Saturday, August 21, 2010


Dear You, I plan to start a new thread today under the label, ‘Words_for_Birds’.

Words constitute languages. Ever wondered what we’d do without them, even when it is interesting to wonder what we do ‘with’ them at various occasions? :)  This word is important in the sense that we, speakers of English as second language, need to be aware of the aspect of avoiding unnecessary repetition of words, especially in writing. So, here we go.
What do we call when someone is making unnecessary use of two or more words to express one meaning? It is called tautology,,e.g. the phrase “a beginner has just started”, is a case for tautology. Or “he saw with his own eyes” or “true fact”. Such a statement would be a tautologous statement. To such a user I can say, “Stop tautologizing!”

. His speech was full of tautologies.

Tautology is a defect we should be aware of while speaking or writing. It’s a common defect with users. There are other synonymous (similar) words meaning for this, which can be learnt: Pleonasm, Redundancy, Prolixity, Prodigality, Verbosity, and Superfluity. A speech or writing would be pleonastic, redundant, prolix, prodigal, verbose, and superfluous if it carries this defect. I gave you six good formal words to use when the next time you come across this defect and you want to describe it in words. Examples of these words will follow over next few posts under the label, ‘Words_for_Birds’. Doubts will be welcomed. Next lecture: what do we call speech that is the opposite: without this defect. Happy reading.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The first entry of this blog used as its title a phrase that is dear to me. Preponderant ponderability. I could imagine a few stalwarts of literature who, for me, exercise it in their work. Wilde, Hesse, Proust, Bellow, Saramago, and the heavyweight, Shakespeare. In the last post, echoes of words found pages of a novel I am reading these days, The Cave. I consider myself fortunate to have read some books by Saramago and the few that are left, beckon me everyday.
                It has been two months today, since I read about the news of the artist’s death. Ever since, having come across pages of sudden dedication as well as criticism, I have felt a strong desire to write about my thoughts and experience on reading his work. So much so that I decided, after posting my last last night, to create some sort of an exclusive space for one of my favourite writer.
                Shall I start another blog-dedication to Saramago? It is churning in my mind right now. May be I will start with a folder or label at QuoteSechoeD itself. I can give it a try. And as we tend our books, lost in cold damp pages, fiddling with the bookmarks, ponderability shall be the guiding light. Amen.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Beginning of a beginning

One who lets words be, knows they are capable of the occasional wonders and surprises that spring right in front of you just when you have lost all hope and have had your share of contemplation of the Hamletian murmur, "Words, words, words."
      The opening of fifth chapter of José Saramago's The Cave, adresses a similar predicament. To my utter surprise, the words on the page complemented the exact problem that had occupied a good portion my day today. The problem of a beginning. How do we begin anything? How does that thing begin which, before its much anticipated inception has been pondered on lest something turns out into a chaos? The fear of beginning a thing (like a creative initiative, a responsible task for one's job) is something, I believe, a lot of you could share with me. How to begin your writing? How do we begin teaching in a class even? What repercussions can, a not so discreet, a beginning have on the rest of the assignment, lecture, poem, meeting or a product, call what you may. 
                     "Begin at the beginning,". 
     But after all, how to determine that beginning? Or maybe not even that; how can one say this is my beginning and thus I begin? What I mean to say is that if what we begin is taking shape in one's mind previously or prior to the material act of jotting a word in ink or, say, clicking the green button on one's mobile to make a call, how determinately can we claim, right, 'this' is the beginning of what I begin? Another problematic concern emerges so. I. What exactly is it that 'I' begin? And the most essential of all, who am I (to begin)?
     The opposition of what begins and what ends opens up interminably when we ask that. But getting back to the immediate call on one character's assertion in this novel, that is, beginning at the beginning, Saramago says something which only he can:
   "Marta said to her father, Let's begin at the beginning, and it was as if all they needed to do was sit down at the table and start.... These are the delusions of the pure and the unprepared, the beginning is a long, painfully slow process that requires time and patience in order to find out in which direction it is heading, a process that feels its way along the path ahead like a blind man, the beginning is just the beginning, what came before is nigh on worthless."

I cannot say, I begin, or 'this' is the beginning of me. The issues problematize my existence. I am reminded of a Hamlet, a Herzog, or even Siddhartha. Do they ascertain the beginning of their being; even of what they do? It is something I ain't sure of. But perhaps these characters are more and more aware of it all as a "long, painfully slow process that requires time and patience in order to find out..., a process that feels its way along the path ahead like a blind man, (for) the beginning is just the beginning,", and what was it before, what is its beginning, and what will be the end, is "nigh on worthless".         ~ The Cave, pg 54

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Paro's Prayers

I am doing a double post today! The reason being this image of a place in Paro, Bhutan, which once again, the keen observer beheld one day:

You need altitude to melt attitude. That is my first imaginative reaction to the mountain peaks and the flying swabs of clouds from a point of view which makes me say: WoW !

