Posts Tagged ‘life’

The river

May 1, 2017

Rush,rush, rush…
Around me, the seconds flow past
The minutes fly
The hours march,
The months creep slowly.
I hardly feel the year’s progress
Into the lap of what-has-been.
I live in the present…
That’s a conondrum
As with every ticking second
My present becomes the past.
As I sit here, writing,
My heart starts the next beat.
I take my next breath.
I am not what I was
When I first thought of writing this.
What a relentless river Time is.

IMG_9038

Govind

April 22, 2017

Should I wait
For it to be exactly six months
Since you decided
To change the plane of your existence?
Do I not remember you
Very often, never mind what date
Or day, or time it is?
When two of my friends
Had surgery recently
To remove growths
You come to mind
Whenever I lift a camera
I often see you,
Before I see the scene in front of me.
When I see good planning
And crisp execution
You slip into my thoughts.
When I laugh at jokes
I recollect how you used humour to heal yourself.
The determination that got you through so much,
The travels all over the world
The staunch affection…
You are there in every thought I have
About such things.
Time will flow past:
Six months may turn into years.
My friend, you are always here
Where it matters.
In my heart, and in my memories.

Haircut, 130417

April 13, 2017

Snip, snip, snip, go the scissors and bits of my hair fall (the best kind of hair fall there is.) I relax and close my eyes. Will this end well or will I look like Raggedy Ann? I don’t know, but I am content to leave it to fate, and the hairdresser. The lady in the next seat, with her hair in a made-of-dye-cap, smiles at me. Snip,snip,snip…every haircut is a calendar, measuring out the time in the length of my hair. Short hair has been a great thing for me; I learnt how to swim, I didn’t have to put up sweaty hair in a perpetual bun….with a light heart, and a lighter head, I walk home. Snip, snip, snip…a half hour more out of my life, but gone in serenity and peace.

What my friend Ravikiran had to say:

I love getting a haircut – That feeling of getting that weight off your head, the metronomic rhythmic snip-snipping of the scissors lulling you into a state of mild hypnotic drowsiness, the faint musky fragrance of the talcum powder, the slap-whack-rub scalp massage at the end – all followed by a long hot shower when I get home.

Morning walk back home, 050417

April 5, 2017

This morning’s walk back home:
Women dotting freshly-washed front yards with rangoli in the making.
The carpets of Honge, Copper Pod, and mahogany flowers on the roads.
The smell of onion cooking as a lady makes morning palya at a mobile cart.
Walkers with their morning filter kaapi, exchanging notes and spreading newspapers.
Sunlight filtering through the trees, haloing the head of an old man as he walks with difficulty but determination.
No school buses or sleepy-faced students.
Milk packets and newspapers on mopeds,being distributed.
A young girl stopping for a minute in front of a small shrine, her eyes closed over her hands folded in prayer.
Cut watermelons making red stars.
I reach my home, content, looking up at our resident bulbuls as their burbling song pours liquidly over the lawn.

Raindrops

March 12, 2017

Inside her little box of an apartment
Lies the elderly woman,
While I tell her about the rain
That is wetting the roads
Outside. Confined to her bed,
She cannot even move
To the window, without help,
To look at the few drops
Falling from the sky.
The plants she has in pots
Cannot feel the rain, either.
All they can get
Is the “filtered water”
Whenever the sullen maid
Remembers them.
The woman is able
To have a roof over her head…
But some simple joys,
Like savouring the raindrops
Which wet that roof,
Are beyond her,
Small deprivations
Can sometimes be big ones.

Raindrops

March 7, 2017

Inside her little box of an apartment
Lies the elderly woman,
While I tell her about the rain
That is wetting the roads
Outside. Confined to her bed,
She cannot even move
To the window, without help,
To look at the few drops
Falling from the sky.
The plants she has in pots
Cannot feel the rain, either.
All they can get
Is the “filtered water”
Whenever the sullen maid
Remembers them.
The woman is able
To have a roof over her head…
But some simple joys,
Like savouring the raindrops
Which wet that roof,
Are beyond her,
Small deprivations
Can sometimes be big ones.

Minnal Shaffer, 190108

January 19, 2017

In front of the waving grasses in an urban park
Facing the calm waters
Lies a small brick, upon the ground,
That carries your name.
O dear one, my firstborn’s firstborn,
You went away before you even came into this world.
Souls of great ones, our scriptures say,
Do not have long to spend on this earth.
Coccooned within your mother,
You had very little time.
But you were here long enough
For us to love, remember, and cherish you.
You remind us how every live birth,
Every normal child,
Is nothing short of several miracles.
You were a lightning flash that touched our lives;
But,like lighnting, you had great power
To open our eyes to the fragility of life.
Your home in our hearts is eternal,
As is that of every being whose lifespan is small.

