Dervishi-i

Yet never qualify me ( Poem of the Sufi Way)

Yet never qualify me

as a companion near,

      which I regard an outrageous crime

severing the rule of union.

For my arrival is my parting,

my nearness, being far;

my loving, my loathing,

my beginning, my end.

By “her” I alluded to myself —

and I meant none but me;

for her sake I stripped off

my name, namesake, and fame,

And set out far beyond

where those before stood still,

where minds went astray on accustomed paths,

died and disappeared.

I have no attribute;

that is a stamp, as a name is a brand,

but if you must, speak of me

allusively or with metaphor.

I ascended from “I am she”

to where there is no “to,”

sweetening my existence

by my return

From “I am I,”

for an inner wisdom

and outer laws

to begin my call.

—–Ibn al-Farid

How goes life, guys ? Rumi tells me “Dance until you shatter yourself”.http://youtu.be/9-oT2oGpick

Fell or ‘Rose’ in Love ?

red-rose-wallpaper (1)

( Photo from the Internet for illustration only)

“somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands” ( E.E.Cummings, Selected Poems)

I guess this is an apt connection ? 🙂 http://youtu.be/1w7OgIMMRc4

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

(NB: This post needs to be read with my earlier post of November 21st, 2014, ‘Gotcha Dad’)

My  immediate neighbors are very successful and rich people.The man’s old father, possibly aged 90 years, stays with them. He is confined to a wheel chair. Sometimes I see him from my  first floor balcony, as he painfully wheels himself to his, to throw biscuits/bread etc to a really old ,blind dog, who sits on the lawn below.

The old father is taken for a ‘walk’ on his wheel chair by a servant boy, who is invariably chatting on his cell phone. He is not really bothered to connect with the old man.To him,its just a job/chore , naturally, for which he gets paid.This morning, I saw my smart, successful neighbors leave for their walk.No ‘Goodmorning’ or even a glance at the old father about to be wheeled out. I saw his face.There was such a longing on his face.It was so wistful. His expression said “Maybe, for just one day,  son , please take me for a walk?”. I have found out that the senior dog in the lawn is the old man’s. He has been banished from the house because he is half-paralyzed and thus has urine incontinence.So much more convenient to just abandon him.It seems the old man protested weakly when the dog was kicked out, so my cook tells me.Delhi is getting really cold. Just saying.

The accidental sufi prays to God: Please never make me a coward like them. Never let that voice inside me die with relation to anybody I love.” There is a voice inside of you,That whispers all day long,”I feel this is right for me,I know that this is wrong.”No teacher, preacher, parent, friend Or wise man can decide,What’s right for you–just listen to,The voice that speaks inside” ( Shel Silverstein). And may that voice always lead me to  do great/right things, sacrifice for those I love, even if I have to bleed.Let me realize that my blood does not matter, but their tears do.

You will remember my Dad’s dog Tommy? The pup died.My Dad called me up to tell me ,late this morning. His voice was strong as always.Only his daughter could have picked up the heartache in his voice.I read him a passage from John Grogan “Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them”. I couriered the book to him in the afternoon.I am terribly worried about him for I know such heartache.I am unable to be with him.

I will heal you, Dad. Only a wounded healer can heal. The accidental sufi is one.

And Dad, I love you. Because, you were/are/ will always be there for me.You would never leave me.

( I saw this movie ‘Interstellar’, yesterday. Amongst its many magnificently beautiful moments,was the father-daughter relationship)

The accidental sufi cries as she listens to this http://youtu.be/F3RYvO2X0Oo Life is so savagely beautiful.

Fundamentally & Gloriously Unsound

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star”.

Syd-Barrett-300

“The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly”.

25b98082126eb338a861ee61f5119da7

“There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth”

anac3afs-nin

“Be careful, lest in casting out your demon you exorcise the best thing in you”.

morrison

“You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame;
how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes”

JIMM

# During his years as a semi-recluse, Syd continued to paint, but for reasons best known to himself usually painted over the pictures with black paint when he had completed them.

#I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.

#The voice of beauty speaks darkly(softly); it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls.

#And once you are awake, you shall remain awake eternally.

