Monday, September 1, 2014

LIFE OF A POET - CAPTAIN ARUSHI

You know what an armchair traveler I am, kids, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that one of our poets, Arushi Ahuja, of There and Back Again, the Tale of a Globetrotter, is an airline captain. Arushi flies over the Himalayas, which absolutely takes my breath away to imagine. Let's catch this young poet between stops and hop aboard with Captain Arushi!




Sherry: Arushi, I am intrigued by your love of travel. Tell us about your exciting profession, and what you feel like, at work in the skies. Does being a Captain mean you actually fly the plane?



Captain Arushi

Arushi: Hi Sherry! I’m quite amazed at your first question!! Really!! Actually I do fly, and yes I am a captain! I am currently working with Air India and I fly the Boeing 737-800 series… They are quite a modern aircraft and beautifully aerodynamic! And as you know with all modern things the workload is really less… most of the time there is autopilot at work, Sherry! 




Training times!

But here’s where it gets exciting- The Landing-I swear that’s the thrill in my life…. It’s the best thing that I have ever done, am doing and will be doing!! They’re always different, there is always some exciting, nerve racking feeling about landing on a runway lit like a Christmas tree!! 

Anyways I could go on talking about it!! Actually when I was training and flying the smaller piston engine type aircrafts, flying was far more exciting, being mostly manual, but till date I haven’t found myself EVER saying that I am bored of flying… I don’t think I'll ever be!!


Cockpit of a Boeing 737

Sherry: It does amaze me. You are a slim tiny girl, and those planes are so.....BIG!! Did you long to fly, and travel, even as a child?


Arushi: Yes Sherry! I love flying… it's become part and parcel of life. Although my job does keep me away from my family too often and that’s the reason I sometimes consider that maybe finally I’ll leave it and settle down in a small balmy town, snug and comfortable, write some poetry and do some social work AND fly for pleasure… I don’t think I can completely quit flying ever. I just maybe want to do it for pleasure one day and not as a profession! But for now my pleasure and profession are quite the same.

I remember this one time that I was flying, maybe when I was 6 or 7-ish and the air hostess came up to me and asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up… I am not quite sure why she asked. Maybe because I was being a complete nuisance… Anyways I quite proudly said “Pilot”. Didn’t know much then but I guess I always wanted to fly and travel!

Sherry: I love it - you dreamed big and made it happen. Tell us some of the most amazing places you’ve seen. What took your breath away?  Most beautiful sight of all?

I am mostly flying from India to Gulf sectors… the routes are quite fixed depending on the aircraft type you fly. In September I am changing my fleet and will start flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and then I get to see more places than ever!


Dubai skyline through my windshield

For now my favourite destination, besides the ones in India, are Singapore and Dubai. I am a shopaholic of sorts and both these places are quite a treat! But what took my breath away LITERALLY was a small town called Leh in north most part of India in the middle of daunting Himalayas! 


Air India Aircraft taking off from Leh Airport


I went there for the first time this year with Mr. Husband and plan to make many more trips… the beauty of the place is astounding… to start with the place is some 10,700 ft high. It’s the one of the highest airports of the world! The airport itself is cosily encompassed amidst mountains. 


Panongso Lake, Leh

You can see everything here- it’s a cold desert with streams, ice pinnacles, colour changing lakes, valleys, poplar forests and plums growing wild! The highest motor able road of the world (Khardungla Pass), which is 18,500 ft, double humped camels, the Chinese border and so much more… the place is literally heaven on earth… when you reach there you have to actually rest for one whole day to get acclimatized or else you’d be breathless due lack of oxygen at that height! So really that’s the place that left me speechless, breathless, awestruck and yet so happy and refreshed!  So I am not making it up when I say it LITERALLY “took my breath away”!


flying over the Himalayas

Sherry: The photos alone take my breath away, kiddo! I cant imagine seeing the Himalayas from above for real. Wow.

Arushi: I would describe my most beautiful sight of all as not one of my travel stories though. I had only just started working and was away from home for almost a month and more. I still remember the twinkle in my mother’s eyes, the lump in my throat, and the warmth of her welcoming embrace when I went back for the first time. Of course it's still there but we have all gotten used to my lifestyle. But that is the MOST beautiful sight ever. The one I CANNOT forget!

Me and Mommy

Mommy  and Papa

Sherry: That is really beautiful, Arushi. And your parents are very beautiful too. What glorious photos you are sharing with us! Now will you give us a little glimpse of the poet at home? 

