Thursday, 4 November 2010

A LONE BOTTLEBRUSH


Winter is here
I can feel it in the air
In the greyness of the morning
In the freezing atmosphere

The leaves are listless
The plants stand to attention
There is no glee, no mirth,
No ejaculation!!!

Only a baited breath
A composed grief
A listening to the wind
As though a premonition
Soon going to be unleashed

It's the beginning of November
An autumn exiting dolefully
And invasion of winter
A conquest won unopposedly

A chill leaves me shivering
Perhaps a hint of the future

But in this bleak facade
As I look up and see
A lone bottlebrush in the park
Waves and winks at me

There's more to life my friend
Not just cold, chill and grey
A rush of red in a stagnant green
That is what "Nature" has to say

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A SMATTER OF RAYS




Cold feet
And a tortured silence
A smothered glow
On the eastern side
The dawn breaks in


KALIEDOSCOPE


A few stars dance
In the liquid vessel
A few thatched roofs
Pitter patter
Of pans and pots
A floating island
Seen from the road
Far beyond

TELL HER PLEASE......


She has lit a pyre
With a few words
On a page till then
Virgin white
Scorched now
To a charred dream

Tell her please
To shed a few tears
To clasp the tongues
Licking the hearts
In frenzy amuck

YEARS LATER....!


One desultory summer noon
I burned a few pages
In a speechless corner
Of a tidy kitchen

The pages were a hue
Of blushing pink
Deep and light
Intertwined with
A few ink drops
Of pearly words
Woven to an
Imperfect song

The blue flames were lit
With unshaken hands

I watched the pages
Curl and churn
Into Charred dreams
With mist-less eyes

There after life stood by
And time ticked on
Rolling days into
Months and years….

Doors were closed
Windows shut
The sheets and drapes
Were left untouched
Life went by
Like a ripple less lake
Stagnant in thought
Muted in words

Years later………
On sun set days
A mist gathers in
The dreams though late
As I sit by an open
Window curtain less

Years ago……..
The moon dust had
Trickled off my palms
In crystal gray heap
Into the hapless recycle bin

Today I feel………
I had mistaken a step

The ashes if strewn on
The meadow afar
Clusters of colour
Would have draped
By far a barren land
In shades of red

Today I feel……
A tale was left
Deliberately untold
A dream strangled
Before unfurl

Today I think
By a gaping window
Agog with wonder
And perhaps unease
Why did I erase the dotted lines?

The ugly wounds
The gawky gashes
A story stitched &
Tailored to pale
In a pall of gloom
I repressed so soon………

Doesn’t time heal the way?
As the wise men used to say……

ONCE AGAIN


Blessed with notes
Birds tweet, chirp along
Blessed am too with melodious strains
I sing Thy song

MY ROOTS


I was born on this soil
But my roots stretch
To the lush, green land
Where rivers dance
And boatmen sing
Earthy songs

For long I have scraped
A handful o’ pennies
To visit my roots
And the house that
Now no more belong
To my kith & kin

But I hear they have
Built a wall
And a length of barbs
Now adorn
The faithless grass
O’er which if you
Place your hands
Thorns prick
Tears bleed
And hearts too…………

ON BEING IN THE "NOW"


I am
Till thoughts intrude
Peace disperses

I was........

UNUSUAL LINES


Hesitant steps
On the threshold
Cross over?

Cross over?
Bottomless sea
Stealthy sharks!

Stealthy sharks!
Fear not
Swim over

Swim over
Waves cascade
Surf with joy

Surf with joy
Life’s turmoil
God’s ploy

God’s ploy
To test our
Strength of joy!!

