September 15, 2017 § 1 Comment
When Love came, I knew not what to make of its awkward presence. Were we to share some tea and small talk? Were we to get lost in the music of the everyday? Were we to unwrap our hearts and lay our secrets bare?
When Love stayed, I knew not how to feel about the sheer grip of its spell. Loving was a faculty I had just discovered. It was a super-power gone rogue. It wreaked havoc in spaces where I trembled. I closed my eyes to the vicissitudes of feeling withholding all judgement.
When Love left, I found myself in the silence and chaos of my own company. I was a stranger to my own needs and my own wants. I aired the curtains, changed the sheets, and opened the windows of my heart; kept it beating because there was no other way.
When Love knocked again, it was no longer the storm that we had both stroked. Love was now human. Love was flawed. Love was strong. Love held love’s own as was its way, but love never ceased to be a promise of dignity.
The words no longer pushed to reveal.
The silences held no necessary weight.
There was acceptance here with no preface.
There was respect now in the distance shared.
The power of Love was tamed.
So when Love looked at me with brightly lit eyes that held the history of flight and fall, when Love rolled its pauses on its tongue out of a habit of caution, when Love lifted its head, straightened its spine, and softened its heart–
my eyes moistened.
Because I knew this was love like the crooked contours of my nose, the puffiness of sleep-laden eyes, the jagged edges of stub-like fingernails…
I knew this was love like I knew myself
because if this was Love, so was I:
September 13, 2017 § Leave a comment
I walked away from the conversation with a vague sense of defeat. The resolution was completely internal. There was no reason for me to feel the way I did and, yet, there I was… drowning in self-pity.
Life was going well.
I was certainly not exceptional and hardly did I carry the burden of acknowledging a fictional glory. I was fairly quiet unless spoken to and I carried the shriek of silence deep inside my soul.
And yet I rose… through the ranks of approval I rose, up and up, and for what! Being ordinary? What my soul demanded most was some kind of defeat– an acknowledgement of my own diagnosis and an absolution of a cancerous quality.
Life was going well.
I had a loving partner whom I held on to with all the love my forlorn heart could muster. My world revolved around my two beautiful little girls- twins- whom I would pick up from preschool every afternoon after work. Here was love, beauty, opportunity– what can a woman ask for? And yet, at thirty-five, I carried a deep sense of knowing.
That I had changed.
At twenty, I had been ready to fight wars, to pledge my heart and soul to any obscure cause.
Because in my heart I knew desire
And in my soul I swore fealty-
Not to any gods or corporations-
… but to love, oh, and how!
At twenty, you could break, burn, bury me. You could try. But you would see me rise again from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix. The sun would turn, and you would find me standing there with not a little might. I was invincible!
Because we were young, we were brave,
In the play of life, we took centre stage
We walked together into the night,
Toeing the line of wrong and right
We were laughing, sharing smiles
Watching our shadows dance in the light
A moment of timeless intimacy–
Damned if I knew what got into me!
Somewhere a shrill voice comes aloud in the night
Ah! One of the young ‘uns giving me a darn’d fright
“Ahoy!” the boys shouted, from the hostel window
“What are you girls doing…out so late on the streets?”
In a way that was befitting how little we cared–
we laughed a laugh, a raucous laugh,
a careless laugh, and we went–
Out into the night again,
Oh what adventures does it hold!
for four young girls–
fierce, fascinated, forlorn…
I smiled to myself as I locked the door behind me. I couldn’t pick up the girls this night and the fact was biting into my conscience like a persistent itch. I yearned to see them captivate me into a state of mindlessness until the world and the past became secondary.
But soon they would grow up– into fine young girls full of questions. How does one live this life, mumma? their shining eyes would ask me. I’m afraid I don’t know, dear, would be my silent answer. But I know you’ll figure it out one way or another. Second childhood would I live again– in their blushes and their mistakes.
