Saturday, December 29, 2012

MATE - Part Two

Simi kept a keen eye out for Pritam, her beloved while her fingers twirled around the bow on her purse.  The plan was to meet in the train, he had his ticket and she had hers and one whistle had already gone off, but he was nowhere in sight. Then, with a final whistle piercing through the station, the train carriage jerked as the engine made its first move to pull it out of its home.  She searched once more through her small window, within the bustle of the crowd on the long platform, her hand ready to wave him down to her location.

The train moved slowly before picking up speed finally leaving the station behind.   The view from her window changed to a staggered skyline of multi-story houses, laundry drying on lines on the terraces, transmission wires networking over neighborhoods to extend beyond their limits, children walking, running or playing close to the railway tracks. 

A deep sigh escaping her thin, rosy lips, Simi leaned back into her seat.  Noticing the figure crouched in front of her, she offered her name and proceeded to make conversation with a deluge of questions.  Ria looked up, gave a curt greeting before returning to the screen in front of her.  Unperturbed, Simi continued to chatter commenting on the scenes they passed outside.  From the chaotic landscape to the unattended children so close to the tracks, but Ria offered no response.

Simi finally took the hint and relaxed back to gaze outside at the world passing them by.  Concrete jungle became sparser until all she could see were lush green fields ripe for harvest.  Dots of bright colors appeared at intervals hunched over with scythes in hand.  She admired the hard labor these men and women in the fields endured to feed the nation.  Her life had been of luxury where delicacies magically appeared at the table or her special requests accommodated without pause.  It was Pritam who opened a whole new world for her and helped her realize how she took so much for granted.

Simi turned to Ria again and asked if she was reading a romance novel, receiving a nod and a “mhhmm” in response.  Cheerfully, she went on to share, “I used to read those all the time, until I began to live it in real life...”  Ria lowered her e-reader as Simi declared, “…until I met my soul mate.”   Ria closed the flap, and looked up with arched eyebrows at her cabin mate.

to be continued.....

Sunday, December 23, 2012

MATE - Part One

Ria’s one eye looked down at the tickets, the other up ahead down the corridor.  She squinted to read the numbers near and far, in her hand to match the ones on the cabin door.  With relief she slid the door, entered and set the bulk she carried down on the left berth.  Taking account of her duffle bag, backpack, a small suitcase and a laptop case, she carefully tucked them under the seat.  Extricating her e-reader from her oversize shoulder bag, she cuddled up in the corner, next to the window and soon was absorbed in a world of fantasy or was it a fantastic world?

Her head bobbed when her car pulled and tugged with a jerk as the engine connected.  She placed her feet up on her seat, knees drawn to her chest and relaxed her head back to read the words digitally appearing on her lap.  Cacophony of noise surrounded her as passengers looked for their cabins or seats, coolies harried to shed their loads, children screamed playfully or cried in fear with parents shouting at them to keep up.  A whistle resounded over the humdrum of the station as the train called all to attention.

Ria, oblivious to all activity around her virtually turned her electronic pages as she scanned words after lines after paragraphs.  Passengers boarded and settled in cabins adjoining hers or down the corridor, their chatter floating into her quiet abode.  Strangers introduced themselves all around her, inquiring of destinations, their missions, then divulging deeper into personal matters.  Before their parting each had learned of the other’s life story, their hopes and dreams coupled with all the miseries that befell them.  They had become lifelong friends but in their haste of pouring out intricate details of their lives, neither had bothered to exchange any contact details.  Strangers no more, parting as intimate friends, they remained strangers at last.

Ria ignored all the banter enjoying the recluse of her quiet cabin and the conversations in the fiction on her lap.  The door to her cabin slid open and a young girl breathlessly stepped in.  Ria gave a quick scan with a sideways glance at the new occupant before returning to the glow that radiated words from her lap.  The girl’s neatly braided hair had some escaped strands that flirted with her eyelashes.  Simply dressed in designer jeans that hugged her hips and red V-neck t-shirt that hugged her breasts, she sat down by the window, across from Ria.  Placing her medium sized red, white and blue kate spade bag on her lap, she leaned forward to look out through the bars of the window onto the platform, into the sea of people.  Her fingers fidgeted with the ostentatious red bow on her purse as her eyes darted back to front looking at both lengths of the station.
To be continued....

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Motion in Stillness

A gust of wind scooped her off her feet, swirled and twirled her up above the clouds, across the ocean, over the mountains, past the pristine fields of red roses in bloom before depositing her on soft sand in the middle of arid land.

She licked her lips and squinted out into an endless horizon.  Her disheveled hair blinded her partially as it clung to her sticky skin, slithering towards her openings into her ears, up her nostrils, through her clenched teeth.  She turned and looked towards a luminous sandy hill, her eyes peering from under the awning of her shaky hand.  Her body whirled in circles to find direction before collapsing in disillusion on the soft, brown, sandy carpet.

