Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A lifelong relationship with the bookstore that changed my life: A A Husain & Co.

Books from the floor to the ceiling!

Asif Husain Arastu—Proprietor

Showkath bhai (centre) had a huge influence on my reading preferences.

From the children's section on the mezzanine.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Random thoughts: The place for ashes

‘Scatter my ashes in places that have sustained the flame of my life,’ I nudge my children, when questions of death and the meaningless clutch of final rites enters our conversation. ‘There is no point in submerging them in alien landscapes or waterways, where my soul would wander rudderless. My solace is closer at hand, in spaces I’ve roamed during days of youth, escaping the suffocating over-bearance of civilization. That would be the ultimate celebration of a sense of place.’

But as life progresses, and unprecedented change becomes the single constant, I wonder what would happen if our personal geographies did not survive us; whither our sense of place upon this earth? Will we become outcasts in an unfamiliar terrain, or will we internalize cartographies and etch their landscapes across a remembering eye? If none of them exist till the end of our time, in their entire physicality, in their life-reviving spirituality, in their emotion-igniting empathy, in their anti-artificial naturalness, then will our romantic minds not remain their only record, and our only salvation?

So here I place on record where I would like my ashes to be flung from the hands of those who have known me, and have survived me; flung so that the wind scatters them as per its desire, on landscapes that rustled my hair as I stood knee deep in grassy seas, away from artificiality, amidst nature …