Friday, August 26, 2016

Every Girl's Story

I wanted to asphyxiate it, so I concealed it in a distant nook in my cerebrum where oxygen could never reach. But it refused to die, not that day, not in tens of years. It still unabashedly appears in front of my eyes, startlingly explicit and vivid in its detail. I am letting it out today in the hope that it becomes less abrasive once it inhales the air outside the confines of me.

This is the story of a young girl just on the periphery of puberty who was undergoing physical changes in her body as dictated by nature, but was mentally still a child, hazardously turning around the bends of life with no deceleration.That summer this 11-year girl was on a long train journey with parents to visit her aunt. School exams were done and she was carefree, happy, excited and animated. Sweat that ran down her hair and back could not dampen her giggles and motile excitement at watching the green lush fields and the thatched huts nestled in their midst.

It was a passenger train that stopped at every nondescript station to pick up passengers. Our girl ran down the train at every platform and then hopped back in when the train threatened to leave. That particular station, a sea of people was boarding the train and the girl was sandwiched between bodies compressing each other while inching forward. And from somewhere a hand, big and rough, reached for her almost indiscernible breast. Searing tears flooded her eyes as she managed to push forward and reach her berth.

There she sat, silent, wounded and shamed at her own body. She abhorred her skin, her sky blue dress with its little polka dots and the white frills that ran though the center. She blamed herself for wearing the pretty dress, which she ached to tear away and burn at that moment. All her ebullience evaporated as she realized that the journey of life as a woman was not going to be easy. Sparks of revelations started illuminating her young mind, the light of which would guide her life forever. Fawns trotting the woods came to her mind and she wished them to be vigilant of predators and hunters.

Her teething started that summer afternoon in that sluggish train. Little did she know that salvo of incidents later in life would sharpen those fangs and solder the armor she could have to build around her body. A barrier, she would learn to build using her book bag or purse or elbows. She would learn the power of herds, the safety in numbers. She would learn the finer tricks of survival and defense in the world of disrobing stares, ribald tongues and assaulting hands.

But that savage day, through that mortifying ride, she sat deflated and tethered to her berth, no more frolicking around—feigning exhaustion from the summer heat. And her elbows were tirelessly crossed over her chest to hide her womanhood even from herself.

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’
Prompt:‘A Story Yet Unwritten'

Thursday, August 25, 2016


How automatic things will be in future
The thoughts lead me to a dazed stupor
Cabs driving on their own
Pizza delivered by a drone
Humans scarce, we’ll talk to self or computer

Part of Limerick Challenge by MindandLifeMatters

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kitchen Calendar

Lost in the picture on my kitchen calendar
My buoyant mind floats in the pond yonder
What if you and I were those geese?
My unmoored thoughts begin to wander.

Basking in the sprawling lap of nature
Soaking in curative warm sun’s rays
Waiting and looking out for each other
Turning our necks with easy natural grace

I'd follow keenly your step and wade
Wanting nothing but your presence
Enamored with the haven of your gaze
Pure love would be my life’s sole essence

On water, land or the limitless air
We could float away on our whim
And when furry goslings came along
We could teach them how to swim

Adrift in the sounds of my mystical island when
Whistle of pressure cooker mutes the quack
Naked cold of granite bites me hard
And once again reality snatches me back

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

You,my friend

You, my friend make me a child again
Unlocking the silliness I hide in my brain
No dirty jokes, I tell my kids
With eyes firm under the lids
But laughing at your poop jokes, I can’t restrain

Posted for Mind and Life Matters Limerick Challenge

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge #107

she tastes pie and cake
in the darkness of closed eyes
thick street dust bites lips

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Too late for sorry

I want to apologize for my burden of wrong
To your ears where my penitence does belong
I lingered in vain, the gray swiftly took hold
Now my contrition will stifle mute and untold

It is too late now and you don’t even know me
Again, you urge me to call your kids and family
Little amused, little astounded you skeptically stare
As I try to get your attention without stirring scare

Like a stranger, you introduce yourself and ask my name
Oh, the one you gave me, I still carry the same!
I keep on trying to say- I am sorry, father
But you insist ceaselessly that I stay for dinner

Earlier, I failed to muster the courage and word
And feared that it might feel a little too absurd
Should’ve tried harder and sooner to turn myself over
Instead of forever yearning and smoldering for closure

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I always wanted to....

