Friday, May 28, 2010


Once in a while, I find myself in a place that seems alien, like it has nothing to do with what I know of myself. At such times, things will not be defined and all truth is negotiable. At such points, I have a physical feeling like my head is going to explode. Into smithereens (what a nice word). And at such times, I wonder what it is that I cannot make sense of. Because truth be told, this is a nice place to be at. And I am sufficiently intelligent. To know that meaning does not come from without. And that the truth is always available. Just not "my" truth. So the task really is to make peace with that which is known. Clearly. Even if it challenges an important sense of self. Or what one holds dear. Or what one finds comfort in. Even if it leaves a gaping hole. One must scream and be done with it.

-- Edvard Munch, The Scream

Monday, May 24, 2010

So many stories

I am drawing a family tree. From my uncle I am extracting names from long ago pre-colonial times, when the states were not linguistically separated and India perhaps only a selective idea. I am learning about grandmothers and great-grandmothers, about virile men and stubborn women, about fiery events and legends equal parts fate and magic.

Here is one of them.

A woman fought with her daughter. I would like to think it was because the daughter yelled at her. Because she would not cut down on her salt intake. Or because she stood sullen and refused to change when her daughter said that the colour of her sari did not match the colour of her blouse. Or because she told her daughter that she ought to tak better care of her children. Or maybe it was far more serious. Maybe her mother was ill and she wanted her to go to a doctor. Maybe she had not visited her in a long time and they had grown distant. Maybe it was because she and her daughter had never got along anyway.

In any case, as a result of the fight, the woman walked into a well and threatened to stay there and die. Someone managed to coerce her out.

The woman was 95 and her daughter 76. After coming out of the well, she proceeded to live for eleven more years and died at the age of 106.

Her name was Meenakshi.

I am her great-great-granddaughter.

With genes like these...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi

And I wish time were malleable. Like the squeaky soles on my red shoes. And pliable desires.
I wish time were in stock. Like spare batteries and countless flashlights. And unending hopes for life and sunshine.
I wish space were boundless. Like spring flowers on hilly countrysides. And an expansive sense of the world.

It's been an interesting few weeks. Soon I will move. But before that much has to be done. Quietly, I make my lists, dot my i's and cross my t's. It is time to be quiet. It is time to be good.

Stay here all of you. Send me a word, perhaps some advice and most definitely some sign of presence. Maybe we will all be quiet together. And just maybe we will sing. Perhaps even dance. I don't know for sure. But until then, do stay.

Monday, May 03, 2010

An ode to Spring

It is beautiful here today and I sat out in the sun and watched the birds and the flowers. You cannot be here right now, so here's a missive just for you. For Spring. For happiness. For I miss you.

The Word

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between "green thread"
and "broccoli" you find
that you have penciled "sunlight."

Resting on the page, the word
is as beautiful, it touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant
as this morning -- to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,

that also needs accomplishing
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue

but today you get a telegram,
from the heart in exile
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

- to any one among them
who can find the time,
to sit out in the sun and listen.

-- Tony Hoagland

(Courtesy the Wondering Minstrels, who, thank goodness are back!)