Friday, October 20, 2006

a hello here, a blink there..

A funny sort of greeting method is seen going around amongst the hostel residents. Whenever you want to show a somewhat greater affection than just a vocal 'hi' and a smile, you "blink" your eyes.

a blink = both-eyed wink. :D

Maybe it's followed when one' s too lazy to lift up a hand and wave, or nod the head.
I for sure picked it up from our third-year seniors (and now I observe my grand-daughters following the same tradition!) I remember Dots and Consul as its most prominent pioneers. The way a mischievous smile would break out after they had 'blunked' their already twinkling was fun!

[livejournal style: "current mood: nostalgic, happy].

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Remembering the Bard

Shakespeare's precise birthdate is not known; he was baptized on 26 April 1564, and over time 23 April has become the accepted date of birth, in part because he also died on 23 April in 1616.


One of his most famous sonnets:

1. When I do count the clock that tells the time,
2. And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
3. When I behold the violet past prime,
4. And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;
5. When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
6. Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
7. And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
8. Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
9. Then of thy beauty do I question make,
10. That thou among the wastes of time must go,
11. Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
12. And die as fast as they see others grow;
13. And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
14. Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

A good commentary, analysis and original version of the sonnet's given on this website:

A delightful site for the uninitiated. (Mind the colour setting though. You may want to change your IE settings to "ignore colour and font settings of the website" , for a while.)

Though Shakespeare is supposed to have written these sonnets as an 'advice' to his indulgent friend Henry for bringing him towards the noble path of honest matrimony, and the last line refers to the biological progeny of a human being, I guess we can give a symbolic connotation to this line. (That's the fun in being a critic. One can tell the creator to shut his/her mouth and go on and on with one's own viewpoint about the creation, though far different from the creator's own imagination.)

We may say that 'breed' here means the output of your life's work. Who saved Shakespeare himself from time's scythe? Not his offsprings, but his plays and his poetry. The Curies aren't remembered because of Mrs. Joliot 'nee Irene Curie, but because of their discovery of radium.

Would 'beauty' then be physical appearance, wealth and earthly possessions? ..Well maybe - but Then I remember Emily Dickinson's "I died for beauty.." where she claims that beauty is the same as truth, and now I'm digressed again ;)

Some other time maybe, eh?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Neil Gaiman quote

Just came across this piece today:

"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love. "
--Neil Gaiman, American English Novelist

The whole prospect surely seems horrifying. What with Ghalib chipping in with "mujhe kyaa buraa thaa marnaa agar ek baar hotaa.."! But people won't stop falling for other people, wanting to fall for other people, not wanting to get up once fallen, wanting to call 'falling' as 'rising'.
I guess in college days, love appears centre-stage in conversation. Heart-to-heart talks with close friends end, if not start and middle, with it. The inexperienced ask questions with innocent eagerness, and the experienced or the femina-educated ones answer with an air of omniscience. The dosage becomes too much if one sees "social circles of individuals shrink down into nothingness" , as a friend puts it, when some close friend gets affianced to someone (who has to be tolearted even if you get an urge to laugh your teeth out every time he opend his mouth to speak!)

Isn't there any way out of this juncture?
Thank God John Donne's there to help:

by John Donne

HE that cannot choose but love,
And strives against it still,
Never shall my fancy move,
For he loves against his will
{Lizzy Bennet on Darcy's first proposal?}

Nor he which is all his own,
And cannot pleasure choose ;
When I am caught he can be gone,
And when he list refuse ;

Nor he that loves none but fair,
For such by all are sought ;
Nor he that can for foul ones care,
For his judgement then is nought ;

{Donne's sooooooo damn intelligent in listing his paradoxes!}

Nor he that hath wit, for he
Will make me his jest or slave ;
Nor a fool when others —
He can neither —

Nor he that still his mistress prays,
For she is thrall'd therefore ;
Nor he that pays, not, for he says
Within, she's worth no more.

Is there then no kind of men
Whom I may freely prove?
I will vent that humour then
In mine own self-love.

