And She Gave

For they came in droves men and women

of all kinds and ages from far and near

to the one who gives herself easily in service

to partake in the richness of her good

and then to walk away.

Later though they  were compelled to return to her

fed up of their own anger,greed and indifference.

Each time she snuggled them to her bosom gently

not a word of rebuke, no remorse came forth

just the soothing lull of a loving heart was felt.

Infinite times the hands stretched seeking,groping,searching

as many times she held them kissing, comforting, caressing

She, who was solicited but never loved as one’s own

was for all and not for one.

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The Paratha Life

The soothing fragrance of melting butter  and aloo parathas waft into the veranda.My stomach starts growling and I am  overcome with lust-lust for food.

I shirk away the desire to tuck deeper into the blanket and step out,determined to grab the best bite.

I am visiting Anu and am often found opening and closing lids of containers in search for goodies in her spacious kitchen.

Anu’s kitchen is a treasure house. From mouth-watering laddoos to deliciously baked cakes and cookies, it’s a true foodie- haven.

Such is the fame of her laddoos that little children who visit her ask pointedly, Aunty, where have you kept the laddoo, eyeing the unassuming steel dabba on the dining table.

Anu was never the regular I love cooking types. In fact, she never ventured into the area hitherto lorded over by her miss perfectionist- the mom-who-knew-it-all.

It was her child who awakened the sleeping master cook in Anu. When the doctor declared that the bakery items were responsible for the white spots on her pretty little cheeks, Anu started to dish out some mouth watering home-made snacks.

For someone who hated cooking, Anu started to love rolling round laddoos of every kind. From wheat flour, to gram flour to sooji,any thing and every thing came out looking round and delicious in the form of laddoo at her home. Her little one’s ‘awesome !’ was the only reward she waited for.

Whether it was protein deficiency ,cold and cough or anemia or a disgruntled mother-in-law or  a grumpy child that was the knotted issue of the time, Anu always found a laddoo-cure for every situation.

Even as work at office ate into her time Anu still tried and kept herself at the task.

While teasing her super -woman aspirations, I genuinely wondered why someone would not spare some time for one self and give up cooking, that most taxing of all wifing-mothering-homing duties.

I was about to embark on another session of worldly wisdom when Anu looks misty eyed, her face turned to the ceiling to mouth these pearls: Life is like an aloo paratha…those bland edges add to the taste, so don’t fight, succumb to the harsh realities of life!

While I go scrounging in her kitchen, you try making sense of that!

 

A Realistic Fantasy

Reality stood

outside my window

grinning

mocking

making grim faces

he painted a thousand sorrows

I smiled

he strung a hundred broken hearts together

I jeered at him

he showed me aging,caged in misery

I ignored him

He taunted my poor fate

no chance of finding a true mate

I thumped my chest

and showed him I am the best.

He turned and fled.

sacred within

a sacred space stood intact

un-breached by memories

untainted by experiences

a sacred space of hope

untouched by bitterness

unexploited by weakness

a sacred space of love

unscathed by hatred

unspoiled by disappointments

a sacred space of strength

nurtured her hopes,her dreams,her love

neither neglect nor distance or distrust

tainted the sacred space

that rooted for her within her.

 

 

The difficulty in saying ‘NO’

The plate was loaded. The hands tied. But refuse I would not, I could not rather, not to him, not to her, not to anyone. So I acquiesced  with a non committal nod, the classic Indian nod, which like a palindrome,can be read either ways! Most intelligent people I interact with considered it, my nod i.e., an indication of the highest level of commitment. The Indian nod is funny enough but mine borders on weirdom. But that’s another story.

As I went on being the yes-minister nodding my head happily and taking on tasks that I knew were not exactly my cup of tea, I was burdening myself with a whole lot of avoidable stress and guilt. The weight of unfulfilled expectations hung around my neck like an albatross.This was becoming a pattern.I even tried the disappearing act, unsuccessfully,and was spotted and taken to task by the taskmasters.

The desire to stay relevant, to be validated, to be acknowledged and to please  is perhaps the reason for my hesitation to say No. My good friend, Google suggests that I am not alone in thinking so. Apparently,the difficulty of saying No is a universal malaise. It goes without saying that this bit of information felt just great.

Well, it was time for some action and I decided to take out a card hitherto not played.

The ‘NO’. The word NO.

I started flashing it oftner…

What a relief that was!

It felt liberating.

I am sorry, I can’t help. It’s difficult etc became the norm of the day. These replaced the ‘I will try,I am kinda busy, but will do it’ etc.

I did  end up losing a few friends and well-wishers in the process but earned a lot of space for myself which was more than rewarding.

No with a capital ‘N’ is my best buddy these days. And I can’t tell you how much I have gained by saying No. If you don’t believe me, you should try it yourself.

Gurucharan Das did well to write a book titled’ The Difficulty of Being Good’. But how about a sequel titled, The Difficulty of Being Bad’. Should be interesting!