Painting the sky, in ochre…

It’s wondrous,
She who has renounced worldly matters,
Still influences the world.
The sea around is probably ravenous,
Seething with turmoil and tumult,
But she walks along the shore ,
Unmoved and unfazed,
A walking embodiment of Stillness.
The sky is changing colours,
But she emanates just one hue,
A blazing orange or rather “ochre “…
The purity of her Being is all that
Reflects,
On the Boulders,
Dark in their silhouettes and,
Dark on the surface.
It’s not the usual interplay between
White and Black ,
Today I behold ,
The magical mingling of
” Ochre ” with all the colours in the palette,
Of the Universe..

Lone, Lonely, Lonelier

She adorns dolls, filling empty spaces;
Spaces devoid of humans,
A country ageing,
Octo and nonagerians abound.
They,
The outliers of the lifespan graph,
Lonesome and craving company.
Will the life-size dolls assuage the wounds
of many a withered hearts ?
Mindfulness apps and meditation retreats,
Pull the young,
Millennials flock spiritual sermons,
Fleeing a life cramped with information,
Soul – searching ;
Detox is the new mantra,
That navigates their lives.
The chasm has widened,
The young have left abodes,
In search of themselves,
The old still guard the hearth alone,
Waiting for the return
Of the prodigal offspring !
Will their lives
Brim again with the cacophony of familial banter ?
Or ,
The walls crumble burdened by the
Grief of loneliness ?
………

Poetry Day …

It’s World Poetry Day…
And it made me think,
Am I a poet,
A question sneaked and a blurb emerged !
Should I confess that I am a bad one ?
As,
My words don’t follow the rules;
Though,
They pulsate with a rythm
That I call my own.
They don’t rhyme,
Nor the syllables sync,
However, I manage
To sequence them and create ,
Tales that resonate with fellow beings.
Probably they bring solace,
To many a troubled hearts and unruly minds ?
That’s the hope which inspires,
To adorn lives
With moments that sparkle
With rainbow hues
Of colourful words…

Home!

Sometimes I feel the house
Is yet to be a home.
The walls stand stoic engulfing my sorrows,
Not burdened with the  joys
buried behind them.
Have never been alone in it,
Not a single day have I made efforts,
To listen to it’s heartbeat.
Is it a lub-dub as my heart’s rhythm ?
Or does it rhyme with a different tune ?
I know not.
I hope that it speaks to me one day,
As I wait at the threshold to
fathom the language of it’s whispers,
That day the house
Would transform into my home,
And resonate to a heavenly symphony.

Another Year !!

The year is coming to an end,
Yet I haven’t wrapped up my wares,
Unfinished chapters to be read and reread.
Unwritten words and incomplete tales,
Waiting for their share of attention.
Reunions abound whilst I retreat to my solitude,
To nestle awhile in my sacred grove.
To plan again, to try once more,
To stargaze and dream yet again,
To rebuild sand castles swept away,
To hold the paintbrush ,
And savour the joy of infusing colour,
To stroke a sleeping child in my arms,
And watch her dreamy smile ,
To startle a blue jay in the bushes,
And chase butterflies on sun kissed meadows,
And
Fireflies in a moonless night.
To begin another continuum
Of
Little joys and infinitesimal memories.
To savour life, each day and night….

The Radio Stories

When it was all about a Radio                 by Elina Naik

 

I am sure all of us 70’s kids have a story ready to be told about that ubiquitous invention adorning our childhood home’s shelf . Days when we chose to listen rather than hear, when we walked chin up and not head down. Days before the Television transfixed  entire generations , days when old melodies and lilting tunes were hummed by young and old alike.

