Sunrise, sunset…

 

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I wake up, I lie down

and life goes on.

Around me, the world crumbles

and is rebuilt again.

Each day, each second

time flies or stays still. 

I have learnt naught

Or maybe a lot.

Life and death co-exist,

Games of light and shadow

Play upon windows of ice. 

Acts of love entwine themselves

with the darkness of my soul. 

Sunrise, sunset

How can you tell the difference?

 

 

 

A Thousand Splendid Suns…

khaled

I read Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner ten years ago, as a girl. I enjoyed the depth of his writing, but felt that it lacked style. The story was gripping and the writing was brutally honest, but there was a little something that I felt was lacking. It is difficult to explain without coming across as presumptuous. Today, a decade hence, the Afghan born doctor cum writer crawls back into my (grown up) heart all over again, with A Thousand Splendid Suns.

The book touches upon Afghanistan, fresh from its upheaval of monarchy and takes us through its journey of war, Soviet occupation and finally, the dark regime of the Taliban. When Mariam’s mother gives her lesson for life at the beginning of the story, little do we realize how much impact those few words have over not only Mariam’s life, but also Laila’s (the other protagonist) :

“Only one skill. And it’s this : tahamul. Endure.”

Mariam’s life is made up of one difficult situation after another, one pain after another. The reader’s heart feels her pain but just like her, is helpless. You almost endure it all over again. And again. Suddenly I think of these lines from The Kite Runner : When tumblr_mcdbhoF9671riifgzo1_500

You know that what Mariam really wants is to escape it all, like in those lines above, but she is trapped into her life, that husband, that country and her mother’s curse : to endure. When you think of women like her, who are still battling reality in patriarchal societies all over the world, your heart is sure to bleed and suddenly, your own life feels like an enormous luxury.

The descriptions of Herat and Kaboul evoke very strong feelings about the places and country. The Boudhas of Bamiyan, the minarets of Herat and the night life in Kaboul stay etched in your mind long after you have closed the book. It is the city of Kaboul that is behind the title, too.

Kaboul

Beautiful, isn’t it? As a person who gives away her soul to certain places and cities, I could totally identify with it.

If Mariam’s curse was to endure, Laila’s was to wait. Waiting for love, waiting for clouds to pass, waiting for times to change.

“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.”

While Laila’s story can retain some hope, Mariam’s is devoid of any. Probably the story of many women in Afghanistan and in many other societies as well. Khaled Hosseini’s might touch upon aspects of politics or history but the central story is always that of these two women, stuck together by kismet, born into a world and a time that was cruel to its women. The book is poetic and poignant, very hard to put down once begun. It is an extremely heart-wrenching tale of life, that goes on, despite all odds.

“Each snowflake was a sigh heard by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. All the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. As a reminder of how women suffer, how quietly we endure all that falls upon us.” 

Sookshma, the subtle one

An adaptation of A.K.Ramanujan’s translation of a Kannada folk tale, Sookshma was truly an experience of myriad pleasures. Performed at the ADA Rangamandira in Bangalore last evening, the show had, like I often like to say, ‘soul’ .

Sookshma_Mar16

I have never seen Odissi before, not counting the one afternoon we had spent at Nrityagram. It seemed like a dance form of fluidity and grace and last evening’s performance was no different. The movements were languid and graceful and the pace was pleasurably slow. With our lifestyles of fast this and fast that, it was refreshing to just sit back and allow your emotions to rain over you, to feel sadness or joy to the whole.

While the dancers were truly a class apart, what gave the show character was the music. It fit into every scene beautifully, so much so that even an awkward non-dancer like me wanted to get up and keep pace. Like one of the guests who spoke after the show said, ” you could see every scene, thanks to the music.” I wish I could get a copy of the music somewhere. Strains of those melodies still ring in my ears and I am left groping in the dark, trying to clutch on to what little I have/remember.

Though the ballet talks about woman as Nature, I find the comparison a tad too trite. Nature for who she is, as the subtle one who is being destroyed by us with every passing day, is the protagonist here. Not any woman, but Nature in particular. The title makes sense when you look at how Nature has always been a quiet force but when not cared for, becomes conspicuous with her absence.

I want…

fly

Some days, I want and I want;

A little of this and a little of that, 

Never too sure, but never too much. 

 

The names slip away

the words are garbled

but I want and I want.

 

A bucket of sunshine

or a mug of the waves,

or some dew to rub into my hair. 

 

I want and I want

all the love I can find and 

a few romances to spice up my day. 

 

I know my dishes are undone

My baby’s crying and I am thirty-two;

But I want and I want.

 

And I want and I want…..

 

 

 

I want…

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I want honesty, integrity and compassion to greet me wherever I look.

I  want all my prayers answered. I want to heal myself and the world around me. I want to be special : loving and loved. I want to lead by love and different from what the world has seen. I want to be revered and admired. I want a melting heart and a fiery mind. I want courage to stand up for what I believe in. I want balance and song and poetry and trees. I want to live close to Nature and a positive outlook. I want to nurture and to be nurtured. I want peace and the magic of a trusting heart. I crave innocence and simplicity. I want comfort and comfort food. I want to enjoy sleep, food and play all over again, wholly and with the consuming passion I once had. I want to jump and skip and hop and jog. I want to be timeless. I want to be ageless. I want to go beyond what I know of myself. I want everything around me to align itself to the harmony within my soul. Where every snow flake falls in the right place and every word into its right book.

