Facade

You have the same eyes;

dark brown and luminous.

the very same smile….

the smile that lights up your whole face.

the same pale countenance…….

yet there is something amiss?

It is not the same person behind

this facade….

Is it for real that the external visual

remains the same and

the soul changes…??

or have you evolved or have I ?

i do not want to say goodbyes…..it is hard;

it is  hard when your visual is lost because of man made  distance or

death snatches it away..

But it is harder when you see the same visual

but the soul behind it has changed……???

I  knock…….

the person behind the door is the not person I knew……??

A prayer to self

We had a walk together.

What a walk…it spanned more than four decades!

As we walked along, we talked endlessly…

endlessly of the joys of our babies, businesses being conceived and

delivered….of making new friends,

the excitement of visiting new lands, the professional highs……!!

Talked about the pain and bewilderment of our parents and in-laws going away,

and siblings drifting away………..,

the joys and anxieties of preparing and seeing our children flying out on their own……!!

Talked of gaining weight, losing weight, the menopause……,

dreams about our dead parents, strangeness and beauty of relations and life.

Wondered why money is more important than the human feelings…!

Wondered why some souls are so poor under the guise of best clothes…!!

(not that we claimed that ours were the most evolved ones).

The talk and the walk comes to an end abruptly…..

Perhaps you chose to go……at least you should have said ‘goodbye’;

because you know very well that  I do not understand the very obvious nor take any hints….

I need to be told in bare words, in plain language…………

I stand at the same intersection, waiting for you to join……………

Should I wait any longer ………

I strain to hear every sound which sounds like yours.

Crane my neck and stare with all my hope at every shadow walking towards me.

How long should I…?

How long………………..??

I raise a prayer to my own self:

“Move or you will perish…,

move for there are things to be done before you come a full circle!!!”

How Much is Too Much….?

(from mother of a teen!   with love…….to all the parents!)

I peep………

Her face is sideways

Visible only is the tip of her nose,

Coz her face is hidden beneath her

long, black, tangled, untied hair.

She can hardly hear me

Or for that matter anything/anybody

So oblivious of

everything around her…….

Though I  can hear her peals of laughter

as her eyes are glued to the TV!

I peep into the room

of my teen aged daughter……….

For me it is jumble of inside out clothes, bedsheets, towels,

dishes, crying  out to be put into their places!

For her, everything is so damn orderly………

O! the triumphant look on her face when  she could find

her favorite hairband or remote amidst everything so fast!

“I told you …..everything is perfect ..I know what is where!”

The whole day she can roam about

in oversized clothes, slippers…

Everything at least 3 sizes bigger!

She wore her papa’s pull the whole of winter

and walked with the pride of freedom in those

big, spread out, unapologetic  reebok slippers of her dad!

“O, they are so comfy mom….!”

Exams are here,

More than the kids, the moms are

busy exchanging notes and worrying themselves dead..

“You know, my daughter does NOT study at all…”

Gathering courage of  a righteous parent,

I admonish her to be serious about her ‘studies’.

I tell her umpteenth times, “I will not remind

you to study. After all, it  is your life…you should know how important

it is to………………….”

We mothers walk on such a tight rope,

A LITTLE overdoing AND we are labeled  a nagging MOM!

I am advised to ” take a chill pill.”

The room is littered with empty  glasses of coke

and scrunched bags/boxes of

pizzas and burgers.

When the things go overboard,

and I wonder  “HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH………”

She senses now it is time to beat a retreat……….

She would lovingly put her

arms around me,

her cascade of black silk

nudging softly against my cheeks and would tweet:

“Mumma, I am a child only!

You should have had the willpower to …….,….,…….,………,……..,

…..,………”

Moving Ahead…………..!

One step forward,

One step backward,

I stay where I am.

Happy n contended,

In the embrace of inaction.

The complacency of being in the

familiar territory!

I know the souls, the places, the things

around me!

Apart from the general unpredictability of life,

everything else is quite predictable!

