A new year?

I woke up this morning
And looked outside the window
To the same view
Constant for months now
10 months to be exact –
A quiet yellow house
jaded by rain and sun
With a rusted red door
And a black car
I think,  a Wagonar
That disappears at 9
and reappears at 7,
Sharp.
Dutifully parked across the
asphalt abraded road.
But I know the house has
residents
As they sun dry their clothes
In their verandah
On an aluminum stand
Near a banana tree
That refuses to grow any taller.

But they say
A year has gone by.
A year, is it?

True it must be
As it was this cold,
A long time back
When we wore 2 pairs of socks
And sweaters and pants.

Also, some people have
Made their presence scarce.
But alas, sooner the better.

Yes, a year must have gone by
For I don’t remember much from
That life.
The one before the virus.

Yes, the virus
That succeeded in breaking
My body but
Not my spirit
As I came back
Even stronger than before;
Ready to take on
Whatever comes next
And so did many others
For there is no other way to go on
Than to go on fearlessly.

Outside, the winter air
Hangs heavy with silence
Of those who mourned the past
10 months
From the loss of lives and livelihood.
Their heads
Scarred yet unbowed.

But apart from that
Everything is pretty much
Constant
yet they say,
A year has gone by.
I don’t believe them.

Ashes

I walk through ashesLeft beh

From the fire 

that consumed my dreams.

The ones I concocted 

As a little girl

Sprawled on the grass

Under a tree

beneath the sky

Of chocolate houses 

And unicorns 

Swaying with the swings

thinking-

monsters are four legged

And fairies have wings.

The dreams 

Uninhibited Vast 

Lark, Open. 

 

Quite a fire it was 







Ignited by a spark

Of doubt. 

 

I walk through ashes

That fly

From the fire that

emblazoned my reveries 

The ones I concocted 

Sitting in the classrooms 

Bedrooms, parks and places. 

Comprehending the

quagmires of the system

And their measures 

of artistry

Knowledge 

Decorum and

Duties  

via books and lengthy monologues, 

Telling me about the foundations 

And a way of life.

 

Quite a furnace 

it was, 

Ignited by incongruity

Of the preacher that practiced

Hypocrisy and atrocities. 

 

I walk through ashes

Left behind

From the fire 

Which consumed my dreams

From when I was younger 

And walked with a 

Cloak of invincibility-

That years 

Will bring clarity

Less, if not much 

Half, if not full 

And a Change

shall commence 

Sooner or later

For 

They must 

see their oversight,

their error.  

 

The dreams I concocted 

of walking alone.

For those who seek love 

are weak and imbecile

And friendships don’t fray

Just as flowers don’t wither,

That honesty must win 

hard work must pay.

 

Radiant it was 

The pyre of 

My visions and dreams

Or lies force fed to me 

In legacy. 

 

And then the world tells me

They think I have changed

In ways they don’t recognize. 

Of course!

Of course,

They do not recognize 

The immolation, the devouring 

Of my dreams, in the fire

That raged within me 

An inferno in my core 

That singed my soul 

Time after time

They tell me

I am not the same

But they do see a

Flicker of

light in my eyes

And 

a fleck of ember

When i speak

attimes. 

Caught off guard

I don’t know what to say. 

I lean forward

Closer to their ear 

Unsure how else to cover  

I clear my throat 

And I tell them-

Likewise. 

 

Love Does Not Make The World Go Round

They say that love makes the world go round but I would strongly beg to differ. In my humble opinion, it is kindness and the small acts of it which keeps this otherwise man-eat-man world going as it may not be possible to love every second person coming your way. Let alone the first.

What compelled me to write this article is a heart warming incident that occurred just a few days back:

As it happens during every monsoon, all the potholes in New Delhi turned into tiny ponds, creating an illusion of uniformity on otherwise broken roads, only that this uniformity is brought about by rain water and not the more often used mortar in the civil industry. Suffice to say, it’s impossible to distinguish a rut from a road and one usually figures out their way trailing a car in front of them.

