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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Book review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark MatterDark Matter by Blake Crouch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic story! A must-read for fans of multiverse themes. Sometimes, especially during tough times, we ponder upon the roads not taken, the choices we made in our life that made it branch the way it has. What if we were given the option to experience all the possible permutations? What makes us truly us? What is our real identity without superficial social constructs? Are we just the sum total of our choices? I have reflected upon these thoughts before and this book brought those ideas to my mind again. Our ideal life is with the people we love, and no matter the external circumstances, we always find a way home when we know that. Highly recommend it for both the entertainment and philosophical aspects. Kudos to the author! I liked watching Wayward Pines (TV) and recently purchased the audible versions of the series. Can't wait to read/listen to my next Blake Crouch novel.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

The 10th Annual Poetry Invitational at SJMA

Santa Clara Poet Laureate Mike McGee invited some poets to write ekphrastic poems based on the exhibits of San Jose Museum of Art. Ekphrasis is the vivid, often dramatic, verbal description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined.

My piece was based on ’History of Science II’ by Catherine Wagner in the Gibson gallery.

Take a moment to look at the chromogenic print.
For a more immersive experience, please visit the San Jose Museum of Art.

The library of souls
This is me-
All my emotions sorted into shelves
Then labeled and archived.

One shelf is for my mother-
Who learned early in life
That the only way a woman could live with dignity
Was by earning her own living.

Her face burned in the summer sun 
When she walked home from the school she taught in
So she could save money and buy us fruits.

Another shelf is for my father- 
Who was stabbed 27 times and left for dead 
By his best friend of 27 years.

Here you can see the memories of my sister- 
Whose existence I don’t acknowledge anymore.
Because I don’t want to explain 
Why I have not spoken to her in years.

The covalent bonds of friendship
Have kept me sane through the years.
I’d have fallen apart a long time ago.

And right here 
Is me organizing my thoughts-
All those solitary moments 
I spend overthinking.
Then neatly page mark and 
Color code them in my journals.

But the most complicated relationship 
I have is with myself -
Love, Hate, Love, Hate, Hate, Love

What if I am not good enough?
What if I don’t deserve happiness
For something I might have done
A long time ago?

Then I say to myself-
You are doing the best you can 
In all possible circumstances.
Love, Hate, Love, Hate, Love, Love

Now, take a step back.
Look beyond the wooden frame 
Of this curio cabinet.
(This curio cabinet)

There are thousands of stories just like mine 
(In the corners, can you see?)
Yours and yours and yours.

An atheneum of human stories,
This is a library of souls.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Book review: Becoming by Michelle Obama

BecomingBecoming by Michelle Obama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book resonated with me because a lot of my own personal beliefs were reaffirmed. For example, I believe that education is a way to achieve freedom when your resources are finite. I believe in speaking for those who are brushed aside. I believe in owning my story and saying it out loud.

The book is divided into three parts- her childhood in South Side of Chicago, her life before and after meeting Barack Obama, and her life as the First Lady. Throughout the book, she has mentioned her insecurities of not fitting in - something a lot of women feel when they have achieved something substantial. When I got admission to my B-school, I kept thinking that it is a dream. And I will wake up pining for a life that I could only dream of. Constant criticism bothers me even now and I often forget that people who engage in judging others often do so to feel good about themselves. Their own achievements too few to keep them focused in their own business.

There are several lessons to learn here. One of the important take away was that all the world saw in 2008 was the first African-American President of the United States. But the Obamas led a grassroots level campaign with a message that made a large number of people turn up to vote on election day. It was no fluke. It was hard work, determination, and hope. It opens my heart to the possibility that as a first generation immigrant, with an unusual name (for some), I too can follow my dreams to where they may lead me. That fear is for another day.

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Saturday, March 30, 2019

In love with the sea

The sea is a big tease
It sends out its waves to touch me

I think it wants to play
But it is just its nature to reach out

It wants to embrace the land
I am just in the way.

Nevertheless, I stay on.
Welcoming the rushing waves to my bosom.

Letting it hit me as hard as it wants.
I stay on till I start smelling of the sea.

Fearing that another embrace could drown me-

Slowly, with unsure steps
I head back to where I sleep.

Someone else takes my place.
And she plays with the same belief.

‘You are mine,’ she chants like me.
I smile as I walk away.

The sea is like a promiscuous lover-
Who gifts you with only heartbreaks.

The beauty of some relationships is that
they do not last.
Because if they did,
They would have killed you.

Sunday, March 03, 2019


আমার সকল কৃতিত্বের পর একরাশ দীর্ঘশ্বাস হানা দেয় বারে বারে । নিজেকে বোঝাই শুধু -একা থাকাটা কি অন্যায় ? একজন সফল নারী কেন পারবে না একজন সফল পুরুষের মতো মাথা উঁচু করে দাঁড়াতে? কেন কানাঘুষো, ফিসফাস ? দেহের রন্ধ্রে রন্ধ্রে সেই ফিসফিস নাগপাশের মত পেচিয়ে ধরে । প্রাণ বুঝি এই যায়, সেই যায়।

এতদিন তোমাদের মনোরঞ্জন করেছি আমার গান শুনিয়ে । সেই ললিতকলার মান রাখ অন্তত । কেন অনুষ্ঠানের শেষে চোখের লালসায় একে একে আমার ব্লাউজের বোতাম খুলে দিতে চাও ? আশীর্বাদ করার ভান করে আমার পিঠে হাত বুলিয়ে ব্রায়ের স্ট্র্যাপ অনুভব করার চেষ্টা করো? কি করে সাহস হয় তোমাদের ? আমি বিবাহিত না বলে?

আমার শুভ পরিণয় হয়ে গিয়েছিল আমার ষোল বছর বয়সে । মনে মনে তাঁকে আমার স্বামী স্বীকার করেছিলাম । তিনি আজ নেই । শুধু তাঁর দেওয়া সুর রয়ে গেছে ।

তোমাদের মত অসম্পন্ন পুরুষ যখন আমাকে লিপ্সার চোখে দেখে তখন আমার ঘেন্না হয় ।এই নারী জীবনের প্রতি বিতৃষ্ণা হয়।

ভালো লাগে একটা নিষ্পাপ জিনিসকে এভাবে নষ্ট করে দিতে ? কি শাস্তি দেব তোমাদের - নীরবতা ছাড়া ?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

On Reading

Reading well written books is like having conversations with accomplished people. People you don’t have the good fortune of meeting every day. Brilliant minds. Diverse thoughts. An Oxford professor, a mid-western homemaker, a neurosurgeon from Stanford- each accomplished in their chosen fields. Each with the dedication to finish what they started i.e. writing a book. That trait alone is worthy of emulation. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Couple's game

A relationship takes a lot more than just roses on Valentine's Day or an expensive gift on an anniversary. You have to acknowledge each other's presence even when you are stuck in routines. Here are a few ways you can have fun together. Feel free to add your favorite things to do as a couple.

1. Go to a Bed and Breakfast for a weekend.
2. Hike on a trail together.
3. Discover a new town together. Have lunch there.
4. Light candles. Cuddle and talk to each other.
5. Have a date by a fireplace.
6. Cook each other’s favorite food then have dinner together.
7. Take walks together.
8. Hold hands more often.
9. Dance with each other.
10. Give each other foot massages.
11. Have pillow fights.
12. Never leave home without kissing one another.
13. Be aware of positive feelings for each other.
14. Make out in a theater.
15. Write love letters and poems.
16. Unplug phones for an evening.
17. Share your dreams and fears with each other.
18. Love without conditions.
19. Face each other and look into each other’s eyes without saying anything for five minutes.
20. Hug.