Gloomy Sunday

Sunday is gloomy? –

Oh! I don’t think so.

You must be driven by notoriety

To be so brimful of woe!

Sunday is gloomy! –

I certainly don’t think so ;

The day’s bright and beautiful,

Even without Antonio.

Sunday is gloomy? –

How can it be so?

White flowers, black coaches –

Naught can steep Sunday in sorrow.

Seress, Javor said Sunday’s gloomy –

It would be so much more so,

Were I to pass away abruptly,

Leaving behind darling Antonio.

Oh! Gloomy, gloomy Sunday!

You’re weirdly lethal, you know?

So many have killed themselves

Distressed by your woe.

Oh! Gloomy, gloomy Sunday!

What would the lost souls say,

Were we to celebrate Life

With prayers and candles today?

 

* This poem is inspired by the song, ‘Gloomy Sunday’, more popularly known as the Hungarian suicide song, which is notorious for causing the deaths of more than a hundred people, including its composers –  Rezso Seress and Laszlo Javor, due to its extremely morbid and depressing nature. I’ve personally listened to three different versions of this song, one of them being the Hungarian original and another being the one sung by Sarah McLachlan, besides a third by an unnamed artist; and I found the song very beautiful, though the lyrics are certainly morbid. Of course, I took the precaution of listening to it while I  was at my happiest, since I know from experience that morbid songs coupled with a morbid state of mind is the absolute recipe for disaster. So, if you’re planning to listen to the song, please do so AFTER taking the appropriate precautions. Here are the links for all three versions that I listened to (others are available on YouTube)  :

 

 

SPECIAL POWER

There is something special about all of us, some special “power” that helps us to help ourselves, our near and dear ones as well as other people around us. This special something can be anything, ranging from being great at giving good advice to being a philanthropist or a social activist dealing with one or a few of the myriad issues that plague the society today. Some of us have great powers, powers that can build or break nations even; others might have puny ones, like that of the proverbial squirrel in the Ramayana, who tried to do his bit to help the Lord in building the bridge to Lanka by carrying nut-sized pebbles and piling them into the ocean, since the carrying of huge blocks of rock wasn’t his forte. Be it puny or earth-shaking, however, every special power counts; we never know when something insubstantial might have more than substantial consequences. That is probably why they are all so “special”.

When I come to think of my special powers (yes, powers, because I do have a handful actually; a couple of them puny, the rest not so puny, though not earth-shaking either), I think of my gift of penmanship as being the most powerful of them. Since I’m one of the quieter ones, I’ve always found Bacon’s idea “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man and writing, an exact man” as being very close to my heart. It’s my earth-shaker; what couldn’t I do with it?  And if I had to choose just one of my few powers and relinquish the rest, I’ve no doubt that I’d choose writing over the others. Good advice, helpfulness, philanthropy – these are either too limited in scope for me or just not suitable enough, one way or the other. Writing, on the other hand, is exactly my niche; it makes me feel powerful, and I’m one hell of a power-hungry nerd. Since I’m one of the quiet ones, how do I make myself heard? I’ve stuff to share that a lot of other people might identify with; how do I reach out to them so that they know that somebody out there somewhere feels exactly how they feel? Through writing. (To be continued…)

Time out from NaNo

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It’s been five days since NaNoWriMo started and Phew! I’m already wiping the sweat off my brow. Has it really been just five days? What with the figment of a planning and working on plots, it seems much longer; say, more like five years. And why shouldn’t it? I’m not even a regular writer of prose, much less a novelist. Period! So what the heck am I doing @NaNo? For one thing, I’m training myself to write prose, instead of just poetry, regularly; I’m thinking of it as yoga for my imagination. I’m working on something that might turn out to be something like a novel. Or not. What difference does it make? I’m writing everyday, morning and evening, doggedly persistent; and that has been one of the major goals all along. Most importantly, I’m enjoying myself and that is a really great experience, in every way that I can think of.

Today, however, I’ve decided to take some time off – just a few hours, not more. Not just to write this blog post. No. There are a couple of upcoming events in my personal life that I need to take care of, alongside NaNo. The most exciting one is definitely a wedding. Next Saturday onward, I’m going to be, officially, a married woman. Yikes! My teeth are already working hard at my nails, at the mere mention of it. For believe it or not, aside from being exciting, marriage is also quite the worry-evoking thing for me. Let’s not go into the reasons, though. So, instead of spending the day tapping away at my computer, I too time off to go for a session of self-beautification. (Huge grin decorating my face at the moment, at the memory of the oh!-so-pleasurable time spent pampering myself.) Also, I hadn’t had the chance to talk to my would-be in the last for days, and I was greatly missing his attentions. That was something that needed sorting out, too. I needed some personal time away from all the excitement of NaNoWriMo, too. That being done, I’m ready to be back in the groove.

