A new year, A new Me ..


When Michelangelo was asked how he carved the statue of David, he said:

“ I simply cut away everything that was not David.”

The new year start tomorrow ringing in more beauty, love and joy in every heart. Hope grows in manyfolds. Something does not change for those who are living under the cold ruthless winter sky, sleeping in rags on a dirty pavement, huddled together to keep as warm as possible. It is just another winter night they have to spend batteling the cold.

Night shelters are few and do not provide much relief. A country rooted in culture and tradition surging ahead to modernity and advancement is still tied to orthodox customs, a country where brides are burned for dowry, child marriages, stove, deaths, domestic violence, witch hunting are issues everyone wants to shove under the carpet.

Where a 14 year old budding tennis player Ruchika drinks poison and kills herself after losing all hopes for justice . She was molested by SPS Rathore who was the President of Haryana Lawn Tennis Association. After 14 years , the rapist still walks free and head held high.

The victim silenced, witnesses bought, statements changes.

Ruchika’s case is not just one but there are hundreds of such cases where rape victims die a silent death , or live a tormented humiliating life due to lack of support and delayed and denied justice.

When will women of India get the due respect and identity they deserve ?

Last year saw some good when the section 375 was abolishes and guy community finally got the recognition it truly deserved. One small step in the right direction. Finally. In a landmark ruling that could usher in an era of greater freedom for gay men and lesbians in India, New Delhi’s highest court decriminalized homosexuality.

India lost Maharani Gayatri Devi, Leela Naidu, Firoz Khan, Habib Tanvir to name a few while the world mourned for Michael Jackson’s untimely death.

I too lost a loved one, some one who took a part of me with him, a void that will never be filled. Well, that’s life. Sometimes death brings two souls closer than ever before.

Everyone is talking about their new year resolutions. I never make resolution but this year I decided to make one.

To let go

all that’s not me

all that’s negative

all that’s extra baggage

emotional, spiritual, physical and most of all mental.

I want to live in Now leaving behind past hurts, grievances, resentments, unhappy events. Letting go is something I never could do and this time I will give it my best. Unclinging is what I call it.

There are a lot of changes I need to make and when I see myself in the mirror I want to see a person not burdened with unnecessary worries and regrets.

It is time to take charge , to move ahead with positivity and self-confidence, to love myself like never before, and not let people to step on my toes all the time.

It has been one and half-year on wordpress and I have enjoyed every bit of my journey as a word weaver here. With more than 85,000 hits a few recognitions by BlogAdda.com, some published work, writing excercise etc life has been good.

I thank all my readers for their warmth, love and appreciation. With every criticism my writing gets polished so keep sending your suggestions, advice and comments. Each word is a precious jewel.

This is my last post on 2009 and I wish all my followers, friends, fellow bloggers , well wishers , a very Happy New Year. A lot of happy moments, love , joy and success.

Cheers!

One thing I would like to say, “The only way to predict the future is to create it.” ~P. F. Drucker so This new year do something different.

Be the change you want to see

Be honest to self and others

Introspect

Spend a little time to say what you always wanted to for you may never get another chance

love and connect with those who love and care about you and not just with those whom you love.

Be a learner , open your heart to all the possibilities the universe has to offer

Plant a tree, keep the city clean, do a good deed each waking day

Do not waste, over spend and indulge for there are millions who have no roof on their head, no food, hardly any clothing

Educate a person especially a woman or a girl child .

Stand up against the wrong .. do not hesitate to be the first . Change is good, but it’s also unsettling and exhausting.

Be yourself coz you are worth it .. keep smiling , keep shining. Stay blessed.

love you all

Wild Flowers : A Tale of Love


The graceful butterfly hovered over the most beautiful wild flowers I had ever seen. Mesmerized by the bright colors on its wings my gaze followed the delicate beauty happily fluttering around the unkempt grave in front of me.

It was gorgeous. A silent beauty which had the best of all that the God had ever created. It had the brilliance of the sunbeams, a spot of blue from the sky, shades of brown from the woods around, the delicacy of the morning dew, the black of the mysterious night, the golden yellow of the
autumn leaves, the soothing green of the grass, the red, purple, and orange of the flowers around and the unexplainable colors of millions of sunsets.

