Category Archives: Love

We didn’t start the fire

Don’t look so scared my dear friend
Yes I know the forest is on fire
I’ve flown above the burning trees
The flames are reaching higher and higher
Whole families have died or have fled
Your kind and mine and many others
Where its dry it’s flaming orange with no respite
In the surrounding green , the smoke smothers.

But I know that if you go along this way
As fast as your agile legs can run
You can get to the place where its safe
But rest not till the day is done.
There , when you reach the river’s edge
You’ll find others in the cool glades
The crowd is surging in that verdant space
There is togetherness and the comfort of shades.

Here, where they’ve planted strange new trees
That are fast to grow , with money to make
It’s as likely to burn up furious and fast
Leaving a parched land in its wake.
In yonder part of this forest, where I’ll guide you with care
This land is as it always was
With trees and creepers, weeds and flowers
Cool and fragrant and with dew on the grass.

So come along, let’s waste no time
Let’s hurry before the fire gets here
With its lashing, devouring , fiery tongue
And looming presence, stoking fear.
We’ll dance together in that circle of love
You’ll scamper around and I’ll spread my wings
We’ll all stay together and find our space
Listening to the breeze as through the trees

Picture credit: Dr. Vivek Banerjee , my Facebook friend


Posted by on February 18, 2020 in Community, Love, Photography, Poetry


Tags: , , , ,

The stream of love

All we need is a spark of imagination
That’ll fan into a raging flame
That devours the devils of hate
Who struggle intently our hearts to maim .

All we need to soothe our souls will be
The remembrance of a shared melody
To reclaim that timeless song of love
From the surrounding cacophony.

All we need are some sprightly showers
Of bubbling smiles and outstretched hands
That awaken springs deep down below
And make gurgling streams in the desert sands


Tags: , ,

Who knows?

“Who knows ? Perhaps, the same bird
Echoed through both of us
Yesterday, separate, in the evening.”

-Raina Maria Rilke

Who knows? Perhaps, the same wind
Rustled through our branches
Sending shivers through our being.

Who knows? Perhaps, the dew that fell
Glistened on your dreams and mine
As we slept, all night through.

Who knows? Perhaps this morning’s light
Made our separate memories shine
With a sense of deja-vu


P.S.Image courtsey the Internet

1 Comment

Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Love, Poetry


Tags: , ,


There are questions
I will not ask
Though I know
Well, the answers.
There are waters
I will not tread
Though I know
Just how to swim.

There are songs
I cannot sing
Though the heart
Hums its desires
There are are wines
I will not sip
From the goblets
Filled to the brim.

There is an air
I cannot breathe
Though good
For my jaded self
There are places
Where I cannot linger
In the nooks of
The grassy dell

There are rainbows
I will not reach for
There are summits
I cannot climb
There are textures
I will not touch
And scents
I dare not smell.

There are streams
I will not surf through
And pebbles
I cannot pick
There are roads
I will not ride on
Though I’m sure
Of the winding way.

There are days
Robbed of rest
And nights
Devoid of dreams
But there’s a life
I will not lust for
It’s a heaven
Where I cannot stay.


Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Dreams, Love, Poetry


To my Teacher, with love

This is a re-post of an earlier blog I had posted on the occasion of Teacher’s Day, on my old blog Rediff blog. I would like to share it with my new friends on WordPress.

I owe most of what I am , the better part of me that is, to wonderful people like Mother Gabrielle, graced our lives with their affections, guidance and encouragement .

” Where do I begin to tell the story of the love she brought to us? Of how she moulded our characters and of how her spirit and joy for life ignited that tiny spark in our student hearts, that even now lights up our darkest hours? Where do I start?

We had to attend morning assembly everyday and without fail, we had to repeat the pledge “India is my country; all Indians are my brothers and sisters; I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.”

Mother Gabrielle was a European nun belonging to the Order of the Apostolic Carmel, who had chosen to spend her adult life in India and to spread the light of education, in its truest sense. She was one of those who rendered real meaning to the word education.

