things, the dance-drama became quite absorbing. it got easier to identify the characters the dancers were playing, when they changed and what they were trying to communicate. though i think it would have been impossible to make sense of it without the sub-titles. with time, i actually started enjoying it! we left soon after s nodded off to sleep in the audience :)

they staged lillette dubey's "sammy". i recently read "the life of mahatma gandhi" by louis fischer, and was looking forward to seeing the stage portrayal of the man. the conceptualisation of the play was rather unique in that they managed to maintain a chronology of events and exchanges even though the exchanges themselves could be seen as stories in themselves. joy sengupta was extremely convincing as gandhi, and i thought they depicted his personal struggles, strengths and weaknesses as well as is possible in 2 hours.

yet to come:
mallika sarabhai, chaurasia, asha bhonsle, gundechcha brothers, zakir hussein. don't know whether we wil be able to catch most of these, my baby may arrive before them!!