Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Beginnings

A rumble grew from the depth of the mountain belly and echoed through the forest.  Luminous water streaming down the mountain absorbed the rumble and carried it fluidly down to be immersed into the ocean.  The excursion was short and sweet as the echo skated over river rocks that had been smoothed to perfection over centuries of flow.  Journey of each element lucid, as energies mingled to offer allegiance to the salty air, reverberating lyrically, like a song rising high into blueness of the sky.

Music resounded in the forest where the hibiscus and orchids smiled, as butterflies danced around them and the Mocking birds chanted from a high branch.  It rang in ears of the frogs who croaked to the lizards, which slithered down to the army ants who marched it to the houses on the edge of the forest. The inhabitants on the coast absorbed the melody, before letting it immerse in the ocean to be soaked in with the sea creatures.  People danced on the soft sand and sang, with pride over their land and arrogance over their abundance, as they created more energy.  Charges ignited in the air that even the thunder gods began to pay attention.  Soft, white clouds shoved aside, darkness began to surround as rain-laden clouds hung over the island.
All creatures looked above and humbled, retreated to the sanctity of their abodes.  A torrent fell to the earth, cleansing the spirits, making way for fresh air and new beginnings.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Samsara - Conclusion

The bell chimed overhead as she walked in through the front door.  Heads buried in books all around, looked up to glare at a disheveled bag of bones enter the store.  The owner stepped up, shielding the distraught figure from stabbing eyes.  He guided her to the back room, sat her down on a chair, not far from the door she usually entered through.

She related her dilemma, between heaves and sobs.  He listened, offered his handkerchief and a glass of water.  He then reached out and put a strong hand over her head.

Soon she had a roof over her head, clean clothes and a full stomach.  Continuing odd jobs at the store, including shelving and other clerical tasks, she started school.  Every spare minute she spent in the aisles, her nose buried in history or classics.  Her benefactor mentored her through the intricacies of life, helping her grow until the day came when she headed out to college with her mentor’s help and blessings.

While her visions of the farm buried deeper within her, memories of her parents tucked in a special corner of her heart, prominent in her mind remained her gratitude to her mentor.  So it was not a surprise when she blew away a semester in her effort to be by his side in his time of need.  Her vision became blurred and her own life stood still the day she learned of his illness.  Last stages of cancer and no treatment recommended, she stood by his side, holding his hand for he had no one else.

With his last breath he made her promise.  Keep the vision alive! He pleaded.  As her tears escaped and flowed endlessly, her vision grew less blurred and she saw clearly at a future he had envisioned.

Armed with a degree and a bookstore to keep afloat, she blossomed over the years.  Three decades later, a familiar girl walked into the store.  Her cheeks sucked in, twinkle lost in her eyes she walked up to the counter to request a book.  A book she could not afford but needed to buy for her younger sister to stay in school.  Now a store owner, she gave the book for free and took the sisters under her wing…

Samsara – life is a full circle and our connections are beyond the earthly existence. The flow of our journeys is fluid and constant, ever evolving and revolving.

Friday, December 13, 2013

SAMSARA - Part One

She was alone in this world.  Not a soul to call her own.

Her parents had been farmers in their home country.  They toiled the soil with their young hands and worked hard until their stomachs growled louder and muscles throbbed longer.

Their own family perished in the famine.  Left alone on soil that won’t breed anymore they looked to the new world.  Their work-weary hands clutched together as they landed in their land of dreams, their eyes full of hope.

From shops to warehouses to factories, each family member labored day and night.  Three shared a closet in a crowded house in a bustling city.  Large chunk of their wages landed in their landlord’s pockets while they survived on bread alone.  Occasional dips in soupy broth added further nourishment.

First it was mother and her weakened lungs.  The dust on the factory consumed her until she could breathe no more.

