where is she?

Switch off the loud music upstairs
Its not very endearing at ten in the night
The beats drumming into her head
Like the other beats over so many days
The security watching over her entry and exit
The happy friend who turns it into humour
It is a constant wave of emotions
She rides unaware
Blank
The growing one pounces on her with attitude
Again
White haired sits mum
Words sealed in the mind
Little tantrums wants a slice of her
Each day
Every day
He beside her is riding his own wave
Clashing with hers at different depths of the sea
As she finds herself drowning, something pushes her up for air
The pillars are around, supporting like ever
All she has to do is lean
There is the dwelling, about to be born
Nurtured in the womb cared for day after day
Soon it will be born to open a pandora of memories
Where is she?
Hidden in these words, riding the waves
Sometimes under, sometimes over
The wings are tired, they want to rest
On a shoulder strong enough to bear the weight
Of lifelessness!

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Of coffee.. Of chit chats.. Of smiles..

There is a place far away from where I live now, where the coffee machine works just like it used to, the cafeteria is full of people and voices, there are people standing behind those huge glass windows talking about their woes. Every morning there was an IM with the coffee mug and a question mark. It was endless chatter about work, people, kids, school and what not. After another two hours, there is another IM, this time a group one, with the word ‘lunch?’. Tracking down people, organizing the schedule, buying the same old food, or devouring the other’s lunch box, and endless laughter and fun. Then there is the evening tea with snacks in our own coffee shop by the lake with plans for the evening or venting out the frustration of the day. It was people, there was a life, where I was surrounded by people. Unlike today, where I sit in my office room. My mother smiling at me from her most beautiful picture. Stacks of paper waiting to be cleared out on my desk. The dim bulb of yellow light, which makes me feel like just shutting down. There is no coffee.. there is no IM.. I have lunch, mostly by myself, either huddled in my seat at office, or on the 4-seater dining table in the corner of my house.
I know its hard to believe, that there is a place far away from where I live now, where I was happy. It was where the people around me, cast a blanket over the qualms of my other life. I lived in the happiness that they created around me, leaving my troubles locked up somewhere. I didn’t have to spill out my lows, just sharing my highs and listening to theirs was happiness. There was someone who listened, someone who spoke.
There is a place far away from where I live now, where people still IM for coffee.. meet for lunch, share scores of laughter and return home to meet again. While I, reminisce in yesterday, trudging through the memories, crawling through the happiness, longing for that place that is far away from where I live now..
And yet, a voice from some inner core of me tells me, everything happens for the good and I live in false-belief.. 

Meenakshi

She was the fourth child born to a namboothiri father and his second wife, a nair lady. At the age of 17 she left her small town Eravimangalam in central Kerala to the garden city of Bangalore to help her sister take care of her child. In six months at the age of 18yrs and 3 months she got married to a photographer employed at Visweswaraya Museum. Five years down the line she had a daughter and another 5 years she gave birth to a son.
She strove hard to put her kids in Bishop Cottons School, one of the premier schools in Bangalore. With the meagre salary her husband brought home and the additional extra income from screen printing it was a repeated cycle of rigorous thirty day struggle to make ends meet. But she stuck through it for a long twenty one years. She put her kids through engineering colleges and got them through computer science degrees. When her children graduated, she graduated as well. She cleated ICSE twice in her lifetime.
At the age of 46 she came down with Parkinsons. But that did not deter her spirit. She travelled the world, made five trips to the US, saw the grandeur of Niagra falls, grand canyon, new york, the white house and vegas. She gambled at the casinos on the slot machine and she had so much fun. She saw the arrival of her grandson as he let out his first cry in this world. She cut the umbilical cord.
Through all her troubles, she smiled. She lived by example and showed us that there is no mountain too big, no storm too rough, no day that you cannot get through. Courage was her middle name.
I have never experienced death this closely. It does bring an end of sorts. But it is not the end. She is here, in this house, around me, with me, watching over me.. like how i cannot touch happiness, i cannot touch pride, i cannot touch her. But she is here, very much here..
I don’t know where she went, however, i know she is happy. She is at peace finally. She has no troubles no sorrows no pain. Her limbs are not bitten by Parkinsons anymore. She is free. She is smiling and in a very happy place.
Like every mother and daughter we have fought. Arguments, periods of not talking, patching up. But at the end I realise that there is nothing of that. It’s just the happy moments..
I know the void will never fill but it makes me happy that at this very moment and for all the moments to come she has only happiness..

Madhavikutty

Let me start with a disclaimer that I may not be the right person to write about Kamala Das. I may not know the whole truth. My writing is based on my interpretation of Kamala Das from a couple of her interviews available on YouTube, her book “My story” and Merrily Weisbord’s book “The Love Queen of Malabar”.

The first time I heard the name Madhavikutty was from my father, when  I was a child. The name just settled down in my mind to gather dust. When I was an adult, and started my feeble attempts at writing, I read about Madhavikutty on the internet and learnt that her official name was Kamala Das. I bought “My Story” her controversial autobiography and honestly never completed reading it. I read the essentials of the book and left it there. This was more than five years ago.

