Saturday, December 26, 2015

Evidence

The manuscripts of some
fellow souls
are easier to read
 
because we know their codes
because we were together
in some nascent phase of
the evolution of emotions
I do not need to see
the dagger you sharpen
for my heart
hidden behind your back
 
I do not get insulted by the
hateful names you call me
I am ready for
the kick of betrayal
in the pit of my soul
I see the open graves
of a future we dreamed together
in your eyes
and that is all the evidence
I need.

Monday, December 21, 2015

In a city winter looking for a home




A dead pigeon
on the sidewalk
bare feet children
begging at the signal
destitution written large
on faces and souls

life's pathways
as complicated as
the routes of the metro

what ifs hanging
like half-constructed pillars
why? why not?
changing like traffic lights

Christmas lights, blinking at wealth
emptiness, deep, dark
and hope faint, cold

a shiver runs down the spine of
the silhouettes of tired trees

its cold
very cold,
winter is a state of mind

all knowing is frozen
love runs down
as a warm, salty liquid
from the eyes

the security guard looks
straight into the fire

we are all looking for home.


 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Little Buddha, Milestone no. 7

Dearest Little girl,
 
Seven years ago today you chose me to be raised as a parent by you. The moment you grabbed my index finger in your new born chubby fist for the first time, I knew you had grasped my heart and soul in your iron grip.
 
As you grew each day, I was your pathway to this strange and confusing new world and you were my window into myself. You had to learn language and I had to learn to read silence, to understand the subtlety of baby burps and the softness of baby yawns, I started looking at everyday routine like food and sleep also as wonders.
 
Life is a miracle because of you, if at all I will ever come closer to the peace and wisdom the world knows as Buddha , you are that Little Buddha. In your stories and anecdotes you make me a better human being, in your imagination you give wings to my dreams, in your curious queries I learn the humility of real intelligence.
 
I am thankful the way your enriched my father’s last few years in the physical world, the way you held me together in my grief of losing a parent, how on occasions you with such natural ease became that missing parent for me.
I am amazed at how this same world I inhabit for the last almost three and a half decades seems new from your perspective, how you make me feel meaningful and loved unconditionally.
 
Dear girl, I am eternally grateful for being your parent, co-learner, friend and student.
 
 
Be yourself. Always ask your questions, never shy away from your core, let your light shine whatever the odds. Never be scared from following your instincts, no matter how against the grain these are. Love yourself-body and soul. Keep the warmth,compassion and enthusiasm alive and keep sprinkling your stardust on your mamma.
Happy 7th Birthday angel !!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Soul Winter

Pic courtesy: Google images

its a thought smog
a haze
through which
life looks like a
faded silhouette

No gadgets or doctors
can determine
this blockage
of words

it could kill
a writer you know

the way
the simmering core
of a dormant volcano
eats its insides
till its all ashes

in a soul winter
the heart is a barren patch of pain
and spring is far behind.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rigor Mortis Love

Some days it’s a chipped nail
or a forgotten scar
the memory of a child I never had
the peculiar lump in the throat
that thickens with the smog
My writing is a variable matter
Semi-liquid-solid
Translucent-fragile
Its roots lie
somewhere deep inside
maybe under my lungs
from where I breathe
or in this life clock in my chest
Tic-toc, tic-toc,tic….
My heart is a kaleidoscope
It makes images
out of broken colorful memories
and then it’s a killer
Its weapon- again memories
Am I losing it?
What if I never had it?
that valued thing
called S-A-N-I-T-Y
Rigor mortis love
looking for its mortuary
Buddha and peacock feathers
and a cup of limp tea
Another day in what you call life
and I call unfinished memory.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A day in my magical life

the smog sits heavy
like the carcass of
a dead relationship

in the rhythmic jostling of
a cycle rickshaw
lies the irony
of the ego spins
we derive
from the race
for being the superlative

the sedatives are strong
they blur memory
and sensation
but pain can't be extracted
like a rotten tooth

my fingers itch
my eyes twitch
looking for the next object
to scrub
while my mind fiddles
why ? why?

my late father's voice
reading out aloud
the laws of insulation

I know he is dead
I know the word "hallucination"

I close my eyes
and I jump off the cliff of self
into me

now I scrub
my soul's lamp
waiting for
some real magic.

