Word High July: Timpi

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Meeting the Monk

In this troubled and hectic generation

Oh how can I have a great transformation

To live with peace

When restlessness will cease

And there will be a blissful rejuvenation

.

I went to the monk who meditated on the hill

Eyes closed and there sitting very still

Oh how can I live

The knowledge you give

Some wisdom in me O Master, please do instill

.

The monk with compassion began to dictate

Heaven or hell O child, your mind can create

Learn it to reign

Let not it gain

The temptations by training thyself to meditate!

.

-r prab

 

In response to Word-High July: 30 Beautiful Filipino Words : Timpi

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Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Three Men In a Boat

There are three young men and their dog-Montmorency.They are all idling, smoking tobacco, except the dog, of course, and discussing how bad they are- “bad” from a medical point of view.So they decide to go on a long boating trip to heal themselves.That’s the plot of this classic novel, broadly.

Jerome K Jerome, the author of this tale, referred to as “J” in the story, is quite an amusing narrator.In the opening chapter of the book,he tells about discovering in a medical journal, a liver ailment, whose one of the symptoms is, ‘a general disinclination to work of any kind’. He gets convinced he has this disease- since childhood.And he gets aggrieved to recall his old times when everyone thrashed him for being lazy while not realizing it was because of the liver!

From my earliest infancy I have been a martyr to it. As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. They did not know, then, that it was my liver. Medical science was in a far less advanced state than now, and they used to put it down to laziness

Similarly, each of them discovers having some or the other obscure ailments and then come up with the notion of going on a weekend boating trip up the river Thames, to ‘restore their mental equilibrium’.

What we want is rest, said Harris.
Rest and a complete change, said George. The overstrain upon our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium.

Their trip starts from Kingston and continues till Oxford- from where they take a return course.The story was intended to be a travel narrative and J tells elaborately about the places they pass through, as they row their boats.

However, the more interesting aspect is the comic narrative of events. J describes the humor in their planning and preparation of the trip and subsequently how they face the hard and good times later in the journey.Additionally, Jerome shares some charming philosophical thoughts describing the life and the beauty of nature.

We are creatures of the sun, we men and women. We love light and life. That is why we crowd into the towns and cities, and the country grows more and more deserted every year. In the sunlight in the daytime, when Nature is alive and busy all around us, we like the open hill-sides and the deep woods well enough: but in the night, when our Mother Earth has gone to sleep, and left us waking, oh! the world seems so lonesome, and we get frightened, like children in a silent house. Then we sit and sob, and long for the gas-lit streets, and the sound of human voices, and the answering throb of human life. We feel so helpless and so little in the great stillness, when the dark trees rustle in the night-wind. There are so many ghosts about, and their silent sighs make us feel so sad. Let us gather together in the great cities, and light huge bonfires of a million gas-jets, and shout and sing together, and feel brave.

But his mind keeps rambling as he narrates.You must have a friend who is talkative and tells stories starting with-“You know once what happened..” And then gets everyone around him involved in his funny narrative. J is a similar kind of person.By the time you would have finished the book you would have read many amusing incidents which  J recollects from the past.

This book is delightful! A book to be savored!An absolute Classic! The book will keep you smiling all the time.I wanted to read the book since a long time because I had already read parts of the book in following ways-

1.An excerpt from this book was titled as  “Packing for a Picnic” and was included as a chapter in our English Course Book during Middle School.It was an amusing narrative of how packing made J scared because he always forgot to pack his toothbrush.

2.I found another excerpt included in  “The Greatest Literary works of All Time”, a book I had purchased some time ago.This particular excerpt was about J’s uncle Podger, who always boasted that he could do a task without anyone’s help but instead would make the whole house go mad because he will keep messing up the things.

So, I had a fairly nice impression of the book and wanted to read the full of it! Thankfully I read it the last month and was glad to have added it to my “Finished Reading” list.I am grateful to Mliae for hosting this lovely challenge which has ensured that I will be finishing at least one book every month.
If you want to be a part of it, do visit her blog and get acquainted with the challenge.

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To the Edge of the Universe-I

“Journey to the Edge of the Universe” is one of my favorite documentaries.Not just because of the stark visual details with which it has explored the Universe but also because of the sheer brilliance of its script narrated by Alec Baldwin.Covering the historical accounts of all the major discoveries done in space exploration till the time this documentary was made, it weaves the facts with a fascinating journey like experience.I present here some of the lines which have been crafted par excellence in this documentary and spark a vivid imagination about the mysteries in space.

1

“Our journey through time and space begins with a single step-at the edge of space-only sixty miles up-just an hour’s drive from home.Down there life continues.Traffic is awful,stocks go on trading,and Star Trek is still showing.

When we return home- if we return home… will it be the same?…Will we be the same?”

2

“Neil Armstrong’s foot prints…looks like they were made yesterday.There is no air to change them.They can survive for millions of years..may be longer than us”

3

“Out of the darkness, a friendly face..the Goddess of love- Venus.

The Morning Star…. the Evening Star- She can welcome a new day in the east..say goodnight in the west.A sister to our planet she is about the same size and gravity as Earth.We should be safe here..But the Venus Express Space probe is setting off alarms.It’s telling us that these dazzling clouds,they are made of deadly sulfuric acid-the atmosphere is choking with carbon dioxide.

Never expected this! Venus is one angry goddess! The air is noxious,pressure unbearable,and it’s hot-approaching nine hundred degrees.Stick around and we will be corroded,suffocated,crushed and baked.Nothing can survive here.So lovely from Earth,up close..this goddess is hideous! She’s the sister from hell, pockmarked by thousands of volcanoes..all that carbon dioxide that is trapping the sun’s heat,Venus is burning up..It’s global warming gone wild”

4

“There is something about the sun,something hypnotic..like the Medusa… too terrible to look at..too powerful to resist.Blowing us onward,on,like a moth to a flame.