In my humble opinion, the career garb that a person adorns for life is governed by three elements—the time or era one grows up in, the encompassing culture and personal strengths. I grew up in a time when science and math were the spotlight subjects on the stage—the heroes, while language and other arts languished in anonymity as supporting cast. A student who could not excel in math and science was regarded as a heinous derelict. An average student stood at tines of a fork, that lead to either Engineering or Medical Science and I was no exception to the rule. I knew I had to pick one though neither resonated in my heartbeat.

Next element that paints your destiny is the culture you inhale. I grew up in a small town, known for its renowned engineering college and little else. Private coaching centers for admission tests flocked the town like rain mushrooms, all promising to churn up engineers under their tutelage. Engineering was blended in the air like hydrogen in water, utterly inseparable. It entered our nostrils, lodged into our lungs and then pulsated through our veins. I succumbed to that ingredient of my breath and so did most of my friends.

It’s time to ponder about the third element-personal strength and choice.Being academically strong can never hurt anyone. Acing all subjects at school is an accolade, not an impediment by any imagination. Teachers are proud of versatile students and parents earn bragging rights for their lives. In my case, versatility and excelling in a multitude of areas actually muddled my path. I was the only student in my school that passed with distinction in all five subjects-English, Hindi, math, science and social studies. Too many spices brewing inside of me masked my true essence. I was a conundrum to myself, a rudderless ship that just drifted with the wind. In my heart of hearts, I was smitten by English language, enthralled by the rivulets of words, literature and poetry. I was drawn to the written word like a bee to nectar, a moth to light. My parents could not afford books outside of the curriculum, so I took little sips from the small pool of the school library to quench my thirst. I pored over newspapers and devoured every word, without choking or spitting. I read my elder sister’s English textbooks for stories—and sheer ecstasy that brought me. But my love was ambiguous and uncharted, with no lucid path or destination. My parents had humble means but an unwavering faith in education to challenge and mold life to betterment. I and my siblings did not have shiny new shoes every year but we always had the books/notebooks we needed. I knew I had to chart out a career, muster a job which compensated well—and literature, as enticing and soothing as it was, was not a step towards that goal. If I did not fare well in other subjects, I would have married literature,my only suitor,but I had other graces, so I never whispered my love to a soul and doused the flame myself.

An Electronics Engineer, I was destined to be. Years down, I am an IT professional with a respectable job that pays my bills and keeps me afloat. I am grateful to Almighty for the blessings I have and I cannot ask for more. I am still a voracious reader who can chew words in any shape or form—printed ads, descriptions of entrees in restaurant menus, ingredients of packaged foods, Tolstoy’s novels, Keats poetry and Dickinson's essays. But I confess,at times, even after multiple readings of some passages and poetry at controlled, variegated paces, I fail to grasp the finer meaning the author or poet is alluding to. I ache to understand the nuances of Frost’s, Keats’ and Eliot’s poetry. I want to imbibe the hidden meaning of Shakespeare’s lines.

I always wanted to study literature and poetry and I still do. Once the business of life ebbs a little and I have hours to fill, I wish I can take a degree/diploma course. Who knows, I might be grayest student in the class, maybe grayer than the teacher, but I have no inhibitions about that. At least,I have none today, as I bring my closeted ex to light.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Wonder Woman

Hard work, year after year without any respite
Incessant demands of children and husband—
A woman like me might have taken a quick exit
Not her—simply because she isn’t human

Small and slight, stands just five feet tall
But the immense power and strength she packs inside
Could crumble an imposing mammoth wall
Or make an ancient baobab move

Fasting in Ramadan from sunrise to sundown
Rolled a mound of dough into chapattis for us
Helping us with homework without a frown
While fervently shelling peas and chopping onions

Sweaty and exhausted, she waited till all of us ate
Making sure everybody had a bellyful
Then watered down the curry while ladling her plate
Offering her share of mango to the youngest fave

Brimming with such talent, she had to be a conjuror
Wielded prettiest dresses from modest pieces of cloth
Saved her own occasional new clothes for use later
An iota of luxury for self was unacceptable to her

We knew and immediately reached for a thermometer
Her in bed, wasn’t a sight we saw everyday
Taking a nap or resting the back wasn’t her
“I’m fine” she would sweetly lie to convince us

Years down, now, dad lies sick and confined to bed
She is now his mother, wife, sister and lifeline
Tirelessly nursing him with faith and patience undeterred
“Its God’s will”, an aphorism, you can always hear her say

Wonder Woman, they ask? I know for sure, she is one
There might be others I don’t argue or dispute
 But such purity and selflessness is alien to human
God, please always be with the miracle you sent us

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Friday, June 24, 2016

The dripping roof

My parched eyes watch torrents of rain lashing the glass windows
of my chic office on the seventeenth floor
can't hear the tinkling of drops or rumbling of clouds though....
the sound obscured adroitly by engineered acoustics
I shut my eyes and it comes singing to me-
 the sound of dripping roof of my childhood home
the resonant chorus insinuates the clamor inside.
How I want to run amok in the rain outside these walls!
How my expensive suit and svelte heels stifle my desire!
I ache and pine, a bird with clipped wings
captive in a golden cage.

