Category Archives: The making of Me

lost words

string of thought

“So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves. On rainy days, you can hear their chorus rushing past: IwasabeautifulgirlPleasedon’tgoItoobelievemybodyismadeofglass-I’veneverlovedanyoneIthinkofmyselfasfunnyForgiveme….

There was a time when it wasn’t uncommon to use a piece of string to guide words that otherwise might falter on the way to their destinations. Shy people carried a little bunch of string in their pockets, but people considered loudmouths had no less need for it, since those used to being overheard by everyone were often at a loss for how to make themselves heard by someone. The physical distance between two people using a string was often small; sometimes the smaller the distance, the greater the need for the string.

The practice of attaching cups to the ends of string came much later. Some say it is related to the irrepressible urge to press shells to our ears, to hear the still-surviving echo of the world’s first expression. Others say it was started by a man who held the end of a string that was unraveled across the ocean by a girl who left for America.

When the world grew bigger, and there wasn’t enough string to keep the things people wanted to say from disappearing into the vastness, the telephone was invented.

Sometimes no length of string is long enough to say the thing that needs to be said. In such cases all the string can do, in whatever its form, is conduct a person’s silence.”

― Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

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Part of me

art at brick lane

“Part of me is made of glass, and also, I love you.”

― Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

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Hand me your love

hands on face

White hands by Artist Thomas Saliot

“The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people’s hands, nothing we say now that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely.

During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between the gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making the sign for I love you or I feel serious. When a hand was used to shield one’s face when frightened by a loud noise something was being said, and when fingers were used to pick up what someone else had dropped something was being said; and even when the hands were at rest, that, too, was saying something. Naturally, there were misunderstandings. There were times when a finger might have been lifted to scratch a nose, and if casual eye contact was made with one’s lover just then, the lover might accidentally take it to be the gesture, not at all dissimilar, for Now I realize I was wrong to love you. These mistakes were heartbreaking. And yet, because people knew how easily they could happen, because they didn’t go round with the illusion that they understood perfectly the things other people said, they were used to interrupting each other to ask if they’d understood correctly. Sometimes these misunderstandings were even desirable, since they gave people a reason to say, Forgive me, I was only scratching my nose. Of course I know I’ve always been right to love you. Because of the frequency of these mistakes, over time the gesture for asking forgiveness evolved into the simplest form. Just to open your palm was to say: Forgive me.”

“If at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom you feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms – if you find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognize the foreignness of your own body – it’s because your hands remember a time when the division between mind and body, brain and heart, what’s inside and what’s outside, was so much less. It’s not that we’ve forgotten the language of gestures entirely. The habit of moving our hands while we speak is left over from it. Clapping, pointing, giving the thumbs-up, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it’s too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other’s bodies to make ourselves understood.”
Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

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Brain workout

doodle_cat_by_llyzabeth

doodlecat_by_llyzabeth-d37uana

Some days I write blog posts,

………and some days are spend

mulling over my artist friend’s vacant canvas

or another’s tea n tattoo fetish,

worry about the one who is stuck in training,

or the one who went trekking in the

heat of September.

 

don’t get me wrong, It is rather exciting to

have a brain workout with friends’ issues,

than my own, beaten twisted struggles.

 

This was a friendspiration week. No regrets!

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When will I be complete

Not anytime soon…..

once I have written more than a 100 pieces, and achieved my 10,000 hours of meaningful work,

And that would be the beginning of me, the moulding , the chiseling phase will then commence,

completion is not what I ask for, wrong question!

The Hand of God” marble sculpture, ca.1896 by Auguste Rodin

The Hand of God”
marble sculpture, ca.1896
by Auguste Rodin

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Post # 02-02-2016

This B’day afternoon I was laptopping  from my terrace in KL city. Most of the times I spend my birthday/s in some new city, new country , or back in the hometown for old times’ sake ( No, not splurging or such, occupational hazard is what keeps me from celebrating in the same place). Would love to celebrate my birthdays at places of my choice though. Ha, who wont?

terrace furniture

Besides my list of wanted gifts, and stuff, I also make it a point to start a new book, or a new idea on a fresh notebook, or both. This week on 02-02 I got handed over a script to work on. Cool. I also like to carry the work-in-progress, edit sheets or reading-in-progress around with me, what with wasted minutes on the road, and train, and cafes, waiting for people to be met. These days it seems I do it more, for the desperate fear of losing the thought process  ( lost in transit, or lost in translation, I encounter both) .

