Thursday, 10 December 2015

A letter to my Mother

After years of sleepless nights, and being tormented with worries and memories,
dreamless hazy thoughts and one or two hour snoozes of questions,
after countless moments of anguish which claws at my core,
I seek you,
I need you,
to reach you... and make me whole.

In this ever-changing, pulsating, living Universe,
where the unseen atoms collide,
in each speck of our finite beings,
where the fathomless, formless reside....

I pray to you, my sweet Ma,
come and hold me for a heartbeat,
when "Change is the only constant,...." they say...
Let all inconsistencies in me

Our core continually transmutes into constantly evolving manifestations
of THAT which WAS,
and IS.....
and forever WILL BE.
Why, then, do I sink in the present
when the past has been cast?

As a body sheds a garment
did your soul shed the body
amidst all the recent torment,
I break alone,
and shatter....

You teach me,
with ever moment of life going by,
you reach me, Ma,
your gentle being touches my soul,
in your sweet, divine embrace one day...
some day....
my restless spirit will reach her goal.

for you, Maa
15th October 1948- 30th April 1995

Monday, 4 August 2014

Of War and Peace

It was nearly nightfall on 4th August 2014. Today was also my young brother's Birthday. He is a Commander in the Indian Navy and the son of our Father who served as an Indian Air Force Officer. The day had been busy and I noticed my children were tired after an afternoon spent in the park. I served them their dinner early and cleared up the mess afterwards. S was still edgy and R was crying from the tiredness, protesting loudly when I tried to get them into the shower. After the tribulations abated, we sat down to watch a DVD... and turned off the lights at 22:00 hrs. As we lit a solitary candle in remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of people who died during the First World War that began a Century ago today, I gathered my two daughters close and tried to answer some of their innocent yet profoundly disturbing questions on topics like 'darkness', 'candle-light', 'fear' and WAR.... A hundred years to the day the First World War began, we sat in the pitch dark room with candlelight illuminating our faces, and casting moving shadows around itself....
For a while tonight, I was speechless...

We'd finished watching 'The Sound of Music' on DVD just before 21:15hrs and the kids had all sorts of questions throughout the film. About the children, Captain, Maria, the Sisters from the Abbey and 'that horrid Man who was so rude and stuck up' and was forcing the Captain to join the German Warship Fleet... We talked about Patriotism and Dignity, Discipline and Conscientiousness "the voice that only I can hear telling me to think before I speak, act,or work..."
Both of them were, understandably, curious and full of questions about the World War, which I was somewhat prepared to handle, but what took me completely by surprise were the simplest ones; "Why did they fight?" , "Are they all dead because of the War?" "What do bombs do?"... And so on. What was I to say to my youngest asking me if there would be no war someday?!
I tried to give them some answers in a way that they could understand the nature of war and it's unforeseen consequences. I pondered the irony of a public spectacle of Remembrance of the first War of the Modern world, while shelling and  missile-attacks still ravage parts of the developing world and recollected a phrase from a much loved film from the 1990s: "The purpose of War is to serve a political end, but the true nature of war is to serve itself."
I tried to explain this to them in a way that they could understand....

We talked about life during and after the War, the History of thouusands of years of Civilization that stood on the banks of rivers of blood... I considered telling them about Religious and Ideological Wars when one of them asked me about Wars in India and Spiritual belief: the battle of Good versus Evil.We read about Child-friendly explainations of the World as it was; past Governments, Political Standing, Power and Freedom... I hope I managed to convey to them both that War is neither convenient, nor entirely avoidable yet no situation or conflict is so far gone that it cannot be resolved peacefully. War gains nothing and destroys everything. It was and still remains imminently responsible for the suffering it metes out. Children, families, industries, livelihoods, are all lost, scarred or robbed as it begins it's relentless march to Victory or Death whichever comes first. Defeat is not an option...

Even the people it churns in the crucible of it's machinery are reduced to being nothing but a shell of a human being. WAR happened a hundred years ago today and hundreds of millennia before that. And it still is happening today. That is a sad, sad Reality. As I later read about the First World War and it's many fall outs, the German oppression and the Holocaust my mind conjured up the present conflicts and the excruciatingly macabre denial of the suffering innocent people of Gaza...
I spared them the horrors that visit me when I read about children and families bombed out of homes and UN Shelters by Israeli missiles and rockets...

