For teaching me to respect
You and through you
All of womankind.
For hearing things that I would otherwise never speak of,
And telling me things
That I would otherwise not want to hear.
For declaring me sane
Even when I and the world believed otherwise.
For nudging me to take risks
Which on my own I would never have taken.
For all the hollering and badgering you fill my otherwise silent life with.
For blackmailing and threatening and extorting
Every saree churidar and dress
That I would have anyways given you with all my love.
For negotiating with mom and pop
And ensuring that I don't set the house on fire.
For being my sister and my friend
And helping me define
Such relationships more closely
Forever I remain blessed
And forever will be my gratitude.
Papu's dog used to follow him all day long. I believe it was this dog that gave us the word "dogged". If you wanted to know where Papu was, you could search for his dog instead. There was this time when Papu's wife found him missing from the bed well past midnight. She knew that Lakshmi the neighbor had hots for him. She also knew that Babu, Lakshmi's husband, was out of town. Suddenly everything fell into place! Her fears were about to come true!
With a heavy heart she stole her way out into the dark night and made way to Babu's shack....and knocked. No answer. She knocked again, now harder. No answer! Now she knocked even more harder. The lights in the neighborhood started coming on. She could no longer hold back her tears. She screamed in anguish..."open you dog, I know you are in there!" And just then there was a small sound from the cattle shed next to the shack.
Papu's dog walked out of the darkness, glanced at her for a moment, gave a woof, and stuttered away towards Papu's shack. She looked at the door for a long while. She could feel the eyes glaring at her from dark corners across.
She walked back home, silently holding back the sobs.
The clatter clatter of your Stilettos
Running into the angry night
That fiery perfume of yours
Still engulfing me, in flames of your angst!
An empty table
The insolent stare from the waitress
And the smug look on the guy by the window
And oh...a small fortune of a bill!
Welcome back baby ;-)
The iron box feels quite heavy. It has been years since I have ironed a shirt. All my growing up years were filled with ironing chores. I would have my dads shirt to iron, moms saree and sisters skirt to iron. I was also a difficult-dhoti ironing expert. I could iron the starched dhotis and cotton sarees back to shape. I was also a bike and car cleaning expert. My tiny hands could reach into places that were seldom cleaned, and then I would polish the chrome for hours. I was also an expert cook of the exotic dishes. I could make a jelly out of any fruit, but guava was the favorite. I was also the go to kid for curtain and double bedsheet cleaning. All my growing up years were spent doing these chores at home. And then, until the time granny was alive, she would make me work in the fields for a glass of coffee and loads of love. All the trees we planted together have weathered the seasons of time. The stand tall like my grandma. Tall and proud and strong.
The iron box feels quite heavy in my hands today. Prosperity always inflicts collateral damage, as does growing up.
I am not sure when we grew up. Not sure when our minutes became shorter, life faster and duller. I am not sure when our
memory machines stopped making new memories, not sure when when God walked into our Eden. Not sure when we turned sinners... and sinned.
Its a painstakingly slow process. The mills work silently, in long meandering vortexes of time. Everything that is our tomorrow, slowly becomes our today, gets ground, becomes one with the rest of our past. Fine Dust.
Each day that I wake up, I look at life right up front. I know that this day will also be consumed. I know that the memories that I create from today will someday be painted the same dull blue from my yesterdays. I know that my today will finally meet my yesterdays. There is no escape. There is no other way. But I look into life, and throw a challenge. Come meet me half way my dear, I say, and then walk up the rest of the way as well! I beat the slow grind of time, by stretching each beautiful memory a while longer. I steal from the fine dusts of my past and create new shapes from old forms. You cannot kill me. Every day that I wake up, I am born again. What you took away from my yesterday, I have replaced it forever for my tomorrows. I have no death, for my memories have this infallible faculty to regrow. The faculty to take shapes beyond my memories, beyond your comprehension, beyond what you and I can together imagine.
And central to this is the fine dust that you grind me into, every day. Little by little, you allow me to recreate myself each day, from my yesterday.
Why do you have to take the wrong turn all the time, she screams. Her voice can be shrill when she is agitated. There is something here that confounds her. Why, why would I drive into this lane instead of the next one?
We have lived many lives my dear. Who knows why this house draws me to itself? What if long before your lane became central to my life, I had other lanes to call my own? How would you know? How would I know?
Have you heard a cat cry. It sounds so much like humans. I remember the cry of a mother cat who had lost one of her kittens. She cried for three straight nights. Moaning, shuddering, cursing, but mostly, talking to herself about her loss. Until that night, I had not known that cats have feelings too. I was too young then. Her loss worried me no end. Each night when the moans started, I and my sister would hug each other and go to sleep.
It has been many years since I lost my grandmother. The heart is forever in mourning. Life finds a way to live but the wailing never stops. Some losses are inexplicably difficult to come to terms with.
In the heart of darkness rests
An unquenching desire for light.
In silences that stretch
Beyond unreasonable memory
A cry of a shout sheltered remain
Deep within the angst of time.
