December 31, 2011

A loving adieu

A long time ago, I was a romantic fool. I had notions about the world that made it so rose-tinted, lacy-edged and splendid sounding, that I used to weep when it didn't live up to these expectations.

Everything changed in 2011. I grew up. I learnt.

...that your dealing with life is your own. That you cease to expect and start to live. A simple theory of self-settlement. And my peace was bought.

Last year, I dramatically wrote a letter to year 2010 that pleading...for 2011 to be at least marginally kind. It was more than that.

Meaningful, propelling and simply happy, 2011 was the year I found myself beginning to discover who I might be.

To the year that was- so special so splendid, here's a loving adieu! You'll be remembered fondly, and hopefully the one ahead has some nice stories to write as well.

Here's wishing everyone a promising new year!

December 13, 2011

One of those days...

It is one of those days when everything looks bleak, uncertain and painful. When nothing seems to work. The cards don't stay still and form my little paper castle. They fall. Over and over again.

I know this too shall pass, and I shall be okay, or I shall somehow make myself okay, because I have recently discovered that I can be anything I want to be, if I want it truly enough. That I am a malleable chameleon who can change shades if she wills to.

But today I demand that things get okay by themselves. That some miracle knocks on my door and sweeps away the dirty floors and dusts off those cobwebs for me. That I don't have to do my dirty work, make sense of my life with difficulty and overcome hardships all by myself!

I demand that my movie gets made. And not by hook or crook. But in that way I saw it in that first vision, the way I have nurtured it, polished it, chopped it to show off its finer bits. I want to make it in that just-right manner.

But why does it get tougher and tougher everyday? To fix the tiniest of things? To bridge the smallest of gaps? Where are my minions who will want to set things right?

Why do things that can make it happen be at an unattainable perch?

There is a limit to complexities. But well, mine was crossed long back. In every aspect of my life! I shall still grin and bear it and somehow, I know this film will happen. I just hope it happens soon. Before strength, money, time and my sagging spirit fail me!

The Best of Quest- a book review

Time and history are recorded not just in history text books, but also in its art. Literature and art have over and again frozen that slice of time for us to revisit it with every piece of fiction, a dance form from an era or music that haunted the days of yore. Somewhere in all these, one can read chapters of what-was and relive it for its course.

In this, magazines also play a very important role. Opinions, words and verses of contemporary writers and thinkers get recorded between the pages. Nissim Ezekiel’s Quest magazine, started out of Bombay in 1954. Meant to be “a quarterly of inquiry, criticism and ideas”, it went on for about two decades, publishing the thoughts and expressions of many of yesteryear’s greatest in the form of essays, fiction and poetry. Unfortunately, it had to be shut during the Emergency period and was never revived, until recently, when Arshia Sattar discovered the whole stock of the magazine, lying by her bedside.

When she discovered what a wealth of perspectives lie in the trunk, she knew she had to share it with the world. Thus was born, The best of Quest, published by Tranquebar and edited by Lafeq Futehally(who worked as the Literary Editor with the Quest for over twenty years), Achal Prabhala(a writer and researcher) and Arshia Sattar(who writes and teaches classical Indian literatures and narrative at various institutions across the country).

The book begins with a memoriam to Nissim Ezekiel- the man behind the magazine. This is followed by the essays and opinion sections. From politics to Indian writing, caste system to cinema, a plethora of topics have been examined in detail in this section. Interesting, thought-provoking and widening one’s perspective, the essays are authored by many major names such as Dilip Chitre and Mujibur Rehman.

The poetry section has Kamala Das, Nissim Ezekiel among others playing with words in verse. Once again, the topics are varied, quirky and eloquently dealt with in rhyme and blank verse. Anita Desai, Keki.N.Daruwala and many other fantastic writers are featured in this collection- their writings as refreshing as ever!

What is splendid about such collections is the fact that it holds a mirror to the society as it existed then. Through the essays, one gets a glimpse at the kind of opinions and systems that prevailed. Anthologies such as these, puts the reader on a retrospective mode. One after the other, they present the changing face of a nation and its outlook on various aspects of life and society.

Apart from the historical relevance of such anthologies, the literary relevance is of no less importance. The kind of writers that have been scooped under the umbrella of Quest is simply amazing. It shows how there was once a voice in India which in different timbres, expressed freely, in prose and poetry and went on to generate opinions, criticisms, statements, perspectives and shape the course of a literary awakening of sorts.

The best of Quest is a must-have for all literary buffs who want to trace the path of Indian literature, immediately after her Independence. It is also a thing of joy for all those who obsess over anthologies; this is a gathering that merits attendance! Most of all, this is for all those who simply would devour the written word- such a variety of food that hides between its covers that you just cannot possibly resist! 

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© Dryad's Peak
Maira Gall