Writer

Together Pan-optically

Ah, recording it all and then repeating it.
[Source – Pixabay]

A humble looking, I mean just two lines long, definition took such a grim turn that it never left the abandoned penitentiary.

Definition –

Panopticon – a prison with cells/ rooms arranged in a circle, so that the prisoners in them can be seen at all times from the centre, without them knowing whether or not they are being watched.

After taking this same turn, one Michel Foucault – French philosopher, philologist, historian and social theorist – observed things differently, trying to understand why the penitentiary was made in the first place. To control and rule perhaps, but what about the good old methods of confinements in dungeons, solitary cells, and the public displays of torture? With the death of the monarchy, these methods rusted away quickly.

The new progressive democratic modern world needed a much more sophisticated method to control, to rule. Panopticon with a panoptic (pan= all, optic=seeing) tower cheered for itself, gaining a decent fan following.

Doubly jailed!
[Source – Purdue University]

Foucault in his work Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) shows, with great detail and pain, how a structure like panopticon guarantees internalization of the idea of surveillance.

He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection.

Michel Foucault – Discipline and Punish

Walking ahead, leaving this grim lane behind, rushing past the dullness, the dilapidated mood and tiring heavy air, you realise someone is following you, a shadow appears now and then, it is eager to manipulate, and then a crisp clear voice says, ‘Big Brother is Watching You.’

The Panopticon is polyvalent is its applications; it serves to reform prisoner, but also to treat patients, to instruct schoolchildren, to confine the insane, to supervise workers, to put beggars and idlers to work. It is a type of location of bodies in space, of distribution of individuals in relation to one another, of hierarchical organisation, of disposition of centres and channels of power of definition of the instruments and modes of intervention of power, which can be implemented in hospitals, workshops schools, prisons. Whenever one is dealing with a multiplicity of individuals on whom a task or a particular form of behaviour must be imposed, the panoptic schema may be used.

Michel Foucault – Discipline and Punish

To discipline and punish a society that loves power-knowledge* equally and functions “pan-optically” allowing the power of mind over mind to flourish, what feelings, emotions then nourish the individual…?

A very lonely affair, this panopticon business, it inevitably breeds fear, snatching away life, pinning a number, tagging a label instead. This number, this label becomes reality unbeknownst by the one numbered/labelled.

The prison cell and the panoptic machine thus are two similar moulds that create same order in society, though with drastically different labels. So different that they are always seen in opposition.

“I know… yet I don’t know…”
[Source – Pixabay]

The humble looking definition that took a grim turn is essentially noble. It is not at all bleak in nature for it gives rise to questions and doubts, it confuses and bothers, if one stays longer with it, allowing us to see, that too in no time, how the two moulds – a prison cell and panoptic tower – are similar, and when seen so closely, one even gets to see its foundation – fear.

And when you see fear, directly, you find that fear is nothing but you, a concoction of some ideas, a darkness that simply dissipates when seen, it ends at that very instant, and with it, so do the two moulds.


“Am listening”, “am listening too”, “am listening three”, “sssshhh!”
[Source – Pixabay]

*For Foucault, knowledge is connected to power, his critical theory states –

Knowledge linked to power, not only assumes the authority of ‘the truth’ but has the power to make itself true. All knowledge, once applied in the real world, has effects, and in that sense at least, ‘becomes true.’ Knowledge, once used to regulate the conduct of others, entails constraint, regulation and the disciplining of practice. Thus, ‘there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time, power relations.

Michel Foucault

Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Essentially Gold, The Lavender Hill Mob

A praying mantis sitting on a leaf, stealth mode on, meditating and still, prepares to make a move, to catch the prey and the predator unawares, killing one, fooling the other.

A man sitting in a bank jeep, subservient clerk’s hat on, conniving and shrewd, plans to make a move, to smuggle gold out of the bank and become rich, killing none, fooling them all.

The praying mantis jumps, attacks with precision, and wins; the man, fumbles, tumbles and yelps ‘Old MacDonald had a farm, ee i ee i o.’