The things that Go Wrong during a long absence….

November 19, 2014

1. Gas disconnected. For “my protection”, I am locked out of my connection if I do not book for 180 days since the last booking. I am consuming less, and so I should be praised, shouldn’t I? But no…I get locked out instead.. I have to give a letter of request, a proof of address, and a proof of id. Several visits to reactivate it, and waiting for the cylinder to be delivered.

2. Electricity disconnected, and no proper reason being given for it,giving rise to the worry that it will happen again. Multiple visits to bank and BESCOM office. This is one of the biggest messes, with different BESCOM personnel giving me widely varying reasons why the power was disconnected. One lady at the office asked, “Since you’ve got the power back, why are you complaining?” All the contents of my freezer lost.

3. Driving licence expired, since I crossed 60. Process of renewal under way. I have to apply in the “prescribed form” and stand for a photograph (which is not shown to me). I cannot take delivery of the licence, but must wait for it to be delivered by Registered Post, and hope I am at home when the postman comes.

4. UPS batteries died…it was not just the distilled water in the batteries going down, but the batteries themselves had run down in five months. Since I don’t have cell phone on which I can access the numbers of the battery repair people, the process of getting them home to check it took a while. Batteries have been taken away, recharging under way. Waiting for the people to come and re-install the batteries. Then, if there are still problmes, will have to call the UPS people and go through a similar process.

5. Cable TV set top box died. Contacting the cable guy took 3 days, getting him to come home, Replacement set top box given and process of repair under way. Will have to wait at home the day he comes to reinstall it.

6. Landline cordless phone not working properly. Have to find time to go and buy another one. It is very irritating to find the handsets suddenly dying in my hand. Have to find someone to try and repair it, or get another one.

7. Cell phone died in the US and still under inspection, I may have to buy another phone, because I am not sure, even if I get this lemon repaired, if it will continue to work. Multiple visits have been made. Not having a cell phone that can access my Google contacts means a lot of inconvenience.

8. Printer died. Friends want to buy me a new one as a birthday gift, so I’m waiting for them to find some time. Meanwhile feeling the lack of a printer.

9. State Bank of Mysore account ( the one in my name alone) made inactive. I was so disgusted I went and closed the account, which I cannot do with the Vijaya Bank accounts. (Even closing the account took 4 visits as the Branch Manager was never around.)

10. Good tenant vacated. Have started the painting of the flat now. Getting a plumber and an electrician to check out various problems in the flat.

11. Sleep pattern, always bad, now completely spoilt, thanks to terrible jet lag. Neither melatonin or lorezepam is helping in the least, I’ve stopped taking them.

12. Decided not to fight Airtel who charged me for International Roaming for 5 months and never activated the service. Just don’t have the energy for it!

I never know whether to go out and do the chores or wait for the people to come home for the repairs, delivery, etc. At every place, I am told, “Ask someone to be at home for the delivery (of gas, post, batteries, etc.) I *don’t* have someone And I want to do my own chores, not take obligations from others.

But… I did manage to see two good plays, attend a wedding, volunteer for a children’s event in Bandipur, go for a birding outing, and interview a bookstore owner, meet friends from out of town, make a start on cleaning up the flat…

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the systems in place after a long absence. Moral of the story…don’t go away for more than a month. Or if you do…don’t come back!

November 19, 2014

1. Gas disconnected. For “my protection”, I am locked out of my connection if I do not book for 180 day. I have to give a letter of request, a proof of address, and a proof of id. Several visits to reactivate it, and waiting for the cylinder to be delivered.

2. Electricity disconnected, and no proper reason being given for it,giving rise to the worry that it will happen again. Multiple visits to bank and BESCOM office. This is one of the biggest messes, with different BESCOM personnel giving me widely varying reasons why the power was disconnected. One lady at the office asked, “Since you’ve got the power back, why are you complaining?” All the contents of my freezer lost.

3. Driving licence expired, since I crossed 60. Process of renewal under way. I have to apply in the “prescribed form” and stand for a photograph (which is not shown to me). I cannot take delivery of the licence, but must wait for it to be delivered by Registered Post, and hope I am at home when the postman comes.

4. UPS batteries died…it was not just the distilled water in the batteries going down, but the batteries themselves had run down. Since I don’t have cell phone on which I can acces the numbers of the battery repair people, the process of getting them home to check it took a while. Batteries have been taken away, recharging under way. Waiting for the people to come and re-install the batteries. Then, if there are still problmes, will have to call the UPS people and go through a similar process.

5. Cable TV set top box died. Contacting the cable guy took 3 days, getting him to come home, Replacement set top box given and process of repair under way. Will have to wait at home the day he comes to reinstall it.

