Friday, February 29, 2008

The streak of Vermilion…

Hanging on the doors of a Mumbai local is window to an unfamiliar, faster world. Forgotten are lives of some similar beings, overlooked are the helplessness in some recognizable eyes, disregarded are the depth of some hungry souls.

Every day follows the other like a faithful follower. The almanac torn page after page for months to breeze past. Seasons expire, yet... life never comes to a standstill.

Walking through some narrow lanes left alone with the trail of a once beckoning history dilutes time. The towering Gothic structures admittedly evoke awe.

A lonely hand outstretched disturbed the meditative admiration. The rag picker had a haunting look overlooking an expectant coin to be dropped. The tobacco chewed and darkened teeth shone with a brownish red tinge. The lips widened making the teeth conspicuous. Another shuffle and the coins rubbed each other creating a sonorous harmony, music ensemble of a deprived lot. The left hand hit her belly involuntary, portraying hunger or a silent request to help her survive!!! The bubbly young kid with the hands on her hips swayed left and right. A look at her and she hid behind the shade of the polyester saree. The piece of cloth hung in tatters, a part of the mounds exposed. On the left hung a sack burdened with an uncared soul. The tiny future obliterated in the burgeoning populace of the emaciated. Snuggling in the race of survival!!! Nothing earned, nothing lost.

Unexpectedly, in split second amazement a smaller palm came outstretched. The shy little champion had become bolder in the enquiry. A look at the tiny palms evoked sympathy. The lines of fate callously double-crossed the lines of luck in those little requests. Pity squeezed the better out from the principled male ego and a rupee coin involuntarily tossed into the stretched out little fingers. The fingers folded, making a safe niche for the worthy coin. She looked at the begging guardian with a feel of achievement, who by then had turned to the next passer by. A sense of earning enveloped her twinkling eyes. So did a sagacious illumination in the darkest corridors in the donor. He had unknowingly directed those little hands to follow the murkier world of easy money.

Shanties as a home and occasionally with streets as a cushion, lamppost bases to recline, unaware of how life has to be indulged, they survive struggling, digging the same hands at times to empty some pockets of cash, sometimes to search for the crumbs of left out and decaying food in the dumping yards, ending in a rage.

The rag picker prepared to move. A coin fell and she stooped to pick. A shameless streak of sindhoor faintly decorated the scalp, splitting her hair into two equivalents. Value of the maroon stood demeaned. Any worth for her vermilion marks?? I stopped wondering and went ahead to enjoy the simplicities life offered at a discount.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Little Nothings...

......A Fairy tale based on the true life tale of two lovely souls.......

Once upon a time lived a princess, far away beyond the reach of eyes. Wearing anklets, dancing through, ran she all along the woods she loved so tender. Kingdom danced and so the subjects merrily, happily daily till dawn. Day along she sat alone, on a bank too grassy smooth. Pristine were the waters clear, carefree swam her fishes colorful, lovely smiled the flowers, and blissful slept the sky blue yet white, but prettier than all looked her dimples charming. Time ticked and she wrote verse upon the leaves of a little plant. Loved she reading the little words of joy and so she did write every day never-ending. The water she drank and the fishes spoke – “why not come down and be our queen?’

Smiling cute in reflections, she replied- “A gentle, handsome prince awaits a me so lovely, lovely...”

The fish swam down dancing her fins. A little drop splashed, kissing her dimples charming. Ripples drowned in her reflection.

Time went on and the plant did grow. As they did, so did she. The king loved her so, much more deeply than could the queen. Time came and she betrothed. So intense were her looks so elegant, the prince did swoon a little bit. Then the queen her mother so warm, packed great many jewels of gold; trinkets dazzling, dresses fine and all that made a royal bride. Everyone wept in tumbler full. The fishes did miss their queen in dreams, so did the leaves with verses poetic. Mom she pressed against the bosom full. Bosoms exchanged a love so warm.

“Keep this golden ball so valuable, it will help you when in need”

“Yes mom, always I will treasure it true”- she replied.

On a decorated horse she left to the groom’s kingdom, farther than where thoughts could reach. Far and far they rode so fast, warm a day so scotching hot. Thirsty, thirsty did she feel. Got down she to have her fill, the ball did roll far and far. Didn’t she notice and knew it late. Wept and wept she till sleepy tired. Nightmares stole her fancy dreams. She searched it on and on, did not find it her eyes gentle. Went near to take a sip, knelt down and ugly frog one leapt from it. Startled she did cry so loud. Asked the frog so tender toned –“why weep u maiden dream?”

“Alas! What will become of me? Lost a gift my mom did give.”

“Cry not, cry not, maiden dream, you will get it one day fine. A prince charming will give you back, all the gifts back in life.” Said the frog.

Stopped she crying loud, whimper-whimper all that lasted. Turned around and saw she dark. Prince, Horses, jewels of gold; trinkets dazzling, dresses, all disappear in one ominous stroke. All alone did she stand, stronger, bolder in her heart!!

Butterflies came dancing, and so did glow flies teasing her. Little dimples could not hold, tears so big tumbling down. The fish didn’t come again, and felt like self to drown below.

