Mar 5, 2013:

A major hurdle in my starting a blog was coming up with a name. After deliberating for weeks and then months, I accepted that there probably wasn’t a perfect name that wasn’t already taken, and finding a name had become an unnecessary gating item for the main activity, which was to write. So I told myself that I’d just start reading some of my favourite poems and the very first phrase that I liked, that would be it.

In retrospect it is a bit like what Parvati said to Shankar when she created Ganesh, the god with the elephant head — the first animal that you find, get me its head, that will be the head of my son. I don’t claim that this is the best approach to finding a blog title, but if it worked for Parvati, it’s worth a shot, right?

And so I stole this phrase from Octavio Paz. The poem is below. The phrase “diaphanous balance” is perhaps my favourite phrase from this poem, and I think “chasm of clarities” is terrific as well, but both sound a bit pretentious, don’t they? Handful of Shadows isn’t exactly the most mellifluous phrase in town, but it’s passable, I think. I’ve since thought of Handful of Sky (which is also passable), Handful of Dust (which I don’t like at all) and Mouthful of Sky (which I like, but it sounds like a food blog and is also the name of the first English TV show in India). So for now, we’ll stay with Handful of Shadows. (Even though a google search on it returns some strange things.)

Besides, I think this title conveys some of the all-over-the-mapness of the subject matter here. As with so many people who start blogs, I had a desire to write that festered inside me for a while. I’m generally not quick to act on impulses (combination of laziness and too much circumspection), so it took me a while to really get into gear for it. I had written long emails to friends for many years, on all sorts of topics, and also the occasional essay. I didn’t (and still don’t) have a single topic or style that I want to write on/in. I just knew I wanted to write. I hope that over time the posts here will cover all my interests and we may settle down on a narrower set of things. Or not. We will just have to wait and watch.

And that about brings us up to date.


There is a motionless tree

There is a motionless tree
there is another that moves forward
a river of trees
pounds at my chest
The green swell
of good fortune

You are dressed in red
you are
the seal of the burning year
carnal firebrand
star of fruit
I eat the sun in you

The hour rests
on a chasm of clarities

The birds are a handful of shadows
their beaks build the night
their wings sustain the day

Rooted at the light’s peak
between stability and vertigo
you are
the diaphanous balance.

— Octavio Paz

Nov 4, 2012:

It’s too early to put something here.


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