2015 Retrospective

RetrospectiveAs 2015 draws to a close one cannot help but look back at everything exciting and not so exciting that the year had to offer. At a global level 2015 brought in its wake major news highlights such as Discovery of Water on Mars, Queen Elizabeth reaching a milestone year, rebirth of Stars Wars as well as some rather heartbreaking incidents such as the Paris attacks, Migrant crisis, Financial collapse of Greece and of course Nepal earthquake to name just a few.

At a personal level 2015 has brought me some triumphs and few eye-opening failures. I feel adversities and failures bring with them an opportunity to learn and grow. In my career front despite my best effort I felt very overlooked and unappreciated. But this has given me the awareness to improve my skills to an extent that would make them impossible to be overlooked in future.

So coming back to my blog ubecute. Ubecute too has had to learn from its 2015 setbacks. Ubecute was started in 2014 which was an excellent first year. In its first year (2014) Ubecute had received over 14, 299 views and had a total of 137 published posts.

2015 however envisaged a damper 6,881 views only with only a total of 60 posts. The fault clearly lies on the frequency, number and possibly the quality of posts published. It is evident that to have a well-oiled blog one needs to publish quality posts periodically at fixed intervals. Lesson Learned boss!

In the end, allow me to wrap it up with some of Ubecute’s highlights in the last two years. I was visiting the Stats page on WordPress and picked out 3 of my most viewed posts. I then picked out 3 of my least visited posts that I actually love but received few views. Feel free to take a quick walk with me in the memory lane by reading some of these most/least visited posts in the last two years. Enjoy!

Top 3 most viewed posts that I really enjoyed writing:

Naked as the Maple Tree – 2,350 views (A poem in which I compared myself to …yes you guessed it…a Maple tree)

Review on Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis – 250 views (A personal take on Tracy’s exercise video called Metamorphosis)

Serene Goa – 200 views (I loved this article as it was full of pictures from my last visit of Goa. In my view Goa is an underrated and inexpensive vacation destination. So if you are looking for one check this article out and feel free to reach me if you need any suggestions on visiting Goa)

Top 3 Least viewed that I hoped would not be collecting cobwebs:

The power of small: I honestly enjoyed writing this article on how small efforts make big changes and have life changing effects. In my personal experience I found that some of my biggest successes have been envisioned out of tiny efforts made over a period of time.

I sold my Sister – A poem about a child selling her younger sister. Although the poem is not autobiographical in nature it evoked some deep emotions from readers and I loved all the comments and feedback I received.

But no Cigar – This was a short story about a well-known diabolical character. I generally never write humorous short stories, so this was something new for me.  It is a quick and witty read so I hope you will enjoy it.

Coffee Date

CoffeeIt seems November is the month for coffee dates with friends! Well not really but it may as well be, since Cheri Lucas Rowlands created a prompt to write about a coffee date with a friend. The rules are simple: basically pretend you are having a coffee date with a friend and “share any details you’d like and include as many as you want, as long as you begin each with If we were having coffee right now... “

I loved the prompt and immediately drafted the post below. If you too like the prompt then feel free to get your creative juices flowing by drafting a post and publishing on your blog. Feel free to pingback if you like.

Dear Friend,

It’s been such a long time since we met for a coffee and talked. I have so much to tell you and catch up with you.

If we were having coffee right now, I could tell you that last month I completed an amazing trek to the bottom of Grand Canyon all the way to Phantom Ranch and back. And what lovely sceneries I caught on camera. Some of these pictures will soon be published on National Geographic! I will be posting links on my blog shortly.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that two weeks ago, I ran a triathlon and helped raise $6000/= for Cancer Relief. I would tell you that that’s not all. I am planning to raise twice as much for the Homeless by the end of this year.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I have decided to take a yearlong break from work to go backpacking around the world. I have decided to leave my humble yet comfortable life to live out of a backpack, eat peanuts and rice, and wear recycled clothes as long as I can get to soak the world like a sponge. I would promise to write a post every day documenting everything I see and discover!

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you, I have finally decided to climb the Mount Everest. Yes the Mount Everest! I have already started to train intensively for it.

If we were having coffee right now I could tell you all this and more but I will not. I will not, because I would be lying. I have lived my entire life in the safe lane. I am not brave or daring enough to trek to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Besides it is so forbiddingly hot that it is way out of my comfort zone. Snakes, lizards and mice creep me out. Yes I know I suck, but I am sorry that’s who I am. I am scared of heights, hot temperatures, reptiles and rodents.

I have frequently donated to several charities but never made an effort to raise notable sums for any. And oh how I wish I had the guts to leave my job and go and travel for a whole year! Discovering the world with a child’s eyes and catching it on a camera! But there again I am to disappoint you and above all myself. I like to play it safe, so safe that I may be missing out on life and I know it.

I am scared of heights so I would never be climbing the Mount Everest even though the very thought of scaling the heights of the forbidding peak excites every cell in my body.

Instead, if you were to take time out to meet me for coffee, I would tell you that just now I am trying to figure out the meaning of life sitting on my couch in the comfort of my home. And it refuses to make sense. I read the news and feel for the millions of homeless refugees as well as the families of the innocent people who lost their lives in the Paris attacks. I am trying so hard to make sense out of the chaos and sorrow but cannot. What could I say to justify the senselessness of it? What dire lessons are we to learn out of such madness that would justify all the human suffering?

If you were to take time out to meet me for coffee. I would tell you I am sorry. I am sorry I am not more exciting and spunky. I can’t just get up and leave and do what I really want to. Instead I do what I should. I pay my bills, go to work, eat healthy and basically walk the line. That’s how I have always been and that’s who I will be. I am a thinker yet I have not solved any major puzzles of life.

If you were to take time out to meet me for coffee, I would instead tell you my life is simple and monotonous where one day easily bleeds into another. But for that I am truly grateful. I cannot thank my stars enough for its comforting predictability. What’s worse is I know there are millions who would give anything to have half of what I or you take for granted every day.

If you were to take time out to meet me for coffee, I would instead tell you that even though climbing the Everest sounds mind bogglingly exciting to me I would never ever do it. I would never do it not because I am scared, but because I am not convinced it matters. Life offers enough challenges every day. I don’t need to climb 30,000 feet above sea level to discover them. You might say it’s an excuse but I am not here to prove you wrong.

If you were to truly take time out to meet me for coffee, I would tell you I am boring and ordinary in every way. If you can distinguish me from any other Jane Doe you met today on the bus stop, subway, coffee shop, grocery line, then I would be truly impressed with you.

