Thursday, October 26, 2006

Deep within

despite your best efforts
not to reveal it,
deep within your heart
I can feel love and care.
my eyes fill with tears
for both of us
as I do not reciprocate
but am overwhelmed by
the depth of your feelings.
I am well aware
I do not deserve it,
but you can't help it.
the same way as I can't
force my feelings
however much I have tried
not to hurt you.

God knows, I did!


I think I finally got over my holiday hangover to pour out poetry! Let the words come! (looking heavenwards!)


poignant visuals
within mind

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bhai dooj....bonding between brothers and sisters

Only in India, the bond of brotherly-sisterly love is gloried. We Hindus, celebrate this special relationship twice every year, with the festivals of 'Raksha Bandhan'( tyeing a sacred thread on brother's wrist) and 'Bhai Dooj'(celebrated two days after Diwali). Sisters all over India get ready for 'Bhai Dooj' - when sisters convey their love by putting an auspicious tilak or a vermilion mark on the forehead of their brothers and perform an aarti of him by showing him the light of the holy flame as a mark of love and protection from evil forces. Sisters are lavished with gifts, goodies and blessings from their brothers.

The name 'Dooj' means the second day after the new moon, the day of the festival, and 'Bhai' means brother. Every brother eagerly awaits this occasion that reinforces the bond between brothers and sisters and their affectionate relationship. It's an opportunity for a good feast at the sister's place, coupled with an enthusiastic exchange of gifts, and merriment amid the resounding of conch shells.

Legend says Yamaraj, the Lord of Death and the Custodian of Heaven and Hell, visits his sister Yami, who puts the auspicious mark on his forehead and prays for his well being. So it's held that anyone who receives a tilak from his sister on this day would never be hurled into hell.

According to another legend, on this day, Lord Krishna, after slaying the Narakasura demon, goes to his sister Subhadra who welcomes him with aarti, flowers and sweets, and puts the holy protective spot on her brother's forehead.

Yet another story behind the origin of Bhai Dooj says that when Mahavir, the founder of Jainism, attained nirvana, his brother King Nandivardhan was distressed because he missed him and was comforted by his sister Sudarshana. Since then, women have been revered during Bhai Dooj.

Like all other Hindu festivals, Bhai Dooj too has got a lot to do with family ties and social attachments. It serves as a good time, especially for a married girl, to get together with her own family, and share the post-Diwali glee.

Today being Bhai Dooj, my brothers came over and after the ceremonies was over, I cooked for them. Post lunch, we just chatted with each other, reliving the times of our childhood, mercilessly taking sides and generally having a good time.Yet again I found that such bonds can never be broken, no matter what.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Some things never change

Diwali. The festival of lights which is looked forward to, all throughout the year. This year it was on 21 October. Two months before Diwali, we have all kinds of sale. Clothes, consumer items, packaged food etc etc. So much so that resistance becomes rather difficult. Even if you refuse, you will be cajoled, persuaded, threatened to go out and make the most of it that is shop till you drop.

I do remember it was not like this when we were younger. We only bought crackers and candles but lighted earthen lamps which the tradition demanded. Sweets were prepared at home and shared with family, friends and neighbours. We all gathered at one place and burst crackers to our heart’s content. We felt so elated by new clothes which were mostly stitched by the local tailor. We only bought those stuff which was needed and not something we had to, just for the heck of it.

After we worshipped the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi along with elephant God Ganesha, we lighted earthen lamps and candles. We spent all day soaking those earthen lamps in the sun and drying them in the sun. Come evening, we filled those with oil, put wicks and lighted those. Now electric lights have taken their places. We just get them and hang them. Kind of impersonal, I think. I used to have great fun bursting crackers with my three brothers. We used to compete who would burst the loudest of the lot. Though my mom wanted me to stay away from it all, I never listened. She always insisted I dress up traditionally on Diwali and not my usual attire of Jeans and a cast off tee ofone of my brothers. I listened to her as long as I was allowed to be one of the boys as my dad used to say.

Now everything seems to have changed. We just buy everything, sweets, cakes, chocolates, lights and clothes. We do not bother about the small things that matters. Consumerism is at its hilt. We are more into showing off. We get gifts and get them gift wrapped by the shop itself. We do not add any personal touch. We do not even have time for each other.

