Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thank You All But Could You Also Help Me In This?

i asked the driver to raise the voice of the radio because i had caught the voice and was wanting to listen to it like it resounded with a home theater effect inside the all closed car. It was raining heavily outside and the hissing, grating sound of the wiper was acting the spoiler. i listened first rapt and continued listening to it in my head even when the voice ended and another melodious voice belted out another popular Urdu poetry by the same person whose voice i was hearing. The other melodious singer faded into the background.
This is what i heard.

Although i wish i had a better video to share. One that had the actual person reciting. His voice flooding me with a barrage of emotions first. Then my attempting to stroke those goose pimples which appear suddenly even when it is  warm and sultry.
In any case it is not because of any chill that i feel rather with what all i feel for this person whom i always address as Gulzar Saheb just like so many others do. Somehow just Gulzar sounds not only rude but also very disrespectful.
i wish i had a word or words to describe that voice. About the gentleman himself i have many.

There are times when i also wish for a long but genuine list of followers from whom there could be a mutual exchange of ideas, thoughts, questions asked first and then answered honestly.
It was not the general idea when i started blogging. In fact i least understood what followers are supposed to do or be.
Then someone came to my blog and becomes my FIRST follower.
Afterwards there is one whose questions are answered by all including me sometimes with a lot of enthusiasm and sincerity.

That first follower has a special place in my mind, heart because he ( i know that it's a he thanks to his identity) encouraged a nonentity like me when he is too good in his writing. i have enjoyed his wit, his humor, his intellectual thoughts on issues and also his passing random thoughts. Sometimes when i have words i convey my thoughts through comments, other times i appreciate but mostly read his blogs when and if he posts a new one. His last post leaves me in the lurch because it shows an interesting teaser of a picture and the title of the post but the moment i click on the post i get this instead of the post," Sry the blog you are looking for does not exist...". There are a list of options and although i've tried the options i am not able to see this particular which is his latest. Maybe i'll go to his last post and leave him a message.

It was when he presented me a badge which germinated another urge.
Although the badge had certain rules i found it extremely difficult to follow the rules not only because i hadn't read many blogs but also because i was not too comfortable at being discriminatory or biased in my opinion. Furthermore i hadn't read many and was myself a follower of just a few of which some were my own friends whom i knew.
i was happy with just being an impartial audience. Actually i still am so far as blogs are concerned.
So the urge was to know how he looks like in person. i actually checked him out on Facebook and found an image that matched this Scientist working on his researches abroad. i could be wrong but some intuition tells me that the black and white thoughtful profile (actually a profile shot) of a bespectacled person is him.
That urge withered as soon as it had germinated as i wondered how many are checking me out.

Then there is this blogger whose posts i eagerly await and a couple of his posts i have even shared on Facebook. He makes me laugh and on those two instances i felt like sharing the laughter.
His being an atheist does not put me off the least bit because i am not only entertained but enlightened with his logical reasonings. i understand his silence on my posts which have a religious bend. But enjoy his infrequent comments on others in which sometimes he mocks and other times, appreciates. His best ones are when he advises without getting the real essence of what i'm trying to say.
It generally happens with my posts which are often like the movie 'Inception' and i don't blame him. i look forward to his words with added fervor because then i like improving upon myself  knowing very well that there's someone out there who is trying to be helpful with his, " Hello Shivani... I am listening..."

Now i'm wondering if this post too may turn out to be the one having layers within layers. Although frankly speaking there are only two layers to this which have been summed up in the title of the post.

There also are a few poets whom i follow because these poets leave me astounded. Their poetry easy to feel, understand and relate to.  i have a clearer vision of some beautifully genuine people who reaffirm my faith in being good naturally no matter how or what the world sees you to be.
i lack the skill for composing anything lyrical and that probably could be one of the reasons i have deep respect and admiration for poets whose words have often substantiated like other forms of writing that, ''Pen is mightier than the sword.''
i must confess though that there have been some where i am not able to go deep enough and on such occasions i am glad i feel free to ask for the latent/ suggestive meaning.

There is one particular blogger who entered my life because of his delightful posts on Nature. Flowering trees, Birds, Insects and through his blogs i became more sensitive towards the creatures great and small, beautiful and repulsive, meek and intimidating. It was easy to approach this blogger personally as he had provided an email address with his post. Then started this silsila (schemeof things, order) also known as sought out friendship. First a, 'Thank You' because his post helped me know the name of a beautiful flowering avenue tree, then some chats on the computer, later exchanging of phone numbers and phone calls and now we are friends. We haven't met as yet but i am sure i will meet this Naturalist who provides me with cool companionship, reciprocates my good wishes, answers most of my queries and corrects my wrong identification without any fuss or clamor for credits.
For him my words are not my own but a borrowed one again and it sounds every bit like the good wishes for my known and much- desired- by- me- friends.
Sure i'm under some influence and this influence prompts me towards words that have the same flavor...if not the exact.
"Dur Rhkar Bhi Hamse Vasta Rakhna,
Mulakaat Na Sahi Pr Bato Ka Silsila Rakhna.
Chu Lo Asma Ko Tum, Ye Meri Tammanah,
Pr Hm Tk Vapasi Ka Rasta Rakna."

i am happy today because i have just met another like him and his posts on nature and it's creations reverberate mine. In fact all of the few posts that i have visited makes me dump everything and go through his posts one by one. A well deserved 200- plus- followers- blogger whose posts elicit more than 50 comments.
It may sound false but i don't care how it sounds but i feel honored and humbled when he dropped at my post and exchanged notes. i hope this is the start of another satisfying and enriching SILSILA. Can't help having such expectations. His posts are like that.
Plus he is not like the usual one liner or two words commentor and i really like that sharing of thoughts in a manner which says," I am with you, heard what you just said and this is what i feel..."
And in addition to my gratitude i have the same good wish but i hope the essence of my good wishes are not lost in translation.
Though Distances Let Us Maintain That Relationship
No Meeting But Let's Talk To Each Other
Wish You Touch The Skies, This Is My Deep Desire
But Keep Intact That Path/Road That Leads You Back To Me.

