Manjari Shukla

Photographs are

memories in concrete form,

capturing the abstract moments, and


The moments really

Lose the ephemerality,


Get a lifetime of eternity.

What we feel

To be momentary

In a moment,

Is made eternal


We click.


Some memories transform into


And some photographs transmogrify into


There so much

In every moment,

And there is so much

In every click.

Manjari Shukla

The scorching heat of the month of May in India suddenly got removed by a wonderful shower of rain, the breeze which was too very hot and painful, suddenly became, soothing and perfect in every sense. The weather was unraveling its best mood, and trying to mesmerize everyone with its magical spell of rain. I stood by the window, and kept gazing at the sky, from which raindrops trickled down continuously, as if celebrating something, and outpouring happiness, more happiness.

Each raindrop was having a whole store of happiness within itself, the moment it fell on my window sill, it actually filled me with the happiness, which it was holding in itself. Slowly, the drops created a small pool of happiness, and suddenly a small sparrow came from somewhere, sat near the pool, and had a gulp of water for its thirsty neck, it too was glad. While it was having the gulp of happiness from the rain water pool, I was hiding beside the window sill, observing it, but not making it aware of my presence. It was lovely, to see the small sparrow quench its thirst.  It rested for a while, to keep itself dry from the rain, and when the showers stopped for a while, it flew to its nest, which was on a nearby tree.

All was so good, and really an oft quoted statement came to my mind, that if one really hunts for happiness, it can be felt in the most common things, at times even those things, which are beyond our visualization when we are not in a mood to look for happiness and contentment, but if we actually look for happiness, it holds our hands, and shows us what was lying in front of us…. and then really every little aspect of life bestows on us a full bag of happiness, sheer happiness.

Manjari Shukla

The breeze blowing near the sea shore, reminded me of the wonderful tides, on which we rode our steamer, when we were kids. Everything was mesmerizing, beautiful and just the way we thought it to be, now after so many years, when my brother and I am married, we have family; often when we meet our mom and dad in the summer breaks, I long to visit those times, once again which we treaded so very happily in the company of one another. Our mom and dad, are now staying with each other, and we two working and staying with our family a bit away from them, we talk on phone every day, and even visit them at small intervals, to have lunch and dinner, with our better halves and kids, but those get togethers are momentary, and when we leave, they both are again left only with each other. The walk, I often take near the sea shore reminds me of all those times which passed like a wink of an eye… and now after so many years, we have only memories to cherish and nothing else. If I had a time machine, I would have taken a trip down to the memory lane, and would have stayed as long as possible with my family, and would have stretched all the favourite moments to eternity, but I guess, that is quite impossible, still I long to have a time machine… No doubt, I am happy with my husband and family, still those moments spent with my family were I guess, the best ever in the whole life time.

Manjari Shukla

With a pen in hand, as if compared to a painter’s brush, I decided to write something, compared as an art piece of a painter…this is something too close to my soul, just like a painting close to an artist’s soul…something which defines myself, my attributes, my concerns, and my choices… . The canvas was the paper on which I decided to write…I think scribbling will be  a better word… just like a painter, I picked up the pen, which in an artist’s case will be a painting brush…I saw the white sheet in front of me…thought what to write, compose, indite … then waited for a while… rose from the chair on which I was sitting… decided to go near the window, and felt the monsoon like weather all over me… it was raining outside…. I came back to my writing space, and once again thought to continue with my scribbling, hoping this time a new concept might emerge… as an artist, I once again dipped the brush of my writing into the tub of a conscious colour, decided to add some water… that is something fluid, or more adaptable to my thought process… . To enhance the painting I decided to add bright colours… (please follow that this is something which I am writing, not something which a painter might paint)…one can interpret this as… a photograph of writing, taken from a painter’s camera… the colours here will be the conscious and unconscious thoughts, the brush will be the pen with which I am scribbling, waiting to make an art piece… in this case it will be a write-up, probably a poem, or a prose… once again I joined hands with my writing companion(i.e. pen)… and the scribbling finally came out to be a prose piece, which you are reading now… I truly enjoyed this small journey, realised myself to be in a painter’s shoe as well as a writer’s garb… truly liked it… how about you…?