I don’t have anything against change. That is inevitable but what I really miss is the closeness we had with each other, with friends and neighbours. Now everything comes down to who bought what for whom.

This year I went off to my brother’s place for Diwali. My middle brother too turned up along with his family. After we offered our prayers to Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesha, time just did not have any meaning. I had a great time bursting crackers with them and their kids. I was back being one of the boys while my mom looked on indulgently and my dad blessed us from up there. Some things never change….

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Niggling Doubts

nothing left to salvage of
what was once a beautiful relationship.
only debris which needs to be cleaned
to be thrown away like garbage,
not be thought of again.
as all has to be spick and span
for a fresh start with a clean slate.

so why do I feel this pang,
this niggling pain,
which refuses to let go
and forbids me
to say goodbye to you?


Before all of you assume that I am being, well, you know what I mean..I must tell you that I wrote it for an exercise named two word challenge. You can find that here. It has to have the two words "say goodbye" in any piece..prose/poetry... one writes.

Monday, October 16, 2006


stop thinking
because thoughts never did help anyone.
at times we just need to feel,
do things intuitively
going with the flow;
not reason it out
or fight it out.

as fighting only leads to
inner conflicts which do not resolve
despite best efforts.

but then what’s life
if we do not face it
squarely and bravely
even though our mind rejects.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Reunion.....Euphoria is yet to go...

Few days back, I was out shopping in the local market with my mom. We were kind of thinking which place to go first.

Suddenly a female comes and exclaims,"Gautami?"

I say,"yes, but who are you?"

"Meena",she says.

I don't recognise her at all. I know a lot of Meenas. I can't place her. But I don't want to let her know that. I ask her about what's new in her life, all the while trying to recollect. My mom knows what I am trying to do but before she can react, Meena says,"you know, Rina is in the teaching faculty of Indian Statistical Institue, Delhi."

Everything fell into place after that. I knew only one Rina with a sister named Meena. I turned toward my mom and said, "this is Meena, Rina's kid sister."
My mom did remember. She always used to ask me about Rina's whereabouts.

And only then I hugged her tight, right in the middle of the market, not hearing or seeing anything else. It was a huge surprise.

Rina and I had been in school in the same class, we travelled by the same school bus, staying very near each other. We used to be at each others place so much so that it was surpprising that we had lost touch after school. Her family had moved to Calcutta. And that was that. I was meeting her sister after 23 years. I don't know how she recognised me but I did not recognise her. I remembered Meena as a little girl who was always underfoot.

Meena told me they had been staying in the same area as we, since 1992 and we had shifted to this part in 1994. There was barely 1 km distance between us.I had not bumped on her before this.

Biggest part was yet to happen.
I wanted to meet Rina. I invited myself to their place. I was thrilled to see her mom. Her dad had passed away 11 years back.

I can't describe how I felt meeting Rina. Needless to say, we ended up incoherent, crying, hugging and well, just being ourselves...

Two school friends meeting for the first time after 23 years. ....Though it's 5 days now, I can't get over it and neither has she..I am so happy I finally found her or so as to speak her sister found me....

We have a lot of catching up to do...but nothing matters as we are still those silly giggly school girls with each other.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


In the stillness of night
if you persist
in being that close to me;

I will have to find
a way to plunge myself
into your luminous soul.


Hey friends, thanks to you all my muse is now alive and kicking.....despite my mood swings....

Simply being a female

all of a sudden
nothing makes sense
even though my mind knows
but my tongue lets loose
and I behave like a virago
bitchy and unreasonable
to all those who try to reason it out
i leave them bewildered till it dawns
it's that time of the month
when no reason will get through me
to my mixed feelings, angry thoughts.
one has only to understand
this is all temporary
lasting a few days

and i get back to my
sunny, smiling self
unreasonable in other ways
which is more bearable….


Well, as we all know PMS makes us this way....

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dodging thoughts

plummeting into the abyss
which lies in the cavern of my mind

often enough I think
is that all I can do
to save myself from this misery
by ignoring it all
keeping it bottled up
saying not a word to a soul
but talking to myself
drowning in my thoughts
a happy smiling exterior
shown to the world that
all is well within me
while I die a million death
each day of my life

will I heal ever
have I given in?


My muse has returned after a while. Don't know how long it will stay. Nothing like heart breaking thoughts to make the muse work overtime....