Recently just a few days back i met another sensitive blogger on whom i have pinned my hopes on being a frequent visitor. She too feels honest and sensitive and i look forward to her honest reflections. And through her i have hopes on another.

My Blogdost...i prefer to call him that always. Just like my FIRST he too holds a special place in my heart and mind. We've been loyal to each other since the time i started. His absence makes me miss him to the degree/intensity with which i miss Chennai. And this is what i did.
Scared and bullied with my negative thoughts i approached his son who is also a keen and committed Technical blogger, just to find out if he was okay health wise and otherwise.
i then got a prompt reply which gave me so much relief. God Bless the young aspiring Engineer and may he find success in all his endeavors.
The words of a kind and good son were very soon followed by uplifting- my- spirits- hello from my Blogdost himself through which he apprised me of his hectic schedule, intense backpack travelling and some loose ends that kept him busy so far as his health was concerned.
i wish him good stead and am eager for those words that will arrive with a bang for he sure will want to share so much.
i know the reason for this joy that i feel.
He heard my ''Dur Rhkar Bhi...."

i feel happy but i am still bullied by thoughts for this one too who gave me my second badge. As anyone can see i own two most precious to me badges. Not that i hanker for badges but it feels nice when someone calls you a ' Beautiful' or a 'Versatile' blogger. Once again i have not been honest with the badge because of my own failings to single out some and leave the rest. i am not being goody goody here but i find all the bloggers i follow as beautiful and versatile.
i long to see this fellow blogger whose last post informed me and others of his packing and moving from the foreign land and returning to his roots, India and enjoying every morsel of the food of his land that he missed all those years when he was abroad. He sounded as happy as the kid who is desperate for that last bell to ring in school. The one which announces dismissal and the boisterous, fun ride/ walk back home.
i wish and hope he is not regretting his decision. i already know of some who are.
Silently i hope and pray that he is doing good. Mostly i look for that pleasant surprise which announces his arrival and much awaited by me ( probably others too) comeback.

Similarly i wish good health to another whom i can't see after her last post through which i gather that she's coping with a bad bout of lower back problem. Her post was enlightening always and i hope she is able to peel the onion again. Soon...

Yet another blogger whom i met at a bloggers meet in Chennai graced me with her presence just the very next day when i did a post on the bloggers meet.
It is because of her blogs that i seem to be getting that longing. Not always but sometimes when i have questions or when i want to know more.
Unlike me she is very popular. A busy lady who blogs frequently.
Her blogs are short, interesting, complimented and supplemented wonderfully by the images, poetry, paintings, posters of sayings, she uses. Creative in her thoughts and portrayal, her blogs end with a question eliciting answers and i see that she get's her due quite handsomely.
It is by habitually reading her blog that i am getting this longing too now.
It really would feel great to know from others about what you would want to know than just be groping in the dark.

But before i go to my question i have to linger, sense and absorb the affection and be grateful to my friends and my kith and kin who despite their hectic schedule find the inclination and the time to go through my posts.
They should know better that had it not been for them i would not have taken this journey of self discovery.
They knew before anybody that i should stop tossing, turning, writhing and withering in my own restlessness and made time for myself.

Now to the question, i am having right now.
It is about people...their looks...their voices.

i know what they mean or what it means to be Elegant, Dignified or even Sexy but am clueless about these. DebonairSuaveSvelte. i know there would be more of such genres but at the moment if i could distinguish between these it would suffice.

About voices i am still worse and use words quite often without really understanding the distinctions.
Rich, throaty and husky i understand and use them correctly in my explanations but VelvetyMellifluous, Honeyed, Silvery, Smooth, Golden...and there are many others.
It's rather strange that i have no qualms nor queries about these- Shaky; Rough; Hoarse; Husky; Piercing; Rumbling; Quavering; Deep; Growling; Gravelly; Thunderous...
Thus anything or everything of the male voice that sounds good to me is DEEP or just Beautiful.

Some voice that has appealed and allured me greatly to the extent of being bewitched. Why is it that i find lacking in my comprehension to express in words that which should correctly also convey my feelings.
It could be that like other things i am not richly endowed with skills in demonstrative adjectives.
Or it could be that demonstrative adjectives that distinguish might differ from person to person.
Maybe for the time being i can console myself with some sensible reasoning.
Just like it's for the connoisseurs to make out the distinct quality of wines, perfumes, tea, sounds...and the rest.  i am no such. Therefore i should just keep loving the voice and rest in peace.

But the fact of the matter is, i can not. i am looking for words.

i am cajoled by my own explanations that it's okay if i can't distinguish between debonair, suave and svelte and maybe call all as a general ' Beautiful' if i find them attractive enough but i can't seem to quell that restlessness every time i address the voice to be beautiful. Somehow that particular word does not satisfy me. To me it sounds not only hopelessly cliched but also like an understatement.

And i wish i could get some inputs to describe this voice that brings goose pimples of a wanting kind every time i hear it. The goose pimples could be because of the extremely thought provoking and touching poetry but the voice that you want to run back to always, listening catching every pause even, what about that voice?
-Is it velvety or is it smooth?
- Is it throaty or deep?
-Is it..???. Oh dear me! i don't have even have enough words for posing the questions even.
 How do i describe that voice which is much more than just deep, rich, throaty, velvety or smooth?
Or am i using the wrong words here?

i wish my fellow bloggers could oblige me with theirs as to how would they would describe this voice too which recites the poetry of Gulzar Saheb.
And i'm telling myself this lest my requests are not heard.
Some feelings might not have the exact words...
i remind myself not to feel disappointed if i don't get anything.