But until then, this old girl could use some rest. I call out to Avya the mischievous and Arya the profound. Avya had strewn her toys all around the house making every corner her own while Arya was lying down next to her father, studying his face with a characterestic intensity of her own. I vie for their attention,”Won’t you lie next to mumma, my dearies?”
September 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
Nothing like digging up an old poem that you’ve written in the quiet and sanctity of your own space. I shall be sharing a few poems that I’ve written in the past. Hopefully intersperse it with poetry from the present. Because, once art finds its way onto a sheet of paper, it becomes a monument of the ubiquity of emotion, indifferent to time and place and person…
I’ve moved all nonfiction and reviews to a new website that I’ve built using jekyll and markdown which is hosted on githubpages: meghanayerabati.github.io
My wordpress blog is going to be purely for sharing art and ruminations.
August 9, 2017 § Leave a comment
This resonated with me today:
James Sturm: The reasons are unimportant
James Sturm is a cartoonist and co-founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. He is the author of the best-selling and award-winning graphic novel The Golem’s Mighty Swing, chosen as the Best Graphic Novel of 2000 by Time magazine. In 2007, his trilogy of historical graphic novels was collected in a volume entitled James Sturm’s America: God, Gold, and Golems.
I like the question “Why Do You Make Art?” because it assumes what I do is art. A flattering assumption. The question also takes me back to my freshman year of college, where such questions like “What is nature?” and “Is reality a wave or a circle?” were earnestly debated (usually late at night and after smoking too much weed).
Twenty-five years later I’d like to think I am a little more clear-headed regarding this question. Perhaps the only insight I’ve gained is the knowledge that I have no idea and, secondly, the reasons are unimportant. Depending on my mood, on any given day, I could attribute making art to a high-minded impulse to connect with others or to understand the world or a narcissistic coping mechanism or a desire to be famous or therapy or as my religious discipline or to provide a sense of control or a desire to surrender control, etc., etc., etc.
Whatever the reason, an inner compulsion exists and I continue to honor this internal imperative. If I didn’t, I would feel really horrible. I would be a broken man. So whether attempting to make art is noble or selfish, the fact remains that I will do it nevertheless. Anything past this statement is speculation. I would be afraid that by proclaiming why I make art would be generating my own propaganda
August 3, 2017 § Leave a comment
[Due to a painful lack of creative fodder, I’m going to be writing a bunch of short, some not-so-short essays when I am not writing fiction so that I may at least keep writing. Most of the essays would be built into the context of my life but I welcome your perspective if you’ve ever had similar ruminations too.]
Lately, life has been quite methodical. I’ve always believed that when there is no motivation, one must find discipline in oneself. Because the world does not stop for us to find this ephemeral feeling called inspiration, right? I figured that one has to just get on with it already and, hopefully, inspiration will catch up sometime. So there we were… one more day into the making of a good habit, one strike off the ever-growing to-do list, one step closer to what we want… Ah! Hardly! There was no time to pause, to reflect, to day dream. To summon dandelions from thin air, to airbrush the space around us with music, and colour, and soul…
One thought leads to another, every goal comes with its baggage of… meta-information. Meta-information is just the everyday buzzing in my head that tells me how I could do whatever I’m doing better, or what I should do to get better at what I want to do, or how many things I can pack in my day if I do things in a given way… and this… and that. Maybe it’s just me…but I have a love-hate relationship with productivity. I mean, sure, getting out of bed, going for a run, feeling active and energetic is so great. Endorphins kicking, adrenaline rushing, yada yada yes, yada yada wow. But this meta-information takes up space, and bandwidth, and by god, it loses its value beyond a point… and yet, almost instinctively, it kicks in.
This leads me to point two. What about all that information that we know to be useful, that we consume and consume and consume for the mere pretence of keeping up. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to simply know but, hey, when will we stop taking the back seat of our own lives and create something new everyday instead of bleating a TIL at the end of the day.
That’s all for now. You can shelve this article into the folder called meta-information and under the tag called TIL and let’s just call it a day, shall we?
