Lotus wild over sakura

Lost words finding a home....

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found - Suketu Mehta Circa 1992. It was a regular school day on a lovely December morning(winters are warm not cold in Bombay).With just an hour left to mid-morning recess, there was a sudden flurry of anxious announcements calling certain students to report immediately with their belongings at the Principal’s office. After being little nosy about the happenings I go back to my daydreaming. Suddenly, I see my mother hurriedly demanding that I go and collect my younger sister from her classroom. As I walk through the school compound frantic parents rush in and out of the school premises with their children. As we walk towards the car I see my father tensed and horrified to some extent. He had just escaped death(which we knew later that evening. Four men had hurled bombs in front of him at a nearby housing development while my father was driving through traffic). A riot had broken in the streets nearby as we frantically rushed home, I could see shutters closing at the speed of light, people scattering, some flinging acid bulbs and destruction of harmless developments. That was the day the Hindu-Muslim riots let a demon loose for which innocents had to pay with their humble lives in the coming horrendous months. I still remember those days vividly for I have been a front row spectator to the bloodshed occurred in the name of religion ignited by few political rivals. I lived among trepidations that lasted for years to come by. Lost people I knew and religion once again became a crucial factor in our mundane lives. The citizens of Bombay (I resist from calling it Mumbai, always) bravely faced those murky days, which I witnessed closely with resilience and banishing all prejudices imposed by political cults. Over decades the city has seen its share of political violence and inter-religion hatred, but its people have always made it through with smiling faces.Thus, when an individual who summons his exploration of a nostalgic hometown proclaiming that he has seen enough murderers and questioned their virtues, it irks me.I am not denying factual comprehensions of this book, as it would be utterly preposterous to overlook the shame that Bombay once faced or has not being able to strike an equilibrium in honored survival, however I do question the validity of his sentiments to a place he calls “Maximum City” where he once unreservedly wandered as a kid. Mehta says he left the city in 1977 only to be back after 21years to find him in a state of utter shock. There is no falsehood, no dramatic sequences to define the underbelly of my home city, nevertheless I get annoyed each time I open the pages and read those words. Rarely a book touches me on a personal note, but these words dishearten me as they are negative of a place and its people who strive hard for a living. Fair enough, there are vast discrepancies in the standard of living. There are some who die homeless in scorching heat whereas others never travel without an air-conditioned comfort. There are some who demand beluga caviar on toast for tea –time and indulge in La Prairie Cellular serums while others barely make it through the day without a proper meal. It is extremely difficult to rationalize these disparities that hit you in the face in the most mysterious ways. But, these do not define all. Why wasn’t there a prose about people striving everyday braving obstacles with dignified audacity to make a better living. About individuals determined to make a dignified and prosperous future come what may. People amalgamating into one joyous mass rejoicing each cultural festival with the same magnanimous excitement banishing all ethnic prejudices. The chapters on “Bollywood” signify braggart purposes. It is a film industry for crying out loud; an entertainment business where almost all actors are purely performers and not artistic geniuses that venerates the true meaning of art. Nothing can be gained from it rather that a minority percentage of artistes that depart frothy amusement to make assiduous lives cheerful. Most art films (movies depicting social causes and instabilities) do not fare well with common psyche. This very attitude shows the annoyance of a mind resisting it to shun “moralistic virtues” performed by artistes that have been rehearsed to achieve precision. Is it disheartening? Not really. When it comes to choosing authenticity over illusionary realism, the latter is always preferred.One would refute my caustic words claiming that with my privileged lifestyle I must be the last person to comment on the imbalanced financial and educational status of this city. I have never lived without food, shelter or money. Then how would I know the depth of a suffering. One does not have to be poor to know what poverty is. One does not have to be fraudulent to know what corruption is. I was born in Bombay, schooled here and I presently live in this city all hale and hearty. Unlike the author, I have been away from Bombay for a span of 9 years, while I was studying in the US. But, that does not give me the right to condemn the city mechanics or garner negativity. As you cannot expect a child to stay a child forever, you cannot anticipate a burgeoning city to stay in its purest unscathed form. From what I observed, the author seems perplexed with his distinctiveness. He tried finding a sense of belonging in New York stressed through the binding stereotypes only to come back to the place of his origin and see it modified into a strange land that once again botched a sense of belonging.Bombay will always be my home come what may. I have traveled around many superior worldly cities, yet the imminent landing announcement at the Bombay airport somehow makes me warmly smile every freaking time. The city is heavily crowded, poverty and richness juxtaposes every road that spirals into politically corrupt governing display of unreliable loyalties and prone to religious debates. But, this does not define its landscapes, its populace. It is a city where dreams are built; life is raw imparting valuable teachings of resilient determination, where people smile even in the most tedious times, ethnicities are celebrated with joyfulness and life is seen at it nastiest and its finest. It is a place where I grew up and took long walks with my grandfather relishing every aspect of this marvelous city. Bombay is not a place full of murderers or politically agitated goons, it is haven of magnificent, soulful people who fight all odds and nurture a ravishing tomorrow. Now, this is what I would term as “Maximum City”.Lastly, one question that troubles me is why only those who bring together pessimistic opinions are the ones who have stayed away from the core of Bombay nudging stereotypes in a foreign land?Praj, why after such scathing opinion would you bestow a 3-star rating on this book? Is this you being diplomatic or commiserating the author’s hard slog? Ah, I get it. This book makes you defensive about your home city and makes you affectionate for something you disregarded that this book interleaves in you.

