Interpretations

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The English Bubble

Originally posted on Interpretations:

I think my intention behind the title of this blog was different. However, the video here covers a part of it. In fact, it literally talks about the bubble (1:57).

So, now that I have no memory of the original idea; let’s enjoy and learn from this great tip on learning a new language.

View original

The Emergency

“tring-tring”

“tring-tring”

“tring-tring”

He cut the call, like he would snooze the alarm. It was 4am and G had slept at midnight after an over 8-hour workday.

We got up to a bright Saturday morning but it was 10am by the time we acknowledged that we were ready to start the day. G checked his email log (first thing after he woke up) and the comment thread on the web-application, where they filed all the software bugs.

I lazed around in the bed, to recover from a busy half-year. To relax, I picked up a book next to me and began to read. In a couple of minutes, I heard footsteps, heavy and erratic. It’s a sign of either a great idea or unwanted stress. “Must be an idea” I thought. But then the steps developed a rhythm and I heard them approach the bedroom.

“It was a critical issue.” He said.

“What?” I said.

“They called me at 4am no? I decided to look at it in the morning.”

“And you did?”

“Yes, and the issue is fixed too.”

“Then?”

“I am on call this weekend.”

“Yeah, your weekend work-time just started!”

“According to some people, work time is 24 by 7.”

“Bullshit!”

“I was expected to pick that call…”

He mumbled a bit more and marched out of the room. He hadn’t had a drop of water, a cup of coffee or a bowl of cereal since he woke up. “Is it the weekend yet?” I closed the book and walked to the front room to check. I saw him in his favorite drape, topless; his fingers were wrapped in his long hair strands. As he rolled and unrolled his hair, he stared deep into the computer screen.

“Aaargh” He said.

There was a broken robot that a parent dropped at the warehouse at 4am. The diligent repair guy woke up to fix the toy, only to find that someone else took care of it. But the father was disappointed with the repair man, even though the child had forgotten about the robot. So, Mr. Fix It found a note in his warehouse that said, “It’s because of men like you who work hard for a good-night’s sleep, that a child wakes up men like us! Next time, at least wish us Good Night before you ignore.”

It was 11am on a Saturday and my lovely life was there; hungry, half-naked and almost homeless.

Squared planning

To write after days feels good; to write after months? Is to recover from grief.

I gave my first piano recital on March 8; became a San Francisco City Guide on May 9; and 2 days ago, I launched an event called Aeolian Day for the world to experience the sound of the wind. This all must read like 6-months of reward driven work, but it turned my painfully nourished artist-soul away.

April was the greatest dip. I took a 10-day trip to India in mid-April. On my onward journey, I had to take 4 flights spread over 30 hours to get to my parents’ winter home in Coimbatore. The 4 days that I spent there, however, more than made up for the travel fatigue. There was a moment when I felt like a writer again and completed one of my short stories. I sat in the balcony that looked out at the horticultural farm and in great peace, the words just flowed out. That was the end of it.

The following days were filled with a wedding ceremony and more cities to hop. In the last leg of my trip, I was in Trivandrum and spent a lot of time with my extremely pregnant sister-in-law and my mother-in-law. I realized they were in great need of someone who could just make the world seem worry-free. I did my best and played a few games of scrabble and performed a few songs in the evenings. I know they felt joy, at least for sometime. But then, before I knew, it was time to leave. Why didn’t I stay for the delivery? – you may ask. Well, I had a training session that I had planned my trip around. In fact, my trip was exactly between 2 training sessions. A day before I had to leave, my mother-in-law said “It feels good to have your support, both physically and mentally.” I think, at that moment, my heart shrank. I considered cancelling my ticket too; but my partner comforted me and gave me enough confidence to leave.

