Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fill em up!!

We saw a shimmering light in the sky, as we kept looking, we saw the light grow, we kept looking. It was an odd shape in the sky, was this a new planet or were we hallucinating? Was the red wine we were gulping down our throats, creating images in our mind? But how could all of us imagine the same thing with the exact shape and dimensions? No this was something in the sky. We gazed, and gazed, until finally, we saw the full shape of the object in the sky, a crescent and blurred white.. yes.. it was the moon The clouds were probably playing a game of hide and seek with her. Me thinks, they were playing a game with us, our minds all light headed.
How many rounds of filling-up-glasses did we do? I vaguely remember. They never filled our glasses full, rather our glasses were half empty. Whichever way you see it, my mind was light, so was my heart. For a few hours, I had put down everything, as if I had shed days of thoughts, decisions, facts and figures. The only conversation I was thinking about was what the others and I was saying. And all the conversations were filled with fun and laughter. Few words and lots of laughter. Some sounded like wet wood chips crackling in the fire, some were like an engine starting up, yet some sounded like the cries of some animal. Haa haaa!! There was no particular topic we were discussing, nothing in this world really appealed to us, but we were having a conversation. The glasses emptied, filled up, err.. half-filled up again. The chill air, was playing its part in giving us goosebumps. Somebody fetched us coats so we could continue to enjoy the night. Reminds me of a song, I once learnt in my junior years of school "All I want is a room somewhere, Far away from the cold night air..." We were truly living the moment!!
Just then, we saw the shimmering light again.. there she was, playing her game again with the clouds and our minds.. We walked inside to warmth and sleep, so that our minds could rest, to wake up, to face the hurdles of life and reality.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The mystery that is ..

The strength of her droplets hits me on my back. I turn around to face her, her force makes it impossible. My eyes refuse to open, scared that she will take them away with her. I hold on to familar hands, so tight, she tries to gush through us. Many faces all covered in yellow plastic sheets, I don't recognize many of them. If I kept my glasses on, she will blind my sight, if I take them off, I cannot catch a good glimpse of her majesty. She flows by... a thousand drops of water, falling down into the deepest seas, every instant, yet she flows every instant.
Few minutes ago, I was deep there, inside her arms, she engulfed me with her prowess, her arms stretched out. I looked up to see from where she was coming, the mist blinds me this time, hiding her face. I look down, the waves forming one instant and disappearing the next. Tiny whirlpools, telling their own story. They too disappear in the blink of an eye.
She awakens a thought in me, to go with her. To hold her hand and walk with her to silence. There are noises everywhere, of people each one echoing WOW at her beauty. But she silences them all with her drum roll. Amidst this noise, she invites me to make a journey with her, where she will show me the end of the tunnel. However inviting she is, the land holds me back. Her chains around me are locked with the heaviest metal. The key thrown away or probably traveled with her majesty to the deepest seas. Someday in the future I will make the journey, with her, held in her arms to silence. But today, I must go on.. Alas! I walk back, to land, to life..

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I am too tried to write, just back from my trip to Arizona, but writing does that thing to me, clears my mind, like rebooting my system for fresh thoughts. I just arrived at Indianapolis airport, waiting from my brother to arrive. His flight doesn't arrive until 11.23pm local time. When my airplane touched down, I opened my cell phone and the question "Convert to local time zone?" stared at me. Its 11.03pm in Indianapolis, 10.03pm the place I was a few hours ago, having lunch from a chinese gourmet express at Minneapolis airport, yet its only 8.03pm at the place I woke up this morning, Phoenix. I just lost and gained 3 hrs of life. Strange as it may seem, we walk the same planet, we breathe the same air, but we read time differently. I am a little confused if I should be eating dinner, or going to bed, because its so late. How practically, easy it would have been, if we all looked at our clocks, no matter what our demographics were, and could say the time is now 11pm. We could spare our brain of the constant mathematics of adding and subtracting hours and further think, if the person we need to connect to, would be awake or sleeping. But, who am I to question the laws of nature and the rules derived by its people? Instead I continue to bear the weight of these calculations, that I constantly make every hour.
Time has had its own versions of definitions and interpretations. Some people say, time is a healer, some say time waits for none, time is what the clock tells you and so on. I would not be able to capture everything here, but let me tell you what I think of time, or atleast I used to believe. Time is now... this moment... this breath. Live it well, and the way you choose. But, in my journey of life's myriad ways, I have come to learn, that many a times, time is not ours. We are led by people, and time for the most part is theirs, and we tend to follow, without much control over our actions. Then time, is not mine. But at the bottom of my heart, I belive in 'sieze the moment', if its gone, it gone forever, never to return.
I have been on so many time zones in these past few years, the one I cherish close to my heart is Pacific time, the times when I was in California. My trip to Arizona, took me back to Pacific Time. When my Delta Airlines Boeing 767 touched down at Phoenix airport, I turned the dials of my inexpensive watch three hours behind. The adrenaline rushed through me and gave me a familiar feeling of being on known grounds. But did that stop me from doing my routine mathematics? No. This time I was subtracting hours, to see what my children were doing back home, or adding many hours to see if my father was awake. Some ghosts never rest!
Now the bottom right of my screen tell me, that I have 15 more minutes of battery power on my laptop. That means its time for me to hit the sack. Oops! My cellphone just rang... My brother just arrived, since he had to stopover at Denver, I juggled with Mountain, Central and Eastern time zones at the same time today. As complicated as it can get !!
I have been meaning to say, "thank you" for your time to read this blog. May you have the time to cherish and live each moment of life to the fullest!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yaathra ...