6. Landline cordless phone not working properly. Have to find time to go and buy another one. It is very irritating to find the handsets suddenly dying in my hand. Have to find someone to try and repair it, or get another one.

7. Cell phone died in the US and still under inspection, I may have to buy another phone, because I am not sure, even if I get this lemon repaired, if it will continue to work. Multiple visits have been made. Not having a cell phone that can access my Google contacts means a lot of inconvenience.

8. Printer died. Friednd want to buy me one as a birthday gift, so I’m waiting for them to find some time. Meanwhile feeling the lack of a printer.

9. State Bank of Mysore account ( the one in my name alone) made inactive. I was so disgusted I went and closed the account, which I cannot do with the Vijaya Bank accounts. (Even closing the account took 4 visits as the Branch Manager was never around.)

10. Good tenant vacated. Have started the painting of the flat now. Getting a plumber and an electrician to check out various problems in the flat.

11. Sleep pattern, always bad, now completely spoilt, thanks to terrible jet lag. Neither melatonin or lorezepam is helping in the least, I’ve stopped taking them.

12. Decided not to fight Airtel who charged me for International Roaming for 5 months and never activated the service. Just don’t have the energy for it!

I never know whether to go out and do the chores or wait for the people to come home for the repairs, delivery, etc.

But I did manage to see two good plays, attend a wedding, volunteer for a children’s event in Bandipur, go for a birding outing, and interview a bookstore owner, meet friends from out of town, make a start on cleaning up the flat…

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the systems in place after a long absence. Moral of the story…don’t go away for more than a month. Or if you do…don’t come back!

Life and death…and thoughts

September 25, 2014

ஜென்மம் நிறைந்தது சென்றவர் வாழ்க
சிந்தை கலங்கிட வந்தவர் வாழ்க
நீரில் மிதந்திடும் கண்களும் காய்க
நிம்மதி நிம்மதி இவ்விடம் சூழ்க

The life is over; hail to the person who left.
Hail to the person who concerned us.
Let the eyes swimming in tears dry up;
Let peace and calm prevail.

ஜனனமும் பூமியில் புதியது இல்லை
மரணத்தை போல் ஒரு பழையதும் இல்லை
இரண்டும் இல்லாவிடில் இயற்கையும் இல்லை
இயற்கையின் ஆணைதான் ஞானத்தின் எல்லை

Birth is nothing new upon this earth.
There is nothing older than death.
Without both, there is no Nature.
The laws of Nature are the far reaches of wisdom.

பாசமுலவிய கண்களும் எங்கே
பாய்ந்து துலாவிய கைகளும் எங்கே
தேசம் அளாவிய கால்களும் எங்கே
தீ உண்டதென்றது சாம்பலும் இங்கே

Where are the eyes filled with love?
Where are the hands that moved?
Where are the feet that straddled this earth
There are only the ashes, after the consuming fire.

கண்ணில் தெரிந்தது காற்றுடன் போக
மண்ணில் பிறந்தது மண்ணுடன் சேர்க
எலும்பு சதை கொண்ட உருவங்கள் போக
எச்சங்களால் அந்த இன்னுயிர் வாழ்க

What one could see, goes with the wind.
What is born on earth, returns to the earth.
The form made of flesh and bones disappears
May the soul live forever.

பிறப்பு இல்லாமலே நாளொன்று இல்லை
இறப்பு இல்லாமலும் நாளொன்று இல்லை
நேசத்தினால் வரும் நினைவுகள் தொல்லை
மறதியை போல் ஒரு மாமருந்தில்லை

There is no day without a birth
There is no day without a death
The memories born out of love trouble us.
There is no medicine like forgettin.

கடல் தொடும் ஆறுகள் கலங்குவதில்லை
தரை தொடும் தரைகள் அழுவதும் இல்லை
நதி மழை போன்றதே விதி ஒன்று கண்டும்
மதி கொண்ட மானுடர் மயங்குவதென்ன

The rivers which the ocean touches, do not worry;
The lands that touch other lands, do not weep.
When they percieve a Fate that is a like a river or rain
Why do intelligent humans get enmeshed?

மரணத்தினால் சில கோவங்கள் தீரும்
மரணத்தினால் சில சாபங்கள் தீரும்
வேதம் சொல்லாததை மரணங்கள் கூறும்
விதை ஒன்று வீழ்ந்திடில் செடி வந்து சேரும்

With death, some angers will cease.
With death, some curses will end.
Death clarifies what even the Vedas do not say.
Where a seed falls, a plant will rise.

பூமிக்கு நாமொரு யாத்திரை வந்தோம்
யாத்திரை தீருமுன் நித்திரை கொண்டோம்
நித்திரை போவது நியதி என்றாலும்
யாத்திரை என்பது தொடர் கதையாகும்

We came to this earth on a journey
Before journey’s end, we fell asleep.
Though sleeping is in our destiny,
Our journey is a serial tale.

