Thursday, 7 April 2016

Aunt English and her woes

Here's my attempt at writing short fiction- a story on the blatant misuse of the English language. On a larger context, it's not just English that is the victim. Any language that a person claims to know should at least be correctly expressed, if not beautifully.
Commas may soon be counted among historical symbols.

Public signboards are a sight to behold.

Aunt English was quite old. Though her weak frame had lost all its physical glory and robustness and there was a slight tremble in the grip of her palm, her mind was stable, sharp as ever.
She lived in her spacious English mansion, in the City of Languages, with Grammar, her trustworthy housekeeper. A word about Grammar- she has been with Aunt as long as one could remember and has taken great care of her since time immemorial. They are quite inseparable. Astonishingly, unlike Aunt English, Grammar never seemed to age, she has always looked the impeccable and sturdy woman of dignity, a stringent follower of rules, a lover of propriety.
Aunt was to be visited by her nieces and nephews on this particular Saturday. All of them had traveling jobs. Some were well off while some had to fight and tussle for a decent existence. It wasn't their fault though; the Uninterested and Ignorant Users were responsible for their gruesome state.
One by one they arrived. Spelling, Vocabulary and Pronunciation came early; they were the strugglers. The well-offs came slightly late- Idiom, Literary Device, Foreign Language Word and Written Composition. They held better positions and were not as badly exploited as their cousins.
Spelling broke down. He had lost everything and was torn to pieces. The exploitation by Users had crossed limits long ago and he called it 'killing with slow poison'. Grammar and Aunt English consoled him, told him it wasn't his fault.
Pronunciation let out a deep sigh. She had lost her voice after several shock attacks. Those attacks were nothing but the ever present audibilities of mispronounced words. Her state was pathetic.
Vocabulary had a different lament. He was indignant at not being aptly employed. He did petty jobs but could never achieve his full potential. They sobbed together at their pitiable lives. It was only after Grammar set the table for tea that they could contain themselves.
Idioms spoke next. “The language has touched great heights, it is now known as an international language. I don't know what makes them say that the Users have wronged them." "Not all Users", Pronunciation spoke up. “It is the Uninterested and Ignorant Users who have robbed us of our sanctity. They have acted like hooligans. Don't you see it everywhere? EVERYWHERE! Only a small number of Users still retain decency and use sense". Vocabulary and Spelling seconded her. Suddenly they had launched themselves into an aggressive debate. Grammar calmed them down and they fell into silence as Aunt English began to speak, her voice weak but clear and ponderous- “It is indeed a grave matter. The Users have been rather brutal in their conduct and they fail to understand this. They have failed to realise that in the City of Languages, language is important as a means of effective communication, not simply for getting meanings across. It is probably because of our own colonial origin, my children, or a result of their incompetence to acquire a language so beautiful, so ubiquitous and so  essential. All we can do is stay strong and pray that the Users become sincere and thoughtful in their work and no language may suffer the woes of having Uninterested and Ignorant Users".

Thursday, 4 February 2016


I have always been a fan of the quiet moment, the resting, contemplative mood of the mind. And it was in one of those peaceful, momentary getaways that I wrote this poem(something I very rarely do).  

This stillness surprises me,
This, around me,
It’s quiet, it’s quirk,
It’s sprightly thriving thrust, astounds me
It takes away the gloom
It blossoms in full bloom
Screeching through silences
Reciting beauty, unadulterated
The handles, the locks, the knobs,
Their stories and their sobs
The patterns around, wild,
Yet their essence, mild
Stony and flowery in tandem
Delightful, since it is random
It lends serenity to wandering minds,
Plain and pretty to brooding sights
This stillness is pure,
To me, this lore
These books sitting, this clock ticking
Lend an enigmatic lure.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Sowing the seeds

An unintentionally long break this has been. But fulfilling my last post’s promise of acknowledging my dear literary beloveds in my subsequent posts, here I am, drawn by sudden instinct, after a long lazy procrastinating session.
A fondness for the English language was bestowed naturally on me, genetically, to be specific, from my maternal grandfather, my Nanaji. At the age of seven or eight, I had read all of the innocent fairy tales, Panchatantra stories, magic tales etc.; was saturated with Champak and Bal Bhaskar (though I read these till I was 12 or 13), and had finished the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It was then, that Nanaji unlocked the doors of the Novel, treasure chests of fictional short stories, old English classics, introduced me to men called William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens! Like a hungry pirate who had blasted a rich ship, I started plundering the world of English and American fiction. The first novel Nanaji brought me was The coral island, followed by Little Women, Oliver Twist (big favorite), Shakespearean works, awesome books that have many short stories by famous authors all in one, I can go on and on.
As I entered high school, the amazing school library, where we were allowed to borrow unlike the primary one, was my definition of heaven! I devoured Enid Blyton’s works, Famous Five, Secret Seven and my favorites till date, her St. Clare’s and Malory Towers series. Ah, what schools they were, what adventures! And life always seemed so pretty when one could just keep reading… (And I can keep on writing entire posts on my bibliophilism!)
It was he who revealed my true passion to me at a very early age. I miss those informative talks on our favorite classics, movies and personalities of yore. I miss our conversations on the English language, the minute details of grammar, and the meanings of words unknown to me.
He was the one who kindled the flame in me, ignited the passion that today characterizes me. His command on the language, his strict ways as a teacher, his diligence in teaching me the ‘real’ cursive handwriting in 9th standard, his appreciation for cinema and music, his love for food and cricket, his knowledge on all themes of all possible themes…
Thank you Nanaji, for your defining presence in my life. Yes, defining, because without a seed, no tree can grow and flourish. Thank you Nanaji, for sowing the seeds in me. Thank you.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Sojourn with Nostalgia

I dedicate this first blog post of mine to Nostalgia, the beautiful vibe of longing and reminiscence.Today, as I sat cleaning and sorting out my old books, I was gripped by an uncanny sadness, a sense of losing all my beautiful times. Nostalgia came by and knelt beside me, urging me to feel good about growing up, entering new scenarios, getting fresh ideas and experiences. All I could do was  sit in prolonged silence and solitude, thinking of nothing or probably of everything and gaze at my childhood to teenage stock piles of books, amassed over the years.
I found myself opening random pages, reading random lines, smelling the fragrance of pretty yellowed pages, and finding bookmarks, long lost and forgotten. The brutal massacre of old important-looking papers, dusty magazines, bills, journals etc. was soon commenced by Mom,in the same room jolting me to reality from this trance like state I had fallen into, but soon, gripping my senses, I began reverently organizing my little bundles of joy.

It is quite a strong feeling, Nostalgia, since it prompted me to write about it. It indeed is a beautiful experience, laced with bleakness and longing yet containing joy in its depths. For me, the past has many inspirations. People who have held my hand, guided me, given me that thrust towards my aspirations. And today, as I find myself sitting, writing a blog post, I cannot deny the credit of pushing me towards writing to these very important dear ones, and, of course, Nostalgia.

I shall have to dedicate some of my subsequent posts to the dear ones who have given necessary impetus to my writing from time to time. 

On this blog, I shall give words to my general feelings about the world around me, my views on issues I find important, my experiences with people. It is going to be a collection of my musings, book reviews, poems and hopefully, stories. 

Thank you readers!
Hope you return here soon.