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26 December 2010


Those days were never good
I kept myself busy - wondering
About happy souls
The kind you saw in movies

Excitement which commercials sold
Missing from our lives, I thought
Wished to be elsewhere
Wished for lifetime’s adventure

Things turned out differently since those days
Flavour of daily life changed in so many ways

Now, I spend my holidays recalling ensuing escapades
Sensing that thrills hold no more enticements

Thinking about what is left behind
Suddenly there is longing
For the seemingly protracted years
Which don’t appear that dull anyway

A slight guilt rises from somewhere within: for rejecting the past  
Nostalgia strengthens itself; so much so I see good in the era passed

The search I had found myself in
For another life
For freedom
For my corner of world

It reveals gems hidden in the myriad events,
In stressed thoughts, pointless pursuit of normalness

In spite of such trauma I had breathed easily
Not worry about groceries or health
Love I received - I know now - was unconditional
Future – as I saw - held unbridled promise

Then material comfort was limited,
No fancy living – just plain middle-class ways
But I wish fantasies - now long gone – to come back
And I lose my way in pile of rawness, as I did then

24 December 2010

It Happened Once

Passion ridden moments
Increasing intensity of interplay
Between body and mind, night and day
In a damp faraway cheap hotel -
As if heavens resided here, as if
The world was coming to an end;
Folds in the curtain, a glimpse of
Grey buildings and blue sky;

Footsteps on the narrow wooden staircase
Echoing in silence of emptiness of the affair
Reason said, ‘end is coming near – fast’
Soul disagreed, said ‘you are wrong!
When its right I know- centuries of experience!
I tell you this is it…’; Reason was unchanged,
Cast a shadow over the magic spell
That fully soaked the room
A step out in narrow orderly street
Revealed the chasm between hopes and truth
Darkness and light, aloofness and crowd;
It enhanced the solitude, the confusion within;
Soul and reason are now poles apart
An attempt at holding on to dreams

Electric touch, a kiss fills up the soul
It expands – as if it’s going to burst
Humanity ceases to exist – doubts disappear
Sweet music permeates the world
Uphill walk seems like a glide
Phone rings, reverie breaks, its reality
On the other side! ‘I said – it’s not meant to be’,
Cried out damned Reason, ‘No!’ exclaimed Soul
Looking for signs of hope and light

It was a long battle,
Longer was the reconciliation
The morning after is engraved in memory
It was victory for a part of me
There was sharp pain -
Now buried deep within
‘What’s wrong’, ask strangers
I give feeble excuses while hiding the truth
Cloaking all feelings: denial makes life livable
The scar it’s for life, so are the blissful memories

16 October 2010

Of Love and Other Demons- Gabriel García Márquez

Review: Of Love and Other Demons- Gabriel García Márquez

by Sanchita Chatterjee

translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman

‘In her lap she held a cluster of golden grapes that grew back as soon as she ate them’. The story revolves around a little girl- a 12 year old marquise in a Columbian seaport is suspected of being possessed by demons. The fact that the girl Sierva Maria- ignored by her parents all her life- had different attributes from many others helped reinforce the superstition: ‘…she wouldn’t tell the truth even by mistake’. It all began when Sierva Maria was bitten by a rabid dog, while others who were bitten by the dog died, she did not. A vagabond Indian woman appeared at the doorstep of the Marquis- Sierva Maria’s father- and predicted that there will be a plague of rabies. Since Sierva Maria did not show any signs of contracting rabies, the Marquis and others in the town were soon convinced that she was possessed by demons. The local bishop convinced the Marquis to commit Sierva Maria to the Convent of Santa Clara where it will be ascertained whether she was possessed by demons or not and exorcised accordingly. Father Cayetano Delaura- a young priest was put in charge of the case. Delaura recognised the true nature of Sierve Maria and wished to save her from the superstitious belief, which has engulfed all the inhabitants of the Convent of Santa Clara. Soomn Delaura found himself irrevocably drawn towards Sierva Maria and his fate intermingled with hers: ‘When I stand and contemplate my fate and see the path along which you have led me’.

Márquez has a unique style, which blends facts with magic realism quite effectively, to the point that it is sometimes hard to figure out where the reality ends and fantasy begins. At the same time the picture he paints with his words is complete and beautiful. A lot has been written about his writing style so I will not spend more time dwelling on this topic. Of Love and Other Demons is one of his later books and represents everything that is extraordinary about Márquez’s storytelling. It is lyrical, fantastic, moving and tragic. The description of the love Delaura felt for Sierva Maria is so heart rending but magical at the same time that one almost forgets the actual context. One wishes that the lovers attain their happy ending. The alteration between logic and superstitious arguments is captivating- one almost hopes that Sierva Maria’s destiny is not to be drowned by false notions whereas everything in the plot points to that direction. With this book Márquez narrates a myth he heard as a child from his grandmother with his characteristic panache and hidden satire.