Posts Tagged Life

Wedding in the Family !!!

Via: Daily Prompt – Fragrance

 

The side effect of having been born and brought up, then living abroad my whole life is never truly bonding with relatives. Worse, with my father’s job as a diplomat resettling us country-from-country every half-a-decade, I sort of built a sense of emotional independence that to outsiders might seem like detachment. I’m the sort of person who is caring about everyone in general but close to only a tight-fisted handful. I won’t call to check up on people but if someone needed my help, I’m there – I like to help.

 

On the practical level, I find that there is just not enough time in the day to keep up with all the friends and relatives one accumulates over a lifetime. On the emotional level, I can never comprehend why anyone would want to keep up with my life – I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling like an outsider – and therefore, I don’t give others the opportunity to reject me.

They find ways to reject me anyway.

Particularly my relatives. I don’t blame them. My relatives, especially cousins, have grown up with one another all their lives. They know each other’s interests and emotions on the root level. I grew up all over the place, my interests are not similar to theirs and neither are my emotions. My reactions are paused and analyzed while they tend to just lay it all out there. To my cousins, even after interacting with them at family gatherings for the last dozen years that we have been settled in Bangladesh, I’m that aloof girl who is too arrogant too self-sufficient to mix with them. Whereas, I feel that they are more engaged more involved with one another for me to penetrate the fold. It’s a vicious cycle and quite unbreakable.

When my father retired and we finally settled down in Dhaka, I had hoped that I would actually have the time to foster a proper bond with my cousins. This did not happen. The fault is mine. I had to get through my BBA and MBA and then “the corporate life” hijacked all of my attention. I realize now that given that I am the outsider, instead of expecting them to accommodate my lifestyle, I should have evolved enough to fit their calendars.

But instead, I subscribed to the Business Plan. You know, the one that is a grade above the Free Plan where you have not enough at stake to actually care about what goes on and therefore only receive spams but not as premium as where you get your own personal representative to always keep you up-to-date about the newest developments. It’s the plan that promises I will attend the family events just like anyone else but probably will not always be available for impromptu get-togethers and brunches on the side. The brunch invitations never came because the problem with interacting only at family gatherings is not knowing all the secrets that are shared during all the other meetings to understand what the discussions at these gatherings are really about. Still out of the loop.

In fact, it seems that settling down in Bangladesh has done more harm than good. When we lived abroad, I at least had the excuse of national borders to not know what is going on. But now that I live in the country, I have a moral obligation to subscribe to the family newsletter and contribute also by divulging all the secrets of my own dysfunctional life. I sound resentful and sarcastic, I know. No wonder they don’t like me.

Thankfully, I do have a set of cousins with whom I get along superbly. My mother’s favorite-sister-and-best-friend-for-all-purposes lives with her family just down the road. The proximity has made my interaction over the years frequent enough to form a true affection for one another. We share secrets and trade gossips and do all the things that cousins do. Of course, these cousins are some 7-9 years my junior, but I don’t let how pathetic that sounds stop me. I love them with all my heart and am pretty sure they feel the same way about me.

And one of them is getting married! The younger one has been living in the US the past year for his Ph.D. in applied physics and is returning for the tail end of summer vacation to marry his fiance. He will be here for only three weeks but we have been working tirelessly to get all the wedding paraphernalia ready in advance. Do you see that? WE are getting things ready. I’m in the fold of all the engagements and I have thrown myself in to participate and assist wherever I can – with relish. I’m facing all the crazy emotions and hurdles that weddings pose and I’m loving it. Let it be wrong shades of roses or raspberry filling instead of strawberries in the cake, I’m ready, baby!

Which is why I cannot post my regular WRITING CHRONICLES or WEDNESDAY REFLECTIONS the next couple of weeks. I hope the above ranting makes up for the truancy. But I cannot say that I’m sorry for the lapse as it is all in the cause of achieving one of my life goals.

Hooray for me!

