Poetry

Six Feet Under

And the attar of the moist soil,
Dissipates and flows in turmoil,
Unearthed roots and abandoned stones,
The undertaker digging in a sea of moans,
Tears and Sweat,
Trickling down faces wet,
Wails and screams,
Smashed up like broken dreams,
The autumn wind kicks up a storm,
As they scurry to keep my corpse warm,
And a distant relative cries in forlorn pain,
In a cloud of gravel drenched in rain,
The gatherers chant obscure prayers,
In a language of the ancient slayers,
Questions, Answers,
With mourners and bystanders,
Staring at me as they lower me,
This grave is my bed,
And the soil is my blanket,
And the demons whisper in my ear,
And I scream as they draw near,
No,
I cannot let them eradicate,
My legacy as I suffocate,
The dying beats of my broken heart,
Silently fade away as my world falls apart.
And the wailing then ceases,
And my body gets afflicted with diseases,
My soundless screams resonate,
In this six foot coffin that gyrates,
Like a lonely ship in a stormy sea,
It lashes angry waves upon me,
And I do nothing,
Paralyzed and frozen,
By the memories of a lifetime forgotten,
I drown in the sea of sand,
Wishing for just a solitary hand,
To save me from the voices that near,
Oh God,
Please make the dancing devil disappear…

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Essays, Reflections

Scattered Moments

Moments, intangible pockets of time, sparse and undefined. Molded without any method, shaped by shapeless events that are formed into eternal memories. Moments, that stretch beyond infinity, and beyond comprehension to become interminable instances that define us. There are moments in our lives whose significance is felt even before the moment elapses. It’s omnipotent, like the ominous sky before a thunderstorm, like the absence of gravity before a fall, like the absence of sound before a heavy rainfall. Moments, strings that bind us but still throw us down into a rabbit hole deep and dark. Moments, these ethereal gems gifted to us by the heavens above, these are meant to be cherished, to be locked into the jewel boxes inside our hearts, forever.

The past week has been one such moment, no it has been a series of interconnected moments, like the notes on a symphony, intertwined some high mostly low. But resonate, each event like an iron cast onto our souls. I have written previously about the trials and tribulations that my grandmother has gone through in the past couple of months. Her suffering has been an ordeal unlike others, demanding resolve and strength. Both of which were not found in abundance in her fragile body. The trials that she had gone through reached a tipping point on the night of Sunday on the penultimate day of the month of august. My grandmother was rushed to the hospital and the paramedics who arrived pronounced that she had a heart attack. Her family rushed to her side as they have done tirelessly over many such nights. The medical saviors of humanity worked tirelessly to save her. They fought against a 72 year old body and its whims; they fought against her heart, which had stopped beating for 20 minutes. They worked like only one who is a medic can, they strived. Finally, to a crowded waiting room on the third floor of Saint Alexius hospital, they told us that her vitals were back and her heart was resuscitated. Relief rushed into the heart and minds of those around. Unfortunately like every happy message, this one too came with a catch, a double blind. My grandmother’s heart that had stopped pumping blood to her brain for 20 minutes had caused seemingly irreversible damage to her brain. She was now in a stage of unconsciousness, drifting like a vacant log on a nameless sea. Hours passed, followed by days each one burgeoning dreams of her recovery which were quickly squashed. Multiple doctors pronounced her brain, her central processing unit, the corpuscular mass of tissue and fat, the think tank of our existence as dead.

Panic seeped in like the murky waters from a stormy night, followed by acceptance and then sadness. There was nothing that could be done; our pleadings had fallen onto ears which were not listening. Our tears streaked down our faces unseen by closed eyes. Our hands held her limp body hoping for a miracle. But in life, there are no miracles. She was no more. My grandmother, the mother of my mother and other mothers, was not going to survive. The doctors switched the ventilator off, a decision that was more difficult that we were willing to accept. The entire family drove in to stay around her, to be near her in her last breaths. It was a surreal moment, a desiccated body in the middle of the room, diagonally placed in the middle, her face moved in the direction of the holy land, and around twenty family members covered in cheap blue plastic coats for protection against parasites and diseases. Twenty seemingly non terrestrial visitors hovered over the one who was the most human among us. Religious words were chanted, passages, and paragraphs from the holy book were loudly recited hoping to make her last moments easier. She, she just lay there, taking each breath with difficulty, her eyes still shut in stubborn resolve. Her lips parted and gasping for fresh air to flush her lungs, we chanted. Every child, adolescent and grownup was in the room and was enumerating the holy words, there were tears shed, few were loudly wailing, The pneumatic device fluctuated and displayed numbers indicating contradicting health reports, more vacillation on the medical device’s behalf, a sudden drop of about twenty points in the oxygen consumption, more tears, more chanting, the numbers were drastically low now, inhumanly low, the human body reduced to a machine whose life can only be determined by a gauge or measuring device, a sudden cry from a mourner and I look up at the device and down at my grandmother’s parted lips, she took one last hasty breath and then she did not breathe anymore.

