Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Catalog Wisdom

Tis the season for catalogs! Amidst the visually sensual and seductive Harry & David catalogs, I found Signals. This is definitely targeting artsy-fartsy people like me because I wanted something on every other page - jewelry with Emily Dickinson and Shakespeare quotes, unique Harry Potter paraphernalia, abstract figurines in metal, jewelry reminiscent of ancient artwork and symbols, Asian-inspired decorative artwork, etc. I'll admit, some of the items are too much for me (e.g., the "I love Mr. Darcy" sweatshirt)

What caught my attention were quotes on jewelry and sweatshirts. Since I wouldn't wear these (I am always looking over my shoulder for Clinton and Stacy), I thought I'd share them here:

National Sarcasm Society Like we need your support
Never Judge a Book by the Movie
She is too fond of books and it has addled her brain - Louisa May Alcott
English Major You Do the Math
There are only 10 kinds of people.
Those who understand binary and those who don't.

(Whew! In spite of my professional geekiness, I'm glad I missed that 10 = 2 in binary!)
Not all who wander are lost
Patron Saint of External Optimism:
Rely on her to help you see your cup is half full and that there's a silver lining in every cloud
and tomorrow is going to be a better day.

(I think my readers might bestow this title on me!)
(my favorite..)
Careful, or you'll end up in my novel.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Online Workshop

I have a manuscript of poems that I've been peddling this year. So far, no luck. However, I did receive two comments this year that some of my poems could be workshopped further, enhance the endings.

If anyone would like to form an online writing circle, please contact me directly. I've found the online writing groups that I've done in the past helpful. Ironically, I've read drafts of work that have been published novels. (A bit frustrating because the author had ignored the group's feedback!)

It's hard to find poetry enthusiasts, but I like to write poems that anyone can understand. My intention with my poems is to reach the people who are intimidated by poetry and have them say, "I get it!"

I have no predefined purpose for the group, but hoping to see what kind of participation and interest I receive!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Books, Books, Books

So, I don't normally post these "meme" type things on my blog. There's enough about me on here anyway. So, Sir RibbonFarms publicly tagged me and I have to do the honorable thing and respond.

~ Book that changed your lifeGandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth (yes, as corny as it may sound, it helped lead me onto the road of vegetarianism).

~ Book you've read more than onceJane Eyre I have read it and watched the films at different points in my life and have found myself relating to different aspects of it each time. Also, listened to "Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now" by Maya Angelou. My father had commented that the life lessons in this book were more inspiring than listening to lectures by some religious leaders.

~ Book you'd take to a deserted island - I'm going to steal Toni Morrison's response to this question. When asked this question, she replied she would want paper to write her own book. I feel the same way. I'd have to create my own book. And, if I were on a deserted island then I would have the peace and quiet that I so need in my life to net all those stories in my head onto paper!!

~ Book that made you laughDavid Sedaris "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim". I sat in the waiting room at ballet with my mouth covered because I wanted to laugh out loud, especially about the Christmas traditions in Holland.

~ Book that made you cry"A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry, "Nectar in a Sieve" by Kamala Markandaya and "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan (the mama leaving the twins behind on the side of the road so she wouldn't curse them with her dead body.. oh my god..just thinking about it is overwhelming!)

~ Book you wish you had written – "The Namesake" or "Interpreter of Maladies" because they ain't all that. (Let me know if anyone can give me a lift to that deserted island)

~ Book you wish had never been written – This is a tough question for me because I believe every book that exists should have been written. The only one that comes to mind is that OJ Simpson tell-all book.

~ Book(s) you're currently reading – Just finished "The Brick" journal, which had various short stories and interviews. I was especially taken by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

~ Book you've been meaning to read – 3 Salman Rushdie, 2 Amitav Ghosh and 1 Kiran Desai books on my bookshelf.

~ Book you've been meaning to finish – "Fury" by Rushdie, "The Fellowship of the Rings" by Tolkien. Both books have such intense language and meaning, and require focus.

So, now I will tag bloggers Zen-Denizen, TAAMommy, Appletina, Phoenix, Jane, and Disha to continue their list!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bubbles (My Poems): Pottery Barn Days

Pottery Barn Days

These precious people live in homes with soft creamy linen slipped sofas
and clear glass cylinders brimming with white seashells
on the Espresso end tables.

The Ivory and Havana Dark Weave furniture enjoy the
clean ocean breezes, immune to the rage of elements.

They eat heartily at clambakes. Tables set
with colanders in a nautical blues and reds,
plump lemons for the lobsters and white pails to collect the shells,
and bottles of Pinot Grigio knotted with sand-dollars.

