Life of a dog

It crushes my soul and bleeds my heart,
Like I can’t breath and survive another minute,
Seeing you here, stuck and lost,
Waiting for the door to open,
For someone to let you out,
To the world outside, to your natural self,
Embracing life as you know it.

I feel your pain choking my throat,
My eyes welling up from an unfamiliar sorrow,
Unknown and strange are my thoughts,
With the tears I shed for you, no matter the hate.

Scared and hopeless, you and me,
I open the door through the fear,
Knowing its only for you and for you to never return,
And for me to be here without respite.
Sans your sorrow, does mine diminish ever?
How would you know, after all you are a dog!

The Tamarind Shade

‘This is the last batch from here’, said father, tossing in the final jackfruit into the trunk. Inching to probe why, I retracted my words as an afterthought. It’d only pave way to another round of blaming. How much I don’t care about the construction, how I’m not paying attention to its details and on and on it’d go. Why else would I not remember that the jackfruit tree is going down to make room for the Vaastu appropriate kitchen! Sigh!

Decades later, that scene still stays fresh in memory. The chopping down of the tree, starting of the construction – I wasn’t there for any of it. It was only way after the completion of the house did I even come back home. But for some unknown reason, that random conversation and a vague memory of the ‘plot’ linger.

Sitting down in this tamarind’s shade, I feel connected to this strange land and place. Like it was never so strange or unbeknownst. Life has always been full of gratitude for me. Many things to be grateful for and many people to thank. Appumash tops my list of people to be grateful to. Ironic enough, I’d perhaps never thank him for I’ve never really known or met him. A wandering soul in an ottamundu ( ‘a slightly dignified version of a loincloth) that I spot once in a while in the neighborhood. That’s all I knew of the man. But as I learnt that he is the one throwing tantrums and standing against the slaying of my tamarind shade, there grew a new sense of kinship with the nameless soul. And I learnt he has a name – Appumash – as a memory to be grateful for, forever.

After all, it is just a tamarind tree, isn’t it? What’s there to be grateful for a tree? One could say nature’s balance, sustainability and global warming or whatsoever. But it’d be far from the truth. I do not possess such great visions for the future of the world or concern for our existence. Neither would Appu mash have them, I presume.

A companion in my solitary afternoons. The majestic branches arching over the house as a shade. And the fond memory of mother cribbing about the fallen
leaves that ruin the yard. And father dividing and distributing ripe tamarinds to everyone who pass by. That is what the tamarind holds for me. An image of my past, a shoulder in the present and a hope for the future.

But is it also the darkness that takes away our share of the sun and the moon? Does it not appear as haunting hands through the windows? One could view it, in all its vicious and dark shades. But to my eyes, it is a magnanimous tree in the brightest phase of my life, being my shade and shelter.

After every withering autumn, I wonder if it’d ever turn green again. With its luscious green, isn’t it protecting my soul more than what I could ever do to save its existence? Somewhere then, a tree becomes more than just the shade as it embraces you and holds you tight to its roots.

To New Beginnings!

These days have been about masks and PPEs. All in an attempt to protect ourselves from an unknown (do we know it yet, really?) enemy. The way I see it, what came in handy with these masks is the fall of facades. There’s no compulsion to smile broadly, or acknowledge an acquaintance. Not even an attempt to hide a frown. The mask does it all for you. The ease of covering up all that you feel or forced to express. Does sound like a blessing in disguise, doesn’t it?


The above is a write-up from a while ago when Covid-19 was still ‘news’. Somehow, I was convinced to find a silver-lining even in those dark times (maybe not entirely silver – let’s settle with bronze!). Over the past few months, however, the wave of optimism died a slow painful death. Work was growing beyond acceptable limits, friends grew further away with almost no see and less talk – life was stalling in short. When all else fails, you turn to family. But for me, that also failed when they threw my fancy dinner suggestion out of the window. So yeah, New Year’s Eve is a complete flop. Rather, it almost was. And suddenly, it rained! And in that instant, everything changed for me. The drizzle, the fragrance of the earth and the gentle breeze! New year is always new hope, no matter how clichéd it may sound. Happy New Year! To new beginnings!

The transience of time,
The newness of each moment,
The lingering hope of each dream,
And a will to chase them all.
That’s what I wish for the year,
For you, for me, forever.