{A charming practice, really!}

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

new blogs

I've created 2 new blogs.
That so clearly reflects upon the amount of free time that I 've got / I think I 've got.
Anyway, moved the english literary stuff onto the blog bhokaal, and created a maraaThee blog "माझी माय सरस्वती". (links beside)

Talking of free time, I am just utilizing the time saved from chatting and orkutting :D so Jimny cricket needn't prick me that hard..

reading Saki again. If only imaginations could be imbued from the works of creation!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

visit to Sandeep's home

my Mom is Great. The Best.I realize that time and again..but mostly forget to tell her that.
(and later console myself by thinking that I was rendered 'speechless')

I bet this time my "wow! I mean...WOW!" over the telephone conveyed what I wanted to say.

Last week, she read the birthstory of a song "kase sartil saye.." by Sandeep Khare, in a newspaper. Now this was a song that I had translated into hindi last year for Mono, my adopted mommy here at IITK. (my ex-roomie would be a less romantic description.)

My real mom is a die-hard fan of Sandeep's songs (These things run in the family, I guess).
And she's also an avid talker when it comes to describing me and my "achievements" to people.
Throw in the fact that she was perked up by British Nandi's recent response, it wasn't a far way for her to call up Sandeep's home (the number was given in the book of his collected poetry) and ask for an appointment. On the bright Sunday morning of 19th, aai reached the Khare abode in Anandnagar. Sandeep wasn't home, but Soniya, his wife - and their 3 year old daughter received her with warmth. The latter, with an initial reluctance of a toddler who's in the midst of watching a favourite cartoon on CD. But I was told that the reluctance vanished after a chocolate was handed over to her with due haste. Fortunately, it was her "chocolate day". The conscientious parents had made a rule for their pet lamb: She was to save all the chocolates she'd get in a week to eat on Sunday. Talk about aatmasamyama.

So Mom, who'd just gone there to perform a jack-in-the-box sequence of 'pop in, show the translation, pop out', ended up enjoying Soniya's hospitality for a wholesome 1.5 hours.
I hear they talked about many subjects, and it culminated in Mom's advising Soniya upon child-rearing.

My Mom always keeps amazing me. :)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Yooooo Hoo!

It's a Happy Day!!!!! They all are, no doubt. But this one is very very Happy.

I had sent the "nAdirA" translation to the original author.
One, because Priya had suggested once that the authors must feel nice if they come to know that their work is admired to the extent of being translated for the (poor!) marathi-illiterate folks.
Second, I thought that taking the permission of the original author before 're-circulation' would be a good thing. ;)
And of course, I had this minute hope that My Lord will actually read the translation and appreciate it, if I'm lucky. (We Leos are known to be hungry for praise!)
So I asked him (after having done the act!) if it was okay with him that I translate his poem for the benefit of one of my non-maharashtrian friends. :D (The friend in the question being Marami.)

Here's his reply:

From: []Sent: Mon 2/13/2006 12:45 PM
To: Gayatri Natu
Subject: hats off!

Dear gayatriji,
i was actually zapped and awestruck while reading the trans-creation (this IS the right word!) of the poem NADIRA. honestly speaking english version sounds better than the original. indeed, it is BETTER. thanx for putting in so much effort...and congrats for the nearing perfection in doing so.
madam, and u ask me,- "chaalel na?"
tumchyasaarkhe vaachak milale, tar "dhaavel!
pravin tokekar

Enough to tickle me pink.
Should I adore myself more for this, or less..for letting it go into the head for a wee while? :D

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Translation of a marAThI poem, which appeared in daily sakAL today as a tribute to her.
original poet: praveeN Tokekar aka British Nandi, my favourite columnist till date.

You are lying down quietly
On the cold iron cot
In the cold hospital room.
Though you don't care now -
There hangs a cloud
since long... around
your worn out, aged and now lifeless frame.
It has sucked in your misty past by now,
And all of the acid that was inside you.
Just like a wet quilt drawn
Over the winter crops on a receding night.

Your guile, your mood.
Your airs, your demeanour.
Your youth, your proud dash
something of a fire..something of ash.
Your upturned eyebrow
The craft in your gaze
Lips lightly casting out
A round smoky haze.

You'd make the hero turn around and look back -
mud mud ke..
Even as he was sinking deep in the tears
Shed by a (more) beautiful lovestruck lass.

You displayed perfectly
The spite of a snake-queen
Picking up the miniscule traces
of her prey..and the male of the species.
But my dear queen, in the end
It turned out to be, literally, 'made up'.
You never had the prey within your reach.
All your life, all that you kept picking up
were some stubs of loneliness.

You were an unadulterated anguish.
An ache.

This final ovation
To your comely villany that immortal agony.

