Thursday, June 30, 2011

One way to get there!

The road to hell has good intentions,
for its paving stones they say.
So if you intend any good,
just act on it today!!

Have you ever to yourself said,
"I must call her soon!"
and then go on to forget it,
in a life that just goes zoom..

Think of all the  things we say,
and then promptly  forget them all.
If not much else, of this I'm sure,
we often forget to visit or call.

Promises don't take, very much to make.
It's keeping them that's hard to do,
On the spur of the moment, in a passion,
we vow to do, of what we have not a clue.

Often we to ourselves firmly resolve,
we promise from now to be nicer  to all.
All it takes is a little spat,
for that resolve, flat to fall.

Then there is the generous thought,
to give to those in need,
if not acted upon, just right then,
gets lost with very great speed.

They say heaven is full of good works.
and mere intentions do not count,
hell on the other hand is paved with good intentions,
and the road there to, by every account.

So whatever it is you intend to do,
you should act on it with out a doubt.
cause should you ever end in hell,
there's no way you'll ever get out!!

P.s If all this you should ever forget,
here is a rule to remember well,
good intentions do at times misfire,
so wiser it may be after all, to not on them dwell!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A life lived...

She did not remember falling down,
when she first started to walk,
she knew not what her first words were,
and how she learned to talk.

Her parents must have held her hand
and kissed better all her hurt,
It was their lot, it was understood
to protect her from the dust and the dirt.

She was sure she did not say words right,
when she first said them at all,
but they just laughed and corrected her,
to their satisfaction, saying she was so small.

As time passed, she made a few missteps,
she tripped and she fell and she fumbled too,
but all they did was give her a loving scold
and forgive her sins as she grew.

Oh, they did give her a gentle nudge,
toward the direction they felt was best,
the school, the food, the music and even friends;
all did pass through their acid test.

Then came along the bigger choices,
like careers, jobs and life skills.
They said they'd leave the choice to her,
but only after educating her on all the ills.

There was not much of a fight or a tug of war,
as she did feel, they must know it best.
After all, they only wished good  things for her
safety, a good life and all the cares addressed..

She could choose, she'd been assured,
in time, a partner whom she liked.
But just right then, they felt convinced,
was not time for her to be tied.

Some time down, it felt so right,
she just knew, this time was it.
her parents agreed that he seemed nice,
but would he into the family well fit?
How could she ever doubt her very own,
 who gave her love and life.
and even though it bruised her heart,
knew this was the way to avoid any strife.

In some time, they did suggest,
a man she could build a life time with,
who seemed  such a perfect fit,
it seemed right out of a fairy myth.

Now that her future was secure,
the parents did do a relay,
they handed  the baton over to him,
it was for the husband now, the dragons to slay.

Life did pass on the tranquil route,
with an absence of worry or care.
There was content all around,
just about their rightful share.

As it happens with most routines,
things in time did settle in a steady rut.
It then gave her time to reflect,
and brush off her thoughts, the grime and dust.

How exactly would her life have been,
if her choices were not  well validated.
Not that anyone was ever to blame,
but had her passion  been fully sated.?

Life on an a safe and even keel
was not a roller coaster ride,
what if she missed on excitement,
that had been  there, waiting on the other side?

Life may have been more down than up,
in terms of the worldly view,
but sometimes in life from the downs are born,
some of the world's wonders too.

Protecting one's own is  nature's way,
but there are times, letting go is best,
How will the little bird conquer the skies,
forever and always if it's safe in the nest?!!

 At some point in our lives, we seem to become our parents......As parents, we want to give our children all that we loved or lacked. We instinctively want to smooth their path. We have opinions on their music, books, friends  and so on.. The line between smoothing and smothering may be crossed. Letting go is not the easiest thing, after wanting to keep them out of harm's way.....This applies equally, if differently, to girls and boys..

Monday, June 27, 2011

Charity begins !!