In a way i feel relieved too that i have limited followers.
i am content with what i have said...and asked...
Or this post too would have stretched like always...
And i am at peace that i made no such attempts to make it any less.
However i sincerely hope i have not missed out anyone in acknowledging and asking.
It was not intentional.

How can i forget that it's a Sunday. Just a few minutes back the earth shook for quite a while. We ran downstairs and as i stood seeing the animated faces of people asking me about the shaking i sensed some dread mixed with that anxiety of unfinished jobs. Jobs not as jobs per se but something that would give me satisfaction and make me feel just a little more easy. So of the many unfinished jobs this also was one and i cursed myself for not thanking my fellow bloggers, friends, relatives on the completion of my hundredth post. Lot many do that. Thanking their fellow bloggers on the completion of their century. i cajoled myself once again. " Never mind it's there...that gratefulness... and if everything turns okay then i shall go back to my computer and do it..right NOW."
Thus this...along with my prayers for those who perhaps would not be as fortunate as me. The shakes which stopped after sometime informed me and the others that the epicenter was somewhere...
Soon on TV we shall all know...
Call it a co-incidence but Red apart from other things also stands for AWAKENING.
                                                                  Color for Sunday-Red

                                                                                                       Red Amaryllis



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai Kya?

--------Continued from where i left in my last post...rather too long but i had to say and divulge own failings included.

My son had said and asked, " Ma i have realized you've turned into a recluse...are you okay with that? i mean when i was small you were such an extrovert and a people lover...are you doing good Ma... ?"
To him i had said boldly at first, " Sure know i have a lot of interests to keep me occupied and i actually enjoy this...having all the time to satisfy my fancies and desires without much distractions..."

Then unable to hold myself any longer i had confessed. He heard my sobs too and i hate myself for that.
He suggested some good music and movies and told me something that sounded like genuine words of appreciation that any child has for his mom. Those words warmed me up and made me feel normal once again.Then we bid our cheerio byes and he hung up.
i was alone but not lonely, not this moment at least.

However i felt like our tete e tete was hasty and incomplete. i have not responded fully well to his enquiries.
There was a strong urge to explain so that he could understand better when and how i met with what seems to be my tipping point.

* i wish i could explain to him how through the years this reverse transition gradually happened. From being  gregarious to being an introvert.
* i wish i could tell him that i can't single out one because there were many that i wanted to run away from... pretenses, superficiality, shallowness, politics, dishonesty, jealousy, insensitivity, narrow mindedness, then always being misinterpreted for my honesty... scared and bored the hell out of me. Some of these also extinguished my natural vibrancy and spontaneity those two most beautiful attributes that initially saw me center stage. Maybe i was too late to reach that juncture when i could shrug off everything, be me and say, " I DON'T CARE " .
Or else,  i was too meek/weak to stand up for myself. Whatever...
* i wish i could tell him that i was tired of impressing and getting impressed even for something that could have been a simple dinner or get together. These felt more like competitive exams whether i was the one invited to or the one in which i was playing the host. i was sick and tired of all those attempts of not only keeping up with the joneses but also those efforts that could make me stand out in the crowd. Whether it was of dressing up differently or digging out an exotic dish to impress the janta (public).
* i wish i could tell him that the membership to the coterie i  had always wanted to be a part of was rejected and ignored in spite of my sincerity.

The company of those i desired neither had the inclination nor the time to be interested in me although i must be thankful to them for accepting my dinner/lunch invite each time and every-time. How i longed for their companionship only i know. In fact these lunches/dinners painstakingly organised were cunning excuses on my part just to indulge into their company and know more of them and about them.
One of this very desirable who stayed very close and whom i tried to help to the best of my ability when she was undergoing a rough phase, never ever invited me home what to talk of reciprocating. News from others, what facebook depicts as 'Mutual Friends' would reach me that she did entertain her friends. It hurt bad to realize that i was not the chosen one.  Her ignoring me and dropping from the list felt as if she's trying to say, " You don't belong to my successful group ...can't have you any closer...stay put where you are..."
It's funny though how eager i am to talk to her and be with her still,  like always.

Whosoever said that friends are the only relations you have full liberty to choose was not thinking very logically i would say.
Here i  am...having a number of friends but land up feeling used sometime and forsaken most of the time.
The ones i choose don't accommodate me while those who accommodate me are the ones i'd rather stay as far as possible from.
Tragedy! indeed!

To an outsider it would seem that i am rich with a wide variety of friends but this variety leaves me baffled mostly.
Although i see a bit of myself in every one yet i feel i can't single out even one from that lot, one who reciprocates my efforts and goodwill with the same enthusiasm and honesty. Many a times they even start getting on my nerves.
For instance this old pal from school who stays abroad and who is in her mid forties just like me chooses to dress up and behave hopelessly like a wannabe Western teenager, gets on my nerves. i do not begrudge her dressing or her wanting to be like a youngster, actually i enjoy all that but what puts me off is this.
She analyses every sentence i utter, brags incessantly about her fancy house, frequent barbeque parties that she throws, shows me the kind of dresses that she wears while passing through Marks and Spencers, is on a never ending spree to meet everyone more to declare her flamboyant lifestyle than anything else, later gossips negatively about all the disappointments suffered in the meet because they didn't match up to her, advises me in a manner that mocks, to incorporate in my life all those i avoid (because i can't handle)," Shivani don't be judgmental, meet up with X,Y,Z...." ; this friend thwarts all my attempts of a great comeback and forces me to turn away in disdain.
Unfortunately i am cursed with more that can be slotted into this genre easily and effortlessly.