Time moves on but it seems we are yet to learn from the War that began tonight, a Century ago, slashing and destroying the face of the Geo-political world as we know it from History books and faded yet treasured B&W photographs... Humanity, Kindness, Compassion and Care... Are these values we really live by and uphold?! Or do we let life, daily life, get in the way and rescue us from the horrors on BBC and CNN? What if Gaza wasn't really Gaza but Guildford, Glasgow or Gloucester?? Would our reaction be just as clinical, our Government Policy just as cold and unaffectedly distant? When will The USA and Britain awaken from the slumber of ineptitude and shake off the comatose indifference of distance and realize that our inaction today will sow the seeds for poppies that the children of Gaza and Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan may never wear on their lapels...
Who will remember them and honor their right to live?! Shouldn't we all? Surely, the greatest and most poignant tribute to pay today would be a pledge to end this iniquitous war and begin to rebuild the futures of the Children of Today...The people of Gaza need the world to stop this unjustified and ludicrous attack now.
We can still do something so they don't lose a loved one nor have to hold on to the memory of a sibling or parent who died a week ago... a day ago or an hour ago in the senseless naked dance of death that the missiles bring down on them all. How unspeakably pitiable are we as humans that we forget and disregard the sacrifices of all those who lay down their lives for peace.... Why are the powerful, rich and extremely influential Allies so impotent and mute hundred years on?? Have the last one hundred years and many hundreds of conflicts numbed us to the pain of innocent children who only ever hope for a time to live, laugh, love and play? Have we learnt nothing at all in this Century of Wars and conflict, weaponry and combat?? I wish I could get the so-called influential leaders of the world to answer me when my daughters ask me, " Mummy will there be a day without and War on our Earth?"

Inexplicably, tears made my throat seize up and we became silent.... Finding solace in a hug and a prayer for the soldiers who gave up their lives so we could have freedom and peace, they folded their tiny hands and closed their eyes as they asked Him to end suffering and oppression everywhere. For now, I just silently hug them close and pray...

Sunday, 15 June 2014

A note to my Dad on Father's Day...

Dearest Daddy, 

There's something I want to come out and say
as I miss you achingly on Father's Day...
It's something I've always known and felt 
But never managed to express....
This feeling that my heart will melt...

Since you 'grew me up' and sent me, 
With a hug and 'do me proud'
(as I took your blessings at my 'vidaai')
I've wandered across the timeless ocean
With a deepening sense of sad, self-doubt....

Although I see the past like a mirror,
No memory too small to hide,
I still so wish we were together,
With you right here by my side....

As time goes by I realize the folly
Of holding on to the chimera of life,
For now I see as plain as daylight
What it really takes to be a wife....
It took me away from all I knew,
And everything I ever lived with,
in the hope of something new...

Now all I ever pray for
Is that in every future lifetime
God makes you my daddy again
For only in your loving company
Do I, your child, my trust regain...

I miss your voice
your face,
your laughter
your eyes
your singing
your scolding
(with infinite love, may I add...)
For only when I became a parent
I could see the courage you've had

you were my Father, always,
then mother and friend,
and guide and conscience

and I know this to be very true
this is what I'd say 
if, by some grace divine, I see you

I never say it as often as I feel it,
think it 
and know it
My dearest Dad, 
you're my rock, my anchor, my hero,
and always will be my ideal man!
yours, Ruch

13:55 Hrs

P.S- They say it's very hard to live for others, lose your soul-mate and still carry on, be a Father AND a Mother to teenagers, live each day learning something new- even if you're in your 40s, 50s or 60s...
They say it' takes a special kind of man to put his wife and family first, even before his own career, dreams and goals...
They say life is a journey, not a destination; live each day like it's your last, and love each moment like it's your first...
I only say, Daddy, in living with you, loving you, watching you and learning from you, I have seen you do all this and more!!
Years ago you told me, with a hug and a brave smile, as you bade me goodbye to start a new life with my husband, "Ruch, I know you will do me proud ".... all I can say is in every moment of my life when I feel helpless, doubtful, alone or sad, I imagine you are with me, encouraging me, talking to me till all my troubles disappear, no matter what hour of which day I call you and everything starts to make perfect sense...I hope that someday, I make you as proud of me, as I am of being YOUR daughter!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

It's Time now....

