Friday, 21 July 2017

The need of introduction - writing nuances

There are several nuances about writing that often make the narration crisp and gripping. Like skipping too much details of a particular character unless it's deemed necessary. Also, the mention of festivals, colleges, certain countries and their tourist spots is usually expected to come and go as guest appearances. People really would prefer visiting to Paris and sit by its river Seine than reading about it between the pages for too long. The right usage of characters, little routine things that are easily relatable, imperfect characters, the unanticipated but apt twist, nagging neighbors...these and many more make the story free flowing. Reader should not feel he is being kept from divulging into the main plot. 

In short, writing is supposed to be more suggestive than descriptive. 

Prolonged formal introduction of characters too is being frowned upon. It gives more of a feeling of being told a story than feel the story. So it would be an added charm if you just put the characters on work and choose to introduce their life style, likes and dislikes, past experiences and future expectations, thought process and the rest as the story progresses on. This is actually a likable trait. It makes the story run on more efficient fuel. 

i am reading this novel written by a Canadian female writer. The book is quite fat but that did not stop me from borrowing it. It's crime thriller. So as i am divulging into the plot, i find too many characters ambling its corridors. A fat book cannot run on three or four characters, certainly. But there has to be a smooth transition between characters. The reader should not feel who's this and how come she came into the picture while the other lady was cleaning in the kitchen? sort of thing. Sometimes, introductions are needed. Once they are made even as a quick glance, that actually helps the story line. i am still reading my pick by the way and the more i am getting on further pages, the picture seems to get more entangled. It's a struggle to juggle between too many names too. Some of them are confusing. The one you thought is Erik turns out after two sentences is Erica. However, the story is now picking the pace. The mystery of letters and its sender is getting intense. So i have to make all the characters to sit around a big round table and then label them with their names to attain a better grip on the story. i have read fat books earlier but this one needs more attention. And probably brain nerves too.

If the writer had chosen to introduce the characters just in the beginning of their mornings, that'd have made the act of reading more pleasant. Sometimes, we need to have basics to be able to build a well grounded spiral staircase, to get around the story without any map or fuss.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

You can be more.

Before you read on, i'd request you to watch this video first.



Today when i logged into my FB, i saw this video. i never used to watch videos but since i have been growing little mushrooms of patience in the garden of stability or maturity or whatever, i decided to watch it. It was shared by my niece (a relative) and the caption added to the video was attention-pulling. So i watched and my niece was right in her description, that she is an inspiration to many.

She is Mandy Harvey, a participant of AGT 2017 and now a pop singer and songwriter. She is deaf. It's hard to believe for the kind of song she has created by herself titled as Try. It's a wonderfully written song, has got depth into it and sincerely speaks of a soul that never wanted a sickness but wanted only to lead another life, the one according to desires and plannings. Still, here she is! Giving tours for her music, meeting people in hospitals, gathering love and support from all over, and doing things that can lay out strength and inspiration. 

i remember when i had finished watching it. The first thought brewed was - she could have given up. She could have chosen to give in to her inescapable and incurable sickness and could have become a sadness or at times, an embarrassment to her parents. One can easily imagine a set of parents intently watching their deaf daughter and taking pity on her. They probably would have to face communication issues or the girl may not be willing to go out in public since she needs sign language to understand others. Yet...yet. she. did. not. give. up. Had she not accepted her fate, she would never have moved on from the tragedy and participated in a show as opulent as AGT. 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The power of acceptance.

After thinking for ten consecutive minutes, i don't know how to start today. So let's just begin with me saying - i am a dreamer. i believe in dreams. And with dreams this time, i mean the ones that come during sleep time.

So last night i dreamed i have dandruff in my hair. i was combing and appalled to see the heap of dust continued to gather on the floor. i was worried, of course as i don't have dandruff. i was thinking how much dandruff do i have? It's horrible! 

