Monday, 15 December 2008
Why do I miss you so much?
Is it the warmth, the care or friendship?
Is it the body's need for a loving touch?
Every morning I wake up to dreams of you
And wonder why I am so obsessed.
Do you think of me as much too,
Or is it that you just never confessed?
We are different people, with different needs,
Different parameters and different ways of life;
Different wavelengths at times, and yes,
Different ways of dealing with strife.
But if there was no common ground,
We'd never have come so far.
We'd never understand or care,
Our lives would've gone quite sour.
Love, my dear, hasn't captured us yet,
And though good sense does prevail,
Do not my dreams of you by me,
Make it all seem so worthwhile?
Saturday, 13 December 2008
I breathe a strange feeling
That fills me with foreboding --
A stagnant smell is in the air,
It gives the fresh fish a scare;
And every bait just goes waste,
My soul somewhere sits in a daze.
My body hurts,
With stress it flirts,
A knot in the stomach,
A weight on the brain,
No, there's no luck
Life's just so plain.
Lives around me grow,
Relations snap, pace quickens,
We try to go with the flow;
But somtimes a matter thickens,
And you wish you could get up and walk
away from the monotony and the trade talk.
Somewhere, a heart beats with you
Wishing you would know too.
Like hills in a child's painting,
We live our lives, oscillating, vacillating.
A silent music play in the head,
I'm looking for disappeared friends.
Unclear, unshaped, unsaid,
Wells up as tears in the eyes.
There was someone once,
who wiped those tears away,
And asked me to smile.
That face, that smile, that hand,
But the tear stains are yet around.
There is no loneliness, perhaps,
But a stagnancy
that creates a bog in life.
Every desire, every wish,
Used to begin and end with you.
Now you are a straying memory
That I force myself to ignore.
More pressing concerns of daily life --
the monotony, the humdrum, the chores --
Engage our minds wistfully
And we continue ignoring our hearts....
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Sunday, 7 December 2008
"Keep on writing", someone had said.
I needed to achieve perfection,
But I gave up too easily.
Where did all my passion go?
I need to set my life straight.
Need to write again, and better.
Can I reproduce my poignancy?
Will I be able to write well again?
Imagination, compact-ness, seem to have died.
I need to prod my grey cells further.
I shall write well again.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
വാക്കുകള് കൊണ്ടൊരു മാല ചാര്ത്തി
നിന്നെ പൂജിച്ചു വെയ്ക്കാന് ആശ തോന്നി,
കനവിന്റെ പൂത്തിരി കനലുകള് കൊണ്ടൊരു
പൂക്കളം വരയ്ക്കാന് മനസ്സു വന്നു.
ആകാശത്തിലെ താരകന്ഗള് പെറുക്കി
നിന്റെ ചിത്രം വരകുവാന് തോന്നുന്നിതാ,
സാഗരതീരത്തില് ശംഖുകള് കൊണ്ടൊരു
മണി്മഞ്ജല് പണിയാന് കൊതിയാകുന്നു.
സ്വപ്നങ്ങള് കാണുമ്പോള് നീയതില് അതിഥിയായ്
എന്നും വരെണമെന്ന പ്രാര്ത്ഥനയായ്
ക്ഷേത്രനടയില് നിന്നെയും ഓര്ത്തു ഞാന്
കണ്ണന്റെ മുന്പില് ചെന്നു നിന്നു.
ആശകള് പെരുക്കുന്ന ലോലമാം മാനസം
കണ്ടെന്റെ കണ്ണന് ചിരിച്ചു പോയി,
സാരമില്ല സഖിയെ, നിന് സന്തോഷം എന് ഭാരം
എന്ന് കള്ളന് കാതില് പതിയെ ചൊല്ലി ഓടി.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
The sea sings its song of solitude.
And close by,
A heart tries to match its beats.
The rocks wither away in silence,
Washed by the raving waves.
With head in the hands,
Someone tries to restrain a sob.
Like shells scattered on the sands,
Tears bejewel some faces.
Hair, like pirate ships on rage,
Flies about in wild disarray.
The sea turns calm with lunar respite.
Some bosoms, like the shores,
Pregnant with unknown pain.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
I try not to look away; I give out no sign
That the love which held us together for years
Has suddenly disappeared like the mist clears.
