The Chronicles of Miss Shola

The blog's epitaph: Miss Shola came and went as she pleased

Archive for June 2010

Rumi on Poetry

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Listen to presences inside poems,

Let them take you where they will.

Follow those private hints,

And never leave the premises.

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Written by Miss Shola

June 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Posted in Poetry

Playing with Dolls

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Five of them came out happily from Delhi Haat in a white cloth bag, and were put in a stuffy suitcase that was lifted 30,000 feet above ground. All through the journey they held hands, battling the breathlessness and ear-popping together. When they finally got a chance to peek out, the glitzy Mumbai sun shone down on them and promised them Bollywood-esque dreams. Six months later:

  • Shola, our feisty protagonist, hangs from the cupboard; smiling, inspite of the villainous lizard keychain that scares her all night. She can’t even reach out to her hero Gogo, because he’s far away hanging on the adjoining cupboard. She waits for the day when he can free himself off the chains and rescue her from the ordeal. A typical story of love and separation.
  • Padma, the vamp, swings wildly from the rearview mirror of a car. She likes her home on wheels and the adventures it offers. Sometimes she co-ordinates her dancing with the music blaring out from the car deck, but the-man-who-mouths-cuss-words-every-now-and-then doesn’t really notice. It’s only when the car speeds and her head bangs the windshield, do his big hairy hands comfort her. But she continues to pine for Duggu.
  • Duggu was given away as a gift to a young bucktoothed girl who came to work as a maid in a big house but went back to her small room in the slums of Mumbai. Nobody really knows what happened to him, but one can hope that he is adding much colour to the gray and dusty room where he now belongs.
  • Paro and Dev still remain in the white cloth bag, awaiting their fate and until then making wild love to each other!

Written by Miss Shola

June 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Posted in Ramblings

A Lady Who Thinks She Is Thirty

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Unwillingly Miranda wakes,
Feels the sun with terror,
One unwilling step she takes,
Shuddering to the mirror.

Miranda in Miranda’s sight
Is old and gray and dirty;
Twenty-nine she was last night;
This morning she is thirty.

Shining like the morning star,
Like the twilight shining,
Haunted by a calendar,
Miranda is a-pining.

Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.

Time is timelessness for you;
Calendars for the human;
What’s a year, or thirty, to
Loveliness made woman?

Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
Pick up your glass and tell me, then–
How old is Spring, Miranda?

~ Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was an American poet well known for his light verse. He started work writing advertising copy in 1925, and went on to publish 19 books of poetry. A famous one-line quote by him: Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.

Written by Miss Shola

June 8, 2010 at 8:58 am

Posted in Poetry

Joseph Francois Dupleix

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It was a cloudy and still afternoon, as most afternoons are wont to be at this time of the month in Pondicherry. Dupleix, the erstwhile Governor of the town, looks out of the balcony in his room. His charming house, stands at one of the most important corners of the French quarters earlier known as Ville Blanche (White Town). He had it built by the shade of a mango tree, now 200 years old but still abloom and testament to the era gone by. Those were his heydays.

At the age of eighteen, his dominating father had persuaded him into joining the French trading company, Compagnie des Indes, whose main harbor was in Pondicherry. He had consented as he often did with all his father’s decisions. Little did he know then that the small town would assume indelible importance in his life.

He grew the ranks of the company steadily and received several accolades during his tenure. Due to his glowing work in Chandernagore in Bengal, which resulted in tremendous increase in trade for the Compagnie, he was nominated Governor of Pondicherry by Louis XV, king of France. It was also in this town, that he met his wife Jeanne Albert. Jeanne was born of a French father and Indo-Portuguese mother but followed the Hindu faith and spoke the local language, Tamil, fluently.

Due to his ingenuity, he won several battles with the British and the Moghuls, including the time when he and Jeanne together charmed Anaverdi Khan, who had been sent by the British to seize Pondicherry, with their immaculate hospitality. Though he was often chided for letting Jeanne influence his political decisions, it didn’t perturb him and he continued to gain more and more territory for the French and expanded the province. His ambitions got the better of him and he started investing money into transforming the Compagnie from a financial into a military force. This was not appreciated by the French king in command; and soon enough he assigned a new Governor to Pondicherry charged with sending Dupleix back to France, by force if necessary.

After spending almost thirty five years in the country that he had started identifying as home, Dupleix went back to France. Upon his return, his life caved in like a pack of cards. He was considered a professional failure and not reimbursed his personal funds that had been used to finance his political agenda. Unable to handle the strain, Jeanne died in the same year they returned.

At the balcony now of his house that has been restored, modernized and converted into a heritage hotel, Dupleix reminisces those last years before he died and shudders. He had been shunned and lived in poverty. But that was then, almost 200 years back. Pondicherry had changed a lot since, but was still his home. He stretches and looks down at the intersection of Rue Suffren and Rue De La Caserne streets, while I sit at the large arm chair next to him and write this…

Credit: The information behind the menu card at Le Dupleix, Pondicherry.

Written by Miss Shola

June 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Shorts