If you still care to meet me for a coffee I will be sitting right here without any pretense, waiting with an open heart. And maybe I will just listen!

Love Letter to life


Dear Life,

How are you doing? I am sorry I haven’t been answering your phone calls lately. The other day you knocked on my door and I pretended to be out. When you turned around to leave, it almost sucked the breath out of my soul. I needed some time to think about us. I just want to clarify that this is not a break-up letter, even if it reads like one. See I am not yet done loving you. You were, are and always will be dearer to me than anything else in the world. I am only writing to you so you can understand how you make me feel. Maybe once you learn what it is you are doing wrong, you will change your ways?

Yea, I know we have been flirting, fighting, making up and most of all disappointing each other for a long time. But now I am done playing these games with you. I am also done fighting with you because you are just too strong for me. I have bruised knuckles and knees to prove. The last time I fought you, I ended up rolled over in a corner; flattened out like dough. And then just when I was ready to give up, you came back around placating me like you do. You embraced, kissed, and sang to me and suddenly the sun shone brighter, and the world tasted sweeter than Nutella. Suddenly my world was an ice cream truck playing “The Mister softee” jingle.

I know I am play-doh in your hands. You reward me with your love just as unexpectedly as you punish and chastise me. But it’s when you ignore me that I hate the most. It’s like I am suddenly invisible to you. Without you, I am a mouse running aimlessly inside a wheel.

But who am I to complain? The truth is I need you more than you need me. Without you I am nothing. Heck without you, I don’t even exist. You on the other hand have countless lovers. You have kissed just as many into existence as you have put to bed (six feet under). For you my darling are life incarnate! You are the mountains, oceans, skies, birds, bees, animals and humans. Everything that lives is you and nothing that does not is not. You are past, present and future. To live is to love you. And dear life, I do!

Yours faithfully,


What do you envy?

Day 1: What was the one toy that a friend had that you wished you had when you were little?

When I was about six years old my father was transferred to Germany, Frankfurt for a period of three years. The flight to Germany was my first experience being in a Boeing 747. My mother told me that planes were the fastest way to cover long distances and I absolutely would not believe her. “Look” I pointed out at the plane’s wings, “This plane is just standing still, it’s not going anywhere. We will never get to Germany at this rate.”

Getting acclimatized in Germany could not have been easy even for a young child as it was so different from India. The clothes we brought with us soon felt completely useless in Germany’s subzero degree winters. And the first thing we did was buy winter gear. School was very foreign. Being painfully shy, I never made too many friends. Most of my friends were imaginary; most not all. Andreas was one of my few flesh and blood friends.

Andreas was a dimple faced, rosy cheeked, blonde haired boy. Have you ever read Archie comics? Imagine Archie as a 6 year old boy and that’s how Andreas looked except he was blond. We got along instantly. I loved visiting his home. His room was filled with so many toys and pets, he barely had room to store them.

His room was an overflowing mess of stuffed toys, musical instruments, games, robots, books, legos and so many other random toys. But what I truly envied him for were his pets. Andreas had two dogs: Tiffy (a tiny German Spitz) and Odell (medium sized Pomeranian).  Tiffy was the feistiest and tiniest dog I had ever seen. She belonged to Andreas’s mom and did not appreciate anybody touching her. She was cute as a button and feisty as a monster. Odell on the other hand was the friendliest, kindest dog I ever met. He was an old zen soul in a dog’s body. Odell would follow Andreas and me everywhere. Andreas also had a temperature controlled aquarium with gold fish. And a tiny white hamster that enjoyed abode in a luxurious cage with tubes, tunnels and a wheel for running. Andreas had a small garden outside with a medium sized Turtle. Although the turtle was allowed to roam freely in the garden during the daytime, it was never hard to catch him. He would always find him pretty much in the same area we left him in the morning.

Andreas’ pets were all so much fun to watch and play with. I loved all his animals so much I would have given my right hand for them. As soon as I would come back from school, I would finish my homework so mom would let me go and play with Andreas.

Unfortunately soon after we left Germany I lost touch with him. Several decades later I still wonder how he is and where he is. And most importantly how great it would be to reconnect with him and learn of all his experiences since! So here is to Andreas, my blue eyed, blonde friend, “Thanks for being such a great sport and letting me play with all your toys and animals. Thanks for sharing your world and never asking anything back. But above all thanks for being a bud!”

So tell me your story. Did you have a friend who had a toy that you envied?

add your November NaBloPoMo posts

Prose Poetry: Under my Skin

Prose poetry at a glance: A prose poem is any piece of verse written using the normal typography of prose, while maintaining elements of poetry, like rhythm, imagery, metaphors etc. Here is my contribution.

Under my skin:

She has a tendency to get under my skin. I try to shroud myself under the cloak of propriety. But she spots me. Ushers me to the coffee shop and calls out for “A tall Blonde with milk and Dostoevsky”. Then devours a donut and washes it down with Milton. Her words sizzle like ice on embers of coal and I vaporize like a puff of black magic. The book club was just an excuse. She has infected me like a parasite and spread irreversibly through my blood. Then slapping Dostoevsky on the table she says, “Pain is all pervasive. Love is redemption”.


Schön macher, Schnell macher


I was only six years old when my parents moved to Frankfurt, Germany. We spent three wonderful years there and to this day I harbor memories of beautiful Germany and the friends we made. Frankfurt was a beautiful, scenic and most of all a kid friendly place.

There were government funded youth clubs for children that offered after school activities to children of all ages, called “Jungendhausen”. The aim of these youth clubs was to promote creativity, art and workmanship in children while keeping them engaged and out of trouble…I guess!

I and my sister would go there every day after school and spend hours building or “basteln”. I remember making lamps out of a ballon and paper, toys out of wood, stone and clay and much more. The hours spent in the Jungendhausen under the supervision of the teachers were the highlight of my day.

One such day I remember my teacher calling me and my sister out as “Schön macher und Schnell Macher”.

“Schön macher” in German stands for a person who does beautiful work. My sister being a perfectionist and a few years older to me had the art for chiselling wood or stone into the most artistic shapes, which is why my teacher called her “Schön macher”. I on the other hand was all about “quantity”. I did not care much for detail. The fish I carved out of limestone had a vague resemblance to a fish but could have been an eye, the dog looked more like a cat and the clay shoe house was almost falling over its side. Get the drift? The Jungendhaus had a display window to show case all the art work made by children. It is no surprise that my sister’s artwork made it into the window many a times and mine would never reach its epoch glory.

