Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lalita - a retrospective

The bloggers who knew Lalita were smitten by her. It was her easy erudition, delightful prose, quirky sense of humour, grit in the face of adversity, non judgemental attitude and an undefinable charm factor that made most of us idolize her. Those who heard about her only after her death might wonder what all the fuss is about.

On hearing about her death, I was stumped. Instinctively I went to her blog and started reading her archives. Somehow reading the archives gave a sense of false relief, as if she is still alive through her words.

I link here a sample of her posts.

The perfect omelette - this was the first post I read. Frankly, the omelette can't be as delicious as her prose. Anagram, crossword, cooking, etymology - a classic Lalita post.

Having negotiated these turbulent rapids of passionate romances, infatuations and crushes a few decades ago and now floating serenely in the placid pools of affection and fondness, - That sentence alone makes this post worthy of reading.

This is the post where she talks about translating Rabindra Sangeet.

Her visit to Madras, her hometown

The first words she spoke to her husband

Her take on Ahalya, the impossible virgin

Spices are flavouring. They add additional notes to the song of a dish. What spice are you?

Not ginger or garlic, though you do bring pungency of desire. Not cardamom or cloves, though you add fragrance and fire. Not cinnamon though there is fragrance fire and pungency all there. Not cumin and coriander either, flavourful but too common.

Then I thought that all these spices are seeds, pods, fruit, bark or resins, they grow out of earth. They enhance, yes, but they are not necessary, or vital. There is something else that is absolutely vital- of the earth, no the earth itself- salt.
- Dilbar dil se pyaare

Happiness is hindsight, really

Her Poem - Love in a rocking chair

Her Poem - Let's spend the night together

The post where she informed us about her cancer, written is such a sun-is-shining-brightly attitude that most of us didn't understand the enormity of it.

A poem of mine that she translated

My favorite poem of hers

Her last post, a dark tale.

As I said earlier, thanks for everything Lalita.


WA said...

Weirdly enough ive been going to her blog repeatedly today, subconciously without thinking i even found myself checking couple of times if there is a new post.

anantha said...


Kamini said...

Thank you Chenthil. I am (was?) an avid reader of her blog, where so much of what she wrote spoke directly to my heart. It was strange and inexplicable, but so heart-warming, so soothing, yet so exhilarating, the connection and warmth I felt for this lady I've never met, spoken to, or contacted in any way (other than the odd comment on her blog).
Like so many others, I've been obsessively going through her blog, and reading what others have had to say about her.

Anonymous said...

I am Lalis younger sister & that link to the post about our Madras visit broke the iron control I have been trying to hold on to. She was the one who said we should do this every other year but left us with no reason to go back

Chenthil said...

WA- I think we try to be in denial by reading her.

Anti - :-(

Kamini - I can understand that.

Tivi - I am sorry is all I can say. Hope Kalyan is coping with this, can't bring myself to call him.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chenthil- I am Lali's elder sister. I was with her on 26 when I read out the comments and she had a smile on her face. you and other cyber friends made her happy and once again Thanks- kavita

Prabhakar said...

Chenthil, The prose and poetry of Lalita are so magical. What wonderful gift. The post about happiness is fit to figure in a world anthology of modern prose. Writers have no death, they continue to illumine life for us even they are far gone.!

dipali said...

Losing her has been heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Chenthil, i came to know abt lalitha only through this post on you blog. her blog is the best that i've read in recent times. may i know the cause of her passing away?

Sivaram said...

The cause of her passing away ??

God had a few crossword clues he could not crack, and called her to help ...

madrasi said...

I don't know how I never got to know her back then.