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Category Archives: Reflections

It’s been a while


It’s been a while
Since I scooped
A fistful of flowers
From the meadows green.

It’s been a while
Since I watched a bird
Hover over a branch
To perch and preen.

It’s been a while
Since I walked bare-feet
O’er the tingling grass
Wet with the dew of dawn

It’s been a while
Since I stole a song
From the hum of the breeze
And the sounds of morn.

It’s been a while
Since I stood in the shade
To squint at the sun
Through the fluttering leaves

It’s been a while
Since I stretched my hand
To catch the rain
Falling from the eaves.

It’s been a while
Since I slowed down
Without any need
For my hours to fill.

It’s been a while
Since the silence seeped
Through my senses
And my thoughts stood still.

P.S:Image downloaded from the Internet

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Poetry, Reflections

 

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The Circle of Life


Some days are like no other
Perched on a rainbow ,up high.
Some nights are made for slow slumber
On soft magic carpets that fly.

Some moments you know you’re in a circle
Spinning through a point that repeats
And you smile with a touch of wisdom
As the past and the future meets.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Personal, Reflections

 

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Ah..If only!!


No longer scared of death
Nor of the stealthy darkness
The heart’s whining wantoness
Be just a streak of madness.

No longer weak or weary
No search for sustenance
No looking over the shoulders
At the retreating distance.

No more knots to unravel
No more yarns to spin
No sighs over roads not taken
No qualms about guilt and sin.

Things are as they are
Surrender would make me free
That’s not how I always am
That’s how I’d like to be!

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Poetry, Reflections

 

Does that make sense?


If we sieve and separate
Nurture’s role
Dessicate the DNA
From the whole

If we distill away
All we learnt from school
And bleach our religions
And their rules

If we winnow the words
From the books we read
And the rsidue they left
Inside our heads

If we boiled the ideas
Handed down by our peers
And evaporated our emotions
Accumulated through the years.

What would we be
In our pure essence?
We’d be like each other!!
Does that make any sense?

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Poetry, Reflections, spirituality

 

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Soap making tales


Yesterday was a happening day. I joined my brother-in-law in whitewashing the walls of the kitchen and those at the back of the house and I made soap

No I didn’t have to bribe him with a half chewn apple or marbles or bits of string . But there is something to that story of Tom Sawyer , the one where his aunt had asked him to paint the fence and the smart kid got his friends to do it for him and ended up with a lot of knick-knacks too in the bargain. If you keep watching that swish of the brush on the walls , it makes you want to do it too. My brother- in –law gets bugged by the fact that the guys who are generally called in to do this work ,act so pricey and hard to get. So he does a lot of stuff around the house , on his own, like digging up the backyard when it gets full of weeds after the rains , whitewashing and painting and so on.

My little niece watched on with great amusement as I splattered the walls with my adept brush strokes, pitching in now and then with her expert comments. The upper portions of the walls were done by my brother –in-law , as I was a little jittery about getting on to a ladder and balancing the tin of whitewash with one hand , while applying it with the other. What with my mother confined to the bed with a broken femur and me already fifty five, I didn’t want to risk a fall. My niece, whom I hadn’t spared from listening to all my trekking stories, quipped..”Hmm …Nacha says she climbs mountains ..but she can’t even get on to a ladder!!”. You want to keep your head on your shoulder?…Have a kid around you.

But a kid is also a kid . Staying close to me as I moved along the walls, she cracked a joke that may be I should make a profession of it. I went along with her and said..yeah, I’ll never go hungry if I finish off my savings , as I can always take up white-washing. The poor thing thought I was being serious and after a few moments of silence, warned me that I shouldn’t get the idea that it was going to be easy. I’d find it really tough if the house was big, she said.

About the soap making……well, I’ve been wanting to learn that for quite a while. I managed to get a soap-making sample kit from the Shastra Parishath office here in Kannur. It’s really easy. All you have to do is to mix caustic soda with a little water in a plastic or steel vessel (Lye) and when it cools down ( the chemical reaction gives out a lot of heat and the soda can burn your skin..so one has to wear gloves) add oil to it and keep stirring it till it gets to a “gooey’ consistency. That is the basic “saponification “ process. Then you pour it into a mould and let it dry. You can use the soap only after about a month so that it “cures” properly.

