Friday, December 30, 2016

Recap


Last month,I packed my backpack
And a scrapbook
About Monarch butterflies
To show off during recess.

Last week, my uncle adviced
Never to pick
On those pesky zits announcing youth.
I meddled, anyway - those scars
Telling stories, fresh from days ago.

Last night, I fell head over heels
For a curly haired, large eyed boy
That was so different from me.
I took a chance and said  'yes'to his 'will you?'
It's only last night - but I know I chose well.

This morning I woke up -
Opening my eyes to the mirror
Staring at a mom of two.
Her laugh lines, dulling skin,
Stray greys taking aid of a bright grin
To look like the kid
Bragging about a scrapbook success.

Those things that are so recent
Reduced to flecks in time..
I look back with squinted eyes
And a confused mind...
And suddenly
I gasp..
Life is too short
To even be little!









Sunday, December 18, 2016

Enarmored

I forgot
To be uninhabited
That mundaneness
Called the daily grind
Took over my mind.

Then I met you
Those grey blue eyes
Held me in repose
Like the calm after a storm!
A respite,
In this madness of life.

That love at first sight
Was'nt a thing of  storybooks,
Afterall.

The connect was instant
As it was intense.
My being swam
Into the vastness of your irises.
I held you close to heart.
Your reassuring warmth
Relating tales
Of unconditional love.
It was a bond, meant to not be!
Alas, the mundaneness comes in again.
This time around,
My heart just sank and settled
Into the pool of your soulful peepers.

I left, dejected..
But in hopes that your ocean of love
Finds the right companion -
While you walk away in glee
Wagging your happy tail
Taking the trail
Leading Home.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Lessons





When the famous Magician P C Sorcar came to our small town in the late eighties, all and sundry were kicked into a frenzy at school. We gaped at those mystical lithograph posters plastered onto all plasterable surfaces on our way to school in wide eyed awe, wondering what it would be to go catch him live. This wasn't your average entertainment that came to town. P C Sorcar was a household name then, like Big B of magic and I recollected segments of his father's recorded videos telecasted in Doordarshan. I knew that our small town was suddenly hep and happening but wasn't sure if I'd make it to the bee line to see him in action.

It pays to be in a place sometimes, where everyone knows everyone. The household blasted into roars of triumph when our siblings and I learned that Sorcar was a friend of a close associate of our father and we actually got invited to see the show lounging in the best seats of the auditorium, smack dab in the center of first row. When the show started with the curtain rising and a flood of disco lights and loud music, my heart thumped in resonance and excitement. It was a borderline over stimulation to my single digit nerves, but I was so engrossed in the world of magic that each and every frame of that evening etched into a perfection of memory on my impressionable mind.

Mr.Sorcar made a grand entry with all the crew in a gaudy sherwani, turban and exaggerated makeup. I probably stopped to blink while devouring all those visuals to a point where I still can recollect most of the two hour show in great detail. He placed a pot on one side of the dais and emptied it into a bigger tub at random intervals. "Oh, the water of India ' he would exclaim once in a while, jog to the side and empty the pot into the tub. Each time, the pot would be full - magically! - There was a grand finale where he performed the last act of his dad before he passed away and I felt fat tears dripping past my cheeks. But the one item that really made a permanent impression on me was the act where he called for volunteers on to the stage, blindfolded himself and made them write on a chalk board. He would respond appropriately to all writings, drawings and signs written on the chalk board with witty answers,   and perfect doodles. When a young woman wrote "Alas he is dead" he wrote back with impeccable timing "Who? your boyfriend? " while the audience burst into peals of laughter. What really struck me was the speed and perfection with which he made drawings. He drew a caricature of himself around a little cross symbol one volunteer provided on the board.

Bang. The etching happened. I absorbed each visual with mechanical precision and came home and tried imitating him and thinking that I did quiet a good job drawing quickly like him. from that day, a part of P C Sorcar's speed of creating seeped and pooled permanently into my psyche. I started believing that everything creative had to be impromptu, free hand and fast as lightning.  It delivered good results most of the times but when one is vying to be fast, there is a constant adrenaline rush that happens in the background, like you are competing with yourself in a rat race.  I diligently did all my creations in first draft glory, be it a story,a poem, a painting or a drawing. Even when I cooked, I had a part of me that tried to do it fast...chop chop chop. Stir stir stir. Though there wasn't any outward evidence of my rush, I did it subconsciously and somehow, at the end of every creative endeavor I felt a shortness of creative breath, like I just stopped running. Sometimes, I looked back and convinced myself that my quick creations are how creativity is supposed to be - uncut, un thought and straight from the gut. Till I realized the after effects - sometimes a regret of not having done a specific part better or not having completely enjoyed the process of its creation.

