norwegian wood

Contrary to popular belief, I found Norwegian Wood written by Haruki Murakami quite disappointing. Maybe I just failed to understand the profound meaning Murakami has tried to convey about loss, unrequited love and nostalgia. But in my opinion, the book is merely a compilation of baseless (and greatly detailed, *cough*) sexual scenarios and poor – or rather – unexplained, transitions. I can’t disagree that Murakami has written the book simply, and thus beautifully: the use of certain words and phrases is quite endearing. It’s one of the things that made me want to continue reading. The plot however, seems to descend deeper and deeper into darkness and depression, which appeals to me on very few occasions and in this case, it did not (for example, despite the downright tragedy and trauma described in The Kite Runner, it’s one of my favourite books). I suggest you don’t read beyond this point if you haven’t read the book and are meaning to do so because I’m going to rant a little about the characters and their endings.

Toru Watanbe: Very simple guy; a little too ambivalent perhaps. But in a way, it added to my curiosity and made me want to know what he would do next. His simplicity made him quite unpredictable which I did enjoy. Apart from that, Toru is depicted as very indecisive man, but only when it comes to his love life. He’s very clear about certain things such as his outlook on life – it’s easy to understand this from his disagreements with Nagasawa. But when it comes to the women in his life, all of his rational thinking seems to exit his mind, which annoyed me to no end (but really, who am I to talk about indecisiveness). This confusion of his particularly annoys me when he has to decide between Naoko and Midori when the latter is obviously better suited for him – let’s face it, as dreamy and angelic Naoko was, she wasn’t the best lover. Also, what’s up with him and Reiko sleeping together? I don’t get that part one bit; it was completely unnecessary – or am I missing something?
Towards the end of the novel too, Toru is confused about his whereabouts when Midori asks him where he is. To those who assume he committed suicide – majority of the novel is a flashback and thus he can’t have killed himself. Sure, the ending has got several metaphorical connotations and I think Murakami wanted to leave the readers wondering, or wanting more, but Toru ultimately comes across as someone who is lost.

Naoko: It took me a few chapters to actually understand her character; Naoko is very cryptic and not necessarily in the good way. While she’s suffering from the loss of companionship she had with Kizuki and is absolutely shattered when he decides to commit suicide, Murakami has shaped her character to appear very weak and dependent (on Toru). It frustrating how she’s a natural tease and leads on Toru which I guess results in his indecision. Another reason for his confusion could be the unspeakable things she does with Toru, who’s her (dead) boyfriend’s best friend, but then again, Toru’s to blame as well. It’s with this particular character that I feel the transitioning of the story isn’t very smooth – her expected yet abrupt intercourse with Toru, her finding refuge in the sanitarium, her shift to a legit institution and then finally her abrupt suicide – maybe I feel so because I read the book with lots of intervals in between, but still, it’s as though there’s something missing. Maybe I failed to interpret her anguish correctly. 

Midori: A very eccentric girl, this one; if I said Toru is unpredictable, this girl was something else entirely. There are more than a few times in the book when her words made me backtrack and my jaw drop. Compared to Naoko, she’s fairly independent and one thing I liked most about her is she knows what she wants. I believe that she’s a better choice when compared to Naoko because, well, she’s straight with her words and thoughts (seriously, I don’t think she has a filter) – but even that sort of confuses Toru’s feelings towards her. One thing that was a complete turn off however, was that it seemed almost as if she forced Toru to love her. In the beginning of their friendship – even when they grow quite close to each other – Toru is clear about his feelings towards her which are purely platonic (this is easily proved even after his attempt at trying to invoke any sort of sexual feelings he may have deep inside about her). If I’m not wrong, I think he even mentions somewhere in the book, that he considers her to be like his little sister? I feel that he didn’t romantically love her until she forced the idea on him. Poor guy, Watanbe. But I suppose none of this is Murakami’s fault, maybe he wanted to portray his character in such a light. Although not something I particularly liked, but it was definitely unique and refreshing in a way.

ps: Someone’s who’s read the book, please explain to me what “How much do you love me?’ Midori asked. ‘Enough to melt all the tigers in the world to butter,” means?
I know it’s a reference to the book The Story of Little Black Sambobut how exactly do the tigers chasing each other (and then melting into a pool of butter) express how much Toru loves Midori?

Advertisements

the daunting clock

The clock on my cluttered desk reads five past seven. The birds are chirping, the clouds are parting, the sun is bright and shining. I’m sitting on a comfortable chair, but I’m not quite comfortable under the accusing stare of my textbook’s dull and tedious font. As on most days, I’m using the pencil in between my thumb and my index as an instrument  to create a poor excuse for a melody, and yet, one that is just enough to distract me from the erudite stare that has seemingly transformed into a textual frown.