The soap kit I bought also had something called “filler”. The guy at the office wasn’t sure about what it was , but made a guess, possibly the right one, that it was boric powder. I had added this , as per instructions, to the oil , before mixing it with the lye. You can add colour and a little bit of aromatic oil for the fragrance and there it is , your soap is ready.

Reading up on the internet, I came across various recipes , including herbal soaps, coconut milk soaps and so on. I guess the quality of the soap depends on the kind of oil you are using (I used coconut oil) and the rest of the extra stuff you put in. I remember buying a few cakes of home made soap from a member of the “Kudumbashree” project here in Kerala, (which was launched as a part of poverty alleviation programme) which has scrapings of coconut in it. I’m really very excited at the prospect of all the experimenting I’m going to do ,once I get back to Delhi and find out from where I can get to buy “caustic soda”.

While making soap, I also realized using a soap to wash one’s face or hands or while taking a bath is just a matter of habit and convenience. Years ago, my mother would only use powdered “moong “ dal ( a kind of pulse) to scrub herself and for her hair she used aloe vera pulp or the viscousy extract of hibiscus leaves. I have used that too, in my childhood as would so many of our generation. The oil that is used in the soap or the other additives used for giving it the moisturizing effect like glycerol or coconut milk , can be applied directly on the skin , right? And for the cleaning and exfoliation of dead cells , home made stuff, like wheat bran, powdered pulses etc are actually more effective. But who’ll be bothered with all that in these times of “instant” everything. When the Delhi winters make feet extremely dry, so much so that my heels start cracking, I regularly use a mixture of glycerine and rose water. Have found that much more effective than any other foot cream. I use it on my hands too , so that it doesn’t get as wrinkled as an ninety year old’s.

A friend of mine commented on a status update about creams that are supposed to lighten skin colour ( which is an obsession for many in this sub continent , thanks to the premium on beauty , aka a fair skin, a concept we keep being bombarded with through one advertisement after another) that what really attracted her to all these so called beauty products , was the fragrance and I think she is right. A paste of pulses definitely will not smell as good as a fragrant soap. So all we have to do is to look around for a fragrant bath oil and we could do away with all those fancy soaps , which promise so much. Really, how much can it do when it stays on our skins for just a few moments before we wash away the lather?

I’m sure the same applies for all those creams. The basic ingredient would be Vaseline or something like that and the other ingredients like fruit pulp extracts or herbs could all be used independently and directly , with better effect, I’m sure . Ah…but the fragrance.

Seriously, we shoudn’t be allowing all these commercial giants of the cosmetic industry to numb us into believing whatever they say. If we have to use soaps, let’s make them on our own, I say. At least we will know what we are “pampering “ our skins with.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Personal, Reflections

 

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“Akale” and “The Glass Menagerie”


Think about it…..if we couldn’t read the stories that others wrote , if we didn’t internalize the songs that poets composed and recite them as if they were our own, if we didn’t imbibe the colours of an artist’s imagination , if we didn’t get moved by the sounds of a string or the rhythmic drone of a drum , how impoverished we would be !!
Story telling must surely be as old as verbal communication or may be older still. May be as old as the time when Man started drawing pictures on the walls of the caves he lived in. How strong is our urge to communicate, to express our feelings, to speak of things that brings us delight , as also that which frightens us and fills us with awe!! He that can be alone and yet feel connected with everything and everyone without feeling this need to speak or sing , he who becomes part of the music and mystery is perhaps the enlightened one. But for us lesser folks, we will always feel the need to talk and be spoken to, to express and receive sensory inputs, to reach out and touch and feel the vibrations trembling to merge into our own.