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

NAVRATRI SNAPSHOTS 2015



  •  A 40 years old, mother of two teenagers is distributing ice-cream sticks on the road near her apartment complex to street children. Some of them pre-teen and teenage boys, soon she is being pulled and groped and loud whistles and leering and she runs back inside the gated residential complex. The misguided kids enjoy the free ice-cream, aunty goes back to her condo, runs a hot bath and all that remains of the incident are the wrappers piled on the footpath.
    When we let go of any incidents as minor incidents of street harassment, don’t we pave way for far more dire incidents?
    What makes our boys believe they are entitled to rowdy behaviour ?Is our "Charity" misguided?

  •  I am watching news, my little one who is unaware of the technical gross details of sexual violence and RAPE, knows the word and knows that it is a cruel and bad thing to do to anyone. She stops colouring and after overhearing bits and pieces of a debate over the rape of two minors, she asks, "Mumma why do people hate and hurt little girls , so much? " I have no convincing answers.


  • In a neighbourhood Kirtan, almost every other song or line has the word "laal" (red), traditionally the colour for married women ( Saubhagyavatis), those singing these lines loudest are widowed mothers, sisters and wives , sitting in a corner away from the deity, the inauspicious women.



  • Not far from the Indian capital two little children are charred to death because they were not fortunate enough to be born upper caste, we look away and feel we have done our bit for the future kids of this country by distributing a few plates of poori-halwa.


•P : Mumma we Indians are generally brown you said , because of our genes and race and ,and climate.
Me: Yes dear.
P: Then why are all the goddesses fair, other than Kaali?
Me: ahmm....
P: and why don't they make Kaali beautiful? If a woman becomes angry does she become ugly?
I have taken some time from her to answer these difficult questions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A ZEN TALE

Once there was a little boy who was very sad about the way his parents treated his old grandfather. They kept him in the outhouse, he wore torn clothes and was served little or stale food in his almost broken plate and chipped mug.

A few days later the old man passed away, a day after the funeral as the parents were clearing the outhouse of the old man's things, the little boy rushed and snatched the plate and mug from them.

they thought he was just being sentimental about his grandpa's things but he said, " I want to save these so that when you are old and I put you in the out house, you can use them."

What goes around,comes around

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chains and Stigma



In the early eighties in my grandmother's village in Himachal, every winter vacation, one subject of curiosity for me besides village life was a man who used to be tied to a wooden pillar on the ground floor of his house with thick ropes.
At times he used to be very calm and smile at us kids and at others extremely charged up and would throw pebbles and mud on us at the slightest hint of noise or movement. Some villagers believed that he was possessed but in plain terms he was the 'village mad man.'

Recently his widow visited my mum and me after my father's death and all the memories came back, of how he would howl and howl for food or water, while his wife worked to support their three kids. How he would be taken inside after sunset like a chained animal.

Its only now that when I look back at it ,I realise he was a schizophrenic who was not only denied treatment but also compassion and basic human rights. He passed away a few years later.

His wife said ," We realise the importance of sanity only after we have lost it."

She talked about how they were isolated by the extended family and the villagers. How he was treated like a menace ,like an animal and she had to give in to the panchayat's demand to chain him.

******************************************
Several years later when I was a teenager , a neighbour lost her only son on his maiden journey aboard a merchant navy ship. Overnight this sailor's wife, well-educated, well-dressed lady became someone else, she would keep talking to herself loudly, roam in the neighbourhood alone at odd hours, attempted suicide twice. Finally her husband put their other two kids in a boarding and her in an asylum while he sailed.

