#SoCS Aug. 14, 2021

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “luck.” Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” – Francis Bacon

I remember the above quotation while reading some books. Last month I read The Book of Indian Essays edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.  It is a collection of essays written by Indians in the past two hundred years. The first essay is by Henry Derozio (1824). Reading the book was a fascinating experience. I did not know about most of the writers. In between the essays, I read more about them. Google makes newspaper and magazine articles accessible 😊.

‘The Street-Music of Calcutta’ by Shoshee Chunder Dutt made me smile because we hear it in my place too. I remembered our train journeys and the cries of hawkers in railway stations. It has been a long time since we have travelled by train. They were an integral part of my childhood. We had to be on the train for at least three days when we travelled every summer vacation to our maternal grandparents’ home. We were never bored. I got ‘Selections from Bengaliana by this Dutt free online. My father was working in Indian Railways and got free railway passes for his family to travel anywhere in India.

‘The Indian House-Crow’ by Salim Ali reminded me of the one-legged crow that came to eat chapati pieces. We are lucky to see and hear birds around us from morning to evening. The fall of a Sparrow is his autobiography. Hope to read it some day.

R K Narayan and Ruskin Bond are my favourite authors. It a pleasure to read anything written by them. It was fascinating to read about the Urdu writer, Qurratulain Hyder. She has translated to English her book, The River of fire. It sounds fascinating.  Chitrita Banerji is a historian of Indian Cuisine. Her essay is about Patoler Ma, the lady who came to grind spices in her childhood home.

She reminded me of some of the conversations we had with my father-in-law’s elder sister. She was telling us about life in her younger days as part of a joint family. She said women of the younger generation were lucky because they could decide how many children they wanted. No one asked women of her generation their opinion. They bore children every other year. Some babies did not survive beyond a few days or years. Along with this, women who lived in villages had to work from dawn to midnight.  They did not have time to give individual attention to their children. During periods women sat in another room. It was supposed to be a rest from their daily chores but there was a lot of outside work, like collecting fire wood, etc. Actually, there was no rest. My husband’s aunt also appreciated present-day conveniences, especially those related to cooking. She said that was the only life they knew. A cousin remarked that the interests and talents of women were lost in the daily grind. Listening to them I was convinced that I was lucky to be born in my time. Of course, life has not really changed for many. It is an unfortunate truth.

By Lakshmi Bhat

I am a person who believes there is not enough darkness in the world to extinguish the light of a small candle. We live in a small place in South India. I love reading, blogging, stitching, traveling, photography, listening to people and many other things which make life so very nice and interesting. Blogging is a fun experience, it has brought me into contact with people in different parts of the world and it is good to read about their everyday life. In spite of the differences there is a sameness which is fascinating. I have learnt and am learning something everyday. I have learnt to write haikus. I enjoy combining the thought and the number of syllables. I have always read books and I was happy to write short fiction. I had thought I would not be able to do so. Stream of Consciousness and photo challenges are fun too. Yes, there is so much in life that is sad and that hurts us. Many a time I wonder why life is so unfair to so many. We all have problems in life but the problems of many seems unbearable. This makes me feel so helpless. It is not possible to help everyone but we can do our bit, we can do something to help some in whatever way we can. I used to go to the Home for the Mentally challenged in our campus twice a week. I have been going there since 2011. The members are an important part of my life. Covid-19 has made it difficult for me to go there regularly. Hopefully I will be able to go there again. There have been many challenges in life and we have faced them with a positive approach. Our grandson and granddaughter have made life so much more richer.

11 comments

  1. So many people nowadays are not happy with their lot. Many seem to believe that a good life of ease is their right and they should not have to work for it. I have had a life of contentment albeit with some difficulties along the way, and consider myself very fortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhh, life – the good, the bad, the exciting and the boring. As your Francis Bacon quote points out about books, so is life. It needs to be swirled around on your palette, it needs to be smelled, tasted, and chewed.
    Keep reading all that you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked your thought-stream. I, too, have always felt lucky to have been born when and where I was. Sometime in the ’90s I took my mother on a trip on an intercity train. She said she had not been on a train for 50 years.

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