When it rains…

The rains took us all by surprise. Wilting under the hottest summer in 40 years, even the promise of rain in the overcast skies failed to kindle hope in our hearts.

4pm. My colleagues and I had just stepped out of our building and were headed towards the mess when the first droplets fell.

Hesitant hope lit up faces.

Within minutes the downpour had started and I ran out to the balcony to soak in the summer rains.

I breathed in the cold, wet breeze ravenously.

The freshness and lush greenery around embraced my spirit as it cavorted carefree in the rains leaving behind a yearning body.

I don’t know if it’s just me but rains have this uncanny habit or rather way of unravelling knots and thoughts.

flower in water

A surge of joy that bursts forth from my being gets stuck in my throat. The smile that had just begun to blossom stops, almost as if my lips had begun to forget how to smile.

My family’s face comes to my mind. The lump in my throat melts. I shed a few silent tears.

Have you ever felt guilt gnaw your innards just after a smile or laugh?

Trust me, you are lucky if you haven’t. It leaves your heart aching like nothing else ever can.

I have had to face that feeling now, and once before when owing to situations beyond my control, my younger brother had to sit at home while I attended school.

This generally happens when you, I guess, do not just ‘understand’ the pain of a loved one but when you ‘feel’ it like you are not a separate human being but one and the same.

I was in 10th Std. An entire year I spent silent, brooding in school despite the fact that I had a round me amazing classmates and an even better class teacher.

The reason was simple. Everytime something made me smile or say burst out laughing, I was reminded of my dear brother who was stuck at home with nothing to do, hurt, frustrated and in pain.

It hurt me like nothing ever had or could. It was that one year that, in many senses, destroyed the relationship I had with my brother. I guess in many senses I was selfish.

And now, yet again I have that feeling haunt my innards. I am unable to be happy knowing full well how I have hurt my loved ones.

Much as I know I should embrace the moment and take life as it comes, deep down it hurts so much that times I get choked.

Whether I chose to stand by my family or with my love, I would be selfish.

Either way I will get judged. Either way I will become the one who causes pain. Either way I will feel pain.

If I were my best friend what advice would I give myself?

“Listen to your heart my girl… Listen to your heart.”

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A Dream Come True…

8:45 in the morning. With barely 30 minutes to go, the seminar hall looks like a disturbed hive.

“Is the tea for our guests ready?”
“Problem. The third mike is not working.”
“Should we put the banner up on the right or the left?”
“Who has gone to get the bouquets?”

The air sizzles with excitement, anxiety and tension.

“It’s 9:00.a.m. girls! 10 minutes to go before Sir turns up!” shouts one of my friends as she rushes in with the bouquets. I turn to Greeshma in desperation, “My ‘Vote of Thanks’, I’m stuck up…”

“Yikes! Did you hear a horn? Is that him?”

Heartbeats get racing as the clock ticks.

Waiting.

“There they are!!!” A girl dashes to the hall to alert the others as a white Ford Fiesta pulls in.

Mr. Sabin Iqbal, Editor, Yentha.com, Ms. Cris Seetha, Chief Reporter, yentha.com, and Mr. Shyam Nath, Reporter, yentha.com, our special guests for the day pour out from the car along with sir. Their warm smiles scrape away a crumb of the tension in our hearts.

They are escorted to the principal’s office and served tea while the last minute touch up is done at the venue.

9:55.a.m. 5 minutes to showtime. Everything is set and everyone is ready. I look around. Excitement and tension jostle for space in each eye.

The programme starts, the guests are welcomed and the presidential address delivered. This is it. What we have all been waiting for. Mr. Sabin Iqbal will now speak to us on the topic, ‘Method In Madness-Blending of Passion and Skill in Writing’.

Our tension broke away in huge chunks when sir started to speak. Extremely free, cheerful and friendly in his approach, we were immediately put at ease. Each word dripped with passion and sincerity as it travelled from his heart to ours digging deeper each time it struck. Every word inspired. The tips and ideas offered were devoured hungrily.

Unfortunately for us, Time was in a hurry. We were forced to wind up the session and break up for tea.

The 15 minutes that followed was filled with the thrilled chatter of a bunch of inspired and overjoyed girls. Excitement ruled every sparkling eye.

Tea done, Cris Seetha, Shyam Nath and Sabin Sir joined us for an interactive session. With the informal seating arrangements and the friendly, cheerful manner of our guests, all of us loosened up and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Each of the questions and doubts that popped up from amidst the students were cleared enthusiastically. The session proved to be a learning experience for us.

“Why did we get so tense before they came? They are such friendly people. I thought they’d be scary”, said one of our friends as we bade goodbye to our new found acquaintances. For us the programme started with Mr. Sabin Iqbal, Ms. Cris Seetha and Mr. Shyam Nath and ended with Sabin Sir, Cris and Shyam.

