Memories

Regina Spektor’s Musical World, the Random Wise Talk and Creativity – Part V

Coverage

In earnest, at random…
[Source – Pixabay]

At random, randomly, in quiet randomness, a wise thought meets the mind, very gently like a leaf aiming for the pond, to talk without pretence and reveal something true – maybe a different not so obvious stand-alone truth among the other established ones – to pass on a message.

This message – shining like a silver lining – may usher you to creativity; towards a painting like van Gogh’s, an algorithm like Newton’s, a discovery like Herschel’s, a poem like Angelou’s, a song like Spektor’s, a choice made by you.

One could very well ignore this message but don’t worry, the message almost without fail knocks again, it reaches out, shinning like a silvery figment you think is weak but is actually feisty, stretching a hand towards you, promising or faking nothing, just there to randomly have a discussion with you and maybe show you your creative side.


See how Regina Spektor creatively turned these random discussions into gold for herself and all of us.

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Listen to Folding Chair before reading further –

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Come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand
And there’s a breeze
There’s a shadow
You can’t see my eyes
And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies…

Regina Spektor

Sigh, sigh, sigh… after boarding nine jet flights psychologically and/or emotionally, after abandoning, condemning, loving some of these when you open up your eyes and let out a sigh, you’re slightly a different person.

You then understand yourself a little better and the world a little less for your focal point shifts that too, most of the time, without informing or making news out of it. And you carry on living, sitting on a folding chair.

But there is nothing wrong with it says Regina Spektor and rightly so. That is life, realisations, ignorance, lies and truths, pass like clouds on a breezy day. Sit back and sing the dolphin song as you wait.

Now I’m sitting here alone
Dreaming of the dolphin song

Oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo
Oo-oo-oo, oo

Regina Spektor

Listen to Laughing With

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God could be funny
When told he’ll give you money
If you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket
And Santa Claus
God could be so hilarious…

Regina Spektor

A believer or non-believer most likely laughs; most likely laughs less at the others and laughs more with the others; most likely believes or believes in not-believing; this makes our lonely planet a colourful place.

So the chances are high that if an alien pays us a visit we will laugh with that alien and bond well. Ha ha ha!


Listen to Bleeding Heart

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How long must I wait till you learn that it’s not too late
How long must I cry till you know that you really tried
How long must I try till you learn that dreaming’s hard
How long must I dream till you heal your bleeding heart
Never mind your bleeding heart

Regina Spektor

Pick up an old family photo album i.e. after you pay a visit to your old house and the old souls inhabiting it, turn the pages and look at how foolish you look, allow the world to swirl, laugh and cry, let your heart bleed, don’t panic, it knows how to heal, no need to doubt the heart.


Listen to Older and Taller

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I remembered you older and taller
But you’re younger and smaller
So who’s gonna call her and say
That you’re here at last?
And all the days, they were longer
And the drinks, they were stronger
The words, we sang wrong
But the songs were remembered
And time just passed…

Regina Spektor

Memories, if, make you falter, then just smile, for that is the job of memories; to confuse, upset and revive you; it is a full-time job, so smile, that is how time passes and if you learn to smile, it passes well.


Bonus song – Raindrops


The tour of Regina Spektor’s musical world ends here, but only on this blog, listen to her music whenever wherever you can. Check out the first song ‘Becoming All Alone’ from her latest album Home, before and after (2022) now.

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 Keep visiting Chiming Stories for more such posts.


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Regina Spektor’s Musical World and the Ephemeral Moments of Joy – Part I

Coverage
Delicate dance anthem…
[Source – Pixabay]

Walking down the street with old heavy memories, frozen and hazy, not bothering for a while and the unknown liveliness of the fresh sounds greeting us from all around – the dripping thaw, the golden sunny warmth, the tiny twittering birds, the ‘oh my god’ honking of a dashing car’s ghost that passes by, the hearty smiles and laughter – we blush with hope teasing us, giving us bright ideas, gleaming as we experience our quiet, still mind-pond.

These ephemeral moments of joy, so true and innocent, are hard to capture, harder to sustain, probably that is what makes it so special for and loved by all.