Tomorrow, once again, I am going to pick up my bag and travel to distant lands. Except that this time, I am not boarding a luxury bus or a train from Indian Railways, but a Boeing 767 operated by Delta Airlines. In all my years and situations that demanded travel, there has been a common element to my destination - it would be 'home' or places or people whom I could relate to 'home'. The first trip I ever made alone was from my grandmother's house, a place called Perinthalmanna in central Kerala, to my parents’ house at Bangalore. My uncle helped me secure a seat in the KSRTC bus that started at 7.30am and would reach Bangalore at 4.30pm. I was put on a day bus, to keep me safe from the evils of the night. I must have been about eighteen then. I always kept my single piece of luggage at bay. A person from Nilambur kept me company during this journey. Around noon, I made way for the sumptuous lunch that my aunt had packed so carefully for me. At that time, I was not into the habit of reading books, apart from text books, so the beauty of nature outside and conversations with the gentleman kept me company. On reaching Bangalore bus station, the relief on my mother's face told me that she was happier than I was that I had reached safely.

The first trip made me, moreover so, my parents, confident, that indeed I could travel without assistance. This kick started the umpteen journeys that I undertook for various reasons to different destinations in the path of life. Every time I traveled, looking at the numerous co-passengers, this thought would cross my mind - where are all these people going? And to date, I don’t know the answer.

As I encumbered upon new journeys, which for some or the other reason, I had to do alone, I started liking the solitude while traveling alone. Sometimes traveling with friends seemed like a crowd. The excitement of boarding the locomotive by myself, finding the seat I reserved, reading my book on and off, looking outside the window and losing myself to my deepest thoughts; everything instilled a sense of adventure in me. The slight fear that I was alone, but the confidence that I am a woman and old enough to step into the world, encouraged me to make many more journeys, and each time to a farther place, touching upon places that I had located earlier only in the atlas.

Another significant 'yaathra' was the one I made with my father to Manipal. This was indeed a journey, to a new life, a new avenue. For the first time I was going to live away from my parents and from the four walls of my home, that had nurtured me in its warmth all through the years. This time I had two big VIP suitcases, felt more like I was going away forever. I first traveled to my grandmother's house to seek blessings from my elders. I was the first child in the family going into an Engineering college. The next day, I went to meet my father at Calicut. Being a photographer, he was there on an official visit. While he was waiting for me, he said he had watched two movies in the local theatre, the only movies I remember him watching at a theatre. I should say - I was impressed. We checked out from the hotel he stayed in, and boarded a luxury bus to - Manipal. It was around December and Manipal was arid and dry. The place was a surprise to both of us and the heat dampened our spirits. We walked from the college to the hostel a distance of two kilometers, this distance which I would tread upon a thousand times in the next four years and would end up weaving so many memories to cherish. He registered me at the Ladies Hostel, and said he was going to leave. I stood at the gate, and watched him walk down the road, till he got an auto-rickshaw to take him to the bus stand. I don't know how he got back home after that, which bus he took, I must have asked, but the memory of him slipping away from the horizon, leaving me alone in an unknown land to figure out everything by myself, has overshadowed the details he gave me about his return journey. After this I had many more travel experiences from and to Manipal, with friends and alone, every one of them etched and put away in my chest of memories.

