Writers, poets, dancers, singers, artists, mathematicians, physicists and anyone involved with anything creative and constructive generally tend to live in an alternate universe. We live everyday lives with some amount of difficulty. The daily stresses and strains tend to often act as a negative influence upon our creative abilities. We struggle (in my case with the blank paper) to find our moorings, but often we are thrown headlong into the chaotic waters of life. Sometimes, the thoughts, the words and the sentences come, but unfortunately we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe at work or in a family gathering or in a social event. And before we can record or jot down those words swimming through the vastness of our complicated brains, they disappear…poof ! As if they were never there in the first place. And we languish within this universe devoid of the gems of our creation.
This is indeed a difficult thing to face on a daily basis. This is what we struggle with on a daily basis. This conflict between the worlds. This existence in parallel worlds or in an alternate universe !
Finally this evening, the rains graced us with their presence after a scorching month of heat and dust. I’ve been a rather lazy writer during the last two months primarily due to the heat becoming quite intolerable for my brain to function in a more sedate manner. However, with the freshness of the evening rains pouring over us like sweet blessings it is indeed high time for me to sharpen my intellect, rouse myself out of my temporary stupor and start writing like I’ve never written before; dotting and decorating pristine pages with my filigreed words. The rains have stopped now, but the cool air blowing across the Indian plains and the tranquil water entering the hard bosom of earth, the weather should be a rather mellowed one for the next couple of days. Generally coldness and cool weather awakens the writer and the poet in me. This is extremely detrimental for one who has been born and lives in a tropical country. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that the next few days become both productive as well as mentally invigorating for me. The rains and the Indian rainy season (monsoon) is something that we writers and poets across the subcontinent wait for. Amen to more refreshing weather and further rambunctious deluges.
When I began writing my blog, the primary purpose was of course to jot down the thoughts that were a byproduct of my writings. However, somewhere along the way, the concept of peace, the idea of living a life enmeshed with tranquility sprung up somewhere. The importance of harboring a tranquil mindset both during the process of writing as well as in day to day life became extremely essential. I realized that it is impossible for a writer to give his or her very best unless and until the mind is at rest and the emotions are under control. Living a dual life can be extremely difficult and certain mental tools are needed if we all wish to pursue our life’s ambition of becoming an established writer/poet. This blog will henceforth focus on the understanding of peace and how we can harness the same in our daily lives as well as in our craft in order to lead a more enriching and productive existence.
Back to my blog after a long hiatus. During this time my husband and I took a long deserved holiday to a hill station in Central India. It was our yearly vacation to the mountains and this time together was immensely wonderful, as we could break away from the daily humdrum of life and spend days in optimum relaxation. The hill station we visited was Pachmarhi. This is one of innumerable hill stations that the British established when the ruled over India for over 300 years. These mountainous little towns were called hill stations for a reason. They were summer capitals for the Briish Raj (since the Indian summers were too hot and steamy for the British to tolerate). Thus, they established little towns all across the length and breadth of India. These towns were nestled in the mountains (primarily the Himalayas) and each one was complete with a church, a post office and a police station. During the summer months of March, April, May and June, the entire British population would leave the plains for mountains and during winters they would return back to the plains. Thus, thanks to our erstwhile rulers, we Indians have acquired a plethora of hill stations across the entire Indian subcontinent. Darjeeling, Dalhousie, Nainital, Mussoorie, Almora, Kalimpong, Kurseing, Ooty and Pachmarhi to name a few. Keeping up with the British tradition, ever Indian summer, thousands of Indians leave the plains for short family vacations to the mountains. We did the same too. And it was worth it ! The refreshing mountain air and the break from the heat of the plains energized our mental as well as physical faculties.
Similar to other hill stations, Pachmarhi is replete with churches established by the British dating back to the 1800s, British Commonwealth war graveyards, quaint roads and marketplaces as well as waterfalls, mountain streams, and an old worldly vintage feeling of going back to the Victorian era. The holiday also cleared my mind of doubts regarding my second novel. I have returned with a more focused attitude towards my writing and hope to continue with this peaceful mental state for days to come.