I can still breathe in the comforting smell of her habit, as she hugged us with a warmth that was as unconditional as it was real. Some of the students , I’ve heard her say, belonged to the second generation who had gone through her hands. The vast majority of students in that christian ,convent school, were hindus. At the end of schooling , they remained as hindu, as at the beginning. The christian students had catechism lessons and the rest of had the moral science period . Even Raman and Manikkam, who cleaned the school toilets, continued to worship God in the manner they were used to. There was never any coercion or conversion.

Most of us , though , loved visiting the small chapel . There was a little grotto outside it, with the statue of Mother Mary holding Baby Jesus in her arms. On days when I travel down memory lane , my mind can still evoke the smell of the fresh flowers which lay scattered around her feet . We prayed to St. Anthony and lit candles before his statue, if we had misplaced something. He was the patron saint, who , it was believed, could trace them back. And Jesus , nailed to the cross , behind the altar, with the crown of thorns , had brought tears to my eyes. I loved the chime of the angelus bell, at noon , which was rung to spread goodwill amongst the people on the earth .

We learnt of forgiveness, of putting the others before oneself, the importance of involvement with society, the need to lend a helping hand, to reach out, to love. We learnt of the beautiful things that dot our everyday lives. We learnt to appreciate music , singing along with her , in the parlour , during the music period, she sitting there on a stool in front of the piano, at the side of which there was a marble bust of Beethoven, her fingers moving over the piano keys, her eyes half closed, thoroughly enjoying the mood. We learnt of sharing , collecting old clothes from time to time , for distribution amongst the poor. The whole school queued up to receive one small jamboo fruit each , every season, which she handed out from a huge gunny sack filled with the pinkish white fruit. None of us found it a matter of amusement. We accepted that act of sharing with all the seriousness in our young lives.

Mother Gabrielle would come to the assembly each day, armed with some nugget drawn from a book she had read, or some conversation she had had with someone, or something she had witnessed. To this day I remember that weaver-birds nest that had fallen off from the tree and which she had brought along to the assembly to teach us about natures marvels.

All of us had to spend fifteen minutes after school, to sweep the floor of our respective classrooms, arrange the desks and benches in straight rows and dust the furniture. The sanitation monitors of the school, gave us marks for that, which was displayed on a notice board every morning, which had the words Cleanliness is next to Godliness , inscribed on it. At the end of the term , the class who scored the highest, got a prize.” A broom in the hands of a young girl is like a sceptre in the hands of a queen”, Mother Gabrielle would quote. For a long time , I didn’t know the meaning of the word sceptre, never bothered to find out. When I did, eventually, I was grown up and then remembering her words , was foolish enough to think ,that that was a downright anti- feminist thing to say, something that sought to justify all the monotonous , tedious jobs being assigned to women. Of course when the cobwebs cleared, I realised that what she meant to emphasize was the dignity of labour . I also became aware of how important it was to “keep ones head on one’s shoulders”, as she would often insist.

There is a scene in that superb Hollywood movie, Mr. Hollands Opus, starring Richard Dreyfuss, when several batches of his old students, gather to pay tribute to their music teacher , when he leaves school. Every time , I see it, my eyes grow moist in that scene, where one of his students, tells him,” there is not one life here , you havent touched, we are your notes and your symphony.” I cant remember the exact words, only the feelings that were emoted. Writing this, I know why I was so moved. For me, Mr. Holland was Mother Gabrielle and what I was feeling was unexpressed gratitude.

P.S: My friend Dilip Krishnan ( so kindly sent me the full text of what Mr. Holland’s student said. Here it is:

Thus spoke the Governor of Oregon, a lady, who also was a former student of Mr. Holland. “Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched and each one of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of you opus and we are the music of your life”.


Posted by on September 4, 2011 in inspiration, Love


Tags: ,

An infidel’s prayer

Born into a muslim family , “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali , is not a book I should’ve been reading in the month of Ramadaan. And definitely not the kind of book I should be reading on the train while coming to be with my old mother , who has had a recent surgery for a fracture on her femur. I should be praying to Allah for her speedy recovery , as would be recommended by the religion I am supposed to espouse. And yet , I was hooked on to her tale , following her through Somalia , to Saudi Arabia, to Ethiopia and Kenya and Holland. I was wonderstruck at her resilience, her uncompromising spirit . The range of experiences and suffering she had gone through left me in a constant state of curiosity ..what came next..what is there on the next page? How did she come to terms with her tribal/religious upbringing when the questions started tormenting her…questions regarding a compassionate God, who as per the book would punish us with the everlasting fires of hell, for our misdemeanors. Did she come to terms with it at all?