Manjari Shukla

Mother… is in my opinion, more than a human being, she is truly a face, or extension of God…As it is said, since God cannot be everywhere with his children, he made mothers… they are beyond definition, explanation, anything… an epitome of love, care, understanding, hope, joy, advice…etc…etc… They are a shelter, a place of solace, a tree’s shade, a feeling without explanation, a gesture, so pristine… since the day we are here in this world, we are because of our parents, and our mother has truly been a companion all the while… though many a time, differences of opinion lead to a break in any human relation, but a relation with a our mother, is beyond all these dimensions… even though many a time, we hurt her by our behavior, still she is the only one by our side, no matter whatever happens… A friend, a guide, a teacher… and the list is ad infintum… Our mother is one such being, for whom, whatever is said, is always less… She is a Giver, throughout, no matter whether we care or not. She is always with us, in presence or in absentia, she traces our emotions very nicely, even if we do not say anything to her… She knows us best… and no one can ever know us more than Her…

She is a blessing to be cherished forever…

Happy Mother’s Day to All Mothers

Manjari Shukla

Standing by the mirror, I came across a flood of memories, which engulfed me for a while in such a way, that I was not able to believe, that what I actually am now, is someone, who has undergone a sea change in the last many, many years… the one standing in front of the mirror, is a collection of many individual selves, which has been transformed in the course of time… and the transformation has been so very gradual, and slow, that my individual self was not able to interpret the change, but yes… the change today, in a sudden flash of moment, came to be visible to me, when I was combing my hair, to go to a party… the way I used to comb my hair in childhood, the way I dressed and got ready for school, my college days, my marriage, and after the kids… all came alive to me, in a sudden chain of events, and finally when I draped in a blue chiffon sari, looked at myself, dressed in the mirror, I realised, truly time’s winged chariot has taken me, from a land of childhood, to the present place, and everything in the journey had been worthwhile, ups and downs are very much a part of every existence, but what I am today is someone, I really adore and revere, and this journey is only made worthwhile, because of the people, who have been my constant companions, and those who left in the journey, taught me lessons, I should never ever forget… altogether, it was a worthy voyage… I was still appreciating and enjoying, each strand of those memories, which suddenly took me to a long lost land, but… was interrupted by a voice… it was my husband, calling me to come downstairs for the party. Just like a dream, dissolving itself into unconscious, once we are suddenly awake, I too, was brought to the present time, the memories, vanished somewhere near the corner of mirror… I hope, someday again they will meet me… and I would love to remember every small moment, which life has given me.
Manjari Shukla
Love as reiterated in movies, specially Indian movies, almost every time takes the viewers to a fantastical, make believe world… a world, so full of love, that every dimension of it is overflowing with nothing, but love. Love is the guiding principle, love is the air, love… love… love is everywhere…. And nothing else… the boy is in love, the girl is in love, and the environment too is supporting by putting forward the love. No doubt, the Indian cinema shows, obstacles, problems, and unwanted situations in the life of both the protagonists, but the power of love is beyond any measures… it acts as a healing principle, acts as a powerful weapon, removing all the obstacles coming in its way. The songs too are full of the lovey-dovey kind, and all of them present love with a different edge...The final reconciliation happens, and the viewers are happy to leave the theatre, with an ephemeral happiness, which seems to be eternal for a while. The new cinema trends are changing and many a time, the reconciliation is not with the hero and heroine getting married, and marching forth to a land of Happily Ever After… but these days a number of movies show, how love as a power is conquering every dimension of not only body but soul of the lover. Even death is involved in the narrative, so as to make the impact of love as an emotion more powerful, rather than, just getting married, and being in the family way. The trends have changed, the dimensions modified, but still the charm of presenting love in Indian Cinema, is as good as new.
Manjari Shukla
