There Was A Tree, There Was An Island

I am the Tree, I am the Island…

In air, In water, and on ground,

I am in, I am out, I am within…

Real or Reflection, seen or unseen;

My leaves sway, shimmer, and seek…

My roots soak, sink, and surrender,

Longing to merge, melt, and meet…

Some will soothe, others shock, stab, and shatter;

Insides surface as outsides submerge…

In tight embraces, truths emerge,

The tree in me is shaken…

The island in me is broken,

Soil of memories clings to roots that now rot…

Waves gnaw, chip away every bit and mote;

Soon my sap seeps and saps…

I dissolve – I am particles, I am pieces,

Yes, there was a tree, there was an island…

Nothing ever remains except reminiscences.

Tree Island

pic: Gavin Hard castle

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

children-1879907_1920

Middle Muddle

I never meddle, but plight of the middle needles.

Mind-boggling, if not maddening. Amidst motley of ‘mids’, it’s a medley of ‘middles’.

Malady or melody…depends:

It is a mystery why the mid-wife is a wife only in the mid;

It is an enigma whether ‘midnight’s children’ are born on this or ‘the other side of midnight’;

Even if it is a wily woman lurking in the shadows, behind every shady deal is a sinister ‘middle-man’;

While one end devours and the other discards, the middle alone fights battle-of-the-bulge;

Facts: It is always the mid-riff which is reported bare on a bike; Middle names are lost like middle-ages; Medium-spicy always turns out to be low-bland, like mid-day meals;

Having lost youth’s charm, and lacking wisdom of the old, the misfit middle-aged try to be both, and land up in no man’s/woman’s land;

Caught in the middle, like pendulums they perpetually swing from end to end, as if caught between ‘goodbye’ and ‘I love you’;

The moment we mingle middle with class, we assign it to the mundane; sensing the mood, even Modi has abandoned it;

Glory is of the elder, love is with the younger, and leftovers of both for the mere middle;

The middle-of-the-road always gets it – hook from the ‘left’, hit from the ‘right’;

A hit is a hit, but it is amazing over the mid-wicket; Out is out, but it stumps when ball hits the middle;

The mean is never mean, the median adheres to the median, and the mode is always a model, yet the central tendency of being in the middle is scoffed at;

No one wants them (even though they have their advantages): middle seat in airlines, middle berth in trains, a puncture in the middle of the journey, a slap in the middle of the road; the notable exception being a fiendish fart in the middle of a politician’s lecture;

Even though it is the longest, you can’t raise the poor middle finger, lest you are booked for being illegal or immoral;

Whereas the mad flings with mids* or maidens cause the mid-air collisions, the ‘midsummer night’s dream’ becomes a midwinter nightmare for the jilted;

The middle-east today is so west, it has none of the middle and little of the east; And in that County why is it only Middlesex, even if no one is counting?;

Don’t come running to me with your mid-life crisis when I am in the middle of nowhere.  My signboard is succinct:

“Don’t disturb, I am in the middle of something” (read- I am enjoying ‘nothing’ more than I had enjoyed ‘anything’)

*weeds

Disclaimer: I have written this in good humour, not to ridicule anyone. I believe we can laugh at ourselves.

Pic: Gabriela Pala, pexels.com

girl in forest

SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT… An Ephemeral Creature Of Transient Times…

Sushant Singh Rajput… A brilliant star in quest of stars, now in a galaxy faraway. 

His last thoughts (?) in my words:

An ephemeral creature of transient times…

I lived in the world of soulful quiet;

Firefly of the future, my soul found wings…

In life lost and stars-kissed light.

                 Words echoing from my deepest depths…

                 I owe to those who took my breath away;

                Living now, now dead…

                Neither regret, nor rejoice, nothing to say.

 Nothing like forever old and forever new…

For not in moments, in memories I live;

Born to die and born yet again…

Nothing to forget, yet nothing to believe.

              Past a beautiful lie, Present was existential angst…

              Future but an agonized quest;

             Scorched soul sitting on pierced wings…

             Flies me to distant shores- dark, day, or twilight.

 Nano particle in the void of time n space…

Infinity ensconced in a fleeting second;

Effervescent, enchanting, exhilarating…

Yet, in palm, are life n times ever held?

              An ephemeral creature of transient times…

             I lived in the world of soulful quiet;

            Firefly of the future, my soul found wings…

            In life lost and stars-kissed light.

Note: I wrote this poem in January this year. Didn’t know my words will echo the life and times of Sushant- a brilliant star, his astronomical quests, and perhaps his thoughts and emotions just before his journey to the faraway galaxy.

When Some we appreciate, Some self-depreciate.

WHEN SOME WE APPRECIATE, SOME SELF-DEPRECIATE.

IS IT THE LOUSY FEELING I CALL ‘GUILOUSY’?

 Under the shower I was seized with an uncomfortable thought- should we refrain from praising some, because some other wise ones take it otherwise? They don’t express it, but the sulking and ruing are in the air; we feel their absent presence… like ghosts.

They feel slighted merely because some one else is delighted. Desperate, they love praise heaped upon themselves, even if undeserved; but recoil in jealousy, if not horror, when someone else is applauded, particularly when that someone is close or known.

Is it inferiority complex? Or guilt? Or jealousy?

Or is it guilt-jealousy combo…the lousy feeling I call ‘Guilousy’?

But how to assuage their hurt? Their deeds or lack of them are so awesome, one can’t voice admiration…for the mouth is agape in astonishment. : )

                      chimpanzee pic: pixabay.com

Silent Musings of Solitude… Being More Human, More Humane & No One But Myself.

