Window

Vermeer’s Room

Short Commentary
The Geographer by Vermeer.
[Source – Wikipedia]

The Geographer and the Astronomer were in the same room as Vermeer for it is in the front room, on the second floor of a spacious house, Vermeer’s mother-in-law’s house, that he produced most of his work.

One good room and in this one good room, a window (usually on the left), a table, chair, cupboard, stool, curtains, draperies, tapestries and a picture-within-a-picture maintained a position, steady, jolly, known, homely, oozing warmth that allowed the artist to mix the pigments well.

And in these two paintings, the two silent globes – a celestial globe with its terrestrial pair for in the 17th century globes were sold in pairs as a direct, neat, calculable link between astronomy and geography was thoroughly entertained – appear in full support of the two sharp owners, a trust built on daily encounters in the same room.

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The Astronomer by Vermeer.
[Source – Wikipedia]

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The Japonsche rocken/ Japanese kimono worn by the two scholars here add to the room’s mood and colour; more like precious gifts for a selected few – back then these were not for sale, but presented in batches only to the merchants who were allowed to visit the Imperial Court in Edo (Tokyo) – the robes then feature seriousness, persistence and also recognition.

Many feel that the Geographer and the Astronomer are the same person with some guessing him to be modelled after the Dutch scientist, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who probably knew Vermeer.

The ultramarine, cyan shade that colours the two robes, derived from natural lapis lazuli, very expensive, deep, quietly presents the two scientists caught wondering, imagining, getting inspired by a source.

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The only supposed portrait of Jan Vermeer van Delft.
[Source – Wikipedia]

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And the artist painstakingly fine-tunes the details, adds layers, swirls and golden dots, folds, peaks and dips, floral touches, tiny tiles and shadowy walls, and signs the painting, sometimes signs it twice.

And the room, sitting patiently absorbing in light and darkness, also signs.

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The Life of Jane Eyre

A zealous soul!
[Image from Pixabay]

Jane in her simple jade dress stood out in that mahogany room. The splendour surrounding her could not match the spark in her eyes, knowing this the chandelier, humbled, dimmed its light.

Jane in her efforts to live freely always broke barriers and always lived freely. The shackles, when not shown any fear of, never dared to grab the fire named Jane Eyre.

She walked towards the window and half opened it; the gushing wind reminded her of a folk tale, of the times when a princess stared at the moon through a half open window, shared a secret and smiled. Jane Eyre could not help but smile then.

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Title page of the first Jane Eyre edition.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is a marvellous, striking Victorian novel which was originally published under a pseudonym ‘Currer Bell’. Many female writers in that era opted for a pen name, occasionally for anonymity, but mostly for their work to get a wider audience (if it is accepted for publication at all).

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We do not know who ‘Currer Bell’ might be, but his name will stand very high in literature.

The Weekly Chronicle

While all the reviewers praised the powerful story and imagination of the author, no one expected it to be a woman.

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Charlotte Bronte, portrait by George Richmond.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

One great merit of the work unquestionably is its originality. The author deserves no slight credit for the ingenuity and success with which fact and fiction, reality and romance, have been intermingled and made to serve conjointly in maintaining deep and unflagging interest.

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Have you lived the life of Jane Eyre? If not, then you must.  


Also read – Enshrined in Double Retirement – a short write-up inspired by the novel Jane Eyre.

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Reflection

The window was closed and I stood staring, the reflection looked better, I thought.  

I took a step forward and could still see myself, but also the wind blowing outside. The flying leaves passed right through me and the golden rain tree caressed me gently.  

The wonderful golden rain tree.
Image by Suanpa from Pixabay

Few more steps towards the window and I got closer to myself. The reflection was quiet… unlike the weather outside. I could even hear the wind, the music it played was resonant.  

I forgot the reflection and saw through it as I stood by the window. The live drama outside and the rhythms playing caught me and I hummed along. I smiled.  