INSPIRED BUT NOT ROBBED


Nadi kinaare dhuan uth rahaa, main jaanu kutchh hoye,
Jis kaaran main jogan bani, kahin wohi na jalta hoye

A strand of smoke
Scorched breeze
Love’s afire

THE OLD MAN AND HIS TROOP


The old man with the purposeful gait
Erect, unfazed, undaunted in spirit
Carries a stick in his hand
To lend support to it perhaps
As he not require a helping hand
Lone he strides head held high
And ideals aloft

He calls out to all in soft, firm tone,
“Fear not! Ye all! Follow me and
I shall help seek the truth
With indomitable perseverance
Silent prayers and peaceful means
I am one of ye all and I shall always remain
In your heart, soul and spirit, my countrymen”
They follow him around in agog wonder
Deep obedience and unquestioned surrender
The old man with his troop of men and women
Of modest means, humble dwelling
Tread through the dust of a miserable land
Devastated by contempt of the imperial assault

The rulers laughed in utter disdain
“That destitute with the emaciated frame
His “loin cloth” and absolute indifference
To the finer things of life, luxury, abundance
Shall be the harbinger of joy for his countrymen?
Impossible”, they cried in unison.
“We are mightier than he,” They roared unsure
With our armed men and enslaving legacy
We shall squeeze out what is left of thee
Your pride, wealth and spirit of camaraderie
Ye are fated to exist in abject penury
This soil is ours to plunder
Resist us and ye all blunder
We have ruled, we rule and shall rule forever
With enforced domination, cruel suppression”

The old man bowed his head in prayer
Humble but resolute amidst despair
He whispered to his fellow brethren
“Do not abandon the path of non-violence”
Weak was he in mere appearance
Strength exacted from self renunciation
Powerful in his quiet submission
Silent protest and non-cooperation
To the rulers’ forceful subjugation
Shackles, chains; unmoved in his conviction
Rationale obstinate even in imprisonment

Time rolled by in implore and plead
In perpetuity of pathos to witness the country bleed
But deterred he not from his pledge and pay heed
To the others with different ideology that they lead
Sanguine was he in his belief
This is the right path that he treads
Of humble suggestions and peaceful exchange
Of measured cooperation and non-violence
Civil disobedience and least resistance
To ruthless, corporal punishment

And then the day came when he spoke out loud,
“Quit my country and no more dominion
Status, give us complete independence”
The rulers weakened by war and wanton display
Of pomp and show acquiesced meekly to his
Bold reiteration, “Leave us and go
Let us be on our own to build our fate”
And the joyous troop of his men and women
Bestowed upon him the stature of the “Father of the Nation”

The old man with his bloodless voyage
Of quest unbound for truth and poise
His stoic determination not to follow
The path of vengeance, blood and sorrow
Stands amidst havoc galore of mangled souls
Intolerance, hatred, secession, bloody valour
Of men, women, children with guns and barrels
Each with a tale of tribulation and throttled travail
His sighs of desperation hangs like a pall
Of gloom in the air on a land molested and mauled
By a handful of rogues of reproachable recruit
A dying democracy of irremediable dispute
The old man clutches his heart with a shaking hand
And chants the Holy name with pitiful shame
His stony eyes blindly rummage the soil
Of his motherland that he had toiled
To free from the bondage of colonial ravage
Still has not been saved from the savage
Rape by her own offspring that she has borne
Of a cursed marriage of greed and selfishness unbound
The bullet that had hit his chest years back
Still oozes crimson canoeing through hinterlands amuck







Saturday, 16 October 2010

AJANBI TUM JAANE PEHCHAANE SE LAGTE HO!

It was Maha Saptami. The second day of Durga Puja. It is customary for us, Bengalis, to visit the Puja Pandaal and be part of the Sandhya Aarati. Therefore, it was not out of routine when we landed on time at our local Puja Pandaal, to watch the Aarati. To our surprise, the Pandaal was empty except a few children playing hide and seek. Montuda, our local priest, was nowhere to be seen. His lone assistant was at the Puja Dias(Bedi) making efforts in vain to lit a Dhunuchi(a big oval shaped earthen ware in which aromatic powders, coconut fibres etc. are collected and lit ; the aroma filled smoke emanating from the embers is a must accompaniment with the Aarati and bestows additional charm and mystique to the whole affair). To our question when will the Aarati commence, his non-challant answer was,"Somewhere between 8 and 9". We were flabbergasted. Aarati is supposed to be in the evenings. But that is our Montuda - the "ever-punctual priest"

