My Digital Universe, Poems, Portfolio

Table Nomad: A Wanderer’s Collection

We live in a world full of connotations. The way you comb your hair to a metaphor you use when you write, will be interpreted by someone according to the lenses they wear when they view the world.

I enjoy poetry for this very reason!

Writing a poem gives you the freedom to express freely. How someone will interpret what you write is not really of concern, at least for me. As I mentioned above, we live in a world of connotations. So, it is expected that readers will interpret a line of poetry depending on what each word and image represent (to them) according to their worldview.

The poems come from my personal experiences. Some, are reactions to situations that I never expressed while others capture the feelings of fleeting moments. As readers flip through the pages, I hope they will be able to relate to certain feelings and appreciate varying perspectives.

When I started my backpacking trip to Nepal, I had no plan whatsoever. As my Instagram account states: “I have no agenda”, especially when it comes to traveling, music and writing. I decided to goto Nepal on the same day I took the flight. It was a decision I made on the spur of the moment. I was definitely not prepared to trek the Annapurna circuit when I packed my bags. If anything, I wanted to have spontaneous experiences.

And that’s exactly what I found for the next year!

The decision to collect various pieces of writing I had produced over the years came to mind when I was in Munnar, India. Even then, I wanted to stay true to my motto: “I have no agenda”. So I simply collected poems that were stacked away and put together a collection. Initially, I wanted the book to be a photo / poetry book. I thought it would be fitting to find images that compliment my writing. It was delightful to find a picture that resonated with a poem. Especially, since the images were taken at random without the intention of including in the book!

The digital version, which can be found here, has accompanying images that I captured from an iPhone 6s during my travels in South East Asia.

The paperback version is a poetry only version. You can get it here.

I hope you enjoy the poems and the accompanying images. Originally, I envisioned the book as something that will compliment one’s living room by taking the place of a coffee table book.

My Digital Universe, Poems, Portfolio

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

I recently published my first poetry book: Table Nomad: A Wanderer’s Collection on Amazon. Writing poetry is something very personal. Self-publishing, designing and creating the layout myself, made it a bit more intimate.

I learnt a lot of new skills and polished up on existing ones during this process. Adobe InDesign was completely new to me when I first started to layout my book. I was in Munnar, India at that time, taking a break from extensive traveling. While taking a few days to relax, I suddenly felt the urge to finally put together this book. I had most of the content written already. I also had over 10,000 images from my travels. So, it was a matter of putting it all together.

“It’s not about doing everything alone. It’s more about learning something new and applying that knowledge in the practical world.”

Here are three lessons I learned during the process:

Lesson 1: To make an idea come into reality, one must take action

I’ve thought about it. Talked about it. Dreamed about it. One day I finally realized that what’s left is, to simply do it. The hardest part of an extensive project is getting things going. Over the years, I’ve found that whenever I get myself to start something, I tend to follow through. There’s something in me that doesn’t want to back down once I start something. So, I started by subscribing to InDesign. Now it was serious, I have made an investment in a tool that I had no clue how to operate! My brain figured out what needed to happen next and soon I had gathered my pieces of writing that were stored on websites, Instagram and my notes.

Lesson 2: Getting different perspectives and opinions are good, but at the end you must decide

When I started arranging the poems and images, I asked a couple of friends for their opinions. It was good to know what others were seeing and understand whether your creation is communicating the right message. However, the ultimate decision to decide on which font to use and how to format an image was up to me. There were times that I doubted myself. It can be frustrating when you can’t decide on something. But, in order to make progress, we must make a decision and stick with it. Yes, sometimes it’s risky. Yes, we must live with the consequences of our decisions. But, it’s also all about your outlook. We can always learn from a mistake. The good thing in the digital age is that we can change things easily. Which leads to my next lesson …

Lesson 3: Be open to change and don’t settle

I first got a taste for making corrections and revisions during my master’s thesis. I am thankful for my thesis chair for pushing me to revise, re-write and redo. It can be extremely frustrating to find an error right when you think it’s ready to go live. But finding errors and having the ability to correct them is a blessing in disguise. Yes, it can take a toll on you after the 10th time, but it teaches you to become more careful and pay attention to detail. In the beginning, I wanted to publish around 50 poems and sayings with images. When I realized that the cost was too high to do color images, I was disappointed. I felt as if all my efforts had come to a standstill.

Determination is a fascinating quality. Couple that with the ability to make compromises, it’s not too hard to find win-wins. I had to change my book to meet the practical aspects of publishing. So, I made the photography and poetry (color) version available digitally and created a poetry only paperback version. I didn’t get everything I wanted. But then again, I did.

Digital version: http://bit.ly/tablenomad
Paperback version: http://bit.ly/buywanderer

 

 

My Digital Universe

When expectations fetter away

At the end of the day, one must do what’s best for themselves without becoming a thorn for anothers’ possibilities and expressions. Those who demand you to meet their expectations will never change to meet yours. So, why waste time trying to meet the expectations of those who are concerned with propagating their version of life on to your reality?

