S I S T E R

‘Sister’…the word echoes and evokes all that is good and beautiful.

Sister gives us love akin to parents, shares strength of a brother, and brings happiness like a friend. She is our go-to person – in joy and in sorrow. She gives us her shoulder to cry on, stretches her hand to pull us up, keeps our secrets like her own…sister is our ‘man-friday’ in woman’s clothing.

Sister is a person for all seasons. A selfless soul, she gives all of herself and more…mostly unseen,  unsaid, and unacknowledged.

Some sisters laugh and slap our backs, some hide their smiles and slap nothing; few offer ‘kadha’*, others snatch and finish off our beer in a gulp. Aren’t they amazing?

Good that we can’t choose our sisters, for we will not have any others.

Our sisters paint beauty and create joy in our lives.

(I write this on behalf of all my bros and friends, and dedicate it to all our Sisters: sisters born to our parents, and sisters who left their homes to make our homes).

* Kadha: an Indian herbal concoction

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“Eternally She Lives, Forever She Dies.”

“Gujaarish” (meaning ‘Request’) is an Indian movie masterpiece starring Ash and Rithik, and the cigarette smoking scene in the speeding car vividly paints the agonies and ecstasies of their relationship. I have tried to capture these contours and “breaking free moments” in my poem: 

“Eternally She Lives, Forever She Dies.”

-Intimately, she lit a cigarette between my lips…

Tendering tiny tendrils of life, never yet lived,

Passionately, over precious puffs she lingered…

Her parched soul too, by life, lusted to be kissed.

-With yearning eyes, primal passions she ignited…

With tempting touch, forbidden fantasies she lighted,

Her scent so intoxicating, languorous life I inhaled…

Her silence so seductive, infernal inhibitions I exhaled.

-Wind in the hair and longings in the heart…

Desire daredevil, euphoric like a prancing dart,

Luring labyrinth mysterious! Whispering wishes run amok…

donning dancing hooves, waltz like wanton wants. 

-Snatching lifetime, for an instant from time’s grip…

Extracting every ounce, its sweet nectar insatiably we sip,

Intoxicating love, nuanced yet intense…

Scorch our spirits, souls, sanity and sense.

-Tentalizing touch of her fingertips to cigarette my quivering lips…

Stir memories of our tempestuous times and trials under veils,

Soon to fade away with the drifting smoke…

 Poignant reminder of life unfulfilled, a cruel joke.

-I was destined to be wasted, and she by design…

She gave me all of her, and much more to align,

Transient time tethered, stood still for some time…

Sanguine souls fused forever, but bereft bodies pine.

-What is she to me: a mother, a lover, a sister, a friend ?

Undefined relationship, ensconced in feelings unexplained,

Agonizing and exhilarating, is our unspoken bond…

Unfathomable! It’s much more…above, deep and beyond.

-I was Sisyphus! Struggling to claim what was not to be…

Now I surrender, for life chose not to be in me,

She insane in her fight, I triumphant in my defeat…

In this tragedy, there was nothing to win and none to beat.

-My life is her liberation, and death my freedom…

Right or wrong, in the twilight of finality who can fathom,

As I say goodbye, my death she wants to defy…

But death is the ugly truth, life but a beautiful lie.

-Life lifeless we lived, yet clinging to the magnificent moment…

My existence is her life, our parting her torment,

In death’s shadow, imprisoned and intertwined are our lives…

Within me, eternally she lives! With me, forever she dies!

 

Disclaimer: I am not aware whether I am violating any copyright by posting these pics. I have no intention of piracy and have posted these pics only to make my poem come alive. I am prepared to remove these pics if the copyright owners (if any) so wish. Thanks

WHEN FATHER DEPARTS !