Decades later I am reminded of what my teacher said, “Schön macher und Schnell Macher”. And I wonder which is better? Is it better to be a Schön macher and spend hours laboring on a piece of writing to perfection? Or is it better to be “Schnell Macher” and churn out greater volume?

Ofcourse this brings us to the ever debated topic of Quantity versus Quality? I am a bit equivocal on the matter and believe they both have their pros and cons. For instance when it come to blessings, I would rather have more but when it comes to friends I would rather have quality.

But are the lines between the two always black and white when it comes to writing? The craft of Writing is all about writing more and writing often and more importantly: rewriting.

I guess good writing is almost like a marriage of quantity and quality. If we marry the two we would probably end up with a supermodel child called “Quan-lity”.

Quan-lity would be the art of producing high quality written material in great volume.

But that is easier said than done. How do you strike the perfect balance to achieve a piece of prose or poetry that offers unrivalled quan-lity? If you were training someone to be a better writer would you err on the side of quality or quantity? Or would you insist on finding the perfect balance. If so, how do you strike the perfect balance?


Courtesy: http://jeffreyhing.deviantart.com/art/LACMA-lamp-posts-298380841
Courtesy: http://jeffreyhing.deviantart.com/art/LACMA-lamp-posts-298380841

My mind swims with thoughts of sweet escape;
as days fuse into seasons and seasons glow like
lampposts of life. Each year these lampposts get closer,
glowing with an eerie halo of winter mist. Spring and summer
have waltzed out and fall creeps behind the curtain with tired feet.

I have stopped reading the world in rolled up newspapers,
or counting time with a cuckoo’s tick-tock, tick-tock. Even this bitter
coffee can’t do enough to wake me out my reveries. My heart is like
bees that would forever hang on to the morning, sucking the nectar of youth.
Aah youth that has escaped, like a cloud of hot steam hovering over the whining kettle.

Point Dume

photo 5
photo 3 photo 2Point Dume

You would have to know the hills
well enough to spot this dirt path
that meanders for miles across the
hills, like a dog aimlessly chasing sea
gulls in mid flight.

Even the cool breeze is drunk on sea
salt, and wears the guise of a flower
girl today who runs with her arms
stretched wide trying to catch life
with both her hands.

These hills that stand tall and erudite, these
too have known to heel obediently like the
tired, thirsty dog that heels and then leaps into
the water for a swim; they too bow down and
taper into this rocky path that meets the deep

Here everything is forever Zen. The golden
shore studded with piles of rocks like a
crowned queen languishing in her reprieve
while the waves adorn her feet with green
anklets of sea weed.

Overhead fly a poem of birds in practiced
symphony, offering a silent praise to this
prairie of priceless perfection.

Life is…

empty when full
and full when empty.
Like the chaotic symphony
of the colorless cocoon
(no larger than a thimble)
unwinding into a mile long
silken yarn.

Waiting to be woven & inked
with jacquard pots of red & gold
into a scarf that bears artistic witness
to snowy wastelands of icicled mulberry trees.
Underneath which sits a fair maiden shy of her
own reflection in the bubbling brook, spinning delicate
sighs for her lover. And around her Chinese letters
rise up in air like prayer.

Later the same scarf tied around my neck
will get caught in the brooch of your breast
pocket and endure a tiny tear
as you pull away from
my embrace.

Leaving me to wonder how many miles
of unwinding, weaving and dyeing do I have to do,
before my life is fully empty of you?



Hampi Ruins

Mouth full of air waiting to blow
a candle. Lips curled up into an “o” as if to whistle
a soft tune. Foot on the gas pedal waiting to ignite
the Chevy truck into motion. Boeing 747 hovering inches
above the ground ready to land. A Pianist about to hit the piano keys
for his first concerto. The wind about to blow off a flurry of leaves hanging
to their trees. Universe paused around us as if frozen in motion waiting for you to utter, “Yes I will”.



Bora Bora 036aJust before the celestial change of guard
the sun and moon fleetingly share
a bed in the clandestine skies,
I walk alone on the beach.

A pair of dolphins burst out from the sea
doing cart wheels like two happy six year old’s
and swim parallel to the shore
their big clown smiles drawn permanently on their faces.

I too cannot help but slip out of my adult proprieties
and find myself running and somersaulting in the sand
While the waves wash the shore and my inhibitions along.
Happiness is at once so intuitive and unassuming.

Time passed, love Lost

Bora Bora 018

Memories haunt the troubled mind,
like Shamans performing a witch dance,
Or northern lights orchestrating their macabre dance;
in shades of red, yellow and green.

Siphoning a melody out of a wordless song lost in time,
Years later, words still hanging on the tip of the tongue unconsummated,
Email still sitting on the keyboard unsent,
So many rights easily undone by one misgiving.

Flights of fancy grapple with sensibilities,
Memory perfected to provide instant gratification,
Yet browsing a photo album of time passed,
Always turns a smile upside down,

Wasteful waking hours followed by
bursts of circadian rhythm offering a surreal vision
of reality in dreams or dream like reality,
What’s real and what’s absurd?

Memories rooted in the past,
Unearthed and replanted they perish fast,
Where language fails, eyes speak volumes,
Where the brain surrenders, heart reconciles.

Richness of color, intensity of experience
A matter of personal preference
Hunt for the perfect Bloody Mary, or blessed Virgin Mary,
a matter of intrinsic spirituality.

A love once lost, Paradise never regained
All that’s left are worn out tatters of
Scattered memories pulled together
Into this unfinished rhyme.

Stay a while with me

Bora Bora 021

When I am dead my dearest,
Stay a while with me,
Dress me up as a bride,
Break open a champagne,
Throw a Big farewell party,
For I lived a long and fine life.

When I am dead my dearest,
Stay a while with me,
I will watch over you from the moon,
Where all the other angel brides be,
I will be the wind in the woods and whistle you a fine tune,
You can smell me in the Jasmine,
Or the wet moss beneath your feet,
You will find me humming in the rose buds with the golden bees,
Or giddily swimming with the fish in the pond near the cherry tree.

When I am dead my dearest,
Stay a while with me,
Plant a kiss on my lips,
Cradle me softly with your love, before you put me back to sleep,
Dim the lights my darling and sing me a soft lullaby,
When I am dead my dearest,
Do stay a while with me.

Won’t you stay a while with me?