The film poster.
[Source – vintageclassicsfilm.co.uk]

A black and white 1951 comedy film, that runs truly, only and only, on the story fuel, The Lavender Hill Mob, is perfectly crafted, balanced and performed heist caper, a hilarious journey that arrests you from the very beginning.

Ranked as one of the greatest British films of all time, The Lavender Hill Mob confides in the audience, letting them see, feel, laugh and think without tickling persuasively with a joke here and a punch-line there.

And so, personifying itself successfully, narrating a comic tale straightforwardly, wonderfully, giving the visuals the space to rise and fall, promising entertainment, delivering it with twists.

Comedy that studies its own movement through planned time-checked routes and unexpected quick-sharp turns, The Lavender Hill Mob set the foundation for future British comedies without any pomp and show, rather just through pure performance.

Check out the official trailer of The Lavender Hill Mob now –

Meet the protagonist, Henry ‘Dutch’ Holland

I was a potential millionaire, yet I had to be satisfied with eight pounds, fifteen shillings, less deductions. A weekly reminder that the years were passing, and my problem still unsolved.

Henry Holland (played by the genius Alec Guinness) narrates his tale honestly, matter-of-factly, beginning from the beginning, a man of numbers, to be specific, of the number 495,978 (pounds of gold bars), for that is what happened and he, like an amused storyteller, reminisces it gladly. This fact, that the protagonist is the narrator, doesn’t hang heavy on us, we forget and start walking with Henry Holland.

Henry is daydreaming again.
[Source – vintageclassicsfilm.co.uk]

The bank manager and his superior and juniors and most importantly the two guards see him as an honest fool, imbecile, fussy crack-pot, who they can trust, even blindly, who they feel is a cog in the machine, tailor made for nothing innovative. Henry knows it, he bows to this fact, choosing to continue the charade.

A place that assumes no special status, the boarding house, Balmoral, in Lavender Hill, London, becomes Henry’s abode, suiting his obscure identity well.

Mapping a robbery of a consignment of gold bullion robbed Henry of peaceful mapping as without a safe route to smuggle the gold abroad, all this stayed stuck like a day dream unexecuted. It is when Al Pendlebury, an artist, finds lodging in Balmoral, Lavender Hill, that Henry finds a ‘golden’ way out.

Pendlebury owned a foundry that made souvenirs – like Eiffel Tower paperweights – that were exported to holiday destinations like Paris.

More than a paperweight, eh?
[Source – Fruggo.com]

These two good friends partner-up and set the mapped scheme into action – timely they hire two chaps/ experts/ thieves for executing the robbery smoothly.

What Henry didn’t factor in while daydreaming about the robbery was the common errors, intrusive and funny ‘by-chance’ happenings and the simple-stubborn-absurdly-comical behaviour of all of us.

Ha-ha! Henry and his mob of friends run, miming a wall and hitting against it, encountering the police on the street, in the office, the gully, the lodgings, somehow meekly fooling them.

But when juggling too-too-too many balls, some are bound to fall… especially if one is juggling and running madly down the Eiffel Tower’s spiral staircase like Henry Holland the juggler… His paper plane, boat, car, crashes, sinks, collides and yet, he tries to do as planned – “for it’s a perfect plan.”

Henry Holland beams through his eyes, camouflaging neatly, mantis-like, aware of his agility and other’s dreariness; master planner, he walks to-and-fro, amongst the crowd, catching them unawares, cheating, skipping, dodging.

Al the Artist

Ee i ee i ohhh!
[Source – IMDB]

Alfred Pendlebury (played by the wonderful Stanley Holloway), lover of everything fine – paintings, sculptures, pottery, complete/incomplete canvases, a ready-made studio at his lodgings that he exclaims ‘…has a north light, too’.

He would be a full-time artist, quitting his souvenir business for good, but he never had the courage, and he quotes – “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these… it might have been.”

