March 21, 2012

The Eternal Randomness of the Mind

Work has been keeping me rather busy for the past few weeks so I thought I would indulge in a post in which I talk about the particular randomness that is making up my days: the surrounding environment, what I am listening to, what I am reading....

I am seeing:

Martian sky just before sunrise

For the last few days, the northern parts of Oman have been caught in a sandstorm, coating Muscat in a thick shroud of dust; figures alternately appeared and disappeared in the fog-like atmosphere, the sun appeared like a full-moon when seen through the veil of dust. In the nights, the usually clear, star-studded Oman sky is the color of what I imagine Martian skies to be like. Contemplating the absence of stars, for some reason, I couldn't help but think of the night sky that I encounter in Bombay whenever I visit it.**It permanently appears to be the color of Martian skies, the stars there virtually invisible. If the daylight renders stars invisible, Bombay makes the stars redundant during the night. Who is to say when it is night or day over there? Truly, I now understand why it is called the city which never sleeps.

I am listening to:

                                        Mujhse Milne Ke - Chitra Singh

I discovered this achingly beautiful ghazal through a TV soap, Love Story many years ago; having been a long-time admirer of late Jagjit Singh's ghazals, I immediately gravitated to this song sung by his wife, Chitra Singh. For many years, though, it remained in my mind that Chitra renounced singing following the tragic death of her son in a car accident - and I cannot help but be aware of it whenever I hear her voice. It makes me think: should you allow the artist's life and tragedies to color the way you approach their work though? Coming back to the song, I appreciate it for as much as the way Chitra sung it as for Seemab Akbaradi's poetry.

I am (re) reading:

Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman

One of my all-time favorite novels, I discovered Olivia and Jai in high-school; I remember finishing it in one weekend, I was so enthralled. At that time, I was more absorbed in the thrilling, exciting quality of the love-story and of course, the unforgettable characters, Olivia and Jai. Now, of course, while I must confess that I find the writing to be a tad over-wrought and flowery, I find the story much more intriguing from a historical perspective. Having extensively studied colonial India in university, I find colonial dynamics between the rulers, the English and the subjects, Indians very interesting along with those inhabiting the twilight zone: the Eurasians or now known as Anglo-Indians in post independent India - and the novel is an excellent exploration of these dynamics. The novel predominantly set in Calcutta, 1848, I also loved the descriptions of colonial Calcutta - since then, I have encountered Calcutta in various literary avatars, such as A Suitable Boy or The Namesake, for example. Unfortunately, I have only visited Calcutta once and that too before I had discovered its literary waiting for the opportunity to re-visit it!

And to end...

While I am all about celebrating the randomness that crops up in my life, I still need to know about the randomness in advance, so to speak (a seeming contradiction, perhaps): it's hard for me to accept life in shuffle mode:) What about you? Do you take life as it comes or do you need to know the playlist in advance?

** My observations of the Bombay night sky would probably apply to all big cities - Bombay just happens to be a city that I am much more familiar with and so using it as an example


  1. Olivia and jai... i havent read this.. and badly want to... LEt me try hunting it online.. Have been dying to read a good book... for a very long time.. hence yuor suggestion is perfect right now... as for the ghazal.. yes iagree i miss Chitra Singh;s voice being lost.. :(.. both of them have such honest voices... soulful.!!. I feel the whole era of ghazals is breaks my heart

    1. I cannot recommend 'Olivia and Jai' enough, Shazi, it really is a page-turner...*the* perfect book to curl up with on a rainy weekend (trust me, read it over the weekend - you won't be able to put it down)!

      I also agree with you that the whole era of ghazals is gone...especially now that such voices are no more:( I was listening to 'Jhuki Jhuki si nazar' from Arth the other day - what a gem...

  2. olivia and jai.. ordered online... :D

    1. Can't wait to hear what you make of it...!


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