A story well told touches a chord , not just in the immediate group of listeners , when communication was only verbal, or the immediate readers, when scripts came into being , but finds echoes through generations and ages hence, it evokes just the same feelings of helplessness, of admiration, of sadness and joy, as it did when first conceived in somebody’s imagination. All our myths and narration of anecdotes , many of which form the very basis of our religions, are but stories well told that have gripped the imagination of humanity because of certain values that have been applauded through these annals and which are still relevant .

Human emotions have not changed even as the material world has and drastically at that. Love and hate , pride and patience still jostle for space along with insecurity and frustration and hope and despair in our psyches . Only the externalities that evoke these feelings in us , have changed. They , of course will keep on changing. If the pre-historic Man felt scared by the flash of lightning in the sky and interpreted the mystery of it to be the presence of something huge and awesome and exalted it to the status of a God, we , in the Modern Age, have still not been able to quell our fears. We’re afraid of different things, that is all, of not being socially accepted, of not being rich enough to own the things that would bring us at par or above those in our neighbourhood or fraternity or group of peers. We have created other Gods, Success being one of them, although we pretend to be chanting prayers in the temples and mosques and the churches to other deities.

We still swear by love , but our ability to love has actually been shrinking from its dispersed way of spreading from one’s heart to another’s and from the limitless way of existing between Man and Nature to being confined to the tribe and then to the wider family , the smaller joint family , the nuclear and now perhaps primarily to the Self. Our sense of angst has not disappeared , only increased perhaps, as our ability to love has found smaller and smaller boundaries to confine itself and that is proof enough of the failure of all established religions.

All these train of thoughts were provoked by a really well made film I watched on the You Tube yesterday. The film, titled “Akale” (In the Distance) is by Director ShyamaPrasad and is based on the play by Tenessee Williams, “The Glass Menagerie” which was premiered more than sixty years ago. Shyam has been able to adapt the story and place it in a relatable atmosphere in South Kerala without the least bit of dischord. Compared to the crores that are being spent on lavishly made movies with inane scripts and marked by lacklustre performances, this film ,which surely wouldn’t have demanded too big a budget, is hauntingly etched through the four characters , within the spaces of an oldish house and a very few shots outside it. That it can still create a lasting impact on the viewer’s sensibilities , is as much an indicator of the strength of the script of the original play and the Director’s finesse and the stellar performances of the actors in the different roles , as also a tell-tale sign of the basic fact that we tend to recognize and relate to the emotional content in a story or film , more than the superfluous props of songs and settings. Those are our distractions and we need them too perhaps, but deep inside we still want to sit around that fire outside the cave and listen to stories that tell us of our own emotions, of things that make us sad and happy, of our insecurities and of heroes who manage to overcome them , so that hope remains alive in us . We also want to hear of those who succumbed because we realize that not all of us have the gumption or the destiny to go beyond our limitations and then it consoles us to know that there are others who have been and are like us, vulnerable and weak and worthy of our love still.

The story itself is not elaborate or complicated. There is this mother , in this film, an Anglo Indian,who is almost always in a wistful mode, harking back to her youth, when her beauty and charm had according to her own version, brought her a line of most eligible suitors. She had settled for a sailor, who had loads of charm , but who hadbecome an alchoholic and had eventually abandoned her to take care of her two children all alone.. In spite of her disappointment , she still seemed to hang on to that which gave solace to her, instead of being swamped by regret. And she wished the best for her children. The son who was older , worked in a warehouse. He is hedged in and suffocated by the circumstances of a missing father, an overbearing, yet affectionate mother and a limping sister whose physical disability not only restrains her physical mobility but also seriously curtails her capacity for involvement in society and negates her confidence in her worthiness for another’s love. She lives like a recluse, her only source of joy being the tiny, fragile, glass figures that she has collected.

The boy isn’t really selfish , just frustrated by the vision of a hopeless fate , stuck in a job which gives him no satisfaction and the responsibility of looking after his mother and sister , affection for whom binds him from escaping to find his own green pastures. And yet, that is the arrow the mother keeps flinging at him…that of selfishness . The ability of the Director to let the audience feel the overwhelming love of the mother for her son, even when she berates him, is what makes the film different from the loud and overly verbose dialogues that others deem it necessary to make the audience grasp anything. It is this underestimation of the intelligence of the film viewer by the Producers and Directors and script writers that make them dish out one gross film after another with the same bunch of oh so predictable characters and same attempts at comedy. The bar , sadly, is never raised . This film is an exception.