Since we had come all the way, we decided to sit for a while in front of the deity and pray. A few minutes later, a bespectacled boy of sixteen/seventeen arrived and sat behind us. He had a red tika on his forehead. We were softly conversing amongst ourselves. Earlier, our local Puja used to be held outside in a bigger maidan. Now it has shifted to a park inside. We were trying to recollect the year when the shift took place. My brother-in-law said that it was just two years back. Maa said no, it was more than that. It was during this debate, that the boy joined in. He corrected us and informed that it was now five years that the Puja was taking place in this park. He knew for sure as he had been assisting Montuda during the Puja days. But he shook his head a little apologetically and confessed that he was neither Bengali nor Brahmin. We assured him that caste or community was not important. It was the Bhakti Bhaav, the sincerity of emotions, which mattered the most.

The boy got encouraged. He showed us the mobile snapshots of the deities (the murtis are sculpted in varied styles and the best amongst all is selected and awarded) that he had visited this year and the years previous which included our local one too. When my brother-in-law asked him what prompted him to take part in the Puja. He looked at the Devi and said , " She is the source which guides me". We were enthralled to witness such devotion in a young boy like him, given today's gen now(not to be taken personally). I told him that he should also make it a point to visit another Puja Pandaal, nearby, which we generally frequent. He nodded enthusiastically and promised that he would.

He reminded me of my nephew who is now in Bangalore, working for a Multi National Bank. We used to call him Montuda's chela as these four days he would be continuously at the Puja Pandaal assisting in the Puja and doing all kinds of odd jobs. We used to jokingly call him the half pondit moshai! Half not only because he was young in age, half the size of the main priest but also because just by helping the priest he had come to know about many of the rituals associated with the Puja.

Unfortunately, his holidays now do not always coincide with the Puja which he makes up by giving generous contributions for the arrangements - a form of remote and quiet participation not to be confused with boastful show of wealth.

It was almost an hour now and Montuda was nowhere to be seen. We got up to leave. The boy did the same and went looking for the truant priest. Though we missed the Aarati, but somehow, the conversation with the boy had filled us up with an unusual contentment. Meeting and talking to the boy was as fulfilling as attending the Aarati.

As I got into the car, I realized that I had forgotten to ask his name. But it was not important any more. What is in a name?As long as we had the good fortune of identifying and spending some time with a pious soul!

TWILIGHT











We spoke of dusks and dawns
One afternoon late summer
Over cups of tea getting cold
As words poured out...
And tears got mingled with
Shadows of joy
We held hands and cruised down
The memory lane and a soft hush
Fell over time
We could not speak anymore… as words
Got jumbled like a ball of wool
Gets tangled while knitting
And a stone stuck in our throats
Where the tears choked
And Heart pulsated with a rhythm
Hitherto unknown
It’s been a long time that our paths
Had intersected
We had crossed each other by
With just a nod, a glint of a shy smile
In our eyes and a blush of a pink rose
In our cheeks
Now ages after…
The leaves have fallen off the trees
Leaving rugged branches like scraggy arms
Held aloft towards the sky
in a mournful prayer
We have again met but now
Withered by pain, wrinkled with grief
And a frown which tells stories of
Deprivation and defiance
Of lost dreams
We just sit across staring vacantly
At the horizon
A vapour of a sigh hangs in between
A thread which needles our thoughts
Lonely, listless, lame...
Just scraping our calm a wee bit
Would silence have prevailed?
Like this?
Had we met ages ago…?


AUTUMN DAWN

























The faded smile of a crescent moon
On lips that have just put a close to a poignant tale
Night is an avid listener sometimes agog, sometimes
Stunned into speechlessness
Footsteps echo on the asphalt path as I pass by
Drowsy lanes, houses, parks, drains
A stroke of a brush in soft gold hues
Midst a flame of red carelessly etched
Soft, smothered, wanton lines
On the distant canvas of the horizon
Leaves an unfinished trail…
A proof that He was here
The dawn breaks in with her subdued charm
And quietly lays a snare to woo walkers forlorn
Like me…
Who draw comfort from the sniff of a chill in the air
The lolling heads of the morning stars
The virgin white, autumn clouds
And a leaf drifting in nothingness
Aimless, clueless, homeless…

NOT A HAIKU


Sun tilts

Towards the West

Shadows lurk


Or


A sun kissed West

I watch shadows'

Stealthy feet

Monday, 4 October 2010

WINTER'S HERE!