Another gust blew around her, lifting up the earthy grains as they danced in circles heading nowhere.  The rim of her flowing skirt rose to join the dance, but her fingers clutched to hold it down.  She looked up at the open, clear sky feeling the weight of gravity grounding her.  Vastness of the circular dome invited her to expand, beckoned her fidgety feet into its limitless expanse while keeping her rooted in its circular confines.

A princess in a glass globe, her world was perfect and perfectly encased.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wind in a Box


It was all mapped out for her – school, husband, children;
she followed, listened, obeyed, submitted, and then she was 50.
Children grown and gone, husband passed on
she found herself surrounded by white walls.   Her perfect
life, all mapped out, carefully planned, followed a straight line
and had the richness of clean and white.  She reveled in its comfort
and its security;
until one solitary evening, from the whiteness of her room
she looked out her white window and saw blue --
a beautiful blue sky hung high beyond her reach,
it invited her into its serenity, beckoned her to observe its hue
of deep solace, as blue as peace.
She sauntered up close
to the clean lined edges of her perfect window,
to leave behind all that was planned
to melt blindly into a new blue bliss….

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Shhh… listen to the absence of sound,

Cheerful birds are chirping
No more,
      they have flown away

rippling waters are gushing
no more,
      it stands still in river beds

still air is humid
no more,
      it hangs chilled and dry

falling leaves are rustling
no more,
      yet trees stand tall, bare naked

playful flurries are swift
no more,
      they linger for first snow

we linger and endure,
pause and wait,
      and listen to the sound of silence….

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Seasonal Surprise!

The master brushed her long black hair wrapping her in its darkness.  The moon disappeared behind the cloud taking away all light.

The first drop was on her nose, warm and refreshing followed by a downpour.  She listened to the rain and its rhythm as if it was the sound of a flute.  Its music rose high into the sky and flew back to her as a Frisbee.

Her hair stood flat dripping water from its ends as her coat shuddered under the wetness, gleaming in the rain.  She let out a neigh and snorted, “Ooh La! La!  The monsoons are here!”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Samata - Final

Months later with police report filed for the stabbing and the assault, cremation and rituals for the departed performed, Samata collected her tears, rounded up her children and head out to the city.   A friend had given her the contact for a social worker and Samata was determined to take the landlord’s son to court.
A short, petite woman with a straight spine and face as round as the moon, the social worker received the family graciously.  She listened to their narrative of the incident that led to murder done openly in front of witnesses.  But the accused were held in jail overnight and then released after a phone call from the landlord.  She listened to the numerous injustices as large scale as assaults and cheating them of their hard work and of prejudices seemingly minute as a separately designated water source.   Samata stressed that theirs was not an isolated event, or unique case in just her village.  Coming from a tribal village did not make her less human and her educated children deserved as much if not more respect than the landlords and overseers.
Her final plea to the social worker was that even though her husband was no more, she refused to shed anymore tears or mope over her loss.  She was illiterate and had put up with the discrimination, in fact was treated worse than even the beasts in the villager’s cowshed, but her children were literate, earned decent incomes, lived well, and read extensively.  It’s time that people like the landlord and his son learned that people from her caste were not helpless, literate or not, and refused to be continued to be victimized.
Staying true to her name, Samata called for equanimity, equability and equality where with composure and poise all humans are treated equally and the world is in balance.  She demanded justice.

The End

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Samata - Part Three

Time stood still as Samata’s husband began his fall to the ground, as if in slow motion.  His son ran to catch him before the crash, cradling his father’s head.  He removed his shirt and pressed it against the wound, watching the once white dirt-ridden fabric turn red instantly.  He looked up to see eyes peering down from the crowd, not an ounce of regret or compassion for the fallen man in them.  His one arm extended towards the standing men asking for help, but no one moved.

Carefully sliding his arms underneath his old man’s body, he scooped his frail body and carried him as if a sleeping baby.  His legs moved swiftly towards the police station a whole mile away, limping from bruises from the fight, tripping over puddles on the muddy path.  Fierce rays of the sun stung on his neck and bare back as rivulets of sweats dribbled down his spine.
At the police station, men in their khaki uniform and a worn down baton stood casually, chatting and shouting out orders for tea.  As they saw a young man carrying a body approach them through the wheat fields, all chatter stopped instantly.  Out of breath and barely able to hang on to his wounded father, the young man tried to explain the incident.  He was directed indoors to a seating area to wait for the head constable as the rest of the policemen stepped aside to avoid his shadow.