The roses wrapped in pink ribbon seemed too artificial in front of what lay ahead of me so I quietly kept them on a grave nearby.

The evening sky was splashed with soft fluffy peachy clouds. The trees were gently swaying with the cool breeze. Usually the place was filled with sounds of hundreds of birds as they prepared for the long dark night ahead but on this particular eve an uncanny silence had descended and was slowly merging with the long Grey shadows on the ground.

I noticed that the butterfly had long left the scene and the little flowers were silently gazing at me.

I sighed and looked at the lone eagle flying high in the vast expanse of the endless sky.

“She lived and died lonesome and friendless.”

The soft frail voice startled me. I quickly turned to find an old woman behind me. It took me only a second to recognize her weathered face. I wanted to hug her but did not move.

“Melisa, I….” My voice failed me as I looked into those deep blue captivating eyes.

She simply waved her hand and said in a whisper,

“Walk, it’s getting dark and cold.”

We started walking silently on the gravelled path that led to the main gate.

One last time I looked over my shoulders and felt a kind of chill go up my spine. The flowers seemed to stare at me with questioning eyes. Everything had become absolutely still. Suddenly there was no breeze.

A feeling of unease began to constrict me. The old woman walked slowly and silently. The silence was becoming deafening now. I wanted her to speak but said nothing

We passed the gate of the cemetery and took the road to the village through the woods.
The path was covered with dry leaves which made an irritating crackling sound under my heavy boots. The birds were not so noisy now and once in while a cricket could be heard. The trees stood like mourners in a line along the path sending shivers in my body. For a moment I thought that I was walking with Melisa’s ghost. As if sensing my thoughts, the old woman turned and smiled but her eyes remained expressionless.

I quickened my pace and she took my hand in her soft wrinkled hand. I instantly felt the warmth. My eyes became moist. I wanted to ask her so many things but my courage failed me.

Finally she spoke.

“She stayed all night under the willow tree beside the river. It was a night unlike ant other. The sky thundered and roared and it rained continually for two days after that. Everything came to a standstill. No one had expected such weather at that time of year. It was if the nature was showing its anger through every thing. High speed winds and cold kept most of us indoors. When I went to her home it was deserted. The broken pieces of glass from the windows were scattered all over and everything was wet soggy and dirty.

I went in search of her and found her lying near the river bank unconscious, wet and burning. I called some passerby and we brought her home. It took a week for life to get back into her. She was too frail to even move but ordered us out of her house in spite of our protests. For days she was locked inside and even with my constant knocking on her door she never answered.

Then one day I found her door open so peeped in to find the house exactly the way we had left it or maybe in worse condition before. The villagers saw her walking listlessly in the woods. Like a mad woman she spent her days and nights in the woods, besides the river, in the fields but hardly in the village. Her clothes had turned to rags and she looked like a beautiful apparition. Kids ran away from her and those very people who had rejoiced in her company never even looked at her once.

She waited with patient faith and silent tears, hoping that one day you would return breaking all barriers of place and pride. But that is past.

Dejected, lonesome, pinning for the man who showed her the dreams of a beautiful life, who weaved her hopes with his with promises of undying love and unending bonds of togetherness, she walked the misty paths. On one evening in fall we found her lifeless body where two of you had parted on that fateful night.”

I had listened to the entire story without interrupting her. I felt numb by a pain which seemed to seep into my bones, flesh and entire being. We were standing at the very spot where I had last seen Helen.

It was very dark and cold. I decided to accept her offer to stay with her for the night. We had an early dinner in silence and then in the emptiness of my room she rose from the mists of my memory- Beautiful, charming, and so youthful, her laughter ringing in my ears like a thousand unheard melodies.

I tried to stop the avalanche that was steadily rising inside me, the deluge that was ready to break all boundaries. I closed my eyes tightly to brush away the enchanting vision that was taking an overpowering effect on me.