The precise moment of death is quite different than one imagines, literature and cinema has enumerated it to be seeped in dramatic effects. Reality is quite different, the human body does not lunge forward inhumanly, the machines connected to it do not beep erratically, and the pulse does flatten but it does so in a gradual almost surreptitious manner. Death in fact is not one moment, for us, the group of people who were huddled together bound by the fabric of family, the moment stretched over 10 hours. 10 hours of knowing in our hearts that our loved one was no more. She was medically alive but all other definitions, she was not. Our grief continued for 10 hours, where we saw her gasp and prayed for her life and her death at the same time. Death is almost deceptive in its simplicity, it snatches people away by the hundreds, or if not thousands every single day but when it does it to a person that we know, the impact of it is almost devastatingly brutal. It knocks the wind out of you. Our grandmother, the woman who fought a losing battle with her body for the past 3 months, finally gave up.

Moments, tiny broken fragments of this journey called life. Dispersed and dissimilar to all of our defining experiences but still formed in an unforgettable shard that pierces our heart and stays with us forever. Moments of joy and happiness, of laughter and teasing, of tears of sorrow and tears of bliss, of dreams and nightmares, of gratitude and angry tirades, of warm embraces and the coldness of the night, of the birth of a child, of the pride of a parent, of a newborn grabbing your finger, of an elder wiping your tear, of the aroma of the freshly baked meal cooked at home, of the kiss of a loved one, of the last breath of a mother, moments, tiny in their duration, but they last for a lifetime.

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Poetry

Under the Drunken Sky

Where do,
these originate,
Prickly pangs,
of lasting regret,
Like the disappearing,
cotton threads,
of her tattered,
and frayed dress,
As she stands,
mute and dismayed,
Outside the iron,
of the locked gate,
She searches,
for absent feelings,
Inside the confines,
of the locked up gate.

The drunken sky,
then screams,
In a thundering,
voice like dreams,
that were withered,
in searing pain,
of screams,
and lightining rain,
Does this storm,
that comes,
announce a victory,
or a sullen trounce,
When all who scatter,
no longer remain,
Does anything matter,
in this pouring rain?

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Poetry

The Death of Memory

As the clockwork,
moves to an hour,
Late and drenched,
in moods dour,
I wistfully hope,
 to turn back time,
unwanted memories,
that I wish to rewind,
The manic beeps,
And whispered screams,
The scents and swabs,
Of pungent alcohol,
The morose but rehearsed,
Routine have consumed,
The last few,
memories that remain.

As my last,
 memory then fades,
A lifetime of sorrow,
Swiftly then evades,
Like shattered pieces,
Of a broken glass,
Flung in the sermons,
Of the Sunday Mass,
As the beating,
Heart then ceases,
vacating the expired leases,
To empty homes,
Left in abandon,
Like decrepit weed,
Growing in my garden.

No I do not,
Blame anyone,
As I burn away,
In the blistering sun,
And as my existence,
Slowly but finally tires,
The flash of my last,
mortal memory expires,
Face me not,
My image is shattered,
Under the guise,
Of fallacies that mattered,
Not when laughed,
Upon by fate,
In the end,
My death came too late.

