Where Do You Go? My Lovely

Where am I these days? It seems like it was long ago when I last wrote a blog post. Actually speaking, it wasn’t that long, but it seems to be so.

In general, for someone like me who has no fixed writing schedule, someone who writes as and when inspiration strikes, this is a normal act…this act of being an Elfie, this act of vanishing from the scene. I have done this before, only to keep coming back.

Writing happens only when thoughts and ideas overflow. While it is true that with all the prompts and challenges around, there can never be a dearth of ideas but if one does not feel the urgency to write and also when life’s other tasks get too compelling and time consuming, then writing takes a back seat.

And it is then, that is when I have distanced myself even slightly from my blog, that I start wondering – Why do I blog? How could I have written so many posts? What drove me? Wouldn’t it have been better to have spent all this time writing a book or two, possibly more (I am already in the process)?  What do I do now with all the half-finished articles and poems saved in various folders for the last many years, long before I started blogging?  Self-doubt and self-questioning overpowers, hence an urgent need to be back to blogging; lest I forget it and more importantly, lest it forgets me.    

Now. Did my rambling answer my earlier question – Where do I go?  Yes and No.

Whatever. I’m reminded of two lovely songs, with the same beginning note – “Where do you go, my lovely?”

The first song reminds me of the times when we had just migrated to Australia and we could hear it being played everywhere; a street-side blokey song of a heart-broken young lad. Its beats are great for dancing, but we writers end up bothering about lyrics like “You left me with a heartache deep inside, girl you should see me cry all night.” Full lyrics here

The other song is a classic from the 60s, not a classical as such but about an ambitious girl trying to act rich and classy.

This second number is less woeful than the above song but the guy seems miserable nevertheless, as he enlists all the classy things that this girl, who is his childhood friend and who’s now a social-climber aspires for…diamonds and pearls, Picasso,  links with top guns who gift her with riches.
The singer wonders at this once poor girl who’s trying hard to be rich at all costs, but is she really happy in her heart?  He knows the real woman in her still seeks old times, and not money. High hopes young man!  Full lyrics

See, how my post seems to have strayed aimlessly from here to there! Not a good sign, ehh? Or is it? To let the words flow as they do. The muse is anyway hard to please and tame, so while she was here, I embraced her in all her wayward moods.

For now, better forget about defining the purpose, the goal of my blog. It will discover itself sooner or later.
That’s how it is with life – it takes a life time to define the purpose of life.

I’m everything I am…because you loved me

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

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It’s often about these two – India & Music

It’s holiday time which means with more time in hand, other than merry-making and enjoying Christmas Carols, I am back to my Indo-mania. Back to?  That’s because it comes off and on, but when it does it’s not in small doses. And that includes not only thinking about all things Indian but also listening to Indian music and watching Indian movies.

Here are some songs from a very recent Indian movie Bajirao Mastani. Based on a true historical love story between Bajirao and Mastani from the 1700s, it has kings, queens and warriors in their vibrancy and opulence.

Those of you who do not understand the lyrics (possibly 99% of you) can still enjoy these songs for their art and music. Make it full screen for greater visual effects and see them till the end.

The following song is sung in two different Indian languages which means even a polyglot like me does not understand every word of it, but after listening to it a few times, I could feel it going on and on in my mind.

Here’s another catchy number from the same movie. It is based on a mix of pinga and laavni (folk) dance art forms that are popular in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Great choreography and setting, and of course beautiful Indian women in their traditional attire. One of these stars is the lead character in the American TV series Quantico.

These songs being authentically Indian, are different from usual Bollywood songs. Hence I felt like sharing. Hope you enjoy!

 

The Story of a Valorous #War-Widow

 

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The Story of a Valorous War-Widow

It was the Australian country town of Muttaburra where young Barbara first arrived as a bride.

She departed from her ancestral English town in Sussex, with no time for goodbyes. Hers was a sudden nuptial with young Australian digger Richard, who was boarding the next fleet heading back Down-Under.

Richie was based in a colony within a remote Aboriginal village. But the couple couldn’t get to live with each other.

