Quotables#2 by Cornelia Funke


Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?” Mo had said…”As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells…and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower…both strange and familiar.

 

Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

Source: Goodreads

Yesterday Once More: Long Gone Karen Carpenter!!


She’s long forgotten!! She died on 4th February 1983 and I am 2 days late in writing this post about how unabashedly sad I am about her untimely death!!

karen1Who is she and why am I dedicating a post to her?

Karen Anne Carpenter (March 2, 1950 – February 4, 1983) was an American singer and drummer. She and her brother, Richard, formed the 1970s duo, the Carpenters. Although her skills as a drummer earned admiration from drumming luminaries and peers, she is best known for her vocal performances. She had a contralto vocal range.

Carpenter suffered from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder which was little known at the time. She died at age 32 from heart failure caused by complications related to her illness. Carpenter’s death led to increased visibility and awareness of eating disorders

This is what Wikipedia says about her.

I discovered the Carpenters quite by accident. I was downloading some songs for my mother who loves their songs and when Ikaren2 listened to their songs, I absolutely loved them. They were so typical of the era, soft, mystical and clean. Mostly clean lyrics focusing so much on emotions. Karen and Richard made good music. They made music that could heal you on any given day. Karen’s magical voice could cut through all my misery, literally!!

Remember the song, “Top Of The World”

Such a feelin’s comin’ over me

There is wonder in most everything I see

Not a cloud in the sky

Got the sun in my eyes

And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream

Look at her smile!!

Look at her smile!!

Everything I want the world to be

Is now coming true especially for me

And the reason is clear

It’s because you are here

You’re the nearest thing to heaven that I’ve seen

I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation

And the only explanation I can find

Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around

Your love’s put me at the top of the world

karen4Something in the wind has learned my name

And it’s tellin’ me that things are not the same

In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze

There’s a pleasin’ sense of happiness for me

There is only one wish on my mind

When this day is through I hope that I will find

That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me

All I need will be mine if you are here

I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation

And the only explanation I can find

Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around

Your love’s put me at the top of the world

karen5I am sure so many of you readers can resonate with these lyrics. They never fail to bring a smile to my face.

The reason I am so very sad with Karen’s death was her ANOREXIA!

In those days, people never came out with their eating disorders. Karen was not stunningly beautiful but she had this rare quality which drew you to her, if you saw some of her videos you would instantly realise!! She had this beautiful face and a very mature voice which is unbelievably melodious. And she died at the age of 33 because her heart couldn’t take the complications of over 14 years of crash dieting.

This, precisely this made me feel so very sad. She was so bright. People still tear up mentioning her. I see so many fresh comments on her YouTube concerts where people say they miss her. It is impossible to ignore the people she touched in the short time she was here!

The day I read about her death and saw her photos, saw what the disease had made her, the true extent of our society’s malaise struck me. Here was a perfectly good-looking woman who has a worldwide following. She felt the need to diet and to cause so much harm to her body. She felt she wasn’t good enough inspite of being so very loved and followed.

It made me wonder about the people at the very common level. She was a star, undeniably. But what about you, me or anyone you know? Since when did we let a commercial or a shop sale, (= I feel a tremendous bout of guilt when I don’t find anything to buy in a sale!!) decide whether we were beautiful? And why was our society SO OBSESSED WITH OUR PHYSICAL LOOKS?

karen8

That is how Karen looked a while before she died! A skeleton. Done in by our society’s warped ideals of what a man would want or what made us beautiful. It isn’t just by chance that I found this blog which was documenting Extremely Sexist Advertisements during the 1950s.

It saddens me everytime I read about her death. Why do I read about it then? When it makes me so morose? To remind me that nothing that people say should drag me to the point of becoming like this. She was stunning. I would love to be in her place, jamming and cutting out albums. Doing world tours! But not like this. Nobody deserves to end like this!

In a way, Karen’s death opened up the floodgates for research into anorexia and behaviours linked to food. The plethora of information that we have and the eating disorders which are so easy to diagnose today, are courtesy the death which shocked so many people all over the world!

I can’t help get caught in the warped web of deception and the whole “I have to look Beautiful” line. But it helps to sometimes remember that if only someone could help Karen out the way there is help for anorexia or bullimia today, that maybe we would have had the very gifted and talented singer yet amongst us!!

