2011

Of fleeting joys
and stagnant sorrows
this has been an year
of hopeful tomorrows

An year when I lost
my soul’s remembrance
a year of death and love
and a peaceful embrace

An year that marked a journey
a chapter in a lowly life
an year that helped my veins
walk away from the friendly knife

An year of me finding faith
in a vulnerable laugh
an year when sometimes
I even dreamt of my own epitaph

An year that brought with it
some great new friends
an year that remembered with a sigh
the untimely ends

I would look back and smile perhaps
or would it be tears tonight
for I bid goodbye to an year
that helped me open up to light….

Merry Christmas

It was a mute prayer
in the world of a god I know not
It is the lazy silence
that the beautiful day after brought
Last Christmas you wished for a soul
A way to go, a place to hide
A way to take away the sorrows
of taking failure in a stride
There were secrets last Christmas
best kept in joy
there were gifts from secret santas
beautiful heartfelt toys
This Christmas a new wish beckons
a new beautiful truth welcomes you
For on this year’s Christmas
Your Secret Santa…is You 🙂

On The Road…

The Times are changing
So are we
In a phone call that never came
We became all that we could be
You walk past these gates
A man with a dream
And yet the beautiful tides that await
Undo your lost screams
You left something unsaid
When you walked out of the door
You wish you had turned back
And embraced the memories some more
On the road around the world
There will come a moment of truth
When you’ll remember the laughter
And all that you had wanted to do
But moonlit night would let you know
Even when you left home
You never left the memories
You’re never truly alone…
The letters never sent, were always read
The words unsaid, were always heard
That phone call you missed
was always remembered

God’s own country?

 Harigovindan is a Paudwal, no he has no relation to the famed bollywood singer, he, rather belongs to a caste of drummers and is featured in last Sunday’s episode of the Dewarists. I have never seen or heard his music but I know of his instrument, the Edakka, a beautiful percussion instrument from Kerala that the West and even our own country knows little about. 
Edakka: Drums with emotions
 What is important is however, how close my own family’s story is to Hari’s. Welcome to the picturesque God’s own country, only the dark truths is so far away from fiction that to a typical Keralite born and brought up outside, who spent her summer months trying to understand the mystical land of her forefathers, the fiction sometimes breaks down into harsh realities.
I was born into the more privileged parts of the ancient Kerala caste system, we are the Kshatriya equivalent of the Vedic culture. But the Dravidian system, more ancient than the Aryan one, was one of matriarchal societies. Now to most of the women I have met in my lifetime, this brought a huge amount of respect, but people do not realize how strict the real system was. Brahmins built the matriarchal society essentially to keep a lot of wives from other castes like mistresses and essentially not give their children the same right a true Brahmin child got. Thus, thanks to a crazy social system my father (a Kshatriya) couldn’t be present for his own father’s funeral. 
The matriarchal system is the white washed face of a state with the highest cases of domestic violence reported in the country. It is the irony in a state that boasts of literacy and lacks education.
Hari’s story is similar; he attempted to sing his music at the Angadipuram temple and wasn’t allowed to because it was meant for a higher caste of musicians. Those who believe the caste system is dead and gone only need a brief visit to Guruvayoor, where the family of the Samarinds (Cochin’s royal family) is given special entry privileges or even at the temple in my village where we view the annual festivities on a raised platform and the rest of the “common” village is on the ground. 
The punishments of our ancient history eventually caught up with us, with reservations and hard work helping the lower castes achieve so much more than our families. Nowadays, all movies and serials show Thampurans (our caste) as the big bad wolves of the caste system. Little do people know that it was a system of tyranny and ours was but one small part in the century old traditional systems. 
 
Hari went on to build a temple for his father’s Edakka, world’s only temple dedicated to percussion instruments, no labourers came forth to build as it was against the caste system, no government funding as he isn’t exactly a “backward caste”. This is the current state in “God’s own country”, god left the country long time ago when a son was shunned from lighting his own father’s funeral pyre.
This week’s Dewarists Episode:

To my mind’s endless mirror

My empty paper
Loves the sight
Of a wordless poet’s
Lost plight
The pages of void
That come crashing by
Like a soulful river
Run sadly dry
At length my hundred letters beckon
The hundred thoughts of solitude
It writes itself my unsung diary
My unlearned fortitude
My life’s diary
My best friend
My constant source of pain
My dreams of an end
You live on in an empty cloud
Fly away to unknown eyes
And as I put this to print today
You rescue me a hundredth time

Eat. Pray. Love.

This is not a review, but just an observation. I was watching Eat Pray Love (which is a great watch until you realize Indians NEVER take an year off). But what I noticed most obviously as Indians always do, is how the west perceives us. And the movie and the book is perhaps the best representation of the country’s spirit I have seen or read in the recent times. For a person from the west, and I intend no racism here, it must seem like this land of loud noises and chaos. I remember someone being told by a German, how they just do not honk in their country.  I suppose even the exchange students from Europe must find us unimaginably loud!
Having never really traveled abroad, I have nothing really to compare my country with. But this I find to be true. We are in our own world so chaotic that we manage to find some lame sense of joy in our chaos. We laugh at a lot sillier things than most people foreign to this country do, and for the most part we just laugh because inherently we all seek joy and never really lose track of what we are seeking. 
I look at the lack of political stability or the rising prices and the frustration of the people and wonder when a class struggle would break out in our world but the truth is it won’t. Even the poor and the desperately hungry smile in India, and I wonder why is it that they do so with nothing in their hands, no agenda for the day, no dreams, except to just last the night. 
We might not take year long trips to a guru or a medicine man in Bali, but we find our true selves in a different way. We all have our moments of silence even at the edge of chaos. We find peace in crowded trains of Mumbai, and are just as loud in our spirituality. As I write this, the temple in my campus tolls its bells to remind us of some sense of conscience, the mosque not too far away reminds people to finish their five prayers of the day and somewhere on a Sunday church, the priest says the same things in three different languages for people to understand.Understand what I wonder?
God is important to us; even the atheists in India believe in the lack of him and thus, religiously, avoid temples and churches. We are called secular for a reason, a majority of us believe in the existence of different paths to god, we just sometimes think the path we take is more important than someone else’s. 
 We are proud because sometimes we welcome ruin. “Ruin is good” says Elizabeth Gilbert in the book. It helps you transform and that’s what we have done, for centuries even before the west found us. We transformed and each of us takes deep pride in the history they are a part of. We don’t need an year round trip, we eat, we pray, we love, all in the same country.

From the Beauty to the Beast

“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
In secret, between the shadow and the soul” – Pablo Neruda
You lay hidden in my heart’s loneliness
Afraid of letting my demons go
I love you for your kindness
And your wounded spirit
I know it lies beneath your cold gaze
Our Love’s perpetual minute
They will hate you for the life you live
For your unforgivable rage
But to me you’d be a realization
Like blessings to a sage
I hate it that it aches my heart
To see you weak and sad
That I want to stand up against
A world that calls you mad
At length the world will see what I saw
And with your heart unbroken
And the love’s dark shadows
Will now beckon a glorious sun