Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Perspective - Part 5 (Adventures of Backpack) continues


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

Perspective - Part 4 (Adventures of a Backpack continue)


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...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Hope


In darkness we see light

With division we find unity

weakness brings us might

enmity shows us  amity


 

In hatred lurks love

endurance gives us strength

fear allows for hope

sickness finds us health

 

To fall and allow defeat?

It is not this day!

 

despair gives rise to repair

disillusion shows us vision

when weary we find fury

But with fire beware!

 

From ashes will rise the phoenix.

From injury will soar the Eagle!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Perspective - Part 3 (Adventures of the backpack continue)

Sunshine greeted me with a smile and many new faces around the house one fine morning. My family and their extended family hustled to prepare for their vacation.

Stuffed and bundled, I boarded the plane for a three hour journey south. I could smell the ocean even before we landed. From the airport we taxied straight to the port and boarded a really giant boat. As I learned later that calling it a boat was an insult, to its size and exuberance, and the preferred word for that city afloat was a cruise ship.
We sailed for the next four days into blissful rapture, as we admired the horizon with its many shades of blues and greens and everything in between. Conversations flowed as lyrically as the waves at the shores we anchored. Our first shore leave was in paradise, an island aptly named for its serenity and clarity. Each shore leave was equally distinct and exciting.
Over the four days I was lugged and left by the poolside deck, stuffed with damp clothing, wet goggles, and in my safe pockets I kept watch on their room key cards and watches and phones. On a land excursion, I soaked in the sun, and from my vantage point on the beach, I admired the vastness of the bluest ocean ever seen. The family battled boisterous waves, waded in the pools closer to the sandy area, and swam in the delicious beauty of the Atlantic.
Rejuvenated and exhilarated, we returned home to the beauty of the Minnesota summer. Robin and swallow chicks emerged from their nests ready to take the plunge to find their wings.
I sat forgotten, partially unpacked in a corner as I watched the whole family run in and out playing with the dog, or gather in the kitchen to cook, eat and make merry. In the midst of one of those merriment, while everyone clustered around the living room table, I heard a tap, tap of the dog’s steps as he strolled around the house. His nails and the wood floors helped me guide his whereabouts as he inspected each room in search of amusement or crumbs. I heard him go down the stairs to the basement and a short while later run back up, unsatisfied. He probably found the guest bedroom door shut, to keep him out, I’m sure. As I heard him run up the sleek wooden steps, I heard him trip on one of them, and at that I laughed out loud. Big mistake. Not only had I called attention to my vulnerable self, open and available in a forgotten corner, I also let him know that I had noticed his embarrassment and laughed at him.
Tap tap, his feet made their way to me and I braced for the assault to start. He cautiously walked toward me, looked at my unshapely form, and sniffed the remnants of sand and ocean on me. He pawed my middle pocket, the one where granola bars and nuts usually made their home during the travels. It was empty now, but I guess he could smell them nevertheless. He had no thumbs, thankfully, so there was no way he was opening any of my zippers.
I saw his handsome body plop down next to me, his gorgeous face with its big floppy ears and dense eyes, resting on the floor between his front paws. We watched each other for a while as if keeping company. Then I felt him inch closer to me, his nose on top of my black straps, the ones that buckle up under the backpackers’ chest to keep me from sagging on their backs. The dog, the beautiful blue dog, proceeded to lick the strap, and before I knew it, the plastic buckle was between his teeth. He gently chewed it as if it were a bone. He was a gentle sort so it was not anything vicious or any sort of attack.
Nevertheless, I screamed, I got angry, I called for help, but no one came my rescue. By the time my owner called out for the dog from the living room, as if sensing he was up to mischief, my buckle was past repair. He got back up on his paws and tap tapped his way out of the room, innocence pasted like plaster on his face.
The damage to my limb, the assault on my person was not discovered for almost two months until the next trip my family had to take.