Imagine a little girl who had even undergone genital mutilation to supposedly preserve her “purity” and who had had no trouble abiding by the dictats of her community, growing up in Africa through the years when the different states were in a state of war torn anarchy and from there fighting her destiny all on her own to become a Member of Parliament in the Dutch Government , surviving a death threat and still standing tall and unbent .

But I had just about reached the chapter where she was about to be enrolled in one of the prestigious universities in Holland , where she had sought asylum, in an attempt to escape from a marriage her father had made her undergo, of course which was to be in her best interests, according to the paternalistic mores. I had gone off to sleep and had to get down at my hometown Kannur, early next morning. The book was left behind , I think , for I’ve been trying to locate it in amongst my clothes and stuff and it seems to have disappeared.

I’d bought “Infidel” and Arun Shourie’s book , “Does he know a Mother’s heart?” after many, many , many months of not stepping into a bookshop. I had actually been thrilled to be holding two brand new books in my hand. The smell of new print , the crisp paper, the prospect of turning through the pages to delve into the personal accounts of intimate journeys through the minds and spirit of two , whose circumstances in life was intense enough to shake loose the bedrock of faith . to gauge and assess one’s own churnings in the light of the meanings of life that they had discovered for themselves, was an invitation, I could hardly resist, to say the least.

I started with Arun Shourie’s book, his personal memoirs about his relationship with Faith and the denial of it through the journey of bringing up his only son who is affected with cerebral palsy. and I couldn’t finish it. Pages and pages of it were just quotes from the Koran and the Bible , which would ,to any questioning human being , raise doubts about the compassion and love of the God we are supposed to worship, make us wonder at Hell and the unforgiving nature of the Master of the Universe, when he assigns suffering to us and eventually confine us to the flames to be roasted continuously without ever having any reprieve. Shourie is supposed to go on with his questioning with the established ritualistic Hindu religion as well, but I didn’t get there. The problem was , I think, that for someone who has had issues with religions where questioning is not allowed, Shourie’s exposition was a dull repetition . He was meandering again and again through the same material.
I have always wondered, is communication more difficult for men than women? Not about the knowledge, not about the intellectual range, not about the reasoning part or logic…but something remains missing in the emotional content which would make writings of such a personal dimension relatable to the reader. Is it because men are loathe to reveal what they actually “feel”. Is it that they cannot find the words to express them or is it that doing so is a sign of exhibitionism in their perspective? Or may be men can indeed relate to it and women cannot. Or may be they can and it is just me who has a problem. Whatever. ……although both books are in the same genre, Arun Shourie’s narrative did not touch my heart the way Ayaan Hirshi Ali’s did. And now may be I will not be able to finish reading her tale as well, for a while.

My mother is in pain. She is in denial. She is depressed. Old age is trying, very trying, particularly if one hasn’t learnt to let go of attachments, of being in control. My mother is a namaazi. She has fasted during Ramadaan for the most part of her eighty plus years. She has abiding faith in the Holy book and in Allah’s compassion. None of which seem to be helping her through her suffering now. The standard rhetoric is of course that God(by whatever appellation) keeps testing us. Unless you can blindly, sedatedly, unreasoningly believe that, the question will continue nagging you….why would anyone want to do that, untiringly through all the “Time” that there was ,is and is going to be.? “Surrender” to a Power who can never be satisfied with the incessant “testing” of it’s own powers ?

I’ll probably burn in Hell and yet … … I cannot deny the feeling of infinite love that fills me in moments of silence. And I’m okay with appealing to that entity of Abundant Love to help relieve her insecurities , her fear of the unknown , which makes her cling on so desperately to her own image of physical strength and endurance and will power. I pray that she accepts the fact that it is okay to be vulnerable , to be weak , to be dependent. I pray that her mind may be free from the chatter and noise in which we find affirmation of our Self. I pray that she is able to surrender, really surrender .