Met her daughter after almost a decade, and I came to know she was institutionalised for many years and finally committed suicide.

Her daughter said, " I still can't forget how she suffered and how helpless we were."

She also talked about the stigma both she and her sister faced because of their mother's illness for jobs and marriages and how it left their father also in chronic depression.

********************************************
These are two of the thousands of mental health tragedies around us. We would accept criminals back into the society but even those mental health patients who recover fully or partially after treatment are not accepted in families , in society.

Mental illness even something as regular as depression is a taboo.

A little more compassion and acceptance that ailments which do not manifest physical symptoms are real too can go a long way in supporting patients and families challenged with mental illnesses.

In the "connected but lonely" world of today we need to be even more sensitive to people who need a shoulder to rest their head on, a listening ear, a sympathetic gesture and professional help.

Sometimes a little effort could save a life, could save a family.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dad's last goodbye !

I don't remember much
of his firm young hands
that threw me in the air
as a little girl

the stern hands with which
he taught me how to
hold a screwdriver
and open gadgets

I remember his dry,flaky
frail old hands
that held mine
to get up and sit down

the cold rough hands
in which he delicately held
my little one
every time she hugged him

the unsure hand
that waved to me
from the car's window

his last goodbye !

 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Voice


My voice is all I had                                                       
even that I was taken away
and beaten into
so many we's
by the chains of tradition
that hold tight


and I was scared
REBEL was a bad label
so I bargained that voice
to find an insensitive
and eerie silence of peace
the peace that never lasted long

The newly trimmed "I" for me
was difficult to fit in
like a gaudy dress
two sizes small

those dreams of flying
of love being the wind
in my wings
flew away

and when the wings
in the cage could make
no more noise

I reclaimed my voice
because that's all I have
to give to my wounds
the balm on my tales !!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Once upon a Time - Snail mail

One of the best experiences that social networking has brought for me is the networking with other bloggers. B-A-R is one such support group of a few very enthusiastic and intelligent bloggers and recently they hosted a snail mail challenge.

We had to opt for sending and receiving a snail mail , could be a real letter sent through post and for those of us who had geographical or other issues a personal e-mail.

An additional fun factor was that though we knew that we would be sending as well as receiving a snail mail, the people on the other end were chosen randomly. This was much like the old fashioned pen-pals.

I wrote my mail to Shantala who writes the wonderful Shanaya Tales and received one from Suzy who writes a couple of amazing blogs , one of which is Someday Somewhere .

The letter I received was made even more special by her by attaching a picture to it :

One page of the letter I received from Suzy /Ila


Though I had interacted with both these ladies on previous occasions via chat and discussion on social networks, writing and receiving personal letters is a notch apart.

Both my letters were e-mails but nevertheless the excitement of making new friends through personal mail was amazing.

With so many instant messaging platforms and even our blogs we connect with only the online persona of people while a letter is a much more private and safer space and thus allows for a trust and patience missing in other online interactions.

I love these out of the box ideas and though the feel of real paper, the visit of a postman , the joy of pasting a postal stamp is lost some of the old world charm was renewed by this experience.

 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Conical Tales

A few weeks ago while our summer vacations in my hometown Shimla I witnessed a small road side shop selling plain pine cones. It was absolutely outrageous- putting a price tag on what the nature gives us freely and in abundance. These beauties are actually fruits of the pine trees found aplenty in the hills.

My relationship with them goes way back to my idyllic childhood spent in the hills and particularly to the long winter months spent at my maternal grandparents' place in Upper Shimla, known for its apples and so many natural treasures including the pines.

Image Courtesy: Google Images


Those were still pre-LPG days for the village kitchens and wood stoves were used for cooking, keeping the house warm and even heating water for hot baths. Most of the days when it used to snow,me and my cousins would cuddle in a quilt in the dimly lit kitchen near the "choolha" (stove) and listen to grandma's tales while smelling the potatoes getting roasted in the hot ash.