Then i woke up. The dream continued to haunt me. i don't have dandruff but since i believe that certain dreams choose a way to tell the dreamer a specific something, to indicate a meaning in particular, i tapped on my favorite dream app that i have been using since a long time and had it downloaded on my mobile a couple of days back. And i was right. The dream did symbolize something that i could relate so damn well. And no. It did not say i may have dandruff. So i am a dreamer and a believer. 

Stress, load, worries...these actually say that your life is going well. After all, what it would be like if none of these were there? You can not possibly stay happy and positive all the time, can you? You have to have the gravity pulling you down at times. That's only fair being human (and) wise. But when one of these gets too much, you just fail to think or start over-thinking and don't know what to do, what possibly can be done to change what's gone and what's done. Things can be so confusing and the mixed bag of emotions can be too consuming at the moment. The load wasn't too much initially but somehow you got successful turning it into an over-load.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The best seller day

i am supposed to be fast asleep at this time, you know. This whole week has been cruel on me, never sparing a minute extra of morning time. Every damn single morning my alarm had gone off either at 5.00 or 5.45 however i am perfectly okay to abide by responsibilities though i feel one lazy morning could have been a blessing. An extra hour or two of rejuvenation or mind spa or the state of both k/as Nirvana would be highly appreciated.

Today too was spent as if it was a best seller book and the reader was trying to finish it earnestly. Sometimes it comes as a wonder. You didn't get the chance to sit and write a single word (except this post), didn't pick the Guitar (except for in the class) and it was not even the book club day and still...you lie down at the end of the day and think - Where did all the time go? i had thought of reading the newspaper, start a new book on Kindle, had decided to learn a few new tough songs on Guitar, have a stress free walk but... What an amazing day it had been because none of it came close to touch even the hemline of the possibility. i stared at the ceiling and could not find the answer. Not that i was looking for it there. But the saving grace is, that a few other important tasks got to see the light of completion. So i will snooze on it for the sake of my peace of mind.

Today i ran a bit late into my Guitar class. It was almost half n hour late. Though i was speeding yet could not put a pin on time. As i got out of my car, a little girl greeted me with 'Hi, Priyanka Aunty!' i turned and although i was late already, i decided to have a 2 minutes chit chat with her. Truly speaking, i was surprised she remembered me. i can be such horrible experience to people to be remembered, you see. i asked about her Bharatnatyam class and she said she left it. i asked Why and she said, she did not like it. She had now joined Music class i.e. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa one. Co-incidentally, her name is also Priyanka. So we are basically namesake. i talked to her for 2-3 minutes and i could feel the genuine connection made out of, if i recall correctly, some time spent together in my Guitar class the previous year. i remember reaching to my Guitar class one day only to find myself the first one of the group to arrive. there were a few little girls sitting there. They were looking more curiously at my red and black Guitar than at me. i had allowed them to touch it. They were hesitant but took the full benefit of the opportunity. They had touched the strings, strummed it naively. One of them had even asked to hold it. How could i deny a kid holding my Guitar? i told them to handle it nicely though. And they had found such delight in touching the instrument and getting a hold on it. It's hard to forget.

Priyanka, the little girl of today's 2 min conversation, was one of those girls. May be because of my kindness (??) and generosity (????), she remembers me still. i felt glad and then i said sorry and rushed to my class.

Now that i am writing all of it, it feels great to tell you. Those 2 minutes are the example of how an instrument, the music can bring people together; how you can be remembered fondly for doing a trivial thing that could possibly not possess much importance to you.

It's 11:08 now and with the absolute fascinating silence ambling around, i can hear the ticking of not one but two clocks, ticking individually at regular intervals, in a rhythmic pattern. Sometimes i stop and listen to them intently. Because i know, after some ticks, their ticking will find a sync and they will tick together. And when they do, i smile. It's a little but cute experience.