Carlsbad - Flower fields 044Carlsbad - Flower fields 042aCarlsbad - Flower fields 024Carlsbad - Flower fields 009Carlsbad - Flower fields 017Spring

For years have I have been jailed,
Inside these walls of decorum & propriety,
Like an obedient wife,
Caught in the duality of desires & duties
Until the transgressing thoughts flew through,
The keyhole of these iron gates,
Breaking the darkness with their brilliant colors of the rainbow,
I jumped on the backs of one of these thoughts,
And flew out of my captivity,
Disrobing my cocoon like a butterfly,
Flying out into the eternal Spring of Creativity.

Weekly Photo challenge

Carlsbad - Flower fields 030aWeekly Photos: Orange 


A wintry day in school,
Learning by wrote, conformance is rule,
Everyone seems to catch on in class,
But I, who yet again forgets homework, detention alas!

At lunch I play alone,
A snow cannonball aimed for my head,
Missed by a few inches,
This whole school thing is way overblown,

Mom is in hospital,
A problem gynecological,
Should be back in a week?
She is so far, we can’t see her, nor speak.

Dad makes egg omelet yet again,
Outside snow falls thick,
Dear God, bring mommy back, Amen,
My sister breaks her tooth.

Next morning I feign sickness,
Dad is too clever to fool,
He packs us lunch and sends us off to school,
Wrapped up in woolens, snow shoes, and beanie hats.

Andrea is my only friend,
I walk with my head down; won’t confide nor vent,
It’s been longer than a week, why won’t she come back?
I take my itchy beanie hat, and stomp all over it.

Back at home Dad looks happy and bemused,
My teacher called to complain,
But he has better News,
Mom is coming back home tomorrow!

Why is it…?

Embed from Getty Images

Why have we studied the cosmic skies for Ages?
Yet we know so little?
Why do we try to clone man and play God?
Yet we have no cure for common cold?
Why is that we worry about Extra Terrestrials?
Yet we don’t know our next door neighbor?
Why is that the universe is constantly expanding?
Yet our hearts fail to follow?
Why is it that science claims to have all answers?
Yet it has none for how man was made?
Why is it that we study the seasons, the weather and tides?
Yet we cannot control our own mind?
Why is it that each year we think we grow wiser?
Yet life raises more questions than it answers?
Why is that we question, wonder and expostulate?
When all we have is bunch of curious questions without answers.

Killing the ANT’s

Goa ocean
Ants are the dark black insects that infest your backyard and can easily ruin your picnic plans. But far worse are the ANT’s (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that can infest one’s mind and wreak havoc to one’s mental equilibrium. The mind is a powerful place with its capacity to learn and imagine. As humans we were not born with wings and yet we fly (in planes), we were not born with gills and yet we can stay underwater (in submarines), we were not meant to scale heights yet we climb them every day (in skyscrapers). We achieve the impossible daily because we have the power to imagine, and what we can imagine we can achieve.

It is this power of imagination that can be our biggest friend and foe. Sometimes the brain can go off-track and start imagining situations that are destructive and hurt our ability to keep a positive mental attitude. Over the years, we all accumulate baggage from our past experiences. These experiences were meant to teach us a lesson, but some of us find it hard to forgive ourselves and others for the pain and anguish such experiences may have caused. The more we ponder on these negative incidents the more negative experiences we attract in our lives.

The value of having a positive mental attitude is not unknown to anyone. “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrnes is full of positive advice on the law of attraction and positive thinking and has sold 19 million copies for a reason.

Why do we continue to fall into our old ways of negative thinking?

Unfortunately, Automatic Negative thoughts invade our mind and create a toxic environment for positivity and creativity to breed. Like the ants that infest the backyard, they build colonies and breeding grounds of negativity. Because these thought processes are so automatic it is hard to control them. What’s more they come in armies and work incessantly to eating the mind from the inside out. Just allowing one negative thought is enough to open the floodgates to the whole entire army.

While difficult, we can kill the ANT’s with a few simple, albeit repetitive strategies. Unfortunately, these strategies have to be repetitive until we have achieved a place in our mind where negativity completely eludes us. Until then, try these simple strategies to stop the ANT’s from taking over your mind.

Awareness: The beginning to any change in life is always at the same place: awareness. Becoming aware of one’s own thoughts is crucial. It is easy to get carried away and ruminate in negative thoughts instead check yourself the moment a negative emotion comes to mind. Try to create a mental or a physical check like pinching yourself the moment you notice you are on negative thought pattern.

Kill negative emotions with positive ones: I find that the easiest way to kill a negative emotion is to imagine a positive one. Some people even suggest thinking of seven good things the moment a negative emotion hits the mind. I don’t know the significance of the number seven here, because as far as I am concerned I can barely think of three before my negative thought pattern is already broken. Positive thoughts can include; thinking of a small achievement, or a time in your life when you were perfectly happy, or even thinking of someone you love. If that does not work, try sending your loved one positive mental vibes. Nothing is a bigger boost of positivity than knowingly doing something good for a loved one.

Stay Busy: An empty mind is often the devil’s workshop. ANT’s usually strike the empty mind. I find that keeping myself mentally challenged helps me stay positive. Hans Urs von Balthasar said, “What you are born with is God’s gift to you, what you make of yourself is your gift to God.” I interpret this saying as the ability to continually challenge one to do better, achieve more and improve one’s mental and physical prowess. Staying busy with work and hobbies are keys to improving one’s own self respect and positive mental attitude.

Having goals: Having a set of clearly defined goals is imperative to achieving success. Some people never even make goals. It is hard to get to your destination if you don’t know your destination in the first place? If you don’t have strong goals in life then it is never too late. Start now and start small. “Losing 10 pounds by summer” is as equally an acceptable goal as is, “Writing a book in two years.” Goals give us motivation to work hard towards a destination. So even if you haven’t reached your goal of losing 10 pounds by summer, you may well be headed in the right direction. So what if you have only lost five pounds and started eating healthy? You are half way to achieving your goal. High Five!

Meditating: Some people find meditation to be extremely therapeutic in order to come to terms with one’s own negative emotions of hurt and neglect. Personally, I find it hard to meditate. Yet I do achieve a meditation like state when I do yoga, write or paint. If you are like me and find it hard to meditate, then maybe there is something you enjoy doing that gives you peace of mind?

Gratitude: Being grateful for the friends and family in our life gives us an opportunity to ponder on what we have versus what we are missing. And while it is important to be grateful for the joy others bring to our lives, it is equally important to be grateful to our own self. Too often in order to achieve our dreams we play it too hard on our self. Constantly berating our self if we fail or miss even a small deadline. The body we take for granted is actually on loan to us and will eventually be taken away. Be grateful for it. Be grateful also for the mind that has given us so many astounding qualities and abilities to write, read, learn, sing, paint, dance and so forth. Remember, what we feel inside we project outside.