The clock on the wall ticked away crawling forward as a centipede, inch by inch, minute by minute.  The old man’s clothes were soaked with blood as his breathing became more laborious.  He murmured in his subconscious, delirious state calling out to his wife, Samata, his daughters, his sons, his parents, his grandparents moving further back to his forefathers.  He called for justice, for equality, for equanimity, for samata before taking his last breath.

To be continued.....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Samata - Part Two

The ground below Samata’s feet gave way as her 16 year old daughter fell into her arms.  The two crashed down together collecting droplets of each other’s tears while her daughter recounted the incident between heaves and sobs.  It was the landlord’s son and two others; the Sun behind her burned her body as they peeled off her sari; names reserved for her caste rang in her ears repeatedly, obscenely.

Samata’s husband was the first to come home and their son not long after.  Finding the women in their state and after a brief narration of the events, both men exploded in unison.  They grabbed long sticks and barged out, crossing the perimeter of their boundary by stepping into an area revered to be pure.  After polluting the village of the higher caste with merely their presence, father and son continued deeper towards a tea stall.  The three accused men sat on rickety wooden chairs celebrating their exploits with cheap homemade liquor.  Their glasses were full but three empty bottles sat discarded at the edge of the table.

Samata’s husband confronted the landlord’s son, stick in hand and fire in his eyes only to be reprimanded for contaminating the tea stall and the village by his presence.  His son came to stand by his father offering an equally fiery glare.  The largest of the three men stood up unsteadily and jabbed Samata’s son in the face, bruising his jaw.  His father brought his stick down on the monster, drawing blood from his forehead.  Soon the rickety chairs went flying crashing on sunburned backs.  Sticks met shoulders and knuckles made contact with eyes and ears.  In midst of the commotion no one saw the shiny metal the landlord’s son extricated from his pocket.  The jab was hard and deep just under Samata’s husband’s ribs.

To be continued….

Monday, October 29, 2012

Samata - Part One

Even her shadow could pollute the water.  Samata woke everyday while the stars still sparkled over the open fields and the moon smiled over her mud hut.  She walked 30 minutes to a designated well and as she returned with arms lugging two buckets full of water, the sun usually winked at her and welcomed her to a new day.  Each day she balanced the buckets and put one determined foot in front of another, welcoming the freshness of the earth, the clarity of the sky, the golden smile of the sun while her low caste followed her limply in the shadows.

She worked in the fields tilling, toiling, sowing or harvesting shoulder to shoulder with her husband and his family.  The overseers and the landowners ordered with obscenities, pushed her frail body to its limits and insulted their low status every hour, but she trudged with her veiled head and back bent low.  Her eyes focused on the task, reminding her soul of her humanity and dreaming of a golden future.

Illiterate and scorned, she woke everyday with renewed determination.  Saving every paisa from the fieldwork or even skipping meals she insisted her children attend school.  Months evolved to years, her bent back stayed low in pain, her thick dark hair boasted white strands as her children graduated first from school, then college until securing respectable office jobs.

Landlords in the field continued to discriminate with constant reminders of her low caste but she turned a deaf ear to them.  Her simple life continued until one day, her daughter ran into the hut with tear streaked red cheeks, bruises on her body and tears in her sari.

To be continued….

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Change is inevitable
Cycle of life

Change starts with a day
From sleep to awake
From night to day
From owl hoots to bird songs
Change starts with a life
From conception to birth
From youth to adult
From child to parent
Change starts with a generation
From notepads to laptops
From phones to internet
From community to self
Change begins with experiences
From innocence to wisdom
From student to citizen
From love to duty
Change begins with migration
From homeland to distant
From mixed cultures to divided nations
From submission to freedom
Change is inevitable
We won’t be humans
Falls won’t be colorful
Generations won’t progress
Transformations in our daily lives or lifetime
It’s elementary and essential.

No Title contributed by a friend

In your head to change your interpretation

To want, is it a set back for opportunity from mental freedom.

Are you really thirsty to drink the elixir that has been poured in a glass and sits peacefully at the table, while you wait

Deceived, gullible, parched

You remain, whilst under the carpet through the cracks of your broken mirrors and destroyed ties, all those perfectly placed lies, that sweat you dry

It drips

And still you sit cold restless

like a blank post card that waits to be mailed, you count minutes into shadows

Static time place thought

Everything lays soft under your feet waiting to be discovered

A HAIKU contributed by a friend

The lonely butterfly

Today, on my window wall

You see the world I see?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Heavenly Auto Ride - contributed by a friend

One moment is all it would have taken
And what was her would have to be carefully collected.
Where has that voice gone?
The radio is still on and drowning it maybe
And is she still clutching on to her dreams ...
Of her children finding happiness and peace
Of her home a garden of flowers, music, and togetherness
Of her love always beside her.
Did all her thoughts get scattered?
Like scrabble tiles waiting to be picked
L for life
S for soul
S for search
A Blank tile for what follows after...
The pain out there so intense and palpable
In her heart full of memories ...
Of lost loved ones
Memories never to be
Left behind with loved ones.
The color faded slowly
A rainbow of desires, attachments, expectations ...