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Preconceptions

Via: Daily Prompt – Label

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Image: Pixabay

Are writer’s quick to judge? If writers habitually sit around in public places, siphoning characters out of their neighbors, are their inspirations founded on preconceptions programmed into their outlook of society? I mean, sure, they add onto what they see but would it be correct to say that their imagination is still founded on stereotypes that they are prepossessed to notice?

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That Old Dude

Via: Daily Prompt – Murmuration & Record

Over the past five years, more and more salt strands have been peeking out of my peppery tresses. I make a point not to hide my premature grays for two reasons: One, I truly do believe they are my wisdom highlights, and B, they help to ward off my archaic relatives’ not-so-subtle-hints on the long overdue marital status. I literally put in efforts toward getting too long in the tooth to become an on-the-shelf spinster. And just when I put my feet up and blow out that sigh of relief, believing that the years of danger have passed, someone ducks their head into our house and asks when am I going to settle down with a nice man. It’s like the record player is broken and plays the same tune over and over again regardless of which album is in the tray. Grr…

Enter That Old Dude. I have never met him before but, apparently, he is a distant cousin of Dad’s who was a big support during his college dorm days. This guy pays a visit yesterday evening (totally out of the blue), tells Mom he’s been hankering for some home cooked fish dish I never heard of (which Mom graciously obliges to prepare), and then presumes to give me a talk on how in his old age it’s a sincere wish to see grandchildren. Seriously, I never met the guy but he is of the mind that my kids (if I ever have any) will be his grandchildren.

I looked at Dad and he sort of shrunk away from my gaze. So I decided to take pity on the general male species for the day. I smiled and asked if the Old Dude did not have children of his own to place this request to. All politeness and murmurs, if you please. Read the rest of this entry »

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Such is Life

Via: Daily Prompt – Desire

Image: Pixabay

I have always had this lackadaisical attitude towards life and death. It’s always been, meh. Whatever will be, will be. I saw and heard people around me, fearing death – not in the “Voldemort kills to split souls and gain immortality” sort of way but the “I still have so much to live for” sort of way. For the most part of my life, I have dreamt and aspired to do great things. But if I were to die before fulfilling them, I wasn’t going to fret over something I cannot control. They weren’t something I HAD to live for.

Then I left my career behind last year and took up writing full time. I haven’t earned anything from it yet. I’m still editing the novel I just finished writing and have been outlining the plots for the follow-up series. But now, I’m no longer ready to die. Not just yet. I have to finish these books and a few more. I have to get them published. At most, I desire to write and let loose in this world six epic novels like Jane Austen before I call it quits. In the least, about twenty very well-written witty romance novels like Jennifer Crusie to gain a small-but-chuckling fan club would do.

Oh, and a bit more time to finish my reading list 😉

That’s about it. I’m working on it.

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Dreaming in Technicolor

Via: Daily Prompt – Doubt

When reading a truly spectacular story told with an awe-inspiring writing voice, I often become nervous. I wonder how will I ever measure up to the likes of these writers that I admire? I am not ashamed to say I am envious of all of my favorite authors’ storytelling capabilities (i.e. with the exception of the Goddess Jane Austen). But do I allow my moments of uncertainty stop me from journeying on the path to greatness? No.

Doubt is the death of dreams. Or rather, it has all the necessary elements to snuff the life out of your desires – if you allow it to. Instead, why not use that doubt to strive to improve? Challenge your fears and come out on top. Laugh at it. Quit dreaming in grayscale and infuse your subconscious with all the hues necessary to pursue a reality of your choosing. Defeat doubt. Extinguish it before it extinguishes you.

Become immortal by gifting the world a piece of yourself to cherish through eternity.

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Of Moons and Cycles

Via: Daily Prompt – Hesitate

Sky Landscape Ocean Blue Moon Nature Water Sea

Image: Max Pixel, CC

I was hearing great things about the movie. I hadn’t read any of the reviews but saw that the ratings were off the charts. As I already had a bunch of other movies to work my way through, I left it idling on my watchlist. I would get to it in time.

