Welcome to my A-Z 2018, for which I am revisiting Africa, the continent of my childhood and my dreams. The posts are, as always, infoheavy and opinionated, but they are sectioned off - some music, the day’s topic, couple writers, a slideshow from the safaris – plenty ways to cherry-pick. So you may consume just as much, or as little, as you're cool with. Zero obligation to agree with any of my views either, feel free to air yours :)

Monday, 28 March 2016

Before the beginning of April, there came to the making of this woman...In praise of the A-Z






For the past week, I have been too taken up transitioning from a pantser to a planner in the terminal stages of control freakery, and also been up and down and sideways on the theme reveal list, so there's no fresh, smoking, write-it-as-it-comes poetry here today.  For all I know the verses might have come and banged the door down and biffed me a solid one on the back of my head.  But I was too busy to notice, too busy being astounded at the sheer variety of subjects that people choose to blog about – from ancestors to living on a yacht to a wishlist of cities to maths and mythology and metals and alloys that changed the world, I mean wow! It’s a *&^%£@# education, the A-Z is! Incidentally, if you're looking for my theme reveal it's right here.


And in the middle of reading 541 blogs, of which I managed to cover right upto 520, a bolt from the blue! (Some were dud links; some forgot to post the reveal altogether; some warned me off with those skull and crossbones virus alert symbols; and I avoided the AC, because censorship is major where I am, and the definition of what is permissible and what is not is mind boggling!) Seriously chuffed with what I managed to read of the theme reveal,  as I did set myself the goal of covering more than I have done in the previous years.


But for the actual challenge, where all anyone has is one day per letter, and about three times as many blogs, I can tell you right NOW what I am NOT going to do. If I land on your site and can't see your A-Z post right away, I am NOT going to scroll around forever.  If I land on your blog, and am faced with five little cutesy boxes before I can get to the posts, I am NOT going to wait for them to gently implode and let me in. Out in a jiffy, that's me. Same goes for comment boxes and buttons that are AWOL, or have the verification on.  (And what's with these teeny-tiny thumbnails of grass and water anyways?! Not easy on my terrible eyesight!) I am by nature a pathological non-commenter/avid lurker, so you give me an excuse to scoot right out without commenting, you know what's going to happen, right? Yup, out in a jiffy.  


On the other hand, the length of your posts is NOT going to faze me one bit, you can write upto a picture's worth of words, and if you grab my interest I will read to the end, and if your comment button is visible, I will comment if I can, because I am conflicted like that. For the duration of the A-Z, I am absolutely willing to give up my silent lurker persona. I have every intention of returning every comment made here. Please do unto me as you would have me do unto you - leave me your link when you comment. This post tells you how to create a signature for your blog.


Credit




Okay, back to the topic at hand - the bolt from the blue. In the middle of all that reading frenzy, the Bangla-mania struck again, uff uff uff. Not that I gave in or anything, no way.  I have last minute tweaks on my A-Z posts still.  But it did lead to a new Bengali book idea, a brainwave inspired by a combo of the A-Z theme reading and a casual suggestion a blogger friend once made here yonks ago.  


I have, right from the first time I participated, held that the A-Z benefits me in ways most unpredictable and hard to imagine, and to pinpoint. And the Challenge hasn’t even begun yet!! How far beyond cracking cool is that?? 





Not posted for the A-Z, but still besotted with it! 






Monday, 21 March 2016

A-Z Challenge Theme Reveal










Poetry in some form or other, of course.  That goes without saying.  Incapable of thinking beyond poetry for a theme. This year it's going to be Light n Limerick-y.  

Monday, 14 March 2016

কোথাও আমার ভালবাসার নেই মানা









তখনো জানি না চলে যেতে হবে তোমাকেও ফেলে, সব ছেড়ে -
সেই মোহানার ঘন নীল জল, ছোট লাল আলোকস্তম্ভটি  কিছু দুরে,
অসীম ধৈর্যশালী,  ছিপ হাতে অচেনা মানুষের সারি, পাথুরে
দেয়ালে পিঠ ঘষে বেড়াল, ক্ষুদ্র সাদা নৌকো, যাকে গাঙচিলে ঘেরে,


মনে হত সব আপন, আপন করার জন্যেই  ঠেলছে আমাকে।
সমগ্র পৃথিবী, সারা মহাদেশ, মরুভূমি চিরে নদ; বালির ভাঁজ
বাতাসে বিক্ষিপ্ত করে বটে, তাও যা সে মুছে ফেলে, দরাজ
হাতে লিখে দেয়  আবার। অন্নে, ফলে, পথে, নাকি নাম লেখা থাকে?