Somewhere between the struggle with the past and the present sleep took over and a calmness enveloped me.

With the first rays of light I quietly unlocked the door and went straight to our meeting place near the river. The place was completely transformed from what I thought it was last night. Hundreds of wild flowers covered the entire length and breadth of the river bank. The only thing unchanged was the willow tree. It seemed to me that it had bent more in last few years and the branches now kissed the ripples with the slightest breeze. Mesmerized I watched the beauty around me. It had a strange resemblance to the grave site and here too the flowers seem to watch me with their dewy eyes, telling the story of her unconditional love and complete devotion.

I sat there with my eyes closed unable to contain the sorrow and the guilt. As the day light began to dance on the shimmering water and voices of the village folks began to rise above the silence I gathered some buds and half opened flowers and made my way to the little pagan temple of the goddess of love, near the village.

I knelt and broke down in front of the beautiful image of love which was the witness of many of our promises and words of honor. Offering her the fragrant bunch I whispered to her in a trembling voice, “My love has found her morning and is in your arms. The time has long gone when I could repay her for what she gave to me. I offer you my gift of love that was meant for her, I bring to you those flowers that remained as buds while she waited for them to bloom.”

I placed my head at the feet of the goddess and wept.

Now I lie next to my beloved hoping that the butterfly will gently alight on the colorful wild flowers growing upon our graves.

The Female Convict : A Woman’s Story


The story has been published in a collection of short stories by 26 Indian Women Writers called Ripples .

you can buy the book from

http://www.apkpublishers.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=89

Inner Chatter : A poem


This poem was published in the july edition of Enchanting Verses.

I sit and watch
stream of thoughts
flowing through my mind
negative, disconnected.
soundless inner conversations
continuous,
irrelevant, contradictory, defying
uncontrolled inner chatter

slowly taking possession
of your entire being
without your permission,
a creation of the mind
the source of all worry
The inner chatter
your true master.

no cessation of speech,
never a moment’s respite
a kind of madness

I need to escape
from my own being
from one’s inner chatter
talk with me
I want to speak out not speak in

Rescue me
from this full-fledged lunatic asylum
that’s running inside my head
this expression of insanity

I want a release
from the mind,
inventer all my miseries
living your life for me.
I want to take that quantum leap
towards freedom

© Tikuli

Life at Cross Roads


Sona had been selling flowers at the Birla Temple for as long as she could remember. Her earliest memories were of running around the crowded road bare feet in a tattered over sized frock gifted to her by some generous woman at the temple. Her hair unwashed and mostly tangled up in two untidy pony tails always remained tightly secured by dirty pink ribbons. Every day she began her ritual of selling flowers, by offering her first string of flowers to the temple priest. She considered it auspicious for her earnings.

Now at the age of twelve, she had experienced all the aspects of the fast-moving capital of India, with its skyscrapers and luxury cars to the kaleidoscope of contrasting images that passed in front of her as she waited day in and day out for the traffic signal to change colors.

She shared her tiny one-room with her four other siblings, mother and another girl who was orphaned sometime back. Sona preferred to live in her own world, untouched by her mother’s constant bickering, complains and drunken men who sometimes came to take her mother out.

Each morning enviously she watched the other children make their way to school, while she started off to experience yet another day of struggle. She ran behind cars till the soles of her feet became sore. Many a times she heard the rebukes of wealthy people sitting inside the air-conditioned cars. She would squeeze in her tiny hand through the window of a car in her attempt to lure some young woman to buy the string of flowers or offer some roses to some young man insisting that the woman in his life would shower her love if he bought her flowers, most of the time she shared a meager meal with the other children who also made a living at the same crossroads.

The city of Delhi unfolded before her innocent, curious eyes: uninhibited and unpretentious, in all it’s splendor. She would see the changing colors of the sky and the seasons and learn a new way to adapt herself to the new surroundings.

She saw the long queues of vehicles, waiting impatiently for the traffic light to turn in their favor, the dust and the heat of intense summer days and the bone chilling biting winters of the city. She saw the city as it was: hungry, ruthlessly ambitious, and ready to run down anyone to make their own place.

