Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

Another year comes to a close. I take a moment to wave my goodbyes to this year. It has been kind to me. It has allowed me to pass through it without the pain of sickness, it has ensured that I always had food on my table, and those of my loved one who chose to leave, lived a good life, as long as it lasted.

I will not be praying for better times. I will not be asking for more money. I will not be asking for better friends or fewer enemies. These are things that the good Lord takes care of for me. From the year that is yet to come, I ask for kindness and mercy and forgiveness as traits in me. May every penny that comes my way, find its way to my community too. May the food on my table, feed those in hunger all around me too. May my capability to love extend beyond myself and my family, to the community and to the Society too. Send me troubles that will make me stronger, adversities that will help me understand myself better and relationships that will teach me inclusion and patience.

Let there be peace for all.

Monday, December 15, 2014

To My Sister on her Birthday

For teaching me to respect
You and through you
All of womankind.
For hearing things that I would otherwise never speak of,
And telling me things
That I would otherwise not want to hear.
For declaring me sane
Even when I and the world believed otherwise.
For nudging me to take risks
Which on my own I would never have taken.
For all the  hollering and badgering you fill my otherwise silent life with.
For blackmailing and threatening and extorting
Every saree churidar and dress
That I would have anyways given you with all my love.
For negotiating with mom and pop
And ensuring that I don't set the house on fire.

For being my sister and my friend
And helping me define
Such relationships more closely
Forever I remain blessed
And forever will be my gratitude.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Papu's Dog and his affairs!

Papu's dog used to follow him all day long. I believe it was this dog that gave us the word "dogged". If you wanted to know where Papu was, you could search for his dog instead. There was this time when Papu's wife found him missing from the bed well past midnight. She knew that Lakshmi the neighbor had hots for him. She also knew that Babu, Lakshmi's husband, was out of town. Suddenly everything fell into place! Her fears were about to come true!

With a heavy heart she stole her way out into the dark night and made way to Babu's shack....and knocked. No answer. She knocked again, now harder. No answer! Now she knocked even more harder. The lights in the neighborhood started coming on. She could no longer hold back her tears. She screamed in anguish..."open you dog, I know you are in there!" And just then there was a small sound from the cattle shed next to the shack.

Papu's dog walked out of the darkness, glanced at her for a moment, gave a woof, and stuttered away towards Papu's shack. She looked at the door for a long while. She could feel the eyes glaring at her from dark corners across.

She walked back home, silently holding back the sobs.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The lost generation.

The iron box feels quite heavy. It has been years since I have ironed a shirt. All my growing up years were filled with ironing chores. I would have my dads shirt to iron, moms saree and sisters skirt to iron. I was also a difficult-dhoti ironing expert. I could iron the starched dhotis and cotton sarees back to shape. I was also a bike and car cleaning expert. My tiny hands could reach into places that were seldom cleaned, and then I would polish the chrome for hours. I was also an expert cook of the exotic dishes. I could make a jelly out of any fruit, but guava was the favorite. I was also the go to kid for curtain and double bedsheet cleaning. All my growing up years were spent doing these chores at home. And then, until the time granny was alive, she would make me work in the fields for a glass of coffee and loads of love. All the trees we planted together have weathered the seasons of time. The stand tall like my grandma. Tall and proud and strong.

The iron box feels quite heavy in my hands today. Prosperity always inflicts collateral damage, as does growing up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Return to Innocence

It was a Disney kind of life. There was this old Diesel Engine chugging through the green valleys of peace. Its black soot smelt of gasoline, and that was wonderful! Life was younger, more vibrant. Our dreams a lot more vivid and believable. A kiss was a kiss, not just that rubber grinding the loins and it retained the kind of naivete purity, in its adolescent entirety.

I am not sure when we grew up. Not sure when our minutes became shorter, life faster and duller. I am not sure when our
memory machines stopped making new memories, not sure when when God walked into our Eden. Not sure when we turned sinners... and sinned.


This one if for all the young ones. Here is wishing you beautiful memories from your growing up days.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Life is a grinder. It slowly grinds the best of us unto fine powder. All our jarring edges and rough ends get ground into micron size fine dust. Its an endless process. In goes our dreams of flying planes as a kid, in goes the first love and with it, those thoughts about that beautiful teacher falling in love with me or that neighbor girl looking my way. In goes my dreams of riding a Harley with the hair of my loved one catching the winds.