The days of the radio and I too have a radio story to narrate and relive..It’s not a story rather episodes streaming. Live from my memory, recorded by my neural network and now being replayed.
Whenever I think of or see a radio, my mind flashes the visage of my majestic grandfather, ” Aja”.His radio and him were like conjoined twins, inseparable. Probably the only time ,He didn’t carry it along was when he completed his ablutions  and when he was away in the fields tending his crops.
Now,  “Aja” came from a family of landlords but to me  he was a great emancipator, whom people from far and wide used to look up for advise on wordly matters. He used to hear out the woes of crop failure, pest infestation , marital discords , family feuds every morning and evening with an almost regal  equanimity. I believe he had a solution to the messiest of the situations and hence people thronged his abode. All while during such congregations , his Radio witnessed it all.Had it been able to have a voice of its own, probably his Radio would have relayed a thousand stories .
Our Biennial sojourn to my mother’s ancestral placed , ” Karanjadhia ” ( unraveling the mystery of this name is on my bucket list ) used to start with our summer vacations and end with pre -winter vacations, the extended Puja holidays culminating with “Kumara Purnima” ( a celebration of girlhood with its fair share of culinary delights, bonding over Puja and waterlilies )
The second phase of the vacations,  used to be hoary and halcyon. The sun was subdued,  a little lazy like the earthlings beneath, took some time to ruffle the misty veil till the horizon was unraveled and the paths clear to be trodded. A perfectly circular dew drop formed on the damp straw jutting out from the thatched roof, waiting to disappear with first strike of the rays. A perfect setting when you heard ” Vande Mataram ” on Akash Vani. Surreal it was , it felt as if the  words resonated from up there.
The sun streaming through wooden panes , synchronous with the voice of ” Sankarshan Mangaraj ” ( to the uninitiated he is to Odia Mythology renditions as Bhism Shahni of  Odia Radio broadcasts on AIR as Amin Sayani was to Binaca Geetmala on Radio Ceylon ) was like a sequel lullaby egging me to take that prolonged nap till the sun rays were perfectly slant to burn my cheeks. I grew up listening to the wisdom of our scriptures succinctly and lucidly composed and rendered in a perfectly crafted voice to catch the attention of a  wide eyed 10 year old.
With an early frugal breakfast of ” Mudhi Khira ” ( for the Non odias, a staple breakfast of the  Odisha country side , rice puffs soaked in cow milk, sugar / no sugar being the only choice ,  this simple food beats the odds of any ostentatious breakfast spread anywhere in the world  ) , Aja would start his day , parting ways till lunch time with his beloved Radio.
At lunch time, he would return from.his wordly affairs to have a sumptuous lunch and the famed Odia aftenoon siesta, with the afternoon news and Vivid Bharti to keep him company. Lazy afternoons , we are talking of times when elders goaded you to take a rejuvenating  nap and not run amock climbing trees and stealing amlas, oranges, sweet limes from the neighbours orchard. The thrill of doing this even if you had fruit laden trees in your own backyard was exhilarating.
The Radio found its place in a room , but obviously called the ” Radio Ghara ” ( Ghara.. meaning house or room ) , mind it no one was allowed to touch it other than him, probably forbidden as it had the charm to distract one from the daily chores , which was meticulously planned for each family member. Now I know where I got my first lessons in Organisation Structure and hierarchical delegation of responsibilities from !
Unconscious or Covert Learning , you may say.
Evenings were when the Radio was the undisputed Hero.
With the waxing and waning of the moon and the night call of the owl from atop the palm trees and only the glimmer of the kerosene lantern as company , we all huddled round the Radio to listen to Old and New Hindi movie songs . The show,.” Jaymala ”  still continues to be aired , dedicated to the soldiers of our country guarding the frontiers..
As the wisps of the earthen chulha escaped into the night sky and the woody smell of firewood and heady aroma of simmering fish curry played with my senses, we ( ok..just for reference I had a motley gang of Uncles and Aunts, my mother’s cousins and siblings , age group no bar…) hummed along  in our coming of age crackling voices whilst intermittently  trying to keep focus on the algebraic equations and English lessons.
I bet none of you would have had such an inspiring study environment !!.
So till dinner was served we regaled in playful banter and stories and most precious of all, got a few moments of sharing our views on current affairs with Aja who invariably presided over these gamely proceedings. It was difficult juggling the emotions of not hurting your seniors and trying to catch the attention of the presiding stalwart , “Aja ” with witty remarks and mature opinions..
Those evenings forever remain etched in my memory , when conversations were struck and ice was broken around the masterpiece
, ” The Radio “..
May be you have your own Radio Story , would love to listen to it.
Till I garnish this tale with many more anecdotes, tune in to your Radio sets or the memories of it..
… Inspired to write after watching an episode of ” #LittleThings”.