From the footpath she looked at the glittering showrooms that catered to the materialistic aspirations of the rich and famous and those of twentieth century neo rich youth along with the huge traffic hoardings warning the drivers against drunk driving. It constantly reminded of the fleeting transience of life to her.

She lovingly watched the old maulvi sahib of the madarsa nearby sit for hours in the temple complex, chatting to the old head priest and distributing sweetmeats to the poor children. She saw it as a slap at the face of religious hostility that raised its sharp talons so often these days.

She tried to peer though the glass windows of the famous swanky restaurants as chewed hard to break down and digest some hard slate bread slice. She sometimes saw herself against the backdrop of all this and more, inching her way from one car to another, jostling against the other children, all of them trying to sell flowers, magazines, toys, balloons etc. in those two- three minutes before the lights turned green.

She loved the city; it gave her a reason to live, to hope, laugh, and learn and something to look forward to each day. The city that treated her badly at times but still kept her dreams alive, the city that gave Sona an identity.

In the evening all the little street children would gather in one corner of the pavement and count their day’s earnings. As the city would gear up for the glittering night ahead Sona would huddle together with her friends and watch a small screen television. She loved to listen to the new film songs and tried to copy the moves of her favorite movie stars.

Slowly the night would silently envelope the city and she would go back to her dreamland with a smile on her face ready to take on another day with the first rays of the sun.

Poem: A Childhood Lost


She sat huddled in a corner
staring at the pool of blood
between her aching skinny legs.

Her large eyes vacant and dry
her trembling body tattered and torn
and her soul, bruised and ridden to dust.

Her childhood innocence crushed
by someone’s scavenging lust
someone she was taught to trust.

He ripped her veil

and shamed her forever

violating her with a single thrust.

Alone, in the shadows of her
shattered dreams
She tried in vain to wipe forever
the events of the night
her chilling screams.

Her heart, pregnant with
Emotions unknown,
unheard, unseen

Slowly she closed her swollen eyes
and shut herself to the
rising shame and fear

Too scared to speak
too hurt to cry
as the mist began to clear

They found her body in the morn
along with her clothes
bloodstained and torn.

And beside her tender fragile frame
was written in her blood in shame
a single word that said it all

“Daddy”

copyright Tikuli

vote for it on indivine

Read my article on child abuse prevention

Child Abuse Prevention Month Post( April)- A Daughter’s Letter to Her Parents

Erotica: A Poetry excercise with Kris


Touch

My hands
open the curtains of your being
clothe you in a further nudity
uncover the bodies of your body
My hands
invent another body for your body

Octavio Paz

I wrote this poem as an excercise in writing erotic or passionate poetry. My first attempt went flat so posting Kris’s correction also. I think it just stones you once the flowery words get trashed. enjoy both the versions . :). It’s wonderful when someone goes all the way to help you improve and make you learn the finer aspect of something you are passionate about. My heartfelt thanks to Kris for being such a considerate, caring and excellent teacher.

The curtains rhythmically sway
sunlight streams in,
into the dark chamber
caressing the soft pillow cases and sheets
faintly touching their bodies

drowsy curled honeysuckles,
entwined in sleepy heat
bathed in moist molten bronze
they glisten,

electrified nude sculptures of Khajuraho

A moment suspended in time

Fragrance of passion
wafts through the room
and whirls around them
She stirs, stretches in feline grace

From behind the Dark lashes
emerge deep intense eyes
teasing twinkling with want
tilting her lips
She dared him to play

Temptress

Her twin tulips, tipped crimson
in the refracting sunlight
He felt the rush
Their breath synchronized

feverishly his hand travel
down the smooth arch of her back
her firm breasts crushed against his face
ignited, flamed by fiery passion

Soaked in scintillating sensuous notes of saxophone
intermingled with citrus aromas
his lips, hands and tongue
traced circles, lines and curves
on the canvas of her body
unknown frenzied patterns
brush strokes of splashing exploding colors

liquefied bodies
in the rivulets of steamy sweat
moving in synchronized, frantic fluidity.
A torrential river gushing
to meet the raging deep ocean
swirling like a whirlpool,
gasps, moans, screams
A mystical ride
complete surrender.

