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Musings of a True Believer

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  • Barath Nataraj
  • April 27, 2017 12:40:38 AM
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A Little About Us

A collection of mere-stupid ramblings, rendezvousing memories and also-profound thoughts.A History of the less-ordinary, made-mis-fits and the numerous nobody(s) that one meets in the journey called Life.

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2019 – just an hour more,

It Seems a bit absurd to cling onto a sentiment – let me write at least a single entry every year. From an avid blogger to hardly a blogger! I kind of still hope, that there will be at least one single person, who may read this. That thought aside, 2018 seemed a dull, more...

It Seems a bit absurd to cling onto a sentiment – let me write at least a single entry every year. From an avid blogger to hardly a blogger! I kind of still hope, that there will be at least one single person, who may read this.

That thought aside, 2018 seemed a dull, more mundane and a boring year on a personal front, Except for that, yours truly is now a PhD degree holder. Yes. For once, let me brag in my own personal space! I am and I happen to be Dr. Barath N. That apart and That alone, seems alone to be my sole achievement in my 32 years of life. Well something that I greatly value and worked hard for.

And as some may know! I have counted 33 to be a magical number and an age I was kind of awaiting. I wish, I continue my guitar learning and keep that going in my 33rd year and also a bit of getting my feet onto the road. I look forward to S’s Promise (and our pending 🍯🌙trip) to visit and proceed from Shillong. Let’s see, what happens to that. Anyways Sikkim and Mizoram is been calling for a while. So lets see!

On a random thought, I am still halfway through Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered. I need to read more, write more and as well stay much more away from TV series. Well also write more letters! Start with a letter to S and S first,

Well I guess I need to be more random than this random blogpost!

On a sad note, 2018 damn 2018 went by so fast, even before I could get a chance to lose weight!

Cheers Folks! 🙂

To friends, dear and near! Wish you all the life’s best and better things ahead, now and always. Happy New year -Happy 2019


snippets of book-reviews

Tuesdays with Morrie ACTUALLY A OLD REVIEW I WROTE FOR MY BLOG (11.10.2005) An engagingly enough and haunting narration of how one person can make a difference in someone’s life. What does it mean to love someone? What does it mean to watch someone grow up before your eyes? or what does it mean to...

Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie

ACTUALLY A OLD REVIEW I WROTE FOR MY BLOG (11.10.2005)

An engagingly enough and haunting narration of how one person can make a difference in someone’s life.

What does it mean to love someone? What does it mean to watch someone grow up before your eyes? or what does it mean to grow up with someone? Can one person mean so much in life? or for that matter Can one person change your life? There are some books that sneak right away into you, which can be there always with you, for you, to pour its meaning into you, when you are at cross-roads.

It is a story of a professor stricken with ALS, a neurological disease with no cause and cure. A professor who chose to come to terms with his imminent death. It is a chronicle of his tuesdays spent with a student. A student with whom, he could relate his very growing up days. His last classes with discussion about the truths of life, death, fear, love, society, regrets, marriage, family, aging, regrets, money, emotion, culture and a meaningful life.

It was an accident that I chose this book, one lazy noon with nothing to do, visited a nearby book exhibition, took it by the mere attraction of the title. Never Knew that I wouldn’t be the same person anymore. I cried along with Mitch and fought back my tears to keep reading. I cried for Morrie, Morrie’s family and friends, I cried for me, I Cried for my Teacher…..

Have you really had that someone? or were you ever been that someone to anyone?

 Cobalt Blue
Cobalt Blue
In a time, where sexuality and freedom of sexual choice been talked over and over again, here is a book that talks in subtlety and overtly under-tones. It is not a typical tale of an adolescent coming to terms with his sexuality or that of a girl learning to cope up with her first heart-break in life.
The setting of the story in a claustrophobic middle class family with three siblings, where the daughter and the youngest son falls for the mysterious paying guest forms the backdrop of the novel.Intriguing a read and subtly disturbing; It does raise a lot of pertinent questions about the familial space and relationships that function within this important social unit.

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

The Kind of book that I sat two days and two nights, with nothing else doing to find out the ending.