Expectations create dependancies

If all expectations were to be fulfilled, the world might end up in chaos. To expect is to wait for something. You are now dependent on something else to find fulfillment. Like a mighty pit bull, salivating and kneeling before his feeble master for a treat. I love dogs, but I am not too fond of training them to beg for treats. The loyalty of a dog is more valuable than manipulative obedience.

Or, to expect is to project your perception of ideal outcomes onto other people’s lived experiences and expressions. They are not meeting YOUR expectations that YOU made up in YOUR head with YOUR self-interests at the forefront.

Water is fluid. Most of everything around us consists of it. The same element that we consume to hydrate can drown us. Just like that, that which goes up, must come down. That which stays up must one day land. There’s nothing wrong with going up or staying up as long as one remembers where it started from. Born naked with the imminent reality of joining the dust, some get too caught up in their self-proclaimed status on the planet. This self-proclaimed superiority complex then starts to ooze out like poisonous gas in the form of expectations. If you were a bird, your innate dispositions would tell you when to land. But you aren’t a bird. You are just a skeleton with a suit with nothing but expectations.

Expectations are not universal laws

Tell your mind to guard its entrance from unwelcomed expectations. No matter how high and mighty they present themselves as, they are nothing but expectations of dust. The deeply rooted fear of uncertainty is only a facade when you are not afraid to take bold steps. Not all steps are taken to go forward. There’s no loss in taking a step back to avoid an imminent threat and change directions. The forces that work behind closed doors are not powerful. They are just fear mongers that needs a hand to hold when it’s dark at night. With light, each and every plot will be revealed. Such a revelation can only become a reality by the hand of the absolute truth. Oil and water will get separated then and there won’t be any more doubts.

In the meantime,  it’s better to show less than what you know. Don’t worry about anothers’ perception of yourself. When you are able to free yourself from the false notion of external acceptance, freedom will take you ashore with powerful waves. Till then, ride the waves and enjoy the sunsets. Expect nothing and know when to give it all and when to give sparingly. When we expect nothing, we are not controlled by that idea. When you free yourself from your own shackles, you will find the strength to remain free.

About the photo: These waves in Nusa Lembongan Island in Indonesia are simply breathtaking. Its shear power keeps the mighty rocks that keep the island afloat in check.

 

 

 

My Digital Universe, Poems

Winds – Visual Poem

Winds

At times tossed, turned or even rattled,
Rain comes- rain goes,
Yesterday, today or tomorrow?
Sunny days- warm smiles,
Minutes pass, don’t come back.
Cold nights- frozen tears,
Mock away past cheers,
Wind blows: leaves fall,
Child throws away the doll.
New day: same measures,
Past rules- past fears.
Stone wall- false hope,
Tossed away across the shore.
Birds fly, snakes crawl,
Dog barks but mountains don’t Fall!

 

 

My Digital Universe, Poems

Thoughts on Sri Lankan Independence Day

 

We received freedom?
Didn’t we always have it?
We decided to give it away –
Then struggled to get it back!
They got it on a piece of paper,
But never in their hearts.
They started fighting,
Instead of freedom, they spread hatred.
Little ones and old ones,
All born in the same paradise,
Looking for freedom,
As freedom burned in street corners.
We grew up in their mess.
We wanted out of there,
Now we long for paradise.
But they are still fighting?!
When will you stop?
Let us enjoy our paradise?
You have had your time.
And look where you have brought us!
We don’t want a king,
We don’t want your ideas,
We don’t want your hatred,
You can keep your freedom.
We don’t have those boundaries,
We don’t have jaded glasses,
We see each other as brothers and sisters,
Who suffered at your dependence.
Independence is freedom –
From dependence.
Dependence on your old ways.
An unfree mind will never be free!
We hope that it won’t
Take as many years for all to see,
The unity and the oneness,
Instead of the division and the otherness.
So that a new generation
That don’t have your poison,
Will join hands as one nation,
Away from your separation.
In – dependence of each other,
In- dependence of that unity,
In – dependence of that clarity,
Will celebrate independence, in-dependence.
Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 6.40.48 PM
Poems

Bits and Pieces

That which is full has the potential to be empty,

That which is empty has the potential to be full.

That which is not full has the potential to stay empty,

That which is not empty has the potential to stay full.

That which is flying has to land,

That which is on land aspires to fly.

Whoever is hungry longs to be fed,

Those that are full, gets fat on desert.

Even when one listens one can’t stop thinking,

Even while thinking some can’t stop talking.

Poems

Winds

Where the wind blows:

At times tossed, turned or even rattled,

Rain comes- rain goes,

Yesterday, today or tomorrow?

Sunny days- warm smiles,

Minutes pass, don’t come back.

Cold nights- frozen tears,

Mock away past cheers,

Wind blows: leaves fall,

Child throws away the doll.

New day: same measures,

Past rules- past fears.

Stone wall- false hope,

Tossed away across the shore.

Birds fly, snakes crawl,

Dog barks but mountains don’t Fall!