When I found out that we had to study poetry for a whole year for my undergraduate course, I was super excited. I was the kind of girl who, as soon as she got new course books at the beginning of the academic school year, would gobble up every poem in the book before classes even started.
On the other hand, I remember one of my close friends in the class going “Hyaaaaa, a whole year of poetry!” and scrunched up her face in contempt. My reaction to that was a whole minute of non-stop chatter trying to persuade her how exciting it would be to read and discuss poetry in class.
“I hate poetry,” she cut me off abruptly and mocked my geeky love for verses. Bench mates as we were, during most of the poetry classes, whereas I would be rapt in rhyming lines, clever metaphors and wordplay, she would be complaining about how poets could never get to the point and exaggerated everything.
“The problem with poetry is no one understands it, not even the poet who wrote it,” she would debate, “It’s all too complex.”
On one occasion, I was trying to explain to her Gerald Manley Hopkins’ “The Windhover.” As I finished doing so, I thought I saw a glint in her eyes that indicated she had at least figured out what the poem was about, but then she burst out, “All those big words and long lines just for a flight of a bird. Are poets nuts, or do they have nothing better to do?”
I admit Windhover is not one of the best poems you would pick to defend the form of expression. But my argument always was that poetry doesn’t always have to make perfect sense. Sometimes just the way it sounded and the wordplay made it all too beautiful.
I would also remind her of all the song lyrics she loved and tell her it was poetry too. And she would just smile and go, “Why don’t they teach that, then?”
Good question, I thought.
As it turns out, many people are intimidated by poetry just because they think it’s all a jumble of complex words or that it’s too hard to understand. But most of the best poems I know are neither. Instead, they lay out the most complex of feelings that you didn’t think could be humanly possible to express in language with such simplicity and in so few words.
So this is what I resolve to do: Once I become a teacher, no matter what level you are at, poetry classes will start of with the students’ favorite song-lyrics. Unless someone quotes Justin Bieber or LMFAO, I believe things will go great.
P.S: My earlier bench mate and poetry-hating friend nowadays posts lines from poems on her Facebook status. And it’s at times like these I wish Facebook had a “Loveeeee it!!” button.
In awe of those anti-ageing creams
Not words you would expect a 20something to utter, I know. But I really am in awe of anti-ageing creams. Recent events have compelled me to look at all those L’Oreal, Garnier, Ponds and other-fancy-names-I-can’t-pronounce anti-ageing products with newfound admiration.
A while back, I was dragged to a wedding reception where I had to smile and act very civilized. In other words, I was being the girl my mother secretly wishes I were. Well, for me it was as if I had let an alien invade my body and take complete control of me – at least for a couple of hours.
With a smile plastered on my face and praying to the gods to make me temporary deaf, all the while eyeing the long line of people at the buffet table thinking it was ludicrous to have to wait in a queue to heap a plate with food you barely touch at such parties, I was exchanging polite pleasantries with whoever came and talked to Mom.
In simpler words, I was once again being the perfect daughter my Mom never gets to see unless she drags me to parties like these. Thinking about it, maybe she insists I attend these parties in hopes that over time the pretense of being refined and well behaved will take over completely and I’ll morph into the elegant mannered lady she has always tried to groom me into.
Here, I would like to take a minute and say, “Mom, you raised me well. You did everything right. The mistakes are mine.” Before I get carried away with sentiments, let me get to the point. So there I was standing next to her and carrying on with my good-girl act.
I expected a lot of the women she spoke to be older than her and was especially left dumbfounded when those with mops of grey hair and wrinkles that were more like bottomless pits referred to her as dijju. My diva of a mother, on the other hand, looked ravishing in her flawless and not-a-wrinkle-in-sight skin. Comparing her with her supposedly younger cousins, I felt an immense pride to be the daughter of this 60plus young looking woman.
While the relatives complimented her on her youth, saying she hadn’t changed a bit over the years, I bet she was blowing mental kisses to those jars of L’Oreal Age Re-perfect sitting on her dresser, just as I was. She religiously applies those thick lush creams every morning and evening. She might skip her meals someday if she’s upset but she’ll not compromise on her skin regime.