On clear days however keeping us occupied without many toys or books or TV like things grandma would handover a small "Kilta" (a multi-purpose conical handmade wood basket widely used in Himachal ) to each one of us and send us to collect pine cones for the evening fire.


Image courtesy : Google images


The rules of the game were simple - no climbing pine trees, no forceful pulling of cones and no snatching from each other , the third one being the most important because the one who got maximum number of cones would get a small prize from grandma, most often an extra fistful of sun-dried apricots or apples locally called "Boi".

This was such an interesting game for us because while we searched for pine cones through the apple orchards we would also discover other treasures as bonus. Sometimes an interesting looking pebble , or a rabbit in the grass, a unique leaf and the like.

As I grew up and my cousins also moved out the visits to that house became few and far between, a few years ago grandma also passed away, but I always loved pine cones. So whenever I would find one while walking in Shimla I would pick it, bring it home ,clean it and keep it as a treasure. Over the next few weeks I would slowly witness some of them to expand and take full shape, while others would just change colour.
Gradually I started painting them and turning them into colourful paperweights .

DIY Pine Cone paperweights


Now I am a mum to a six years old, who also incidentally is fascinated with pine cones. Whenever we find one out in the open during our trips to the hills, we bring it home and now my little one paints them too.

There are no wooden stoves to show her, even the handmade baskets have been replaced by ugly plastic ones but the stories and the charm of the pine cones is my gift to her , its a link for her to know how different was my childhood three decades ago than hers and how devoid of fancy toys, games and gadgets, nature gave us plenty to play and relish.

So whenever we can we take to the outdoors and that is what I wish more and more kids would do more often. The bounty of nature and how much it can give us in terms of learning and memories can never be matched with gadgets and toys.


This post is a part of Women's Web Contest #BachpanWithFlinto

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Square

For sometime now my world is a square
with equal sides of hope and despair
I walk from one corner to the other every day
witnessing people and promises
on a litmus test on the way
and now as the sun goes down
I am at the edge
once upon a time
the world went round
and now there is no beginning, no end
cosmic cycle is more like a
10 x 8 prison cell

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Emily & Emily

across two continents
two lonely women
trying to make sense
of this hostile world

through pseudonyms and anonymity
were born their classics

posthumous love
is just a consolation prize.

* Emily Dickinson & Emily Bronte


 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Little one and her #isms

I have a little curious mind
whose queries never end
and to catalogue those
I made a hashtag
#priyamvadaisms
and I often see it trend

so here are a few of her gems of wisdom:
*****************************************
I thought I knew my languages well
before I was put to this
It began with now/नाव
the latest queries are ugly/अगली ,key/की, bail/बेल, cub/कब

*****************************************************
P casually while doing homework: Mumma what do we exercise in an exercise book -mind or hand ?
************************************************************
P : mumma does God know clay moulding?
me: why do u ask that baby?
P:because there are so many shapes of leaves abd all different greens.
Me : yes so it must be a huge clay kit.
P : yes and does God need his mom's help to do all this....
Me: (wondering where did that come from)may be
*******************************************************


Scene: Neighbourhood wedding band party are dressing up the mare in the parking.
P: Mumma is this a girl horse m-a-r-e mare?
me: yes baby !
P: Why is that boy bad touching her?
me: no he is not ,he is helping her getting dressed for the wedding....
P: oh ! then its okay !


***********************************************
P: Mumma is Malala brave because she got hurt by a bullet or because she fights for sending all girls to school?
Me : I guess both baby.
P: Mumma I think Malala studied well and that made her brave, which means intelligence is brave and bullet is not brave.
***************************************************
P( after watching a flower with hybrid colors) : Mumma ,where is God's paint shop?
me: well God does not need to buy paints.
P: okay ......because he has magic hands !!

*****************************************
The little one talks to me fascinated about her navel and mine being attached and asks," where is the um-b-li-cal cord now mummy? And I tell her now we have an invisible cord that binds our hearts and not our navels. She smiles, I know I am home, for now, in this moment. The journey pauses, smiles, resumes.