The iron’s hot and Henery doesn’t wait to strike; Pendlebury, in the mould, honestly thinks about their honest lives and steps out to join hands with Henery the mapper.

But there is a rush now, the robbery must happen within one week’s time because Henery Holland is promoted to foreign exchange’s department, with 15 shillings raise in his salary.

The Mob

The mob at work, ta-da!
[Source – IMDB]

How to hire two thieves? Talk about leaving your office’s safe unlocked with the staff’s monthly salary in it in crowded places on the top of your voice and ta-da, the applicants will land up in the office the same night without fail.

Two applicants – Wood and Shorty – small time goons end up chewing the bait, happy to be of assistance and glammed by the grand bullion million pounds plan all mapped neatly by now. 

Miss Evesham and Mrs. Chalk become Henry’s accomplice without them or him every finding it out. These two fortuitous accomplices by simply coming downstairs, crossing the corridor, sipping tea, getting someone to read a crime-fiction for them, knitting, ignoring door bells, opening and closing doors, suggesting and commenting contributed silently in building and yet disrupting the status quo.

The Gold

What’s cooking?
[Source – IMDB]

Like a dormant volcano, the gold, in the form of bullion stays too quiet, shining but inactive, somewhat silly, sitting steadily, favourable to none but the locks owning entity, so that the protagonist lurks, dances around it praying for a better life until the day the volcano becomes active.

Henry’s prayer is heard, that is what he assumes, liquid lava gold turned into Eiffel Tower paperweights add weight to his plan but nevertheless begins to slip away, carrying the souvenirs back to Britain from Paris, landing right in an exhibition of police history at a training college for police in London.

The game reaches its final stage, with time slipping by and Henry losing almost all his mob members, he tries to place the king on the diciest square to quash the enemy king’s check-mate move.

The king wins, but which one?

So, we wait and watch till the end.

Comedy

Suffering from vertigo?
[Source – sceen-it.com]

Serious about comedy the story refrains from pretentiousness. Catch Henry Holland gently smiling now and then, turning and glaring with another soft smile and beady eyes, and you’ll be a step closer to knowing what he is up to.

Al Pendlebury’s confused, amazed looks, clumsy actions, along with his loyalty to his best pal Henry allows him to sow and reap comedy.

Wood and Shorty – though they surrender the heist midway for the greater cause i.e., getting the freaking cash (actually refusing to travel because one has got tickets to a Cricket test match and the other’s Mrs. just won’t let him leave) – become the much-needed side-kick pals who bring in the spirit of tomfoolishness in the team.

The language too brings out a unique British flavour of comedy; it is straightforward, dialogues a bit longish, colloquially languid with a Shakespearen high, funny and fitting. In fact, the climactic drama owes it to the language mix-up as it causes a French saleswoman to sell six gold Eiffel Tower paperweights to six English school girls.

A shocked Pendlebury says, “How did that get here? I told you never to use a crate marked ‘R’.”

French Saleswoman replies, “But that is not an ‘R’, monsieur, it is an A(eh).”

Pendlebury exclaims, “It’s an ‘R’ in English!”

Henry’s calculations begin to fail frequently as such twists keep on overruling it; the master plan starts to lag behind and when no one is looking, it is put aside. The nail-biting hilarious ending reminds one, amongst other things, of the novel that Mrs. Chalk is reading – You’d Look Swell in a Shroud.

Conclusion

A cameo by Audrey Hepburn.
[Source – Film Forum]

Produced by the Ealing Studios, directed by Charles Crichton, and written by T.E.B. Clarke – a team renowned for making great comedies – The Lavender Hill Mob became one of their masterpieces, also winning the Academy Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay.

As the plot swiftly steers the story ahead, the absorbing clever character tracks merge strikingly with it, accelerating, without much effort, the journey. One forgets to question anything – a twist, turn or an action – while watching Henry and Pendlebury tricking and getting tricked at once.

