Saturday, July 11, 2020

I'm Moving To A New Space.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, July 11, 2020 0 comments
Photo by Gabriel Tenan on Unsplash

I have been using Blogger for more than 10 years now. I’ve discovered and interacted with several bloggers and writers, across the globe, in all these years but now I’m moving on…well, to something else. And to my own space. If you’ve enjoyed my work and want to stay updated with everything I write (and do), visit https://www.sunainapatnaik.com/. You’ll find me talking about books, movies, and as always I’ll share poetry and personal essays too. 

For everything else, I’m available on Twitter and Instagram. Hope to see you at one of these places some time! :)

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Can We Get Used To This Silence

By Sunaina Patnaik at Wednesday, April 08, 2020 0 comments
Photo by Karen Lau on Unsplash

Can we get used to this silence? The empty streets, clear sunsets, the gentle rustle of leaves falling from trees, silhouettes across windows. Birds faraway chirp in tandem with a Hemanth Kumar’s song playing in the neighbourhood. The schools are shut — where are the kids though? Are they stuck to their parent’s phones? I dust bags full of books; I charge my Kindle and watch the day take its own time. Things that mattered a few weeks back, don’t anymore. To say I have fleeting moments of hope and faith is an understatement but it gets me through the day. Some nights I feel hollow and it weighs me down, but I’m partly in charge of this state. There’s not much I can grumble about now, can I?

Can we get used to this silence? The new normal is not everyone’s cup of tea. People have stretched their sleeping hours and yet complain about not getting proper night’s sleep. We get more face time with our friends but now I find it tiring. Oscillating between what they’ve eaten for lunch and who’s tagged me on a new Instagram challenge is plain vanilla. I’m sorry but I can’t keep up. Where’s the heatwave everyone’s talking about? Maybe it won’t kill the virus. Maybe it will. But never have I ever looked forward to the summer. Unless mangoes are involved.

Can we get used to this silence? The dogs in the colony don’t bark much. Obviously, they don’t spot strangers lurking or driving in the dark, anymore. It’s safe to say they’re practicing social distance better than humans. Dogs have always had the ability to sense danger before stupid humans. We are truly at the helm of our own suffering. But let’s talk something else — happy thoughts, happy thoughts. Let me ask the voices in my head to shut up. Numb down for a while.

Can we get used to this silence? The future seems fickle but it’s best to accept misery as a company. For now. Let it sit next to you like a fallen leaf. It fidgets, it bothers. Pick it and tuck it between the pages of a book. I’m not reading a sad book for now. I’m picking something blithe. I don’t want my characters to suffer. With misery for company, I’m not making long-term plans. I want to get through the day. As a friend said, you’re one day away from suffering and you’re one more day healthy. If there’s a perfect book or a movie or a song that could save me….it’s probably my mind.

I’m five again. It’s summertime, the trees have come alive with mangoes. But this time, I’m allowed to binge-eat only after I finish my milk and Milk Bikis.

Friday, December 28, 2018

If It Were Your Home.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Friday, December 28, 2018 0 comments


It is eerie how the streets of Goa evoke the pleasure of loving a boy you’ve never fully had the privilege of having. You want to call it home, you want its laidback alleys with burly arms and colourful homes to not treat you like a stranger. Perhaps beseech you to come back on a night you’re leaving, because that’s what home does. You really want to call it home. And why wouldn’t you? Why would anyone not want to call it home?

You’ve always loved waking up to the gentle rustle of waves crashing against each other. Or maybe you are the kind that runs, barefoot, on the beach. Never missing a single morning. In your purple sports bra and black tights with carpe diem scribbled on it, you think you belong. I wonder if you are someone else — a man in his 60s — retired and finally seeking an escape. With your toes in the sand, you look at the sea, with an intent. Nobody really knows why someone like you is here. But what if you are the kind that walks into the beach with a handy cam and spots a few fishermen tugging hard at the boat? You flippantly throw your satchel and cam and offer to help the fishermen, and pull the boat ashore. Would you, kind sir, do this every day if it were home?

The thing is I’m a collector of seashells and a trifling spectator. I watch you from a distance, stealthily glad that this distance is what keeps me away from you and the stranger who, as we speak, is sprinting towards the sea in the name of Instagram validation.

If it were home, would I still collect seashells every morning and observe the people, smells, and colours around me? Would I still wake up to the first beat of my alarm tone?

I want to know. If it were home, would you still cry when you are up in the sky during the sunset hour? Would you stop scribbling your name on the walls? But importantly, would you still come home to it?

Tune for today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxTXp0-iZrY

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

This city is a riot.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Wednesday, January 17, 2018 0 comments

This city is a riot,
a riot of different
tints and tones,
it is full of monsters
and men,
of the chivalrous and the
boorish,
of women with wings clipped
to their backs,
the rich and the poor,
the kind and the cruel,
the young and the old
stand tall at the sunrise and
crumble after sunset,
never are the streets sombre,
look around,
you're flanked by glares and
laughter gaping you,
cups of tea are passed around
the tables
while an outlier sips on his
coffee,
saunter in wonder,
the cadence of different prayers
envelops you as
several religions coexist with
grace,
let me tell you how
biryani is one of them,
there's constant rush and
fragments of calm,
tell me what’s this city if
not a
beautiful riot?


My book ‘Warm Delinquencies’ is available on Amazon for worldwide shipping. You can order it here: http://bit.ly/2gnn6j9.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Shedding.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, December 25, 2017 0 comments

My bags are filled with bills
handed over to me by
restaurants and shopping malls and
parking lots,
in one corner, I have stacked
some polaroids,
of friends I love,
and the ones I barely talk to,
there are paper napkins with my
lipstick stains and poems,
the other corners are full of unused pens
and coins,
I keep wondering how my bags contain
memories
of the times I'd like to forget, and
the ones I'd like to collect
like the things in my bags,
but time has come close
for me to discard what I've held
so close to my heart,
they've no place in my life,
like these bills and paper napkins.


My book ‘Warm Delinquencies’ is available on Amazon for worldwide shipping.
You can order it here: http://bit.ly/2gnn6j9.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The enclosure.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, December 23, 2017 0 comments

I wrap my mouth
around your
words,
gently yet hastily,
and now,
my lips are stained
with ink,
that refuse to wash
away,
like the scars from
yesterday.


My book ‘Warm Delinquencies’ is available on Amazon for worldwide shipping.
You can order it here: http://bit.ly/2gnn6j9.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017's Reading Journey and More.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Thursday, December 21, 2017 0 comments


“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” 
― J.D. Salinger

2017 is a year of great reading. In spite of having an extremely productive year, I've read 125 books. I've done more meaningful writing at work and otherwise, traveled, and published a book. I've widened my horizon and picked less discovered books, writers I haven't read, and went back to the ones that are close to my heart.

I stumbled upon Hanif Kureishi's 'Intimacy' at a second-hand bookstore and carried it home fondly. Only to lose it, two days and fifty pages later. But those pages were enough to make me buy another copy overnight. Scaachi Koul's 'One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter' was a part of my latest sojourn. I've keenly followed Scaachi's writing on Buzzfeed and elsewhere, and find her writing humourous. In this book, she talks about racism, immigration, sexism, and more while maintaining her usual tone of hilarity. 

Although Vikram Seth is one of my favourite writers, I've hardly read his poetry, but this year, I've checked it off the list. 'All You Who Sleep Tonight is something that pulled me through rough nights. So did Sarah Kay's No Matter the Wreckage. 

As a child, ‘The Little Prince’ was a valued treasure. Even as a grown-up, I go back to it time and again. When I knew that he was returning as a young prince, I was thrilled. The Return of the Young Prince is also a thought-provoking and delightful short read that bears relevance at this time, especially to millennials. 

The thing about diverse reading is that it exposes you to great literature - the unputdownable ones, but also the colossal bores. When I was younger, I often forced myself to finish a book even if I didn't like it much, but now I realize life's too short to read something you don't enjoy. However, the introduction to the works of writers like Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Kurt Vonnegut, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Simone De Beauvoir has been enriching. I've ended my reading for the year with Tania James, a wonderful storyteller whose short-stories have me unfathomably hooked, and James Frey, whose detail about his time in the rehab filled me with wonder. And of course, there was also a great deal of Murakami and Ruskin Bond, along with a few graphic novels and comics. 

2018 is certainly going to be different and far better. I intend to read only 50 books; I know it sounds funny but I've spent more than two nights researching lesser-known books and writers to create a list which consists of some classics like Watchmen, Vanity Fair etc. Right from Noir fiction to Nordic literature, graphic novels to more poetry, there is a plenty of fantastic reading to look forward to in 2018. 

If you have any book suggestions or think I should read a particular writer, I'd love to hear! 

To take a look at what I've read in 2017, go here:

My book ‘Warm Delinquencies’ is available on Amazon for worldwide shipping. You can order it here: http://bit.ly/2gnn6j9.

 

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