Also over the years i realized that some friends remember me only when they have to ask for some favors. Not all but some of them.
Still there are others who have materialized thanks to facebook, come home, size me, my family and my belongings up and disappear with the same vaporous quality that saw them sitting in my living room one fine day. There are absolutely no messages nor any calls. No keeping in touch after that.
i feel discarded first like i didn't match up to their expectations later start questioning myself.
"Was it something i said or did? Was i not appealing enough? Is it because i am not pursuing a career? Is it my status it...?"
These friends leave me in the lurch by first seeking me out and then abandoning me.

A few days earlier i left my phone numbers with some whom i felt would reciprocate but excepting one none has bothered. i feel thankful and happy about that one.

Some insult me to the point of ignoring me completely in their conversations on the social networking site.
Another failed attempt i should say about my seeking them out.
i self pat some consolation and tell myself that i should not take these sites seriously and move on.
Move on with added gusto with my own interests.

My reading, my embroidery, my music and movies, my plants, my walks, my window shopping alone, book browsing alone, going to theaters alone then suffices and better still keeps me content if not permanently but temporarily.
Although it would feel great to have not many but few or even one with whom i could share these interests. One who is  genuine and doesn't seem like an acquaintance who meandered into my life randomly.

Someone who could take these walks with me, browse through books which sees us joyfully comparing notes, shares my music and movies also suggests me some more from her own selections, chides me when i am mean or even mocks me when i am goody goody, stops by on my blogs and if nothing else is there then sits by me quietly and watches the sunsets, parrots, pigeons...and provides me with that warm and silent companionship. Someone real who enjoys my company while i look forward to hers. Some one who need not be impressed in order to want me. Loves my ordinariness as much as i love hers.
i shun the re-unions because sometimes some friends start seeking favors from my husband the moment they come to know of my husband's designation. Sometimes the favors are easy to deal with and oblige but many a times my husband feels embarrassed and uncomfortable when his efforts fail to give the desired results. It feels awkward and annoying for me too. 
Nowadays i have learnt to state the facts honestly. i entertain these requests, try not to feel annoyed or worked up and tell them that i cannot guarantee surety. i tell them that my husband will try.
Earlier it was the other way round. i traumatized my husband with my sulking.  i sincerely regret doing so today. Like i said, i woke up to the futility of the exercise called appeasement rather late. But i am glad i did.

Also these re-unions are a big sham i feel with all the fake wow wow's about career, children's success, physical fitness, beauty, accouterments etc. i  have sensed the inherent detachment, jealousy, negative vibes despite the best efforts made to impress and appreciate. i have heard the backbiting too that goes on after these re-unions and it disgusts me to be a part of such meaningless hypocrisy.
Therefore i stay away and prefer personal meeting up that is more one to one.
Here too i can't say that all those one to one refreshed me and saw me happy and fulfilled.

There is another important aspect that can't be ignored rather it is too blatant too be ignored.
All those who have willingly decided to be happy with their homemaker status are mercilessly ignored by the so called career oriented women friends.
i don't feel proud of myself when on an introductory," What do you do?" instead of a '' How have you been?", i run to my defensive explaining how i got bored and tired of my teaching and decided to enjoy a non-hurried, relaxed life by staying at home.
i am not exaggerating on this but my own best friend from school ignored me for many years at a stretch, she still does and i get this vibe from her every time i try to establish contact that conveys subtly though," I'm not too keen for you now...". She never calls. Of late she too has joined the bandwagon where virtual pleasantries are exchanged and status messages are left, the aftermath comments of which is perhaps a great ego booster to her just like the rest of the gang.
Once again i'm rattled by questions.
"Has she forgotten that i was better in grades than her when she and me were best friends? " Does my homemaker status make me less intellectual in any way? It's ridiculous but can it be so...can it be so...?

Sure, people change but i'm just not too comfortable with this change. It hurts to discover that my down to earth, unassuming school buddies are now snooty snobs, decrying the at home friends as behenji's (rustic/ not hep) or not up to the mark and not reciprocating.
Strange but true,  it is from this pretentious crowd that i hear that my silence and keeping away has been misconstrued. Some view me as depressed, others, the kinder ones discuss among themselves that i am dealing with my empty nest syndrome and seeking solace in spirituality.
As for me it never ceases to amaze me, the ability of my friends to justify themselves for what they say or do and never feel guilty.
But mostly i am cursing myself for having huge expectations.

It's rather sad that these uncomfortable and painful experiences changed me too.
Prompted, pushed... and i don't realize when all that scuffling and shuffling cracked something, the faults of which deepened through the years.  i began to drift apart a few years ago, gradually and slowly at first, indulging into my own interests and eventually i find myself in this new predicament where the word RECLUSE fits me to the T.
My son is not wrong on this.
Nobody is if they use this word for me.
What's more, i don't seem to mind it either.

i wish and hope they are able to hear and decipher my silence. And in any case, i also have reached that comfortable zone from which i look confidently and say, " Keep assuming  whatever you want to, it's no big deal..."

To my son definitely one day when he has the time i shall tell him my story. Not that i want him to take back his word but for the simple reason that my story should be able to give him some insights and some valuable lessons.

i was blissful for a long time in my solitude but the concrete twins brought it all out...spilling my beans...drawing skeletons from the cupboard... bringing me down on my knees.