The Art of Love (Modern Library Classics)

The Art of Love - Ovid, David Malouf, James Michie Do I need to say anything more??Now, only if I could figure out a way to play the James Brown track.

Ramuntcho (Dodo Press)

Ramuntcho (Dodo Press) - Pierre Loti, Henri Pene Du Bois When life has something else stored for you, why do we wrestle the present and strive for its betterment? If dreams are not meant to be fulfilled, then why do we keep on creating new ones? They say, rough seas make skilled sailors. What if one succumbs to the callousness of the blue depth? Is he not man enough? A new land, a new vision, we pursue valiantly, only if we knew what the future stored in for us? Except then life would not be such a dream.Ramuntcho, the bastard child of Franchita was a fine pelota player by day and an astute smuggler (contraband runners) by night. A simple mountaineer, Ramuntcho loved his Basque terrain, where a threatening autumn lashed a caution of a bitter winter soothing the flora to resist its callousness lured by the charm of a vibrant, affectionate spring. His only bashful love, Gracieuse, for who he would ardently wait for an exclusive dance immersing in all its sovereignty at the All-Saints’ day festivities. Ramuntcho was an average individual with unusual pain. When Loti sketched Ramuntcho a teenager from the humble abode of Basque community, he reflected on the gravity of emotional upheaval an individual carries when encumbered by sin and ignominy. The cost of freedom, living without any remorse coming through the annihilation of painful memories, does it really brings tranquility within the abyss of disdain. When dreams die young and happiness is no longer a friend; sadness embraces you with a corpse-like aura numbing every inhibition you have ever conceived. Franchita’s death brought an unusual serenity in Ramuntcho’s life but his destiny was fixed forever. Now, he was the bastard son of Franchita whose dreams were viciously uprooted from his beloved Basque soil and would eventually fade away in a new land called ‘America’.This is certainly not Loti’s finest when considering his other works like Madame Chrysantheme Complete (my favourite amongst all) and The Story of a Child. If one chooses to read Ramuntcho, it is unfruitful to go overboard with the plot revolving one man’s endurance of disenchantment and heartbreak. Pierre Loti’s excellence shines through the portrayal of solely Ramuntcho- the protagonist and the poetic serenading of the illustrious Basque landscapes the narration serpentines through various seasons .The visualization of the main character and his progression from a childlike ignorance to a deadened, poignant fugitive seeking an refuge in a strange new world unaware of the hard labors of destiny awaiting his arrival,tells a metaphorical tale of million immigrants who leave their adored homeland due to wide-ranging unfavorable circumstances and while reconstructing a prolific hope carry a proverbial void in their hearts which may never be filled.