Barely a year after her passing, father fell 20 feet.  The fall did not break him and he stood tall and strong.  The open wound from the fall went untreated.  First there was fever and shivers, then the seizures and the gibberish.  He spoke of mansions full of servants, bejeweled princess in her prettiest gown and a grand wedding with a charming prince.  They said he was delirious and it was his time.  She cried all night, with only her thread bare dress to wipe her tears.

She found herself alone on a footpath.  Caring hands over her head were all gone.  Roof over her head was taken away.  Through blurred vision she scanned the streets and blindly walked to the tiny store where she cleaned.

To Be Continued 

Thursday, December 5, 2013


The light shines up above
over and beyond
is it this world
in another realm?

A beacon of love
perfect but yon’
where I must be
in eternal glee

light shines encompassing all
hiding out all darkness
fluidly, lucidly,
placid, and oh so lovingly

my consciousness rises
to see beyond its veil
is it the metaphysical?
but oh so lyrical...

I have a need to be
floating in eternal bliss,
with no judgment or fear
feeling the presence of all those dear

connections remain
over many lifetimes,
in absence of death
or any kind of dread

time is a vacuum
in this open space
past, present, future,
peacefully azure

love flows like a river
with no direction,
beginning, or an end,
ever-present at every bend

a place that just IS
where I just BE
a place of LOVE
in the realm above.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DOORS - A Refreshing Retort by my dear friend Abha Bhow

Doors open ...
To welcome-in the unsuspecting visitor
May it be a fresh gust of wind
Or the envelope which traversed borders
Or the neighborhood warmth & cheer.
One sometimes
Opens doors ...
To see what's within
And to step into another world
Or another's world.
Doors hide and reveal
Shut out and Welcome in
Shield and Yield
Doors are just like our minds
They do what we intend them to!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Behind closed doors
no one knows
love, cheer, laughter,
tears, fear, disaster.

An epic façade
shutting the world out
today or yesteryears,
confining joys and fears.

A grand, double door
of forgotten pasts
with ancient carvings,
layered in pigeon droppings.

A simple, single door
handle to adorn,
name plate alone,
bidding to humble abode.

Bold red door
welcoming with dread
of charming design,
with all curves aligned.

Doors are the face
put up for the world
what goes on inside,
world is not apprised.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Dawn of life springs forward
Vibrant with energy and color,
Summer of existence moves along
With maturity and willpower,
Changes in color and shade fall
As grays collide with last dance,
Dreary days arrive with snow
As the winter of life winds down.

Dawn is a new beginning
With color and energy plenteous,
Lazy days in heat and sunshine
Secure with feeling alive,
Dead leaves end a cycle
To fuse with earthen souls,
Wintery cold buries the old
And makes way clean and fresh.

Cycles of season
Phases of the soul,
Without all of its parts
Nothing ever is whole.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bee In My Tea

I sit down for a breeze
With a hot cup of tea
I lounge back to read
And find a bee in my tea

The poor thing has drowned
Floating up and around
I pick the cup with a frown
To tumble the tea down

Returning with a fresh cup
Hoping no more disrupt
I admire the buttercup
As I stir the tea up

A cardinal whistles a song
As a goldfinch flutters along
Squirrels and rabbits strut strong
As if nothing is wrong

The scene is serene
Sunny and cool breeze
I sit back and read
And sip my no bee tea.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sheela Ki Jawani - Conclusion

The next day at the office her boss called her in and offered her an assignment overseas.  Excited and nervous of the opportunity she promised to let him know of her decision soon.  Convincing herself to move so far away from her childhood home and her family would be the first step, harder would be to take her parents’ permission.
At dinner that evening, the discussion became heated.  While they were trying very hard to tie her down to a home with a family of her own, she was proposing the complete opposite.  Her biological clock was ticking, they reminded her and she will be lonely and vulnerable without a man by her side.  She listened to their reason and offered a few of her own.  She had no desire to “settle down” and did not need to be married to find happiness or fulfillment or to live even.
With much tears and scowls, her family bid her goodbye as she relocated to start her new life away from them.  She woke in her new home, far away to the overwhelming sound of silence.  The absence of the chimes of temple bells and call for prayers in the early mornings sank her heart.  She grabbed a bite to eat every evening surrounded by empty chairs in her studio apartment and as the weeks turned to months, she abandoned the idea of dining at home.  Every evening after a long and fulfilling day at work, she took herself to a cozy café close to her home.  There she enjoyed a meal surrounded by ambient sounds of fellow patrons, the lull of quiet conversations in different booths, the cling of silverware, the shouts of orders from servers to the kitchen.  Gradually, she began to feel less homesick and looked forward to her evenings, eager to observe yet another scene unfolding at a table or overhear a conversation at a booth close to hers.
One day she discovered that she was the object of observation.  A young man sat at a table not far from her designated booth, his eyes half on the newspaper he held and half on her.  When his coffee came, he picked it up and sauntered to her table.  With a smile he asked if can join her.  Mesmerized by his sparkling eyes, she nodded and he slipped into the seat across from her.  Apparently, he had started to come to the café regularly a few weeks ago during his visit to the city on business, which had become weekly trips.  He had begun to notice her come in every evening, sit in the same booth and what caught his attention was the loneliness in her eyes.  He had been trying to muster enough courage to come to her for several days, give her company, and perhaps share a meal.  He understood how she felt, he came from a large family and meal times were special together.
Sheela found a friend in the big city to dine with everyday who over time became more.  His assignment became longer and trips to the city more frequent until, eventually he was permanently transferred to the city.  Soon they began to eat together at home, taking turns to host and friendship evolved into love.  Time came for Sheela to return home to her parents for a visit, and with much anxiety she flew back alone.  She knew the pressure was coming and they had a binder full of men for her to peruse.
Hardly having arrived home from the airport, her mother started the age old topic.  Sheela rolled her eyes as if she were a teenager again, hurt that no one seemed interested in her success at work, her new lifestyle in the new land, friendships she had formed.  Frustrated and perhaps her heart coaxed her also, she informed them of her special friend.  Immediately, details were demanded, background needed to be checked, his family needed to be met, and before Sheela saw a wave gushing towards her, she was riding it, and surfing it even with an acrobatic standard balancing act.
The engagement party was grand and groom-less.  Family members strutted about with smiles that extended ear to ear.  She played the role of blushing bride-to-be and returned to her city complete.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Sheela Ki Jawani (Sheela's Youth) - Part One