Maybe it is all my fault. i am just too uptight.
i definitely need to relax these rules for the tenants that suit my taste and can occupy that corner that still has a cold TO LET. The cold getting warmed by longing .
i'll try.

i am trying but things have been rather tacky and the plate that warms up turns cold again in waiting.
Not that i've given up.
But that tug of inhibition that holds me back, other times a regular fear returns and chokes the ignition off.
Then those limited attempts of my trying fails to bring that reciprocity that germinates as a sincere longing every time i try.
How to get rid of that fear? That fear that i might be digging my own grave by inviting the wrong kind of people to create ripples of disturbance and annoyance in my life.
How to get rid of my own inhibitions?
Fear-They who won't reciprocate, might ask awkward for my husband and me favors, would disturb me with nonsensical long calls that bore me to death, may want to always drop in and be entertained at my cost, would establish stern fixed boundaries that leaves me in the lurch, would seek me out only for the privileges that begets me and last but not the least would not even squeeze a wee bit of time to read my blogs and supply me with that happiness that one feels when a friend comes visiting home at your behest.
So what if my blogs are not that appealing but aren't friends supposed to provide you with their honest inputs? When i have nothing against any, not even that which says, " You bored me sleepy...silly!!..."
Inhibitions- i am good and that status should not be the only thing that defines me and proves my worth.

i'm responsible for my loneliness and should accept reality. The reality being that a treasure called TRUE FRIEND is hard to find.
If i let go off my inhibitions who knows someone might enter my cold domain and warm me up. One who is a nobody like me and together we would become invisible to the rest of the world and stay happily ever after.
Secure, sure and content with our anonymity.

Before i quit i must stress that i am well aware of what we call a mutually interdependent society and appreciate virtues such as HELP and would want to keep those virtues alive in me but i'm dead against this opportunistic behavior from those of whom i would want to nurture warm thoughts about, whom i would want to love deeply, whom i cannot do without, whom i am always eager to look forward to.
And since i'm not the one who belongs to that upwardly mobile corporate world i actually don't need networks whom i would party with, as friends.

Till i find that someone or till that someone seeks me out i will deal with my loneliness and would remain satisfied with my virtual world that has one best aspect about friendship. It is one easy friendship with NO STRINGS ATTACHED.

In narrating my experiences about friends i forget the analogy i made earlier in my last post between the rock and me, also i forget about being an island that mourns for company.
And in this re-living the past and then forgetting i have figured out the truth.

This bitter truth expressed aptly in the form of poetry by Nida Fazli The composition is famous and perhaps has been sung by others too. However, the one i choose is by the popular Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh and our ' Nightingale' Lata Mangeshkar. The essence of which is ' Feeling lonely in the Crowd'. The entire composition reverberates with mine and instills more solace in me to know that i am not alone at last. There are others too dealing in their own idiosyncratic ways with their loneliness.

Har taraf har jagah beshumaar aadmi
Phir bhi tanhaiyon ka shikar aadmi
In every direction, everyplace, there are several people
Even then , man is a victim of loneliness.

Subah se shaam tak bojh dhota hua
Apni hi laash ka khud mazaar aadmi
From dawn to dusk, he bears the burden
The man is a grave of his own corpse

Har taraf bhaagte, daudte raaste
Har taraf aadmi ka shikaar aadmi
In every direction the paths are running
Everywhere, man is a victim ( hunted by) of another man

Roz jeeta hua, roz marta hua
Har naye din naya intezaar aadmi
Everyday he lives, and everyday he dies
Everyday is a new waiting for man

Zindagi ka mukaddar, safar dar safar
Aakhri saans tak bekaraar aadmi
The fate of life is, journey after journey
Till the last breath, man is always without peace.

It could be that my school friend who stays abroad is lonely too and so are the others prowling around on the social networking sites trying to create an impression, bragging about their achievements and those of their kith and kin, posting pictures of get-togethers exhibiting their bum chum ness, and last but not the least leaving status messages that once again shrieks, " Give me some attention!" ...perhaps all of them are lonely too.
Truth prevails and not everything pertains to just sharing and keeping in touch.
There is a lot out there that meets the eye and out of this lot something that stands out huge but terrified, petrified, is loneliness itself.
As if it's losing it's severity each single day with each single display and is becoming more and more common.

No! No! i am not sad rather i am accepting that there's life the way it is and the life, the way it should be. Unfortunately, we have to live with life the way it is.
You could spend minutes, hours, days, weeks , or even months over-analyzing a situation trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've been.
You can leave the pieces on the floor and MOVE ON...

Haaaaaah!( Sigh of relief)
i think i've said all and now it's time to move on but not without the color for the day which inspires me to look forward to another and move on...flow with the tides and times...and move on...
                                                            Color for Wednesday- Green

Bells of Ireland
*My sincere thanks to Vrinda and Uncle Som of
in helping me find the lyrics of Har Taraf Har Jagah and the English translation too.

NB: The title of the post is a question in Hindi which translated in English should be- Is Each and Every Single Friend Important? The Idea borrowed from the tagline/punchline of Airtel commercial on television which asserts and assumes that every friend is important.
'Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai'
Every Single Friend is Important
(i like the commercial for it's images of cool friendships but it is rather difficult for me to endorse in full honesty the tagline thus the ? if all friends are really important in your life.

Some Pages from the Diary of a Nobody

Two mirror image houses...perhaps the owners are related i thought. There was some curiosity to know why the other house had no name. Kept wondering if one of them was built as an added extension but it couldn't be for they had between them a wall and separate gates. The wall and the gate hinting, this is mine and that is yours.

The two houses in that posh colony, plain and without any of those frills and fusses of it's neighbors stood close if not together just like my two brothers.
i brushed aside the thoughts about my brothers. It would've disturbed my equilibrium.
i started searching for beauty in simplicity instead. Maybe prompted by the name of one of them concrete twins.
'Sunder House' meaning beautiful, pretty...
Don't know about the occupants but i tried to listen what one concrete was saying to the other.
i thought i heard Emily Dickinson.

