Raw For Beauty

Raw. Power.Incandescent.

Somewhat like this kind of love: “You have a heart of gold and I am kneeling in your bloodstream panning for the only thing that has ever felt like home” ( Andrea Gibson)

I think I fell in love with my guy who meditates in Armani because he bared that  wild heart, that untamed soul and that dark mind. This world is so guarded, timid and  fearful. I appreciate rawness so much.

Rumi smiles at me. So isn’t this what you feel,he asks ?

“I was dead, then alive.
Weeping, then laughing.

The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star”

Feed your head 🙂

Hail R n R 🙂

Howl 🙂

Tales From Airbus AI 877

I had been traveling the last few days.It was both business and pleasure 🙂 I managed to squeeze in one and half days to go home as it was my precious big sister’s birthday.I think I love her the most in this world 🙂

I am back to New Delhi, re-charged and  re-juvenated, to tell you stories 🙂

Well, couple of months back, I was traveling by air. A very senior citizen lady sat down next to me in the front row of the Air India airbus. She was severely arthritic and moved around on a four- legged walker prop.I could see that she was in a lot of pain,but what amazing spirit !We didn’t talk.Just smiled at each other.What a lovely smile she had 🙂 The business class on the flight had only one passenger, who proceeded to snore mightily as soon as we took off 😀 After about an hour or so, the elderly lady got up to use the loo. She slowly dragged herself to the loo in the front which was the nearest to us. Otherwise, she would have had to walk quite a distance to use the only other one that was situated at the complete rear. Suddenly, an air-hostess materialized and firmly told the lady that the loo was only meant for business class passengers.  A wistful request citing her inability and pain to walk long distance to the air hostess fell on deaf ears. ‘I am sorry, Ma’am’, the air hostess said quite stridently. I watched as the elderly and infirm lady turned back, bewildered and helpless.

And then I completely lost it.

I couldn’t imagine that the air -hostess could be this  un-feeling. Possibly, she was correct about the airline rules.But ,man, didn’t she have any brains to use her discretion ? Or did she so much lack compassion? Well, I took matters into hand and intervened,first politely.Then I morphed into my natural wolverine self,and un-sheathed my claws when the air-hostess told me that ‘Ma’am, please be seated. This does not concern you”. I think I snarled this answer : ” Can you please show some respect and compassion to this lady ? She could have been your mother ! How would you feel if anyone treated your mother like the disgusting way you have ? And please clarify whether business class passengers pee gold ? Either you allow her or let me speak to the Captain,NOW”. The air- hostess backed. Oh, I forgot to tell you , guys, I had this totally mad glint in my eyes too 😀

On my recent travel, I was in the front row again. A fat , leery guy with a hard-to-believe paunch sauntered in with his heavily pregnant young wife. The man sat down next to me and told his wife to occupy their other allotted seat , which was the highly uncomfortable middle seat in the second row behind us. The front row as we all know has great leg space and I would have thought that the man would show some consideration to his wife…that too when she is pregnant!But, no! Our man decided to be piggy about it.I guess he is a total swine in his life. Correction: A lecherous swine because I noticed him checking out my ummm..erm..’upper lady parts’ , very slyly. I seethed about his boorishness and racked my tremendously fertile brains in such matters, to teach him a lesson.

Eureka! I coughed very dismally. Once.Twice. Thrice. I made my eyes water. I again coughed hard. Then I said very pathetically ” Oh God, I am feeling horrible…hope its not the swine flu.These days one just can’t tell”. The man flinched and looked at me suspiciously. For the information of my readers, Delhi has been hit and scared by this virus attack in the last two moths.Many deaths have also occurred and the general public has been hysterical about it.

Well, my false swine- flu alarm, nailed it 😀 The man got up hastily to leave! But, unbelievably  he ordered his wife to come and sit next to me, while he sat in her seat! While I cheered that the poor woman would have a comfortable journey now, I couldn’t get over the fact that a man who was supposed to by scriptures/law/ hopefully not love, duty bound to take care of his wife, treated her as no more than a disposable commodity.

Malika Sarabhai writes in an article ‘For a saner, kinder world” (her column in ‘The Week”), “I am often asked, as the mother of a lesbian, how I feel about it. The thing is, I don’t. I mean, for me sexuality is a nonissue. There are so many more things I am concerned about as a parent—whether she is just and fair, whether she is kind and humane with everyone; whether she is involved in drugs; whether she is happy and blossoming; where she feels self-actualised—in this pyramid, sexuality comes very low.” Yes, most people tend to focus on the wrong issues and address them vehemently, non ? She further writes “In a screwed-up world, with twisted values and norms, a lack of transparency and justice, and inhuman behaviour all around, people’s right to love and be loved is far from perverted. What is perverted is our ability to turn a blind eye to so much that is wrong, so much that we could change if we just raised our voice for a saner, kinder world.”

