She definitely has a way with words.
Regular readers of Dagny know what an inspiring and inspired writer she is. But there is also another side to the nature of her inspiration which I have recently experienced. Her words have the ability to quieten me down, making me ready to discover that deep and calm place within. A place from where emerge some ideas, thoughts, words and sentences carrying that ‘feel’ of calmness and quiet depth.
To what extent any composition expresses a sense of quietness, that is for the readers to decide. But as a writer I know how I feel when I am inspired to write something at the request of this dearest friend. Zen-like, I think one may call it. Naah! Serene and yet fully present and absorbed in the experience of writing. Serenely Rapt, may be?
You must have heard that highly creative people are creative in ways more than one. This is true of my friend Dagny too. While the pages of Serenely Rapt showcase her beautiful stories, anecdotes, reflections and ponderings on various shades and hues of life, she dazzles with another side of her creative self via Rugs of Life. If you haven’t yet seen this space of hers, you don’t know what you are missing!
When she suggested that I write a guest-post for her blog, I was naturally overjoyed. And also a bit unsure whether any writing of mine would stand up to the standard that Serenely Rapt is famous for. That’s when the warmth of her love and friendship, and her calm confidence in me, my thought process, words and way of expression came to my rescue. And a post with the title, Musings on Home, Flowers and More took shape.
MUSINGS ON HOME, FLOWERS AND MORE
I feel a sense of gratitude to those fourteen-plus years of my life when I was living between two cultural spaces. What we Indians call as non-resident-Indian (NRI) experience, gave me ample opportunities to reflect on the meaning of home, being at home and being in what many post-modernists call as a state of hybridity or in-between-ness.
I remember today an essay I wrote about thirteen years ago, in which I had pondered over the meaning of home. The essay, published on Sulekha, was based on an analysis of the voices of a few Indians living outside India with whom I had some interactions in an online discussion forum, combined with my own decade-long experience, at that time, of living, studying and working in the United States. In that piece I had come to a tentative conclusion that perhaps home means “a place where we can be really free, free at heart.”
End of this month will mark eight years of my return to India. No more of that NRI experience. However, at different points of time in these last eight years, this question of “what is home” has often surfaced in different ways – personally as well as socially. But it has also become obvious to me that the question has now taken on a more emotional and psychological shade than a mental or intellectual one, which was the case earlier. The experience of this question is also more inwardly grounded than something that is outward and identity-based. And this, I believe, is what makes me feel more ‘at home’ with the question itself. Let me explain.
About two years ago, I found myself going through an intense phase when this question – what is home – became a very real and living struggle for many months. In a way I was spending all those months ‘at home’ (my parental home, to be precise – the home where I grew up) but then it wasn’t really my home anymore. It didn’t feel like that.
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Like I said, Dagny has a way with words. But then, she also a way with saris. Or for that matter, any old fabric which transforms into something entirely new and completely beautiful when it comes into her hands.
A few months ago, she gave new lives to two of my old saris. The sheer beauty of her work made me speechless when I held in my hands the new-born pieces she sent me. What had been once two old saris were now in front of me in totally new forms, speaking quietly of the remarkable gift and talent of the artist. The experience wouldn’t have been complete if I didn’t write a little story of that creative rebirth I witnessed. And yes that writing too came about in a moment of quiet and joyful spontaneity.
If you haven’t read that little story of two saris and their rebirth, how about clicking it HERE and making that correction now.
And while you are at Rugs of Life, do spend some time browsing through the great collection of rugs Dagny weaves with love and care. A few minutes of going through the different narratives that accompany each of her creations will be sufficient to appreciate the genuine reverence she has for the divinity that hides in matter. That, in essence, is the real source of the beauty that spills out from all that she weaves.