I've often felt that charity,
begins very much at home
The giver does it for himself,
that's the twist on this syndrome.

Give if you want without any gain,
then  why do it with such fan fare.
You could always help those who need,
and quietly do your share!

If you chance upon such people,
talked about for doing so much,
just watch them carefully.
whatever gets them noticed, they only do that much.

In helping they have a motive,
for  them to feel simply  good.
but there are some who feel better,
by doing what they never should!

If you come across such donors,
who give under their sign and seal,
you'll realize that they only do it,
just to build some mass appeal.

When giving is all about the picture,
that comes in the next day's news.
It's about how the public views you,
It's a great big publicity ruse.

If you don't believe me,
just take a good look at the shot,
 the giver, he smiles and stands tall,.
the receiver is bent over like he's just been bought.

You may dub me cynical,
on the givers I might seem too harsh,
But often I 've seen that public charity,
that's all just great eyewash!

"Charity begins at home'
the next time if  you hear,
just make sure the meaning,
is absolutely  crystal clear!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bai(ing) power !!

This is an Indian urban legend,
of choices women are forced to make,
Your partner or the domestic help,
in a pinch, which one would you take?

For a woman who manages home and work,
and is putting in many shifts,
good help these days is hard to find,
and tops diamonds and other gifts.

Love or hate the one you have,
but keep her you just must
to help you clean and help you cook,
to sweep under the carpet, the dust.

She helps you add spice to the food,
lightly sprinkling gossip too,
keeping you abreast, if you have no time,
of what the neighbours do..

The clothes may not look so clean,
spots and stains may never be out,
her knowledge of every one's weakest spots,
never can you ever doubt.

The salt and spice she may err on,
but knows what each resident earns,
whose daughter's set to elope with whom
what happens before the husband returns!

Should you and yours ever disagree,
it'll be all over the town,
always will the neighbours know
of your life's every up and down.

Yet if it came to making a choice,
between the 'bai' and the spouse
it is not easy to let her go,
for the sake of a happy house.

If you wonder how the legend ends
the lady did wisely choose,
she kept the one she depended on,
the husband, she cut loose!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Relationship tip!

This story is from prehistoric times,
 when the world was a younger place,
When dinosaurs, mammoths  and sabre tooths,
were jostling for some space!

As you hid from the huge T-rex,
and gathered  up some food,
you also hoped for  some romance,
hard though it was to set a mood.

There was this young man so worthy,
with sights set on this girl,
and why she would not accept him,
his mind was in a whirl.

They seemed like such a perfect fit,
almost every one observed  so,
It should have been a no brainer,
but for no reason apparently, it was no go!

He tried to tell her many times,
and even brought her gifts,
raptor teeth jewellery, a python skin,
and a skirt made from wood that drifts.

The highest mountain he did scale,
and even swam the deepest sea,
But no matter what he tried,
she seemed unimpressed and never did agree.

Hoping  the green eyed monster to invoke,
he then courted many a girl,
But  all it did was instead,
to push her  deep, into a social swirl.

The more he tried to over her win ,
the further did she run,
Though when asked she would reply,
their friendship was just for laughter and fun.

Then one day, the smart young man.
observed her in an angry mood,
when she was told that she could NOT do,
what she thought for her was good.

With dawning wonder he did realize,
 what  just might do the very trick,
All he needed was a right challenge,
and it all in place would click.

The very next time when he met her,
he told her it would never work,
he thanked her that she had not agreed,
' Be hard for you' he told her with a smirk..

The challenge seemed to work like a charm,
In a trice she changed her mind,
now she seemed all intrigued,
the wheels turning within her mind

The next when he tried to court her,
she seemed a bit more willing,
and so on and on it went along,
till it was all just smooth sailing!

Here's a piece of good advice,
for young men even now,
gifts might lose their gilded edge,
so might the treasure trove.

