Friday, February 8, 2013

Nirbhaya - The loud muted voice

Pic: Where the scavengers have to stay - behind bars.

The perpetrators of the unspeakable crime committed in Delhi not just scavenged but expunged an innocent life purely for their sickening carnal pleasure and now they plead not guilty?

One of them is tried in a juvenile court. Exactly what part of the atrocious act committed by this person juvenile? It is said that it was his idea to use the rusty metal rod to ‘destroy’ evidence. Now we want to try him in a juvenile court because he is few months shy of turning 18?

Our Government is hard on hoi polloi with mounting taxes and reduced benefits but they want to go soft on the offenders of the worst kind? India says that it applies the death penalty on the ‘rarest of rare’ cases. What does that mean? That RAPE in India NOT RARE enough so NO DEATH PENALTY?

I respect the fact that our government is not one of those namesake democracies that hands out death sentence easily but there are some crimes that is not tolerated, SHOULD not be tolerated in any society. Delhi case is one such incidence. In order to dissuade someone from committing such a heinous crime the verdict given to the culprits has to be severe.

Is that enough? No it is not. Ours is a patriarchal society – we have politicians making headlines with their sexist remarks, Godman accusing the victim (survivor) for the actions of drunk men, khaps making their own laws calling for a stricter dress code and banning of mobile phones for women. I don’t know if it is just me or is it beginning to sound largely like a medieval society that has its foot steeped in customs and beliefs that has no relevance whatsoever in the world we now live in. So what must we do? Stop Patriarchy and the best step towards it will be to treat the women in your family with respect and extend it to every woman you come across. Is it really that simple you ask? Yes. If we are capable of this change in our mindset, we will make international headlines that we could be proud of and not actually cringe with shame.

Government sure heard the outcry of the tens of thousands of people that took to the streets demanding justice resulting in longer sentences that ‘could’ be extended to life without parole. Hope the implementation of the same will not be a farce.

Nirbhaya set off a motion so big that could possibly save a lot of lives but she did it by losing hers. Let us never forget that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Sky

Here is another sky
One different from the city I come;
Its vastness that of a canvas
Painted with twilight hues;
Its thin light spread over barren silent fields
And gleaming silver water;
Its willowy ropes of mist
Glide the lake and mountain peak alike;
Its splintering cold and stillness resonated
In all I could see;
Yet ironically its stillness –
Reverberates the spirit in me;
Its coldness –
Spawns warmth in me;
Its balmy wind, the singing insects and the,
Cheeping sparrows –
Lit my deferred dreams –
As the last bit of dusk ebbed giving way to the dawn
Whence drifted my thoughts back to thunders of my world –
But oh – I wish and I wish
That one day I could call home - the
Orphaned boat by the lake.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wilted White Daffodils

It is confusing
This hollow emptiness –
Decaying moods –
And the futile attempt to
Destroy it.

Longing it could be;

Outside the window –
I see plants swaying
to the gentle breeze,
Two soaring doves;
I see the swinging wind chimes;

The closed windows,
Lets nothing inside -
Not the breeze
Nor the gentle music of the chime;
I close my eyes –
The clamor in my head
Is too loud to bear;

My soul brewing in its inner flame
Gnaws at your absence –
Your memories casts a shadow – that
I can’t just brush and leave –
I close my eyes only to see wilted white daffodils;
A meadow of wilted white daffodils –
Such beauty when the thousands of dead wilted white daffodils
Dances to the soundless music of zephyr -
I realize solitude too is bliss.

I open my eyes –
And notice the sky is clear;

I open the windows –
It takes me at once –
The breeze swirls;
Music of the chime pleasant;
Clear sky brings a fleeting smile;
As it reminded me that -
Your ship too will come shore, because
The day is not over, yet!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Calvin and Susie - Our Story

It has been a little over five hundred hours since I left Atlanta – my haven for six months. 18000 miles away from home and plenty of time on hand and a bustling community was the perfect cocktail to be in a constant state of mystified mind.

A mystified mind is a provocative one, harasses self with perpetual questions on subjects that you otherwise abandon. But the extravagance of time I had on hand I realize now was certainly a boon for many reasons – the most imperative being the time spent with B, the initial few months into any bond, one would know the vigor of it, would know how long it can be stretched, how deep are you willing to go and most importantly, how much are you willing to let go.

For everything in life, you are taught – from brushing your teeth to saying your prayers before bed, you are taught, but no one prepares you for a relationship that is possibly the most convoluted of all. When we took the plunge six months ago in front of hundreds of people wishing us a great life, we were grateful for their presence, now their wishes have come far and alive. On a lighter note, I suspect that for the Indian system of arranged marriage, one needs the wishes of hundreds of people for it is not easy for two complete strangers to become man and wife just like that.

