Posted in Verses

Our Rainbow

I keep finding more of them,

Scattered pieces of you and me

Tucked away in corners

Dusty, blurry

And yet alive.

Remnants of a fragile bond

That slipped and fell

From our hands

Shattering into a million stars

Aglow with the light of our dreams,

And resonating with our laughter,

Their hollow echoes dying away

In the silent dark.

My fingertips turn bloody

As I gather them,

Cutting myself on mischievous grins,

The wayward stubble,

Crooked teeth,

Creases at the corners of eyes

That twinkled,

Lips that teased with the hint of a song

To be shared aloud,

Bass and treble intertwined

In impetuous rapture,

Amid raindrops

That whisper forgotten tales

Of muddy feet, a blue umbrella,

And rainbows overhead

Stretched across white clouds,

Mirroring the colours of our young love,

That stained the skies for a fleeting moment

Before fading away.

I gather them still,

Trying to make sense of the story

That wasn’t meant to be.

Posted in Anecdotes

Of Rails and Reiki

From what I’ve personally observed, I’m inclined to believe there are two kinds of families in India. One, the kind that equates travel with trains, relying on the them for local and long distance travel, and two, the kind that usually restricts itself to buses and cars. Mine belongs to the latter.

That in a country home to one of the largest Railway networks in the world, we should opt for traffic jams and rocky rides has always struck me as an oddity. But since no one cares for my opinions, we continue to be enthusiasts of road travel. While there is probably some kind of charm associated with traversing guttered roads amid blaring horns, most of my childhood memories of travel are tributes to motion sickness thanks to the diverse terrain of my residential state. Hence train journeys have always held a fascination for me as a vomit-free form of transportation, with the ability to walk around or read being additional perks. Unfortunately, the only time my family ever chose rails was when we visited my paternal grandfather during summer holidays in his distant home in the hills, and so my acquaintance with the blue wagons remains limited till date.

Two weeks ago, I achieved a personal milestone by taking a train by myself for the first time. I stepped out of the auto rickshaw that dropped me off at the railway station brimming with self confidence. I felt like a symbol of woman empowerment as I grabbed the bags and made my way through the arches on my own. The four hour journey ahead held as much sense of adventure to me at that point as hitchhiking through Western Europe. (Clearly I need to get out more.) I made my way in beaming.

Half an hour later, I still stood at the same spot. For someone undertaking an adventure of sorts, I clearly did not do my homework. I had no clue which train to get on, where the platforms were, and where they sold the damned tickets. (Clearly there is a reason I don’t get out more.) Mind you, for someone accustomed to jumping up onto buses which laze around in the depots displaying routes in bold letters and being greeted by the bus conductors in due course with tickets, the whole rail system is little less than a culture shock. I decided to put the whole independent thing on hold and phoned a friend. Step by step instructions duly coated in ridicule led me to all the right places in the right order and I was soon walking down the platform reviving my spirits.

The train was late as usual. I settled down on a bench in what seemed like the only empty spot in the place and wondered about my next course of action. The ordeal of buying the ticket left me somewhat famished and I contemplated buying a packet of biscuits for the trip. As I eyed the snacks store, I noticed a Higgin Bothams outlet next to it beckoning me with its array of fresh paperbacks. But going over would entitle dragging all my bags with me and probably returning to find my seat taken, so I decided against it and dug out a candy bar to munch. It was at this point that the guy seated next to me started talking.

I am never one to initiate chats with anyone, let alone strangers. The ability for such small talk is a character I envy in many of my friends. Talking to a random person can be quite enlightening I believe, and can lead on to interesting exchanges and fresh perspectives. But being comfortable with silences and possessing a head incessantly filled with my own introspective chatter leads me to never venture down that path. I had not even noticed the person before he addressed me.

He wanted to know something about the rail schedules and I immediately professed ignorance in the whole system. Thus began a conversation that extended over two hours in a shared train compartment.

Yes, I am well aware of how unsafe it is to strike up conversations with random men in India and had been adequately warned against serial sex offenders prior to the journey, but the fact that he was accompanied by his elderly mother seemed to limit the possibility of him being a potential rapist. Plus, there was something about him. I pride myself on possessing good feminine instincts armed with state of the art anti-bad guy capability and my gut in this case happened to take a liking to him. The fact that he taught at a school for blind children immediately caught my fancy. It is not every day that you run into people who can read the Braille script. The conversation drifted to other topics but I could sense something different about the way he spoke, a tad bit of eccentricity but also a marvel of sorts persisting in his words as he described his love for nature and creation. He asked me if I was acquainted with the art of Reiki and I confessed I had never heard of it. It was something close to his heart he said, it changed his life. He suggested I find a Reiki Master and learn more about it myself. I smiled and nodded along, thinking it must be some kind of martial art technique for self defence.

