Month: December 2017

Paris to Berlin

I lingered over the thought for quite a while to decide how to form my words in most succinct manner. Meanwhile I prepared a small batch of potato chips, I am sure Van Gogh must be pleased.

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The oily treat didn’t satiate my desire and my mind started digressing and one thing that I have realized again and again is I don’t mind sitting in the front row of a movie theater, to me it is natural to do so even if the neck pains. What matters is I receive the images first than anyone else and I don’t see anyone else’s head.

I looked at the map that I had used and traced all the places I have been to by moving my finger. The crumpled, wrinkled, dog eared map of Berlin.

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Much has been written about Paris and Berlin and when one arrives in Berlin from Paris at night, one wonders is it really the capital of strongest economy of Europe? Paris is ostentatious with its art Deco and art Nouveau. It has been stereotyped as the most romantic and literary city on Earth, but is it? A Parisian has the same problems as a New Yorker has or a Berliner. So where is the difference?

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Meanwhile still caught up in my thoughts I started watching The Dreamers and joined Theo, Isabelle, and Matthew in the bathtub.

From my eyes Berlin is bare, tattered, and bruised. It’s history has been told so many times that there is no room for pretension. The city has no shroud, no cloak, or any shame in showing it’s true being. It has nothing to hide and nothing to lose. It is finding itself like a teenager slowly stepping into adulthood. It is an organism that is transforming by the day and the night, taking shapes to siphon all the ideas, cultures it can. It is a tumbleweed that continues to fly from one place to other transforming itself and those who come in its contact.

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Walking back to my humble abode in Kreuzberg from Anhalter Bahnhof with a pilsner in my hand, I had the epiphany of freedom that I hadn’t experienced in years, reprieved from masquerades.

Radikal Aus Tradition : Berlin ist radikal, die einzige Tradition, die diese Stadt akzeptiert, ist die Traditionslosigkeit. ( Berlin is radical, the only tradition this city will accept is that it doesn’t have any tradition)

 

 

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Tumbleweed

When you find yourself in unknown parts of the world, trying to finish some work assignment or a presentation while nibbling on your croissant and listening to some white noise to gain concentration,

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always try to find some time for yourself, to gather your thoughts, to introspect and retrospect, to write your thoughts down to crystallize the concoctions of your brain over a cup of coffee and to listen to some music to enjoy those stolen moments,

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because it is important to find your own story at the end. The story of our life to break us free from ourselves and from the tangible and intangible object, so even if our body can’t walk through walls and obstructions but our imagination and soul can.

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The other heaven

Paris is no stranger to literature. It has been the centrum of not only the classics such as The Tale of Two Cities(Dickens) and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame(Hugo) but also Paris, France of Gertrude Stein and My Life in France by Julia Child. Henry Miller’s Quiet days in Clichy has a scene in which a policeman arrives at Joey’s and Carl’s apartment and questions them about Colette’s presence. By the grace of Franz Kafka Carl isn’t charged and only given a warning and that makes the statement ” It is Paris, even the policemen are literary” true.

I am in constant search of that literary Paris. Shakespeare and Co. is definitely part of my universe and so is Librairie Galignani on Rue de Rivoli. A part of me is always looking for that moment where I am in tight quarters with the books, the place with a personality of a human being, the one that makes you stay there and stand there leafing through myriad collections of timeless pieces. The place that tells the story, the place where books aren’t neatly stacked on shelves but in bundles. The place where they breathe and are allowed to be dog eared, where they aren’t an embellishment to an institution but an integral part that makes the institution. And I found one such place. In the city of lights! A friend had recommended Abbey Bookshop to me a while ago and this time I wasn’t in any mood to see the gimmicks of tourists on Rue de Bûcherie, I wanted to be in a quiet place which isn’t laden with people adorned with mini cannon sized cameras and taking photos of anything that moves or doesn’t.

It was one of those days when I wasn’t carrying my umbrella and it rained cats and dogs. Drenched, I entered the book store, dried myself a little and began my adventure in this heaven on 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie  75005 Paris. The place reminded me of Doctor Glas of Soderberg, Raskolnikov of Dostoyevsky, Holden Caulfield of Salinger, and Huckleberry Finn of Twain. It seemed all of them were having a conference there in their night suits while sitting on their warm and comfortable arm chairs generating the còsagach (competitor of Hygge these days) in the ambience.

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I browsed through the various sections for hours and so did the two other people who were there in the store with me. The place has so many books that it seems to defy the laws of Physics. Brien, the owner, told me that gravity had its way many times there. I got my copy Chekov’s farces and polar opposite Miller and his escapades in NYC and Paris and decided to leave but it was still raining very hard. I asked Brien if  by any chance he sells umbrellas as well, he went inside and fished for an umbrella and gave it to me and said with the usual Canadian warmth “Bring it back whenever it is a sunny day.”

With a smile on my face and an umbrella over my head, I knew I will be back again.

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A dialogue with Moilère

It took me a while to find Moilère and have a dialogue with him on a rainy day in Paris in Père Lachaise. I was reading the map incorrectly and was hovering around entirely different section of the cemetery when I realized where I was and where I have to go. Finally I found myself in the triangle formed by Av. transversal No.1, Ch. LaPlace, and Ch. Moilère et La Fontaine. Number 44 is where Moilère rests but I looked everywhere and couldn’t find it. The phone battery was getting immensely low and I didn’t dare to check how the resting place of the greatest masters of comedy looks so I can check each and every grave in the triangle. After running from pillar to post within the confines of my area I was about to give up and leave and then somehow it was there. Right in front of me! All this time!

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Rightly he had said,  The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.