Friday, July 29, 2011

Taking a break

My computer has given up the ghost, and I have limited access to the SRE's laptop.
We will also be away for a while. See you all after Independence Day.
Take care, and God bless.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Strange are the ways......

by which Providence ensures that you get what you need, even though it may not be what you think that you want.

I had been in Delhi a while ago. I had borrowed a book from my daughter to read on the flight, and had kept it in my suitcase, as I was going to buy a gift for my young nephew whom I would be seeing en route to the airport, and did not want to carry a book in my handbag while visiting a book shop. I also bought myself a few more books, and in the general confusion of leaving the House with the Three Dogs, all the books were packed into my suitcase, apart from what I'd bought for my nephew.

I thought I'd buy a book or magazine at the airport- I knew that the terminal had a good book shop, Odyssey, which was fairly well stocked. Unfortunately, it was no longer there- most of the shops in Terminal 1D, (apart from the many restaurants and food shops) had apparently packed up and moved to Terminal 3. Ah well, it wasn't the end of the world, I could survive for a few hours without something to read. But there in the corner of the building was a toy shop, which I decided to examine. A couple of shelves held some children's books, which I browsed through. And there was the treasure that had been waiting for me, something the very existence of which I was unaware of: Jaya Madhavan's "KABIR The Weaver-Poet." ( The following is from the Tulika website)



Rs 150.00 (within India)
US$ 9.50 (outside India)
English ISBN 81-8146-168-1

Mystic weaver, radical reformer, loved and hated equally in his time . . . the simple wisdom of his pithy couplets, the famous dohas, makes him one of the most frequently quoted poets even today. Yet Kabir the person remains an enigma.
This brilliant novel traces one day in Kabir’s life, from Daybreak through Midday to Nightfall. Threading fact, legend and poetry into a superbly structured narrative, it etches Kabir’s compelling persona against the backdrop of fifteenth century Banaras — a period that mirrors quite remarkably our own troubled times. Spare visuals before each section continue Kabir’s own favourite metaphor of weaving, a delicate tapestry of the city unravelling as the day progresses. Kabir the Weaver-Poet is a landmark in contemporary writing for young readers and old — thrilling yet gently emotive, incredibly blending high drama with the mesmerising calm of Kabir’s beliefs.

144 pages, 8.5" x 5.5", black and white, soft cover, for 12 years and above

I am so glad to have found and read this book- it is so simple and so profound, with an absolutely delightful narrative structure, and a compelling insight into Indian society, both that of a few hundred years ago, and of the present day. And of course it deals with Sant Kabir, whose timeless writings are as relevant today as they ever were.

This post was inspired by Peccavi, whose comment on the post 'Remembering Kabir in Istanbul' reminded me of this wonderful book.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Crossword Confusion

There are days when the mind boggles itself by its stupidity. In recent months, I'd found The Hindu crossword puzzle completely beyond me, and had given up on it. While reading the paper a couple of days ago, one clue seemed solvable, and was, and, to my great delight, I found that I could do about half of the puzzle. Next morning I was on a roll: I checked and completed the clues I couldn't do the previous day, and attacked the fresh crossword. (The SRE was travelling, so I had more morning time than usual). The maximum length of a word can be fifteen letters. One of the fifteen letter clues was 'quisling quality'. I knew immediately that it had to be 'treacherousness'- yes, it is fifteen letters, you can count them out! The trouble was that it wasn't fitting in its place in the grid.
I did many more words, but was left with a handful of unsolved clues, including this. I decided not to break my head over this and wait till the next morning's paper.

Can you guess why I couldn't fit it in? Because I was spelling the word as 'treachourousness'.
I wonder why the old brain was exhibiting such quisling qualities.
I didn't even think of checking the spelling in the dictionary. I am most annoyed at my treacherous brain. It needs a lot more exercise, methinks.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Remembering Kabir in Istanbul

On our way into the city from our hotel in Taksin, we'd pass Hotel Hansa, with white swans gracing the edifice.
This always brought to my mind this Kabir bhajan:

Ud Jayega Huns Akela, Jug Darshan Ka Mela

( The swan will fly away all alone, the world is just a fairground to observe)

It seemed particularly apt, even in purely worldly terms, for us wanderers far away from home, enjoying the sights and scenes of a country not ours.

Things I've Never been Able to Understand-VI

How can the SRE leave his battery operated toothbrush 'on' after using it?????
(How he obsesses about one particular model of battery operated toothbrush is another story altogether).
Methinks the bathroom challenges him in several ways.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pehlee Tareeq!

When I was a little kid, the first of every month meant listening to this song on Radio Ceylon early in the morning :
Din hai suhana , aaj pehli tareeq hai,
Khush hai zamaana, aaj pehli tareeq hai

( Such a beautiful day, it's the first of the month
Everyone is joyous, it's the first of the month).

The first of every month was meant to be pay day, a day of celebration and joy. In our credit card world, perhaps it doesn't mean so much. I do remember a time when my household was run on a shoe-string budget, and the prospect of the first of the month brought great joy to us all. The kids would get their pocket money, there would be enthusiastic grocery shopping, and careful planning for whatever occasions that particular month would hold.
The first of each month meant many things to many people.

For me, it remains a point of honour to pay whoever works for me, on the first of every month.
The first person to be paid is the car cleaner, who comes to our door to collect the car key.
I can be sleepy and absent minded early in the morning, but if I remember the date on the previous evening, I keep his money under the car key, all ready for the morning, and his delighted smile makes my day.

Around the first of every month is when I need to order our medicines for the month.
Groceries can be bought randomly, almost ad hoc, but I'm uncomfortable till I've sent the list of our prescription medicines to the chemist.

It's a day of new beginnings, one twelfth of a new year, perhaps, but, nonetheless, a day of newness and renewal.

This month I'll
walk more, eat less,
save more, spend less
swim more, read less.........

There will be some changes that you hope to make, and some that just end up as good resolutions.

Half of 2011 got over yesterday, people. A happy second half of 2011 to you all!

Tell me, what does the first of the month mean to you?