Letters of Life

Month: September 2011

A Burmese Picture Story

Recently, I’ve been reading George Orwell. You might remember that Orwell was an English author and journalist, who also wrote the acclaimed and once-banned books Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949). Wikipedia describes his work as “marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in… Read More ›

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Something About Level 42

Maybe it was because their music brings me back to those brilliant days of youth, those diamond days. I was done with grueling exams, tired of studying. I was heading to the States for college. It was summer, the days were long, friends were plentiful, I kept meeting new people, I wore my Wayfarers all… Read More ›

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Rediscovering the Joy of Fiction

Reading fiction books of high quality has done more for my brain than anything else this year. In this age of fast downloads by the mega-gigabyte, this age of the instant click of gratification, reading a book can be an exercise in almost-futility as the plot unfolds glacier-like and the characters take an age to… Read More ›

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Running on a High

The group of runners set off without me; I was figuring out which knobs on my new Casio sports watch reset the stopwatch. By the time I picked up my pace, the others were at least a short slope up ahead. I bounded up the incline and caught up with the group in no time…. Read More ›

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Familiarity breeds contempt, the saying goes. In a marriage, familiarity breeds forgetfulness. The eldest son has to choose his subjects of study next year. A lateral thinker whose favorite word is ‘Why’, the boy was considering physics and chemistry but not biology. He did not enjoy it as much. The father, to put it mildly,… Read More ›

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By all accounts, today has been a good day. Early this morning, I forced myself, and was successfully in the forcing, to change into running gear and head towards the park for a ‘slow run.’ I discovered that the 30-minute run was good for my cough; it vanished in all that time. Then I stopped… Read More ›

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I was chatting with Andre over lunch in a cafe with bad food about how men and women bring baggage (the emotional kind) into relationships. My husband, Andre, grew up in a happy, loving family with no violent quarrels, separations, or divorces.  Growing up, I witnessed all three and went through at least two relationships… Read More ›

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Waltzing Pagodas

Once a Jolly Shandy Sat by the Irrawaddy Under the shade of a banyan tree And she sang as she sat, a lacquered bowl in her palm, You’ll come a-waltzing pagodas with me. Waltzing stupas, waltzing temples, You’ll come a-waltzing pagodas with me And she sang as she sat,  A lacquered bowl in her palm… Read More ›

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Naugahyde And Other Funny Memories

The word came up, apropos of the furnishings in a fast-food chain purveying Japanese fine burger(s) and coffee. “Naugahyde.” * The last time I said that word aloud must have been ’round about 1985. Like Proust’s involuntary remembrance of how the taste of a madeleine shot him back into a golden recollection of childhood, my… Read More ›

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Masks: What are you wearing today?

It’s such a complex thing, this wearing of masks. For every friend, every person, I put on a special mask. I used to think I could be my truest self with people I trusted, people who loved me unconditionally, but there are limits to what even these souls can take. Granted, some masks are more… Read More ›

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