Category Archives: people
Looked out one fine morning and was amused at the scene I saw. Some ways to look at it.
a) A small difference in attitude makes a big difference in results.
b) Some of us are late bloomers; the important thing is to bloom.
c) Accept that the person next to you is different; forget their treatment of you; treat them right anyway.
Food for thought, dear reader?
I am happy
Like the marooned sailor
Spotting a fleet of brethren
I am loved
Like swollen raindrops
Falling on a starving land
I am enduring
Like once-frosty trees
Dismissing winter’s claim
I am phenomenal
Like feisty soldiers
Heading for another mission
I am resilient
Like bent blades of grass
Surviving the worst storm
I am a mystery
Like the black void
Intriguing all who inspect
I am compassion
Like the last bread
Given away by a poor man
I am a healer
Like the circus clown
Spreading joy even while in pain
I am me
Like you never dreamed could be
Mocking your hate, untruth, vanity
I am me
Like you never thought could be
Repelling your venom with simple pity
I am me
Like you never can be
So you might as well
Watch your words
Spare your opinions
Save your face
And mind your tongue
You do not get my time
Let alone my defeat!
For I am me
Like you never can hope to be.
The hollow silences
You are avoiding my eye
I am beginning to see
I have been ousted
Without ado, banished
From a kingdom
I mistook to be mine
I can sense the shame
You can’t say my name
Guilt and exasperation
Both bursting in mind
I am tired of this act
Why not come clean
Better I set you free
Than stay here, broken
My pride is wounded
Dismay has me surrounded
I lay in bed with you
You smell of elsewhere
Our miserable choices
My misplaced trust
Your fickle fidelity
What choppy waters
I knew you well
Or so I thought
We share a house
But live separately
Should I walk out?
Would it be easy?
On me, on you?
Where are my answers?
You are trying a lot
To rescue the scene
I might not make it
You take your chance
Flee, and let me be
Let me see
I might be stronger
Than even I know
Princess Shanti was on top of the world today.
She glanced at herself in the huge mirror, even as the maids fussed over her. They scampered here and there to get the essentials for the evening. “Kavita, Sulochana, why isn’t she ready yet?” demanded the queen Asha.
Shanti was the perfect picture of beauty and innocence as the maids apologized and busied themselves again. Half an hour later, she dismissed them and took time to drink in her own beauty. Flawless honey-complexioned skin peeked out through the pink silk outfit. The delicate collarbones vied for attention with the deep red lips and the cheeks touched with rouge, as if they weren’t perfect already. Her hair was tied high in a loose bun, from where stray curls slipped down the side of her oval face with those chiselled features. She looked down at her feet, eased into glittering sandals. Queen Asha stood watching the princess, whose eyes were wide with wonder. She smiled and asked, “Are you ready to greet your suitors?”
Shanti giggled; she was after all, a young girl of sixteen. Beating the nervousness aside, she decided to savour the moment. She followed the queen and her attendants gracefully down the corridor, head bowed and a shy smile radiating. The suitors were standing tall around the arena, waiting to feast their eyes on the princess.
Shanti entered the hall and gasps escaped from the spectators. Of course, the jasmine-rose garland in her soft palms would only grace the strong chest of one man. There he was, confident and striking in regal splendor. Within the hour, he had defeated them all, and stood proudly before the king, asking for the girl’s hand in marriage. The queen smiled gently at Shanti, whose heart thudded with joy. She stepped forward slowly, and blushed as she slipped the garland around Vamshi’s neck. The young man was beaming in pride. The spectators rose to applaud the couple. Shanti was lost in her own world. Ah, this was bliss; this was the culmination, wasn’t it?
The king and queen came forward with the princess and her husband, and acknowledged the crowd. The beloved daughter was wed. Amidst loud applause and blessings, the attendants rushed to usher the royal family to their chambers, leaving the satin curtains swaying behind them.