Rain, rain-I pray, do me a favor today
wash away my sagacity and wise adulthood
reverse the metamorphosis I’ve been through
seep into my locked pores
free out the innocent child I was once
lick my tired hands
to once more transform scraps of paper into boats
cleanse my eyes of ambition
 effulge the effervescent joy and energy
dilute my blood now viscous
into frothy ebullience tingling my veins
tousle and crush my silk parasol
soak me head to toe in sky’s curative water instead
drain away the worldly perfumes and essence
and fill my nostrils with pure petrichor.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Titan tears

Eyes on the monumental event of our lives
we were bolstering ourselves for a year—
 my sister’s upcoming wedding in winter
hearts crumbling inside, beneath the cheerful veneer

Our sonorous humble abode will lose its chirp
mom and I talked often about sister's leaving
 in a timbre soaked with limpid pain 
with eyes dampening and chests heaving

Scurrying around to make impeccable arrangements
dad always stood still,unperturbed like Mount Everest
tireless sinister eye on every minuscule detail
nature and human, all joined hands at his behest

He once again asked all to bid farewell with smiles
when my bedecked sister hugged and said goodbye
chided us gently for creating a tearful scene
while still feigning a tiny little twinkle in his eye

Hollow and forlorn that night,I waited for the pink of dawn
stealthily peeped from my blanket as dad walked into our room
he tenderly placed sister's house slippers on the rack
and restored the cap on her bottle of perfume

Lightly traced her picture smiling on the dresser
lines on his forehead deepened as he sat on her bed
caressed her pillow, then quickly raised the back of his hand
to wipe the tear he had just shed.

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’


The ABCs

My feeble father can no more walk the mile
His memory lurks behind his perpetual deceptive smile

He has hidden us in a chasm so deep
and cavernous, where no light ever does peep

A wise worldly man once, now is a hapless child
Easily pleased,angered,intimidated or beguiled

Gazes fleetingly at our old family albums like a kaleidoscope
Amused by colors, sans any warmth, cognizance or hope.

So excited and docile, when I sometimes go over ‘ABCs’
Oh! the accuracy and irony of his words savagely lacerates me.

"K is for knowledge", he stealthily whispers
"Never to amass, make sure always to disperse!"

"D is for daughter, but friend who are you?
Please stay for dinner, won’t you!”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Cafe Karma

Its a WOW post again!

The cafe Karma ceaselessly keeps on churning
custom Lattes uniquely designed for each one.
The ledgers of Karma are precisely accurate
accounting all—credit, debit, debt— one by one

Mother Nature has been speaking for eons
in a language at its comprehensible best
As you sow,so shall you reap, child!
Why surprised when it’s time to harvest?

A mango seed,watered with love and care—
into a tree yielding fruit and shade, it will grow
While a rock I throw at my neighbors house
might boomerang to shatter my own window.

Starving for a piece of stale bread and water
the hopes and faith of the honest seem to perish
as they see tables of those who cut throats
laden with cakes and plums they do not cherish.

Does not look like justice is delivered
promptly on a platter to those who deserve
But,rest easy, the time will undeniably come
when Karma’s fine balances,against evil do swerve.

Expending its light to show them the right path
the sorcerer pauses,but briefly,on the wicked and infamous
But, all souls, do remember, eventually
Sun shines on the righteous.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Empty Seat

“You have to register for a donor kidney right away”,’Dr.Garg at Apollo Hospitals, Delhi had told Priti last month. He had been treating Ajay’s deteriorating kidney condition, which was on a steady decline, for the past one year. The only viable option to save Ajay’s life was a transplant surgery. Priti had immediately signed the necessary documents that put them on a waitlist for donor organs.