A brilliant literary suspense. It is primarily the story about two friends, one a successful writer and the other an aspiring writer. The story is told by the aspiring writer who arrives in the small town of somerset to investigate about the murder of a young Nola thirty three years ago. with each turn of page, more suspense is built and more secrets and mysteries over the missing girl gets unraveled.

 

Bookless in Baghdad: Reflections on Writing and Writers
Bookless in Baghdad: Reflections on Writing and Writers
I have never run bookless in my entire life, yet I had the misfortune of reading this book, Had Woody Allen known this book, he would have definitely called it, significantly over-rated. Though in the preface, the gentleman of a writer Shashi Tharoor says “Though I have reviewed many books, including several Indian Novels, I have not included any of my book reviews in this collection. Rather this Volume seeks to assemble my ruminations on aspects of the literary experiences that go beyond any single book.” It is just an accident and the readers’ misfortune that the single book beyond which he couldn’t go is THE GREAT INDIAN NOVEL penned by yours Truly Shashi Tharoor

A glib of writer he is and every other instance he draws reference to his great scholarly and literary work The Great Indian Novel. His great desire to compare and contrast himself with Salman Rushdie alone two chapters; though he could have done it more convincing by being more self-indulgent.
It is more of him and him in every circumstance and less of ruminations about book!

Though I have to admit that there are certain chapters which thoroughly bowled me over! Can try! Nevertheless a good read

 
84, Charing Cross Road
84, Charing Cross Road
Started this book on an early lazy Sunday morning, a short read on a single sitting of three hours. A brilliant read, bringing back the magic of two lost art, Reading and Letter-writing, For someone who firmly believes that life takes you to the best people and best books, this is a greater testimony to my belief,

In a world mediated by mobile phones, internet, communication and the latest Jio-hyped-free data, it is a blessing, relief to know and to be assured that deep friendships take years to built and never in the era of blue ticks of sent items. I insist every reader to read, to know and to be lost in the thoughts of two different souls, and to see the beautiful unfolding of kindness and friendship.

Helena’s quirky personality and the ‘polite British reserve’ Frank’s blend of the personal and the professional attitude add life to their letters, be it the books, family or any odd things they talk about, they pour a bit of their candid selves into these letters.

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the shore is one of the strangest books i’ve read. A journey that stretches itself onto the realms of magic as the reader approaches it. The story is narrated from different perspectives of  Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old boy who runs away from home to escape an oedipal prophecy and thereby making it true and then the story of Nakata, an old man who gained the ability to talk to cats after an incident in his childhood.


This entire book reads like a fine collage of  intense vignettes of unrelated dreamy scenes and poignant conversations. A meandering dreamlike tone drives the entire reading experience. A surrealistic “Kafka-esque” thread runs all along the narrative tying the loose ends, before the book ends. One can sense an intentional ambiguity in the very narrative and the plot. At times, it takes a toll on the reader to make connections every now and then, that said, it ain’t an easy read.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)
Apprehensively started reading this book, on a slight intrigue by the title. A Novel that refuses to be coming off age, yet predictable at times. Nevertheless a good read! Something that grows on you, if you have had a friend, with whom you grew up on your teen years. A poignant tale of love, friendship and family and how these three entities can affect the eternity of lives

On Chesil Beach

 On Chesil Beach

“They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy.”

In a lot of ways, this still happens to be my first read of Ian McEwan. I could only feel a little bleak knowing how the entire course of a life can be changed by a single event in one’s life. Ian beautifully captures the thousand subtle emotions of two different individuals on their nuptial night. The entire novella revolves thoroughly around a number of seamless fragments of flashbacks and memories of Edward and Florence’s lives.

Powerfully through his brevity, the author captures these characters’trivial memories and tidbits of their everyday lives, hopes, dreams,disappointments and how one night that change everything.

