Noises in my Backyard

I am a morning person. The early riser who prefers the chirping of birds to the stridulating of crickets. But city life doesn’t let you have any of it. The running roads and honking horns aren’t my best of friends. And yet, I forgive them. Why? Because there are enough noises in my backyard already! The clamour of overweening ambitions has surpassed the clatter of highways.

The world is reeking of capitalism. Every outing is a race and to toot your horn is the new legitimate!

While I am in no position to judge those who indulge in the noise, a certain piece of news about a popular Indian singer that did the rounds yesterday prompted this piece. Apparently, the singer is said to have purchased a certain number of followers. This hasn’t gone down too well with the holier-than-thou who form coteries and do everything they can to get noticed. My plain argument is that we are all victims of this new competition ushered in by capitalism and I wonder how right is it to judge those who ‘sin differently’? For, we all make enough noise, don’t we?

So, here is one to the noises we make!

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Image: Unsplash, Sydney Rae

A cacophony of deafening sounds

Hear me out! Hear me out!

Boom! Bang! Bang!

Noises in my backyard

Shout out loud! Shout out loud!

Muddled yarns seek control

Purveyors of talent spin around

Buy and Sell,

Sell! Sell! Sell!

Capitalistic wisdom here abounds

Shut out those noises

that tear the insides?

Silence braves

The mayhem outside

I, me, me

Plus one to victory

One, two, three… laurels count

Clap, Clap, Clap, thump and pat

If you may please

Rap, Rap, Rap

Muted tones simply drown

So, they wriggle and wiggle

and writhe and twitch

They wobble and jiggle

and try to fit

You hear them loud

Ka-ching, ka-ching

The sanctimonious brigade

Now pretentiously steps in

‘Tsk-tsk-tsk; Chhi-chhi-chhi

What an ignoble entity!’

They snigger and scorn

Boo and hiss,

To find their way back

to obsessive explosives

Hold back-scratchers

I cringe…

Scratch, scratch, scratch

Boom, boom, bang, bang, bang

It’s time for their bangarang

Once again it’s back to

Clamour and shout

Hear me out! Hear me out!

-Sonia Dogra

IWSG- AUGUST 2020 (Did the form find me?)

It’s the IWSG day once again! Time’s a Bugatti, isn’t it? I love the IWSG. It’s an awesome place to learn and grow; a support group where you can reach out to better your craft.

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

If you wish to join sign up here

The awesome co-hosts for August are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey! Do visit them and show some love!

Now for this month’s question. I love answering these questions.

August 5 question – Quote: “Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be.”
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Here is my response:

Did I find writing

Or did writing find me?

I often keep wondering

About the genesis of this story

On a plodding Sunday

As I lay about

My mind wandered to

A lonely, forsaken cloud

Wordsworth then made way

Into the room stealthily

And before I knew I had

Created some poetry!

Believe you me

Intention I had none

I am a story-teller

Don’t care for rhyme or pun

It must’ve been serendipity

That turned my prose into poetry!

So, the very next day

I decided not to go astray

And pulled out a tale

Called ‘Shards from a Decade’

Intense, stirring and savvy

The yarn was read by many

Who inadvertently chose

To call the piece ‘poetic’ prose.

Thereupon for days and weeks

And several months and years

I ordered myself by decree

To solely pen stories

Do you now wish to know

If that’s the form I choose?

Well, yes, I am watchful

By verses I shall certainly not be noosed

Now, don’t you ask me how then

This response turned into poetry

I guess I’ll have to confess

The form wilfully always chooses me!

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I just thought I will turn this into fun this month. Hope you enjoyed visiting the blog. Until we meet again!

अतरंगी प्रेम कहानी – तुम तक

साधारण सी लगने वाली प्रेम कहानियाँ क्या ख़ास होती हैं ? मुझे याद है किशोरावस्था के वो दिन | ’९० के दशक की बात है |वो प्रेम कहानियों का दौर था ─ चाहे फिल्में हो या किताबें | या फिर शायद ऐसा तो नहीं था, कि हमें ही और कोई कहानी नज़र नहीं आती थी!

यूँ तो सच कहें, तो  हर प्रेम कहानी एक सी होती थी | आपको किसी भी गली-नुक्कड़ पर मिल सकती थी | बिलकुल आम, तू-तू, मैं-मैं से शुरू होती हुई, लुक्का-छुप्पी में पलती बढती और असीम किस्से बुनती हुई | फिर भी हर कहानी की अपनी एक अलग आत्मा थी | कुछ ख़ास था हर साधारण सी कहानी में | और जब सुनने बैठो तो लगता था, अरे ! यह तो मेरी कहानी जैसी ही है!