The Lavender Hill Mob is gold for it has aged like the metal gold, without rusting or tarnishing, still shining and entertaining, turning every viewer into a mob member, following and cheering their leader Henry the juggler.  

Can they see us?
[Source – British Comedy Guide]

Watch this comedy classic here.


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


The Source

Short Commentary
The diya flickers gently.
[Image from Pixabay]

*

Listen to this wonderful track by Pandit Jasraj and read along.

*

*

Transported to the past, a pinch of time plucked, rubbed, glided from vilambit (slow), madhya (medium), to drut (fast) tempo, casting a spell to unite.

The golden light smeared the pillars, the roof, escaping through the hall, smudging the dusk too… or was it dawn?

A small earthen diya (lamp) lit the space wholly, for so long, and though the last one to enter the hall, standing near the pillar, you feel the warmth.

No one moves, as if they are painted and fixed, but you do to see the diya from nearby, you ask it something, it flickers gently, and you realise it is the music that is its source.

The beats slowly embrace you.

Suddenly, in the end, before transporting back, you find yourself dancing, joyfully.

*


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


In The Sundarbans

Poem

[Source – Pixabay]

*

Tides rise to meet the sky

In the Sundarbans

As the sky dives frequently

To borrow some condiments

From its marshy islands

For making rain;

Often overdoing, then hitting

The Sundarbans

With cyclones and storms

Flooding itself, the sky

Meets the tides

In the Sundarbans.

*

The Bengal Tiger
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

*

Flora and fauna there

Love drama

And everyone’s a fan of the Bengal Tiger,

A method actor,

Its every move, meaningful.

*

And us folks, we take our boats

And get busy earning a living or sightseeing

(Hands tied, backs bent, loans taken, empty stomachs

Populated, polluted, dripping blood, we work so hard to make a living)

When we can simply live,

Live simply, now, here and there

In the Sundarbans.

*

[Source – Pixabay]


Read more about the Sundarbans and also, “Explore Rohan Chakravarty’s Ecologically Conscious Map Of The Sunderbans.”

*

*

Watch these insightful short documentaries to understand the Sundarbans better –

*

*

*


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


The Knight’s Missing But The Horse’s Here

Feature
“Here comes the horse and the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo.”
[Source – Pixabay]

*

Nature’s furious, the clouds are anger-dancing, the trees are trembling, surrendering, oh trees you say, oh here the mighty mountains are kneeling, falling flat, many many streams erupting singing jingling hymns, begging for mercy, but the nature god has turned its back on us.

Charu, eight, hears the elders saying such things, quite animatedly, and she thinks of a solution immediately, “they should simply walk to the side where the nature god is looking… and talk.”

But now, here she rushes past them all, there she climbs the mud wall, then the tree, and then gets scolded by her mother. Ya-hoy! She lands splashing a puddle and there she runs away.

*

When the rain stopped, all the children in the village came out to play, seeing this, all the frogs high jumped away, leaving the centre stage for them.

Not lamenting over the loss of time – most still couldn’t tell time, it didn’t exist from them – the kids were happy with this break; they didn’t miss the school walls, exercises, question-answers, fill in the blanks, class-tests or the teachers.

Books were all packed nicely, kept safely in the trunk, kept under the bed, in that room which the children rarely entered.

*

But lo, what is that sound, oh, who is’t cometh this way? Charu stares at the turn, the fog lands quickly to add to this mystery.

Through the cracked, broken, muddy trail that was once a kacha road, that now rejected vehicular traffic bluntly, who dares to come to their village?

And then sauntered the Knight or so did Charu thought, but the Knight was missing, rather a humble yet dashing horse emerged when the fog folded itself up like opening curtains; treading carefully, neighing, the horse moved, making sure the trail didn’t deceive him.

*

Charu, amazed, rushed-then-slowed-down, towards the horse, the village kids followed her.

“Look, the horse is carrying something”, said someone and Charu shouted, “oh, it is coming our way, it is coming our way.”

The horse neighed and the kids thought it smiled; they clapped but then became quiet.

