Friday, June 25, 2021

A bowl of frangipani


Last week, for the first time, I attended a poetry workshop.

I've always dreamed of enrolling into an MFA programme, of living on campus once again and of soaking my days and nights in poetry, literature, reading, writing and reciting. Years of waiting for the right time when the children are old enough, when I have enough money, when I'm not working rolled on and on and brought me to Doha, Qatar.  I've lived here for over a decade. My children are adults now. They don't need me any more. I quit my job four years ago to pursue writing full time. And if I really wanted to, I'd be able to gather sufficient funds to pursue my so called dream. But. But. But.

Isn't assigning some life goals to dreams more attractive than putting them into plans? Plans are concrete. Dreams are fluid. Plans push you to do something about them. Dreams don't have any such requirements. Plans are realists. Dreams are romantic. 

There are many who plan and achieve and become successful. Then there are a few like me; the ones who let life's flow guide their plans. 

In my experience, at least, life's flow has a wonderful rhythm. Unknown to me, it syncs with my dreams and together they guide me into spaces where poetry lives, in pastures where words roam free, into orchards where all trees are ripe with fruit of ideas and creativity and suddenly, I am left executing plans that I never had the courage or the discipline to make.

That's what happened last fortnight. Sonia, a dear blogger friend, shared information about a poetry workshop on zoom.  I logged on. And promptly entered a live MFA class -- the kind I had imagined in my dreams:)

It was an hour long session.

One of the exercises involved looking at a picture of an urli (bowl) filled with frangipani blooms.

Below are some of the poems that came to the page that day.

I'd love to know which one holds your attention.


One:

In a bowl 
I know my limits

On a branch
I'm free

Two:

Refugees for a day
plucked from our birth-branches
You arrange us
so beautifully.

Three:
(Inspired by Rumi's words)

Reflected in the water
of this urli,
I see 
the East before my birth
the West after my demise
clearly.

Four:

Captured for a day,
you held us prisoners.

You called us beautiful.

You murdered us
for your pleasure.


The photo above was clicked in 2017. 

The photo below was made yesterday.

Wishing you all a fragrant weekend.

Stay safe.

See you soon.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Chaunsa is a mango, they say.

Dear Readers,

Hope you're all well and happy and healthy.

A short post today. Sharing an extract from my e-book to drum up more interest. Even though it's free to download, it still requires reading. 

So, here's a juicy piece to get you salivating for the book;)

Trust me, 4 minutes of your time is all it takes to savour the flavours of this chapter of my childhood memoir:


You can download the book here: And all the Seasons in between

Have a restful, beautiful Sunday.

Warmly,

Arti

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Sewing Symphonies with Threads of Love and Strength -- a book review for #blogchatterEbookCarnival

A collection of Poetry that attempts to connect the dots of life.


Title:
 Heartfelt Symphonies

Author: Chinmayee Gayatree Sahu

Format: PDF E-book

When a book cover matches the contents of the book as perfectly as this one, it makes me wonder what came first - the cover or the poetry? The cover art of 'Heartfelt Symphonies' is the perfect artful representation of the author, Chinmayee Sahu's poetry.  

'The poetry collection is a debut attempt by the author to showcase varied emotions that may capture the reader's attention to moments, memories, or musings in their own life." states the Author's Note at the beginning.

Arranged in four parts, namely, The Supreme Power, Nature, Fire and Life, the poetry flows from the divine to human love as effortlessly as the seeping pigments of the watercolours on the book's cover. Despite the distinctions, the flavours mingle together to create a melodious symphony.

The strength of Devi (Goddess representing the female form) and the fierceness of Shiva, the Adiyogi, set the stage as you step into Chinmayee's world. Her acknowledgments at the beginning of the book hint at the strength the author draws from her family. This first part confirms the source of her resolve and creativity: her belief in the Divine and her family.

As I moved from poem to poem, section to section, I had a sense that I was watching the poet threading her gentle needle of words through many pieces of fabric and patches of her life lived thus far and sewing them together into a tapestry that was HER--the divine and the human mixing in the knots and threads of hope and disappointment, hurt and betrayal, strength and doubt, sadness and joy. The thread, however, stays the same. It's love with a capital ell. And despite the heartache that is palpable in the longing in her lines of poetry, it's her resolve to carry on and to do so with grace and humility, in 'silence' more than in show, that shines through.

A romantic's heart that has felt the pain of human love and yet looks to the skies and the oceans to be one with the source is on show throughout this weaving. Its strength shimmers in its vulnerability. And that connects the reader to the poet for she has managed to write about ordinary, everyday emotions we have all felt at some point in our lives.

In her poem, 'Dried Petals', she says,

"the dried rose flower,
stands as a testimony,
of the promises that were,
made believing the dream,"

And then moves on to these lines a few pages later in 'Flying Puzzle':

"fragile, yet so soulful,
just like me,
isn’t the Dandelion, an intriguing puzzle?"

As I continued to read, one thing became clear. To the reader, the poet is not a puzzle. To me, as I base my idea of the author on this book, she's seeking the balance that seeker's seek--the one between living a life according to societal norms and expectations and looking towards a life of a lover, a sage, a hermit who wants nothing more than to become as light as a feather.

'Grow in Silence' brings the poet's vision into sharp focus for the reader when she says,

"To look deep within ourselves
Till we grow into our best selves
Away from the noise of comparison
To constantly strive & shine on life’s horizon!"

'My Red Lipstick' caught my attention. It's perhaps one of my favourites of this collection.

I'll refrain from sharing any more lines from the book for it's a much better experience to immerse in the book from start to finish. It's a total of 64 pages-- a good one to read over the weekend. And what's more? You can download it for FREE here : Heartfelt Symphonies

PS. This book is part of #BlogChatterEbook carnival in which my book, And all the Seasons in between  is also a part.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

He carried dirt under his fingernails

Many of you vising this blog may already know that I published my first e-book recently. Yay! The book's been getting a lot of love and some fabulous reviews. I'm chuffed to bits. I've been dancing and singing like the bulbuls all week. It's a happy time in a writer's life when her words find welcoming hearts.

Today, I'm here to share a poetry recital of a spoken word piece which is also the last chapter of the book. 

You can download the book for free here : And all the Seasons in between


I'd love to hear what you think of the poem and of the book. You can leave your comments here or on theblogchatter.com 

If you'd like to read a review before you make up your mind to download and read, here's one that'll convince you:-) Book Review

Have a wonderful Friday. Till we meet again.