From Darkness to Dawn : Let’s fill their lives with colors


Please watch the video before reading the post 

This post has been written for HP Laserjet Take Flight With Colour Contest in association with Indiblogger .Do check their site to know more about HP.

A visually impaired person’s  life is full of darkness devoid of light and colors. It’s not even black and white .

The statistics are devastating.

Of the 45 million people worldwide who are blind, around 1.4 million are children under 16. The majority of childhood blindness happens before the age of five – a period when 75 per cent of learning is through sight. Childhood blindness in India is around 2 million and only 2% receive education. They never enjoy the simple pleasure of  discovering the colorful world of pictures .  Something that touched our hearts when our children were little.

When we talk of dreams in Technicolor, of nature’s enchanting hues that take our breath away, of filling colors in everything B&W and of taking a flight with colors Do we EVER think of these children of the lesser God for whom the basic B&W also does not exist? 

Corneal blindness is one of the most common causes of blindness in India. India shoulders the largest burden of global blindness, about 3.5 million across the country with 30000 new cases being added each year. To combat this 30,000 corneas are needed every year and hardly 150,000 are received.

There is a dire need for eye donation to bring color into the lives of these people  who can not see , to lead them from darkness to dawn.

Unfortunately India is home to world’s largest number of blind people, approximately 15 million . If the trend continues the magnitude of blindness will increase  from 15 million to 18 million and more by the year 2020. Are we going to give rise to a colorless world , are we going to turn a blind eye to this very pressing situation?

In many lives the colors dissolve to darkness due to some illness or accident. They have seen the wine spilled skies and emerald waters , they have let their imagination take flight with a box a crayons or played Holi with every shade of red, blue and green and yet they live in perpetual colorless existence just because the gift of sight is so rare.

“We go about the world taking things for granted. Things that we are able to see. Colors . No one thinks what if they wake up one day and there is no sunrise . We blindly go through life as a routine until the darkness envelops us  and then life has no color but BLACK ” said a blind friend.

It is traumatic to go from millions of colors and sights each day to pitch black.  Let us fill their lives with colors again. 

I am a proud eye donor .

I have pledged to bring color and light  into at least two lives, Have you ?  

All Stats from WHO reports

Do All Relationships Come With A Past ? Soch LO !


This post is for “Soch Lo blogger Contest” by IndiBlogger based on a true incident .

Intimate Betrayal

Do all relationships come with a past ?

A few days back I would have said ” not necessarily” but today watching her in contented deep slumber I feel different.

One of the endless ironies in life is the time we spend longing for others, when a different set of ‘others’ are longing for us. Sometimes ghosts from past emerge and disturb the even rhythm of life.

The freshly scrubbed sky had the same faint rosy pink of her cheeks. I changed into a nightshirt and slipped in beside her. Feeling a presence she turned and snuggled closer. I was consumed by longing but could not bring myself to make love..

Not yet.

I gazed at the ceiling  the same feeling of emptiness around me. Gently I shifted a bit , lit a cigarette and opened my long forgotten journal to make an entry. Words turned stranger as a surge of memories flooded me.

It all began a week back when I gave her a book of memoirs which was launched at my café. The author was an Indian woman settled in Australia . Beautiful mind in an ageless body, that’s what her agent had told me during introductions. I agreed completely.

I can never forget the expression on Tara’s face as her dark eyes looked deeply at the book. Her face had a glow I hadn’t seen in ages. She ran her fingers gently on the glossy surface and flipped the pages softly. “Thank you so much” she smiled . I wanted to take her in my arms but simply smiled back.

“Would you like to meet the author” ?

The question startled her but she nodded like a happy child.

I could do anything to bridge the gap between us.

We met for dinner at a Resto – Bar. It was one of the best nights we ever had and she seemed to love it more than anyone. I marveled at the bond they had created in such a short time. The numbers exchanged, hugs shared we parted on a happy note.

