Many of us have read travelogues by Bill Bryson ('Down Under' about Australia is my personal favorite) and William Dalrymple ('The City of Djinns' about Delhi has won a million Indian hearts). No doubt these are extremely well written and very well-researched travelogues. I love Bill Bryson's wit as much as I appreciate William Dalrymple's depth. But this article is not about them. This blog post is about those short travel posts that appear on various blogs adding to a wealth of authentic information available about travel destinations worldwide. I have come to trust these blog posts more than I trust travel agents, 'Places to see' posts on tourism websites, and, I am sorry to say, even the painstakingly compiled travel guides published by reputable travel companies. How many times have you visited a place at a popular tourist destination and been completely disappointed by it? Or you have missed going to a beautiful, 'must visit' place because
The Moonsmith Gulzar: orbiting the celebrated words by Shailja Chandra My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have always been fascinated by how accessible Gulzar's poetry seems to be and yet there are layers and layers to unravel before you can begin to understand it. Shailja Chandra's "The Moonsmith Gulzar" inspired me to initiate my own inquiry as a scholar of poetry. The "simplicity" of language in Gulzar's nazms can be very deceptive. And one needs either years of focused study or a mentor to structure one's research. And just like Chandra looks at Gulzar as a mentor to decrypt the mysteries of the Cosmos, I look up to Chandra as my mentor to start my own inquiry into Gulzar's poetry. The word "Moonsmith" would literally mean someone who creates new entities from the Moon. Or it may mean someone who shapes the Moon. So who is it? Who motivates the Moon to change its shape? That is the "Moonsmith". That is the Sun. That is Gulzar.
I am your past, not the kind that hits you with a blast of wistful nostalgia when you dip the coconut cookie into a sweet sea of chai - your mamma's way, you realise, has become yours now. I don't bring an unexpected smile to you with the memory of a silly antic, a stupid joke. I am not that clown of a friend, the one of whom no one remembers much, except the jokes. I won't cradle you with the memories of a love cherished, though unowned, one that lingered, till it finally faded. And then nothing could bring it back, not even the warmth that being loved so fills you with. You keep me locked in nested boxes. You know that I am not a threat because pasts can't hurt, at least not in any tangible way. You fear me, yet keep me close and when you feel inadequate, you peek at me with a smug smile. But, I came at a cost. First published on Red Fez in May 2022