Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"It's always the woman's fault"

It wasn't, by the way. Not even close.

It's like saying, the thunderstorm is a person's fault, or the flood is.

The problem with writing a blog in one's own name is that there is a limit to the stuff you can divulge. You ask yourself how desperately you want to tell the complete story and how badly you want to piss off someone. They might never see the blog, but then someone might and tongues, as we know so well, wag, especially when there is something juicy to wag about. Do I want to write, or do I want to fight?

It wasn't the woman's fault. Anyone with an ounce of common sense in them could see it. But the thing about rumours is that there need be no truth attached to it.There is a special channel by which rumours spread - and that is a path often shunned by common sense.

Someone said, when the shadow of the earth falls on the moon, poisonous substances will be released from your food.

The shadow falls all the time, across space. It just so happens that once in a while there is a satellite on its path - big enough to be visible from our home. They teach science in school. It's just a shadow. Harmless. Don't give in to superstition.

But no...

What if poison is actually released? What if it is true? We don't actually know, do we? What if,...

What if it is the woman's fault? What if she brought about the thunderstorm? The flood?

The tragedy is that she had been trying hard to be good. That's what irks me. She has sacrificed a great deal to be where she is. She wasn't managing somehow.

Nothing I said to the rumour-monger would change their opinion. They would spread the tale anyway. Because there was something so delectable about fresh gossip. About someone who was already in their radar. Someone who had been admired greatly at the start. Someone who seemed to have no failing. Someone who did not give away much about themselves. Controlled. Cultured. Nonetheless, ripe to be talked about. The more difficult it is to find something about them, the more delicious it becomes. And the ears that gather the news would be thrilled to spread it further.

What if it is her fault?

Actually, it is her fault. It must be. Everything had been so perfect. There is no other culprit. Then it must be. 

When the shadow enters, venomous creatures raise their heads... Once the shadow recedes, they crawl back to the hole they came from. It sounds true, so it must be.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Deliverance

​Adrift in the ocean
No sense of direction
A​​mong the waves
And the sky and solitude

Dawn has arrived. Ahoy!
Land has been sighted
The wind draws me closer
Mountains come to view

The sparkle of a brook
Slipping in and out
Signs of habitation
Smoke from ​the ​chimneys

My heart leaps out...
Only a matter of hours
For my deliverance
Patience, my heart...

To be safe, on firm earth
Free from the rocking sea...
Land, beloved land,
The destination, ultimate.

Suddenly the wind changes
It begins to blow out
Dragging me away
Farther from the land

And as I watch helpless
The brook vanishes
The mountains grow smaller
Land retreats, diminishes

My boat, rising and falling,
Driven far out into the sea...
A brief vision, a tiny possibility-
Now an unattained dream!

Between the lashing waves
And the apathetic sky...
Adrift in the ocean...
Once again-

Friday, July 20, 2018

Deep Side

Do you feel the lure of the Deep Side?
An irresistible yearning to explore the unseen?

The treacherous waters that others have crossed,
Over there, just an arm's length away; far, but near.

It's deep, it's dangerous, it looks ominous.
I'm safe, I'm protected, I'm content.

The Deep Side is for the Adventurers, the Explorers, the Brave.
I'm none of the above. Not now, anyway.

I'm safe where I am.
Here, in my world that's shallow, controlled and secure.

But that's never enough, is it?
Contentment is only temporary... We're never satisfied.

There's always the desire for something more, something exciting.
A thirst that no amount of money can quench.

The Deep Side dwells, calm and indifferent.
It beckons with its evident lack of interest.

It turns its back on me, callous,
In a way I cannot reciprocate.

What pulls you apart, from your safe nest?
What tugs at your heart, calls you a coward?

What new goals have you found to wreck your peace?
What unsatisfied longing gives you sleepless nights?

What is your Deep Side?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Every book is a memory...


I picked up The Day of the Jackal from one of the roadside second hand book sellers in Bangalore. The year was 1999 or 2000. M.G.Road, if I am not mistaken. One of those places where they spread the books on the footpath and as we walk past, we experience an irresistible urge to pick up everything lying face up. I stopped and looked at them - I knew these weren't original, most likely photostat copies, and yet I knew for a certainty that I will buy something that day. At least one. And I did. It was my first second-hand book.

