Personal reflections · Words of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

My Update and I

The other day some random questions came to me. 

To start with, why does Facebook call it “Update Status”?

What is a Status? What is an Update? And of course, what does it really mean when one ‘updates’ one’s ‘status’? Not on Facebook, I mean. But in the real world. This needs some serious pondering.

But all that is left for some other day.

Facebook also keeps asking another question – “What’s on your mind?”

Sometimes I just want to say – Everything. Or Nothing. Or simply, Mind Your Own Business.

Oh no, I don’t mean I will ever give these answers to Facebook, no matter how often it keeps asking that question. These answers are only meant for myself, when my mind asks me the question – what’s really on your mind?

Who is this me who is supposed to answer this question? And is it different from my mind? More pondering needed.

But all that is left for some other day.

Today happens to be one of those days when all this me can write is an update of sorts. Update Status, in its most simple meaning. Or simplistic. Whatever that means to you. Or to me. Whatever me means.

So here I go. Or should I say – Here I (e)go.

Two of my old blog entries have recently been published in two different e-magazines.

One of them is especially near and dear to me, because it is a very personal piece, based on what my mother remembered about one of the most terrible events in modern Indian history, Partition of India.

A few days before August 15, 1947. She was hardly eight years old when she made this horrifying journey to a new home. Leaving behind the only home she knew. The only home her parents knew. This piece is now re-published in a slightly different form in the September issue of Writer’s E-zine.

As a daughter and granddaughter of refugees from Pakistan, I have always been interested in learning more about Partition. But it is not necessarily the ‘official history’ about the events that led up to the Partition that interest me. It is the narratives of people whose fates were decided by a line drawn on a map. More specifically, it is the narratives of people that are closest to me that interest me the most.

Growing up I heard many stories from both my grandmothers about what their lives were like in what is now Pakistan. Some of these stories were also about Partition and their families’ journeys to India. I wish I could remember much about those stories but memories about past fade as children grow up and get busy with the mundane and not-so-mundane of the present. I remember hearing some stories from my aunts and uncles, but sadly I don’t remember much about the pain in those stories. What I remember most are the stories I heard from my parents, because these were often repeated and discussed as details would often vary from one telling to the next. In these tellings and re-tellings, my parents who at the time of Partition were only 13 and 7 constructed their stories from their selected and fading memories of that time and from the ones they had heard from their parents and other relatives.

To read more, click here.

******

Another blogpost of mine, based on a Hollywood movie called The Monuments Men, has now been thoroughly revised and expanded into an article and is now published in Next Future, the e-zine of Sri Aurobindo Society, under the title On Movies, Art and Culture.

The film’s premise, especially the true historical events which inspired the film, really provoke the audience to reflect upon the value and necessity of all possible efforts that must be made to preserve and conserve the highest accomplishments and achievements of a culture’s creative self-expression and aesthetic imagination. 

It compels the audience to think deeply on the need for an aggressive defence of a culture and its highest accomplishments against all barbarism, whether it is an invasion from outside or a parasite from within. It certainly made me recall this important word of caution given by Sri Aurobindo: “The culture which gives up its living separateness, the civilisation which neglects an active self-defence will be swallowed up and the nation which lived by it will lose its soul and perish.”[2]

That is what the art-enthusiasts in the film were trying to do. They were trying to protect and defend that which made their culture living and unique. They were ready to sacrifice their lives to protect and defend the finest accomplishments of their civilization which were under grave danger. An idea like this in itself makes the film worthwhile in my subjective view.

But at times a film can be much more than a mere movie one watches for entertainment. It can become a thought-provoking and reflective exercise if we are willing to go a bit beyond the film’s original narrative.

Three other lines of thought, that make this particular film even more interesting for my analysis here, are actually not in any way part of the film’s story-line or narrative. Yet they deserve some attention and reflection in order to better appreciate the premise of the film.

To read more, click here.
*****

And finally, here is another update, related to the two updates shared here.

I have added a new page on my blog, titled Elsewhere on the Web. This is where I have compiled some of the blogposts that have been revised and re-published in other internet based magazines and journals. Some of the publications listed on this page were specifically written for those e-zines, and then later posted on the blog.

So there you have it folks, an update on my status. At least, on the status of this thing the writer in me may call my W-Ego. Is it something like Lego style building blocks? Or simply a block? These are some more questions that deserve some serious pondering.

But all that is left for some other day.

*****
Linking this post with Write Tribe Prompt: I Me and Myself

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