Once he left, I turned to Google for enlightenment. As it turned out, Reiki is an alternative medicinal branch based on channelling of positive energy, the life force, from the therapist to the patient by touch to cure all diseases. Most of the websites seemed to consider it quackery based on no real science whatsoever, and as a practitioner of evidence based medicine I was inclined to be sceptic as well. But then I remembered his demeanour. Time and again I have come across people who exude positivity simply through their varied beliefs. So what if all of it does not make sense? What if a lot of it is just psychological hocus-pocus? A little bit of blind faith is not a big price to pay for tranquillity in a society plagued by cynics at every corner.

I gazed out of the window and smiled at the trees whirring past, wondering about the life force of the universe.

Posted in Verses

Niche

Once upon a time I was born whole,

Complete and solid,

Unmarred, unscarred

Untainted.

Over time gaining little hollows,

Niches happily carved out

For all I love,

Not one like the other,

Some small, some huge,

Each a reminder of the parts of me

I gave away.

You always worried yours was not big enough,

Feared it was not as special

As the ones I gave to friends

From long ago.

Now the fights are over

And you’re gone,

Leaving me with a void

That you failed to see

Was crafted for you

And you alone;

Shaped to fit the impeccable blend

Of your perfections and flaws,

The curve of your smile,

The glint of your scorn

And everything in between.

Edges still warm with your laughter

And sharp where I last bled,

Yet to be chiselled smooth

With tears over time.

A niche to hold our memories –

An impeccable blend of sweet bitterness,

Flawed perfection,

Just like you.

Posted in Anecdotes, Musings

And Let There Be Light

That one never has to look far to find an ounce of inspiration is a fact I’m very much learning to appreciate of late. 

I am currently staying with my friend K to prepare for our upcoming exams, a decision based on the fact that both of us have consistently failed to make any progress individually whatsoever. The kind of things that invoke wonder in a pre exam setting are varied and easily bordering on psychotic, but then that is a discussion reserved for another day.

Her mother happens to be a brilliant high school teacher of Economics and allied subjects, and has quite a number of students from various schools and colleges signing up for extra classes after school hours at their home. The venue is their erstwhile garage just in front of the house, now remodelled with a tiled roof and windows into a small classroom complete with a blackboard and three rows of desks and chairs. The classes commence by evening and extend into nightfall.

Yesterday she began the classes as usual. But just as twilight set in, we lost power. Something or the other was wrong with the electric lines and it was expected to last for a couple of hours. I naturally expected the students to head home as there were no emergency lamps available in the house and candles or torches couldn’t possibly help. So imagine my surprise when I peeped out after a while to see the little room flooding with light in the middle of utter darkness.

All the students had taken out their smartphones and kept them lined up along the parapet and the windows on either side, and switched the flashlights on, creating an island of illumination. It was a beautiful sight, to say the least.

They could have whined about the circumstance or seen it as an excuse to leave early, but chose to join hands (and handsets) to get on with their purpose. And together, they shone brighter than before. I guess problems are only as bad as our take on them. Each trial encountered can easily be a challenge to better ourselves, to shake off the rust, and move forward. Sometimes a lapse in the routine or a walk away from our comfort zones is what is needed for fresh perspectives. And sometimes unforeseen darkness is all it takes for us to find a glint within.

Posted in Musings

Wildflowers


The universe is a precious gift adorned with roses and ribbons of all kinds, wrapped up under layers of glittering paper. But I’ve often felt we are so fixated on opening it up that we tend to not notice all the work that went into it, the little details meant for our delight, and quite often the glitter paper and the ribbons are barely noticed and tossed aside. 

The way the sky lights up with every sunrise. The agility of a squirrel. The giggle of a rivulet. The incessant chatter of crickets giving one company on a lonely night. The flight of a bird. Rain on the roof. Smell of wet earth. The sheen of new leaves. The crunch of old ones under your feet. Climbing vines. Lines of wisdom on an ageing tree. A butterfly waltzing to the rhythm of the breeze. A wildflower in bloom.

I love wildflowers. I love how they brave birth in the wilderness, seeking approval from none. How the frailty of their petals do not hold them back from facing the sun. How the brevity of their existence does not stop them from achieving glorious perfection and every intricate design right, even when destined to wilt by sundown, unnoticed.

I like to believe that the secrets to happiness are scattered all around us, waiting to be discovered if we’d care to stop and take a look. Where do wildflowers fit in the scheme of things? Maybe they are little angels sent to line my paths when I am lost.

Watch us, they tell me, watch and learn. You too are a little lost soul in a world bigger than you can fathom, facing trials you never foresee. You may feel unwanted and out of place; your actions inconsequential. Your lifetime is but the tiniest fraction of eternity, a slice of today and tomorrow, before you fade into inevitable oblivion. Why then, you ask, should you blossom at all? Why colour your cheeks with brilliant hues when you are meant to wither away anyway?? 

Because, dear child, even your trivial existence holds the power to make a weary traveller smile. 🙂

 ( The drawing was made long ago by my arts teacher from school – a treasured gift)

Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,   

Then her finger moved in the moonlight, 

         Her musket shattered the moonlight,

Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death. 

– Alfred Noyce

(The Highwayman)