The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things

A Fine achievement of history, science and storytelling. A tale complete in itself that I did feel like my world ceased to exist after Reading

Youth

Youth

This is the third of my coetzee’s book. somehow it was a drag right from the beginning, yet I managed to read to be drained. This narrative is painted with despair and the frustration that becomes the tryst of every day life. The wry observation of the hopelessness that one feels, wading through the alien streets of a different world in one’s youth is beautifully captured. Personally I could NT relate to the author and waited to finish off the book. May be, I read it in the wrong phase/time of life, nevertheless this is definitely not the best of his books or shouldn’t be the first of coetzee’s for one to start with.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
Depressingly funny!
Rather Funny and Depressing at the same time in different ways; absurdly philosophical and intricately subtle. An easy read though it leaves you a bit heavy towards the end

The Mirage: A Modern Arabic Novel

The Mirage: A Modern Arabic Novel

A Poignant tale about love, betrayal and family. The sketch of an overprotective mother and the nuanced observations of the conflict and working of the mind of an overtly shy individual makes this writing a brilliant psychological portraiture. The novel leaves you feeling a bit disoriented. A wonderful story teller from Egypt. Thanks Rohit for introducing this wonderful writer 🙂


The forgotten art of getting lost into

Somewhere along the mundane morbidity of this life, I have lost being able to lose myself into something. That scares me to my wit’s end. A phase where it is impossible to concentrate on one single thing and be able to do it. Guess it all boils down to the Perils of a PhD. I...

Somewhere along the mundane morbidity of this life, I have lost being able to lose myself into something. That scares me to my wit’s end.

A phase where it is impossible to concentrate on one single thing and be able to do it. Guess it all boils down to the Perils of a PhD. I just cannot help, but relate my PhD process to a beautiful line of a Tamizh song

“நான் தூக்கி வளர்த்த துயரம் நீ” “naan thookki vaLartha thuyaram nee!”

It literally translates to something like that of “You are a sorrow that I raised.”  (willingly and lovingly, [my emphasis])

At times, I can only laugh at the irony of its aptness. Given all that! With twenty five days to go, Chapters to write and Drafts to be done, Corrections, Bibliography check, footnotes and citations and corrections pending. ALL and the least and the most I need to do now, is take care of my ownself, stop panicking every now and then, take few deep breaths at every possible intervals and be on the maniac, militant and drunk writing mode. Good luck to my own self. This is the last phase of PhD and it matters more than anything now. From March 2011 to December 2017, with a break of five years in teaching, I need to be strong and pass through the final passage of rite to complete this ritual and Ordeal called PhD. Go BeeNat,  Go. Keep writing 🙂

 

 


Letter to a battered, withered soul

Dearmost I In another world, another time, this should have been the name you must have been baptised with, As the new adage goes, when was the last time, you did something for the first time, I wonder, when was the first time, I did something for the last time, there are so many habits...

Dearmost I

In another world, another time, this should have been the name you must have been baptised with,

As the new adage goes, when was the last time, you did something for the first time, I wonder, when was the first time, I did something for the last time, there are so many habits that one needs to unlearn as they grow old. For people who firmly agree to believe and as well fervently refuse to believe that ‘Age is just a number’; something they overlook,

With age, comes a certain vulnerability. Say a graceful one. At times, they are visible, yet they can render a great invincibility. Being vulnerable doesn’t scare me much, but rather the lack of it scares me, more. The peculiarity, is that in a world mediated by cell phones and being connected, people have lost touch with their emotional side, that days and moments only count for Facebook or for an Instagram picture worthy moment. Just couldn’t help to smile and agree more with Ms.Buffay when she says, “How self-involved are you?”

I wish I was self-involved, I wish I could love me more once, and Hence this letter. To remind that self love can also be a worthy love at times.

To remind oneself the multitude of joys that one can attain, if only learnt how to live in this time, immediate – not the bygone, not-the-to-be-gone, but the on-going time. I have somehow learnt, say mastering the art of staying away from Social media – the way it makes me anxious, I have also realised that twenty fours hours of time is enough and adequate to sit and sulk, to bask in lazyness, to contemplate, to actually get the domestic chores done, to do run errands, to watch a film, or to re-watch-the-many-times-re-watched episodes of a sit-com,

Strange but true, I do have a better re-collection of things that happen in a day, I can cook a decent meal, read an article, read a newspaper, and write mails. ( I really should learn to cut down the number of mails i write to people, who at times, can be so emotionally retarded and unavailable, to even compose a few couple of sentences as a reply)