( All quotes by  Friedrich Nietzsche, whom the accidental sufi loves. All photos from the Internet for illustration only)

Hey, ummm…guys don’t do a  Jeeves on me “You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.” 😀 ( P.G Woodehouse, ‘Carry on, Jeeves”)

Blimey, gotta rush! I have to catch the late night show of ‘Interstellar’. Tell ya’all about it tomorrow 🙂  What blasts on my home theater? Naturally, this !http://youtu.be/XtrVrY1_Qq8

Celebrating Beingness & Nothingness

Well, last night, when the whole world slept, the accidental sufi woke up to the call of a crystal gazer. She wanted to show me my future.This is me 😀

Future

( Photo from the Internet for illustration only)

Possibly, the only part of the prediction that may not be accurate is that the accidental sufi would in all probability be wearing Prada and she and the cat/dog/bird/donkey/etc would be  drenched in J’adore 😀

So Neruda laughs with me and says “And I, infinitesima­l being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.” ( 100 Love Sonnets)

Tell you what , guys, does it really matter if I get the whole wide world ?http://youtu.be/7Z6Lr0JYAro. To the accidental sufi, it never did, never does, never will 🙂 I am the music-maker, I am  the dreamers of dreams,Wandering by lone sea-breakers,And sitting by desolate streams,World-loser and world-forsaker,Upon whom the pale moon gleams;Yet I am the mover and shaker,Of the world forever, it seems ( Thank you, Arthur pal )

Ta, guys! Off to celebrate a raise at workplace with some kameenos (  i.e. bastards :affectionate name for some friends)

Like A Rock Into The Grave

And Neruda tells me “Like a jar you housed infinite tenderness,
And the infinite tenderness shattered you like a jar”

tumblr_mbsr0u10981rhw7hco1_500

( Photo credit to a lovely Tumblr Page: Neruda Cats http://nerudacats.tumblr.com/ Photo used for illustration only)

And so the accidental sufi hums ‘Hello Darkness, my old friend. I have come to talk with you again…In restless dreams I walked alone ,Narrow streets of cobblestone ” 

 And once again Neruda cruelly exhorts ” Fear envelops bones like new skin,
envelops blood with night’s skin,
the earth moves beneath the soles of the feet –
it is not your hair but the terror in your head,
like long hair made of vertical nails,
and what you see are not shattered streets,
but rather, within you, your own crushed walls,
your frustrated infinity, again the city comes
crashing down: in your silence, only water’s threat
is heard, and in the water
drowned horses gallop through your death”

Will  the sound of silence shatter with Led Zeppelin as it always does 🙂 http://youtu.be/RlNhD0oS5pk

Hail R n R!

Gotcha Dad!

The accidental sufi has such a gleeful smile on her face, guys 😀 For the first time in my life perhaps, I rallied  from a position of moral high horse where my Dad is concerned. My Dad , whom me and my sister refer to as ‘The Don’ for all his Don Corleone high handedness!

For years, I have  listened to his sermons about my ‘disgraceful’ lifestyle which includes addiction to Led Zeppelin, pizzas,general disregard for all societal rules and  yes, the exasperation at my ever expanding motley crew of  rescued dogs, cats, birds, monkeys etc. I have put up with his  pompous and self-righteous statements like ” I wish you cared about your  Dad as you do for this miserable bulldog” . This was after I had made his favorite cheese omelet and crisp toast with butter and honey. Its another matter that Jigar, my English bulldog stole his omelet while was imperiously reading the newspaper  😀

Well, day before yesterday, my Dad was in our holiday home in Puri ( a beach town in Cuttack,Odisha). He normally spends a lot of time there. I guess this great love for the sea that  I have,  is inherited from him. A little  stray puppy, around two months old, was run over by a  motorcycle. The motorcyclist sped away without a second glance. The puppy screamed in pain, got up and tottered past my Dad standing at the gate  and into our home. The chap who works for us told me that Shahib got very concerned and immediately asked  for water to be brought for the little fella and if needs be, rush him to the vet. Mercifully, the little pup was fine except for a grazed leg. Reports have reached me that my Dad then personally bandaged the pup, fed him biscuits and asked that he be allowed to sit at the entrance and sun himself 🙂 Then, he called me and told me this incident with ” Let it recover, then of course  he has to go”, much to my irritation. By evening, the pup had found its way to my Dad’s bedroom and both were watching  television. The next morning, they both had breakfast together on the terrace.