Recently due to some reason I switched from fiction to non-fiction and found myself looking for books about Kamala Das. I wanted an original English work because I knew she wrote in Malayalam and personally do not prefer translated books. The element of the book, the essence of what the author pens down is lost in translation. A complete personal belief. So after some considerable research I found “The Love Queen of Malabar” by Merrily Weisbord. Since the author was Canadian, I was sure that the major text would be in English, and would be confined to limited translations. I just finished reading the book and was proud that I selected the best book.

The book is a conversation between Merrily and Kamala Das during their trips to Kerala and Canada. The acquaintance that grows into a deep friendship. I was glad that Kamala found Merrily during her later years, a compassionate friend whom she could trust.

I felt sad at the plight of Kamala Das, and I believe she wrote the truth. She was born in a time where male chauvinism was at its height. Man used women for their gains. I came to hate Sadiq Ali who was man enough to sleep with a 60+ year old woman, almost twice his age, but was a coward who succumbed to the pressures of society.  Most men are man enough to sleep with a woman, the commitment to nurture her for years to come is where he plays the dodging game.

Her story is what happens in most households. There is only one in crores of women, who can write about it, honestly. I understand why men abused her when the book “My story” was published. She was unmasking their real face. She shed the pretenses they wear when they walk out into society. 

In this book she says “This new person accepted that “marriage to Dasettan was not good, but my destiny”. And since we are all just instruments of destiny, it was useless to struggle against it”.

Another excerpt from the book, which lingers on –

“A writer moves away from family, old relationships, very far with the speed of a falling star… Otherwise the writer is destroyed, and only the member of the family remains: the mother, sister, daughter, wife. The writer at some point must ask, Do I want to be a well-loved member of the family? Or do I want to be a good writer? You can’t be both at the same time. The days when you are with the children and are being a very good mother, you cease to be the writer. You feel repelled by the pen and the paper, which are definitely going to come between you and your loved ones.”

My Grandmother’s house – Kamala Das

There is a house now far away where once
I received love……. That woman died,
The house withdrew into silence, snakes moved
Among books, I was then too young
To read, and my blood turned cold like the moon
How often I think of going
There, to peer through blind eyes of windows or
Just listen to the frozen air,
Or in wild despair, pick an armful of
Darkness to bring it here to lie
Behind my bedroom door like a brooding
Dog…you cannot believe, darling,
Can you, that I lived in such a house and
Was proud, and loved…. I who have lost
My way and beg now at strangers’ doors to
Receive love, at least in small change? 


Beautiful!

Descending..

I messaged her this morning. I called her and spoke to her while she was waiting outside the gate for someone. I saw her, just this morning, just a few hours ago. She was smiling and talking to me. She was happy to speak to me, and sad that she wouldn’t see me today. I am in this training till evening. Stuck here. She really wanted to see me. She was unsettled and disturbed last night. She told me that something bad was going to happen, she had that feeling. I dismissed it, and told her that she was tired and needs to sleep. She gave me the usual hugs and kisses and went offline. I know there was something disturbing her. I would have talked to her this evening, after this damn training. Why didn’t she wait for me to listen to her. Just a few hours anyways.
Did she feel cold, when the railings touched her hands? Her last thought must have been about me. As she pulled herself above the railings, didn’t she have the fleeting thought of being in my arms once again? I wish she had felt like running towards me instead of running towards the end. What did she feel as she left contact with any structure? Did she feel the air hit against her as she fought against the rising air. She is scared of heights, now I remember. So was she scared when she looked down? As she was descending the array of life, did she for an instant want to be caught, in my arms?
If only I could talk to her, be with her, she would have been sitting at her desk now, waiting for me to ping her. How could she do this? To herself, to me, to everyone.. I love her and yet, now.. she’s gone.

The mind!

We go about the daily chores, things we are supposed to do, or are obligated to do. Somebody has employed us so we go to work, we are part of some family, so we have to be cognizant of their needs and expectations, we need to survive, so we eat, exercise, rest.. blah blah blah.. After a period of time, there comes a  moment, when you start feeling like a machine and that’s when you feel like breaking free and doing something different. You just want to break the routine, something as simple as not go to office, or eat something else for a change.. yes ! that’s the word.. for a change..!
What you are pleasing in the process, is the mind. The mind is the supreme leader. It has the power to control everything you do, think, act. It plays on emotions, and feeds on its ego. The mind needs to win, in some form or the other, in situations, with people, in life. The win could be small or big, just as long as it keeps winning, it keeps you going.
You would be dumb to think that you have complete control over your mind, the mind is the silent killer. It hides, when you wish to seek answers, it rumbles with thoughts when you want to shut them off.
Its my mind that drives me to write, even this word. So it seems like God created man, built in the mind and gave the control of the human to the mind. So what happens at death? Where does the mind go? Does it die? I don’t think so. Like the body shrivels up and the bones remain, human life is done with, but the mind remains. Where? Well, that’s a question I don’t have an answer to. Maybe it wanders around us, is that what we call the spirit? Aah.. thoughts.. aah.. my mind!