So the accidental sufi bids you adieu with the words of Maya Angelou : “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” 🙂

And of course the mighty Led Zeppelin 🙂

The Three Men In My Life

Today is ‘International Women’s Day’. The  British-Somalian poet , Warsan Shire, says ” You can’t make home out of human beings’. Wrong!  The three men in my life prove her wrong! My Dad, my guy and my nephew : three beautiful Alpha males who make my being a woman the most wonderful experience. My Dad gives me strength and security.My guy gives me love and passion.My nephew gives me tenderness and contentment.

Thoughts and songs dedicated to each of them.

1. For my Dad : ‘Give your daughters difficult names. Give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. My name makes you want to tell me the truth. My name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right”. Thank you Daddy, for giving me such a name.The name which says and means that I am invincible. This is a classical Indian/Hindustani rendition by Parveen Sultana. My Dad’s legacy to his two daughters…I always listen to this when I need to feel his strength..feel him by my side and he is away.

2. For my guy: Loving you was like going to war; I never came back the same.With you, intimacy colours my voice…even ‘hello’ sounds like ‘come here’…every little thing thing that you say or do, I am hung up on you, Adi.Yeah, I am in deep.

3. For my nephew: ‘Well, I stand up next to a mountain,I chop it down with the edge of my hand.Well, I pick up all the pieces and make an island,Might even raise a little sand,’Cause I’m a voodoo child’. We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. Live hard, kiddo!

 Over and Out, guys with the immortal words of Coco Chanel : “I don’t know why women want any of the things men have when one of the things that women have is men” 🙂

Take That Back, Buddy

By mid-afternoon today, traditional ‘Holi’ festivities were over. The friends and moi sat down to seriously chill 😉

Naturally, Sabbath dominated.

Then a friend made an ‘Absolut’ mistake. He ummm got  into a gender thing about rockers and riffs. Something like ‘girls and guitars don’t gel’. Tsk..tsk…male chauvinism, I guess. Like what Tom Robbins says:’One of the other musicians said that the tambourine is a female due to the fact that it makes a pretty jingle and is designed to be spanked. That is the more recent, patriarchal attitude, I suppose” ( Skinny Legs and All)

Huh? Yeah ? I had to remind him of Lita Ford! She packed enough punch to jam onstage with the great Tony Iommi,please!

Photo of BLACK SABBATH and Tony IOMMI and Lita FORD

We didn’t have Lita’s latest album ” Living Like A Runaway”, (released two years back I think)  but hail youtube! The men looked a wee bit sheepish when this powered on the Denon 5.1 speakers 😀

She is back in form after a long hiatus.Go Lita!

Did I tell you guys that once I almost thrashed the hell outa fella  for pretending to like Deep Purple and not being aware of  the line-ups ? That was so blasphemous,non ? 😀

I gotta go now,guys. Need a hot water bath to clear out the delicious toxins of today  😉 So Sylvia Plath says “There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them…Whenever I’m sad I’m going to die, or so nervous I can’t sleep, or in love with somebody I won’t be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: ‘I’ll go take a hot bath.I never feel so much myself as when I’m in a hot bath.”

Holy Holi

“A bridge of silver wings stretches from the dead ashes of an unforgiving nightmare
to the jeweled vision of a life started anew.” ( Aberjhani,’Journey through the power of a rainbow’)

That’s how my Holi , the festival of colors which I love, is going to be 🙂 For you see, only if there is dust , there can be a rainbow, non ?

Read about the festival here :http://www.holifestival.org/holi-festival.html

What am I going to be doing on Holi ? This please 😀

Well, the ‘Balam’ ( lover) would be in London. Nevertheless, his friends out here would ensure the ‘bhaang’ ( a cannabis laced drink). I shall ‘maaro thumka’ ( shake my booty 😉 ) in jeans and  my ‘malmal ki kurta’ ( white linen shirt) will become ‘gulabi’ ( pink) 🙂 with the color of love.

Happy Holi guys…may you all be drenched in the colors of love! Just as I am 🙂

Meri faqeeri mein dekh tera ishq  kaisi nawaabi rang layi.. aaj rang hai, aaj rang hai!