Two clocks finding sync with each other and then breaking the rhythm on their own. Time did not change its pace, batteries did not die, neither did the listener stopped paying attention yet those two different clocks ticked for one tiny fraction and then moved on. Rhythm between the two gets lost so easily, so quickly, as if they are not destined to face even a single sliver of agreement together.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

रात की क़ब्रगाह

यह स्याह सी काली रात 
किसी कब्र से कम नहीं 
साँसों का ही फरक है, दोस्त 
वरना मृत्यु से मुलाक़ात हर रोज़ होती। 

दिन भर चलते रहते पांवों की थकान 
कर्त्तव्यों की अनगिनत फेहरिस्त 
दूर हो जाती है, ग़ुम सी कहीं चली जाती है 
बिस्तर की कब्रगाह में जब आँखें मूंद सी जाती हैं। 

बंद आखों के पीछे कौन जाने क्या देखता है 
कौन सी सुनहरी दुनिया छिपी है,
मुर्दों से कभी बयां ना हो सका  
और इंसानों को भला नींद ही कहाँ आती है!

दुश्चिंताओं का भंवर, आने वाले कल की फ़िकर 
लिपटे हुए से हैं ये साये बदन पे, 
मोती सी सफ़ेद हो या रात सी काली घनी 
बीते वक़्त की अग्नि में सांसें यूँ ही जलती रहीं। 

फिर भी, कहीं तो दीवार है कफ़न की गहराई 
और जीवन की सच्चाई में,
कुछ तो पर्दा है राख़ की रोशनाई,
और नयी सुबह की दस्तक़ में 
जाने क्यों लगता है जाने वाला ही खुशनसीब है 
आँखें जो नहीं खुलतीं फिर से इसी दुनिया 
की दहलीज़ पे। 

- प्रियंका बरनवाल 


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The guy at the till

So this evening i finally stopped working everything else and started my car. The grocery shopping had turned from a necessity to a big urgency. Fridge was gone all empty. When i reached to my usual grocery store which houses everything, starting from fruits and veggies to cosmetics and biscuits, i found some of the things i needed was out of stock. Finally when i made it to the till, i found there was a guy about 5.8" tall, fair complexion, dressed as a corporate. He looked exhausted but still manageable in public. While my trolley was filled with fruits, veggies, milk and egg cartons etc., his' was empty. In fact, he didn't have any trolley with him. He just placed four packets of ready made parathas (Indian breads) on the till and took it away once the billing was done. It wasn't hard to guess he either lives alone or his wife is out of station and he does not know how to cook, if he is married at all.

i usually don't pay this much attention to the people before me standing and waiting by the tills. i just focus on my trolley and that's pretty much i do while waiting for my turn but this guy today actually had my fleeting attention. Somewhere i felt bad for him for he can't afford home made food and has to rely on preservatives infused market based items. You could totally feel he was hungry and the moment he'd reach to his apartment, he would tear open the packet, take out parathas and heat it on the tava for a minute (as per the directions written on the pack) and then have it with probably market based just-heat-it-in-the-oven sabjis (MTR range types) while watching television or something on mobile. i'd rather prefer while reading a book. The latter is better and makes me happier. Anyone with a book looks good, after all. i felt bad for him, and also thought, it;d be so great if men learned cooking. This way, they would not have to rely on Maggi or such ready made staples. My father and brother both do not know how to cook but since we have been living in a joint family since the beginning, there is always someone who knows how to turn on the stove knob and make tea. Neither of them had to bother about cooking even for a single meal at any day. They get lucky in the department.

i think men should cook, or at least, learn to cook. It makes life so much easier. i am not judging that guy on the till but the moment has just evoked a sentiment, an understanding towards men species. If they know how to cook, 4 things will happen:

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Going back to the roots/my latest Guitar performance

In this era of fast developing technology and the desperation of creating ways for better communication, human kind has sure come a long way. i hold my new phone with these amazing features and solid infra structure built within, it feels like i have taken a big leap. Talking about its 6 GB RAM and 64 GB memory, it simply sweeps me off my feet. i know. There are much bigger inventions being done these days but i am sticking to a simple example. Because humans may have evolved drastically but it only understands simple things said in a simple language.