தென்றலின் பூங்கரம் தீண்டிடும் போதும்
சூரிய கீற்றொளி தோன்றிடும் போதும்
மழழையின் தேன்மொழி செவியுறும் போதும்
மாண்டவர் எம்முடன் வாழ்ந்திட கூடும்

When the soft southern breeze touches us,
When the rays of the rising sun touch us,
When we hear the honeyed sound of the rain,
Those who are departed, may live with us again.

மாண்டவர் சுவாசங்கள் காற்றுடன் சேர்க
தூயவர் கண்ணொளி சூரியன் சேர்க
பூதங்கள் ஐந்திலும் உன்னுடல் சேர்க
போனவர் புண்ணியம் எம்முடன் சேர்க

May the breath of the departed mix with the breeze.
May the light of their eyes mingle with the sun.
May your body merge with the Five Elements
May the good deeds of the departed belong to us.

போனவர் புண்ணியம் எம்முடன் சேர்க
போனவர் புண்ணியம் எம்முடன் சேர்க

May the good deeds of the departed belong to us.
May the good deeds of the departed belong to us.

Here’s the transliteration and a much better translation by R Shankar:

janmam niRaindadu senRavar vAzhga
sindai kalangiDa vandavar vAzhga
nIril midandiDum kaNgaLum kAyga
nimmadi nimmadi ivviDam sUzhga
Life was full, blessed be the departed
Blessed be the ones who made us grieve
May eyes that swim in tears dry out
May tranquility pervade, here and everywhere

jananamum bhUmiyil pudiyadu illai
maraNattai pOl oru pazhaiyadum illai
iraNDum illAviDil iyaRkaiyum illai
iyaRkaiyin ANaidAn nyAnattin ellai
Birth on this earth is nothing new
Nothing more timeworn than death
But without them natural order will perish
The bounds of knowledge are but nature’s mandates

pAsamulAviya kaNgaLum engE
pAyndu tuzhAviya kaigaLum engE
dEsam aLAviya kAlgaLum engE
tI uNDadenRadu sAmbalum ingE
Where are the loving eyes?
Where are the hands that leapt to feel and search?
Where are the feet that measured the world?
Ashes and left-overs (from fire’s meal) are all that remain

kaNNil terindadu kATRuDan pOga
maNNil piRandadu maNNuDan sErga
elumbu sadai koNDa uruvangaL pOga
eccangaLAl anda innuyir vAzhga
What was evident has gone with the wind
Born of the earth, is now unto the earth
Skin and bone have evanesced
May that sweet life live on despite defects

piRappu illAmalE nALonRu illai
iRappu illAmalum nALonRu illai
nEsattinAl varum ninaivugaL tollai
maRadiyai pOl oru mAmarundillai
A day without birth isn’t possible
Nor a day without death
Loving thoughts are the malady
There’s no panacea like amnesia

kaDal toDum ARugaL kalanguvadillai
tarai toDum tAraigaL azhuvadum illai
nadi mazhai pOnRadE vidhi enRu kaNDum
madi koNDa mAnuDar mayanguvadenna
Rivers draining in the ocean are not distressed
Rays touching the ground do not shed tears
Knowing that rivers and rain are but fate
Why are intelligent men bewildered

maraNattinAl sila kOpangaL tIrum
maraNattinAl sila sApangaL tIrum
vEdam sollAdadai maraNangaL kURum
vidai onRu vIzhndiDil seDi vandu sErum
Wrath expires with death
Imprecations vanish with death
What scriptures do not, death does teach
If a seed falls, a tree will result

bhUmikku nAmoru yAttirai vandOm
yAttirai tIrumun nittirai koNDOm
nittirai pOvadu niyadi enRAlum
yAttirai enbadu toDar kadaiyAgum
We’ve come on a journey to this earth
We’ve gone to sleep before journey’s end
Even if sleep were pre-ordained
The journey itself is without end

tenRalin pUnkaram tINDiDum pOdum
sUriya kITRoLi tOnRiDum pOdum
mazhalaiyin tEnmozhi seviyuRum pOdum
mANDavar emmuDan vAzhndiDa kUDum
When the gentle fingers of the wind caress
When a sliver of sunlight sparkles
When the prattle of babes fills our ears
The dead come back to our lives

mANDavar suvAsangaL kATRuDan sErga
tUyavar kaNNoLi sUriyan sErga
bhUtangaL aindilum unnuDal sErga
pOnavar puNNiyam emmuDan sErga
May the breath of the dead mingle with the wind
May the brightness of their eyes brighten the sun
May their bodies become one with the elements
May their virtue become ours