Sunday, January 27, 2013

Olive Branch - Part One

Roma took one step at a time carefully hooking her big toes around the knots of the trunk.  She picked a sturdy branch extending outward covered with lush green of the leaves and the tiny fruits.  Crawling on all fours, she paced to the center of the branch before setting her tiny behind down.  Her feet dangling 20 feet above the ground, she reached over and plucked the little fruits to collect in the pouch she had tied to her jeans.  Satisfied with her pickings, she looked up at the sky laced through the leaves, down at the empty ground hardened over the months.  Her eyes wandering, she absently reached inside her pouch and popped the green fruit in her mouth, slowly rolling it around and over her tongue relishing its tanginess before biting into its meat.

Hearing a rustle below her she spotted Gino walking off, his knee-length pants hanging low, his dark overgrown hair ruffled and dusty.  The seed in her mouth twisted and turned, beckoning her, tempting her until she gave in.  She waited for the right moment, formed a circle with her lips, sucked and using tongue and air as her tools, aimed the seed right on his head.

Gino looked up annoyed as he rubbed his head and yelled a few curses.  She burst out in shrill laughter and asked where he was headed.  Without answering, he proceeded to climb up the tree and soon he was dangling his short legs and dirty cracked feet next to her soft ones.  She shared her pickings and both concentrated on rolling the fruit within the confines of their mouths, chewing off the meaty parts and spitting out the seed to the ground.  They competed to see who could aim farthest and argued over the distance of where their seed landed.  The sun slowly began its descent, the birds started to fly back to their nests, the mosquitoes started their slow drone whispering secrets in their little ears.  Roma started her own descent down the tree and sadly headed home.  Gino sat on his branch to watch Roma and the sun go down and under a shawl of darkness, as his tummy began to rumble he decided to head home too.

Early in the morning, the orchard buzzed with activity with Roma’s father shouting out orders and men perched up high on ladders loosely attached to the branches.  Women carried baskets to collect the tiny green fruit, placing and replacing them under each tree.  Roma ran around trying to catch the fruits or climb up to harvest the fruit with own hands ignoring her mother’s cries.  She whirled between trees hiding from her mother and looking for the tallest and hardest branch to climb.  Her father shouted for her to stay out of the workers’ way but her ears ringed with a different music.

She went in search for Gino and found him balancing on one of the ladders, his little hands judicially shaking a low branch to let the fruits fall on the net spread out below.  She called out to him to come play with him, but he continued his shaking.  Pouting she ordered him to come down and threatened to complain to her father that he was not doing a good job.  He dutifully lowered his body one rung at a time until he found firm ground and stood facing her.  She grabbed his hand and dragged him outside the orchard, towards the hill, to an open field where the two collapsed on the rough grass, out of breath.  Under a clear blue sky, sitting on rustic land and surrounded by fresh country air, the two sat playing hand clapping games or word games before switching to running and catching in vastness that surrounded them.  The day ended quickly and the two headed home dragging their legs, shoulders slumped and heads lowered.

The next day of the harvest, the buzz of activity continued in the orchard, but Gino was nowhere in sight.  Roma walked, ran, searched with no result until she noticed that his family also had not come to pick the fruits.  She went up to her father and asked of their absence and was shocked to receive a reprimand instead.  He commanded her not see the boy again, that he belonged to a low-class family of thieves and if he ever caught her near that little rascal she will be grounded.  In tears, Roma ran to her room and stayed there all afternoon until her mother coaxed her to come out for dinner.
To Be Continued.....

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Knots of a manji bed
intricate web of connection…

A knows B who is related to C
C is connected to D who has ties with E
E is linked with F who is attached to G
G is associated with H who is joined with I!

And I know many from each one of these knots
with some I am tied and others I choose not,
the manji bed is a medley of connections
where everyone knows everyone else
ties that are binding, but some may come loose
with too much pressure, by chance or I choose.

I is joined with H who is associated with G
G is attached to F who is linked with E
E has ties with D who is connected to C
C is related to B who knows A.

We all know so many everyday
through long strings or firm knots,
the manji bed is like a delicate web
uniting and binding the whole lot.

Each string held taut to hold us within its frame
making a foundation to embrace the endgame.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

MATE - Final

There was no such thing as a soul mate, Ria declared and that there were no perfect mates.  She pointed to her story trapped inside the black jacketed device and proclaimed that soul mates only lived inside such devices or within leaves of paperbacks.  Real life did not present ideal mates.  Then as if an afterthought she stated that her beloved, the one she had been searching for at the station was not going to show up.  Her reality was a fantasy.

Simi shook her head, the balls of her eyes staring straight at her travel companion.  Her innocent eyes blinked and politely disagreed with a knowing gleam.  She stated that her soul mate completed her by perfecting her imperfections.  She knew he was not flawless but neither was she and together they became unflawed.  If she was the Ying, then he was her Yang.  If she was the right hand, then he was the left hand.  She declared that she had put all her trust into her heart and firmly believed her heart never lied.  She confessed that she knew nothing of the fictional world but had faith in love, the most absolute of all feelings.

“I was married once”, Ria shared, and continued to share how foolishly she had thought her beloved was her soul mate.  Continuing her story as her gaze travelled to the passing lush fields outside she told Simi how the romance had started out smoothly, the sweeping off feet, flowers every week, travelling to exotic lands to discover new things and each other.  She discovered over time that he was not all she imagined, not the perfect man-god but a mere human with all his short-comings.  She was in love and might even have felt whole with him but they did not see eye to eye.  Their relationship was flawed and so was their belief that they were meant for each other.  Disappointed, she left him and decided to dive into the men in her fictional world, who lived up to her expectations.  “If he was my soul mate, then why were we not perfect?” She challenged.

Simi rolled her eyes and spoke softly.  Her observation shocked Ria and the audacity to profess that Ria did not seem to live in the real world at all.  Reality was not perfect, neither our soul mates, but two imperfects make their one world absolute.  She put her feet up on the berth, put her bag by the window and reclined to rest her head on it.  Her eyelids closed, she said, “I believe.”

Ria shook her head, opened her book and returned to the world of her characters, people who were more real and more perfect, just the kind she likes to get to know.  The train chugged away lulling its passengers to sleep as the light began to fade outside.  With a screech, the train came to a tired halt surrounded by pitch darkness.  Soft glow of a single light pole from a deserted platform entered Ria’s cabin and she stole a glance from her fictional story to observe real life on the station.  A handful of passengers disembarked with their load, some to stretch their legs before getting back on.  She spotted a young man in stone washed jeans, tight black t-shirt over an obviously muscular body climb into their carriage.  A few moments later there was a soft knock on her cabin door.

Simi leapt up from her sleeping form and unlocked the door.  It slid open and Simi fell into the muscular arms of the young man.  He stepped in, stopped to lean outside the door to pick up a large suitcase and lugged that in.  Simi gave a sideways glance to Ria and with a smile she mouthed, “soul mate…I believe.”

The End

Thursday, January 3, 2013


In memory of the unfortunate victim of gang rape in New Delhi, India

I am not a plant
but a fertile soil

I am not a doormat
but a welcoming breeze

I am not a branch
but a sturdy tree

I am not an object
but the breath of family

I am not a vessel
but the music of life

I am not the darkness
but the radiating light

I am a girl
I am a woman
A daughter
A mother
A sister
A wife

The giver and keeper of life!