Luckily after 3 days of registration, Priti received a call from Apollo, Chennai about a healthy kidney of an accident victim being available. She had to make that journey with Ajay to Chennai right away amidst Rahul’s, their son’s, class XII board exams. A nebula of fear and uncertainty captured her mind but she did not demur at all. She was the rock of the family at this time of tribulation. She placidly announced to Rahul and her mother-in-law that kidney transplant was the most common and statistically the safest organ transplant. Then, she nonchalantly packed without wasting a minute, asked Rahul to study hard and listen to his grandmother in her absence, said a silent prayer in her heart and lead Ajay’s frail arm into the cab for the airport.

Ajay was operated the same evening by a team of the most competent surgeons at Apollo, Chennai. Priti had called her brother, Rohit, from Bangalore for moral support and sundry needs. She submitted her husband to the surgeons with a kiss on the forehead and after three protracted hours of prayer and hope, the doctors assured them that the surgery was successful and Ajay would be able to return to Delhi in two weeks. A week after the surgery, he would be discharged from the hospital, but they would need to stay in Chennai for another week to facilitate checkups.

Ajay was on the conspicuous path to recovery as Priti could notice the color returning to his pale face and light reclaiming his eyes. The doctors were satisfied with his recovery and jocularly assured Priti that her husband was “good as new”. She had rented a small one-bedroom apartment close to the hospital for Ajay to convalesce in for a week before heading back to Delhi. She thanked God every waking second for Ajay’s renewed life. At home front, Rahul reported he was acing his exams and waiting anxiously for them to return back.

Two weeks after surgery had flown by amidst cooking nutritious food for Ajay and taking him for hospital visits. Their tickets for Delhi were booked for the next day afternoon 3PM.Priti had the bags packed, all the medicine prescriptions, and discharge files methodically organized. That night, she had called Rahul to wish him luck for the Physics exam in the morning and then they slept dreaming of the next night in their sweet home.

Suddenly,at 4AM in the morning, she felt Ajay shaking her vigorously. Light sleeper that she was, Priti immediately flicked on the light which revealed Ajay convulsing uncontrollably and sweating profusely. She tried to stop his body’s involuntary movement but the tremors shook her hands off. She frantically called the hospital for an ambulance. Ajay’s convulsions had dwindled a little; Priti assured him that help was on the way. Ajay stared unblinkingly into her eyes and clasped her hand tightly, digging his nails into her skin. The next second, his hand went limp and his eyes turned vacuous. Priti could see life draining away her husband’s body but she could not speak or shriek or admonish it to stay. She desperately pressed and pushed at his heart for any little movement. The ambulance and paramedics arrived and tried restoring his heartbeat, but his soul was already sky bound. One of the young attendants shook his head and held her hand, without looking into her eyes. At that instant the rock in her melted like wax and she broke down into his arms.

Slowly dawn crept up and she could hear the birds chirping welcome. The paramedics had left with Ajay’s body. She cursed the sun for rising, the birds for chirping when her life was at a halt. How could universe be indifferent to her loss to still keep running the well-oiled machinery? She called her brother,Rohit, who hopped on the next flight to Chennai. She instructed him not to call Rahul yet. It was his Physics exam that day and she would not have a bee whisper the news to him that day.

Eventually, she signed the papers necessary for transporting Ajay to Delhi, surprised she could still sign! Rohit would take care of any other arrangements necessary, so she decided to head back to Delhi as planned. Weighed down by a thousand rocks in heart, she somehow made it to the airport and the airplane. The ride to the airport and the check-in happened in a trance of disbelief! The reality of Ajay’s death was fleeting on and off,just not sinking to her bone. Was she really leaving without Ajay? Soon as she took her seat, the emptiness of the seat next to her dug its fangs into her soul! Her eyelids started trickling at the sight of the unoccupied blue upholstery and she was amazed at the oceans she held inside her.

Her heart flew to Rahul;she looked at the seat and played in her mind the scene when she would reveal the news to Rahul. Should she hold him to her chest and start crying? Should she hold his hand tight and quickly say it? Should she first ask him about his exams and then tell some lie about Ajay’s return? Whatever and however she thought, nothing seemed right about the situation at all. She had lost her husband of 20 years and she could not protect her son from this avalanche of grief. As a mother she could be the mountain to shield Rahul from harsh winds, the tigress to attack a predator—but she was powerless against God’s plans. She felt helpless and alone.

As the flight attendant approached Priti with beverages, she requested the girl to sit in the seat next to her saying—“I hate sitting next to an empty seat. Please sit by me and hold me!” The young girl with coiffured hair was bewildered, but one look at the woman’s swollen eyes, she complied.

Looks like I'm going to write every weekend!