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The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami – a book review

‘All I did was to go to the library to borrow books’
An innocuous line, describing a mundane or regular activity of an avid book reader, wouldn’t you say? Something so simple and generic that one might not mention or think it out aloud had it been just another library and the trip without any consequence. I mean, libraries are boring places; one goes there to seek refuge, to get some reading or studying done, and leave with books of their choices. Plain and simple.
But then Murakami doesn’t see things in a simple manner like we do, does he? Nope. He brings the weird out in us. He gives life to all our silly thoughts of being followed, talking animals, and parallel universes and of monsters under the bed or in this case in the library basements.

On a fine day like any, the protagonist of Murakami’s The Strange Library, on his way home from school, lost in his thought, wishes to return his library books. He hates being late; he never is, as his mother did not raise him that way. He is a co…
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Don't ignore Grief.

Bottle up your emotions, they say. Repress them. No need to talk about it. Hush it up. A tragedy is a tragedy. A loss of life cannot be a replacement or forgotten. There is no evading it or escaping it. It crops up as if it was always meant to be. And it is. It will. But we aren’t taught to see tragedy in a transparent light. We like to cover it up, afraid of the judgment that comes along with it. Folks will think we are cuckoo. It will ruin our reputation. They’d say we have gone soft in the head. Our emotions will affect our decisions and so we can’t be trusted. Blah. Blah. Blah. So we put a lid on it. Brush it under the carpet. Pretend to move on swiftly, trying to make sense of the awkward void of pain, distress, and restlessness. It should not be addressed. Swallow the pain like a pill. Ignore the panic. If you don’t stop talking about it, how will you move on? But the bigger and relevant question is, the one going through it, are they willing to move on already. Sadly, the sufferer …

Mind vs the heart

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Picture courtesy: Google. Only for representation purpose.
Standing on the highway, Roads leading both ways to somewhere, I stand still and wonder, Where do I belong?
The soothing lullabies of the green mist fairies call.  With promises to wrap me in the cool calm fog, Holding me in wet, gentle caresses, lulling the storm within. 
The call of the shrill, salt-laden sea sirens,  from the sun-baked rocks, Pull me back To join them as they make me one, in the fathomless abyss of wonders unseen. 
I lament my fragile being,  Born with one heart, not two, Torn between the ebb and flow of waves, And earthy scents in muddy dew. 
Both offer me refuge,  Cloaking me whole in their embrace, Dust to dust, flesh to flesh and soul to soul. 
In this battle between the mind and the heart, The heart but loses steam,  Leaving me stranded on a path to nowhere, never to be seen. 
My mind has been wrought with depression and all things crappy. This is a result of binge-watching a…

Celebrating Navratri? Stop now as we have no right to worship the female form...

Today my mom asked me to go get fall bidding done for her new saree. Navratri has begun and Durga Pujo is just around the corner. This year we are planning to go Pandal hopping on a Saptami instead of an Ashtami or Navmi to avoid the jams and the crowds. I will wear a saree too and my Punjabi husband will tag along for the delicious food.
In a multicultural household like mine, most festivals are a big deal, especially Navratri and Durga Pujo. But in the hullabaloo of festivities, we don’t stop to think of its essence – why do we celebrate Durga Pujo or Navratri at all. To celebrate Ma Shakti – a prompt answer from my mother. Navratri is a celebration of the nine stages of womanhood – a tribute to the power of the female.But to us commoners, it is a festival of dancing to the tunes of Garba or dandiya or Bollywood music. It is our turn to wear our best clothes, head out in the night, meet family and be merry. And once, this is over, the female form goes back to being what they always a…

What you get when you get a Dog...

Of moist wet noses and itchy ears, Pinpricks as bites and scratchy burs.
Ticks and twists, trips and tears, Licks and nips, and soulful stares.
Of woofs, barks and soft growls, Ruined furniture and empty food bowls.
Of smelly poop and slippery pee, Cuddly hugs, kisses and so much glee!
Of sleepless nights and dreamless mornings, When endless walks in the park become your calling.
Of wagging tails and adorable paw shakes, Shedding hair, rollovers, and shakes.
Of crashing dins and chasing leaves, Bring one home and you’ll never grieve.

Guilty promises

Her eyes, those big orbs of hazel, nestled in the caramel-like outer circle, were bewitching. He could stare at them all day. They were warm and inviting. When he saw her looking at him or she looked up at him, his heart ached… how the hell did he ever get so lucky?
Her eyes were his secret maze – he would get lost in them often, in solitude. They intrigued him as if wondering what was on her mind. Did she think of him often? Did he occupy all her thoughts?
Her soulful gaze never failed to weaken him.


Leaving for work, he felt sorry; for her as well as himself. He felt a sharp pain of guilt overcome his senses. He almost shut the door but stopped and turned around. “Darling, I am so sorry but I have to go. This is a work thing and you know our lives depend on it. But I promise you, I will spend more time with you. I will take you on the hiking trip I have been talking about for ages this weekend. Please… I mean it! Take care and see you soon…”
Saying his goodbyes, he shut the door and wa…

Love, loss, and longing Part II

Days had turned into weeks. This time around she was really annoyed and he would have to up his game if he wanted her back. She was his comfort zone. In her, he could forget the atrocities of the world. She had accepted him, nurtured him and loved him. While he loved everything he did for her, he knew there would be a price for it. He was well prepared for it. He would do whatever it took to keep her in his life. 


Heck, he had repainted his room even. Yeah, it was blue but if the women had their way, everything would have been pretty pink. She had wanted something else though…
He had run out of cigarettes and had to walk up to the new paan wala three blocks away. He couldn’t face the ones in his area as he owed them too much money. They would cuff him if they found him. But he was safe…
It took him a while to walk back. He passed many street Phool Walas who sold fragrant Mogra, Tagore flowers and lilies. He would buy them for her someday. But today was not the day. He had been waiti…