देर लगी लेकिन  
मैंने अब है जीना सीख लिया
जैसे भी हों दिन
मैंने अब है जीना सीख लिया
अब मैंने ये जाना है
ख़ुशी है क्या ग़म क्या
दोनों ही दो पल की है ऋतें
न ये ठहरें न रुकें,
ज़िन्दगी दो रंगों से बने
अब रुठें अब मनें
यही तो है यही तो है यहाँ
देर लगी लेकिन मैंने अब है जीना सीख लिया
आंसुओं के बिन मैंने अब है जीना सीख लिया
है कोई जो यह मुझसे कह गया
के कहाँ तू रह गया
ज़िन्दगी तो है जैसे कारवां
तू है तन्हा कब यहाँ
सभी तो हैं सभी तो हैं यहाँ

Translation: (in my own way...)

It took me a while, 
(to realise)
I have learnt to live now
no matter what kind of day
comes my way
I have learnt to live now....

I have now learnt
...and found the meaning in the words
just mere moments of life
...two different seasons,
they come and go
never stopping or halting...
LIFE is of two colours
sometimes a friend, sometimes not...
it is HERE
There now

It took me a while
but now I have learnt to live....
to LIVE...
without tears
I have learnt
to live now....

Then someone says to me
there you are!
HERE, you are......
(Why have you stopped!!?) 
Life is a journey...
It goes on...and on...
you're never
Everyone is here
every ONE is Here....

Postscript: Sometimes the realization that we are actually ALONE despite everyone around, dawns belatedly... For me, it came tiptoeing into my psyche. A chance phrase, a flippant comment... a 'I'm just joking...can't I joke??" retort when I was deeply hurt by it....all served to fill up the cup of joy. Or not.
Can life really change its course for the better if I accept the inevitable and make this jump!? Or am I too deep in, too far gone to make it out...??

Sunday, 6 October 2013

For my Soul-Sister, Preeti.

My Dearest loving Preeti, this song is for you and me, my sweet soul-sister. 

Listen to this song. Dwell on its words, the waves of music and the devotion of its Composer... there is profound grace in each word of this masterpiece. It has been stirring my soul since the first time I heard it. 
The thing that blows me away is its sheer beauty of melody, the meaning behind those words, J J (Ranbir's Character in the film)  and his simple heart and the depth of his passion for music... 

It reminds me of how much you have always been in tune with your inner soul- the sensitive, beautiful, ephemeral angel that you are. Since the first time we exchanged smiles at Nagindas in First Sem at SID, you have inspired and moved me beyond anything I can express in words... Your sketches, your Basic Design work, TRD Drawings and sheer will-power to overcome all the difficulties in your life was a lesson in survival. Having lost my mother a couple of months before I joined SID, I was raw, like someone skinned alive. Every emotion, every feeling was heightened by the sadness that in my life, at least, I would never be able to tell her, ever again, what she meant to me... She was my lifeline, and her loss weighs heavily on me to this day.... Such a loss can only make a person stronger, IF they can survive it, but in all my naked honesty, I tell you today that in those first two sems, everyday, it looked very unlikely ... 

My heart was drawn to you and Krishna Ma'am, for her blessing of motherly love for all of us. It was the fine thread, along with my father and what he must feel if I gave in, that held me onto life... so I tell you, dear Preeti, NEVER GIVE UP. YOU owe it to your mother, to live life the best you can and fight every obstacle, every negative onslaught from this world and its ways, every time you face pessimism. I and thousands of others are privileged and grateful to God for bringing you into our lives.... BELIEVE in yourself ALWAYS.... If you like it too, watch the video again, as I did, putting yourself in this holy place and ask yourself, what is that one thing or person or activity in your life that gives you true bliss. I think we both know the answer: MA. For both of us, perhaps, our mothers are our fountainhead of inspiration, love, beauty and gentleness. You are lucky, Preeti, your mummy is still with you, and I know you must be feeling the distance across the seas and that is what cuts you up and makes you lose heart sometimes... Just hold on, and remember, she is only a thought away. A whispered prayer and her heart will resound with your love cos that is what a mother's heart is like, baby. She is always with us, even if not physically next to us, she can still hear the echoes of our heartbeat in the throbbing of her own pulse. God is like our mother too, full of love and compassion... I always picture him as my mother because I lost faith in Him and His compassion many years ago when I lost my mother to Cancer...

