Friday, November 27, 2009

The Trap

Beads of Sweat rolling down my head.
Breath comes catching, careful i tread.
In a frustrated punch,palm meets palm,
as I tiptoe around the calm eye of a storm.

One by one, did i watch them fall.
Surrender their freedom, as chains are worn.
I cringe as i gnash my teeth,
their looks of contentment, let me down.

A farewell to a happier time.
Smiles and cheers didn't feel like a crime.
When we rode the winds without a care,
worries didn't drag us, death did we stare.

Now my fellow riders are bogged down,
bearing a cross made of worries, a world of doubting frowns,
Lines of sorrow, do mark a once cheerful face,
Mighty steeds, tragic, as they slow down.

A beacon that calls to those who would heed.
as i stand firm, in the bulwark of single hood,

Hark unto me, escape the noose that hangs,
to yank you into a life of servitude.

Heed my clarion call, turn a deaf ear to marital vows.
Women and men, learn to overthrow the yoke.
Live life as we were meant to live,
Not reduced to rehashed sitcom jokes.

Those trapped do yearn to be,
free as nature, like you and me.
Stay happy, stay single, stay strong.
A life full of grief, despair, arguments, inadequacy,
is surely a way of life that is wrong.

A life without commitment or "Quality time".
Guilt free to pursue what I think should be mine.
Sample the various flavors, drink in all the hues of the sun.
Why stop an epic tale, with an end at Chapter One?

Grounded Roots

You know how things go in the twenties. Your thoughts oscillate like a teenager, your mind clamors for stability like a middle aged man and your sighs betray a want for a break from the hectic pace of life, in the stages where one should enter Vanaprastha and Sanyasa.

Tumultuous, torrid, confusing, soul shattering thoughts that makes one relive the imagined glories of the past in the morning, contemplate the exciting mysteries of tomorrow in the afternoon, before being dragged kicking and screaming, to live through the weary, burdensome chores of today, in the evening.

Well, one particular morning, when pangs of nostalgia proved exceptionally enchanting, i pulled out my school album. Besides the initial shock (S#$T, i used to look like that!! Wow, i had so much Hair!!) one thing that particularly struck me was, almost everyone in the album had moved outside Chennai. I'll be the first to admit I'm rotten at keeping in touch with folks. There's just a couple of people from school I keep in occasional touch with. But i do know that a lot of the people smirking, giggling, whispering, with a shine in their eyes, unaware of the disappointments, joys and turbulent phase of life ahead of them. As i looked at them, i wondered, how many of them will look at their school photos and wonder, Chennai is where i became the person i am today?

And as is usual, my thoughts then extended to a generation before us. A lot of them from small corners of India. In a Tam Bram family like mine, places you come across frequently in the journey into what has gone past include Kumbakkonam, Sriperumbudur, Virudhangar, Thanjavur, Karaikudi, and so on. A lot of those folks used to tell me, that Madras (love that name) used to be the promised land for them. A place with the promise of ever flowing rivers of milk and Coffee. A place where people got rich, and linked to the grand engine called South India.

A lot of them have grandchildren growing up in America. And in the span of two generations, a chasm has emerged. A gulf dividing cultures, sensibilities, viewpoints and beliefs. I have sadly, never made a trip to the towns where my grandparents grew up. Yet, i can imagine that my urban upbringing will bring about a disconnect if I ever do manage to make a trip.

There are stories there that i will never know about, sadly. About the frustrations at the moment when it dawns on you, that the well which forms the limits of your world, the arduous fights that mark your climb outside, being awestruck at the expanse of the world which awaits outside, yet which doesn't greet you. And the knowledge that once you cross the line, you can never truly come back. And the consequences of that moment.

The struggles of adjustment in a foreign land, coming to terms with the demands of frugality. Learning to cope up with the battles of being a lone wolf, away from the cocooned existence in the pack. Watching your children grow up as total strangers to your way of life. The proud moment when they spread their wings, and the sadness which marks their journey away from home, to lands beyond the extent to which eyes can see.

And finally, the loneliness. In the twilight of your life, in a land which you made your home. Cutoff from the past, yearning for it.

Stories that repeat themselves, over and over. Stories I would have loved to hear, Stories that will sadly, remain unknown to me.

Why do such thoughts occur to me? I really don't know. Will they continue to come to me? Absolutely. Will I make something of them? Working on it.

That's all i wrote.   

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Sword Unsheathed

Red is the colour,
of the blood,
streaming from beheaded foes.

Red is the colour,
of the warrior's eyes,
before facing the gallows.

Red is the colour
of the evening sky,
as day draws to a close.

Red is the colour,
of his flag,
A symbol of the fight against woe.

A hero arose from a people suppressed,
questioned those who did not forget.
Marked him for sacrifice, an example to make,
of those who questioned the steerage of their fate.

Oh they mocked, with glee they cackled.
And smote his village, with fire that crackled,
and burst and thundered, as it consumed,
the lives of those chained, now lost in fumes.

A black heart was created, with the cindered dust,
that rained on ravaged land, on a fiery dusk.
He howled a last cry, and with an oath,
unsheathed the sword, enemies to smote.

Silent as the night, invisible like sin.
All knowing yet untraceable, like misty wind.
Strong as a storm, fueled by rage,
furiously calm, a warrior sage.

He fought a long battle, won a few wars,
his sword gleamed red, his face earned scars.
Retribution, eye for an eye,
left the kingdom blind, toothless to try.

Try to stop him, they did,
with methods old and new.
Bribe, seduction and other vices,
the jolly motley crew.

Impervious he proved, and the losses kept mounting.
The final battle approached, the hour of reckoning.
And he walked onto the fields, where once flowers bloomed.
The assembled army quivered, awaiting their doom.

What happened at the battle, is a lore we'll never know.
No one returned alive, neither hero nor foe.
The ground had turned red, a stench filled the air,
severed limbs scattered everywhere, in the mad stampede of despair.

They say that when he went down,
he took thirty more with him.
They say when the authority taunted him,
he spat and smiled back at them.

And that was the last that was ever heard,
of the man who never spoke a word.
Who conquered the cowards who hid behind arms,
and never fell prey to their corrupting charms.

The tale of the warrior of the unsheathed blade,
lives on in legend of the truly brave.
We whisper his name, to grant us courage,
while he rests under an unmarked grave.