Friday, January 07, 2011

A Protest Of Romance


Other worldly, imaginative, creative, dreamy, faraway, lost…that’s a typical Cancer.
So what, if I am a cusp between Cancer and Leo? I have all the above Cancer traits.
And I have the Leo traits as well.
A combination of fire and water then?
Steam.
Fog. Mist. Dew. Haze. Cloud.
Romantic.
Yes. That’s who I am. A Romantic.

Sitting on a couch, eating my meal, walking in a park, ambling on the terrace, in a team meeting at work, travelling by bus, or whatever else I might be doing…
But lost in thought all the time. As if in a trance. Somewhat intoxicated.
Living in this world but not quite living here. Somewhat other worldly. Dreaming of a beautiful life. And why not? This world itself is a dream. Between the dream and a dream within a dream, who can tell which is more real?

Thinking and feeling.
And sometimes, Being.

Looking back with nostalgia.
Recreating the past in my mind, erasing a stroke there and dabbing some paint here, perfecting it. Dwelling; not on what was, but what should have been.

Finding music beyond noise.
Fragrance amidst stench.
Savouring sorrow.
Churning melancholy until philosophy gathers in a white lump.
Glaring at gloom until it burns under the fire of my gaze and from that fire is born a beautiful poignancy.
Poetry by the mountains and tears by the Ganges.

Refusing to be fooled by a coincidental arrangement of atoms that this whole world pretends to be and seeing the metaphysics in all of it.

In summary, protesting against the commonplace of life.

That defines my life.
And that defines me.

Keeping the charm alive, keeping the magic alive. Keeping hope alive.

The miasma of banality is always trying to close in. You have to emanate a mist of romance to thwart it. Otherwise, before long, you will end up becoming a coincidental arrangement of atoms. And nothing more.

One can find inspiration in the most banal of people, places, events and incidents, if one has the eyes to look beyond the gross, if one has the imagination to think beyond the obvious.

Everything I write here, in this space, is inspired. By the most commonplace of events.

An evening walk under a cloudy sky was not unusual.
But it inspired poetry in me.
So did the hurtful coldness of a friend.

Bollywood masala movies are most commonplace.
One of them showed me the wonderful possibility of living extraordinary lives, many of them, in a single lifetime, simply by stepping into the shoes of anyone you liked on screen and it made me appreciate why movie making is the greatest gift bestowed upon mankind.

A wailing aunt who never tires of her sob story is a nuisance.
She inspired me to attempt humour for the first time!

That ride in an auto-rickshaw at ten in the night through familiar roads was quotidian.
And there I saw, a girl of 16, myself, who had once walked those roads 10 years ago, and looking at the girl poignantly, I smiled at all those vicissitudes of destiny that were yet to disillusion that girl of free will.

A meeting over a cup of coffee, with a friend embittered by life was commonplace too.
However, it made me lament wilting flowers and made me observe how life strives to prove unworthy of all the hope and trust people have in it and how it hunts down, among all, those who have believed in it the most. I prayed that I may never tire of life.

Shifting from one house to another was commonplace.
This time, I experienced homecoming and in the event, I understood the necessity of every soul to come home to one’s culture after all the wanderings and ramblings.

A pair of oxen led by a mendicant collecting alms is a sight most people don’t even give a second glance.
I found myself overwhelmed as I thought of the greatness of the Hindu religion that teaches us to hold everything from mountains to rivers to animals in religious sanctity.

That violent outburst of a friend in a marketplace in Calcutta was ugly.
What came of it was a piece of writing illustrating the saying ‘life is a grindstone; whether it grinds you down or polishes you up depends on what you are made of’.

This blog itself was inspired by a conversation with a stranger over dinner.

Three years ago, when I started this blog, I did not choose the title after careful contemplation; I thought for a minute, I wasn’t sure; I said, ok, I’ll call it Narcissist. That’s it.
Sure, I love myself. More now than ever before.
But ‘Narcissist’ for a blog title? As if it represents me better than all else? Nah. There’s so much more to me.

So here I am, after a lot of dilly dallying, giving this space a name that best represents me and my journey so far.
A Protest of Romance. Against the Commonplace of Life.

If ever I write an autobiography, that is what it is going to be called: A Protest of Romance. Against the Commonplace of Life.
If ever I write an autobiography…

Until then...

Steam.
Fog. Mist. Dew. Haze. Cloud.
Of romance.
Dispelling the miasma of banality that this life strives to be.

14 comments:

lostinthewoods said...

Fabulous writing.

Thank you.

Rishi said...