If you want to win that special one,
the puzzle's all ready to solve,
set her a challenge she cant resist,
and you  just might win her love!!.

No animals were hurt in the making of this poem, though a puppy was at my side!!
 He said he  enjoyed the silly poem... .though may be he just  lied!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Love or something

I was all set to sleep last night when my cell phone rang. To my surprise, it was someone who used to work with us. He came to us fourteen years ago and worked as our man Friday for over ten years. Then his parents illness forced him to move too far to commute. Reluctantly, he took up another job, but kept in touch...... calling us on birthdays and festivals, dropping in occasionally. He would get his wife and two little girls too. If I ever needed a driver or some help in a pinch he would fill in, even if it meant taking leave of absence, from his current work place.

However, calls so late at night were unheard of. I asked him if all was OK and his rather abrupt response was to ask me if he could work for me. From all I'd heard, things were going good at his place of work even as of last month, when he had called . So I asked him what happened. and then into the long silence, without waiting for a response, asked him to come over in the morning so we could talk about it. That he was troubled was obvious and I  assumed it was the usual family problems between his mother and his wife or some school issues for his daughter or even about money.

When he turned up at about 10 in the morning in a rather worse for wear appearance, I was not too worried. After the usual pleasantries I asked him what had happened. He said "Kaise Bataon?". Coming from someone whom we have counselled even on intimate issues like family planning and marital discord, this was rather surprising. Intrigued by now, I just told him to tell me the truth, whatever it was.  "Maine shaadi kiya" he blurted out. I knew that he had a wife of eight years (having been esteemed guests at his wedding). Not comprehending, I asked him when he got married.  Turned out, he had fallen in love got married to this other woman three years ago.

His first wife ( as he referred to her) got wind of it recently and confronted him about it. Enough dust had been kicked up and she even complained to the police. He insisted that his marriage to the second wife was legal and he had a lawyers word(!) to prove it. He did not want to give up on either. He insisted he could manage "sambhal" both. He wanted  our help in finding work as he could not go to his current employer for fear of cops that his first wife would set on him. Right or wrong, he felt he could not live without either of them. He even confessed to contemplating suicide.

So what happens next? Well, who knows!!! Truth is stranger than fiction.

Love makes the world go round and  heads to spin!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A word to the wise

Breathes there a woman with vanity so dead,
who never to herself has even once said,
'I wish someone would say something nice
even if it's just about the shape of my head!'

The problem however with a smooth turn of phrase,
words don't come often,  out as you hope
sometimes just  slipping right  out of the mouth,
and landing all concerned on a slippery slope.

Just as this woman who met me one day
and told me brightly 'You've a charming face'.
Happy, the kind words the morning had brought,
I prepared to dazzle with a smile full of grace.

The following words did wipe off that smile,
"Rare is such charm at such  late  a stage"
Not exactly being at the doddering edge,
I felt old and wrinkled and in in my dotage!

Then there was this bright young man,
who  rushed into a conversational lull,
 to win a girl he said 'I liked you much more before,
This tan, it makes you look very dull"

Whether or not a mate he did ever find,
were I  to predict just  one future right,
blessed as he is with such smooth turn of phrase,
 it just did not look that very bright!

It's not just women that  the words do impress,
with grown men too you'd get quite a rise,
if only to sweet talk you  did  know how,
of cars, gadgets, wallets and of their size!

 But if ever the sweet talk should you elude,
saying nothing at all, is all for the best.
Not everyone knows the words to string right,
and this is the truth -   east or west!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The poet!

There was once a worthy poet,
who was on the brink of death,
surrounded by his all people,
waiting with bated breath.

He would not last was certain,
 or so the doctors said,
'It's just a matter of time before,
every little hope is dead'.

Losing hope was one thing,
but everyone agreed,
His son must surely meet him,
before death away him lead.

All attempts to rouse him once more,
from deathly slumber failed,
It almost seemed so certain,
that this ship had forever sailed.