Family Matters

Family Matters - Rohinton Mistry As Nariman counts his last breaths amid the serene violin rendition of Brahms Lullaby, played by Daisy, my mind races through a gloomy apartment where the stale odor of eau de cologne amalgamates in the air of misery thriving among the bustling of outside traffic and noisy vendors trying to earn their daily wage unaware of Nariman’s existence. The acridity of my parched throat makes me think about my death. Will I die as a happy soul or will death be a gift that I would crave in the course of vulnerable seclusion? This is how Mistry’s words affect me, as I breathe and feel every emotion that flows through the ink. It is not because of my familiarity with the physical surroundings or the Parsi community, but the fact that Mistry writes a simple story of nameless ordinary faces with astonishing lives. Old age and Parkinson’s disease has not only bed-ridden Nariman but made him a burden on his financially challenged children. Coomy and Jal, his step-children, both heading their prime and plagued by their own ailments coax Nariman’s biological daughter Roxanna into providing healthcare to her ailing father. A middle-class housewife with two young kids and a budgeted monthly survival faces a monstrous task by burning the candle at both ends. The woes of middle-classes ripened by bigotry and communalism are highlighted with sheer accuracy throughout the manuscript. The preposterous stubbornness of arranged marriages, the segregation of religious identities, stigmatism of step-parental aspects and the eternal financial instabilities mesh into a burdensome desperation of graphic cunningness. In Asian cultures, looking after elderly parents is viewed not only dutiful but the most obedient thing to do. The concept of old-aged homes is highly condemned in the Indian society (also, many other Asian cultures). Old age can be cruel and if plagued by incurable diseases it becomes a metal cage. A man who once was free to walk in the by lanes of his vicinity and enjoy a wonderful German orchestra at the nearby concert hall; Nariman was reduced to a mere caged mortal who longed for freedom to breathe fresh air, feel the splatter of rainwater as he walked through the puddles and for once make his own choices without being reprimanded for his doings. I empathize more towards Nariman than any other character in the book. Nariman could never marry his true love Lucy, for she was a Catholic, he could not bring his step-daughter (Coomy) to accept him as her father and now he was the sole reason for the rifts between his children. I wonder if my grandparents could have had found happiness if they were not arranged to be married? What would the circumstances be if my father was not financially well enough to take care of my grandfather during his last days surviving cancer? Would we have been deprived of basic amenities like butter or hot water and frantically hoped to find additional money in the budgeted envelopes of monthly payments? In a society where corruption is spelled in gold letters, and a man’s potency is derived from his monetary success, money matters; come what may.Each sketched characters defines the ebb and flow of life and its greatness that we as children dream to achieve. Right from Nariman to Roxanna and even Yehzad (Roxanna’s husband) who once nurtured the dream of Canadian immigration, somehow end up in a vortex of familial or financial obligations of a capricious life. Mistry does not adhere either to pompous melancholic facades or epical anecdotes. He throws out the phrase of ordinary people with ordinary lives. For if, lives were ordinary, nostalgia would not be such a pain in the arse and worries would not construct topsy-turvy pathways.

Fetish Fantastic: Tales of Power and Lust from Futuristic to Surreal, Erotica on the Edge

Fetish Fantastic Erotica on the Edge - Cecilia Tan Tan’s stories are a perfect blend of sinfully liberating demeanor and feral eroticism.During my undergrad years,read this volume while on a flight to Syracuse; past a dreadful break-up. In a flash I went from bawling in misery to crafting a move on my dorm resident. A definite prescription to sensual rapture.


Superdate - Tracey Cox Worthless for my capricious psyche!!

