Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Calvin's Cloud

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains immortal.

- Albert Pike

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

His Last Leg

At a family get together last weekend, one of my cousins mentioned that my uncle was terminally ill. He is suffering from liver cancer and it is now slowly eating him up. He also ails from diabetes and was insulin dependant, further complicating treatment.  The doctors have already informed the family his time was up and they should make it as comfortable and memorable for him. Everyday that he breathed was a bonus.

I was deeply saddended. I had only met him last year and when he announced he had cancer, he looked quite healthy except for the slight tremble of his fingers. He had lost weight because of diabetes. So I could not fathom his matter-of-fact attitude towards the lethal disease, which he fought head-on, for two years.

Today, when I visited him, I never imagined I would seem him curled up like a shrunken vegetable. His face was sunken and he was in pain. The medication had made him drowsy. I was in tears and tried to be grown up among the grown-ups who had arrived to pay their respects. But amazingly, among all the visitors, he was able to recognize and respond to only my voice. I was so happy I made him smile in all that gloom. He smiled through the pain. He still had the spark.

When I was a naughty toddler, while at my grandparents home during the holidays, I put my finger inside the electrical socket and understandably, was howling in pain. It was my uncle who rescued me that day.  Maybe, he remembered that childhood memory of his niece.

My uncle has the fighter spirit, a quality he inherited from his grandmother who was independent, fierce and brave; but I pray he lives an everlasting sleep soon. I wish him peace in his journey. Its been a long hard fight and he must rest.

God bless.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Sense of Direction

Guaranteed not in scope when you try crossing the intersection to work and home - the experience is nothing short of Conjuring 1 and 2. Motorcyclists are one of the worst lot (Mind you, I respect my fellow travelers as much as I am one of them two wheeler riders). 

They try and cram into every inch of space making it as claustrophobic as possible, heightening the adventure by scratching the sides of a few vehicles as they graze by, knocking off the side view mirror with their lack of skills and mostly, stupidity; rev up their engines and make a dash for it when the signal turns green, which is utter mayhem, almost like Encierro, the Running of the Bulls festival in Spain. Dangerous to themselves and everyone around them, the motor cyclists are unmanageable.

Everyday when I try to reverse my car from the parking lot to the road, I say a small prayer so I have the strength to silently fume and drive on without any morning skirmishes to rock the rest of the day. The two wheeler crowd that make up the maximum traffic on my stretch of the road, reward me with an incredulous look instead of giving me a little space to maneuver my vehicle. They either curse or whiz past on both sides leaving me and my tiny vehicle frozen until the air clears.

Today it just got worse. I forgot to pray. The usual route I towed had been modified to include a  divider of sorts, so when I turned I did not have enough passage to drive through it. With oncoming traffic and motorcyclists unwilling to help, I looked on helplessly until an auto-driver stepped in to make matters worse. His sense of direction was no where close and resulted in a nasty scratch on the right side of the car. An idiot two-wheeler rider who was kissing my car got stuck and I had to move forward to let him loose. Finally, another driver from the opposite side signed the direction to me, which finally made sense. 

I headed off in the direction of the tall buildings reminding of the long day ahead.

Calvin's CLoud

One advantage of talking to yourself is that you know someone is listening.

- Franklin P Jones

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Me, My Guitar, My Space

I had not cut my nails for a week. Last weekend, the strums of the guitar sounded ungodly in my overgrown finger nails, which could not firmly press the frets. The nail kept coming in the way. I am learning F major which involves learning to play the Flat notes as well. It really does not matter what you have to play if the nails get in the way.

Trying to practice last night with unweildly fingers yielded the same result - jarring horrendous tones from my Yamaha D47.

Finally, this morning I realized I will never make it to the parlor before my next weekend class and trimmed my nails. The transformation was not surprising, but the results were beautiful.

I practiced for 30 minutes before getting ready for work. It was the best part of my morning. After a long time, I really truly enjoyed playing my classical guitar, only for myself, not for exams or any other goal I may have had, but enjoyed that space where you lose track of time. The lines between the artist, the guitar and the music become one.

Music took over and I a humble servant, quietly followed.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Calvin's CLoud

If you do things, whether it is acting, or music, or painting, do it without fear - that's my philosophy. Because nobody can arrest you and put you in jail if you paint badly, so there's nothing to lose.

- Anthony Hopkins
If you do things, whether it's acting or music or painting, do it without fear - that's my philosophy. Because nobody can arrest you and put you in jail if you paint badly, so there's nothing to lose
Read more at:
If you do things, whether it's acting or music or painting, do it without fear - that's my philosophy. Because nobody can arrest you and put you in jail if you paint badly, so there's nothing to lose
Read more at:

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Its a rare commodity. Learn to trust yourself more. All it takes is a little bit of patience and heck a lot of hardwork. 

I took the easy way out and depended on a family friend way too much for my own good. In the end, I paid a heavy price. I lent the individual a huge chunk of dough and its been five years, lots of excuses, lies and no sign of the money. I know now its gone. I stopped all communications. All it was leading to was a bitter war of words and accusations of ingratitude for the help that was supposed to be unconditional. I misunderstood. It was conditional. 

I finally threw the individual out of the car. I could not take it anymore. I asked for a favour since the situation was new to me and I did not want to get cheated. I laugh at the irony of the situation now. I was already cheated and I refused to believe it. After a few uncalled for description about my driving, I decided enough was enough and unceremoniously asked the honest one to get out of the car. 

I felt brave and freed. It changed me forever. It took a few phone calls, homework, a few long drives, walking in the sun, but what a wonderful journey and sense of accomplishment I felt when I set out to resolve the unfamiliar, which has since found a place of its own.

My instinct to navigate through new waters has become an adventure I enjoy. No longer intimidated. Just explore. Trust.

Make good art.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Calvin's CLoud

But the beauty is in the walking---we are betrayed by destinations.

- Gwyn Thomas

Make Good Art

When I read about children cutting their life short because of the pressure to be successful, it saddens me that our society does not teach us to face failure. The ridiculous comparisons between siblings, peers is the worst possible psychological damage we can inflict on young, fresh, creative minds who are endowed with their unique DNA. We need to celebrate individuality and strengthen their wings, so they can fly where ever their heart wants.

As much as the need to be materialistically successful is constantly hammered into our heads, dealing with setbacks with the same zeal should be inculcated in our every breath. We can never learn without stumbling. If we learn to look at it in a little humor, and be less critical of who we are, then our perspective is altered for the better. 

Someone I am well acquainted with received over 40 rejections for her work and while I was a little aghast, her statement had me howling in laughter: "...I can make a wallpaper with all these rejections I have received today." It only meant she had to try harder, which she continues to do and look for other paths. 

On another occasion, I was under the weather at work because I was handed over a grave statement, " missed the boat", and one of my dear friends only had this to say, "...tell them you will catch a flight".

Yesterday, I was listening to Neil Gaiman's Inspirational Commencement Speech at the University of Arts. He leaves you in no doubt about the passion and perseverance you need to reach your mountain and never lose sight of it; money will not matter at some point - in his words, the universe will smack you when you get the better of art. More importantly, enjoy the journey.

Make good art.