The clock on my cluttered desk reads nineteen past seven. My field of view has made the timetable for my examinations its protagonist. My eyes however, refuse to oblige and remain unfocused. My traveling mind lures the unexcited, blank pair of brown orbs to a land that’s more inviting: one that involves simple appreciation, free of any forceful memorisation; one that is more desirable, more tempting. To get there, I need to get past now.

The clock on my cluttered desk reads fifty-five past seven. It’s been seven minutes since I mustered up the will-power to tweak the focus of my eyes and concentrate on the dormant print before me. The modern legal profession in India has colonial roots, emerging with the advent of the Mayor’s Courts in Madras and Calcutta in 1726. I hum the tune of the song that casually greets my mind; I mumble the lyrics and I tap my feet. I hear the faint conversation between my parents sitting outside. I wonder what my sister is doing – if she’s studying well at university. University. Similar to a flashing red light, in my mind, my eyes revert to where they’re meant to be looking. The reformation of legal education in India undertaken since the late 1980s at the initiative of the BCL, the University Grants Commission, and various state governments has led to the establishment of various national law schools in India in the last two decades.

The clock on my cluttered desk reads forty past eight. I’m on page three. I’m looking at the microscopic stitches of my light green shirt. I’m hearing the fluttering of the loose sheets of paper near by. I’m smelling my mother’s presence after she has freshly bathed. The small Ganesha beside my table calendar looks interrogative, almost as if asking me ‘a penny for your thoughts, young girl?’ I frown in shame.

The clock on my cluttered desk reads twenty-five past nine. My face is slightly wet after washing it. The water bottle near me is nearly empty. Giving effect to the Chamier Committee recommendations, the Central Legislature enacted the Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926. I sigh deeply. The clock on my cluttered desk reads five to ten. It’s almost time for breakfast. The Act was to provide for the constitution and incorporation of Bar Councils, to confer powers and impose duties on the Bar Councils and to – I hear the distracted voice of my mother, calling me for breakfast. I reply that I’ll eat after a while; the guilt has been feeding on meThe clock on my cluttered desk reads fifteen past ten. I desperately try to squeeze in a few more sentences. In order to be eligible for enrolment, an advocate must be: a citizen of India, at least 21 years of age and – I feel the buzz of my phone. It’s irrelevant; unimportant, but the fleeting moment of concentration is lost. The clock on my cluttered desk reads thirty-five past ten. I comfort myself: ‘I’ll try again after breakfast’.

The clock on my cluttered desk reads forty-three past eleven. The owls are hooting, the sky is pitch dark, the sun is nowhere to be seen.

(ps: here’s a funny thing – there’s actually no clock on my desk; i almost always check my phone for the time)

eighteen

How is it that I’m already eighteen? Each year as I turn a year older, I don’t feel any different. I suppose it’s because the “growing up” part is a gradual process; it takes place throughout the year only to result in no major difference on one’s birth day. I’d like to think that I have led a pretty comfortable life up until now – I didn’t have to adjust to the new infant in the house since I was the second child; I’ve never had to move or abruptly leave the city; I have an excellent relationship with everyone in my social and familial circle. Let’s brush over my intense fear of conflict which stems from this one particular incident that happened when I was younger, because apart from that, I think I have had it quite easy. After all, the drama and misunderstandings amidst my circle of friends in the lower grades is hardly anything to fuss over about now. I suppose I’ve realised that growth doesn’t necessarily has to happen from the bottom.

What I have also realised is how utterly fortunate I am: I have got parents who tell me ‘you are the best gift in our lives’ and who go out of the way to ensure I’ve got a smile on my face. I’ve got a confidant in my sister, who’s far away and yet closest to my heart. I’ve got such brilliant friends – ones who search for that one book I’ve been meaning to read for ages, ones who give me a piece of themselves in aromatic sand and hand made stars which instantly makes me sigh in happiness, ones who write me poems that warm my heart and make my eyes glisten with tears, ones who write me letters, ones who remember me even though they’re miles apart – I am so grateful. In a world so uncertain and quite honestly terrifying, my own, small world is brimming with love, care, affection and so much support that’s got me where I am today.

When I was returning home with my parents tonight and we were greeted with traffic and soft music on the radio, I fully understood how much I want to make each of these people proud. I want to be one of the reasons for their happiness and their joy, just as they have been mine.