This summer I cooked an elaborate meal as a part of some annual festivities. Just like Sorcar's magic, something clicked inside me when I started the process of preparing a buffet of nine time consuming dishes in one go. I relaxed, took a deep breath and concentrated on what I was doing than the process of being done with it. I finished my cooking in my usual record time, with zero physical or mental strain and then had some more energy left to move on to more creative projects during the course of the day. Suddenly what I learned almost a quarter century ago dissipated into an absolute calm and peace of the cathartic experience of doing the stuff that I enjoy and chose to do. Ironically, all these years, I refused to put the shackles of time, routine and daily grind on my life but I did in a very minuscule way, incorporate that very shackle into the little things I did. Perhaps I enjoyed that raw, unedited phase too, but now I feel a sudden calm and meditative experience settle into even the most gross and mundane things that I do on a daily basis like changing a diaper of carrying the trash out. Many thanks to Sorcar who gave me a moulding experience of my childhood years and to nature's own magic of ripening over time,  I finally experienced it first hand, the fine line between knowing and understanding :-)

Photo - From my hotel window by the Westminster bridge - a partial view of the London eye :-) Summer of 2013












Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Catching Up

It is tricky, this time thingie. Specially when you do not have a constraint on it. You stay at home, cook, clean, wash and repeat and all the things that you wish to do fade into a blur in the background. Lately, I had been making a physical note of things in my planner. Yes, it is an upgrade from my mental notes or at least that's how I want to look at it, without making it feel like a downgrade due to part time remembry loss(grin). But, little does it help - thanks to the free style day I choose to live and the best friend that lurks in the background, whispering hypnotic slogans to keep putting it off.

Procrastination had really become my bosom buddy and I secretly hope that I have readers nodding silently when they read this, like they relate to what I am speaking about, hoping yet again that the world is not the perfection that my free spirited soul perceives it to be.

So, how do I procrastinate ? Let me count the ways.

One homebound Saturday afternoon, I had this sudden spasm to go buy some art material to finish up my newly redecorated guest bed. Okay, let me rephrase it - My newly redecorated guest bedroom in progress. 'In progress' being the crucial phrase in there. I went and bought assorted canvasses to spruce up my walls. The only down fall is that my painting ideas change by the minute. I look around for inspiration, click pictures, ask friends to permit me to paint their pictures and clutter my storage space on the computer. Once the time seems ripe, once the meals are cooked and the dishes are washed and the laundry is folded and the time vacuum  toddler decides to day nap - I have a clog of inspirations that vie for my attention and I end up doing nothing. Cause wanting to paint a landscape when I open my oil tubes morphs into wanting an abstract painting in the speed of a transformer graphic. Bottom line? The pesky little friend and the whispers that put me in a trance. I successfully put it off without a second thought.

It always is a draw for me when I try to decide between color and words - thus the moniker doodling words I guess. To try and do the 'fair' treatment to my passion for art and writing. I fail to understand how 2016 zoomed past into December while I wait for the dawn to meet the dusk and feel it was a long long day performing my almost full time 'home maker' duties. Days are long, years are short. But the panic hits when in the last month of the year, you look at your blog tally and feel a sinking feeling in the stomach - like the one akin to being broke without enough money :-)

I dilute the passion when I announce my creative pursuits, but here's sincerely hoping that I do a little bit of catching up before December slips away into the abyss of the past.

Anyone there with me? :-)



Photo - Goa, Fall 2013 - one of the gazzilion visual inspirations :-)







Monday, October 03, 2016

Verse

The lug on heart..
Fending ways to cope
 Like wax drips from a Candle..
With flickering light.

Those many inflictions,
Of spoken, unspoken words!
Of spitefulness or its absence,
Plunging into the abyss.

Like the protective armour
Cutting into flesh..
The many nerves that run
Snap here and there...

A lump forms
Griddlelock of  emotions
Choking in the bottleneck.
Some flows -  they just clog
In the gutter called
Indifference.






Monday, September 19, 2016

Travels







Varanasi. Kashi. Beneras...Same old city quiet literally no matter how you choose to address it - a city that is touted as the oldest city on planet, city of Life, city of Death and things between those two events. A city that brought a mixed bag of feelings and emotions based on the stories that floated around me since my childhood. A city that is the ultimate destination of every practicing Hindu.the one that is errected on the banks of holy Ganaga..the river that cascaded onto the Earth from the matted crowning glory of Lord Shiva.