The main aspect about our guests that shone brightly was the fact that each of their lives is driven by passion.

Be it the passionate writer in Sabin Sir , the socially committed Cris or Shyam with a nose for news, each of them are passionate about what they pursue in life. I guess that’s what makes life worth living.

Each of us took home memories of a very enriching, entertaining, informative day. A day that has left indelible impressions on our hearts…

We are grateful to our guests for sparing their time for us. But the biggest THANK YOU goes to our teacher, Manu sir for making it happen.

Thank you sir!

(P.S. This post was penned nearly 5 years ago 😛  It’s based on a session the Writer’s Forum functioning in my college hosted.)

Joanahs

Ever had Joanahs in your life?

I don’t know about you but I sure as hell have had them at every stage of my life right from when I was a toddler.

You know the breed!

The ones who are perfection personified. Pretty, popular, studios, pet of the teachers, sports star, singer, dancer, artist all rolled into one single human being!

I mean how is that even possible?! How can anyone be so good? Flawless?

“Look at Joanah. She’s so good at studies!”

“Why can’t you dress like Joanah?”

“Why don’t you go to the same place where Joanah gets her hair cut or clothes tailored?”

“Joanah sings so beautifully! Can you sing anything close to that?!”

“Joanah is so pretty.”

“Why cant you be mature and responsible like Joanah?”

“Look at Joanah’s dress sense. She’s got such good taste. You are so boring.”

“Why are you so serious? Look at Joanah. She’s so funny that when talking with her, time flies!”

Joanah. Joanah. Joanah. Joanah!

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It is not a single person. Rather, an entire breed.

From my class captain in first grade whom the teachers used to dote on, the singer girl, Naina, my Dad used to dote, Tina whom my mother and brothers dote, Akshaya, Neethu, Ammu, Vidhya, Remya…. The list goes on.

I know it is horrible of me to be thinking this way but quite honestly, I hate every single one of them.

The poor souls are obviously blissfully unaware of the angst they cause me when every single time someone I value compares me with them. Every comparison hurled my way makes me feel so inadequate. Worthless.

I am fully aware that the fault lies with me and not with any of these “Joanahs” but I really really really do hate every single one of them. O.K, maybe I don’t but it hurts nevertheless.

Please, I beg you!

stubborn girl

If you are a parent or a teacher, I beg you, please do not, under any circumstances compare your child to the others around them. Appreciate and nurture their talents and dreams as best as you can. If that’s too hard, remain silent but please do not compare your child to another.

The scars left behind on their tender hearts can last a lifetime.

I should now.

Joanah still haunts me.

 

When it rains kindness…- Ten Things Of Thankful:16

A good friend once told me that it is during the worst of times that we should be dead bent on digging out that silver lining. So here I go… silver lines dug out from the throes of emotional times.

Ten Things Of Thankful:16

Sun-through-the-Rain

Love. What is it really?

Even as I stand at the doorstep of a marriage fought for in the name of Love, I honestly have no idea what it is.

All that I do know is that I have met a man who is willing to stand by my side through the worst of times. A man who, when faced with the nasty, ugly bits of my character, chose not to run away but rather put up with me while silently but steadily stealing his way into my heart and smoothening out the rough edges. A man who fills my heart with this inexplicable urge to live my life to its fullest. A man who has made me his topmost priority ever since the first day our paths crossed. A man who has poured so much of his sincerity and heart into protecting me, nurturing me and making me happy that it hurts to think of not having him by my side always. A man who has re-ignited my passion to live, to dream. A man who has such goodness in his heart that at times I am ashamed at my own selfishness.

I do not know what Love is but I do know that his smiling, happy face means everything to me and I want to spend the rest of my life by his side to make sure that it never fades.

Thank you… for everything… 🙂

Quotes-smile-cute-photography-happiness-Quotes

Family, as anyone who has ever stumbled into Iliria will realize, is my Everything. Life without them is more like food without salt. Right now not being on good terms with them I am unable to share my life with my Mother the way I used to. No more long calls at night bursting with stories to tell her, no more nothing. How do I find myself a silver lining in this scenario…?

Well, for one, they have accepted my decision halfway through and that I am sure is a huge step towards making it up to them for taking a stance against their wishes.

I am glad I have them and love each of them very very much.

Thank you for this blessing you have sent my way… Please do bestow upon me the strength to make sure our bonds never get broken, stretched as they may be…

Thank you… 🙂

Y’know, it’s really weird how at times the most unlikely people tend to touch the hidden chords of your heart. Sometimes kindness dribbles through from the most unexpected quarters.

Of late as I stumble through the dark corridors of my life at present it is two people who have stood by my side showering kindness on me and filling my heart with the strength it needs.

