Sunday, December 17, 2017
Showers of admiration
How great you are
You are put on a pedestal
That is not respect
Slaps on back
Praises from the crowd
You find yourself in the center
That is not respect
An audience lends their ears
To stories of your feats
You become the sole speaker
Attention is not respect
Love of family and friends
Who do all to keep you happy
You are the center of their universe
Love is not respect
Praise, admiration, attention
And even love, are not respect
These are given, taken
for a motive or it is so.
Respect is unique
it can only be Earned
the hardest to receive
and fastest to burn.
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Excited to share my debut novel, Beyond Boundaries is available on amazon kindle for pre-order with a release date of January 1st, 2018!
Here's the link to place your order.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
The world today seems to have exploded with biases. But, then again, it probably always was that way, just not advertised as much. With the advent of mass media, alternate ways of decimating viewpoints, the information overload is twirling people’s mind, questioning their own biases.
All the arguments discussed in public via Facebook or on CNN panel, each side push their agenda, each side make sense to many after a while and then everything becomes noise. Right or wrong become fuzzy.
The thing is that humans are born with biases, adopt a label or two and even some sort of stereotypes. We become hard wired with our opinions in all sorts of issues. The biggest discussion that hurts my heart the most is the biases based on gender and race.
Based on our innate nature, we label people and interact according to the label we have attached to them. When a girl or boy child is born to a couple, she or he is nurtured based on societal gender norms. Selective colors and toys these children are made to associate with and a definition of their place in society is affixed, allowing for even more labels to be attached and stereotypes formed.
Gender fluidity, on the other hand sets the stage for that child to grow up as an individual, a human being who can go down a path based on her or his innate qualities. When we take the labeling and as a result, stereotypes out, we are allowing a human being to be a good citizen of the world. That world citizen is then free and able to carve a path for her or his self on their, and ultimately, the human race’s success.
Same thing applies to biases on Race. Seeing a woman in a headscarf, a person of a different skin tone or an individual with ethnic features leads to a mental block. Most of us do not attempt to look behind the curtain of whatever label we have stamped on them from face value. We have already made up our mind on that individual before even saying hello.
Bringing it down to a more “ordinary” level, we apply labels to everybody we interact with. Seeing a woman at the mall wearing trendy clothes and high heels, we classify her as an upper-class snob. When we see a teenager with a hoody coming our way down the path in the neighborhood, we immediately cross the street. Or in the case of the woman who comes to clean your house or man who comes to mow your lawn, we form an opinion that she and he is uneducated, whereas they may be a Master’s degree holder in the country of their origin and have figured out that there’s more money in running their own business cleaning or mowing than in working for a company as an underpaid employee because of their inability to converse in the language of their adopted country. To state the cliché, we are judging these books by their cover and labeling our biases accordingly.
We, as a human race, need to scratch the surface, go beyond and meet eye to eye every individual at a human level. We need to empty our minds and become open to discovery. Allow our biases to recede and flow away as we introduce fluidity of an open mind. Instead of having heated discussion or arguing over whether men are better than women or vice versa, acknowledge that each gender is different and complimentary to each other. We are pieces of a large, grand design puzzle who fit together to make a whole. This mindset will help us take away the question of gender and race all together and allow an individual to be. Just Be.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
In the tiny apartment, Maya sat uncomfortably on the gray leather sofa, her one suitcase by her side. She waited for her husband to return from his foray, wherever he had gone off to after dumping her at the apartment. She looked at the walls around her, decorated with large art pieces. Images of wildfire in a forest, or flames rising from the roof of a house. Drops of sweat beads began to form on her forehead as she sat surrounded by intense scenes in the small space. Her breath became short and her throat suddenly felt dry. She made her way to the kitchen to get some water. Just at the last of the last of her sips trickled down her throat, she heard the door open. Her husband staggered in and seeing her standing in the kitchen he momentarily showed a look of surprise, as of he’d forgotten who she was. He stumbled into the living room and slumped onto the sofa. As if suddenly remembering who she was, he ordered her to serve him a drink.
Maya rummaged through the cabinets in the kitchen and found a bottle of rum. She anxiously poured some in the glass and brought it to her husband. He took it roughly from her hands and before he could take a sip, passed out on the sofa spilling the drink she had just handed him all over his shirt, the sofa, and the carpet. The glass rolled down the soft carpet without breaking, but empty of its contents.