*********************************************
P: ( while discussing living and non-living things) mumma a baby grows out of mumma-papa, a baby cow from her parents,a baby plant from a tree or its seeds, so they are living.
Me: yes you have got it now baby.
P: but mumma poor Baabushka (that is her Matryoshka doll)has dolls in her tummy but is non-living.
...
Me:(trying to choose my words carefully)because they are not her babies some toy maker made them.
P: and also because she has no feelings she is non-living.
Me left wondering if that would be scientifically correct or not. Poet's daughter for sure in the making.
**************************************************
P: Mumma what is my religion ?
Me: What do you think religion is baby?
P: praying and being a good person.
Me: so who do you pray to?
P: long list ABCD (all kinds of spiritual and religious figures) and trees and almighty....

Me: and are you a good person?
P: (thoughtfully) yes , I think so mumma.
Me: So it means your religion is humanity.
P: okay H-U-M-A-N-I-T-Y.Sounds good mumma.
**************************************************






“This blogger contest is supported by Kid Social Shell, a unique digital parenting platform with 11 gaming-learning apps. Use it play 3D nursery rhymes, counting number games, shapes games, fun math worksheets, coloring games and more!”

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A woman of Stone

She had a heart beat
image courtesy : http://www.crystalinks.com/dreamtime.html
and a pulse
a smile and a sulk
and yet

only she knew
in every birth
they would meet
and part

he would move on
while she remained
a woman of stone
in the Blue hills *


*According to an Aboriginal dreamtime story, the three huge rocks formation were once three beautiful sisters named "Meehni", "Wimlah" and "Gunnedoo" from the Katoomba tribe. The three sisters fell in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe but their tribal laws forbade their marriage. The three brothers did not accept this law and tried to capture the three sisters by force. This caused a major tribal battle and the lives of the three sisters were thus threatened. A witchdoctor decided to turn the sisters into rocks in order to protect them and thought to reverse the spell only after the battle. Unfortunately, he was killed in the battle and the three sisters remained as the enormous and beautiful rock formations until today.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Blessing of a Human Question Bank



My little girl is the perfect extrovert revenge by life on both her introvert parents. Apart from her apparent love for reading, story-telling   and being a quiet child happy with herself, she is a people's person to the core.

 

So we were not surprised when even at such a  young age she had an extremely warm and friendly relationship with everyone in the family and extended family that she met.

 

A particular trait that stood out was her incessant tirade of queries and questions about everything. So much so that I often call her my human question bank.

 

She shares little anecdotes about her and make the keep asking the other person to share theirs. She has dozens of supplementary questions for every query that she has, and to top it all the perseverance to be a patient listener of tales.

 

One of the people she formed a special bond with is with my father. He was 74 when she was born and by the time she had started having meaningful conversations his health had taken a dip, resulting in frequent irritability and some age-related bedimming of memory.

 

But he was the most peaceful when he was with her. She would put him at ease and they spent hours huddled in a blanket sharing anecdotes about friends and incidents. Some of his stories  going long back to a pre-partition childhood in now Pakistan.


 

Three months after she turned six he passed away. She was my pillar of strength and as I was trying to come to terms with this new life without him ,I was surprised, how she knew details about his childhood that even I didn't- like his first bicycle was red, his younger brother had bitten his ear bad enough for a couple of stitches just to snatch a few mangoes, the boy who taught him to swim in the Jhelum was a Sikh.

 

Three of my four grandparents were alive for many more years than her brief six years with her Nana and still I don't know as much about their childhood, their memories with their siblings and the like.

 

I am glad my  aaj-kal-ka-baccha had the time and the patience for all those questions to him. I am glad she was so involved in my father's last years and that she has created so many fond memories with him.

 
So while most of the world complains about #AajKalKeBacche , I call mine my personal little Buddha, who is an amazing teacher and co-learner in this master class called life.



