Sly Smiling Old Age

Old age smiles slyly

from behind the glass doors

of the glass shelves

where homes youth and childhood pride

hanging precariously

unaware of time’s assaults

and its irreversible actions

reactions to which are limited only to imagination

a sachet of youth surreptitiously named blossoms

a range of lip dyes to brighten nights

a bottle of sandal wood oil

unctions of many kinds

contraptions to recreate fascination

for sagging body parts

energizers, revitalize-rs, augmenters

and a roll of pain relief bandage called

Medigrip Capsicum Elastic Bandage

reminders of unpaid insurance premiums

impending hospital bills

as good as new dresses

refrain of old good times

slurring speech

a distant look

a balding head

and a wagging dog tail.

 

And Zoe Writes

Some day said Zoe, I might just sit down to write.

To share what it is to be bringing up two humans, kids at that.

What it is to be patient and understanding and how it is to teach them ways of living.

I can hear your snigger, half way through

caught in between your nasals and vocals thriving to come out

but I know you are doubting yourself as most humans do.

I understand your complexities

your illicit implicitness

and I choose to ignore that as I do most of the other things that go on around and around.

Apparently, they are taking me on a tour! When I know how much effort it is to get them on the road and to keep them at it.

Buddy, hurry up, it’s a long way to down south, I say, but who cares?

The elders are waiting, I have been telling, but who listens?

I know you would think high of these preposterous duties,officacies, these two indulge in, I never thought much of it, neither did they, I know for sure, and tell me which human ever liked any other like we do.

I mean the way we look out to those of our kind in thunder, lighting or rain, it is not for these, those who walk on two legs to have such compassion, such understanding, such love.

You see, I might fight for a bone, but I am always willing to share a piece of flesh, or a bowl of milk.

They say I am like them.

I am told I have a character. I have likes and dislikes and even a personality.

I have much more, honestly, if only you care to see!

But mostly let me ask you, can you really ever even hope to be like me!!!

It would take you ages, nay, millenniums to get close to our, I mean, my kind of sophistication.

Apparently some human said that it is foolish for women to think they are equal to men,as they are far too superior.

Well, I could say that neither the girl nor the boy have the superiority to even aspire to be anything like me.

I don’t want to elaborate. Perhaps we will discuss that in private.

Oh! well!

I hear your dispute, I feel your antagonism at such assertion from a dog, a mere dog!

No wonder you were never considered much among your kind

As for me, you need to grow up really!

Until I see you!

Later afternoons

Mornings are late

well, usually very late

so are the evenings

as if shy of coming out

they wallow about in doubt

but the afternoons

that’s what makes life

what it is

stretching endlessly

in a languid laziness

knotted in puzzles

mazes and absolute no-turnarounds

that’s when tea upon tea

makes the effort to keep the mind in working condition

books piled on either side

send reminders of unfulfilled whatevers

then there is this wait

for that reply from nowhere

for that response to a call that never went

for that opportunity that is building its gate

for that company that is relishing the moment

for great photo-opps, happy faces, great food and laughter

for the reward after work, the hard afternoon work

when keeping eyes open is itself a challenge

forget not losing oneself in the process

but how much can a lost soul lose after all

sometimes the way itself forgets where it is going

then what of the wayfarer, poor thing!

such they say is living

yet the end is the only clarity one can have

come as it will, it will when it will. Peace!

 

Of the need to expend energies

“If you’ve ever been to India, it’s likely that you’ve been startled by how young the country looks; the streets of any Indian town, even of its villages, are full of 20-somethings. This isn’t a surprise: India is a very young country. Half of its population is under the age of 25. Two-thirds are less than 35. As a recent Bloomberg News analysis discovered, India is likely to have the world’s largest workforce by 2027, with a billion people aged between 15 and 64.” I am quoting from Mihir Sharma’s article titled India’s youth are the world’s future, with a subtitle running, ” whether that is good or bad remains to be seen”.

Now for a country with such a huge population of youth what do we have for them except maybe cheap internet connection. I mean what avenues do young people have to expend their energies? Do we have enough play grounds? Does our education system require our youth to expend their creative or physical energies in any which way? Where do these young people go for entertainment? What options do they have? How are they going to be creative, imaginative and have the much touted ‘leadership qualities’ if all they have to do is to learn by rot?