 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

10 Things my writing taught me about life

1. Let things unfold

2. People are not 1 or 2 dimensional
 

3. Life is not linear
 

4. It's not what happens to you, but how you react
 

5. Body language speaks volumes
 

6. Silence speaks volumes
 

7. Through conflict or struggle we grow
 

8. Pace yourself but never stop moving forward
 

9. Conflict resolutions are satisfying
 

10. Internal and external dialogue are never the same.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Perspective - Part 2

The plane ride was different in many ways, compared to the four days when I was forgotten in the back seat of my car. By now, I was stuffed with clothes, all dirty ones to be precise. I absorbed the smells of my owners, mingled them in my weaves, removed my newness and made them a part of me. My bulk sat in the bulkhead above their seats in the plane, shut out and clicked off in a tight compartment. But I nestled into a corner, away from all the strange bags of lesser breeding, quality, strength, and loyalty. I somehow survived the long flight without losing my mind.

We arrived home to the cool nip which seemed somehow familiar but not the same. It was not the mountain air, but equally warned us of the imminent arrival of winter. As I will later learn, winter did arrive, with gusto and as if never to leave. For now, the trees blazed with a mosaic of color under a bright sun, and I took that as a sign of a warm welcome to my new home. I learned later that I had arrived clear across a big ocean from the land of my birth in Germany to Minnesota, USA.
Unburdened of the laundry load I carried, I was set aside in a dark closet and forgotten for months. I hibernated and fretted over when and where on the specifics of my next adventure.
My owners did not disappoint me. Jerked awake one evening, I found myself on the vast bed, a hardcover novel, and a notebook with a pen hanging on its side held in place by an elastic ring, shoved into me. A candy bar and a zip lock bag full of mixed nuts found their way into my front pockets. A laptop with its wires and heavy chargers came into my big pockets too, topped off my by a warm, cozy, earthy shawl.
Stuffed and packed, I sat comfortably on her back seat in the car, under the seat at her feet in the plane and on her back in the land where we trekked through a concrete jungle. Buildings shot up, it seemed, into the sky as if competing to reach heights higher than the ones next to them. Icy wind snaked between the tall structures, slithering within the large concrete blocks that stretched out for miles in this city that never slept. I was hit by its vibrancy, listening to sirens that blared only to trail off as they turned into a different block. Yellow cabs weaved in and out of stop and go traffic, their honks competing with jackhammers and slurs spewing from pedestrians who dodged the impatient drivers.
We walked blocks to absorb the effervescence around us, our eyes wide, looking up and around in the middle of Time square. Smoke rose from vents on the sidewalks before disappearing into the beam of light that sneaked in through the tall structures.  While the chilled January air enveloped this intense city, I remained in the cozy hotel room for the next three days. My family carouseled through the room and the outdoors as they toured the city during the day to its fabulous museums, a walk through the  famous Central Park, and at night to delectable dinner venues and the famous Broadway shows and renowned Philharmonic. Their Playbill and brochures I carried back home in my red folds and studied them closely in the airplane ride back home as I lived vicariously through my family’s experiences.
Back in Minnesota, another adventure completed, my pockets emptied, I recuperated in a warm corner of the house until the next big adventure.
To Be Continued...




 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Perspective - Part 1

My journey started on a beautiful day not far from the mountains. Lingering warmth of the summer radiated the courtyard with a slight nip in the air, promising imminent cooler season. I sat in a chair in the meeting room, nestled in clear plastic. My red coat with its charcoal trim shone as I proudly displayed the beautifully carved lettering on my cover, “Porsche”.

I was in Stuttgart, Germany at a Porsche plant, anticipating the arrival of my new owners. As a forgotten object, I sat, waited, and sat some more until finally the room poured in with people. A couple, perhaps in their 30s or 40s sat next to me, my existence unacknowledged. My patience wearied as I aspired to be free of the plastic wrapping. Finally, the woman reached for me, tore open my suffocating thin layer and held me with both of her hands. She examined me from back to front, tickled me as she unzipped and rezipped my many compartments, and nodded with approval. For me, it was love and I vowed to stay strong for her always. Our adventure was just beginning and I smiled with satisfaction.