Heavenly!!!

But the small voice inside

murmurs everyday.

It is a faint murmur;

I thought I could stifle it.

It dares to scratch beneath

this happy surface everyday…..

Everyday  it catches hold of me

And has the audacity to pose this question:

“Is that all You want, Is that all You are?”

The more I shut it up everyday,

the more innocently does it bounce back!

Everyday

with a childlike energy and candor…

Eye in Eye, it asks me…..

Like a person being cornered,

Like a convict being haunted down to the last

hiding place,

I can no longer hide.

It is oozing all out of me,

it is spilling all over from every nook and crevice…

“Oh, I am sum total of much more than you see..”

“So, go ahead, why fritter yourself away.”

“Well, I was looking for the ideal  path….”

“O, I did not know that you were such a perfectionist!

Have you found anything, any person, any circumstances perfect ?”

“……………….”

 

“So, move my dear…move at your pace

but do move —-

for anything standing in one place vegetates!

Move like who you are…

Gracefully, graciously and as you do move,

You turn the picture into a near-perfect one!

You get drawn and woven into the Bigger Picture

as a unique and luminous speck!!”

Soulmate

Our Togetherness was all there was…………….!

You looked up, I looked up..

I looked down, you looked down…….

Withered together when the winds blew harsh;

Bloomed together when the sunshine shone bright!

Two Together!!!

 

Joys n pains of our existence intertwined…

intertwined delicately

delicate and whole TOGETHER.

Difficult to identify and segregate…

Which ones are mine or yours?

 

Midway, one part outgrows US.

Bleed my heart, give way for the other to move out….

Wake up of your complacency,

Separate your baggage,

Take care to claim the things belonging to YOU;

Nothing less, Nothing more.

Bleed my heart…!!!

My mother-in-law and me

When I was a young girl, my grandmother (dadi) will often say indulgently,  “Dear,  you would have a loving m-i-l…”  Perhaps my long neck and dimpled cheeks were signs enough for her!  That is what she said, she based her predictions on!!

I got married in the traditional arranged way.  There is this ceremony where the new d-i-l has to cook for the family.  When I learnt as to what was expected of me the next morning, I lost all my peace.  I confided in my husband that if at all I have to be put to work, I could do all the mopping of floors, washing of clothes, but DO NOT ask me cook ! My husband, instead of keeping my secret, announces to his family right before I enter the kitchen.  I was nervous and wished I had taken pains to learn some basic cooking! (being the middle of the sisters in my parents’ home, I was expected to take charge of cleaning and run errands from the market…. cooking was something which only the eldest sister had to do and what a sissy activity it seemed!)   So my m-i-l came to my rescue and let me stir some ‘halwa’ and kept the pretension that I had prepared it!

We stayed together for 23 years.  She was like a rock of support all these years – she cooked and cooked with such gusto that I simply marveled at her for dishing out such sumptuous spreads and insisting on serving hot to each and every person as and when they came back from work, including me..!  My off and on tryst with cooking, needless to say, ended in disasters!

In the meanwhile,  I toiled setting up a business with my husband.   The children always had a motherly support at home.

In June, 2007, she was diagnosed with lung cancer at 4th stage and was bed ridden for six months, before she passed away on 1st Dec., 2007.   I am ever so grateful that I could nurse her during her last days.  I cooked and used to ask her the recipes for various dishes.  She only told me, “Nisha, the day you will start cooking with love and care, the taste will follow…..there is no other recipe that I know of!”

During these years, I had seen her pray mornings and evenings….I also saw her feeding pigeons each morning.  As a young bride and later a busy professional and mother, I often looked at these things with skepticism, if not disdain.  There were numerous things that she did and I did not care about them.  Not that I did not respect her.  On the other hand, I respected her but really saw no reason or substance behind these acts of hers!

It is now three years that she is gone.  What amazes me is that I am becoming like her or trying to become like her….?  Perhaps when you spend your life with a dear one, it rubs on you!!!