“This blogger contest is supported by Kid Social Shell, a unique digital parenting platform with 11 gaming-learning apps. Use it play 3D nursery rhymes, counting number games, shapes games, fun math worksheets, coloring games and more!”

Monsoon

Like a dark cloud
heavy and brooding
wanting to pour out
forced to move on

life is monsoon.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Frozen


Google Image


Like a possessed
gold-digger
I keep digging
the dark well inside
my soul

sooty layers
of memories
and no sign
of a drop
of solace

fossils of questions
embedded
in silences

and then peace
like a frozen river
that flows within.
 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Break the Silence #MomsForABetterWorld

“Let’s raise children who wont have to recover from their childhoods.” —Pam Leo
 
As every other parent the things I want to tell my child is a never ending list. A few weeks ago for the #MomsForABetterWorld initiative I had to prioritise and re-order this list and I wasn't surprised that Awareness about Child Sexual Abuse topped my list.
 
Almost every person I have talked to about this has recalled some or the other incident of some kind of abusive behaviour they have witnessed or experienced as a child. So I am sure this is an issue even larger than we can ever imagine.
 
I have always hated the festival of Holi because I was once forcefully coloured by an inebriated neighbour, a friend hates chocolates because her uncle would make her kiss him for those, an online friend recalls how horrified she was when as a child a grown up relative exposed himself to her.
 
These are real incidents that may/may not damage the child physically but leave deep scars for the rest of their lives, we cannot even imagine the horror a childhood becomes when abuse is persistent and under the covers for years.

 
 
 
 
 

India is still largely a traditional country where issues related to sexuality are largely taboo.A large number of our children are still made to view their bodies with shame and fear. We rarely speak about bodily functions openly and our social setup does not bar unsolicited physical contact like hugging or patting on the back.
 
We have a country where toilets are still unavailable to a large number of children making them even more vulnerable and easily accessible to sexual predators.
 
A lot of parents from my generation are shy to speak about touch and pleasure to our children because we were brought up in times when even mothers or teachers would not talk about even mensuration or puberty.
 
Often parents think its too early to talk to children about it but the sooner they know the better. Also it happens to only girls is a huge myth- all children, boys and girls run a huge risk of facing abuse. 
 
The only way we can protect our children is by educating them about sexuality in an age -appropriate manner without scaring them
 
The increasing number of sexual crimes against children and the alarming trend that most often the perpetrators are people known to the child and the family makes it even more imperative that our children are aware of the risk and know what to do when.
 
Here are a few things that I often repeat with my six year old :

My Dear P,
  • Our private parts need to be named and these are just like our other parts but private because we do not talk about them in public or show them in public.
  • Always remember good touch and bad touch, try to know the difference between a simple/normal hug and an uncomfortable hug.
  • Even when you feel the slightest physical discomfort with any person run and tell a parent /teacher immediately.
  • You and me keep no secrets especially the ones that hurt.
  • Say NO to physical contact whenever you are uncomfortable. Go offend the world, all I care about is your comfort and safety.
  • Use your vocabulary well, use and know words and actions like cuddle, hug, kiss, hold, rub, show to indicate anything inappropriate.
  • Know that whenever you report any such incident or even intuition YOUR version will always be trusted by me, I am here to listen even if at first it sounds funny or awkward.
  • You can dial 1098 (CSA Helpline) and seek help for yourself or a friend whom you feel needs help.
 
A few reminders for myself and all other parents:
  • If our child is a survivor of sexual abuse he/she or us have no reason to be ashamed about it.
  • No tradition or family honour is greater than the childhood of a child so speak up , whatever the odds.
  • Stand by your child ,only love can heal even the deepest wounds.
  • We can prevent our children from being silent victims.
 
We need to be a loud and clear collective voice Against Child Sexual Abuse. Yes maybe awareness alone would not prevent all incidents of abuse but by speaking about it openly, strongly and clearly we are initiating a social avalanche that may save a lot of our children from suffering in silence.
 