And years and layers of experiences built as life
Just vanishing with the soul

Will the soul be able to carry the burden?
Or will it find a weightless peace?

And what about the auto-driver?


She sleeps soundly,
her eyelids soft and tender
open eyes alert and knowing.
She is innocent no more!

She speaks sparingly,
her lips shapely and delicate
moving mouth smart and mature.
She is child no more!

She skips seldomly,
her legs strong and long
determined steps dogged and decided.
She is naïve no more!

She loves wholeheartedly,
her heart large and solid
clear cause noble and selfless
She is fragile no more!

She dresses tastefully,
her clothes stylish and sophisticated
elegant form formidable and classy.
She is uncertain no more!

She appreciates flavors,
her taste cultured and complex
distinguished palate distinct and decisive.
She is whiner no more!

My baby’s all grown up,
my pride and remorse torturous
desire to hold on or let go.
She is bird in her nest no more!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Wind whispers in my ear….whirl

a chickadee calls…sing
an ant marches…reach
a butterfly flitters…fly

I look up to the sky.

Water swishes from my stream…steer

a frog croaks…click
a grasshopper leaps …reap
a bee buzzes…seize

I gaze into the horizon.

Snowflakes pirouette with a smile …dance

a red leaf falls …live
a cricket hops …hope
a squirrel scurries…stop

I look down to the ground.

The wind whispers in my ear…bliss
I close my eyes and breathe.

Monday, October 1, 2012

LOST - Final

The woman looked on as the man struggled to remove his gold band.  After a few minutes of watching him grapple, she raised a hand and dismissed him.  He stepped out onto empty streets, groping for a glimmer of light in his dark state.  His legs took him towards the tallest building as images began to appear in his head as in clips from an old movie - a scene from the beachside of two young children in the sand, with a beautiful woman with blue eyes watching over them.  Another clip from a different era, a bubbly young woman with round cheeks and laughing eyes in a gorgeous wedding dress beside him as he walked her down the aisle.

Lost in his memory flashes he did not see two policemen approach him with caution.  Before he realized, he found himself in the back of the police car.  At the station he sat on a hard bench running his hands through his thinning gray hair.  He noticed the digital clock on a desk flip over to 2am, 3am and an hour after that he was escorted to a small room.  As he sat in an uncomfortable chair behind a squeaky table, a tall officer began his barrage of questions.   But he had no answers to give.  Sweat ran down his temples in the tiny stuffy room intermingling with his desperate tears.  His left knee shook uncontrollably while he tried to steady himself by setting his elbows on the table.  He shook his head and repeatedly asked for his wife until his head collapsed down into his hands.

After a few silent moments with just the rustle of papers the officer leafed through, he asked the man to remove the gold band from his finger.  The man looked up confused , then threw his hand in the air and stood up.  He tried to oblige but, just as before, the ring refused to slip out.  Several minutes passed as the policeman left the room and returned with a bottle of petroleum jelly.  With greasy hands, the ring slipped out easily and the officer examined it, finding the initials of the man reported missing.

As a new day began with the radiant sunlight bathing the city with its warmth, the man stepped out into the light.  He stood on top of the stairs and watched a woman with blue eyes climb up with speed.  He opened his arms and she fell into them as his head buried in her white hair.  With muffled cries he exclaimed, “Lost no more”.

The End

Sunday, September 23, 2012

LOST - Part Three

The farmer came up behind his wife and extended his hand in welcome.  He offered the man lodgings and food in exchange of some arduous task of stacking hay.  The man agreed and followed the couple indoors for a meal of eggs, bacon and freshly baked bread, and finally a clean bed.  Several days of rest, work and healthy wholesome meals later, the farmer offered to give the man a ride into town he was heading to for his weekly visit.  The man agreed and hopped into the passenger side of the rusty red pickup.

The drive was pleasant with a cool breeze blowing through the opened windows.  He observed rolling fields as if covered with vibrant green wall to wall carpeting with an occasional island of muddy brown, silos and farmhouses.  Specks of chocolate brown roamed in the greens, alternating between tall, magnificent horses and stout, stubby cows.  Wild flowers lined the road on both sides smiling their violet, lavender purples or sunny yellows.

In the town, the man went to sit in a deli while the farmer took care of business.  A young, girl with flushing, chubby cheeks and a face that appeared to be always jubilant appeared before him to take his order.  He smiled at her, accepted the coffee she poured and instantly disappeared into thought.  A familiar feeling rose within him but he could not recognize it.  That face, that smile, those bubbly eyes triggered something in him and he felt restless.  Suddenly, a name popped in his head, Heather but that was not his servers name either.  He retreated deeper within and tried to recall Heather repeating it over and over in his head.

