Friday, February 24, 2012

The Lone Warrior

Was the battle not over?
I'd left it long ago...
Alas, the lone warrior
Had never ever let go!

Forward with his might,
He edges close and near.
Each step he wins, light,
Brings to his face a cheer.

I see the path he's taken
Across the ravaged town.
His faith never was shaken,
To take the castle down.

Brandishing his sword, a swing,
Beyond the fields and trees,
He promises himself, to bring
His foes to their knees.

The castle, long abandoned
Its worth was long begone;
He'll find the prize, deserted
Ruled by weeds and stone.

To lose the one he held dear-
The battles he has fought!
The war is waged nowhere 
Only but in his thought.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Skyscrapers and airports

Recently a friend of mine shared a picture on Facebook, of a town in Kerala (I would not destroy its purity by calling it a 'city'): brilliantly lit, straight out of a night scene from Hollywood. Naturally, the friend was proud of how beautiful the city looked. A few comments from others also echoed the thought. I, on the other hand, felt a pang and hence did not comment or 'Like' it.

I remember seeing a picture of Night Bangalore a few years ago, and sharing it with every Bangalorean I knew, because it looked so like an international city. I was proud of it too.
But no longer.

Skyscrapers do not excite me anymore. Not because I have seen too many - no, I haven't seen any except in pictures. I don't find the newest - posh and polished - international airports across the world awe-inspiring. I know they are convenient and comfortable and state-of-the-art. But it also means we are shoving more daggers into ourselves.

I don't know if our dwelling places need so many lights, but I am sure it helps people who are forced to wander out at night. But where in the world has Nature been ousted to?

If we look at the pictures of the same places during the day, we would no doubt see a number of dreary buildings, old and new, roads, fly-overs and vehicles. There might also be manicured lawns and a spatter of trimmed shrubs flanking the streets, and perhaps a tree or two.

The greenery is fake. Our environment-friendly actions and concerns for nature are all phoney.

We fool ourselves that the little acts of kindness - in the form of shrubs that we plant - will throw sand in someone's eyes. If anything, it is our own eyes that we're throwing sand into.

We're unintentional hypocrites. We applaud man-made structures on one side and lament about vanishing greenery on the other.

Convenience and Environment have become mutually exclusive terms. One cannot exist where the other thrives. Not as things are now.

Think about it.
Unless there is a change...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Quest for Nothing

The wait continues-
Endless, Meaningless
An escape, momentous...

Reality, does not trust
Anymore. Faith has
Ceased to exist.

The search continues-
Pointless; Regardless 
Of its own Futility.

Hope exists, though
Faint, Imperceptible-
At the edge of reason.

Dabbling in self-pity!
Nevertheless doing
Nothing to make a change.

Days pass, sordid 
Like sand that
Slips through the fingers.

Chasing new Dreams,
Budding new hopes
Across the Shadow of the Past.

Trudging to the End
Directionless; Lost in 
The Wilderness of Life.

The place you never reach.
Isn't  the wait
That Life's all about?

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Wisdom of Our Mothers - India Edition" has arrived

"Wisdom of Our Mothers - India Edition": Stories and Poems by Daughters and Sons
Compiled by Eric Bowen, Published by Familia Books

That's my story!

Click here to read about how my short story became part of this book.
The book is available for purchase online, at this site.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

10 reasons why saying 'No' is a bad idea

Some people swear by the Power of saying No. Others can't resist saying Yes to everything, though meeting those commitments breaks their back.

As a person who once firmly believed in the strength of NO and suffered from its consequences, I would today solemnly advise everyone against making the same mistake.

I see now, that saying Yes all the time has its advantages, since we all live in the eyes of others.
1. Everyone loves a person who says Yes to everything. Even a grumpy Yes scores way above an apologetic No.
2. You feel you can rely on the person who always says Yes.
3. If you say No only once a year, it is okay. Others will forgive you for that oversight.
4. So what if the person who says Yes spends sleepless nights completing everything she has committed to? Everyone else says, "Wow, she never sleeps! She's always available to help us."
5. If you say Yes to everything, no one can refuse you when its your turn to request help.
6. People unconnected to your workplace may say 'Just say No if you can't do it, because you need to balance your professional and personal life, blah blah' - but remember, they aren't paying you salary.
7. When you say Yes once, people expect you to say Yes again, and you hate to disappoint them since they depend on you so much.
8. In the same vein, when you say No once, people expect you to say No always and never approach you with anything. You lose out on opportunities.
9. You don't suppose the Boss is going to say, "Give her a very high rating, because she takes up only what she can do, says No to the rest and leaves because her family is her priority - and rightfully so." Do you?
10. The right time to start saying No is when you're the Boss. The Art of saying No and plopping everything on subordinates is often known as 'Delegating.'

I am sure there are arguments in favour of No. In fact, I know of those better than anyone - because I was once an advocate for the cause. But when the moment of truth arrived, my NOs rallied against me and the rest is... too painful to remember.

What matters is, at the end of the day when you crawl to bed, do you regret the Yes or the No that ruled your day?
Did the Yes-es break your back? But are you delighted about the broken back?
Did the Nos give you peace of mind? Are you happy with what you got?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When the child falls sick...

I am told that, as an infant, I suffered from many ailments, the usual ones that some babies have to endure. My parents kept awake holding me in their arms throughout the night while I slept. Of course, I remember nothing of it. But I do recall the times during school days when I lay in bed, scared and tired and sick. I remember the worried look on my parents' face, though I did not understand what that worry meant. I often used to wonder why people fell sick, and why it took so long to recover. And secretly I did ask myself why I was such a 'weakling'. What I did not know at the time was that it was quite normal and that it will pass.

Today, as a Mother, for the first time I thank my stars for all the illnesses I went through, especially the ones I remember enduring. I see other Mothers running scared when their children hit their head against the table, or hurt themselves, or run a temperature. But when my son is hurt or ill and clings to me or looks into my face, his eyes scared and confused, I remember my own experiences. Today I do not have any fear when I hug him closer and whisper, "It is nothing, it happens to all children, it has happened to me too. It will pass, just do as I say."

I believe we become grown-ups only when we realise that our afflictions aren't the greatest tragedies in the world. When we are able to understand what our children, our parents or others dependent on us are going through, and are able to tell them with confidence in our eyes, 'It will pass,' that's when we actually grow as individuals.

I see my son gain courage when he realises that his uneasiness is normal, and even his Mom has endured it in her childhood, and most importantly, that she is not afraid when he is sick.