My Dad called me up to say very cryptically ” Accha, I have named the pup ‘Tommy’ ”. I was ecstatic at the bonding and furious  at the name, which I felt was rather common. Further, I was not consulted about the name.All our pets are named by me .Period. I would have liked to call the pup ‘Sydhartha’. A combination of  two of my very favorite people.  The insane and beautiful Syd Barrett and Sidhartha  or Gautam Buddha whom I wanted to talk about renunciation.Especially, his ‘In the end,these things matter most:How well did you love?How fully did you live?How deeply did you let go?”. Questions that trouble me a lot. But that’s for another day 🙂

Me : So Dad, you have adopted Tommy ?

Dad : No, I am not a sentimental fool like you. Tommy adopted me.

🙂

Me: I hate the name though.

Dad: I never asked for your approval.

That was that.

This morning he called me to tell me  very philosophically ( euphemism for pompously) that  God doesn’t make men like him anymore and how this should be conveyed to my  Ma 😀 I learned  that they had had a disagreement about something absolutely trivial but my Ma was refusing to take his call 🙂 And then suddenly he told me for the first time about a little male stray pup, white with brown patches and soulful brown eyes, which he had as a child.He was very attached to the pup who grew up into a beloved dog.Some years later he died of a snakebite.In my father’s arms. He was called Tommy.

They certainly don’t make men like you anymore, Dad 🙂 Strong and beautiful!  “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom” ( Umberto Eco)

Animals are such special people .As John Grogan says about his dog Marley “He taught us the art of unqualified love. How to give it, how to accept it. Where there is that, most other pieces fall into place”

And welcome to the family, Tommy! Say what, I quite love  Tommy Hilfiger stuff :).

Just Another Day

 “The days aren’t discarded or collected, they are bees
that burned with sweetness or maddened
the sting: the struggle continues,
the journeys go and come between honey and pain.
No, the net of years doesn’t unweave: there is no net.
They don’t fall drop by drop from a river: there is no river.
Sleep doesn’t divide life into halves,
or action, or silence, or honor:
life is like a stone, a single motion,
a lonesome bonfire reflected on the leaves,
an arrow, only one, slow or swift, a metal
that climbs or descends burning in your bones…….

Each in the most hidden sack kept
the lost jewels of memory,
intense love, secret nights and permanent kisses…

We the mortals touch the metals,
the wind, the ocean shores, the stones,
knowing they will go on, inert or burning,
and I was discovering, naming all the these things:
it was my destiny to love and say goodbye ” ( Pablo Neruda, ‘Still Another Day’ )

So the accidental sufi says ‘I am just a thought. That can only be met through a thought’ 🙂 http://youtu.be/lxFaUIxezk

sufi woman

( Photo from the Internet for illustration only )

Ode to the Egg

How I wish I could have the  power, language and imagination of Neruda to write this blogpost which is totally inspired by his ‘Odes to Common Things’.

I have always felt that  knowing  or reading Neruda only for his love sonnets is  to completely limit  both him and ourselves. Neruda’s writing spanning  more than 50 years  was rooted  in the radical South American politics of liberation and struggle.  In his ‘Odes to Common things’, he celebrates and explores  life and all its nuances by celebrating everyday objects. Thus , he says, a whole tuna in the market is “a torpedo from the ocean depths” or when you cut a tomato, you “murder it” or ( my favorite, given the addiction to French Fries 🙂 ) raw potatoes for French fries look “like the morning swan’s snowy feathers”.  There were twenty five odes in the book and Neruda beautifully weaves tales of love, life, music, nature, friendship , war , dreams, beauty , travel , learning as he talks about table, chair, bed, guitar, dog, cat, flowers, soap, socks, dictionary, scissors, tea, spoon, plate, orange, apple, bread, onion, tomato etc.

Well, let me start  with celebrating the egg. To be more precise,  the ‘boiled egg’. Its mid-November here in New Delhi. The weather is delicious. The evenings are a little chilly, but the warmth of the afternoons doesn’t wear off.Rather, it makes that nip in the air ,friendly and comfortable. And it is the perfect to have a little pre-dinner snack of  a ‘boiled egg’ from the street vendor as one hurries back home from work or is returning home after a brisk evening walk. Delhi is very famous for its street food.One can wax lyrical about the chaats, samosa, chole bhatures, lassi,bhuttas etc etc.  But somehow, the humble boiled egg doesn’t find a worthy mention in all such ecstatic outpourings which is totally blasphemous!