Regina Spektor, the star singer, songwriter, musician, the starry-eyed star, the star magician, knows how to hold such moments very well. She doesn’t capture it, na-na, she only knits a pretty, sweet and soothing melody and then soaks it into such warm moments, letting the melody take this ephemeral colour.

To this colour, she adds free-play, emotions and her pianist-self and, voila, a Regina Spektor song wave is ready.

Listen to “Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don’t Leave Me)” before reading further –

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…And down on Lexington they’re wearing
New shoes stuck to aging feet
And close their eyes and open
And they’ll recognize the aging street
And think about how things were right
When they were young and veins were tight
And if you are the ghost of Christmas Past
Then wont you stay the night?

Ne Me Quitte Pas, Mon Chere
Ne Me Quitte Pas…

Regina Spektor

She amalgamates it all so well, life’s experiences, cut both ways and so gently she allows herself to smile an honest smile. How beautifully this song captures time and lets it go.

And she loves Paris, especially when it rains there and so do we all (at least the rasiks* do).

Listen now to “Dance Anthem of the 80’s” –

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…I’m walking through the city
Like a drunk, but not
With my slip showing a little
Like a drunk, but not
And I am one of your people
But the cars don’t stop…

Regina Spektor

This is nothing but a memory, cold, harsh, but funny in retrospect; one that glares until you glare back at it, acceptingly. And Regina Spektor handles this mixed emotion so peacefully and at the same very eagerly, probably eager for it to evolve.


Also, listen to the live performance of “Dance Anthem of the 80’s”, how sweetly she thanks her audience.

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Here, at Chiming Stories, the blogger will be covering Regina Spektor’s musical world in the coming posts, trying to live and relish her songs in your company, so dear readers ‘ne me quitte pas mon chere’ (don’t leave me, my dear).


*A rasik, in Hindi language, is a passionate and thoughtful being.


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Spirited Away and the Art of Forgetfulness

Film Analysis

Chihiro, Sen; Spirited Away official poster.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – IMDB]

Chihiro – My goodbye card’s still here. Chi-hi-ro… Chihiro, that is my name, isn’t it?

Haku – That is how Yubaba controls you, by stealing your name… so hold on to that card, keep it hidden and while you are here, you must call yourself Sen.

Chihiro – I can’t believe I forgot my name. She almost took it from me.

Haku – If you completely forget it, you will never find your way home… I have tried everything to remember mine.

Chihiro – You can’t remember your real name?

Haku – No, but for some reason, I remember yours.

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Those forgotten names, memories, thoughts, bemused glances, talks, ear-to-ear cheers, that sweet-warm feeling of forgetfulness and the forgotten tales complete us in the truest sense. Our best friends, these forgotten episodes, always stay with us, kindling our being with love. Absurd if seen with open eyes, pleasant when seen with eyes closed, our forgotten selves are immortal. And surprisingly these bond us strongly as a community.

A warm feeling of forgetfulness slips away and enters this community hoping to meet us one day. Just remember… remember if you want to meet such a feeling, it will come and surprise you.

Forgetfulness, a boon or a curse, every individual experiences it differently. One of such mystical experiences captured is titled Spirited Away, in a Japanese anime style by the incredible writer, animator, director Hayao Miyazaki.

Chihiro and Sen’s Spiriting Away is the literal translation of the Japanese title of this film. But how can a 10-year-old girl experience the “spiriting away” twice? Maybe it can be done by forgetting and accepting.


Storytelling & the Art of Forgetfulness

The journey beings.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – screenrant.com]

Folklores and myths, since ‘eternity’, have used the art of forgetfulness to complicate the hero’s journey and to open a gate to a unique never-heard-of-yet-familiar world; an enchanted world with flying mountains, a lotus island with tempting, misleading heavens, a charlatan with a devious plan, a monster masquerading and a memory trick that evades reality.

What is the art of forgetfulness? Surely something very delicate, absurd and too hard to explain. That we forget both good and bad days and yet remember it all when the need arises, that everything is stored in our subconscious and we forget what we must, to evolve, we forget and make mistakes and grow and bring a change… this is such an ephemeral art, and nonetheless, we have mastered it.

In stories, forgetfulness raises the stakes for a hero that it becomes a matter of life and death, bringing a drastic transformation.