Wake me up
When this life is done
Let the forever time begin
In another lifetime.
7 years ago, when Hyderabad International airport was commissioned, I saw sparrows flying inside the terminal. There were about four of them making merry near the eateries. I talk to animals..and birds and reptiles and ghosts and spirits and God. I called out to the nearest sparrow and told her that someday I will make my own house and then you should come. She looked at me for a micro second and made a curious face before she flew across to join the rest of them.
It is three years since I shifted to my own place. Last week, I saw a nest coming up near my air conditioner. Two Sparrows looked insolently at me, busy building their nest on my balcony.
A long loop thus closed. Welcome home.
Come away from the realm of sanity
There is no reason why you and I
Should live this profanity!
Let's fly away
To the land where fairies live
And in the clouds of candies
Let's be 18 again.
I can hear the bells ringing
I can even hear late Sr Anne
Sitting by the choir singing.
There is a hint of red
In the forever horizon again
Soon it will be that time of the year
When you will find it easier
I look at her sashaying across the aisle. There is a bounce in her gait. The pony tail hair keeps yoyoing like a pendulum. Every time she speaks, she looks straight into my eyes. There is a glint of fun a hint of mischief. There is devil dancing in her eyes.
My dear, you make it worthwhile for a million of us to fly.
Stay a while
A wee bit more.
Let this night collide
With the might
Of a bright summer day.
Let it gradually merge
Into its nemesis.
Let us, you and I
Pull this night through
Let this darkness subside.
There are stories from the time
You and I were alive
And lived separate lives.
I want to hear them
All over again.
Like a seed I can lie dormant
Waiting for eons for the winds to blow in
Clouds of thundering showers soaking
Me unto gentle awakening.
Like a pollen I can drift
Across oceans and seas of despair
Across the pathos of everyday living
Over dead dreams and forsaken friends
Over missed opportunities and love gone wrong
Over strife and pain and hunger and hard times
Until it is time to gently land
Onto a loving caring Wonderland.
I have a picture of you looking into a one of those funny mirrors. This pic is a reflection of you in the mirror. You have one big grin on your face and this is the most beautiful pics that I have of you. I have visited that place many times later. I have stood before that mirror and made faces. I have even asked those who have accompanied me to stand before the mirror and smile.
That mirror has never again reflected a smile a beautiful as yours.
On a lonely Saturday midnight, when you feel like a holler, I am in the Teddy that you go to sleep with. I meander into your dreams, forgotten moments in time, etched into hard drives like a virus that you cannot clean, like a file you cannot find. I am the keyword you do not remember.
I am the red in your Gypsy blood. I will always re-grow.
I whimper back into the darkness of my nights, nursing the bruises from another day of living. And when the lights go out, I know that you are right there, coaxing me to sleep.
Death does not worry me, as much as life does. For a grind that comes to a halt once in a lifetime, why should I care? Living a life devoid of your shadows... How do I dare?
No. We won't be together for a lifetime. Lifetime is a word coined by poets. Waterman just borrowed it since it made their pens look more interesting. Nothing lasts a lifetime. Over the years, we will die many a deaths. In some we will be together; in most, I will die my own death and you will sulk somewhere in the dark corridors of souls silences and whimper away little deaths, many, frequently, soundlessly. The best I can do is trust you. Trust you to share with me the storms that will rise in your life. Most, you will weather on your own, for they are not storms of this world. They will be the ones that rage deep within you. Storms that rise from the strife of everyday living. And then there will be those in which you will call out for me. You will hold my hands and together we will thunder into the storms. Lord be willing, we will survive.
The tango and the waltz that we do is not all of life. It is at best our weekend at the movies. Movies don't last a lifetime my love. Nor does life.
The tyranny of time echoes in the lines on our faces. I never knew when the laugh lines turned into lines of destiny. Engraved, endearing and forever. I don't have all the answers, but I love your questions.
I was all of twenty four then. There was this girl who lived in a house with a very big Tamarind tree. In the monsoons of Kerala, the house always looked wet and the gates always brown and leaky. There was moss on the driveway and the flowerpots looked as if they would crumble at the slightest touch. There was a grandpa chair that used to look desolate and abandoned. The old man who used to sit there passed away some years ago. They did not know what to do with the chair.
She was one of the most beautiful woman I ever laid eyes upon. And on Sundays, on her way to the church, she wore the whitest Churidar and Chunni that I have seen. She looked like an angel walking among the clouds. The skies would stop the showers and rainbows would spring across the horizon. Small kids will be playing with cycle tires and the cars on the roads will look freshly painted.
Strife has a way of making ordinary memories extraordinary.
How long is life?
Can we actually stretch the minute into years where required? Is there a remote that slows down a day that I don't want to end? Is there a repeat mode into which I can forever live in endless loops?
Why do long journeys make me sad? Why is that the best memories are from times that are past? Is there no software that would help me predict the next best patch in my otherwise short and dreary life? How do I count blessings? Can I remember the smiles of all those wonderful people I might have helped in my own way? Can I store their joy and consume it little by little? Can I use it as my emergency energy bank?