I never realised, am sure nor did you,
That like ancient ink, love could fade too.
When we sang those songs of togetherness, long ago,
I never thought we could be separate so.
Mind you, it is no fault of you or me,
It is just a matter of destiny.
We over-worked our charms, you see,
We forgot to water the plant regularly.
And as we slide out of our slimy web,
We do not even match our step,
So I move fast, you move faster,
And our love goes frigid, like some plaster.
Love, old love, apologies.
We can no longer sing the same melodies.
Let us move away, in peace and calm,
Knowing we can no longer be in the same swarm.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Turn, turn and turn.
Perfectionism doesn't stand.
It just happened, don't worry.
A little cheating is ok.
We are not doing anything wrong.
We are not in love;
but feelings are sometimes overpowering.
You eat, I eat.
The keys of the same bunch rattle together.
Strings draw the kites up into the sky.
We like each other, let's not deceive our hearts.
Blood's always red, thicker than water.
Nerves connect, dissect. Reflex action.
Hearts are pure, everything can be forgiven.
There's nothing to forgive, actually.
Life goes on.
One small memory, sweet and sharp.
You lived, I lived.
Monday, 25 August 2008
A journey into the depths of faith within you.
Nothing to do with the external traversal.
Anu did not don the pretence of that long journey. No, she wasn't going to any shrine or temple. Just visiting her homeland after a long long time. A time long as the separation of the atma from the Paramatma, perhaps.
She tried to equate her journey to the pilgrimage for the umpteenth time. Why am I becoming so philosophical, she asked herself, again, for the umpteenth time. Of course this just had to happen. A visit back home after 30 long years was no joke.
If I had been as alienated from my roots as the other Malayalis in the North, it would have been just a tedious trip to a place you don't relate to, just for the sake of performing duties, or as a service to the ageing parents/ grandparents. But she was always the scary true-blue Keralite. Mouths the language like she was in the state all her life, writes in the language, and knows so much about Kerala. So unlike her fellow north-brought up 'Mallu's, many of who could not even say 'Malayalam' properly. Who spoke with an accent, "Enikku Malayalam kurachu kurachu ariyam (I know a little Malayalam)."
I wanted to be like them at a point of time. I wished my mother was not so strictly Keralite. I hoped I would not meet any more Malayalis so that I would gradually forget the language. But that never happened. She kept meeting Mallus from Kerala who longed to find someone who could converse freely in the language, and were always delighted to be with her. She could not escape them, wherever she went. Her friends called her the Mallu Magnet.
Now she realised what God had been doing to her. Guiding her to her real roots. Where she should be. Like the streams that should empty into the river and the river into the ocean, she should end at her journey at the soil, the waters of her homeland. Her long-lost homeland. The homeland she ever ignored, avoided.
It wasn't her fault. She was born in Mumbai, then Bombay, and shifted to Pune for studies and work. She had never been outside Maharashtra except for 15-day visit to her hometown of Thrissur once in every five years. Then she got married. To another 'Mallu' settled in Mumbai, Rohit Menon. Her husband was so disconnected with Kerala that in their married life of 25 years, they never even talked of going to Kerala. Whenever she mentioned it in passing, he'd be annoyed. "Don't try your Malluism on me, Anu", he'd say. "I have no connections with that place except that my grandparents grew up there. For God's sake, even my parents have nothing to do with that communist land anymore!" Anu never bothered to carry the argument further. She wasn't very keen either.
Till when her younger child, Trisha, 7, once asked her a simple question in her usual language of English. Anu was brushing Trisha's hair after her evening bath.
"Mamma, why don't we speak Malyalam like Sangeetha does? She says it's bad if we are from Kerala and we can't speak Malyalam."
"O baby, that's ok. We are not from Kerala anyway, mamma's born and brought up in Maharashtra, and so is dada."
"But mamma, we cannot be Marathis, mamma. Sonu says anybody belongs to the place where their ancestors are from. And she says ancestors means our parents' parents' parents. So we are Malyalis no?"
"What do you kids do in school, huh? Discuss ancestral issues? Stop this rubbish and complete your homework."