Luckily for me, B was no stranger. We have known each other from our childhood days; our families were friends for over four decades. Having born in a family that shuns almost every religious festival, my sister and I were always invited over to B’s place to celebrate the festival of lights – Diwali. (Invited is probably a wrong choice of word, ’cause it was as good as celebrating it at one’s home. The tie between two families runs deep.)

I remember playing with him, fighting with him, I remember him as the peace maker when inane fights break between me and my sister (which was quite often when we were young), I remember going with him for movies, of course with family, as we grew and set apart I remember catching up with him at different stages of our pre and post teen life, not once did we ever think that we would end up where we are today.

Proposals came and went for both of us; neither of us was interested in early marriage but certain things we realize are beyond us. One fine day, out of the blue, my mother hesitantly asked what I thought of B. I cannot explain it, but I knew instantly that this was it, I have no rational explanation, I didn’t take the time to think, and my affirmative response was spontaneous, it is something that will puzzle me all my life.

In a couple of days, I heard from B, apparently he wanted to be sure that this was my decision and not forced upon, silly goose. =) He set the butterflies in my stomach free by saying yes, again a feeling that I was not aware of. Well I am still trying to comprehend whether it was fear or excitement. :D Fear some would say who witnessed my break down after marriage showing all signs of PMS – Post Marriage Stress. Well that was an embarrassing chapter; B as always maintained stoic calm and smiled his way through. Within days of marriage I had an episode of food poisoning owing to too much food, B had to leave to the states for lack of leave and I followed fifteen days later to be together. Our journey together started.

We had told each other that there weren’t any expectations, but days into our being together, I realized that isn’t the case. Marriage is a different game; you may enter without expectations but cannot stay like that. Once you have expectations, then comes adjustments, ‘letting go’ is a painful lesson but comes a long way.

A scanty six months into it, we are stronger than before. Our simple rule (unspoken rule) is the basis; talking things out, conversing about it but never argue.

As I write this, I think of him, it is 6.27 pm here; it will be 7.57 am there in Atlanta. He will be fast asleep; he has never been an early bird contrary to what I am. I think of the time spent there, the multitude of restaurants we visited and frequented, the one too many movies we watched, the wonderful trips we have been on, the late night movies at home with the best food and ice cream, the numerous fights we had on silly subjects like “what is golgappa?”, “How to set the oven temperature?”, “Whether Chennai trains pass through the station or park and reverse to their destination?”, “The role of a man and woman” and so much more which right now I am not able to recall. All our fights will/can be resolved only by Google. :D :P Our friends laughed at us, but not a mocking one. Not much has changed for us since our marriage; ‘cause we let each other be and that I believe is the foundation for everything.

It dawns on me that this complicated relationship is not really complex – It is a journey and mine blissfully is with a friend, a good friend.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunrise at Appalachian Mountains - Clingman's Dome

Robb Sagendorph – Founder of Yankee Magazine and Editor of Old Farmer’s Almanac famously said:

Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.

I couldn’t agree more. I have witnessed many sunrises, on many hills, at different points in my life, and every time its magnificence and radiance leaves me astounded. I wouldn’t call myself an early bird but if waking up early means to witness a spectacular sunrise I would do just that.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were having a conversation about the lovely fall colors that decorates the entire Smoky Mountains adding richness to the previously glowing forest. As we spoke we arrived at an appealing idea to see the sunrise at Appalachian Mountains, just the thought of watching the sunrise over the colored dogwood, maple, sassafras and evergreen pines was too fascinating to be missed. As always, wanting to do something is not the same as planning for it. We shuttled the idea back and forth, and one evening while talking to M and R – our good friends, we sealed the plan. R and Balaji were not too kicked about getting up at the unearthly hour but they were equally thrilled.

We tried hard and succeeded in pulling S and K to join us, and I am sure they will curse us for contriving such a plan because they have two young kids under ten and it is no joke to get them to wake up that early and get ready. They rock!

The plan was to wake up at 3 in the morning and drive three and half hours to Clingman’s dome at the Appalachian Mountains just in time for the sunrise. Yes we could have gone there the previous evening and camped but that was not exciting enough.

The day finally arrived. M was the designated driver – with his surprisingly good sense for directions and his guts to break every speed limit on the way not minding the many patrol cars we saw on our way plus the half hour break at waffle house for a very early breakfast at 6 am, we reached Clingman’s Dome in record time with all credit to M and some credit to the coffee I made for M =)

The last fifteen minute of the ride was like one of those police car chases that we see on the idiot box, only this time we were chasing and trying to keep up with the dark sky slowly turning purplish orange. We were tailing a car that I probably could have outrun on my feet, M did his best and gave me assurance that we will be there on Clingman’s peak just in time to see the sunrise. He kept his word.