On my flight back, thoughts of helplessness trapped me. The year 2014 offered my life a gap that unleashed an artist inside of me. I wrote, I painted, I played music and I sang; outside of these pursuits, I continued to create at random occasions – a glass harp, a spacecraft suit, 3 camera obscuras etc.. It was the most beautiful year and the one I hadn’t even expected. I taught myself to swim and trained myself to enjoy routine that in effect, fueled my creativity. However, on that flight I realized that to have just your ‘own’ pursuits is not only hard but weighs you with decisions that you don’t want to partake in. If I had an employer, I would have applied for a vacation and just to put my foot down and say “I have to be with my family.”, would have made me feel like a winner. I would have not kept my training sessions at such high priority and just worked around them. To have the world think that you have all the time to spare feels weird. You feel vulnerable and insecure about being taken for granted.

I felt bad that in my efforts to grow without an employer, I had become a slave to myself.

I returned home(alone) in San Francisco; somewhat broken but sick otherwise. A nasty flu (that I picked from someone on the flight) became an uninvited guest. It stayed with me for 6 days during which I had to recover from a jet-lag and an emotional low; and I had to prepare my first Mock Tour. I barely had 3 days for the tour preparation and despite a decent research and a rough story-line, I was too sick during the tour to make it fun. That felt like hell!

I withdrew into a deep state of despair along with a sense of failure. There was no one to listen to my rants, nobody to comfort me with a hug and for the first time I realized I didn’t have a friend around to call up! Yes, there are friends that I have made and yes, I would still call up just for a chitchat; but I found no answers in my head to my cries for help.

It took me about 6 days to recover from the flu but that depression hasn’t left me yet.

The event planning partially helped but towards the last few days, I burnt out. The joys of writing are best experienced alone but the success of a job is meaningless in solitude. And there is no reality to all this. It’s in my system and it continues to grow and I have spent a week blowing it off. There are still a few dark sparks but I hope that the rest of 2015 has enough lessons for me to plan my life better. I want to enjoy every day that I have, every minute that I live and every breath that I take. And I am quite uptight about that.

The Nail Salon

Aimless, I walked; maybe to hunt for a purpose or maybe not. I wasn’t sure why I was so sad without any grief; I couldn’t tell why I felt so light with the load of emptiness. I looked in all directions. To the east, the sun appeared to be a black hole and to the west, I saw no promise of an opportunity. Ahead, there was a road, with a flood of vehicles but they appeared still. Rolling, but still.

Unless I say them out loud, these everyday thoughts have no meaning. So I continued to walk and a few yards away on the right was ‘Nora Nail Salon’. My feet drifted and I let myself be dragged in there. And then, I heard something like my voice.

“Eyebrows” It said.

After a few minutes, I saw a face like mine in the mirror, with traced lines of hair on top of my eyes. I admired my lady’s work, and heard that voice again.

“Upper lip” It said.

The clean mustache of skin over the brown sagging flesh. Some work was done and the service person will be paid, I thought. Yet again, I heard that unfamiliar voice.

“Do you think my chin needs to be waxed?” It said.

A total of 15 minutes had passed and I walked out of that room with some society-defined face of a woman. She has shaped eyebrows, shaved upper lips and a shining chin. Whoever it was, I couldn’t tell but that voice; that voice spoke again.

“Can I get a pedicure?” It said.

The feet are soaked, rubbed, massaged; the cuticles are searched for and removed; the nails are cut, filed, polished. The soul must go through some of it, I thought. “Ouch!” Somewhere during that process, I heard a voice closer to my own; maybe because of the pain.

It lasted over 20 minutes and I sat there, under my lady’s instructions. I waited for my feet to dry and just when I thought they were done, she asked me to let them dry more. I wore closed shoes and they needed drier feet, she said. I sat there and stared at my feet. The skin was clear and smooth, the heels were soft, and the nails were deep purple.

“This isn’t me.”

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This time, I heard myself loud and clear. I got up and left. Of course, I paid; with sadness, the price of pretty feet and of a sadder me.

Outlaws

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This is a section of a book called ‘Still Life with Woodpecker’ that I am reading these days.