Having said that, my friend with that frown on your face, i intend to share a very simple thought. Often i feel like going to places alone and sit there and write, just write, and play my Guitar. When i see those beautiful HD wallpapers of nature's beauty, i tempt to enter directly into the screen, in those stunning landscapes and stay there. Here i am talking as a writer and a musician. As an artist. To live your art, you have to stay aloof in order to find more of yourself, to discover more of your abilities, to unchain inhibitions. i often hear people saying how much they could just use a sight of their old home or grand mother. Some even say they'd give anything to be a child once again and play with marbles and wooden sticks with friends. i often wish to lie under the sheet of a perfectly starlit sky and gaze at it for as long as it is possible. A cup of chai, old books and photo albums, clear blue sky, music, the sound of ocean waves making way through the hotel room, the creaking of shoes made when embarking a boat, homemade food, ink pens, handwritten letters, fancy lanterns, trips to village, dairy farm, and places with the abundance of nature beauty, mutkas (earthen pots used to store water), planetariums, gardens...all these say that no matter where we go, we will always come to our roots, the place from where we started.

During the recent trip to Yercaud, a place laden heavily with nature and its serene beauty, i told my husband that despite of the length and magnitude of latest technology and discoveries, we human will always go back to our roots. In fact, we are creating new inventions just so that we can go back where we belong. He asked and i explained. And it's true! i have never ever heard anyone wishing to lie down under a sky made of tweets and FB posts. No one has ever committed that they'd like to have gadgets and new cars as their family and friends. i'd never prefer drones and satellites over fireflies and butterflies. i would never want to keep staring at the highest building (Burj Khalifa it is, as far as my knowledge takes me) forever. Would you like to? 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Ghost Knowledge

Kids can be teachers too, if you stay with them long enough. i run a book club at my home where kids read, have some snack, and where each session ends with the amalgamation of some cool activities such as learning new words, talking about the various aspects of the monthly theme (club has a theme to run on every month), kids get to hold the dais and speak on the given Q.. discussions and so on. It's a wonderful alliance, me with kids. 

This month's theme is - Hindi hain hum... (हिंदी हैं हम...). This encapsulates a comprehensive knowledge of the language. Kids can be well verse in speaking Hindi but not so much when it comes to read or teach the same. Kids at my club today picked up a Hindi book and started reading. To ensure maximum and real learning, i asked them to help each other whenever a Hindi world troubled them. This way, they can easily work on their vocabulary as well as know how to lean on peers for help. i was also there but i allowed kids to help one another. That was an interesting watch. 

When i started asking word meanings from their chosen books, i saw how kids could be so confident even about the wrong knowledge. i asked my kid the meaning of हाज़िर and he said - सलामती - meaning - well being. i said no but he was so sure of his vocabulary. हाज़िर means to come upfront, to come as demand, or- पेश होना/सामने आना. i told my kid the real meaning and he accepted it but the confident in him was impressive! i choose to call such knowledge 'Ghost Knowledge', where you think you are absolutely correct about something while you can be so stunningly wrong! 

If you look at the larger picture, we as well live in with ghost knowledge. What you think is clear becomes a confusion later on; what you take as a big achievement may turn into the size of a grain in front of a bigger goal; what you think is failure can be the door to a new opportunity. White is exactly not a single color but a rationale mixture of many. Tomato is a fruit but many think it as a vegetable. Neil Armstrong is the first human ever to set foot on the moon but facts can betray your knowledge totally. Conspiracy theories are good example to bust ghost knowledge. But not always we have a mentor sitting in front of us doing the meticulous corrections. Sometimes we have to live with our share of ghost knowledge, with or without knowing. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The day with no past and future/13 minutes

Me: i am happy!!

Life: Lol! One sec.

Sounds familiar? Well, i hope not.

What else to write? i have just begun and i am clueless. i peer out, at the dark night, the glowing lights of the houses; i hear the water purifier running its course, i hear running fans, meant to comfort; except for all these muffled noises, the house is so utterly damn silent. i accidentally watched a second long clip of a horror video today on FB and now i am scared! Even though i did stop the video and turned off the sound immediately yet One Second was enough! i wonder. One Second. How it can have such huge effect on someone. Now i am not sure whether i'd be able to sleep tonight. i simply don't wish the horror lady shouting from above the wardrobe be welcomed in my dream.