Frustrated, he walked out of the deli, slamming the only bill he had in his pocket on the counter, his coffee left untouched.  He walked the main street and soon found himself in front of a shop window that displayed bridal gowns.  An image of a woman with white hair and smiling blue eyes, surrounded by exquisite gowns appeared in front of him.  First time since his predicament, tears started to well up around his eyes.  Above the shop he imagined he saw towers, lots of them looming over in the horizon.  A whiff of ocean air reached him even though he was hundreds of miles inland.

Seeing a bus depot, he got on a bus heading east.  Nobody noticed him and he found a comfortable seat in the back by the window.  The motion lulled him into a troubled slumber as the setting sun behind him began to gradually wrap the fields into a shawl of darkness.  His bleary eyes opened to the bright lights of a rumbling city where he got off the bus and walked aimlessly.  The rumble in his stomach became louder so he walked into a 24-hour restaurant.  An omelet and several cups of coffee later, he proceeded to walk out but was stopped at the door by a woman with a name tag on her dress.  The man looked down in embarrassment, at a loss of how to pay for the meal and proceeded to offer the only thing he had on him of value.

To be continued…….

Saturday, September 15, 2012

LOST - Part Two

As the sun rose to the sky radiating its brilliance on the vast land, the man spotted a narrow path on the side of the road.  Tired, hungry and confused, he chose to take the dirt path.  Within a mile, hidden behind an aged oak, he found a humble farmhouse.  Climbing up to its porch he knocked on the door, but received no response.  Peeking through the dusty windows he saw dishes in the kitchen sink, a jug of milk on the table and a chair pushed back.  He walked to the sides and back of the house, past the cackling chicken coop, following the stench of a pig sty, stepping into something wet and soppy where he was surprised to hear a profanity escape his lips.

Before he could figure out how to get the stinky slush off his shoe, a dog bark reached his ears.  He looked up towards the sound and saw a big, hairy mutt come his way.  Unsure whether to run or hide, he stood frozen in his mucky shoes.  The dog stopped in front of him and proceeded to sniff him up and down, his long, matted hair covering his eyes completely while his tail sat limp, unsure whether to wag or rise up in assault mode.

A woman soon appeared carrying a basket on her arm.  Her dark blond hair was tightly pulled back into a bun showing off her wide, stern forehead.  He noticed an ample bosom hidden under a homemade dress with tiny white flowers and something dark that he wasn’t sure if it was a design or dirt.  At first, she stepped forward with caution and then a wide smile lit up her round face like the moon.

For a moment they stood staring until the dog began to bark again.  He looked down at the creature and then at her, slowly taking a step back.  He began with apologies, rambling about hunger and fatigue, the long road and the narrow path, darkness and light, fuzziness and clarity until finally he blurted, “I don’t know who I am.”

To be continued….

Sunday, September 9, 2012

LOST - Part One

A sliver of light split the earth from the sky gradually expanding its brilliance.  Darkness around it receded, allowing colors to seep in.  A man in a ditch by the side of the lonely road opened one eye.  Surrounded by faded darkness he touched the earth around him feeling the wet sticky mud cool his fingers or sharp blades of grass poking his tender skin.    As he tried to stand, his hand brushed against something soft and in the soft glow, a bright yellow weed glared at him.

He brushed his pants and sleeves and climbed up to the side of the road.  His silver hair shone in the emerging light while a salt and pepper shadow appeared on his face.  He raised his left arm and scratched his head turning it from one side of the long road to the other.  He looked back down into the ditch and tried to recall how he had landed in it.  His head felt light and foggy at the same time, the past and future missing from its memory zone.

Crossing the road he felt the movement of his body comfortable, feeling fit and hungry.  He sat on the side watching for a vehicle.  In just a few moments he saw two small headlights heading his way coming away from the breaking horizon.  He stood up on the roadside and waved his long arms over his head, around his body, all over slicing through the cool air.  The car closed in on him, began to slow and just before approaching his spot, swerved away from him, sped up and was gone.  He stood in the middle of the road watching one tiny red light flicker in its tail before disappearing into darkness.

 The man stared after the vanished car, frozen in his big feet.   His arms hung helplessly on his sides as he switched his weight from one leg to another.  Running his fingers through his receded hairline, he paced back and forth.  His forefingers probed his temples pressing harder to recall everything, anything.  At long last he raised his head, looked up towards the gradual illumination that had started to radiate through the sky and the earth.  He looked towards the light and began to walk towards it.

To be continued……..