Chihiro almost forgets her real name when working for Yubaba at the Bathhouse, Chihiro becomes Sen, but this helps her to be in the moment and give her best when trapped in the spirits’ world. She is worried for her parents who have turned into pigs and her goal is to rescue them and return back, but as if cut-off from her past, she works in the Bathhouse as an employee, searching for answers, helping Haku and others, living like her true self, making decisions without her parents’ guidance.

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Chihiro’s bouquet and a goodbye card.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – IMDB]

A very thin thread connects her with the real world, she holds on to it without sorrow or regret and moves ahead anticipating nothing, accepting every new surprise.

What Chihiro doesn’t remember about herself, we do and this information gives us an upper hand, we stick to it galloping blindly, trusting her at every step, waiting carefully for a breakthrough. The storyteller uses the art of forgetfulness to build a strong bond between the audience and the character via a short fabulous episode.

And so if someone asks, “why doesn’t Chihiro simply runs back to where she comes from or why doesn’t she take Haku’s help to escape”, we leap forward to answer, “because she cannot leave her parents behind and because Haku is Yubaba’s slave.” We know Chihiro only too well because we know something of great importance that she now doesn’t remember.


Thousand Questions

A purpose to fulfil.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – IMDB]

The Japanese ‘Chi’, when translated in English, means thousand and ‘hiro’ means to question or search. When Yubaba hires Chihiro, she steals her name, her identity, trying to trap her in the spirit world forever.

Your name is something that defines you throughout your life and Chihiro, having lost her name in the spirit world starts to forget about the living world. So she will effectively forget everything about her life of the living, who she was, her parents and basically everything she ever knew.

– Hayao Miyazaki

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Chihiro survives, she tackles and finds the untapped power source within, like the leaves of grass she holds her ground and even without a clear picture of herself and her name, she lives by it; she questions and searches without knowing concretely what she is looking for. She simply doesn’t give up and continuously reminds herself that she has forgotten something.

Initially hoping the spirit world to be nothing but a dream, later Chihiro accepts it without any qualm. Why? Because she is Chihiro, the one with abundance, thousands of questions, she is someone who has plenty of tricks up her sleeve, moves on freely, whose imagination is still alive, just like any other little 10 year old.

Adults, routinely signing their names on several documents well aware of its meaning, forget to live by it. Often begrudgingly they accept the plain perspective, effacing a possibility, forgetting their search, abandoning it altogether.


Haku, the Dragon

The old friend.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – mentalfloss.com]

Haku, the spirit of river Kohaku, serves Yubaba as she stole his real name “Nigihayami Kohaku Nushi”. He remembers nothing but the fact that he had met Chihiro when she was very little. He recognises her and helps her from the beginning, expecting nothing in return. Chihiro saves Haku from Yubaba’s cursed spells and liberates him in the end as a sweet warm memory returns to her. As a little child she had almost drowned in a river, but survived mysteriously; the name of the river, she tells Haku, was Kohaku. Immediately Yubaba’s spell breaks and Haku’s memories return to him.

A forgotten childhood memory, an upsetting one that must have left everyone (related to Chihiro) troubled, beautifully turns into a magical key setting a soul, a dragon soul free.

And in flashes when we see those episodes, those hazy childhood memories – good, bad – we realise how it has shaped us, how far we have come and how its randomness is actually a puzzle piece.

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A happy promise.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – IMDB]

Chihiro and Haku’s friendship represents the fragrant spirit of the romantic era (late 18th century); an era (especially Europe) that through its artists shifted towards a more imaginative and free life, valuing the sublime thought and expression, living more passionately, revolting against classicism and Yubaba like overwhelming Industrial Revolution.

Valuing freedom, both Chihiro and Haku, take risks to win it back, to win it back for each other. In a short span, they bond strongly, like one does with an old memory, not burdening their steps with the idea of remembrance, but only sealing their love with a promise to meet again. That is how they part ways.


Yubaba and Zeniba

Yubaba, a professional.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – myanimelist.com]

Two twins, one evil the other caring, Yubaba and Zeniba, act like a see-saw on which the story plays (and plays so well). Yubaba is not a dark character nor is Zeniba a saint; Yubaba is greedy, cunning and at times silly, silly enough to be tricked.