I was talking the other day to a 20 year old tall basket ball player who described in detail his exploits on the field. He had been missing classes, ” but we won many tournaments, mam”, he said with palpable excitement. ” Our team is made up of new comers but I am happy about how we are shaping up,” he added with a certain pride.

His friend mumbled in support and an obvious admiration, ” His father was admitted in the hospital, he has been juggling studies, sports and hospital, mam” .

How many of young people who regularly attend classes can say the same about themselves, ” I am proud of who I am and how I am doing right now”.

In the flurry of activities, often meaningless of filling records( by copying), filling notebooks, ( again from others books), of solving sums( copied from other sources) our youngsters feel unchallenged and this I believe leaves them with a  huge sense of dissatisfaction, a great feeling of under achievement.

My cousin who is pursuing his studies in New Zealand tells me, ” We are doing real things here. We have to solve real time problems faced by real companies in front of those who head them. Those guys can ask any random question and the faculty too is not kind to us, they really drill us and that gets us to think, really!”

In an activity that required students to speak on a topic of their choice, many students chose to speak critically on the current education system. Of course, the discussion and debates on social media has influenced them but some valid points were raised. Here are some of them:

  • Freedom to choose the subjects for studies.
  • Regular revision of syllabus.
  • Support from parents and society to pursue careers of choice.
  • Need to revamp examination systems, selection criteria etc.
  • While English is necessary it is not the be all and end all of education.
  • Allow students to participate in active politics, there is much at stake for the youth.
  • Give credits for work outside the classrooms.
  •  Treat students as partners in the learning process, not as receivers of bounty!
  • Stop discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, religion.
  • Stop looking down at those who engage in labor whether it is that of a construction worker or a sexual worker.
  • Be compassionate to farmers.

Also many of the young people were openly supportive of what we call progressive. There is less animosity among the youth towards people with different faiths, genders, sexual orientations, political beliefs etc.

From idolizing the Australian Cricket Team, to worshiping the crusaders of black identity in America, to fighting against atrocities in the name of caste and religion,to raising voice for the women and children, to wondering about the purpose of life and the evolution of human consciousness, to being able to decide their idol and role model purely based on merit, young people today can speak up, have an opinion, express and debate on a given topic.  All they need is more opportunities to being challenged, questioned and being made to think independently.

As a country,  it is our business to give them more avenues to express their many talents and abilities, if truly the Indian youth is the future of the world, they need to be nurtured with love,care,compassion and a vision oriented to future, which ironically, is now!

A good idea would be to organize competitions and contests in every thing from sports to verbal duels to theater and arts at the thaluk or panchayat levels to ensure better and more democratic participation in everything from arts, science to coding and theatre.

Let there be more local theatres, dance competitions and singing contests.

Let there be more play grounds, lakes to swim in, places to play about.

Let there be more avenues for expending the energies of the youth.

A happy youth, a better tomorrow!

Not Quite ‘A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream’!

The object of your desire is at an arm’s length. You whiff and sniff at the fragrance of a fantasy about to come true.

You lunge forward in a desperate attempt to clutch at a tiny bit of that dream and magically make it real.

Your heart skips a beat. You turn icy cold in sweltering summer!

Have you not waited long for this moment? Hasn’t this hope/dream/fantasy been your drive to live?

Isn’t this the ultimate gift you would give yourself?

You close your eyes as if to capture that perfect moment in your memory locked for ever.

But wait, there’s someone whose vision is colored in love and desire for you!

And that object of ‘your’ desire is mooning over someone-the other!

Ha! life! irritating! bewildering! interesting! and all at the same time.

Its like you enter the best restaurant in town with your lady love and ogle at someone else’s girl friend.

It’s like you order the most tempting food on the menu and pry into others food interests.

It’s what I call the ‘Puckishness’ of life, that persistent search for something that will never be yours.

That desire to possess the neighbor’s stuff, his life, his car, his wife and pretty much everything else.

At home I crib and complain of being ignored by the growing teenager and pester her with the ‘I carried you in my womb for nine-months jibe’ far too often but every time she invites me to sit with her for reading something together, I magically (read stupidly!) transform myself into the ‘busiest woman of the moment’.

Why do I always have to rush to put my baby to sleep after, she is fast asleep?

