Words and Lines Ep 1: Kung Fu Panda, Roads, and Robert Frost

Words and Lines Ep 1: Kung Fu Panda, Roads, and Robert Frost Words and Lines

Master Oogway's saying, Hans Zimmer and John Powell's music combined with Robert Frost's timeless poem. What can you get when you mix all three? Listen along. The first episode of Words and Lines, A Podcast from The Wordcastle. 

A Girl Is…

A few years back my friend, Srajesh, sent me a handwritten post. It read: A girl is Alfa Shakya of The Wordcastle and I am going to write. (Spoiler alert) The sentence was a parallel to the line Arya Stark says in Game of Thrones. As both of us were fans of the series, it was well understood. I found it hilarious! I chuckled and smiled. Arya had been one of my favorite characters. I loved how she was left handed just like I am. And what a swords-person she is! (I tried Kung fu some time back, not at all good at it though!) It was an absolute compliment to have a dialogue drawn parallel to one that my favorite character speaks.

I was coming back home this evening. I had just met a friend and we had talked about many things including work. ‘It’s something I am going to do for the rest of my life,’ he said as something inside me shifted. Life is long, hopefully, and to do something for the rest of my, that phrase felt eerie and strange. I felt scared. What am I going to do for the rest of my life? I don’t know. Then a complementary question popped up: who am I? By then I was half way back home, there were light drizzles. As the mild rain fell on my military green jacket, I remembered: A girl is Alfa Shakya of The Wordcastle, and I am going to write. I remembered what Srajesh told me.

A moment of incredible crisis suddenly turned into a moment of power. I didn’t have to be that scared. I just had to keep writing. It almost feels too simple to be true. Like Arya was asked to give up her identity, I have been running away from writing for some time. I write for fun, for joy. It hasn’t gone much beyond it. And I might have altogether given it up had some plans worked out. It didn’t, and I’m not sure why, but I can feel every day that I can no longer run away from writing. I do not meant to pride on my work, I have been really slow in my progress and there is so much I don’t know, so much I will never know. However, I am glad to know it’s here – this little world made of words.

Words have incredible power. Something meant for a light inspiration might have saved me from a spiral of worrisome thoughts today. Thanks Srajesh. 🙂

Now, it’s your turn. Fill your own dialogue. And be as kickass as Arya Stark!

P.S. Don’t forget it was Arya who saved Westeros from The White Walkers, stabbed the Knight King with the dagger on her left hand.

The Good, The Great, and The Grace: The Queen’s Gambit

Episode 7: End Game (Spoilers Ahead)

My father introduced me to chess. I was 8-an apt time to start training to become a master someday, only if I had the aptitude. (*light chuckles*). My first ever recognition of extra curricular activities in school was a 2nd place certificate in a Chess Tournament. I have played less of chess as the years passed, becoming lousier by the day, but I have always remembered what a stunning game it is. When Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit came in, I knew I had to watch the show. After finishing the series in 2 days, I have a fuzzy feeling inside of me. The last episode, End Game, was heartwarming, not just because it wraps up the plot, and we bid goodbye to all the characters, but because it simply is.

Be aware, spoilers ahead.

The Queen’s Gambit is many things. It is without doubt a show with a class, portraying complex dynamics of genius, madness, addiction, fear, family, friendship. After the last episode, I have been thinking that the show is also about grace. The grace to win, the grace to lose, the grace to overcome, and the grace to be. It is grace that takes Beth from good to great, it is grace that makes Luchenko and Borgov the Grandmasters they are. It takes grace for Jolene to give up her savings for Beth. It takes grace for Harry and Benny to help Beth from a thousand miles away. It takes grace for Beth to let go of her addiction. And it is grace that allows her to be herself with the people of Moscow in the final few minutes of the series.

One of my favorite moments from the last episode is with Luchenko and Borgov, the two grandmasters.

“I resign with relief,” Luchenko says with a look of joy as Beth makes her move. Not a single strain of defeat visible on his friendly face, only grace to have played a great match. Borgov smiles as he realizes his moves have been outwitted-no anger, no resentment, no loss on his face. He gives his Black King to Beth and hugs her. He claps, a gesture that a new champion has arrived. (Oh and the background score that plays!)

In the first episode, Openings, Mr. Shaibel teaches Beth about resignation. This scene is used as a flashback at times when she loses, taking her loss mostly with anger and resentment. But the way Luchenko and Borgov accept their defeats is a graceful act on their own. I think they taught Beth how to accept both victory and loss, and perhaps us viewers too.

When the time comes, roads must be opened for the new to come in. That doesn’t mean the bygones are forgotten, it merely means there is time for everything, to win and to lose, to reign and to resign, to progress as the pawn from the front file, and to be Queen at the center of the 64 black and white squares.

I’m looking forward to reading the novel the series is based on. Hope it has arrived to this part of the world by now. Perhaps it would tinge more emotions in me as a reader.

I Made Clouds Today

I made clouds today,
floating from the tip of my
digital nib.
Drew them on a tablet
and painted
as I watched the screen.

I wanted the clouds
to be fluffy
like cotton candy.
Of course I can’t eat them.

I made clouds today-
blue sky and white clouds,
soft like furs of
the stray kitten.

I made clouds today.