Obsession - Girl Abducted: Formerly The Stalker - Revised and Expanded

Obsession: Girl Abducted - Claire Thompson This book is not for those with faint hearts or restrictive imagination. It is one of the wildest Thompson’s book I have ever read. The writings are clear yet aggressive, hardcore and graphically seducing. The intertwined lives of Mark and Emily transcends to a euphoric state of sexual and extreme obsessions; leading to an intensive power chase. The contents are dark and extreme;a wild ride with lasting after effects.

2 States: The Story of My Marriage

2 States: The Story of My Marriage - Chetan Bhagat Love is a temporary madness. However in case of Mr. Bhagat it leads to severe psychosis with sprinkles of idiocy. The man thinks he is a NOVELIST. HELP!!!! Where’s my fucking Prozac!!!

Immortals of Meluha

The Immortals of Meluha - Amish Tripathi My relentless wincing to the Indian mythological epics restricted ongoing curiosity till page 10.

Five on a Treasure Island (Famous Five)

Five on a Treasure Island - Enid Blyton This is one that lured me into the reading world. I still remember it like yesterday; it was during my 4th grade summer vacations. I was down with high fever and was crying for days for missing out on my yearly trip.So to pacify my tantrums , i was gifted this book. Ah! the mysterious world of Julian, Anne, Dick and my favorite George made me forget my pain and i ended up reading the whole series volume in that summer. Thanks Enid! for bringing me to a world of limitless imagination.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo It’s been a distressful morning. The milkman won’t be delivering the daily liter of milk; his house was razed by the local municipality. The family of six has to do with a makeshift shanty to prevent them from drowning in the dense showers of late night rains. Futile visits to the local political corporator and pleading to a rigid money-lender for a loan is what his weekly schedule looks like. Troublesome as it is for a detour to the supermarket for packaged milk, my domestic help decided to call it a day as it is the last day to confirm her receipt for a governmental pension of her deceased alcoholic husband. For all those vicious thrashings and numerous marital abuses she stomached for a decade, she truly deserved the so-called posthumous alimony; although a pitiful sum. Oh! What a wretched day it is!! Not only do I have to check the availability of another maid, but go and pick my dry cleaning as the delivery boy was arrested for trying to sell vegetables on the street corner disregarding any philanthropic duties to the patrolling authorities. Dear Lord! Am I the only victim of such suffrage? Mercifully, my chauffeur seems to have escaped from any such problematic liabilities. His tardiness has got me a bit worried on missing my blow-dry appointment. However, I reckon shifting the spa-medic detoxification an hour later could comfortably ease the tea-garden brunch. It’s still 9am and I’m half way through my anti-bacterial wipes. I need to make quick stop at the local pharmacy for more supplies; but the snail speed of this wretched sedan is making me perspire through the cool air of the designed interiors, dreading the inevitable. A knock on the window and I’m in no mood of indulging an urchin while fretting over the scarcity of the anti-germ armament. Few more taps and he moves on to the next door amongst the sea of vehicles. Bombay traffic; oh so nauseating! Couple red lights and I’m ready for a literary dialogue over freshly brewed oolong. As I alight from the car, a pair of white retinas stares at me with a half-broken smile. The offering of green pistachios macaroons seemed supplementary to the actual fancy; a few more arguments over the importance of food and then the ultimate dispensing of monetary funds. The cool sea breeze brushing my cheeks sarcastically mocks the cup of warm tea. I’m finally at peace. Argh! This unnerving stench rising from a nearby engulfment of reclaimed land festering with juxtaposed shoddy shanties ruins the temporary nirvana. Such a disgrace for a posh high-rise! I must take up this issue at the upcoming Housing meeting.While meticulously placing their cups avoiding the untimely melody of their exquisite china, the urban snobs critique twirling their freshly sprayed coifs; applauded the heroic effort of a certain Katherine Boo for having the balls to submit herself to the putrid cocktail of sewage stench and decaying garbage for nearly four years. It is indeed a medal of honor; elsewhere the opinionated lecturer making a run out of the narrow congested lanes before the eau de cologne evaporates from their handkerchiefs. Katherine, in a news interview said that after her research on the inner-city housing in Oklahoma city, she was curious about the institution of poverty. What ways do the ‘poor’ people execute to get out their impoverish survival? How did they thrive in the existing circumstances? What would you want me to say? To pronounce, that poverty has become the selling point of Indian literary panorama? Does romanticizing poverty give a feel of diving into some kind of exotic uncharted waters? Or does it give one’s heart a philanthropic illusion? On an eventful itinerary to India pick out a slum and pen the daily events of a close knitted neighborhood huddled together in congested housing. If, appreciated by the designated literary elites, spare a thought towards the unfortunate over overtly publicized Literary fest and if Boyle &Co. decides to take another shot at the Oscars; Hallelujah!!! Stories are not only born in slums, allow the tales to pass through through many corners of the vast Indian landscapes. The residents of Annawadi are audacious, unafraid and above all optimistic dreamers. Poverty is the biggest crime. It is better to be a cold-blooded murderer, but it is a sin to be poor. To be poor is to be guilty of one or another thing. Commiserating Raja Kamble- the toilet cleaner; rag picker Sunil, one-legged Sita and the vulnerable Asha who dreams to be the first ever slumlord demeans their very existence. Applaud these residents of Annawadi through the lines of this text as they struggle through the dodgy circumstances with true grit; for if it was one of us we would sooner or later walk the path of death.In a land where the supermarket does not boast ten different brands of toothpastes, give an Ayn Rand to a youth standing in the ration line and see a potent explosive rise. Crony capitalism, corruption, poverty and economic disparity are necessary evils in a country that is racing at an hare’s speed to meet the global finishing line. The sinister underbelly of Mumbai proliferates with every rise and fall in oil trade stocks. Does that give a leeway to the privileged to dig deep in the trenches and frolic in the slush? Stop romanticizing poverty!! Recognize the white elephant in the room and pen an epic of crony capitalism and its hoarders. Wouldn't it then be fun to see a panel of illustrious erudite critique the printed words. Would they find it rewarding as the scriptures of impecunious nether world or dismiss it as an unpatriotic insanity like they do with most of Arundhati Roy’s books. There my dearies lay the valid underbelly of a blossoming India and not through impoverished assiduous lives. I reckon the raspberry macaroons go very well with oolong and I might skip the Housing meeting . As for my concerned nirvana I’ll just spray some Comme des Garçons,

