Monday, December 27, 2010

"My Life"

December Story-6


“And that there is no flaw or vacuum in the amount of the
truth—but that all is truth without exception;
And henceforth I will go celebrate anything I see or am,
And sing and laugh and deny nothing.”

--Walt Whitman [Leaves of Grass]


“Life is not always what we expect. So it is not always different too. Because sometimes, even though we expect things to happen differently, nothing changes and everything follows the routine. And therefore, it falls within the limits of the attainable, to make life secured,” the girl said with a well-learned air. The young man looked at her, in her eyes, bluntly. The girl did not stop.“You must not waste your life idle in front of books within the closed doors of a library. Learning happens not in closets but in the vastness of nature. Be open that is what I want to tell you, be open and try to mingle with others. Take things lightly as much as possible. You always jump into things. Never.

“Be patient. Never do what your mind says. Follow your logic. You should be there for every one. You should not consider yourself the only one responsible for your actions, I mean that too is important, but you should not be individualistic. See, I am not criticizing you, but you should--”

“But I thought--” the young man intervened. He made a pause. “Shall I cut in?” he immediately asked excuse for his random intervention.

“What? What did you thought?” the girl gave him room.

“No…But, but…” He looked into her eyes again; unable to complete his sentence, as if it carried a deadly weapon that if went off could destroy the whole earth. Then he saw a carry-on node from the girl.

He said: “I thought…I mean…please don’t feel bad. I thought that…that it is my life!!” 

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Shepherd

"It is December, it is Christmas. Here is a Christmas gift for all my readers, a Christmas story. Happy reading."--Anu 

Once upon a time there lived a shepherd in a small village, where no one cared about shepherds. They were the poorest, the miserable, the illiterate and the hopeless. But Yaakov, the shepherd was different. He had a dream—a dream to meet angels. Like every one of us, he too didn’t know how and where the bud of this dream came to be rooted in his soul. And like every one of us, he too attempted to find out where and how, tried to recollect, this dream took its roots in his soul. Then he decided it might be far in his childhood. But that was just the way he explained it to his friends and fellow villagers. He was not at all sure. Perhaps, he had dreamed of angels when he was in his mother’s womb; a place where his memory failed to reach. Therefore, whatever he said was an imagination, something he attempted to justify himself for having dreamed such a terrible dream—to meet angels.

He woke up every day, thinking about his dream, his only hope in life and that gave him the enthusiasm to move on with the destitution. Every night, before closing his eyes, which he sometimes did in meadows distant from his village, grazing the sheep, he would think of the dream. And that never let the fear of loneliness or being attacked by the wild animals wander near him.

His friends and other villagers heard Yaakov speaking about the dream all the time. And as none of us now believe Yaakov’s dream may come true, his friends and villagers too did not. As a result, most of his friends kept a distance from him. But he accepted his destiny as a true shepherd does. He knew that every one will look up to him, care him, and respect him, after realizing his dream. His fellow villagers and neighbours too were embarrassed from Yaakov’s ‘madness’. For, them angels appearing to a shepherd was an absurd thought. One day, the village elders summoned Yaakov to the village court, which was a small assemblage under a tree.

There were only a few people there; some of the elders, Yaakov and his friends. No one else, probably, was interested in a shepherd’s case. The hearing began. Yaakov stood silent, as a shepherd was supposed to behave in front of the court. He had a lot of things to share, may be his imagination, but things that were required, he thought, to keep him away from being chained and dragged and closed in a room, and being titled as a mad man. But he stood patient, saying nothing. The hearing ended. The blames were proved. “You are blasphemous; a braggart who used angels to prove worthy of yourself,” one of the village elders said. He continued: “You are a culprit. And you should be punished. But considering your obedience to the court of the village, you are given an opportunity.”

Yaakov, who was calm, savouring his dreams in his mind as it was the only comfort he had in moments of despair, now brought back into the reality. He looked at the village elder, bewildered.

“We give you the time of ten days. Meet angels, or meet your destiny, a destiny that we decided—you should turn half the number of your sheep to the village court. And a failure in your commitment will prove to be your deportation outside the village, into the wilderness, forever.”—The village elder’s voice echoed in Yaakov’s ears. His friends cried and pleaded to the village elders, knowing well that their friend’s dream in nothing but a fiction.

Days passed by. Yaakov lived a normal life until the ninth day, because his dream demanded nothing else from him other than faith in it. He had enough faith and patience too. But Yaakov realized that the ninth day too was slipping away silently, witnessing no miracles, no angels.

And then the tenth day came. On that day, Yaakov and friends took their sheep to a meadow away from the village, so that they could think through the situation and help Yaakov find some way out from the predicament of the village elders’ punishment.

Day light drifted away and Yaakov’s friends were sure he was going to lose his sheep. They sat around in a circle by night and Yaakov’s friends discussed their different suggestions. But all this time Yaakov was silent, meditating behind his open eyelids the dream he savoured throughout his life.

They all fell asleep by the midnight. Yaakov did not know how long it took after he fell asleep when he heard a voice. It was a call. “Wake up.” He woke up. When he woke up, the shepherd could not trust his eyes. He shook his friends up. They all screamed seeing the sight, when they woke up.

There was a bright light, a luminous body standing in front of them. That was an angel. They looked around in confusion, mistaking he scene from a dream they were having. There were stars in the sky and it was night, still, but miraculously, every thing around them was bright with a light that neither gave out heat nor showed its path, where it was coming from. It was a glorious scene.

The angel spoke:  “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

It was written.