“Never will I tell my mom so nice, the king and queen do will weep” – saying thus she made a splashing jump. Came the frog to her rescue, carried her to the kingdom deep below. Woke up, attired a mermaid queen, left her legs so slim and bare. Instead did she swim the river, like a queen of the world below. Years rolled and years rocked and no sign of the prince to came. Waited waited eyes her soar, wrinkled did her skin so tranquil. Frog did care her day and night.

Far and wide did she swim, no wonder the prince didn’t come. Tired to her heart, wept she once again all alone. Came swimming the fishes seeing so. Nothing , nothing said she smiling. Tears none knew did exist, as the river drank it all.

“Maiden dream , why you cry? “

“Aging am I, day along, where did go my charming prince?”

“Weep not, weep not, maiden dream, time is not so too late”

A gentle smile did caress, the little globes of twinkling eyes.

In her joy and happy words, kiss did she a lip on cheek. Sparks of light made it big. Startled looked she at her. “Where did go my fins and tail?’ surprised she looked around.

Stood she on dry earth, the frog looking far. Ran she far and far, hopping, jumping did reach the frog.

“ Take me to that little hill, lies in store a surprise big” – The frog did croak.

On tip-tip, tap–tap, plash– plash from the bottom to the top, ran along both the friends till morning broke. Reached they both the mountain top. Far saw she a glittering globe and a thousand little notes. Remembered she the little leaves, once did she mend it tender. Cushioned ran she faster still. Touched she the golden round, and did she know the bigger truth.

“ Ohh my mom, the gift is due, what u did give me once so new” – laughed and danced she the sprited princess. Came back all her jewels, gold and trinkets, dazzling dresses wrapped her up. But searched she for her prince charming, who did take her all along. Saw she him with another princess, happier merrier than ever before. Didn’t she call him to disturb, didn’t she wake him from a reverie.

Turned to hug her frog near, instead saw she a prince so handsome, charming.

“Who are you young man magic?”

“ Ohh!!! My maiden dream, how u forget?” - So tender toned did he ask, a smile adorning the roving looks.

Frog was he transformed and told her the story now too past. Long ago came a rolling globe. As he took it, did it flash and in a curse was he swept. Wrinkled, shriveled did his skin, and was he told to stay away. Spoke the voice of the sky then loud. A princess will kiss you once, take her to the golden globe, may you be free of the curse of fate only then.

And on top of the world was showering love in drizzling drops. The prince did kiss the princess once, deep in the lips of love. Locked in love, both their eyes closed in bliss.

“ Love me, love me, till we part” – wept the princess in arms so cozy manly.

“ I promise we won’t part, keep my word or let the world split apart”

Owed she a lot to the prince charming, who gave her life not just once!!

Drove up a chariot golden, with horses beautiful, decked with feathery plumes and a golden harness; Drove them far to a kingdom, with another king and queen waiting. Showered blessings infinite the heaven, fairies, imps and angels piloting the route ahead.

Time and tide did pass again. Little prince and princess played around, running behind the new king and queen now throned. The king and queen did live, ages and ages of a happy life, eternal.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


“Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red” – Nancy miss spoke loud and crisp, pin pointing every color on the rainbow chart.

“Akash, write the colors on the board…” came her command pretty soon.

“Black, gray, black, gray, white, white, gray”

The offshoots of the already impending cloud of laughter burst from the young mouths. Akash looked devoid of blood as his sweaty hands wet the blackboard and chalk alike; the cute black in his eyes swelled and swam in tears, yet not a single drop dripped. He contained for it had been years of humiliation and embarrassment.

“What absurdity?” She thundered .

The giggles petered out wondering on whom the intended anger was!!!

Akash breathed the air around in all intensity, out of fear, dread and the cane that was to follow his palms.

A stoic silence prevailed.

“Go to your seat, young boy” agape stood the 4th standard pals.

Nancy miss had interrupted a tradition.....

The oval plaque read in golden letters.


Presented to AKASH NAIR for being recognized as the

'Best Photographer' in ‘Black & White’ section at the International Junior…….."

A different eye at last brought laurels to the once ‘outsider’ in Art classes. Myriad of colors sprinkled and splashed across the walls of recognition, yet for eyes so unique stood they as spots of the same intensity. The enormous canvas of the world of colors arrived as a mere panorama of subtle shades in black, white and gray rainbows, a chess board of the black and white soldiers.

With a jerk his eyes opened to reality as the announcer boomed over the microphone…

“Let’s give him a standing ovation for transforming a rare congenial defect into opportunity and directing many more crestfallen to a path of success”….

Applause cheered the air around. He saw a million colorful smiles light the stage in harmony.

“May his blacks and whites take him far and wide, farther than the many in the colorful world can reach…..” Nancy miss completed the incomplete….

N.B - Monochromatism

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Aunty, Poppins or Gems?"