She may thunder when on a hunt or when managing the Bathhouse employees, but she becomes a tip-toeing mother of a giant baby (Boh), ready to do anything for him. She has flaws and this makes her a doubly interesting antagonist.

Zeniba, a kind-hearted smart witch, recognises Chihiro’s bravery and admires her amiable nature. Her presence assures Chihiro that Yubaba too is vulnerable. She supports Chihiro but not by snapping her fingers and resolving everything, rather by trusting her spirit and asking her to trust it too.

Zeniba – I am sorry she turned your parents into pigs, but there is nothing that I can do. It is just the way things are… You will have to help your parents and Haku on your own. Use what you remember about them.

Chihiro – What, can’t you please give me more of a hint than that…? I feel I have met Haku before but it was a long time ago.

Zeniba – That is a good start. Once you have met someone, you never really forget them, it just takes a while for your memories to return.

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Granny Zeniba.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – myanimelist.com]

Zeniba asks Chihiro to call her granny when at her place and later, Chihiro before leaving the Bathhouse thanks Yubaba and calls her granny too (leaving her annoyed). Things turn out to be in Chihiro’s favour by the end, as her memories return, she keeps no hard feelings against anyone, not even the antagonist.

Chihiro forgives and forgets easily, like children usually do, freeing her own spirit, feeling its happy push towards the next destination.


The Bathhouse

“And heave… everyone… together, heave!”
[©StudioGhibli; Source – filmofile]

Purgation, the holy ritual of cleansing oneself of the sins committed, is one ceremony that is celebrated in many religions worldwide. The Great Bath of Mahenjo-daro, built in the 3rd millennium BCE, had a special religious function for the Indus Valley civilisation according to the scholars.

The unrecognisable “stink spirit” who is Chihiro’s first customer is the spirit of a polluted river. She and her partner Len, Yubaba and all the employees at the Bathhouse work together to cleanse it; the free and happy river spirit, in the end, floats away, giving Chihiro a gift (a herbal cake) that she uses later on to heal Haku’s fatal wound. The purged river spirit also, like a mirror, shows Chihiro her forgotten memory, just a sneak peek of the incident when she had fallen in Kahaku River as a little girl – of how she and Haku first met.

Forgetfulness is not an answer, it is a stage, a brief mental stasis, that gives you a momentary way out or presents you with a leeway so that you can start your journey again.

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Time to work and win the challenge.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – SHL.com]

The Bathhouse here represents a place where you can not only clean your spirit but also free it by remembering all that you have forgotten, ignored, absorbed, quietly accepted, helplessly agreed with. The bright and active Bathhouse, run by Yubaba, is strictly professional, always focusing on the guests need.

Amongst Yubaba’s employees busy running the business, elevators moving up and down, workers keeping the baths clean and the floor shiny, the spirits find peace; in all this loud drama, the spirits manage to find a way out, they cross the maze and pay the company for allowing them to play.

A contradiction for Yubaba steals names, removing an individual’s memory and the baths tend to remind a guest of her unique forgotten identity, the Bathhouse tirelessly functions to unite the community. Together and yet alone we all move forward towards the unexpected future.


The Spirits and Yubaba’s Employees

“Welcome to the Bathhouse, dear rich guest!”
[©StudioGhibli; Source – myanimelist.com]

In my grandparents’ time, it was believed that kami (spirits) existed everywhere – in trees, rivers, insects, wells, anything. My generation does not believe this, but I like the idea that we should all treasure everything because spirits might exist there, and we should treasure everything because there is a kind of life to everything.

– Hayao Miyazaki

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The animal, plant, river and other spirits, and the little dark soot-ball spirits, bring in, ironically, the element of permanence in the story. These forgotten souls never pause, they steadily keep acting, dutifully participating in the after-life drama.

The radish spirit’s gaze, the old river spirit’s thank you gift, the soot-ball spirits’ liveliness all help in solidifying the backdrop; it appears then that Chihiro has entered an ancient mythical land, where everyone has a job to do. That it is not a vague dream but a wonderful possibility. And the same goes for the weird looking frog-like men and women.

