Friday, January 28, 2011

The Jug Full of Water

                Sita Lakshmi was in her late sixties. Her exact age did not matter anymore, not to her at least, all she did was lie down all the day and wait to be woken up by her son for being fed or being bathed or for being cleaned. ‘Madhava’ she would call out irrespective of him being inside the house or not ‘give me some water, my throat is parched’. More often she fell back to sleep forgetting to have water and wait till her son comes home.
                Madhavan, 32, unmarried, was working in a local grocery store. He made sure that he visited home thrice during his work timings from the shop, to take care of his mother. This has become a routine since Sita Lakshmi was affected by Alzheimer's. He had no qualms about this. His mother has done so much for them and she has gone through so much and the least he could do was to be there in the time of her needs. He was youngest of the seven children of Sita Lakshmi. The others who were brighter and more successful were in the different parts of the world quite far from their mother, not just physically. Sitalakshmi used say ‘Out of my seven children, six are for the world only you are for me.’ True to these words Madhavan did not marry because he was apprehensive how a new girl might react to such a person in the house. He neither has the heart to leave her in old age home nor the money to hire a domestic help.
                When the night falls it becomes more difficult. She keeps calling out ‘Madhava are you going to kill me without giving me water’? No matter how many times he reminds her that he has put a jug full of water next to her with a tumbler she forgets and calls him. He obliges every time without uttering a word. It is not her fault. When she was able, she ground kilos of dough for idli or Dosa or kneaded flour for chapatti for their large family. It is not her fault that she cannot do it now. It is now time for her to be taken care of. So, he even sleeps in the semi conscious state so that he can heed to her calls whenever needed. He has dedicated his life to this but pardonably with some mixed feelings.
                In this monotonous cyclic order of events on one of those sticky days of April Madhavan got up and finished off his household chores and went to the shop. The air was thick and humid. Everything around seemed heavy and every particle in the air tried to get precipitated on the skin. One of the days which will irritate everyone and make them yell at each other as if something is biting them. When it seems things cannot get any worse they do. Mr. Rao came to the shop and he is known for not leaving without making problems. After keeping Madhavan on his toes for about 30 minutes to get various things and change them time and again, he finally asked for the receipt.  After the payment when Madhavan gave him back the change he threw a tantrum and said that he had given a 500 Rs note not 100 Rs! No matter how much Madhavan explained Mr. Rao did not listen. Then his indignation grew into a fury and called Madhavan a thief. Finally the owner had to intervene and scold Madhavan to please the tough customer. Owner also said if there is cash deficit at the end of the day it will be taken from his salary!
                A sad heart is like a sinking ship which is already submerged partly in water when something heavy falls on it, it only hastens the destruction. Madhavan was walking back home with the burden of being called a thief, being scolded by his owner, crushing his already worn heart. He was tired of the surprises life threw; he was weary of waiting for answers for all the questions. He was wary that the questions were getting more and more complex every time. He wanted to give up but he wasn’t holding to anything.
                Sitalakshmi eagerly awaited him and he promptly attended to her and after the needed nursing, cajoling and tending she also got ready for the journey through the nights on the chariot of sleep. However before sleeping she said ‘Madhava, you have to get married soon, how long will you waste your life on this old lady?’ and he snapped ‘Ma, you have gone mad, you go to sleep’.  Nothing much left to do; he also lied down on his bed with a thousand thoughts dancing around his head and a thousand things moving in and out. His frustrations trampled over his satisfactions. His desires instigated him to destroy his diligence. He tried to shut all these witches out and walk on a simple steady path and just as this struggle was reaching a crescendo Sitalakshmi called out ‘Madhava. Give me some water, my throat is parched’. Madhavan said ‘Amma, it is next to you in the big jug. Please don’t disturb me today’. Having answered the old lady’s call he lulled himself to sleep.
                The sticky morning had descended again and he woke up all sweaty and directly went to the bathroom to brush and wash his face. Making himself a cup of coffee he went to wake his mother up. ‘Amma, Amma, wake up’. The old lady remained still without any intentions of moving. She had started her travel into the depths of universe to emerge on the other side. And the jug of water next to her was full up to its brim as he had left it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great Indian Republic

After making politically correct statements
that the world would like to hear,
After taking immense proud in just existing
in a way which is quiet unclear,
After trading the nationalistic feelings
for tri coloured ads and TRP ratings,
After strewing replicas of our flag everywhere
from the roads to government buildings,
After listening to a movie star talk about
Unity, peace and national integration,
After shopping for garments and accessories
that are latest in 'desi fashion',
The great Indian republic goes to sleep confused about
its short lived patriotism,
unmindful of the little girl
who works to build a multibillion dollar stadium,
which she will never enter;
unmindful of her happiness
of having got a lot of sweets
outside the school which she has never been to.

Incredible India

A journey of many millennia
From a new dawn
Towards a new goal
Hitherto unknown, unseen
By any other nation
Rise of a benevolent giant
The light of freedom
The spirit of Unity
The mother civilization
Smiles at her children
With rejuvenated vigour
Her splendour ever growing
India – Shining
The Incredible India

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Riddle called life.