The Lover

The Lover - Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray Dearest Marguerite,I know it is awfully late now, to write to you. I could not resist though. I thought about you the other day; as her eyes scanned the Chinese gentleman for the first time, on the ferry to Mekong. The demure young features veiled under a mannish hat, gave away precocious impression of a 15 year old girl as he offered her a cigarette. The statuesque Chinaman who exuded charm and eloquence was besotted by her as she was by him. He was to be her lover; an escape from the abhorrent and impoverished life. On the brink of her sexual exploration, she yearned for the pleasure of his touch, his embrace; a world that was beyond the imagination of a young school girl. As she pressed her red-stained lips on the cold glass of his car, he knew he could never marry her, a fact that he told her several times, but would always love her, for “A love like this, so strong, it never happens again in a lifetime…never.”As the movie played on my screen, I searched for your book and there it lay among the dusty pile of old books, a slight tattered at the cover page. An affair of a pubescent girl with a 27-year old affluent Chinese man brings variation in one’s perception. Over the years, the book was disparaged for its pedophilic nature and the overtly sexual display of a young girl romanticizing to the term 'prostitutes'. The girl’s impecunious and abusive family history, they said was a convenient backdrop to pen a fragile child pornographic literary piece. From the time I read the book as an 12 year old, when I accidentally “borrowed” the book from my cousin’s library stock to those several occasions, I comprehended the writings as an adult, all I observed was a power struggle of an adolescent who naively used her sexuality to find a sense of belonging and in some way gain control over her existence. The story is far more complicated than just the exterior of a love affair. It delineates a distorted notion of true love (if the term is applicable here), the hypocrisy of social mores and the chaos derived from infidelity and wealth.I have cherished the book for decades now, and words fail me in expressing my heartwarming thankfulness for bursting my initial deluded bubble of an idyllic Nancy Drew utopia, exposing the discrepancies of a flawed society and sullied emotions. Life unexpectedly became a rational place to live in. R.I. P. – Ms. Duras.From, The 7th grader, who once scribbled ‘orgasm’ for the very first time in her history textbook and became wiser.