Every time I think of or talk about or overhear someone discussing The Day of the Jackal, the movie or the book, that's what I remember. My first job in Trivandrum. My interview in Bangalore. Walking by M.G.Road with my father. Staying with friends who were either working or looking for a job. A book with a green cover. I am not sure if I still have that book. If I do, it would have yellowed, thumbed pages with the print no longer clear. In the first page, I would have scribbled my name and the date I bought it, followed by "M. G. Road." I didn't want to forget.

That's why I always note down the date and where I bought it, in every book I buy. I may remember some of it, but I may forget most. And I want to remember where I was, what I was going through, who I met, and why I chose this book.

The book seller waited patiently. He did not ask if I wanted this book or that. He could tell by the way my eyes were scanning the titles. When I found what I was looking for, he would know. Another person, who had stopped his hasty walk and was looking cursorily at the books, would not buy anything that day. I was the one likely to leave with a lighter purse. My eyes fell on Frederick Forsyth. Ever since my father told me about this anonymous shooter out to kill the French President Charles de Gaulle, I had been intrigued.

I looked up at the seller and pointed to the book. "How much?"

He quoted an amount I cannot recall now. But I remember thinking, photostat copies. Not worth the price. He waited for me to negotiate. "Okay," I said.

I don't regret spending that money at all. (It is possible that my Dad paid for it, but you get what I mean.)

Every book is a memory. A slice from our life. A few moments or days or weeks of time - from the instant we set our eyes on it, or hear about it, to the moment when we let it slip back to our past.

I read it in a crowded train. 
I saw it on her table.
I bought it from M. G. Road.
I gave it to my so-called friend and she never returned it. 
I borrowed it from a library I don't visit any more.
It was a gift.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Metamorphosis

One morning I dreamt that I had become a leopard.

Nothing surprising in it, as such, because it happened a few days after I read Kafka's Metamorphosis. The fact that Kafka imagined himself as an insect and I, as a leopard, must speak volumes about where we see ourselves. Not just any leopard, mind you, a man-eating kind, no less. I have no idea where that came from. (No doubt thanks to Corbett's Man-eaters of Kumaon, except that those were tigers.) Surely dream analysts would go berserk trying to decipher that one. I see a lot of fingers pointed at my ego.

As is usual in dreams, I could see myself - the leopard - from the outside as though my mind (in any case, my eyes) were suspended in the air. As though the dream were a video game where I had chosen my character as a leopard - I could see it as well as control it.

I watch myself prowling around the room. Round and round. Here and there. From this corner to that. The room has two doors and a window. One opens out to the balcony and the other to the rest of the house.

I'm restless.

I'm confined. Yet I am free. The doors are open. I don't go out. I go to their edge and peer out. I take in nature through my senses. From a distance.

A man-eater. Could be dangerous if let out.

My mind roams the jungles of my past. An ancient memory of unrestrained freedom. A fading image.

No one has imprisoned me, though.

I have confined myself.

I'm comfortable. I have everything I need. Even freedom in limited quantities. A cage, with an outlet. Breathing space. Walking space. Sighing space.

The leopard is a human, restricted by her own mind.

Prowling the wilderness of her dreams.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

My book of stories - now in Paperback!

Shadows of the Past and other stories
A wise person once said, "Coincidences do happen, that's why they have a name."
Sometimes these coincidences stop us on our tracks and make us wonder, “Was that really just a coincidence – or did the hand of Destiny strike ever so gently?” We call them ‘eerie’ or ‘uncanny’, or ‘miracles’ or ‘stroke of luck’ or ‘fate’.

Shadows of the Past” takes you to the crossroads where coincidence meets luck, miracle meets destiny, on the thin line between the strange and the eerie. Perhaps those incidents are mere coincidences, and there is nothing inexplicable about them.

I leave you to judge.