Soon we were escorted out of the room towards our car. They threw me in the back, bucket seat and soon I felt the vibrations of that sweet engine pulse through me. Our journey lasted four days through narrow paths, steep climbs, sharp turns, tiny mountain villages, and the vistas, oh so memorable. The Swiss Alps edged by the mighty black forest with their tall pines and the placid lakes placed secretly within the bosom of the peaks drew shrieks of delight from my owners. We made stops for lunches on top of hills in the wine country town in Italy, by the famous waterfalls in Germany, and even a bathroom break in Austria where the men went in the woods.
Nighttime I sat in the dark in my bucket seat, protected against the sweet but chilled air of the high altitude of Switzerland. Night insects orchestrated their symphonies until dawn, when they passed the baton to the cows who grazed the hills. Bells hanging from their necks resounded the sound of their music through the hills, waking everyone up. Other nights the morning sounds of a village waking up in a tucked away mountainous corner of Bavaria entered my sleepless senses. Our last night was back in my hometown, Stuttgart where after an emotional farewell to the Porsche – our beloved car, I carried its emblem along for the rest of my journey.
To be continued...
 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Anaya - Conclusion


She closed down her store a little early and decided to go see him at his parlor before he closed up. She found the shop locked up, but a light still shown inside. Using her keys she entered, and finding the store-front empty, she went to the backroom. Nestled in empty boxes she found a couple, half dressed and in embrace. She recognized Kris’s dark, curly hair, but didn’t recognize the man kissing her husband.
She quietly slipped out and went for a long walk. Reaching the hospital park, now empty, she sat on a bench. In darkness she sat for how long, she did not know. A soft breeze ruffled her hair and nudged the clouds above to reveal a full moon. Light flooded the ground, the bench, Anaya, as she stood up and walked home.
Her mind made up, she set to work early next morning. Her plan unfolded as she researched, talked to experts and filed applications. Without revealing her insight, her intent, her plan, she registered for classes and setup meetings and exam dates. Discreetly, she hired a manager to staff her ice cream parlor as she spent more time away from her store. Routine at home continued as always until the day she received the letter she awaited so eagerly. Yes, she had been admitted into the 7-year program on her path to the field of medicine.
She called a meeting with her husband one evening, all her paperwork in order, her accounts balanced, detailed proposal charted and action plan outlined. She had put her store on the market and had received several offers. She needed his signatures on several documents - the divestiture of their business and of their personal partnership. She informed him of her awareness of his secret, and promised to keep it as such, while setting him free. In return, his promise to her was to continue running the business and sending her parents their paycheck, without informing them of this change. She promised not to interfere in his life and hoped he abstained from prying into hers, but her parents should not hear a word of their new arrangement.
Kris complied, happy to be free from pretense, while keeping his dignity in front of her traditional parents.   He continued to stay in the house which still belonged to his ex-wife. Anaya packed up and moved into campus housing, five years later than she had intended, but on her terms. She invested the proceeds from the sale of her share of the business into liquid, safe ventures, and dived head first into her college books.
Anaya was to follow her dream and embark upon a path of her own choosing, without fear, obligation or guilt to torment her. A dense fog finally lifted and she was free.
 
 
 
The End



 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Anaya - Part 5

By the time their first anniversary came around, Anaya and Kris managed two ice-cream parlors while her parents retired back to their old country. The country of Anaya’s birth, the place that she recalled in flashes of bittersweet memories. Whatever had happened decades ago that had necessitated their exile had calmed down. It was not a place her parents could have returned to work in again, their businesses evaporated, their properties not theirs anymore, their name unrecognizable, their friends dead or exiled from the upheaval of the country’s politics. Anaya had no connection to the place and had good excuse not to visit her parents – there just was never the time.

One day a customer came in, dressed in scrubs. He bought an ice cream shake and lingered while he sipped. It was a slow day so Anaya struck up a conversation, curious about his occupation. He was a second year medical student and knew from a young age his dream to be a doctor. His parents supported him and helped out as much as they could to get him a head start. He admitted it was hard, but the beauty of pursuing a dream was that you do anything, to make it happen. After he left, Anaya pondered on her life, the life she was made to lead and the life that she wanted to.

