May 22, 2008


These are some of my favourite Haikus by Basho -They are so simple that they are beautiful.....

tabi ni yande / yume wa kareno wo / kake meguru
Sick on my journey,
only my dreams will wander
these desolate moors

Kono michi ya / yuku hito nashini / aki no kure

All along this road
not a single soul – only
autumn evening comes

Won't you come
and see loneliness?
Just one leaf on the kiri tree

Temple bells die out
the fragrant blossoms remain
A perfect evening!

Miru tokoro hana ni arazu to iu koto nashi,
omou tokoro tsuki ni arazu to iu koto nashi
There is nothing you can see that is not a flower;
There is nothing you can think that is not the moon

May 20, 2008

Black and White !

Unlike India Lunch hour in Japan is fixed – 12 – 1p.m.So at 12 sharp the Japanese `salarymen`(and women !) come out of their offices in droves all dressed alike in black suits and white shirts reminding me very irresistibly of crows !
Lack of color is what I hate about Japan .. Oh the country is color full enough and white sakura in march; bright orange autumn leaves in November. Then they have mastered the art of serving their food in the most colorful and artistic manner so u almost feel guilty about eating and spoiling the whole effect!

What I mean is their dress code at work ... formal white shirts and black trousers and jacket day in and day out .. Compared to the casual dress code we have in India it’s a shocker. Even after all these years of working with Japan I cant seem to get used to the drabness of black and white 5 days a week !
Bright Ethnic clothes is what I am - cotton kurtas, flowy dupattas of all colors under the sun –daffodil yellow and sky blue, lavender,pink and mauves,fiery orange, fuchsia,saffron, soothing whites – colours chosen every morning to suit my mood that day.

May be one day I will wear my blue jeans and a printed Fab India shirt to work and jolt the Japanese out of their habitual indifference !

May 15, 2008

More hellos and Less good Byes

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.
                 - Charlie Brown (Peanuts)

My family and friends are scattered in different parts of the world, living in three different time zones and leading totally diverse lives.And yet we sometimes feel a irresistible need to connect and to talk.With my friends its whats up with you messages on orkut and long emails written once a week that talk about nothing and everything ....

With my brother its phone calls and web cams.Its through the web cam that I see my niece grown taller and hear the sound of her laughter that I miss so much. I see the paintings she has made and listen to the poems she has written and am amazed at her power of imagination. I see my nephew as he scampers around the room and brings his birthday presents to show thru the camera. Its through the phone calls that I hear my brother’s good solid practical advice and feel the love behind it ..feel my sister in laws smile through the lines and the love and warmth that always comes with it .....
And its these e mails and calls that sustain me and get me through my oh my god I cant do this ... I need to go home days....
Did I hear someone say homesickness!

May 12, 2008

Of Earthquakes and Typhoons !

A few days back I was jolted awake in the middle of the night by a earthquake ....the room was swaying and the side ways motion felt as if I am sitting in a train passed after a few moments and I drifted back to sleep when at ard 1.45 there was another one ..this time a big one ..Everything swayed and swayed for ever so long ..I kept waiting for it to finish and when it didnt kept getting increasingly alarmed.....The lamp was swaying making crazy patterns on the walls, and water was sloshing out of a filled pan in the kitchen was so eerily quiet that the sound of things bumping against each other and the water sloshing was unnaturally loud .. I guess earthquakes are more scary if they happen at night !
for a while I wondered if I shld run out and when I finally did I found my Japanese neighbor had come out as well (come to think of it that’s the only time I have ever seen her!).
In the morning we had another one....this time mercifully a small one..I was sitting at my desk,writing when I felt the table shake. but this time I just waited for the table to stop shaking and then calmly resumed working. ..funny how you get used to such things in Japan !
And then yesterday we had a typhoon warning and it has been raining and raining and raining since then .. the temperature has drastically fallen jackets which I had bundled away at the back of my cupboard are out again ....Its like Feb in May !
3 Earthquakes in two days and a Typhoon ... Thats Japan for you !

May 4, 2008

The Simple Pleasures of Life ...

We have a week long holiday in Japan .. What the Japanese so fondly call the Golden Week .. The trains are empty .. no morning rush hours, no people scurrying to and fro between stations
For me this is the time to sit back and relax, to think and contemplate, to sit by my window and read as the sun streams in making tiger stripes on the wooden floor, to listen to my favourite music or have a cup of masala chai as I watch the rain fall gently on my window frame ….to take long walks and rejoice in finding a patch of wild flowers or birds chirping in this concrete jungle that is Tokyo ..
Ahh .. the simple pleasures of life !

May 2, 2008

To mourn for things that could have been ......

I used to write when I was in school .. stories, poems or just jot down the random ramblings of my mind. I was told I write well ..that I should cultivate this skill ... One of my dreams was to become a writer and live up in the mountains ..Ruskin bond style .. but then I got carried away in the pursuit of professional and materialistic happiness and my writing lay forgotten like a dusty child hood book, treasured but rarely read ..I used to tell myself that someday I will start writing again.....may be this weekend..may be after this deadline is over ..
And now today as I finally sit before the computer I find that I have lost the ability to play around with words,the metaphors and expressions don't come so easily any more ...
...And so I mourn for lost skills and things that could have been !

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