The other side of the coin shows something else..A crowded city, filthy like never before, stinks to high heavens, city of fake swamis begging on streets, city of half burnt funeral pyres that are shoved
into Ganga..And ofcourse, beware of being looted in the name of Holy Father. Quiet the contrast, isn't it? And naturally, my decision to tag along with family and extended family wasn't an easy one, specially when thrown in with a baby and a tight itenary to the motherland. But I caved in, and it is probably one of the best travel desicions I had taken in my life!

I have a very unconventional equation with God. I say God and not religion cause I feel the term 'religion' puts barracades around the omnipresent. I grew up learning from Catholic nuns. I firmly believe in Dargah Sharif of Ajmer and Hanuman, Lord Ram's biggest fan, is an icon that I identify myself with. Vishwanadhji (Translated to 'Master of the universe) the ultimate form of Lord Shiva, resides over the holy city of Kashi. It is firmly believed that if you breath your last here, the gates of the heavens open up to you granting Nirvana. Isn't that enough to prick one's curiosity?

When I spotted lush pastures from the flight's window, a mental image that I had of Ganga ghat blurred into a reality slap. Kashi wasn't to be seen till we travel a good thirty kilometers by car. My hotel window wasn't any different. It showed a city scape..a visual that would have been any generic place in India. I am sure I irked the driver of our rental car with an equivelant of 'are we there yet?' I kept asking him as to when I would get a glimpse of the river, or the Temple's gopuram (Roof/Dome that is tapered as per Hindu archetcture). He just did the Indian negation nod after a few 'We won't be able to spot them' replies.

What followed were self discoveries, soul searches, epiphanies, deep meanings and fond memories. When I visited Vishwanadhji's temple, I was taken aback by the sheer size of his form..an insignificant dome like rock embedded into a 3x3 niche TO THE CORNER OF A 10x10 room. The experience was so surreal that ir just put things in perspective. I travelled miles and miles away from homw, changed flights, means of transport, invested hours of thinking through and apprehensions to be face to face with an idol that blurred into an epiphany of sorts...all that was for a glimpse at something as plain but the vibrations it generated in my being, the warmth it flooded my soul with and the moisture I felt in my eyes snapped in a perspective that only such and experince could impart.

What followed was a yearning to see the Ganga in all her glory. We secured stellar seating to view the spectacle called 'Ganga Aarti' an offering of prayer with an array of lamps. I was lost into a world amid all that crowd and bedlam...a spectacle that etches onto your soul with its aura and the sound of drums resonates in your heart. Ganga is a river that is considered no less than life giving elixir. One dip into her serene waters and she is believed to wash away our sins and cleanse us from inside out. I took a dip and two and three and felt like I stepped out of a hot spring with medicinal properties.

A pair of black cobras danced to the tune of a snake charmer in the premisis of KalBhairav temple a deity that is supposed to rule over and keep guard of Kashi. A deity that is one of the many forms of Lord Shiva that assumes the form of a Dog. Countless monkeys played around the Hanuman Mandir, the most spacious of all the temples in Kashi and the Consorts of Vishwanayh have humble little adobes and really dainty forms - a sharp contrast to their larger than life auras as Mothers of the universe.

There is so much to record, and so little ammunition to express them - an experince that is beyond words in the truest sense, that the words that are my creative blocks elude me.

Varanasi is everything they say it is. The Ganga was a earty red hue, with dirty banks and random water weeds floating the edges. The streets looked like mazes, not enought wide for even modestly sized four wheelers. Cows share the streets with pedestrians and clueless piligrims. The main temple is all muddy and wet, perhaps from people walking in with wet clothes after the Ganga dip. But I was  oblivious to all this. My mind was busy looking at the stars, gasping in self discoveries, amalgaming into the omnipresent. As they say - everything we see is a perspective :-)







Monday, September 12, 2016

Irony

Like the blood red rose blooming in the bush
Like the frothy wave licking  the feet
Like laces of snow dripping into water
Like the bright rainbow blurring in the sky!

Like the withered leaf falling to the dirt,
Like the bubbles in stream popping in silence
Like the breeze that gets wisps into eyes
Like the day that dips down into dusk.

Like the sand that slips through the grasp
Like the moments that zoom past like light
Like the cloud that melts into gentle drizzle
Like the fog that fades into the brightness of the sun!