Yaakov’s eyes flooded up. His friends sat numb, bewildered, seeing their friend’s dream being fulfilled, directly with their own eyes.

That night changed not just their lives, but the life of the whole humanity. It became history. A shepherd trusted in his dream, and his friends loved him and they shared a part of the history. For if they hadn’t brought him to that meadow, one could hardly say whether the same events would happen. No dream could be detached from fulfillment, unless you lack faith in it.

[Parts from the Bible: Luke 2:8-14 from the New International Version, 2010.] 

 Merry Christmas,
Lots of Love,
Anu

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Memories

This is a true story.

I was in Jawaharlal Nehru Public Library, Kannur. It was a Friday evening. Time—almost 5.30. I had made the visit to the library a habit from that very week after I started scribbling down something that made me feel as writing my first novel. Writing that story something that, I felt, could extend into a book was highly delightful and relaxing.

After my daily classes where I was working as a lecturer, I would reach the library at around four in the evening, and engage in reading and writing until six. Then I would catch my bus home. For almost four days, these two hours of exclusive literary activity rejuvenated my soul that was decaying from the lack of time I was able to devote to any literary deed, sometimes due to my hectic schedules and at times due to the one step I could not take—daring to challenge time.

I challenged time this time and, I won—or that was what I thought, until I had my other experience in the Friday evening about which I began. I opened my note book and my pen rocketed with the instillation of ideas my mind supplied, although pace in a writing process does not contribute anything special to the product or producer. But pace gives a feeling of self satisfaction when thinking of the writing process later, cherishing the unhindered ease one enjoyed in the creative activity. This would be a helpful memory, especially when you are fighting your writer’s block; a memory which you can recall and savour. In some corner of your conscious awareness you can rejoice about the extraordinary zeal you were adorned with.

Someone tapped on my shoulder, the left one. But I could not find anyone, when I looked back. Who would that be—playing fun with me here? I looked back again and found a white clad man on my right. He was in full white—white shirt and white dhoti and white hair on his scalp and face.

His ugly face took a nefarious twitch. “I have been watching you writing something for a hell lot of time. What is it?”—he scowled.

He was the caretaker of the library. There were usually two caretakers excluding the librarian, both of them were old with white “uniforms”. The library was a two storey building with its book shelves situated in the ground floor. The ground floor was structured into three halls, one—a reading room for the public, where one can find news papers in English and in Malayalam, two—the vacant hall adjacent to it, where at times book exhibitions and sales and also some conferences take place, and three—the library with shelves of books. The top floor was a long empty hall which was used for book exhibitions and for conducting conferences.  

And this man, his eyes with scorn in them for me and for my art, said—“This place is not meant to writing. Only reading,”—he was murmuring and for sure, wanted me to hear it. It was like throwing one out of one’s comfy writing room: yes, it was, for me.

Jawaharlal Nehru Public Library, Kannur was the place where it all started—my serious pursuit of literature, the quest for the magic of words and writing. And I called it my second home.

The sun was curving in the horizon. The street outside was varnished with a grayish evening charm. But everything went dark around me, even though it was no time for the streets to bath in darkness. I sat there trying to gain back my thoughts, to balance the world of my creativity and the present one close t hand, tangible. I won’t prefer calling the present tangible situation ‘real’ as people do, for it creates a breach between the individual and the Attainable. Every individual is capable of changing the world around him or her according to his or her own inner tastes. But when this world outside is identified as ‘real’, it cancels the vastness of possibilities. Because usually, the word ‘real’ is equated with the word ‘truth’—for most of us, something ‘real’ is ‘true’ too, forgetting that reality is only one dimension of human existence and there could be other equally significant dimensions as well. But if what the man was trying to do was reality, then this very piece of my writing is a challenge to that ‘reality’, for he was trying to stop me from writing but I created an altogether new and different narrative, which is now in front of your eyes.

I quickly finished the remaining sentence and put my notebook back in my bag. But I did not want to leave that place all of a sudden, because that would prove my act to be out of cowardice or embarrassment caused by someone so unimportant like him. That would be giving undue importance to my ‘enemy’. Enemies who do not deserve one’s respect should not be given the impression that the bread of respect is shared with them, I reminded myself. So I decided to spend as much time as possible in that very place. I took Mario Puzo’s The dark Arena from my bag and started reading. But I could not concentrate. The book was unreadable that was true, but the reason was more than that. It was too hard being ousted from one’s second home. I sat there for fifteen more minutes which seemed five hours of waiting for my enemy not to feel too much undeserved pride.

Memories are precious. They must be kept close to heart since with each heart beat we can re-live every one of those moments—delightful smiles or heart breaking cries—so that every path in our present and future would be bright with the light from the past. I walked out from the library, knowing well that this would be a painful one among my December memories. 

December Story-4

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lessons in the Snow

"There is no season, no time, and no etiquette to tell a story"--Anu.

December Story-3
He had no doubts about what constitutes reality, Subedar Singh thought. In the part of the world which they were in—the three of them, the Lieutenant, the soldier and him—reality was the most unpredictable aspect of existence; slippery, shocking and horrible. The place they were in was the Himalayas, in one of the obscure mountains. There was snow every where. It was December and therefore more snowy. It was not the thick, white, blinding snow that constructs and coagulates reality here, the Subedar thought, but the red, sticky fluid that leaks from the bullet burnt skin-holes and spreads on the white serenity of the snow—blood.   

The three of them were standing at the Indo-Pak border area. It was then the Lieutenant told them a story. ‘There is no season, no time, and no etiquette to tell a story.’—the Subedar thought.

