Sunday, January 31, 2010

Of Grand Gestures Like Forgiving and Moving On...

As many of you would know, I maintain two blogs on the Blogger platform - Miles of Style and Curses and Verses. Miles of Style is a reflection of my fondness for everything fashionable, stylish and superficial. Writing articles for this blog is frankly quite easy, I find a lot of inspiration for my write-ups in daily life as well as on the internet. It is here that I write about all the materialistic things that I covet and believe you me the list is long! I also have a lengthy list  topics to cover on this blog which shall see me through February in the least.

However, my other blog, Curses and Verses is extremely difficult to maintain and write for. It is here that I write about things I feel deeply about. My posts on this blog are very spur-of-the-moment and not as frequent.  Two posts in '07, none in '08 and five in '09...statistics suggest that I find it rather difficult to put into words things that I  feel deeply about. Inspiration is an in-frequent visitor!

Having confessed this, today's inspiration came rather all too easily to me. I was on my way to work, and as a rare occasion had the driver driving me there,(most days he chauffeurs  my in-laws whilst hubby and I drive ourselves to work) which left me with some time to channelize my thoughts. Random that I am, I suddenly thought of this absolutely touching William Blake poem that I had read a few years ago. The precise lines that came into my head were: " 'And throughout all Eternity, / I forgive you and you forgive me. / As our dear Redeemer said: / This the Wine and this the Bread. "  I first came across this poem, (aptly titled Broken Love) in a movie called 'The Heart of Mine'.  You can read the entire poem here. And while it is difficult to find a complete analysis of the poem on the net  (in case any of you do find one, please pass it along to me), it isn't difficult to feel the poet's pain, discomfort, anger and frustration. Barring the last four verses, which many believe were not part of this poem but were found in Blake's personal diary not meant for publication until someone came across them and found them to match with Broken Love decided to add them to the poem.

For me; the last verse (that came to my mind today) worked kind of like a release from an otherwise painful poem. You can almost feel the poet's soul finding an escape from its possessed and tortured body upon uttering these lines of forgiveness. I couldn't help but wonder if forgiving someone and being forgiven in return could really set one free? But anywayz, I take this verse randomly popping into my mind today and flashing like a neon advert as a signal to forgive and forget past grievances. It takes a lot of strength to genuinely forgive people that have hurt you but I think we owe it to our souls to set them a-free from these dark dungeons of pain and resentment.  In order to achieve inner peace and good health it is essential for one to forgive - not only others but also one's self for all previous actions and inactions. Yes, I think sometimes life does demand a "grand gesture" from each one of us and Forgiving is just one of them.

Here's hoping that all of you too find courage and reason enough to forgive those who've hurt you, after all life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time. Some things are better best left for God to handle...and as mere mortals we may not be able to change the past but we definitely can enlarge our future!

p.s " You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well." ~ Lewis Smedes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Angel's Game

I just finished reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Angels Game last night and can't resist writing about my first big disappointment in 2010. Towards the end of last year I came across 'The Shadow Of The Wind' almost by chance and picked it up on a lark. Little did I expect to get totally encaptured within the indescribable labyrinths of mystery, romance, suspense, horror, tragedy and quick witted humour expertly created by the author. Never before had I read a book like SOTW and whilst I couldn't wait to get to the heart of its mystery, I also couldn't help but wish that this wonderful book would never end! By the end of the novel, I was completely awestruck by Zafon's story telling and couldn't help talking about him in all my literary discussions with fellow book worms.

Fast forward to The Angel's Game. I greedily went and bought myself this "supposed" prequel to SOTW, in futile hopes of once again being transported back to the ancient Gothic Barcelona as described by Zafon. With hopes to devour every word written by (I think) one of the most gifted story tellers ever, I began to read this book. After reading the first 200 pages of the book rather feverishly I had to (albeit reluctantly) admit to myself that the story was going nowhere!

