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