“Friends,”—the Lieutenant’s voice raised above the serenity, maligning it with echoes—“the story happened years back in one of the ancient monasteries in the lap of Himalaya. The monastery was situated in the valley. Though the guru in the monastery accommodated many students there, his love was specific towards two of them—Rithu and Pavan.

“The day came when Rithu and Pavan had to part from the monastery, as the period of their education under the guru was over. The guru summoned both of them. He had an offer. There still was a confusion, who would be the apt person for being bestowed with the offer?

"Both Rithu and Pavan were equally talented, though skilled in different areas. Pavan was a poet and Rithu was a fighter. The two students came in front of their teacher. The guru asked them a question: ‘Who would be ready to teach students in this monastery, for the rest of their future?’

"That was a great offer and that proved their extreme abilities. The question was plain, direct. It supplied a bright and enthusiastic gleam on the faces of both the students. But one of them, Pavan, suddenly seemed gloomy. He said: ‘Guru, respected master, I am sorry. I do not think myself to be capable of handling such a great responsibility of teaching students. I still feel myself to be a student. There are a lot more things for me to learn. How can I then be a teacher?’—the guru looked at his shoulders, which were sagging due to his deteriorated confidence.

“Then was the turn of Rithu. He said: ‘I am ready, Guru, my master. You are my teacher and I learnt whatever you taught me. If I doubt myself and my abilities, I doubt you. And I don’t.’—he squinted at Pavan, who was standing beside him with lowered eyes and a sad face, as a loser.

“Now, it was the time for the guru to speak up. ‘I choose Pavan’—he said.

“The two students stood aghast. ‘But…but…’—Pavan could not utter his expressions.

“Rithu’s face changed into an infuriated red. However, he immediately regained his composure.
“‘But why master? I thought I delivered the best answer for your question.’—There still was an underlying shiver in Rithu’s voice, a shiver from dejection.

“‘You are a good student, Rithu.’—The guru spoke—‘But, I want a good teacher. A good teacher is someone who can identify himself with the students; who feels that there is a lot more to learn than what is acquired. And Pavan knows what he doesn’t know.’

“And thus the guru chose his follower.”—the Lieutenant stopped.

 “Pavan knew what he did not know.”—the Subedar uttered, almost unconsciously.

The soldier who, until then was quietly looking at the two officers, broke his silence. “When we take something for granted, like Rithu, who trusted is master’s wisdom and his own capabilities blindly, we are forcing ourselves to the loser’s end; Am I correct saabji?”

The lieutenant smiled in relief that they learnt the lesson, which they have to follow in the coming days in those snow shrouded peaks.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Poison

December Story-2
"Poison kills poison."--Anu
The old man’s eyes were on the young girl. She seemed in her early twenties. The girl was sitting in a corner of her room, on the floor, with her forehead covered with knees, alone. Her beautiful tresses, dark and shiny, were spread over her shoulder. She was crying silently.

‘My child, I know you are crying. And I know this too that the reason that made you cry has its roots in your soul, and you do not want any one else to see your bleeding soul.’—the old man thought. Suddenly, he felt his body weakening. He was over 70. The girl was his grand daughter. He wanted to move forward, console his grand child, but he felt his legs giving way. Turning away from the scene, he walked out to the verandah and deposited himself in a huge chair, which was the throne; the symbol of authority that he held over that large house, and big family, which no longer mattered. He was the head of the family; however, his two sons were the decision makers in that house.

Theirs was a joined family with five families living together; three sons of the old man and two daughters, with all their families. It was his greatest wish to see them all together, and to live with them until his death. He loved them all too dearly that he could not see even one of them be sad. And now, he wanted some support, seeing the little girl silently cry, at least that of the chair. Was his decision wrong to bring all his family together? Was this not in his concern that if someone in the family were in trouble the whole of the family would come to support?  

The little girl was in trouble and now and there was not a single member of the family near her on whose shoulders she can rest her heavy heart. She was a stranger in her own room; an alien within her own universe. That was a Christmas day and though, they never celebrated Christmas, as it was done in Christian homes (because they were Hindus) during this day, every year, a very pleasant feeling swept through their lives. And the old man was confused, why on such a day his grand child was sad, hurt in her soul. He always preferred his family to be in high spirits on that day. On this very day too, he wanted it to be the same way; happy, buoyant, loving. He decided to mend the broken harmony of happiness in the family, though he knew something was terribly wrong.   

Her father Aravind was at home. The old man regained his composure and approached Aravind.

“Aravind, my son, haven’t you noticed your daughter alone with herself, crying her sorrow on a happy occasion like this?”—the old man asked his son, father of the lonesome girl.

“Father, I had already seen her crying.”—Aravind was grave. “And I know the reason too. She was in love with someone. But that man betrayed her. He married someone else.”—Aravind stopped abruptly.

“But son, how can we leave her alone with herself? She needs our help in such a tumultuous time.”—the old man couldn’t grasp Aravind’s expressions.

“No, father, she is hurt by love. And those who are wounded in love are difficult to be healed. The wound gets infected and becomes a poison, which is most dangerous. There is only one way to undo this poison—to fill the heart with another powerful feeling, which is equally poisonous as hurt love.”

“What!”

“Loneliness. 
Loneliness, like love, spreads throughout one’s body and soul, and so it ousts every other emotional remains in one’s mind. It sucks you free out of every other emotional consciousness, and exalts itself. I know loneliness itself too is poisonous, but my daughter, now in this turn of her life, needs it to be cured from one of the most dangerous poisons—wounded love. Poison kills poison.”