Arushi: I am currently settled in the capital city of India, New Delhi along with Angad, my husband. We got married just last year in October!


Me and Angad, Mr Husband


Sherry: Congratulations! You look like a very happy couple. Hello to Mr. Husband!

Arushi: At home I like to spend my time organising my otherwise haphazard and excessively unsettled life. Usually when away from home I maintain a routine to keep me in good shape… back at home the whole routine has to be changed and it takes a while to settle down in it... Mostly after that it's time to start travelling again! But I kind of enjoy the randomness and unexpected.

I love spending time with Mr. Husband and my own parents… We go out to nearby places over the weekend and catch up on the latest movies if anything is worth. We both love eating out and even though I barely get to eat at home, I spend my weekends again dating my husband in a new-found restaurant in the city! In a way Delhi has a lot to offer up in a plate. Be it street food, posh restaurants, hidden cafés… it’s all there! I am a pure vegetarian and so is Mr. Husband so we do restrict ourselves a bit, but we still enjoy the usual experimenting in different places!


Home! Taken from my balcony in Dehradun
on a wet monsoon afternoon

Sherry: In all of your travels, what is the one place that says “Home” to you? 

Arushi: Home- It’s Dehradun. It’s a small valley at the very foothills of Himalayas in a state called Uttrakhand, which is in the north east of India bordering Nepal! The city at one time used to be peaceful and really small town-ish where time seemed to slow down at a leisurely pace! It has grown ever since it was declared the capital of Uttrakhand. The development and infrastructure has taken toll on some of the natural resources of the city. 

Even so I have a house on the outskirts of the main city, which is not very far from the city itself considering how small the place is. It’s located on a hilltop overlooking a lush green hillock of Deodar forests. A small seasonal brook separates this hillock and the road on which my home is located! It’s an enchanting place. 


The view from my rooftop in Dehradun


Invariably it’s the birds in the forest that announce the morning so loud you have to wake up. Every now and then you can hear a wild large cat growling in the distance. Deer and monkeys are common sight indeed! And the monkeys are a real nuisance too. When I talked of the snug little town to settle in, here is where I want to be.  

Dehradun is known as the city of Gods. It has rich history, popular tourist destination (the queen of hills- Mussoorie being one of them), amazing schools that taught some of our Prime Ministers and their children, popular places of worship in Hindu religion and it's surrounded by mountains and has the most beautiful monsoons one can ever witness!! I LOVE the city and go back there as often as I can. It’s about 6 hrs drive from Delhi or an overnight train journey!

My family is really small- me and my parents and now my husband and his parents. Neither of the two of us have siblings, so small and happy family!

Sherry: Your life sounds absolutely wonderful. And Dehradun is beautiful! Who would you say is the person who has been your single biggest influence?

My mother, in a cornfield near New Delhi
"My Sunshine"

Arushi: Without doubt – my mother! She has been throughout  my Best-est friend, my favourite person, my biggest influence, and the apple of my eye, my favourite teacher, my first word and my most honest and cute companion! I cannot imagine being anything without her around. She is strong, very brave and very hardworking, honest woman. She spells for me what a woman should be. 

Her life is simple involving a lot of spiritual reading, meditation and yoga. She spends most of her time doing that or just sitting in the balcony enjoying nature. At other times she is involved in social work mostly in helping young children in education and such. She used to be a teacher at one time but later quit to be able to spend more time with me. I was small at that time and really attached, although she still claims she never regretted leaving her job! My father was very supportive and loving in all matters.

Sherry: You have a beautiful family, Arushi. I am so enjoying this interview! When did you write your first poem?

Arushi: I don’t remember when but I do remember what made me. We use to get cards from all our friends and relatives on all the festivals. Each card had a cheesy rhyming line inside that really intrigued me. My mother use to encourage me to make my own greeting cards because I enjoyed painting, but what I enjoyed more was making those two liners that use to make my relatives go bonkers laughing at my invention.  I still remember one of them was:

“Shoppers, Shoppers,
Lolly poppers,
Winter is here,
Diwali crackers everywhere!

Cheesy huh! But my uncle called all the way from US to tell me he loved it! I was glowing!

Flying over Kuwait

Sherry: That's pretty cute! You write both poetry and prose – which do you love most, and why?