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Poetry, Uncategorized

Daydreaming at Midnight

Gusts of wind momentarily wake me up from a prolonged trance. The mist in my eyes clears up and the clouds in my mind get pushed into a dark corner as consciousness awakens. I find myself careening into the blaring sirens of an oncoming truck. I suddenly yank the steering wheel to my right, dragging the car along. It took me a few moments to realize the event that transpired before. I tried to recollect the reason why I had lost attention to the winding road but could not do so. I was shaken, but when I thought about the reason for my trepidation, it was not because I almost crashed head first into another car potentially killing myself, but rather due to not being able to re-immerse myself into my day dream.
As I drive through valleys of paths uncharted and clogged with the flooding waters of a virulent spring, I look out of my windshield. Rainwater splashes on it but is quickly cleaned away by the wiper set to the motions of a low intensity. The splashes of a few drops fall onto it, stay there for a nervous duration and then multiply in their intensity, several others join in, as if magically born like weeds on an agrarian lawn. They continue splashing and trickling onto my peripheral vision until they succeed in completely blinding my sight. The scene that I see is not unknown to me. It is a blurred view of life, objects appear expanded beyond recognition and tiny spots of light appear almost ominously gigantic. The scene reminds me of the many day dreams that I have been experiencing for the recent few years of my life. Suddenly the wiper awakens and in a majestic swipe reminiscent of the stalwart swords of the knights of middle Ages swinging away at the millions of rain drops from my vision. Reality awakens me yet again. The mind suddenly found asunder in its naked actuality that suddenly is exposed to the existence of the world. I increase the intensity of the knight of the raindrops. Tonight will be a night where the sword will defeat the water.
The sky is tinged with incredible colors; there is sepia seeping into blackness which it drenched in a crimson elegance. The pale gray of the evening hour tries its best not to be replaced by the darkness of the pouring rain but is fruitless. The sky is also a mute witness, like me it is also not in control of its destiny. Its cloak like existence over countless of lives is ironic because the sky does not control its own. It follows a path, of dawning light and dusky nights. It continues in such a mundane routine barring nights like these where it sees a sudden burst of activity. But all of this does not add to its continuation. The sky delights in its embrace of a mundane melancholy and the recent festival like fervor does not feel characteristic of its expanse. As I drive away to the familiar confines of a comfortable home, the sky looks back in discomfort and defeat.
As I pull up into my driveway, I notice the absence of reality around. All those who surround scatter away like ants running away into their hole. There is a dearth of familiarity around and suddenly I feel almost alone in the vast expanse of the sprawling city.
I turn the car off and sit in silence. The storm lashes at the roof of the car intently as if taking my staying inside as a challenge to its might. I exhale coldly, the sound of my breath almost seeming alien to me. I still could not recollect the day dream felt earlier and yet there was a change in me. It was almost like the dream had awakened me to realities hitherto not felt but the absence of its recollection had suddenly trust me back into the confines of a dungeon that was desolate and unnerving. It was calming, sitting inside a metallic box twisted into the shape of a car. It was almost therapeutic in the sense that incongruously the storm comforted me. It seemed to match the state of my mind. The empty expanse of the world and the vacant gaze of the drenched trees match the vacancy in my mind. I feel strangely uninhabited, unaware of my own existence. I look around towards the lawn at nothing in particular noticing a couple of scurrying rabbits. Rabbits on my lawn, strange visitors to an unfamiliar house. I wonder at their lives and ponder upon the complexities of their existence. If my existence is so turbulent, I wonder if rabbit life is calmer. Not expectantly. Lately, the world seems to match my meandering existence. We are all unsatisfied and uncomforted and acutely aware of something missing. The feeling of emptiness felt within the mesh of bones surrounding my ribcage is too omnipresent. I cannot possibly be solitary in this trial. I look up at the sky trying to find the familiar gray seen before but could not. The sky was dark, the gray replaced by a very murky crimson. The hour was late and the sky was defeated against the force of the storm. I get out of the car and proceed inwards. The perpetual battle with bleakness will continue in the shelter of this house. It will continue but unlike most battles, there will be no victor. The storm continued unabated all night, millions of raindrops fell and were soaked up by the thirsty soil. There was something that was lost between the silky dawn and the shattering dusk but I could not define it, maybe I never possessed it in the first place.