This post is a part of #MomsForABetterWorld Blogger Contest at Women's Web.

Monday, May 11, 2015

My Mom's Feminism




She was born in the Himachal hills, the nearest school was about 5 Kilometres from her house, where in addition to homework and play she also had to look after two younger sisters when their mother worked in the orchards.

So mummy's childhood was an all too common childhood for rural girls in India six decades ago.

I had a very different childhood, in a city, going to a good school , with plenty of assistance at home and practically no choices barred because so many decades ago my mother had chosen to fight for her education with her parents, her right to work with her in-laws and the world in general for the rights of girls.

She wanted to become a teacher and became one and  my achievements make her as proud as the achievements of so many of her students who give her so much credit for being a special teacher.

The voice in me that speaks for girls and against every discrimination against them is her voice. I tell her that she was my first ever feminism expert and she tells me she doesn't know what Feminism is but yes no human being must be put down because of her gender.

Today as she shares her childhood anecdotes with my daughter I know there is no one else who can teach her feminism better.

This post is a part of  Indiblogger #myfirstexpert sponsored by Godrej.
 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Footprints

 
Derek was brought up by his American foster parents with a lot of love and care. As soon as he was old enough to understand that he was from a different race and not their biological offspring both John & Dina had told him the entire story about their long stay in India and how they came about adopting him from an orphanage in Delhi.

They had two younger children too who loved Derek just like an elder brother should be loved. He had no complaints from life and never wanted to dig his history in India.
Dina & John were into organic farming and were not book people at all, the only reading material their house had was the Bible and the newspaper but Derek grew up as a sensitive boy who had his way with words.

He was now an award-winning writer, but even then had no interest in his own background story. John had passed away a few years ago and two months ago Dina too had breathed her last.

In her will she had left him a locker that he had opened a week ago. It had a few family heirlooms and a parcel from Sister Bridgette from the Orphanage in Delhi. The parcel had a journal in which were scribbled a few English poems in a rough hand.

All the pages were signed Sarla and were dated just a few months before his birth date. It had a small note from Dina & John about why they wanted him to get this only after they were gone and why they would want him to find this only connect with his biological mother.

Derek read the poems again and again, the strong language, the stark imagery, the stunning poetry…

He now knew where his writing skills came from, he was finally walking in his mother's footprints.

 

 
This post was written for Wordy Wednesday at B-A-R.
 
 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Looking back - Life Altering A to Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge [April 2015]

 
 

 

I had signed up for this challenge almost on a wild hunch, on a trial and error basis. I was not sure how this works because I am not a very passionate blogger per se, though I need to keep writing something or the other constantly.
 
In the first week of March my father passed away. When I came back from there the mail for the challenge was in my inbox and I knew I had found a theme worthy to keep my going for a month.
 
Here are my take aways from the challenge:
 
  • Exploring feelings through alphabets, feelings that were somewhere deep down in the sub-conscious and wanted to be heard/spoken
  • Finding that sentiments like GRIEF are as universal as love. My posts connected me to daughters from across the world, I wish there were some dads too who could read and know what they mean to their little girls.

  • Learning is the only way to GROW and to HEAL. I am not a chat person but the TWITTER CHATS every Thursday brought in so much of learning and strengthened the camaraderie.( though I would suggest the hosts to have timings at least for one session that suits Asian Bloggers too).

  • Blogging is not only about self-expression it is also about SHARING and thus CONNECTING, the two basic human needs.

  • SURVIVOR is such a positive word whether it is this challenge, or its is life.


Loved this experience, it was almost LIFE-ALTERING. I am sure I will do this every year now on.