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Chi-hi-ro! Bye-bye!
[©StudioGhibli; Source – IMDB]

Every spirit and employee gathers near the Bathhouse’s entrance where Yubaba quizzes Chihiro about her parents at the end, when Chihiro wins, the spirits jump up and sway joyously. We don’t meet them once Chihiro leaves, but one feels that they must have gone back to work immediately.


No Face

Journey within a journey.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – screenrant.com]

A spirit that has no memory, no goal, waits in stillness and clings on to the first hope it gets, a hope to create new memories, to set a new goal. This is No Face, a very interesting grey character; vulnerable for it is clueless, dangerous for it has limitless powers.

When Chihiro, out of generosity, keeps a sliding door open for him to enter as it is raining outside, No Face quietly enters the Bathhouse with the sole purpose to help Chihiro; very soon it becomes greedy to fulfil this purpose – first by offering Chihiro too many herbal soap tokens and then by showering gold. No Face, hungry and out of control, starts swallowing the workers and creates havoc in the Bathhouse. Chihiro then feeds him half of the herbal cake gifted by the revived old river spirit, bringing No Face back to normal; it regurgitates all that he had swallowed.

This quiet, puzzled spirit then accompanies Chihiro on her train journey to Zeniba and later, agrees to stay back and help Zeniba.

How superbly then No Face’s journey points at the significance of memories and a purpose in life! And what an apt name it has got… No Face… purposeless, faceless, one without an identity.


Kamaji & Lin

The catalysts.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – myanimelist.com]

The spider-like six-armed, goggled eyed boiler man, Kamaji, is a character who never forgets, even if he does, he hasn’t got the time to remember what and when, because he singlehandedly runs the water-supply system in the Bathhouse, he and his little soot-ball spirits. Kind-hearted, but always occupied, wise, but always busy, Kamaji’s six arms, which can stretch indefinitely, also find it difficult for such is his workload.

Another character who hasn’t got the time to forget things is Lin; a human-like servant who is not less than an informant as she knows everything about everything. Interestingly, according to the Japanese picture book, The Art of Spirited Away, Lin is described as the spirit of a white tiger, she surely is like a free-spirited soul, rushing, resourceful and undaunted.

It is with Kamaji and Lin’s help that Chihiro survives her time at the Bathhouse; they are the ones who make Chihiro see the spirit world’s reality, suggesting her to adjust immediately and act quickly. And this is what Chihiro needed the most, to keep her forgotten memories aside and build some new ones for her own good. Action always leads to progression; it is the answer to Chihiro’s thousand questions.


Chihiro’s Parents

“More, more, more!”
[©StudioGhibli; Source –myanimelist.com]

Before Yubaba could steal Chihiro’s name and her identity, we get to meet her parents who are two lost beings, unaware of their true identity. Living on the borderline, they act superficially smart on a routine basis but get greedily excited on seeing something that they love – food (or whatever is free).

As they are hardly in touch with their inner voice, with every passing year they have learned the ways of the consumerist society, they are the first ones to forget the reality, leaving their kid with the responsibility to liberate them.

We are not supposed to hate Chihiro’s parents, they may be lost, stubborn, calculative, but they too can find their way back, all they have to do is remember what they have forgotten about themselves.

The fact that their greediness leads to Chihiro going forward all by herself doesn’t appear to be a stereotypical writing tactic because they immediately raise the stakes for the protagonist by turning into pigs. What if they are butchered, what if they can never return back to their human selves? Will Chihiro be able to save them?

These tense queries leave us with no time to wonder about any cliché, we are hooked to witness the unfolding of the uncanny drama. We forget the rest.


The Setting

The vast stretch of grassland, the well-lit restaurant market, the flooded river with big bright carrier ships, the Bathhouse building and rooms, the staircases, the pigsty, Kamaji’s boiler room, Chihiro’s dormitory, the witches’ dwelling, the railway track under the ocean and the dainty cloudy blue sky… the film’s setting contributes richly in making us feel the Chihiro’s “spiriting away”.

It is unique and dreamy, it is intense and crowded, scenic and sublime, wonderful and ridiculous and more… the setting makes the story believable and palpable in a brilliant way. It is a place we have never been, yet is remarkably familiar… like a forgotten memory.