On more serious note, no one knows the future. No one understands the past. What remains to juggle with is - the present. i was on my swing this morning, analyzing all three together. Would it be not cool if there was no past? Or, no future? Just the present to cherish and remember? We could die everyday, we could born everyday and live that One Day to its optimum potential? Imagine what it'd be like to be just a day old! The transformation from a baby to an old person would be quick, that's for sure. We could have the innocence of childhood as well as naivety of teenage. We could enjoy falling in love. There would be no time for heart-break.  Adulthood would not look too terrible as there would be no future to look at and hence, no worries for career or studies. Just hangin' out with friends and delicious dishes from Mom. Quickly, maturity would hit and we would want to go back to childhood. And guess what? The wish could be completed just the next day! That'd be incredible! And then would come the old age - bent backbone, weak knees, poor eye sight, no teeth - but then again, death would soon come and i hope it to be smooth and quick like other stages. Crack of dawn and bingo! We are born once again! 

i don't know about you but i am sort of enjoyin' this weird imagination. It has actually put on a smile on my face; something that i had forgotten today. Now i think i shouldn't have said happy. i should have stayed mute or better, should have said the opposite. What do you think life would have to say if i had uttered the opposite? Let's find out.

Me: i am not happy!!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Have a walk, have an idea.

You no need a KitKat to have a break. You no need a specific sim card to have an idea. Have a walk and you can have both of them.

This evening i thought to have a break (i sound as if i am the busiest person on earth, eh!) and go downstairs with my Kindle. Usually there are people strolling, talking, spending some quality evening time with neighborhood friends. It's not that i don't have a friend. i have. Many. But today i preferred the best one to be with. As i settled on the side pavement, i found it's actually tricky to read in public, when people are around. i needed some fresh air and a different ambiance. Walls of my home, i feel, have started to stare me back. A perfect revenge in exchange of doing the same with them. Anyway, i pulled the dose of my concentration high and once the world around was put on snooze, reading became better.

After about 45 mins of deep-Kindle diving, i took another break from the humming environment and went upstairs, on the terrace where peace was guaranteed. i read a few pages but stopped just at the beginning of the next chapter. i looked up, at the sky, those smoky clouds, the illuminating moon...you know the description of a cloudy evening. i got up and strolled for sometime and it was only somewhere between these steps, ruffled in the sheets of wind, carried along with invisible pollen grains that something struck me almost gently. It was the end for one of my stories. You really expected an author to stick to just one story at any given time? Authors are all the time on feet (in their head), on the constant hunt for more. When The End, the kind i wanted, was figured out, i actually smiled. i wasn't even thinking about that future story! It's basically in its first quarter stage. And then i had stopped thinking more about it. Somehow finding the perfect end was growing as elusive for me as finding Nemo for his parents. But now i have. My End. The End. And i am happy. Much like Nemo's parents when they found him.

i kept strolling nonetheless, processing just out of a brief walking, i got such nice idea. So wonderful! Nature is so inspiring sometimes! It gives you gifts out of nowhere, when you least expect it. Now i have a good reason to not to stare at my walls. Settlement of a peace treaty it is! 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The process called writing.

Assuming you too like to write, what'd be your answer if i ask - Why do you write? For me, i'll say - Because i don't know how to survive otherwise. 

That's not exaggeration and certainly not a lie. Not even an effort to rhyme the Q. and Ans. i really don't know how'd i manage living if i didn't know how to be expressive through words and symbols. It's just not my novels only where i write. There are several other platforms where i get the golden chance to express the desired. For example - my blogs, FB pages, poetry, occasional doodling, creating lay outs for each month for my book club, preparing speeches and award functions' content for my father (the ex-president of Rotary club). i prefer my WA statuses too to be creative. It's actually more of a boon than a curse being a writer. The natural ability makes you feel different, do things differently, think differently. That is why people often say - writers belong to a different world. 