Gloom then set in on those,
who felt that all was lost,
The prodigal son wouldn't see him.
'Oh the grief he'd be caused!'

Till a friend discovered,
such a brilliant ruse,
"I'll just get the worthy poet,
to recite about  his muse"

The light in the dim eyes brightened,
and the frail hand seemed more strong,
With great resolve the poet sat up,
proving the doctors  wrong.

One by one all dozed off,
all but a faithful friend.
He sat and heard the poet out
who with each word seemed to mend.

With morning  came the young son,
hastening to his fathers side,
To see that he was all well now,
and the friend, oh he had died!

Now that you've the story heard,
it is time that you paid heed,
To death these poets can make you sick,
you best avoid their creed!!

This poem is from a story I heard. The challenge was to set it in rhyme and do a slightly different rhyme scheme from the ones I had done before. I hope it tells the story well!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wedding ring

The line was 'Marriage is like being boxed in.. you just have to find your own corners'. While that reminded me of pugilists and the wrestling ring, I could not let it pass .. so here goes... again!!

Marriage has been described as many things,
 long extolled, for all the joys it brings!
If you wonder if the  definition fits
let me add some more, my two bits.

Stomach full with so many butterflies,
and even a few stars shining in your eyes,
You enter an important relationship,
on which you hope to get a strong grip.

A roller coaster ride lasting rather long,
there are times when it feels all wrong,
but like they say in many a song,
get it right and there's no bond so strong!

If the damp towel plays wet blanket
on the messiness scale, just rank it.
If it's up there, beyond what you can bear,
 just think of the commonalities you two share.

Wedded bliss does not like a movie unreel,
though to be fair, at times that too you'll feel.
At times you play villain and so also behave,
But at others, from troubles like heros, save.

Marriage is being boxed in, is what I've heard,
which to many, is how the question's answered.
Even if so, I don't think it's a complete goner,
if you remember, boxes have more than one corner.

So if you ever need some time and some space,
but still feel that you don't want out of the race.
All you need  is your very own corner to find,
then even with the bond, you'll never be in a bind!!

Sorry folks, am having too much fun rhyming ..

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dream run

As a child I felt I knew it all,
Just a wish to be smart and tall,
I knew what was best for me,
what else in life could there be?

Then came the toys and pups and  a cat,
just the things that would please a brat.
The world suddenly had a lot more,
than one could ever  hope to store.

The magic words  said 'Open sesame'
opening up a whole new world to me
As the words began to dance and spin,
toys and reality started wearing thin.

Imagination took root and then ran riot,
with elves, fairies and dragons that bite.
From there, a short ride into the sunset,
 with the princess, who'd just her prince met.

With dawning wonder I imagined my own,
a prince who'd be mine, just mine alone.
Wishing for  a status in the working world,
surrounded by people who'd do just as I told.

Then it was children and what they wish
all their little milestones, to savour with relish,
There are still some dreams and wishes to fulfill,
hope for health and immunity from ill will.

With time and place and every stage,
One's dreams and wishes do so change,
But over the age what one may want,
some are forgotten while some forever haunt.

I always thought I knew what was good for me,
asking,  'In life  what else could there be?'
Now I laugh at what little I knew,
of plans and dreams that  go askew.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A day for myself

One day in life to myself be,
just to be so completely free.
not to be caught and held up for,
ten things now and then ten more.

As a child I  firmly believed,
grow up, and you can be relieved
of all  permissions  we seemed to need
and could do exactly as one pleased.

If then it was a daughter dutiful,
now it is about the mother bountiful.
daughter, sister, spouse and mother,
if its not one, then its another.

Not that at those roles  anyone can scoff,
but what would it be, with layers peeled off?
To care not about what anyone think,
even if it be on madness brink.

I may then find a hollow shell,
and a need for  the roles that I fit well.
But till such time, will I ever find.
 Am I all soul or jumbled thought and mind?