The next milestone journey was taken on Indian Railways - Kanyakumari express from Bangalore to Trivandrum on Oct 13, 2000. The first job I won after a long battle of interviews brought me to this city. I stepped out of Trivandrum Central railway station, holding the same VIP suitcases that had once accompanied me to Manipal. I took a good look at the scene in front of me. A poster of a Malayalam movie, an array of auto-rickshaws, hustle and bustle of KSRTC buses at Thampanoor station and the big clock behind me standing high and telling me something. I am not sure what, or why I took a good look at the clock on the tower, but I did look at the clock, it must have been somewhere around 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Here I was again, in a new place, alone, trying to figure out everything, right from where I was to work to where I was to stay. This time there was no ladies hostel to register myself, but thanks to family friend whose parental house gave me shelter for a few days. That was the beginning of another journey, a journey that would shape my destiny.

This time I am picking up my luggage bag, which will be a single piece of luggage, to a place called Tucson in Arizona. The destination is my brother, who will graduate with Masters in Computer Science from University of Arizona. This travel is a dream comes true. When he walks on stage, I will see myself walking beside him, and being hooded as an MS Graduate; something I had wanted to achieve years ago, but as strange as life is, it took me to unknown destinations.

This excerpt from Nida Fazli's ghazal, aptly describes life's myriad ways -
"Apni marzi se kahaan apne safar ke hum hain,
Rukh hawaon ka jidhar ka hai, udhar ke hum hain."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

मेरी मुलाकात, मुझसे...

सूरज की रौशनी में पत्तियाँ जाग उठी हैं 
उनके जीवन में एक नया दिन, एक नई शुरुवात, 
हवा भी अपना जादू चला रही है 
पत्तियाँ इसी खुशी में दोल रही है शायद 
मेरे चेहरे पर एक मुस्कान की कमी है 
सूरज और हवा वो खिला नही पाती 
झरोके से देखूं तो सब कुछ हरा भरा है 
दिल में झाँकू तो एक वीरानगी सी चाई है 
मेहफ़िल है मेरे चारों ओर, 
कितने लोग, कितनी हसी, 
आईना देखूं तो मेरे चेहरे पर हसी है, 
लेकिन क्या येह मेरा चेहरा है? 
पेहचन नही पाती मैं अपनी तस्वीर को 
कभी कबार पेहचान लेती हूँ अपनी परछाई को 
इस नई सुबह मैं खोजने निकली हूँ इसी दुआ से, 
के किसी मोड़ पर मेरी मुलाकात हो जाए, मुझसे, 
इस बार आफताब और हवा मेरी मदद करदे शायद।

An old one...

दिलों की कमी नही है, पर प्यार कितना कम है,
लफ्जों की कमी नही है, पर एहसास कितना कम है
हवाओं की कमी नही है, पर साँसें कितनी कम है,
देहेकता सूरज होने पर भी, मेरी दुनिया में रौशनी कितनी कम है.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My own rendition of Manikutty..