As a teenager, I remember crying into my pillow, for nights on end in high School, praying to Him to please bless us with a miracle and save her...spare her life... but then, how could He let His carefully sketched-out plan go to naught!?? He won and I lost my mother to His powers over 18 years ago, and  I have not prayed in the conventional sense....ever since. Even if I go to the temple or stand before an idol, all I see is the Idol. I find that my god is my mother's memory, her life as she lived it, bravely and gently, lovingly and stoically...
My God is now in the eyes of my children... In the sparkle of a patient's smile as they squeeze my hand and tell me I have helped, which, I reassure them, is what I am there for.

Which brings me to this important bit I wanted to say!! DO WHAT MAKES YOU TRULY HAPPY; whether it is sitting down and listening to music or going outside with a sketchbook and recording your poetic prose, or as a drawing. The inner-being in us all has ONE PASSIONATE FIRE could be burning for anything- or anyone. Until we let it consume our lives, our time, our hearts, we will be restless and unfulfilled, feeling lost when we feel down.

I feel that way a lot, lot, lot of the time, babe and that's why I can relate to you... What gets me going is my kids, and my work as a Carer at the Hospital. It's just that I cannot pursue my dream of riding my bike to the end of the world, peeping off the edge and taking photographs just yet! Gotta wait .wait longer for that till all my responsibilities are done and I'm, Inshallah, older but still able to do it..!! I need to find my SELF, as I know you have....! The message you sent me on facebook  made it personifies your dedicated love, care and heart-warming beauty for all those who are lucky to have met you, howsoever briefly, because you leave a lasting impression on hearts.

My little daughter Rani, 7, is with me and it is now early morning... (I've been up since before first light today) reading your message and writing to you... Rani cried with me, as we held each other; she cried because she had reawakened from a bad dream and I did because it is unbearable to watch her cry to me when I woke up and walked downstairs where she was sleeping with a friend (we had a friend's two kids stay over so she could have some time to go out). I found her near the foot of the stairs, silently sobbing, and scooped her up to take her with me...

Moments later, she said "Mummy, I was missing you..." Now, nestled under the crook of my arm, she is watching me write, sorry, type this. I told her about your message and we both cried again, until she said , "Mummy, where is she!!?? When can I see her??! I want to give her a big hug and say thank you for being YOU." Rani wishes that there were no bad people in  the world and that all good people are always happy, and that nothing would make them sad.

As she puts, it, THEY are GOOD PEOPLE, they deserve to be happy. ALWAYS.
Amen to that! This is from the me and Rani (Shivu is sleeping with her Daddy tonight, to keep stress away from her) : for you... and me... and the child in all of us...Maa.
Be Happy and stay BLESSED, always. You inspire me and make me feel special, Preetikins. I am always with you, right there with you in spirit. You are and always will be my soul mate- my spiritual sister... and I want you to know how much you mean to me. Love you forever....
eternally yours,
0522 Hrs

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Heal the world...


Heal the World
When I think, see, hear or read,
I see a world steeped in pure greed
It hurts and rankles,
as they carve the wound,
It makes us deaf
to the whimpers around...

Where girls are killed, or maimed or looted,
and society watches helplessly rooted
When problems are burdens on their innocent soul,
insurmountably large for a fractured whole

I pray.
With Love and He does bless,
I derive strength from simple goodness
From the littlest of things
the tiniest of beings...

I marvel.
At His glory and Love for us all,
I scatter the seeds of a promising song.
A FUTURE replete with hope and positivity,
where everyone does a little bit more,
making a tiny bit of difference-
sharing their gifts of abundance and plenty...