The Wind in the Willows (Penguin Classics)

The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame, Gillian Avery One of those few delightful books that always takes me to a place where life was full of astonishing mysteries and harmless ventures

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert Why do people seek GOD or spirituality only in their most muddled circumstances? Why do individuals prefer not to abide the consequences of their choices? Why do we let vanity triumph our sensibilities?The acquisition of mysticism or "finding oneself" is a mere amalgamation of SILENCE and LISTENING to the earnest void thriving in your chaotic self. If only Elizabeth could have taken a few moments out her daily life she would not have required the world voyage to discover the answers that were right in front of her. Why do we need perfect strangers to guide us in to re-discovering our strengths and weaknesses or any typecast religion celebrated for its numinous salvation?Listen, Learn and Capture; the most misrepresented pillars of human sensitivity adhere to one main element of Silence. Silence creates a powerful mind and soul and with it comes the greatest acumen- common sense. Spirituality imbibes every aspect of rejuvenating one’s common sense under an umbrella of wholesome silence.I do believe in GOD. Nevertheless, I perceive religion to be a cauldron of hypocrisy and egotistical objectivity. I have always had discrepancies regarding the Hinduism scriptures and certainly think that it is preposterous to let spiritual dwellings teach me my own potency and limitations. Elizabeth seeking realms of holiness in the 'ashrams' did not grasp my thoughts and felt like a portrayal of narcissism in an altruistic camouflage. To me, spirituality is not attained by visiting holy places or embracing shaman conduits. The passage to attain salvation from the convoluted commotion is to look beyond your vanities into the realism of the impecunious survival and facilitate in any way to enrich the impoverished lives so to minimize the disparities in human existence. If only Elizabeth could have taken a stroll in her neighborhood community centers and inner-city areas and augment the lives of those less fortunate would she have realized her advantageous mortality and would restrain herself from seeking wisdom from the immortal cores.I get the verity that an individual needs a vacation to a kind of utopian paradise to escape the chaos of monotony that life deposits. So, her quest in discovering love or the scrumptiously delightful Italian cuisine is logical; except it appears more like a festive escape without any ulterior connotations. In the end to endure a 14-hours plane journey to seek your inner-self is frivolous and a frantic plea to fill the hollowed futility of one’s moneyed self.

The Outsiders

The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton It has been over a decade that I have read this book.Yet, I can't seem to get Ponyboy,Sodapop,Johnny, Two-bit Matthews,.. out of my head.