Sowmya,

Brilliant post !!! Need to ask/comment many things somethings in context some out.
Very good name but then your posts are not always of protest they are also of conveying the romance which are not seen otherwise. May be you view it as protest.
What I have known you through your blog, you have never written facts about your life, but how you have seen, cherished and understood life. I don't know if that is called Autobiography.

Out of context wanted to ask how you go on enriching your vocabs and use it beautifully. There are many words here which are not commonly used and I didn't know the meaning either. So how you focus on learning new words is the precise question I have?

Lastly I had got used to the fact that this blog was called Narcissist :-). But then I believe it is a progressive change.

Rishi.

Sowmya said...

Hi Lostinthewoods,

Thanks for coming here and the nice words you have left me.
I did visit your blog.

There is so much that I would like to read.

You may expect comments from me :)

Rishi,

You are right about the observation that there is no protest. But I didnt want to change anything in this beatiful phrase by Somerset Maugham.

The best way to extend your vocabulary is to read, which I do everyday. As I read, I look up the dictionary for every word that I dont understand. I am not content with just the summary.

Also, clarity of mind is important. You have to be able to distinguish between one thought/feeling in your mind from another clearly - on shade from another. Only then, you will have use for an extensive vocabulary and will use the right word at the right time...

Thankis anyway :)

Rishi said...

Sowmya,
Thanks for the explanation. Clarity of mind.. part is important. So in your post if I may ask why did you use mendicant instead of begger. I am happy you used as I learnt that but then what meaning would have come out for begger compared to what you meant for Mendicant.
This question will tell you also that I have not understood the context exactly. So I do go about understanding that exactly. I guess that is the clarity you meant.

Rishi.

Sowmya said...

Beggar and mendicant are not the same. Beggar is derogatory. Mendicant is not. Again 'collecting alms' is not the same as 'begging'.

In India 'Bhikshu' was not some homeless destitute. Brahmins were supposed to be 'Bhikshu's', they were not supposed to hoard but live by collecting Bhiksha from people daily. And people considered it their privilege to give 'Bhiksha' to Brahmins.

So you see, the word beggar does not capture that nuance.

To correctly represent a nuance of a culture, we have to choose words carefully.

Hence the preference for 'mendicant' instead of 'beggar'.

Did you know that 'Vedas' have been translated as 'songs of bards' by our own folks?

Rishi said...

Sowmya,
That makes a big difference definitely. Did you get that word from Vedas translation? I realize now what you meant by clarity of mind and what should go in ones mind to add a new word.

It might sound straight forward but very few people read that way, at least I don't always.

This is the beauty of reading a blog post. A book I will never know why the author wrote someway.

I guess you can try out something. If you wish to write a book/novel. You can write it first on your blog. There should be a provision like 'my books' where you can edit and it remains stored there. You can work on it and they can be categorized in various ways. Like books currently being written so not available for reading only a preview maybe, books up for reviews and comment and then books published with first version. I hate to talk business here but then that is also possible.

Thanks,
Rishi.

KVS said...

Excellent post.
First time I chanced through your blog I got tremendously interested, and now, became a fan!
I can't say "keep it up," because you are already up there.

Small observation: The post by which you knocked 'narcissist' out of (the name of) your blog is also tinged with some narcissism... which is actually a charming aspect of your writing.

As you admitted, you have the keen eye which sees life with all its enchanting hues. So, even if in all your posts you write about your own experiences and views, they are quite endearing.

The language quality of this particular post is quite elegant. Keep it up :D

Sowmya said...

Thank you KVS.

All of us are narcissists. Only the degree varies.

Thats the problem with labels. They represent absolutes and extremes. And in reality we dont usually belong to one of the ends of a spectrum but somewhere in the range.

Thanks Rishi. I do intend to write a book someday. Its a dream.

melvit said...

Everytime I read Ur blog, I get to know more abt U :)
Good one!

Street Hawkie said...

Beautifully written....this is my favorite entry...an amalgamation of sorts...and ur style of writing has changed for sure through the years...I like it...

Sowmya said...

Thanks Melvit. Do come here more often...

Thanks Streethawk,
Yes. As we write more and more, our writing improves and we grow too.
Everyone should write.

Anonymous said...

This one, i liked most. The change of name too. Your writing has a trance evoking quality.

Rhythm Divine said...

I like this blog of yours....Strange but from my own vertex of view point
I think an intense unexpressed cluster of thoughtful emotions can exert the strong force to bring out all that is latent...What say? :)

MotoRama said...

Journeying the distance between "seeing" and "looking", "feeling" and "aware","understanding" and "perspective","hope" and "faith","approval" and "acceptance"..is a joy..you are already experiencing..soak in!