Sunday, December 22, 2013

Joyce Sutphen : The Heart Remembers Everything It Loved..

How To Listen

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift
your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions.

Delve into the subject at hand or let
things come randomly. Don't expect answers.

Forget everything you've ever done.
Make no comparisons. Simply listen.

Listen with your eyes, as if the story
you are hearing is happening right now.

Listen without blinking, as if a move
might frighten the truth away forever.

Don't attempt to copy anything down.
Don't bring a camera or a recorder.

This is your chance to listen carefully.
Your whole life might depend on what you hear.

The Heart Remembers Everything It Loved

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.


Morning falls out of its orbit
and swims up through the blue.
Last night, when I heard the news,
I forgot my human hunger.
Now I am making calculations
with a row of ivy and old hibiscus.
I am silent as a shadow in the ferns,
I am frond green and curled.
It may be necessary to drink through
the roots; I could eat sunlight and air,
start a green factory in each finger;
I could make each arm a branch.
Let me begin as stem and leaf.
I'll make something you can breathe.

At The Moment

Suddenly, I stopped thinking about Love,
after so many years of only that,
after thinking that nothing else mattered.

And what was I thinking of when I stopped
thinking about Love? Death, of course—what else
could take Love’s place? What else could hold such force?

I thought about how far away Death once
had seemed, how unexpected that it could
happen to someone I knew quite well,

how impossible that this should be the
normal thing, as natural as frost and
winter. I thought about the way we’d aged,

how skin fell into wrinkles, how eyes grew
dim; then (of course) my love, I thought of you.


The second half of my life will be black
to the white rind of the old and fading moon.
The second half of my life will be water
over the cracked floor of these desert years.
I will land on my feet this time,
knowing at least two languages and who
my friends are. I will dress for the
occasion, and my hair shall be
whatever color I please.
Everyone will go on celebrating the old
birthday, counting the years as usual,
but I will count myself new from this
inception, this imprint of my own desire.

The second half of my life will be swift,
past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder,
asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed,
fingers shifting through fine sands,
arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.
There will be new dreams every night,
and the drapes will never be closed.
I will toss my string of keys into a deep
well and old letters into the grate.

The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river, rain
soaking the fields, a hand
held out, a fire,
and smoke going
upward, always up.

Naming The Stars

This present tragedy will eventually
turn into myth, and in the mist
of that later telling the bell tolling
now will be a symbol, or, at least,
a sign of something long since lost.

This will be another one of those
loose changes, the rearrangement of
hearts, just parts of old lives
patched together, gathered into
a dim constellation, small consolation.

Look, we will say, you can almost see
the outline there: her fingertips
touching his, the faint fusion
of two bodies breaking into light. 

Joyce Sutphen

(b. 1949, lives in Minnesota)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kishori Amonkar : The Diva of Hindustani Music

Kishori Amonkar 
Raag : Haunsadhwani (Tarana)

 Kishori Amonkar

Our music is the fifth Veda. The Vedas teach you Brahma Vidya. You cannot learn that from a machine. If you go on contemplating and meditating upon the divine art, I am sure you will reach the ultimate destination of a note – which is Brahma. I am trying my best to reach that.

Kishori Amonkar

We have given an entertainment value to our music. Singing, practising and performing, all are different. These are the three aspects of music. I give importance to singing. It is like talking to your soul. It is an inner communion which you are trying to communicate ... in the process, naturally it will diminish in value.

 Kishori Amonkar

This art needs meditation. It is not that I don't love the public. It is because of them I am where I am today. I consider each one of you as an embodiment of Raghavendra Swamiji. When I sing, you become Raghavendra… I am seriously moving away from performing. I am waiting for a chance to get into teaching completely. That's my goal.