But that night as she lay beside Rohit, an old Malayalam song suddenly came to her mind. Maamalakalk appurathu, marathaka pattuduthu malayalam ennoru naadundu, kochu... It was her father's favourite song and he listened to it on his old tape recorder even the day before he died. There is a land of Malayalam across the beautiful hills, that wears an emerald sari... Was it her land? Did she belong there?
When Raj Thackeray kicked up a row about Maharashtrians and outsiders, some of her 'outsider' friends had launched into an argument whether he was right or not. Did Mumbai make them, or did the people make Mumbai? She had felt very strange then. An urgent need to run towards the south. But Rohit showed no tension. He proudly proclaimed in their company's annual party, "I was born and brought up here. I am a Mumbaikar. I do not know Kerala; but I can take you to any corner of Maharashtra without hesitation." She could not share that sentiment, but smiled anyway.
Her children had many 'Mallu' friends, and they picked up some words very typical of Kerala. Da, pinne, poda, patti, amma, chetta, maashe, etc. She was surprised. But she noticed that they did not use it with her or Rohit. Trisha would mouth them unwittingly at times, and Rohit would look at me with critical eyes; but Anoop was very careful. She noticed that he had learnt many words and phrases, and heard them using to his friends on the phone. Later she discovered that his girlfriend was his motivation. But anyway, he had learnt because he wanted to. Trisha just picked up from her friends and her brother.
She felt so out of touch with herself. One night, Rohit was in Nagpur on an official tour, and she lay on the bed all alone, without his body greedy for hers. She thought of her self. What have I become? Just another 'homemaker'. A fashionable word for the same old job. She was a qualified lab technician, but she wouldn't work because Rohit adored her as a housewife. "You cook so damn well. You know Anu, Sumit's wife can't even make omelettes without burning them. He cooks at home, can you believe it? Whatever you say about women's emancipation and all that shit, you can't cook? That's ridiculous. What did you do all your life?"
Wasn't it the same me who smiled at that exclamation who once slapped a guy in the college for saying that his mother 'did nothing, just sat at home'. Wasn't it the same Anu who broke up with a gem of a boyfriend because he refused to learn to cook? Where did all that idealism go? What happened to the young energetic girl who knew a lot about the world, talked beyond her age, and had great ideas for society?
She sat up straight. No. I cannot be so servile to Rohit. I have to start using my own brains. I am not being the smug housewife. I have to shake it off me.
She started reading again. Unnoticed by Rohit, she read Shashi Deshpande and Amrita Pritam, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre, Shakespeare and Milton. She started going online and joined a couple of forums on Women's NGOs. She actively participated in forum discussions. Finally, she met Ananth.
He ran an NGO in Pune that worked for the working women facing domestic violence. She got highly involved with the work of 'Saccha Ghar', and also with Ananth. He was a Malayali who never forgot his roots. He could read and write Malayalam, and also wrote articles for Matrubhumi and some Malayalam magazines. She started spending more and more time out of home. Rohit started noticing this. But he never questioned her. The ridge between them widened each day, and they pretended not to notice. His tours increased, the nights they spent away from each other became more.
When Anu started first met Ananth after an online discussion, she already had enough free time, two teenage kids who were happy not to have a full-time at-home mother, a perpetually touring husband, and a two-wheeler at her disposal. Both of them were already quite impressed by each other in the virtual world, and the meeting only strengthened the impression. After a long time, she had someone to talk about Kerala, feminism, and life. Rohit had never been an intellectual partner, but then she had never realised her need for intellectual stimulation. Within three months' time she was sleeping with him too.
One night, Anu did not come back home. She was at Ananth's place, and Rohit, who was expected to return from a tour the next evening, came back to find the house lady-less. He called her mobile—switched off. The next morning she walked into the house to find Rohit really angry.
"Where were you all night?"
Anu hadn't expected him home. She fumbled for a credible answer.
"I told the kids..."
"Fuck the kids! Did you tell me? Who are you answerable to?"
Anu was enraged.
"Mind your words, Rohit. And I am not answerable to anyone!"
"Oh, that so? Then you may leave my house. I pay for the people here."
"Does that mean you have bought us?"
The voices were raised. Trisha was home, and she peeped out from her room.
"Mind what you are saying. If I leave you..."