10 years back , during my corporate life, I used to read ( and carry around with me)  management related books, or self help. Once I have secured a latte and settled with the book, I don’t mind waiting anyways ; one time this  gentleman I had to meet with…..cant figure why i am reminiscing about these incidents from so long , but I am…..so here, me writing aloud!

Back to the gentleman who sent frantic apology messages for being 7 minutes late, arrives in haste, apologizes again, then smiled at my nonchalance and peered at the book in my hand, “reading?,   ‘First things, first’ eh?” Impressed or mocking, I couldn’t make out from his attitude, but I would like to assume he was impressed. Another time, I was engrossed-while-waiting in ‘ The 7 habits of highly successful people’. The person arrives and feigns courteous interest in the book. In my enthusiasm I start to sell , ‘ the 7 habits’ to my guest, till he gets exasperated and reveals, he hated self help books. All good, I don’t care what you like to read or not man, nor does Covey need my help for publicity.

Guess it is a good time to revisit my precious possessions.

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In praise of Henry Miller

Yet another inspiring writer I discovered is Henry Miller.

100212_robert-genn2_sm

Miller gave his fellow writers a set of commandments–eleven of them. Here they are:

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.

2. Start no more new books.

3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.

4. Work according to Program and not according to mood.

5. When you can’t create, you can work.

6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.

7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.

8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.

9. Discard the Program when you feel like it–go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.

10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.

11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

Ughhh, back to the discipline, that I have hated, and avoided for long. It is clear by now, there IS no other way. Well, 11 is  quite some, I am going to work on the list, in bits. Desperately trying to follow rule #10.

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Go Zen Yourself

Sometimes I surprise myself.

I am not a morning person. I love to work in the late hours, and at every opportunity that responsibilities permit, I sleep in. Aah, that is Zen for me. Anyhow, I happened to be early, and was fresh to be out as well. The morning light is inspiring.

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Is Nothing Sacred?

Rafiee Ghani oil on canvas 214 cm x 214 cm

Rafiee Ghani – Nothing is sacred
oil on canvas 214 cm x 214 cm

Today evening, I went to an art exhibition in KL, a solo by a Malay artist Rafiee Ghani. Raifee is an abstract painter, the solo exhibit is based on the theme Homeland that relates to the phenomenon of people/communities being uprooted owing to wars or calamities, who have to take refuge and find identity in new places. Vibrant colours on large canvases seem to be his style.

I spent sometime at the gallery, enjoying the big pieces of work, among other strangers , probably art lovers. The feeling is really good, KL is growing on me slowly, and I am finding peace here.  I was reading the titles of the works like , ‘ Yearning for home, No network, Peace below the red mountain’ , and ‘ Nothing is sacred’. It caught my eye, and memories rushed to a few years back when I had read Mr. Salman Rushdie’s essay/lecture –  Is Nothing sacred? Nostalgia struck . It’s so beautifully written, I came home and searched for it , read it all over again.

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An account of time

I am always concerned about my procrastination and time wasting — conditions that attack me at regular intervals. My mentor Robert advised me to follow a system that was devised by an artist Joe Blodgett, which he called ‘ the 14 golden stations’.  I quote here, ‘  It works this way: You need a clock or a watch with an hourly chime. On the hour changes — generally from 8am to 9pm — you make a one-word note in a journal accounting for what you catch yourself doing. For example yesterday mine looked like this: Walking, emailing, painting, painting, varnishing, driving, dreaming, planning, painting, painting, reading, snoozing, painting, painting.’ Word is there is an increasing number of Blodgettites around the world. It is good to face reality, and consciously account for the things we do.

Robert says , ‘ It’s definitely useful for accomplishment oriented self – starters who may be falling off the wagon. And when the “T” words like telephoning, TVing and talking show up regularly you may decide to make some changes.’ I am trying to do it, and would be open to revealing my list here, when there will be fewer entries that could be classified as dreaming.

Portrait of Emma Zorn oil on canvas by Anders Zorn (1860 – 1920)

Portrait of Emma Zorn
oil on canvas
by Anders Zorn (1860 – 1920)

 

“The way to foresee and control your future is to monitor and regulate your present.” (Joe Blodgett)

 

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