As far as an update of my NaNo word-count is concerned, I’ve written around 500 words per day. So what about the 50k goal? Ha! Ha! What about it? That’s not going to happen anytime soon. Nah! But what I’m aiming for is a modest 20k, which is HUGE, considering that, in nearly two years of NaNo, I’ve written less than 10k. So 20k in thirty days, what with all the excitement and distractions and everything, is not just MARATHON; it’s going to be front-page NEWS, where I’m concerned.

NaNoWriMo

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In less than a week, NaNo begins.

I’m in a frenzy, tidying up things,

Cooking up ideas, scribbling them down

On stray bits of paper, with a constant frown.

I keep snarling at everyone,

I can’t seem to stop yelling

At every single person or thing

That comes within hearing.

I’m suddenly the wicked witch

Of no small renown,

Who chews heads off people and pets

To decorate her crown.

I’m going bersherk, really,

Trying to plan it all;

To write or not to write

Is the question to forestall.

I’m trying to multitask here;

Why doesn’t anybody understand?

I’m so torn between choices –

Poetry, horror stories or a novel grand.

Who can help me decide what to write?

Who’s going to bolster my courage?

Who’s going to save the world

When I go on a writing rampage?

This is certainly the best of times,

It’s also the worst of them,

For I’ll write through sleepless nights

As ideas continue to overwhelm.

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Darkness and Light

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I reached into my darkness

To give way to the light.

Every failing, every slight,

Each weakness and each fright

Helped me swim across the darkness

And glide back into the light.

I surrendered to the darkness,

I didn’t put up a fight;

Just so I could go down under

And rise again out of sight.

Every failure in my plight

I faced with a grim delight;

It helped me tap into my darkness

And rekindle my hidden light.

I’ll have my vengeance yet;

I’ve the will as well as the might,

For I’ve reached into my darkness

To give way to my light.

TRANSVESTITE

What lurks behind his eyes?

Seems to me like a woman’s pain –

The burden of carrying lifelong lies

Amid an urge to live again.

His eyes were once so full of life –

He had family, friends, a thousand dreams;

But now, in this time of strife,

Nobody seems to hear his screams.

So what if he’s a transvestite?

Why should it be so disgusting?

They seem so irked by his delight

And turn chiding eyes upon him.

Life’s been unbearable, of late –

They turn away from him in hate.

With an utterly unabashed lack of feeling,

They engage in petty mud-slinging.

No one tries to cool his sighs

Or cares enough to look into his eyes.

A long, lone path awaits him

Powdered with ashes of departed dreams.

 

ELECTRICITY

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I gaze into your eyes

And read everything –

All that you can’t tell me,

All that stuff you’re feeling.

Trust me, I feel the same way;

But, like you, just cannot say.

We’re two lonely, silent souls;

The silence is just taking its toll.

Why must we fear love so?

Why can’t we just let go

Past pains and this loneliness,

Absence of hope and our distress?

Who knows if this love’s real?

Who cares whether we’re ideal?

So many doubts assail me;

Yet I can feel the electricity.

Our stupid, practical minds are fearful

But our hearts can feel each other’s pull.

Amazing, isn’t it, how every time

I claim your breaths, as you do mine?

How our bodies move in perfect sync?

How, when apart, we still share a link?

Whenever we meet, the sparks fly;

Yet we keep wondering – Why?

What say you that we give romance

And this electricity an honest chance?

Maybe it will light up our life

And help us through a sea of strife.

I’d so like us to grow old together

And be buried beneath a quilt of heather.

What is life if we do not dare

To live this love that is so rare?

 

BETWEEN JOBS

I’ve been meaning for some

Time to tell you this –

That I’m out of a job,

That I’ve been dismissed.

I don’t know why –

I don’t know what I did

To so much piss them off.

Do you think I should cry?

Why, oh, why? The days

Were merely crawling by.

I’d too much to do,

And nothing to heal

My wounded soul;

Felt nothing but pity

For my ill-used skills.

Now, at least, I can read up books,

Look for jobs, crack interviews,

Turn down the steam, learn driving,

Write down stuff or try new looks.

Life has been very boring –

I’m only thirty something;

Maybe I can try something new –

Adventure favours only a select few.

I don’t know what’s going on

Inside your head at all –

You’ve been still as a rag doll.

You’re staring at me, looking foolish,

You don’t look happy, but let me finish.

You think this is hard on you;

But, hey, it’s awkward for me too.

If you can’t bear to stay,

Feel free to walk away.

I can take care of my burden –

Just don’t come back all of a sudden;

And we can move on with our lives,

Even give each other high fives.

If we meet on the street,

Don’t beat a hasty retreat.

This phase isn’t here for ever.

So long, then, dear Hoover.