The Mother’s role has been acted out by Sheela remarkably well, the glamorous heroine of so many of those films one had seen while growing up. How much a good director can do to bring out the talent s of those he has in front of the camera , is clearly visible in this film. One also remembered the performances of Hindi Actors like Shashi Kapoor , who otherwise sang and danced his way through his film career, when given roles by a Director like Shyam Benegal. Geetu Mohandas as the sister , was excellent. She could exhibit the vulnerable , fragile, uncertain demeanor of the girl in a very endearing manner. She doesn’t have much to say in the film, but her expressions said it all.

One could even begin to relate to the hope that started fluttering and spreading wings inside the cage of her feelings, when her brother brought home to visit them , at the mother’s behest, a young colleague from the warehouse. She immediately recognized him as her young hero of their schooldays, when he had been the heart throb of many a young lass. The intervening years had changed his circumstances too and put fetters on his dreams , as he recounted to her in an attempt to make her understand that life is not hunky dory for anyone.
In between the time she reluctantly opened the door to receive him into their home, and the moment he took leave, he had managed to wake her out of her shyness, paint a picture of herself in her own mind as an extroadinary human being , delicate and different from the run of the mill kind of girls that thronged outside, made her forget the limp as he made her sway and swirl to the music floating towards them from the community centre where some revelry was on , in the warm glow of candle light , ( as there was an interruption in the electricity) and then finally breaking the very dreams he had slowly been building in her by the news that he was already engaged. A sigh escapes us too at the cruelty of destiny. She is like the glass unicorn , whose horn he had broken , the act inadvertent , both the times.
The film is in flash back mode , brought to us through the lines of the book the brother has launched upon to tell the story of his sister , whose life is so intricately webbed with that of his and his mother’s. It is a process of catharsis for him as he leads us through the days following his friends visit, when Rose his sister had become more withdrawn and eventually admitted to a sanitorium . She had died there and it was as if a part of him had also died.

The story is only another reminder that our lives are not entirely our own. The more sensitively inclined we are, the more tangled we become in the lives of those we become related to, not just as family and friends , but even as distant acquaintances. And if a story is well told or if a film is well made , we become affected by imaginary characters as well, because at the end of it all, the emotions that held sway in those tales, hold sway over us too.
It is also perhaps true that the cause for all our grief is that we tend to dwarf the possibilities for joy within the boundaries of our individual selves and those closest to us. Our capabilities then appear to us multiplied and grandiose and swells our ego and our failures and weaknesses deflate our spirits because we cannot let our cognition look beyond and understand that strife holds no monopoly over a single soul but is the underlying echo of all of Mankind.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Movies, Reflections

 

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When I let my mind roam


This is just an experiment. I’m typing out what I wrote down just as the words floated through my head, without pause. As I read it again, I can see that in many places the whole thing is so disjointed and makes no sense at all ( except may be to a psychologist) , but in some places it is quite lucid. The chaotic rush slows down too as I keep writing. May be this only confirms why I’ve always liked writing. It certainly calms me down. Now you folks read it and tell me what you make of it. May be you could try it out yourselves. Just go on writing non-stop, without pausing even for a second to think consciously or to consciously edit what you are thinking. It is kind of fun. May be it is the devil 