Its a painstakingly slow process. The mills work silently, in long meandering vortexes of time. Everything that is our tomorrow, slowly becomes our today, gets ground, becomes one with the rest of our past. Fine Dust.

Each day that I wake up, I look at life right up front. I know that this day will also be consumed. I know that the memories that I create from today will someday be painted the same dull blue from my yesterdays. I know that my today will finally meet my yesterdays. There is no escape. There is no other way. But I look into life, and throw a challenge. Come meet me half way my dear, I say, and then walk up the rest of the way as well! I beat the slow grind of time, by stretching each beautiful memory a while longer. I steal from the fine dusts of my past and create new shapes from old forms. You cannot kill me. Every day that I wake up, I am born again. What you took away from my yesterday, I have replaced it forever for my tomorrows. I have no death, for my memories have this infallible faculty to regrow. The faculty to take shapes beyond my memories, beyond your comprehension, beyond what you and I can together imagine.

And central to this is the fine dust that you grind me into, every day. Little by little, you allow me to recreate myself each day, from my yesterday.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Wrong Turn

Every time I take this road, my sense of direction fails me. It annoys her no end. You see, there is a turn by the local temple, that leads me to her place; and then there is this another turn right before the milk booth, it leads me to a house with tiled roofs and a Tamarind tree. It is a dead end. That lane ends before this house.
Why do you have to take the wrong turn all the time, she screams. Her voice can be shrill when she is agitated. There is something here that confounds her. Why, why would I drive into this lane instead of the next one?
We have lived many lives my dear. Who knows why this house draws me to itself? What if long before your lane became central to my life, I had other lanes to call my own? How would you know? How would I know?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I hear you

Have you heard a cat cry. It sounds so much like humans. I remember the cry of a mother cat who had lost one of her kittens. She cried for three straight nights. Moaning, shuddering, cursing, but mostly, talking to herself about her loss. Until that night, I had not known that cats have feelings too. I was too young then. Her loss worried me no end. Each night when the moans started, I and my sister would hug each other and go to sleep.

It has been many years since I lost my grandmother. The heart is forever in mourning. Life finds a way to live but the wailing never stops. Some losses are inexplicably difficult to come to terms with.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sparrows Remember

When I was a kid, I used to frequent Tauseef's house. I am very poor with memories. There is some sort of auto flush that wipes them away. I neither retain the good ones nor the bad ones. I have a past that is forever under construction. Its an open canvas, I paint it at will. But I remember the Gauraiyyas (Indian Sparrows). Tauseef's house was always full of them. Little chirpy birds that kept pecking on the dining table or sitting right next to aunty and waiting for her to drop them some grains. They would flit about all over the place. I don't remember any of those big celling fans ever being switched on in Tauseef's place. The gauraiyyas were always safe in his place.
When I started working on plantations some 16 years ago, I always kept fowl at the managerial bungalow. There was this ill tempered gander, two insufferable flying ducks, dozens on hens...but no sparrows. There were no sparrows in Kerala and you could not buy a sparrow, a sparrow can never be owned. The sparrow chose its own home.
7 years ago, when Hyderabad International airport was commissioned, I saw sparrows flying inside the terminal. There were about four of them making merry near the eateries. I talk to animals..and birds and reptiles and ghosts and spirits and God. I called out to the nearest sparrow and told her that someday I will make my own house and then you should come. She looked at me for a micro second and made a curious face before she flew across to join the rest of them.
It is three years since  I shifted to my own place. Last week, I saw a nest coming up near my air conditioner. Two Sparrows looked insolently at me, busy building their nest on my balcony.
A long loop thus closed. Welcome home.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Super Spice

I look at her sashaying across the aisle. There is a bounce in her gait. The pony tail hair keeps yoyoing like a pendulum. Every time she speaks, she looks straight into my eyes. There is a glint of fun a hint of mischief. There is devil dancing in her eyes.

My dear, you make it worthwhile for a million of us to fly.

Monday, September 15, 2014

It is not about the mirror

I have a picture of you looking into a one of those funny mirrors. This pic is a reflection of you in the mirror. You have one big grin on your face and this is the most beautiful pics that I have of you. I have visited that place many times later. I have stood before that mirror and made faces. I have even asked those who have accompanied me to stand before the mirror and smile.

That mirror has never again reflected a smile a beautiful as yours.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I am aware that you hide my thoughts in far away places. Wardrobes that hold your old clothes and forgotten perfumes keep me company. I am in that stack of old letters and Google chats that you have archived. I am also the faint whiff of lavender that remains in those weeds you have hanged by your window.