Constant Self improvement should be a never ending goal in life. Killing the ANT’s and creative a positive mental attitude creates an environment for peace, happiness and continuous self improvement.

Inspired By Daily Post

Cinderella: A snobbish rant on a favorite fairytale

Believe me, I am not against the idea of fairy tales. There is nothing better than a heart warming fairy tale read over bed time with a glass of warm milk and chocolate cookies. However, as times change so should the depiction of popular characters in fairy tales and Children’s stories. Children have a strongly receptive mind and childhood is the best time to bolster their mind with powerful thoughts.

I feel some of our fairy tales like “Cinderella” need to be updated to mirror the modern times. “Wishing” for things does not make dreams come true. While fairy tale stories are great to read and watch, life is about planning and hard work. Waiting for a “hero” figure does not help. Being a woman, I cannot help but be completely in awe of other women who manage to achieve so much every day! These women wear so many hats (that of a mother, wife, daughter and a career woman) and march on tirelessly… Woman today have come such a long way from the hapless Cinderella who indeed had no option than to wait for a Prince Charming to come and rescue her from her evil Step Mother and Step Sisters. Why wait for poor Prince charming to fight off the evil trio, he probably has his own daemons to fight. We have to take the reins of our life in our own hands, and march on. Here is a new glimpse to the Cinderella story. Hope you like it?


Who was Cendrillon?
A beautiful girl with two step-sisters and a step-mom?
The girl who lost her glass slipper only to have the prince slip it on,
And sweep her off her feet, amidst celebration and aplomb?

Was she a princess, or just a girl next door?
Was she a soul perfect and pure?
Known as Cinderella, Cenerentola, Aschenputtel, another name that girls adore,
Or just a childish fable that somehow times did endure?

People need a reason to believe,
Cinderella; not a person but a belief so deep,
That good will win over evil; a hope so primeval,
That Life should have a meaning; as you sow, so shall you reap.

Elders have a way to instill; morals that they shall themselves not follow,
A way to nurture young to do good, not by choice but fear,
Stories of hardship and ensuing grandeur; promises empty & hollow,
Cinderella; more than a bedside story, she is the carrot that a mare endear

If I had a daughter, I would teach her to fight,
Stand up for herself, and for those who won’t,
Waiting for a fairy godmother, or a prince to rescue, is a sad plight,
The days of Cinderella are old school, I shall teach mine to test their own might!

Getty & More 064Inspired by Daily Post

5 simple tips to writing great dialogue

While Fiction may imitate life, life rarely imitates Fiction. This may be the reason that while Fiction is close to reality, it is never “reality-like”. This difference between fact and fiction is most palpable in the dialogues exchanged between characters in Fiction, versus those in real life by real people. Here is a list of some interesting observations and classic dialogues, highlighting these differences.

(A Statutory Warning: Please read these dialogues at your own Risk, as exposure to them may cause sudden spikes in Intellect, reasoning, humor and wit.)


Picture Retrieved from: (http://www.picstopin.com/674/shrek-dragon-donkey-image-search-results)

1)      It is never ok to make small talk

All Dialogues in fiction have to have a purpose, even if it is a seemingly senseless banter between two bums, as is the case in the play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett. In real life; people talk, chatter, chit-chat, gab, prattle, blather, babble, blabber… endlessly without any specific purpose in mind. But in Fiction even idle talk has a purpose to serve; building character, plot, background or merely adding humor. In this example the constant babble by the Donkey in SHREK (2001), is not just amusing but also builds up the Donkey’s playful character in sharp contrast to the more goal-oriented Shrek.

DONKEY:  Hi, Princess!

PRINCESS:  It talks!

SHREK:  Yeah, it’s getting him to shut up that’s the trick.

2)      It’s ok not to waste time with curtsies.

Characters in fiction are always too busy to bother with curtsies. The heroes are busy being heroic and the anti-heroes are energetically being mean and crude. But they all come straight to the point without wasting precious little time with curtsies such as “hi”, “hello”, and “how are you?” Take for instance this conversation from CASABLANCA, written by Julius & Philip Epstein & H. Koch.  In this scene, Ferrari (Sidney Greenstreet) is the owner of the rival Blue Parrot café in Casablanca and wants Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart) café.

FERRARI: (to RICK) I would like to buy your café.

RICK:  It’s not for sale.

FERRARI:  You haven’t heard my offer.

RICK:  It’s not for sale at any price.

(FERRARI looks at SAM the piano player)

FERRARI:  What do you want for Sam?

RICK:  I don’t buy or sell human beings.

FERRARI:  Too bad.  That’s Casablanca’s leading commodity.

Notice that Ferrari does not waste time and jumps straight to his true ulterior motive, “I would like to buy your café”. How often are you likely to approach your favorite café owner with that line? And more importantly, how likely are you to leave in one-piece if you did?

Even with the scrawny dialogue above, the author exhibits all the elements of a well written dialogue; character and relationship building, denouement of plot and element of conflict. Fiction means Business. It’s kind of like the going-out sale signs saying, “Everything must go” only instead it is “Everything must add up …to the plot that is!

Notice the dialogue sneakily establishes not only the relationship between Ferrari and Rick but also classifies the time period it is set in. Clearly the story is set in a time, where slavery was a norm. This is evident by Ferrari’s second more offensive question, “What do you want for Sam?” From the dialogue above we get the sense that Ferrari is a capital scoundrel and a brute, without the writer ever having to state it.

Read the same conversation below with a slight but notable modification (I added some basic curtsies to emulate real life.)

Ferrari approached Rick with a cigarette in his mouth and said “Hey Rick. How are you doing?”

Rick responded casually, “I am fine. And you? How is business?”

FERRARI dropped the cigarette on the floor, stubbed it with his foot and added, “Its fine. But it will be better once I buy your café.”

RICK responded instantly, “Who told you, my café is for sale?”

Did I lose you by the first line? Notice that while the dialogue above may resonate reality more, it just is not exciting enough due to all the dialogue tags and mundane curtsies.

3)      It’s not just ok, but even cool to be rude

In fiction it is ok for the actor to lack politeness or sentiment, as depicted by the “Tarantino-esque” or the “hard-boiled” dialogue style so famous in Hollywood. Caution if you are a real person in real life, this style may cause you to lose a lot of friends and gain some nasty enemies.

Bogart’s remark here is reminiscent of the hard-boiled dialogue style made famous by THE MALTESE FALCON written by Dashiell Hammett & John Huston:

 BOGART:  We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’Shaughnessy.  We believed your two hundred dollars.

