Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Colette on Writing

"We cannot paint a beloved face without passionately distorting it - and who speaks willingly of the things that belong to real love? But we can catch and hold - with words or with the brush - the crimson flush of dying leaves, the green of a meteor against the blue night, a moment of dawn, a catastrophe...Pictures which of themselves have no sense or depth, but which we invest with meaning or sharp foreboding - they bear forever the stamp of some particular year, mark the end of some mistake or the culmination of a spell of prosperity. For that reason no one of us can ever swear that he has painted, contemplated, described in vain". 
( My Mother's House - Colette)

January 28th was Colette's birthday. Read about her novella The Cat here on the blog.

Image: Google

A Word, a Song, a Tennis Player = Nostalgia

Watching Pete Sampras at the second semi-final of the Australian open last weekend transported me straight to my school days. The match was one-sided anyways (although I was rooting for Rafa but it was rather sad to see Fedrer lose in straight sets) and frequent camera shots of Sampras in the audience sent me into flashback mode.

The year was 1995. I was fifteen and had this SUPER crush on Pete Sampras. In fact it wasn't just me, my entire group of friends was in love with this tennis demi-god. My room was an altar to his greatness and whenever pictures of Sampras appeared in the sports section of the newspaper they found their way on a wooden makeshift board in my room. 

The period from 1995-1998 was the most fun and carefree time of my life. Of course, it is only now that I look back at those days so fondly because during that time we were drowned in books, exams and grades. I guess it is always in retrospect that we find life more attractive. This was the time of cassette players, dish antennas and VCR. When Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released, each one of us fell in love with SRK. It was easy to identify all who had watched the movie over the weekend on Monday mornings (clues included a dreamy expression, sighs the entire day and references to the movie in every conversation). There were endless discussions over all the music albums and an intense rivalry existed especially between fans of Awaz and Junoon. Inquilaab was the one album we all played excessively during our college days. It was (and is) my favourite album by Junoon. I remember when they released Azadi, their fourth album, my friend called me and we discussed (in great detail) every song of the album. The conversation lasted at least two hours, on a landline which was the ONLY telephone in the house. 

One glimpse of Sampras was all it took to unleash a flood of memories. Photographs are not always the only route down memory lane. Sometimes all it takes is a word, a song or a tennis player

The Blank Page, Truly Madly Deeply (Savage Garden) and Pete Sampras

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 - The Year of No Resolution

It's not a good idea to pen down resolutions and keep them neatly in a folder. You're bound to find the paper (or papers if you are ambitious) when you're throwing out the old to make space for the new (an exercise some of us indulge in when the new year starts) and once you've come across those lined sheets there is no other option but to make a trip to the guilt motel.

After making several trips to the guilt motel last year, I have deleted the word resolution from my life. Resolutions, in my experience, are dangerous creatures. When I made resolutions last year, which I duly noted down, I limited myself to those six or seven points. I made a parameter around my life and put in 'ifs' and 'buts' over every action. 'If I do the above in two months' time, I am entitled to this. If I manage to finish this by ------ I will -----------'. I had become my own moral, emotional and spiritual policeman. A control freak. A sort of nasty departmental head.

Resolutions made me lose my spontaneity. If I wasn't able to meet a certain task at a specified time, I lost interest in doing it. Listing things down into neat sentences and keeping it all together in a folder did not make me a more organized person. It made me an unhappy person. And yet I kept going back to the list, hoping that by rearranging bits of it I'd find answers. It was only in the latter half of the year that I realized that the answers lay OUTSIDE the list. 

The past year I did a lot of things which were not part of my resolution wish list. And it was these unplanned events which made me a different person; more fulfilled, happy and confident. As soon as I let the resolution list collect dust, I was able to leave my comfort zone and discover the new old me. 

So I resolve to make no lists this year, except for grocery. Unplanned grocery shopping is a one-way ticket to the guilt motel! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014