@Start up

The trouble of a start up

is just that

it’s always  kinda starting up

and you are startled

when month ends

merge into month beginnings

& it prolongs to month middles

and you are kinda struggling

but there’s something about

the start up

that is scoffed at

so you say in a muffled voice

I manage this, I head that

but I am with a start up

and it can  shut up (anytime)

I mean shut down, u see

but it does sort of  make sense

when you are 2  score and more

and still kinda starting up yourself .

well, every life is a start up

besides,who was ever born established?

 

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In your shoes

It must be difficult

for you

to see me as I am

to know me as I am

NOW

To know that you did not know

what I will be

to you

to me

in the years to come.

*******************

I see it too

the difficulty of being what I am as I am now

the difficulty of being what I am now to  you

but the difficulty ,then is really upon me

after all its all about me

and honestly I never knew this me.

Balyakala Sakhi by Vaikkom Muhammed Basheer

Majeed and Suhara are neighbours. The nine year old Majeed, the  son of a rich timber merchant and Suhara,the  daughter of a poor arecanut seller are also  bitterest of rivals.

Majeed’s attempts at impressing  Suhara fail as the feisty little girl retorts to every taunt of his with equal gusto. Its only the ripe mangoes that tempt Suhara. Its only Majeed’s ability to climb the mango tree that impress her.

One day Majeed climbed the tree braving ant bites and scratches to tease Suhara with his prize catch of  juicy ripe mangoes. Holding them in hand, he  walked away slowly, loudly anticipating  the pleasure of  tasting of those juicy ripe mangoes and Suhara watched him silently, her eyes brimming with tears. All of a sudden ,Majeed turned back ,walked to Suhara and handed over his the mangoes to her.

uhara was surprised. She was more than touched by Majeed’s sacrifice and the nobility. She immediately made up by extending a hand of friendship. What started as a friendly and light-hearted banter and fights over ripe mangoes and building castles in the mud, turned into heated love as the youngsters grew up.

In the local school they went to, Suhara was the smart student and Majeed ,an idiot. The friendship however turned a new leaf in Majeed’s student life. He was able to solve all the sums and was always the first to finish a given task. Majeed’s teachers expressed surprise at this unexpected turnaround as Suhara smiled  to herself.

Majeed’s father ensured that his son got  the best in education and sent him to a city school for higher studies  even though the boy’s neglect towards sharing responsibilities at home or at the farm often irked him. This often caused friction at home.

After her father’s sudden death, there was no way that Suhara  could get a chance to go to school again. She was disappointed.Majeed proposed that his family could help Suhara go to school. Though his mother was impressed by his thoughtful suggestion,his  father found the idea laughable.

One day Majeed was beaten black and blue for negligence of his duties by his father .He was thrown out of the house  and was asked to get some experience of the world and the real life in it.

It was dark and he had not a single penny in his pocket, nor courage nor experience but Majeed set out of his house on his own. He wandered from place to place observing life,doing odd jobs and  was away for almost 7-8 years. During this time  he never thought of making money , all he was interested in was experiencing life.

In the mean while, Suhara was married off to a butcher  by her mother who had two more girls to look after.

When Majeed returned after his long sojourn, he was heart broken to know about Suhara’s marriage.

His own family too was in dire straits after a reversal of fortunes.His father was old and  his sisters were grown up. The family had lost its wealth and status  in the society. His mother rested her hopes on him to arrange suitable alliances for his sisters.

Suhara heard about Majeed’s return and came to stay with her mother. She spent most of her time at Majeed’s  house, setting off a few tongues in the village wagging. When questioned by some, she replied that she was treated like a servant by her husband and that her absence would make no difference to him.

Life  continued  until  one day, Majeed’s mother  was informed by a wandering saint about rich muslims in other cities who would do anything to help their fellow brethren. She insisted that her son should try appealing to their kindness. Once again ,Majeed set out on a long ardous journey into the unknown and Suhara promised to take care of his family till his return.