Just then like a flash I again noticed my reflection on the window, it was also smiling this time. Immediately I changed my focus and tuned to watching the wind’s performance, smiling the whole while.  


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Two Blind Crows

Ra-ra’s famous window story.
[Image from Pixabay]

Ra-ra: Why did the window go SHUT… who closed it SHUT… my question is just HOW?

Ra-ra’s friend Coo stays quiet, looking absolutely nowhere.

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  Ra-ra: S-H-U-T shut, right when I was about to pick my share and leave…  

Coo: I believe you, it has been so many years since you first told me this story.

Ra-ra: (astonished) Many years you say, gone nuts…? It happened an hour ago.

Ra-ra: Coo, this ain’t the time to argue.

Coo: A while? He died ages ago.

Coo: You’re standing fine, 900 years have passed.

Ra-ra: 900? I have come flying from the west port of Oraffa city just now.

Coo: Oraffa city? Hah! Blind dreams!

Ra-ra: How dare you? I can see very well… you can’t, you blind ugly funny-sounding bad crow!

Coo: I said blind dreams… didn’t call you blind.

Ra-ra: Oh, oh-my, then let me apologise.

Coo: For what? We are blind, the world knows it. Yet…

Ra-ra: Blind we are, yes, yes… very much… (mumbles).

Coo: I’ll complete my sentence… yet we are still alive.

Ra-ra: (flaps wings) Death sentence, I have been given a death sentence and yet I am alive.

Coo: Cool-cool yourself Ra-ra. We are together in this.  

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Ra-ra starts sobbing, mumbles again.

  Coo: I am turning left.

Ra-ra: (softly) Left?

Coo: Turned.

Ra-ra: Wait for me!

Coo: Can’t.

Ra-ra: I think I also turned left unless it is the right, or it is somewhere in the middle, who knows.

Coo: Not me.

Ra-ra: (laughs) You’re funny!  

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Both Ra-ra and Coo stand quietly. Coo speaks after some time.

  Coo: Hey Ra-ra, you never told me your famous window story.

Ra-ra: I didn’t? How come?

Coo: That’s the truth.

Ra-ra: Well, then listen… the window was SHUT before I could pick my share… someone just closed it SHUT…

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The two blind crows talked facing what they thought was the left.

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Two Blind Crows
[Image by Santa3 from Pixabay]

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The Moon Talks

The moon’s blushing.
[Image from Pixabay]

In its stillness the moon shines poetically and travels through the same old route and reaches the very many hearts of its listeners.  

I believe in your dreams, your smiles and tears.  

The wavy mountains make a marvellous backdrop for the moon to become brighter, where it meets the eyes of a lone survivor.

I walk along; I follow wherever you go.  

Amongst the twinkling stars, the moon beams broadly and warmly at the free souls, the little ones.

Yes, you can do magic and hide me in your lotus fists.  

Deep, true brush strokes attempts to take the moon’s magic and pour it in a canvas.

I blush, yes, all the while.  

The night sky and the blue ocean together carry the moon’s palanquin, rhythmically and lovingly they move.

I take their colours and they take mine.    

A curtain draws, a window opens up and someone, in the serene peaceful moonlight, says a prayer.

And I say amen.

– Moon

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What To Do?

Literary Nonsense

The Busy Life (1953) by Jean Dubuffet
[Source – tate.org.uk]

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The train of thought never stops, does it?

Standing on a vague platform, everything except me undergoes a peculiar kind of metamorphosis now and then. Bewildered, I stand in utter confusion, with a dazed expression and remain amusingly voiceless.

Waving madly for the train to halt or at least lazy down a bit, I am increasingly getting ascertained about the fact that either I am powerless or I am being considered as a crazy cheerleader.

Often, no, more than often, I have successfully boarded the train.