July 18, 2017 § Leave a comment
The child’s eyes trembled with mirth. His lips stretched wide and his eyes dilated slightly. His laugh resonated in the air like the triumphant anthem of a million cymbals. In him, I saw the hurried leap of Time- gliding over the sighs of a lost past into the gasps of an uncertain future. The very sight of him should set the gears of my life into a causal state of motion…
But it didn’t.
Hush, little baby, don’t you cry.
In the dead of the night, I wake up with a start– my forehead damp with worry, my lips blue with fear. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn that the the devil had pricked me awake with his foreboding touch. I place my baby’s hands in mine until the warmth of his little fingers pours a modicum of life into me. And yet, when the little hand slips through, I can’t believe that this stumbling, bumbling, mumbling little bundle of joy was once the flesh and blood inside of me.
I was bereaved.
There was nothing I missed more than the quiet thudding of a second heartbeat. My mind couldn’t convince my body that my golden baby was happily in front of me. A pit of gloom still pooled inside of my womb; adrenaline levels sent my senses into overdrive; my mind and body were consumed by a barrage of invisible alarm bells that had gone completely haywire.
Come dawn, the distant moon would know– that the light she shone was never her own…
Men in crisp white coats made me immensely nervous. The doctor gives me a wide smile to put me to ease.
‘You ought not to worry, really,’ she says as she scratches the prescription pad with the pen, noting down the names of a few mild anti-depressants.
‘I don’t understand this,’ I say, as I bite my lip. ‘I can’t explain this fear… just that I’m up most nights holding my stomach and crying.’ My face shed a shade of blood. ‘This is embarrassing.’
‘Nobody ever said that being a mother is easy. It’s a physical and mental journey like no other. Don’t worry at all.’
‘And the baby?’ I ask, unwilling to explain the biggest of fears.
‘You will be the best mother that he could ever ask for. But don’t stop yourself from asking for help.’ She smiles.
I meet my husband outside the glass doors of the clinic and take a deep breath. The twinge of despair that shocks me every time I see my baby has eroded marginally. I push the baby cart onwards towards the car.
Another go at motion.
[Inspired by ‘Divinire’ by Ludovico Einaudi which reminded me of the beginning of life]
April 17, 2017 § 1 Comment
It’s the end of an era. That’s what they all say.
I’ve been trying to reconcile myself with the idea of an ending and, know what? It’s not easy. There’s barely a month left for my last semester on campus to end. I have no idea how I’ve made it through eight semesters on this campus. I don’t know if I should weigh my experiences in terms of battles fought in public or in private… if I should gauge the extent of my influence through the number of foes made or that of friends earned. Should I flaunt the proud medal of lessons learnt or the indelible stains of regret? I truly do not know.
I only know that it has been one hell of ride. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. At this point, all I can really say is– Thank you.
Thank you– whether you were that friend who was there for me through the thick of the night. Or that friend with whom I’ve shared a few harmless laughs and traded passionate stories with. Or that friend I’ve worked on last minute assignments with, shared club work with, or waved at between classes. And, thank you, even if I’ve never spoken to you. We never met because we never had to. Our lives ran in tangents, our interests never brought us together. But, you must know, my college experience is richer thanks to your refreshingly different imagination. Together, unknown to each other, we’ve built a rearing, kicking, thriving beast of an ecosystem that is a thing of beauty.
Relationships have changed, motivations have evolved, self-identity has been remoulded in a furnace of hot contemplations and cold disappointments. In the mad run behind grades, internships and impending deadlines, and the intoxicating stillness of special moments that have been seared into our memory during college, we found ourselves a story.
This is our story. We’ve left our imprints all over it. It lies in our memory like a snow globe of frozen time carrying a whiff of rain-washed eucalyptus leaves leading up to a short but memorable pit-stop called BITS Pilani.
BITS Pilani – Thanks to you, I’ve known magic.