Life Shouldn’t Be Taken For Granted

(This blogpost is based mainly on my reading of the book “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death” by Jean-Dominic Bauby & translated by Jeremy Leggat and two articles: 1.http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2015/mar/02/the-film-that-makes-me-cry-the-diving-bell-and-the-butterfly?CMP=twt_gu
2. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/nov/30/diving-bell-butterfly-florence-bensadoun )

The culture section of ‘The Guardian’ ( March 2nd ,2015) carries an article by film critic Peter Bradshaw “The film that makes me cry: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. It made an interesting read about the phenomenon of crying at the movies which I do many a times, as also while reading a book. So I cheered when Bradshaw says “There is sometimes almost a kind of inverted intellectual machismo in talking about what a great big wuss you are – always sobbing at some film which isn’t, say, a screen Hamlet or sombre social-realist work but a classic Disney heart wrencher or other more obviously populist entertainment..” I further whooped when he ends by saying “Crying during a film is a strange, narcotic experience. After doing so, I have often walked the streets in a strange, happy, but slightly unwholesome kind of delirium. Maybe sad films are the cinematic equivalent of absinthe.”
But I have not watched the film which won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the Cesar Awards as well as four Academy Award nominations. I possibly will not do so in the future too because it has under the garb of ‘artistic licenec’ fobbed off a story that is based on un-truth. It has perhaps mocked a very unique and tender lover story. Which I think is uncalled for because of the heartbreak it causes.I cannot get myself to watch it thus. Perhaps, I am sentimental and foolish. So be it!
I have read the book which is really great and written under exceptional circumstances. On 8 December 1995, Bauby, the editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine, suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings, but physically paralyzed with what is known as locked-in syndrome, with the only exception of some movement in his head and eyes. His right eye had to be sewn up due to an irrigation problem. The entire book was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid, which took ten months. Using partner assisted scanning, a transcriber repeatedly recited a French language frequency-ordered alphabet (E, S, A, R, I, N, T, U, L, etc.), until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter. The book took about 200,000 blinks to write and an average word took approximately two minutes. (Wikipedia).

The book is also an exceptionally beautiful love story between Jean-Dominic and Florence Ben Sadoun. She was Bauby’s lover and companion for three years, the woman who sat by his side, who held his hand when he died, who was planning on taking a trip with him even while he lay wasted in a hospital bed. The film has cut her out cruelly while focusing on Bauby’s erstwhile partner & mother of his children,Sylvie de la Rouchefoucauld. In the book, it is Florence not Sylvie who is referred to tenderly by Bauby on his last day before the stroke – ‘Florence softly stroked the nape of my neck.’ She remained loyal to him till the day he died. ‘Florence, always Florence, at your side,’ wrote Bauby’s colleague, the editor of Elle, Valerie Toranian. ‘The woman you loved, who loved you until your last breath”.

Certain things from the book are what I want to share with everyone. Things which we take for granted. Life, as we live it, without being aware of its beauty, both latent and manifest. In Bauby’s words, here they are:

Hope: “Does the cosmos contain keys for opening my diving bell? A subway line with no terminus? A currency strong enough to buy my freedom back? We must keep looking”

Exist vs Live: “I need to feel strongly, to love and admire, just as desperately as I need to breathe.

Totems & Symbols: “But I see in the clothes a symbol of continuing life. And proof that I still want to be myself. If I must drool, I may as well drool on cashmere.”

Letters: “I receive remarkable letters. They are opened for me, unfolded, and spread out before my eyes in a daily ritual that gives the arrival of the mail the character of a hushed and holy ceremony. I carefully read each letter myself. Some of them are serious in tone, discussing the meaning of life, invoking the supremacy of the soul, the mystery of every existence. And by a curious reversal, the people who focus most closely on these fundamental questions tend to be people I had known only superficially. Their small talk has masked hidden depths. Had I been blind and deaf, or does it take the harsh light of disaster to show a person’s true nature?
Other letters simply relate the small events that punctuate the passage of time: roses picked at dusk, the laziness of a rainy Sunday, a child crying himself to sleep. Capturing the moment, these small slices of life, these small gusts of happiness, move me more deeply than all the rest. A couple of lines or eight pages, a Middle Eastern stamp or a suburban postmark… I hoard all these letters like treasure. One day I hope to fasten them end to end in a half-mile streamer, to float in the wind like a banner raised to the glory of friendship.
It will keep the vultures at bay”