When the World War started, there was a call to join RAAF forces heading towards Gallipoli. Richie volunteered without a second thought.  All by herself, Barbara bade him good-bye as the steam-train puffed into oblivion.

That was the last she saw of Richie.  While she cried tears of self-pity, she didn’t go back to England. She wanted to wait for him in Australia.

Years rolled by. She stayed in Muttaburra, whose Aboriginal language and culture she was completely alien to.

More recently, 90 year old Barbara was awarded an Order-of-Australia medal.  All major national newspapers highlighted her life-long services to the care and education of poor natives.

Looking at the pictures of this prim and serious lady, no one can imagine she once was a very sloppy girl who hated books, served in a tavern and wanted to be a ballet-dancer.

 © 2015 Alka Girdhar

~~~ ~~~

That was my short story for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers (FFfAW)  where we write a fiction of around 175 words, based on a photo prompt provided.
This week’s photo prompt was provided by Louise from “The Storyteller’s Abode.

RAAF stands for Royal Australian Air Force

 

I’ll also share this hit song by ‘Men at Work’ about my land Down Under, that is Australia.
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~~~ ~~~

 

Thanks for reading! Do feel free to share your views via your comments.

Killing us with Nostalgia Over-dose

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These days, any occasional blogging that I do, somehow ends up becoming oriented towards music rather than proper writing.  Am I running short of inspiration and ideas for writing, or is it that music is my inner calling? In fact both are.

Today I see a music-related Daily Prompt Always Something There to Remind Me. It’s about getting us transported to some other time via music, and as this prompt asks:
A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.”

Many of such nostalgic songs that transport me to bygone times, hail from my birth country as well as that from Australia or other parts of the world. Thus there are many Hindi and Punjabi songs I connect to my childhood or youth but here, I’ll stick to English numbers.

One song ‘Fernando’ reminds me of the time my dad brought home a video of ABBA songs that had a vibrant display of the two charming couples singing all their popular numbers. Of course ‘Dancing Queen’ was good for dancing but I somehow liked ‘Fernando’ a lot.  Wonder why, because at that age I must not have known the real meaning of this song. Whether this song is about love and pining, or about war and liberation, it is of course about nostalgia. Today I found some more relevant information on this song.

Another song is ‘Yesterday once more’ by Carpenters. It reminds me of late teens in India in the 80s when I used to take my small battery-operated radio/transistor to bed at night and, covering myself up from head-to-toe inside the quilt, would listen to the radio. One such late night program was ‘Forces Request’ that played English songs requested by families of defense personal. I was charmed by the way army couples dedicated their songs to their husband, wife, children or others. Other than all the songs by Carpenters, ‘Funky town’ was another song popular on this channel.

~~

Coming back to more recent times, there are a few songs that remind me of our very early migration days to Australia.

Sweet Dreams are made of this‘ by Eurythmics is one of them. The lyrics ‘I travel the world and seven seas, everybody is looking for something‘ is a voice of every migrant. When we just migrated, all the songs by La Bouche were also very popular on the radio as well as MTV hits. Anytime I listen to this song, which is not often, I’m reminded of the old times.

When she says ‘want to be my lover’, my boy who was very little at that time, used to go round and round singing in his melodious girly voice ‘wombie my lava’..’wombie my lava’. That was many years ago when he was learning to speak his first .words. Hope he doesn’t do that anymore 🙂

Thereafter, there have been many such time-connecting songs that represent or remind of a phase of my life. But I’ll leave my musical journeys here, or else I’ll have to rename my blog title as ‘Magnanimous Music’.  Not a bad name for a second blog though.

Promise me son not to do the things I’ve done…

The Daily Prompt:  Well, I Never…
“Tell us about something you’ve done that you would advise a friend never to do.”

~~~

That way I have a list of things that I’ve done that I would advise a friend or a relative never to do.

One can give suggestions but most people learn from experience. What works for one person may not work for the other. This is especially true about career, love and relationship issues. Moreover, what is wrong for me may not be wrong in the eyes of others.