Arushi: I love writing poetry more I think but when I am inspired and unable to bring it in a form, I use prose to express myself.  Why I enjoy writing poetry more is probably because I enjoy reading poetry more. I find it challenging to bring words in a form and make them rhyme and yet make sense out of it! I must say that it does not come naturally to me to write a poem. I struggle and compose and savor the result and love to read my poems again and again! Prose I am more comfortable with and hence don’t find it so enthralling as poetry!

Sherry: Do you have a poem or two you might like to include here?

I’d like to share a poem that vibrates of something in my bucket list- I want to see the northern lights or Aurora as we call them.


Coloured sky en route to Dubai

Northern Lights-

The silky waves on the dark sky,
The colors of the rainbow in the dead night,
I haven’t seen them yet I hear,
The beauty of the Northern Lights...

Do you know how they come to be?
It’s a secret, a real fantasy...
The magic rises from the earth
And lights the sky in its mirth...

The magic of the ancient times,
Rises in roaring colors to the sky!
The magic of irresistible Love,
And the joy of dreams comes true...

The magic of a lightened heart,
Of sweet gentle sound of a laugh,
And that of a twinkling eye,
Of the beautiful loving new bride...

It rises all to the sky,
In vibrant colors called the Northern Lights...

Also I love “Humanity” poem, which I have already shared on the Poets United once! It speaks of a message spiritual and humanitarian that I think could change the world!

Apology-

And here is an apology for what may have been,
For what rests unknown, dark and unseen,
It was a mistake I assure you of my honest intentions,
I did not mean to hurt your feelings, or damage your emotions!
My heart did weep along with you,
But you could not look in my tear filled eyes, No!
Too filled with sorrow and engrossed in yourself,
You failed to notice how I loathed myself,
To bring to you what never should have been,
If only I was ignored by your kind being!
Please find in your dear heart to once again forgive,
How undoubtedly foolish and insensitive I behave,
For if it were not for your love and care,
I’d truly be lost in this world so unfair!

Sherry: Very lovely. And I love Humanity, too, very much. How did you discover the world of online poetry? Are you enjoying it?

Arushi: I had my own diary and used to write a lot till I was 16. Lots of poems and cute pictures attached cut and pasted from newspaper articles and cards and what not. Then I discovered blogging. And by and by my writing diminished for lack of inspiration, time and readers. I got more involved in first studying, then working, then falling in love, getting married etc till I discovered the world of online inspiration and poetry. And I was back! 

I am so happy to be among such wonderful poets with such amazing ideas, poetry, blogs, writings, inspirations, thoughts and creations… I love reading them all in a gulp! I am really enjoying this and  hopefully I will find time to do it all through my life!

Sherry: Do keep writing. When you are my age, you will then have a record of your journey to look back on. And your photos are spectacular! What other things do you enjoy, besides traveling and writing?


origami flower


Arushi: I love listening to Taylor Swift, Agni band, Hindi and Punjabi songs a lot.  Besides that, I love skating, running, trekking, origami and organising my room. I’m a bit of a cleanliness freak. ;) 

I used to read a lot of fictions but lately I have been attracted to more of spiritual reading, mostly in Hindi. I also sing and play the keyboard. I learnt Indian classical music from a very young age and turned out to be a pretty decent singer. I think keyboard comes naturally with that! 

My all time favourite songs are- Staying Alive by BeeGees, Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley, Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bob Marley and Holy Ground by Taylor Swift! Others just come and go. I like the acoustic version of almost any song. 

My all time favourite books are- Harry Potter (all), Lord of The Rings (all) and Scientific Basis of Vedic Thoughts written by Dr. Satyavrat Sidhantalankar which I read in Hindi.


Taking off from Mumbai

Sherry: That is a wonderful mix of influences and inspiration! Your origami is lovely, too. Is there a cause  especially dear to your heart?

Arushi: Yes! I feel that if we educate the young we can grow old in a better society and more beautiful times. I want to spread not just vocational education but also Humanitarian values among young people. I think children are more influential than grown ups and they shall form a beautiful nation given the right education. 

Also I am an ardent lover of India. I want to see my country flourish to great extents. I am not very sure what I shall do about that but I want to and will in future as the curtains are raised and I see the bigger picture!


Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world
in Dubai

Sherry:  I know you will. What would surprise us the most about you?

Arushi: Maybe the fact that I actually like routines even though I barely get to have one!  Or maybe, the fact that I am spiritual but not religious. I feel religion brings disparity among people and we should accept all religions as the means to achieve peace.