Future tales

I ask her about her future,
About what she plans to do ,
Though I know she shall not confide,
Still I persist in my efforts,
To hear what I want to hear.
It’s a puzzle,
Why I ask , the questions ,
Which would never be answered.
She refrains from answering,
And in her inimitable style ,
Weaves a new story.
A tale of libraries.
About how she would build a bookshelf,
Adjacent to her bathtub,
And house books,
 to be discovered,
Books tucked away in a cosy cove,
Books at arm’s length,
Books embalmed with hydrophobic veener
Book treasures alike for,
 the daydreamers and the nightcatchers,
Books bridging the realms of real and the imaginary,
Books to be read in the bathtub,
To inspire Eureka moments,
Alike ,
Among the young and the aged.
Books which would slow ageing,
 Stimulating  the grey matter.
Books to traverse the lifecycle
Between Birth and Death..
Perhaps my questions are answered,
I think,
Probably Not,
But momentarily, her story captivates,
And i realise she has succeeded,
Yet again
In avoiding the Answer …

Musings on thoughts..

She chatters,
The rain drops pitter patter,
My mind wants to get off the clutter,
And I stutter.
Stumbling to keep my focus
On her ecstatic face .

She talks of her plot,
A mystery of undiscovered treasures,
Or a humorous saga of a ghost
Coming of age,
She wants me to choose and guide,
But hardly does she know,
That I am lost , amidst
The cooing of the pigeons
And the meows of the stray cat.

The whistle of the pressure cooker,
Rattles me awake,
Is it past lunch time ,
Did I lose sense of time.

I see her lost in a vibrant stupor,
Gazing into the distant,
I know not what she thinks,
Should I steal myself into her thoughts,
Just to eavesdrop,
May be I would know her better that way,
Or should I refrain,
Leaving the virginity of her thoughts at peace.

I choose to let her be.
To regale in her impish childishness,
To have her own leap of faith,
To find her own place in
The magic of adolescence.

Homogeneity

Homogeneity is what I thought
we dread,
A culture at the cusp ,
We talk of inclusiveness,
Attempting to embrace diversity
Of preferences,
Yet we design similar structures,
Still look for familiar faces in a crowd,
Rummage through the wardrobe to
Find matching pairs,
Quite ironical I must say.
Is it in our genes to be homogeneous ?
Whilst nature is all about symmetry
In shapes and silhouettes,
Did evolution not spring out from
The intermingling of variations ?
Does homogeneity breed heterogeneity ?
Which follows what ,
my redundant mental faculties,
Fail to analyse and interpret.
I resign and stop thinking,
Leaving the seed of a question,
To sprout,
And to branch out.
Probably it requires quiet contemplation
Or quite a contemplation,
……..

The Juggernaut and the Lost..

This year too You ventured out,
Recuperating  from your long illness,
Rejuvenated and Re – invigorated,
You danced and swayed with the millions,
Not like any other,
You choose to swing in the arms of
Overwhelmed devotees,
Alluring them to embrace You,
With their teary eyes.
You left your abode,
In fanfare,
Kicking up storms of dust and dirt,
Sweaty beings thronging and swelling with pride,
As they beheld the divine sight.
But this year, I wasn’t overwhelmed,
Neither did my eyes brim with emotion,
I wonder why was that,
Had I lost my devotion,
Or have You lost your mojo,
Or is it my life blood has dried ?
Or is,
the profusion of imagery ,
And the cacophonous adulation,
That surrounds the annual event today,
Has left me bewildered.
I love you in all your simplicity
Oh Lord,
Not in your adornments.
Your toothless sublime smile is only what I seek.
I know not whether I have blasphemed ,
In accepting that my devotion  may have waned,
You are the omnipresent,
You reside in me ,
Yet, I forage the wilderness of life,
Seeking to be with You.
Is this the Truth that we all wish to discover,
Whilst the Truth remains
Ensconced in our Self…