Tags: , , , , , ,

Dreaming through the twilight

That dream returns
To my eyes wide open
Memories churn
From aeons ago

Across the meadows
Through fences broken
Our scampering feet
Stop where the waters flow

Holding hands
We wait for a token
From the ripples
And the molten sun

And then we dive
Our past forgotten
And a story ends
Where it had begun.


Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Dreams, Love, Nostalgia, Poetry


Tags: , ,

The forgotten tune

Back in time
Before I cried
For that which
I thought was mine

There was a child
Whose cord was tied
To the soul
Of the beauteous Divine.

Long ago
When I didn’t know
Of a heaven above
Or a hell below

Soul or spirit
Shore or tide
There were no limits
To matter or mind.

Light as gossamer
Bright as light
Like a shimmering stream
On a moonlit night

Soft music that bound
Yet set me free
To dwell in the dewdrop
And the infinite sea

Song that swept through
The morning so mild
And the tender smile
Of the sleeping child.

But somewhere along
The “I” arose
And the ethereal song
Got splintered and gross.

Each note then
Grew alien and strange
And went its own way
Beyond the blue range

Sometimes they listen
To a distant drum
A teardrop then glistens
On the strings that hum.

A shiver of ecstacy
A dizzy swoon
A longing to remember
The forgotten tune.

In the echoes of a conchshell
In the muezzin’s call
In the chime of the churchbells
From the spires tall

In the silence that settles
Into the heart of the night
In an unspoken word
In a breath so slight

In a moment of forgiveness
In a loving touch that’s pure
The music of oneness
Returns once more.

Submitted to

When we meet again
And sure we will
Drenched in the rain
Our hearts we’ll fill
With past remembrances
Some sad, some sweet
And we’ll walk o’er the grass
With naked feet.

I am very grateful to receive this appreciation and I accept it in all humility. I nominate


Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Love, Poetry, spirituality


Manjhi’s labour of love

“A teardrop on the face of eternity”….that is how someone described the Taj Mahal. For sure, for many of us, the Taj epitomizes the grandeur of romance and to those who swear by the magic of love, being together in the vicinity of that monument on a moonlit night ,is the ultimate ode to one’s romantic inclinations.

But then, Shah Jahan had at his disposal, all the wealth that could pay for the architectural splendour of that building ; he had at his bidding, craftsmen from far and wide, who laboured through days, months and years, so that he, the Emperor, could bask in its glory.

All the admiration one had for the Badshah, however, paled to insignificance, when, for the first time, one read about Dashrath Manjhi, the Mountain Man of Gehlour, near Gaya in Bihar, who for 22 years, chipped away at a mountain, to build a road across it.

Dashrath Manjhi was twenty years old, when his wife Phalguni Devi slipped and fractured her leg, on the way across the mountain, while carrying food for her husband. Without sparing another thought about the foolhardiness of single-handedly chipping through a mountain with a hammer and a chisel, to cut out a road through it, he went about doing just that. People called him mad, but nothing deterred him. He shifted his dwelling closer to the mountain so that he could continue working at night. He kept chipping away for 22 long years till the people of his village could walk through, across the mountain on a road that was 360 feet long, 25 feet high and 30 feet wide. Sadly, his wife did not live to see it.

Manjhi died of Cancer at the age of fifty seven a couple of years ago. He had been admitted to the All India Institute of medical Sciences in New Delhi at the behest of the Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar. It had been reported that on an earlier occasion, when Manjhi met the Chief Minister in a junta durbar, at Patna, the Chief Minister had got up in reverence and made him sit on his chair.

Manjhi had been allotted five acres of land in Karjani village by the State Government. True to his character, he donated the land for building a hospital. When he died, he was given a state funeral.

This blog is my salute to Manjhi and his indomitable spirit and his palpable love.


Tags: , , ,

Dreaming thru the twilight

Closed eyes,teardrops

The breath slowing down

Heavy sighs,the heart stops

In recall,  I drown.

Listening, I hear

A voice from afar

Sinking,I see glimpses

Of a beckoning star

Dying, I  feel

Life’s warm breath

Slowly,I open my eyes.

Dreaming, I was

I then realise

Wistfully,I return

To death.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Dreams, Love, Poetry

%d bloggers like this: