May 29, 2011

The Strangers on the Page

They are strangers. All of them. But after reading their dear ones describe them in loving words, you suddenly feel as if you know them all. Every single one of them, featured in the newspaper’s obituary page, where the memories of the departed are shared with grief, love and gratitude.

Today, there’s a father who is lovingly remembered for his commitment and dedication. His legacy of hard work and honesty is heralded as greatly motivating. I read this, and this dad comes alive in front of me - in flesh and blood – a warm and suave gentleman who is always there for everyone, and suddenly I miss not meeting him in person. There’s a beautiful lady too, who I read, was an intelligent and loving mother, and a dedicated and hardworking wife. I read about her pleasant smile and see it lighting up around me. Then there are grandfathers and grandmothers - the dadas, dadis, nanas and nanis - who have left for their heavenly abode and are now being remembered and missed by their children and grandchildren. I read it all - the names and the adulatory messages, and look deeply at the photos and try to guage if these strangers died content and happy, whether they had a fulfilling life. The warm and happy faces of these elderly give nothing away and so I assume that they died happy.

Then there are those who share another corner, staring straight, proud in their military fines. They are the fighters, the martyrs who laid down their lives fighting for their country’s cause. Here they are now, remembered year after year, by their families, fellow fighters and brethrens.  From all ranks and files, they are lauded for their bravery and thanked for their invaluable guidance and noble thoughts. I read it all – their names, their ranks and the unit they belonged to, and imagine strapping groomed men full of fervour and zest for life, charging ahead and taking the enemy head on.

But almost always there are some announcements that leave you sad and disillusioned. The prayer meetings, rasam kriyas and chauthas. Of people who must have been in the prime of their life. They are gone, and now have their best pictures announcing their untimely departure. Their beaming, happy, cheerful faces next to the obituary notes look so out of place that you naively wonder if there’s been some mistake and that probably the press men bumbled and put up wrong photos. All of 23 and dead? No, this surely is a mistake! That’s not an age to die! 18 and gone? There must be an error here...the heart goes. But deep inside you know it’s not a mistake. You read about the freak accident, the sudden illness, the massive heart attack...the words ‘untimely death’ prefixed everywhere. Ah. The grief stricken list breaks my heart. Father, mother, brother, sister, read on, realising it all too well that life for them would never be the same again.

December 6, 2008

Some Rhymed Lines : Part 1

The face was fresh,
not striking
he noticed,
but new nevertheless.

They met at a place,
that sold many different dreams
and catered everyone,
with hot coffee and sour cream.

So it was coffee they had
their thoughts occupied,
the eyes nonchalant
the doubtful minds spied.

November 29, 2008


There was a young lady named Bright
Whose speed was far faster than light;
She set out one day,
In a relative way
And returned on the previous night.

By A. H. Reginald Buller

September 24, 2008

To the Dead in the Graveyard Underneath My Window

How can you lie so still? All day I watch
And never a blade of all the green sod moves
To show where restlessly you toss and turn,
And fling a desperate arm or draw up knees
Stiffened and aching from their long disuse;
I watch all night and not one ghost comes forth
To take its freedom of the midnight hour.

Oh, have you no rebellion in your bones?
The very worms must scorn you where you lie,
A pallid mouldering acquiescent folk,
Meek habitants of unresented graves.
Why are you there in your straight row on row
Where I must ever see you from my bed
That in your mere dumb presence iterate
The text so weary in my ears:"Lie still
And rest; be patient and lie still and rest."

By : Adelaide Crapsey

August 30, 2008

Going For The Kill

The ruthlessness becomes me now,
the same,
which when once bestowed,
killed me
and then gradually became me.

when this me kills,
there's no joy,
contrary to what I thought.
Just some irritating sadness,
and mounting tension,
some wry smiles too,
catching me unaware
amidst heartless banter,
yet coldly coaxing me
to keep going for the kill.

August 29, 2008

Somewhere, Up There...

high up in the mountains,
where the wind blows free
and frolicks teasingly
with the huge pine tree
where the sky is always clear
but for when the clouds roll
and they hang down so near
that the gray takes over the blue
and yet one wonders,
who painted this hue?

high up in the mountains,
where clear streams run
and tinkle and sprinkle
their ware with so much fun,
where the many butterflies fly
dancing with great abundance,
naughty and yet shy!

high up in the mountains,
where the world is so pure
a small hut is all I want,
yes, I am so sure.
In the midst of this green,
living would be a bliss
no empty smiles to give,
no hatred, malice or airborne kiss.
Solitude for company,
through moods happy and sad
peace will reign.
where all seasons would be beautiful -
bright summer and misty rain.

August 16, 2008

Some Lines...Profound

If I could pray, the gist of my
demanding would be simply this:
Quietude. The ordered mind.
Erasure of inner lie.
And only love in every kiss.

From Hymns of Darkness by Nissim Ezekiel

I met a man, loved him. Call
Him not by any name, he is every man
Who wants a woman, just as I am every
Woman who seeks love. In him...the hungry
haste of rivers, in me...
the ocean's tireless waiting.

By Kamala Das

August 8, 2008

My Symphony

The rain fell,
and with it the selfless giggles.
Mad giggles.
In rhythm
with the sharp shower
stinging my bare back.
Bare feet gave company,
drumming the poodles.
In perfect timing.
What bliss. This symphony.

August 1, 2008

Like They Said...And Right They Said

"Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake."

~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 17, spoken by the character Holden Caulfield

Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.
~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.

~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

What really knocks me out is a book, when you're all done reading it, you wished the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.

~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.

~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

July 17, 2008


Some lines :

Lovers, when they marry, face
Eternity with touching grace,
Complacent at being fated,
Never to be separated.

The bride is always pretty, the groom
A lucky man. The darkened room
Roars out the joys of flesh and blood
The use of nakedness is good.

Why should I ruin the mystery,
By harping on the suffering rest,
Myself a frequent wedding guest.

- Nissim Ezekiel