Monday, August 17, 2015

Longing for nightmares

When I dream of you at night
I call it a nightmare...
For, though it does sound sweet,
It brings nothing but pain.

Yet when the sun goes down
I yearn for those dreams;
In a life that promises nothing,
Even pain is a godsend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My story

These are not my stories - the books I read,
The movies I watch,

Don't misunderstand me-
I like these stories I read; I like those movies I watch.
I can connect with some of them, and those I cannot, I still can enjoy.

But it is not me; their story is not mine. There are characters in those stories who are a little like me, but their choices are not mine, their paths deviate from mine.

Because my story is different; because it is not told.
Because my life matters, and my struggles are real.
Because I cannot go on pretending they do not exist.

And what is my story? I barely know.
That is why I write - I try to find it in that place where I exist. Most of me, anyway.

Every story I write has something of me in it.
And yet even I cannot piece it together and make the whole.

My story is not merry, it isn't enchanting. But it is important and it has to be told.
When I write, I search. I am trying to find and recreate - myself.

I know who I am - and it is a only feeling.
It is not words that I can articulate and you can understand. Not yet.

I try.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Life is full of dilemmas:

To ask or not to.
To beg or not to.
To announce or not to.
To suppress or not to.

To struggle or not to.
To live or not to.
To smile or not to.
To pay or not to.

To laugh or not to.
To play or not to.
To cry or not to.
To yell or not to.

To knock or not to.
To enjoy or not to.
To walk or not to.
To wait or not to.

To let go or not to.
To fight or not to.
To relax or not to.
To restrain or not to.

To rebel or not to.
To love or not to.
To explain or not to.
To obey or not to.

To command or not to.
To suffer or not to.
To endure or not to.
To die or not to.

The chains that the poet spoke of...
That binds us through life...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Medal from Once Upon a Time

“Until a few years ago, I worked as a mother.”
I raised my eyebrows and she chuckled. “Worked? you ask, incredulously,” she said. “Worked? As a mother? Worked – did you say?” More chuckles, more mirth, and more deliberation.

I waited. Surely there was more where that was coming from.

“But of course, I agree with you. How can one ‘work’ as a mother – when there is no payment in return? Moreover, how can I be a mother ‘until a few years ago’? A mother is a mother forever from the moment a certain someone makes her one.

“I know what I am saying; and I know why I say so. You may not see it the way I do; of course, you do not live the life I lived. You would argue that the payment is the little moments of joy, the little bouts of love that you receive now and then, and all that crap the world deceives you with. Only a mother gets those, you say. Dads hate to hear it, but it is the truth!

“I would not debate, for I would rather not ruin your belief in the existence of good in the world. After all, if all mothers begin to think of all the ingratitude they have had to face, the rejection, the indifference and even the insults they receive – from their children as well as the others around them – the unkind references to her parenting skills, sneaky and direct; if all the mothers of the world decide that they cannot take it anymore and just abandon their motherhood and leave, human race would be headed straight down the drain and into the ocean. What will happen to the ‘reproduce and survive’ directive from the Darwinian God? So it is an evolutionary requirement that mothers convince themselves they are the backbone of humanity, that they need to be selfless, that their child’s ill-behaviour is a reflection on their parenting skills, and that if they close their eyes for a second, homo sapiens could all fall apart. It is an evolutionary requirement that mothers kill themselves raising their kids.”

I was fascinated, to say the least. If educated is the very first adjective I use to describe this untidy street woman, it would be far from sufficient. But, listen to her talking as though she had some grudge against me, as though I were the one who worked the wheels of her fate! I could see clearly that her discontent was directed elsewhere, I just happened to be on its path.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Into the darkness and around the drain

A depressed person is a very depressing person.

What do people do when they need to face a person who has been depressed for a long time - not for hours, but days, weeks, months or even years?

Quotes doing the rounds in the social media space advise you to stay away from 'negative people who make you miserable'. Most people would rather keep away than see how they can help. True that it is better for those who lead a joyous or pleasant life to run away than to delve into the chasm of another's misery and ruin their own days. It is indeed a lot to ask to go sit with them and chat with them for a while, because of the radiating gloom.

A depressed person could be a very depressed person.

It is their suffocation that comes out as negativity or accusation or explosion. They know what they are doing to others, but they can't help it. They're choking on it.

Some of them may be twirling in the darkness dangerously close to the drain, wondering what it would be like to let go. Perhaps they need help to not be washed away. Perhaps you could throw them a line and pull them out. Because their life matters, too.

Maybe no one can fix their problem, but knowing that someone cares or having someone to talk to may get them out of the darkest place. It may not happen in an hour or a day. Walking away definitely does not help. Waiting for them to ask for help doesn't either.

'You must find your own happiness' is probably not the best comment to make to them. Clearly, they are well past that stage. They believe they're beyond help.

When others keep away from them because the darkness is contagious, they are adding to the frustration.

The depressed person doesn't want to be depressed either. They want to be happy too. They may be afraid, miserable, coping with grief, angry or stuck in their past.

They may appear happy one day, or laughing out loud or looking quite normal. Don't assume that they are out of the woods. Maybe what you see is their flailing arms appearing above the surface for the last time.

And if they look gloomy again the next day, the silliest question to ask would be, "Now what happened?"

Don't mock them. Don't call them insane. Don't isolate them.

Throw a line.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Walking in the rain

How was I to know?
I'd been walking in the rain.
And after all that dancing,
I thought, a perfect end to the day.

How was I to know?
You must have been in pain.
Alone amidst strangers,
Confused, helpless, maybe a li'l afraid.

The cool breeze in my hair, the droplets on my face,
Why did they conceal your distress?
And all the while, strangely though,
My thoughts had been of you.

How was I to know?
Until hours and hours had passed;
When a certain stroke of chance
Unfolded your day before me.

How was I to know
At that time? But now I do.
And I wish, from this distance,
I could somehow ease it for you.

That I could kiss your wounds,
Caress your forehead, make you laugh,
Once again see your eyes smile
In that way I know so well.

In truth, there is nothing
That I can really do for you
Be we near, be we far;
I must shred my wishes and toss them aside.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Masterpiece

It came to me on its way to publication, a scanned copy of a handwritten poem. Just a matter of routine; an FYI.  I ran my eyes over it quickly, and then I read it carefully, again.

I did not know the poet - was she young? old? a teenager? a mother?

There was anguish and pain in the writing, and it touched somewhere deep inside. I wondered who she was; and then I closed it and went on with my business.

The subsequent day, I spoke to the lady who had forwarded the poem to me. In passing, I asked about this unknown poet. And in the next fifteen minutes, the young poet's sad life unravelled before my eyes.

I went back to the poem again and read it with new eyes. Those ten or so lines - that was her story. The story I had just listened to. How did I miss it when I read it the first time? Why was I not able to decipher it? Why did I not see her heart?

That's the beauty of poetry, I think. When we read it, knowing nothing of its origin, there is beauty, but it is veiled. We try to connect it with our life and give it a meaning, we appreciate something we perceive in it.

We don't really wonder why the poet wrote this, or how the philosophy occurred to her, or why her lines have the power to reduce us to tears, or what inner fire caused her words to blaze like this. We probably think it insignificant. Did it come to her one sunny morning while she was sipping tea? Or when she was relaxed and happy? What difference would it make to us, if she were angry or frustrated or vengeful or in the throes of grief?

It is from our deepest pain that the most beautiful works of art are born. I would not wish such pain on anyone, but if we're destined to endure some, I'd rather its direct consequence be a masterpiece.