Posting a couple of pictures of Pachmarhi below and a third one of my husband making an instant connection with a playful dog on one of the roads.
February is already upon us. In fact we can safely state that 2023 is already a toddler. Time flies fast and so does the ever spinning world around us. Days fly by and nights wade through invisible moments. I’ve not been able to make much progress on the writing front, though I’ve managed to complete my obligations at work. At least, I can state that on the work front I feel rather light headed and free. Once all this has been settled, it is time to focus back on my original profession…writing. I will keep this post short as I am writing from work. Maybe I will write a longer post at leisure. Writing on this blog is also an important mental exercise that contributes towards my overall well-being of being a writer.
Much of January has passed and I’ve seriously not had an opportunity to concentrate on my writing. Blame it on the circumstances at work (with the examination season in full bloom and with piles of assignments on my desk to check). My birthday too came and went (I celebrated it quietly with my immediate family). Being bereft of writing has made me a tad bit disillusioned to say the least. The plot is ingrained in my mind and the characters have been fleshed out mentally, however, I’ve not really been getting a chance to even finish the Prologue that I began writing in the beginning of this month. Having said all this, I firmly believe that writers, poets, singer, painters and other people involved with the creative arts should never give up. Seasons may change, circumstances may not be conducive to our art, but we must plod on irrespective of what comes in our way. I’ve personally experienced a lot of failures during my stint as a writer. There have been innumerable writer’s blocks, work has been a huge speed breaker, I’ve not felt inspired enough and the list can go and on, however, at the end f the day I’ve seldom relinquished my pen or my art and let society get the better of me. This time too I hope to continue where I paused the written word in favor of my academic obligations and other unpalatable factors. Amen to that !
One of the most important tools that a writer uses is the Email. It is undeniably an integral part of every writer/academic’s life. Without a robust email which has all the necessary functionalities, most of our work would remain undone. I primarily use my mailbox not only to communicate, but also to store important files, photographs and other relevant documents like CVs etc. Like most people I used to rely on Gmail for a very long time, till I started getting spammed with scam emails, the Nigerian chain emails and other shady communications. My Gmail account is quite a fossil now. I rarely use it these days. For my work, I primarily use Laposte (the French email service) and store my important files on Digiposte (a branch of Laposte). It is indeed one of the fastest and most convenient email services that I have encountered over the years. Laposte is swift, has a strong spam filter (in fact I hardly ever find any spam mail in the spam box), and even has alias addresses. The only catch is that you must be fluent in French to understand and navigate properly through both Laposte and Digiposte.
The second important email service that I have chanced upon and hope to keep for the rest of my life is the Vivaldi mail service. The best part about the Vivaldi mail service is zero ads, focus on privacy, a strong spam filter and extremely swift service. In fact I have noticed that emails that I send to other mailboxes in conjunction with the Vivaldi mailbox reach late when compared to the latter. Vivaldi mail is also extremely convenient since it is integrated with the Vivaldi browser, thus eliminating the need to log into the account time and again. Further, I’ve also noticed that compared to other mail clients, Vivaldi mail allows a copy of the original mail to remain in the mailbox rather than deleting the same. I’ve often faced this problem with MS Outlook Express, Thunderbird and other mail clients.
In a nutshell, I must conclude by saying that if you are writer or an academic or anyone whose major portion of the daily work depends upon the written word, then please do invest in a reliable mail service. The Gmails and Hotmails and Yahoos have outlived their purpose. With the amount of spam and phishing mails that are delivered to those mail services, as well as the various privacy concerns regarding the same expressed by IT experts, it is time that we looked elsewhere and tried out newer and more secure emails. Apart from Vivaldi and Laposte, the few other important mail services that I would recommend for my readers are GMX (they host their servers in Germany), Protonmail (with servers in Switzerland) and Hushmail.
Good luck and au revoir and happy mailing this season !
The following are posts from my old blog. These are nothing more than the odd scribbles and notes written during the years that I struggled to complete my first novel.