Literature in itself is like a sea, so full of choicest and best gifts. The pearls are scattered throughout the vastness of this great sea. The pearls, of different shapes, sizes, volumes, and what not. Reading literature leaves a great impact on the readers, and if not read, they are capable of influencing or motivating people, even if they are narrated, and heard from someone. It appears to be of great worth, that whether one is, or one is not a student of literature, literature is very much the “breath and finer spirit” of all existence. In one or the other way, literature appears in front of us, and we are more or less, either affected by it, or guided by it. Its strands are various, and each strand is so complete in itself, that at times, it appears, each means in literature, leads to its own ends. Whether it is the Charm of Classics, epistolary novels, Fiction, Pulp Fiction, Comics, fan fiction, Poetry, Drama etc…etc… All are so complete in their forms, that it really makes one believe in the existence of another world through literature. It is even said, what is once lost, can be relived through literature. The world of literature is truly like a vast sea, with enormous waves of appealing aspects. It is so very soothing to travel through this sea, which always lands us in an unknown, unexplored land. The impact of it is so very powerful, that no matter what phase of life we are going through, it is always going to leave on us, such an impression, that for a while, we surely feel relaxed, and motivated. The literary world has magical charms, and each time our visit into this scintillating area, very much like a vast sea, makes us spellbound, probably because a fairy with her literary wand, each time touches us, and makes us, know of ourselves more, and that too in a better light.
Manjari Shukla
It’s a Tale of Two Cities, where two boys lived, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. They were the best of friends and worked from the two cities for the same company named Pickwick Papers. They first met each other in a Christmas Carol at Bleak House, where the owner of the company gave the party. The host  was a noble man and had Great Expectations from himself to please all his guests, his son was Little Dorrit, who engaged himself in studies throughout the day. He had a big library where all his favourite books were lined up, the favourite was an incomplete work of a great writer, entitled The Mystery of Edwin Drood. David Copperfield and Oliver Twist came to know each other in the party, and a lifelong friendship was started in them. One day they planned to visit the famous bookshop in town, The Old Curiosity Shop, to buy something for Little Dorrit. To their astonishment they met Charles Dickens, who was present there for the release of his new book.
Manjari Shukla
Literary theory has always been a terrain, unexplored for me, the more I want to know about it, the more secrets it reveals to me. Many strands of theory and theoretical discourses often make me think and ponder about so many facets of a single idea, or view. We have so many glasses on our eyes, and I think theory gives us a freedom to choose any one of the glasses, and thereby allow us to give our views and opinions. Truly, it is having the power to make us realise the timelessness of a work of art. As many angles, as many interpretations. We are free enough to choose more than one glass for our eyes to make us believe on various ideologies and interpretations at a single moment of time. Reading a text is the first step towards analysis, the second reading gives us an insight, and how a text is unfolding itself starts appearing to us on our mental horizon, a brief knowledge of theories, help us to locate the text on that level, which seems perfect to us. Theory gives us a freedom, to interpret. We don’t need any yardstick to prove our point, a singular text can have infinite observations, by a singular reader, and it also gives us a choice to stick to one or more than one ideas at the same time. The world of theories is unique in itself, it’s a path where one can tread for as long as one wants, no barriers are there, a freedom of spirit, to articulate and express oneself, as the way one wants.

Manjari Shukla

So simple and delicate it was, fresh as the first ray of the morning and so beautiful that no image in the world can be compared to it. I was thrilled to have it in my bare palms, it was so very soft, and appeared to be alive with its own liveliness and spark. I was mesmerized by its beauty, and the moment for me appeared to freeze, when it landed on my palm, from somewhere above. I wanted to hold it, but its delicateness, held me from imprisoning it, even for a small while, I continuously looked at it, so pristine in appearance it was, slowly a gush of wind came and it took the small tiny feather with itself to a far unknown land. I was held back by the moment for a while, when the whole thing happened with me. I still remember the softness, the pristinity of the delicate small feather, which eventually gave me a moment worth cherishing forever.