Her marriage remained a partnership, as cordial as the business one. Kris was charming and courteous and allowed Anaya her space as they went about their daily routines. Each spent their working ours in the two separate stores and time at home behind their work desks, moving forward like the parallel train tracks. Anaya spent her free time going for long walks and almost always found her feet taking her toward the hospital down the block. There she would stand in the park and watch recovering patients stroll on the walkways or sit under the shade of tree, a visitor or a nurse beside them. She’d catch glimpses of doctors on break, grabbing coffee on a bench. Anaya would tear up and walk away from the scene as quickly as she had erased her chances of her dream from her mind.
Now that her parents were gone, settled in their homeland and living on a paycheck from the proceeds of Anaya and Kris’s parlor profits, Anaya toyed with the idea of leaving it all behind. She thought to give it all away to Kris and follow her own path. As days went by, this idea became more irresistible and she approached Kris with a proposition. He hated the idea. He didn’t want her to go away and leave it for him to run everything alone. He didn’t feel it right to take over her family’s business by himself. He needed her to stay in his life, no matter how estranged their relationship was. He reminded her of the responsibility to her parents’ hard work and for their sake, she couldn’t throw this all away. What if he couldn’t manage it alone and lost the business? He couldn’t take that responsibility.
Anaya, frustrated at the same card that her father had played with her and now her husband – fear, obligation, guilt. A thick fog descended on her as she went about her daily tasks. He was a good man, her husband, she thought. He had the opportunity to take it all but he cared, really cared. The question that had been bothering her all this time surfaced again, why did he marry her if it was not the money or to take over her business? That night her question was answered.
to be continued...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Anaya - Part 4


Over the next few weeks she learned how this arrangement was a win-win for her parents. This guy, Kris, was going to move in, help run the business so her father could retire. They needed a man at the helm, her father explained, and he was getting old and tired. Anaya could run the place, but a man needed to manage the business and her fiancé was a perfect choice, her father rationalized. He had experience running businesses, he didn’t mind moving in with them, as both his parents had passed away, and his sister was happily married off, leading a life far away. Above all, her father elaborated, Kris liked Anaya, and will not mind her continuing to run the store as she always did.
In the private corner of her mind she disappeared, to entertain some ideas, but came up with no solution. She had no one to turn to, no family she knew of, or friends who could even vaguely understand her predicament. She had no money or any outlet she could reach out to, or even if she did, how could she leave her parents, especially as they looked so much older and weaker and had no one else in the world left to take care of them. She couldn’t just abandon them in their twilight years, so alone. She returned to the reality and with her eyes dimmed, her shoulders slouched, she quietly listened to her parents as they put this new man on a pedestal. He seemed just too perfect, too good to be true.
The wedding day arrived, a simple affair with few friends, some regular customers, a handful of neighbors, and even smaller group with the groom. Her mother gave her a red garb, the nicest clothes Anaya received from her parents since their arrival to their new homeland. After the ceremonies, Anaya and her new husband drove off to a beach town for a weekend getaway. He was charming and gentle, and Anaya enjoyed his company. They became friends and became comfortable with each other. The question of love never entered her mind. This marriage, she knew, was a partnership and as partners, they got along fabulously.
To be continued...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Anaya - Part 3

A year after graduation Anaya found herself managing the parlor full-time, while her father worked on starting a second one. Her lone friend had shipped to college across the country. Her mother shuttled between the two stores to help where she could. One slow day when Anaya was alone behind the front counter, a young man walked in. She put on her professional smile and welcomed him to the store. He sampled a few flavors and settled on a cup of pistachio gelato.  Holding the cool cup, he lingered a while as Anaya waited. He smiled, introduced himself as Kris, and asked her a few questions about how the business was going, whether she enjoyed working there, what she did in her free time, her favorite place to eat. She kept her professional smile pasted and gave short quick answers – yes business was good, it’s a family business so there’s no question about enjoy or not, and no, she doesn’t have free time or eat out. He was charming in a way, but she didn’t feel any attraction toward him. He stayed to finish the ice-cream in his cup and tried to make more conversation, but luckily they were interrupted, as more customers walked in and she got busy handing out endless samples to a team of soccer kids.

Late one evening her parents knocked on her bedroom door and invited themselves in. They asked her about the young man, Kris, who had visited their parlor few weeks ago. She was perplexed and told them that he asked too many questions and hopefully she hadn’t caused any problems by answering. Her mother shook her head and asked, what she thought of this young man. Why? She asked, what do they care? She thought he was a jerk, too inquisitive, too friendly for her comfort. Well, her father informed, that Anaya will have to like him now, and it would make them very happy, because they had arranged for them to be married. Anaya felt as if both her parents had slapped her. She stared at them and shouted her objections. How could they do this without even asking her? What gave them the right? She thought they needed her to help with the business, to take care of them. How could they even do this without even asking when, if, she wanted to get married? She yelled and bawled and cried, in anger, in desperation, in despair. Her mother held her and rocked her, as if lulling her to sleep. Anaya’s petite body heaved and then depleted, she slumped.

to be continued...