Sheela woke early to the sound of temple bells.  The post-dawn kirten chants had started concurrently with the call of the prayer from the nearby mosque.  Call of thanks to the Guru rose from the Gurudwara, Sikh temple that competed with the church bells resounding down the street.
Sheela had lived all her 25 years of life at the crossroads where four religions converged.  Each chime, every chant, distinct calls of well-practiced vocal chords enveloped her as she sipped tea in her comfortable abode.  She never visited any of these houses of worship, but offered thanks to each one from her childhood home.  Her gratitude extended from being blessed with a loving family of her parents, grandmother, and older sister to a fulfilling career in a multinational investment firm.
Her day started serenely as it crescendoed from the peaceful chants to the rushed traffic, onto assisting very needy, high net worth customers, rising to a climax at dinner with the family.  Daily, the old recorded sound, like a needle stuck in a spot on the gramophone, her parents and grandmother discussed possible prospects.  Occasionally, her married sister visiting for the evening chimed in her suggestions of eligible matches from her own sasural, in-laws family.  Sheela covered her ears and let the music play itself out until it got tired and died down.
One evening, Sheela returned home, kicked her heels at the doorstep and padded in barefoot.  The white marble floor felt cool to her soles and she proceeded to shed her blue suit jacket, unveiling a white silk shirt.  Hearing voices from the sitting room, she walked into greet her family.  In there she found them entertaining guests over tea and samosas.  An elderly couple sat across from her parents while her sister sat next to a handsome young man, engrossed in conversation.  Her mother spotted Sheela and motioned her to join them.  She padded her bare feet across the room and slipped next to her mother.  Respectfully, she greeted the elders introduced to her and flashed a smile to the young man.  He smiled back as everyone in the room watched them both closely.
Conversations resumed among the group as Sheela sat quietly.  After a few moments of raveling and unraveling her fingers, she excused herself and left the sitting room.  As she walked down the corridor toward her bedroom, she heard footsteps behind her.  She turned and saw the young man approach her and behind him her sister stood smiling just before she disappeared.
His hair combed off to the side, she noticed traces of gray around the edges.  His smile seen in the tube-light of the corridor showed a few extra lines around the corners of his mouth.  As he approached her, the scent of mangoes rose to her nostrils and grew more intense as he came closer.  She wrinkled her nose and stood firm, her big eyes direct and to the point.  He opened his mouth, but shut it before letting any words spill out.  Her stance became firmer, her bare feet holding their ground.  He looked into her eyes and without any words heard her wish.  With a half-smile and a nod, he bid farewell and turned around to walk away.
Sheela let out a slow breath and resumed her journey to her bedroom, to the way of her life just as she liked it.  Her thoughts intruded her and challenged her with a hefty dose of guilt.  What she defined as happiness did not match that of her parents.  Independent, successful, confident and comfortable with her choice of a solo journey through life was a sore that was daily visible to her family and their understanding of a way of life.  They picked on that sore let it bleed and scab over, and then pick on it some more, letting it bleed all over again.  Her presence was the constant reminder of their sore.
To Be Continued

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mothers and Daughters

A mother’s love is unconditional
it is known the world over,
but a daughter’s love
lives on forever.

From the time
she looked into her eyes
and felt the warmth of her bosom,

from the time
she held her finger
and took her first steps,

from the time
she bumped her knee
and felt the soothing kiss,

from the time
she felt her embrace
and moments of shared joy,

from the time
she hugged her goodbye
and clung to cherished memories.

A daughter carries the torch
of love and legacy of her mother
it is truly a daughter’s love,
that is unconditional like no other.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel

Roots that run far and deep
those families succeed with bounds & leap,
unfulfilled dreams of one member
are achieved by another.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


They sang in unison, matching each other’s pitch as they orchestrated the migration across the vastness.  Their flight was unknown, an inner voice their only guide.  The young struggled to keep up, nestled within the sanctity of the formation.  Freedom was their song as they looked down upon the greens, browns, and blues below.  Waves and ripples beneath them seemed to rush forward, rising high as if in a hurry to catch up.  The green leaves of outstretched branches of tall trees waved in a flurry while the red and yellow fallen swirled in their place, dancing to the rhythm of the song high above.  Freedom is what the elements craved, from not each other, but from their own self.  Liberation of the soul they desired even if it meant hanging on to one wing, one note, or to the nothingness above. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Biography of my best friend

On a blustery April afternoon, I squeezed out into the world.  The world was dark and cold around.  I huddled close to my five siblings and reveled in their warmth.  Mother close at hand gave comfort in nourishing and her smell.  The first few weeks passed in a blur with few waking moments.  Then one day, the sun teased its rays on my eyes, forcing those lids to open wide.  I hobbled to my mother to be the first to be nourished soon crowded by the rest of the brood.  Soon after, out in a box we went into the garden pen.  I hobbled and toppled over the others moving in directions unknown.  I grabbed a brother’s long ear or nudged a sister aside.  My big paws trampled the grass beneath me, my ears tripped my strides.  The play lasted just a few minutes but left me exhausted for hours.  Huddled together, I slept soundly with my siblings back in the box.

