A handful of life

Early this week, one afternoon, a newly hatched pigeon chick fell down from its nest and landed on our balcony. The tiny little bird-like thing with tiny wings, pointy beak and large black eyes which were yet to open was actually quite active. It would turn its neck from side to side, tremble sometimes and sometimes roll on its back. We promptly put it in a box lined with cotton cloth and put it beside the warmest of our walls. But other than that, we were at a loss of how to take care of the tiny handful of life.

I called up a few hospitals around and learnt that there is only one at the other end of the city which not only treats birds, but also adopts them and sets them free when they are of age. In the meantime, the household was consumed with spending time with the chick, as though everything revolved around our new friend. After a fitful night of prayers (fitful for us, because the chick did not eat anything we tried to offer), we were relived and happy to see that it still moved the next day. It was then carefully handled and taken to the hospital. Its better off with a trained staff who are professional and not emotional around it.

I also learnt that newly hatched chicks can survive without food for first three days, since they eat the egg proteins just before hatching. Hence those who breed birds, often courier the chicks out within three days of hatching.

Although I would never see it again, every time I go into the room where we put the box up, I am reminded of the little moving ball. I just hope life does not let the little fighter down. My thoughts then came to all the little babies who for whatever reason get abandoned in the first few hours after birth. Some find good homes, others are taken in by family, still others are not so lucky. But those few hours, when every life form deserves care and attention, is lost to probably most babies around the world.

Life helps us cope with loss, by locking them in as rich memories. As time goes by, we smoothen the rough edges of events and sometimes forget what we don’t want to remember.

So, if the present is fleeting, and the events in the present are not long lasting, since with time, they only become more abstract in our minds, then why can’t we be more cognizant about our bearings in the present. Wouldn’t this lead to better and happier memories? Instead of those we would like to forget?

This should probably help us behave better, take better decisions outside of ourselves and laugh more, scowl less?

Memory- A poem by Prabha Trimurty

Like a shell on the beach…

My memory lingers on…

The waves carry them in…

The sand erodes their shape..

The rain buries them low…

The sun shines them gold…

A stranger picks it up…

Seals it in his palm…

Throws it back into the sea

There in the depth of time….

My memory lingers on.

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Two of swords

The road ahead splits into two

Which do I choose, which do I not?

Both have a lot of green and grey

Both seem to welcome me to stay

If I tread on one, I may never know

What life’s lessons lay in the other to follow

For I know both have thorns and meadows

A few heart breaks and a few longings for tomorrow

I ask those around me who would know

Those who have walked these paths before

I seek a sign from the skies

I sing a hymn, I close my eyes

And then I hear a little voice

It comes from within me, from somewhere

What is it that you truly desire? It asks

Both roads have the same share of joys and sorrows

Both would help me know myself more

Both would find me new friends and homes

New adventures waiting in unknown roads

I realize road to life is long

Some days filled with boredom, others with enthusiasm

It is only I who can make

My days filled with magic or stupor

It is only I who can create

Good days for hopeful tomorrows

Or bad ones with dreamless sorrows

So no matter which road I choose

I am the one to live it through

I am the one who would decide

Whether I sleep or wish to fly

 

Beginning of a New End

If I get a chance, a single chance, to rewrite my life,

Would I take it? Would I seek the wishes that fleeted from time to time?

Or those that returned to knock at my doors like long lost childhood friends.

Would I have been happier with the choices I never made, the paths I never tread?

Or would everything somehow have brought me back to where I am?

Is this the beginning, is this the end? Is this how it was always intended?

 

Or perhaps, I would still make the same choices I made

And reach the same place I am at, whichever path it led

The lessons I learnt on this way, made me me, who I am today

The path I chose taught me a lot, with gifts of unforgettable moments

and golden memories

The path I chose brought me my little darling, my pride

For her, I think I have been blessed, to have found her with the choices made

Or would she be waiting at every road I would tread?

To hold my hand whichever choice I made?

 

No matter whichever way I walked

No matter whatever mountain I crossed

I think I would still have reached here

The place for endings and new beginnings

The place from where I would start again

To seek new paths, new dreams and new friends

To give new beginnings to old ends!

A weekend of Gulzar

This weekend my phone was abuzz with messages from every whattsapp group and friends possible. And surprisingly all of them sent in lines from Gulzar’s poetry. As though, it was the most ‘in’ thing now, to send a few of his couplets. The fact that Gulzar has written poems on every emotion and circumstance possible in human life and penned the most memorable songs in the history of Indian cinema, was used quite conveniently by my friends, to depict their moods, or the weather, or what they were hoping for. The man is a genius. Not only has he mastered a subtle way of depicting life through his poetry, he has written plays, scripted films and directed some too.