5 am
It’s still dark
A chill & a
Stealthy, soft
Falling leaf
In the air
I know winter’s near!

Dull green twigs
Grass yellowing
On the tips
A weak sun
Untidy breeze
A rough caress
On the skin
I know winter’s near!

Sheets pulled
Windows shut
Heads snuggle
Warm pillows
Feel comfort
Indoors; &
Kitchen’s cozy
Lit afire

Numbered List

I know winter’s near!


A warm bath
Soothing balm
To heal wounds
Subdue qualms
A steaming cup of
Tea or Coffee
Early morn or late
Night, before I retire
I know winter’s near!

Pages filled
With Inky tears
Diary closed
Sleep smear
Drooping lids
All fear
Dreams too
Disappear
Lights blear
Night closes
In like a
Friend so dear
Deep I
Breathe in
The sheer
Joy of being
So near
I know winter’s here!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

PAINTINGS OF JAMINI ROY



















METRO PURAAN - PART VI


An increasing insurgency of commuters, lack of discipline, mob tendency, slackening administration and the chinks in DMRC’s armour is gradually more than visible. Now we find paan stains on the platforms, food morsels scattered at times inside the boggy, some of the older trains screeching to a halt whenever brakes applied and a cacophony of creeks and crunchy karaoke following the movement of the trains – a manifest of poor or slap shod maintenance and management.

Quite frequently the trains get delayed during peak office hours. The reason supplied – technical fault – an all embracing term which can mean anything……..an actual technical snag, bomb threat, terrorist attack, though its obvious that the latter causes shall never get announced for the purpose of civil security and an effort not to create panic amongst the passengers. But we live in turbulent times and these thoughts always play at the back of one’s mind, especially after 26/11, whenever one is stranded in the underground/overhead metro station. It does with me and so it must be with others. One explanation of the mob behaviour!

No wonder then the stampede like situations which often transpire upon such delays. The crowd of well dressed men and women suddenly behaving like chaotic mob when a train arrives much after the scheduled time. On one such occasion, it seemed as though they were ready to hop on the roof of the train. The doors closed with great difficulty as more and more people tried to board in as though it was the last train on the face of this earth. Earlier on one or two occasions, DMRC personnel themselves came down to the platform to manage the restless crowd. Now, no more, though of course there are continuous announcements informing the cause of delay and assuring that trains will follow one after the other, earlier than scheduled, to make up for the lost time, which they do. But still the panic ridden crowd upholds indiscipline and disorder when it comes to such a situation. Once, one of the guards who was supposed to manage the crowd was pushed inside the train by the mob. God knows which station he ultimately got a chance to de-board the train!

One distinct disadvantage of the metro is that it is linear in route. There is no emergency line or parallel route that can be opted to reach destinations in exigency. Therefore, if you are stuck in a station or on the tracks (of course, no system can do anything about that!), you are stuck forever till the cause of disruption is remedied. In Kolkata there is circular rail and local trains. In Mumbai, again there is an exemplary system of local trains. But the capital is handicapped by the absence of any such alternatives. Hence, the panic…the stampede….the mob….the restlessness……..the annoyance………the impatience………the indiscipline…….the disorder…….the chaos………the confusion…..which alter the profile of an upbeat system in a jiffy.

After 26/11, fear ruled high, more so in the metro. It was customary for us to check under the seats and around if there was any disowned object or baggage lying unclaimed. On one such occasion, my feet got caught in a huge thick, cloth bag under the seat which felt odd to the touch as though full of heavy, metallic things with perhaps jagged ends. A few school and college going boys were standing around. I asked whether the bag belonged to any one of them. One boy retorted back with a mischievous grin, “Aunty, it’s my cricket kit and not a bomb.” I smiled.