I do, I do take her loss personally!! It always seems as if she tells me to not take life too seriously! That I am beautiful no matter what. And if I was among people who didn’t endorse the view, then I needn’t get disheartened. This beautiful woman gives me the strength to not go down her path and to always love me!

I don’t seek to advice or lecture about anyone’s sense of beauty or self-esteem. I just wanted to give Karen a tribute that the number of lives you have saved today, by the research spurned on after your death is monumental! And I can’t thank you enough! Wherever you are, I hope you are at peace and I really hope your songs continue to be played for years after!!

As I close in on my first post dedicated to people who have changed my thinking, I leave you with lyrics from another Carpenters song called ‘Yesterday Once More’ which is also the title to this post. I selected that because I was bringing in yesterday here with me, once more, in remembering Karen’s contribution to society and her everlasting impact on music!

Lookin’ back on how it was in years gone by
And the good times that I had
Makes today seem rather sad, so much has changed.

It was songs of love that I would sing to then
And I’d memorize each word
Those old melodies still sound so good to me
As they melt the years away

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing’s so fine

All my best memories come back clearly to me
Some can even make me cry, just like before
It’s yesterday once more

Epilogue: Just to show my recent internet searches about sexist vintage ads, some links!! Never doubt your beauty ladies!! We’re all special!!

http://neatdesigns.net/35-extremely-sexist-ads-that-you-should-see/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/17/sexist-vintage-ads_n_1798977.html#slide=1396785

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/16/vintage-sexist-ads_n_4612110.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

My Sketch Pens


I have always loved colour. Since I was a child. I’ve been told that I used to get so excited looking at a photo of a volcano or fire. I remember seeing the vivid and bright colours shocking the page and then cooling down to molten lava and finally becoming stone.

Slowly pictures in books graduated to colour in a book. My first crayolas as I drew random lines supposedly meaning something and showed it so proudly to everyone! A pessimist would have laughed at the crude lines but I wasn’t one to listen right? I had a huge sense of achievement of having put colour on a drab paper.

School and  college graduated with lots of colorful projects using splashes of colour. I can now relate to a few words and how colorful they made me feel.  Like a soft muted sky blue or a fiery red or a lush deep green. How about the deep and dark purple or the verdant orange or the squishy alive brown? Colours made the world so beautiful to see. I’ve had my childhood defined by crayolas. Those wonderful wax crayon sticks with so many innovative names like “Granny Smith Apple’ and ‘Salmon Pink’ or ‘Cornish Blue’. Oh and the crayola markers and stamp it pens!

Over time, as numbers and figures nudged out colourful and seemingly “childish” crayon projects, I pushed those sketch pens inside my cupboard. Until today.

My usual study routine was interrupted by my cousin who came to visit. When he discovered a random highlight pen I used to mark important stuff, he had to have a paper to draw on. Suddenly I remembered crayola and those sketch pens.  Out they came. With each new colour his gasps came louder and his eyes sparkled with new vigour. Oh a blue would never have seemed as exciting as it did today.

Oh no it wasn’t a masterpiece just some random lines and dots and general scribble but the pride he took in displaying that! I was teleported into another world. I played with him too, opening the sketch pens and getting a random scribble in between. And it had never been this much fun.

I realised we’re so quick to dismiss something so sweetly innocent as a child’s random art just because we’re looking for some sort of elusive perfection. I wish I could use those crayons and pens in writing exam papers. I’d make it look so much more interesting!

Looking at the whole world akin to a blank slate is so liberating. Somebody has already filled in the colours but not for a child. For a child every white is something that can be discovered with a splash of colour. I learnt this today.

It was such a beautiful moment showing off this art, even the random squiggle. Maybe the way I looked at it changed. Maybe I painted my childhood out there. Maybe I decided to make the world my canvas.

Beauty is not Plastic.  It can be anywhere and in any form. I found beauty today in a bunch of sketch pens!! Which I will now never let go or gather dust again!!

Part 1 of Beautiful Me, Beautiful World

 

P.S These are my pens which I use while studying.  I still cannot use only one colour while making notes which makes my book a little bit of an art show :p

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