The month-long race!

I ran a month-long race and won against myself. I took up a challenge and wrote for 30 continuous days – scribbled would be a better word. Every productive activity must have some takeaway. So what are my key takeaways from 30 days of blogging?

  1. Don’t repeat this stupidity. The challenge eventually makes blogging a chore more than the passion to write.
  2. That being said, find some other excuse to write. Perhaps, start some series similar to the travel diaries or book reviews done in the past.
  3. Every random thought in life deserves a spot. Today’s stupidity might become tomorrow’s wisdom. Write away without reservations. You’re the most important reader.
  4. There were random comments and likes (apart from the ‘spammers’) on the blog from within the WordPress community. What I realised on visiting their sites: Good content is all around you. You just need the eyes for them.
  5. I don’t really have a 5th takeaway. But 5 is a round figure! Give in to your random pleasures like compulsive writing. It pays off in the long run.

All that said, will I come back to blog again tomorrow? I highly doubt it. But I’d frequent the space more often than before. Until then!

Depression

Depression is a very loosely used term. People don’t mostly understand the full meaning and scope of the word and throw it around so randomly. As an onlooker, it hurts to see that happening. The more cliched it becomes, lesser is its impact on the listener and the gravity of the situation gets lost. Depression is not merely a mental state. It is a disease that cripples life itself. You losing a loved one, not landing the dream job or being heartbroken in love doesn’t necessarily make you depressed. What you experience then is sorrow, sadness and despair. Some days, weeks or months pass by and you pull yourself together and move on. But if you try your best to get past it but cannot even bring yourself to rise from the bed, that is when you suffer from depression. When no amount of positivity can help you, when you break down in the middle of the night for reasons you can’t understand, when you lose the drive to just be – that’s when you are depressed. You sneeze one random time or catch a common cold – you wouldn’t proclaim you are suffering from COVID right? Every passing sorrow or a phase of grief shouldn’t be associated to depression for the very same reasons. The last thing you’d want to do to a loved one is to make it more difficult for them to open up, just by trivializing the term ‘depression’.

P. S. Above are my thoughts from experiences in person, through others’ experiences and some random reading. By no means do I intent to define the term ‘depression’ or limit its depth. You never know the full story unless you are a part of it.

Alone with You

The breezy walkway that leads up to you,

The fine grains of sand that crumble under my feet,

The stone-laid pavement that’s still warm from the afternoon Sun,

And the shimmering light that beckons me to your door.

Those are my memories of a past with you,

The days of love and the days of despair,

The days when I rush to you for a word of solace,

When all you’d do is the incessant smile,

Without a blink, without a thought, without a word.

I look around for the cues you leave,

The silent chat and the momentary pause,

And in a quick swirl, I turn around,

Walk away like I wouldn’t return,

But between you and me, I never leave.

When the crowd is gone and the sky is dark,

It’s just you and me, over and again.

From the darkest of the night,

To the brightest of the Sun,

It’s just you and me, over and again.

Chauvinistic bastards

I am not a feminist, never was, never will be. Because, I don’t believe in discrimination on any basis – gender, age, race, economic status, language, knowledge, power – positively or negatively. Feminism to me is just discrimination on gender to ‘benefit’ out of it. If there’s any ‘-ism’ ever, it must be individualism and I hold that philosophy very closely. But lately, I feel suppressed – emotionally and intellectually. I am a working professional, socially active and emotionally open to new arenas of a social life. And I feel overwhelmed by what I experience each day – at work, on the road, in a discussion forum, a public place and the nuances of simple conversations! I wouldn’t call it out as misogynistic since it’s not always purely on gender, but it greatly does seem so. The biases have been based on age, power and even knowledge. It’s frustrating when you are cornered for being in a ‘discriminated class’. The co-worker who pulls the strings of ‘power’, the reckless driver who questions your ‘female’ driving, the male friend who ‘stares’, the relative who dismisses your ‘inexperienced’ knowledge – no I am not pulling a #metoo moment here. I am asking if this is a #youtoo moment. Have you dismissed a younger person’s wisdom because they aren’t ‘old enough’? Have you played the ‘victim card’ for your own recklessness on the road? Have you made someone uncomfortable by ‘ogling’ at them? Have you been rude to a subordinate because of your ‘entitlement’? Please say no. Please don’t be that person. You are scarring an individual by all those unfortunate moments of truth. Age, gender, power – they don’t make up a person. They are merely some states of a person. Don’t limit an individual’s experience with your inadequacy. Grow. And let grow.