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Suddenly that pain hit me.
i thought i was happy in my bliss of solitude but i was not.
i realized i was not only alone but also very lonely.
Deep inside embedded within me was a board , a cold plate that said TO-LET.
i look at the twins and tears streamed incessantly, uncontrollably as i let it flow

Isn't there any one out there who is a nobody like me...
Objects can be mirror images but people? 
We have twins for people too but they too are not mirror images either, not entirely.
Maybe i wouldn't want to have another me for then there would not be any specialty in being that nobody. Would there?
But i yearn, long and seek another who understands and accepts me and is comfortable with the the way i am.
Where do i look for another anonymous in this world where i see not people but infinite and newer efforts to impress.
Talking, doing, getting together... with all the frills, fusses and embellishments...everything that makes the other say, WOW! GREAT! WELL DONE...

How presumptuous of me to banish the thoughts of my brothers thinking i would be okay just listening to Emily Dickinson.

Here i was as unstable like a top in it's final phase of gyration, trying to twirl a wee bit more, holding on to the inertia, finally making sloppy and irregular ellipsis just before it topples over to lie dead still on the ground.

Tears with all it's saltiness on my tongue continue it's journey making raindrop like wet patches randomly on my shirt. Then dissipating into the weave of the cotton shirt, the wetness reminding me that there is no one not a single great less who could embrace another wow less in all her anonymity.
That another one who could resonate with my own, find stability in simplicity and help me through my own development in this system called life is simply not there.
This one out of the entire species has evaporated, dissipated into the world wide web.
The ache however has not evaporated instead is holding me steadfast. Only stubborn enough to choke and make me gasp for some breath than to willingly accept that the simple codes of simple friendships are extinct and our lives are getting frittered away in details.
One of the simple codes being is to expect. It's impossible not to have expectations from friendship.
The most important being accepted and understood.
Not that expect huge favors which normally friends these days seek out but genuine and small gestures.
Reciprocity can be another.

i'm tired and sort of fed up of just giving news that's entertaining to others, that too at my cost.
And i'm scared of drowning into a virtual world where i seek solace from virtual friends.
Expectations remaining unfulfilled i seem to be forging new bonds in the virtual world.
i don't know if i am on the right track or losing myself but my virtual world provides me with some solace if not all.

i am a rock too as this song says. Erosion, chipping, weathering feels more normal.
But rocks are not supposed to feel pain.
i am an island too but then why am i mourning like someone has died?

i thought i don't need real friends anymore but i was mistaken. 
i feel utterly lonely. i don't have anybody with whom i can truly be honest with.
i am fed up of conforming.
i am exhausted in my efforts to be kind always.
i am sick of the hypocrisy.
Oh God i don't have anybody who can see the real me and still be my true friend,
i thought i can manage being on my own  but NO! i do need someone who is not fake and with whom i need not be fake too. 
But most of all i need a NOBODY who has the inclination and the time for a nobody like me.
SOMEBODYS have better things in their agenda.
Even that concrete has another to give it company and i am after all a human.
i thought i was safe in my domain and no one can use me, insult me or hurt me anymore.
i drifted... away...further...
But now i need...
-i need to have normal honest conversations.
-i need to share my joys and sorrows.
-i need to hear joys and sorrows of someone.
- i need someone i am comfortable and free with.
-i need someone to be comfortable and free with me
-i need some one who can accept me with all my foils and foibles
-i need to accept someone who is not perfect too.
-i need...i need...
Where do i look...Oh God i have no one.

Finally when enough tears are shed and the heart feels lighter, stability returns like the hopeful rays of a new dawn. 
Look no further...the ray scribbles on that plate that has a TO-LET.
Accept and move on... the dawn signals.

i give one more look at the concrete twins, dropped the camera that tried to capture the twins whispering Emily Dickinson into the bag, pulled out a fresh citrus smelling wet wipe and did the needful to my sticky salty face, looked for a dustbin to throw the wet wipe. Spotted none only the neat well kept exteriors of those stylish houses. 

 Then holding the partially dry wet wipe in my hands like a miniature flag that fluttered as if proclaiming freedom,  i walked home absorbing the citrus whiff that continued to emanate from that white flag.
i didn't realize when all of Emily Dickinson, Paul Simon Art Garfunkel stopped and i started to mull over what my son had asked me over the phone last week...TO BE CONTD
Sure, but not without something to cheer up.

                                              Colour For Tuesday-Pink
Pink Hibiscus

Image Courtesy:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Precious...This One's for You

As i looked out from the window it was the hedge tree that got me interested to go and have a closer look at the attractive foliage first. i have seen these along roadsides in Delhi too but here in this city of Indore i found quite a many used mainly as a hedge tree close to the boundary wall. Some have even been pruned in the horticultural art of topiary to look like bright green umbrellas peeping out of the boundary walls. They are quite a sight even from the outside and a delight for everyone passing by.

i wonder what these trees are called. These brilliant greens that look partly like yew and partly like cypress from a distance. Then enquired within myself if i would have that patience enough to search out the nameless from the internet or out of that voluminous big book that i own. The one that lists the A-Z of about 10,000 species if not all.
Took a few more closer shots from the mobile camera to show it to my Forest Officer and maybe suggest him to replace that vacant area in his lawn by these. And who knows i might not have to go through all the pages of my big fat but priceless book. The one that i call fondly as my PRECIOUS.