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Openings - Final

One of Sira’s teachers noticed the change in this strong-minded little girl.  Her two dresses had seams beginning to open and her frail body disappeared in the clothes.  The twinkle in her eyes whenever she learned something new was beginning to fade.  The teacher consulted with the school counselor and together they found resources to help in various ways.  A social worker visited their home and finding the father sober, brought to light how their situation was affecting their daughter.  The social worker acquainted him with the concept of workers compensation, food assistance, rehabilitation, and various other programs available to hardworking families like them.

Under the watchful eye of her teacher, Sira’s twinkle slowly began to return and she absorbed all that was around her with renewed determination.  Familiarizing herself with the new systems, memorizing facts, developing awareness of her place in the world, developing friendships with like-minded peers, she became motivated to seek opportunities.  Her determination to build a life that would be unlike her parents’, a life where she will outshine once again, Sira persevered.

Scoring a goal in the dusty soccer field of her home country, outperforming the boys of her neighborhood had just been the beginning of what Sira was capable of accomplishing.  Circumstances or changes never held her back, in fact propelled her ahead with even more determination.  Walking down the aisle to receive her college degree many years later, she looked around her peers and stood tall among them.  From the stage she looked out towards her proud parents, who had shown her the way to opportunities and perseverance and thanked the teachers and counselors who had guided her towards the path of independence.



Monday, August 27, 2012

Openings - Part Three

Her friends at school were of a variety of backgrounds who introduced her to pop music, other ethnic foods, colorful sugary drinks that her family could not afford to purchase.  She watched some of them smoke or swallow colorful pills after which, they acted goofy.  Sira began to converse in her new language and sampled some of the exotic things offered to her.  Her gut directed her to focus elsewhere, strive to be the star she was on the neighborhood soccer field back in her home country, to outshine the weak, and move forward.  She concluded that having a command on English will be her ticket to move forward.

She asked her English teacher for extra work and during her long lonely evenings at home, she practiced to perfect her new language.  In just a matter of two years, she was promoted to the mainstream class for her age with her parents completely unaware of her achievement.  Around the same time that she received this great news at school, her family suffered an even more devastating blow.  Her father lost one leg due to an accident on the construction site.

Staying home in frustration and pain, Sira’s father became depressed.  His friends brought him alcohol to cheer him up and before long the bottle became his new best friend.  Sira’s mother took up an additional job and her total income was just enough to pay the rent.  Food and new clothes became a luxury.  Sira spent longer days in the company of her alcoholic father who became verbally abusive over time.  Her mother was either absent or tired and they all were always hungry.  Sira began to eat only half of her lunch from the school lunch program, her only meal of the day, and brought the rest home for her parents.  The family found they were in a situation worse than before coming to America.

To be continued………

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Openings - Part Two

Sira had never sat anywhere but the floor.  The yellowish sofa in her new grandmother’s apartment felt soft on her tiny bottom.   She bounced her body and heard springy sounds coming from under her.  Soles of her feet glided on the rough weaves of the dark green carpet.  She noticed a large stain in front of her where the threads had hardened.  In the corner of the room was a square box that had colorful moving pictures in it and funny sounds came from it.  Sira’s eyes stayed glued to this new magical box and she was hooked.  She didn’t notice over several weeks when her parents left, when they returned and danced jubilantly in turn when each had found a job.  Within months Sira left her new chubby jovial grandmother to move into a new apartment her parents secured.

The first time Sira stepped onto the school yard, her eyes grew wider and wider as she took in all the playground equipment, basketball hoop, swings and slides, clean and paved open space to run around in.  She sat in the classroom on a chair attached to a desk and admired the beautiful clothes on all the children around her unaware, that she was causing discomfort to them with her stares that were held too long.  Her grandmother and aunt had given her two new dresses and Sira wore them with extra care.  She sat carefully and deliberately to avoid any wrinkles and controlled her strong urge to play on the swings to avoid it from getting dirty.  When teachers came into the classroom one by one to teach their respective subjects, she regarded them with awe.  She carefully watched their mouths move not understanding a word that came out them.

Over the next few days and weeks, Sira found friends who could speak her language.  They introduced her to new words in English which she soaked up thirstily for more.  She went home excited to share her new words only to be greeted with disappointment of facing an empty home.  Her mother worked the evening shift at a hotel while her father worked at a construction site during the day and in an ethnic restaurant at night.  Sira celebrated her 11th birthday in her lonely apartment after school over a slice of stale bread.  Grandmother had promised to stop by but never showed up.  Sira turned on the magic box and watched an animated cat chase a mouse around, momentarily forgetting her loneliness.

