“You’re not the brightest light on the Christmas tree,” a father said to his daughter

Christmass lights

“You’re not the brightest light on the Christmas tree,” a father said to his daughter. I was at a cafe, ordering coffee, and while waiting for the ambrosian liquid, I overheard these words. I saw an elegantly dressed man in a suit and tie. He held a cell phone close to his ear and was criticizing his daughter for not taking advantage of some opportunity that he had judged “rare.” “It was the sss—” I guess he wanted to say “stupidest” but changed his mind at the last moment and said Continue reading »

‘In a restless world like this is’: A fairy coach’s take

path

After the disaster of 9/11, Charles Bernstein wrote a moving poem about the confusion that ensued, not just in the days but years that followed. The blurriness of reality is expressed in the opening lines: “Not long ago, or maybe I dreamt it/ Or made it up, or have suddenly lost/ Track of its train in the hocus pocus/ Of the dissolving days; no,” Without the knowledge that the poem was written in response to 9/11, I’d have read these lines as dream-like, as being in daze, as daydreaming caused by some unknown event important in the life of the poet.  Continue reading »

The cheerful autumn in your wardrobe

Karo in a deep blueberry sweater and strawberry shorts

 

Who said that autumn had to be bleak and dreary? There’s no excuse to wear dark or not-so-cheerful colors just because the days are shorter.  In fact, one way to make sure we feel happier in autumn is to surround ourselves with colors or to wear them. In this photo, I’m wearing a deep blue sweater and strawberry-colored shorts–they’re not the typical fall colors, and thus make me feel like a conqueror of the season: “Yes, I’m not blending in with you today, Dear Fall. So who has influence over whom?”

A carpet of imperfections: Our beauty woven into our life’s story

"The world is a carpet" by Anna Badkhen

“Enchantment” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Anna Badkhen‘s account of living in an Afghan village for a whole year. The book’s title itself is intriguing: “The world is a carpet: Four seasons in an Afghan village.” The world? and the carpet? How can you really equate the two? And yet, in Badkhen’s narrative you can do that very easily, since the family’s life revolves around weaving a beautiful carpet and selling it to the carpet dealers. There are many other beautifully woven stories that explain the comparison of the world to the carpet, but since I have not finished reading the book, this is perhaps not the place do discuss them.  Continue reading »

“If I told him would he like it”: how do we communicate?

red lips

We humans are thinkers and over-thinkers. Sometimes, in the name of not making a fuss, not angering someone, not making someone sad, we mull our thoughts over and over. We ask ourselves: “Should I tell him/her that…?,” “is it worth telling them that…?”, “How will he/she react to this?” As children, we don’t have these thoughts–we have acquired them at some point during our social education. Along with directness and sincerity, our spontaneity went out the window. Continue reading »

Learning from stories, not theories: My book review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “The Infidel”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

I was recently a guest blogger at trulymadlydeeplyhappy.com hosted by the wonderful Julie Zommers. Here’s the beginning of my book review in which I argue that we learn from stories, not theories.

“There are probably millions of books written about happiness. They are usually available in the self-help or the psychology sections of bookstores. However, when I want to learn about happiness–what is and how to achieve it–I avoid these two sections and head straight to biographies and memoirs. I believe that no theory can truly make us happy and that we learn from stories, not theories. As doctoral students, my classmate and I reveled in critiquing all sorts of theories and could find fault with all of them. They are not universal and not applicable to the beautiful and superbly unique beings that we are. Theories always include caveats and exclude context-specific circumstances and unforeseen events. So reading a book about someone who reveals their life story of overcoming adverse circumstances, of personal growth, and achieving their full potential is what makes me happy and inspired.”Read more

Abandoning shade, becoming sun: shedding taboos on path to truth

sun

And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

This is the opening stanza of a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, and in my mind it paves the way for the discussion of releasing taboos and breaking stereotypes. The “sun” is the “Truth,” which is also the title of the poem and it opposes the untruth, the lies, and the unawareness.  Continue reading »

Beyond words: Attempts at describing loss

blooming roses

No matter how many times you lose someone or something that you dearly love, the grief is profound and hard to describe. As a writer, I challenge myself to describe various life’s scenarios, some of which I went through, some of which I did not. And I find that describing loss is one of the most difficult things. In the moment of grief, words fail me; in the same way, they fail me when I need to infuse grief into a story. Continue reading »

Petals on a bough: The portrait of the poet & us

Flowers in bloom

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough. — Ezra Pound

“Faces in the crowd” is one thing, but “the apparition of faces in the crowd” is something entirely different: less direct, more refined and fragile. The “apparition” makes the faces look just a bit blurred, just a bit more ephemeral and momentary. Continue reading »

Brooding on possibilities: How coming to the US has changed my life for ever

Karo brooding

So one of the wonderful fellow bloggers from the amazing Fabulous and Fearless community mentioned their anniversary on Sept. 12th. And it just occurred to me that this was my anniversary as well: 19 years ago (almost 2 decades!) I came to the US to study. And my world was changed for ever, even though I did not realize this at the time. 🙂 Continue reading »