Weeks turned into a month.  Play time became longer as our bodies grew stronger.  We all had long, low hanging ears and a flag tail that stood up with pride.  Our noses got us into trouble as our keen sense of smell took to us further away from the pen.  We grew bigger but I stood out from my siblings.  My coat was not normal, this I noticed quite soon.  The tri-color frame matched my own but our shades were not the same.  I looked pale and a giant among the brood.  They noticed all that I saw and pushed me aside as a freak.  I sulked in the corner questioning my fate.
The day came when mother was moved away.  Brothers and sisters lived together and ate from a bowl.  I was big and strong and did not shy away from the food.  I remained playful and cheerful, but felt apart from the brood.  A family came and picked out a sister to take home.  Another family came and picked out a brother to take home.  The others were not to be adopted but trained for a show.  Then there was I.  Nobody wanted me, nor could I be in a show.  It was my coat…the color of a rain swollen cloud.  While others had black, brown and white, I was steel gray, beige and white.  They called me Blue.

On a bright spring day a little girl picked me up from my pen.  She scratched my ears and whispered loving tunes.  Her smell lured me to nuzzle in her arms.  Her playfulness awoke my mischievous side.  We rough-housed and chased and played in the open grass, not far from our mothers’ sight.  I fell asleep in her arms and woke next to my siblings.  Time passed, I’m unsure how long but there she was again with a big bright smile.  Gathered in her arms, I climbed into her car.  Lulled by the ride, I fell asleep on her lap and woke to a new home, new family, new life and a name – Jazz!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Glass Half Full

She was 13 when she left her home.  A dreary, dismal shack with a roof that dripped, walls that allowed in all the elements, a floor that harbored creepy crawlers.  A home dense with a grouchy grandmother, overworked mother, drunk father and young siblings full of piercing wails, runny noses, muddy feet, frayed knees, squeals from hunger pangs.  A home that was one of the many shacks of her village she left behind, family who was one of many other attachments she didn’t look back for, a mother who was like all others in the village she turned her back on and walked down the dirt road, away, toward the bright lights, concrete buildings, bustling city.

Wide eyed and bare feet she stepped onto tarred road following its path into a neighborhood.  Her lips cracked, tongue parched, hair disheveled, stomach growling, she walked aimlessly from one street to another.  Turning a bend, she stood in front of a multi-story bungalow and looked up in awe.  As her head leaned back, eyes reached up to the sky, the sun glared at her squinted glance.  The world swirled around her as she lost feeling in her knees and submitted to the ground beneath.
Sprawled in front of the massive gate on the driveway, the owner of the bungalow found her.  He got off his air-conditioned, sound proof, leather-lined, darkened windows vehicle and walked up to the urchin-like form blocking his entryway.  Carrying her in his strong arms, he took her in.
Weeks turned to months and in no time, a year had passed.  She lived in a room in the back of the house, slept on a soft mattress on a single bed, watched shows on her tiny television set, and worked six days of the week doing simple household tasks.  Her mornings started early with a tutor who introduced her to the world of lettering and languages, numbers and nature, past and future.  He opened her world to questions beyond the shack she had lived in, beyond the village she belonged to, beyond the world that currently surrounded her.  She obsessed for answers, seeking them from people, books, and media and the more she learned, the more she questioned.  Her years in the bungalow grew, from a girl she bloomed, confident and independent.  Her time to leave the big house had come, to move to bigger and higher places.  Thanking her benefactor, clutching his blessings close to her heart, she moved to the bigger city and continued her learning.
She was 23 when she enrolled into the residency program, her medical degree in hand.  Patient after patient, clinic after clinic, villages after villages, diseases after sicknesses she found her way back to the shack that was once home.  Crowded with new faces, but familiar eyes she made her way to the far corner to a disheveled form held together with bones and transparent skin.  Peering into the sickly eyes, she recognized the sadness, the exhaustion, the despair, the one she had seen all of her 13 years in the shack.  She had felt helpless then to help her and equally powerless now despite all the medical capabilities in her.  But now, at least there was hope.  She picked up her mother and took her out of the shack to the newly established clinic of the village.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


A flower not yet in bloom
nestled securely in its home
the hovering bee, ignorant of its charm
unaware of the bud he can give harm

the bud sways, nudged by meddling wind
the bee flutters away, turning a bend
innocent flower, not yet aware
how to attract the buzz in its snare.