 To be continued………

Monday, August 13, 2012

Openings - Part One

The ball touched her foot, spun in the air appearing to be suspended in space as if a planet.  It continued its momentum towards its target landing right in the top corner inside the goal post.  Through the haze of dust rising from her feet she saw her teammates jump up in joy.  Sounds of cheer and boos made way into her ears.  Sira had once again helped the boys of her zone beat the boys of the neighboring settlement.  Smiling she pushed away her short scraggly hair from her face and looked at her dusty feet with darkened toenails.  Running a quick hand over her nose and wiping it off the seat of her scruffy, discolored dress, she waved to the boys and headed home.

Sira heard her grandmother’s voice reach her ears before turning the corner.  Sitting on the ground outside, grandma had her daily collection from the garbage dump in front of her.  As she sifted through it for the more worthy finds from the rest, her words flew in the air as staccato notes spewing out in quick succession.  Sira’s mother sat quietly in her corner washing the meager dishes in blackish water.  Spotting Sira, the older woman pleaded for the granddaughter to fight her battle, to beg the mother to not take this old woman’s son so far way.

Sira looked from wrinkled face to a stern one trying to comprehend.  Her mother stood up, dishes cleaned as much as was possible, and walked indoors into their one room shack.  Sira followed quietly towards the far corner, away from her uncle’s and his family’s side.  She tugged on her mother’s rags that attempted to cover her body and asked what grandmother was talking about.  Her mother explained that the three of them, Sira and her parents were going to America.  Her other grandmother had arranged for a green card and they were to leave the next day.  The journey will be long, by land, by boat and then by land again and Sira had to be on her best behavior.  No, she could not take her cousins or other relatives or friends with her but she had more relatives and cousins in America, her mother’s side of the family.

To Be Continued......

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SOULMATE - Conclusion

I confronted my mother as soon as the door was shut and all she did was glance towards my father and burst into tears. The ride was short and soon we found ourselves in my apartment. I had asked Divya to bring her family there before we head out for dinner but they hadn’t arrived yet. I confronted my mom again and she stared down at her shoes, moving one foot from one side to another. An unfamiliar feeling, an emotion I rarely felt surged within me. I clenched my fists and gritted my teeth, the shimmer of my lip gloss almost non-existent by now. The evening had been perfect with the combined show, its success beyond my comprehension, our families by our side and above all, our joint muses fused and integrated in art just as I felt our lives were. I had even ventured out of my comfort zone and adorned a flowing skirt, surprisingly feeling at ease. I was still confused, however by the connection, as if our souls were linked. We had talked about it and she had felt the same confusion, connection, the draw as if we were joined from a past life. Remembering the coincidences of our birthdates and years, I turned to my mother with eyes wide open, my eyeliner making them look larger.

My mother mumbled her confession changing my world forever. Yes, it was true, Divya’s father was my real father, no Divya was not my twin but half-sister, and yes, and my mother had run away from my father when she learned he already had a family in his own country. No, he did not know of my existence and yes the man she married, the one I called dad knew I was not his but loved me nonetheless. I stared, absorbed, tried to remember how to breathe as I pushed my mother away. The buzzer interrupted my breakdown reminding me that my father, real father and my very own sister, the one I was naturally drawn to, the one who was always connected to me through our souls, they were all downstairs waiting to be invited into my apartment, into my life.

I blinked away the surge that had begun to well up in my eyes, took in a few deep breaths, and walked to the buzzer in the tall heels I still had on. A few minutes later I was opening the door to let my new family in, my heart swelling and my eyes sparkling.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

SOULMATE - Part Three

We met regularly at all hours of the day consulting each other, working side by side in each other’s studio. Our bond grew as with twins who could not stay apart, as if we were incomplete without the other. Many shows came and went, leaves bloomed and fell several times over and our friendship grew. Her parents flew in for one of her shows and mine for another, each accepting the other as a new family member. As our names skirted the world, our art travelled across the ocean beckoning us to follow, we found our wings and flew to galleries over the continents. Our time together became scarcer, our inspiration ebbed, our creations reduced.

In an effort to revive, we decided a joint show in our own city that was home to both of us now. We worked long hours in our corners in the shared studio, convened for meals or snacks at odd hours, critiqued and helped move creations forward warding off any artist blocks. Our best work on display side by side night before the opening, the gallery gleamed just as our eyes. Her parents arrived first, took their time to get over the jet lag and were fresh for the evening. My parents were delayed and made it in time just after the opening.

