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Quotes From Here And There

Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.
Dylan Thomas
I fell in love – that is the only expression I can think of – at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
Eddie Cantor
It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.
Edward Abbey
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
e e cummings
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.
Eyler Coates
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Without music, life would be a mistake.
Gustave Flaubert
The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
Going to the Opera is like making love; we get bored but we come back.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If I love you, what business is it of yours?
John Steinbeck
Only through imitation do we develop toward originality.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.
Leonard Cohen
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
Paul Sweeney
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
Peter Altenberg
I never dreamed of being Shakespeare or Goethe, and I never expected to hold the great mirror of truth up before the world; I dreamed only of being a little pocket mirror, the sort that a woman can carry in her purse; one that reflects small blemishes, and some great beauties, when held close enough to the heart.
Robert Frost
In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money.
Satchel Paige
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
Thomas Mann
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
V S Naipaul
The writer has only to listen very carefully and with a clear heart to what people say to him, and ask the next question, and the next.

My Personal Library

To The Coffee House

I realized long ago that what I had to say could barely keep one blog going, let alone two blogs at a time. There wasn't a great difference in their themes either, for them to exist separately. So I thought I must have a single blog and try to make it as good as possible. And finally, just before the new year, I've managed to merge my two blogs - which had been growing apart yet together like Siamese twins - into a single coherent whole.

And to bid good bye to The-Year-That-Was, here's a splendid coffeehouse poem by the bohemian Viennese poet Peter Altenberg, whom I discovered today following the trail laid out by Medhini (Now I've newfound respect for coffee):

When you are worried, have trouble of one sort or another - to the coffee house!

When she did not keep her appointment, for one reason or another - to the coffee house!

When your shoes are torn and dilapidated - coffee house!

When your income is four hundred crowns and you spend five hundred - coffee house!

You are a chair warmer in the office, while your ambition led you to to seek professional honors - coffee house!

You could not not find a mate to suit you - coffee house!

You feel like committing suicide - coffee house!

You hate and despise human beings, and at the same time you cannot be happy without them - coffee house!

You compose a poem which you can not inflict upon friends that you meet in the street - coffee house!

When your coal scuttle is empty, and your gas ration exhausted - coffee house!

When you are locked out and haven't the money to pay for unlocking the house door - coffee house!

When you acquire a new flame, and intend provoking the old one, you take the new one to the old one's - coffee house!

When you feel like hiding, you dive into a - coffee house!

When you want to be seen in a new suit - coffee house!

When you can not get anything on trust anywhere else - coffee house!

Happy New Year to all my fellow bloggers! Meet you on the other side of the midnight!! Ciao!!!

Rengetsu And The Cold Night

The story I am going to narrate today is a fable that has grown to be a leitmotif in my life. It is so important to me that I have spent days gathering the courage to (re)write it (though it is very unlikely that I'll be able to narrate it with the exalted erudition it deserves), and searching for an appropriate image to place it with. For me, it justifies much more than my absence from this blog for a long time - it justifies in ample measure much of my attitude and many of my thoughts, writings and actions. In a sense, it defines the difference between the me I was before I read this story ten years ago and after it.

It is about Rengetsu née Otagaki Nobu (1791-1875), a Buddhist nun who was well-versed with the schools of learning of the Pure Land sect, Zen and Esoteric Buddhism.

Born of a high-ranking Samurai and a Geisha in the city of Kyoto (famous for its long, famous tradition of comely Geishas that remains unbroken to the present day), she was raised by Otagaki Teruhisa, a priest serving at Chionji, head temple of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism. She suffered great tragedies earlier in her life, but later went on to become a successful potter, calligrapher and poet. She is one of the few women who have attained Enlightenment under the Zen school of Buddhism.

One day tired from her travel, Rengetsu reached a village and asked for a place to rest for the night. The village was home to orthodox Buddhists. As soon as they found out that she was following the path of Zen preachings, they turned her out of the village.

Rengetsu was now faced with the twin prospects of spending the night under a tree in the forest (for the village was surrounded by a dense forest on all sides), or continuing her journey in the dead of the night (which was certainly the better and more tiring option, for it did not subject one to the scrutiny of wild animals and the danger of being eaten up by them without the benefit of a struggle). She chose the former and lay down to rest under a tree that bordered the village. She soon fell asleep...

In the middle of the night, she woke up from her sleep due to a strong breeze blowing through the land and howling in her ears. When she looked up at the sky, she was awestruck by the majesty of the tree which was in full bloom and showered her with flowers possessing an ethereal fragrance.