An excerpt

from this year's Presidential Speech.

Mission for Scientists and Technologists:

For the scientists and technologists of the nation, I have five immediate national missions:
(a). Increasing the Solar Photo Voltaic Cell efficiency from 14% to 45% using nano technology; (b). Research in proteomics to identify the disease causing mechanism and to develop new methods to treat diseases;
(c). Earthquake forecasting using multiple parameter pre-cursors such as pre-shock conditions and electromagnetic phenomena, prior to the final rupture;
(d). Building a validated mathematical model for predicting the quantum of rain for a particular cloud conditions in a particular region in a prescribed time using the new type of Polarimetric radar and;
(e). Developing the products in the healthcare, electronics and materials to meet the national requirements using the convergence of nano, bio and info technologies.


Health care community should give highest priority for treatment of HIV/AIDS and accelerate the development of effective anti-vaccine for certain types of HIV before 2007, by networking with national and international institutions working in this area. They should integrate research efforts of malaria, typhoid, and diarrhoeal disorders for facilitating development of combination vaccine by 2007. Healthcare personnel, doctors, psychologists, researchers, pharmacologists, economists and environmentalists should all work together coherently towards the mission of providing good health to all citizens of India and make the nation near disease free.

Nice to know that my hazy picture about my life mission complies with the president's ideas in some manner.


Yeah, starting on the many things seen, learnt and thought over in the 4-day trip to home.

I am culturally famished here in Kanpur, sort of.
Not that one needs be, with all the SPIC-MACAY programmes and visits by authors, playwrites etc. But somehow I'm able to attend only a few of these programmes..and then again , none of them are in marAThI!
Thus i end up a glutton..nay, let's say a gourmand when I go to Pune, stuffing myself with any movie/music show/drama/exhibition that I feel would appeal to my senses.
I recently heard Pune to be one of the two 'topmost culturally aware cities in India', alongwith Ahemdabad. No wonder about that, with as many as 14 big live performances of different kinds that may go on in different locations daily.

So this time I watched the movie 'sAne gurujI'. Would not confer the habitual 'superb's and 'amazing's and 'awesome's on it. The movie went far inside than those cursory remarks.
The movie is about a freedom fighter in mahArAShTra. One of the last patrons of the generation that said "We've achieved the dream, children. Now cherish it." Last of the few good men.
A teacher. A storyteller. A creator. A worshipper of beauty, truth and love (all are synonymous, aren't they?).
The eyes and brains have by now got used to the torture in prisons that the inmates had/have to undergo. Practically every movie shows it, what's the big deal? Every time a gora sahib jailor or the kala sahib traitor is seen to torment the hero, I end up anticipating the extents of the physical injuries that the filmmakers would dare to show without getting the 'censor cut'. (does the board really exist or is it a myth, my compatriots?)
In sAne gurujI, all they showed was the prisoners made to grind grains on stone-mills. and one severe bashing by a lathi. but then there was a glimpse of guruji's his childhood memory. She singing for him while grinding the daily wheat. he giving her a helping hand.

Another glimpse. She beating him up for being a coward while taking swimming lessons. And now, he mutters, on the verge of falling down unconscious, " I wasn't afraid this time, mother!"

I could not stop the tears from welling up.

No, this wasn't the usual melodrama - child hurt, comes a righteous mother and the long monologues. It seemed real. No overacting. Just the right way.
Glorification of personality and actions is a curse on biographical movies. Avoided here, thankfully.
The element of pride and admiration about the hero does not seem exceptionable.
Just like in "Veer sAvarkar". aah well, that's a different movie, different story..and altogether different, glorious personality.
Coming back to sAne gurujI, it made me ponder over many issues.
How does one react when one sees for the first time in life, the clay feet of one's supreme idol?
Does an impulsive person always have to suffer? Or cause the people around him/her to suffer?
How can one take a public insult gallantly and still not seem spineless, but the opposite of it?
What am I ?
full stop.
Enough to say that though Sandeep KulkarNee, the lead role actor, has been my model for the imaginary 'husband material' since Shwaas - I did not for once delve into the "he's kinda cute" thoughtline this time.

The movie gave far from a complete picture of his life or his thoughts, neither did it convey a definite take-home message; but I think it did make an impact on the mind, in a mild manner. just as soft spray of a perfume would make on a cloth. unseen, but not unfelt.