Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.

-Dale Turner-

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Under the banyan tree...

You are the majestic banyan.
With opinions hard as the aged trunk.

Like root tips soft and reddish pink,
are sent to earth and buried within,

You keep my dreams and my words,
safe from hurt, risk and wind.

So words die in my throat,
like leaves that wither as they sprout.


You are the majestic banyan,
your arms are riding long and long,

But I am a shoot gasping for light,
a patch of blue, a voice my own.

Saturday 6 February 2010

Waiting room

I am at peace in the ICU waiting area. For the doc has said the ventilator will be off in an hour. And ammama looks as fine as she can be with a box in her mouth for about 24 hours.

I must not think of how her mouth must be hurting. I must think that the tubes will soon come off. I must think of shifting to the ward.

And I continue to read Zenzele, lovingly re-reading each page for its lyrical beauty.

When suddenly this woman, whose husband is in the adjacent bed, comes to me. "Console my son," she says and leads me to him. "He is very depressed."

I am lost for words. But I say something about his father looking better today, about his improved breathing. And about his eyes opening a little.

But what I really want to say is:

To have blind faith. Blind faith that nothing bad can happen because god is in charge. That letting you down is not an option for god.

That it is important to mouth "it will be fine", even when the oxygen level drops to 20 and your aunt is shaking in fear.

And to remind the patient of the beauty of the world outside, so that they aspire for that chai on the porch in the yellow evenings.

But I only say, "go eat breakfast, you will need all your energy when he is shifted to the ward."

Wednesday 3 February 2010

thank god! my dad is no fanatic.

My dad is the gentlest creature I know. He moves slowly, speaks softly, loves his history books and sometimes resembles a baby.

He is a man of the world, of intellect, and of many liberal views. He is also blessed with a slow, careful reasoning, which can make even Voldemort seem reasonable.

And that is why it is very scary when doesn’t question wrong ideas: because then superstition becomes tradition; and the mediocre becomes the alternate.

And you have no words to argue even when your insides are screaming that it is wrong. For what words can you offer a seasoned professor?

All you had was a basic instinct. And now, you doubt that too.

How can someone who tells that history is written by the victor not believe in folk tales that endure civilisations?

How can the man who firmly believes that all answers lie in the grey suddenly accept the least common factor?

How can he, who taught you to trust your woman’s instinct at 10, now say that listening to your heart is worthless?

And how can he of all people say that you are not supposed to apply what you learn?

Is it too much effort to stand up for small, little things because the next big research project is within arm’s reach?

Don’t battles have to be won in everyday life? Is the political not personal?

Thank god he is vocally secular. Thank god he hates Modi.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

family picture

When I was eight, I drew a picture in my head; of my family:

my sis,

a red lil' brother,

dad and mum,

aunt and uncle,

my grandmother and grandfather,

and komala akkaiya, our nanny/domestic-help.

My world then was these nine people. And life was dancingly perfect at eight.

My grandmother raised me as much as my mother. And I looked up to my aunt just as my dad.

My grandfather stood me at the bus stop and my uncle ran ran on hot tar roads to teach me the cycle.

My sister was everything to me; and my brother made me feel all protective.

It all changed two years later, when my siblings, grandparents and aunt and uncle moved to the city.

There were tears, moping afternoons, more tears and oh-so-much anger against all of them.

Akkaiya too had to leave, when mum decided that she was too expensive for three people. She found another nice home.

And for the next 10 years, the only times I would feel completely at home would be on the suburban train between both sides of my world...

....praying for them with a little-known god at a quaint shrine on the way.

It all taught me to cling close to my family and avoid confrontations as much as I could. And this probably is the heart of my soul.

~~

Today, luckily, little has changed. My sister is still my only love; and my brother, at 18, makes me feel just the same. And I follow my aunt's decisions as much as my dad's, even when I don't agree.

This is the first arc that I draw - and it is eight angles wide. The eight voices that I hear, whenever in doubt.

There are conflicts, there are tears, and there are realisations that shake my world, but nothing has changed the way I love these people.

And in that I am still the little girl of eight.

~ the window siller

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