Kishori Amonkar

In North India, music is treated as entertainment. I detest that to the core….people don't care. They casually walk in and out of the theatre, while you are singing. The audience in Madras also does that. I feel it is not their fault. If you see Tirupathi Balaji standing before you, what will you do ? You will get rooted to the spot. So I think, perhaps, I lack the qualities to make me forget myself and in turn make you forget everything else.

 Kishori Amonkar

I believe that Indian music is nothing but the expression of a feeling. If I say, ‘I love you,' can you measure it? You just have to feel that vibration. We have limited our music to formats. In North India, every raga is sung in a typical form. First alaap, then vistaar, then you put words into the alaap; words in the thana, then dhrutha … We repeat the entire repertoire. I don't think one needs to singdhrutha here. Dhrutha conveys an entirely different feeling. You sing it when you are restless or have an intense feeling. But we don't do that. Apologetically, I accept these faults. You do the same in Carnatic music. In a performance you give a break, you give some time for the violin, some time for the mridangam. It is a break from the emotion.

 Mogubai Kurdikar

It is a nice blend of mind and brain which you need in art. You cannot be merely sentimental, devoid of intellect. There should be a perfect balance between intellect and heart. It is known as sayyam in Indian religion. This is how we ultimately reach moksha. But you must understand that you need control to do that. I am learning to control myself. I know I am an extremely intelligent person. This is why my mother did not take me to any concerts until she approved of it.

 Kishori Amonkar

The two systems - Hindustani and Carnatic - are more the result of practical tradition, influenced by environmental cultural forces. I think this is a world of notes. We should not put in too many words, too many rhythmical acrobatics into our singing. It is high time instrumentalists got out of the acrobatics with the percussionists. These are just gimmicks. The worst exploitation of the audience is by gimmicky artists. Listeners have been led to believe that they should be excited by a performance. That goes exactly against the principles of Indian classical music, which brings you peace!

Kishori Amonkar

(Courtesy : Lakshmi Viswanathan, The Hindu)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal : The Sancho Panza Of Indian Politics?!

To right the unrightable wrong,
To love, pure and chaste from afar,
To try, when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star..

~ Don Quixote de La Mancha

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Alchemy Of Desire : Tarun Tejpal

Sorrow : On The Threshold Of Eternity (1890)

~ Vincent van Gogh

From: “Tarun J Tejpal”
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 09:50:52
To: @₹/&
Subject: Personal

Dear …

This is not the formal apology you seek. That will follow in a few minutes too. This is the informal one, for you and me.

I am sorry at the immense distress that’s been caused to you by my lapse of judgment, but I want you to know its been totally devastating for me too, in every possible way (and since you know Tiya and Geetan well, you would know what I am saying).

This is for me to figure out how it went so terribly misunderstood and wrong. To begin with, for ten years at Tehelka one has ensured no shadow of anything limits or cramps the women journalists. At every forum, public and private, I have lauded the great work done by Tehelka’s women reporters and editors; and have personally always stayed at arm’s length. You yourself were always treated with the highest regard and accommodation and affection, and nothing ever asked of you save great work. Your continuous growth was always a source of pride. That you were tasked to escort De Niro was merely the latest token of our trust.

The context that ill-fated evening, of our conversation, as you will recall, was heavily loaded. We were playfully and flirtatiously talking about desire, sex; you were telling me the Bob Geldof story in graphic detail, and about Aman, and the near-impossibility of fidelity; and of the aftermath of meeting me one stormy evening in my office when I was sitting watching the thunderclouds. I also want to clarify that yes, you did say at one point that I was your boss, and I did reply “that makes it simpler” but in the very same breath and sentence I said to you “I withdraw that straight away – no relationship of mine has anything at all, ever, to do with that”.

It was in this frivolous, laughing mood that the encounter took place. I had no idea that you were upset, or felt I had been even remotely non-consensual, until Tiya came and spoke to me the next night. I was shocked and devastated at the time. Both because you felt I had imposed on you (which had neither been my reading or intention), and because I felt I had been totally irresponsible and foolish to have anything furtive to do with my daughter’s intimate friend. At that very moment I was filled with shame, and still am. (And what is not true is that I ever, even remotely, whispered any word in intimidation.)