Dreams and memories of father waft into my nights like puffy clouds… sobbing memories, crying dreams… descending in hordes. Memories which keep me awake; Dreams pulsating and alive; Emotions overwhelming n choking. Memories of his infectious laughter, his magical touch and that naughty twinkle in his eyes… memories which beckon, dreams which whisper… tiny tendrils of tender thoughts… maudlin eyes tired of crying at times, but remembrance always wet…

With age he mellowed and sparkled like a fine vintage wine, yet father was a child. Innocent in his maturity and playful in his seriousness, he kept the child within around too. Father was full of life and gave so much of himself and his love. He didn’t preach goodness, but showed it in his methods n manners. Fond of small little pleasures, and with impeccable taste for finer things, he was neither greedy nor a hoarder, nor was he casual in his words, approach and life-style.

Father gave his best and looked for the best in others. He stood tall but never made one feel small. He appreciated all that is good and beautiful and left the world a little better. So very humane, father was among a few good men, a rare breed. He lived and died on his own terms… with dignity and grace, and in his own inimitable style! I grieve that he is no more, but am thankful that he was.

My unspoken bonding with father was such that there was little to be said between two of us. His silence was eloquent, eyes spoke volumes, and his smile or a raised eyebrow conveyed it all. Feelings ran deep and our understanding grew without trying. I wish I had held his hand more often and little longer; I wish I had hugged him whenever and wherever and for no reason; I wish I had sat by his side silently watching the sunset, sun or no sun; I wish I had stolen more of his mornings, afternoons and evenings; I wish I had drunk and devoured more of him… oh, how I wish!

Father went away, but will always be with me. He lives in my laughter and cries, in my joys and sorrows, in my sky and universe, in my days and nights. He lives in my thoughts, my emotions, my feelings. He lives in my breaths, my memories and my moments. I bask in the warmth of his love, I shine in his reflected glory.

After he departed, people thus console and counsel: life goes on as it keeps flowing like a river. But as Heraclitus said, no man enters the same river again…for it is not the same river and he is no longer the same man.

Sri HCS Photograph

BOOKS WHICH SCORCH THE SOUL AND WARM THE COCKLES OF HEART!

Some books compel us to search within and look beyond….. writings which have sprung from deep, uncommon understanding of life and exceptional sensitiveness to human emotions.

These books uplift us and deepen our belief in undying human spirit and its innate goodness…books which have painted life’s unblemished glory and its ugly underbelly, leaving an indelible impact on our world-view and thoughts about humanity, life and existence.

Books which speak of relationships enduring and gone sour….love and betrayal….trust and treachery…. bonds built and friendships forgotten. Books which take us on a journey of commitment and compromise, hope and despair, and triumph and tragedy.

These are the stories of lust, loneliness and longings; of naked needs, dogged desires and primitive yearnings; of dreams shut and shattered. These are the tales of agony and ecstasy, dignity and depravity, passions, perversions and perfidy.

Books which are the poignant tales of the moment to moment uncertainty of survival and struggle to stay alive; of life wasted, lost and regained; of now or never dilemmas; of simplicity of being, complexity of relationships, and difficulty of existence.

These are writings of epic proportions describing human entrapment, its helplessness to accept life on its own terms, and hopelessness to sink its soul and sell its sovereignty.

These are the sagas of sangfroid and sagacity, of righteousness, of character and decency.

Some such books which have moved me are:

  • Roots (Alex Haley)
  • The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
  • The Good Earth (Pearl S Buck)
  • Goodbye Mr. Chips (James Hilton)
  • To Kill A Mocking Bird (Harper Lee)
  • The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
  • Educated (Tara Westover)
  • Of Mice & Men (Steinbeck)
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison)

         (not in order of preference)

There are quite a few, but these immediately spring to mind.

Such books give us a sense of the whole much more complete…which satiate yet leave us wanting ….and after reading these the heart is light and aroma of goodness lingers.

Please do share your list of such books.

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Guilty are those who impose Guilt !

For hiding their own guilt or guilty-conscience, some people perpetually impose guilt on others…in ways subtle or crude. They swing like pendulum from being extremely aggressive to wearing sorrow on their sleeves. They resort to emotional blackmail, portray themselves as pathetic losers, and sport underdog’s hangdog expression. Else they shout and sulk; throw threats, taunts and tantrums; issue ultimatums, lock themselves, become incommunicado, inflict injuries and abuses on themselves, and leave home food untouched (but hog secretly).