The old man understood. He went around the room of his grand daughter. She was quiet now, sitting in her bed, not crying any more. But before her eyes met his, he turned away leaving her alone.  

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Dew Collector

December Story-1
One of my seasonal hobbies is strolling through the country side, exploring the nature, the people and their lives, during December. December helped this yearly endeavour in many ways. The weather, which in Kannur is usually hard during rainless time, in December gets a little mild and cold and the availability of time due to the one-week Christmas vacation after the schools and colleges close for holidays: a factor that is supported by the weather. I was a student of literature, who believed himself to be miraculously close to the identity of a writer.  

I remember reading somewhere that the basic quality of being a writer is to find a sense of wonder in the world around oneself. But, let me tell you my friend, it is very difficult, unless some wonderful encounter pushes you though a door—a door that exists every where but one that you would never notice to have the ability to take to the world of wonders.

One of such visits was through a village called ‘Nayattupara’ or ‘Hunting Rock’. There was a story behind this name, but that was not a December story. December stories should be sweet, mild, and affable. The story about the name of the village is gory, terrible and will scare us. What I am going to tell you here is a different story—a story about a wonderful encounter.

It was one hour almost, since I had started my yearly ‘karma’, my walk. I realized that I felt thirsty. I should have taken a bottle of fresh water and some snacks or some cooked tapioca and curry chicken—uhmm, a delicate combination. Hey, wait a minute, I thought of food, which simply meant I was hungry too.

It was a country side where there was not a single restaurant, good or bad. Hopeful to find, at least, some water, I knocked at a door. An old man opened the door. I presented myself and my need fairly well. The old man smiled; called someone by name—“Neeli.” An old woman came from a room that very much can go along with the guess—a kitchen. There were two chairs in the verandah of that moderate tile roofed house. The old man motioned me to one of the chairs with he occupying one. I thankfully accepted the offer and smiled at the peeping old woman. The floor was plastered with cow dung and it gave a very nice cooling effect.

“You come inside and sit here.”—the old woman said. The old man nodded in consent. And I went in. There I found a dining table with two chairs around it. The old couple seemed to be the only inhabitants of that house. And both of them though in their graying hair don’t seem beyond 65. I found a steel mug there on the table. I took it, thinking that I could use it for drinking water when the woman came back from the kitchen. There was some water remaining in it.  I was about to empty the mug, when I heard a shout—that was a scream—“No.” The old man was looking at me from the verandah with an expression I read as an extreme form of agony. He stood up, ran inside and snatched the mug from me. I felt somewhat guilty, as if I had broken something valuable and precious in that house though I could not really make out what the reason for the scream was.
Then the old woman came in and joined the bizarre moment. But by looking at the mug in the old man’s hands, as if realizing the intricacy of the moment, the old woman smiled sadly at me.

And then I heard a story that I had never imagined or came across, in my whole lifetime as a writer.

“This is the soul of my son.”—the old man said. His eyes started glowing. “He died in the Himalayas, serving the nation as a soldier. But no one could recover his body from the snow. His soul might have merged with the snow. We collect the dew drops early in the morning from the flower petals and grass blades, every day. We both believe that this dew is the soul of our son. Look we have collected half a bottle from the last one year. And thus the soul of our son always remains with us.”

I thanked them for the water of rejuvenation, both for my body and mind, and walked out inheriting an eye for seeing souls in dew drops.          

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Welcome December

December has approached us, with its chill and humid air in this part of the world, and its multi-dimensionalities against all odds, the entire humanity. December, for different people, for different cultures, conveys different meanings. But the most important aspect of December is immersed within the sweet word—Christmas. Well, things get sweeter with the New Year celebrations. I, certainly, am aware that you have opinions that occupy a drastically shifted space than the one explained here, or some times you are one who agrees with it as well. So I do not want to give you an impression that I am attempting an essay on Christmas and/or New Year Celebrations. 

It doesn’t matter who you are or what your Faith is. Here, in The Indian Commentator, you are in the celebration of reading. And in this month of December, I have something special for you, my reader. Although, I began the month with a couple of new poems, the celebration I intent is to be with stories. But why stories? There is a reason. I read the following story in Paulo Coelho’s blog some days back, which reminded me of the significance of telling stories. I am quoting that story with his permission here. You can read it below. 

            
The great Rabbi Israel Shem Tov, when he saw that the people in his village were being mistreated, went into the forest, lit a holy fire, and said a special prayer, asking God to protect his people.
And God sent him a miracle.


Later, his disciple Maggid de Mezritch, following in his master’s footsteps, would go to the same part of the forest and say:
“Master of the Universe, I do not know how to light the holy fire, but I do know the special prayer; hear me, please!”
The miracle always came about.

A generation passed, and Rabbi Moshe-leib of Sasov, when he saw the war approaching, went to the forest, saying:
“I don’t know how to light the holy fire, nor do I know the special prayer, but I still remember the place. Help us, Lord!”
And the Lord helped.


Fifty years later, Rabbi Israel de Rizhin, in his wheelchair, spoke to God:
“I don’t know how to light the holy fire, nor the prayer, and I can’t even find the place in the forest. All I can do is tell this story, and hope God hears me.”
And telling the story was enough for the danger to pass.


And I will add:Tell your stories. Your neighbors may not understand you, but they will understand your soul. Stories are the last bridge left to allow different cultures to communicate among each other.

Courtesy: Paulo Coelho.

