Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Diving Bell Rings Loudly

Behenji is very introspective today. Just finished the slender memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby called 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.' A movie by the same name is garnering rave reviews and awards too. Bohemian Bhai, Behenji's beloved younger brother, called from Manhattan to say that, 'If there is a movie that everyone should watch, this is it.' Sadly, the nearest theater showing it is more than 30 miles away and Behenji being the impatient soul that she is,  got into her car and drove to the nearest bookstore . And now Behenji is silenced forever as far as excuses go about not having written/finished writing her book. Bauby wrote each word painstakingly by blinking his left eyelid as the rest of his body lay hard and cold, the result of a debilitating stroke. Bauby's memoir honors life in all its irony and grace.  He juxtaposes bits of memory of his past life with his present, resulting in a self-composed elegy of sorts, that is in turns cocky, funny, touching and inspirational. The reader can almost touch the diving bell that Bauby likens his body to and yet there is an ephemeral quality to his words too. 

Behenji doesn't know what else to say except give your loved ones more hugs, practice good karma, savor truffles and catch more sunsets near the water. 

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday Morning Brings Flowers, Perhaps Showers

After a long, long time, Behenji has woken up to a quiet Saturday morning, where the kids are curled up under their quilts and Panditji is snoring with his mouth wide open. Behenji is sipping a cup of ginger tea and planning out her Saturday literature and language class. Each week Behenji has the task of teaching and challenging eager 8th and 9th graders literature while solidifying their grammar and critical thinking skills. Behenji stumbled upon a beautifully written short-short by who else but Alice Walker called 'The flowers.' The story is so short that Behenji could post it here, but, alas, my pets, did someone say copyright laws?

Behenji had a few revelations after reading The Flowers:

1. There is so much out there waiting for Behenji and others to read and explore.
2. Alice Walker is a brilliant writer and is underrated (despite the fame of The Color Purple!)
3. The flowers is one of the best short stories Behenji has come across.

In a few small paragraphs, Walker is able to capture that precise moment when childhood innocence ends. Layered between simple prose are slices of history, symbolism and angst. Behenji would give up her Barsaati to write like that!

So how does the story end? In one swift sentence: And the summer was over.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Guess Who?

नमस्कार!

The Behenji is back. A little older, a little wiser, yet just as cheeky and ebullient. Behenji prefers to think of her new blog as a barsaati, a virtual rooftop cement shanty: where books are spilling out of shelves, magazines are piled on the floor amidst colorful ethnic floor cushions, and a bottomless cup of ginger tea beckons along with a soothing sunset raga. Between noisy slurps of chai, this Behenji promises to share her thoughts on literature and life, on mangoes and monkeys, on lotuses and bees, the list, dare I say, goes on and on. 

Welcome dear readers, to Behenji's humble new abode!