For quite some time such dark humour prevailed. People mocked their own fears and insecurities and laughed aloud at such “bomb scare” jokes. These were not instances of just blithe humour or blissful ignorance but inklings of a more dangerous resignation wherein the common man had come to term with the transience of life and accepted quietly their limited role of being mere pawns in the high powered Machiavellian political game - role that of nameless martyrs fated to meet unexpected, untimely, violent ends whenever that be pounced on them unaware.

Contd…..

SOME DAYS


I feel I have lost those words
Which could be woven
Into a rhyme
& spill over thoughts
In ink on pages
With a few strokes
Curves, a dot

I have lost the nib,
The pen, the page,
The dot…………

I feel I have lost those dreams
Which could be woven
Into a song
Of sweet, sonorous lyrics
And hum
In leisure hours
Of melody and chime
When shadows softly
Spread their arms
Across the velvet
Of the meadow
And wrap the blue
Of the sky around
My being like
A misty, smoky shroud

I have lost the greens,
The heavenly blue
The smoke screen of the mist

I feel life is such a haste
To complete those must chores
Which take up time
Never to return
Leaving me bleak
In soul
Heart
Mind
Unsound

I feel as though I have lost my soul
My lust for life
My zest, my zeal

Only tired steps are
Left behind
To trudge a long
Rugged terrain
A grey encompass
To follow along
A colourless, cloudless
Sky for a parasol

I feel as though I have lost my world
My sun-lit days
Moon-lit nights
My dreams
My smile
My tears
My fears
Of never again……….

Sometimes I feel I should
Not be here
With my chained soul,
Scattered dreams,
Empty voice,
Fickle moments,
Runaway thoughts…………..
Life’s morass
Lost pen,
Words,
Songs,
Lyrics,
Rhymes…..

Some days
I am just not me……….
*********************


One grey afternoon
Rummaging through an
Old, rusty closet
I found by chance
A few lost words
Unfinished sentences
And a tale incomplete

I folded them up neatly
And kept them aside

Some day I will
Pick them up
And weave them
Into a single thread
A garland of lost words
Unfinished lines
And a story half told
Some day I will
Complete the tale
Of my life
I am in no hurry though
Now………………


TO THE CURIOUS MIND - PART III


Contd…

I pray for every little thing. I say “thank you” to God for every small gift. I run to Him for every mundane wish. Diffidence or maturity?

As I shift from one milestone of my life to the other, I wonder whether this very introspection itself is maturity! This self analysis! This eternal quest! This every day every hour every minute question “Have I faced the situation or taken the decision with maturity?” And if this is how we gain maturity, then it is not to be attained one fine morning. The process is ongoing. Rather everlasting!Till the last breath of one’s life!!!

My residence in Kolkata was a twenty minute auto-ride to Dakshineshwar Temple. The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. It is here that Thakur Ramakrishna Paramhansa worshiped Ma Kali as a child beguiles his mother. Being such a short distance away, we would frequently visit the Temple on Holidays and auspicious occasions. Often, while waiting in the queue for Darshan, I’d observe a bare-chested man in a soiled dhoti, loitering like a lunatic around the temple premise, shouting in a tearful voice “Maa will you not listen to your children? Will you not give a Darshan? What a stone hearted mother you are! Please give Darshan, Maa, please do!” A sun burnt, disheveled spectacle totally oblivious of time, reality, situation, surrounding! Such heartrending would be his plea that it would often bring tears to the eyes of the gathered crowd. Sometimes he would cajole the deity; at others he would be angry and restless. Nobody mocked or laughed at his soul stirring petition. Rather the devotees had the same query in their heart of heart which found voice in the old man’s uninhibited cries and submissions. I was told that he was a learned man who had taken to the path of renunciation. Months later, I found him in a more tranquil state. He would just sit in a hypnotic stance outside the erstwhile bedroom of the Paramhansa. At times, I would find one of his disciples reading out stanzas from holy books to him; some other time, somebody would be helping him to eat a frugal meal, like a nurse spoon feeding a child. While the immobile man would just be staring with vacant eyes at a point far beyond human vision!