Transient it is..we know, we ignore!
Thinking we are here for evermore.
That is Life in a nutshell :)


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Reflection

A very dear friend recently pinged me and asked when I was getting out of hybernation. We joked around the topic of my energy and time vaccum AKA the second born, who is moving faster than I can inhale and keeping me on my tired toes. After the conversation, I did realize that I was not even close to hybernating. Infact, my schedule as a mother to a toddler is anything but sleeping away in a cave, oblivious to earth's rotation and revolution. 'Why not dust that blog and stop talking to myself constantly in a blogging tone?' Was the logical query that followed. So here I am, with a stolen moment from my own life, doing what I like to do the most - write :-)

And what do you do when you have a voice over confusing you with numerous titles, topics and tales? Sometimes having too much to say gets counter productive. I have that travel experiences that need to be recorded,  ephipanies that occur around every new candle on the cake and verses, ponders, experiences, raves, rants - the list without an abyss. And ironically not enought time. Darn the alignment of stars that  throw in a block in leisure and a flow in time crunch. So here's to bigtime seasonal dusting and banter with hopes of  catching tiny glimpses of thoughts as the time zooms past in a blink!



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Heart



Manuvering through the slinkest of lanes,
It refuses to stay still..
From one door to the other,
Knocking and scurrying away to next!
Not stopping - this mean menace.

Taking a peek into the translucence of a window,
Bending akimbo to glance through the hallways,
It sprouts wings, dancing in the thin air..
It glides tip toe, racing like lightning
Rest, it doesn't - freeze, it doesn't!

Up until it finds the bloom..
Enticingly spreading its petals to embrace,
It swoops down and gently alights,
And then it devours the nectar of that moment!
Time? It knows not those shackles.

Tending to dreams, sniffing the flowers,
Contemplating the hazy horizons.
Thoughts, sublime captures of life,
It treasures in the childlike heart!
Age? It is oblivious to those numbers.

Those outsides tell a different tale,
They advocate caution..those lines of expression!
Silver slivers play hide and seek
Reminders galore of three plus decades.
Limits? It is blind to those boundaries.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Simply.









Around late spring last year, I chanced upon my future lifestyle Guru. Mary Kondo, the Japanese decluttering diva made her debut in the land of the free and the brave, while I was away on my globe trotting. One has got to give credit to 'the attention span of a toddler' that kicks into moi intermittently, cause that spree of surfing the world wide web landed me before Ms.Kondo..I also had a norm defying nesting phase at that time, right before my baby made her appearance, and in that phase, I did my humble part in economy stimulus and contributed to the rising stocks of Amazon.com by ordering more books than I possibly could read. 'The life changing magic of tidying
up' thus made into my mail box and changed my life, once and for all.

Years ago, I had mastered the craft of reading inbetween the lines..in a good way ofcourse, and eversince, my thinking hardware had been formatted to excel at the same. While Kondo's  'Konmari method' as she calls it made me ruthlessly weed out remotely useless clutter from every nook and crevice of my home, it was a total cleanser of the intangible baggage I carried around in my mind and heart. The end result was a very liberating version of me that got rid of the last traces of the middle child syndrome. I let go of every unnecessary though, every petty hurt and truly experienced an epiphany of sorts. "Drop your stories" - I heard a wise friend's voice in my head - and move on to what sparks joy. Be it what you put on your outside, or inside...my simple life got simpler. It gave me the effects of transendental meditation.

Konmari method has a Zen like aftertaste to it. While She was speaking about the material cleanse, I underwent a deeper cleanse that has lived up to the overused cliche in the title of the book. There was a generous dose of supplement  books by great thinkers of my time that enhanced the experience of the cleanse for me, miraculously, all of the lessons fell together at the perfect moment. From Michael Singer's cognitive psychology, Don Miguel Ruiz's Toltec wisdom to Charles Gross, the totally random kid on Youtube culminated my whole soul experience to simply simplify the soul though none of them lectured about it. Sometimes, what you are given and what you have taken do not matchy match . We all seem to be in a chase of complexity...at the end, most of it wouldn't really matter - AT ALL.
It could possibly be my witnessing the face off with mortality upclose around me in the past year, but our lives are too short to be little. Drop them stories, declutter, rearrange and Live :-)



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Verse




He stands tall, magnificient in all his glory!
 He seems to support a whole plethora...
The ones that thrive under his protective shadow.
 His crowning glory, 
Lush and lavishly spread around - 
With one blow of wind,
Heaves heavily.