Family:“Sometimes the phone interrupts our work, and I take advantage of Sandrine’s ( his speech therapist) presence to be in touch with loved ones, to intercept and catch passing fragments of life, the way you catch a butterfly. My daughter, Celeste, tells me of her adventures with her pony. In five months she will be nine. My father tells me how hard it is to stay on his feet. He is fighting undaunted through his ninety-third year. These two are the outer links of the chain of love that surrounds and protects me. I often wonder about the effect of these one-way conversations on those at the other end of the line. I am overwhelmed by them. How dearly I would love to be able to respond with something other than silence to these tender calls”.
Love:In one passage Bauby says “ Sweet Florence refuses to speak to me unless I first breathe noisily into the receiver that Sandrine holds glued to my ear. “Are you there, Jean-Do?” she asks anxiously over the air.” I cried when I read that. How absolutely tender and beautiful. Apparently Florence even endured his disapproval if he did not like what she was wearing or how she had done her make-up….

So Hafiz says “And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky”.

Read the book, guys  🙂

Let There Be Spaces In Your Togetherness

There are times when I worry that I’ve lost myself. To love and to the man who made it happen. It comes to me at unexpected times. I could be eating pasta and remember him making it for me and feeding me. I could be looking at the red roses at the flower seller’s as I drive by and remember him saying he wouldn’t gift them to me..’Roses are so common,baby.I should give you all those wild flowers that I don’t know the names of “. It could be checking out the fit of denims in the trial room mirror and asking ‘Does my arse look fat ?’ without realizing he is not  there.His answer is unfit to be published on the blog,please 🙂 Well, many,many more such times and moments. The crux, is that  that my self is so inseparable from being with him  that if we were to separate, I would no longer be.

 But there are spaces too!

-“I want my own books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together”. ( David Leviathan, ‘The Lover’s Dictionary’).

– Letting me sleep alone.For understanding that I need to be completely to myself sometimes.Never obsessing over ” Where do you go to my lovely when you are all alone in your bed ? Tell me the thoughts that surround you. I want to look inside your head”….http://youtu.be/L8XQZYIiNgo

-Not getting testosterone hyped  when I listen to Joni Mitchell.He knows the  Jim Morrison bond is deep and Led Zeppelin is life.

-Putting up with my fur babies who are ruffians, hooligans and my life.

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So Kahlil Gibran says ““Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”.

A very , very important amendment to the above is in the line “Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf”. When it comes to chocolate, I will take his and not give mine. Bread is fine, though. And yeah, please I hate eating from the same loaf….or plate….or drinking tender coconut water  from a single bloody coconut with two straws 😀

So, are ya’ll clingy or spacey? Just curious! Whatever works 🙂

Ciao! Let me play you a favorite number 🙂

Feminism and Nail Polish

Colorbar_103DuskyMauve

This is not my photograph; not my finger and nail too.Its a photograph from the Internet.

February had been rough on the work front. I had been working late hours and weekends. I had been snappy with those I love. I was working today too since early morning with a very just a brick-in-the-wall feeling.

And then it rained. Long and glorious.Work came to a standstill.Everyone left for home.

Me too. Suddenly, I felt like buying a new nail polish . I don’t know why!

Actually, I do.The rains always  remind me of the Beloved who paints my nails beautifully.

So I bought this nail paint today.It is Colorbar’s Dusky Mauve 103. And I have also shaped my nails the same. I think my hands look nice 🙂

  I also bought a kick-ass red lipstick. A female friend and colleague was with me. We go back around 17 years. She told me that when she had first met me, she couldn’t quite categorize me,slot me. She comes from a very conservative background where wearing make-up was frowned upon. It was a sign of frivolousness and being dumb.  Good girls were supposed to concentrate on studies and prescribed books.  I had told her then that ” For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; that we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious–or whatever we please; we are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution.” ( Naomi Woolf)  ‘Are you a feminist?”,  she had asked me. Very truthfully I had told her “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” ( Rebecca West)

 I am a woman. I wouldn’t change this for anything.

I guess, truly glorifying in my femaleness ,also flows from my guy. Because “When you find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will stand in front of you when other’s cast stones, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who will hold your hand when your sick, who thinks your pretty without makeup, the one who turns to his friends and say, ‘that’s her’, the one that would bear your rejection because losing you means losing his will to live, who kisses you when you screw up, watches the stars and names one for you …..”, everything just falls into place. Just the way it was meant to be.

Here’s to make-up & Tolstoy! Both are not mutually exclusive 🙂

And here is a song that gladdens my heart all the time 🙂 Lennon had sung it for Yoko.