It was raining heavily, pouring down - a welcome respite from the heat of the past week. Huddled under the small over-crowded bus stand, I was waiting for the rain to let up so I could walk back from work, when suddenly, out of nowhere, she came walking towards me, and then asked in a breaking voice, brother can you give me something to save my child? She almost startled me, her eyes were deep with sadness and her red sari was torn. I have never seen such a potent sorrow which hits a person like something solid. Her child seemed sick and was shivering. Could be just a ruse to milk money out of innocent bystanders, being the crook I am I stood wondering if she thought I was as naïve as I looked. I practiced looking naïve as she practices looking sad, like her child who practices being sick.

The child was the best actor amongst us; he was shivering like a scared calf, I thought to myself as she started walking away. I could hear her murmuring in tamil ‘probably he thought I was cheater like everyone else in these parts. Little does he know about the integrity of this chinnamma’ and she kept on going about her fate and also her son’s. I don’t know if it was her eyes or her son’s, something stirred in me. I went behind her and I impulsively touched the child’s forehead it was burning. She was telling the truth after all. I stopped an auto nearby and motioned to her to get in. She said ‘Why anna, give me some 5 rupees I will buy some chukku (dried ginger) and rub the paste on his chest it will be ok!’ but I insisted, reluctantly she followed.

These private clinics treat diseases well but one has to sacrifice his life to earn what they demand, I was ready to spend my day’s earning on this child – after all it’s a child life. The wallet in my pocket had money, not mine but the young boy’s - who was standing in the bus stop; he must have been a sales man. A couple of line in English and a naïve but decent look is all it takes. A casual line about the sudden rains and he did not even realize the change of location of his wallet – anyways the sin of stealing will be made even by the merit of feeding my mother and curing this child.

She was quite irritated, may be the crowd which kept staring at her. She asked me to take the child in as she was very wet and her sari was torn. True, it a resembled a patch work quilt, old tattered one that too. After a quick check and a few medicines, I rushed out with the child, but she was gone! I checked everywhere. Asked a staff to check the toilets if she had fainted inside. I enquired the ward boy giving her description. He dragged me aside and said ‘Sir please drop the child and run away. If you are looking for chinnamma, then this should be a kid stolen from somewhere – they make these poor kids sick for money! You are the fourth this month. She has no use of people like you, who come to hospital instead of giving money. So many of us know her here and are waiting to hand her over to police, so she ran away. Had you given her some money she would have dropped the child somewhere, She waited for you to go in only to abscond!’

Down went my pride of being shrewd. Having swallowed a dose of my own medicine, I left the child with the police – who insisted that I would have stolen the child. ‘Saar, I am a thief but I am not so lowly to kill a child to eat’ and went on to give them an earful about ethics and morals of honest crime. Having known my crime history which is clean (only pick-pockets and Mobile theft, not even chain snatching) they let me go. I kept cursing that devil in the form of a woman – who put to risk the life of the child for a few rupees. She can do prostitution for this. I called her names and walked towards my home.

As I neared my home, Krishnan rushed to and said ‘Machan your amma is in hospital, GH. Some auto fellow hit her’. I went to hospital to see her, safe but wounded. Relieved I asked her what happened, she finished the story and added, my good times that lady in tattered red sari came and rushed me to hospital. She in fact paid for the medicines and donated blood. Blessed be that chinnamma!!!! I was bewildered and excused myself and went for a walk to see if I understand what this game of life and fate is all about.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thoughts, Dreams and Time

Why is it so hard to believe
that when we travel faster than light we can go back in time!?
Our thoughts travel faster than light
and it transcends all the three tenses.
If I can think of my past self so easily,
can I meet my thoughts in the future?
If the thoughts are in me
can I get into my thoughts and break time barrier?
If I dream really
is reality a dream?
Now, did I wake up dreaming
or am I dreaming of waking up?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Steps to rapture
Enlightening candle, Enchanting glow
Passion hot enough that it smokes!
Elevating to cloud nine
Doritos, thanks to Panda
Oh yes, Tang, thanks to Sharma.
Mood lifting melodies
Hearty laughter
Dude club
Appy says "Oh Fuck! Tomorrow is IOD exam"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Song of my life…………

Even when I pass into a trance and  forget my very existence
and doubt the entire universe that I carefully built around me.
I keep hearing some music, I don’t know the notes by-heart
But it is familiar, it is something which is eternal.

The music from my soul, the music which never fades,
Full of life, hope and joy, it resounds from the depth of my heart.
Dragging me into the familiar feeling of comfort, warmth
No matter where I am lost in the cold, bleak desert of life.

It is a different fact that I cannot see the players,
Neither can I sing along but I shall remain alive as long as the song is played.
It is that energy that asks me carry on when I think of sitting
Asks me, to hope when I give up, to live when I think of dying

It used to hurt me that it comes from a far away place
and I am not there where it is played
But now I realize all that matters is the beauty of the song and not the singer.
I have learnt that even if the song is being sung for someone else – it is ok.
I shall be alive as long as I am able to hear it.

Those notes are my life, my inspiration, my everything.
That Music is my breath and soul and my mind.
That song is the song of my life and
That song, my love, is you.