Busy with guests, fans, investors, Divya and I left our parents to their own devices. They mingled, walked the hallways, contemplated our artwork and we did not see them. The evening came to an end; we assembled in the lobby encircled by fellow artists and admirers. My mother patted me on the shoulder and pulled me aside begging to be excused for the evening. Confused, I inquired why but she shook her head, flustered and pleaded that she just could not face him. I asked who and she shook her head again and walked away. Avoiding a scene I followed her quietly, whispering my queries. I reminded her that she hadn’t been introduced to Divya’s parents yet and she and I had made plans for dinner together with the two families. This upset her more and she repeated no several times. Frustrated, I told her I was going to get my answers from dad to which she leaped and grabbed my arm and held me there. I could feel stares on my back from the crowd, so I put an arm around mom’s shoulder and tried to comfort her. We slowly walked back to the crowd as she kept her head down.

If she had been trying discretion, she had succeeded in doing the opposite. Everybody looked up with inquiring eyes but polite smiles. The only look I noticed that was different, that of shock was from Divya’s father. I signaled my friend to distract the crowd, move them away and wrap up the evening. With the help of our agents, the crowd dissipated and our two families discretely left the gallery, in separate cabs.

To Be Continued.....

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The next day, late in the afternoon I walked into the coffee shop that had once been a train depot. It was close to Divya’s apartment and easy for her to find. Our coffee turned into dinner as neither wanted to leave the other’s company. She was new in town lost in a big city while I was equally lost despite having lived here for over a decade. My collection of friends was few and seasonal as I preferred the company of my paintbrush, the palette, and the canvases. Something in her look and simplicity that kept me entranced preferring for the first time company of another person than my painting tools. She was new to the artist circle, new to the city and even the country, and unsteady in her new found big shoes. Her show had been a grand success and for some reason she had reached out to me for guidance. Over the course of the evening we learned that we shared a birthday and even the year of our birth across the continent. As like mine, her talent had directed her life since early childhood, driven her beyond the norm and ruled her above all. Her inspiration, like mine came from simple details in life but if we were not creating we were not alive, there was no life.

Later that night I sat in my room and pondered the events of the past days. I had ordered coffee, she had tea, I lived in my jeans and t-shirt while she wore long flowing skirts, and I preferred my sparkling water while she confessed to enjoying her wine with dinner. What had driven two people towards each other who had nothing in common other than their love for creating massive pieces of art? Why had she reached out so suddenly and why was I drawn? I walked over to my canvases and started to dab a kaleidoscope of colors with my soft brush, the wooden handle of the back of the brush, my blunt knife and various other tools. An hour later I stood back, examined my handy work, and found myself staring into an obscure but familiar face enveloped in emerald green.

To Be Continued.....

Monday, July 16, 2012


She was dressed in a sari the first time I saw her. An emerald green silk draped neatly across her left shoulder, its scarf flowing gracefully behind her. She glided from room to room, champagne glass in hand, rosy lips spread wide into a smile, and short dark hair accentuating her bare back. My agent patted my shoulder and I lost her to the crowd. Several introductions, multitude of small talk, and many polite laughs later I walked to refresh my glass courted by a handsome young aspiring artist. My eyes scanned the room while making sure to nod and smile at appropriate comments and compliments.

My first big show a fabulous success, I allowed a skip or two as I slipped out of the gallery towards the restroom. A voice stopped me followed by a breathless greeting escaping rosy lips. Emerald green had been enamored with my artwork, impressed with the composition and technique and awed at the size of my canvases. She spoke perceptively of details unnoticed by even some of the masters present at the show. Melting in flattery and impressed with her depth, I inquired if she were an artist. She nodded and removed a hand from within the folds of her sari. In it she held a colorful postcard which she handed out to me. I took it, studied it and smiled back at her promising to be present. Half of the postcard featured an exquisite, elongated vase in vibrant earthy hues. The other half had a time and place, for a debut exhibition featuring pottery and other earthenware by an up and coming artist, Divya.

Back in my lonely apartment, city lights flashing intermittently through my windows, sirens blaring 40 stories below, I sat in darkness. Through closed eyelids I travelled back into the gallery walking from room to room. I did not see the massive paintings on the walls that were my babies. Nor did I notice the vivid hues or the striking slashes with contrasting paints. Most of the work sold that night which made my agent happy. Even in this state of dream my eyes sought emerald green, Divya. Something unexplained connected us, her manner of speaking or the way she carried herself with a straight back and head held high, or the fact she was a fellow artist.

A week later we met again, at her show. She looked as glamorous as our previous meeting, in midnight blue silk dress. A diamond shone from her nose, perhaps it was there before too I could not recall, matching her earrings. I walked through the exhibition fascinated by massiveness of her vases with their interesting structure, delightful shapes and unconventional forms. Earthy tones grounded the pots that stood tall and sturdy. After congratulating her on her success, I stood awkwardly, glass of sparkling water in hand. She smiled warmly, thanked me for coming and proceeded to introduce me to her agent and other acquaintances in her circle. After polite minutes, I started my farewell when she put a hand on my arm, leaned closer and asked if we could meet for coffee.

To Be Continued.....