Sunday, October 31, 2010

On Writing

Via Kuku's blog I found a site called Since She Left, and in one of the posts the blog owner answered a question from a reader as below:

What aspect of writing do you enjoy the most?

Do you want an honest to god answer? The attention writing something good brings. Because sitting still for hours isn’t fun. Looking out a window on a beautiful day isn’t fun. Typing for hours isn’t fun. Listening to boring music that’s stimulating yet not distracting isn’t fun. Fact checking isn’t fun. Only completion is fun. Of course the hard work is its own reward, but even sometimes the process of getting something that’s weighing on your soul out, and down isn’t enough. It’s always for the attention. Writing isn’t like other forms of art, like painting. You can take two seconds and look at a painting. But if you want to read 1,000 words on friendship and a night out drinking you have to really invest yourself to read that. It’s time consuming, you have to agree to give me your attention. 

Writers, or the ones I know are lonely people, myself included. It happens when you spend the majority of your time alone reading and typing. So when you complete something that you like and others like it it’s really nice to be the center of attention, even if it’s for a brief period of time. You sit up, take a breath, smile at yourself and put your head down and keep typing.

I guess that pretty much said it for me.I am a person who likes my privacy and spend most of my time with my nose buried in books, or typing some nonsense most of which never see the light of day. But when I decide to publish something, I must admit it's all for the attention. The attention you give me, to my writing, the time you spend here reading my posts, it's all about me stealing your time. Each and every one of us, no matter how much we dislike being in the public eye, we all enjoy being praised for our work. There is a certain satisfaction, a smugness which fills you up and blows you away. It's better than money or other material things. It stays with you forever.

Praise is the greatest motivator, the greatest inspiration. But in the same way, a single negative comment can completely wash away all the praise and commendation that was heaped on you. I think it's very important to know how to balance the good with the bad, how to receive the criticisms in a positive way and learn something out of it. But most of all, we should never stop writing, if not for others' at least for our own pleasure.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom

One day, you and I are going to die. There’s simply no avoiding it. The last person who went to heaven alive was the prophet Elijah and it’s not likely to happen again. So you will die, and your family and friends will mourn you and say nice things about you which they never said when you were alive. Then they will move on, Maybe they will remember you all their lives, but you will still be one more person who passed through their lives. Your photos will become old fashioned, your belongings will be distributed or thrown away. The books and pictures that you valued so much, the clothes that you hoarded in case they come back in fashion, the music you treasured, the little knick-knacks you collected will become junk, a dead person’s belongings. And it’s not likely that you will become a world famous celebrity so there’s no chance of your stuff being auctioned off for millions. Your loved ones may cry seeing your things, but the tears will dry. Slowly, you will be forgotten.

And what legacy will you leave? What will you be remembered for? Will your footprints be easily blown away in the wind, or will you leave a mark that’s forever embedded in everyone’s memory? And if you have children, what pearls of wisdom will you pass on to them?

Anyway, why are pearls of wisdom called “Pearls of wisdom”? Why not Rubies of wisdom, or Diamonds of wisdom? I guess it’s because pearls are very difficult to collect and not everyone can do it.

I don’t know when death’s cold hands will reach out for me, so here are a few drops of wisdom, just in case, you know.
  • Don’t stand in doorways and chitchat with other people, you are blocking the way.
  • If you are going to the first floor, take the stairs.
  • Treat public toilets as your own.
  • Yes I know I am overweight, I have warts; I don’t need you to tell me.
  • People are not really interested in knowing your state or mind, or body; they are just polite. Don’t answer with a paragraph what you can say in a sentence.
  • Don’t ever lend books. You may be called selfish but at least you won’t lose any book.
  • Don’t smoke while people are eating.
  • Hate your job? Quit complaining, simply quit!! You are not a slave or serf, you will find some other job that you love.
  • Be nice to people. You never know when you may need their help.
  • Don’t call someone stupid or ignorant just because they don’t know something that you do. There will be something they know about which you are totally clueless, and where does that leave you?
  • Don’t make fun of old people. You too are going to be old someday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A trip to Nagarjuna Sagar Dam

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is the world's largest masonry dam built across Krishna River in Nagarjuna Sagar,Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is downstream to the Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir with a capacity of up to 11,472 million cubic metres which is the world's largest man-made lake.

Once in a while it’s fun to play tourist and go sightseeing. So there we were last Saturday, eight of us from work, starting out at the ungodly hour of nine in the morning. The dam is approx 160 kms from Hyderabad, about a three hour drive, but what with the stopping for breakfast, the photo sessions along the way, and the getting lost (only one person knew the way) we reached the place at around 2 PM, just in time to get on to the last launch.

Before reaching the launch station, we stopped at the bridge which was built across the river and is the main thoroughfare. The dam was amazing. They had opened only half of the 26 gates but it was still a breathtaking view. There you have this big structure, and water was flowing from the gates, crashing into the river below and you could see the white foam rising, forming a spray of white cloud at the base. And if you turned around you could see the river stretching as far as the eye could see, a beautiful sight. It was a humid cloudy day and I wished for blue skies so the river would look more beautiful.

We took the launch, which was a big old boat, and off we went cruising on the Krishna River. It was a slow ride and we went crazy taking photographs and videos. It was a very calm day, and since we were moving at a very slow speed you could barely see the ripples on the surface. There we were, in the middle of the river, and all around us was the sky and water and jungles. It was very quiet and peaceful and made you marvel at the wonder of creation. I remembered a poem about the poet wishing to go down to the sea, and I think I knew how he felt. Being surrounded by all that calm, with no worries and no cares in life and where time doesn’t matter, what more could a man want?

The launch took us to a small island called Nagarjunakonda where you could find a Buddhist museum. But we didn’t visit the museum because time ran out on us. After lunching on the island it was time for the last launch to leave and we hastily packed our stuff and went back to the mainland. The sun was setting as we sailed towards the launch station, but I was too tired I fell asleep and didn’t take the sun-setting-over-the-river photos.

It was almost dark by then, and we had one last stop to make. Ethipothala Waterfalls which is about 11 kms from the dam. By the time we reached the falls it was completely dark and so we just viewed the illuminated falls from the viewpoint above it.

(picked up this photo from the internet)

Then we finally headed for home, a long and exhausting drive after roaming about for the whole day and sleeping for just a few hours the previous night. It is Navratri, so we stopped at a temple on the way and our Hindu friends went inside for prayers. It was eleven when I reached home.

There are guest houses and motels near the dam, and my friends tell me the river is beautiful in the morning, and I'm sure watching the sun rise over the river would be a memorable experience.

Here is the poem about the poet wishing to go down to the sea –

Sea Fever – by John Masefield:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

140 characters

My story is out at Nanoism. It's 140 characters including spaces (not 140 words like I said in the previous post), below is the screenshot. (I know I am going overboard here but hey it's my blog :D)