The first is someone who was once a stranger from Indiana 🙂

Grandpa, Thank you… You have NO IDEA how much you mean to me. I often wonder as to what quirk of coincidence it is that made our paths in life cross.

Whatever may be the reason behind it, I am glad.

I am happy we “met”.

Thank you… 🙂

The second is a colleague of mine. The only one before whom I have shed tears.

She doesn’t know it but I have never held the hand of a friend or let anyone comfort me when lost. I have never let myself become emotional or vulnerable before anyone (except of course my man). When I cry, I cry alone behind shut doors.

You have no idea how much your words of comfort mean to me. I know I may not mean much to you but I want you to know that when I address you as my elder sister, I mean it. You mean that much to me. I will never forget the kindness you have bestowed upon me ever since we met. You have goodness in your heart, treasure it… 🙂

Thank you for everything dear chechi 🙂

Anyone who has followed my TTOTs will know how I have quite often forgone dinner owing to lack of means. Well, the good news is, ever since I met my Mr. Right, he has not let me go to bed hungry. And trust me, I sure as hell am grateful for that!

Thank you! 🙂

I know it won’t make much sense to say this but when I come to think of it, I have had much more experiences in my life over the last 10 months than I have had in the last 23years!

I have travelled a lot more, made quite a few good friends, seen more places than I have all my life so far, been able to buy the things I have always wanted to buy my mother, and strike off quite a few things from my bucket list. Time I made a new one I think 😉

Thank you… 🙂

My brother recently made my boss intervene in my issue and asked him to talk me into changing my mind. Unfortunately for my family, the tables turned right against them and right now, thanks to that one move from my brother, things have gone way out of our control and speeded up way beyond my control. I am in fact overwhelmed by the regard everyone is showering on the two of us. I never expected such support from so many quarters. The funny thing is my family, whom I expected would be the only ones to support me, is the only ones who don’t support our union (they haven’t met or spoken to him yet).

On a positive note, I do have people who are being unbelievably and unexpectedly kind to us and I am grateful for every bit of it!

Thank you… 🙂
Yesterday when I mentioned to my friend that a wedding is looming large on the horizon, he told me that he is just a phone call away and that if I am in need of anything he’ll be there for me. For a person with a miniscule social circle it meant a lot to hear that. The fact that I am at the moment emotionally fragile since I do not have my family for support and am pretty much alone in life made his words even more meaningful.

Thank you… 🙂

I had a long conversation with my Mr. Right this morning. I just love the way he takes the time and effort to sort out issues and put my mind at rest even when he is burning within. He is such a darling despite the fact that I am such a complete bitch! Really, what did I do to deserve a guy like him?!

🙂 🙂

Thank you…!

yay!

My roomate’s elder sister has given birth to a healthy baby boy!! 🙂 🙂

May God Bless the dear child! 🙂 🙂

Life is good. You just have to learn to see the good and make a habit out of it I guess. Happiness doesn’t happen. It is a choice.

Good day to you! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An interview with Thai dancer Sarjnya Emradee that got published in BrandKerala… It is the first ever time that I am getting to see my name in print.I have done feature stories before but since they were all online writing I have never gotten a by line.

This is the first and it sure as hell feels AMAZING!!! 🙂 🙂

Here’s the story…

 

Articles

 

 

 

From Thailand with Passion

When the Eyes Spoke…

(A write up from 2011…)

A fine breezy evening. The light blue sky is furrowed with wispy bands of cottony white clouds. Sweet birdsong punctuates the air. The soft breeze keeps beat with the Tamil film song I hum. Enjoying the pleasant calmness of the evening, I sort the laundry put out to dry. As I fold the dry clothes, I hear an awkward cawing overhead. Startled, my eyes flick up to see a slim black crow.

It stares back at me from its perch on a thin tree branch. Determination glistens in its beadlike eyes. It sits still and watches me. It sees that I mean no harm and swoops down onto the ground 10 feet away from me. It’s found something to eat. Content, it enjoys its meal while casting wary glances my way every five seconds. But something isn’t right.

I look at it again and notice that the bird hops on one leg. In the place of the second is a stump with remnants of what was once a leg.

Imagine the horror and pain the loss of a limb may have caused to the bird. I looked into its eyes again. The eyes spoke,”Time heals.”

Time heals all wounds.

The loss of a loved one, the pain of separation, rocky, rough terrain along the path of life, emotional whirlwinds, physical illnesses…..time heals all. When tragedy strikes, and your world shatters, know that it is not THE END.

Nothing. Nothing marks the end of your world except Death. If you let it, time can heal any injury the vicissitudes of life may inflict on you.

I summon my wandering thoughts back to the present. I look at the crow. Yes. There was unbearable pain and confusion when it lost its leg. But then, as long as you are alive, you have to live. Just as time goes on, so does life.

“Don’t give me that sorry look! It’s my life and I live it my way!”,cawed the crow as it tossed a glance at me before it took off into the vast skies.

