In search of that something called Love..

Girl

Sometimes eight year old hearts want revenge.

She woke up in the darkness of the night. Tiptoeing past her mother and brother, who were sleeping on mats in the living room, she went into the hall to check the time. The wall clock showed 3 AM. Just a few more hours, she thought. Will he think I have grown up? What presents will he bring? She chided herself for thinking about the presents. After all, he was coming after three years. Will he scoop me up in his arms, like they do in that advertisement? The whole scene was so picture-perfect, she wondered. Does it happen in real life too? Amma had told her that advertisements and films do not always project the truth. She tiptoed back into bed and remained there quietly, awake until he finally arrived.

” Appa! ”
He smiled at her. No scooping up in arms, she sadly thought. Tomorrow was another day. Maybe…
” Are you up so early?”
“I was waiting for you, Appa! Do you want to see my English class work book? My teacher gave me a ‘very good’,you know? And..”
” Um.. that’s good.”
Amma brought him a cup of coffee. He drank it, while trying to pry open his suitcase between sips. She hung around awkwardly, curious yet scared. Three years had not dimmed the memory of his sometimes angry self.
The suitcase seemed to be full of treasures- perfumes, clothes, colouring books, trinkets…
And then she saw it.
A pretty yellow polka dotted dress. Her heart raced wildly:I can’t wait to wear it! How she could dance along, looking like one of those posh kids in her school! Maybe she could wear her hair down, just that one day..She would look very pretty, she was sure.
” Come here”
She went ahead, unable to control her excitement. He held the dress against her and asked Amma, ” Do you think Bala’s daughter is the same size as her? ”
Baala’s daughter, that was Shruti. Her cousin from Chennai.
” I think this will suit Shruti a lot. We’ll go down to Chennai sometime next week and give it to her, okay? ”
Amma nodded, her mind more worried about the economic concerns of the family. His going abroad had done nothing to improve their state of living. With leeches for relatives, there was nothing more you could expect.

Shruti. Why does she need this dress, she wondered. She has so many pretty dresses.. Tears welled up in her eight year old eyes. She looked at the colouring book and crayon set on her lap. She had been sitting on the terrace for the past one hour, trying to draw birds with the new crayons. All she managed to do was to convince herself that yellow polka dotted dresses did not really matter one bit.

***

He came in from his morning walk, slightly sweaty and out of breath. Retirement had brought in a voracious ennui into his life and he felt himself sapped of all energy. He did not feel motivated to do anything. And now, his daughter had also flown the coop. She had decided to stay back in the US for another three years to complete her Ph.D as well.

He settled down in his easy chair, with the day’s newspaper. The usual stuff, he thought. Politician caught in scam. School kid commits suicide. Bus accident kills four. Earthquake claims two hundred.
Suddenly the phone rang. The long beep told him it was an international call. Before he could bring himself up to answer, his wife picked it up.
” Oh! It’s you.. I am so relieved to hear your voice kanna! How is everything?”
He knew it was her. It had been so long since she had called! Everyday he would wait for her call, though he knew she called up only on weekends. If she was free, that is. Work and studies kept her very busy. He felt a little angry, will she never understand how this old heart clamours for a word from her? How it waits for one phrase, ” How are you, Appa ” ?

His wife handed him the phone. Finally she seemed to have remembered him!
” Hi Appa.”
” Hello! How are you doing? How is everything going? Are you eating properly? You remember Kichami uncle from Chennai? He had…”
” Um, Appa, the line might get cut anytime. I have just a minute left on the card. You take ca…”

He put the phone back into the cradle and went back to reading his newspaper.

Sometimes eight year old hearts have their revenge.

Shades of a life

Shades

I was born in a swirl of various hues. The artist’s touch brought me to life. Suddenly, from an amorphous blob of ambiguity, I turned into a definitive stroke. A dab of colour on a plain canvas. What was I supposed to mean?

The halo of golden light around the sun.
Or the vermilion dot on a woman’s face.
The dark gray of a rain cloud
Or the shadow of a baby’s foot
The aqua in the ocean’s waves
Or the liquid eyes of an elephant.

Beyond all those, I am colour. Colour that brings the world to life. I drip from your soul, you can see me if you look closely.

The flaming red of your passion.
The carefree yellow of your youth.
The unflickering blue of your ideals.
And the endless green of your dreams.

I drip, I spill, I make a mess of your soul. I drench every nook with my ever changing moods. I have no boundaries, I can travel anywhere. I can be anything you want me to be. My nature is transient, my core eternal. My potential is limitless. I weave myself into the intricate knots of your being. I am reborn in multitudes everyday.

I am Beauty, Thought, Expression.
I am Colour.

Birthday Wishes

Today is Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday. He is one poet I really love and admire. His works have moved me more than anyone else’s. Simple, down to earth, soulful poetry.

Happy Birthday, Guruji.

I enjoy these lines from Chithra , one of Tagore’s plays. I can identify with each and every word…

[…] If the rites are over, if the flowers have faded, let me throw them out of the temple [unveiling in her original male attire]. Now, look at your worshipper with gracious eyes. I am not beautifully perfect as the flowers with which I worshipped. I have many flaws and blemishes. I am a traveller in the great world-path, my garments are dirty, and my feet are bleeding with thorns. Where should I achieve flower-beauty, the unsullied loveliness of a moment’s life? The gift that I proudly bring you is the heart of a woman. Here have all pains and joys gathered, the hopes and fears and shames of a daughter of the dust; here love springs up struggling toward immortal life. Herein lies an imperfection which yet is noble and grand[…] Perhaps you will remember the day when a woman came to you in the temple of Shiva, her body loaded with ornaments and finery. That shameless woman came to court you as though she were a man. You rejected her; you did well. My lord, I am that woman. She was my disguise. Then by the boon of gods I obtained for a year the most radiant form that a mortal ever wore, and wearied my hero’s heart with the burden of that deceit. Most surely I am not that woman. I am Chitra. No goddess to be worshipped, nor yet the object of common pity to be brushed aside like a moth with indifference. If you deign to keep me by your side in the path of danger and daring, if you allow me to share the great duties of your life, then you will know my true self…[…]

You can find the entire text of the play here.

Inspiration

All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood…

{ Alexander Pope }

We do not ask for what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens…. The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.

{ Johannes Kepler }

Nadanamakriya

Nadanamakriya is one of my favourite ragams, after Vasantha and Saveri. It is a janyam of the melodious Mayamalavagowlai. I remember the first song I listened to, in this ragam: ye theeruga nanu daya choochedavo..a kriti by Bhadrachala Ramadas. Very soulful, a heart wrenching plea. I also love all compositions by Ramadas, so this one was sheer bliss.

Another famous song in this ragam is Karunajaladhe dasarathe , a beautiful kriti by Saint Thyagaraja. When you close your eyes and listen to it, you can feel the music seeping to your very core. Another merit? It is one of the Divya Nama kritis, which are very sweet compositions. They only talk about love for the Lord and nothing else.

No discussion about Nadanamakriya can be complete without Bhajaswa sree tripura sundareem , a masterpiece by Oothukkadu Venkata Subbaiyer. It is one of his Navavarna kritis. I love the lyrics in this kriti, they are extremely beautiful.

I absolutely love the ragam. Here’s a haiku I wrote for her. 🙂

The bud bloomed out pink
A crystal-clear inward glance,
Self recognition.

Links :
Nadanamakriya
Bhajaswa Sree Tripura Sundareem..
Ye Theeruga Nannu
Bombay Jayashree
Karuna Jaladhe