Diamonds in the Detritus

Une loge un jour de spectacle gratuit
Painting by Louis-Léopold Boilly

I remember how in my childhood time was like a river of molasses where I’d twiddle my thumbs like a noonday fly waiting for my father to return with the promised goodies. Waiting for the monthly issues of comics was a lingering torment -the dates stood motionless like banyan trees, weeks seemed impenetrable like the densest woods. Periods in school progressed in millimetres where teachers sometimes waved a crooked finger or two, ‘Wait till you grow up!’

 Time did pick up speed as I entered the clueless teens and then my botched up youth. Before long I was racing from class to class, cities to cities, people to people, emotions to emotions, passions to passions, blissfully oblivious of the journey’s end. It was not till the last year of my post graduation course that I grew vaguely aware of fleetingness of time, the first faint realisation that it was a journey down not up, and the silken tresses I was sliding down had a terminal point after all, beyond which there was nothing but one grand nada.

 I will be a fool however if I try to clamber back to the days gone by, claw into the void of what was my younger self, crib at the friends who have parted ways, long for the touch of the departed parent, moon for the haunts that have turned into faceless structures. As the breeze has turned into wild winds and the wild winds into tempests, I have found myself more among withered foliage than blooming buds. And yet, today’s flowers are tomorrow’s flotsam, and yesterday’s flotsam is today’s remembrance, and what is life but a collection of recollections and dreams!

 At the end of two calamitous years immediately behind me, I do have a booty to boast of and toast today. Some of them I may have more by chance than design but there is nothing that should stop me from gloating at them. My daughters won gold medals in their annual sports day and one of the twins was adjudged ‘Athlete of the Year 2013’ in a school attended by boys and girls in equal parts. One Grain Amongst the Storm found a place among a handful of Indian weblogs that qualify as Platinum Blogs by Indian Top Blogs. I was humbled to be adjudged the Winner of ‘Personal & Short Stories’ genre in Indian Blog Awards 2013 held by Indiblogger. I am proud to be prominently mentioned in the ‘Year-End Review, and News for 2014’ of BlogCatalog“Uspandey’s writings are exquisite.  He takes you on journeys to magical places and you’ll wish his posts didn’t end.”

 Folks, I take this occasion to thank the amazing bloggers who chose to by my friends and thus enrich my existence: Ian Cochrane, the writer who can write in the past and present simultaneously, fusing history with geography and bringing time to a standstill, blogs at People and Places; Marty, the master of aphorisms that can clean bowl you as they collect the wisdom of an eternity and put on your palm, writes at Aphorism of the Day; Kris Landt, the shrink who can anesthetize the reader with her stories and diagnosis writes at Channeling Hippocrates; Subroto Pant, who writes exquisite stories that carry the readers away at Blogs Away; Karthik L, a connoisseur of fiction and fantasy writes at Three Realms of the Mind; John Hartnett, whose humour will equip you with a new vision of the world that Google Glass can’t even dream of, expounds his conundrums at The Monkey Bellhop; Suresh C takes satire and jesting to new heights at Life is Like This; Madilyn Benrubi, whose lyre sings at lesser intervals but regales the sagging spirits every time it does that at JerseyLil’s 2 Cents.

 I also take the opportunity to thank my erstwhile friends, who have molted out to being celebrities, for not burdening my conscience any more.

 May the Force be with you all!


  1. I loved your description of how time seemed to stand still like a molasses river when we were kids. That first passage really captured the pain of childhood waiting that’s inevitably supplanted by the even more painful realization that time hurries on. You and your girls have had a splendid 2013, Uma! May 2014 be just as full of wonderful surprises! Thanks for mentioning me in your blog post…that is such a sweet gesture 🙂

    1. Sometimes, Kris, I wish we had a handle over time -it’s either stagnating or speeding past. Wish a wonderful 2014 to you and your loved ones too! 🙂

  2. Blogcatalog took the words right of my mouth “Usnpandey’s writings are exquisiteo”. The first paragraph is so nostalgic 🙂

    Congrats to the twins and to their father! Stay blessed!

  3. What a great year it has been for you and your blog. It’s a great feeling after you’ve put so much work into writing that others enjoy what you have written. You have a wonderful way with words and an ability to leave the reader wanting more.

    You must be feeling so proud of your children right now too. And you might just get to see them in the Olympics one day soon as time does fly quickly these days. Blink too long and they’ll be married with children of their own.