The next day Maya’s husband raped her. Unsure of what to do after he had passed out, Maya had retired to the bedroom and had drifted off at dawn after a tearful night. She woke with her husband’s hand on her arm in a tight grasp. He grabbed her roughly and pulled her to him. She screamed in shock and got a slap on her cheek in response. Her lip bled from while her reddened ears pulsated with pain. It was over as soon as it had started, leaving her in pain and her heart bleeding.
Days became weeks turning to months and Maya saw no way out. He came and went as he please, expecting food and drink when he was home. Fear gripped Maya and she performed to his bidding. In the first week she had contemplated running away, but where would she go? Surely not to her aunt, whose life would become hell if Maya went into her life again. In any case, her uncle would send her back or call her husband. She had no one and nowhere. Her current life offered her shelter and if she didn’t offend him in any way, her life was normal.
He was rough in the bedroom but she closed her eyes during those times and let her mind travel to the images of her parents. Even in those vision she often was haunted by the blood ridden shirt of her father or the heart wrenching scream of her mother. Those nights she stayed up late plotting her escape while her husband snored next to her. Sometimes she reflected on her life and its meaning. She thought of the downward spiral it had taken since the tragic passing of her parents. The ten years at her aunt’s place were not ideal but at least she had the freedom to go to school and the love of her aunt who also shielded her from her uncle’s wrath, absorbing all his blows herself.
She thought about the violence that shaped the direction of her life and continued to do so. She was weakened, her spirit broken, she felt abandoned by her parents to face the cruel world alone. Her tearless eyes cried, her soul felt sorry for herself, her head fell in her palms, dejected. Suddenly, her head jerked up, her dark, pupils dilated shifting from left and right, as if she was possessed. Maya stood up and in the darkness felt her way to the door.
Out on the street, a blast of cool air slapped her as she stepped onto the sidewalk. Defying the blast, she walked head on, letting her dark hair sway in its disheveled state. She picked up pace as her bare feet jogged across the cool ground.
Blind with tears, the salty liquid she hadn’t felt since childhood, Maya ran on and on. The street was empty and she continued running, toward a bright light, the beacon of hope at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
Maya opened her eyes to see whiteness greet her. A bright, white light shone high above and she was mesmerized by its glow. She felt a presence by her side, but couldn’t see its form. She felt an immense presence of love, as if it were a solid thing that nestled her within, just like her mother had held her on their last, fateful day together. Maya realized she was not alone, that her parents and countless other forms who cared for her, loved her, they all surrounded her. She was free at last.
Monday, October 9, 2017
One week after her birthday a young man came to the house for dinner with her uncle. Aunt and niece prepared a hasty meal and visited with their guest, who charmed the ladies. After he left, Maya’s uncle announced that the wedding will be in a month. With that Maya’s fate was sealed. The wedding was simple with only two guests in attendance – Maya’s aunt and uncle. The groom either had no family or chose not to invite them. Her aunt stood next to her through the quick ceremony, her head lowered as if she was afraid to meet her niece’s eyes.
Maya followed her new husband to his apartment in the city, 100 miles from her only living relative. The car ride was smooth and silent. From the corner of her eyes in the passenger seat, she studied her husband. He was handsome in an odd way with point nose, sharp chin and a prominent Adams apple. In profile he appeared to be a man with sharp edges and defined contours. What brought all his facial contours together into a handsome face were his dark, dark eyes under long, feminine lashes. With perfectly timed blinks, his look charmed his companions. She was mesmerized under his look, but his silence contradicted his warm eyes. She watched the wildflowers whizz by and admired the cloudless sky that smiled down at her.
to be continued...
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Maya sat on her aunt and uncle’s porch in a rattan armchair. She stroked the red velvet fabric of a tiny box on her lap, a gift for her 18th birthday from her aunt and uncle, well mostly aunt. She let the seconds pass, a firm grasp on the soft box, until she allowed her fingers to unhook the latch and open. Inside, she found an exquisite set, an arrangement of diamonds and emeralds on a necklace with matching, teardrop earrings. Tucked under the sparkling lace, she found a note. Her aunt wrote that the set belonged to Maya’s mother and she had loaned it to her. Maya picked up the delicate piece, lacing it in her fingers as she brought it closer to her face. She smelled the arrangement, as if hoping to pick up any lingering scent of her mother. But a whiff of mangoes from the neighbor’s porch mudded her fantasy and she travelled back to ten years ago. She tried many times to conjure up memories of her parents, the happy years, but her mind never travelled past the day her life altered forever. She couldn’t see past the blood splatter or feel beyond the sticky liquid as her parents’ faces faded from her memory and numbness assailed her heart. Even tears abandoned her as her crying eyes remained dry. In these moments, desperate for tears, she felt her body stiffen and for several hours she lost blood circulation in three of her fingers of her left hand. It always returned to normal eventually, but she struggled to bring back feeling to her cold digits.