I hope.
That the day will arrive when equality is unquestionable.
Not so much a matter of choice but a duty of Humanity.
When everyone helps and looks after the 'others'
no matter how small or simple the contribution...

I dream.
Of the evolution of mankind into humankind.
When Love and Peace are not lofty goals, but basic tenets of LIFE itself.
A day when birth is not just an event, but an evocative phenomenon,
celebrated by everyone, and valued by all.
Dearly precious.
Cherished and Blessed.

-AMEN to that.
(Please click the links to share my inspirations.)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Until I Breathe.... Lessons in Love ( Part II )

(Lessons... part I is on My ordinary everydays- here)

Yesterday, I watched a 2012 Indian Film at home after over nine months of very little TV viewing... I don't even remember the last recently released Hindi film I saw, before this one. Perhaps it was Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in 2012...That one was a superb film too, and I loved it immensely.... but work, kids and life is such that we're not a family that goes to the movies unless its a kids' film on the weekend matinee show!
Somehow, its been this long. Occasionally, I watch old films online, or re-run my DVDs, collected over the years when my husband and kids visit my mum-in Law for a sleepover on weekends. Those are the times I can get some 'me' time, or read, listen to music when my work is done. Sometimes, I go to work for a long weekend Shift (I work most weekends) It was one such day yesterday... the kids had watched a film in our bed with me earlier that night and when they went to bed after their goodnight kisses, I settled down to watch one of the more recent films. Mind you, I use the term 'recent' here in a very subjective manner- it was 'recent' by my standards!

It turned out to be a wonderful surprise! An inspiring, enriching and honest film. ( I saw 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' yesterday. , for the first time)...Its an epic of love and passion- created by a man whose greatest love and passion was film-making. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me go quiet for a whole day. Yash ji, God Bless your Soul... I was completely blown away by the film. Bearing in mind the situation we are in, as a family- (the endless loop of Social Workers and Counselling we both undertook as a couple to work on our ten-year marriage and parenthood issues, the film Jab Tak Hai Jaan was like a sign from God...
It taught me a few lessons that I had forgotten... Lessons I had observed and imbibed in my youth from my parents and their rock-solid marriage which was beautiful beyond description. Growing up in the shade of their love was like being in the warm embrace of my Ba as we call grandmothers in Gujarati. It was like resting my head in her cotton saree-clad lap as a child... like being in the shade of a huge banyan tree at CEPT after walking in from the heat of a blazing, scorching, hot Indian sun... Their love for each other and others in the family was like the paras mani or Philosopher's Stone which turns all those who come in contact with, into Pure Blissful blessedness. Growing up as their daughter I was secure and safe, and had the scope to learn and think, sense and gain insight into 'what makes a good marriage'....
 I laughed, I cried, and loved every moment of it! The main character, Major Samar Anand (played by Shah Rukh Khan) is easily one of the very best Indian film and TV Actors of all times, and he was amazing...he practically 'breathed' the part... He is, unarguably, well-deserving of his STAR status; not because he is SRK, but because his essence is still the simple boy from Delhi, who may be followed world-wide by millions of people, and mobbed and loved by many more, yet still has his feet firmly planted on terra-firma. (In my humble opinion, of course!)
The next night, after my chores were done and my children were asleep, I and my husband talked about the film and we made a home 'date' to watch the film on DVD in the near future, together.
The next night, while I was searching for songs from the YRF banner on youtube, I found something marvellous-Yash Chopra Ji's interview with SRK...
Having watched the film, I had realized that Mr Yash Chopra had passed away, at 80, shortly before the release of this film... I had gathered as much from the film being dedicated to him... a tribute to a father, mentor, guide, loving and simple person like yash ji

Be steadfast in your determination to reach your goal. The path may be hard, and the going rough, but you must have the courage of your convictions. Anything less, and you risk losing that 'vision'. It will simply exist as a 'phase' of your existence... you may exist, but you will not live fully and completely.

whether you want to work in a tiny village School or volunteer your able-bodied self to help those who are unwell in a Hospital, whether you are a Blood or organ Donor ( on the register,
Whether you want to be the best
Be Bold.
 Have the Courage of your convictions and what you set out to do or achieve is possibl
and stand up to your beliefs.