I see myself spending more time in the kitchen.  When the day edges towards the night, I want to light up the ‘diya’ and say my prayers!  Come morning, I see myself spreading ‘bajra’ grains for the pigeons on our rooftop!

Halfway

I arrive halfway

My two children on my either side

Trying my best to hand them down

whatever I have.

Generations before me have

carried out this ritual.

Time has been a witness to

handing down of vast empires,

majestic palaces…

Oh! the precious family heirlooms…!

Glancing back at the path trodden,

I see a familiar sight…

Only it is my father, in place of me

and we children hold onto his hand..

He never preached a word.

We saw him toiling hard;

Etched in the memories is his

dignified face,

going through the tests of life

—never mind the apparent low scores

in the eyes of the world……….!

I take over the Baton

My lips are in prayer that I can walk with the same grace

and pass on the legacy of values to my offspring.

I walk, I walk along with my children,

there seem to be some fields nearby

fields of ripening crops, fields of saplings nurtured over a full season

to be abloom very soon!

The whiff of air brings me  the scent of my coming  generations!!!

The Giver and the Taker

The Giver gives and his ego says

what a great person I am!

The rich entrepreneur turns into a philanthropist,

the public sings paeans about his charities and

he is exalted to a pedestal, where he can see all the

ants scrambling up to the grains thrown by him!

The actor gets a huge applause, the surgeon saves a life;

their ego interprets the clamor around to think of themselves as Gods

That you are in a position to Give is your huge efforts combined with

so many factors happening right simultaneously to provide you

the passage to the position of Giver!

Be grateful, bow down in humility to the Takers, who have provided you

with this unique opportunity to Give!

This is one of the most coveted roles, you have been

chosen to enact!

Strange is the case of Taker…

He looks seemingly happy…….

But he is full of contempt, full of rage for

the Giver,

In his heart, he waits for the day, when

his Giver’s position crumbles down to be at par with his…..

He accepts at the worst with hatred and

at the best with self pity!!!

Let the Taker take with his hands joined and full of gratitude

It is his share which is being passed through the Giver…

Who said that Taking was much easier job than Giving!

Whether a Giver or a Taker in life,

Play both the roles to the hilt!!!

An Urge To Travel

Have you traveled like a traveler …!!!

I am not talking about visiting places, where you go to see a world famous
monument…..pose in front of Eiffel Tower or Taj or bring home shopping trophies
from branded arcades. I mean to say travel just to experience the place, its
people, to observe them go about their lives, marvel at their way of dressing up,
their eating habits and something as simple as how they greet each other, what
are their favorite haunts and delights. And while you do this, you assimilate some
patterns, some part of their life, their culture. I fancy, this would be very enriching,
broadening the perspective of life!

As a child, I always dreamed of going around the world. How I could go, it was
not clear then. But travel I did, to many places, during my tenure of 20 years in
garment export….right from Australia, Japan, Singapore, Bangkok to most of the
European and Scandinavian countries and US. The most common memories of all
these visits have been admiring glances for my embroidered Indian outfits and
puzzled look of waiters in restaurants on my being vegetarian (not even eating
fish or egg…for them then fish and egg were like vegetables….though a lot more
awareness is there since the past few years). However, I must say the people
at the food jaunts mostly cooked up an exotic mix of veggies for me with equally
exotic sauces!!!

All these visits were such a flurry of activities…airports, hotels, offices, spending
sleepless nights because of jet lags and being anxious about the business. Now
I have this urge to travel in a different way. I want to travel for the sake of
traveling to that chosen destination, to soak in the scenic beauty, to simply
observe the place, people at unhurried pace, to meet and talk to people from all
strata of life….to meet the artist and the bureaucrat, the professor and the conman
(short of getting conned by one!), to see what is their take on life!

Today, I got a call from my son, who lives in US that he plans to visit Japan, all by
himself…to see various cities…no specific agenda, just to experience Japan. I can
understand him.