Wednesday, March 25, 2020

This Moment In History


We're here, at this moment in history,
Looking out across the gulf
Trying to see the bright, free land
That we once knew and have lost sight of.

This generation, the people who are
Alive and aware at this moment,
We're going to remember forever
The battle we fought
... and won.

We're living in that sliver of Time
When History is being written
The Pandemic of 2020 will be talked about
Whether we survive to talk of it or not.

Will we ever find the normalcy we knew?
It seems unlikely. The normal will change.
Can you imagine getting a haircut,
Going to the grocery store, or standing in queue?

But years will pass, wind will blow
and a new normal will return,
Heaving with the burden of the past
and establish itself in our collective memory

We shall sigh, we shall pause a moment -
A long moment when, passing before our eyes
Would be the steep curve rising daily
Before it began to flatten. (Of course it will flatten.)

The endless cries to wash your hands,
to stay away, shut yourself up,
protect yourself, protect yourself,
To save humanity...

How we broke the chain, how we
stood together, even as we
Kept our distance from each other;
How we held our breath...

The sacrifices, the hardwork,
the never-ending worries,
The optimism in the midst of terrible news
One half idle as the other half works double...

A new normal will return, fear not -
It might seem too long, but
We shall see the other side,
When the world reopens after the lockdown.

Sometimes we need a reminder.
Today, the Silence all around
Reminds us the profound truth, that...
...we're all in this together.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The elephant in the room

They walk around it - taking care 
Not to step on it.

They speak of the illness, the discomfort
The sleepless nights and the lengthening days
They see the wall ahead, dark and sinister
They know what it signifies-
Each step getting them closer-
Nonetheless pretend it does not exist.

They talk of the coffee, the dinner,
And the journey someone has to undertake
the next morning
Secretly wondering each second,
Will the next morning arrive at all?
Will there be a sunrise, a sunset?

When can there be another walk 
on the grass, barefoot ?
How many more rains, and sunshine,
How many more full moons?
How much more time to enjoy the flowers ?
How much longer, this precious life?

Talking of it is taboo.
They tip-toe around it, taking care 
Not to disturb it.

They see it, and close their eyes
They turn away lest it feels itself invited
They say not its name, for fear of tempting it.

It bides its time, 
mocking them,
stalking them,
scaring them...

It matters not what they do,
What they say, or not,
What they pretend,
...It'll get them in the end. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Fear...

It’s difficult to find happiness or contentment in this world, and hold on to it. It’s like seeking warmth in the middle of the cold, dark forest. We manage to create a little spark. A piece of paper, a few dry leaves, twigs. And we carefully blow on it so that it catches without dying out and spreads its heat to us, and protects us from the wild beasts. Are there wild beasts around us? We do not know. But as we sit around the fire, we are conscious of the intense jungle around and the possibility of danger. We do not gaze directly into the fire, for if we do, our eyes will take too long to adjust when we need to look into the darkness. Who knows, standing just outside the circle of light are all kinds of creatures, patiently waiting for the fire to die. We look around; see nothing. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Nor does that mean they do. As long as the fear is in our heart…

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

How do you think the world's going to end?

According to my early morning dream, it's alien invasion. Not your regular, creepy, six-tentacled, three-eyed, human-sized alien. These are insect-sized. Of all shapes.

Small they may be, but they arrive in large numbers. And we have no escape. Our planet is doomed.

The story begins deep in the heart of Kerala... Actually I've no idea where I am. I've forgotten the backstory. I just remember I'm there for work. There's a mountain range at a distance. And the place looks like a Kerala village. Somewhere I've been, in some forgotten past.

I know the name of the mountain. (But I've forgotten that too, now.) We know everything, in dreams.

As we stand there admiring it, one side of the mountain goes up in a tremendous blast. It's too far away but we feel the tremor.

We've no idea what happened.

A little later, probably hours, as we stand watching, a building closer to us explodes as if a bomb was dropped on it. This time debris fall towards us... We are thrown backwards.

With an eerie instinct we have in dreams, I realise what's going on.

I pick up my phone and call my mother.

I know she would see the news and be worried.

I tell her that this place is going up. I know it's goodbye. I can see her in my mind, holding the phone and staring at the TV, too shocked to even react.

More time has passed... On the river close to our place, we see small boats, thousands of them with colourful sails, they just keep coming...

And I remember, again with that knowledge we get only in dreams, that I've heard this somewhere:

They come in boats.

The next part is sketchy. We run, we hide; we see small insect-like creatures crawling and rolling all over the ground, over everything they see. They have eyes, but pretty much nothing else, except an urge to crawl over and destroy everything in their path. Just swarming everywhere.

A few of us escape from view, acting dead... And dash to an abandoned shed.

We peek through the window, it looks okay.

We go in and close the door. We turn around...

only to see, the room is already filled with these creatures.

It's over. There's nowhere else to go.

Nothing else to do.

We look at each other, my friends and I, smile knowingly, and we hug. At least we have each other.

We're ready.

I feel them creep over my feet.

I hold my friend tight.

And I wake up. Here, in this world, in my bed.

(It's just like Inception. If we die there, we wake up here.)


I remember the feeling. I was ready. I wasn't afraid. I knew there was nothing else to do.

It was time.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Stillness

Not a leaf moves.

Not a stone takes it upon itself

To roll to a side.

Not a tree desires to sway.

Not a vehicle arrives.

Not a human decides to stroll this way

Nor a pet or a stray.


I open my eyes.


Leaves are rustling.

Trees are swaying in the wind.

Cars swoosh past,

Flinging pebbles to the flanks

Cats meow eerily

Busy dogs sprint along

For no purpose


The world moves on.


I shudder and I...

close my eyes again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

When you scroll down...

If you are going to scroll down the pages

Know that you will encounter my Life

What you have known, what you haven't

What you have felt, or haven't suspected

What will shock you, send you reeling

What will calm you, or astound you

What will make you nod and say

I have known this all along

What will make you marvel

Or will disappoint you

You'll find philosophy

You'll find silliness

You'll find half-cooked thoughts

You'll find abandoned efforts

And promising plot-lines

That never quite made it anywhere

You'll see my dreams

Concealed well or peeping out

You'll find reminders

You'll find secrets

You'll find almost everything.

But there will still be a part of me

That I haven't written down

That's mine alone

To die when I'm gone.

They don't emerge from between the lines

They're buried deep in my mind.


When you scroll down these pages

And encounter my Life in words...

Make sure you treat it with care

Because you now hold

My living, beating heart in your hands

Thursday, September 5, 2019

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Quirk of Fate

​The only reason
​Why
You're scrubbing
The floors outside,
On all fours,
While I'm seated
Before the TV
Relishing a delicious meal...

Why you're seated
Beneath an unkind sun
Burning your shoulders
Begging for alms
While I sit in a cab
Ordering food through an app...

Why your child
Doesn't know school
Whereas mine speaks
Of higher education
And choices
And contentment...

The only reason
Why
I'm here
And you're there
Is a strange
Quirk of fate...

Fate?
Something carried over
From an earlier life?
Or someone's cruel joke?
A game of life
where some always lose?

Who decides
Where I go and where you?
Nothing I have done;
Nothing you haven't done.
Our paths have been drawn
Before we were born.

It's as though I was
Given a head start.
For reasons
Neither you
Nor I
Could fathom.

You and I are
interconnected
through mutual need,
across the closed doors
and thick walls
And the chasm between us.

I'm given the chance
To give you a hand
And raise you
To your feet
Or to turn my back on you
And abandon you
To your fate.