Picture courtesy:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Cats

You lifted your head and looked steadily
into my eyes in a defensive, yet quizzical way.
I was confused for a moment
anxious, apprehensive, even a little upset as well,
seeing you there on the floor with the trio
struggling and sucking at you enthusiastically.

The rags left behind by the previous owner of the apartment
make a cosy mattress for your small family.
It took me less than a few seconds to fight back
the misgivings and apprehensions.
You are a cat, not an omen.
Your precious trio, mere kittens,
struggling for survival, not symbols of good or bad.
They embody nothing but the zest for life.
Childhood witnessed numerous kittens coming to life
during different times.
Always there were willing souls to adopt the kittens.
Times changed fast.
Cats no longer adorn our households.
Kittens, a sight of the remote past.
Childhood and memories come alive when here
in the first house I ever bought, a second hand apartment,
while renovation is still in progress, you decide to
give birth to your little ones who look entirely
different from each other.

One among them is a replica of you,
with the same colour combinations and designs.
Despite external differences, they appear united
in some mysterious way.
The way they cuddle and sleep or climb on you.

I was lost in thoughts when I awakened to the realization
that you no longer keep your head up.
You are at peace, resting your head on one of your paws
still keeping your eyes fixed on me,
but with a changed expression.
I understand and appreciate that
protective, vigilant stance.

You seem to regard me harmless,
but you don’t want to take any chance with me.
Well, rest assured, I will not harm you
But you will have to find a shelter
before the open balcony be closed,
and all works finished allowing me to move in
At last as the owner of the apartment.

I can't afford to take you in,
But I will not succumb to any nonsensical
interpretation that your gesture means this or that.
To me you represent life with all its pristine good
I don’t care for anything else
and earnestly wish that people stop
attempting weird interpretations
and contaminate the minds of others
with mean ideas incriminating innocent beings,
transforming them into omens or portends.
To me, you found the house I paid for,
a good place to start your family , in the holy week

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Life is going to be different
after this parting.
The moment is full of that realization
but one last time an effort is spared
to hold the present a little longer,
in an attempt to escape the threatening anticipations.

However much I try, the tension does not let go of me.
I guess it is the same with you too;
only time will let me confirm.
I cannot let go of the fear and anticipation
of parting that could turn out to be final.
I try to hold on to the moment and
make an earnest attempt to enjoy and preserve
the warmth and passion of these precious moments.
I realize my failure, though I manage to hold back
my anxieties and fears and put up a brave front,
boldly receiving and bestowing the parting kiss.

The terror and agony of the moment far exceeds the pleasure
and sense of belonging this clasp and kiss impart.
I shudder and freeze inwardly
and choke back and smother the cries
that wriggle to break free, be let loose.
The burning and tearing shake me up
like wild fire and thunderstorm.

The moment you release the tight grip
that holds me up close to you
I know the world will change around me.
Life will not be the same until you return to me safe
and grab me once again in that
intimate, tight embrace, kissing me
in that familiar way, reassuring me
that nothing has changed between us,
our world remains intact .
Inspired by picture prompt at http://creativewriting.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/prompt-2.jpg

A Wish Rekindled

Maple trees and snow

Fire and water

Images conjured up in the mind,

of a teenager, refusing to yield

to the purging effect of time.

A forest of identical trees,

turning into the colours of fire in autumn,

with the leaves becoming orange,

red, yellow and brown ,

resembling a forest on fire.

The deep seated desire to witness

that scene of profound beauty,

awe inspiring, mesmerizing,

inspired by the accidental reading

of part of an obituary wherein

a woman expressed her desire

to have her ashes strewn over

the maple trees in Kashmir valley

the land of celestial beauty

now turned into the land of strife

engendering fear and apprehension

as one plans a visit

narrow territorial issues

posing hindrance that nothing can override

The unfulfilled longing still tugs

at the strings of the heart

A visit to the nearby Jammu

has only set ablaze the desire

to step into snow and stroll through

the maple tree groves

Waffles with maple syrup is a delightful dish.

Maple sweets are yummy too.

The taste lingers and sets on a craving

to be amidst the trees and feel the fulfillment

of a wish, a dream, a fantasy.

Picture courtesy: http://creativewriting.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/prompt-6.jpg

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Woman on the Pavement and her Umbrella

The usual journey by bus at the end of every day brings me to the busiest part of the great city. Sights and sounds are quite familiar now that I have been travelling daily for the past one year. I dreaded journeys by bus to distant destinations for work. I was full of apprehensions about being able to travel and work. To travel everyday for five days a week by the public conveyance system in a third world country like mine is not at all easy or something to look forward to. One has to give up all sense of comfort in the first place, and expect the worst at all times. People just do not care for the privacy or space of others. They throng the places leaning against you, knocking you, hitting you, practically anything anytime. Some are adept at tormenting others especially those who do not travel on a daily basis. The latter know best not to irritate or inconvenience others. Under these circumstances I travel almost successfully everyday for five days a week to a distant place changing buses four times one way as there are no buses plying my route from home to work. Tedious schedule, doubtlessly.