Stranger but truer, thirty can be quite confounding when it comes to certain conjectures about life, the way time overruns, overlaps, the way it is reluctant and reticent. It does a number on your head, mind and soul and yet gives enough time for healing. The way days plummet forward when my mind and heart race backwards in time and memory, everything seems a standstill

Which is exactly what I cannot afford right now, with work cut out to do and an impending finished PhD thesis. I race along time, day and night, in its stillness and in its momentum. All I need is a refuge in doing now. What needs to be taken care, should be taken care.

With souls departing in a jiff, all it takes is to be a still-home, in Happyness and in Faith.

Oops. Here I go,

 

 

 


A woman I loved is coming for dinner tonight.

I realise how, some mornings never dawn in a man's bedroom, the drapes of a morning never unfolds till a woman arrives.

A woman I loved is coming for dinner tonight.

So as known, I slept very early, woke up in the middle of the night, lazed around watching random stuff, read random pieces from my diary, sat across the balcony. Having fallen asleep there, I wake up disoriented.

I get up and I make tea. As I wait for the water to boil, I vaguely go through a few random memories of her from the past.

I am thirty one years old, I have been alone for almost three years now, I have dated no one since-the-last-almost-three-maybe-four-years-of relationship/being-together/knowing her. I know her for the past six years. I fell in love with her, yet. She could have fallen in love with me; may be, she did. But, she avoided it. We were almost in an almost relationship, but we averted it.

Sometimes I like to be alone, I come into my bedroom at the odd time of the day, just to lie down for a moment. I Look out at the light coming through my window, it gives me a feeling of solitude filled with hope. It seems the most human thing, i can learn to live with.

I realise how, some mornings never dawn in a man’s bedroom, the drapes of a morning never unfolds till a woman arrives.

I remember a portrait of us together in a friends house. Probably the only picture of us together; me in a white tee and a black shorts after giving bozo, the chocolate lab, a shower and she in her pantsuit. The picture is a testimony of our worlds apart, Yet S’s mom finds that a cute picture, “No two same people ever fall in love”

There are times, I feel so ditsy, dizzy and disoriented. I do take refugee with some of my couple-friends, Three to two to be precise, for they make you feel better and humane. I remember once at a late dinner at their place, I could hear their baby whimpering from the bedroom. I was about to stop my story-telling as she paused for a second and asked me to finish first. I was a bit taken back, She got up as I finished with the anecdote, Winking at her husband V, she said, “I will get the baby, you take care of this one.” I am grateful in life for a few deep friendships that I had earned till now.

Sometimes all I do is sit at my sofa or lean against the counter in the kitchen or even without realising as I open my fridge or when I am about to leave for work, I start to think about the home that I have made in the last lustrum. The guest bedroom, the way the laundry bag is hidden from the view, the way the bamboo plant is kept facing the sun, the arrangement of rugs.The idea of an hand-sanitiser within the reach as you snuggle onto the sofa. The chair right near the front door so that one can ease into it, as reaching for the footwear. In some ways every little precise detail matched the version of you in my head.

At times, it gives me an immense feeling of a home, a family, when there is someone sleeping in the next room, the way I tip-toe across the entire house, the way a door should be closed with a silent hush. Something I picked up from somewhere,

just like this weird habit of mine – Celebrating either a 10,000th day or Eleven thousand eleven hundred and eleventh day of someone, I missed the first. So i planned the latter on April 1st 2014. How I bugged her all day to bunk, just to cancel my plan on the last minute. Yet Fahadh came to the rescue, planned the whole thing, A cake, a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, I do have the small video of someone, mellowing down, the welling up in the eyes and a slight smile of mouthing the words, Thank you.

I imagine at times, the house filled with people, the two kids and the dog. As I have this space below the window sill, large enough to fit a small bed for a dog. Of her in the study, pacing deep down in concentrating on work, the kids sleeping, me sitting with the dog, talking to a friend/student. May be its a way that one is growing up without a family around.

May be somewhere a home awaits you, as the woman I loved is coming for dinner tonight.