On a lonely Saturday midnight, when you feel like a holler, I am in the Teddy that you go to sleep with. I meander into your dreams, forgotten moments in time, etched into hard drives like a virus that you cannot clean, like a file you cannot find. I am the keyword you do not remember.

 I am the red in your Gypsy blood. I will always re-grow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Keep the lights on!

Many have tagged along, but you, you have been there all along. All these years on the road, I have been through trails thick and thin. My travails have taken me to edges of reason. I have been insane for longer intervals of time than I remember. And all this time, you have hollered along. I wake up each day, fiercely alone, tragically independent. I go out into the world, as if each day were mine to consume. 

I whimper back into the darkness of my nights, nursing the bruises from another day of living. And when the lights go out, I know that you are right there, coaxing me to sleep. 

Death does not worry me, as much as life does. For a grind that comes to a halt once in a lifetime, why should I care? Living a life devoid of your shadows... How do I dare?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Of Lifetimes and Will Yous

No. We won't be together for a lifetime. Lifetime is a word coined by poets. Waterman just borrowed it since it made their pens look more interesting. Nothing lasts a lifetime. Over the years, we will die many a deaths. In some we will be together; in most, I will die my own death and you will sulk somewhere in the dark corridors of souls silences and whimper away little deaths, many, frequently, soundlessly. The best I can do is trust you. Trust you to share with me the storms that will rise in your life. Most, you will weather on your own, for they are not storms of this world. They will be the ones that rage deep within you. Storms that rise from the strife of everyday living. And then there will be those in which you will call out for me. You will hold my hands and together we will thunder into the storms. Lord be willing, we will survive.

The tango and the waltz that we do is not all of life. It is at best our weekend at the movies. Movies don't last a lifetime my love. Nor does life.

The tyranny of time echoes in the lines on our faces. I never knew when the laugh lines turned into lines of destiny. Engraved, endearing and forever. I don't have all the answers, but I love your questions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

All this strife

I was all of twenty four then. There was this girl who lived in a house with a very big Tamarind tree. In the monsoons of Kerala, the house always looked wet and the gates always brown and leaky. There was moss on the driveway and the flowerpots looked as if they would crumble at the slightest touch. There was a grandpa chair that used to look desolate and abandoned. The old man who used to sit there passed away some years ago. They did not know what to do with the chair.

She was one of the most beautiful woman I ever laid eyes upon. And on Sundays, on her way to the church, she wore the whitest Churidar  and Chunni that I have seen. She looked like an angel walking among the clouds. The skies would stop the showers and rainbows would spring across the horizon. Small kids will be playing with cycle tires and the cars on the roads will look freshly painted.

Strife has a way of making ordinary memories extraordinary.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How long is life?

How long is life?

Can we actually stretch the minute into years where required? Is there a remote that slows down a day that I don't want to end? Is there a repeat mode into which I can forever live in endless loops?

Why do long journeys make me sad? Why is that the best memories are from times that are past? Is there no software that would help me predict the next best patch in my otherwise short and dreary life? How do I count blessings? Can I remember the smiles of all those wonderful people I might have helped in my own way? Can I store their joy and consume it little by little? Can I use it as my emergency energy bank?

Where is everybody? Why do we, like the ever expanding universe, keep continuously moving away from each other? What happens between birth and death? I have been on this journey a million time before. My friends and my lovers have had the same faces. Even my grandma has come back as one of my neice. So there is a loop right? A longer one than the one I wanted. But a loop there is.

Ah Padbanabha!, The immortal in me strives for escape. Your dwarapalaka awaits your arrival!

Everybody's Life

Its 2.40 am. The cab driver calls in to check on the address. His wife and kids will be sleeping next to him in his small one room shack. They would have overheard our call. I walk down to our guard's room and knock on the door. His wife hears the knock and I can hear her waking the watchman up. "Sir is calling, please open the gates. Seems like he is traveling again", says she. It is 3.30am.

The young man at the check-in counter has a smile on his face. You have already been checked in sir, says he. I thank him. He had been at work since 10.30 pm last night. The smile on his face surprises me. He is a good human being.