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tragey strikes. Whose fault?

Today when I started for school, I saw lots of people in our apartment standing in the central park in groups talking in hushed voices. Most mornings I see many people doing exercises or yoga out there. Today no one was at it. But I was in a hurry. I was getting late for school so I didn't stop and ask anyone. When I got back, I still saw hoards of people and before I could ask, someone came and told me that a boy had been electrocuted by one of the electric poles within the apartment blocks and had died on the spot before anything could be done.

Shocking! I was dumbfounded. No words came out. After a while I asked who and how. It so happened some boys were playing volleyball as usual and the ball fell near an electric pole. One of the boy's ran there to pick it up. Instead he was stuck to the pole due to electric current. The other kids pulled him apart with the help of a wooden log but it was too late and he was already gone. Though he was taken to the nearest hospital but he was lost to the world.

I can still see his face with a mischievous smile, sitting on the top of the boot of my car dangling his legs. He was only 15 years old. He is gone forever, never to return. Death is so final. Painful as that is it is the truth. Tragic end for a boy for no fault his own.

Sheer negligence on the part of the management of the Apartments. For any kind of functions to be held, they used to take electric connections from the same pole. This time someone goofed up and left a live wire which took a young life. It could have been anyone or worse more kids if they had touched him unthinkingly. All the kids play out there assuming it is safe place. I have told the management to put up plaques asking kids not to go near these. For my efforts I was told, I shouldn't worry. Those are safe. Still I have scolded a few kids for sitting near and touching those poles. Despite my repeated pleas no one took any care. Now we lost a life. For what? By apathy and closed minds.

Today in the evening, not a single kid was to be seen playing out there. It felt so eerie and weird. Parents prevented their children from playing outside. But is that any solution, keeping the children inside? We all need to be aware and make our children aware. Before that we should never compromise on safety. Safety should be always be foremost.

Why does one think of safety after tragedy strikes?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Festivities over? Not likely by Indian standards

Back to grind. Finally Dusshera/Vijayadashami is over.

Ravana is vanquished by burning his effigy symbolically along with his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnath. Rama starts for Ayodhya with his brother, Lakshman. He will reach on there Diwali.

Goddess Durga is immersed in the river/sea(as the case may be) bidding her goodbye till next year. She too killed Mahisasur and had come to visit her parent's place for four days. She is back at her husband's place. Why do we think of the Goddess Mother as one of the members of our of our family? That's because she comes to stay with us for four days in a year like any other married daughter in Indian customs. The times are changing. Nowadays a married daughter seldom stays at her parent's place for long. (That's another issue, which I will take up later).

These traditions and customs just draw us in maybe because they send us messages of togetherness, love and being there with each other in times of happiness as well as need. Such timeless emotions, feelings and thoughts can never change. We long for all that. In the rat race for survival, we forget all these which are reinforced year after year.

Now I know for cynicism has gone to the dogs till Diwali...

Wait on guys, it's not over yet.

(to be contd)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Festivities, anyone?

This is time of the year which is called festival season in India. It will go on till Diwali. This year Ramadan too is at the same time. This is the time to feast, dress up and shop till you drop.

Our autumn break starts with the onset of the Navratris (Nine nights) prior to Vijaydashami or Dusshera. Each day of the navratris, Goddess Durga is worshipped in one of her numerous manifestations who is trying to save the world by fighting with Mahisasur (a demon in the form of a buffalo). Finally Goddess vanquishes the demon wchich culminates in Vijayadashami. On the other hand, the battle between Rama and Ravana is played out and Rama kills Ravana. Various ways of celebrations in various parts of India. But each one has the same message. Goodness winning over evil. But that only happens in mythological stories. In real life, I always see evil winning over goodness.

But that's not what I am trying to say. I am kind of cynical but I get caught up in all this. Somehow I am drawn into it. Despite vowing that I will not be a part of all this, I end up a sucker for all this. When my friends come calling, I go out with them without as much a protest.

Seems like my cynicism is a smokescreen!!!

(to be cont)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Any answers?

Got a question.

Why do certain people want others to follow what they are thinking? Why do they want to tire the other with the sheer weight of their words?
To make a particular point, they go on and on. The point is, I always miss it (the point, that is) if it is kind of forced upon me.

I deal with such people with silence on my part. Is there any other way?