Stopping right in front of the group, the horse said, “Kids, are you doing well?”, and then immediately shouted in excitement, “Yes-yes, for I welcome you to the horse library.”

Charu and her friends went round and round the horse, “these books”, “are they for us”, “picture books”, “oh, yes-yes kids”, “this one is about animals”, “hey, look the seven wonders of the world”, “see, told you Octopus has eight arms”, “and legs?”

The children sat around the horse, who asked them to read leisurely as he stood grazing the fresh green grass. And the children sat reading different books, some together, some by themselves, quietly travelling forward, backward in time and space, cherishing the moment.

*

Some pack-full of hours later, the horse left, promising them to return in some days, hoping they would finish reading the books by then, colouring the black-white drawings, sharing each with the other.

He had also said, “and when I come back next, I will bring a fresh lot of readables… because kids, vegetables and readables are very good for health.”

*

Charu, since then, has lived many lives, visited the world in eighty days, went on an expedition to the south pole, and also fought for reading and colouring the underwater world with her village friends.

Aunties with toddlers and cows, goats and dogs, and some oldies have also now joined their semi-circle party, offering them to gather in this or that courtyard if it is raining or is too cold or too windy outside.

They all remain, to this day, good members of the horse library.

*

When the horse returned (Charu not missing the knight) with the new books (the readables), each book appeared to be shinning, announcing the arrival of the saviour, the hero, the magician, the joker, the pied piper and many others from all over the world.

*

It is a beautiful bright day, at some good distance a sheet of clouds is slowly covering the sky, the semi-circle party has gathered again to read and narrate, the horse, happy and calm, stands nearby grazing and some folks, passing by, are talking about the nature.


This post is inspired by a real life fantastic story (that is still unfolding), read about it here –

*

Uttarakhand: How The Horse Library Started To Promote Reading In Remote Villages

‘Ghoda library’ trots up to remote Uttarakhand villages with books for kids, parents to join in


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Walking and, Without Looking for it, Finding Narnia

Coverage

*

But as they went on walking and walking – and walking – and as the sack she was carrying felt heavier and heavier, she began to wonder how she was going to keep up at all. And she stopped looking at the dazzling brightness of the frozen river with all its waterfalls of ice and at the white masses of the tree-tops and the great glaring moon and the countless stars and could only watch the little short legs of Mr Beaver going pad-pad-pad-pad through the snow in front of her as if they were never going to stop. Then the moon disappeared and the snow began to fall once more.

Chapter 10 – The Spell Begins to Break

*

They were pretty tired by now of course; but not what I’d call bitterly tired – only slow and feeling very dreamy and quiet inside as one does when one is coming to the end of a long day in the open.

Chapter 12 – Peter’s First Battle

Dear Godfather,

Though not in Narnia – oh this wonderful secret burns brightly within, always showing the way through whimsical times – but in this not-so-glaringly-magical world, there is something that reminds me of Narnia and that is – you’ll find it strange – the act of walking.

Yes, walking and especially in the woods, but also just walking you know, in the garden or any rough road, walking silently, worrying less and losing myself in the surroundings, walking transports me, like every step walked on the land of Narnia did.

Hmm… It seems ordinary, especially when I think, compare, weigh, measure, imagine and get emotional. But when I don’t, when I simply forget to do any of that, I am able to simply walk and that is when the joy of walking makes me feel so sweet.

Do you know, only that day, I lost myself when walking aimlessly towards my house, landing safely, feeling light hearted and cold but in a gentle way.

My journeys on foot in Narnia were plenty, full of dangerous adventures too, but I believe it connected me to the pace of the magic unfolding, for magic was routine there, and so was walking, on the snowy land to the grassy ones through the woods and across the streams, one walked to keep the magic alive within.

Godfather, is it one of the reasons for the Witch’s downfall, for she walked less and used the sledge, until, of course, Aslan… oh, I miss Aslan.