They play victim to victimize. Those who impose guilt are the ones who are guilty. Let’s not be guilty of feeling guilty due to someone else’s guilt.

Guilty Sulking

WALK OF LIFE !

Parijat

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My walk outside takes me Inside !             

My walk defines me, my life. It gives me my identity in relationship to others and to the world. It is my mirror…concave and convex….mirroring my soul and the world within. 

My walk has become my search, my quest…..to find meaning, to understand relationships, to know myself.

It makes me reflect, induces my thoughts, gives me ideas. It allows me to peer into myself, look at others closely, and dwell upon my relationships with people, places, events, the world and the nature. It provides me perspective for my life and times. Each walk becomes a journey of life and takes me down the memory lanes. It rejuvenates me… It heals the soul, cleans the mind, repairs the body.

I began walking with physical fitness in mind but along the way walking became incidental and thoughts began to creep in and it became a ritual of contemplation, of reflection, of thoughts…good, bad n ugly.

I have been walking for as long as I can remember. And as I walk, words form incessantly  in my mind and turn into thoughts. And the thoughts overflow….as if my thoughts have suddenly got legs and they run ahead of me uncontrollably, and I am always in the catching-up game.

When I walk, I am one with myself and also one with my family, friends, the world. My walking thoughts take me to places near and far….i think of things, people, places, of relationships, of happenings…. in the recent past or from the deep recess of the past, of times forgotten. Memories come flooding….. Nostalgic memories of love and separations, of laughter & tears, of joy & tragedies, of solitude and togetherness, of times happy and sad.

Walk takes me to my past. Walk travels with me to my future. Walk walks with me in my present. Questions come in floods…what I was, what I am and where am I going….

While mind is on its own journeys, the fresh cool wind caresses and invigorates my body, touches me tantalizingly. When the soothing first rays of the dawn touch me, John Denver sing for me “Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy…”, and I sing along. Chirping birds, dancing butterflies, many splendoured sky with myriad hues….  the sights, the sounds, the smells…so enchanting, mesmerizing. Oh….how nature touches, teases, teaches !

And the music while walking sounds so heavenly.… paradise lost  is regained by listening to a Beethoven, a Mozart, a Chopin…

My walks also take me closer to the finest minds and the beauty of their written words, their ideas. The greats such as Russel, Huxley, Shakespeare, Hemingway and many more.

In childhood we used to recite: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Well, my walk has compelled me to open my eyes early and helped me in controlling my weight, but neither am I wealthy nor wise. The early bird is yet to catch any worm. In fact, I have seen and known many wealthy persons who are perpetually late and lazy. Considering my credentials as a ‘Walker’, I wonder whether I will qualify as brand ambassador of “Johny Walker” and get unending n uninterrupted supply of this famous Scotch Whisky.

When I walk, the mind makes resolutions, action plans…some I act upon, mostly are forgotten. I wonder whether I ‘walk the talk’ or it’s all phantom fantasy of the “ghost who walks”. In my “walk of life”, there is ‘action’, and there is ‘motion’, but not of “Dire Straits” kind : )

Thinking of the people petty and hypocrite, my mind asks them to ‘take a walk’….but never with me. Love the wit of Noel Coward : “I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people I dislike”.

I observe other walkers and joggers and try to fathom what must be going on in their minds. I look at the dogs on the leash and imagine what if human beings were on the leash held by the Dog….. the scenarios from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

I dwell upon the news…..the news about racism, the killings, the rapes, the political buffoonery and chicanery, the climate change:  and how the world is divided over every thing…matters which matter and matters which do not matter: makes me sad and I think about the future of the country, the world and its people. And I think about the fake news… its repercussions….how it poisons our minds and by repeating over and over again how false becomes the truth and truth becomes a lie. Reminds me of a quote I read somewhere: We were all humans until: Race disconnected us, Religion separated us, Politics divided us, Wealth classified us…”

And while I walk, at times I observe the poor, the old and the young… …cold and shivering, hungry and thirsty…..homeless, hopeless the helpless…and I think of the ever-increasing divide between the rich and the poor and why the successive governments have not been able to do something for them. I think of the good samaritans who selflessly extend a helping hand…by a kind smile, by giving food to the hungry, medicine to the sick, blanket to the cold.