What happens then – settled quietly near the window, with a half-read great novel that I have tried to finish since one year, five months and two weeks, looking old and rich in my hands, I get lost in the dream world looking through the barred window; settled quietly near the window, with a notebook in front and a pen in my hand, I write down miraculous lines, tying down the strength to move the humanity and a saleable story together, staying humble myself throughout the reverie; settled quietly near the window, but loathing everyone around me and worshiping softly to reach my destination soon…

“My destination…” I say and I am kicked out of the train, back on that floating platform which dances every second on some idiotic tune and disturbs my balance.

I fall down, cry, raise questions, get answers, plan things and proudly compliment myself, with a touch of modesty of course.

And then what do I do? I go off to sleep. How much can the mind take? “So long, my friend”, says my mind and dozes off. Shut down! Power off!

Click!

Switch on and I am back on that platform. Trains have started passing me. I yawn, a full day of travelling to a gazillion places ahead.

Busy life, what to do?

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Papa and the Crimson Clouds

The huge tree under a crimson sky.
Image – Pixabay.

Papa said, ‘I am not a negative thinker’. I almost clapped in approval, but then I saw him drinking at 9:45 in the morning. I dared to speak and I did, reminding him of the 80% blockage in one of his arteries. Gulp! ‘No negative thinking’, he advised me.  

His red eyes and newly ignited soul went into the garden to work. After a few hours, I checked the fresh hairstyle of the garden, it was almost bald. Papa said, ‘Plants should grow this way’.

Which way you must be thinking? Whichever way Papa wants to grow it, you fool. He replied so, I am just quoting it.  

My sense of understanding is weak; I am the wrong person to walk left when the right is right.

I am also stupid if I don’t remind Papa, thrice, that he wanted to drink tea, which invariably loses all its piping hotness and turns dead cold by the time he returns from the garden.  

Kindly ask everyone in the street not to stare at me. So what if I look like an outgrown, zigzag tree, my Papa will prune me.

I have the whole life’s agenda, second wise, installed in my brain. I am to wake up early every day and run to the office, work and be good in it and come back home to get recharged for the next day.  

Every hour I am to be alert; I am allowed even to worry about security. I again dared and asked Papa, ‘Security from what?’ ‘That thing… that… something…’ he said.

I understood zilch about it. Patience please, I am a slow learner.  

Every minute of the hour, I am to relish the complexities of the present. It is to be like the dogs, they are so cute and hold only one feeling at a moment – hunger, aggression, love or anxiety.

I reluctantly told Papa about my opinion. He laughed and then shooed me away like a dog is shooed away.  

For your benefit, I am sharing that it is not a wise thing to do. Homo sapiens sapiens can do better. I have read so in a book. Of course, I didn’t say a word about it to Papa. Do you think I am stupid? Ha!  

Every second of every minute, I am to remain lost in whatever shit crazy thing I am doing. This will result in an unhealthy body, but a good position and a reasonable flat after a few years travail.

I am a middle-class being, this means to me what nirvana means to that mad ascetic I once met.  

Do you know what the ascetic told me? He asked me to sit under a huge tree, pointing in the jungle’s (point decimal of what is left) direction. That’s it!

What am I supposed to do there alone, I shouted behind him and he shouted back, ‘Think’.  

Confused, I asked Papa about it one day – a day that showcased crimson clouds from the window. He didn’t say a word.

Crimson clouds. Image Pixabay.

I looked at the crimson clouds once again. Then I stared at Papa. I didn’t know there were four clocks in his room, one on each wall, until that day. I was sweating when Papa suddenly opened his eyes and asked me to get some water for him. He coughed badly.  

He is coughing badly right now. From that day the crimson clouds haven’t left the window. I mostly stay near Papa and only occasionally go to sit under that huge tree.


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I Can See Mountains from the Window, I’ll take this Window Along

The mountains are so grand; I realised it that day when I climbed one. The green velvety zigzag stretch left me overwhelmed.

A thought caught my attention and told me how beautiful and majestic the mountains were, how incredibly small I was, how peacefully colourful the surroundings were and how sublime the music played by the wind was.