Suddenly, the ‘queen’ was all business. “Don’t forget to take back all the costumes. These street children can be such thieves you know. Such a budget sanctioned by the trust, all for this petty event with slum kids. I need to get to the evening party and meet the press. Hurry”, she ordered about. Shanti was back in her Cinderella-before-the-fairytale garb within minutes, like the rest of the kids, a samosa (Indian snack) in her hand, shown out by the peon. Some things were simply too good to be true after all, she mused, as she headed back to her shanty.
*In ancient India and Nepal, Swayamvar was a practice of choosing a husband, from among a list of suitors, by a girl of marriageable age. ‘Swayam’ in Sanskrit means self and ‘vara’ means bridegroom in this context.
It was a bright day. As she looked out of her first floor apartment window, Meredith saw little children bounding across the grass. The park was buzzing with activity. Some kids were chasing each other, shouting and laughing. Some tiny tots claimed the swings and were begging to be pushed higher, and squealing in thrill once their wishes were granted.
Meredith turned away and looked at the clock. It was already half past ten, time to get dressed and head to work. She showered, half-heartedly humming a song that had wonderful lyrics she could not remember clearly. Breakfast – brunch, rather – was quick, a warm loaf of bread and orange juice. She would grab some coffee on her way. She wondered how many cups she consumed in a day. She could not remember that, either. Who cared, anyway, as long as she made it through the day?
Grabbing her bag and keys, she stepped out into the sunlight. And stopped in her tracks. On this bright, sunny day, when the kids were busy making merry, one little girl stood out. She was lying on her stomach, crayons scratching across a notebook. Her left hand covered one corner of a page, shielding it from the wind, and her brows were frowning in concentration. She looked up at the other children, looked back into her notebook, and drew.
Meredith didn’t understand why, but something about the child triggered her curiosity. She walked up to the girl, and peered into her book. It snapped shut. “I’m sorry dear, but it looked like you were drawing something very nice. Mind if I look?” “Umm, I guess not”, came the answer.
She was looking at an illustration of a girl on a swing, hair flying, pushed by a laughing woman. “That your mother, dear?” “Yes, but she isn’t here”. “Oh, where is she then?” “‘Up there’, says dad”. Meredith swallowed. Her eyes closed momentarily, and she tried to block out a vision of her own little girl, found drowned in the pool that horrible afternoon. How many times had she looked up at the skies, thinking “She’s up there”?
She opened her eyes slowly to see the girl looking sweetly at her. “You look a lot like my mom; may I hold your hand and walk?” “Of course, sweetheart, of course”.
They walked together for a few minutes around the park. The little girl, Mary, was sounding increasingly chirpy as she talked about herself and her school and her dreams and her dollhouse. Meredith smiled; the girl’s cheerful spirits had infected her to an extent by now.
“My dad sits by the lake, writing. He doesn’t smile a lot these days. He only buys me dolls and candy and talks softly to me. He too writes to mom I guess”. “Alright then, let’s go to him”.
Meredith gently pressed soft curls in place beneath the coloured hairband and walked with Mary. As they neared the lake, she saw the man sitting against a tree, writing furiously. She remembered someone else who had that habit. Oh, the memories of teenage crushes. She let herself recall the intense eyes and the notebooks he carried. How he never smiled, but wrote stuff that made the hardest soul melt. Sigh, those were the days, long forgotten as she graduated and allowed herself to be brainwashed into a carefully planned marriage by zealous parents. The man was a good catch, they said, but nobody warned her of consequent despair. Obviously the marriage failed. And here she was, grieving over an infant daughter, divorced from an indifferent husband, watching herself grow older and lonelier…
The man looked up. “Dad, see whom I brought along!” There was a moment of silence, broken only by her hammering heart as intense eyes pierced her soul. The hair was messed up, just the way it used to be. And the frown…She bit her lip and stepped forward, feeling that somewhere, somehow, a jigsaw puzzle was being completed.
