Word of the Week #68:

Petrichor

Even as I write this, I can hear the clouds rumbling in the background, as the storm comes rolling over from, presumably, the Bay of Bengal.

In stark contrast to Western Literature, which has largely portrayed storms and rains as being dreary and foreboding at best, folk culture closer home has had more favourable response. And, of course, one need not look too far to understand the reasons behind the same.

You see, living in a tropical peninsula almost entirely reliant on the monsoons for survival pretty much guarantees a positive reaction upon the arrival of the rains.

Sure, a couple of weeks in, as we now are, we might sit indoors grumbling about the muddy roads and the stinky shirts and the recurrent network troubles, and the possibilities of going outdoors that might have existed, but for the weather, and yet you will have to admit: You did smile when the scent of the moist earth first wafted into your homes.

It is only fair, I would say. The love for the rain, it is a part of our heritage.

And now that the storm is breaking, what more can we do, but sit indoors with an Agatha Christie in one hand and a warm snack in the other… Really, what more do you need?

 

Word of the Week #67:

Theism

It has always been my conviction that the human mind does not appreciate blank spaces; the ones it cannot fill with truth, it fills with tripe.

And no, I am not talking about haggis…

For instance, the concept of atmospheric pressure was not known to mankind till at least 1640AD, and not correctly understood until 1648AD. How, then, does one explain wind? Why, the answer is quite simple: GOD.

Most ancient cultures attributed a god to every force of nature, with such beliefs being prevalent across geographical divisions, until the rise of the Abrahamic religions and their tenet of monotheism.

Of course, one would expect that, almost five centuries since the Age of Enlightenment, the world would have been long rid of these ancient, and often ludicrous, beliefs. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case.

Now, that in itself might not seem like an issue, until we come to the realisation that the mind, once filled with tripe, no longer has space left for truth.

What is tripe? What is truth? That remains the question.

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.
—Isaac Assimov

Word of the Week #66:

Idiosyncrasy

It is the break of dawn, and I am wide awake.

No, I did not rise what the sun, as our learned ancestors happened to recommend.

I have always found it easier to just stay awake, especially when my mind is in an excited state.

It probably seems quite odd to most uninitiated onlookers; in fact, it might just be quite odd.

People are often alarmed by these, well, admittedly alarming mannerisms of mine. Several have been quite vocal about their concerns, while some have made active attempts to intervene, obviously to no avail.

However, the view is clearer from my standpoint. If we do not spend today consumed by our passion, not what do we even seek from tomorrow? While some may wonder why I cannot rest my head each night, I, in turn, wonder how they can even pull themselves out of their beds the morn after.

That being said, I will admit, these antics come with a price to pay.

Encumbered forever by desire and ambition,
There’s a hunger still unsatisfied.
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon,
Though down this road we’ve been so many times.

—High Hopes, by Pink Floyd

Book of the Week #35: [Guest Post]

Yashas:

So, as they say, all good things must come to an end…

What kind of a rule is that, anyway? I hate it. Stupid rule…

As one can possibly discern from my sour demeanour, I am here to announce that the conclusion of our collaboration with this wonderful young lady is now upon us.

Of course, we wouldn’t just let her leave, at least not without a final, particularly amazing post. And with that in mind, we chose to save the best for the last.

So, here we have the post that Shruti herself prefaced by saying, “Spent a reallllllllllly long time on this post and still feel like I can’t talk enough about it.”


Shruti:

Man’s Search for Meaning,

by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl

“If you read but one book this year, Dr Frankl’s book should be that one.”

—Los Angeles Times, on Man’s Search for Meaning

This is my sixth post on this blog. Considering how much Yashas has been requesting me to guest author more BoTW posts, it might seem like I have read scores of books.

Shall I let you in on a secret? I haven’t. Ssshhh…

Well, at least not as many as I would have loved to, by this time. And definitely not even close to what bibliomaniacs read by the time they are 23!

Continue reading Book of the Week #35: [Guest Post]

Word of the Week #65:

Cynosure

Last night, as I lay in my bed, my mind spent a few moments organising the schedule for the day. That is just how my mind works.

This morning, however, as I woke up to the pitter-patter of the drops of water falling onto the balcony floor, my mind had somehow been wiped clean.

It is odd how, for no obvious reason, the rain has the power to pull us away from everything that ties us to our world, and spirit us away…

It also has a way of making the entire day about itself.

So, how does one make the most of a rainy day? Well, I, for one, have the simplest of plans.

I just look out the window, and smile.

The rain to the wind said,
‘You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged – though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

— Robert Frost, Lodged

Book of the Week #34: [Guest Post]

Yashas:

Led by this dauntless young lady, we continue this month of literary heavyweights with what is probably the very first Pulitzer Prize winner of our list.

Let us all strap in, shall we?


Shruti:

Interpreter of Maladies,

by Jhumpa Lahiri

Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Interpreter of Maladies is one of the most recognised works of its London-born American author of Indian descent, Jhumpa Lahiri.

A collection of nine short stories, the book is heralded as an impeccable narrative of the immigrant experience. After having read a short story from the same book—that goes by the same name—for an English course, I was not entirely sure how I felt about it. But I was eager to read more from the book. I recently did, and let’s say, I am not disappointed! Continue reading Book of the Week #34: [Guest Post]

Word of the Week #64:

Fortuitous

People who know me would probably know how the very prospect of getting a haircut fills my mouth with burning vitriol.

The reaction is almost incomparable, with the possibility of having to clean my room being a major, albeit rare, exception.

Nonetheless, as one grows older, one comes to realise that maintaining these long, glossy, bouncy, wavy hair, which have now come to be a significant part of your identity, is growing more and more untenable every passing day.

“Time erodes us all.”
― Meg Rosoff

With a heavy heart, I decided to pay a visit to the barbers’, and shear off my lustrous mane, lest I ruin whatever still remained of it.

However, as it would turn out, my wallet was completely empty, and a visit was all I could afford to pay.

And, as the gods above would have it, my mane survives another day.