Aware

i remember the days

i remember the days,
when your breath would stagger
each time your eyes met mine.
i remember how,
the hair on your skin would rise
every time you touched my bare spine.
i remember when
your heart was steady, strong and true
when we laid under the stars with our wine.
i remember the days,
when your lips used to yearn
only for mine.
today when i look at you from afar,
and you fail to spot me
like you once did in a crowd.
my heart stammers and it stutters;
i miss the way you would smile
before shouting my name out loud.
but it’s the change in your breath and in the pace of your heart
when you’re with someone who isn’t me
that makes me believe i’m shadowed by a dark, gloomy cloud.
you claimed i was your one true love,
or so i heard, when you said i was your one among many
it’s my fault, i’m naïve and i’m not proud.

ten seconds

i just smacked a mosquito so hard i could almost hear it whisper before its final breath, “i deserve this for attacking you just when you sat down to write about something you have absolutely no idea about; after all, you’re just winging it, so you’re going to need all the help.” 

have you ever felt terribly, pityingly inadequate? of course you have! just when you find yourself seemingly grounded and at the same time, metaphorically suspended in the air, floating about with less worries than usual clouding your mind (do you want me to stop with these puns, really? do you?), you’re suddenly strung high up into the air, with your ankle having replaced the spot for your – or someone else’s for that matter – neck, while your blood succumbs to gravity yet again and gives you a long overdue head rush.

these past few months, i’ve been trying really hard to be optimistic about all things going wrong; i may have also started believing in fate – probably my mother’s influence, and definitely not a bad one. but there are some days when upsetting what ifs start to pick at my brain and all the negativity i’ve managed to avoid suddenly comes and sits upon my shoulder, like an annoying bird pecking my ear, except this one bird weighs a ton. human beings are weak, and a tiny peck, a nudge if you will, is enough for us to give in and descend into this underlying world of all things bad.

three seconds for your mind to register the thought; two seconds for you to frown or scrunch your eyebrows because you’re obviously startled by its sudden intrusion; four seconds for you to mull over your options panic and a hint of pity for yourself , one second for you to choose whether or not to continue that harmful four second streak.

that’s the thing though – if you refrain from giving heed to the first negative thought, you can escape the subsequent self-pity and onset of inferiority complex that follows. now, the content of this particular post is an example of what’ll happen if you give said thought more attention than required: you will have in front of you a poorly structured, aimless rant, riddled with puns and humour that have traces of pity, guilt and sadness, and a clock that reads the time as ‘way past your usual bed time, young lady’.

enigma

wrote this when i was 12 going on 13; i wonder what was going on in my mind back then hm

If the keyboard was a maze,
would you be able to find your way out?

If you were the size of an ant,
would you be able to last a day?

Or perhaps,

If you were the most important person in the world,
would you not let arrogance get in your way?

The answers to these questions,
happen to be a mystery.
An enigma such that,
no physicist, scientist or philanthropists’ mind
could have the solution initially.
Correct me if I’m wrong,
but every coin has three sides.
The two, that we’re already aware of,
and the one that’s somewhere in between.
Standing on its edge, with every answer
leaning towards being incomplete.
The answer remains buried deep,
in our heads.
Waiting for our consciousness to,
reach out and answer these questions,
by ourselves.
Put yourself in the shoes,
of the situation you’re facing,
be calm, collected and eager
to discover the answer you’ve been chasing,
At last.

ps: have you noticed i’ve changed my url? ajournalnotadiary had become borderline cringy

spotlight

Tap, tap, tap.
I hesitatingly tap the stage mic with the faltering pads of my fingers
just as I would tap the shoulder of a stranger;
I tap the head of the mic, even though I know it works perfectly well, I tap it;
I’m stalling.
On a stage, under the spotlight, with a lump in my throat,
I stand before an expectant crowd;
I have avoided this situation more times than I count.
I recall the endless videos I have watched of confident poets
painting the air with their hands on the stage;
the rhythm in their rhymes, the twangs in their ‘I’s,
the mystery behind their pauses and the drawls in their sighs;
“You’re meant to be just a writer, you could never perform.”
I hear the words of my traitorous and trembling hands;
“People are staring, don’t you dare mess up.”
I hear the hiss of my conditioned mind;
I hear but I don’t listen.
“It’s okay, go ahead; you’re doing just fine.”
I listen to the soft whisper of my rapidly beating heart;
it’s thumping so loud, the mic finally catches some sound.
It’s so quiet, I can hear the walls whispering to each other;
I close my eyes and take a deep breath,
as I would before I dive into the endless ocean.
I feel the side of my lip twitch and I unclench my hands;
I open my eyes and they shift to the clock on the right;
it’s been twelve seconds since I stepped up onto the stage.
And then, I spoke on my first fourteenth second on stage alone:
“Let me tell you about the day I overcame my stage fright,
in this hall, before this crowd and under this very spotlight.”