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Anaya - Part 2

Anaya’s new home was far away in a foreign land. She went to a school but could not understand the other children. She kept her doll close to her chest every waking moment, and cuddled it tight every night, as she slept between her parents in their tiny new house. Soon she started to understand the other children at school and tried speaking their language. They included her in their games and she began to leave her doll in her classroom cubby.

Anaya liked her new life with fun friends and the years flew like the wind in a sand storm, her vision blurred of the past. Her father had bought an ice cream parlor in a growing suburb and a small house nearby. Both the parents spent their waking hours on running their business, her father facing customers, and other people related to the business, while her mother managed everything behind the scene. Occasionally, when her mother had to deal with customers and could not understand them, little Anaya helped out as her interpreter.

By the time high school arrived, Anaya was at ease in her new home country and forgotten the place of her childhood, a little doll forgotten in the back of her closet. Friends of varied background visited her and they got into innocent mischief together. Her parents continued their long hours at the ice-cream parlor and the strain began to show on her mother’s delicate face. Her father delegated more of her work to Anaya, and soon she was working all the hours she was not in school. Her friends dispersed, save for one who hung out with her in the parlor, few evenings and weekends.
When it came time for her to apply for college, her father discouraged, citing that she already had a career in the family business, she didn’t need to spend the money to learn to do what she already had learned on the job, and he’ll teach her all about running a business. She objected, that she was interested in science subjects, and wanted to pursue her career in a medical field. He said it could not be done, he didn’t have the money to finance her college. She said she’ll take loans, fund her education herself, that she didn’t need his help. To this he responded, his voice cracking, that all they had was their daughter to take care of them in their old age, and he needed her to stay and be with them always. She noticed a tear in his left eye, in the eye of her father who was always stoic and pragmatic. She noticed the white streaks in his thinning hair, the bags and circles under his eyes and the slight shake in his hands as he reached out to hug her. She fell into his arms and allowed their emotions to decide her career, hoping time will allow her to revisit her plans.
 
to be continued...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Anaya - Part 1

Large red rosebushes decorated the lawn in their full blooms. A cool breezed picked up their scent and carried it along its foray in the garden. Anaya’s nostrils picked up the scent as she played with her doll on the manicured grass. Her pink frock with tiny white flowers matched her doll’s, down to the matching panties. Pink, silk ribbons snaked down their shoulders as they held the ends of their dark pig tails. Anaya and the doll twirled in the middle of the sun-bathed garden until their head spun and they fell to the soft ground in a fitful of laughter. Her mother’s voice called out for teatime and Anaya ran up to the white table under a large white umbrella. She set her doll on the little chair next to her big one and sipped her milk, flavored with a dash of tea, from her pink cup.

Her mom’s phone played its movie theme from centuries ago until she answered it. Anaya balanced her cup in her small hands and chatted with her doll. The lull of her mother’s voice continued in the background for some time, rising in volume with each break in sentence. Soon the conversation was over, the phone set down on the table and Anaya saw tears stream down her mother’s cheeks.
Anaya was rushed indoors to her bedroom by helpers, her half empty cup of milk abandoned, her doll in her hand dangled, her mother’s teared stained face distorted. The next few weeks passed in a flurry with comings and goings of men in suits or uniforms, women from the village or far off lands. Trunks, boxes, suitcases lined the hallways, her dresses packed away with her parents’ things.
Finally, one day, before the sun lifted its head from its pillow, she was nudged to lift hers and set it on her father’s shoulders. Her eyes half open, she saw the dim corridor behind them become longer and darker, as if a deep tunnel. She felt the lulling bounce with her father’s urgent steps and fell asleep. When she finally opened her eyes, bright light greeted her accompanied by a buzz of activity. Large groups of people walked or rushed across the shiny floor and some groups even sat huddled in chairs with their baggage around them as a fort. Anaya slithered down her father’s hold and sat on the cold floor rubbing her eyes.  Her mother took hold of her hand and led her toward another tunnel, but this one had light emanating through it. Anaya realized that she was boarding an airplane and her family was going away. She began to cry for her doll and miraculously it appeared in front of her from her mother’s handbag.
To be continued... 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Two Roads Diverged