I never sleep while travelling. The latest buses offer some comforts like little bumping, and jumping. So it is more or less comparable to train journeys. One can read, provided one gets a convenient seat. I prefer the seats in the front of all vehicles. I enjoy watching the road view without any obstruction. I listen to music using ear phones and I read too. The tedium of the journey is hardly ever felt this way.

The summer is harsh in my part of the country and travelling becomes more difficult in this unfriendly weather. I doze off in the evenings quite unknowingly. One day, I was woken up when a colleague who was in the same bus called out to me. On waking up I realized that the bus had reached the city’s heart where I was supposed to get down. For once it was the turn of my colleagues to wake me up at the end of the journey. It is usually my job to wake them up. Sleepily getting down I stopped when my friends stopped to have a drink. The pavement is full of all kinds of vendors selling fruits, pots, eggs, vegetables, fish, cutlery, clothes, and what not. Standing under the huge banyan tree at the old fortress’ entrance, I happened to notice a woman struggling with an old dilapidated umbrella. It was tied to one of the metal spikes of a low railing surrounding an enclosure just outside the gate of the fortress. The wind was playing havoc with it and the evening sun was squarely on her face. She carefully removed the umbrella fighting hard against the wind which was keen on claiming it. The condition of the umbrella was pathetic but the care with which she folded it up, talking to it as though it was a live thing, caught my attention.

She was quite unfamiliar to me. When I looked at her she began to direct her monologue which had till then been to the umbrella, to me. She complained that the umbrella was behaving like a truant child refusing to obey her. She criticised the umbrella quite vehemently but with a tenderness one could easily detect. All the while she was lavishing all her attention on smoothing down the folds of the umbrella which still posed a problem as the cloth was almost hanging loose, detached from the frame at all places. It was faded and obviously very old.

The woman looked very elegant though her clothes were pretty old too.She was short, grey haired and thin. Clad in a pink coloured, cheap synthetic sari, she looked graceful. She wore sindoor on her forehead. She had a sack made of cloth placed in front of her on the pavement where she was sitting. There were two steel containers, half in and half out of the sack. Both the containers were closed tightly. On top of the lids lay small plastic packets, one each on one lid. One packet contained one snack item. I asked her how much she charged them and was taken aback by the low price she quoted. In the meanwhile women returning from work like me came to her and bought her stuff. They did so with such knowing countenance that I immediately developed the idea that she was known to folks there.

She kept talking to me all the while. She expressed her anxiety about the summer vacations coming. She asked me who would buy her stuff once the schools close. I told her that my place does not close practically as there would be special classes during the summer months. She looked happy as though it guaranteed sale for her. We both felt as though we knew each other for a long, long time. She smiled a smile of great relief. I bought one of the packets for a very meagre sum though it was not my practice to buy from the road side, especially processed food, for fear of contamination. I liked the way she kept her vessels closed and kept only one packet each atop the lids for display. She sold very fast. By the time my friends finished their drinks she had sold everything.

I got one packet of a country snack, four in number and a packet of homemade chutney powder, for a paltry sum. The way she tendered change, cautioning me not to mistake the one rupee for a fifty paisa coin, tenderly chiding the authorities for making all coins look alike causing such confusion and trouble, sounded exactly like the way she chided and criticised her umbrella. The tone was not of grudge or offense. It was not intolerance or irritation. It was a mild protest, a modest complaint at the unequal ways of the world.

The umbrella remained folded at her side, the sun’s rays were on her radiant, old face, the wind still blew offering little relief from the heat and sweat but silently pronouncing that if any attempt is made to spread out the umbrella again, the consequences would be disastrous.

Picture courtesy:http://creativewriting.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/fallen-umbrella.jpg

Our Walks that Make Us

Mounted on my hips,
your little arm across mine,
your little feet well clad in fine shoes,
never touching the ground,
you walk these idyllic paths,
watching the surroundings,
frequently asking questions,
listening to my explanations,
laughing at times ,
expressing dissatisfaction
at other times when my clarifications fail
to meet your expectations.
We walk together thus;
growing up together by the minute.
Our bond strengthening
conjoining thoughts and feelings.
Your weight is nothing to me,
it doesn’t bother at all.
My legs don’t tire.
You don’t get bored or exhausted.
We walk on and on, to the far end,
to return only because there are others
waiting for us at home.
It is these walks that make us.
Picture courtesy:http://creativewriting.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/prompt-14.jpg

Glorious Feat

Colours of dusk

dark figures

sea and sky like canvases

water mirrors reality

eternalising events,

etching history of wrongs

power against greater power

questions of right and wrong

Man’s victories against other species

are violations of right.

His cunning and shrewd, treacherous ways

entrap the truly powerful and mighty.

Horsepower is bridled, man asserts himself.

Glorious feat, viewed from man’s side.

picture courtesy:http://creativewriting.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/prompt-11.jpg