His poems make me thank my Hindi teachers at school, for letting me learn and understand, one of the several languages that he writes in to reach the masses. There is a rich regional literature treasure in India, each state has its own language and often writers have used regional languages to communicate. However, Hindi and English are spoken throughout the country and taught at schools, in addition to the local state language in some states. Although there are some good translations of regional literature into Hindi and English medium, much of these remain unknown and unread in other parts of the country. Personally, I am not fond of translated literature, since I always feel that the original author’s perspectives are lost or dulled by the translator.

But I am grateful to those who take time in researching, understanding and translating, otherwise, we would never have known about the epics from all over the world, Coelho would sadly be absent from our lives, Love in the Times of Cholera would not have reached the girl growing up in Southern India and Tagore would have not won his Nobel in literature.

Here are a few of Gulzar’s couplets that I have attempted to translate. Hope that these convey his thoughts as closely as possible (courtesy: Rekhta)

  1. From ‘The Melting snow’

When the snow will melt on the mountain

And fog will lift its veil from the valley

The seeds would stretch their limbs

And open their sleepy lazy eyes

And even though,

the new young grass, will begin to green the mountain slopes

Notice carefully, the new spring

Would still have memories of the past season

For even now there would be remnants of tears of yesteryears,

In the melancholy eyes of the new buds that sprout.

My short understanding from the above- Dang! The memories….they never fade. Although we transform from one year to another, one goal to the other, who can forget the past? For as human, we carry our past into our present (maybe that’s a gift?).

  1. From ‘Books’

The books steal glances from within their unopened book case

Sometimes with a lonely, longing gaze

For we haven’t met in months

The evenings that were once spent in each other’s company

Are now used up viewing the computer screen

The books have begin to get restless

For they have now learnt to sleep walk

The books look on with a lonely, longing gaze

 

The values that they once narrated

With their endless passion

Those values don’t live in my house anymore

The relationships they had once proposed

They seem unstitched, undone, incomplete to me now

 

When I turn their pages, I begin to sigh

For many of their words have lost their meaning

For many of their words remain unused now

Terminologies forgotten, meaningless

 

The crystal utensils have made the earthen pots obsolete

For once a turn of a page would vet my appetite

And now at a click of a finger and in an instance

So many pages, pages within pages open by themselves

 

The bond with books has been forgotten

For sometimes they would rest on my heart as I lay,

Or sometimes carried possessively on my lap

Sometimes I would face them on my book stand of knees

Sometimes I would read them like a holy book

And touch them to my forehead in a prayer

 

Perhaps their contents are still accessible

But those dried flowers hidden within pages,

Those fragrant messages from companions

Those relationships forged by an excuse of lifting a fallen book for another…

What would happen to those?

Would those be now forgotten as well?

My two bits- Although we now depend on e books and audiobooks, how can we forget the emotions of reading a thriller….. page by page, so many of those nights in our younger years, of being unable to sleep till we could finish a book?

Books were more than paper pages, they were ways to disappear into an imaginary land, of forging new relationships and being inspired….

Ahh! Gulzar….you made my weekend!

Regrets

I have come to realize that the only regret I will ever have when there is a loss in communication with people whom I had once known in the past, would be the inability to share my happiness or sorrow when I need to, in the present time. Relationships change and distance, death, differences of opinion create gaps, hollow vacuums. New people, new circumstances slowly reinstate the balance. But it is difficult to let go of familiarity, of knowing that someone who is no longer with you could have understood your view, understood you exactly the way you wanted to relay it.

This wall you have built around you,

That which now exiles you,

Does sunshine pass through on its way?

For, the same sunshine has warmed my heart,

Before it passed to you, through your wall

Hence, we are bonded in some way

Sometimes, little thoughts of delight

And sometimes, those that I try and fight

Stop me in my steps, midway

And then I wish I could share

These small things with those gone by

With whom I had traveled once

This road of life, for a short while….

MD

Sribble, Srabble….

Journey Home….

Tiny feet, tiny toes, delicate fingers, dot for a nose

Curly locs, cutest smile, brownest eyes with specks of starlight

While you sleep on my lap, sighing sometimes, without a care,

I wonder if you will find my home, to your liking, worth your share

Would you accept me as your mother, my darling little pixie glow?

For I have always known you are the one, from where I came and where I go

We have woven our dreams together in the past, with threads of hope, with desires to last

And even though I haven’t nourished you with my blood and with my health

I will raise you, as mine, with all my soul and all my strength.

But while you sleep on my lap, sighing sometimes, without a care,

I wonder if you will find my home, to your liking, worth your share….

-M

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

You are seven

This year you are seven and soon you will touch eleven,

and then a fine woman you will be, with truth in your step and courage in your hair

through all this though, I wish you joy, for a life that matters, a life that cares

and through it all, I wish you love, a love fulfilling, a love with dreams, with hopes to share

and most of all I wish for you, a life without a hint of pain

For all the pain should end with me, all hardships I am ready to gain

May the sadness in my eyes, never touch your sacred space

For you my darling pixie glow, may only laughter and tenderness remain!

-M