I didn’t get to see the Oscars when it was initially televised and instead watched it last night online. The controversial goof up at the closing made me decide that I should wait no longer and see why this movie was making such waves. No, I’m not talking about La La Land, which was such a derivative piece of drama that I have no idea why it even made it to the Oscars, much less how Emma Stone snagged the Best Actress title when Amy Adams’s performance in Arrival didn’t even get nominated. I’m obviously talking about Moonlight.

I’ll admit, I had another reason for not watching it in the theater. Everything about the poster indicated how stark the story will be. Blood will spill on screen and there will be plenty of cause for tears to run down my cheeks. Of course, I was hesitant about making a prat of myself in public; that’s reserved for special occasions, like when Auntie Flo comes to visit. Now, however, I decided the timing was close enough to match my cycles and for some cathartic tears to let loose.

So what did I learn once I turned on the DVD? The poster is misleading on the level of blood-spill. Even though the kid’s nose is broken and bleeding, it’s not another gangster movie full of gunfights in the hood [I don’t always watch trailers]. Of course, I had managed to surmise from snippets of Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes that it was about the self-discovery of an African American boy coming to terms with his homosexuality but the poster still suggested violence and last night I began to wonder if the story depicted child sexual abuse. Nope, also not it.

Actually, there was very little violence in the movie but there could have been. I love movies that do not fuss around with frills for the sake of shock value. Movies that just tell the stories about the characters. This movie did that with such precision that I was nervous throughout the movie for Chiron. Every drop of maternal extinct God gave me was wrenching my heart for the child. Even after he grew into a man and a drug dealer, I wanted to crawl into the screen and console him for the grief he had to experience. I was right about one thing from seeing the poster. I cried.

I bawled, I wept into the neck of my dress until nothing less than a bath towel sufficed. I wondered if it was the fact that I was almost at that time of the month that made me so emotional. But I think it was mostly because of the way the story was told. It must’ve evoked different ethos in different viewers. For me, it was completely maternal. I don’t have any children to spare my bountiful share of the stuff and usually shower it on my cat. Chiron got the whole blast of it today. Still, being so close to my periods might have made it worse.

When the movie was over, I had to go lie down. My head was throbbing, my eyes bleary. I kept thinking why any child must go through life being excluded in such a manner. Where the hell were those angels we keep hearing about that always keep a lookout for our kids? History of the world certain tells a different story. I didn’t quite blame the bullies in his school; they were the products of our culture, they were kids themselves. But hell! There is just so much wrong with this world.

And then it dawned on me. That’s why I write, isn’t it? That’s why Tarell Alvin McCraney wrote In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. To fix this broken world by pointing out exactly what is wrong with it. Writers are born change agents whether they intend to be or not. By depicting the mess of our contemporary lives, even lightly, we lead the way into a hopefully better future. It is slow progress but a bid for revolution nevertheless. I felt connected to McCraney and sighed, feeling slightly better.

In fact, I was hooked to the movie from the moment Maharshala Ali spoke the line, “In moonlight, black boys look blue.” The writer in me woke up and replied, “Damn! That’s observant.” It brought to mind another beautiful observation by the Bengali poet Sukanta Bhattacharya in reflection of his experience of communism:

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হে মহাজীবন
সুকান্ত ভট্টাচার্য

হে মহাজীবন, আর এ কাব্য নয়
এবার কঠিন, কঠোর গদ্যে আনো,
পদ-লালিত্য-ঝঙ্কার মুছে যাক,
গদ্যের কড়া হাতুড়িকে আজ হানো ।
প্রয়োজন নেই, কবিতার স্নিগ্ধতা,
কবিতা তোমায় দিলাম আজকে ছুটি
ক্ষুধার রাজ্যে পৃথিবী-গদ্যময়:
পূর্ণিমা-চাঁদ যেন ঝলসানো রুটি ।

Oh! Great Life
Sukanta Bhattacharya

Oh! Great life, No more of this poetry
Bring now the hard, harsh prose instead,
Let jingles nurtured in verse fade,
And the strong hammer of prose strike.
No need for the serenity of poem;
Poetry, I give you a break today.
In the regime of hunger, the world is too prosaic,
As the full moon burns like bread.