    Have a wonderful festive season Umashankar, and I wish you and all your loved ones a bright and Happy New Year.

    1. RPD, I owe the bouquets to my readers and friends who keep buttressing my meagre muse. Thank you for those kind words and the blessings. May the stars keep shining brighter and brighter in your paths for years to come!

  4. Uma, you have such a wonderful sense of the pathos of life and the rhythms of time. That’s what makes your writing so moving and memorable. Such a deep understanding of what it means to be human. There is tenderness and humility in everything you write. Wishing you and your family much joy and success in the seasons ahead.

    1. Marty, I am glad you approve of my reflections, it reassures me so of my thoughts. Thanks for the kind words and blessings; wish a happy and joyous new year to you and your loved ones too.

  5. Nice reflection, USP. So true – even I used to be in such a hurry to grow up – not at all excited about the idea anymore. Other than journey towards the ultimate destination, professionally every passing year raises the bar in competitive corporate life making things tougher.

    Congrats on the momentous year for yourself and your family. Wish you an even better year ahead. Last but not the least, so glad to see myself be named among your close friends.

    1. Karthik, I guess those are common experiences among humans. By the time we realise the tricks time (and life) can play upon us we are in the middle of the vortex.

      I feel honoured to be able to count you among those who have become friends and co-travellers in the blogging world of late. I wish the best and the brightest for the New Year to you and your loved ones.

  6. A wonderful reflection on time and gratitude. “More among withered foliage than blooming buds” – I’m now a gnarled old tree, and much more interesting (and beautiful) than a young straight sapling! Thanks for the posting.

  7. life – ‘but a collection of recollections and dreams!’
    …..indeed US.
    Romantic, enigmatic & nostalgic prose; with more than a hint of that now familiar magic.
    The compliments of all folks’ seasons to you.
    Cheers & thank you US.

  8. Experiences that all of us have probably gone through but none can capture it as effectively as you, Uma! And it warms me to see that I have such a place in your heart and in such scintillating company too.

    1. Every flute’s strains are different, Suresh, they fall differently on different ears. I consider myself fortunate to be appealing to yours. I have merely described what I feel.

  9. “time was like a river of molasses where I’d twiddle my thumbs like a noonday fly waiting for my father to return with the promised goodies”
    That line is the reason why I keep returning to your blog, for I am that noonday fly who feasts upon those delights of your blog.

    I am humbled to be included in your list and delighted to have you as a reader on my blog. You are a writer’s writer and when your book comes out I’ll be standing in the queue to get my copy.

  10. It’s amazing how time seems to go so slow when we are young then — ZOOM! — we get older and it speeds up. I’m glad your kids hada great year. Here’s to another one coming up.

  11. Frankly speaking, you are one of the best I have seen on Indian blogosphere. If I was even half as gifted as you, would have become another Marco Polo with my travel blog 😀 All the best for 2014 ! 🙂

    1. Puru, all I have is the love of my friends -there are infinitely better writers out there. And hey, you are one of the best of the travel-bloggers I know. And while you may not be Marco Polo, you are Purnendu Singh, aren’t you? 🙂

  12. How beautifully you have summed up the whole thing, the experiences of past in your post. I can sense a very nice flow in your writing. 🙂

  13. “Today’s flowers are tomorrow’s flotsam, and today’s flotsam is tomorrow’s remembrance, and what is life but a collection of recollections and dreams!” So true and yet, so difficult to embrace for most of us. Your lines show the wisdom of age and the knowledge that comes through experiences. Very nicely penned US !
    A very happy new year to you !

    1. Chili Davis has said, ‘Growing old is mandatory – growing up Is optional’ -I am not sure about my progress on the latter. But I am glad you liked that sentence, Ash. Wishing a joyous, serene and silken new year to you and your loved ones.

  14. Congrats 🙂 Keep writing and keep inspiring all of us. I’ve not been a regular reader of your blog but this post has summed up all the experiences in this year. Good luck.

  15. Excellent post! The stunning beginning’s description of time passing–“…a river of molasses where I’d twiddle my thumbs like a noonday fly…”–is beautiful.

  16. What a beautiful way to express the sentiments about those good old days. We might not have much and many in terms of material things still we tasted,loved and relished every emotions in our simple ,lovely ” bachpan ke din”. How I yarn for that innocent happiness…..
    Congrats…and I know dotty winning that title and prize makes us far more happy than our own achievements.

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