"The hell it will make any difference. I can sustain myself, and my kids too! Thanks for feeding us all these years!"
Both Rohit and Trisha seemed a little taken aback. She turned to Trisha, "Do you want to come with me or stay back here with this fool?"
Trisha didn't know what to say. She just withdrew into her room and locked the door. Probably she picked up the phone to call up her brother.
As Rohit watched in shocked silence, Anu picked up some of her clothes, books and purse and started walking out.
"Is your man waiting for you outside, you bitch?"
Anu gave him a killing look. "He doesn't have to. He knows I can come on my own. I am a woman, no baby."
And she walked away.
Rohit looked perplexed. He did not understand those cryptic last words.
She went to Ananth's place and told him all that happened. He smiled.
"Now what? Are we live-in partners? I'm game."
"No. Before we start that, I have some things to do. A divorce to take. And then a purification."
Ananth had a questioning look.
"I'll tell you what I have in mind. Let's have food first. I'm damn hungry!"
She had decided on the way to Ananth's place what to do with her life now. She'd take a divorce first. If Rohit refuses a mutual divorce, she'll fight for one on the basis that she has fallen in love with Ananth. And that she can't live with Rohit anymore. The children could be a problem. They have the right to decide since both are above 18. Maybe there won't be a 'for the children stay together' jazz in this age. That should or out fine. Trisha may understand her, Anoop may not. Or neither might. Or, best, both would. They could stay with her and Ananth, or with Rohit. Let them have their choice. Anoop has a girlfriend, Trisha has a boyfriend. They'll get over the divorce soon enough. Life's so much easier with the true partner.
The next thing was a visit to Kerala. Meet the old relatives, go around old homes, write about them, maybe stay there for some months, and feel like a Malayali....
And that is how she finally headed to Kerala. With Ananth. She went to Thrissur, her native place, visited all her aunts and uncles, who were in fact happy to hear that 'the Kerala hating son-in-law' was finally off her.
It wasn't easy though.
Anoop, now an earning software engineer, decided to stay on his own with his girlfriend whom he's marrying soon, while Trisha wanted to stay with Anu. She also wanted to go to Delhi to do her Masters in Film Making.
My kids have grown up, Anu thought. Now I can afford to break free. Ananth came at the right time.
Her pilgrimage made complete sense now.
She was going back to cleanse herself of her subservience to an indifferent husband. She was going back to remove the sin of ignoring her motherland from within her, and reviving her love for Kerala. She was going with someone who identified with her devotion to the land. She had reached the purpose of her life.
Ananth and she started a Root Awareness for Keralites group when they returned three months later. She had the support of several of her relatives settled in Pune, whom she never knew. The group taught Malayalam, spoken as well as reading and writing, and held open forums and seminars on Kerala culture, traditions and Arts. They grew through the years.
Once Trisha returned from Delhi, she too became active in it, making short movies for the group.
Anoop came along when he got time, though he still seemed to resist being with Ananth.
Ananth, who gradually gave the entire management of RAK to Anu was always there when needed. His Sacha Ghar gained power with the Domestic Violence Act in place.
And, God gave them more challenges, but for Anu Kerala always remained the holy land. Her pilgrimage centre which she never missed now. Her purpose on earth was achieved. She was ready for eternal life now.
Monday, 18 August 2008
Early in the morning,
You wake up from a nightmare
And you know something
Will go wrong with you today.
Either an embarrassment at the workplace,
Or a tiff with a friend,
Or a road accident,
Some close relative may die:
Imaginations grow ghastlier every moment,
And something forces you to be wary.
Yet, that which you'd
been waiting for happens;
You discover your best friend's been cheating on you,
(You knew since the last few months
She was being furtive, but still...)
And you want to break down into hapless cries.
You don't want to ask why it happened
(it was to happen, after all)
But you want to know how it happened --
How you lost your dear friend,
And how she lost you.
when moss and lichen gather,
And its dank, deep smell
Happily keep you away,
You know there's something wrong somewhere.
Keeping away from it
Only deepens your disgust
You do not want to rake it up.
That is the problem.
A jungle of Devonian plants develop,
And if you care to notice,
It now has become so awesome
That you do not dare to destroy it.