I want to read, to write, to wonder, to inspire, to play and to work at something that gives me total joy. I want complete health and beauty for myself and all those around me and all those I meet. I want relaxation and solitude from time to time, to go within and explore the realms of beauty hidden deep within the nooks of my soul. I want to write with a raw beauty, sing with an innocent voice and soul, smile like it would lift and change the world. I want sweetness and fragility of the right kind : that feeds and nourishes and yields and transcends. I yearn to be out of this world and yet within. I wish for the ideal to come true, for truth to become ideal.I want all these wishes to become prayers and all the prayers to become the truth.

I want to be and have all this and more. I want to be magic and create magic.

Methi Paranthas and a Mother’s words

 

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http://bluebellbooks.blogspot.com/2015/12/short-story-slam-week-36-dec-31-2016.html

Tring!

Class Three was in a shambles. Notebooks lay wide open on the desks, bags were strewn over the floor and smelly, muddy feet tapped anxiously, waiting for the teacher to dismiss them for lunch. Right now, the teacher’s voice seemed muted to Sid, just like the TV at home, when Papa wanted to get in a few words with Mama as she sliced chillies for the dal. He looked out of the window idly, getting impatient. His mother had packed his favourite food for lunch today, methi paranthas. Umm, the golden brown rotis speckled with green and drizzled generously with oil, with a side of a spicy curry. He just could not wait.

” Children, wash your hands and start eating!” The teacher’s voice suddenly blared into his ears, no longer mute! Sid dashed off to the washroom. Back in class, he spread his napkin neatly on the desk and took out his tiffin box. It was his favourite day of the week anyway : they had reading, sports, music and dance lined up for the afternoon. The methi paranthas were just the icing on the cake. He heard Sparsh and Karan fighting in the row behind him. Who cares, he thought and opened his box.

Tadanggg!

His tiffin box was on the floor, his parathas all over the desk. That Karan,  he just did not know to mind his own business ! Sid was seething for revenge. He grabbed Karan’s arm and pinned him to the chair.

“Why did you do that? Now, I have to go hungry!”

Karan was an energetic boy, but not a bad sort. He apologized and said, “You can still eat it, it is on the desk, not on the floor! ”

Sid started to sob as he said, ” My mother asked me not to.”

The teacher hurried in to see what the commotion was all about. As the boys explained, Sparsh piped in, ” Ma’am, his mother has asked him not to eat food that was spilled, not even on the desk! He is only following her words! ”

The teacher smiled to herself and asked them, ” So boys… Sid cannot eat this food now and Karan is sorry for what he did. What should we do now?”

Karan hugged Sid as he said, ” I will share my lunch with him. My mother has made pulao today. Can we do that, Ma’am?”

As the bell rang for the next class, the boys were seen laughing and eating, the methi paranthas forgotten for the love of a kind that only eight year olds possess.

Home is where the heart is…

A couple of days ago, we moved our fish, Gouglu, from an aquarium in the living room to one in our bedroom. Before we know what happened next, you must know who Gouglu is. A boisterous, ‘happy’ fish.

Indeed, I had never really seen a fish that seemed so happy, before I knew Gouglu.I named him Gouglu because he so loved food : ‘ Gou’ from Gourmand and ‘glu’ from Glutton. He jumped at his food, caught roaches when they fell into his tank and I think he even knew his name. I am not a fish person, as I cannot hug or touch them to my satisfaction, but Gouglu was special. Sometimes in the quiet of the afternoon, I felt he could listen to me speak to him.Not only that, he even seemed to understand.

Maybe I am superimposing my lonely thoughts on him.

Maybe I am reading too much into certain typical behavioural traits exhibited by a Green Terror Cichlid.

Maybe I have just eaten too much sugar.

When I cannot sleep, when insomnia decides to pay me a ‘formal’ visit (we do not know each other so well) , I close my eyes and think back of a certain home.

With two bedrooms and a large balcony.

Where a young couple dreamed their first ever dreams.

Where children walked in at will, laughing and playing.

Where music and uplifting conversation formed a part of everyday life.

The house was small and often messy, yet, I have slept my deepest nights through in that house.

I have tasted the best ice cream there, sitting on the stairs with a much loved friend.

Love was the quilt, in which we were wrapped : snug and warm.

Slowly….. I fall asleep…. one with my thoughts.

And Gouglu?

He died from the move.

I know how you felt, Gouglu. I really do.

(This was written some time ago on my Medium page. I found it today and thought I’d publish it here, too. )

The search…

I could hear him,
I could feel his breath,
Yet, I could not touch him.
All the days in my womb
All the kicking and moving around
Sometimes I would sing him a song.

Yesterday, he was born,
and today, he is gone.
Have you seen him,
Somewhere in this pile of slush?
My udder is full and I need to nurse.

I think of him on this lonely night
With his four legs and pointy ears;
How we would have pranced around
On green pastures and under leafy boughs-
You are sure you have not seen him?

Just so you know, tell me soon,
if you see him with his pointy ears;
Yesterday, he was born
and today, he is gone…
My udder is full of unshed tears.

P.S: I need to nurse…