Wednesday, July 8, 2015

That don’t impress me much!

Well, to begin with, I love Shania Twain! Not only because she’s a fabulous singer but also because of the lyrics of one of her songs which I absolutely adore and can so relate to. (Actually, the song title is the title of my post - as some of you might have noticed).

Recently, I heard the song again which triggered my thoughts for this post.  The lyrics of the song may’ve been written by someone else but since I don’t know that ‘someone,’ and also because she’s sung it so beautifully, the credit for the lyrics goes to Shania.

It’s one of my favourites from her collection. Just read these lines -

“So you got the brain but have you got the touch
don’t get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright…that don’t impress me much”

My sentiments exactly!

Although, she’s only addressing it to the men in the song. In my case, however, I silently voice it to all the attention seeking, self – absorbed, arrogant, egotistical, rude and insensitive people that I sometimes knowingly and at others unknowingly get to meet.

Now this post is not to hit - at those people that I’ve had the displeasure of meeting or knowing in my life’s journey so far. Not at all.  It’s actually something that I’ve been wondering about for a long time. Why do people behave so unlike themselves? What is it that prompt an increasing number of people these days to go against the basic traits of human nature: simplicity, humility and kindness? Is it because the world is becoming more and more superficial? Is it their own insecurity or bruised ego? Is it that they feel inadequate in some ways or is it because they never got the love and attention they deserved from their near and dear ones? I’m still trying to figure it out.

I’m a member of a lay Buddhist organisation called Sokka Gakai International (SGI) which upholds the values, thoughts, teachings and traditions of Shakyamuni Buddha. (The India chapter of the international organisation is called Bharat Sokka Gakai - BSG). Among the many simple yet impactful teachings discussed and shared in this beautiful practice, the one that I remind myself time and again, whenever I get swayed by such emotions or baser instincts– of course I get influenced too-- are the simple lines – “It is the heart that is important.”

Isn’t it a beautiful thought? And isn’t it true?

At times we forget that we’re all but mere mortals. It does not matter whether we are rich or poor, wise or a fool, beautiful or ugly; sooner or later death will claim us. We are not going to live forever. It is thus important that we lead meaningful, happy and fulfilling lives. However, selfishness, narcissism, arrogance and such negative qualities does not lead one towards happiness we all seek. On the other hand such qualities disconnect one from other fellow beings. It creates an environment of mistrust, insecurity, resentfulness and jealousy. Other people may be nice to such men and women out of fear or awe but they will never open their hearts or connect with them at a deeper level.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong in realizing one’s self worth and feeling proud about it. But it is equally important to be humble and respectful towards others. To appreciate others, be happy in their happiness, and genuinely reach out to them in their difficult times. It is also important to accept one’s own good fortune with grace and humility. While you ponder on my post let me roll out another line from the same song -

You think you're cool but have you got the touch/

Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright… /

… but that don’t impress me much!


And just in case, here’s the Youtube link of the song -

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Words of a Storyteller

Words. The term that comes to mind as I write down my random thoughts today. Words flow. In fact, I’m surrounded by them at all times. Even in silence I hear and see them. And at times I even taste them. Don't believe me? Well let me show you with an example-
The spicy chicken stew smelt good. It was piping hot. Just the dish to warm up a frozen heart on a cold wintry evening. I knew what all had gone into it: Boiled potatoes, fresh boneless chicken chunks, a couple of carrots, some  celery sticks,broccoli flowers, baby mushrooms and paprika in milk and cream- based broth. I could even smell the spices used for seasoning and accentuating its flavour: cinnamon sticks, black pepper, chopped spring onions, garlic and ginger; sautéed in butter. And finally garnished with green dill and finely chopped fresh red chillies. It looked delectable. I was famished. I brought out my favourite Japanese wooden soup bowls and poured myself and my friend some with the wooden ladle.  Mmm... it sure tasted heavenly!
See what I mean? Of course, I've written or described the preparation of the dish in the simplest of manners. If I were to work on it a little more, many of you - foodies out there would head towards your kitchen. No?
Like the above, for everything I feel, think or see; my words convey it to me before I further proclaim it to the world.   At times, I've to struggle to deliver them exactly as they come to me. But I guess that's how it is with all of us! Sometimes we cannot say and at others we don't want to. The world may not accept these honest and simple - minded nude fellas as our hearts do. So we- humans have learned to dress them up. Give a superficial face - liftto most things that we want to speak about.  .

Anyway, for me when things are tough, some of these well - meaning companions heal me. They whisper in their simple language to not give up. They cajole and nudge me to keep walking. Make me forget the falls. Teach me new meanings. Over the years I’ve collected quite a few of them. They are a part of my treasury. My diamonds.  I show them off once in a while in my writings. At an appropriate instance. My constant engagement with them makes me what I am: An impressionist. Also an expressionist. But most of all they help me tell stories. Good ones – I believe.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Travel and Writing in 2015

Year 2015 has begun on a satisfactory and hopeful note. Many changes are expected this year. At the personal as well as professional front. The first half of the year involves a good deal of traveling. In fact, the travel schedule till March is already drawn out. It’s a mix of – literary pursuits, travel related to various social projects that I’m involved in and some personal trips. I'm not planning to bring out a book this year except probably the short - stories collection that I have been working on. If everything falls in place it should be released somewhere towards the end of the year. The book is another ambitious and heartfelt endeavour to tell stories about Indian women. In fact, it is an attempt to bring out different shades of the modern Indian woman in the form of 12 simple and yet engaging stories. The interesting part of the book is that the title of each story is also the name of the lead female protagonists of those stories The names also reflect the essence of the character of the heroines of each of these stories.  I better stop here before I reveal all about the book out of too much enthusiasm.                 

A good part of the year will be spent in writing/completing the other  writing projects. There’s the unfinished novel – long overdue; based on a woman who is brutally gang – raped and suffers further humiliation and loss at the hands of her tormentors before she decides to fight back and avenge her honour. Then there’s the non – fiction that is stuck for no good reason. I would like to get it out this year too. Fingers crossed! Other than that, I plan to continue contributing to some prestigious anthologies of both poetry and short - fiction.  I believe it’s a good way to experiment with writing genres and styles as well as stay – in – touch with the literary world. Of course, the focus will as much be on reading, which was much neglected in 2014, and attending a few relevant events/programmes that will help me enhance my creative  - writing abilities.

That's all from me for now!
Wish each one of you a very warm and fulfilling 2015!

Keep smiling!