Manjari Shukla
Rain drops on a broken column
Made me remember about my childhood plays…
Making paper boats,
Dancing madly in the rain,
Getting drenched in water,
Mom’s calling us to come back,
Our return,
For the Bhajjias and tea…
And a homely get together.

At a far distance,
Clouds were seen,
Accumulating themselves for the next shower,
Slowly and steadily,
The group of clouds
Started their drifting journey,
Towards the town, and
It started raining again,
Few drops first appear,
On the window column of my house,
Then a full bag
Of raindrops,
Let themselves loose…
And once again,
Its rain, rain everywhere…
Manjari Shukla
Throbbing with life, bubbling with joy, they are my feelings, which are making me, feel so very happy and contented, that I am forced to articulate them in words. They are appearing to me, from within as dancing sylphs, beautiful are they… Merry making, inside me, and making me smile… even though I am alone, and by myself, talking to no one, nor sharing anything worth smiling… slowly they are engaging themselves, probably to the happiness vein in my body, and making me feel elated and gratified… this happiness is probably beyond definition, but Happy I am… and will be, I guess forever…
Manjari Shukla
The spirit left the body quietly, peacefully, when the body was relishing a sound sleep, after a night full of pain and turmoil. It saw, itself in the mirror, no form, just a formless presence, a bit weird, but still present. The body was lying lifeless. No movements, nothing…just lying… like a log of wood. The spirit, looked at it… the place where it existed for so many years. The frame has now made itself, so very pathetic, it thought. The body appears to be weak in appearance, because of the prolonged disease. The cravings, crying, moaning at nights, all are now silent… so strange, it appears, one moment back, everything was trying itself inside the body, to keep the spirit with itself, and one moment after everything is so very calmly silent, that this silence appears to be more soothing.

Suddenly, there is creaking of the door, a boy comes in, sees the body thinking it to be still alive, calling slowly, “Grandma, how are you feeling now?” The spirit is very much there, standing and staring, trying to figure out, what is happening? Since after the spirit has left the body, it is failing to recognize any bonds associated to the mortal frame. The boy is trying to decipher the silence of the body, but to no avail. He cries for the Doctor, a woman, along with a man, enters the cabin (the Doctor and a nurse). They examine the frame, and declare it to be dead. The boy starts weeping, holding the frame. The spirit is watching everything, but is not able to figure out the reason, probably because all bonds are lost after entering this new zone, DEATH; about which the spirit itself is unaware, it leaves the place in a confused state, but is unknowingly calm from within.

Manjari Shukla
Words have melted themselves into an ocean of feelings, appearing as if they were always meant to be there only. Pristine were they, in their appearance, and made me ponder about how they actually emerged through me, out of a nowhere... no doubt, they were full of different shades, and each shade was pure, clear, and extremely beautiful, I was thrilled, when they started appearing on the surface of my consciousness, but suddenly when they realised that there is no outlet, because of some unavoidable conditions, they decided among themselves to melt themselves in the ocean of feelings... slowly and steadily they melted, and dissolved in the ocean... and the entire surface was now silent, the consciousness forgot their existence; but in the subconscious, they were present, hiding, and blinking even after being  melted... and I decided to give them a form, though many emotions are still unraveled, probably all of them, but their emergence on my mental horizon forced me to articulate them, though hidden, but present in their absence from consciousness.
Manjari Shukla
At times, what we feel is actually partially true, and we feel it to be the whole truth, the fact is that probably at times, we are only aware of one side of the coin, and are sure of the other half, but, we never know, that probably a twist lies on the other half. Many a time, situations in life, make us realize, how much we are required in a particular place, how much we are capable enough to accomplish any task, but if suddenly something happens and we are brought back to reality that it is not we, who are doing a particular task, but the tasks are unraveling themselves on their own, and we who claimed to be a part of the task, are actually not at all, a single element in the whole story, then we actually come across the whole idea of our existence.

So, is existence there, or its just a twist in the tale??