Sherry: I agree -  it should unify and not divide. Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Arushi: Yes. Dear friends, fellow poets and awesome creative people of the blogging world, Thank you all so much for giving me an audience, for visiting my blog and most of all, for inspiring me each and everyday to write something new, and thus fulfilling a dying dream. This was indeed a part of my bucket list and thank you from the deepest of my heart to help me grow this dream and bring it to life by adding your beautiful words and reading my poetry. I really enjoy reading all your poems so please keep writing and loving it!

Sherry: Thank you so much, Arushi. I do my world traveling mainly through these interviews, and I have to say, this has been one of my favourites. My heart soars just looking at the photos of the things you see. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us today. Do keep writing!!

Sigh. As we reluctantly depart from the skies and regain our land legs, it is cool to reflect on how many different ways there are to live a life. Hasn't this been fun, kids?  Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you! Hmmmm.......where do I feel like traveling next? 


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Poetry Pantry #216


Photos from Kuala  Lumpur, Malaysia,
by Kaykuala (Hank)



1. Vanda
A clump of hardy Vandas. Vandas can be left in the sun without any cover or shade


2. Phalaenopsis
These need shades and can even be indoors. The blooms can last for a month. Some species
can even hold out for 3 months apparently.

3.Oncicioium
These have many varieties and are more of miniature sprays. Many are strikingly of yellow hues

4. Denrobium
These need cover and are of individual stalks.  The stalks sprout from between the leaves progressing
 upwards stalk by stalk as it grows while the older ones die off

5. Cattalia
These are of an individually growing specie flower by flower


Greetings, Poets!

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry.  It is Labor Day weekend here in the United States.  To me this really heralds the end of summer. Sigh. However, it could be quite warm throughout September.  There are traditionally family get-togethers or barbecues on this day, and today my family is no exception. A BBQ is planned here for afternoon.  And, alas, the grandkids go back to school on Tuesday. I wonder where has the summer gone!

But back to poetry! It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.  I just don't GET people who link and enjoy visits, yet don't bother to visit others -- even those who spent time making comments on their poetry.

This week I am sharing a third and final set of photos that Hank (Kaykuala) shared from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Thanks again, Hank.  It has been an interesting series.

Be sure to visit Poets United Monday to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see there is always a  great turn-out for Midweek Motif.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!  (And, ha, perhaps many of you have noticed that if you look at one week's prompt Susan gives  a clue about the following week's prompt as well, so you can get a head start.)

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade features on "I Wish I Had Written This" or  "The Living Dead."

Again:  I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Wish I'd Written This

Mince Meet
By "mood wings"

No one mints me in candy tar, except you—
deceased taint tampers via simple laryngitis.
Dearest Equestrian Bank—undo my stamp;
tamper with fire beneath lava's language play.

The peach stamen of the moon 
dines on a ploy of pi in my carnal jurisdiction.
Orience has put severance in fraud—
recipe for a dead flower.

Polonia codes pee asthenia.
In preamble to pajamas, gallbladders try anything,
calculating our steam for Pheme.
Puce America—clandestine without genes.

Neck-Eden is my guru. Can't you ... for me?
Sigh Nietzsche. Cone-unsag a simulator; curve (eventually)
sinister mice. The paramecium ride is raw— 
nuts, tools, Burroughs, Pietà, Avant-Yule.

No one mints me in candy tar, except you—
deceased taint tampers via simple laryngitis,
dearest. Equestrian, bank-undo Myst amp; 
tamper with fire beneath lava's language play.

Vision and disinterest are my prison doors.
Latency pulls the berries offered 
by Paradise and Caesar. Art puts sea fairies                 
inside Nicodemus's piñata of favored ignorance.


Good heavens, what have I given you this time? Sound poetry? Abstract poetry? Free association? Not quite.

This poem was written in response to a very recent prompt at dVerse Poets Pub.  We were invited to try homophonic translation (which I also know by the term translitics) i.e. turning the sounds of a poem in an unknown language into words in our own language.

Here is a link to the original and its real English translation, on the prompter's own blog.

There were some amazingly clever attempts, most of which managed to make some kind of sense. Some were surprisingly coherent and several were quite beautiful.  A couple were even fairly close in meaning to the original. (I couldn't resist having a go, but was very short of time, so my own efforts remained pretty weird, lol.) You can check them all out here if you're interested.