Why do I always have to procrastinate even when I am fully aware of the urgency of the situation?

Why is it that I can’t put my mind to exercise when I know that my belly is almost hitting my nose, sorry the floor!

Why can’t I just begin to write and just not think about writing?

Why can’t I study when I have to or finish off that stupid assignment?

Ha! why can’t we just do what is to be done at the moment?

Why can’t we decide what is best for us?

Or is it just me???

In the play, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, there is this naughty self-willed elf called Puck who is supposed to follow the commands of his master Oberon but mostly does what he feels like doing!

Puck,for instance, gives the love potion to the wrong couple of lovers. When he is sent by his master, Oberon to apply the love potion to Demetrius to make him fall in love with Helena, Puck wrongfully administers the medicine to Lysander  and has Helena chased by both Lysander and Demetrius, while the poor Hermia is left wailing for  Lysander to regain her lost love. This confusion creates enough comedy in the play with Puck and the audience enjoying the wild chase until Oberon orders Puck to rectify the error with an anti-dote. The anti-dote is applied to the eyes of Lysander who regains his love for Hermia and Helena is loved by Demetrius and all is well that ends well.

But life is not ‘A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream’ or is it? If yes, who is the ‘Oberon’ and who is ‘Puck’?

Well, I don’t know, if you do, you are free to tell me!

Ps: Yes,it is ‘Puck’, actually!

 

 

 

Of listening

Some days are such

days of learning

days of listening

of being the receptacle

of outpouring

a cascade of emotions

rendered with strange equanimity

all the more ruthless

as the speaker is calm and in control

the listener is in turmoil,cracking

yet, there is healing

energies exchanged in sharing

hopes, dreams, promises

young hearts

crushed to take up defense

have still the magnanimity to speak with no offence

to look ahead and beyond

to be able to find love

comfort, hope and dreams

Dear universe let love and dreams

be true for the youth

be they resilient

be they strong

be they hopeful

be they happy

be through them the world!

Ps: Listen to the young, they speak wisdom beyond their years

Eyes so quiet

Eyes

so quiet

hold an ocean within

a steady gaze

speaks silent strength

eyes

so deep

to wade into

find or lose yourself

eyes

so wise

read you inside out

soaked in tears

dried in steel

smile that is just that – a smile

neither sorrow nor joy

tender hands

powerful soul

life’s journey

has not yet killed hope nor dreams

prayers for you

and much love

dear daughter, be thou happy

be thou mine!

Of Pots and Pans

In the most turbulent of times

when life threatens to tear at its seams

in the most confusing moments of life

when living is filled with rife

the pots and pans

entice, enamor, enrich

comfort, console and collaborate

make everything more meaningful

after much beating

there has to be a rising

then find some time to sit down

with a dear one nearby

for a sip of coffee

and a dip of a cookie

stare into the sunset

drink in the aroma of a well-cooked life

nod a little together

reach out for a book asunder

stroll by in the night

and as love walks by your side

just be, simply be.

 

 

 

 

Rendezvous

I fell on my knees

cried out from my heart

endearingly poured out my love

implored,implored ,implored

the tonal varieties I assumed

surprised and  shocked me

my soul struck on her

could not let go

so in the darkness

I called out in reply to her meows

after a length of time

she came closer

watched me intently

it seemed she realized

that I needed her love more than she needed me

she accepted the bowl of milk

and guided me to the terrace

where she came and sat next to me

climbing on to my lap

talking to my daughter

we sat like that the three of us

for what seemed a life time

allowing us to caress her

rub and gently love her

she left later

after such intense conversation

there is a long wait

another time, another rendezvous!

A walking starfish talks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbg-tQ6FJgQ

You look mesmerized

at my mere walking

what if I talked

wouldn’t you swoon right there?

my twists, my turns

fascinate you

how about my tales

wouldn’t they scandalize you?

If I were to share with you

our many stories, our many gods

our ancestry and our many curses

you would be surprised, nay, shocked, I know.

(perhaps you find yourself there!)

On the dumb racks

dead and some times dried

do I still look so ravishing

I just wonder?

Forget it brother

sometimes slow down a bit

spend some time with us lesser mortals

we make your world too

for good or bad we are family

maybe then you be kinder!