I had slowly slumped into sweet slumber in solitude’s shadow; now rising, I see subtle changes in my soaring spirit and style…in ever so nuanced thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

Confined in shrunken spaces, I have found soul’s landscape is vast and expands forever. Sitting in solitude, I have looked at myself…barebones and naked. I was never a saint and will never be; but feel more evolved, when less involved. Oh, I am changing… and how; yet never, though short-changed time and again.

Now I have more of many that were less, and less of some which were more.

 Now I laugh often, cry frequently, complain little, speak less, love much more and am hurt easily. I am writing a bit and reading quite a bit; I rest more in the arms of music, lose myself completely in the lap of nature, and play plenty with my thoughts. I have always had love affairs with these stunning beauties, now I lust.

Full of faults and failures, but with less of presumptions and prejudices, I am now able to judge less and understand more. Now I search less for motives, and look more for compulsions behind behaviours. I suspect I am growing, but am sure about my ego….it is not.

I am now more at peace being less cynical, less critical; and happier being more content, more accepting of myself and others…as I am and as they are…with idiosyncrasies and imperfections, wrinkles and warts. Now I am better at tolerating the rituals I hate, braggadocio that I despise, and stupidity which I abhor; but I still shun sham, shrew and sarcasm with contempt and disgust.

I have now forgiven those who betrayed me, though can never forget their treachery; for, the tormenting wounds run deep and traumatising scars remain perpetually raw. And my memories reside within me forever, for my soul sucks and soaks deep…every bit, every drop, every ounce…be it nectar, be it poison.

Now I understand it is not necessary to have all the knowledge in the world, it is fine to possess less, and it is OK to stand second or third or even last in life’s lines. But I also realize it is awesome to love and be loved, it is indispensable to have integrity, and imperative not to break the trust…ever.

I had never found fault with frugality, now I see abundance in it; yet paradoxically, the hedonist in me constantly seeks the small little pleasures life has on offer.

I had always missed my family and friends, now I appreciate nothing and no one is more important. Feelings are heavy and moist remembering those in the family I have lost, and light and joyous thinking of those I have; and the naughty twinkle in my eyes now shines brighter at the slightest prospect of back-slapping bonhomie over beer with my friends. I hug unabashedly in my thoughts, those whom I love but dare not reveal; and I hug openly with my eyes and arms all those whom I love and can flaunt.

Now deep within I know it does not matter to miss out on many, but how important it is to hold on to a few who matter; and even as I extract more from life, I now give more of myself to such men and women.

I hear my thoughts echoing in these beautiful words of Pablo Neruda:

“…And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song — but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human….”

As my wondering thoughts trot into wandering feelings flowing into whispering words, I fathom:

My eyes were wide shut, but now I See…

I am more human, more humane, and no one but myself;

As I give more life to time and more time to life.

Picture: Keegan Houser/Unsplash.com                Self Portrait

When Good is Bad.

We can face the world, but it is difficult to face ourselves. Solitude compels us to look within. It brings us face to face with our ugly self; and forces us to vividly recall the injuries we have inflicted upon many including our close ones, and our unfairness in many a relationships born out of  selfishness, presumption, ego and  arrogance. Our soul knows us well, we can’t lie to it.

Selfishness invents justifications; integrity, empathy, and understanding do not need crutches of justification.

And within us, there is a kind of selfishness which lurks and masquerades as selflessness. Even while thinking for the good of our children, spouse, parents…we think from our angle…we look at their well-being through the prism of our own pleasure, our joy…not from the lens of their space, their feelings. If I am being kind, I do not realize that perhaps I am being unkind. If I am truthful, I don’t realize that truth also hurts. When I am trying to be righteous and upright in correcting others, it doesn’t occur to me that being so very correct is sometimes incorrect. We want to see the image of their happiness in our mirror, and the picture is always blurred. Many a times we try to be good for the selfish reason of feeling good, but is it really doing any good?

We forget the individual identities; that the fist is one, but fingers, though joined together at the base, are still separate; that at the very basic level, persons, persona, personalities and perceptions are all different.

Due to misplaced love and kindness, we grown-ups unconsciously tend to control…be it our adult children or our elderly parents. We try to decide what is good for them, and we preach and specify the ‘dos and don’ts’. Whereas our ‘for their own good’ instructions to children alienate them; the ‘kindly limits’ we set around our parents sometimes compromise their dignity, trample upon their feelings and sense of independence, and end up manipulating them.

Should we be so helpful to our grown-up children and our elders that they look helpless and feel hopeless? But we put them either in nappies or on pedestals. Needed or not, we constantly provide crutches.

We try to control (even if unconsciously and benevolently) because we have the arrogance to assume that we know better. Ceding this control sets everyone free, and there is nothing more beautiful than the sense of freedom.

Lifelong we don’t cease to parent children, and we parent our parents too. Grown-ups want to make their own decisions, at least some of those decisions. No one likes being coerced into a situation or an act. We need to be sensitive to their sense of shame and embarrassment arising out of unwanted dependence. What is needed is understanding and empathy, not control or sympathy. We are sensitive to what we want for them, but not to what they want for themselves.  

By doing away with parents’ responsibilities in totality (in order to give them so called ‘peace of mind’), we also snatch away their involvement and authority…be it personal, financial or pertaining to the family…making them redundant. There is nothing worse than being consigned to irrelevance.

So, let them be….so they can be themselves…in their space…with their identity and their perspective.

And let’s ask, not assume. For, there is no absolute in life. There is right and there is wrong, and in between are the doors of perception. And perceptions differ.

Photo Credit: Old Couple: wonsung.jang; 4 persons: Dimitri Houtteman (unsplash.com)

“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