Thursday, December 1, 2011

At last!

(Being a little bookish)

For the last few months, i’ve been trying to work at a small book. ‘Trying to work’ is a deliberate choice of words here. There were days i sat for hours at the comp but came out with no more than a few lines. And oodles of distraction cropped up once the project was on.
Some travels, not out of choice though pleasant, had to be done. They took nearly two months’ time off writing when added together. And then came a lot of writing work at the job on subjects totally alien to me, which meant a good deal of time spent on research. Besides, daily chores like cooking, laundry, et al still had to be done. Enjoyable activities, but they delayed my book project and i was left frantic with the deadline for the ms looming. Left and right, i requested friends for prayer.
So it’s done now, and i can attend to my blog again and maybe soon visit others’ blogs to catch up. The book, by the way, is a retelling of the life history of Christ portrayed in the Gospels, in the Narrative Non-Fiction genre. It’s chiefly meant for people who haven’t been too keen on reading the Bible. Of course, the others can read it too. GLS is going to publish it, hopefully before Christmas .
In the last week of September, a book of poems titled Roots And Wings, An Anthology of Indian Women Writing in English, was released in Trivandrum. It contains the works of 42 poets from all over the country, and some abroad. The oldest contributor was born in 1929, the youngest in 1987. 10 of my poems are included, but i couldn’t attend the function though we were in Kerala the week before.
And this Christmas, i’m planning to be in Mizoram, Aizawl or elsewhere, not yet decided. Wonder if some bloggers will be there to meet!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

another day

in middle of muddled dream
truncated by alarm’s scream
you open bleary eyes
to yet dark new day
cawing craws announce.

you turn upon the bed
to give a kick start
a mug of black coffee
hot and strong.

you draw the curtains back
look out on grey dawn.
time to resume
mad rush race against time.

for few quiet moments
book open
on your knees
catch a glimpse of

Thursday, August 11, 2011

wild flowers

wild flowers on wayside
purple, white
invite a closer look.

but at 120 kmph
(the speed of older men)
one can’t.

must we move so fast?
i’d like to travel
with no thought
of destination.

Friday, July 29, 2011


chicago, i am drunk
on your sun
green rolling slopes
daisies spread out in
wild abandon
blue blue lake.

long ago here
fiery preacher
sought to save
from inferno
many dead
in awful fire
lost wealth and home
built lives.

and chicago, i am drunk
on your sun.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hello, Mumbai!

Mumbai, you did not mother me
nor were we neighbours ever.
Coming to live with you
wasn’t my choice either.
When i arrived you didn’t welcome
insignificant me
though the reception, i like to think
was not hostile.

You are a grand but not uppity lady
expansive in an impersonal way.
Some call you ‘soulless’
but that isn’t fair;
it’s just that you’re too busy,
too overworked to be

Though you aren’t my dream city
I like you fairly well,
we may not become best friends
but we’ll get along just fine.
So hello Mumbai, pleased to meet you,
hope you feel the same!

Friday, February 25, 2011

One Sunday

There’s an old funny song my kids used to love about ‘Jack the Peg’ who had an extra leg:

"Wherever I go through rain or snow
The people always let me know
'There’s Jack the Peg…
With an extra leg'"
sings the character.

Guess many of us ‘chinky’ Indians get the same kind of treatment in some parts of the country. It used to be like that in Kerala where we went for vacations. People on the streets would turn back to stare. Same in Madras where we stayed a few months. Eyes would glare till i was tempted to poke with a finger to see if they could blink! It was like that in Hyderabad. And so on.

It’s not so bad these days, at least not here in Mumbai. I didn’t get it bad in Bangalore either. Can’t say whether things have changed in general, or it’s just the cities.

And in this church we attend in Santa Cruz, i even forget that i’m different. Meetings are in English, mixed with Hindi. The members are from diverse communities like Anglo-Indians, Goans, Maharashtrians, Mangalorians, Malayalees, Tamilians, Telugus, etc. I’m the only snub-nosed, chinky-eyed, yellow-faced one in the crowd. But the loving, caring folks make me forget that i hail from a remote place and have alien looks and ways.

But one Sunday it was brought back to me in a funny way.

After the meeting, a little NRI boy came up to me and said, “Hello, i’m J, i’m eleven years old. I’m from Dubai….”
“Hello, i’m M,” i responded, and we got chatting.