Being born to an artist should have propagated into me, some genes of how to hold a pencil. While at high school, like most children that age, I too was mesmerized with the sparkle and glitter of tinsel town. The mademoiselle's who always have a fair complexion, without regular use of Fair and Lovely or other creams in the market. The women always so tall, or always depicted as if they were all over five feet six inches, without wearing fancy heels. Their perfect features, hair that always stayed in the right place and never blew with the wind. To catch glimpses of these beauties, I would tug at my father to buy me a new edition of Filmfare - the magazine with the most gossip. I loved reading what happened in their lives, consequently, I helped feed a few people, termed as the "makers" of Filmfare. The Filmfare magazine was about 25 rupees then, way too big an amount to spend to read gossip about people you could never relate to. So each time I made a trip by train/bus to my grandmother's house, I was allowed to buy a "book" to read. I used those opportunities to buy my gateway to Tinsel Town, the Filmfare magazine. On seeing certain stars on the cover page, I used to be so thrilled, and couldn’t wait to open the book and read up every word on every page.
While flipping through the pages of a Filmfare, I found full page pictures of ladies of tinsel town. That inspired me to pick up a pencil and paper and try my hand at sketching. I managed a few portraits, and a few pictures of children from advertisement pages. After moving my eyes from the magazine to the paper a thousand times, I would make that final stroke and take a good look at my creation. With great pride, that I am my father's daughter would show the masterpiece to him. After looking at it with squared eyes, he would say, 'the lips are a little out of proportion', 'if you see the top part of the face, the eyes are not in the same plane', 'you need to add more details around the nose', 'the shading near the eye should be darker' and so on.. Each of his statements, helped me in my next sketch.
This was more than 12 years ago.
When I joined engineering at Manipal, I had a room-mate called Ashley R. Ashley was an architecture student and had to submit 2 sketches every week. With her heavy work load, she asked me to do a sketch once. The next thing I knew, I was doing her sketches every week. This prompted me to buy a sketch book for myself and I started putting my genes to work. This time again, I went to the local store to pick up a recent edition of - The Filmfare.
This was 8 years ago.
Few months back, while walking through the stationery aisle to pick up a writing tablet for my four year old son, I saw a "sketch book". Without further thought, I bought it; and kept it. Couple of weeks back, I opened the book and picked up a pencil. No, this time I didn’t have a Filmfare, I don't think you get Filmfare at local stores in the United States. This time, I picked up a picture on my desk of my little one. Many years have passed, but with each stroke, I remembered my father's words and tried to do justice to the picture and my genes. This is my rendition of my adorable Manikutty who spreads his smile to everyone around.
PS. Proportions around the eyes are still not perfect!

She peeps from the distant skies...

an old one, from my collection...
the moon shines upon the distant sky 
‘tis brighter than the stars today 
surrounded by a sheath of clouds 
she is peeping from within

tonight is a night of solitude 
i sit by my window 
listening to the thunderous silence 
looking at the moon peeping from within

an uproar of thoughts in me 
yet the mind is calm after many nights 
the thoughts dashing past each other 
now the moon, just smiled from within 

time is etching its memories, 
the smiles, the laughter, the words, 
there is no end to the string of emotions 
ah! there she is, grinning at me from within

my dreams are taking me 
beyond the distant horizon 
i find peace in this wave of happiness 
the moon tonight is sharing it from within.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Motherhood - 'the' hood of all hoods. This year is my fifth mother’s day, if you count by the single day in the year, which the world proclaims as ‘Mother’s Day’. But, if you go by all the days that I have been a mother, that number would run in the thousands, multiplied by the number of children. Each day in the life of a mother is different; children in the early years rarely do the same thing twice. My little one yesterday liked Dora, but today he likes Blues Clues a.k.a. coo-coos in his language. The everyday challenges are different and it is a long tunnel with no light on the other side. Nevertheless, the delight of holing up in this tunnel with this little being that you brought into the world is motherhood.
Although, all mothers hope for the next stage of their child’s life to be easy, they reminisce the years gone by, right from the days when his tiny feet were kicking hard to get out of her womb. The anxiety then is ‘when will he come out?’ Once out and you find him sleeping for 16 hrs, you think, ‘wish he would start moving around’. With great difficulty this tiny human being, rolls over, moves through the confined space of a room, on his belly, lifts himself up and manages to balance his weight on his hands and knees. Soon, he starts crawling, and wants to get his hands on everything within his reach, bumping into the furniture and all your objects that you adorned your house. Just when he learns to manipulate the gadget buttons, you wish ‘only if he could talk’. The next thing you know, your wish is granted… he starts with the gaa-gaa’s and the goo-goo’s, until one day he surprises you with “MOMMY”.
If you are thinking, now I am done, you are mistaken, everything prior to this was prep-work, and the game is just about to begin. Fasten your seatbelt, now it is a roller coaster on which the button to turn off the ride is broken. Potty training, doctor visits, shots on time, daycare, food habits, sleep habits, school, alphabets, numbers, friends, gum, TV, fighting, ice-cream, candy, chocolates, sibling, cranky… the list is endless. There are a thousand questions you ask yourself each day – did he eat, is he sleeping well, did he eat his vegetables, did he drink milk, who are his friends, is he fighting with someone, is he watching too much TV, which is his favorite cartoon, is he running a temperature, what’s in his book bag….
Apart from all these external paraphernalia, what makes me feel special is his seamless confidence in me and how much I matter to him. The gleam in his eyes, when he sits beside me for a Mommy’s tea party at school. His hugs and announcements of “My mommy,” to make his brother jealous. All his expressions, that reflects upon this special relationship folds up under this hood.
At the end of the day, when you put him to bed, he gives you a kiss and says ‘I love you Mommy’, makes it all worthwhile
Happy Mother’s Day!