If there were no fetters of place and birth,
would it be simpler to find one's real worth?
In a vacuum does a 'me' exist?
Is there even a me, if from my roles I desist?

If you think, it's not even that highbrow,
It's just something like going incognito.
 one day in life to myself be,
just to be so completely free!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wordly wise

 Recently, I received  a lively warning. set in rhyme, talking of the problems about losing one's heart to dashing cricketers ( apt in our cricket crazy nation). It made me smile and then wonder about all those who sweep us off our feet.  While I am not able to reproduce the piece on cricketers, here is what I came up with.

It's not ever been a  dashing cricketer,
who's  made my heart go pitter- patter,
as for sailors with girls in every port,
I believe it's just very poor sport.

As for the stars of the silver screen,
does anyone know what they mean?
on doctors lawyers businessmen,
they're way beyond my  ken,

It's words that get me every time,
be they in prose or elegant rhyme,
words that build a world around,
and block out every other sound.

Words that take you oh so high,
you can reach for the starry sky,
words with meaning so very  deep,
they could even make you sob or weep.

For me to, oh, sweep off my feet
at a game of words must have me beat.
So if you know to use words well
it's not just that hard a sell.

While cricketers may lose their dash,
and businessmen their loads of cash,
wordsmiths never lose their hold,
at any age, very young  or old.

So if you must  post dire  warning
against anyone  night and morning,
just make  it only about those,
talented in poetry, as also sparkling prose.

 For It's words that get me every time,
be they in prose or elegant rhyme
and, it's words that'll  always get to me,
for as long as I can ever foresee!!!

Then again, I should probably have named this post 'Wordly unwise'.  Wisdom would mean not falling prey to words!!

Edited to add: I mean no disrespect to any professional or profession. I have atleast one family member among all professions mentioned here! I do apologise for any hurt feelings.

Friday, June 10, 2011

For the love of a boy!

The 'missed calls' were from an unknown number. I rarely respond to unknown callers, but the sheer number of calls made me curious and I called back. It was K, a small time house painter by profession who had worked for me a couple of years ago. After the usual namastes he said, 'Bhabhiji Char ladkiyon ke baad ek ladka hone wala hai. Bibi admit hai. Dus hazaar rupye chahiye. Aap kahen toh mein agle mahine lauta doonga". A desparately needy man wants me to loan him ten thousand rupees. Not a princely sum  and a definitely worthy cause of making a pregnant woman's labour safe.  Yet, the words, chaar ladkiyon ke baad drowned out almost everything else he said. A hand to mouth existence is all he can afford for his current brood and now another one in the quest for the one who'll light  the final pyre, the one who'll grant mukti. "kisne kaha tumhe ki ladka hoga?" were the first words that I blurted out. "Dactor ne kaha hai bhabhiji" he said.

 I handed the phone to my husband because I did not know what I'd say next. I would give him the money  and even he knew that or else why would he call me out of the blue after two years. But I am a vociferous advocate of gender equality and cannot understand or agree with the concept of wanting a male child to carry on the line. All the heated arguments  I've been part of on the need to deal harshly with those who prefer a male heir, flashed before me.  I cannot imagine helping anyone who holds this dear and yet the money  might mean the difference between a safe and healthy mother and child and an unsafe labour. I have always maintained that women should have full control over their bodies and felt that there must be some way women who are willing to go through multiple pregnancies can put a stop to that cycle. This however, was not the time to test the mettle of this woman.