Many years ago I didn’t want to migrate out of my birth country. Not just because of love for India, as I was born and brought up there and I had some duty towards that developing country. Not also because I do not love Australia…a truly wonderful country with genuine unpretentious people. But mainly because I don’t like divided loyalties.

I had other apprehensions too. A migrant’s future generations become mixed souls, with no true belonging whatsoever. Either they become perpetually confused, being sandwiched between two cultures, or else, as I have recently observed in some migrants from my own family, they start taking extreme pride only in their new found identity of being an Australian, as if they never even had a different birth country ever. This could be due to pressure to conform.

But anytime I have advised others not to migrate, they did not listen. They come here, they proudly take Australian citizenship within two years while continuing to (pretend as if they) love their home countries. Thus they have no qualms about divided loyalties or confused identities; qualms that I had. Probably I was and still am wrong, as this is the trend of the day, the essential realities of a globalized world.

Therefore, take advice from others, follow it if it sounds genuine, esp. if this advice comes from a wise and trustworthy person. But also listen to your own heart and brain. Act according to the demands of time, situation and environment.

Listen to ‘Coward of the County’ by Kenny Rogers:

His dad asked him:
   “Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve done
   Walk away from trouble if you can
   It won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek
   I hope you’re old enough to understand
   Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man”

But his own experiences taught him otherwise…till finally he said:
   “I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you’ve done
   I walk away from trouble when I can
   Now please don’t think I’m weak, I didn’t turn the other cheek
   And Papa, I should hope you understand
   Sometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man”

~~~

Kenny Roger’s another song ‘The Gambler‘ also also has good lyrics:

Our life has many situations requiring gambling and risk-taking. These suggestions are good.

If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You’ve got to know when to hold them
Know when to fold them
Know when to walk away
And know when to run.
You never count your money
When you’re sitting at the table
There’ll be time enough for counting
When the dealing’s done

Every gambler knows
That the secret to surviving
Is knowing what to throw away
And knowing what to keep.
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for is to die
In your sleep”

My Thoughtful Reflection/s

I looked into the mirror
Saw her staring back at me
I asked her point blank
“What are you thinking?”

She hesitated a while
Then looked away
Lowered her eyes but
Didn’t share her thoughts

She looked up again
Looked into my eyes
This time she asked
“What are you thinking?”

I opened up my heart
“I think about you
I think about others
I think about life”

Who are we?
Why are we?
What are we?
What will be?

***

She smiled, then sang
“Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours, to see
Que Sera Sera
What will be, will be.”

