One Year of Wayfaring And Other Things

Pre-orders began for Wayfaring this day last year. How time flies and within 12 months another poetry book Duets, coauthored with James, is out for pre-order. So much is happening at personal front. The move to a new apartment just a floor above where I stayed earlier. ( No, not my own home. My search for home is still on ) The usual stresses and rants, tiring few days of sorting, packing, discarding and lugging up the stuff then sorting, discarding, giving away what’s not needed and then labeling again and rearranging. It seemed like a never ending task.

It is said, “What you keep rots; what you give flourishes.”

How much do we store and cling to in a lifetime… I’ve suddenly lost any attachments. Gorgeous sarees, books and much more. I have memories attached to whatever little I have now but it’s time to let go.. the future doesn’t have much space for ghosts of past.

I don’t know what to do with the ghosts of present who day in and day out haunt and torment. There is a ridiculous amount of material things here and same number approximately in my marital house which is no longer or never was mine. They are an overwhelming reminder of wasted time and lives and loves that could have been lived better. There are others I wish had something of, but don’t. A memory that sometimes comes floating by sometimes.

Everyone MUST learn the art of throwing away. 99% of us are compulsive hoarders and live through a life of clutter, sometime so organised that it doesn’t look like clutter. I found things as old as 100 yrs. Of course not mine, they are my mom’s. I just organized the clutter in newly painted shelves, racks etc. Some labelled, others just wrapped and stuffed far behind in the dark depths to be discovered later sometime. Then there are books… there are still 2-3 cartons full after filling up the bookshelves. I am still reeling under the fatigue. The good thing is that art comes handy in times of stress and mental block. I took up the #Inktober challenge on instagram and am now sharpening my skills of ink/pen drawing. You can see my work here. A fresh start is a good thing: A new perspective of what I truly want my life to be and what I stand for.

Today FB memories brought up this video from Leaky Boot Press You Tube channel.

I have received positive feedback on Wayfaring till now and it makes me very happy that readers are connecting with me and writing about their experiences. I am expecting a few more reviews in this month. Have you bought your copy? I would love to hear from you. People who have bought it please give your feedback on Amazon / Goodreads etc.

Meanwhile, here is what poet/painter Uma Gowrishankar had to say about the book,

“If the heart can weigh heavier with every turn of phrase, then elegiac is the mood of Wayfaring, Tikuli’s second collection of poems. Tikuli takes us through a landscape scarred by memories. The theme of abandonment recurs in the poems, bludgeons through intense and searing images that are disturbingly sensorial.

The poems in Wayfaring swing between the violence of loss and the silence of deep mourning, that comes from estrangement, tearing away from roots. Exhausted with the tension, Through poem after poem and in a language that stirs with honesty, she takes us on a path filled with compassion and faith despite everything.”

You can read the full review on my Instagram page.

In another news two of my LGBT support poems got published in ‘EquiVerseSpace – A Sound Home In Words‘ and the news came on a perfect day when the Supreme Court scrapped section 377. Thanks Smeetha Bhoumik, Taseer and others for this space. Happy to be part of this write tribe.

I Congratulate the LGBT community, the activists, petitioners and each one if us who believed and supported the right to love and live. It is our victory and only by embracing it we can end the phobia associated with it even though the law has changed. This has been a long journey for numerous brave activists, lawyers and members of the LGBT community. The verdict says that consensual sex between adults of the same gender is not a violation of Sec377.

Even with Section377 gone the real fight is with those bigots and homophobes who make everyday living difficult. There’s a lot that needs to be done for a complete equality. Will it ensure LGBTQ Empowerment? No discrimination at workplace and other places? There are a whole lot of other things that need to be dealt with. Though elated by the judgement I’m a little thoughtful too. Hoping for a mindset change at root level.The branding and discrimination despite the legal win needs to go for a complete victory. I hope the closet LGBTQI community is able to break the shackles of the regressive mindset.

I have been putting off a much needed discussion here. A discussion about the kind of life we live as women, the choices we make and can not make. The double standards of men in the family who support and voice their strong views on feminism and women’s rights but inside the four walls treat the women in the family in just the opposite manner.  I had stopped writing for change and my personal struggles for a good reason that it did not help me at practical level though it helped many others in their struggles but time has come to lay down some facts and seek appropriate help. I am just organizing my thoughts so that I don’t turn the post into a rant. I have to move out from where I am staying and for that I need information and support. Will update on it soon.

The doctor feels my anxiety and sleeplessness can’t be treated holistically. Need to take anti-anxiety pill. I’m not ready. I want to calm my nerves so the heart beats to the rhythm of love. My gut feeling is i can do it with lifestyle changes. I know the root cause and I am working towards resolving it. It is all in the mind as they say. Resetting my priorities and making those necessary changes in my lifestyle. Some factors remain the same but then I plan to change my perspective towards them. We can’t change people but we can change the way we respond to them. Right?