Thousand Cranes

Thousand Cranes - With emerald shades,Dance eternal cranes.In the pristine rains,A warm koicha shared.Upon poignant chests.Tranquil prayers kneltJust as Bolaño teases my psyche, Kawabata plays with my rhythmic senses. In his words I find songs of a wintry heart waiting for a prosperous spring. I cannot refrain myself from scribbling lost thoughts in the shadows of Kawabata’s characters. Speaking of shadows; what an enigmatic delusion? The more you walk into it the more it grows; a loyal companion who never departs your physicality no matter how much you want it to leave. And then somehow, on a rainy day you crave for the sun, once again to be able to walk with your humble silhouette. Kikuji lived in and among numerous shadows of his past and present. Like the serpentine birthmark on Chikako’s breast, Kikuji’s past was conspicuous as warts on a toad. The ugliness of the birthmark that marred Chikako’s luminous skin spewed venomous ghosts through the intoxicated brew. The novel opens with Chikako inviting Kikuji to meet a prospective bride in pretense of a tea ceremony. The purplish mark on Chikako’s breast was all Kikuji remembered about his father’s mistress. As if the mark was an effigy of his father’s betrayal, the anguish of his mother and yet somehow it made him desire its touch in a bizarre way. Yukiko Inamura , a girl with the thousand cranes patterned kerchief was chosen for Kikuji’s miai(matchmaking). Kawabata interlaces the complex emotions in simple characterizations; analogous to the meticulous procedures that of a tea ceremony. Sen no Rikyū is considered as a profound historical figure in the tradition of wabi-cha(the Japanese Way of Tea). In the early 1500s, Rikyū integrated the teachings of Zen philosophies with the simplicity of tea to achieve aesthetics with pristine lucidity. Based on the four Zen principles of Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquility; the tea ceremony is more of a spiritual experience than mere drinking of tea. The ceremony that commences with the cleaning of the tea utensils before the tea is whisked, is symbolic to achieving stillness of mind and heart, by eradicating the worldly filth and strives for simplicity. Kawabata however fills the beauty of the tea ceremony with repulsiveness of human complexities and rigid destinies; a befitting paradox to the traditional Japanese art of Tea. Regarding his novel, Kawabata once said, “It is a negative work, and expression of doubt about and warning against the vulgarity into which the tea ceremony has fallen." Unlike other tea masters, Mr. Mitani left a legacy of guilt and melancholic irregularities to his son (Kikuji). With the passing of tea utensils through generations, Kikuji not only inherited the embellished porcelains but also his father’s revolting past and his women. Kawabata uses various tools of the tea ceremony as pictures on a nostalgic wall of grotesque sentimentalities. When Chikako serves tea to Kikuji in his father’s favourite Oribe(a black bowl) for the first time, Kikuji snubs the wistfulness brought by the kitchen-ware."But what difference does it make that my father owned it for a little while? It’s four hundred years old, after all – its history goes back to Momoyama and Rikyū himself. Tea masters have looked after it and passed it down through the centuries. My father is of very little importance.’ So Kikuji tried to forget the associations the bowl called up.It had passed from Ota to his wife, from the wife to Kikuji’s father, from Kikuji’s father to Chikako; and the two men, Ota and Kikuji’s father, were dead, and here were the two women. There was something almost weird about the bowl’s career."The same outlook is displayed when Fumiko brings the Shino Jar over to the cottage."A jar that had been Mrs. Ota’s was now being used by Chikako. After Mrs Ota’s death, it had passed to her daughter, and from Fumiko it had come to Kikuji.It had had a strange career. But perhaps the strangeness was natural to tea vessels. In the three or four hundred years before it became the property of Mrs Ota, it had passed through the hands of people with what strange careers?"The ceramics that once were proud of their serene concoctions were now symbols of forlorn tragedies. Kawabata delineates the corruption of sanctimonious tea ceremony by whisking in human greed and viciousness. Resembling the serene tea that gets muddied by loosened clay particles., the essence of chaste spirituality vanishes into emotional turmoil ridden by jagged history of the human soul In this book, the tea ceremony upstages the mortals as it takes the centre stage of vanishing traditions and escalating materialistic vulgarity transforming into a laudable protagonist. Furthermore, when Fumiko brings the red and the black Raku bowls over to Kikuji’s cottage, the molded clay become symbols of an incomplete love. The love between Mrs. Ota and Mr. Mitani that was haunted by immoral ramifications; Mrs. Ota’s love for Kikuji as she could not detach herself from his father’s memories; Kikuji’s