So why does all these matter suddenly? Perhaps because of my fortunate half of life where I have been blessed with unbiased individuals. People who don’t judge you. People who see you for who you are without their baggy lenses. I have had humble bosses who respected their colleagues, dignified men who look up to women for their worth and a great deal of amazing people who make life worth exploring. It’s because of them that I sit down and contemplate on the rest of the world. Why not make a difference with a simple gesture, if it has the potential to make one more person relevant in this system. Why not!

Lost, but gratified

The concept of instant gratification has been doing the rounds for quite some time now. The Facebook & Instagram generation is what instant gratification is popularly associated to. But I think it runs deeper than that. It is not merely about the likes and comments. The realisation that things change quickly around you makes you want to change quicker than that. And the rat race never seizes. Until one reaches the rattrap. Does it even stop then? I’m not very sure. This whole mad race scares me. It feels like the beginning of an impending doom. What a wonderful time to write or think about the end of the world, huh! Now that we are at it, let’s talk a bit about this whole COVID-19 situation we’ve got ourselves into. People are dying every moment and that’s no big news anymore. The death rates are merely numbers now. Hundreds of thousands of lives are now just numbers that the whole world looks up to like a huge board at the stock exchange. Is the trend bullish today- are more people dying again?

We are all helpless. The government, the medical fraternity, the media, you and me – we are all doing our own bit either by fighting this war or staying home responsibly. And all we can do is to simply stare at the numbers. That’s perfectly fine, right until that point. What I find extremely troubling is how we took things beyond that.It was good until we made up our interpretations of this phase of life. At the very beginning, we said this is family time – to reconnect and rekindle relationships. Then we said this the time for exploring our passion – we cooked, we danced, we sang and we did numerous other things which I wouldn’t rather list down. And then we went a step ahead and said this is the time for new certifications and upskilling – because pink slips are soon gonna fly in.

 If you notice, we are continuously in this blind race to keep up with ourselves – and all this while people are still dying and the world is changing with every breath. So what’s wrong with all this really? I’ m not saying it is. I’m part of this race myself and I doubt I’d do it any other way even if all of this were to repeat again. For all its worth, you and I are here for this moment and the gratification it comes with. We may be lost, but we wouldn’t know it ever as long as life goes on. Life’s good as long there’s something gratifying about it. I’d leave you to be the judge of that.

In the going!

So now finally, when 2012 is in the going, what’s more important to me? Welcoming the New Year and stepping into 2013 with grace and certitude are all part of my schedule. But, as I said, what’s the most important thing? Its actually winding up 2012 in as good a note as possible by me, for myself. 2012 was a nightmare. Don’t take me for a person who whines this at every New Year Eve. The past year was that bad. 2012! This is what I want to do. Guess I just did it and I am so much more at peace with myself now. The past year must be wrapped in a box, tight and secure. I don’t want it to ever repeat and seep into the future, that begins in less than an hour.

I have a lot to say about 2012. I can list out the points, where I failed, how I lost, what I lacked. But I am sure that won’t help improve my New Year. They were tough days. And tough lessons. And tougher punishments, everytime I failed to assimilate them. I’d rather not take such a rigid course! There’s nothing I carry over from the past, into my future. There are no big anticipations. No ceremonious beginning of the year. No hopes attached anywhere. Its just another night. To wake into another morning. Nothing changes with the sun rise. Change is a matter of more substance than dawn and the light. I am not pessimistic here. I am not expecting the worst out of tomorrow, or the days that follow, making 2013. I am being the realist once again. The one that I was, before the onset of the mishap called 2012. I can deal with life, without fancy dates associating to it.

This year. This day. This moment is what I feared I’d never survive. I am thru with ’em all! What more to stop me! I survived. I stood thru today. And that inspires me to live thru tomorrow. Today is the day I feared yesterday! And today turns out to be just another, and over before I even knew it. With a handful of decisions (resolutions sound silly beyond tolerance) to revamp LIFE, I stil claim, ‘No hopes attached’! Hoping to stay detached from hopes. 😛