I mouthed that he could collect the money and he'll be here shortly to collect it .. but this time I do not feel too good about helping a person in need. Maybe some calls are better unanswered... I wonder what he'll do if this one turns out to be a girl as well?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Veni, vidi, vici! (or... I came, I saw, I conquered)

She came unannounced. She was not alone though and the three others with her, resembled her like relatives do. I did what courtesy demanded. Gave  them the run of my home though like many other visitors,they too were scared of my big dogs  and I had to ensure that they were kept away. I must admit that I am less kindly disposed to guests who fuss about the dogs because:

 1) It means I have to keep the dogs locked up which they almost never are.
 2) It sorta implies that my dogs are blood thirsty hounds, while in fact I revel in their gentleness ( I am told I talk more about my dogs than  my children, but that's another post)
 3) It is rather troublesome to oversee the comfort of the guests and the dogs simultaneously ( no offence to either)  

As visitors go, they were reasonably well behaved and left after a meal that seemed to satiate. There are some visitors one never expects to see more than once ( like your spouse's spinster aunt, twice removed, who visits once in the entire course of your marital life, seems to have memorised the entire family tree, even though no one really knows even simple things about her , like what food she likes !) and I assumed that she too fell in this category. To my surprise she showed up again the next day. We went through the same rigmarole of separating the dogs and eating etc. I obviously could not turn her out without food.. and not that she ate much anyway.

I did not see her for a couple of days and I assumed it was the end of another 'ships that pass by in the night' sort of thing.  Imagine my surprise at the sight of her on my kitchen door two days later! And this time she showed no signs of leaving  (she  was missing for two days just to make arrangements, it seems). She found a nice cosy spot after her meal and without as much as by your leave, dozed off.

Since then I am stuck with her as are my dogs, much to their disgust. More so because historically and traditionally they seem to be on the opposite sides of the fence. At my place ,even literally!!

And there in lies the challenge.... how do you separate two eternally warring factions and stay sane? The dogs who are house pets/ family for years and a CAT who has adopted you?  How do you send away an animal in need (even if you are not exactly a cat person). Especially when she clambers upto the window and  purrs a warm greeting every time she hears your voice. .. even if it is 'cupboard love', it is heart tugging.(especially when serenades are few and far between, if ever). She has decided that she belongs.. such unconditional love is hard to find especially in this 'human' world..

 Also, I take love any way I can find it and from whom I can get it!
So here she is.. the cat who adopted me-

Post script. There is some sort of an undersatnding between the warring lot.. she stays out though makes it clear that she'd prefer the warmth inside and the dogs are not allowed on her side of the compound. Now if only countries could learn such coexistance !!  


These famous words were written by Roman statesman and general Julius Caesar (100-44 b.c.) as he announced the victory of his army in Asia Minor in early August 47 b.c. The extraordinarily concise message, which Caesar dispatched to Rome, means simply "I came, I saw, I conquered." The general had defeated Pharnaces II (63-47 b.c.) in a fight for control of Pontus, an ancient kingdom in northeast Asia Minor. The brief but decisive battle took place near Zela, in present-day Turkey.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A thing of beauty..

 A thing of beauty....  is finding joy in the everyday, in the ordinary! My perception of beauty has changed and evolved over time ( as perceptions must) and now after a lifetime of debating about 'good, better, best', I've realised that there is no such thing.  It is truly, as they say, 'in the eye of the beholder'. I know that is as cliched as one can get. So let me try and get you to see things from my perspective.

In Malayalam there is a saying ' Kakekyun tan kunj, pon kunj' the gist of which means that even a crow finds his child beautiful. Long before the dawn of time .. my time that is, I would wonder how the crow could be so blind. Having my own children enabled me to see some sense in that saying. It was only recently however, that a friendship  opened me to the limitless possibilities of beauty.

 Unlike  most parents who  nag and push their children to achieve in every possible field by ferrying them from one class to another and trying to bribe them with all that money can buy, this special mother sees achievement in whatever her child does. She is grateful to the School for accepting her child into it, she sees a bit part in the school play as a major victory and records the event,  and every spelling he learns as a milestone. She sees his ability to not hold grudges as a positive trait and a sign of innocence instead of seeing it as a sign of  slow learning and social ineptness.