By the time I begin my meeting today at 4.00 in the afternoon, I will have traveled about 1500 miles and directly and indirectly impacted the lives of at least 50 fellow travelers in time.  Our lives are intrinsically intertwined with those of others. Any omission or commission affects the balance of things. My life is not just mine to live. I need to accommodate the lives of a million others who are impacted by how I go about with this business of living. I just don't live my life, in many ways, I live a little bit of everybody's life.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The First One is Always Special

I lost an umbrella of mine the day before. It had been with me for many years now and I miss it terribly. I ordered another one quite like the one I lost. They should be delivering it any one of these days. I know how I will feel when it finally gets delivered. I will love this one just as much but miss the one that I lost forever more. I pray that it is discovered by someone who would love it just like I did and care and polish its burnished wooden handle year on year. Not many people care for their umbrella the way I do. An umbrella has a personality you know.

I had lost a blue Cross pen years ago. It took me three years to find a replacement. I keep the new one very guarded. It reminds me of the one I lost.

There is something wonderful about the first of many. They all remind me of what was once with me and is now no more.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

All My Colors... are colors of you

Borrowed from:

What your golden glow 
Does to a backless Cameo, 
Is how i define Red. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

That Fluttering of Broken Wings

If you were to cross the road and hurt your toe, I know that I will never know. As we go on to take different roads and move on across different shores, there is something that happens to our relationships. Something that estranges, disconnects, disintegrates.

I know that you still think of me. I know this because I find myself thinking about you. And thoughts rarely get seeded on their own. It comes from you to I and from I to you until one of us is alive.

Old relationships rarely die. Like broken winged moths, they hang around dark alleys of forgotten memory lanes. Ever so often, I can hear one of them flutter its wings. Not too close but never too far.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Old Memories Die Hard

There was this blue train that used to run through yellow fields of mustard. I also remember green Paddy fields dotted with greasy diesel pumps, scarecrows and peacocks. But that was a long time ago. Maybe my memory plays truant with me. Maybe the fields were not all that green and the train all that blue.
But pray don't tell me that those were not fields of mustard and that was not I riding that train and you traveling with me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Stupid Poets

The unrelenting tides of time shall consume us slowly with its up's and down's. There will times when we find ourselves riding the waves and there will be times wherein we drown.

Why do leaves fall in Autumn? You will ask me someday, and I shall say, these are springtime tears that plodded through summer until the fear of winter drove them away!!

Stupid Poets!!! You will say... and then as usual, run away.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Like a Clam

There are times in my life when I clam shut. I absorb all colors, hear everything, see everything, feel everything. I am normal, except that I don't let out anything. I feel closest to a broody owl, closed from without, pitch black as black is. There are places in me that are too deep and down under. It never augurs well to live in those places for long. Sometimes I do. Not that I like it, but I do. 

There are times when I need to disconnect so that I can make more sense of things around me. And then it becomes a habit. And until a loved one calls out loud or breaks my reverie without a shattering knock, there are chances that the dark rooms that fill my life will trap me into a perpetual maze. Imagine forever moving through doors and windows. Imagine feeling that you are always on the move, except that you never cover any real distances. 
The bridges across hearts rot out of disuse. All the loved ones have left too soon. Those who remain, are as confused.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Journeymans' Tale

In the many years of the Sun, I have traveled these parched paths in quest of an identity. Every road that I traversed, branched into new ones. Every window opened into new doors and every door into another window. And as this dawn runs into dusk, I foresee, all of eternity. I see that all faces, are faces of me. In me, rests this universe. I am all that I ever needed to be. This Universe rests in me.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lost Frames

I had a friend when I was growing up. I loved him and he loved me. There was this girl whom he fell in love with. And then I met her and unfortunately...fell terribly in love with her. You know how your first love is. It was magical. It is twenty years and I still remember her perfume and the taste of her lipstick. It is also twenty years since I lost a good friend. He may be dead, might be living a good life somewhere or maybe, like me, struggling with definitions of a good life.

Wherever he is, I miss him and in some corners, so does she. He was a special friend.

Before we parted, he was my friend for about 8 years. If he were around he would have known...that beautiful girl he lost to me twenty years ago never really went on to become mine. I failed miserably when it came to ownership of all things nice and wonderful.

Like parallel railroads to eternity, I and her have stared at each other relentlessly across a small but unfathomable distance. The trains of time have rolled over us relentlessly, without respite. Our once youthful faces have grown vague wrinkles. We smile less often for we know that these lines are going to stay. We talk less because we are afraid of hurting each other. We meet each other less often for we believe that if we need to meet more often them we would be asked to define our relationship in more contemporary terms.

But we still talk about you. Together I and her, we look at that missing point of this crazy triangle. If she had chosen you over me, would all our lives have been different? How would we ever know.