I did my best to translate.

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The Escape Artist

Via: Daily Prompt – Jiggle

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Image: Zaireen Lupa

Mickey’s spirit was contagious. When he was alive, he would keep our entire household occupied with his antics. Throughout the day, our emotions ran the gamut with admiration, contentment, joy, surprise, vigilance, apprehension, exasperation, submission – all according to how Mickey was behaving at the moment. One thing we never became was bored. Even when he was resting, he would engage our attention by continuously swishing his tail. He had us enthralled.

But oh, boy! did he get into capers! One of the most common scenes in our home was him getting out the balcony or window, his body shimmying through the bars, his bottom jiggling with effort, while we rushed from all sides to grab him before he escaped. “Quick! He’s getting away!” was something every one of us said numerous times a week. He got away every time despite the practice he gave us. He loved the outdoors, our Mickey. And it wasn’t that we wanted to keep him locked in; Mickey just kept getting into scrapes with the neighborhood cats and returning hurt. Mickey was very trusting of others.

The most gullible yet empathetic feline I have ever had the privilege of making acquaintance.

 

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WRITING CHRONICLES #09: Five

Via: Daily Prompt – Arid

Some five years ago, an interview with a college consultant motivated me to start blogging. A brief meeting with him informed me of the budding world of independent publication when he questioned me why I’m letting a delay in studying creative writing keep me from becoming a novelist. He showed me his friend’s WordPress blog and how this friend had set up an enterprise for himself online, already with a few novels published beyond the traditional channel. This consultant had practically chastised me for not taking the initiative on my own and I am so grateful to him. I don’t remember his name or his friend’s blog site, and I wasn’t yet convinced about self-publishing a “book”, but I was ready to start focusing on building a career as a novelist.

So I opened this blog on February 25, 2012, with the hope that having a live audience would shame me into finally finish writing a full novel. In the end, I did sort of self-publish a novel on this site with serialized posts of the chapters. And even though procrastination ensued now and again, and for long periods at a stretch, I so appreciate the habit working on this blog instilled in me. I started the blog with the objective “It’s a site to make sure I write” and it made sure I wrote.

The career path I was on, tough I enjoyed, did not harbor an everlasting appeal for me. Life seemed barren, my dreams left to dry without nourishment. Now? I live, I thrive.

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Image: Vinegar and Brown Paper

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Welcome to the Jungle (02 min read)

Via: Daily Prompt – Squat

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Image: Zaireen Lupa

That moment when you hear the front door open and then the clamorous laughter of that nosy aunt who’s always trying to get you married off to someone from her endless list of prized bachelors drifts your way. You crouch low with ears trained, wondering if your mother will reveal that you’re home – wondering if jumping off the balcony would be too drastic a measure of escape.

Oh no! Your mother has indeed disclosed your whereabout. As you hear the enemy approach, you realize that there’s no second route from your room to the nearest exit of the house. So you run to your brother’s empty room and wait. Hopefully, they won’t think to look for you here…  Read the rest of this entry »

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Birth (03 min read)

Via: Daily Prompt – Sound

Smack! Cry! All clear!

Though now seldom practiced, I have always been fascinated by how the earliest of midwives and doctors stimulated the newborn this way to ensure their lungs are clear of amniotic fluid from the mother’s womb and is able to function properly to make space for that first breath. I love how the experts “made do” in the absence of the advanced technology available today that safely suctions the secretion away. It was widely practiced even before science was “science”. Born from a natural realization that the first breath is linked to that first cry. The miracle of human intelligence.  Read the rest of this entry »

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