Category Archives: Life

Waiting: Story 2


Occasion: School assembly – World Environment Day .

Anchor: Coming up next, a group song by H and party!

Well, that would be a relief. We were intrigued too – environment day… song? Soon H and ‘party’ were on the stage – H in the middle and two girls each on her either side. H had on many previous occasions entertained us with both her solo and group performances. And it began –  another typical school group song. The main singer, H, started with a song that did justice to the topic of the day. Her open, bold voice was a sure entertainer. Thus it went on.

So far, so good.

But soon the song ceased to ‘entertain’. H was still singing, but ALL ALONE, yet to be joined and supported by the chorus. It was almost half way into the song, but there was no sign of it being a ‘group’ song. We could no longer pay attention to H’s song. The other four girls stood rooted, perplexed, like the audience who by now were impatiently waiting for the other four to open their mouths. After all why were they there? What was their role? Were they simply accompanying H? Or did they forget their lines? Did they suddenly give up their plan to sing? Was it some kind of a sweet revenge on H? Was it the ultimate WE Day prank?

Within minutes the group/solo identity-confused performance was over. They were courteous enough to thank the patient audience before leaving the stage. Mesmerized by the nature of the performance, even the grade one students (most sincere applauders) forgot to applaud.

*   *  *

I knew the answer would come my way, and it did, shortly afterwards. H and party dropped by with the explanation. Yes, it was actually supposed to be a group song. They had all learned the lyrics. But due to lack of time they could not get a rehearsal together. The poor chorus had no idea when to take out their lines. And thus it ended up a solo! We had a good laugh.

Ever since, the English teachers of the school are found to be using this example for the Third Conditional (Gr.):

If the girls had practised the song together they would have ……… :) 

Waiting: Story 1


“Good! Next, you there, read out your answer, please.” F stood up and started preparing to read. Everything looked just fine, so far, but nobody knew those were the initial peaceful minutes of a slight thriller. Seconds passed by, and she was still preparing to read. A chuckle started to spread all over the class. The busy teacher became curious, and before losing herself to anger, confirmed F had been (physically and emotionally) all right. The friends had no evidence to prove it otherwise. F grew more pathetic and looked at her neighbour helplessly. The teacher, holding on to her last vestige of self-control, tried to encourage her to read. But alas, nothing happened! F was alarmingly quiet as if someone had accidentally pressed her mute button. She miserably gestured something to her friend who failed to decipher it. Already about five precious minutes from those final periods of the Term had been spent in anticipation of an answer that seemed infinitely remote. The  chuckling had by now given way to a perplexed, uneasy silence. Ms. J. , unable to take it any more, stormed out of the class passing this verdict – “Call me when you are ready!” The confused class almost let out a cry, shocked by the disconcerting turn of events.

***

Ms.  J. was at sea. Unlike many previous occasions, that day there was no homework defaulter, leaving no reason for the girls to worry about, or the teacher to take out her vehement sermon the nth time in two months. What must have gone wrong?

As Ms. J. sat there in her room, they arrived - F escorted by the beneficent school leader who of late had been sincerely carrying out her role as the helping angel for the ill-fated ones. “Teacher, she will read it.” Ms. J. readily agreed to the compromise. The angel was asked to leave. F looked desperate to let go the only shield against the  likely onslaught of the annoyed teacher. Having no time to risk that favourable twist, F was released too.

***

No other story might have had a smoother ending. The teacher got back to the class, F read out her answers and the teacher continued from where she had stopped as if nothing had gone wrong.

But Ms. J is still waiting – for F to explain it all to her, someday.

A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted, by John O’Donohue


A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted, by John O’Donohue.

In Love


Falling in love
So late!
Better late!

Was gravitation responsible
In any way?

It was there all along
Only that they ‘fell’ in it now.
They had been too rigid and smart
To ‘fall’ into that humble, heavenly pit.

Now, being more flexible,
The pit can hold them.
They have mellowed
Comfortably!

So what about their form,
Their identity?
Who cares!

For the time being
They are two jolly good fellows.
That’s all they know,
All they need!

Who needs honesty?


I am obsessed with honesty -
Two-way.
Excuse me if I sound
‘Holier-than-thou’.

It’s a wretched addiction,
An unfair expectation,
And a crazy passion,
An unrequited act.

Should I be so unrelenting?
Need I go mad
When others swerve?

Deeds of dishonesty
Are often left unfurled
Right on my way,
Just for me to see.
It’s a hoax, I fear.

The bull sees red
And goes hysterical!

Why not put an end
To this cruel game?

Let them do it,
But do me a favour -
Make me blind to it!

Visitors


She just came in
and decided to stay.

So prying
She followed me everywhere.
Though I was busy,
She was adamant
And held me captive.

And she left
Discourteously.

When? How?
Who knows!

And then came in another -
Yet another familiar face,
Just familiar.

My mind, the indulgent guard
Opens the fence gate and
Lets them in often
without my knowledge.

Will they be thinking of me?
Is there some link?
Does it matter?
So who’s next?