There is also one more thing. Writers are basically the same, more or less. If you are a writer and interacting with one, it'll be like facing a mirror. A few virtues here a few loopholes there...it's all the same. Writing actually works as an equalizer. It exists regardless of age, gender, religion, color, species and even planets. If you belong to, say Jupiter or Neptune, you will still be a bit similar to the one existing on Earth. If you love to write, you just have to write. There is no other option, no other way out, no substitute. Sit and write. That's all it takes.

Writing is healing. How? i'll give you a literal example. Few days ago, in the newspaper there was a mention of one significant research in some different country. Research done on Cancer patients. In the first group, they allowed the patients to pen down their feelings and thoughts before the treatment while the second group was given no such chance. Later on, the first group responded better to the treatment and their healing sped up too! The second group? Well, i don't need to say much. They showed no such improvement in terms of faster response.

Monday, 3 July 2017

The night of passionate debate

There was a pleasant nip in the night air. In fact, it wasn't air at all! It was wind...chilly and crisp - typical Yercaud seasonal weather. We - me with my husband and a family of three (mother, father and the son) - were enjoying  the lit fire pit after sumptuous dinner at the hotel. They kept talking while i sat warming my hands around the fire, listening to them talking about data analysis, Bangalore in favor of analysts, doctors and their lives (both the parents were doctors) and many things. Since it was my first official fire pit experience in a traditional way, i chose silence and listened to others, rarely offering my comments. Such as when my husband said during some explanation that human beings are the most intelligent species on the earth. i interrupted and said, no. It's not true. We are not the most intelligent. A light discussion crackled on this and after searching, i found it's Dolphins. They are the most intelligent species. it was nice to have the complete knowledge. i fell silent again as the conversation picked up from where it was interrupted. 

Once again, somewhere in the discussion, my husband said (in order to explain a point) that, we are all leading to destruction. The online data getting collected on the daily basis is massive! And we humans are lagging way behind to tackle the number of problems. Our speed to finding solutions is way too low. This way, it can easily be said we are heading to destruction. (He said it in a harmless way and if you think data wise, he is right!)

Now when i am at home writing this blog post, i am thinking whether should i have shut up at that point and allowed the conversation to go on, because my interruption caused a diversion and a well dug one, i must tell you and continued until the night wore on, the fire in the pit was put off naturally. But since freedom of speech breaths in the air, i believe it was right to voice out my opinion and it was probably because of that we all five got interestingly engaged in a much stronger conversation.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Willy the Whale

Image result for free willy
It's Sunday, the holiday but i thought to settle down for work. Kid went out to play after watchin' his cartoon but before i could know, the remote was in my hand and there were channels getting flipped on the big black paneled screen called television. i was hopin' to catch on a good English movie. Adding to my luck, there was one - Free Willy. Never heard of it but goin' by the info, i decided to continue.

Free Willy is about a killer whale named as Willy (the hero for me) and a little boy named Jesse. Since i had missed out on the first 55 minutes, i could gather Jesse is a street kid and somehow got a hold on the captive Willy under his special boyish training. Willy follows his instructions. The Greedy People of the show tries to put a show of Willy with Jesse to earn fancy money but Willy couldn't perform. Jesse gets disappointed and is about to leave for some city when he realizes Greedy People have turned Wicked and are now planning to kill Willy. Jesse also learns that Willy wants to return to his family that lives on the other side of the ocean. Jesse, the boy now turned savior, with the help of Good People, finally manages the tough task despite of Greedy now turned Wicked People's tricks. Their crazy fight in the water gets worth if you see the last strike of Willy in order to get to the other side of the ocean, where his family awaits. It's worth a watch. My mouth fell open in a big O and these words slipped out on their own - That's just awesome! So you have to watch it to have my awesome enriched moment.

Do you know you tend to eat less during movies that present you The Thrill generously? Yeah, because you get busy in biting nails. You just can't move away from the screen or lose the sensation somewhere in the munching noise. Free Willy (a 1993 movie) is a thrilling watch.