You have reached the depths of your mind,
Away from the prejudicial biases
of the hypocrtical human world.
Tapers all around you.
A glowing fire-ball right above you.
You are blinded by the light,
hounded by the heat.
A sharp wind.
Petering out smoke.
Smell of melting wax,
You now have only yourself for company.
Monday, 4 August 2008
When the heart speaks its tongue;
I want you by me,
When the body cries out its desires.
I cannot ask for your heart,
I cannot ask for your life,
But I know I can, and so will ask for your company.
When the sun rose last morning,
You were by me, sleeping like a baby;
When the moon smiled benignly
He had the same look like you as you kissed me.
I do not ask why it cannot be so forever,
But hold me tight, baby, as long as you can.
We are no Romeo Juliet,
We are no Troilus Cressida,
But we can be like the sun and sunflower…
Do not leave me alone,
Do not turn away from me,
Let us be like this, together
As long as we can…
‘You have found your love,
You have found your delight.’
The stars cried from the skies,
‘You can close your eyes,
You can now rejoice.’
I never knew it would be so much pleasure
To love someone and live,
I now believe I’d’ve considered you a treasure
If you’d come later in my life.
There were times when I have cried
Out of pure exasperation and loneliness,
And I’ve wished someone around.
There were times when I’ve wanted
People to give me some space,
And I’ve cursed the world a lot.
Now the times are different;
I want nothing from no one anyway,
All I ask is from the Lord,
That He never take You away.
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Thoughts stir the nerves,
Passion stirs thoughts,
Tension stirs muscles,
The hands stop trembling,
Only to resume later.
Monday, 28 July 2008
You made me a butterfly.
Colours made the difference.
I was an eagle.
You made me a red-chested robin.
Chirpiness made the difference.
I was a shade of brown.
You made me red.
A tint of yellow, I guess, made the difference.
I was a withering flower.
You made me blossom.
A little water, some manure--love, affection galore.
I was a mourning soul.
You helped me dry my tears.
I was a lost entity.
You helped me regain my self.
I am the life,
YOU are the essence.
Friday, 18 July 2008
Say the worldy wise--
Every day new methods of coping
with stress, we devise.
Winds blow on your faces,
And we seek shelter behind dupattas;
Every day of life we struggle
To overcome invisible sattas.
Birds chirp around on a rainy day
And the weather's quite appealing;
We sit and muse on everyday thoughts--
It adds a touch of healing.
Fingers ache to jot a few lines.
The heart overflows with emotions,
The eyes and throat choke with words
And feelings that crave for expression.
A drop of tear, a line or two,
And everything unburdens;
Back to life we turn around,
With the past behind the curtains.
Hope ran around me.
Love, as the Sun,
Hid behind the clouds.
The tender breeze of success
Whizzed past my cheeks in play.
Savouring the moments of relief,
quiet and thoughtless.
the brooding stillness resumes.
Monday, 14 July 2008
enough and yet nothing...
heaps of memories, but
nothing to hold on to...
Phases by phases, stages by
stages, life moves on...
a sojourn of the soul in
the mortal world, where
nothing is permanent...
Time to grow philosophical.
Time to play the blame game--
the Fate, the Gods, the
Society, Parents, Friends, the
Time to consider how fickle
everything in life is.
Time to shed a few tears
on your losses.
Time to prepare oneself
Prayer -- God! give me the
strength to live through life;
determination to not give up.
Capacity to stand up against
ability to smile at everything.
Do not deny me experiences--
harsh or good; but help me
Mistakes pile up like dust
on an abandoned bookshelf.
Experiments of trial and error
become experiences and memories.
Some rankle during ruminations.
Whom to blame? And why?
Tears well up in the eyes.
A sob chokes itself in the
throat. A shiver runs through
the spine. And lips struggle
to smile through it all.
Monday, 7 July 2008
You grew like the tender green grass.
And, as a doe,
my emotions fed upon you.
Like cobras unleashed from the sapera's baskets,
Crawl all over the slopes of your face.
You are aroused.
Two plants drawing from the same soil-
Poison ivy, weeds, cactus...
We hurt each other,
Create gaps and wrinkles,
And smoothe away.
are in the trap of love.
And a floating log-
You and I--the floating We.
Wishing to sink
Or be restored?