Method in Madness- Blending of Passion and Skill in Writing

Nearly 6 years ago during my degree days a session was organised by the Writer Forum under the leadership of Mr. Manu Remakant, my teacher. The guest was Mr. Sabin Iqbal and here are some of the points I jotted down in my little diary back then. I stumbled upon them this morning and figured I’d share them with you.

The session was called- ‘Method in Madness- Blending of Passion and Skill in writing’. Here’s what he had to say…

  • Practice makes perfect
  • Keep a journal
  • Write everyday
  • Never quit no matter what

 

  • Weigh and value each of your words
  • Feel the words
  • Words can make or break a story so be sensitive to language

 

  • Be passionate about your writing
  • Passion is what ignites the power in your words

 

  • Read and Read
  • Observe and experience life
  • Bring in the magic of detail
  • Observe your surroundings
  • Experience life and develop empathy
  • Living out of the box makes your writing more diverse, heartfelt and believable
  • Develop your imagination

 

  • Stay motivated and be willing to grow
  • Set goals for yourself
  • Stay organized
  • A muddy thinker can never write good English

 

  • A happy blend of passion and skill makes an exceptional writer
  • Keep your feet rooted firmly on the ground. Do not let fame or fortune shift your focus.
  • Never write to impress others
  • Never exaggerate beyond a point

 

“Simple writing is the best and most difficult writing”

“Words first become your acquaintances, then friends, then slaves.”

 

Expect the Unexpected

A few years ago the superstar saturated waters of Malayalam cinema got a new lease of life. From around 50-60 films a year, film production increased to up to 120 per year. Film making donned new garbs with respect to styles of direction, scripting, acting, cinematography, music, editing, form and format. International styles and trends of film making joined hands with scripts deeply rooted in the Malayali psyche and life.

The Industry heaved a sigh of relief. New Wave Malayalam cinema was born.

Riding the crest of this revolution was a youngster who vanished from filmdom right after his not so successful first venture into the film industry, ‘Kaiyethum Doorath’, more than 7 years ago.

After a long hiatus, the youngster, Fahad Fazil strolled back on stage, stole the spotlight and with equal ease helped pen a new chapter in the history of Malayalam cinema. A bundle of surprises this young actor is!

Son of the renowned film maker, Fazil, Fahad is renowned as one of those rare artistes who ‘live’ their roles rather than perform them. It was with oodles of talent that the State Award winning actor won the hearts of the masses in his second innings in the industry.

With each of his performances Fahad has proved how the character portrayed is much more important than the actor. He played a key role in transforming the very concept of ‘heroes’ in the industry not only by making baldness a new style statement but also with the subtleties to the characters he has portrayed throughout his career.

The fact that such a realistic portrayal of characters that is starkly different from the larger than life concept of heroes prevalent until recent times won the hearts of the audience reflects the changing attitudes and preferences of the Malayalee audience.

Fahad who made a comeback into the industry with his role in Kerala Café established himself in the industry with his outstanding performance as Arjun, a character with grey shades, in ‘Chaappa Kurish’ which won him his first State Award. He was bestowed the State Award for Second Best Actor for both ‘Chaappa Kurish’ and ‘Akam’.

Fahad has been repeatedly noted for acting with his entire body rather than just his face. If for instance the manner in which he runs in the film Chaappa Kurish reflects the body language of a polished businessman, in ‘Indian Pranayakatha’ his mannerisms, body language and even the way in which he runs reflect the comical aspect of a typical politician. His stellar performances as Cyril C. Mathew a ruthless womaniser in ‘22 Female Kottayam’ and as Harikrishnan, a youngster grappling with a psychological disorder in ‘North 24 Kaatham’ are ideal examples that highlight the finesse of his acting.

The self centred, selfish painter, Micheal Agnelo in ‘Artist’, Jeevan Raj, the ruthless executive in ‘Immanuel’, Dr. Arun Kumar from ‘Diamond Necklace’, Shiva Das in ‘Bangalore Days’, the lover boy Solomon in ‘Amen’, Sreeni in ‘Akam’, Aloshy in ‘Iyobinte Pusthakam’, Rasool in ‘Annayum Rasoolum’, no two of the myriad characters played out by Fahad throughout his career can be compared with the other. Each is so wildly different that it doesn’t take a critic’s eye to note just how versatile the artiste is.

Though the recent flicks from the young actor, including his latest, ‘Monsoon Mangoes’, did not set the cash registers ringing, going by the quality of his work and dedication to his art, his upcoming film ‘Maheshinte Prathikaram’ releasing on February 5th definitely shows signs of the winds blowing favourably for Fahad. If anything it is sure to hold a few surprises. We’ll have to wait and watch wont we.

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So You Want To Be A Writer

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.
and there never was.

-Charles Bukowski