सच पूछिए तो प्यार का स्वरुप है ही ऐसा| अनजान और फिर भी जाना पहचाना | यूँ तो प्यार हमेशा, हर उम्र में और हर बार नायाब होता है, लेकिन वो बीसवां दशा भुलाते नहीं भूलता | मेरी एक मित्र थी जिसने उन्नीसवें साल में आते ही कहना शुरू कर दिया था, ” बस अब हम सब अपनी ज़िन्दगी के सबसे महत्वपूर्ण दशक में कदम रखने वाले हैं | इसी दशक में हम पढाई के अंतिम चरण से गुजरेंगे, नौकरी लगेगी और प्यार भी हमारा इसी दशक में परवान चढ़ेगा |” मुझे उसकी बातों पर बहुत हंसी आती थी | लेकिन सच ही तो कहती थी वो | वो बीसवां दशा अतरंगी था | और उसका सबसे खूबसूरत रंग प्रेम का लाल था |

समय के साथ प्यार ने अपनी परिभाषा और पहनावा दोनों ही बदल लिए | इसका तात्पर्य यह नहीं है कि वो प्यार नहीं रहा | मगर सच यह है कि हम जानी – पहचानी गलियों से बार-बार गुज़रने की गलती दोहराने में हिचकिचाते कम हैं | मैं अब भी रोमांस पढ़ना और देखना पसंद करती हूँ, मगर आजकल के इन किस्सों में अपनी कहानी की झलक बस ढूंढती रह जाती हूँ |

ऐसे में मैंने हेमा बिष्ट की किताब ‘ तुम तक’ जो हाल ही में अमेज़न पर रिलीज़ हुई पढ़ी | प्यार की वो आम कहानी जो ख़ास है | शुक्रिया हेमा का मुझे मेरा बीसवां दशा याद दिलाने के लिए | यह कहानी पढ़ना जैसे प्यार की पुरानी गलियों से गुज़ारना |

‘ तुम तक’ का लिंक यहाँ शेयर कर रही हूँ | उस ओर मुख करें और इस भागती दौड़ती ज़िन्दगी में चुरा लें प्यार के कुछ बेहद अनमोल पल |

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Niksen- About Doing Nothing

John Milton’s words, ‘They also serve who only stand and wait,’ have enticed me for years. Every time I begin to wonder about the worthiness of my existence, I am drawn to Milton’s words. When he turned blind at the mere age of forty-three, the poet was filled with self-doubt and wondered whether he would be able to do justice to the talents bestowed upon him by God! Would he be productive in any way? But more than his cynicism, it is the reconciliation towards the end of the poem that has always fascinated me. Those who do not ‘do’ also hold a place of significance in the scheme of this universe.

Have you ever heard of Niksen- the Dutch art of doing nothing? Read more about it in my post here…

“Niksen- Doing Nothing!” by Sonia Dogra https://link.medium.com/69G8pjNjx8

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

Image, Pinterest

Mujhse pehle kitne shaayar aaye aur aakar chale gaye,

Kuch aahein bharkar laut gaye, kuch nagme gaakar chale gaye,

Who bhi ek pal ka kissa thei, main bhi ek pal ka kissa hun,

Kal tumse juda ho jaunga, lo aaj tumhara hissa hun…’ *

 The ‘pal do pal ka shaayar’ has enticed me for long. The urge to create, to adorn innumerable books with words has always got the better of writers. They need not be mainstream. They may just be lone weavers of words, chanting their personal memoirs in private journals. A lot of this writing is cathartic. But more than that, I say, it is the irresistable charm of words; the magical pull that is hard to forgo. The moment a word nosedives into a piece of paper, it tows several others to drift along. And thus, are born millions of poetries and stories. Some of them perish without ever having been read. They gather dust in huge libraries or at the best find a home in poetry salons. Few are savoured by a handful, fewer by many.

And yet, the shayar, the poet, is unable to counter this hunger to create. Even after convincing themselves several times of the futility of it all, they sneak back to their writing desks, spilling their hearts out. Namratha Vardhrajan asks poets about this chronic obsession in her beautiful rendition, At the Funeral of the Poet’s Dream’.