So let us spend this December with stories. The stories will start from the next post onwards. You can call them, December stories or if you don’t mind, Christmas stories, because the stories will be about December, and life in December. May, Jesus be with all of us. Happy reading!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Failure

"It is not necessary in a heart breaking cry, for everyone to see your tears."--Anu

Where my poetry failed,
And my silence devastated,
My tears won. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dreams-2

My blood is rain.
My body is the earth.
My soul is garden.
My feelings are dust.
My thoughts are shades.
My being is creation.
One thing still left:
My dreams—and I live in them.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Soul Shower

You see the rain.
You see the lingering hue.
You smile.
I, in the distant sky,
Was playing the joker’s part,
In showering you with my soul,
Hoping you will understand,
That I am hopelessly-
In love with you.
But you smiled,
And just walked away.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

True Love

‘The only way to make this over is to kill the person before me.’—the prince thought.

He thought of his restless hands and how they are trying hard to create a barrier of defensive deliberation around his body, the left one with a shield and the right one with a gory sword tied with it. He was in a battle field: a war for political reasons between his country, the southern part of India and its neighbour, another South Indian Nation State. But in his mind there was something that persisted as an irremovable, unignorable pang: a gossip that he caught from somewhere.

The gossip was about the reason of the war in which now he was fighting harder, half to save the war for his country and half for saving his own life from the enemy soldier in front of him. The gossip accused him and his love affair with the princess of the neighbouring kingdom of being the ‘real’ reason for the war. There are people who want to manipulate political reasons as personal flaws. They are the ones who make politics all what it is.  

His mind was upset and body was tiring. The person attacking him with a sword seemed like a lethal machine with each of his blows capable of being potential life threats. His sword reflected the bright sun and it felt heavier. The prince realised with a sudden jolt to consciousness that his body was giving in, and his hopes too. How could he ever be together with some one living in his enemy’s country? If he had to win the battle, he must kill the adversary; the king of the enemy force, including the ordinary pawn in front of him. And if he failed he could not be able to keep his jugular nerve in good condition. In any case, there was loss: the loss of his love and of himself.

He gasped and filled his lungs with more air, but dust which stuffed the air in the battle field. And then he saw the opponent's sword gliding fast for his neck, greedily slicing the air. He had thought his shield could block the blow. But now his hands are incapable to lift the heavy shield, tired and exhausted in an arena of blood shedding virility.

This would be the end. His eyes met the enemy’s, where he found respect and an immense obligation towards duty, which almost transformed his individuality into a mechanised trance. No one could hold him back, no command, and no decree. He is the perfect soldier, and it is no shame to die with his hands: the prince thought. And then the prince felt something whooshing near his right ear. It might be the fluttering arrival of the angel of death.  

On the very next fraction of a moment, drops of blood spattered on his face. His adversary was down, with an arrow pierced his heart!

The prince looked back and found the king of the enemy kingdom with a smiling face!

“That soldier was unstoppable.”—The king said to the prince. “I know my daughter loves you very much. You live deep in her heart. I cannot bear seeing tears in her eyes, because this father’s love for her too is deep. So I don’t want you to die. This war is entirely due to political reasons; and not because a father cannot bear the son of his enemy in love with his daughter. You please take care of yourself prince.” The king moved away on his horse back. The prince took a deep sigh. He realised that true love can save lives even in a battlefield of blind hatred.     

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dreams and Disbelief

"When the words are powerful there will be echoes and after-words. Dreams are the after-words or echoes of the word called Life. Experience them and live them."--Anu.  



Everything guarded is precious.
Every garden,
Every woman,
Every path,
Every prisoner,
Just like every-
Dream Guarded by the veil of disbelief.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

After Word

Kay is a wonderful poet and my reader too. She surprised me with a comment she made for my previous post under the title “The Fateful Road”. I decided after reading the comment that this comment should be a part of the thought about which I talked in “The Fateful Road”.  Here is part of her comment that made me rethink about the step I had taken—my previous post.

“We too often think the road has been created for us and we fall into a complacent thought process of everything needing to be easy. However, I don't believe the road has already been built. It is up to us, to devise the plan, engineer our own path, build it and look back at the path we, ourselves have created! 

It's just too easy to fall into the paths of others, take the easy way out and look back in regret. 

And making our way, building that course, is no easy task! It takes hard work, diligence, sweat and above all faith.”

Thank you Kay!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Fateful Road

“One of the questions that perplexed me these days was asked by one of my friends. 'What shall I do sir; I lost him, my love? I have no one else. I am alone.' –she was my student. All my students are friends of mine, as well.”—Said the teacher as if to gain an upper hand over me, his colleague. The young man (but aged than me) worked in the same college as I did, but in the Malayalam Department. I worked in the English Department. I thought of the situation he described of his student.

He immediately switched on to a different philosophy; he started talking about fate. He spoke as if he was the Great Master of Fatalism. “It was the fate of the girl. Now she must try to cope with the situation. And perhaps she may need counseling, sooner or later.” –he said.

I never believed in silently accepting the so-called fate. Every human being is capable of fighting his or her own good fight. For those who know how to conquer the day, every night is a possibility. Understanding the delicacy of one’s situation is crucial in resolving it. And lack of understanding of the context means problems. And in order to understand a situation better, the only thing one needs to do is to take some steps forward and check what is in there. And remember every problem is a learning too.

Here is a poem that explains my concept in dealing with problems.   


The new direction

Walking your road?
There will be orchards to feed you,
Deserts to keep you think about failure,
But the fiercest of all would be
The end of the road ahead of you.
But walk to the extent until-
You can see—there is the turn.
One thing will remain-
The realization of the new direction.
No road ends but diverges into new ones.