As brave as I am, I decided that nothing must stand between me and my daily humdrum activities and so I turned on the ignition of my old-as-time Honda City and set out to fetch groceries. Yes, groceries. Everything was rainbows and unicorns, with the former actually gracing the storm struck sky until I reached the supermarket and decided to park my car in an isolated spot. That should have been the first warning sign! One never just finds an isolated parking spot in the capital of second most populated country of the world. As the reader might have guessed already, it was actually a rut full of water and I drove straight into it. I realized I am in hot and muddy waters for real and a humdrum activity had turned into an adventure. A while later, a few people who seemed to be enjoying their perfect afternoon tea at a cigratte stall noticed my struggle and decided to help me, God bless their soul. I may have heard some remarks in reference to being a ‘lady driver’, but nothing that I hadn’t heard of earlier. That day, those gentlemen got their hands and clothes dirty in order to help me out.

In retrospect, I think even my car protested a little that day to not go for a ride, but it’s old and I anyway ignore most of it’s warnings unless it drops dead in middle of the highway. And then we call the crane services and show some love in terms of oiling and greasing and replacing this and replacing that until it feels pampered enough and finally decides to play along just like a puffed up boyfriend who needs some ego massage every now and then. Moving on.

I can also count numerous such encounters where I have been helped by cab drivers, by-standers, strangers and so many other kind people who spent as many as 40-minutes from their life trying to explain me a direction, or fixing my car for free, being my local translator or in general getting me out of trouble. I cannot even begin to imagine how the situation might have turned out be, had it not been for these kind hearted people. In numerous tough times, the people that ‘love’ me such as my family and friends were not around to help me .

As Yuval Noah Harari, stated in his bestseller book called Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, ‘…Homo Sapiens is primarily a social animal. Social Cooperation is our key for survival and reproduction. It is not enough for individual men and women to know the whereabouts of lions and bisons.’ By lions and bisons here, he indicates our surroundings. We have needed each-other’s help since the start and even our ancestors went out in groups to hunt for they knew that alone, we cannot by-any-means hunt a giant animal. Mr. Harari further goes on to explain how a human singularly is of almost null significance but together goes on to create civilisations, governments and nations.   And yet we tend to forget how much we need each other at the end of the day. We forget to be kind. We forget to smile at others and sometimes, we even go on to think we can make it on our own.  

In a different part of the country; called Kerala, the wrath of monsoons has been anything but deadly and hundreds of people lost their life to nature’s fury, which as much as the state would not like to take responsibility for, could have been avoided. Yes, I agree it occurred after a hundred years but wouldn’t really be much of a disaster if it occurred bi-weekly.

But even in these arduous times, the country came together and the Chief Minister Distress relief fund has received a donation of Rs 210 cr so far and it goes without saying that all of this money has come from generous and altruistic people including children and students who are not necessarily rich.

As I scroll through social media day after day, below is a picture that especially caught my attention. The young man in this picture is National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescue officer Kanhaiya Kumar who dared to save a child amidst a submerging bridge.

The reason I think the picture above went so viral is because not only it represents but inspires all the emotions at once: bravery, kindness, hope and even love. It sends out a loud and clear message: even though everything is down to ashes or more appropriately, drowned in water, only humanity will suffice to save humanity.

An act of kindness is not just a harbinger of hope but is also a mark of bravery which is best tested in times of adversity. And in adverse times, the kinder you are to those who brought you pain, the liberated you would feel. It is a kind of power that overcomes all cynicism. And just because it is so powerful and liberating, it comes with lots and lots of practice. In different words, kindness is a close kin of bravery which is often confused with the popular opinion of it just being a mere act of taking or giving life for honor. I, for one cannot imagine an unkind brave-heart. The arrogant ones confuse this power with weakness until they have a weak moment themselves post which they lean on the kindest shoulder they can find around. Quite a game changer, isn’t it now?

So — did you do your bit of kindness today? Did you donate for our friends in Kerala who lost not just their homes but also families? Did you release your insecurities and personal issues towards someone such as a subordinate or a loved one who had no choice but to bear the brunt out of position or love?

Well, whatever you did or did not. It’s never too late to take corrective measures. Especially in the 20th century.