Though he was not successful in getting any riches ,Majeed did find a job, a small one . He hoped to return home, marry Suhara and be able to send off his sisters to good families in marriage as a responsible elder brother.

It was a Monday and Majeed was riding his bicycle on an office errand when he fell down a steep slope and was badly hurt. He lay in the hospital for days together. When he woke up he noticed that the lower part of his body was heavily bandaged. His left leg had been amputated.

Majeed had no courage to go back to his home.He tried seeking help from a rich muslim, Khan Bahadur. But something,stopped  Majeed from accepting the money he received as alms. He handed  over the money to the servant who had brought it for him.

He found a menial job in  a local hotel for himself.A letter from his mother informed Majeed of Suhara’s sudden death. His mother requested him to come home to save the family  from impending homelessness.The story ends with Majeed trying to understand what Suhara wanted to tell him when they parted.

In an introduction to the novel,Professor M.P Paul cautions the  chicken-hearted readers  who are nauseated by the sight of blood to stay away from attempting to read the story. It is a page torn off from real life, its are edges tinted with blood, he warns.The advice holds good as the reader is heart broken at the tragic turn of events in Majeed’s life. Vaikkom Muhammed Basheer is known as the Sultan of Beypore.Balyakalasakhi meaning a child hood friend is a realistic reflection of the life of a common man in Kerala. Basheer portrays the beautiful childhood friendship of Majeed and Suhara,its metamorphosis into tender love for each other and its tragic end great finesse and tenderness.

Simian thoughts

Now don’t get me wrong. She chided her man and handed the kid over to him.

It was hot, very hot and they had just found a cool corner on the wall to prop themselves up.

I  don’t expect you to baby sit while I go scouring for food. The man looked at her,his eyes pleading. The baby tilted its head. She stroked its head and stood up. A jump later she had reached the balcony.

She sat on the swinging chair to see what’s up in the house. When she felt reassured of the absence of watchful eyes, she slyly moved to the door, opened it and stepped in. Inside she moved swiftly to the vegetable basket.

These men, they will never share what they have. She picked up a potato and was about to leave, when she heard a man scream, monkey, hoo..haa..goooo…what? she looked around. Who’s the fellow calling? She stepped forward and jeered at him and the man backed off.

She turned to take two more potatoes and moved off. While she was already about to jump, she heard it again, monkey, hoo…ha…. goooo… going man! she  said to herself and jumped again to reach her man and child. It would be many days before they had another meal……

The Curry Hut and the New Kebab Zone

The Curry Hut

dressed in bamboo

fake chilly bulbs adorned

a few blinking lanterns

adding to that farm-look

gaped aghast

at the flashy bright lights

the New Kebab Zone sported

the bright ochre walls

the blaring noise called music

attendants in red and black

her face bleak

she watched

as glowworms to light

kid-led families rushed to the fancy land

but then there were a few who

lost their way  to The Curry Hut

and a few other -old timers

loyal servants of good food

who stepped in and she smiled

it takes a while to take away my sheen

fast and fury  is not my type

long and steady is my zone.

 

 

 

A Calm State

A dream pressed on her eyes

stealing sleep

a jealousy so rancid

burnt deep incisions

a love undone killed life

an anger that she did not own

coursed through the veins

burning

scalding the senses into  numbness

an agony pierced the  heart

as darkness danced in its depths

a restlessness

drained the brain

as she sat still by the window

hatred

spluttered in spasms

beneath the thundering calmness

brewed a storm

whirling

whizzing

dizzying silences kept up the show of life

 

 

Kappa & Kerala

What’s for evening, amma? The girls asked the mother who sat on the verandha, leaning on to the wall,caressing her silver locks. The teeth missing,the bright red bindi shining on her forehead,she reminded the girls of  her once famed beauty. But she said, go pluck tapioca..

So they went on to the fields armed suitably, heckling, cutting and pulling the tubers out. Muddy waters ran as a basket full of kappa was scrubbed clean.