I walked away from that friend colleague in my college, because I knew when there is a situation that the road seems to end, go a bit further and find the turn. I found the turn in the road and took it because I could not bear his Fatalism. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

James Patterson, Jack and Jill

Sometimes at the end of the day we end up in something that we hadn’t thought or imagined of in the morning. When I write this, I too am struggling with the need to capture this phenomenon of unpredicted events in words, because I had such an experience today. I do not want to register the date, it doesn’t matter.

James Patterson was no where in my thoughts or in wild imagination in the morning. In the evening, I returned home from the town with a copy of Patterson’s novel Jack and Jill from a discount sale. One of my colleagues had recommended me to visit the book store where there was a discount sale. Of course I was happy—when I found Patterson there, though not his latest book, I Alex Cross—to buy Jack and Jill. I loved Patterson’s exuberant style and his mastery of the genre of suspense thrillers.

Does it mean such an event of unpremeditated urgency would always bring happiness? May be or may be not. But these unexpected moments whether we name them or not fill our lives with feelings that are, though transient, capable for delivering their magical touch throughout.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weather Worries

They talked about the weather; a middle aged man and a boy. The middle aged man was worried that the rain was lacking this year that this summer would be harsher than the previous one, and that the reasons are many, from globalization to deforestation. But all the while the boy was looking into something that didn’t exist for any one else there: a void—that the boy only felt in front of his eyes. He was fifteen. His eyes were that of some one with some one else to dream of; he loved a girl from the same school in which he too studied. ‘I used to spend all my spare time dreaming of her’—the boy thought—‘and now here I am wasting my time with this man.’ What useless things is he talking about? The boy couldn’t understand. For him the only truth perched in the two gleaming eyes of the beauty he admired, dreamed of, tried and failed to understand, his distant fantasy. But he could not talk to her yet.

It was three months from now that he first saw her, away, standing in the doorstep of the class room in which she studied. Though he did not know what it means to take decisions, he dared at that time to take some. It was a magical time, because he felt powerful enough to take decisions and dream consciously of possibilities that until that moment were utterly nonsensical for him, or at least as he was forced to believe.

‘Freedom, here, is miraculously abundant and unbelievably absent’—he thought. Freedom existed between the two extremes, abundance and absence. It existed between him and his girl and not with them together. He could never talk to her because of fear, which was supplied by the lack of freedom to make a breach in the accepted codes of behaviour for him in the school. And for him freedom was the absence of fear too. He wanted to take himself to her. So he decided upon a day to confess his true feelings for her. And that was the day. But there he was, in front of the man, the stranger who wanted to know about his father’s office time. His father was the Principal of the School.  

The boy could see the girl in front of him, a few metres away standing in the bus stop. And it was then he noticed one more thing: the bus, which she usually takes home, was approaching the stop. He could see it from a turn in the road behind the green foliage. He wondered about his own gut feeling to think of murdering this guy who was blocking him now from attaining him stream of salvation, the girl. The boy looked at the man in his eyes. Now the man was talking about his own childhood days and recollected the Nature during those days.

Suddenly the boy’s heart took a leap, and came to him mouth as he saw the girl taking a brisk walk in his direction. He felt himself in a total loss for words and thoughts. But then there came another shock, of the kind he never expected or dreamed even in the freakiest of nightmares: the girl called the man “Father!”

She came nearer and told the man in a loud voice, “Father, the bus is coming. Come fast.” The boy spent the next moment in thanking God, for if he had made a single move towards the girl, the man would have spotted the oddness and handed over his daughter’s minor admirer to the Principal, the kind of things that every one here would do with boys and girls who talk about love. The same thing he was afraid of: being the culprit of falling in love was about to happen had he not been under the influence of his fear, his lack of freedom. The boy felt as if he understood a great lesson.     

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sorrow Bird

The best way to ‘enjoy’ pain is to feel it. And, my friend, ‘to enjoy’, remember, doesn’t mean to take something lightly, but deep, very deep so that it fills each and every pore of one’s soul. Don’t think about happiness when you are experiencing pain. Suck all the depth of your pain and get transported into another world where there would be no pain but ecstasy.

Is sadness a bird? If it can take us to another world, is it then not a bird; the Sorrow Bird? I hate to see the Sorrow Bird approaching my abode. I know that my abode is lonely, and could provide a comfortable spot for the Sorrow Bird. The bird would love to perch on my house. And so I grow more cautious, restless. But as I said I know the bird will take me away somewhere; to a much more beautiful place. That is why I stay put, waiting for the bird to take me over. I wait my eyes closed, focusing completely, and hopeful to find myself in a new place when I open them. But I know the bird will wait until its prey is fully under its control, disarmed. So I keep quiet. Keeping control over—And then there it is! It has taken me all in a quick flash of a second, without even leaving me an option to finish my thought. And that is precisely the point why I call it the Sorrow Bird.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rain

"Most of the times what leads us towards a discomforting end of a relationship is the urge to make the other person a replica of ours."--Anu.

The girl was walking away. She then stopped and turned and said: “Every sorrow will vanish like anything.” Those were her last words (probably of consolation). The young man couldn’t help himself adding: “if you are with me.”

The girl looked at him with sad eyes, or that is what he felt. Sadness seemed to be his lot more than the girl’s. She had said she did not love him. He did not ask her the reasons; what ever the reasons were they had the right to be there. Let the reasons be there, he thought.