Maya tried to evoke memories of the past decade, the years in her aunts home, but there again she failed. A fog had taken hold of her. She feared everything – her uncle’s loud voice, losing her aunt and even the train that whistled past behind their house several times a day. She constantly felt obligated to her uncle, for taking her in even though she could sense his annoyance with her presence. Maya was quite sure that he didn’t know about the necklace, otherwise it would have been sold years ago. Maya also lived with perpetual guilt – for surviving while her parent perished, her mother taking the bullet and Maya escaping it. Her guilt extended to her aunt, who fought with her husband daily to protect her niece and suffered his wrath alone. His anger boomed through their bedroom nightly and Maya noticed a new purple mark on her aunt to outshine the fading ones. Maya chose to drift through her tearless, finger numbing fog as the decade passed.
to be continued...
to be continued...
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Frogs and cicadas colored the darkness with their music. Maya sat on the swing on her porch, its squeaky staccato interrupting the music of the darkness. She swung her short legs and swayed her body back and forth to move faster. Her mother seated in a rattan chair next to her told her to slow down, but Maya ignored her. She started a chant of the song she had heard on the radio earlier that day, repeating the one line she knew, as if a broken record needle, until it drove her mother to yell out, “Can’t you just be still for a minute?” Maya stopped the singing and swinging, looked at her mother and asked after her father. “He’ll be home shortly”, she responded as she checked her wrist watch.
Just then her father’s car pulled up onto the driveway and Maya jumped off her swing. When he got out of the car Maya stood in her place. He was not alone. His hair was disheveled, a shirt tail untucked and his hands held up to his shoulders, palm facing front, arms bent at the elbow.
Her mother grabbed Maya and enclosed her in her arms, as if they were chain links to protect her within. Maya stared at the strange men who were shoving their father from the back to move forward. Her father straggled up the porch, mumbling, “Don’t hurt them” over and over. All three shuffled indoors as the strange men followed close behind. A whiff of mangoes swam past her nostrils as the bigger of the two men ran up the stairs. The smaller man directed them to sit down on the floor in their foyer. Her mother burrowed her within her folds, as a Kangaroo does to her young, with Maya’s tiny head sticking out just enough to watch the scene unfold.
Maya noticed the shiny object the ugly man pointed at them with an uglier hand scarred with burn marks. His other hand remained in his pant pocket. His voice was raspy, as if it was a great strain for him to talk. The man from upstairs shouted, demanding to know where the jewelry was. Her mother said that there was nothing. He came down mad and yelled that they better not be lying. He threatened to shoot them all. Her father swore they were telling the truth, just like he had tried to tell them in the car, that they didn’t keep any valuables at home. Now the ugly man got mad and pointed his gun to her father’s head.
Maya shut her eyes tight as the shrill of sirens pealed through their open window. In the midst of all that, she felt her house reverberate with the man yelling, her father shouting at the man, “go ahead, do it” and just as he did it, her mother let out a piercing scream. Maya opened her eyes, but nestled deeper into her mother’s bosom trying to cover her ears as she inhaled her mother’s familiar scent. Her eyes took in the bright red splatter on her father’s wrinkled, white shirt, and the ringing in her ears wouldn’t go away. And then another bang. She felt sticky liquid trickle down her back as her mother sat limp continuing to hold Maya in her grasp. Maya’s eyes were now looking down the dark hole of a gun barrel and she waited for another bang. Refusing to lose her eyes, she stared right into the eyes of the gunman. His scarred eyelids blinked, hesitating for a second. That second is all she needed as just then another blast and her eyes closed.
Maya felt no pain, no sticky liquid oozing out of her body. She looked up at the ugly man and saw his eyes roll to the back of his head before his legs gave way. He stumbled to the floor, his gun dropping beside him. The big man tried to run up the stairs to escape the uniformed man behind him, but they caught him by his legs and he stumbled down.
To Be Continued
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Words give wings to my lips
To float my thoughts to air
They merge with songs of birds,
or creatures that screech, Beware!
Tears stream from a blink
Sorrow floods the gates of despair
Waves rush to crash in earnest
To caution, alert, shout, Prepare!
Heedless in its path that’s unclear
Trees and birds whisper unnerved
Spare us, save our Biosphere!