The catalog says it brings family back together.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Leaves That Fell In The Middle Of Spring.

We saw the leaves fall this spring.
Wasn’t the tree always going to be lush,
adorned with green buds and white blossoms?
All the others were.

Why, the leaves are life of the tree!
They dance and sing with the wind,
and they tickle the young buds until they laugh.

We don’t know why, but the leaves loosened themselves.
It was too early.
Not fair.
No, it cannot be.
They had not felt the June sun nor tasted the August heat.
The young buds need their shade to grow
into delicious fruits of September.
They must stay.

The tree tried to hold onto them
“Just a bit longer.”
And, even when the stems were thin
the pain to cling was too much,
the leaves still believed they would stay
and keep the branches warm.

Along came a calm April breeze, which circled her arms
around the leaves. Quietly cradled each leaf and

carried them afar.
They were free to float and frolic.
They missed their tree,
but had another journey to follow.

The tree stands with a wide, open embrace.
If you listen to the rustle of the leaves in May,
you’ll hear the whisper of the melody they left behind.

In memory of leaves that fell this spring

- Dr. Padmaja Shinde 1966 – 2007

- Boney Dhar 1964 - 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Shakespeare's Day

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 and died on April 23, 1616.

We were reading "Romeo and Juliet" in 9th grade and Mrs. Ekholm brought in cupcakes to celebrate. To add a twist, she asked everyone to quote a line from Shakespeare in order to receive a cupcake.

Just about everyone went up and said, "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" or "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?" I had to be different and chose, "He jests at scars that never felt a wound." Mrs. Ekholm actually gripped my arm and froze. She loved it! This was said by Romeo when the guys were making fun of his lovesickness. Ironically, I often think of that line when people make comments or make light of someone else's situation.

Another favorite line of mine from Romeo and Juliet was "See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!O, that I were a glove upon that hand,That I might touch that cheek!"

I always liked the following scene, more so after I saw the Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes performance in Baz Luhrmann's film. The way it was depicted was beautiful, as they started with their palms touching to their first kiss. The language is so full of double meaning, it's pure desire.

If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.

Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

You kiss by the book.

How hot is "give me my sin again"!?
Another powerful scene is the final death scene. Again, in the Baz Luhrmann version, as he dies and she awakens they see each other. Yet, it is too late. That makes it hurt even more.

What's here? a cup, closed in my true love's hand?
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end:
O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop
To help me after? I will kiss thy lips;
Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,
To make die with a restorative.
Kisses him

Thy lips are warm.

First Watchman
[Within] Lead, boy: which way?

Yea, noise? then I'll be brief. O happy dagger!
Snatching ROMEO's dagger

This is thy sheath;

Stabs herself.

I don't get entangled in the scholarly controversies of whether Shakespeare wrote his own work or not. I simply enjoy what the world has.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Speaking the Words We Write

I was thrilled to catch Def Poetry Jam on HBO last night. If you haven’t seen this program, it’s a spoken word and poetry performance. These poets do not speak from the heart. They whisper and roar from every molecule in their body and your body.

People often say, “Oh I don’t get poetry” and wouldn't try to read two lines. Performances like these visually illustrate the simplest purpose of poetry – the need to express and communicate to another.

I have to admire these artists because they can voice their poems. For me, writing is an act that is necessary as breathing. Yet, I’ve only read my poetry aloud to a few friends in writing groups. A year ago for the first time among strangers at a workshop, I read my work aloud. Afterwards, I was overwhelmed physically - blood was rushing and my body temperature must have risen 100 degrees. I received a positive response, which was encouraging and gave me confidence.

I don’t have a problem with public speaking. I taught and led presentations to clients, colleagues, professors and classmates. I’ve been the MC and made speeches at various Indian events. Not a problem.

I have public speaking confidence when what I’m presenting is not me. To read poetry or my writing would be to step into a zone of vulnerability and exposure.

When I watch spoken word poets, I know they’re taking their talent to the next level, which is where I need to be.

Another point for me is that writing is as solitary and silent act. I do read my work to myself, usually to check for rhythm.

When I read or write, I have this ‘voice’ in my head. The voice doesn’t trip over words, she glides and breathes into them. I like to write about ethereal topics. By actually articulating the poems, my voice makes the words seem so ordinary and lose their magic.

This is why I have to admire the talent of the Def Poetry performers. They know how to breathe life into the words and make them the voice you recognize in your head.