Everything we do is controlled by the Sun- depends on it.It is the Greek God Helios driving His chariot across the sky.The Egyptian God Ra,reborn everyday.The summer solstice sun rising at Stonehenge.For millions of years this was as close as a God, to staring into the face of God.This God creates life- destroys life-and demands we keep our distance.”

5

“[Mercury]It’s a huge ball of iron covered with a thin veneer of rock,the core of what was once a more larger planet…So, where’s the rest of it?May be a stray planet slammed into Mercury;blasting away its outer layers in a deadly game of Cosmic Pinball.

Whole worlds on the loose careening wildly across the cosmos- destroying anything in their path-and we are in the middle of it-vulnerable,exposed,small.Everything is telling us to turn back..but who can defy this..”

 

 

 

 

Memories from the Hills

The spirits were high.The weather was adding to the enthusiasm.The moist merry wind was distributing freshness to everything coming it’s way.The hills of Shillong had got us all in love with itself too quickly than we had imagined.

We had hired a cab.An antique Maruti car.It must have traveled the rugged terrains of the hills for years.It appeared to me like an old man who had lived his ages of thrills and had now retired,taking pleasure in just doing his work,though with no sense of adventure attached with the trips anymore.It had already housed countless families,friends and couples take a ride along the winding paths-had seen them leaning on the windows,heard them gaping in awe,taking pictures frantically and saying words of excitement.It may not have felt any different carrying the five of us -Bittu ,Sanu,Mayank,Chinu and myself and hearing the same old words of excitement and happiness that people say during the trips to the hills.

***

As the car winded down the slope, I felt a tinge of thirst and looked for the bottle of water.”Stop the Car” I shouted,as I saw the empty bottle and a small shop outside simultaneously. The driver decelerated the car towards the left.”Whats the matter?” I was asked with mixed voices each laden with excitement and worry. “Oh,let me just get a bottle of water.” I said apologetically with a smile for having caused an alarm unnecessarily.”Ow we can take it later” was the instantaneous reaction.”Ya we will reach our next spot within 15 minutes,take the water there” was the next proposal.But I was adamant.Of all the things, not getting water when thirsty makes me restless.So I pressed a lot and the car was stopped.”Come back quickly” was the unanimous response I remember hearing ,as I closed the door behind me.

The car had stopped on the left side of the road and had moved quite a distance away from the shop.The slope was downward.I had to cross the road,taking care there was no vehicle raging down the path.

The shop was uphill, on the other side.Even before I had reached the shop I could hear the car I had just came out of,blaring horns and my friends there shouting towards me to rush and return quickly.It is not a good idea to let others wait when they are expecting to have a fast paced adventure tour and you make them stop,bringing a temporary halt to their adrenaline rush.( which was also fueled up because of cruising down the ‘Need For Speed’ like roadway.)

The shop was a two storied house.Isolated.The lower part was made into a shop.A girl was sitting at the counter.A young girl.Probably 16 or 17 years old.With dark eyes and bright face which is so distinctive with people in the hills.

She smiled,happy to have a visitor.You can but only reciprocate such a welcome with a bigger smile,and that is what I did. “Do you have a bottle of water?”I asked immediately,remembering my friends on the other side of the road,who must be getting impatient.

“Yes” she said.Suddenly springing up from her chair.Ready to do the job she was put there for.Her smile was gone.She was now a lady in charge of a situation,and she was going to perform her role promptly.She walked towards the fridge.I heard the noises of glass bottles tingling.I looked back at my friends away in the car.They were gesturing to come back quickly.I heard the horn blows again.I turned towards her.She closed the fridge without anything in her hand.”Sorry ,there is no bottle of water.” She said with a smile trying to suppress her feeling of guilt.Perhaps she felt bad that she had started up to do her task so excitedly but her effort had been in vain.I tried to comfort her by smiling more affectionately.”Ow,it’s alright.”I said concernedly and thought about buying something else from her,just to make her feel good.But before I could say anything she said-“Ok wait” and disappeared through the door towards her right.That was the way to the inside of her house. I felt she must have recalled that they have a stock of water bottles which hasn’t been kept in the fridge yet and so she had gone inside to get a bottle from there.

I heard the horn blares getting louder now.I turned to see.Now Sannu was out of the car and saying something to me.I couldn’t hear him,though from his body language I could sense he was saying-” What the hell are you doing for so long!” I lifted my hand assuring him that I was almost done.But the horn blares made me start panicking.I looked back at the door through which she had disappeared.I could only see the curtain swinging smoothy as the moist wind from up the hill blew across the shop.Where is she?I imagined her unpacking big brown cartons of mineral water bottles,probably with her mother’s or father’s or perhaps a brother’s help.Then I imagined her family working dexterously taking out the packaged sets of Kinley or Bisleri or some other local brand,handing them over to her, to be kept in the fridge at storefront.I took out the money in exact figures so that as soon as she came I would pay her and walk back quickly.

***

“She should have come back by now.” I calculated.The horn continued to blare across the road.I looked back at the blowing curtain.There was no sign of her.Should I leave? It was almost 5 minutes since she had left.I took a step to walk back to the car, when I saw the curtain being pulled and she appeared.. slowly walking… pulling the curtain aside with her left hand while in her right hand she held a beautiful tray.. with a glass..full of fresh clear water..

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