Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Eternal Quest

It always happens. Every year, without fail. As December comes to an end, hope wells up in my heart—that things will certainly be better than the year that's taking leave of us. Now, don't get me wrong. It isn't as if the year that was had been unkind to me. Every year brings with it its fair share of joys and sorrows, ecstatic moments and disappointments. Some days bring with them inclement weather. Others are sunny and warm. That's what life is all about. Knowing this does not mitigate the desire in me that things will be absolutely perfect the next year. That I will wake up at the appointed hour as soon as the alarm goes off. I will not hit the snooze button, tell myself that I need just five more minutes of shuteye, and then jump out if bed like I've been electrocuted, after a good hour, cursing myself for over-sleeping. I believe that the New Year will energise me so much that I will not miss a day's walk or exercise and do the Sudarshan Kriya before I start my daily chores. I know from experience that when I manage these things, I walk out of the house with a radiant smile and there's a bounce to my step. But then, years have gone by and, every year, some days have thrown my life out of kilter. There have been bolts from the blue that have flummoxed me and I have had to accept them and deal with matters that needed urgent attention—much more than the extra flab around my middle that haunts my mind. Last year, I intended to post on my blog every single day. But, a wedding, a loved one's surgery that needed post-operative care and the arrival of a little baby in the family, who loves to stay awake at nights, kept me away from it. I experience withdrawal when I don't find the time and space to read and write. There are moments, when I want to drop everything and flee to the other end of the world with my books and my laptop or just some writing pads and pencils to be alone with myself and my thoughts. Mind you, I fantasise often about leaving no forwarding address, and living all alone on a small piece of land, which has miraculously materialised, tilling it, growing my own vegetables and being in communion with nature. But, that is a momentary escape and the fantasy, a temporary refuge. The reality is that despite feeling trapped, beleaguered and overwhelmed by life's vicissitudes, I can't imagine wrenching myself from those I love. Given a choice, I would slave some more. Willingly. Drudgery is in my DNA. It is difficult to shake off. So is hope. It's what makes my tomorrows seem so promising. There are several other things that I fancy will be different. My hair will be glossier, my eyeliner will never run, wrinkles will stay away, I shall eat only healthy (organic, never mind if it kills my budget) food, drink the eternally prescribed eight glasses of water, take enviable charge of my finances, stop using the credit card, not indulge in impulse buying, not look at the wonderful designer top that's available for a fifty per cent discount, not buy a new book till I have read the 100 lying on my bedside table, be friendlier towards my neighbours, look them up now and then, call up my mom-in-law regularly, take the stairs always, resume writing my dust-wrapped novel and the like... Some of these I do manage to do every year, if not diligently, fairly regularly at least. But there are others which I struggle to accomplish, often giving up. Nothing's ever been perfect. I have concluded that perfection is a myth, excellence is a goal that one can achieve. It does not follow that I have given up hope that this time round that things will brighter, more wonderful, simply fabulous. In fact, it's the hope that keeps me going. It made me post on my blog today and will egg me on to do so tomorrow. It is this very hope that rears its head when I've had a challenging day or a period of creative drought and tells me that I can take a step forward, that everything will be okay. So, I live with this Utopian quest. It co-exists with my reality checks. My feet stay firmly on the ground. And, I look forward to 2012 with a song in my heart..Que sera sera...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What do I read now?

I know I am a book addict. I just need to look around my room and know that I need rehab. Urgently. On my bedside is a huge pile of books that I've bought and not read. Yet. I have every intention of reading each one of  them, but by the time I lay my hands on one, something incredibly interesting comes up and I empty the contents of my purse to buy it. If you've been introduced to Flipkart, you'll know how easy it is to get a book home. Those guys are so professional that one day, I suspect they'll deliver a title to my doorstep before it is even published. Click, buy, read. That easy. Only, I miss my trips to Crossword, Landmark, Strand, Oxford, Giri Stores and the King's Circle footpaths, where I hunt for books like one possessed. I forgot to mention the books I receive for review (am grateful to the generous publishers), not all of which I want to read but some of which I just can't put down. So, there are the books I want to read, the books I have to because it's part of my job, the books I like to study as I read because I'm struggling to write a novel of a similar genre and books I must read as part of the research for my novel.
Whew! Can anyone blame me for being flummoxed. My crime is I want to read them all. At once. I do have the habit of reading fiction, non-fiction, poetry and some highfalutin spiritual stuff at the same time. Then, one of the books has me hooked and I keep aside the other three for some time, though I miss them dearly. Right now, I have Julian Barne's Sense of an Ending, sitting pretty with Joan Didion's Blue Nights lying next to Murakami's 1Q24 holding hands with Ann Patchett's State of Wonder that hides Steve Jobs' biography that has shoved Elizabeth Mayer's Extraordinary Knowing to a corner. I'm not going to begin mentioning the other books that are waiting to be cuddled. They'll have their turn.  Ann Patchett now crouches in my bag. I can see her raising her arms, reminding me to pick her up. I tossed a coin in her favour. For now, I'm sorted. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Distressed! Can't find my blog!

I guess this happens when you have been inactive for a very long time. I was hoping I would be excused for not showing up, for not posting on this blog for so long. Just yesterday, I had made up my mind that, come what may, I would post something every day. When I tried to sign in today, Blogger feigned amnesia. It just did not remember me!! Can you imagine that? I was rejected. Now, that is lethal. The very stony response had me in a tailspin. Had my blog been given the boot? Had I lost all my posts? I was frantic. 'Help' did not help. It left me searching, wondering and confused. Then, after some intense, hopeful, prayerful searching, I found some link.  Don't even think of asking me what. I am challenged in these viral matters. This affliction lives amicably with my other one—directional dyslexia. Together they ensure that I am a bumbling mess. But I wanted my blog back. Like a kid wants its candy. I wanted it NOW. I was going on this wild goose chase to write a few lines that very few may read. Not because I write balderdash or something that helps you catch your 40 winks but because I write about myself. Now, I am not exactly Aishwarya or Lady Gaga Or Rakhi Sawant or Mayawati. I'm not sure I want to be. When I gave birth to my two children, I didn't have the world pushing down with me and keeping track of my contractions. I would never wear an outfit that had five udders attached to it in a state of inviting perkiness. The only drama I create is at home, when someone misplaces my books and that lasts for hardly a minute. Okay, truth be told. There are other occasions too when there is a deafening blast and an instant cool-down. A storm before the lull. Also, I don't thank Jejus all the time. In fact, every night, I look up at the sky and say, "If you are really up there, I'm sorry, I haven't thought of you even once. I just haven't had the mind-space. So, don't bludgeon me. Believe me, I am grateful. It's just that I haven't found the time to tell you that. No offence meant." I mean, with all the s**t one gets the whole day, it's only sensible to have the Big Boss up there on my side. In fact, I thought He (reverentially using the upper case for Him) had made my blog disappear for not acknowledging Him. Hence the appeasement. Also, I don't think I'll ever have my statue built.   The only time I turned into stone was when I played 'Statue' as a kid. That required some mean breath control and oodles of patience. Coming back to the point...I do none of what the aforementioned illustrious ladies do. But, they don't write either. I do. If that's some saving grace. I'm not going to lie or pretend that I don't care if no one reads my blog. I do. But, I haven't gone viral with it. Blame it on my bashfulness. Or on the fact that I haven't created a Kolaveri Di. Yet. I will rise above the gobbledygook. One day...
PS. Why are these purple flowers here? Not just because I like their brilliant colour but because I don't have a great collection of pictures. I did say I'm starting all over again. Anew. Now, if that isn't a confession, what is?