Sunday, 9 July 2017

Words, Strange & Otherwise. Part- V

I haven't written here in a long, long time. Somehow along the way #StoriesFromUrdu consumed every other writing. Today felt like a day for other people's words. Words I've collected, scribbled over, highlighted and held far too close for a while. 
These words will mean completely different things to you than they did to me. They may sting or caress, remind you of people you met in 2009 or those you're yet to meet.
Here's the game like last time: Take a life-question, think of a number between 1-20 and read the sentence against it. That's your answer which sometimes leads to questions you haven't asked yet.

I've added a link to each so you can buy the books if you like what you read. Many of these are from recent books I've read but there's also Ahmed Faraz, loved too long and understood too late, Margaret Mitchell and Rilke.

Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are here. 

*****

1. "The summer talked itself away."
~ Dylan Thomas


2.  “I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves - we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together. We are each other's destiny.” 
~Mary Oliver, Upstream: Selected Essays


3. "Why should i feel lonely? Is not our planet in the MilkyWay?"
~ Thoreau


4. " You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how."
~ Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the wind


5. “Memories are microscopic. Tiny particles that swarm together and apart. Little people, Edison called them. Entities. He had a theory about where they came from and that theory was outer space."

 ~ Jenny O'fill, Dept of Speculation


6. “Each time you happen to me all over again.” 
~ Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

(Preface from my favourite Junot Diaz's book, "This is how you lose her".)


7. “I missed her so much that I wanted to build a hundred-foot memorial to her with my bare hands. I wanted to see her sitting in a vast stone chair in Hyde Park, enjoying her view. Everybody passing could comprehend how much I miss her. How physical my missing is. I miss her so much it is a vast golden prince, a concert hall, a thousand trees, a lake, nine thousand buses, a million cars, twenty million birds and more. The whole city is my missing her.
~ Max Porter, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers


8. “Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” 
- Rilke, Letters to a young poet


9.  Ranjish hi sahi, dil hi dukhaane ke leeye aa,
   Aa phir sey mujhe chhod ke jaane ke leeye aa.

~ Ahmed Faraz (Mehdi Hassan has sung this beautiful ghazal). A rough translation:
Even if it's grief, come back to cause my heart pain,
Come back, if only to leave once again


10. “For to wish to forget how much you loved someone- and then, to actually forget- can feel, at times, like the slaughter of a beautiful bird who chose, by nothing short of grace, to make a habitat of your heart. I have heard that this paint can be converted, as it were, by accepting “the fundamental impermanence of all things.” This acceptance bewilders me: sometimes it seems an act of will; at others, of surrender. Often I feel myself to be rocking between them (seasickness).”
~ Maggie Nelson, Bluets.


11. “I wish we could spend July by the sea, browning ourselves and feeling water-weighted hair flow behind us from a dive. I wish our gravest concerns were the summer gnats. I wish we were hungry for hot dogs and dopes, and it would be nice to smell the starch of summer linens and the faint odor of talc in blistering summer bath houses ... We could lie in long citoneuse beams of the five o'clock sun on the plage at Juan-les-Pins and hear the sound of the drum and piano being scooped out to sea by the waves.”
~ Zelda Fitzgerald, Dear Scott Dearest Zelda


12. “Just think how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.”
~ Franz Kafka, The Complete Stories


13. She was 3/4 perfection and 1/4 broken glass.” 
 ~ Jonathan Carroll


14. "When she shall die,
Take her and cut her out in little stars,
And she will make the face of heaven so fine,
That all the world will be in love with the night
And pay no worship to the garish sun."

~ Shakespeare


15.  “Here’s a word. Bereavement. Or, Bereaved. Bereft. It’s from the Old English bereafian, meaning ‘to deprive of, take away, seize, rob’. Robbed. Seized. It happens to everyone. But you feel it alone. Shocking loss isn’t to be shared, no matter how hard you try.”
~ Helen Macdonald, H Is for Hawk


16. "Some people change. Kids you knew at school became investment bankers of bankruptcy specialists (failed). They fatten and they bald and somewhere you get the sense that they must have devoured the child they once were, eaten themselves bit by bit, mouthful by mouthful, until nothing is left of the smart, optimistic dreamer you knew when you were young."
~ Neil Gaiman, The View from the cheap seats


17. “If there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it walls, and we will furnish it with soft, red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweller's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does.”
~ Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated


18. “She remembered reading somewhere that even after people died, their hair and nails kept growing. Like starlight, traveling through the universe long after the stars themselves had died. Like cities. Fizzy, effervescent, simulating the illusion of life while the planet they had plundered died around them.

She thought of the city at night, of cities at night. Discarded constellations of old stars, fallen from the sky, rearranged on earth in patterns and pathways and towers.”
~ Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness


19. “Dolphins, I learned from J. Worden of the Harvard Child Bereavement Study at Massachusetts General Hospital, had been observed refusing to eat after the death of a mate. Geese had been observed reacting to such a death by flying and calling, searching until they themselves became disoriented and lost.”
~ Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking


20. "This life is not the first time you and I have experienced each other. We have been here before, but we have not learned, from past experiences, that much of life defies explanation and control, that life always offers a second chance and that the world existed before us and will continue to exist after us."
~ Devdutt Patnaik, My Gita



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Raqs ~ Stories From Urdu

Raqs
(Urdu; Dance)


The sky is laundry clean blue, all stains of yellow curry from the day now scrubbed out.
The air is an assault of scents; from the freshly wet earth, the mobs of spring flowers and favourite, local deep fried snacks.
Dogs violently shaking their bodies around every street corner, as the calls to prayer are almost set in beat to the smash of raindrops against car roofs.

The evening just turned into a party.
RSVP. ~hyperbolemuch.blogspot

(Full disclosure: I wrote this yesterday (or was it two nights ago?) when it was raining and beautiful outside. Maybe posting it now will make it rain again. A girl can hope. Saving my crazy rain dance for when things are rougher. #TropicalRainBaby) #Urdu#hyperbolemuch. Watch the video here.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Fursat ~ Stories From Urdu


Fursat
(Urdu; leisure/ at rest)


All of June spent at my grandmother's house where the sun stretched its legs straight across her veranda and I lay on my stomach eating too-ripe mangoes, reading Russian folktales of 14 year old Tzars who forgot to go to war because they were playing chess with their friends.


~hyperbolemuch.blogspot.com (Thinking of my Nani 🏡 and days of rich nothingness. Watch the video here).

Friday, 12 May 2017

Rutba ~ Stories From Urdu

Rutba
(Urdu; Distinction/ Rank)


He's awake before the milkman arrives.
Squatting low, with shoes between his knees and an old,tired cloth now squeaking in protest.
His mother's affectionate pat disturbs the hair part he's carefully aligned using a comb and the straight edge of a protractor. "Smile baby", she says as she waves at his bus with her floral nightie flapping in the wind and her hair sticking up and out.
He sighs softly.

She would never have become Class Monitor of 5-B with that casual attitude. ~hyperbolemuch.blogspot.com (Watch the video here).