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The spirit realm.
[©StudioGhibli; Source – ghibli.fandom.com]

‘Spirited Away’ is one of the most loved and successful anime of all time; a bundle of magical moments and surprises, tussles and raptures, it connects with our inner child, one who believed in dreams and magic and talismans…

It reminds the forgetful ones that they too can find a way out of the crudeness that ties them down, that the answer to their thousand questions and their endless search lies within, hidden in a forgotten memory.


Spirited Away (2001)

Written and Directed by – Hayao Miyazaki

Production Company – Studio Ghibli

Music by – Joe Hisaishi

Winner of Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (making it the only hand-drawn, non-English-language animated film to win the award); it was also named the second “Best Film… of the 21st Century So Far” by The New York Times.

It held the record of becoming the most successful and highest-grossing film in Japanese history for 19 years (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train broke its record in 2020.)


Read these reviews to know more about Spirited Away

A magical dot over in the corner – Spirited Away movie review and summary by Roger Ebert

Spirited Away‘ at 20 – Review


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Another Moment

Spirituality

What this moment has to say is the truth…
Image from Pixabay.

In this moment, I am a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I am complete and incomplete, I am pleased and uncertain, I wish for nothing and I know I have to wait.  

Because the distance covered reminds me of the hurdles I have crossed and the ones I could not, it reminds me of a throbbing past and a dreamy future and it reminds me of how much time is left.

Riddling the riddle, puzzling the puzzle, I walk ahead.  

The memories made, the dreams fulfilled and the forgotten ones merge to make me smile, to make me cry. The voices locked in the chamber of my heart can sing, it can make me time travel.  

The visions are laced with hopes and surprises and successes and miracles… is it not magical enough?

Promises are magical too, especially if fulfilled.  

And in this moment, I wonder how did it begin, how will it end, how much have I understood and how much have I measured, how to define and how to let go.

What this moment has to say is the truth… the truth that quietly then slips away into another moment.

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Read It Happily

In that wonderful valley, some children are playing hide-and-seek. Their laugh, their complaints, their chit-chats echoes. The Deodar trees and the wind, the birds and the flying-foxes give the background score. Joy is the dominant colour of this valley, even the passing clouds are pacing down to collect some.

Ah!

That is her memory, just a memory of the old days. The compact city life, the tick-tock march to the town centre, the race to the platform got sidelined somehow, and she took a memory, opened it up, read it happily.

She felt good, memories don’t truly fade. You can always read them. Always!

A Simple Prism

Colour blast within!
[Image by kitti851 from Pixabay]

Conversations and time

Old ones like wine

That which is far

Or locked in a jar

Called by memories

And sifting through the debris

Through patient hands

Holding back and

Letting go in a rhythm

Like a simple prism

That knows its colours

Always leave me coloured…

And I walk ahead

With a better vision.

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Crane on Turtle Candlestick Holder

Flash Fiction
“We are old friends.”
“Hai-hai!”

[Japanese vintage candlestick; source – ebay]

Our blacksmith picked up the mould and studied it. His expressions were not discernible, but the sweat on his forehead highlighted his precision as he poured the molten metal into the mould.

Whilst he worked, many frames, metal shapes – some contorted, some flamboyant – stared at him, acknowledging and appreciating in utter silence.

Our blacksmith, on his way back home, saw a little kid who was standing against a wall along with his friend, wasting time, living.

That little kid whispered something to his friend and they both started following our blacksmith, copying his gait.

A silly game, a random thought, a reason to smile.


Dear reader what does time say?

Time says it is next day.


Every frame, every metal shape was eagerly waiting for our blacksmith. Roller shutter made its habitual noise and our blacksmith entered his workshop, and along with him came his two buddies, those two kids we saw earlier.

Quickly they went and stood next to his grand table, jumping with excitement.

Our blacksmith finally showed them what was now ready in the mould – it was a crane on turtle candlestick holder.

The two kids laughed and so did our blacksmith. He said the crane and the turtle were friends and the kids inquired if he had seen something like that in real.

Our blacksmith nodded and said that when he was their age he went with his father to a lake side and saw a crane standing on a turtle’s back.