Here is Kris’s version, a quick rewrite and a perfect one . Thanks Kris for being the light.

Electrified nude sculptures of Khajuraho
suspended in fragrance

He felt his hand travel
down the arch of her back
her firm breasts crushed against his face

Liquefied bodies intermingled with
unknown frenzied patterns
moving in synchronized whirlpool surrender

making it too hot for her to handle anymore.

The Vagabond : A Story


Considering that the day had been unbearably hot it was a pleasant early evening in summer. I was sitting at my usual roadside tea stall browsing through the Hindi newspaper and sipping the usual boiling hot, strong, sugary tea that is a trademark of all the tea stalls around North India.

Sometimes I just looked up and gazed blankly at the road ahead. Unlike the other busy roads full of noise pollution and vehicular traffic, this one only catered to cycle rickshaws, cyclists and scooter wallas. One could see small children playing cricket there due to the lack of a playing ground.

Right now, it wore an empty bored look just like the people around it.

The vegetable walla and the other vendors were lazily dozing under the big black umbrellas. The cobbler was completely engrossed in his needlework on an old shoe and hardly glanced around.

The man who sold old books and other ancient stuff on a cart near the scooter/cycle stand was busy putting little stones on the flying pages of the books and magazines. I liked his ever-smiling face which stay in constant bliss irrespective of the changes in and around him.

Today there were hardly any people around, only the dogs stretched out in various places enjoying the luxury of space.

Then I saw him. He must be in his thirties. Ruffled jet-black hair, full-grown thick beard and thoughtful deep-set eyes were the first things I noticed. He had some old crumpled pants and shirts thrown carelessly over his right shoulder and a black worn out jacket on the left one.

Although well-built, his broad shoulders drooped a little, maybe because of the weight on them. He wore a long khadi kurta and his dirty denim folded to the knees. Bare feet, he slowly walked towards the “old stuff” stall and started flipping through the yellow pages of a book.

I thought he was an illiterate vagabond but he had something about him that intrigued me.

I watched him for nearly twenty minutes totally engrossed in some book.

Curious, I got up to have a few words with him.

As soon as I approached him and tried to strike a conversation, he smiled and simply walked away.

My gaze followed him until he disappeared on the same road from where he had come.

I turned around to see what had kept him engrossed.

Agony and Ecstasy by Irving Stone

The old man saw the expression on my face and remarked casually,

“I am seeing him today after long time. IIT topper from Bangalore got into drugs etc I think, good educated family, only son. What a waste of life.”

I just looked at him.

Cross-Posting IHM’s blog ‘Not just a pair of Jeans ‘


I always get late for posting every Sunday but good things always come with time :).

Introducing today IHM or Indian Home Maker , one of the finest bloggers, my inspiration at many times and a fellow woman writer. She writes about every woman, social issues, our culture, social eveils, daily life and much more. I love the way she raises issues agaist gender bias, girl child discrimination, even about men and the problems they face.

It is worth visiting her blog The Life and Times Of Indian Home Maker, a title I love.

This is one of her favorite posts which even got selected for Tangy Tuesday pick
In her blog post Not just a pair of jeans she says ,

A man in Haryana beat his wife in the market for wearing jeans while shopping with her parents.
Why was it such an issue?

He said she was wearing jeans.

Do you know what that means?

What was his fear?

Isn’t it clear?

Jeans symbolise more than just what she wore!

Tomorrow she could ask for more?

Ask to keep her girl-child?

Education and a right to work?

This didn’t please the jerk…

CLICK THE ABOVE LINK TO THE POST AND READ ON.. you will stop, think and ponder.

Thank you IHM for enriching our lives and touching many others. Cheers to the woman power!!!

Patal Bhubaneshwar: A Gateway to the Belly of Earth


My thirst for travel took me to one of the most amazing ancient creations in the Himalayas. A legendary cave complex is full of natural stalagmites and stalactites which is a must watch for any traveler to this region. The caves are made of limestone.