To hell with all those laws you set
They won’t generate my interest
If you haven’t yet heard me right,
“You bet I won’t have a house arrest!”
Your rules are meant for breaking
Oh yeah, I won’t do things your way
Feel free to sit around sulking
But I’d rather you just go away
To hell with the sweet things you say
When you don’t mean them anyway
If you didn’t quite get the picture,
I tossed your bags out the doorway
Don’t want to be choking
Amidst all the smoking ruins of time
I want to enjoy just breathing
And live a life that’s truly mine
To hell with the mask you wear with ease
I can still clearly see what the truth is
And, if you think I am being fooled,
“Get lost, please!”
There are new sights I’m seeing
New roles that I seem to be cast in
It could be that I am dreaming
But then, the fun is all in believing
To hell with your threats and wily pleas
There’s no wool for you to fleece
I am no lamb to bow my head to you
Even when hell begins to freeze!
Fridays and Saturdays have been thanked enough, this post is for dear old Sunday! Let me list out what I love doing on Sundays.
Champi: Ah, I miss that routine (need to stay at home on weekends for this special work). Granny or mom used to give me the typical oil massage before a long bath. Come Sunday noon (which is when I wake up sometimes!), I settle lazily on the floor while one of these adorable ladies begin the Champi. Slowly but steadily, nimble fingers move through my hair, patting my head so that the warm oil reaches every pore on the scalp. It’s impossible not to smile in contentment with eyes closed, under the influence of warm oil. I have an hour to laze, after which comes the long, soapy bath.*bliss*
Newspaper: Aich, the Sunday paper is one I seldom miss. The newspaperwallah throws the bundle in projectile motion at about 7 a.m, aiming at the doorstep. I rub sleepy eyes and pick it up eagerly. The colorful assortment of supplements is enough to assure at least an hour of time pass in the morning when Rangoli is playing long-forgotten songs on Doordarshan. Cartoons, interiors and real estate, lifestyle, gyan, gossip, puzzles, editorial, horoscopes, around the world trivia- who would look up from the sheaf of sheets? Oh,I know a few people who are avid paper-readers-in-the-loo! 😀
T.V: The good old idiot box transforms into a home theatre on Sundays. If I get it all to myself, I’d probably watch English/Hindi movies from a.m to p.m. But mostly, it is Amitabh/Rajesh Khanna movies on Zee Cinema if mom or dad feels like it, or a Kannada afternoon show movie starring Dr.Rajkumar or Vishnuvardhan (old favorites) with my granny wielding my precious remote!
Music: Somehow, Sunday is the one day I feel retro-ish. Maybe it’s because I am at home when mom puts on those ancient cassettes with Kishore Kumar and Mohd Rafi duets with the Mangeshkar sisters. I hardly tolerate my own choice of western music on that day. How better can it get than to lie in bed and doze off under a warm blanket with the tape recorder playing soft music? For once, I can make sense of lyrics and comfortable rhythm, and actually feel the emotion behind the song itself. The shy serenades, the suppressed naughtiness, the tortured renditions of longing, ah. Bhoole bisre geet indeed. AIR FM Rainbow shows, with those Vicco turmeric ads are most welcome!
Family talk-time: Sundays have this quality of bringing back time into hurried lives, na? I honestly prefer to stay home in the evenings because Monday blues are not far off. I just want to hold on to that Sunday evening time, minute by minute. The lazy family banter in the living room often continues even as snacks fill the belly. At times, my overworked mom may get indulgent and dish up halwa even! It is on a Sunday that I actually sit cross-legged and blabber to my folks about life, friends, problems, and everything under the sun. It is then that I get the gyan from them – the ‘When I was your age’ or ‘Why don’t you?’ type of talk that actually is comforting for a change! If nothing, I end up getting the ‘Don’t worry everything will be okay’ statement which soothes my nerves like nothing. Don’t I cherish it or what!
The weekend’s a day away, but I seem to be missing Sunday!