So why is this the one I wish I'd written? As you may have realised by now, I have a quirky sense of humour. This one tickled my funny-bone with such deliciously serious-sounding meaninglessness as, "Cone-unsag a simulator", "gallbladders try anything", "a ploy of pi in my carnal jurisdiction", and above all, "No one mints me in candy tar, except you". How could anyone not fall in love with that line? (Damn! I want to be minted in candy tar too.) And then, "the peach stamen of the moon" sounds so beautiful, I am seduced into thinking I can visualise it exactly.

The apparent seriousness includes some scholarly references. "Mood wings" adds a note:

A little light reading, if you're at all intrigued:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet%C3%A0_(Michelangelo)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Burroughs
http://orienceintegration.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puce
http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/asthenia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pheme
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polonia

The poet was happy to give me permission to use the piece. However she protects her privacy even on her blogs, so I am unable to tell you her name or show you a photo.  This, from her poetry blog, perhaps says it all:



But she generously allowed me to share some quite personal details about her life and her poetics, and she includes the links to her blogs, at one of which you might catch more of her poetry — if you're quick! I am quoting verbatim from her email, as I'm sure I couldn't paraphrase it so engagingly:

Well, you can say I've gone by many names on many blogs that pop up and disappear just as quickly. You can say I'm a busy mother of four who homeschools. (My kids are ages 11, 6, 4, and 6 months; my husband and I have 3 girls and 1 boy ... he's the baby.) 

You can say that I love library books, word play, poetry, philosophy, quotes, art, candles, and music. Some of my "likings" and musings can be found at chalkpetals.blogspot.com. At herthursday.blogspot.com, I offer original poetry (temporarily, at least; I don't keep them live for long ... nor do I ever publish) ... and also prompts. Picture prompts are on Tuesdays, and Word Prompts are on Thursdays.

Also, if you like, you can say that I hate my poetry the day after I write it and can't stand the thought of anyone being able to read it once it's crossed over into the category of "disgustingly terrible poetry." My greatest passion then becomes an embarrassment. That's why I'm always and ever "deleting myself."

I guess we can all relate to that feeling of embarrassment at our "disgustingly terrible poetry". I know I can. As I told her in reply, there are some of mine which, immediately after writing, I recognise as THE most wonderful poem ever written by anyone anywhere ever. But, like the rest, a few days later they become atrocious things I should never have let anyone else see. It takes longer to arrive at an objective assessment. Indeed, can we ever be completely objective about our own work, or is it only others who can see it clearly enough?

I expect you may want to urge her not to discard her writings entirely even though she deletes them from her blog. Don't worry, I have already expressed that opinion to her! But in the end they are her poems, to do with as she will.

What I think is most wonderful is the human impulse to creativity, which makes us continue to write, to craft our work, to give it life in the world for however long or short a time. People who are not poets think poetry is a form of self-expression. It is that, of course; but we know it is, above all, our art.

The Buddhist monks make elaborate sand pictures which they then erase. Natalie Goldberg suggested that poets setting up "spontaneous writing" booths give away the poems they write for other people, keeping no copies  — again, in a Zen spirit of letting go. My friend Phillip put a whole notebook of poems, of which he had no other copies, into his brother's coffin. His sister was horrified to think of the poems being lost. "She didn't understand," he told me.

I don't have that bigness of heart myself, or that non-attachment, to send my poems back into the void — and "mood wings" is not doing so in a Buddhist spirit — but still, it's a valid option.  And although I don't discard every poem I produce, I do discard quite a lot.

Perfectionism is an enemy in most areas of life. It can undermine our self-esteem; at its worst it can paralyse us. Poetry is the one area where I allow myself to be perfectionist. Getting it absolutely as good as I can does matter. I usually keep poems that aren't working for a long time, tinkering and rewriting, but with some I eventually face the fact that nothing's ever going to help, and I get rid of them. Others may be filed away for years and when I finally look at them again, my fresh eyes immediately see what will fix them.

The opposite to the Buddhist monks might be Emily Dickinson, keeping her poems despite rejection and her own uncertainty about them — to have them be found and acclaimed after her death.  But if that happens to any of us, we won't be around to know. Better, surely, to live in the here and now and follow the guidance of our hearts, which of course won't be the same for everyone.

Pardon me waxing all philosophical. They are interesting questions, I think. But the poem's the thing, and I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

P.S. Now, after all that hifalutin speculation, I just received another email explaining that she does keep her poems, just not publicly. After a short while she puts the poems back into "draft" on her blog so that she can edit them later when she's more objective.  I admit, I'm glad!


Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).