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!