Desperation, a conduit for collaboration
For an outpouring of devotion
A surge of dedication
To some resolution
Or a Revolution!
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
In loving memory of Mother Earth --
it lies in ashes beneath the Sun’s hearth.
The negligent dwellers are all gone:
No one left behind to mourn,
once our mother was lush green
sky so blue and oceans gleaming.
First, the trees were all cut off;
then the air filled with constant fog,
and waves rose to cover all land with a frown
and the polar ice caps melted and slid down
the inhabitants looked to the womb,
but all that lay there was their tomb;
in desperation they looked up to the sky --
rockets or wings, they could not fly.
Our dear Mother wept for her children --
rain clouds poured for no less days than eleven.
Now that all the water is gone,
evaporated away with no ozone,
the stark land remains parched and bare
and life in any form is hopeless, no one left to care.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Our dear Jazz spent almost 10 short years with us of playfulness. What was his purpose?
He taught us to take long walks and to notice all that surrounds us. We began to appreciate nature, learned to capture its beauty with our camera and became one with our earth. We sniffed the fresh morning breeze or the dense afternoon air which carried fragrances of the new blooms or stench of decomposing roadkill or passing car exhaust. We heard the cardinals sing and owls hoot as we walked through the woods or neighborhoods, because of Jazz.
He disciplined us to step outside, go on regular walks, rain or shine. We began to appreciate the raindrops and hopped, skipped and jumped over puddles. We trudged through deep snow or admired our paw prints in the fresh dust of snowy path. We soaked in the scorching heat as the high noon Sun flared and glared down at us shining us from inside. We felt the breeze caress our skin and flow through our hair as it embraced us with its cooling and refreshing elegance.
Thanks to Jazz, we stopped to marvel at the dew drops on grass blades or droplets frozen in midair as they hung like jewels from the maple. We revered the morning frost as it dusted its soft white elegance on green and yellow lawns. Our respect for black ice and large frozen chunks of ice sheets on the walkways helped us look at its beauty beyond its threatening danger of the chilling fall.
Jazz’s desire to stop and sniff at every bush or tree, a fallen object of unusual shape and size allowed our eyes to notice all that we would have passed by without a thought. We would have missed the beauty of fire ant colonies in their perfect shaped mounds, the speed of the albino squirrel as it scurried up the tree, or even an empty plastic water bottle on the sidewalk that Jazz chose to pick up and carry between his teeth to bring it home so we could place it in the recycling tub. He found fallen twigs and branches, short and long, and carried them home as if to build a nest.
His pure joy and elegance in the thrill of the chase, whether he was chasing bunnies or was playing being chased by another dog at the dog park, taught us to be free of inhibitions and run for the thrill of it. His prance and frolic gave us courage to follow his cue as we paraded through the streets with our pride and joy that was Jazz.
I take a big long stretch every morning before stepping out of bed and I learned that from Jazz. Every cell in my body is awake and energized with this stretch and I’m ready to face a new day refreshed, even if it is a day without Jazz.
A year has gone by without his presence in his physical form, but we know he is stardust and has mingled with our surrounding. He is with us, around us and continues to serve his purpose of reminding us to stay on the path of living for the day and appreciate the little things in life. He taught us to use each and every sense that our body is gifted with and to wake the inner sense that is elusive and enigmatic.
Thank you Jazz for your wonderful 10 years with us and I know you are now helping others learn the same in a variant form, yet continue to be with us in the form of some of your particles.
In memory of our dearest friend on this 1 year anniversary (March 4th) when his body ceased to be in the form we recognize him. Our love to you for always and beyond.
Monday, February 13, 2017
I have a friend from Holmes
who misses desperately her home
the one she played in as a child
where she endured seasons, wild and mild
with her mother, sisters in each other’s arms,
while devastation around them befalls,
houses, homes, humans crumble and collapse
My friend from Holmes left all behind
her heart and even her peace of mind
she lives here with comfort and love
her memories torment, she must evolve
New language, culture and religion
far, far from home in a new region
her husband’s love is not enough
her soul weeps beneath her laugh
Her home here is a mansion
it has four walls and a roof
from her family she is aloof
This foreign land is now her home
but unwelcomed here feels my friend from Holmes
Fear and division drive her mad
loneliness and seclusion make her sad.
Oh my dearest friend so far from your land
We've all here come from afar, take my hand
I offer you my love and friendship
we are sisters in this new kinship.
I will cry your tears
I will drive away your fears
Don’t give up this fight
Preserve, prevail with all your might!