I am addicted to the boiled egg sold by street vendors in perhaps all neighborhoods. The vendor strategically places his cart in the street corner, lights his kerosene stove and puts the eggs on boil. Once done, he immediately puts another vessel on the boil because  I am yet to see a person eating just one egg! The demand is tremendous! He takes an egg out from the warm water, briskly shells it and  slices it in half. The guy has in readiness chopped green chillies,raw onion and coriander which he sprinkles on the sliced egg along with salt, pepper and red chilly powder. He then serves it on a quartered piece of newspaper and Voila! As one bites into the  warm egg, bliss pervades every pore of one’s being 😀 To anyone who either is in//likely to stay in  Delhi  and reading this blog, the accidental sufi exhorts trying out this simple joy! To anyone who has stayed in Delhi, does it bring back memories ? 🙂

My neighborhood vendor is called Babloo Kumar. He would be around 35/40 years of age and hails from Chapra,Bihar. A cheerful fellow, he tells me that he came to Delhi to get a government job like his Uncle. But, ‘Memsahib, God had other plans for me. Now I earn just that much  money to look after my family. It is difficult but I am happy’. He and I have struck up a strange friendship. While he doesn’t bat an eyelid if I ask him to use my hand sanitizer before shelling the egg ( the accidental sufi has horrible OCD 😦 ) or wonder at this strange woman with a beautiful Great Dane gal ( both are  fans of his boiled egg), I invariably give him money to buy  something for his two sons. I tell him he should buy books for them. I am sure he doesn’t 🙂

I morph into Neruda mode. So what does the humble, boiled egg teach me ? Tell me? That happiness dosen’t have to be about the big, sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place. Maybe it is just about stringing together a bunch of small pleasures. Of things and people. So Nora Ephron says”I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible” ( When Harry Met Sally)

That’s all from me today, guys 🙂

Delhi-ites, eat a boiled egg today and listen to this http://youtu.be/cLAyypuSX94 😀

Non-Delhites, do listen to the song  and ummm eat a boiled egg too 😀

Two Special Birthdays Today:November 19th

Its Indira Gandhi’s birthday today. Much has been written about her. She has many admirers and an equal number of detractors.   A woman of great strength and courage, whatever may have been her faults, it is difficult or rather near impossible to have ignored her.

 In a letter written by her father , from Central Prison, Naini,October 26, 1930, he says “You know sweetheart, how I dislike sermonising and doling out good advice…..We work in the sun and in the light. Even so in our private lives let us make friends with the sun and work in the light and do nothing secretly……and if you do so, my dear you will grow up a child of the light, unafraid and serene and unruffled, whatever may happen”. That is exactly what Indira Gandhi grew up to be. And one word/adjective describes her as none other : Unafraid.

It was my great desire to meet her.But I could not.However, I cherish the letter she wrote to me, when I was in Grade:9, in reply to mine that was  full of admiration, best wishes and hope that  I also travel  in life with her  intrinsic fearlessness. I am sure that the reply was prepared by her staff  on a already set pattern reserved for such letters.And she would have hardly spent a second signing it. But I like to think that perhaps , just for a wee  fraction of a second, she would have glanced at my name 🙂
When news of her tragic assassination reached, I was in school. The nuns in the Convent where I studied broke the news to us. I remember weeping heart brokenly. At the cowardice. At the disgusting, under hand way of attacking her. At the indignity….
This is one of my favorite photographs of her. It is said that she had a love-hate relationship with her father. Which daughter doesn’t ? I do. But then that is the beauty of a father-daughter relationship. So Christopher Hitchens says “To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase ‘terrible beauty.’ Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it’s a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else’s body. It also makes me quite astonishingly calm at the thought of death: I know whom I would die to protect and I also understand that nobody but a lugubrious serf can possibly wish for a father who never goes away”
Wherever you are , Indira Gandhi, I just want to tell you that you are a woman who inspired by ‘being’.
Rare-photos-of----Indira-Gandhi----1505
( Photo from the Internet for illustration only)
And a personal note, because it is also my Sham’s birthday. I always love the fact that he shares his birthday with Indira Gandhi 🙂 . What can I say about you, my Shams ? That you made me realize to live my dreams, not because of what it will prove or get me, but because that is all I want to do…peoples’ opinions do not matter.  That no one is my enemy, except myself. That I  have everything I want in life…. however, it takes timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not mine, it is because I really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it. That you made me  believe that love is not about losing or winning…. it is just a few moments in time, followed by an eternity of situations to grow from.And for making me understand that I  was always the right person. Only ignorant people walk away from greatness. 🙂  You did say ‘greatness’ with a very wicked smile, though! 🙂  Happy Birthday  🙂