And what I saw in the next ten minutes listening to Iktara song from Wake up Sid in that freezing cold would last in my mind for a long time. The ebony sky was smeared with orange streaks, golden light rising from below the worn mountains, silhouetting the trees, throwing light on the running river, on the clouds that was to my eye-level, the ebon of the sky slowly turning gray.

The sun rose above the mountains spreading light wide and far…the gray gone and a new day born…

After waiting in the darkness to see the sunrise, the blue of the sky, the brown and green of the mountains, the yellow and orange of the leaves, the white of the clouds,the colors of the rainbow, the colors of the birds, the silver of the gleaming water, the brown of my skin, the red of my cheeks, all the colors of the world felt like a large canvas being painted.

Coming back to what Robb Sagendorph said:

Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.

Did I gain any shattering perspective? No. But I realized something very simple, that there is so much beauty in this world that we fail to see blaming it on our day to day toil and trouble, but the truth is if we start seeing the beauty in everything around us, we won’t consider the small glitches we have in life as trouble anymore.

Life is what we want it to be: And I intend to keep it beautiful.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why choose?

Should I choose between being an ascetic and a hedonist? I want to be both.

An ascetic when I want to renounce the comforts and culture and coins and all that is worldly hoping to turn into a natural pearl, not the cultured pearl that we all are, for it isn’t so rare.

A hedonist when I want to indulge in the pleasures of all that life has to offer – Material pleasures, spiritual pleasures, simple pleasures – pleasure of every kind till I spoil myself crazy.

Should I choose between being a stoic and an epicurean? I want to be both.

A stoic when I want to be indifferent to the ways of world, unresponsive to the chaos, least observant to the craftiness of one person over another to yield to their self interest, unflustered by pleasure and pain, caring less about everything and everyone and advocate ‘stoic’ calm.

An Epicurean when I want to mollycoddle my personal self over gourmet food and aged wine and other such delicacies giving in to my gastronome pleasures unconcerned about the predicaments or poverty of people around me.

Should I choose between being an altruistic and an egoist? I want to be both.

An altruistic when I want to be compassionate about not just the people I care about but society in large and not just stop with the rambling of what could people do instead get it down to – What can I do?

An egoist when I want to take pride in things I do and not let people walk over things I care for and candidly love myself for who I am, albeit avoid being a narcissist.

Should I choose between being a Bohemian or a conformist? I want to be both.

A bohemian when I want to break the barrier of what people believe to be right and do what I believe to be right not just to be unconventional but to make a statement that I resolutely have come to believe.

A conformist when I want to avoid stirring controversy on subjects that even the likes of Thoreau and Da vinci who are uncompromising non-conformists not converse about.

Should I choose between being the real me or the ‘me’ that you like me to be? I want to be both.

The real ‘me’ when I want to be.

The’ me’ you like me to be, every time you are around.

Why choose between anything at all?

Is it possible to choose and be steadfast about what you have chosen?

Could you be an altruist and never be an egoist?

Could you be an ascetic and never be a hedonist?

Could you be a stoic and never be an epicurean?

Could you be a bohemian in everything and never be a conformist?

Could you always be ‘you’ and not the ‘you’ people want you to be?

So why choose?

Be what you want to be, when you want to be that,
not what you are expected to be!

The author is not suggesting that the reader adorn a different mask every time concealing the true self, the truth is, it is delusional to think that you can always be one and the same, I am merely suggesting that if you don’t have the pressure of being the one that you chose to be, you will NOT have to carry the one too many hideous masks with you all the time. Then, you will finally be – free and light – Within and out.

Ser uno mismo – amarte a ti mismo

Be yourself – love yourself.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

along you came

Dreams liberal
Life could be a living hell
Nothing is ever the same
In this world

But along you came
Swirling colors
Into my life
Sharing stories
Setting the vibe

Hour-long conversations
Lasts all yearlong
As great friends
We belong –
Life with you in it
Is a birdsong.

Troubled years
Were a storm
You were there
Keeping me calm.

As we grew
We set apart
For we had to
Play our part.

Growing distance
Didn’t matter
Nothing could ever
Stop our banter.

Unspoken words
You knew –
Unvoiced thoughts
You knew –
You know all
There is to know –
About me.
And I, about you.

Dreams liberal
Life is NOT a living hell
With you in my life
Nothing could ever change
In this fine world.