Two roads diverged
I took the wrong one
Trudging on the uneven path
I pulled my weight along
Gps my sole guide
Lost, I found myself alone
One step at a time
I floated to the unknown
Unfolding with each turn
I learned I was not alone
Two shadows walked by my side
Holding up my form
A clear path lay ahead
Lined with roses and thorns
Holding tight their hands
Clutching my heart and soul
I ventured through this new way
Deeper into the world of lost
I swerved into strange new lands
My legs moving a tired ghost
Spying a dim, but flashing light
I picked up my pace and flow
I submitted to its beacon
to reach a call and goal
it was a light that burned bright
it was a beacon that lured all
it was an illusion that shines
to which on arrival we fall
I looked around me for the shadows
They stood as pillars, as before
My two strong shadows holding me
From a very long time ago
Light and beacon forgotten
I wanted none of that, no more
My two true spirits beside me
Brought my heart aglow
Two roads diverged
I took the wrong one, or I thought
Each path is laden
With roses and thorns
What matters is who’s beside you
There is no right or wrong.

 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness


Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Such beautiful words to live by and aspire to.

Life is a gift, granted without our consent. We are given this beautiful experience of being part of this world, on earth as an organic being. After we receive this beautiful present, it’s in our hands what we make of it. We can mold it into a memorable journey, build a beautiful legacy and live it to the fullest. Or we can live a life of delusion, disillusion, and desire to achieve nothing. A life unlived is a life wasted, as if it were spent behind an invisible fence, behind bars in captivity in absence of freedom.
 

Liberty allows us the freedom to be free, to choose to be who we are and what we seek to become. Liberty liberates us from our own soul, our inner inhibitions that control us with a tight fist, red knuckles and all. A free bird can soar high and achieve new heights. It allows love and beauty to flow freely from our hearts and soul that opens up the world toward being a peaceful place, harmonizes all beings and creates room for a life truly lived.

Happiness is not the ultimate as the evolutionary theory supports. It’s the pursuit of it that drives the human race forward. Our algorithm, our design stresses on desire and pursuit more than definitively achieving the ultimate goal, even if it is happiness. Day to day, year by year, we seek moments, things, people, places that provide us happiness, but it’s our journey towards that goal, that is the goal itself. We pursue and continue to chase even when we reach the end. The pursuit of happiness is happiness in itself and that is what builds and develops our journey in life.

Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is a good guideline for this journey we call life. The founding fathers of this great nation had great foresight to see these three simple words apply through the length and breadth of human history.

Monday, May 2, 2016

We Are Startdust!

We arrive alone and leave on our own. We are born, we live, and we die. After the time we enter this world and before we depart from it, a void exists with space that is empty. Our lives are compartmentalized, just like the skeletal layout of a new apartment building in mid-construction, we can see through only one square at a time, the vacant space within the square.

Looking closer into this space that we call empty, we can find a buzz of activity. There is movement within, in circular patterns forming a design we may call a crafted life, as if a spider weaving its web, or random darts of tiny beings in a flurry we may call the rat race, like dust specks in a disarray by the beam of a sunray.
Some prefer to carefully carve and structure their days, years, journey into equal parts, compartmentalizing each aspect so one may not cross the other. Professional connections remain at work while personal friends never meet colleagues. Ethnic friends don’t mix with neighborhood circle while girlfriends never meet husbands or guy friends are never introduced to wives. There is a pattern to the day to day activity with schedules, routines, daily objectives, life goals until their circle is complete. The ants march in a straight line in their structured form while bees design their intricate hives each following a grand plan, wishes of a higher power or merely their instinct.
Those running around as if chasing their tails dart through life or scurry along without aim, either hiding, hunting or to belong. They ride the wave with its high and low motion, towards or away from things, circular or in linear fashion, and then scatter in body, in mind, in spirit diverging to spaces away from our center.
Living by design or darting like the sperms blindly seeking an egg, structured or in a disarray, space and all life within it appears to be circular. From the egg to the chicken, there is no beginning or an end as the cycle continues endlessly, just as the rotating earth, the revolving moon, the rising and setting sun. But every circle has a center even as it endures its continuous motion with its constant whir of activity. That center is what the whirling dervishes seek as they find stillness in their motion and hope to unite the cells that make us, and the universe, whole. All space is full and empty, still and buzzing, timeless and transient.
It may not even be circular but infinity (∞), with waves of particles zip past within the figure eight, in a never-ending motion. We are in the universe and the universe is within us and we as human beings are simply zipping through life in this space-less, timeless, ethereal form. We are here to use this empty space to its fullest between our birth and death, and make every cell charged and dynamic, and sparkle like the stars we see at night. We are stardust after all!
 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Hungry Caterpillar