With the expertise only experience can bring, the eldest of the girls, peeled and cut them into large chunks before throwing the pieces into boiling water.

A pinch of turmeric and some rock salt later, the tapioca was cooked and drained. It was time for seasoning. Into the cheenachatti  went 2 tsp of coconut oil, mustard seeds, sliced green chilly, small onions and some curry leaves.

The aroma brought the men of the house rushing to the kitchen for tea. The boys back from school and college lined up for a plateful of yummy kappa with spicy red chilly paste.

The youngest of the 11 siblings caught hold of a large piece of tapioca,rushed to the crackling wood fire and pushed it in. His fingers burnt a little,but he was ecstatic.

A little later the tapioca looked at him invitingly, revealing a white powdery stuff that made ships sail in his mouth, literally!

What happens to a true blue keralite at the sight of Kappa is indescribable .

A rush of memories, a host of aroma of the taste of spicy chutney and finely cooked kappa leaves him terribly homesick.

And the next thing you see is that he is on board travelling to  where Kappa Kalls!

Warrior of Steel- CC 10

A face that belied his 17 years of existence

a fragile body

a voice that surprised with its richness and clarity

a wealth of knowledge that inspired awe

that is Mangesh Gupta for you.

When I first saw Mangesh, I pulled my gaze away, uncertain, unsure of what to say, how to react. But he was more than forthcoming and smiled gently.The warmth that he exuded touched the entire class. When it came to sharing information, we always gave him room. We knew that his knowledge of the universe, the galaxies, the stars was worth a listen. More importantly, none of us stood a chance against him, he was the encyclopedia. When he wrote in his note book gripping his pen in a death hold, great stories and ideas took shape.

During the pre-boards, I remember thinking worriedly of his cause of absence, when his care taker wheeled him in. The man said, he would not let me rest mam. He has high fever but was insistent on writing the exam. Mangesh looked at me with a mischevious smile.

An enthusiastic student who never let go.

Mangesh Gupta: Warrior of Steel

Back home in Kerala, a painfully honest  Balraj.K was battling  Mito chondrial cytopathy. Yet his dreams were intact. Dreams of a small job, a small home and a beautiful family. He sat in the wheel chair smiling and said, listen to this song,see, you will like it. Go out,you will feel fresh. Learn as much as you can, make something of yourself.  Do your NET, National Eligibility Test for Lectureship, he would say as  if it was a door to heaven.  It looked as if he was not very convinced about the efforts of those who claimed to love him, for he decided suddenly to quit the game of life and move on.

Balraj.K Warrior of Steel

Mary is a beautiful girl. At the hostel she was one of the brightest and liveliest girls. The care taker a rather portly man teased the boys, look at Mary, isn’t she beautiful as if instigating them to tease her. She kept her quiet and focused on her studies. She was the only girl who had got the opportunity to study in that famous school on scholarship. One day when the man approached her in her study , she panicked. Picking up a blade which lay nearby, she cut her wrist again and again. The sight of oozing  blood stopped the man, who made a quick escape. Mary said, if you see these marks , I am sure you will think that I had an affair, I eloped with someone, I did that, I did this…I always try to hide my wrist. I hate these scars….It raises questions about my character. While we nodded in disagreement, Mary shared how she was spotted to be trained as a beautician as a school drop out  at the age of 19.Since then though there has been no looking back. Her dedication and commitment won the hearts of the Managers who hand picked girls like her to train, to educate and to prepare them for life. Mary today is a head trainer in Mumbai. She leads  a team of 20 other beauticians many of whom are much elder to her. She says that she is a tough task master. If you get a second chance at life, you got to make it big, right?, she says with a smile.

Mary Zacharia,warrior of steel

Battles are not just fought on the war front.  There is a warrior in each one of us….one who does not give up, one who shines in adversities, one who smiles in despair or what looks like despair.. a warrior of steel in each and every one..cheers to that.