In Fiction the tough characters are always spontaneous and say it “like it is”. In the TV series MASH, by Larry Gelbart etc., there were many instances of sharing bad news without cushioning the blow, as seen from this dialogue:

FRANK BURNS:  Why does everyone take an instant dislike to me?

TRAPPER JOHN:  It saves time, Frank.

In this example from Cheers, James Burrow packs the mirth with this quick repartee from Norm.

WOODY:  Can I pour you a draft, Mr. Peterson?

NORM:  A little early, isn’t it Woody?

WOODY:  For a beer?

NORM:  No, for stupid questions.

Yet again, I am not sure how many of us “tough” folks know our servers well enough to get away with saying something like that?

4)      Its ok to preach as long as no expects it of you:

Fiction makes some of the profoundest observation about life in the form of “one-liners” and puts them in the mouth of characters least likely to make a statement so profound.

Nobody gives better advise on getting out of a jam, than the least likely character; a blue fish with serious memory issues: Dory.

DoryPicture and quote from http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2013/06/26/the-best-dory-quotes/

Dory gives her classic one-liner advice in FINDING NEMO (2003), “When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming”.

In Kung Fu Panda (2008), Po is contemplating whether he should quit Kung Fu and go back to his Dad’s business or not.

Po: Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.

Oogway: Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) in FORREST GUMP (1994) says of life, “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” While I agree the words are attributed to Forrest’s mother but Forrest Gump gets to quote them!

Rosalind Russel(Picture Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm460625920/nm0751426?ref_=nm_ov_ph)

Mame (Rosalind Russel) in Auntie Mame (1958), who leads a flamboyant, extravagant life, makes the most poignant statement about poverty and life with, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”

In the lines below, it is not the quick witted Tintin that comes up with these forewarning words about failing, but the mostly drunk Captain Haddock.


(Picture from: http://www.impawards.com/2011/adventures_of_tintin_the_secret_of_the_unicorn_ver4.html)

Tintin: We failed.
Captain Haddock: Failed. There are plenty of others willing to call you a failure. A fool. A loser. A hopeless souse. Don’t you ever say it of yourself. You send out the wrong signal, that is what people pick up. Don’t you understand? You care about something, you fight for it. You hit a wall, you push through it. There’s something you need to know about failure, Tintin. You can never let it defeat you.

5)      It’s ok to make long winded soliloquy under certain special circumstances:

In Fiction, it is ok for the character to make a long–winded soliloquy, as long as they have had an epiphany about the chief motive behind the plot, as is evident from this classic example from WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989) by Nora Ehpron:

 HARRY:  I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out.  I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich.  I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts.  I love that after I spend day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes.  And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.  And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve.  I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Shakespeare was particularly good at climactic speeches, as shown in this memorable one that ends MACBETH.  MACBETH makes this speech just after hearing of Lady Macbeth’s death, where he realizes the futility of life and all his wrong actions.

 MACBETH:  Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death.  Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more; it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

In conclusion, I will summarize that while Fiction is sympathetic to many a foibles such as being rude, omitting basic curtsies, preaching, it leaves no white space for meaningless small talk that does “not add up”! Let me end my list of classic dialogues by quoting one of Ben Kingsley in Schindler’s List (by Thomas Kineally & Steve Zaillian).

BEN KINGSLEY:  “The list is life…”


“…Yeah, it’s getting him to shut up that’s the trick…” Retrieved from:  http://www.hark.com/clips/qlbxjxczrm-its-getting-him-to-shut-up-thats-the-trick (accessed February 27. 2014)

“Casablanca quotes. Movie Quotes Database. Retrieved from: http://www.moviequotedb.com/movies/casablanca/ratings/page_3.html| (accessed February 27. 2014)

“We didn’t exactly believe your story…”. Retrieved From: http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/Maltese_Falcon.pdf |(accessed February 27. 2014)

“what is a good MASH quote/ChaCha.” Retrieved from:  http://www.chacha.com/question/what-is-a-good-mash-quote (accessed February 27. 2014)

“Quotes and Wit.” Retrieved from:  http://dreamblvr.com/quotes.htm| (accessed February 27. 2014)

Best movie quotes of 1998 – Movie mistakes goofs, bloopers… Retrieved from:  ”http://www.moviemistakes.com/best1988/quotes” (accessed February 27. 2014)

The Best Dory quotes. Retrieved from: http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2013/06/26/the-best-dory-quotes/| (accessed February 27. 2014)

“Quit, Don’t Quit…”. Retrieved from: http://www.hark.com/clips/jclyylrvvj-quit-dont-quit-noodles-dont-noodles|(accessed February 27. 2014)

The Adventures of Tintin (2011) – Quotes – IMDB- Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0983193/quotes| (accessed February 27. 2014)

“Quote #39” From When Harry met Sally…| Movie Quotes online.Retrieved from: ”http://www.moviequotesonline.net/quote-39-from-when-harry-met-sally| (accessed February 27. 2014)

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” Retrieved from:  http://pettypace.org/| (accessed February 27. 2014)


Time 333

Daily Prompt: Don’t you forget about me!

Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us LEGACY.


Instead of falling in love, let me rise

Instead of craving riches, let me share mine,

If I lose my way and stray, take me back to whence I started,

For to trace back one’s way, is not time lost, as long as it is a lesson learned in time.

If I fall far and deep, then let me have the courage to believe,

Climbing back up may be hard, but it’s a journey worthwhile,

Every fall that hurts, hurts more only because you survive,

May I never leave sight of those and that which is dear,

May I have the fortitude for truth and reality to endure,

And when a countless stars are breaking in the summer skies,

Let me bask in their divine glory, coy but demure.

Above all I pray to be carefree and happy;

To give more than I receive, to love more than be loved,

So when my time is up, let upon my tombstone be writ,

Here lies the girl who once truly lived.

11 rules to live by for guaranteed success

Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or goal. Whatever our aims are, completion of these gives us a sense of fulfillment, accomplishment and happiness. We all know success is neither easy nor guaranteed, yet we are surprised when our best efforts are not rewarded with the level of success we dreamed of.

Is there a formula to guarantee success?

As it happens, for anything to flourish we must create an environment for it. For instance if we wish to grow a plant, we need to provide it a combination of sun, air, water and soil, or else the plant will perish.

Looking at it from another context, if we were to say bake a cake, we must first collect and mix all the ‘right’ ingredients (flour, milk, eggs, baking powder, sugar, essence) in the ‘right’ proportions. We then have to bake this concoction at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time.

