to be continued...
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!
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
There are no words
There are no colors
My page is blank
My canvas has no palette
When they go low,
we go high – Michelle said.
How? Please tell us how
to move forward, to ascend
Most hands are tied behind their back
Most lips are stitched and zipped
We feel shackles in our ankles
We see menacing noose close to our necks
What is this place
of disarray, divide, disunity?
Where is this era
of anger, restlessness, vanity?
Helpless we feel as citizens
Restless we feel as humans
Worthless we feel as men and women
Hopeless I feel as an American!
These are uncertain times
Of democracy diminished
Of truths alternative
Our liberties in ashes
We are in desperation
as we hang in suspension
Anxiously, we await your resurrection!
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Women’s rights is Human rights
Resistance is not futile
We are the resistance
Keep your rosaries off my ovaries
I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change,
I’m changing the things I cannot accept.
Keep your laws off my body
Separation of church and State keeps the peace
My rights are not up for grabs
We grab back
If my Uterus fired bullets, the G.O.P. would fund it
Feminism is about mutual respect
Men of Quality don’t fear Equality
Men of quality respect women’s Equality
Black lives matter
Climate change is real
Science is real
Hate won’t make America great
No Human is illegal
Welcome home Syrian refugees
Compassion is not weakness
We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back
Have FUNdamental human rights
We’re not sore losers, we’re informed citizens
Water is Life, Gender is Fluid
Love is Love
Love is love. Cannot be killed or swept aside
This isn’t Anti-anything. This is PRO human rights
When they go low, we go high
They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds
The universe is on the side of justice, if you’re not, step aside
Liberty and justice for ALL
United we stand, Divided we fall
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
Silence helps the tormentor never the victim
Strong women Know them, Be them, Raise them
Well behaved women seldom make history
This is what democracy looks like!
Saturday, January 14, 2017
As we sit on our daily couch
There is no space, only love
Our fingers mingle, weave as they meet
The empty space that sits alone
Was not always empty, as if a hole
Our cherished children once squeezed the space
Huddled in a warm embrace
Cuddled and connected our warm bodies
Inserted their innocence as we sat cozy.
First one flew out from her nest
There was then our next best
Warm and fuzzy Jazz warmed the seat
Connected our every heart beat
All we have left is folklore
An empty seat no one to dote
Only the multitudes of TV remotes
Across the mountains of devices
I feel your breath and hear your heart pulsate.
as our hands reach across the empty seat.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Red, I thought would be a good name at first, but I grew tired of it soon. I had almost a year in my dark closet to ponder and still I could not settle on a good name.
Snow was still on the ground when I was brought up into the light. My family moved around as they packed for another trip. I found myself lugged to an airport, stuffed in a tiny, congested compartment for yet another long journey across the ocean to India. Only mother and daughter accompanied me on this trip.
Delhi-Gurgaon was the same as we had left it with honking cars, cud chewing cows on the roads and warm air. A few days later, after our bodies were adjusted to the new time zone, a group of us loaded up in a van and drove up north into the Himalayas. We drove through farmland, small towns and sprawling cities outside the Capital, up into the mountains. Through winding roads we observed the dried up river beds, monkeys perched up on milestones and the panoramic expanse of the majestic mountains, until we reached the bustling valley city of Dehra Dun.
Equally bustling was the ancestral home we stayed in where the extended family congregated all the days we were there. They shared stories of distant and recent past, talked over each other and listened to absorb or correct details. While the daughter in my family appeared lost, fascinated, and beguiled with the lively and boisterous atmosphere, the mother and grandmother listened with interest and nostalgia as they blinked away welled tears. Their faces reflected reminiscence of younger years and older times, memories of those gone but ever present in their hearts and a smile to a touching moment or story that had been recounted several times through generations.
The drive back out of the valley, through the mountainous, winding roads, across the towns and cities into Delhi sped by in blur. A vision of this journey representing many journeys sat heavily on the passengers’ hearts. Even I reflected on my treks from the Swiss mountains to the snow and lakes of Minnesota to this valley city in India. My life had just begun and I had many miles in me yet. A whole world spread out before me to discover and conquer.
Barely had I settled into the house in Gurgaon that we were off again, this time in a smaller plane towards the port city of Mumbai. Another family welcomed us there with warmth and vitality. Great-grandmother lighted up with delight and found the energy to sit up, walk out and join the family as they assembled in the sitting room. Four generations mingled, bonded, healed as they shared stories separated by time and space. They played the card game passed down generations, making more memories.
Mumbai visit also ended as fleetingly as Dehra Dun and ultimately the entire vacation was over and we were back in Minnesota. Within a week of returning to this side of the Pacific, we learned of great-grandmother’s departure from this world. A sad goodbye but with closure and passing down of memories spanning four generations.
I went back to my nook, empty, sagging and reflecting on my life’s journey.to be continued...
Saturday, November 26, 2016
On a particularly gloomy morning, I woke up to find myself on the big bed. A litter of clothing and a large bag occupied the space next to me. Rain pelted down outside, sliding down the window pane like tears.
We rushed to the airport for a long and hard journey to India. I gathered this was no vacation from conversations overheard and the urgency of the trip. Reaching our destination across the other side of the globe, I sat forgotten in a room. I observed many people walk in and out of the room, muffled cries through the night, quiet conversations, and plenty of hugs.
I gathered that a tragedy had befallen the family, in the extended family we had cruised with, and a sadness set in into my folds. One early morning, before the sun rose, I found myself stuffed and dragged into a car, into a train, and then into another car. By midmorning I found myself sitting on the banks of the mighty river Ganges, surrounded by the mystical mountain range, the very impressive Himalayas.
Getting back into the car, we travelled toward a cleaner part of the river and crossed to the other side on a swinging bridge. Monkeys and langoors swung from cables and ropes around the bridge, unperturbed by the fast flowing current beneath them. They jumped from cables to trees to the bridge as if putting on a show for everyone on both the banks and for those in between. As we dodged donkeys and motorcycles and massive amount of human traffic crossing over to the other side, a light rain began its pitter patter gradually increasing its intensity. My family rushed to take cover under a peepal tree across the bridge.
As we huddled under it, a beautiful calf joined us under the canopy of the leaves. He pushed its way in, joined our small group and stood tall and proud among us. His light brown coat shone on his young skin and stubbles of young horns sprouted on his head. He nuzzled his way in further into our group as we all became fascinated with the beautiful, friendly and innocent creature. My family fed it guava they had carried for the journey from their tree at home, they took pictures of the calf, for which he posed and modeled charmingly, and then they christened him. They named him BOB. It was then I began to ponder, what if I had a name. I guess that question will remain with me for a long time to come.to be continued...