Reviews

"Engaging narrative. Author handles the plot well. Every story has a twist and keeps reader engrossed." - Pradeep on Amazon

"The stories were engaging, and the narration, simple. The eagerness to know what the twist might be keeps the pages turning." - Vinay Leo on Goodreads

"Really enjoyed reading the collection of short stories. My favorites being Rosa and awaiting August. The writing was simple to understand and pleasant." - Tejus on Amazon

"Each story manage to grip the reader and makes him want to read the rest. I liked the fact that no two story was similar, either in treatment or subject." - Anoop on Goodreads



What are you waiting for?? 

Purchase paperback edition from:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Shadows-Past-Jeena-R-Papaadi/dp/9387649369/ (Also available from Amazon international stores)

Infibeam: https://www.infibeam.com/Books/shadows-past-jeena-r-papaadi/9789387649361.html

Flipkart: https://www.flipkart.com/shadows-of-the-past/p/itmf5jshqpyftw7x


If you are an ebook reader, you can find the book on Amazon Kindlehttps://www.amazon.in/Shadows-Past-Jeena-R-Papaadi-ebook/dp/B01L2JURE6/


Add the book to your shelves at Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40239056-shadows-of-the-past


Before you go...

... please remember to rate and review the book once you have read it, on the website where you purchased it from, as well as on Goodreads.


And while we're on the topic, check out my other books: https://www.amazon.in/Jeena-R.-Papaadi/e/B005HG4HMY/

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I've given up being myself...

Where - and how - did I get lost?
Look, I tried to blend in.
I did not wish to, I fought my inner urge, but I did.
I did all that they wished me to. Well, almost.
Yet they caught on to the little things I missed.
And they remembered things from the past.
Things I wanted to forget.
And they dragged it all before me - I did not know how to react.
The stuff they did not drag - hung before our eyes, the elephant in the room.
I was not armed with details from their past. I never cared.
No, society isn't forgiving. They aren't kind.
They're mocking. They revel in it. They thrive in it. They rejoice in it.
And God, what long-lasting memory they have!
If you do not fit in, they tarnish you - with a smile.
Oh, that winning smile!
But I swallowed my discomfort.
I tried to smile and pretend it did not matter.
I even joked, for God's sake.
I had to go through this. It was only a matter of a few hours.
If they can survive, so can I.
But I didn't.
I did put up a good fight, but I lost.
It came out - my fury, a glimpse of it, in my eyes, in my impatient gesture.
In an unintentional slash of my words.
I took a deep breath and turned away.
This was not me. I could not do this.
And when my back was turned, they all trickled away. And I was left all alone, stunned.
Where had I gone wrong?
Why was it so much easier for them?
Later, much later, when it all came back in full force, I decided... I cannot be myself. It was a lost battle.
It was not worth while.
It was draining.
It was lonesome.
They were never going to give up. They will hound me for years. For as long as I live.
Better I put on a show than not. At least to give them less ammunition.
It was easier to give up and follow the rules. Even if it killed me or drove me insane.
It was possible to learn the ropes.
Then I would arm myself - with their past. Yes, I would play nasty.
It was easier to (pretend to) become one of them than try to be me.
Who cares, either way?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Talker

He just loves to talk. That isn't the first impression you get of him, though. He may come across as funny or efficient or friendly or a variety of things. Talkative is probably the last thing to occur to you - it comes over a period of time. It clicks one fine morning not when he is talking to you, but when you watch him attack someone else. Just talking and talking and talking. Flick, swoosh, snip, destroy!

You tell yourself, he loves the sound of his own voice. Then you begin to realise it is not that simple. He enjoys the reaction he gets - naturally that's when people perform: before an admiring audience. Not before someone who doesn't give a hoot.

You react to the way he speaks - it isn't new, but it is still fresh. It is not unfamiliar but it is exciting. His choice of words promises an extensive knowledge of the language, over and above yours. His gestures talk almost as much as he does.

You nod eagerly, you listen carefully to the ring of his voice, you observe the flow of his hand and you widen your eyes.

Then one day the spell breaks. Words tumbling over, hands flitting left to right, taking shapes, no longer hold any charm. You go through the motions - being polite, nodding, smiling, rolling your eyes, that sort of thing. But all you hear is yak-yak-yak... the more polite you pretend to be, the more you wish to die. The next time you see him approach, you bury your head into your book, and dive into your own world.