If anyone of you (like myself) has persevered to bake the perfect cake but fallen short of expectations, then take a look at the list of ingredients I have put forth below. If you missed even a single one of them, then you found your missing Ingredient!

Secrets to SuccessIngredient Number One: Inspiration/Dreams/Motivation

For any change to happen the level of our effort has to be strong. But what drives effort? As it seems the stronger our dreams the stronger are our efforts. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.

Context: Baking a cake will take some effort. It is important to be clear on the motivation behind this effort, or why do it? Your motivation may be as simple as you wanting to eat a cake. But why chose to bake one, why not just buy one at the grocery store, which will definitely be easier and faster? Motivation is what will drive your efforts, without which your project may fail half way; losing steam.

Ingredient Number two: Hard Work

This is no secret. Success takes a lot of effort, even for those who are naturally endowed. Beethoven’s 9th symphony took him many years in the making. Leonardo Da Vinci spent four years to create his masterpiece: Mona Lisa. It took Shah Jahan ten years to build the Taj Mahal. Einstein once said, “Genius is 1% talent, and 99% hard work”.

Efforts must be consistent, persistent, proactive, and energetic to be successful. What’s more one may need to try and try again until one succeeds. Urban legend has it,that it took Thomas Edison a thousand unsuccessful attempts before he successfully created the light bulb.

Context: Baking a cake is no easy effort. If you are worried about the hard work, then go buy a cake. Baking will require a lot of work from assembling the ingredients, mixing them together, baking and then cleaning up the mess, before you are able to even enjoy the first bite. The effort will be well worth it, but be fully prepared to make it.

Ingredient Number three: Focus

The truth is hard work without focus will never yield desired results. Alexander Graham Bell said, “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

Context: Baking is all about the right proportions and timing. If while baking a cake, you get distracted and add too much of milk or too little eggs, your cake will not come out light and fluffy.  Single minded focus on the work at hand, yields definite success.

Ingredient Number four: Tools & Techniques

Work Smart not just hard. Utilizing Tools and techniques not only includes utilizing the “right” ones, but also includes improving the ones you have and improvising what you don’t.

Context: You may wish to use an egg beater for instance to whip up the egg or mix the ingredients together nicely, thus saving yourself time while making sure the batter is of a perfect consistency.

Ingredient Number five : Goals

For any task to be successful, you must have SMART goals. This means your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. Breaking goals into smaller bite size pieces is also helpful.

Context: You must know for instance what kind of a cake you want: chocolate, vanilla or carrot cake? This would drive the ingredients that you assemble as well as the method you use to bake it. You may also want to break your ultimate goal into smaller achievable goals such as making the base, making the frosting, decorating etc.

Ingredient Number six: Support group

A strong, equally determined support group can make all the difference between failure and success. Remember you don’t want false adulation, you want constructive criticism.

Context: Baking a cake is fun if you can bake with a friend. Or if you can share notes and tips with your friends. This will help both of you improve your baking skills in the long run. Agreed?

Ingredient Number seven: Effectiveness

I feel this is a very important ingredient to success. While many people work hard and persevere, few are effective. The secret to being effective is to constantly monitor results, critically assess ones failures and successes, learn from mistakes, and to continually revise and update one’s plan. “What has worked well in the past”? “What can I do better in the future”?

Context: When you bake a cake, you may want to taste the batter to make sure it is not too bland or too sweet, or frequently check the cake is not burning.

Ingredient Number eight: Pray/Believe

While luck favors those who work hard, it also helps those who believe. Prayers come a long way in helping us keep our faith during difficult times. I believe Rick Warren (spiritual author) says it best when he says, “The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.”

Context: Before you even bake a cake, you must believe in yourself. You may never have baked a cake before, but to try it for the first time, you must have faith in your own success.

Ingredient Number nine: Set Milestone

Setting Milestones helps one check one’s progress. Create frequent check points and set deadlines. These keep us on track.

Context: You may want to create Milestones such as, buying ingredients, creating the batter, making the icing and so forth. It helps breaking a large task into manageable chunks while also making sure we are not forgetting something, or running out of time.

Ingredient Number ten: Creativity

Creative people will find new and innovative ways to doing the same things. Creativity includes thinking outside the box and constantly reinventing oneself and one’s art.

Context: This is what will make your cake stand out. Go ahead whip out a nice design with colored icing or try baking a multi-layered cake.

Ingredient Number eleven: Just Chill!

If you have done everything that you needed to do, and you have done it to the best of your ability, then just sit back and relax. Leave the rest to rest. Obsessing over something or the past only takes away from the joy of achieving it.

Also learn to celebrate smaller successes while continuing to endeavor for the big enchilada!

Oprah Winfrey has famously said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate!”


Context: You put in all the effort to bake a cake. The cake is now ready. It’s now time to sit back and enjoy the labors of love. Go ahead take that first bite, dig into the sweetness of your cake. Feel the chocolate melt into your mouth (assuming it is a chocolate cake). This is the reward of your hard work, be proud of it. And chill!

Inspired by Daily Post: Ingredients


World’s Best Teleportation Device

Plane travel is overrated. In today’s world where time is the only exhaustible, non-renewable resource, plane travel offers an archaic sub-standard mode of transportation.

For one thing, you are subjected to a long and painful journey sitting in a cramped up space, eating unwholesome food and breathing the same recycled air for hours on a stretch. Not to mention, the absolute drudgery one has to endure before you even embark the plane; beating crowds at the airport, standing at the check-in line, going through a tooth cavity security check. I prefer getting my teeth drilled over traveling in a plane. It really takes something away from the joy of your vacation, won’t you agree?

Given magical Engineering skills, I would invest my time in building a teleportation device that allows one to teleport anywhere in the world within a matter seconds.

J.K. Rowling offers a second-rate “apparition” and “disapparation” method in the Harry Potter book series, allowing wizards to appear and disappear as needed. But why should wizards have all the fun? Yes I know, she clearly favors the Wizards.

Douglas Adam’s solution to teleportation in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” may be a bit less partial, but it is below average as well. The idea of having to rip one’s atoms in one place, only to put them back together somewhere else, does not excite me.

Christopher Priest in his Novel, “The Prestige”, is getting closer to my idea, with the teleportation machine Tesla builds. But it is too darn dramatic for my style.

Remember that Aladdin’s lamp that allowed Aladdin to transport himself from China to Morocco and back, with the entire Royal Palace? Now that’s what I am talking about! Traveling in style!