And I think of revolutionary ideas, to bring about change in the world…and feel so useless, unworthy and ordinary. 

And I ponder about myself, my world, my being, my body, my mind, habits, wants, desires, role, my failures…but not about success because i have none. I reflect upon the time lost, opportunities not taken…what could have been, what I could have been…

And I reflect on the relationships, …parents, children, wife, siblings, friends…..and the fragility and strength of these. And I think of human nature, its kindness and meanness, the trust and the treachery, and how time heals…slowly but surely.

And I think of life and times, of separation and of death. I think of the people so very dear who drifted away, the people who were close and passed away….my relationship with them, how they influenced me, what I meant to them.

Walking Mind plays strange tricks on my psyche and forces me to think of my death, of my near and dear ones…what will life be without them. I feel utterly sad and miserable. And I wonder whether they think of their own death, and how they face each other, or will face me or each other while facing death. Had written about “Morbid Thoughts” on this Blog earlier. 

And I think of my disagreements, arguments and fights with my dear ones…and end up having a guilty feeling most of the time as to whether I did not do enough for them. At times I feel…I did my best and they are responsible for their lives…..conflicting thoughts indeed !

And in these walks, I imagine what if one very close to someone and always walking hand-in-hand- metaphorically and literally, turned treacherous? What if the good turned into bad, and beautiful into ugly? What if the fragile “Parijat” they admired together and smelt together and gave a handful to each other wilted, because the treachery of the one wilted their love? I recall Longfellow’s: The leaves of memory seemed to make a mournful rustling in the dark…. .  So true indeed !

Parijat

I think of human evolution and importance of walking in it, how we walk, how we differ from apes, in walking and otherwise. This thinking, contemplating walk encompasses all the dimensions of human evolution and existence: physical, biological, anthropological, historical, mental, psychological, philosophical, social, cultural, individual…. The microcosm of the whole world is with me when I walk.

Every day I walk, and every day it is the same…same sun, same trees, same paths, same people, same sights, smells and sounds. Yet every day it is different, every day it is changing…everyday everything is changing. And times are a’changing.  Same is so different and different is so same.

Walk connects me, walk disconnects me. Walk takes me to the people I love and walk takes me away from some of them as I recall their treachery……but does it take me away really…? I feel my walks compel me, push me against my will into the vicinity of their  thoughts..dark, gloomy, vicious.  

And after a walk, I sit on the park bench and close my eyes and control my breath…a sort of very basic meditation where I try to drive all my thoughts away…though I succeed very little…this is the time when I feel at peace with myself and with the world. After this ritual, I tell myself that I am doing my best and there are things which are beyond my control, and very often remember this quote of Reinhold Niebuhr:

“Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

Whereas walking excites the mind, meditation calms. Walking generates plethora and procession of thoughts, the purpose of meditation seems to be to rein in the thought process. In walking the breath runs faster, in meditation breathing becomes very slow. The effect of the two is opposite, but for me both are interlinked and important. One leads to the other. In a way both the rituals compete as well as complement each other, but complete me and my identity.

I fight myself when I walk and I love myself when I walk. I am despondent and desolate, I am ecstatic and exuberant.

The solitude I experience during my walks, then, shapes my attitude towards life and times, about people and places….and myself, my being. And the mind always walks an extra mile.

Walk breathes life into me, it takes me closer to death!

My walk is Walk of Life…everyday, yet I cannot fathom life…What is here and now?…What is beyond and tomorrow ? The search is never complete, the journey never ends, as penned so beautifully by Rainer Maria Rilke:

“My eyes already touch the sunny hill,

Going far beyond the road I have begun,

So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp….”

Parijat