After a while he asked, “Are you Chinese?”
“No,” i replied.
“Are you Filipino?”
“What are you then?”
“I’m Indian” i said, curious about how he was going to tackle the question.
“But how come you look like Chinese or Filipino?” he came back.
“Many Indians look like i do,” i told him, still playing the game.
Then he got clever. “What language do you speak with your parents at home?”
I finally told him i’m a Mizo, from Mizoram, a state in Northeast India. I asked him to look up a map and find Mizoram in it.

Hope J’s knowledge of Geography or Social Studies improved a bit that day. Such a sweet kid!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Peace with my dad

My dad was an army man and a strict disciplinarian. Growing up under him wasn’t easy. And once I was grown up, I couldn’t agree with Dad about a lot of things. Not daring to confront him, I would gripe and gripe behind his back.

Towards the end of the year 2000, I was at a camp for women. At a session, one of the resource persons spoke about how we tend to have unresolved anger against our parents, especially our fathers. She gave us an assignment: “Now everyone go back to your room and write a letter to your father.”

I spent a long time reflecting about my dad and my relationship with him. And with a lot of tears I wrote the following letter:

‘Dear Dad,
I’m so sorry that I have been carrying grudges against you in my heart for words you said to me in anger and human weakness. Yes, you often lost control of your temper, like I do with my own children. How mean and unkind of me to remember all those and still seethe over them! Forgive me, Dad. Forgive me, Lord Jesus.

I’m now thankful to you and to God that you gave me birth, that you and Mum were alive to bring me up, that you did so to the best of your ability and knowledge. I thank you for bringing me up to godliness, to ethical living.

I thank you for loving me, though you were never verbally open about it. I thank you for that lovely red Kashmiri coat you bought me when I was seven. It had pictures of owls embroidered along the button lines. Whenever I wore it I could feel your love embracing me.

But somehow, along the way, I grew hard and ungrateful. I even convinced myself that you don’t really love me. I blew up your faults to large proportions and undermined your virtues. I’m so sorry, Dad, and I love you.’

I’m so glad I made my peace with my dad before we re-located to far away Bangalore in 2004. We visited him before leaving. This is how he was:

When we visited him next in the summer of 2006, he had become like this:

Then he passed away just after midnight between 6th and 7th of February, 2007.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beyond imagining

Moonlight streamed into a poet’s bedroom. When asleep, the poet dreamt of a charming silver world. Hills tipped with silver light, birds with silver beaks, everything touched with silver. Then the poem ‘The Silver World’ ends with the stanza:

'But I was glad when I awoke
And peeped this morning through the pane
To see no more a silver world
But find my golden one again.'

We often talk of ‘dreams’—whether waking daydream or of sleep time, as something sweet and desirable. But just think, can any of those dreams be better than reality? Or, say, a landscape painting. However great the artist, can the painted picture be as good as the real scenery?

And to think that the scenery is still so beautiful despite human beings destroying this earth for so many centuries—how beautiful it must have been when it was newly created! And if the reality of this world is so much better than our most fantastic wishful thinking, how much more the world beyond! A country singer sings about heaven as:

'Made by God alone
According to His perfect plan…'

How beautiful such a place must be!

In the story The Silver Chair, one of the Narnian Chronicles by CS Lewis, the wicked witch abducted Prince Rillian and kept him imprisoned underground. With her magic powers she made him forget his family, his people and his country. Aslan the Lion sent a girl, a boy and a marshwiggle to rescue him.

The prince came back to his senses, he and his rescuers were about to escape. Then the witch tried her tricks to make them doubt the existence of any world beyond the dark underground. She made them feel that the country above ground with its sun, trees, grass, moon and stars, and Aslan himself, were only dreams.

Puddlegum the marshwiggle made a sane reply: “Suppose we have only dreamed …. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well it strikes me as a pretty poor one…. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side….”

Just like it’s difficult to explain the real world above ground to those living in the underworld, it’s hard to imagine the beauty and glory of heaven. Same with the terror and horror of hell.

The truths revealed to us are too wonderful for human invention. The nature of God and his plan of salvation for mankind through Christ are all beyond our imagination.

‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.’—Bible.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome, new decade!

So the new year's here. And a brand new decade. Welcome!

We read that many expecting parents wanted their babies to be born on 1.1.11. Well, our next wedding anniversary falls on 11.1.11. Neat, isn't it?

A new year is a time to look at the past and the future. The last decade was a time of a lot of changes and movements for me. A large part of it accompanied by deep sorrow that still continues. But also much joy and blessings.

As for the future, i look to it with hope. Not because of circumstances, but because of Christ who's in charge of my life. It's such a thrill to think i'll live for eternity with him in heaven. That because he loves us so much, he gave his life to save us all.