The young man wanted only one thing: he did not want to cry. Or even if tears overflowed, he would not want any one else to notice it. And then it rained. And so no one saw the tears in the eyes of the young man.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Indian Commentator Group

There was a question in my mind: what is the difference between existence and absence? Then I thought of a comparison that was mentioned once by one of my teachers; some one who follows an ancient Indian philosophical tradition. Though he suggested this example for another occasion, I felt it would be useful in this context too. No advise from great teachers die, they exist and traverse continents, cultures and minds. The comparison offered by my teacher was for advising me about the worth of my being and the significance of being with others. When we talk to someone, we are locating his presence in the world of existence, through gestures, words, and emotions, which would then be continued through memories. But non-living things, such as rocks or fire never do this, my teacher had said.

When some one communicates with us, we are brought into the realm of existence. But when we keep away from communication with others, or confine ourselves inside the barrier of seclusion, we create a space of our own absence: a blank hole in the heart of the universe. The Indian Commentator Group is an attempt to fill such a blank space called Anu Lal. You, my friend are welcome to this group. You can share your thoughts, opinions, politics, love, and every other existential concern in this page. But there is a criterion: whenever you visit this page try to share a piece from your soul with all of us here, with a comment or wish. Thus we all could understand our own worth of being.
Please do join and share your thoughts.

With Love,
Anu Lal.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Trespasser

This story must take place far from the present, the immediate and the real, because it requires a certain believability that could only be acquired if placed in a space and time distant from the normal reality. Therefore I decided to keep a time that is far back from the present and a space or place, which doesn’t invoke the necessity of being located in any of the maps. It could be anywhere. I chose it this way because we can meet some people only beyond time and space and that is what I meant by believability. People might not think this way in the present world. Or do they?

In this story you can meet a prince, who had even made his enemy’s spy his soul friend. He was wise, kind and meek. In the absence of the king, he was the one responsible to carry out the official duties. The prince was in his durbar hall. The durbar hall was full with an assemblage of different authorities from the Kingdom. There were two others too, that day: a young girl and a person accused of breaking into the young girl’s lonely house. The man was accused of attempting to steal her jewelry, an attempted theft. She was a lonely girl with her family perished in a flood the previous year. She was not married and lived alone. And like any other lonely woman, she too was a constant figure of mystery and sympathy among the local gossipers. Some even called her a witch, but that title did not catch on because she was not an extremely pretty girl. She was a moderate looking girl, with sad eyes.


There was no space to doubt if the thief should be punished. The thief had done such a heinous act of breaking into a lonely girl’s only abode. And the punishment too was doubtless—death, as the prince was known for his justice loving nature and wisdom.
As the prince rose to deliver his decree, the girl who was silent until that moment came forward with folded arms and begged the price:

“My Lord, I do not have the worth to speak in front of you. Forgive my indolence. I request you; please do not kill this thief. Please leave him.”
It was shocking indeed, not just for the prince but also for the authorities assembled there.

“Why do you say so? Don’t you have any complaint against him?”—the prince asked.

“No, my Lord, I was shocked suddenly to see this stranger in my house. And I screamed. It was my neighbours who caught him upon hearing my scream. But I do not have any complaints against him now.”—the girl lowered her eyes after these words.
“Don’t you know this man wanted to steal your wealth?”—the prince asked.

“Yes”—the girl replied.

“Don’t you think this man would have murdered you, after your shouting, in an attempt to save himself, had the villagers not arrived in time?”

“Yes”—was again heard from the girl.

Now the look in the prince’s eyes was of suspicion. “Did you know him before?”—he asked.

“No, my Lord, believe me. Don’t suspect me of adultery; I never met him before, believe me.”—And the girl broke down and wept bitter tears.

“And still you want the thief not to be punished?”—The prince attained his composure.

“Yes.”

“But why?”—the prince said in a failed attempt to conceal his surprise.

“Because my Lord, no one came to my lonely house or to me until the day the thief broke into, neither neighbours nor relatives. After the demise of my family I was imprisoned in my loneliness, and this thief is the one who broke the bars of the prison of seclusion and took me out of it. I couldn’t go out and talk to others fearing gossip mongers. And then at least to steal my wealth, he came. I am grateful to him.”—the girl said. She stopped crying and looked up at the prince in his eyes.

The prince smiled and pointing the thief he said: “The stranger can go now. I leave him free.” The whole palace was silent. All his ministers knew the nature of the young prince. And they admired him for what he was.

The prince continued--“I understood your need for some one to break into. I hope you don’t mind young lady. Now, I am breaking into your loneliness, stealing you away from all the loneliness you suffered. Can you stay with me, here in my palace as my wife?”

The prince smiled at the young girl who looked stunned.
Now there were only two voices: two hearts beating a rhythm to merge with each other.

[Painting by Raja Ravi Varma]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mazha

I; in a bus

Shutters closed

Evening journey back home

The acoustics of the outside

Embellished at times by

The scream of an ambulance

Open air snack bars closed

People hiding

Umbrellas struggling

To spread wings

An evening rain in Kannur

["Mazha" is the word for rain in Malayalam language.]

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Night Drizzle

The night was brilliant, thought someone from somewhere, alone. But the girl was irritated. She was at her home, chatting with her classmates through her mobile phone. The night sky was clouded, and it was drizzling too, she thought. Even though she was in the company of her friends, the girl felt bored. She felt sad too. The boredom or the sadness was not due to anything bad, or may be that was, she thought. She had no idea why she felt sad. Now she started feeling irritated too. The weather might be the reason, but she had never felt such a way under similar conditions before. She felt all her moments are shrinking into single urge, one emotional necessity: to search out the reason for her unhappiness.

