Monday, September 30, 2013

Love is matter

(Image source:

Love is a need like no other.

Love is matter.

The terrible, unstable kind, yes?

The wild, sweeping kind that rips every notion apart until only nothing remains. And you weep, your tears are diamonds.

Or perhaps the luminescent, sublime kind.

The soothing, balmy kind, that caresses every scar, contains tides until only stillness remains and your smiles are rainbows.

Ah, of glorious hurts and shimmering pools of blood. Of nightskies dark with longing and days bright with impudent hope.

Of quiet acceptance that every drop of blood and sweat is mine, is thine, is ours.

Of every kiss that proclaims the tongue and every ache that screams for a union.

Of shivering limbs that crave steadiness from firm but gentle arms, but alas! Love must steady itself in its own whirlpool of collapse.

Of looking for answers in a beloved's eyes and the stoking of yellow embers that burn beneath the lids all night.

Of finding yourself staring back, a splash of white in every black; wind chimes tinkle in solitude and hearts splinter in gratitude.

Of blue cowherds and song and milkmaids and dance.

Of a day that won't see dawn on the banks of a swollen river, forever in spate.

Love is so many things, yet I know only your face.

I love so many things about you but all I can do is look at your face, helplessly, hopelessly.

(With @ScrollsNInk)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Journey to Ithaca by Anita Desai: Impressions

Now she knows why the Mother went on that pilgrimage, why anyone goes on a pilgrimage, and why she must go too.  

Journey to Ithaca by Anita Desai is about poignant pilgrimages of the protagonists, painted with so much beauty and pathos, it takes you on one of your own. Desai does that. She is masterful in carrying a reader in her arms to surreal places, in unforgettable realms. I shall always remember the time I read my first Desai novel, The Artist of Disappearance. I shall always remember how she took my breath away with almost every sentence. She weaves similar her magic in Journey to Ithaca, but in certain places, in certain ways. It is not a sustained work of genius like The Artist... is. I remember wanting to cry sometimes, so overwhelmed I was with the beauty of her language.

Like here: Isabel is quiet, separating two ideas and then putting them together again: Grandmother does not want them to go to their parents, and grandmother does not want them here. 'Then where can we go?' she asks, not knowing a third place for themselves. 

And here: ...and a jasmine that flowered and flowered as though it thought itself to be in paradise.

But I also remember being bored at times. Especially the last few pages. Perhaps I was tired of reading the the book, perhaps Desai of tired of writing it. The end of Matteo and Sophie's story and that of Laila or the Mother's and that of Giacomo and Isabel all come to a laboured end, but that's perhaps how it feels when one reaches Ithaca.

Journey to Ithaca takes us along on the arduous road to self discovery of Matteo, his antithetic wife, Sophie, and the spiritual journey of the Mother/Laila. As Mateo tires of his bourgeois Italian upbringing and heads to India with his newly-wedded wife, Sophie in search of life's true purpose, we fall and flail along the path with them. Sophie is disgruntled with the dirt, the disease and the poverty of India and wants to live the 'Goa' life, while Matteo suffers in his search for a guru, until at last he finds refuge in the Mother. Sophie does not understand Matteo's blind faith in the Mother and proceeds to uncover her past in the hope to open her husband's eyes. Sophie learns about the spiritual guru's past as Laila, a rebel, who dances her way to India, and finally meets her spiritual master and destiny.

Desai's portrayal of Matteo and Laila strike home particularly hard because their search for the Supreme is laced with a lot of pain, doubt and conflict. The author is brilliant when she deals with strong emotions such as these. You can feel it sometimes like a body blow, when Matteo lies on the cold hard ground in wait and Laila weeps in agony to be united with her divine lover. Sophie's bewilderment draws sympathy too, but not as much. The characters are stark and the plot sublime. Reading Desai needs you to be buoyant, to float, and to let it take you to Ithaca and beyond.

Nude 9

I like to call him Hulk on a diet. :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nude 8

Nude 7

The seventh of my 10-part nude series, created on my Adesso graphic tablet via Art Rage. This, however, is the version edited on Pixlr. I created the original as a pencil sketch, which came out pretty well too (I think), but I absolutely loved this crayon like effect in the end.

Which one do you prefer?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nude 6

I thought I'd switch to male nudes for the second half of my 10 part nude series. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Illicit by Dibyendu Palit: Impressions

What's that they say about great things coming in small packages? Dibyendu Palit's 'Illicit', translated into English by Arunava Sinha, is just that. With an artistically designed cover and a title like that, the book is a pick-me-up, and thankfully it doesn't disappoint.. ahem... even between the covers. One wouldn't expect any less from Palit, who is a renowned short story writer.

The plot spans just three days and is a slice of the protagonists' illicit life. Jeena, an attractive young housewife is bored of her 'wooden relationship' with much older husband, Ashim. Partha, her neighbour, is married, a father of two, and equally bored in his marital life. We are introduced to them in the high point of their illicit relationship when the two are planning a secret sojourn to Puri. Quelling her self doubts and pangs of guilt, Jeena takes the bold step to be with Partha.

In the next three days that Jeena spends with Partha, she discovers that all is not as it seems. Partha's lust takes an aggressive turn and Jeena feels violated. Beguiled by shame, self pity and doubt, she decides to head back home and put to an end everything illicit.

Illicit is a deliberate and intense book. The author takes his time to build upon his Jeena's guilt, purposefully punctuating it with the mundane. We see her squirm uncomfortably under the weight of her feelings one moment and pondering upon a cup of tea the next. Now she is losing sleep calculating her risks and now she is flowing with the moment. Palit's skill is apparent in the way he juxtaposes these contrasting elements, much like real life. He takes no moral stance and simply tells the story of the greatest kind of conflict - one that a person has with himself.

The language is simple and accessible; at least the translator, Arunava Sinha, makes it seem so. The lucid prose makes for easy yet thought-provoking reading. Palit is a gifted writer for he leaves you sighing at love's (sometimes) futile cause at the end of its 128 pages.