Childhood memories capture time that never fades.


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Etching It

Poem
Landscape under Trees, etching by Paula Modersohn-Becker, c. 1902
Faded and alive
 
Like an honest illusion
Memories carrying weight
Equal to a feather’s
Delight. Happiness aloud
Heard in the background
Match the dreams
Flying hard, a scheme
Or a plan
To reach the end
Drifting and walking
Singing, not just talking

 

Open your eyes

 

See, smile and rise.

 

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Duma Xan

Duma is a 2005 film directed by Carroll Ballard.
©Warner Bros. Pictures

Xan’s life changed forever. He didn’t change his path; he walked on the path that was meant for him.

Everything revealed slowly and transformed him and made him aware. Xan cared for Duma, loved Duma to an extent that he started understanding him completely.

Though he accepted it only at the last moment, he somewhere always knew that Duma deserves to live a free life.

The laughs, the games, the tears, the silent talks were soon going to be nothing but shared moments stored in an old box kept somewhere in the past.

All Xan knew was that he could open that box anytime and relive those memories – memories of his late father and his lovely friend, Duma.

Xan often thought about Duma and the time they said goodbye to each other. At first, he was skeptical, he thought Duma might be upset with him for leaving, but then, he realised that it was the right thing to do.

He closed his eyes and saw Duma’s eyes –big, beautiful, and alive. Xan was hit by a gust of wind which slowly tried to calm him down and stayed with him until he smiled.

He told himself, ‘Duma must be with his friends right now, going down to the riverside or maybe already there… relaxing under the shade.’  

Xan and Duma.
The film is based on a children’s book How it Was with Dooms
that tells the true story of a young boy’s friendship with an orphaned Cheetah.
©Warner Bros. Pictures

Duma is sitting on a tree branch, one of his friends is sitting nearby and the other one is strolling in the bushes, just like that.

The sun rays are not falling on Duma, but his eyes are shining nevertheless. He can see Xan.    

Watch the trailer now

While these questions circle uneasily in our minds, “Duma” creates scenes of wonderful adventure. The stalled motorcycle is turned into a wind-driven land yacht. A raft trip on a river involves rapids and crocodiles. The cheetah itself plays a role in their survival. And the movie takes on an additional depth because Xan is not a cute one-dimensional “family movie” child, and Ripkuna is freed from the usual cliches about noble and helpful wanderers. These are characters free to hold surprises in the real world.

Roger Ebert, the film critic.
Read his review of Duma here.

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I See You

Where do I start I don’t know. There are so many memories and each time when I think of any particular one, a multitude of her personality traits leaves me overwhelmed.
 
Though, I am sure about one thing and it is about the end. I am sure that there is no end, there never was and never will be. Yes, she is not physically present here but I know she is everywhere. Silky!
 
My pet dog, my sister, my teacher, my baby, my Silky left me last year on this day, this month. And this whole year when she was not here, she was with me the most.
 
I met her in my dreams and I cuddled her and kissed her. She is so lovely and she is very happy. My mind allows me to cry but my heart laughs and tells me that she is right with me. And this leaves me laughing as well.
 
And my laugh tells me, Silky, that you are with me in me. Because that is you, spreading joy and love, that is you. And I thank you.
 
Words can certainly not express my feelings but can surely mirror some.
 
What are you? More than magic can define and less than facts will agree. You taught me what the power of patience can do. And it has done great things, silently. Your selfless love for everyone makes me wonder.
 
Who are you? A pair of excited eyes and one fluffy tail. Your wisdom confirmed it to me and my brother that you are a secret agent and that all the animals in the world are quietly working for peace.
 
How can you? Meditating day and night and each time glowing with intelligence. You had to hide from us but you wanted us to know and you did tell us but after you left. Very smart!
 
The answer is very simple. This is what you told us.
 
One part of me says that you left us too soon and one part of me meets you every now and then. Which one is right?
 
You told me that there is no wrong answer. You told me that there is one truth. You told me that blissfulness will prevail. You told me that I’ll smile.
 
I did smile. You were right. You are right. You are here, now and forever.
 
Please meet me when the time comes. Love you Silky! 
 
J
 
 
 

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