My aunt would prostrate before him in reverence whispering me to follow her. On enquiry, she told me that there were various stages of spiritual upliftment. The earlier madness for experiencing the Divine has now transcended to an elevated level of sainthood; the devout has now become the apostle of God!

“Shivoham shivoham shivaswaroopoham adwaitamananda roopamaroopam…………..”

The thirst for maturity is insatiable. The quest goes on till we come to that point in life when we realize as humans how weak and incapable we are. Just a cog in the infinite gamut of the Universe! A miniscule dot in the cosmos! It is then that we bow down to the Eternal. The ultimate surrender! Or the penultimate maturity!

********************************************************* **************

It is difficult to draw a line to this discourse or put a full stop at random. I have yet to find a point in life where I can conceitedly claim that I have matured completely and there is nothing more to be gained or learnt. This is a subject of interminable discussion and unstoppable delving. Hence, the lengthy three part post. Though some may simply define maturity as intelligence gained on hindsight, alternately, one can go on fathoming the deeper and subtler nuances of the concept. I have opted for the latter and in doing so relied heavily on mundane, personal experiences and anecdotes which many may or may not subscribe to. But I strongly feel all human experiences are more or less threaded by common emotions and feelings, and hope my friends, who happen to read this post, will empathize with what I have tried to arrive at, if not unanimously agree, which is difficult to attain on complex themes like this.

TO THE CURIOUS MIND..........PART II


Contd…

I was a control freak. (I still am to a certain extent. Bad habits die hard.) I wanted to control everything around me including myself, my near and dear ones and my surroundings. If anything went beyond my control or premeditated plan, my equanimity dithered.

I was also the Atlas of the family taking on every responsibility on my shoulder whether bearable or not. Soon I was overloaded. I freaked. Being a compulsive worrier I worried about every little thing. All my thoughts generally started with “what if……” and in order to take care of all the “what ifs” I recoursed to proactive meddling. It is meddling because I go against life’s own course and scheme of things when I want to settle them my own way.

Soon I found, organizing life is a fruitless exercise. There is a streak of disorderliness inherent in Nature which takes over at intervals to topsy-turvy our world till orderliness again sets in by itself, after sometime. As I came to understand Nature’s cyclic order, I started valuing delegation and the principle of “let go”. I am happier now.
.
Moral of the Story: I have matured. I appreciate and surrender to Nature, discover every minute that source of happiness and peace is somewhere beyond my realm of control and in order to achieve that I have given up on clinging and controlling.

I am a born pessimist and negativity is contagious. It affects one’s surroundings like a disease. Mine did too till one day my sister thrust a book in my hand and told me to make it my bible. And wow my outlook changed perceptibly!

Moral of the Story: The source of maturity can be anything, from a lisping child to a book, if you are an enthusiastic and avid learner.

My Department is full of youngsters. They are garam khoon and do not hesitate to give their piece of mind to any irritant in and outside the Department. Often they unburden themselves in my”benign presence”. I have realized long back that a heavy heart or mind only needs a pair of receptive ears and no sermons please. I am a good listener but mostly amused by gen now’s impatience. As Aunt Agony listens, my signature thought is ”bachhe abhi tumne duniya dekhi hi kahaan hai…..yehi sawaal tumse bees saal baad karenge tab sunenge tumhara jawaab…………….”

Moral of the Story: Viewed in a lighter vein, maturity is a great source of amusement. On a more serious note, it bestows a farsightedness, which is almost akin to wisdom.

The other day, my boss called me aside and told me a little apologetically (did I imagine?) that though I was eligible he could not guarantee a promotion to me the next year. I was not surprised. I was not expecting one (duniya mein aur bhi gham hai promotion na milne ke alaawaa!). I did not react to the news!

“Karmanye vaadhikaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana………………?”

Moral of the Story: Giving up expectations is maturity personified as I realize that the most powerful also has his/her own constraints/limits and there are certain situations which are beyond argument.