“So what have you got little by little not so much how can you its too far for what you should know that’s a damn can you not see of course that’s a bird sitting there on the tree as if I can ask you for this . It’s cold and heavenly honestly is this true what am I writing for whom what can you hear the peacock please.do not edge I cannot hear you there’s a blank that’s dead the bird the fan inside my head incorrigible the canoe stumbling over the deer. From where does he come radicles and plumule biology lesson in school if I close my eyes for half an hour rich and glorious at least for now. There happens to be questions in my head for all in one shell, may be the raindrops is it deep There is icecream in the fridge and fish fry in the kitchen I’m not spelling this for you .You cannot decipher what I write because I’m doing it with closed eyes on a page that is white It’s senseless as all else whisperings from afar that I do not know breathing and throbbing through the water ducks in the water can you catch a fish at least this time for they are gone and will never come back in the playground there is grass and a lot more .training school verandah borrom tree and the bilimbi tree the garden in front of the church .this is stupid as stupid as can be I know the lines are squiggling in front of me . I cannot choose or refuse or be a recluse to the muse often when I’m alone there comes a day when it is afternoon in the nun’s head lots of rain in the drain and lots of pain and a bane and a strain declare that you stare oh my God what is wrong with me that I cannot see who is coming for me in the wilderness amongst the grass the insects grope please succumb to the bruises in my head I’m dead as a door to be found in the ground or a grassy mound looking like a river that shivers in the dark .Of course there’s a rose in the garden of throes.Lots more to see in divinity as if they’re there for you and for me.I cannot budge over the sludge in the head of the man as proud as I can for destiny there is the sea and I cannot be like this tomorrow because you are there in my sorrow as I’m conscious and dead as the bee in my bonnet stupid and proud on the trap of a cloud. Are you there a song or a flair It’s a dead man walking under the sky as far as I can see there is literally no sea only the sounds of a far more cloud who is this that speaks of my bliss eternally as eternal can be on the feet of snow there is a willow and then I will come to destiny’s drum for you I stop by the chime of a clock and I cannot count when the hours mount Lost on gravity’s pull and push There are little pansies beside the green bush.I’m caught in rhyme in the bells that chime .They speak to me of eternity.And when the dark drives me mad and when the rains reek real bad I’ll walk through the forest dense and dark And then I’ll sit on a fallen bark Cute are these words that flow through my pen. The bird and the butterfly and the cock and the hen. I’m not stopping no not at all through the caves and where the waters fall Up and down Like a jumping clown Go where you will And then stay still Who is there behind the door Who is there creeping on the floor I can do this now and again It’s a bit of a rhyme and a bit of a pain. And when the waters flow over the innocent snow The lilies and the dwarfs and oh the little calf coming once more as stories of yore Just a string of words Like a row of birds Flitting and fleeting In the night sky That dances through As the dawn comes by I know I’m mad for this to pass I may as well be dead and buried in the grass There is sanity and there is a madness of a degree .There I can cry to see a singing lark fly over the mountains lost in the mist freedom roams abandoned as sand in the grist.There are people and crowds, talking so loud and pushing them apart is a vegetable cart full of apples and grapes and fruits of all shapes over the horizon dime for a dozen Who is looking for sense in a brain that is dense This is a pedigree of the wasp and the bee That is something I’d read out of Dickinson’s head. She is truly a woman of majestic grace Her thoughts are like magic difficult to trace.I wonder what Freud will say of me That I’m mad as a hatter who laughs ludicrously.But I know that for me there is no other destiny These words are my anchor and the soul’s symphony .I like what I write For I know it’s me and if there are others , they will follow me. These still born verses may not survive .they may be curses that will forever thrive to torment my soul through the ages that come or they may be melodies that I will continue to hum.Whatever my fate this I declare For every word written, there is a pair All I have to do is to go looking for them and stitch them together As a skirt’s ripped hem. Those friends in the forests they may be ghosts or gnomes But they stick to my side wherever I roam I love their free spirit Their ditties and songs And where the song leads I just follow the throng. It’s a bit of a mystery this flowing lullaby Like a young mother calling to a little boy to die so that he can follow wherever she goes .The distance is a lot to where who knows I know I must stop before the plague hits me I know there is lots of bribes and penalty For he who steals will have to pay the price.Stealing I know not what but the measure comes thrice. I can hear my own voice talking to me through the stillness of the air as if magically.There are lots of new sounds rising from the ground There are sweet echoes In the air that surrounds .Its a lttle like bliss When the chaos dies down And the smile then emerges on the faces that frown. I know there are others buried in me For all those phantoms a common destiny.Who knows who cares as long as I can sing What riches what dust what beginnings To each his own But we know we’re all one Little weeds that stretch out towards the glorious sun.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Reflections

 

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We’re stupid…really!!!