That elusive moment when entities in a reaction convert, the big transformation that may make us thinking that we are neither here nor there. Perhaps it’s that pinnacle moment that allows us to savor, take stock, and enjoy the view. Transitions are never easy and the only thing that helps us through it is perspective.

I used to think life is linear, you are born, you grow up, have a family, have a career, grow old, and life ends. On our memorials or tombstones we have our birth date to death date with a straight line between them. The dash in the middle is life, but now I know that it’s in no way straight. In fact, if it is linear for anyone, then it’s a life unlived.
The dash of life is fleeting as days turn into weeks into months, years, decades and even a century. Time takes over and adds twists, bends, climbs and descents with many alterations at each turn and major transfiguration at some points. Time is fleeting only when we keep moving with momentum to guide us, force to nudge us, inertia to stabilize us and without these, the lull stops all clocks and time drags through a sluggish path.
When we climb we may get sweaty or wrestle our way up, but we lean forward with each step to find that balance. The descent may be fast and furious for which we lean back to stay mindful. A soft bend or sudden turn puts us off balance and we lean sideways to center our core. Some call this laws of physics with force and inertia jerking us around, I call it our mettle, our ability to stay grounded by centering and focusing on our core. The push and pull, the tug up or down continues throughout the dash of life and we lean in or out, up or down, front or back to find our poise.
Transitions are hard, they are testy and if you transgress, lose the inertia during the sharp bends then the fall is hard and steep and even shattering.  Awareness allows a silkier ride, recognizing that change is growth, bends are new perspective, climbs are an opportunity to reach a peak, to savor a pinnacle moment.
Life’s undesirable or enigmatic events are not crisis, but transitions, transformations, opportunities for metamorphosis that allows the dash of our years in human form to have meaning and create a legacy.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Week Ago


Jazz, a week ago you were in my arms
Now you are in the grand cosmos.
Last week you were suffering
The pain for you is no more 

Pain in my heart persists
In life for me as it now exists
We brought your ashes home
But still, I feel so alone 

Watching from the rainbow bridge
You’re wagging down to us,
Happy with no more walks in rain
Relieved at no more pain 

I hear your snores at night
Or while cooking I think you might
Come around the corner to beg
For a morsel, a crumb, a slice of bread 

Jazz, a week ago we said goodbye
But why is it so hard to let you go?
Please give me your mighty might
To face this life’s hardest fight.

Friday, March 4, 2016

JAZZ Forever


Blossoms and chirps
tulips and blooms
ashes, dust and earth
‘tis the season for rebirth 

fragrant flowers arise
nothing will ever demise
from ashes, dust or earth
all rise, even from the hearth 

spring back into life he must
return in any form, or energy burst
we are connected in the beyond
in cosmos, ocean or any land 

this is not goodbye
it will never be
return to me he must
as raindrop or even a wind gust! 

our limited vision cannot see
he’ll always remain with me
a fragment, spark or speck
fused in my element forever and ever and ever... 
 
 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PastFuturePast


Run, run, run, far, far away
go, go, go, into the vast array
from day into night and back to the day
from past into future, like a relay 

darkness into the light
from day into the night
leave wholly all behind
come out or stay inside 

there is no wrong or right
whatever may be your plight
you can, yes you can run away
or head for a new way. 

motion is the answer
your resolve, you infer
you are what you make of yourself
you are what you break in the self 

be a squirrel and scurry
a tortoise in no hurry
move with or no direction
strive, laze, with or without perfection 

be still with no motion
meddlesome ego devoid of emotion
stillness offers peace and sole
or lonely life, in its final zone. 


be still or run onward
away from or something toward
there always be light,
and dark, and plight.
 
