Monday, April 06, 2015

Figuring it out

Going through my first post today makes me smile.. reminds me of how terribly young I was... and sounding super human.
This blog has been around for close to a decade and it has achieved nothing.
Neither have I.
But its okay..

From talking aloud about social issues and awareness and activism, if I have changed my gaze inwards and have come down to taking one day at a time and living it... that was a lesson worth learning over a decade.
And even if I have not learned anything or changed a bit, then too.. its okay.

If I have rolled up my sleeves every day to fight a battle that was already lost..
If I have banged on doors that have been shut on me, or shouted my head out at a deaf person and still not learnt how pointless it is..
If I have learned to trust and give and live.. and sometimes to doubt and lose faith
If I have stumbled and hurt myself and crawled half the way and still remember the walk ways for the beautiful shade..
If I havent yet found answers to the big questions of life.. who am i? why am i here? what am i doing? what can i do? How can i build a purpose in life? "Whither do we go?" infact..
Or if I never took the time to ask those questions..
Its still okay..

I am still figuring it out.. and there is still time.
Whither do we go......
Maybe there are no answers.. Maybe there never will be..

Today this space goes mute..
But here is hoping that the blogger goes away for a jolly good break, comes back to a different space and  finds something new to say...!
In the meanwhile, everything's okay...

Once there was a song

Once there was a song
A cheerful song
With a rustle of silk skirts in the breeze
With a steady clumpety-clump of heavy soiled feet
On the paddy fields.

Once there was a song
That rose like the happy curve
Of a plump maiden's cheeks
A rare flat note like rancid butter
But up it would come again
A light breezy note of sunshine

Once there was a song
I am sure..I heard it afterall!
It just came to me on an evening
As I quietly sat by reading..
And I tapped to it and sang aloud
And a moment's magic it had wound

Once there was a song
It was here just now..
For a snatch..and then gone..
Funny a chill that I never knew
Now grows into me..,up my bone
A merry song that left me cold..
A merry song that left me cold..

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The legacy

Armed with one of those intense kohl eyeliners , out she took her pocket mirror and squinted at it to find her mother staring out from the mirror at her, claiming her silence. Bereft of a moment that would never add to her memories or her wisdom, she studied the face vacantly... vaguely acknowledging that same life that she had scoffed at a million times.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Table-Tennis Players Anonymous

My work place too has a few people engagement activities and one of it happens to be a sports war spread across an year.
The 300+ people in the team have been grouped into 7 groups and................... I am one of the captains!!!!

How did that happen?
Frankly, I dont know!
When I got to know of this, over the initial shocked phase, I had spent a few hours wondering how in the world could anyone at all get the idea that I had something to with sport. I remember uttering words to a similar effect, when someone near me grinned and said he was one of the culprits who had suggested my name. The reason being that I am a people-person and I could easily pick the stronger women players. As for the men, they already knew who were good. Ok.. a part of it made sense. But did they have to make me a CAPTAIN for this? They could have just asked me.. for heavensake!!!

And the funniest thing was, at the time of the team selection I was forced to be on leave and so I came back and found we had missed some of the women players I knew were good.

Anyways, the sports event started.. and one after the other, different matches and games rolled out...chess, carroms, Table Tennis....
Wait a minute, no women in the team were ready to play TT.. younger, slimmer, smarter girls.. none of them!!! I tried to boost them into participating and said there was no pressure for them to win.. naaah! Didnt work. None of them budged! 
This meant it would be a no-show for our team.. and ofcourse the captain couldnt let that happen.
So she picked up the TT bat for the first time in her life, 5 days before the 1st game.

Armed with only enthusiasm and a thick-skin, I began playing with a new work-teammate who had been playing TT since she was a kid ( sigh..! I had her in mind when thinking of forming our team, but we missed her). 
The game was uproarious.. I didnt know where the ball was headed, I had no aim.. I didnt even know how to hold the bat! I was holding the bat like the way you would hold a bat to swat a fly :D 
And my whole bay people purposely filed out into the TT-playing space and began to cheer and attract a bigger crowd and do everything that was possible to embarrass me.. loud cheers, commentary, claps. And they succeeded big time! But I held firm and played on... and though I lost every one of the matches, I began to love the game.

On the day of the match, I was butchered :D There is no other way to put it! 
But, every time I defended myself or by fluke won a point, there was a thundering applause.. and well, the support made me feel a little better ;)

Ahem.. next we have the Badminton series coming up...
We need 2 players.. and we are 1 player short.
So the short and stout captain comes to the... errr.. rescue.. is it??

(Psst.. she has now converted into a TT-addict and Badminton-enthusiast-soon-to-be-addict, with symptoms like the withdrawal syndrome. Probably may have join the TT/Badminton players-anonymous soon.)

The wayfarer's glimpse

A crowded bus on a warm sunny noon..
Well, not exactly crowded.. there was 1 vacant seat.

We stopped at the PMG bus stop and an old middle-class couple in their late 60's or early 70's boarded the bus.
The old lady paused next to the vacant seat that was shared by an elderly man, and then she moved ahead leaving it for her husband.
The husband hovered next to the seat, and till he made certain that she had got a seat, he did not sit either.
There was a momentary eye contact, assuring each other that they were comfortable, and then they turned their attention elsewhere, settling into the journey.