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Portable Window! [Image by AnnaliseArt from Pixabay]

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I saw the clouds and they saw me; I blushed quietly. With my feet in the wet green grass, I stood there enjoying the drizzle. I sat on a calm rock calmly and opened the notebook. I couldn’t write for some reason, so I drew the scene instead.    

Have you ever felt the same? Like when you feel something you cannot describe in words or otherwise? When the smell of an old book takes you back in a different century?

As if the leaf that fell near you was meant to fall there so that you could pick it up and observe it? And that the glamorous city lights were talking to each other and the moon was talking to you?

What about the smiley face drawn by a passer-by on a dusty car that reminds you of the one you had drawn? Have you ever felt the still mind?

The drawing that I made took the shape of the yin-yang without my knowledge. Opposites complement each other. I sat near the window and thought about it; the sun passed by and the moon came with white light very quickly and in the shadow, I saw the light and immediately, I agreed.

I again looked at that drawing, in gratitude but the drawing was no longer the same… there were dark green mountains and blue sky, white clouds and green grass and me, sitting on the calm rock calmly. And I looked through the window…

I can see mountains from the window, I’ll take this window along.


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Failed Successfully

View from the window…
[Source – Pixabay]

Sitting by the window and watching the wind do its customary dance, Kent wrote a line in his diary and stopped. The line said, ‘I failed again.’ Dry leaves and twigs joined the wind hesitatingly…a bit shy but tending. Kent took a sip of his hot coffee. He flailed the pen in his hand and then began to write-

Again. I try and then I fail. I wonder how I have reached so far when all I can do is to fail. I sink low every time and it becomes difficult to make a comeback. The sympathy, the taking my side, the hiding my faults…I hate when people do this to me. It hurts me more. But I am the reason of the burden I am carrying.

After another sip, Kent again checked the rendition. He couldn’t hear it clearly but was sure about the charming song that the wind played. Huge trees rhymed along, they were so great yet so modest; nature knows some marvellous secrets that make it awe-inspiring.

I have nothing to say anymore. I wish I could visit Mrs Graceland’s house, the backyard and the trail that led to the jungle and the brook with leaves and twigs wafting in it.

If only I could sit there for some time alone. My heart would pour itself in the brook and I am positive that I could then breathe without feeling the knots. The jungle, the brook they don’t know that I have failed. They will not demand any answers nor will they console me. I will be with them and they’ll welcome me.

But with time things start eluding and you feel silent, empty and helpless; a mere bystander.

Kent’s sigh sounded heavy and blue. He searched for something in his room and finding it his eyes rested upon it; a wall clock that made him conscious and humble. He lost himself for some time. Coming back he looked at his diary and wrote-

I think I have failed in putting my thoughts in words. I am sorry dear diary. I think I should just stop writing and….

A green leaf in autumn.
[Image by Jagriti Rumi]

At this moment he found a leaf knocking on his window. He stared for few minutes waiting for it to fly away but it didn’t. He stretched his hand reluctantly and opened the window.

Taking the leaf in his hand Kent watched the scene and without waiting for his permission the wind touched his face and made his hair dance. A smile came on his face naturally.

The power of the wind amazed him, the music enthralled him; he could feel the spirit, the liveliness that was abundant in nature. Peeking through his window Kent stood for long in that position unaware of the clock, the pen, the diary, the leaf and himself.

It was getting dark. He forced himself to shut the window. With nature you don’t know when the time passes and if you happen to know you wish it to go slow.

Sitting back on his chair and before he could finish his diary entry, he examined the leaf in his hand. It was green. It was autumn. It was a message. Life loves to live. Who loves life lives…happily.

Kent finished his diary entry.

I can’t believe myself but I am going to try again, maybe I’ll fail again. It doesn’t matter. I’ll never stop walking because I never know what is there for me on the next turn. I am going to die one day, I don’t want to die before that.

Cheers to the green leaf!

Kent  


And now, listen to Vashti Bunyan’s album Just Another Diamond Day, this is one of Kent’s favourite tracks, one that he listened to after finishing his diary entry –


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