Monday, December 24, 2007


She stands at the fork in the road. She has no road map in hand. There are no signs directing her, no co-travelers to help her along. She is all alone. And in a dilemma. Which road to choose? Both are one ways. Once a road is chosen, she cannot back track. Both look equally good or equally bad. Dimly lit. She cannot see what lies ahead.

She pauses, hesitates. Something tells her these paths are mutually exclusive. What lies on one path can't be found on the other. She would rather remain at that point than choose either of the two paths that lie ahead of her and lose all that lies on the other path, but her time is running out. She must make a decision soon.

She's scared to make that one decision which might significantly alter the course of her journey ahead. She wishes she were a child again, when parents - who always hoped for her best- would take the important decisions for her and she would obediently follow them. 'It's easy when others take your decisions for you - that way you have someone other than yourself to blame when things go wrong", she thinks, with a wry smile. But, deep down, she knows that she would rather be the one who decides, that she is grown up now, and, must decide for herself and , while basking in the joy of good decisions, must also take the brunt of the wrong ones.

She hears voices in her head, asking her to think carefully, to go on the path leading to what she really wants. She decides to introspect. To realise what she really wants, what her heart desires the most - at the moment. True, the desires are always changeable, and at a later date, she might want the very thing that she gave up. But, that is a risk she has to take. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and there would surely be moments when she would curse herself for not having gone on the other path. But it would happen no matter which path she chose. No one can peep into the future and see which of the paths lead to a happy end. But, happiness is always a state of mind, and, she decided not to look back once her decision was made and, come what may, find her happiness in her decision.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both

Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference"
[Robert Frost, "The road less traveled"]

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'd rather have you with me......

My friend had once told me about this poem he read. I have tried since then, to get that poem online - but the effort's been futile [esp. as I know neither the title of the poem, nor the name of the poet :D] . I do not remember the lines exactly, but I remember the essence, and, it goes something like -
"Why is it, that when you are with me, I find myself unable to write anything,
but, when you are away, I fill pages and pages with writings of Love and Longing?
I'd rather have you with me and have my pages empty ."

One can easily agree with me when I say I echo this.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I remember, I remember.......

I Remember, I Remember

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor brought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember
The roses red and white,
The violets and the lily cups--
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,--
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then
That is so heavy now,
The summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember
The fir-trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy.

Thomas Hood

Read a lovely article by Vanita Dawra Nangia in the Times today. [The O-zone column]. She reminisces about her childhood days, remembering incidents from school days and how things that had affected her deeply back then seem trivial now. That images crumble and things diminish with time. She makes a lovely statement - "Childhood magnifies everything. Even buildings take on bigger dimensions than in reality. I remembered the school building to be much bigger than what I actually found it to be"

Experienced this when i went to Kundapur for Ganapati this year. Kundapur was a haven for us kids. A childhood paradise. Well, at some point all of us non-kundapur-ites have wished to have been living there. As kids, a huge one acre land - filled with mango and jackfruit trees, a rambling house, filled with wondrous nooks and corners to be explored, a lovely 'maaLi' of our own, with the huge swing, the river in walking distance, the sea at an hour's drive - was heaven on earth. The days spent idling away in the 'hittal' under the trees, by the lake; plucking mangoes and guavas; on the swing, swinging away with as much force as our little legs had, to the latest hit hindi songs playing on the tape recorder; trips planned by adults to Udipi or Mangalore, always with some 8 -9 kids in tow, ending with a Gudbud and Masala dosa at Paarijaata; the regular deliveries of 'Charmbura upkari' [Bhel] and Homemade ice cream from Annayya's little stall; the ice-candies bought at 25 p ; the countless games of cards, khambada aata and tons of other make-believe games; fights and patch-ups - Summer holidays at Kundapur used to be the highlight of each year. The house seemed huge, the town - confusing to navigate, the town temple - impressive, Kundeshwar seemed too far to walk, Mamamma was the omnipotent, strong matriarch, and Kundapur - the perfect heaven, resistant to change, resistant to adulteration, pristine and pure.

Went to Kundapur after an year - or was it two? - for Ganapati festival. This time, surprisingly, it felt as though I was looking at it anew. The house was not the gigantic place that existed in my memory, the doors [Hebbagila] didn't seem as impressive, the land - not as rambling as before, the swing - more compact, the town - much smaller, and, sadly, less populated; the town temple seemed like a small shrine. It was greatly unsettling. I couldn't relate this place to the memories I had of it. The town was the same - at least, in size and layout. Yet it seemed different. What made it so was the change in perspective. The Child had gone. It was an Adult now, trying to find the paradise of her childhood in the place that it now is. But an adult can never find the world as marvelous as a child does. An adult has seen the reality and found it to be harsh. The adult finds it impossible to shy away from the truth - that the town is changing; the shops selling home-made ice cream are no more; that Mamamma has aged and is growing weaker and, might not be around one day; that all fights can not end with a "forgive and forget"; that no matter how hard we swing, it is sometimes impossible to touch the sky; that the idyllic times of childhood are never going to return; that life is about earning enough, making a career, finding leave, short vacations, long and hectic work days, deadlines and appraisals, difficult choices, break ups and heart aches, adjustments, compromises, illnesses, responsibilities, separations and death. That people we idolized as kids have their own fair share of faults, and those whom we hated were not demons. In fact, there is no black and white, just gray; varying shades of it.

Yet, the adult finds respite in those brief lapses into childhood - where the mind, for a moment, forgets all that it's "learnt" and becomes innocent again and travels into a non-adult world. A world where Dreams are dreamt and they do come true, where situations are binary - yes/no, like/don't like, 1/0 - and not complex. The adult-turned-child then laughs, dreams, believes - and finds hope that life isn't meaningless after all. That no matter how dreary things might seem, Life is beautiful enough to Live - and to Live it whole-heartedly! The swings are still there, one just needs to believe that one can touch the sky - and, who knows, one fine day, it just might happen!!