love for Fumiko that dwelled in sinister shadows of his bedding Mrs. Ota; Fumiko’s apprehensions in reciprocating the warmth burdened with her mothers sins and the malice of Mr. Mitani in Chikako’s sexless existence. In a peculiar way all of it appeared to juxtapose the ghosts raised from the antique bowls."Though they were ceremonial bowls, they did not seem out of place as ordinary teacups; but a displeasing picture flashed into Kikuji’s mind. Fumiko’s father had died and Kikuji’s father had lived on; and might not this pair of Raku bowls have served as teacups when Kikuji’s father came to see Fumiko’s mother? Had they not been used as ‘man-wife'...."With artistic perfection Kawabata paints the red and black Raku giving a heart to these lifeless objects. The crimson love blackened by shame. The dreaminess of a man’s love and a woman’s devotion perished in morbid fancies.Kawabata does not romanticize suicide. He explores death in depths of salvation for it being the definitive pardon to mortal transgressions. Mrs. Ota’s untimely death or rather suicide brought closure to several irregularities. Her guilt that lived in the Raku bowls churned venom in a sorrowful Shino. Even though one forgives the dead ; the viciousness of the past becomes sorrows of the present. An urge to spit out all the venom.“Death only cuts off understanding. No one can possibly forgive that”....."Guilt never goes away but sorrow does."Gravely haunted by her mother’s death; ”Maybe mother died from not being able to stand her own ugliness”; Fumiko could not bring herself to love Kikuji for she felt the burden of acquiring the touch that once belonged to her mother. Even the smashing of the Shino did not mitigate Fumiko’s grief of her mother’s ignominy.Conversely, the “death” of the Shino in some way freed Kikuji from the paralytic curse induced by Mrs. Ota’s bond to him. Now, he sensed freedom and for the first time saw Fumiko in a pristine cleanness detached from the all the repulsiveness that once followed her existence. Fumiko was then an enlightened soul achieving the primitivism of the tea ceremony.“He could think of no one with whom to compare her. She had become absolute, beyond comparison. She had become decision and fate."Leaving traces of the mono no aware concept([b:Beauty and Sadness|14029|Beauty and Sadness|Yasunari Kawabata|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327954071s/14029.jpg|1414440]), Kawabata puts forth the idea of 'perishability' being the essence of nature. The indigo morning glory that hung on the gourd in Kikuji’s cottage, in its short life span bestowed flavor in the morning tea fading in the watery oblivion.Chikako’s greed for the antique tea bowls and Kikuji’s guilt over Mrs.Ota’s suicide and his intriguing affinity to the lipstick stained Shino creates a nauseating sense of filth; contradicting the simplistic spirit of the tea ceremony that Kawabata speaks so fondly; gradually disappearing in human greed. The aesthetic transience of beauty that envelops the wabi-sabi concept of accepted transience and imperfection is vivid through the quixotic words of this text and the flawed existence of its people. “Does pain go away and leave no trace, then?’‘You sometimes even feel sentimental for it.” Personally, the picture of thousand cranes is synonymous with Sadako Sasaki, a book that I had read years ago. Sadako, a victim of the Hiroshima bombing, prepared thousand origami cranes as a prayer for her recovery from leukemia. Legend has it that Sadako could not finish the said number of paper cranes; however, her brother Masahiro Sadako asserts that she indeed completed the 1000 paper cranes and it was during her second origami cycle that her youthful life was cut short. In the Japanese culture the crane stand for longevity and good fortune. The tradition of folding 1000 cranes is done when someone has a wish for better health, peace and happiness. Sardonically, the kerchief of patterned crane that the Inamura girl held represented the tragedy of missed chances and missed chances of luck and hope that eluded Kikuji’s fated destiny. The ‘bird of happiness’ after all did not nest in Kikuji’s life .In his Nobel Prize speech Kawabata commented:-"A tea ceremony is a coming together in feeling, a meeting of good comrades in a good season. That spirit, that feeling for one's comrades in the snow, the moonlight, under the blossoms, is also basic to the tea ceremony. A tea ceremony is a coming together in feeling, a meeting of good comrades in a good season. I may say in passing, that to see my novel Thousand Cranes as an evocation of the formal and spiritual beauty of the tea ceremony is a misreading. It is a negative work, and expression of doubt about and warning against the vulgarity into which the tea ceremony has fallen.As the fragrant tea emits transitory life into the tinted ceramics, Kawabata brilliantly bring beauty in the dynamism of nothingness exposing the conundrum veiled within the peaceful periphery of mortality.

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