There was a girl in one of my writing groups, who was a poet. We found ourselves having difficulty connecting to her as a person because of her insecurities. She was inconsistent; she resisted sharing simple things, but then revealed too much. I saw her present one of her poems in a public performance. I was amazed how she transformed. She owned the stage. That was her space, those were her words, and that was who she was! For some poets, the public performance is a validation of who they are.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Broken Music - Sting

So, the Universe is pulling me to Sting this week.

I had an hour to myself yesterday and my car drove itself to the nearest Barnes & Noble. I went to the first place I always go in a bookstore - the Bargain Books. I believe one person's junk could be another person's treasure. I collect classics and books by Indian writers, which they may not mean much to the mainstream reading populace. So, I've found some great finds for under $5 or $10.

Yesterday, I found Sting's memoir "Broken Music" for $4.98. I've read only 30 pages and I'm captivated by his writing style. His prose is so lyrical and poetic it leaps off the page. For example, here's a line from the first paragraph:

"My wife, Trudie, and I are sheltering beneath an umbrella, while high above our heads two seagulls wheel recklessly in the wind; and the sea is a roaring threat in the darkness"

He could've said "Trudie and I stood under an umbrella and we could hear the seagulls and the water."

Actually, what made me buy this book were 2 paragraphs on page 298. Sting is in an old French hotel next to the alleyway where prostititutes have stood "for a thousand years." In the hotel foyer, there is an old poster of the play by Edmond Rostand, "Cyrano de Bergerac," which prompts this musing:

"He is a tragic clown man with an enormous nose and a plumed hat. He is a man entrusted with a secret; an eloquent and dazzling wit who, having successfully wooed a beautiful woman on behalf of a friend cannot reveal himself as the true author when his friend dies. He is a man who loves but is not loved, and the woman he loves but cannot reach is called Roxanne. That night I will go to my room and write a song about a girl. I will call her Roxanne. I will conjure her unpaid from the street below the hotel and cloak her in the romance and the sadness of Rostand's play, and her creation will change my life. "

I think that's what is appealing to me about this book that it's a memoir, not so much of an autobiography that zips through significant events. It pauses long enough to evoke significant moments.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lost Clouds

Thanks to SirenSongs, I experienced this beautiful site, "50 Million Missing" photographs of Indian women and girls. This collection is a reminder of the beauty and diversity of the many faces of Indian women.

Sadly, the value of an Indian female has not improved where female infanticide and dowry deaths are still occurring. We hear about the tech boom, the educated classes and modern advances made in India, but when girls and women are still considered a burden, where will society end up? It is the "dehumanization" of women when they are valued with monetary measures. Here are some links to articles about this urgent issue: Missing: 50 Million Indian Girls and India's Missing Daughters.


I had received this poem this morning in my inbox as my Poem of the Day and it seems appropriate for this mood.

A Cloud withdrew from the Sky (895)

A Cloud withdrew from the Sky
Superior Glory be
But that Cloud and its Auxiliaries
Are forever lost to me

Had I but further scanned
Had I secured the Glow
In an Hermetic Memory
It had availed me now.

Never to pass the Angel
With a glance and a Bow
Till I am firm in Heaven
Is my intention now.

Emily Dickinson

For my poetry-phobic friends, the poem speaks about a cloud that was missed, an opportunity to see "superior glory." The moment could have been saved and reused again.

We need to stop and save the images of the Indian women and girls lest they become clouds that fade away with the sun.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Articles online

I wanted to mention I have two reviews up on

"Mixed", a review of an anthology by multiracial authors

"Dor", a review of this film, which I had previously posted on my blog.

I've told my friends about my reviews.I was pleasantly surprised that one of my friends said he ordered the anthology from his library after reading my review. His library did not have it and will be getting it. By the way, I have a friend who always read the latest South Asian writers. I would ask him, "Where did you even find it?"

He replied, "I just go to the library and ask for it. Then they'll get it. They need to build up the multicultural collections, so they're happy to get it."

I love my library because it's so full of books by South Asian writers. It's crazy that I can't find David Sedaris, but Shyam Selvadurai and Monica Ali are right there.

Anyway, I'm happy these reviews are working and getting people inspired to read!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Haikus in the Sky with Diamonds

After I got the taste of haikus, I started playing with some more words. I wrote these on the plane to CA last month, so you can see my inspirations. And, Henri Matisse's "Icarus" fits perfectly with the poem!

A mile-high sunset
scorches the horizon and
with a hint of green.


Had Icarus flown
at night, the stars would have bowed
and the moon cheered.