You have made it clear that I read it all wrong, and I will not dispute it, nor underplay your anger and hurt. This is easily the worst moment of my life – something ostensibly playful gone so horribly wrong, damaging of all that I hold dear in life, from people to principles.

I ask you to forgive and forget it. I will meet your mom and apologise to her too – and Aman if you so wish. I also want you to keep working at Tehelka as you always have, reporting to Shoma as you do. Both Tehelka and Shoma have never let you down.

My punishment has already been upon me, and will probably last till my last day.



1. The conversation from that night was not "heavily loaded" or "flirtatious" – you were talking about “sex” or “desire” because that is what you usually choose speak to me about, unfortunately, never my work, which if you had had occasion to read, you might not have attempted to sexually molest me, and certainly would have known that there was no way that I would stay silent about it and just vanish. There was no “aftermath” of that evening with the “thunderclouds” — this is exactly what happened: I wanted to discuss the first story I had written about [deleted] with you. [XXXX] called me to your office, I walked in and you were lying on the couch with the lights off. I asked you if you wanted me to turn [t]he lights on, and you refused. You continued to lie on the couch. I sat on a chair across from you in the same room and told you the survivor’s story. I wish again, that you remembered the professional reason I had met you that evening, instead of the storm and the thunderclouds.

2. This is what non-consent constitutes: the moment you laid a hand on me, I started begging you to stop. I invoked every single person and principle that was important to us — [XXXX], [XXXX], [XXXX], [XXXX], the fact that you were my employer, to make you stop. You refused to listen. In fact, you went ahead and decided to molest me again on the following night. We have often spoken of “what turns men into beasts” at Tehelka edit meetings, you yourself have commissioned several stories on this. It is this — not being able to take no for an answer.

3. You never, even once uttered the following words: “I withdraw that straight away - no relationship of mine has anything at all, ever, to do with that". If your attempt at sexual molestation were really as consensual as you seem to imply that it was Tarun, why would you have suddenly switched to speaking in legal terms in a “frivolous, laughing” moment?

4. Not only did you lash out at me verbally for telling [XXXX], you also sent me a text message the next morning saying “I can’t believe you went and told her even the smallest thing. What a complete absence of understanding of a parent-child relationship”. Tarun, I can’t believe you think molesting an employee your daughter’s age, who is also [deleted] is something you’d describe as “the smallest thing”. What an absence of understanding of what Tehelka stands for.

Unfortunately, your desire to apologize to [XXXX] only reeks of your own patriarchal notion that men own and possess female bodies, and that since you violated what you recognize as his “property”, you are in some way accountable to him. The only people you owe an apology to are your employees at Tehelka, for desecrating their and my faith in you. Please do not attempt any further personal correspondence with me — you lost that privilege when you violated my trust and body.

A Painting By Salvador Dali

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall

The Country Which Is In My Soul

The country which is in my soul
Is mine alone.
I enter without a passport.
Like me,
It knows my sadness
And my solitude.
It numbs me
And shrouds me with its heavy scent.

For me the gardens flower.
Flowers are my creation.
The streets belong to me
But there are no houses,
They were destroyed in early childhood.
Its inhabitants roam in the air
In search of a home;
They dwell in my soul.

For this reason I smile
When my sun is barely shining,
Or I cry
Like a light rain
In the night.

There was a time when I wore two heads.
There was a time when these two faces
Covered themselves with an amorous dew
And were based on the scent of a rose.

Now it seems the same
To me when I return.
I look ahead
Towards a high portal
Behind which some walls spread themselves
Where faded thunder sleeps
And light breaks through.

The country which is in my soul
Is mine alone.

~ Marc Chagall

(Translated from the French by : Neil Young)

Marc Chagall

(1921 ~ 1985)