~~~

For The Daily Prompt: S/he Said
Pause whatever you’re doing, and ask the person nearest you what they’re thinking about (call someone if you have to). Write a post based on it.

~~~

Also for the Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me
Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave?”

Well, we had a similar prompt for which I wrote my poem Life Diary.
So although I’m not in a mood to think about end of life but in general, do good be good. Live an honest life, serve others and people will remember you (if they have time).

But even if they remember you, it won’t matter much as you won’ t be here to see that. 

Like a Rock – Bob Seger

In reply to The Daily Prompt I Am a Rock,  when I wrote my article I Rock!! By being my own Rock, it was my usual spontaneous rant rather more solemn than ever.

Catherine Hamrick of a beautiful blog/site Random Storyteller commented and offered me a song as an award.  Thanks!  But hey, I’m embarrassed and apologetic when admitting that I’ve not accepted more than five awards that were periodically offered to me by my fellow bloggers. It is quicker and easier to share the song though.

So here’s the song ‘Like a Rock’ by Bob Seger. Also read the lyrics below that are more inspiring than my article, though somewhat similar emotions.

BOB SEGER LYRICS

“Like A Rock”

Stood there boldly
Sweating in the sun
Felt like a million
Felt like number one
The height of summer
I’d never felt that strong
Like a rock

I was eighteen
Didn’t have a care
Working for peanuts
Not a dime to spare
But I was lean and
Solid everywhere
Like a rock

My hands were steady
My eyes were clear and bright
My walk had purpose
My steps were quick and light
And I held firmly
To what I felt was right
Like a rock

Like a rock, I was strong as I could be
Like a rock, nothing ever got to me
Like a rock, I was something to see
Like a rock

And I stood arrow straight
Unencumbered by the weight
Of all these hustlers and their schemes
I stood proud, I stood tall
High above it all
I still believed in my dreams

Twenty years now
Where did they go?
Twenty years
I don’t know
Sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone

And sometimes late at night
When I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes calling a ghostly white
And I recall
I recall

Like a rock. standing arrow straight
Like a rock, charging from the gate
Like a rock, carrying the weight
Like a rock

Like a rock, the sun upon my skin
Like a rock, hard against the wind
Like a rock, I see myself again
Like a rock

Skill Search to Express Myself

I write often…more so lately.  But I hesitate to call myself a writer.

To me, writing comes as a way of expressing what I am thinking at a particular moment. And this random writing is not a skill, or is it? A planned organized writing of a book would be different thing.  Probably I was not born with writing skills but these developed accidentally by way of being good in various languages.

One type of skill would be some hidden ability that I was born with, that I remained more or less unaware of till some awkward moment when this talent just couldn’t contain itself, it burst out as it was dying to come out.

There is one such dormant skill that I have is – dancing.  Besides occasional dancing at family weddings, all I have ever danced is at my school functions long time ago.  But we never took it as a skill rather thought it all as merely a part of schooling.  Dancing thus ranks low in my long list of could-have-been-developed skills. And yet it keeps showing its face whenever and wherever it can. It is other people who remind me that I do have it in me.

I am reminded of one such occasion.  Long time ago after I just came to Australia I attended a short college course, doing very well in academics thus building a reputation of being a quiet and serious student.  At the end-of-year party, to everyone’s surprise I danced as if there was no one around me.  People were left open-mouthed in surprise and I ended up getting an award of ”Closet Party Girl – who dances very well”. I was embarrassed at this recognition as I had not done anything special from my side but others thought differently. It’s a different issue that soon my skill again went back to its closet.

Thus we see, discreet talents are like a diamond that cannot hide the shine that it is born with. Somebody or the other will notice it in us.

Till now I mentioned about skills that are hidden, skills that people themselves are more or less oblivious to.  Another kind of skill awareness (or lack of it) is when you do not have much inborn talent in a particular field but you think you have and are adamant to prove yourself – come what may.

We see this overconfidence in shows like “Australia’s got talent”  (replace with America, India and whatever country these are held in).   Participants come prepared, have possibly trained themselves for months after which they give their best shot in these competitive shows.  And yet, in their very first performance they are told by veteran judges, “Who told you to come here?”.  Participants start crying and even beg.  Amusing unrealistic misconceptions about their talents they have.  Not just in such shows but in real life we see performers in every field, who do what they want even if they just can’t.  But that’s the spirit!!!
Only thing is, each person is born with unique set of talents and skills. And it is essential to realistically identify those skills rather than chasing a rainbow.

Besides these two kinds, the third category of skills are neither the undiscovered talents nor self-delusionary non-existent non-skills.

The third skill type are the inborn authentic talents that we very much become aware of at an early age.  Our parents or teachers notice them as we grow up, and most of us do take care of these skills by training ourselves in some manner but gradually they become a hobby because our priorities are with the more serious career issues.
They are actually our inner calling but they take a back seat. They are our gifts from nature that are neglected.  But like in any other successful career goals, our talents and skills too need focus, hard work and mastering and covering the loop holes if any.

For me, singing as well as instrumental music falls in this third category.  I would like to catch up with my music skills. I heartily wish to begin practicing classical music notes that I learnt long time ago and move on from there towards some sort of perfection that I would have attained long time ago, had I not treated music as something secondary.

In these coming months, I want to see myself singing, standing on some stage in front of audience.
Ok, let it be coming years.
Gone again?  Not this time.
However, wonder if I got mixed up between a talent and a skill?

~~~ ~~~

As you can see from my writing style, I wrote this post soon after I joined WordPress. It was in response to The Daily Post’s previous prompt: “I Got Skills.” and later felt it is somewhat related to Practice Makes Perfect? 

Writing, music, dancing…these are my skills I regularly need to express myself

Thanks for reading!