 

 

 


To be Cared for,

The adolescent longings of an unrequited love seems much more of a mirage in the scale of pain as one grows up to be an adult.

Here I am back to my blogging life, interspersed with random thoughts, frequents cups of hot fluids, evading abstract memories of fading yesterdays and an impending finished PhD dissertation, nursing myself back to health, like an wounded animal in a battle for survival.

My mind chose this night to recount a few memories, draped in a moon-lit solitude and a flickering candle, I sit helplessly and sleeplessly ruminating over a few hundred moments of what could have been the point of breaking down. Writing could be a wonderful way to exorcise past and to confront the violent ugliness of reality. Its the point in time, when people see that lane of exit of the past, parallel to their actual days of life.

Most times, our lives are never about ourselves alone, it is so more about a few people who do become a part of you and your everydayness of life. It is strange when people decide to leave, all of a sudden. The silence, sullenness, the aloofness, the cold distance, the indifference and all of that together in a single look, word or a phrase, and to realise at a precise moment in time; to be left alone,

” I was certain he would turn my way. He would look at me. He would flatten his ears. He would growl. In some such way, he would conclude our relationship. He did nothing of the sort…
…. I was weeping because Richard Parker had left me so unceremoniously. What a terrible thing to botch a farewell. I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape.. It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then you can let go, otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did and your heart is heavy with remorse, that bungled good-bye hurts me to this day.. But I hope you will remember me as a friend. I will never forget you, that is certain. You will always be with me in my heart…So Farewell, God be with you..”

– Life of Pi- Yann Martel.

The adolescent longings of an unrequited love seems much more of a mirage in the scale of pain as one grows up to be an adult. Those winter evenings as I stay hidden on the sides of the wall, looking up on balcony for a sight of her. The exhilarating joys of a puppy love, the rush of hormones, the inevitable shyness even to look into your eyes as we speak. The innocence of then love held a promise of being cared for, with no apprehensiveness. Was it the age? was it the heart? Was it the mind?

Life then sucked too.

Yet.

The promise of a love and a faith in the togetherness of a tomorrow was quite reassuring.

I vividly remember a new years eve. Following a promise made to A, I began to read my first Classic, Of Human Bondage. Any plans for a celebration looked futile. I was half cursing and sulking at my room-mate who left earlier that evening.  I took my pills, covered myself with two sheets of blankets and held a book on top of my chest.  It was cold and difficult even to hold the book and worse it wasn’t a book that seemed to move forward as one reads. I remember this place in the book, where an unhappy orphan kid feeling far worse alone and painful as he couldn’t be consoled by his care taker, a barren elderly women who never had a kid. The kid shouts out his vengeance”I hate you, I wish you were dead”. The poor lady who never knew what it is to be mother breaks down at her failure. She breaks down and sobs as the kid reaches to kiss her. “She loved him now with a new love because he had made her suffer”. That was a moment of a sublimeness and I was overcome with such a spiritual feeling. I went off to sleep, closing the book and remember waking up far better in reality.

I knew very little of A’s own journey from her childhood. She married young and got divorced with a little boy even before she turned twenty five. Having lost her father at a young age, it was her mother who raised her; and life can be indeed cruel when you are violently brought back to square one. I knew somethings about her life as she told me, what she had to fight everyday and what follows her like the shadows of demons. I know our lives are not destined to be the same in our adulthood, yet I know, how I once felt close to her as how I would have for a sibling.

At times, life spins a tale, a far fetched joke, taking someone far away from everything they knew and they loved.

I remember writing once in my diary, “Love is an ability. An ability to be humane.” I have had known, what is when people leave, when they grow up and move on. Yet some times, when few memories catch you, so off-guard.  A trembling moment of resonance as one sees, when things come crashing down. Stay put. Hold onto your ground. Look up as they soar high and smile, knowing deep down, they are not coming back.

May be. Sometimes they do.

Sometimes this wound occurs at the moment of birth, sometimes it happens later. We are all fixing what is broken. It is the task of a lifetime. We’ll leave much unfinished for the next generation. 

Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese

 


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