If blog Traffic statistics are to be trusted, these are my TOP 3 posts:

http://poojasharmarao.blogspot.in/2015/04/aide-memoire-in-memory-of-my-late-father.html

http://poojasharmarao.blogspot.in/2015/04/pay-it-forward-parenting-in-memory-of.html

http://poojasharmarao.blogspot.in/2015/04/open-letter-to-papa-in-memory-of-my.html

 


Friday, May 1, 2015

An Ode to Madness

 
 

 
 
I do not write words
I write my madness
 
I am insanely alive
a grief thumping inside me
tic-toc, tic-toc, tic-toc
clocks imitate heartbeats
hearts came first
time later
I guess so
 
Eliot ,Plath, Woolf
Kerouac, Marx and someone
I am bad with names
bled and bled in words
no relief for this angst
 
mind games with memories
the bad ones
always win
life is not a fairy tale
happily ever after
are a myth
 
good moments are eels
slippery,
ready to barter themselves
with that charmer called time
chatter, noise
blah blah blah
blah blah
spellcheck
fonts, colours, format
memories photoshopped
 
substance without make-up
soulless, soul less
I keep forgetting
the password to my soul
do you too?
multiple users?
 
One capital letter
one special character
one number
and one nothing
session timed out
"He died."
 
one word stuck
no glue, just tears
no scrub, no facial
can take it off my forehead
 
I always wanted a tattoo
that could define me
HOWL like Ginsberg
can we Tattoo Nothing?
 
label before person
usernames only
souls are useless
 
dead people breathing
tip tap tip tap
beeps beeps beeps
sensitive term
-humanly challenged
keypads and screens
blue, white, greens
Signal to noise ratio
ask Google
 
waiting for messages
that never come
images that never become
people
 
I am scrubbing time off me
years are piling on my back
like the rubble
after the earthquake
 
avalanche on twitter
or was it Sagarmatha
the forehead of the seas
snow is no good
to hide labels
you see
 
Red like the blood
from the slit artery
of that lonely girl
pain is a fluid
it finds its way
 
farmers hang till death
death hangs forever
silence is the heaviest
it can weigh down
many souls
 
the body knows
pain and pleasure
the agony and the ecstasy
touch ,smell, sight
two bodies
in one delight
plight
rhyme
TIME,TIME,TIME
 
Present TENSE as in tension
present perfect continuous
the impossibility
of madness
 
words to define
what words can never say
 
the bird that lives on a ship
flies, finds nowhere
comes back
no chains
 
words, not spoken
not written
not read
are these words?
 
or are these silences
as in many
together-alone
 
 
sshh...sh….
keep my secret
I was always mad
with bouts of painful sanity
in between.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Zen in life & death ( in the memory of my late father)

Z
 
 

Blogging from A to Z Challenge [April 2015]

 

  

We used to talk a lot

about death

and yet

your physical absence

is so heavy to bear

 

the suddenness with

which you disappeared

person-body-ashes-water-nothing

 

was that the last birthday gift

teaching me

"m-e-t-a-m-o-r-p-h-o-s-i-s"

one more time

 

I was always

your strong girl

in your version of me

I could take on

the world

on my own

 

Maybe I could

because you stood

by me

as a shield

 

Now you are

my arrow and my bow

my aims and my means

 

you were warmth

and now you are light

 

I read this poem

to myself

every night

 

and I know

you are watching

me do it right.
 
 
******************************************
 
A VERSE I READ OFTEN FOR MY DAD
 
 
 
       "Love never disappears for death is a non-event.
I have merely retired to the room next door.
You and I are the same; what we were for each other, we still are.
Speak to me as you always have, do not use a different tone, do not be sad.
Continue to laugh at what made us laugh.
Smile and think of me.
Life means what it has always meant.
The link is not severed.
Why should I be out of your soul if I am out of your sight?
I will wait for you, I am not here, but just on the other side of this path.
You see, all is well.”
- St. Augustine

Orange Flower Awards

@IAmSufiZen

COMPANIONS CALLED BOOKS

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Frankenstein
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
Lolita
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind
}

I WILL RING THE BELL.WILL YOU?

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!