I think I am the nicest person on this earth and everyone’s trying to take advantage of my good nature. A few unhappy incidents have made this belief stronger. Trying to help somebody and being misunderstood, being loyal to someone and getting jilted, many encashing my work (creative genius? LOL) and misappropriating appreciation without my knowledge and to my disadvantage, gifted with utter disregard in return of unfaltering cooperation etc.etc. Now I am a bit cautious when it comes to helping people and make them conscious of my role in their life/work directly or indirectly. I am not very good at it though. I still lag behind…….

Moral of the Story: Modesty a gift of maturity (wink!)? I discern a few negative shades here. Has maturity handicapped me in some ways?

After prolonged suffering due to an undiagnosed ailment, when I chanced upon a lifesaver of a surgeon, I knew that the dark phase of my life was over and I would be okay soon. I did thank God but stoically.

Moral of the Story: Conviction and maturity go hand in hand. Which follows which is difficult to trace but sufferings always give way to peace and calm, if not happiness.



Contd…

TO THE CURIOUS MIND..........PART I


On one of my previous posts (“Life Is The Greatest Teacher”), my good friend Vel (Velm of MS), raised a few ticklish questions: What is maturity? When and how does one gain maturity? Who and what are the factors responsible for maturity? Parents? Mentors? School? Age? Experience? Knowledge? Failure? Questions to which I did not have definite answers! Questions which made me ponder. I thought to myself, really, who is or when can one be called a mature person? Questions were too many and the answers perhaps hidden within them. My curiosity was triggered. I peeped into my own self and asked, “Am I mature enough to answer these questions?” The reply came in the following form ……..

As a child, if I was denied a box of chocolates, I’d throw up such a rowdy tantrum that my parents in the long run had to succumb to my onerous demands and get me not one but two boxes of chocolates as compensation for the chance denial. Now, if I miss one, I am secretly relieved that I have scraped past an opportunity to gain additional ounces of calories. But if my colleague, bypassing me gets a promotion, I am in the throes of almost incurable depression.

Moral of the Story: I have matured but relatively – yes, when it comes to the box of chocolates and an emphatic no, when it concerns promotion. Maturity, therefore, is not absolute. As we proceed with age, knowledge and experience, so does maturity.

When my friend suffered her first heartbreak, she went berserk with grief, humiliation, betrayal etc. When it happened the second time, she waived the mishap out of her system with a “Yeh toh hona hi tha” sigh and did not take much time to bounce back to daily routine.

Moral of the Story: My friend has matured and come to accept the adversities and deprivations of life in her stride aided by a philosophical shrug and smile.

Soon I earned the nickname of “Jhansi Ki Rani” in office. Reasons - a volatile temper and ready-to-lash-back attitude. Over a period of time, I realized it was doing me no good –a formidable image was attached to my name, my temper was telling upon my health, it was impossible to change people/situations to my choice and colleagues poked me more on my weak point (read short temper). Gradually, I learnt to avoid confrontations and keep my cool even though incited. There were better and calmer ways of tackling friction and resolve differences! Nowadays, I drink a glass of cold water and count slowly till 100 when anger tries to have the better of me. More importantly, I have learnt to evaluate my foes a bit more neutrally, impartially, in a quiet and detached manner.

Moral of the Story: I have matured on two accounts – I have realized my limitations and tried to get over them and stopped indulging in futile exercises, like changing the world, which takes one nowhere.

My aunt (my father’s sister), with whom I spent a considerable period of my life (in Kolkata), would never let me help her in the kitchen or do other sundry household chores. Her standard reply was “What will people think! I am making you work?” When she was ill, one day I forced myself in to the kitchen and told her it was more important to do the right thing rather than what people thought would be proper for us to do. My aunt, after a prolonged debate, gave in.

Being a football of people’s perceptions is a self imposed burden which robs us of the joy of life. It takes time to learn that the alternate course of doing what is right in a given situation is a far better option. Giving in to people’s wish is too easy a way.

Moral of the Story: Maturity comes without an age bar. It can gatecrash anytime, especially, when one musters up the confidence and courage to choose between what is right and what is easy.


Contd….

Friday, 17 September 2010

A SPRINKLE ONCE MORE


Reviving memories
Sad and happy
Mist in my eyes gleams
__________________
Shiny yet obscure
A distant star in the horizon
Beckons me like a receding dream