But I don’t feel dismal about it, dear Godfather, I long for Narnia, but I don’t cry, could be because I walk, via lovely pathways, wardrobes, parks, and in the town too, and through the village roads, whenever I can…

Thanks for the most wonderful gift one could ever give a goddaughter!

Love,

Lucy


Author C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes

*

C.S. Lewis dedicated the book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe from the Chronicles of Narnia series to his goddaughter, Lucy Barfield, who very much was the inspiration behind the character Lucy Pevensie in the series.

And indeed, Lucy Barfield, a spirited bright person, an artist, loved the book.

“What I could not do for myself the dedication did for me. My Godfather gave me a greater gift than I had imagined.”

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 28, she led a life under restrictions, nevertheless, she continued to shine and must have again walked and, without looking for it, found Narnia for that is what a robin sang about to me.

*

Author C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes

Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


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.

*

The Astronomer by Vermeer.
[Source – Wikipedia]

*

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.

*

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

*

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.

*


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


The Choir and Their Toads Sing ‘Double Trouble’

Chapter 5 – The Dementors, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A Snippet Review

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble

Something wicked this way comes!

*

Listen to and enjoy the full track before reading further –

*

*

The choir welcomes one all – freshers, seasoned magicians and viewers – to another year at Hogwarts, promising more magic and double trouble.

Quipping, the song teases dark twists, fire that may rise and burn, old cauldrons that bubble a recipe for unfolding mysteries which may or may not favour you.

And while memorising the incantation, that sways and enchants and bothers and relieves and tickles, you find and hold your wand with a firm grip, looking straight searchingly, more lost than before yet ready… ready for ‘something wicked this way comes…’

The toad croaks to our delight, amusement and excitement. The choir scatters, and we meet Dumbledore, behind the podium, he is sure to make an announcement. Excitement multiplies!

Double appointments, Professor R. J Lupin (Defence against the Dark Arts) and Rubeus Hagrid (Care of Magical Creatures) are greeted warmly, by some who know, and some who don’t, the entire truth.

Clap-clap-clap, tersely, goes Professor Snape (Potions), his sallow face looking sick.

Cheers-cheers but wait here comes the trouble.

Finally, on a more disquieting note, at the request of the Ministry of Magic, Hogwarts will, until further notice, play host to the Dementors of Azkaban…

… Dementors are vicious creatures, they will not distinguish between the one they hunt and the one who gets in their way… it’s not in the nature of a dementor to be forgiving…

Albus Dumbledore

*

Dementors at Hogwarts.
[A still from the film; Source – harrypotterfanzone]

*

Excitement multiplies? Yes, but fear seeps in now, what the choir hinted at appeared to be harmless, the dementors are not. Fear of not hiding away, but of facing it, of hearing those screams again troubled Harry.

Oh, wait, the cauldron is bubbling again, “adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing”, the incantation hasn’t changed all these years, let the fire rather show you the way.

And Harry listens carefully to the headmaster’s closing remarks…

But you know, happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

Albus Dumbledore

*

The book and film. [Source – Wikipedia]


Composed and conducted by John Williams, the choir performs ‘Song of the Witches’ from Macbeth by Shakespeare.

*

*

Must listen to the fantastic extended version –

*


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Mushroomed – An Ode to the Fungi

Mushroomed mushrooms are talking!
[Source – Pixabay]

*

Little umbrellas, soft buddies beaming in damp, dark sites

In the jungle, have more to say, they’re saying now

Through the wood wide web, the underground kites

*

Fungi flies, less on whim, on purpose more, humble and old

Hyphen hyphae, thready threads, join the words spoken

By a baby plant and those tall giant trees old

*

Together, symbiotic, altruistic, in harmony and love with growth

Of one and all; living, dying, killing like the Armillaria

Its dear host trees, devouring forests, sailing forth

*

Layering layered humus, rich, fertile, full with nutrients timely

Rejuvenating the drunken dull poisonous air

Feeding on persistent toxins, stubborn plastic finely

*

Breaking, storing carbon in the soil, toiling freely, fungi

And friends mineralise earth, unburdening it quietly

“Decomposing since one billion years“, said fossils of fungi

*

Its fruits – mushrooms – mushroom pleasantly,

Well aware of the change hitting the planet

And the mighty meets, sees the ground, underground naturally

There the mycelia run, binding all in one

Showing, nicely, what is to be done.

