Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A very public attempt 2

At Understanding Poetry

After all that, I'm stil nowhere close to understanding the lines quoted earlier. Perhaps it is not meant to be understood. Perhaps I'm taking a fork to my dosai. Perhaps it need to be savoured and experienced. Perhaps I just need to try harder. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

Now, the whole point of these posts is to try and get to grips with a form of literature that I struggle with. So please do not attribute motives where no other exists.

And so we persist. Read the following lines and tell me what you see in them. Yes, I have quoted selectively but it is a good indicator (at least to me) of the rest of it. As ever, please do not google for the poet.

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.

Over to you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A very public attempt...

At Understanding Poetry

I know very little about poetry. But I have been trying to understand the form. Some poems I get. Most I don’t. I often resort to what the others have said about the piece before making up my own mind. So much so, I no longer know what I instinctively feel about a piece. The next few posts will attempt to strip away with the noise and simply listen to my own senses. And you’re welcome to join in.

This is what we will do. I will post a piece of poetry without revealing who wrote it. Please resist temptation to google for the poet’s name and comment what you think of it. And let’s compare notes.

Here’s the first…

And Madonna, she still has not showed

We see this empty cage now corrode

Where her cape of the stage once flowed

The fiddler, he now steps on the road

He writes ev’rything’s been returned which was owed

On the back of the fish-trucks that loads

While my conscience explodes.

What do you think? Befuddling rhyming nonsense? Or some deep, deep philosophy?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In praise of...7

Audio Books

We discovered audio books at our local library quite by chance last year. The boy had yet to start reading on his own. And we were unable to spend hours reading to him as he wanted us to. Enter audio books. The minute we slipped the CD into the player, he was hooked. Stories of Daisy, Horrid Henry and Adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine kept him rooted to the spot. Something none of us had ever managed to do. Soon, audio books became a staple on our library borrowing list. We've picked up a few gems along the way. Don't take you elephant to the school is fantastic listen. We've played it so many times, it has even inspired us to try our hand at writing silly verse. And when in doubt over gift ideas, we buy an audio book. Always works a treat.

These days the boy can read fluently. Still he'd happily listen to Miranda Richardson tell him about the time Horrid Henry robbed a bank. She does the Henry voice way better than I ever can.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brilliant-er and brilliant-er

It seems churlish not to pass on the honours that others have been so kindly handed to me. Including ones which I missed the first time around. Thanks, Umm & Priya.

So here goes. A few blogposts which are think are quite extraordinary.

1. Neha's ode to paavakkai

2. Sharanya's Valentine to her city

3. Varali on Havaldar Biglu Singh

4. Dr. Acharya Somuchidononanda Pandey's valuable insights on a recent excavation

5. 30in2005 talks about walking into a room and owning it

6. Lalita's delicious little poem

7. And Dubious Moves' moving tribute to his (?!) late friend

Friday, September 12, 2008

A quick tale 213

A mild annoyance

If you asked her what it was about him that irritated her, depending on the time of the day and what she had for breakfast, she would have an answer for you. The way his nose is, she would say some days. Nose is…you would prompt her to elaborate. The way his nose simply is, she would explain but not really explaining. Sometimes she would talk about the way he held his head. And how much it annoyed her to see it. On other days it would be the stubble on his chin. Or the way his slipper flapped as he walked. Or the intolerably infuriating way in which his hair was parted. You don't have to see him or even notice him, you know, someone once remarked. But I've tried so hard to ignore him, she replied annoyed at the suggestion it was she who was seeking him out, but he keeps coming in my way. I see him at the bus stop on my way to work and he's still sitting there on my way back. He even shops at the same supermarket as me. And worse, at the same time. You should see the things he buys…maddening!

Which was why she was surprised when he wasn't there that Monday evening as she piled her shopping trolley with groceries for the week. And he wasn't there at the bus stop the following morning. And not there to infuriate her that evening either. Was it possible that he'd taken ill? she wondered. Not that she was concerned about the welfare of a stranger. What did she care what happened to him. But when he hadn't made an appearance by Thursday, she wondered about alerting someone. But who? The police? And what would she tell them? That the man who used to sit at the bus stop no longer sat there? There had to be a simpler explanation, she reckoned. Perhaps he'd bought a car. Or changed his office. But something told her that it wasn't the case. She was irritated that he would get her so worried and just when she was about to give up, he came back. She overheard him telling someone over the phone that he'd gone home to visit his mother. He really should learn to speak softly in public and not holler for all to hear. How uncouth!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In praise of...6


Last night's dinner was semiya upma. As we tucked into its whispy thin strands, I was reminded of Mammooty's dialogue in the opening scene of Azhagan in which he is addressing an audience. He begins his speech likening himself to upma. Having grabbed the audience's attention, he goes on to explain how the original speaker had fallen ill and how he had been asked to take his place as a last-minute replacement. Much like the upma which fills in quite readily, the place of a main meal at a short notice.

I'm partial to semiya upma. Only because I cannot make arisi upma quite as well as Pattu maami and my ravai upma always ends up stodgy. The mother-in-law's semiya upma is legendary and a trick I learnt from her is to add a generous spoon of nei just as you're about to switch off. Then there's the weird creature - bread upma. Waste of two perfectly good ideas. And always ends up resembling something the cow dropped. I'd rather eat my own head than eat a plate of bread upma.

The wonderful thing about upma is that it needs little preparation. It's fuss-free. No-soaking-grinding-fermenting nonsense. It's a bit like having a friend knock on your door one Thursday evening and dropping in unannounced for a cuppa. You could easily put together a delicious upma with the basics in your larder. It could be leathery-soggy or breadcrumb-ly and still quite delicious.

I don't know what we're going to have for dinner tonight. But there's a good chance that it will be be something hot and easy. A bit like Mammooty, I guess.

Award and all

These two bloggers have very generously given me an award (sheesh! comme je blush!). Very touched and that means I'm obliged to pass it on. There's plenty of blogs that I think are brilliant. Some of which are on the side bar. Many that aren't.
If you're already up there, consider yourself A Brilliant Blog. If you aren't, what's an award really?

ETA: How could I have missed this one from an old friend? So sorry and most thanks, kanmani!