Not my bed


The weather was cool (or, for me, cold)
The room was comfortable, neat, homely,
The bed was cozy; yet I couldn’t sleep.
Because it was not my bed.

The bedspreads were clean,
The blanket warm, the pillows snugly
Still I couldn’t sleep.

I peevishly felt for the pea.
The bed didn’t fit me!
Or was it vice versa?
I did not belong.
Some force was trying to expel me.

I missed my dent on my dear bed
That knew me and my curves well,
And held me soothingly like a cradle.
This bed didn’t smell familiar,
Someone had been there before me,
I sniffed for a stranger,
It was a disgusting thought.

And oh, I couldn’t sleep!
Like a fish I lay there tossing,
Yearning for my own bed.

What a night! What a nightmare!

Can you hear me?


Can you hear me?
How come I miss you so?

At times I store stories to share
Keep doubts to clear.
Then I remember,
And I shudder.

All my life I believed
Death is normal
Something that’ll fade out soon
After which I could be myself.

But you had carved and occupied
This large a niche in my heart
Empty now.

Do you like the colour of your grave?
I chose the colours
We gave special instructions
To your friend, the painter.
I know how carefully you made
The grave with your own hands,
Years back…
The outside looks beautiful,
I wonder how it feels in there…

How silly I am -
You are not there…
The song reminded me

Still, do you hear me, Papa?

Can’t let it go…


“Change can be good but it’s always tough to let go of the past”
― Emily GiffinLove the One You’re With

“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!”
― Steve MaraboliUnapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

P1210084 - CopyTime to thank the year for all its tests and lessons (not lessons and tests)!

Loss


DSCF1954The moments of solitude gather the very same thoughts I dread. Memories keep pecking and picking at me. They rub salt on the bruises over and over. The adamant wounds refuse to heal. It hurts.

I am not the first human to lose a parent. However for me the experience of losing someone I had known all my life was not like what I had expected it to be.

We were prepared – that’s what we all supposed. Prepared for what? To see him die? However, there was a lot more we were not prepared for. The void left behind by the departed one is unfathomable and alarming. I feel it now. Though trite, such statements about death seem to be gaining more depth at this point.

When I saw him on his last night (Oct. 10, the day I reached there), the glow in his eyes was on the wane. His eyes were open and gazing but I doubt whether they perceived anything. He was greedily devouring every bit of air. The laboured breath was not at all giving him any ‘satisfaction’, I could read his thoughts. Seeing his struggle I realized there is nothing more (mundanely) divine than to be able to breathe normally!

I could not believe I was looking at the same person I bid goodbye five weeks before.

What was in his mind? Did he have something to tell us?

While others tried to inform him about my arrival he kept on murmuring, “Aara? Aara?” (Who’s that?) Did he recognize me? No cue. He had no last words for me, not even my name. When I asked him if he needed something he clearly stated he did not. All communication was gradually coming to an end, so were his requirements. After all what was left to say and ask? Or, were all the untold words, the unexpressed feelings and fears choking him?

By the next morning it was as if his body had already given itself the pack up call. After two feeds we felt we were just filling in a body that was no more in need of such nourishment. The huge oxygen cylinder bubbled listlessly. He was perspiring with each variation in his body. We could read the changes even without the pulse/saturation meter (a device that is going to haunt me forever). And my sister asked me later, “What were we waiting for, monitoring the readings each minute?” Maybe there was nothing left to do other than just watch.

By noon the readings started hitting new lows.

Were we disturbing and distracting him with all our expressions of concern?

Around 5.30 in the evening I saw something gurgling in his mouth. He opened his eyes wide for the first time that day and stared up the ceiling one last time with tremendous effort. The numbers kept on descending. And then the next moment…    the meter had nothing to say except some meaningful/less dots… We knew it was all over.

The days and nights he spent in constant fear of the looming death came to an end. An entity that moved, thought, loved, hated, desired, planned, rejoiced, won, defeated, failed, created, ate, drank, fought for about eight decades finally gave up.

Did he have the courage to go alone?

The body was still warm and quivering with the last vestige of life left. And for the first time I saw an unusual serenity and stillness spread and then linger on his face. He was relieved of all strain and anxieties. Peace!

*   *  *

Even these thousands of miles in between me and his abode is not thick enough to prevent the agonizing memories from seeping in.

*   *   *

Life thrilled him as much as it failed and hurt him. The thrill came from his talents and the disappointment, from his expectations about life and people. He was never short of solutions, ideas, plans, preparations, stories. Nothing irritated him more than lack of punctuality and perfection. Was he punctual? Yes, to the core. Was he perfect? According to his unique parameters, yes.

I don’t intend to go for sentimental eulogies right now. I owe my life to my parents and I am grateful to my father for what I have inherited and learned from him. [Link]

He had been much more than an average human being and the impressions he left will pose real hard work for time to erase. I am not underestimating the powers of time. It’s just a month – obviously too early to forget a dear and near one.

[Link] And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.