Where is everybody? Why do we, like the ever expanding universe, keep continuously moving away from each other? What happens between birth and death? I have been on this journey a million time before. My friends and my lovers have had the same faces. Even my grandma has come back as one of my neice. So there is a loop right? A longer one than the one I wanted. But a loop there is.
Ah Padbanabha!, The immortal in me strives for escape. Your dwarapalaka awaits your arrival!
Its 2.40 am. The cab driver calls in to check on the address. His wife and kids will be sleeping next to him in his small one room shack. They would have overheard our call. I walk down to our guard's room and knock on the door. His wife hears the knock and I can hear her waking the watchman up. "Sir is calling, please open the gates. Seems like he is traveling again", says she. It is 3.30am.
The young man at the check-in counter has a smile on his face. You have already been checked in sir, says he. I thank him. He had been at work since 10.30 pm last night. The smile on his face surprises me. He is a good human being.
By the time I begin my meeting today at 4.00 in the afternoon, I will have traveled about 1500 miles and directly and indirectly impacted the lives of at least 50 fellow travelers in time. Our lives are intrinsically intertwined with those of others. Any omission or commission affects the balance of things. My life is not just mine to live. I need to accommodate the lives of a million others who are impacted by how I go about with this business of living. I just don't live my life, in many ways, I live a little bit of everybody's life.
All it does is glow and stare
But I know its secret
And he wants you to know
That for you is his sunshine.
This life won't let you know
For its too busy living on its own
That the one thing that makes it all happen
And allows it go that long extra mile
Is something that begins within you
And comes alive with your every smile.
Happy Birthday Sunshine
Embrace life, All will be fine.
I lost an umbrella of mine the day before. It had been with me for many years now and I miss it terribly. I ordered another one quite like the one I lost. They should be delivering it any one of these days. I know how I will feel when it finally gets delivered. I will love this one just as much but miss the one that I lost forever more. I pray that it is discovered by someone who would love it just like I did and care and polish its burnished wooden handle year on year. Not many people care for their umbrella the way I do. An umbrella has a personality you know.
I had lost a blue Cross pen years ago. It took me three years to find a replacement. I keep the new one very guarded. It reminds me of the one I lost.
There is something wonderful about the first of many. They all remind me of what was once with me and is now no more.
That should there be another soul in need
Whose need is more desperate than mine
Attend Thee first to my fellow being
And you would have attended to me.
To the protector of those in fear
Kindly lend courage to the meek
For from fear comes failure
And failures, misery.
Lend courage to my friend.
For where a friend fails
There is little success for me
O! Bhairava, I know
That I am but a little commah
In the Epic called life.
Place me in places where I shall make sense,
Let there be a greater meaning to my life
And that meaning be far greater than I.
Bhairava is the Lord of Time
I know that you still think of me. I know this because I find myself thinking about you. And thoughts rarely get seeded on their own. It comes from you to I and from I to you until one of us is alive.
Old relationships rarely die. Like broken winged moths, they hang around dark alleys of forgotten memory lanes. Ever so often, I can hear one of them flutter its wings. Not too close but never too far.
Of late, there are wrinkles around my toes, of the kind that will not go away. Are here to stay.
Of the many beautiful women in that pic,
There is one who is more sensuous than you, looks fuller than you.
You know that I love beautiful women. I observe those faces one by one. The dusky one I watch for a minute more.
But then these are those eyes that you have trained over a lifetime. As much as I love the dusky one, my eyes are always, always drawn back to you.
Come, dance with me will you, till the end of time.
Let's grow old together you and I shall we?
And when you are bored of all these silences ,
Pick up that phone and fight with me.
If death be a certainty
Death by drowning fascinates me.
But pray don't tell me that those were not fields of mustard and that was not I riding that train and you traveling with me.
Why do leaves fall in Autumn? You will ask me someday, and I shall say, these are springtime tears that plodded through summer until the fear of winter drove them away!!
Stupid Poets!!! You will say... and then as usual, run away.
I keep no records.
For those were to be fought and won
And thus were done.
But it is this little skirmish that started unnoticed
Closer to the resting place of all desires
That now threatens with a wily flutter
And silently consumes me in a raging fire.
It is not as it were before
For there is no friend that fights with me
Or a foe like the ones that I fought before.
Would it be tragic then of me to lose
For what she then would call her own
I have been but a mere custodian since long
And waited for her all this while
To claim as her own.
It went out with a tide that never returned, on a journey that never ends with a boat that never shores to a place that is unknown.
It is in time but yet to be.
But some day it shall well be.
Until then the paper boats that I set to sea,
Will carry the stories of you and me.
I will grow old and light as a breeze
And when these distances are too much to bear
I too shall call in a wave
And ride to the sea.
Rest your mind my dear friend
We shall meet again at the very end
For I have heard that all the rivers in this world
Find their way to the Sea.