While most mothers pray for their sons (daughters too) to never leave them and complain when they fly the  nest, she hopes her son will be independent enough to never want her near when he grows up. She is pleased that when other children are expressing discontent at not having the best of everything, her child is thrilled with the smallest gaily wrapped gift. She finds joy and beauty in his honesty, his innocence and his ability to forget and forgive all those who snicker at him. Being with her and seeing her ability, calms me and I too have begun to see the beauty of being a parent instead of just judging by milestones.  The lesson here being that beauty is not about the physical or material trappings, but goes way beyond that. You do need love to see that beauty and show it to the world.

 In fact, beauty is more in the abstract..   Abstracts and ideals that we all claim to engender, of which  I never understood the true beauty of when practised meaningfully.   'Equality"  is one such I have read about , preached , vociferously campaigned for   and in a crunch claim to practice. After all, I do not let considerations like wealth, social standing, intellect, talent  etc weigh on my behaviour and yet.... I  had never really seen it in practise.... not the way I do now. I do have my favourites. People whom I know I like more  and those I know I like less. Don't you?

 True equality is a beautiful, uplifting thing to be a part of. I observed it for the first time through the eyes of my yoga teacher. I noticed that she had this wonderful ability to treat everyone the same. I would watch her deal with the many people who came to the classes and was puzzled  why it mesmerised me, till I realized that it was a beautiful thing to actually see an ideal " Equality" in action. She would scold anyone she felt was not trying hard enough, she would push everyone to do their best and remember each ones special problem.  The classes were not free, but she rarely pushed anyone to pay, unless they were actually trying to get in for free. Then she seemed to know and ask the person in question, but in a very non-accusatory manner. The next day she would treat the person with the same affectionate cajoling/ bullying  that she always did. No matter who expresses dislike, complains or flatters, she'd be the same. Seems easy, but try it and you'll see what I mean.

 When I hear of giants like Mother Teresa and Baba Amte, it is not easy to understand the joy and motivation they could have found in caring for mankind, but now it is beginning to dawn on me. While this may be a  very small part of what the giants did, I can see some light . Isn't that what true beauty should do? Light you up from within?

Coming back to the crow with the golden child, I have seen beauty in the valiant way a pair of lapwing fight to save their chicks. With a nest on the ground in this urban jungle ( a vacant plot of land near my home), they fights the odds for their little ones. Humans who do not care, cats who are on the look out for a meal, snakes that will try and finish the eggs even before they hatch and dogs that will just destroy the nest, these are some of the hazards that the lapwings stay awake night and day and defends their young ones. Although I know that they mate for life and come back to the same nesting ground, I marvel at them each season I see them near my house. I see a miracle in the birds that  fly away (and return unerringly) even against all the odds. I see the joy with which they fly with their young. Even though not all survive, their flight celebrates those that do. A Soaring flight in the sky is always a beautiful sight but this is especially so as I have witnessed the journey to get there. I can claim to be a participant in that beautiful journey.

In fact the longer I live, the more I realize that there is beauty in the everyday, in the ordinary. That which we forget to see,overlook in the business of life.... the loyalty and devotion of the common household pet dog who loves you more than you probably love  yourself. There is a miracle in the smile of the woman who manages to finally break free from her abusive husband,  something extraordinary in the ability to deal with each person without bias, in a mother's love. The beautiful birdsong of the koel that we do not pay attention to as we choose to watch TV instead, the graceful flight of the kite even as it swoops down to catch a  meal., all very commonplace and yet amazing.

I do not know the absolute definition of beauty or even if there is one all can agree on. But such contests do make one think and arrive at some answers.  I do know that if you can find joy in the everyday, the commonplace, the ordinary, your eye will unerringly find beauty.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A wish goodnight!

When you'd like something you can't buy, beg or borrow,
 then there's no saying if you could get it tomorrow.

It's just a  feeling you can't explain,
somewhat like the scent of the first rain.