Then she saw someone banging on her Orkut community page which was attached with her mobile connection. At first she felt a little awkward to accept the chat request regarding her irritated mood that night. But then the other person was her new friend. She did not want to give him a negative message about herself. So she started the conversation with a reply “Hi” for his “Hi”. “The night is brilliant, isn’t it?”—he said. “No, I don’t think so.”—she said, even if she thought that would have been a wrong way to greet a comparative stranger. “Are you sad?”—came the question from the other side. And she told him whatever she felt like. And again felt embarrassed thinking how would the young man on the other side would take all her thoughts that fall comfortably within the margin of nonsense. She wanted to justify her feeling in a better way. So she said—“Rest of my friends... they are all trying ...how to enjoy each and every moment...”


It was the silence from the young man that answered her. She felt bad about beginning such a conversation. And then a text pack was emptied on her screen. She read them and felt she found the reason for her sadness. She read the text again. It said: “I too enjoy each and every moment. But sometimes happiness becomes a veil that hides true knowledge and understanding of the world, and in those times sadness becomes an effective tool. It makes us think about ourselves, the world, everything that caused us to be sad. We understand the world better. And in this way, I know how to enjoy my sadness too.”

She realized that the reason for her sadness and irritated mood that night was happiness. An unending, forceful, wild expression circulated her through the conversation with her friends. They were merry making, cheering at every moment of existence. But as the young man said, she felt the happiness as a veil over her understanding of the world and herself. She said—“I got my answer.” The young man seemed pleased with himself. He said—“Oh that is great. May I know what the answer is?”

Instead of answering the question, the girl decided to hang up. And she did. The night was getting terrible for someone, some where: the young man. But he understood what the girl had said and felt happy for the small pang seeping into his heart.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heart of Hope

"Hope is a part of God’s soul. It exists in everything within our perception. But to know it, to read that exotic poem, one should have a Heart of Hope. Here is a poem for Joann, who has a surgery tomorrow for the removal of cancer cells. You can find more detail on this blog:.http://terrisbloomingideas.blogspot.com/"

Joann, blessings for you. Here is God’s soul for you.



The sun is not born-

To be drowned in the sea.

The moon has its destiny-

Far from the veiling clouds.

The breeze never fears confinement.

I send you what the sun has,

What the moon brings from behind the clouds,

What makes breeze free-

To wander in the depths of your soul:

The Heart of Hope.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Love Poems

"I know these days you are reading about something that has no end, at least according to the normal extends of our conscious cognition—love, I mean—in any of the attempts to write about it. But ah! The blessing of physicality of the art of poetry, I am able to content the feeling that in itself is the journey and destination. So with this i-poem the series titled Love is coming to an end. Bless me with Love oh, unknown eye caressing these words…
Lots of Love,"

Anu
9

 
I wrote a poem,

Then another,

Then a third one,

And then paused and read them all,

One at a time;

They meant every thing,

Though written in just three words:

I love you.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Love Sea

"I can see only one way out: You; so that the tears of sorrow in my eyes get transformed into the magical smile of diamonds, in your shining nearness."--Anu
8


Waves are no disorder-

For the sea,

But the sign of its soul.

No pain is pain,

And no tears burn-

In love.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Billet Doux

"Everything here is for me and I transform into everything when you are here."--Anu
7
Look at me.

Please talk to me.

Touch me.

I am this poem,

Just before its birth.

Write me down.

You are love.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Negotiations

"I know you are nowhere here, but my eyes still search for the unseen traces you left in the air, knowing the failure in the next blink."--Anu                                                                           
6
I live among mingled shadows,

Of bonds that bind.

Out of the blue you came to me.

I looked down not to lose my way.

Then I saw the distance,

From me to you.

I fell in love with it,

Hoping I would never be bound by you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Love and the Binary.

"Love denies what is to be spoken. And still there is an undeniable urge to talk about it. But to use words in love is to desecrate it."--Anu
5
I know it is you who is-

Awake in my sleep.

I know it is you who is-

Present in my absence.

I know it is you who

Lives in my death,

My knowledge in ignorance.

I know this too that-

You never know,

How much I desire,

Not to know you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A.Ayyappan Passed Away.

The Quest.

The poem decided to take birth.
It looked for the poet.
It found him.
But he was buried-
Under the irrevocable presence-
Of his absence.
The poem took birth,
As a red flower on his grave.

Adieu Unknown Poet
Once upon a time, there was a poet. No one knew him. Yet the generations that shared time and space with him admired his poems greatly. They sung those poems and kept those lines in the depths of their hearts. The people did not feel bad or awkward to engrave the poems in the depths of their hearts, to make those lines a part of their existence, because those lines were the same blood and flesh as theirs. Their body and soul, therefore, did not reject the poetic transplantation.

One day the people saw an old man lying on the ground. He was taken to the hospital so that he could find ease in dying. Until some one found from the folded sleeves of his shirt a piece of poem, he was a strange old man devoid of relationships, family and friends. The moment after their realization that he was the poet who consecrated their hearts with his words, thoughts and sighs, the people found it hard to neglect the message the poet had conveyed through his death: he lived free of chains, and confinements that bound human lives known by names such as relations, family, friends. His death made him well known, not his poems, because his death too was a poem written with him as a symbol loaded full with implications if eternal sentimentality. The people had little difficulty to take him to their souls, because he too, like his poems, was of the same blood and flesh as the people.

Today is the day the poet died: A. Ayyappan. Adieu.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Love and Existence

"You gifted me a flower. I smiled. Why didn't it occur to me that the flower is something cut off from its life, the plant, dead, and I smiled at some thing dead?" --Anu.
4
Justify my existence by extending your hand.
Come running to me,
And write something on my soul.
I am a word with four letters;
Let me mean something.
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