It isn’t often that I come across a gist of how I look at the world; how, even when things go wrong, my system takes me to an alternate path where ‘wrong’ doesn’t seem wrong, it just feels like an experience that my life can build or crumble on. The paragraphs above resonate the same disregard for right, wrong, good and bad of the law of the world. Whether it makes one an ‘outlaw’ is left to an individual’s idea of self-identification; and there, I would stay away from a stereotype any day. But for the sake of clarity of character, labels like these help me reconnect with myself time and again; and provide me some essential introspection.

I feel in love with myself today.

One place

Where can one find

the wise and the curious,

the well-fed and the hungry;

the young and the octogenarian,

the straight and the exploratory;

the clear and the confused,

the Siberian and the Aborigine;

the conventional and the artist,

the playful and the angry;

the loved and the deprived,

the driven and the aimless;

the busy and the carefree,

the celebrity and the nameless;

the spiritual and the party-head,

the powerful and the helpless;

the utopian and the melancholy,

the royal and the homeless;

In one place, together? One might say the planet, Earth.

I see it in the City Library of San Francisco.

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Art, an experience

My music teacher called me this morning. He is working on a mobile app that helps train people in Carnatic Music. Among the many features is one where users can identify a Raga by listening to the pitches/notes. The goal of the app is to build the knowledge of pitches and ragas.

I was asked if I had any thoughts or ideas that could make it better. From a random place in my memory, I mentioned that I would love it if people could identify Ragas based on their association of mood. Every Raga in Carnatic Classical Music invokes a certain kind of feeling between joy, temptation, sadness, anger, disgust etc.. However, not everybody feels the same way about the same Raga. So, while it’s hard to tie one mood to a Raga; I think for every person, their unique association remains largely the same.

So, I imagined an app which would build a profile of my understanding of music, based on how I felt about a certain sequence of notes. The app, with the knowledge of my perception of music, can replay certain sounds/pieces in a genre of moods. By recalling an experience, I might be able to identify Ragas.

This is when I realized that all my life I have been better at recalling experiences instead of events. And I think this ability of my system to capture the overall mood of an event makes me a lover of all arts. Because, what is art, if not an experience?

Zither ka Zikar

Many, many years ago, when I was a child I had a dream; (Who doesn’t?)

To collect, amass, own, possess; (So what?)

To play, to make, to do, to share; (ok, what’s your point?)

And put it all on display; (Aren’t you a show-off?)

Just for me to see, me to think, me to smile and me to get carried away.

__________Yes, that alter-ego that never had a childhood, finally gave up._____________

I wished to create a room full of instruments of music. And now, I have a violin, a piano, a keyboard, a tuning fork (ha!) and because of my new music teacher – an autoharp. Furthermore, I hadn’t expected this Zither to become my favorite play thing. It sounds wonderful and doesn’t demand much talent. I can just strum through it while I sing my songs.

Welcome you beautiful!

Children’s Zither (Autoharp)

For those who are lost because of the title, it translates to ‘About a Zither’.

Hear Heart

I’m fragile, a bit broken here and there; but that’s what I am made of – everywhere and everyone. And in times like today, when I am reminded of those buried experiences that thankfully, were ignored in the beauty of other wonderful ones; I hear those bits of me vibrate through the cracks.

The pieces tell me I am not as whole as I am supposed to be; they scream that I have taken the illusion of being complete to be true; and they remind me that there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of love to be made.

I have to stitch them together, the cuts, the bruises and the deep wounds – the ones not inflicted by someone or something but by my own lack of perspective. Because I looked in the wrong direction and took the darkest blows of those unfortunate times.

Life, they say, is in a heart beat. I hear it in my ears today – loud and off-rhythm. And the jarring sounds and the missed beats call out to me “Hey you! There’s so much you have to do. There’s so much love you have to set free.”

Happy Human’s Day

I am not sure about how to define a woman. However, I think what makes us human beings is our ability to redefine whoever and whatever we would like to be.

I basked in the glory of that realization on March 8, 2015 when for the first time, in front of an audience, I was introduced as a Pianist.

I am inspired to practice everything that gives me joy.

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