জেনেছি এখন, অবশেষে, খুঁজেপেতে, নষ্ট করে বহু সময়
তোমার গ্রামের পথে, খালপাড়ে, যেখানে বসন্তে কৃশকায় কিশোর
সবুজ ঘুড়ির পিছনে ছোটে, কষ্টে চলে একটি গাড়ি বড়জোর,
সে পথের বাঁকে বা নুড়িতে যে নাম লেখা আছে সে নাম আমার নয়।


তবু আমি ভালবাসি, সেই ভাঙ্গাচোরা পথ - এখনো আমার -
সবুজ ঘুড়ি ধরা থমকানো কিশোর; মরুভূমি; জল ; সেই খালপাড়।





No place that stops me from loving


I didn't know then, I'd have to leave even you, leave it all -
the deep blue estuary, the squat red lighthouse at some distance,
the endlessly patient line of unknown anglers, the seagulls' dance
around a small white craft. There a cat rubbed itself on a stone wall - 


and everything seemed mine,  as if they'd pushed me to put down roots,
the broad earth, the continent, the desert-slashing river. The folds of sand -
true, the wind scatters them, but it writes them afresh with generous
 hands.
I hear that specific names are written on roads, rice grains, and fruits?


I know this now, finally, having searched, having wasted much time -
your village track, that canal-side, where a slim boy runs for a green kite,
one car fits in max, greatly awkward, the space is way too tight,
well, the name that's written on its bends and pebbles, that's not mine. 


But still I love them, that broken track; they're still mine - that startled, 
wide-eyed
boy holding a green kite; the desert; those waters; that canal-side.









I think I just wrote my first Bengali sonnet.  Is that a life event or what?! :) And a rather rough translation for those of my blogger friends who don't speak my mother tongue.

The A-Z Theme Reveal is exactly one week away, the main A-Z event is in just over two weeks.  I have my theme ready, and some odd posts done, fewer than I would have liked. Working in Trojan mode now, this A-Z I'm going to give up my love for pantsing totally (yes I am, and I know the A-Z will help me do that, participation always leads to something useful). I need to, because I am a Ninja Minion! Anyways, I am planning to visit heaps of blogs apart from the duties too. Looking forward to the fun.  


I don't need to spell it out that writing in ye olde mother tongue is not exactly a priority right now, I spent couple days and nights maniacally writing and rhyming in Bengali when I should have known better..... no control whatsoever, sheesh! Bloody inconvenient, these insane urges. 






Monday, 7 March 2016

Blackmangled







Yes, you do not learn to write free verse
if you are used to bars, always have been -
curfews, quiet, composed, dinned rhyme words.
Freedom has rarely been dressed as a bird
in hand or bush; gnawing skies; even perched.
Annelids do not know a horizon.


The earth is scored with concentric rings
and the sky’s a terrace in azure.
The threshold’s swept, hair braided and pinned,
your fire’s just made for loving and giving
and freedom’s a crow with blackmangled wings
which hops away, and won’t come near.





Relieved to be back in usual verse mode, whew! This poem happened to waft into my brain, and I am putting it up here, though as with V-Day, it's Women's Day every single day, and Men's,  as far as I am concerned.  Happy humanity week to you!






Thursday, 3 March 2016

Nonpost slushfest




This blog is in imminent danger of degenerating into a personal slushfest. Because this entry certainly has nothing to do with poetry, imagination, or fiction, and I am not sure whether it at all fits in with the prevailing philosophy at M-i-V (all fictional stuff and please, no smartypants autobiographical snippets of wisdom, ever! Poetry is not the journal of the poet, remember?) But it’s beginning to sound just like one of those exact thingies, that comes with a moral at the tale-end. 


Last year, I found a local writers' outfit and joined up because they had a poets' group within a group, immediately hooked. Last year, I also had to reluctantly bow out of a chance to write some sci-fi at the Write…Edit…Publish blogfest as I was travelling. So I scheduled a non-fiction essay in support (which to my utter amazement/delight came in at the second place, thank you WEP and Alex J Cavanaugh!).