Dragon’s Hoard

My mom makes the most amazing bead jewelry. So, we decided to name her collection, Shantanu Creations. To check out more of  her designs, visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/shantanucreations/

Just send a message on Facebook or leave a comment here if you wish to order something and we will get back to you 🙂

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An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

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I know that I shall meet my fate,
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.


This a poem by William Butler Yeats, a great poet and Irish nationalist. The sentiment expressed here is stark, yet hauntingly elegant. The moment before his death seems to have accorded the Airman such startling clarity, that he met his end with complete equanimity.

Pleased

Reconciliation

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It was hard. Where I’m from, America is the shining city on the hill. The land of the free. The frontier of liberalism and innovation. When my parents asked me to take American citizenship, I remember mulling over it for a long time. I love India. Is it not a betrayal to choose another nation? Then, I read the declaration of independence. I had never read a piece of writing that better reconciled itself to my own dream. Would it not be wonderful to live in a world where all men are created equal? I fell deeply in love with the great American story and wanted to be a part of it. Whatever guilt and doubt I felt, perished in the wake of these words from a wise man ‘Vasudhaika Kutumbam – The whole world is one family’. Whether I’m part of the Indian story or the American one, they are inseparable pieces of the same great narrative.

As I started living here, the diversity of my people, their devotion to civic duty, their tolerance and their compassion as a society for the plight of fellow human beings, were a source of joy and pride.

Alas, pride comes before a fall. As the 2016 election cycle progressed,  I became aware of another, uglier side to the story. A side that refuses to believe in the best of people. A side that cannot abide dissent. A side that has forsaken its faith and forgotten its courage. A dialogue that was disillusioning in its vulgarity was brought to light and it made my heart ache.

I tried blocking out the political commentary,  I tried to find solace in the charming streets of San Francisco, I read manga, I heard my favorite Eminem songs on a loop, I binge watched Gilmore Girls with my best friend, I had endless nonsensical conversations with my sister and yet, I could not block out a creeping sense of unease.

Last week I read about the shooting of two Indian men in Kansas. The shooter was a white man, a despicable fellow filled with hate. He has been arrested. The Indian community is shocked and afraid. However, I have spent the last few days telling people that they are missing a crucial part of the story. That of Ian Grillot, a white man who went after the shooter and got injured in the process. That is the part I would like to focus on. Heroes come in all colors.

No matter how much hate there is in the world, as long as there are people willing to stand up to it, we will be just fine. I choose to believe in the best of people. I choose to be tolerant. I choose to have faith. I live in the home of the brave and I am proud of it.

Speak Out

Hana Yori Dango

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I was just a casual passerby and almost missed them. Their delicious fragrance, wafted over and pulled me in search of the source. I was lead to a neat little Japanese tea shop called, Kissako. 

There they were, velvety white spheres dripping with amber syrup, skewered over thin wooden spikes. The cheerful, round faced waitress told me they were Mitarashi dango. Rice flour dumplings, covered with syrup made from soy, sugar and starch.

I purchased two skewers for a couple of bucks and took a tentative first bite. There was an eruption of flavor, as the delectable dumpling melted in my mouth. Its sweetness wasn’t cloyingly saccharine, but wholesome in a way that made me crave more. I ate slowly, savoring each morsel.

After licking the syrup off my fingers, I went online to learn more about these goodies on a stick. Apparently, there is a different variety of dango for each season. That just means, Kissako’s chairs are going to see my ass quite often. The Japanese have a saying ‘ Hana yori dango‘ meaning, ‘Dumplings over flowers’. A proverb that declares a preference for practical things over aesthetics. I intend to try every single variety of dango out there, while concurring wholeheartedly.

Outer Layers

Winter Cicadas

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Sometimes, men and women are born.
Out of season, like the winter cicadas.
Yet if those cicadas,
without lamenting their brief time,
devoted themselves to singing,
no one would say that they lied.

Though one may call it a dream,
that wanders withered fields,
someday it will come true.
Ah, life is life,
and dreams are dreams.
Where will they bloom,
ask the wind.


This is a Japanese song from the anime, Fuyu no Semi (Winter Cicadas), sung in Morikawa Toshiyuki’s  gorgeous voice.

Every time I hear it, it evokes such beautiful imagery and profound emotion somewhere deep with in me. It is one of my all time favorites.

This translation is by the group, Aarin Fantasy. Thank you for translating this treasure. I’ve tweaked it slightly to get the meaning across.

Song

To Cruz, With Love

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Dear Cruz,

I’m in Mattu, sipping masala chai under the thatched roof of the primary health care center. Not many patients today. I can see the beach from here. I can hear the call of the ocean. It feels like home. This is the perfect time for this entry. It’s raining. There is something pleasurable in the discomfort caused by monsoons. They wash away the dirt and grime of summer, leaving behind the smell of freshly turned earth.

Sharmila told me that you passed away. She said it was a road traffic accident. You always did look good on that motorbike. I feel sad that you did not get to fulfill your dreams. However, from what I can see of life, you are not missing much my friend.

Even if we weren’t the closest of pals, I always thought that you were a good, decent man. An endangered species. I will miss your gentle presence in this world. Who knows, we might meet again someday, in another time and place. Perhaps we will even get to sit around and joke about Amir’s “Malaysian Connection’ once again…

With Love,
Your Friend

PS: I never did figure out why we started calling you Cruz.