The main character in the novel, David Martin goes through a series of struggles and tragedies one after the other and yet fails to evoke considerable pity in the mind of the reader. However, there is no relief for Martin and the book does get a little pessimistic to read. The story proceeds at a sluggish pace and lacks the humour of its sequel. It is overly descriptive at times and its setting, characterisation and description of Barcelona are all very similar to SOTW.

As I forced myself to skim through the latter 150 odd pages of the story, the suspense never thickened, instead it grew thinner and vaguer. The book ended on a rather abrupt note, leaving the readers to make their own interpretation as to what actually happened. There were a lot of loose ends which didn't add up at all and I'm still clueless about how much of what transpired in the story was David's figment of imagination, whether Corelli was an angel or demon, what actually happened to Marscala and the book that David wrote. (Any answers ?)

This book might perhaps make for an enjoyable read for those who are yet to read SOTW. Zafon's description of the Barcelona  as the City of the Damned and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books certainly do create vivid images in the mind of the readers. The parallels and the overarching themes from both the novels are also well executed and yet the basic plot makes very little sense somehow. In all fairness, I can say that SOTW really raised my expectations from The Angel's Game and great expectations are almost always difficult to live upto!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year And Newer Resolutions

1st Jan 2010. Today is the day I decide what I want to take with me in the next decade and what I wish to leave behind in 2009. Here are my resolutions for this year.

1. Save More and Shop Lesss : This is definitely the first priority on my list and probably the toughest to put into action. But I seriously don't think that I shall be needing one more pair of shoes for a long long time. Plus I am kind of  beginning to like the security and power a big fat account in the bank provides. 

2. Delegate More : Although I am blessed to have a fleet of help at home (a cook, a full time house-maid, a part time one and a driver), I somehow end up doing a lot of their work everyday. This leaves me completely exhausted (and at times a little cranky) by the end of the day. So, this year I plan to ensure that they remain responsible for their share of work and hopefully I shall delegate some of my chores to them as well.

3. Learn The Fine Art Of Saying No : I think it is high time I learn to say no to people in a nice, diplomatic manner instead of taking on more than I can chew on my plate.

4. To Not Please People At The Cost Of Displeasing Myself : This is partly connected to point no. 3. It is funny how many minor adjustments and sacrifices a woman ends up making after her marriage. However, I have come to realize that if I end up making people around me happy at the cost of myself, I shall become a very bitter person and in the long run end up making the same people around me unhappy. Which is why I plant to consciously prioritise my happiness a little more henceforth.

5. Exercise : I used to be such a work out fanatic before. But since the past year I have been unable to hit the gym regularly due to other demands at home and work. However, this year I resolve to exercise at least 3-4 times a week (even if it is a basic work-out at home) instead of vegetating on the bed in the evenings.

6. Learn Something New : Stock market trading, salsa dancing, web designing, yoga...the list is long and distinguished!

7. Acquire Multiple Exit Options : This is by far the most wonderful tip for dealing with stress which I have come across. Charlene in her blog The Balance Beam suggests the importance of having "Exit points". These points are basically things that will help you detach yourself from an unpleasant/stressful situation. As she wonderfully puts it "Think of 5 ways to change the view of your world in situations when you can't change your world." ...and I can't wait to implement this!

8. Read More - Less Internet : I spend infinite amount of time each day on the internet. While most of it is spent productively, a part of it is also spent on frequenting random, not the most helpful sites and pages on the web. This year I resolve to surf less and devote more time to books and go back to being the voracious reader that I once was.

9. Be Thankful : I resolve to be thankful for the little things in my life (not just the big ones) and to see God's blessings in the smallest of daily occurrences rather than wait for a big miracle to knock me off my feet.

10. Get Independent Get Responsible : While I like to think that I am pretty independent in most ways, I still think there's scope for some  improvement in this area and henceforth "I shall be the master of my ship and I shall be the captain of my soul". 

I don't know how many of my resolutions are going to make it past the first week of January. But I figure putting them down here in writing will help me stick to them for a longer time than my yesteryear resolutions. Here's wishing me luck!

p.s. I would love to know your 2010 resolutions as well.