At this act of Providence, she turned towards the village and said an oath of thanks for turning her away.

Due to your utter sensitivity
In turning me away without shelter

On this dark night of a pallid moon,

I find myself showered with flowers from heaven.
She thanked the very people who took offense to the idea of sharing her company for a single night. If it had not been for their act of denial, she would have been sleeping in someone's home, oblivious of the beauty that this night was to offer her - the showering of blossoms, the cold lonely whispering night, and the silent conversation with the moon.

She was not angry with the villagers, and through her acceptance of the tribulations that they had wished upon her, she found a reason to celebrate in the bone-chilling lonely night. She had thus proved herself to be Buddha - The Enlightened One!!!



Sarah Hina who blogs at Murmurs has wrongly accused me of writing well. The extent of her delusion is evident from the following thing she has written about me:
The Reluctant Writer
Abhinav is passion personified. Whenever I read his lovely writings, I sense his generosity of spirit, and a conviction that will never fail him. He's young, but (and I know this phrase has become trite) he truly is an old soul. He reminds me of the fact that we are all still students, sharing a common classroom.
Thanks a ton Sarah for making a wish come true so fast. I adore your writing and coming from you, this means the world to me.

Credit goes to Seamus Kearney of Shameless Words who instituted the award in the first place with the hope, nay the belief of fostering a network of bloggers who wish to make others' lives just that wee bit easier, profounder, and happier - who believe in the power of the written word atleast as much as they believe in themselves, if not more.

I think (???) that a writer ought to have the following in ample measure, for his own good self:
  1. Doggedness:- The most important one. Without it, your imagination may wilt and all your talent may get you nowhere. It is the pluck you develop along the way that helps you to make sense of a rejection letter but still not give up. It is your ability to beat down a door once someone closes it in your face. It is your ability to pitch a murmur in a sea of noise. And it is the hallmark of every writer who has made a worthwhile place for himself in the hearts of his readers amidst a whirlpool of pages.

  2. Tragedy:- Tragedy is the whiff that remains for a long time after the profound sense of loss that a work of art may inspire has passed away. A good writer revels in the glory of joy. But a great writer grieves in the gardens of melancholy. I do not intend to say that writers who do not celebrate tragedy are not at par with the ones who do. I'm just saying that they are missing the forest for the tree.

  3. Love:- Don't write words that do not enamor you and make you fall in love with them. Don't create characters who don't come alive for you out of the pages of your manuscript or the posts of your blog. It is a sin to do so. If something doesn't inspire you, there are very little chances that others will like it. Your opinion and conviction in what you write has to be your own private benchmark.

Five of my favorite blogs in no particular order are:-
  1. The Variegated Sky:- One of the most prolific blog writers, Aparna Kar got a book published out of her blog. Her posts are have this unsaid ability of being personal and universal at the same time. And sometimes she can be downright profound without dropping a hint. Her blog is a haven for some peaceful soul-searching and nostalgia. Appu, you deserve every bit of what you get.
  2. Aloi Reads:- She is one crazy girl. A book fanatic. Her byline says it all - '…deep inside I’m still that first grader holed up in the library at lunchtime!'
  3. Eating Poetry:- This is the place where prose is as forbidden as the prince in Rapunzel's tower. Go check it out for some stirring lyrical poetry.
  4. Youth Curry:- Rashmi Bansal is the editor of the youth magazine JAM which we, college-going junta enjoy. She has a way with both ridicule and compassion, and she must have inspired many through her posts that force one to sit up and take notice.
  5. Eat Almost Anything Atleast Once:- If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is perhaps on the costlier side. A voyeur's delight, they take me to places I cannot dream of visiting in the near future. And they do so with a lot of journalistic aplomb.
That's all for now. The bloggers may collect their awards from The Shameless Lions Writing Circle. And don't forget to spread the goodwill!!!

Let It Be So...

This long due post is my first entry for the December Writing Project at Cafe Writing.

If in the veil of my darkness, thy light takes refuge, let it be so...

If in the pieces of my heart, thy want of love takes refuge, let it be so...

If in my cold, dark nights of despair, thy light takes refuge let it be so...

If in my shriveled hands, the tears of thy plight take refuge, let it be so...

If in my half-lived life, the joy of thy birth takes refuge, let it be so...

If in the shackles of my traditions, thy flight of freedom takes refuge, let it be so...

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