Through the busy day you may not think of it,
but falling asleep,something seems amiss, a bit.

So here's the trick to sleeping tight,
 next time you can,  just save a sent 'gnite'.

It came up one night, quietly, unasked,
in its warm glow, everything basked,

And whether or not you believe in a goodnight wish,
it may be a surprise what it can accomplish.

It even seemed to usher in dreamless sleep.
So it is decided, this one's to keep.

For there's no saying you'll get it again tomorrow,
and its not something you can just buy, beg or borrow!

Again, I do not know how good this rhyme is,
but it was fun and I wish you'd all try this. :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Love, liberty and loyalties

My neighbours are in a tizzy. Their daughter, age twenty three, fair, beautiful, computer engineer, whose wedding was fixed to a age twenty six, handsome, only son, computer engineer, earning in six figures, when she threw a spanner in the works by announcing that she was in 'love'.The boy in question was some one she had known from before college. He was neither fair, nor handsome, and definitely not earning six figures. The worst of it was that he did not belong to their community ( yes, another one of those mismatches that young people seem to fall into!!) The parents expect her to make a choice between them or the boy.Talk about divided loyalties! Between all the pleading and threatening they reminded her that they had given her the freedom to study and make a career and she should not misuse it. Here is the question- 1) Is freedom something that any one can 'give'? 2) Once freedom is 'given' what is misusing it?

 These were not  questions that really bothered me ( as they  should have) when I was young and impressionable. I assumed that one did things within boundaries set by parents, family, society and the world at large. Any sojourns outside those boundaries were victories that were hard won - rebellion that worked! I believe most of us think that way brought up as we are on a heavy diet of 'parents know best' and  'I told you so'.When comfort on failure  is offered only when it is something that has a general approval. Try something on your own and should you fail, the world and its uncle ( or your uncle for sure) is there with the eternal 'I told you so'.

The young girl in love, has a fifty percent chance of getting her choice of partner, but she has to be strong in the face of dissent. Dissent is hard for anything, even careers. remember the movie, 'Three Idiots', when one of the protagonists Farhan ,played by Madhavan, has to convince his father about his career choice? A rather difficult thing, when we are conditioned to believe that our parents know best as they would never want us to come to any harm. They selected the right schools for us, then gently 'guided' us into the right choices for education and career. They kept us from the wrong company, so it seems logical that they would be aware of the right partner/ career/company for us too. After all more 'love marriages' break up as compared to 'arranged marriages' (I told you so) or engineers have more job security than photographers ( We know best/ Hamne duniya dekhi hai ).

 Not that earning good money is a criminal waste of time, but if we all look at money alone, the world would never have found Mahatma Gandhi or a Mother Teresa. Imagine a world without a Vincent Van Gogh or a Shakespeare!  Not that arranged marriages do not work.. oh they do...... but with a little parental support, even love might have a fighting chance.  As a parent, I know it is very difficult to stand and watch your child make a mistake and then go through the pain of correction. Having been a child though, I also realize that for their own sake, love and liberty deserve a fighting chance!!

The thing about being alone

 I do not often try my hand at rhyme, but here goes...

The thing about being alone,
you can think of stuff to atone.
Could be a harsh word said ,unthinking,
or just a hard stare directed, unblinking.

It may be just in the recent past,
or in the time that's since long lost.
When there is a lot of time to think,
a lot passes through your mind in a blink.

The problem however with hurts so old,
is that with certainty it can never be told,
Can a plea for forgiveness  be ever expressed?,
Or is the desire to be forever repressed?

And if such an opportunity ever arise,
will a mere apology ever suffice?
what if its just too little too late,
does it even mean anything at so late a date?

Even if asking forgiveness is repentance enough.
the lack of a response may feel very rough,
then again forgiveness is for others to give,
the hope and expectation of which with to live.

When you have the time to brood,
 think of times you may have been rude.
That's the thing about being alone,
you can always find things to atone!
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