 

Unfinished

A Brush With Terror

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‘Now, be a good girl and don’t open the door for anyone.’, her Mom had said before leaving. Her parents were at the temple, for an evening of prayers and offerings. For the very first time, the girl was left alone at home. She ran around, her heart racing with excitement. ‘What to do? What to do? I need to make a plan.’, she thought, while pouring tea for her dolls. After sufficient deliberation, it was decided. They were all going to go on an intergalactic monster hunt, on her lava ship. After all, space monsters made the best quarries.

The clock struck seven, startling her from play. She rushed to the kitchen. She had been given an important task. She put two cups of rinsed rice in the cooker and poured four glasses of water into it. She checked off a mental list to make sure nothing was amiss, before turning on the stove. Now, all that was left to do was, wait for the cooker to whistle thrice. The rice would be cooked to perfection. Dad would pat her head and tell her she did great. She smiled in anticipation.

The doorbell rang, puzzling her. Mom and Dad weren’t supposed to be back yet. She climbed on to a stool to peep through the door lens. It was the watchman. ‘What is it?’, she asked through the door. He told her that there had been a bomb blast at the temple. She did not understand. He explained further. Her eyes widened in shock. ‘What about my parents?’, she asked. ‘They are probably safe. You stay put and I will let you know if there is more news.’ His hurried steps went down the stairs.

The cooker whistled thrice. She turned the flame off, as cold dread crept into her heart. What if they never come back? The question went round and round her head, like a merry-go-round. She waited on the divan, body rocking to and fro, fists clenched and eyes closed tight in silent, frantic prayer. She waited and waited. She prayed and prayed. It must have been hours. It felt like hours. The silence closed in on her, making it hard to breath.

The doorbell rang again. She ran to unlock it. Mom was there, clad in her crisp cotton sari and Dad stood beside her, sweat beading his brow. They were both breathing heavily. She threw herself at them. They pulled her in and all three collapsed into an embrace of warm assurance. She held on to them, shoulders quaking with sobs of relief, as terror seeped out of her pores.

 

Radical

A Pedestrian Regret


This morning, I saw someone who was achingly beautiful. She was neither feminine nor masculine, but an alluring blend of both. I use the pronoun ‘she’, purely for convenience.

She sat on a lonely bench ringed by trees. I stood on the other side, unobserved, struck by the perfection of her profile. She was delicately built, with shoulder length black hair. Her long tapering fingers rested on a green handbag. Her visage was all hard angles. Pale, creamy skin, stretched over chiseled bones. I put on my spectacles. As the world came into sharp focus, her quivering lips and tear stained cheeks, drew me in. Unable to to resist, I stepped off the sidewalk. Her face suddenly contorted into an expression of profound grief. I stopped, frozen in my tracks. What could possibly have caused her such pain? Whatever the reason, I wanted it destroyed and wiped off the face of earth. A shiver ran down my spine. I stood there, blinking in surprise.

She got up with feminine grace and started walking away with the loose limbed gait of a man. I wanted to reach out and touch her shoulder. ‘Are you alright?’ I wanted to ask her. ‘It will be okay. Don’t cry.’ I wanted to tell her. I didn’t. Instead, I watched as her back grew smaller.

That was the sensible thing to do. I’m glad I didn’t invade her privacy. However, at that moment I was struck by fleeting regret, What if….?

 

Tree

LazyHaze: Year One

Dear Visitor,

If you have accidentally stumbled upon this blog, do not expect anything more than shameful self centered soul searching and morbid self pity.

If you are into this stuff, expect more questions than answers.

You have been warned. Continue at your peril.

So….Hi, I might be the laziest person in the world. You see, I wasn’t always this way. I have lost the zeal for life.

Why should one live in the first place? Why am I programmed with this competitive urge to be better than others? Why must I prove myself repeatedly to retain some sense of self? When death is the one ultimate absolute to life. All the mundane things I do seem, well, inane.

Tried religion and spirituality. Stuff helps with inner peace. Bhagavatgita, a manual on how to live successfully says, do your duty impartially, without thought to the fruits of your labor. Pretty good advice. However, it doesn’t address my problem. Religion is primarily aimed at people who wish to make something of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I like religion. It helps keep our minds off death with a torture and rewards program tacked on to afterlife. Perhaps our puny minds need that to keep from self destructing. I don’t have enough life experience to draw a definitive conclusion.

Perhaps, just perhaps, there is no purpose to our existence. It is a devastating truth to be confronted by someone raised on wholesome Disney. After some reflection, I feel a profound sense of relief. If there is no set destiny, then its all up to me. I get to define my purpose. This unfortunately puts the onus squarely on my shoulders. What a crushing responsibility. Just the thought inevitably leads to binge watching the latest Netflix produced super hero series. Escapism is addictive.

Well for now that is where I’m stuck in this thought process. Figured some blogging, the definitive soul cleansing tool of my generation, might help clear this block.

Love,

Selfdestructo

PS: I used the the word ‘I’ 14 times in this post and I was jobless enough to count. Hence the name, lazyhaze.

PS2: Year one is a batman reference, just in case a curious soul wonders!