Time goes by, innocence recedes
a new bee hovers and cherishes the sweets
from nectar to honey, bond is made
path for flower is quite laid.

In its security and set ways
the flower smiles in all of May,
Then one day the first bee returns
flower, no longer a bud, droops, and burns...

note: pictures courtesy of Shefali's photographic skills

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Colorful medley
or solid peacock blue,
in a sea of blacks and grays

Flavorful fusion
or touch of zing
in lonesome bland, boiled or stewed

Tingling, smokey skewers
or simply seasoned hotdish,
wafting wholesome, comforting muse

Cacophony of car horns, hawker squawks
or early morning serenade
of chirping birds

cottony texture on hot, sweaty arms
or woolly gloved warmth
for those freezing palms

a colorful mix
a blend of senses
over exercised or completely rested
neon yellow blended in chaos
blood red jacket dotting fresh snow
standing tall next to black, grays and browns

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Road Well Travelled

I see a path before me
Well-travelled and snow trodden,
Snow banks high as night
Curves lay the road ahead hidden

It is a road well-travelled
That I stand to take,
The way many have chosen,
Hard decision for me to make;

There are smaller paths
Off on the sides through snow,
Few have trudged on them before,
Through shortcuts they must know,

I look at the road just travelled,
My footprints trailing in snow,
The journey was long and hard,
Legacy dictates where I must go!

I see the path before me,
Ready to travel on,
I put one foot ahead of me,
Step by step spring along.

It is on a road well-travelled
That I have chosen to take,
My discovery is my own,
With all the turns I will make.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What I learned from TREKKING in the Himalayas

Each step is mindful… one at a time
Each step is surpriseful… majestic view or steep climb

Lyrical streams add music… flowing peacefully beside
sometimes hindering paths… defying strides to be traversed

Often there is bridge… or merely a branch…
Or slippery rocks under strong currents to wade or trudge

there may be a helping hand… along sharp turns,
a sturdy boulder for support or just the two legs that burn

trekking is not just a walk or even a climb,
not a journey to reach the top just to be sublime,

trekking is a reminder… of our perseverance
our resolve to trek on forward… barring all impediment,
cue to breathe
to absorb... all the scenes
to experience it fully... at every pace,

Trekking is...
an experience,
a lesson
on how to truly be alive! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monsoons and Mangoes

Parched earth drinks in first showers with a sigh

fusing with powerful aroma of mangoes

sharp drops drum car-tops

to accompany the birds’ chorus,

pink, bougainvillea flowers smile as luscious green leaves applaud

to the musical performance,

mango variety morph from Safeda to Chausa to Langda

each equally delightful in flavor and fragrance,

pearly white teeth sink into fruit

sweet, luscious, color of scorching sun

fresh showers wash the sweet mud

off the sizzling earth,

fragrance of mangoes and monsoon

mingle into sweet memories

to last a lifetime of music to the soul.


Thursday, July 4, 2013


Patthron ko paseena kyon aata hai?

Kya humse dar ke sharmaatta hai?

Naher ki laherein itni jaldi mein kyon hain?

Hari bhari nadi se milan ke liye?


Neela aasmaan itna muskaraata kyon hai ?

Pahaddon ki choti ka mazaak uddata hai?

Insaanon ko nazaaron se ashchariya kyon hota hai?

Apni hukoomat ko kya khoob samajh ta hai?


Pattharon ko paseena kyon aata hai?

Woh paseena nahin insaanon ke liye aansoon hain!