life is one big circle,
there is no wrong or right.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Impermanence - Conclusion


Once the feeling of pure and emptiness immersed into her being, she felt weightlessness. Her body elevated as she flew alongside a majestic egret, its rich white body with its wide wingspan gliding with her, guiding her above into the ether. A fleeting thought crossed Rosa’s mind, a confusion of whether her body or was it her soul that had taken flight. She looked below and saw the white hair woman sitting by the willow alone, her angelic smile pasted upward as she waved toward the sky. With another blink of her eye, the scene below transformed.
Rosa noticed the sun had disappeared as magically as it had appeared while the ground below morphed. She couldn’t quite see below the haze, like steam, moisture seemed to rise up from the ground. She spotted tips of trees and grayness of entrails that seems to project out from them. A slight shift in the wind and an opening revealed the scene below.
Dull water surrounded the terrain, vegetation rising from within and around it, high and low, vibrant green to murky gray. Cypresses stood firmly on solid ground, ancient in their stance, bent low with age toward the water as they dipped their hair in or extended their feet-like roots out for sustenance of that we call life. Alligators climbed up and around the roots to laze before diving back into the shallow depths of the nourishing swamp.
The egret guided her back down, to land at the feet of a primeval Cypress whose gray, leafless hair poured down on all sides. Rosa’s wingless, formless being burrowed against its trunk, her knees pulled up into her chest as she nestled in the web of tree hair. She saw the egret take flight, its regal form traversing the sky. The mighty Cypress bent a little lower, as if to better hear the whispered confusions that escaped Rosa’s lips. A wisp of her hair entangled with a tendril as she felt an unknown force enter her. All consciousness, emotions dissipated as if her Self never existed. Her formless form felt fluid, fused with the force and energy here and there and everywhere, a particle, an atom, many atoms, timeless in motion and still in concert. The unbeing of a being, the unsoul of Self, the unconscious of all that is perceived.
Pitter patter of rain continued its trickle outside the window as Rosa opened her half-closed eyes. Her lotus positioned body faced the white wall, her cheeks sticky and wet. She stood up slowly to face the far side of her room and looked at the picture by her bedside. Her baby, the beautiful black Labrador smiled back with an angelic smile from behind the frame.
 
The End
 



 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Impermanence - Part Two


Turning around, she saw solid wall formed by the ivy she had breached through, and as she tried to take a step toward her only exit, her feet remained glued to the stone ground. She turned to the child who smiled and gestured her toward the fountain. She took a step forward, her feet magically unglued, and moved further into the depth of the mysterious park. Each step she took felt like she was wading through soft ground covered in cloudy water, as if the ground could turn to quicksand and swallow her up. A scream rose silently through her throat as she felt slime snake around her toes, its weedy claws caressing her feet. She treaded through the murky softness guided by the light of her umbrella and paws of the little child who held her fingers. Just before reaching their destination, her feet landed on her fear, a puddle of quicksand which quickly swallowed her.
Rosa lay flat on her back, her nightmare running as a vivid motion picture, frame by frame behind closed eyelids. She hugged her body and slowly opened her eyes to find them staring into blinding sunlight. A warm hand touched her forehead and she turned her gaze towards the angelic face beside her. She blinked once and then again, to adjust the haze that had covered her eyes, and tried to bring the face to focus. Her nightmare or was it a pathway to this bizarre dream and she was still living it to visit this heavenly being. She let the gentle hands guide her up and walk to a bench under a weeping willow. Rosa touched the woman’s silky, white hair, caressed her soft, coffee skin and continued to stare shamelessly, unsure of everything. 
 

Kissed by the flowing, leafy hair of the willow, Rosa listened to the soft lull of the woman’s voice as she revealed the nature of things. Trickles from the fountain reached her ears, the exact one she had seen with the child or was it the puppy?  Just as a whisper of wind embraced her cheeks, bringing with it fragrances unknown, Rosa recognized that this was not heaven nor earth, not planet nor star, not dream nor reality. A form sat next to her in the image of a woman, but she felt merged into the illusion. The woman was there, with her angelic face, love in her smile, warmth in her embrace, a woman with no story or label, nor perceived connection. Rosa accepted with an open heart in this formless association. Nature of things as in that moment were just as is, with nothing but overwhelming love.
To Be Continued...