It's sad when the Forest Officer had to remove both his laden with fruit, PRECIOUS coconut trees. The wonderful fronds of which formed an attractive entrance to his garden and lawn.
 PRECIOUS not only refreshed him from all his tiredness but  provided us all with some cool freshness even on those hot summer months when everything else turned limp, brown and dry. It was sheer delight to see the lush, glistening frondy branches sway in the breeze with all it's energy and vibrancy that challenged even the dreadful LOO (Hot and extremely dry winds of North India during summers).  During the last summer storm the branches hindered with the electric transmission lines and reeked havoc. Not only did a dangerous fire break out with a bang that sounded like a blast which psyched everyone in the colony but was also responsible for a major breakdown with no electricity for two days.
The aftermath of all this coupled with the hue and cry of neighbors saw Precious being cut down.While my sister narrated the incident i was remembering that poem On Killing A Tree  by Gieve Patel. But of course this is an imagery poem where the image of a tree is used by the poet which is highly suggestive and applies to killing human relations too, mainly.

These trees could be a good substitute if not the perfect one, so i thought and walked back.

But the road on both sides was flanked by more and i could not control myself. Maybe i could send in some more pictures and tempt him with more ideas that perhaps would add some color and drama to his vacant spots.Who knows in getting engaged in planting and growing these he might not miss his PRECIOUS that much. But then i can't vouch for that. However there's no harm in trying.


Ahhh the pretty , very pretty Alamanda. i'm sure his Jharkhand is full of the yellow one. That which is also known as the Golden Trumpet vine. Maybe he can plant a couple of these...

Or how about this variety of wild Plumeria which does not have the regular dark obovate leaves rather adorns leaves that look as if they are just back from a visit to the salon where they have been given such a fine cut that they stand out. The shape of the leaf resembles a fiddle perhaps for it to be called fiddle leaf Plumeria. Another standing out characteristic is that it has only one or two slender trunks unlike the regular sweet smelling Plumeria with thick succulent branches.  i loved the way it stood, dignified without any support despite it's slender body. No slouch...nor any droop... just smartly erect. 
Fiddle leaf Plumeria 
Plumeria pudica
Now this one is surely going to sweep him off his feet. Has he seen red Mussaenda cultured and trained to be a creeper like this? The stunning blood red sepals of which makes it look like a cheerleader, hailing glory on the porch of the beautiful house it adorns. All you can do is just stand there and say, WOW!!
i'm sure the first picture would give him that enormous kick to his ego when he would want to correct me on my folly by pointing out in his typical connoisseurs' style and as a matter of fact tone that i might have not identified the vine correctly.
 So how about giving him a closer peek.
Mussaenda erythrophylla

Ashanti Blood/ Red flagbush/ Tropical Dogwood

Maybe i could get a kick this time when i show him how beautifully three have been combined. The purple of the Bush Morning Glory, the red of the Mussaenda, and the orange of the Flaming Trumpet. For my perusal only revealed the surprise in purple and orange among the reds and i am dying to share the surprise with him. He should be able to make out the small purple buds and the dark green smaller leaves of the purple trumpet flower creeper. It's rather disappointing that i could not capture any of the orange clusters clearly either but i know i saw some tiny clusters. 
 i could be wrong about the name of the purple trumpet flowers because there exist many which look the same and are vines too. The Railway creeper being one too but this was definitely not the Railway Creeper because the dark green leaves were not cracked and seven lobed but heart shaped.
Are you a sight for sore eyes?
Or a traffic stopper?

Some Flaming Trumpet 

A stunning combination of vines that had shades of green, purple ,orange and dominating all, the blood red

Then i have to definitely ask him if he knew this which many here are using near their entrances. Very refreshing color of the double- pinnate leaves. Attractive and pleasantly eye catching! more for it's interesting foliage and it's color. Appearing as if the edges glowed with their own light of green mixed with yellow. 
Wonder if they flower too...

Although my heart pulsates with excitement i am not too sure this excitement can kindle the same into the heart of someone who had to go through that painful and hard task of killing his PRECIOUS. That which lived and responded to his care and nurturing by giving him a bountiful which was shared among one and all in that colony.  i can understand what he must be going through right now apart from the other tensions of a busy life. i can only hope that my attempt to cheer him up and motivate him to make yet another fresh start should be able to do just that. Nothing more...nothing less.
Knowing him just too well for his intensity and passion that angers him every time anything is addressed as an invasive weed , chances are that he already has...
But if wishes could be fulfilled i'd rather that, " ...And from close to the ground
               Will rise curled green twigs
   Miniature boughs,
Which if unchecked will expand again
To former size.
And for times when wishes are not fulfilled then this should not only remind but also suffice...
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and 
you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which 
has been your delight."
--- Kahlil Gibran 

Friday, September 9, 2011

What was Her Name?

i was walking through an empty road that flanked duplex houses on both sides of a posh colony admiring the beautiful homes with their creative gardens and prim lawns. Was also wondering about the rich people living behind those squeaky clean French windows. The drapes of which moved gently to the rhythm of the central air conditioning, perhaps.
Right from their impressive custom made wrought-iron gate to the name plate to the architectural design of the duplex and the landscaping, each house looked unique in it's blend of modern cum ethnic. i walked along, full of admiration on the one hand and trying to make a mental note of all the new fusion on the other hand and thought, " Maybe i should take a picture of the best looking house. Later when i plan to have one of my own the picture could come in handy as a visual that would remind me to incorporate some of the creative, Eco-friendly and functional aspects.
i could also improvise and accommodate some of these combinations of hedges, ornamental grasses, vines, succulents and garden flowers... on whatever size the plot is..."
Building castles in the air never felt so good.

Can i take a picture?
Will someone object?
Let's see if i can take permission...perhaps compliment them for their good taste in designing their dream home.

Alas! singling out one which could be the best of the ten or so was not an easy task for my discerning eye.