*


Oyster mushroom mycelium growing in a petri dish on coffee grounds.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

Fungi marched onto land more than a billion years ago. Many fungi partnered with plants, which largely lacked these digestive juices. Mycologists believe that this alliance allowed plants to inhabit land around 700 million years ago. Many millions of years later, one evolutionary branch of fungi led to the development of animals.

― Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

*

A group of elongated cells (hyphae) from the filamentous fungus Podospora anserina.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

I see the mycelium as the Earth’s natural Internet, a consciousness with which we might be able to communicate. Through cross-species interfacing, we may one day exchange information with these sentient cellular networks. Because these externalized neurological nets sense any impression upon them, from footsteps to falling tree branches, they could relay enormous amounts of data regarding the movements of all organisms through the landscape.

― Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Watch these short clips and be amazed –

*


Read more about our – neither plants nor animals – friends, the fungi –

A Billion-Year-Old Fungus May Hold Clues to Life’s Arrival on Land

The Untapped Potential of the Amazon’s Plastic-Eating Mushroom

Soil Carbon Sequestration and its Relationship with Climate Change

Benefits of Fungi for the Environment and Humans


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Mr. Thomas & Wiener Zeitung

Short Feature
Old, gold cobbled stone lanes, Vienna!
[Source – Pixabay]

*

June 30, 2023

An old cobbled stone lane, old-old and narrow, lined with – old and famous – medieval structures, Mozart playing in the backdrop, timeless, captivating, deep and probably the reason that keeps the old charming and new, through this old cobbled stone lane passes old Mr Thomas, every day, pipe on, no smoke, with a copy of Wiener Zeitung folded, under his arm, thoroughly read, re-read.

The folded copy of Wiener Zeitung – one of the oldest newspapers in the world, 320 years old, whose first copy got published in 1703, a newspaper that Mozart must have read, that covered (in 1768) 12-year-old Mozart’s magical concert, that got shut down in 1939 on Hitler’s orders (started printing again in 1945) – isn’t heavy at all, even though historically a giant.

*

“Mm-mm, I did read it.” – Mozart’s busts said in unison.
[Source – Pixabay]

*

Direct, also echoing, echoes arriving/leaving, Wiener Zeitung spoke what it saw, observed, analysed freely.

Old, Mr. Thomas’s favourite, this newspaper has friends too, you know, same like it, old and gold – the Italian Gazzetta di Mantova (1664), the English London Gazette (1665) and Berrow’s Worecester Journal (1690), also Haarlems Dagblad (1883) from Netherlands and the very many, thousands and thousands, of readers and the humble employees.

Old Mr. Thomas is walking fast, caught in a thought of uncertainty and the past and future, that he almost tumbled in the present. But, hey, he is fine because he is doubtful and so will explore.


July 1, 2023

Weiner Zeitung won’t get published today. Yesterday was its last day, the print version’s that is, for an online version will be out soon.

Saying tata-bye-bye to many employees means tata-bye-bye to many readers too? Will old Mr. Thomas now, with his pipe on, no smoke, surf the internet for Weiner Zeitung?

The old cobbled stone lane, old-old and narrow, lit by medieval lamps and Mozart’s songs, will see Mr. Thomas sometime soon, him and many oldies that it had befriended and many youngsters too, with a smart-smarty phone, listening/reading as they walk, to news bulletin, probably one published online on Weiner Zeitung.

*

“Where’s my copy of the Zeitung?”
“Not there, check the website bro.”

[Image by Margit Wallner from Pixabay]

Adieu Weiner Zeitung (the printed one)!

*


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts