“When You Love a Storm” – Debut Book Launch

“When you love storm, remember,
You never lose even though you’re bruised.
You find yourself and your freedom,
and that’s a good thing.”

When You Love a Storm” is the first collection of poems by Anshuman Dash and it tells the story of a man discovering beauty in the transience of love and coming to peace with the idea of letting go.

The book will be launched by the end of August and will be available for free download Here.

If you would like to follow the latest announcements, please follow the Facebook Page Here.

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Day-1: Storms and Caves

Today, I rode the storm on my rickety bike that I had borrowed from my neighbour, almost anticipating to face it. Like a foolish adventurer, who wished to conquer Mount Everest in his pyjamas and a pair bathroom slippers. The sky had looked as if it had been holding back for years, and this was its tipping point. Like it could not take it anymore, it did not care about the consequences anymore exactly the way I was feeling. The sky has a mysterious way to reflect your emotions sometimes, or maybe it was just me.

So I had decided I’ll ride the highway, the one I had with her, for the very first time. I wanted to relive that moment. I know it was a stupid thing to do, but… The road was the same as it had been that day and the weather, well it was toying with me. It almost felt as if I was watching a movie in HD, each and every moment of that day playing in front of my eyes. Shit! Shouldn’t be doing this to myself.

That was it. I took the next break in the median and turned back.  After a 20 minute ride, I reached Khandagiri Chowk. It was getting dark, and the clouds were threatening a downpour. There were 10 seconds left on the timer at the traffic signal. I had to make the decision fast. Orange. Green. Oh! Fuck it! I turned left towards the Khandagiri-Udaygiri hills.

I had been here a couple of times before. Once, I think almost five years ago with a bunch of volunteers from all over Europe, who were working with some NGO in Bhubaneswar. We had met with them in Bakul as they were doing the Story Telling around the World event, and I was a part of that project. I should have a few photographs of that trip. The second time was with a colleague of mine, but that one was a very short visit. Mostly because he had acrophobia and wouldn’t climb the hill. We had clicked a few photographs and left. I had never been here on my own and explored the place.

I parked my bike and got me a ticket. The ticket cost me five bucks, but the same ticket costs Rs.150 for foreign Nationals. Shit! That is too much.

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The Khandagiri and Udaygiri hills stand opposite each other. The Udaygiri hills had just caves. These caves were for the Jain Ascetics who had lived there. However, Khandagiri had caves (relatively few) and a Jain Temple on the top. They also had Monkeys. Many Monkeys that had gotten accustomed to humans and were not afraid of snatching food from their hands.

I went to Udaygiri first, because I was more interested in the caves. The moment you enter the Uday Giri compound the first thing you see is a stone ramp taking you up the hill. There’s also stone stairs that bring you up and around the hill. I decided to take the stairs.

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It had rained during the day, so the stones were slippery. The caves were dark and damp and smelled of bats. I knew that smell because as a kid I had been to Lingaraj Temple a lot with maa.  That temple ceiling used to be filled with bats, and there was this typical smell that was only overpowered by the ghee lamps, the dhoop, and the flowers/bel patta offered to the Shiv ling.

There are 18 caves in Udaygiri in total. Most of the caves had two common features – One; the caves opened either to the veranda, or the space outside. Two, sloping rise of the floor towards the rear end that acted as the pillow.

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The first set of caves I visited were small, dark and damp. Damp, probably because of the rain. However, the one cave that stood out was the one that had two chambers. One that looked like it could have been the Living room, with stone benches carved out of the stone and a bedroom that was at a height on one the left side of the cave. The bedroom was slightly higher than the living room. The cave had a proper ventilation system and drainage system as well. It was quite impressive.

I sat on the bench. The stone was very smooth and cold. I thought of getting into the bedroom, but the thought of bats stopped me from being too adventurous.

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The Bedroom

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A closer look at the bedroom.

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The living room with the stone bench.

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The drainage system within the cave.

I moved around a bit exploring the other caves. Stumbled across a couple, probably breaking up. The guy was crying. It made me very awkward. So I ignored them and moved on.

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This was like a dormitory. One single space behind the different doors you see in the picture.

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Almost tempted to click the breaking-up couple sitting somewhere down on the left side of this picture.

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You can see the sitting space (Benches) outside the cave. This was common to most of the caves there.

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I am not entirely sure what this was, but it looked like a ventilation shaft within one of the caves.

I had covered all the caves on that level of the hill. It was time to move up. There was a trail that went up, but for some reason, the adventurous side of me took over, and I hiked up climbing the rocks.

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Once I climbed that slope, I reached a clearing. The clearing had a couple of benches, both occupied by couples. There was just one cave up there. Unlike the other caves, this one was protected by a fence. Must be an important one, I thought. Turns out, it was the Ganesha Cave. Its Architecture was also slightly different than the others as you can read on the information board below.

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The next level was the top of the hill where there were stairs that would have taken me there. However, there also was another way. Through the little forest trail that I remember taking on my first visit there. An imaginary coin toss later I took the path less travelled 🙂

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There was not a single human being on that trail. After walking around for 15 minutes, I realized I was lost. So I gave up the “be-adventurous” idea and retraced my path. Got back to the clearing and went off the stairs to the top.

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A beautiful view of the city welcomed me. It was a great feeling. It was silent, the sky was overcast, and the weather was cold. There were a few people up there. Almost everyone was clicking pictures. There were a few odd couples in the isolated parts doing their thing. I could see the Jain Temple on top of the Khandagiri hill from here.

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There wasn’t much up there in terms of the ruins except for this. Not even sure what this was. Probably an area for havan or may be a space for the ascetics to just chill and enjoy the evening sunset.

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It was getting slightly dark. So I left. I went down another way, and it got me to this space. It was a natural cave that had been supported by pillars. I think the posts were put up by ASI during the restoration. There were benches and a clean open space. This was a great spot to conduct a gig/poetry slam I thought. One could sit here peaceful in the evening if they wanted to.

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On my way down, I found a few other natural caves. These were smaller and uneven, and at inaccessible places. Not sure if anyone ever stayed in one of them.

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These were the last two sets of caves on my way down. The first one looked like it could have belonged to the senior members, you know? The privileged ones. These were two storeys high. The ones at the bottom were bigger, spacious and had benches. The ones on the top were smaller as you can see in the pictures below.

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The second set of caves were in an isolated part of the hill. It was already dusk, and there were no lights. There were dense and dark trees right opposite the caves. It was spooky. I left without even clicking a picture.

After having covered Udaygiri, I was in half-mind whether to go to Khandagiri because of two major reasons. One, it was already dark, and second, My legs were tired, and I was sweating like a pig on a treadmill. However, then I, though, this could be my last chance for a long time, so I just went for it.

After taking a steep flight of stone stairs, I reached a landing. To my left, there was a temple (not the Jain temple). It was a Hindu Temple. The evening ritual must have started; I thought because I could hear the bells and the cymbals piercing the silence of the otherwise quiet hill.

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I did not go in as I wanted to explore the rest of the place before it was completely dark. So I took the next flight of stairs to my right that took me to another landing that had one set of caves. However, these unlike the ones on Udaygiri were grilled. Probably to keep tourists out, I think.

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This one had a place for Havans on the verandah of the caves that was different from all the other caves I had seen that evening.

I took another flight of stairs that took me to an open space. Many people were sitting there and many coming down from the temple at the top. I could see a beautiful view of the Udaygiri caves from here.

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By this time, it had got completely dark. I thought I could live without getting to the temple on the top. I took one last look at the temple at the top and went back down only to be cut off by a monkey jumping right in front of me and then to the trees and disappearing in the dark. It was time to go home.

The End.

 

FUQs – Frequently Unanswered Questions

Okay, I still don’t get one thing. I f you say it’s your diary, then why is it out there in the open? Aren’t diaries supposed to be secret and personal, hidden inside secret compartments of your writing desk? 

You got me! I am an attention addict (read whore), who loves to share each and every aspect of his life on the internet and expects people to read/like/comment/share so that  my insatiable hunger for acknowledgement is satisfied;  Or maybe not. 

Even if that was ‘The Reason’, I wouldn’t tell you, because it would spoil all the fun. You see, it is indeed incredible (no sarcasm intended) how creative people can get with their “Opinions” (read Judgments). I mean, I love to deflect this particular question with a very obvious but well fabricated back-story, just for the kicks of it .

It starts with how I have always been a shy and introverted person who finds it difficult to communicate anything more complicated than high school mathematics. Then it goes into how growing up, this disability led to a lot of suppressed emotions that didn’t find any outlet and it was even more difficult with puberty messing with my hormones and everything. Then it gets even better. I get all emotional and sell how this lack of communication often led people to judge me as an asocial person and how that pushed me farther into the depths of isolation( Sometimes my ingenuity even surprises me). This part gets people hooked and now they start believing everything I say. 

Then comes my ‘Accidental Writing’ story. I go on about how one day when I couldn’t cope with all that was going on around me, I sat down and put everything into words and put up the whole thing on Facebook. 

Now, why did I do that?  I knew I had to have a good reason for that, without sounding like an attention-seeker, and once again my brain came to my rescue. 

You see, this was my way of communicating. What I couldn’t express vocally I did through the written words. I wanted people to not judge me anymore and ‘listen’ to what I had to say and some of them did listen. People related to what I had to say, they understood and after all these years I finally felt I belonged. I was not alone. After that I never looked back. 

*Hello! (Waves hand) You with me?*

FUQs – Frequently Unanswered Questions

But, why Mute Expressions? Why not something like, ‘The Blog’ or ‘Dear Diary’ or even better, ‘The Super Awesome Blog-Diary of Anshuman Dash’?

You know what, I was this close (makes a gesture bringing my thumb and fore-finger close together) to using ‘The Super Awesome Blog-Diary of Anshuman Dash’, but unfortunately they said, it was too good and ahead of its time and that the world was not ready for it. So I had to settle for Mute Expressions.

I liked the sound of it and also it was the title of the second thing I ever wrote. It was this clichéd and teen-agery attempt to pen down how I felt about this girl I liked who liked this other guy and I wanted her to notice. I was always a wuss when it came to expressing, you see? Anyways, it obviously didn’t work out, and I am grateful it didn’t.

Anyways, the first thing I had written was called ‘Negativity’. I couldn’t have used that, too emo for a blog title, don’t you think? I didn’t want people to get all judgy, at least not more than they already were. On top of that, most of my family is internet savvy these days. A blog named ‘Negativity’ and the next thing you know, I am on my way to a shrink, because my parents think I am some sort of a closet depressive.

 Mute Expressions, I am not even sure if that’s grammatically correct, but what the hell, it has a good ring to it. In fact I liked it so much that I wrote a sequel to the first Mute Expressions. But more on that later.

FUQs – Frequently Unanswered Questions

What is Mute Expressions?

It’s a Blog. More like a diary where I like to put down my thoughts . You see, I tried writing on paper, but I just hate my handwriting, so, a blog was the best alternative. It also saves paper, If you are an environmentalist. You know the thing about these thoughts is that sometimes they like to start riots inside the head. Medicines don’t work on them, so something drastic needs to be done. I usually drill a hole in my head and sleep on my keyboard. I wake up and find these words and sentences on the computer screen. They make absolutely no sense, but the headaches are gone. So I just let them be, until the hole heals and the whole cycle starts over again.

It’s my ‘Fight Club’ , if you know what I mean *Winks*

The Mute Expressions Project on Facebook

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Hi,

First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you, who have shown their love for this blog by visiting, liking, commenting and following. The response and the love that this blog has received within a span of  9 months has been a dream. I had no idea what to expect when I had started this blog in April. I had been writing mostly on my Facebook wall, notes or the word document named ‘ran-dumb’ on my laptop. WordPress just happened one day when I saw my friend’s blog. I was apprehensive. I didn’t know if I would fit in. I was afraid to put my writings out there in public, not knowing what kind of reactions they would get, as most of them were inspired from personal experiences. But then something happened that I had never imagined of. People from all around the world started reading what I had written, they could relate to the emotions poured down as verses, they would share their own experiences. It was a wonderful feeling to have found like-minded people. There was so much to read, so much to learn and so much to write.