A very routine thing, but still it stuck to my mind as being the sweetest thing I had seen in a while :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thank God for the women!

No.. I am not a feminist.
But, women delight me.
(Ofcourse, when they are genuinely themselves and are not trying to prove a point!!!)

I love the women.
Calm but quick-witted,
Graceful and at times laugh-out-loud clumsy,
Warm-hearted and generous, wearing their hearts on their sleeves;
Yet inaccessible to some people outside their comfort zones.
Poised but totally unpredictable as to what flits in and out through their busy heads...
except for the dead-give-away of a sparkle in the eye.
Strong, independent and heart-breakingly vulnerable
Very sure of themselves but occasionally a little mixed up.
Eternal loyalties and unjustifiable prejudices,
Deeply spiritual but very much into life.
Wise beyond their years, and silly past comprehension.
Annoying but amusing..

The men are great, but the women.... aaah!! :D
Thank God for the women in my life, the conversations, the laughter.. the sanity and the insanity they bring into my life.
Women, you bring life to life! Kudos to you..... and me! ;) ;) ;)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Evolving Spiritually

Religion should never be about compartmentalizing spirituality, following established rituals mechanically and fitting into a community.
Faith is not communal. It should never be.

Spirituality is something that would connect you to your innate self, the human element in you... connect to that element in other people.., know that we are all built along similar lines and by the same power. Its a journey in search of the truth of who you are.., where you come from, why are you here and for what, what gives you innate peace, what is essential to soothe you.. who is that God before Whom we bow, what is He like, why hasnt He intervened when so many people suffer so much?

Growing faith is about surrendering anger and gracefully submitting before God especially in times of trouble... without protest, trusting Him with the firm resolve of being patient through whatever storm is to come. Its about embracing life completely - the good and the bad moments.. in heart-felt gratitude and submission and insurmountable hope.

And maybe a splash of laughter does help! :D

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Pathu watched Kugnan graze...
Tenderly she stroked Kugnan's bony forehead and gave it yet another hug, as if she could never hold onto him enough... and Kugnan nudged her away..
"Hey.. let me get on with the food" he seemed to say.

She knew there wouldnt be time to play today.
And whatever time was there, she wanted him to spend it happily frisking about and grazing in peace.

After a while, mother came to call her away..and she followed her without another glance at him.
Why did she keep doing this?
These lambs were always brought to be ultimately sold or butchered... and yet, she would forget foolishly and channel all her time and thought to play with them, feed them, protect them, nurture them, love them fiercely as only a child can, get used to them.  This was violence on her little heart, havoc in her mind... Was it to atone for the betrayal? For she sensed their trust and its powerful claim on her, even when she couldnt name it.

She was walking over to Maymoona's home... because it was farthest away from hers.
To escape the empty spot by the paala tree in her backyard.
She felt she could walk till the end of time.

Tears welled up in her eyes and she swallowed the hard lump down her throat.
Kugnan's tiny hoof prints were being singed into her alive red blood heart, already mauled by
countless small and big cuts and scars, foot prints and a smatter of tiny almost invisible hoof prints.

Alive, I am set aflame.... 
And purged, am I.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Caught in a man's world

A friend had recently traveled all the way to Dehradun to do a course on organic farming for a month. While there, she took to exploring the farm grounds and the bordering thickets with a roommate. It was a delightful 2 hour long walk through the beautiful shaded and dense woods.. and then they stumbled across some local men. Noting the women were not from those parts, the men asked them if they were from the farm and very readily offered to escort them with an easier and alternative direction back to the farm. My friend firmly declined their help and turned back and walked a few steps and then they ran. The beauty and isolation of the woods was suddenly terrifying. They completed the 2 hour one-way walk in a 45 minutes sprint.
"No matter how much we resist it and hate its being so, the fact is this is a man's world", she told me later.

Tell me about it! :)

Being a Trivandrum-ite one evening I had taken out my sister-in-law and 2.5 year old nephew to the Shangumugham beach which is just about 10 km from where I live. We were on the lawn and I was happily watching my nephew sprout wings and fly. We let him run around happily, feeling euphoric and free till we came across a group of men watching us with alert interest...2 women on their own with an infant. The time was around 5:00 pm.., it was a crowded place... and our car was parked in our sight and yet we felt persecuted and threatened. We slowly began to pull away to the other side of the ground and by 5:45, we left.

Someone asked me recently whether I travel alone, exploring places. I would love to.. but I dont have a choice... not here.. as a woman. Should I be cribbing about the men who have it all easy? In spirit, we are all the same.. There are times when we as women too feel smothered by monotony or tough times or we just want a break and we would like a pleasant diversion... maybe a small trip.. maybe a long drive.. maybe just going to a nice quiet spot and resting under a shade, curled up on the earth.. something. But, our plans always depend on the family. Going out alone is never an option. Frankly, we all live under the persecution complex... and reading the papers, we are happy to be dominated by this all-pervading fear.

Youtube videos that show women being harassed in public places with nobody lifting a finger to help... and should I travel alone in this country? No.. thank you!