I remember a quaint conversation that I once had with someone about writing. Reading Namratha’s poem took me back to that strange conversation I had over a cup of tea. My acquaintance, sipping from her cup, asked me if I made more money by writing or through my regular job. With all the best-sellers making so much noise and with public knowledge of some authors having enviable stacks of cash swished off in their bank accounts, it somehow seemed natural for her to ask. I told her my writing catered for a very meagre portion of my earnings, which of course is the truth. She didn’t look surprised as I had so expected. Instead, she left me confounded with her response, “Well, I’m not surprised. Writers are mostly stony broke!”

Before I could talk of opulence in terms of its figurative existence in the lives of writers, my acquaintance came up with a successive question, “So, why do you write?”

Tell me, writer, what makes you wield the pen? Is writing the stardust you hope to sprinkle on the world for its possible purgation? Or, is it because the world is too much for you? Is writing the taste of life you would rather have linger on in your mouth, when all of reality has made it bitter? Or, is it simply an untold story you’d rather get rid of?

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

Even when you know that your words perish sooner than a fish out of water. Even when you know many a folk pass by your words without even batting an eyelid. Even when you know that a lot of your poems write their own obituaries. Which reminds me of a well-meaning suggestion I’ve often been given. Poetry is not good for business. Tell me, writer, do you write for business? Or, do you write because you must?

You do know that sooner or later your writing shenanigans will be put aside to make way for others. Library shelves will make space for other dilettantes… maybe for the more stellar performers. And yet, you get back to your writing desk tossing the lone penny in your pocket that you made with a piece from your pen.

As I wait for you to tell me why you write, I leave you with fleeting thoughts from the second-half of the evergreen number ‘Main pal do pal ka shayar hun...’

Kal aur aayenge nagmo ki khilti kaliyaan chunne waale

Mujhse behtar kehne waale tumse behtar sunne waale

Kyu koi mujhko yaad kare

Mashroof zamaana mere liye kyu waqt apna barbaad kare…’*

I will look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

*[For my English readers, the lines in Hindi are from a popular song. To paraphrase them in simple words, the poet says that his essence as a poet is nothing more than a fleeting thought. Several poets have lived before him and several others will follow him. He might be a part of your existence today but he shall perish soon to make way for others, just like his predecessors did. ]         

You Are Enough

Free image, Unsplash

Here is a little piece I wrote on Medium.

My paternal aunt loved to dress up. Short and chunky, she carried her bronzed skin tone and fuller body with much panache. Although fond of rich, bright and vibrant colours, I often found her in neutral shades like grey or ivory or beige…

What makes us seek validation? How does it affect us? Click on the link below to read my views. Drop in a comment so that I know what you feel about it!

“Untitled” by Sonia Dogra https://link.medium.com/51jRH6QIg8

The Jar of Belief

Sometimes the most bizzare situations bring home valuable lessons. The dark abyss often needs just a shaft of sunlight and Voila! The trench lights up instantly.
Last evening while watching my daughter participate in a pretend play it struck me how we simply need a dash of belief to add value to nothing.
Life brings worthy lessons in the most uncustomary ways.
A slice from a pretend play, titled ‘The Jar of Belief’ Read More

#IWSG, Wednesday July 1, Writing in the Next Decade

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to yet another month of the IWSG, a wonderful support group for writers where you learn and grow; where your craft is not limited to a space or region and where you adopt global methods and trends. If you are a writer of poetry, short stories, prose, novels or just a writer, this is the place to be. You can sign here and join the group. Read More

Urban Nightmare- WEP June

June Challenge

Hello! Could there be another time to discuss ‘Urban Nightmare’ ? That’s the theme for this month’s WEP Challenge. And aren’t we living it every moment?

I’ve attempted a flash, and while the premise remains the same (I can’t seem to break away from my preferred style of writing) but I’ve attempted not to talk of human relations that almost always form the basis of my stories. Hope you enjoy this one! I tried hard to incorporate the clues at WEP but somehow I have a long way to go as far as this genre is concerned.

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When you don’t fit in…

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The year was 1997. I moved out of home for the first time. It was a personal decision, taken much against the wishes of my father, who thought I could continue my education in the small hill town where we lived. But I thought differently. I wanted to see life in big cities. They said big cities held more promises. I was academically inclined, had always performed decently well and was quick to make friends. I didn’t see any reason why my parents should have been worried for me.

And so, after much brouhaha over my decision back home, I made my way to a bustling city. The most difficult task in a new place is finding your gang. And at an age when friendships are the sweet nothings you are looking for, this task becomes even more onerous.

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