 His skin has a pattern to it, 
Much like a hide
 That develops a texture soaking up the fierce sun.
His limbs, sinewy as an athlete's. 
 But, is stationary and silent...
 Patience in a palpable form.
 Oblivious to the wounds that are caused to his being, 
He keeps giving! 
Never uttering as much as a sigh.
 Hushed, mute, reticent..
Unconditional till his bones make our bed frames.
 Alas..arrested by his own growth.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Memoir

Her lanky frame lent a drape to chiffons, and on that unkempt monsoon afternoon, I saw a glimpse of her walking with a handmade poncho draped on her shoulders, adding an extra layer to keep the chill at bay. She held an unbrella with a hand while it drizzled steadily and clutched to her her handbag closer to her frame. She looked back, without stopping, to wave back at my aunt. Our eyes met for a fleeting moment. 

That was the first time I ever saw her.

The waiting hall had a somber feel to it. It served a single purpose...to house the folks waiting outside. Some awaited their loved ones emerge out of the treatments - the chemo drips and the radiation chambers. Some simply looked like they didn't bother waiting. Tell tale scars on their skins, painful shadows in their eyes narrating stories of battles, survivals and apprehensions. I saw her again..nothing seemed to have changed outwardly, or perhaps very little. Her chiseled features stood out in a pretty face. Her thick hair was cropped to compliment her grace. In a fleeting moment, I recognised her. There were tears, her frail hand held mine..the warmth it carried tingles fresh in my palm as We speak...We hugged, cried, smiled and strolled down three decades of memories. Lying on the hospital table, she tried to tuck away a lush black wig under the pillow she was resting on. I pretended not to notice it. I feigned normalcy while my mind grappled to make sense of how a perfect looking lady as her was harboring a terminal illness within. She didn't look like she could catch a cold..so vibrant and beautiful her outside was, while something evil wrecked havoc inside..brutally, silently!

That was the last time I saw her.

Her association punctuates my childhood. Memories big and small sprinkle along my growing path. she was in the background as my first decade moulded. She taught me..some lessons in the school campus and some out of it. The fun ones, the tender ones. The ones that form a part of my life's simple chronicles. Those stories that my mom, my aunt and her whispered to each other..the 'grown up woes', the ubiquitous battles of womankind that somehow made way to my innocent, curious ears. Her baby arrived somewhat late on the timeline. 'Mid thirties, poor woman' random people showered unwanted  pity. Even at my age back then, it was quiet obvious to me that she commanded envy from her peers, probably because of her beauty, or her affluence or the looks and career of her Captian husband. When the tiny bundle arrived, her man was sailing on the seas. She took it all with a resilient smile. Sometimes I used to catch her sobbing, specially after she would wait in our living room for painful hours, awaiting the analog phone to screech through the suspense. "Will he or won't he?" when the call finally arrived, the air around us used to ease a bit. I used to catch collective sighs of family members around me that waited with her, for her! Her voice used to break a little , shake a little and once the brief call was over..she used to sit down with her face burried into her palms, sobbing softly, sounding like a new born kitten. " He is safe, he is safe" she used to repeat, wiping her tears, inabsolute  relief. 

She was perhaps my sneak preview into womanhood. She cared for me tenderly. 
Fashion advice, choosing nail polish, talking about crushes, giggles...it was all teeny tiny memories after memories. As I grew up and got married and left my place, I used to see her once in a while, but the connect always happened instantly.

I heard of her passing shortly after having my second child last year. Her only kid barely hit twenties. Her loving spouse was left back to grieve. It rings fresh in my ears, her story about their wedding..her marriage picture placed on her fridge with that flashing joy of a handsome man and an ecstatic bride on his arm, smiling away through the layer of her transperant veil, that bouquet in her arms, held like a baby!  

Beth Esda, their home that was lovingly built. Princy, their bundle of joy! Suddenly, memories of her flood my everyday!

Her name had a prestine tenderness to it. I can get a whiff of its fragrance even today. Sometimes, the name defines the person. Aunty Jasmine, we didn't believe in the same God nor we were tied by blood, but you will live on with me, within me - summing up a sweet part of my childhood.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Nouveau




The year passed like a rollercoaster ride. Just when my senses got  used to a violent swing in one direction, the nauseating spin took me into the opposite motion. There was loss, light, numbness and then some serious soul searching. Virtigo like imbalance caught me unprepared but then who said life is fair? Or just when you pass the verdict of 'guilty as charged' for being brutal, it gives that ray of hope, penetrating through the dense foliage of life's lessons. It sparkles like dew on lush green leaves, it takes and gives. Amid all this circus of survival, things come to a stand still...things like writing blogs and sketching images. But recorded or not, they scroll through the grey cells begging for a form. Thus, the dusting of deams happen and chronicles of mundane life take form in virtual words, marking the beginning of Nouveau.
And life goes on...