The park quite lonely, the benches lonelier. If not for someone’s private moments she stayed lifeless, still surviving the battering weather year after year. Waiting, waiting and waiting she aged… the coat of paint lost its sheen and wrinkled. Expecting the unexpected visitor to sweep the dead dry, leaves relaxed on her sleepers for days. If not for the occasional breeze, the burden would have ‘weighed her down ‘. The infrequent rains refreshed her, yet after which she stunk of the decaying matter around… she then longed for the sun and his light, which again turns oppressively blistering. Seclusion made her panels go broke and broken like the poor little child’s teeth…

Far away on a sweltering afternoon, sun blazing on his most intense of temper
atures, a lonely Red sari walked a different gait… neither fast nor slow, a determination reflecting deep within her. Eyeballs went in circles and ovals, the rest drooled… in anticipation the bench craved to kiss her rounded bottoms…she came near one, wiped a tear or two and did something none ever cared to…the summer foliage parted ways as she wiped it with smooth satin hands…. Cruel enough a poking nail pricked her…Out of passion, or for disturbing a long slumber? A wry smile adorned her. The simplicity standing proof of a long traversed painful journey behind… She sat leaving room on the right… yes!! She too was waiting like the rusted iron nails waited to prick her. The wooden ply creaked, aching joints of lustful surprises…? Her gaze straightened and focused; to a blank point nowhere near…the wind carried a flurry of dust into her gaze. The burgundy dyed hair acted a cameo, swaying sharp kissing the cheeks and an ear, forming a fa├žade for the face. The nose lusted an emanating fragrance. Dust accepted failure and she positioned better. Easing her gorgeous spine and resting the torso on the bench support she sighed… a deep breath from the bright yellow spread air around... one leg upon the other and eyes closed in meditation another tear spoilt her mascara... the cuckoo sang, the sparrow chirped, but she remained composed. Her thoughts like nomads, left alone uncared in search of some answers. A droopy eyed, parched and scrawny stray by now took shelter near; quizzed at an unusual visitor in the vicinity…he lay quiet in a corner, resting himself against the tawny grass, once exuberantly green.

The breeze brought a shower of yellow leaves, another brought it nearer. Her eyes frantically searched…a young gun gained her attention. Hovering around made no impact…mistaken identities, she wasn’t the kind he expected… he walked off and so did the dog. Bored and unimpressed.

Time swept the change. The blazing sun gave a little respite and evenings made frolic in a farther distance. Kids played and her attention deterred her again. She sat vacuous. A child came running full speed as if he won’t stop at all. Near her he applied brakes… making a screeching sound and mimicking the brakes of a bus, he took reverse and parked himself. She smiled at his innocence. He came closer and in rapt attention checked her cheeks, stretched both of his closed fists and asked “Aunty, do u like Poppins or Gems?”

She stood startled, the question echoing deep… before the answer she had to give, her thoughts and eyes explored the park. No one resembled her ‘Gems’ Bond. She searched frantically. No, he is nowhere around, her multi talented, chocolaty pal. Loved and lost. She felt it bitter to acknowledge the truth. Her man had left quiet. The one she always shared her feelings with. The one she always treasured in her heart. He did promise to meet her once last to speak. Where has his boldness and persona gone? She wept incessantly with a thousand dins picketing the inner thoughts.

“Aunty, Poppins or Gems?”- The innocence reverberated with the question he always teased her with. An aunty added purposely to fight. She always chose Poppins as he loved Gems the most. He used to pick the same color from the Gems pack as that popped out of her Poppins silver and rainbow wrapper. The frames moved in the split second on how he dressed like ‘Gems’ Bond and enacted the thrilling TV AD adventures. And him applauding the talented lego bricks arrangement of hers with the available chocolate colors.

She kneeled amidst the running tears and smiled at the kid getting impatient to race his way back to the swing. She whispered to the little champ “Baby, Aunty doesn’t need chocolates anymore. You can have it both.”

His surprised looks and the thanks melted like chocolates in her heart. He ran driving.

Nothing more in the offing to wait , she rose from the bench. Two leaves fell, one where she sat and one where she cleared for the someone she waited. Now for how long will the benches wait for someone to kiss them clean?

Walking past the swing she heard a whisper. “Aunty, Poppins or Gems?”- This time but not for her.

Her bated breath waited for the small girl’s pick. ‘Gems’ - She said and picked a purple oval from the pack. The kids laughed and exchanged two different colors of both chocolates to each others mouth. She walked down the steps quiet, happier for the legacy continues, with different twists and turns, laughs and cries…sweet and sour times to flavor every occasion. Life so sour at times, only to make it sweeter later. She knew that someone better waited for the gem in her.

Friday, February 08, 2008


A day after the silent innocence smelt the perfumed air around. A light different from the ones lent by the primordial soup. The bright new world lay raw in front. Her eyes continued to wink, but the pupil groped around in a semi circle. The tiny fingers snuggled tight to shape the clenched fist with her freedom curtailed in the bundle of joy. Still the toothless smile perfected the art of happiness for the souls around. The thumb went suckling, kissing the tiny lips of hers. Mom wrapped her in an embrace close to the breasts. The cuddle lent warmth to the coziness of affection. She slept, silent and noiseless, dreaming nothing for she hadn’t seen the world outside the featherbed.