This has been a month of festivals here in Kerala. Eid of course, was celebrated all over,but we also have our very own local festival Onam, which actually is a harvest festival, with its own legends associated with it. And there are plenty of marriages taking place as well, all of which have burst upon the place in a deluge of clothes being displayed in the shops, being bought and being worn preenignly with an increasingly competitive sense of “I’ll make sure that my dress is more showy than yours”!!
It’s all glittery and sequined mostly. I’m talking of course, about the dresses and saris the females of all ages are seen wearing these days. The stuff is synthetic and the designs flowing and elaborate, all of which ensures that that the shops selling apparel are raking in money. Nobody seems to mind spending.

It comes across as vulgar really, this change in the sartorial sense from the traditionally simple attire that used to symbolize this part of the country. The gaudiness is now a status symbol and nobody would want to be seen wearing something sobre .

And yet , this trend of opting for what is considered “fashionable” has not added anything to the “comfort” factor for which Man must’ve started wearing clothes in the first place. Kerala is a highly hot and humid place when it is not raining and the white or off-white or light coloured cotton clothes were/are best suited for the climate here. Sadly though, this traditional wisdom of wearing the right clothes has been done away with. They are considered”ethnic” now, only to be worn when there is a formal event or celebration where this then becomes a kind of dress code.

I think it was around the time the Gulf boom hit Kerala that people mstarted wearing more and more of synthetic stuff. I remember the horribly stinky smell of terelene shirt clad males in the local buses in the peak of Summer of the late sixties/early seventies. How could they not catch on to the fact that no female would feel really attracted to a man whose shirt reeked so much of sweat (the theory of perhormones, notwithstanding). Now of course there are any number of deodorants and perfumes to choose from to camouflage the stinkiness. Does that make sense except the commercial, to be first spending money on something that will add to your smelliness and then spending more to mask it?

Same goes for the kind of houses we have been building here for a while now. I still stare with reverence at the old red-tiled houses , mostly with white walls, nestling amidst the green of the coconut palms. So soothing they look, just the kind that would give you immediate relief once you step inside . away from the sweltering heat . For the monsoon months too, those old houses were best designed , allowing the rain to run down the sloping roof instead of seeping through the terraced roofs. I remember reading an article by Laurie Baker years back, about the stupidity of modern architecture where the large glass windows allowed too much sunlight to filter inside the rooms making it then imperative to spend more money on drapes and curtains and air-conditioning.

Since it is we ourselves who attach these symbolic values to the different things we use and set store by , I’m at a loss to fathom why our collective social intelligence couldn’t give a higher notch in the heirarchial rung ,to things which are actually good for us ? Why are we so stupid as to arrange our social status in ways that makes our day to day lives distinctly more uncomfortable ? …. and I don’t mean just clothes and houses .

P.S. I managed to google out nthat interview of Laurie Baker. Here is thelink:
http://www.hindu.com/fline/fl2005/stories/20030314000107000.htm

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Community, Reflections

 

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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 .

 

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What am I?


This is written in response to the prompt on the following link:
http://magicinthebackyard.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/free-write-friday-do-you-know-who-you-are/

What am I?
Cells and tissues
Blood raging through?
My beliefs and views
That I thrust on you?

The rise of a wave
Pulled by the heavens afar?
A truant from the grave
Under the spell of a star?

A soul that’s been writhing
In anger and pain
Barren land that’s been waiting
To be graced by the rain?

A bit of the bamboo
A chunk of the weeds?
A slice of the song
Slipping through the reeds?

A self that’s been bound
By sorrows and strife
Going round and round
Through the circle of life?

A speck of dry dust
In the wind that is sown?
A lasting abundance
In which “I” will drown?

What am I?

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Poetry, Reflections

 

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