Fear

People, closed spaces, crowds, helplessness, losing people, losing jobs, loving too much or too little, reptiles, insects and worms – these are some of the things I’m afraid of. I’m around thirty years old, give or take a couple of years, an editor by profession and out-and-out modern in my approach to life. I’m outdoorsy, love shopping, eating out, travelling, cooking, music, books, perfumes, watches, dresses, shoes and so much more. I’m a woman, normal in every respect, who takes life, work and relationships seriously; I’m a woman who cries when hurt and bleeds when cut. I’m a theist, a believer in good and therefore, I also believe in the presence of evil and in ghosts and demons and the rest as manifestations of that evil. I realize, every moment, that I’m human and that I, therefore, have human failings – fear is one of those failings. I face as much of it as the next person and I have my own ways of dealing with it, so that I can keep moving forward, past my fears, fighting them instead of giving in to them and coming to a standstill.

Once upon a time, not very long ago, fear used to rule my every action, every thought even, until I was so deep in my own darkness that I used to contemplate about killing myself and putting an end to the suffering. This lasted until I realized that nobody could help me unless I picked myself up and out of the darkness I was in. I also realized that the more you try to shun fear, to avoid it or deny its existence, the greater is its hold over you. So I learnt to acknowledge my fears to myself and others, in spite of the fact that people have laughed at my fears, loudly and often. I realized that bravery lies, not in being unafraid and therefore, foolish, but in acknowledging fear as being real and in being wary of the object of your fear. Once I realized this, the rest wasn’t easy; but I knew that I could scale this mountain, slowly but steadily. Overcoming fear is like climbing a never-ending staircase – one step at a time, placing one foot in front of the other and climbing upwards. And fear doesn’t hamper my day-to-day life anymore.

I’m not at all ashamed to admit that my greatest fear is of people – not reptiles or worms or insects or darkness, ghosts, height and so on, but people. I’ve been bullied, abused, ignored, duped, cheated, ill-treated, threatened – by people. Yet I still go out every day and socialize with people for three reasons – I need to face my fear instead of running away from it; I’ve realized that experience is a better weapon than ignorance, and that not all people are bad – if I’m alive and thriving today, it’s because I’ve been helped by a lot of good people. The scars from the past, however, are a constant reminder that not everybody can be trusted and therefore, I need to be wary at all times and never let my guard down. The most painful experiences have nearly always come from the closest quarters – people who I thought of as family or friends. And these experiences have led to  the realization that fear is closer home than we realize.

It is sometimes hard to get back to normal even after the trigger or object that causes fear is removed. The effect of fear might extend from a couple of hours to a couple of years, maybe even longer depending on how potent the fear is. Fear is often related to past incidents – the past, here, might refer to the recent past or a more distant past. Many of us find that we tend to forget various incidents with time. However, the memories of such incidents, especially the bad, fear-inducing ones are never entirely erased; they are hidden from sight by the gathering dust of time, but they are often awake in our sub-conscious. Therefore, we often find ourselves unreasonable fearful of certain things or even certain people. This is where the saying ‘A burnt child dreads the fire’ inevitably comes to mind.

So, the question is, how does one free oneself of the paralyzing effects of one’s fears and continue with one’s day to day life? I’ve realized from my personal experiences that we can only be truly and completely free of fear when we realize that we are trapped by our fears in a spot from where there is no going back and the only act left is to move forward, face our fears and keep moving past them. The image that can be associated with overcoming our fears would be that of a ship in a gale, the sailors trying their utmost to save the ship from being wrecked because there’s nothing else to do. Life is the ship that we try to steer in the stormy seas of time, and no matter how dark the sky, how high the waves or how strong the gale, all that we can do is to hang on and try to survive. This is fearlessness or bravery, in my opinion – the act of not giving up, no matter what; the act of realizing that if we don’t master our fears, they will master us and destroy us; and that the act of facing our fears and moving forward past them, putting one foot in front of the other and climbing from the darkness into the light is a monumental one. Once we realize these things, the rest is definitely not easy; but, the realization and acknowledgement of our fears is the first step that we need to take in order to conquer our fears and live life as it should be lived; besides, it also shows us the path out of a miserable existence. Some day we might even come to know that our constant battle against fear has helped somebody else face his or her demons. That would certainly be something to look forward to, wouldn’t it?

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MAGICAL

Tender is the night.

A cool breeze gently wipes

The clinging beads of sweat

Off the night’s tired brow.

You and I sit, lost in

The magic of the moment,

Under the dark boughs.

You stare into the distance

And I steal glances at you;

You think of far-off things

While I think of you.

The music flows into the fountain

And spreads across the garden,

Stirring the flowers in its wake;

Then it creeps up on you and me,

Connecting us, binding us tight,

Like a giant, mesmerizing snake.

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