No, we have no dreams,
Carried away by the current ot its shores.
Hugs us back.
are formed and destroyed.
There are no regrets.
But, only if...
No, let us not go into that.
Keeping a straight face helps.
Emotions are washed away.
Dreams waiting to be dreamed,
Long journeys to make,
Depths to be traversed...
Friday, 25 April 2008
Is a process in itself.
First, your irritation for it,
Which develops into a frustration.
Next, trying to figure out
the black sheep of affections.
In the beginning,
You only notice the injustice of the circumstance.
You see your stains,
Accepting which, is a Herculean task.
From the annals of memory,
dig out facts and truth,
to support it.
to feel guilty, self- pity.
Then someone comes,
And shakes you up:
and you come around
From self- centredness to self- awareness.
You cannot change the world.
Nor the people,
nor the circumstances.
Let’s rest the matter
And get on with life,
Coming to terms with an issue
Is a process in itself.
Like the several- headed Anantha,
With one look in the eye.
Even before my nerves signal weariness,
my eyes droop,
and my head becomes heavy.
All I can do
shut the eyes,
and resting the head on the pillow,
Go to sleep.
Both of them listen to no one else
but that strange overwhelming sensation,
which comes upon you
like a cat.
It is the true escape
from the prowling felines
and sneaky monsters
of everyday life.
Let the Snake of Sleep
crawl upon you
and drag you deep into it.
These two words
have lots in common.
And yet they are so different…
Dreams may come true.
Fantasies never can.
The otherwise, is
Illustrated and orchestrated by the fairy- tales,
Drummed into the ears of children
from age three.
You grow up
that they are,
merely fairy tales.
Maybe, creating your own world
Is a threat.
Crossing the material limits,
The fusion of the Conscious and the Unconscious,
The Known and the Unknown,
The Heart and the Mind,
Is too much of a paradox.
With closed eyes,
you can’t let your heart wander.
It may go too far… Too out of control…
Friday, 28 March 2008
rings in my mind like
the echo of silence
along the valleys.
In the resonances
of its penetrating voice,
I drive into myself,
deeper and deeper.
Is it calm?
Is it eerie?
or, is it a vacuum?
Deep within me,
fragments of unvoiced thoughts.
I do not know
how to reconstruct them.
I do not know their shapes.
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
After a Ramanic exile,
for just two weeks
of pleasant acquaintance.
Years that have gone by
Show as wrinkles
On people’s faces.
Scores of faces—few
That I remember, None distinctly,
Some that have been revived in the memory
hundreds that have been heard of—
A jungle of faces that know me,
but whom I know nothing about.
The land that smells different:
Sometimes the common stench,
Sometimes a unique fragrance,
And lots to remember
for a long time hence.
The people that seem familiar—
The wavy black hair,
Oily dark faces,
Thick moustaches, and
The routines that assume
a fascinating surprise—
The temple- visits,
The bus travels,
The tea- shop rendezvous
and playtime blues.
The attire that pleases
the eyes forever—
The kasavu saree,
The gold, the bangles,
and the pattu- pavadas.
One by one,
they recede from memory,
As one goes back to one’s land of settlement.
And once again,
and The tradition
That you grew up seeing...
Monday, 24 March 2008
Of arms coiling around my bosom,
With the tenderness of love
Wrapping me in raptures.
Suddenly, the dream shifts
to coiling snakes round trees
And blankets wrapping
the victims of fire.
With the tides of those dreams,
I turned and shifted in sleep,
And woke up,
More in chaos than ever,
Without realizing the reasons.
Monday, 28 January 2008
That wait for waves,
I wait for the turbulence of life.
The calmness of the waters,
The inadequacy of tidal waves,
The brooding silence of the sea
Drives me crazy.
Let the sea rise,
And unleash anger on the sands—
I care not for the consequences.
Just give me a break
from the monotonous quietitude.
As the quiet oyster
On the sea bed,
I wait for the grain of sand.
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Good and Bad,
Moral and Profligate,
Can divisions be so easy
as using these words in sentences?
In the intimacy of thought and action,
Can they be separated as individual entities
Questions perplex me,
As they will everyone,
And the world goes to sleep
Without answers but pregnant with perplexities.