My solution in comparison would be cutting edge without requiring you to splinch, deatomize or suck your breath inside a weird teleportation machine. You program this widget identifying the exact location of your choice (like you would on a GPS) and it takes you there, complete with your family and your home, if you so choose. Eureka.

Clearly, the modern day airlines will be out of business as soon as my device is out. But it will allow millions of people around the world to be able to reunite with their loved ones within a fraction of seconds. Giving millions of busy professionals a chance to rekindle their love life. Imagine if you could travel from LA to Australia within a fraction of a second, spend a dreamy weekend with your partner and be back in time to go to work on Monday. Would you not want to do it?

No more jet lag, no more cramped seats or eating bad plane food. Come to think of it, who would need cars? Just teleport yourself to work and back.  This device would resolve modern day issues such as lack of time, bad traffic and pollution by the click of a button.

Maybe the next sequel would include a teleportation device that can teleport you to a different space in time, or a different galaxy? Meanwhile don’t forget to sign up in the comments section below, for a free ride. Remember it’s a limited time offer.

Happy Teleporting!



An egocentric view of Art and Life

U Be Cute is barely a month old, and I am already fully “sucked-in” as a blogger. I confess that means visiting my blog 25 times a day just to check if I got a new ‘like’ and or a ‘comment’. Which is sad, because I barely get about 5 ‘likes’ a day (if I am lucky), which is only a 20% rate of return on my obsessive labors. Yet, something about the little “call-out” button turning orange, sets my heart fluttering (especially since it happens so rarely). This is a feeling only other debutante bloggers such as myself will appreciate.

Likes & Comments

If you are one of those bloggers who gets 50 or more ‘likes’ on one Post alone, then you are way beyond fully appreciating that first lonely “like” that can completely transform your day. I feel like Meg Ryan (Aka ‘shopgirl’) in “You’ve Got Mail” who gets elated every time she sees an email from Tom Hanks (“NY151”). For those of you born in or after 1990, ignore that analogy, this movie is prehistoric for you.

My new obsession with getting “likes”, stems from the fact that all through my growing years; I was never hugely popular.  And by “hugely popular” I really mean “remotely popular”. I still only have a few close friends, with emphasis being on “few”, who somehow have the heart to stay friends, despite my many incoherent egocentric ramblings about how “I perceive the world” or “What I think”.

Egocentric ramblings…Does that make me an egocentric? Sure.

The truth is all human beings are egocentric to some degree.  Yes even YOU.

Despite the negative connotations around the word, “egocentrism” is not entirely an undesirable trait. Egocentrism allows us the privilege to perceive the world as we do, and to believe our perception is correct. In that respect all artists are essentially egocentric. Art in its simplest form is nothing if not an expression of how one perceives the world.

Art in all its forms; painting, sculpture, photography, prose, poetry is an exhibition of “life” not “as it is” but “as perceived” by the artist. The mere process of capturing life in some ways colors it.

For example, ask a bunch of students to photograph an object say: a fruit basket. It is very likely that every student will present the artwork differently, possibly adding different angles, colors, effects, lighting and so forth, so much so that in the end, what you see is not the fruit basket but the author’s perception of the fruit basket. This difference is only more enhanced if the students are to hand draw the objects.

Given below are some pictures I took of the same object, but changed the angle, focus, exposure slightly. The result is that the same inanimate object can appear so different, giving the viewer an altered experience of the object. May it be noted, that I am deliberately using photographs not hand drawn paintings, since photography is said to capture reality more closely than paintings. The central premise of this experiment is to prove that even a slight change of angle, focus by even a debutante photographer (myself) can make a big difference to how the same object is presented.

Is art necessarily beautiful or perfect? While a lot of people believe that art is a celebration of beauty, I disagree. Art is an imitation of life and life is neither beautiful nor perfect, it just is. What makes Art so unique is that it is innately flawed. Art is flawed because it imitates life which is full of flaws and also because the eyes that perceive it retain their own version of reality (which to some degree is less than reality).

The reason why Art is unique, interesting and timeless is not because it is a perfect imitation of life but because it is an egocentric perception of life by the author and in that it is both unique and flawed.

For how else how can commonplace topics such as love, jealousy, marriage, fear, pain still be the centrifugal themes of literature, despite having been talked about for centuries? The reason being, that every single author took the same theme but presented it in a different color, angle, context and light thus offering it unique and still relevant.

Writing is less about how it makes “you” the reader feel and more about how it makes “me” the writer feel. Just as creating Art is a personal experience, so also is enjoying Art a very personal experience. Which is why, different people analyse the same piece of literature differently. It does not matter what the true intent of the writer was. As long as Art causes one to think and question why things are the way they are, and what if they were different?

To me, there isn’t a single photograph or piece of work that is not artistic. If it was created by a human then the element of “perception” and “flaw” should automatically make it artistic to some degree.

What then makes certain pieces of artwork so different from the rest? Masterpieces such as Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment are definitely beautiful and profound in any language. I read the English version of the book (originally written in Russian) and cried at every single page, and still wondered how much was lost in the translation alone. Classic works of Fiction such as Emily Bronte’s, “Wuthering Heights” is as romantic today as it was when first published in 1847.  Or the unforgettable childhood that Maggie and Tom Tulliver share in “Mill in the Floss” by George Eliot is still the best testament to childhood and sibling love and rivalry today, as it was in 1860. These are just a few of the many examples to prove that while times will change, human emotions such as fear, pain, love and jealousy are and will always remain relevant as will the writer’s perceptions.

To me a well written piece of prose or poetry is like a necklace; pearl like words strung together by the central theme joined by a clasp where the beginning meets the end. Although a good piece of prose or poetry is meant to provoke deep emotions, questions, or tug at the core of one’s being, above all it is meant to simply allow the egocentric writer a channel to express. As for me just the sheer joy of seeing the little “call-out” button turn orange is incentive enough to burn the midnight oil.

Happy One month Birthday, U be Cute! 


Just Float

ImageHeavy is the rock that sinks to the bottom of the sea,

Empty is the heart that will never trust, nor believe,

Doomed is the soul that will never whistle a tune or dance in glee.

Dark is the cave where the rays of sun will never shine,

Sad is the nightingale that for her lover shall always pine.

It’s never easy to always hang on by the edge,

To have a thousand dreams and not one fulfilled,

To see the scrapbook of one’s life sitting empty by the ledge,

The person who lives the fullest, does not live in a cement moat,

For walking the safe path offers no reason to gloat,

I rather be the boy who threw off his galoshes and jumped in the sea,

He may not know have known how to swim, but he sure as hell did float.


Inspired by Weekly writing challenge