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Poetry, Uncategorized

The Unpredictable Stagnancy

The ever grinding wheels of life bring forth many destinations and scenarios. Some carry a visual splendor, an image that elevates the experience of viewing it into a pious feeling, and some push you into the depth of decrepitude, function as shattering place markers in our shallow lives. The events that have led my life to this point, do not transcribe to either. Sure, I have had the fortune of living moments of elation and I have had moments of despair. But these moments function in a fragmented fashion, they act as spices, sprinkled over a larger entity, some spices carry a tantalizing taste and some are not so pleasant, but at the end of the day, the spice of life is essential a ‘spice’ the real flavor of life is found in our monotony and our daily rigors of existence. Our life.
Lately however, I find myself questioning the meaning of the direction that life has been taking. There is an air of unpredictability albeit a sense of stagnancy about that has stalled movement. Heavy words aren’t they. Do I even understand them, I wonder. Let me deconstruct it, break myself down, strip my flesh out layer by layer and muscle by muscle and understand who is it that I am and what is it that I would have liked to accomplish and how is life stopping me from doing so. A sense of unpredictability. Yes, that is easy. The past 21 days have been exactly that. They have been a roller coaster of emotions, the highs of elations balanced by the pits of despair, moments spent in sweet happiness rejoicing over the sound of someone breathing and moments of despair over the same sounds of breathing.
The human heart is a victim of a fabric of association, we associate feelings with people who are associated with us and latch onto them for comfort. These people may not necessarily do much for us, but exist in a fallacy bound by a sequestered tradition that festoons and wraps around the vessels that carry blood to organs strange and undefined. They give us comfort in their existence. My grandmother is one such person. A frail woman of 73 years old, she has withered harshness in life and has withstood seasons and geographical dislocations. She has recovered and survived cancer and poverty. She has lived in misery but never lost her pride in her family. She imparted values onto her children and govern her house on her own terms in a society that does not let a woman do that. Her lack of education, itself a result of a forced marriage did not make her limp, but almost acted as a buoy, made her steely resolve stronger, she made sure her children got the best education. She wasn’t always successful at this, because resolve and tradition are two mortal enemies. The strongest of resolve finds itself crumbling in alacrity in the face of tradition. But still she did not give up. She sold her earthly possessions, in order to get money to feed her children. She started trading traditional Indian clothes, almost becoming a buffer between the merchant and displaced friends and family members. Not a year went by where she did not carry a large suitcase filled with clothes, ready to sell them to whoever showed interest. She tried.
And now, after 73 years of relentless fighting for every single thing in life, she finds herself failing to the most unexpected of foes, her own body. She finds her senses failing her, basic needs going unaware and left to be taken care of by watchful eyes of her family and the workers of medicine. She fights a battle but it seems careening on a cliff that is abysmal in its height. This is where the unpredictability comes in. The greatest inheritance that my grandmother has is her family. A watchful, opinionated set of children who fight often but love their mother without precondition. These guardians have had a harrowing few days and watching them has been difficult for me as well. We find ourselves latching onto any good news and erupting in a guarded hope, hope that lasts for days few but then is trust into darkness again. A few days of good heath displayed by grandma is matched by a couple of days of bleakness, the ominous knot in the stomach with an underlying feeling that despair is around the corner. Unpredictability.
Now where does stagnancy come in? Well, unpredictability itself has become stagnant. The ever twisted river of life has stagnated itself into delivering news of melancholy. There is a defeated air around. My mother is depressed. She finds stagnancy in her efforts to revive her mother. She spends sleepless nights with a watchful eye over grandma hoping that her condition does not deteriorate. She is unprepared for the eventual moment but in an almost surreal manner is aware about it. She has not found acceptance. My mother has not given up. But she has tired of the stagnancy of despair and has tired of the familiar seesaw of our lives.
Families give comfort to each other and act as blankets of reassurance. They shelter us from the storms of worry and give us warmth in indemnity. Often nameless wanderers rediscover a forgotten family and are suddenly brimming with happiness, rejoicing at the one person who cares for them. Within each family however are people who are called guardians. These are the leaders who guide the ship and work towards steering everyone towards a better future and preserving unity. My mother is that guardian. People often ask me about my childhood in passing muster. They do not ask with interest but they ask with a disenchanted interest. Why is it that I talk more about my mother and seldom about my father, they ask. Truly, why do I?
When I look back at my life and recollect all the memories and experiences, I am momentarily frozen. The familiar image of a misty world suddenly springs in front of me. Our lives in dilapidated homes made with red brick and built with a cubical aesthetic suddenly appear before my eyes. I remember all the struggles I have had, with studies, with emaciation, with eccentricity and I am suddenly aware of an undeniable fact, I do not see my father in any of those images. The ubiquitous presence is one of my mother. She finds herself at all events, happy and miserable. She is the guardian of my family of 5. She has relentlessly fought for us her entire existence with almost a maniacal intensity. She thrives in her duty and his guarding of her children with almost a ravenous passion.
Today when I see her physically detest the thought of spending another night in worry at the hospital, I find myself feeling helpless at her helplessness. I am not as upset about my grandmother because I understand that the human body is not immortal, it is a timid branch of a massive tree, if one branch breaks and falls down, the tree will continue in its expansive growth. I am upset at not being able to comfort my mother. I find my purpose and my fabric within my family devoid of meaning. What is my worth when I cannot even comfort my own mother? The wheels of life have indeed stagnated. My existence is mired in immobility. I am the soundless and faceless man, screaming in a sea of nothingness, does anyone hear me? Does anyone…

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Poetry

The Lonely Creek

Who cries amidst
this stormy spring,
Wordless sounds of
showers that bring,
Tepid sprinkles of
effervescence that remain,
The quest for enlightenment
stays the same.

The ever twined
 and twisted routes of life,
Rounded and knotted
 and engaged in strife,
Employed in a unending
struggle to seek,
Answers for questions
 by this lonely creek.

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