Monday, May 4, 2009


I turned down the volume of my headset; the noise is disturbing my thoughts. Few people are discussing about a database performance, not to my interest. But the rules of the job are that, I am supposed to listen, understand, and ask questions. But my mind today is drifting away to farther lands. It does not want to do the routine tasks of getting the kids to school, driving 20 miles to work, going through emails that run over a hundred a day. Somehow, the movie websites I visit are failing to capture my curiosity. The news websites are full of election news and polling and how movie stars came out to vote. No, this is not where my mind is today or wants to be.
Do I know where I want to be today? Well, actually no! Are you thinking 'Women'? Why it is that woman are so confused? I sit because they have too many choices or too many responsibilities? I would pick the latter. We make so many decisions a day, small decisions and the not so small decisions. So there is a lot of room for confusion. After long thinking, my confused mind tells me to take the day off. Drive down the roads of downtown, way past Fall Creek Parkway and to the public library. The rains outside, will lighten my spirit of boredom and refresh the energy in me, like the ground. Old tunes from Bollywood movies choreographed in the rains, will add a touch of romance. Alighting from my car with an air of romance, I would pick up a book of my favorite author and find a place near the window, so that I can watch the rain lash by. Reading the lines would take me back to my footprints that I left in the sand. I would sit back for a few moments, watch the rain and drift back to yester years and smiles. The innocence of youth, brashness of thoughts and freedom to touch the sky. Times, when I would follow my heart and not bother about another soul in this world. Carefree! These thoughts would make me happy one moment and sad the next, almost pushing me to get back to my book listening to the splash of the rain.
Alas! I look at the screen staring at me, and the numbers on bottom right corner have a cruel look. They force me to come back to reality and tell me that I have another two hours to complete the monotonous tasks for the day, before I rush back to all the roles I play, apart from being me.
My fingers are now dialing the next call I need to be on. Again there are noises disturbing my thoughts....

The place I call Home ~

Home - Merriam Webster says, Home is one's place of residence, or a social unit formed by a family living together. It could be a place of origin, but what I like most is "a familiar or usual setting". Home is a place, where I can identify myself, every object reflects upon me, what I am. The linens, furniture, the food and lights. Some thinkers say by being materialistic, we are possessed by our possessions. For now, let us think we possess our possessions. Each piece of object tells me its own story about how we met and how we blended into each other's lives over the span of years. Recently, when I bought my new sofa, the old one looked at me with a sad face, 'are you giving me away?’ My cookware tells me the tale of the discount shop I hunted down looking up Google maps, to save a few bills. My clothes speak volumes of the affection people have for me, when they presented them to me. The tailor who, carefully mended them. The closet in my son's room, takes me 4 years back into my life, when he was kicking inside me and I was putting away the little mittens I bought for him. Like I said earlier, each object tells me a story and weaves a memory. All these objects kept in a particular fashion, that invites me every evening to this man-made structure of brick and walls, is home.

The second aspect is the people. My son, his smile, his authority over everything in the house and the warmth he has for me. Then my baby, his way of welcoming me home every evening when I get back from a long day at work. All the attempts to draw a circle with bright crayons on the walls. His small feet which cover the house from one end to the other, one step at a time. Every waking moment that we spend together. Their food spills, books, cartoons, clothes, tantrums and much much more. Ever joke that is shared, every meal that is cooked together; the movies watched together; the friends who visit often and integrate into the house as if they were family.
A place that brilliantly accommodates each day of life is home.

Last aspect is 'freedom'. There is a connecting factor between 'home' and 'freedom'. The freedom to do the things you like, the freedom to say the things you want, the freedom to live without fear. If you cannot do the things you want in your house, then it’s probably not your house and you are a mere visitor. Scream, yell, talk, sing, cry, laugh, laugh out loud are all different ways to emote. If you can emote without fear, you are at home. A place where you can be what you are, is home...