Then, in the month of November my love for music, writing and spoken poetry led to the creation of my own Spoken Poetry project – The Mute Expressions Project on Sound Cloud. I also have a side writing project – The Diary of a Zombie, which I update every now and then, mostly with prose. And now in my attempt to bring all my work under one roof, I have created this page on Facebook,

https://www.facebook.com/themuteexpressionsproject

So, if you happen to tread the lanes of Facebook, you could sometime take a turn towards The Mute Expressions Project, where you shall be greeted as old friends with the warmth of poetry and the comfort of prose. 🙂

Cheers!

The Diary of a Zombie

Hello everyone!!

I know it’s been a long time since I have posted anything on the blogs. To be really honest, I have found myself uninspired and lost. I quit my old job and have joined a new one and the change might have had a small role to play in all of it. I have dearly missed this place and I think I am back for good now. There is so much to write and so much more ro read.

In the meantime, I have created one more blog. I don’t think I will be updating it too often. It’s something I have had in mind for a long time now and it’s a long term project. Basically it’s a darker and gloomier version of my current blog, almost like an alter ego.

Here is my first post on the new blog. Hope you like it.

The Diary of a Zombie – The Beacon

Love,

AD

Working On a Saturday Afternoon

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Photo Source: http://www.coffeemarvel.com/blog/post/2010/09/27/How-Coffee-Increases-Productivity-on-the-Job.aspx

Working on a Saturday afternoon,
Like a monk praying in his tomb,
I close my eyes , trying to wonder,
Nestled, comfortably like a child,
in its mother’s womb

The peace of this place, leaves its trace,
as the server on my desk silently prays,
The quiet, aptly objectifying my thoughts,
wandering aimlessly on unknown lanes

A cup of coffee on my desk, she sits,
I tease her, caress her with my finger tips
She stays calm,
as I wrap around her waist my palm,
pick her up and lovingly plant a kiss

The half eaten sandwich, lay forgotten
A witness to the romance,
its expression tautened
Spiteful and jealous of the coffee’s fate
Rejected, it falls back to its plate

The computer screen stares blankly
Unsure, it blinks, and blushes shyly
Patiently she waits,
for me to resume my work
and snoozes off slyly, when I don’t

It is time to go home now,
as the sun goes down behind the horizon,
I turn my back at the computer screen,
With a promise to be back on Monday,
and lovingly turn her on

The Sunshine Blog Award

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A wonderful surprise from yesterday when I found that Saunved had nominated me for The Sunshine Award.

This would be the second award that he has nominated me for and can not thank you enough. He is an extremely talented young Blogger/Writer/Poet. Do check out his blog, http://saunved.wordpress.com/

What is the Sunshine Blog Award?

The Sunshine Blog award is an award given to bloggers by other bloggers. It is given to bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.

The Rules

  1. Include the award’s logo in a post or on your Blog.
  2. Answer 10 questions about yourself
  3. Nominate 10 Bloggers
  4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their Blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
  5. Link the person who nominated you.

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The 10 things about me:

  1. Favorite color: Blue/Green
  2. Favorite animal: Not much of an animal lover
  3. Favorite number: 07
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Badam Shake
  5. Prefer Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
  6. My passion(s): Drumming, Writing, Watching Movies and Writing
  7. Prefer getting or giving presents: Giving
  8. Favorite pattern: People have a favorite pattern?? o_O
  9. Favorite day(s) of the week: Friday
  10. Favorite flower: Don’t have one.

The Nominations:

  1. http://lunastarla.wordpress.com/
  2. http://shawnbird.com/
  3. http://aynaguccindalli.wordpress.com/
  4. http://piethstop.wordpress.com/
  5. http://evolpeac.wordpress.com/
  6. http://culturemonk.com
  7. http://tjtherien.wordpress.com
  8. http://writingsofamrs.wordpress.com/
  9. http://soumyajitpradhan.wordpress.com
  10. http://myshellecongeries.wordpress.com/