Sit under a green tree. Watch a sluggish stream flow by. Caress wildflowers blossoming across verdant meadows. Sing a song when no one is listening to you. Swoon on a bed of dandelions. And grasp life by the sashes she wears around her delicate waist. Sauntering across moments…
Today memories from the East threatened to burn down my house. Darkness still lingers within long spent fires and their seductive smoke rings.
I have become the gypsy of the highways. Not even love can mend this blistered heart.Cobblestones and mementos…
The storm has passed and I am still at sea. The blue sky quivers in the horizon. Is it my imagination or are the heavens making love to the shivering waves? Poised on the edge of consciousness…
Cherishing you within the darkness of my irises I forget that you are a man. To me you become fireflies on the wing enamoured by the haunted ruins of my ancient life. The fires burn low. The fireflies smoulder. This broken body crumbles at your feet… Gliding across quagmires…
Am I a rainmaker? Are these gypsy drops mine? Will they ever water the earth? But where is my earth? Which is my earth? I am merely a barren land crisscrossed by hungry cracks…open maws shrieking at the Indian summer sun. In eternal damnation…
I was walking towards you across lifetimes. But I came to know about it the other day when your blue eyes showed me galaxies and universes unheard of. Drenched in blueness…
Love…a pearl curled up in an oyster or a seashell languishing on the shores of nothingness. Love…brilliant and brazen, soft and unassuming…liberating me from the shackles of mediocrity. On the shores of unending blue seas…
Sometimes dreams tiptoe across thresholds. Sometimes they flutter in through windows. And then sunshines flower and moonbeams flicker and time pirouettes on twinkle toes. Waltzing with my dreams…
Isn’t it better to write and not simply chronicle? Isn’t it better to write for and out of emptiness than expect an audience? Open doors and translucent windows…
Out of the blue grasses and the wood smoke rise tiny dreams of unknown lands of the East. Out of morning dewdrops and the mist that hangs like a wispy thin curtain of misplaced love rises a life so little and insignificant that perhaps a gentle nudge of a truant breeze is enough to scatter it all over verdant meadows like abandoned dandelion tufts. And maybe out of all this is awakened the desire to go back to the old..the known…the easily understood pathways…Swept away by the wind…
Precisely that is what I intend it to become. 2023 should be one of the most fruitful years of my life. With my first novel already knocking on the doors of various literary agents and hoping to find a break this year, I am already on board with my second novel. This first week of the new year saw me working on the prologue of the second novel. Though I am yet to finish it, but the initial journey has been rather productive. To make matters easier I have chalked out a simple plan that should keep me going and fully concentrated upon my project till I finish the same. I’ve decided to remain dedicated to the plan mentioned below :
I’ve decided to completely do away with all kinds of distractions, be they unwanted messages, calls or the social media. Email should be the primary mode of communication that should remain open to one and all. The only social media account that I have is Facebook. Except for certain specific events like my birthday or my marriage anniversary, I do not wish to keep it activated.
I’ve decided to keep a specific time each and every day only meant for writing. Although I carry the One Note application in my phone and type into it whenever I can, I should however keep a separate slot for my literary activities every day.
I intend to read more often ans watch less movies. At present after finishing Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves”, I’ve picked up George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and Yeats’ Selected Poems from the college library. I hope to finish at least one book every 10 days if not within a week.
I have also decided to keep stress at bay since work tends to contribute a lot towards it. Reducing work is not an option. I am due to get a promotion this year and that will mean more work. However, I hope to reduce stress by keeping work confined to work hours. Not letting work interfere with my writing should be main motive this year.
Keeping in touch with nature and spending more time in nature is something that every writer should cultivate.
In short, I hope to both endeavor and dedicate this entire year to the written word. And writing should remain my priority this entire year. 2023 should be a year to reckon with. Amen to that !
I had wrapped up last year with Yeats. This year I begin my journey through words with Frost. I should also mention over here that I have had the good fortune of visiting New Hampshire, where Frost lived and worked for many years. This poem is yet another favorite of mine and a milestone in my journey through words.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening BY ROBERT FROST
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.