Then something...some sound...some movement behind me jolted me out of my reverie.
i paused and realized all of a sudden that i was not alone on that empty, quiet road. Someone, something was following me and i don't know since WHEN.
i would've panicked but not this time. There were figures behind those designer gates hovering around the shiny luxury automobiles. So help was at hand. Besides the faint sound was not intimidating or frightening at all. It sounded more like a timid scuttle and i think i heard something that did not growl or hiss but gurgled in between some whimpering, like an infant.

Naturally, i was not surprised, not really to see my stalkers. The eldest of the threesome holding her younger brother refused to return my smile. But the kid sister hid shyly behind her elder sister clutching on to her shirt with one hand while the other touched her shoulder and smiled back at me. The gurgling/whimpering perhaps had come from the toddler who seemed rather annoyed to see a stranger woman in spectacles instead of his mother. i tried striking a conversation by asking them if they were wondering who i was and what i was wanting to do with that device in my hand. The elder did not respond but the younger nodded a shy affirmative.
 i was eager to wipe that look that seemed part angry, part questioning and largely sad . i tried another attempt to make her feel comfortable. So started explaining my intention, that of taking a picture of one beautiful house with a garden but was finding it very difficult to decide. The girl stood listening without uttering a word. i was not even sure if she understood me clearly. The younger kid sister showing more joi de vivre than her sibling, popping out her face a wee bit more and thus i could discern the resemblance among the siblings. The kid sister was all full of shy smiles. But the girl whom i was hell bent on placating stood with the same expression. Her thin body just shaking in inertia to the jerks of her baby brother's kicking legs.
i could see no flicker in her eyes nor any movement in her facial muscle that could convey what she was feeling. Was she pleased or displeased with my gesture? i had no clue. For she donned the same part angry, part questioning and largely sad look.
My final attempt sounded something like this-'' Okay shall i take a photo of yours and show you how you look in a photo?"
My final elicited yet another nod but not a twitch for a smile. The kid sister continued to compensate for her.
This was how the picture was shot and i feel at a loss that there was no way i could capture the moment when a natural and the most beautiful smile transformed her countenance in a manner like she's just jolted out of some strange spell and is all bright and pink of spirits. Another Snow-white !!
 i heaved inwardly hearing my own sigh of relief. She warmed up to life by kissing her own picture with her smiling eyes. 
Alas! that smile happened only when she was peering into the camera and viewing her image along with her siblings. She kept smiling and looking at her serious picture and it felt awkward and harsh pulling the camera and my hand that held the camera away from her smiling face. 

That idea to take the picture of the most beautiful house then fizzled out and for sometime we just walked together. There were no conversations just companionship. i don't know what she was thinking but i knew what was going on inside me.

 i was conjuring the shape of the emaciated woman, the mother, who perhaps was performing chores behind those custom made doors. i was also thinking about this girl who could be anything between five to eight and was already a surrogate mother of two when she should be playing hopscotch with her friends.
Then i was imagining her in some other life where she is sitting in a pink frilled frock of silk,  satin ribbons and soft lace. Sitting nice and snug on the lap of her mother/father and listening  enraptured to the story of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs being read out to her from a big colorful cut out book which shows her the various characters in motion

When i took her picture it was never my intention to make her the subject for my blog. Mainly because i feel responsible for her plight. i feel responsible for her anger, her questioning and her sadness.

i have not been able to forget her and would not exaggerate or lie to say that she's always on my mind. But she creeps into my thoughts suddenly when i seem to be having a peaceful and a jolly good time. 
There is a strange feeling then of guilt mixed with remorse and i keep asking myself, "What if it was me instead of her? How could i go on like this living my life and not do anything about it...?"
It feels rather cruel to keep counting my blessings. i would rather that she and every SHE who becomes a mother to her siblings from infancy-any age should be me.

Was it her passive, reticent self then that prevented me, of all the people, from asking for her name.
 Me who has a thing for knowing names to the extent of peering into the badges of people in the service sector and address them by their names if i have to ask them anything.
Me who hunts and researches to know the names of the trees, the plants, the birds and insects...and efforts even more to remember them. Why did i fail/ not bother to ask her name?

 And i hope that she who was sharing the burden of running the family along with her mother is not called NAKUSA.

i hope that when food is distributed at home she gets her fair share of whatever there is .
i hope if and when she plays truant to her chores, she is not flogged mercilessly.
i hope the brother whom she balanced on her bony waist remembers her service and sacrifice when he grows up.
i hope that boy of a brother is not pampered enough since he is a male to become a rascal who survives on his sister's earnings.
i hope she is not a victim of abuse and molestation.
i hope and hope...
i hope she is not  expendable... 
And i hope she has been named well. Something that does not make her wonder why she was allowed to be born if she was UNWANTED.

Before i can quit i have to shake off the sadness that surrounds me and as usual a poetry would be ideal. This one is by a highly respected living Urdu poet, a lady who is often invited to India to recite her enigmatic but powerful compositions. Zehra Nigah
i have read from the newspapers that some of her compositions have been translated in English by Rakshanda Jalil.

i don't know any except this one which is most recited and often quoted called 'Samjhauta'.
Samjhauta means compromise.
It goes like this...

Mulayam garam samjhaute ki chadar

Yeh chadar mein ne barson mein buni hai

Kahin bhi sach ke gul boote nahin hai

Kissi bhi jhooth ka taanka nahin hai

Issi se mein bhi tan dhak loongi apna

Issi se tum bhi aasooda rahoge

Na kush hoge, na pashmanda hoge.

Translated in English it should be like this...
"Warm and soft, this blanket

Of compromise has taken me years to weave

Not a single flower of truth embellishes it

Not a single false stitch betrays it

It will do to cover my body though

And it will bring comfort too,

If not joy, nor sadness to you."