Having always scoffed at the ads that proclaim the creams to be a miracle that will wipe away the age lines, I now feel a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude towards the makers of those wonderful products. And I’ll make sure that my Mom never runs out of them. In fact, the only gift I got her for Mother’s Day this year were two pots of those expensive but oh-so-worth-it potions.
My scissors confessions!
When I saw one of my colleague/sister posting a photo of an origami bow on Instagram earlier this week, my mind drifted back to the time when I was in high school.
The picture got me so impulsive that I cut a square from a magazine page and started making a bow out of it. I was trying hard to remember the pattern of the folds, but my fingers were just happy to play with the folding.
However, the folds did not fall into the right place. After one failed attempt, I Googled the instructions, and in a minute or two, there it was – the cute origami bow in my hand.
While I was so engrossed in bringing up a beautiful bow from a magazine page, my mother had been enjoying the scene all along. She told me that she felt as if she traveled back in time and was looking at me when I was a school kid.
I could tell from her expression that we have just triggered a long stream of conversation. My mother has a very good memory of our childhood and she loves to seize every opportunity to reminiscence those past years.
I do remember that I was the ultimate gift wrapper in the family. Everyone would come with their gifts and wrapping paper and I used to neatly put them in place. In my later days in high school, they even stopped bringing wrapping papers as I had my own stock of those glittering material and ribbons and markers and what not. And even though I ran out of my stocks, I always had tricks to make the gift look stylish.
And just when these scenes were playing in my head, my mother’s loud laugh intervened my thoughts. “Do you remember your love for scissors?” she said before she went back to laugh again.
This question is a little embarrassing for me. I know it’s no harm to say that I loved to do things with scissors but I actually loved them a lot – yes, a lot! Whenever I got hold of a pair, I would go around in the house and chop off anything that my little eyes would see as an extra. Well, the problem was, the “extra” included the corners of the curtains, bed sheets, sofa covers, pillow covers, and worse: once I even settled on the corners of one my dad’s blazers as an extra.
So, all the scissors were to be kept in a safe locker after its proper use by other family members. And this rule applied to them for a long time. My mother took more serious preventive measures when one of my cousins liked his mother’s new sari so much that he thought of giving it his own design. He took a pair of scissors and made many random cuts on it. Well, I’m glad that the crazy idea didn’t strike my head!
The beauty of reunions
Lately, I’ve been waking up early in the morning to the sounds of people having loud conversation. Those people are none other than my cousins who have come over to visit us from the States. Though I toss and turn and change sides in my bed to get that extra sleep, they just don’t let me until I join them in the conversation. And sharing things about the past, pulling each other’s leg and then talking about anything and everything is what we do the whole time.
I remember those good old days when, even while growing up, the thought of cousins visiting over would just give me immense joy. I literally grew up with some of them, and it was like having companions all the time.
Be it attending parties or visiting some relatives, all of us would always be together. Since I have a lot of cousins, noisy family get-togethers were never a new thing for me.
The ambience always gets so lively whenever we have such gatherings, and the special bond we have makes everything even more exceptional and fun. There was even a time when it was so overwhelming when I got to see one of my cousins after twelve years.
Even as a child, as far as I can remember, there has always been at least a few of my cousins who would always be around to play with. From getting into trouble to watching cartoons together, to trying our hands in cooking, cycling around, or just roam about our neighborhood, we’ve done it all together.
I even remember those times when older cousins, taking the liberty of being a bit senior to me, used to tease and boss me around. It was funny how my little cousins and I used to follow them around as they were supposedly the ones we looked up to.
I guess it’s because we all come from the same background, that’s what makes our connection so strong and pure.
Having cousins is like having best friends around, and for those who don’t have siblings it can mean something even more special than that. I feel quite blessed for having most of my cousins here except a few of them who are abroad; but they also make a point to visit us at least once every year.
And as for now, since everyone is here, I’m trying my best to make the most of our huge cousins’ reunion and letting the good times roll.