In contrast to the last image I mentioned, this one lacks green but blooms in blue. The soil of the earth tries to match the glow of the sky; and in between lie the mountains. All I can do is wonder... wonder in my mind who longs to wander... in the same swabs of clouds, on this same ground of land.
This image inspires too; with expressions like,,, Glow of the day. Flight of inspiration. Altitudinal Imagination.

'Image of the View'

Nothing to shield
Nature grows in trees
The glories of the field
The wind and its breeze.

Cotton-swabbed clouds fly down upon you
Rays of sunlight still seep through
Life’s verve lies in the beholder’s view
What replenishes life, from your heart did ensue.

I see the mountain range, its face
Colours, elements, are life’s layers
Infused this vision in a caress, an embrace
Promise of harmony in the windhorses’ prayers.

“If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence”
~ George Eliot

Last Sunday evening, after finishing my reading session, I was taking a stroll in the lawns outside the library when I noticed the area to be mostly empty with overcast skies above. I decided to stand still in the midst of this beautiful place. How many times during a day or even a week do we observe our surroundings like I am doing now, I asked myself. I looked at the grass, the trees and the rock stones that lay wonderfully encapsulated in the softness promised by this landscape. But the question was still flickering my mind. To a natural surprise, I saw butterflies emerge from the hedges, evening birds chirping on the trees and welcoming more of their brethren as if to join for one final conference of the day, before settling over the branches to take rest from the day’s flight.

Then a rare thing happened. Here comes a baby squirrel running towards me. It stops suddenly just a step away, looking at me with its tense tail swaying. And I am astonished to witness the kind of palpable energy with which it approached towards me and is now saying something or asking rather, with eyes fixed at my face. Unbelievable. The spell is momentary, and the squirrel starts running around as if frenzied with an excitement I dare not imagine about. The little squirrel runs all over the place, halting only to find a rare grass blade or some seeds and nuts maybe. With my hand reaching out habitually for my mobile camera, I sat on the ground trying to observe and hear the heart of Nature beating in a lyrical movement of these living beings.

For the next few minutes, as few would believe, the baby squirrel posed for my camera. Perhaps, it was just too excited to come in some contact with one of these ferociously walking giant-like figures. I can say, this adventure for the little animal was worth it, just like it was for me. The squirrel looked happy. So was me. It started growing dark and we had to say goodbye. I, seemingly the less sensitive of the two, did it first. With special memories and a faint smile on my lips, I left for a more ‘civilized’ place.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Coetzee's words ...

It always interests me when the writer of a novel, creator of a song or the artist in general, reflects his thoughts on Arts itself. What is it to write? What is it to read or observe a painting? There are two quotations by J. M. Coetzee that indicate certain responses to these questions. I would like to refer to them in tandem because the function of writing and reading has, in my view, a lot to share and contextualize as far as books are concerned.

"...reading is being the arm and being the axe and being the skull; reading is giving youself up, not holding yourself at a distance and jeering."
~ J. M. Coetzee, The Master of Petersburg

The way Coetzee defines the role of a reader deserves more than a passing mention. That's because the idea of reading as not just another activity to while away time but to commit yourself to the act is something that gives to the writing (the kind Coetzee is concerned with) its first deserved worth. Each book we pick up and start reading, through the very act, builds upon a relationship where, if the book is responsible to us, then the reading is equally responsible to the book.

This is a special book from the author, in which the narrative, being the story that it is, is also a serious meditation on 'writing', 'reading' and creativity. I want to attend to another echo which is the dimension of the idea of giving up. Coetzee suggests:

"We do not write out of plenty, we write out of anguish, out of lack."
~ The Master of Petersburg

What interests me tremendously in this novel is that it captures and sets free a beautiful paradox. You ask how can one write something if he/she doesn't have anything. How can reading be giving yourself up more and more when the reader, supposedly, has to gain and achieve from the book?

I intend to let these questions be. I do not want them to be answered. What can be done though, is to befriend these lines and see them in tandem. And perhaps the most important thing is to "not holding yourself at a distance and jeering." Because in doing so, we not only extinguish the possibility of either gaining anything or giving ourselves up, but the very space of two of the most beautiful things we know of: reading and writing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today's post has no direct Quotes. I am writing it after being purely inspired by Sonam Dema's image of Thimpu, Bhutan. Here is an image of a rainbow adorning the landscape of the city captured one afternoon by its fortunate witness:

The beautiful scenery so naturally lets loose words and I wonder if quotes of great men, for instance the so called transcendentalists, start echoing with the 'image' of imagination which inspires the witness to see. It can't be helped. I am reminded of words by Thoreau:

"The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of rainbow which I have clutched." ~ Walden

The true harvest of my daily life....". Priceless words. Thoreau must have been a witness himself to sights like these. I can only imagine. Or go out there and see for myself. But as for now, in the cool shadow of this painting of a picture, I can perhaps, express/write :

The clouds, the sky
Hide a silver lining
Seeing a mountainous joy
My heart started pining...

The colors of this Rainbow
Are one and also many
Where the houses have a glow
Since you painted it in Harmony.

Day and Night, Sun and shade
Breezy branched leaves
Birds nesting under eaves
In the verdurous grass blade.
_ _ _ _ _ ______________________ _ _ _ _ _