We were staying in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand when the wanderlust lured us to this beautiful place called Patal Bhubaneshwar situated at the height of 1350meters in Pithoragar district known as “Dev Bhumi” (abode of Gods) and “little Kashmir” for its virgin natural beauty. Its distance from Ranikhet is 115km. and the nearest town is Gangolihat. The drive is awesome as the roads are smooth and the view captivating.

Mesmerizing landscape, exotic flowers, the sweet scent of pine and mighty Oak trees were the first welcoming sights as we maneuvered the twisting, turning, dusty so called road from the main town. We had gathered enough information and were really excited to see the nature’s wonders.

Patal Bhubaneshwar (Patal means Hell) is an ancient cave temple complex, a subterranean shrine of Shiva. The place was retrieved by Adi Shankaracharya in around 8th or 10th Century A.D. It is believed to be the replica of the mythical underworld of Hindu religion. One has to go through a narrow tunnel to view the underground stone carvings. It is about 200steps and straight 90 ft down. The place is said to be abode of thirty-three billion Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

We had to crawl in a single line by holding the protective chains through a very narrow crevice to reach the cave. The lights are feeble and Photography in any form is not allowed inside the cave so one has to see it to believe it.
The whole place is enshrined in mystery and mythology. I was enchanted by the giant birds, serpents, ghostly figures and human forms which looked so seemingly alive. It was a sight I will never forget. We were bare feet as shoes are not allowed and the slippery ribbed floor gave us an eerie feeling. I thanked my stars that we had an ASI guide with us, for the place sure gave me goose bumps. The only drawback of having him around was the constant flow of legends and stories which distracted us from observing the amazing beauty of the place.

The main temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and one can also see the Narsimh (half lion half human) incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Legends say that Lord Bramha comes to this place with the other gods to worship Lord Shiva who resides in this place. A little ahead is the natural rock formation of Sheshnag holding the heaven, the earth and the world beneath. There is a thin stream of water along the tunnel. One has to go through several small caves to reach the sprawling interiors. Each cave unmasks some deep secret buried in its belly. The lime stone stalagmites that emerge from the walls all over the complex are known as the Jatas (locks) of Lord Shiva.

The sanctum sanatorium gives you the feeling of being at the center of the earth. It is said that the tunnel is the backbone of Sheshnag the mythological serpent God with thousand heads. As we reached the middle of the cave we found a beautiful Ganesh statue. There was a lotus flower engraved on the ceiling right above it and water tricking from the lotus fell directly on Lord Ganesh’s head. The water made different shapes and the legend says that these shapes are that of various Gods and Goddesses from Hindu Mythology.

The cave has the replicas of Badrinath, Kedarnath and other four important religious places and due to this it is highly revered by the Hindus. The place also has some features from the Indian Epic Mahabharata. It is believed that the Pandavas stayed and meditated here during their last journey to the Himalayas.

The priests of this complex, who have been part of the shrine for more than twenty generations, are a treasure-house of legends, folklore, anecdotes and information about this holy place.

Some of the stone carvings of Gods and Goddesses depict them in erotic forms. It sure proved to be a surreal experience. The sheer unspoiled charm of the area that surrounds these wonders is awe inspiring.

After this breathtaking experience we came out to inhale the fresh air fragrant with the scent of incense sticks and flowers. We decided to walk about the place and after going just a little further got a spectacular view of Himalayas stretching over the horizon. It was an enchanting view
of almost 600 km long mountain range stretching end to end from Garhwal to Nepal. Apart from the magnificent mountains our hearts were also captivated by the terraced fields and houses in the valley.

A hike in the Deodar forest revealed tiny caves scattered here and there that were the mini replicas of the big cave. It was a journey worth taking and we enjoyed every moment of it.

The evening sun was in its splendor and we relaxed on the green carpet of soft grass to enjoy the most beautiful sunset we had ever seen. It was also our last one for the trip. Filled with nostalgia and awe we drove back to Ranikhet. Silently watching the dark misty landscape.

The whole experience left unforgettable memories in our hearts.