I am also working on a few more Hindi poems and will post them soon. Please keep visiting and drop a line or two in the comments so I know your views.

Here’s a ten minute Tulip flower watercolor I made on sleepless night.

The painting is copyrighted so please refrain from sharing or copying.


Cleaning The Closet : A Memoir

Yesterday was one of those days when nothing seemed to be going right. I needed a break but had no option but to sit at home. I scanned the empty room and decided to do the thing we always thought was a punishment as kids. Cleaning Out The Closet.

The moment I opened it something fell and whacked me on my head .I cursed under my breath. It was a GI Joe, its legs tied with a string and a battle cat tagging along with it which my little one must have hidden from his elder sibling.

knew it was going to be a time-consuming and overwhelming task but I had all the time in the world.

Two years back I was gifted a book by Louise Hay and it changed my perception of the clean up act that I had detested for so long. She says, “Cluttered closets mean a cluttered mind. As you clean the closet, say to yourself, ‘I am cleaning the closets of my mind.’ The universe loves symbolic gestures.”

It made a huge impact on me and now every time I feel out of control of my life or feel that everything is getting on top of me, I go clean out a closet. It is like decluttering our minds and our lives.

Slowly my bed was covered with piles of clothes, letters, boxes, trinkets I never knew existed. A soft bundle with a tag baby clothes’ and some paperbacks tied up with a red string lay behind the clothes. I looked closely “Albatross book of living verse” the top book said .I smiled. It was a gift from my mother. This book had been given to her by my grandfather when she was young girl.

Sometimes we find skeletons in our closets, things we never wanted the world to see. Buried in the deepest, darkest side of the closet, forgotten even by the owner, lie memories of yesteryear. Lurking in one corner of the shelf was an envelope tagged pix. I was not sure what secret it held for the writing was not mine. I decided to place it along with other to be checked’ stuff.

The closet was practically empty and I decided to replace the paper on the shelves too, under the last shelf were two thousand rupee notes crisp and new. I was ecstatic as if I had won a lottery. The shadow of loneliness was already replaced by the ray of hope. I grinned and tucked away the treasure in my pocket.

I made myself a hot cup of fresh coffee and settled down to rummage through memory lane.

First was the baby clothes bundle. I opened it and found little clothes. My dresses when I was one year old. I found my traditional lehnga (a long skirt) and a short blouse with it. There was also a lemon yellow sweater which had my initials on it. I fondly held the clove smelling clothes  and imagined how I must have looked wearing them.

Something was shinning under the second layer of cloth and I discovered my elder son’s first birthday dress, another traditional Indian attire, dhoti and kurta with violet colored tiny brocade jacket, with zari work on it. It looked lovely as the sun rays fell on its shimmering silvery threads. We had brought it especially for the occasion. I remembered how he had posed for the photographs, his dimpled cheeks flushed with joy.

Carefully I wrapped the memories back and tied the knot.

The kashmiri walnut box held some dried flowers and notes along with a few silver ear rings and old B&W pictures of my childhood. There were some letters which still had the fragrance of the love that I had shared and treasured even after it faded away from my life. I looked out of the window at the swaying laburnum tree and closed my eyes. A silent tear fell on the pink envelope. I tucked the things back in the box, tearing off the unwanted papers, some old bills, letters and statements of bank.

I undid the string to keep the poetry  book aside, deciding to read it later in the day. A book mark fell on the ground. A work of art by my little one. I placed the smiling faces and rainbow back in the book.

Now was the turn to discard the heaps and heaps of unwanted clothes. I had already planned to give them away to some NGO. Pants, dresses, coats, sweaters and skirts all went into a big bag.

As the French say,

“What you keep rots; what you give flourishes.”

In the process a lovely black dress emerged .Something I used to wear when I was thin as a twig. I laughed as I held it against me. It also had matching undergarments which seemed as if they were made especially for a designer Barbie doll. Laces and net and size zero.

A bag revealed assorted colorful socks and belts which for some reason I had not discarded for years. One throw and basket .They all went into the trash bag. I instantly felt better .It is amazing how a little act of cleaning up can change the way you look at life.
Neatly I arranged all the clothes, shoes, purses and bags back into the gleaming white clean closet and felt proud of my efforts. Once everything was set inside my eyes fell on the envelope tagged pix’.

Something was not nice about the thick brown paper envelope and I opened it with curious hands. Twenty four snaps of my hubby with his girlfriend stared back at me. I made a collage on the bed and stared at the colorful smiling faces without blinking my eyelids.

For a moment my legs went weak and I held the chair next to me. Then slowly, I collected myself and placed all the snaps into the envelope. Some things are better buried deep inside the dark realms of the closet. I tucked it at the deepest deep of the top shelf. I gathered the torn letters and placed them in a plastic bag, it was time to bury the past and move on.

I felt happy to see a neat and less crowded closet with more empty spaces just like in my heart and mind.