I got busy again with my work and she got back to her writing and her new-found friend.

I saw the transformation coming in slowly and loved her more hoping that the things would change for us.

They did.

We were neck-deep into the launch of our new bar and worked nights a lot of times.

On that particular winter night I drove back home to get some important papers I had forgotten to take. The house was dark except for a warm light in the study. I quietly unlocked the door and walked in.

The place was filled with mixed aroma of exotic spices and flavors. I recognized the cinnamon, clove, etc and instantly knew what was cooking. The seductively melodious sounds of  clarinet  drifted in from the half-open door of the study. I approached quietly. I could hear the soft whispers but I wasn’t ready for the scene that unfolded before me as I peeped in.

The room was glowing with the fire from the fireplace. two bodies aflame by passion and longing lay there on the rug. I felt myself getting a hard on and yet I was stunned.

Speechless and rooted to the ground I watched as they fed each other completely unaware of their surroundings. Their mouths and fingers smeared in rich dark chocolate. The glossy liquid shone enticingly in a crystal bowl by their side. I felt the warm rich taste in my mouth and closed my eyes. Rhythm and Romance by Kenny G haunted the air making it even more erotic. Two magnificently sculpted bodies engages in the most erotic foreplay.

The long dark tresses of Tara flowing over Asma’s exquisitely carved back , their feet hugging each other. Long shapely legs shinning like molten copper moist and warm. I saw Asma roll over and make love to the woman who has been my wife of 10 years gently exploring and unveiling all the secrets places  devouring her. Their nude lucid forms melting into each other. The rhythmic movement of their breasts made me wanting to drop all inhibitions and join them but a sudden hurt and anger seething inside held me clutching the door knob.

None of them had noticed my presence . The soft laughter and the highly intoxicating aromatic air made me weak in my knees and I walked back to my car trying to balance my myself.

Sitting there in the dark comfort of my car I went though the events of the past week. Suddenly it struck it like a bolt of lightning. They knew each other from before.

When, Where , How ? The questions made my head throb.

I wanted to believe that I was hallucinating under stress but no there it was, the stark reality of my life lying naked , baring it all in front of me, limiting my ability to manage both my emotions and thinking process.

The fragrance of their bodies lingering in my mind.

I drove back in a daze unable to get it out of my system. Handing over the papers I locked myself in the office and slumped on the couch.

There were a lot of missing pieces in this puzzle . The darkness began to haunt me .I switched on the lamp but the glow took me back to the study so I turned on the harsh tube light to help me cope with the shock.

Asma was supposed to fly back in the morning. I had mixed feelings about the approaching day.

I took my time to reach home and secretly hoped to find Tara sleeping but there she was bright and glowing , sipping the earl grey watching the early morning rose-tinted clouds.

My heart twitched from within. Gosh I loved this woman , desired her even more now .

What was happening to me?

I felt a tingling sensation go down my body as she smiled.

I must have looked uncomfortable so she broke the silence, ” I think we should talk”.

Not a great opening sentence .

I looked at her perplexed .

I watched her like a lost lamb as she stared out into the endless sky.

“I noticed you last night” . Short and crisp.

My mouth fell open and suddenly I was filled with anger and contempt.

I retained my composure to know the hidden story.

She spoke softly.

“I first came to know Asma during my creative writing workshop six years back.

Remember when I went to Pataya ?”

I did . She did not wait for a reply.

“She was an enigma during that time, still is . Her creative genius and charm was alluring and maybe she saw the same spark in me. We spent a lot of time together and finally moved together.

I guess the need for friendship, camaraderie and relaxation were uppermost in my mind, and the need for a physical touch was laying just beneath the surface. She always remained enticingly close to me during our beach walks and outdoors. During one such occasion we kissed for the first time. It began as a warm friendly embrace and ended up in a fiery passionate night. I lived in that frozen Ecstasy for my entire stay there. I am not exactly bi sexual neither is she but something brought us together. For me it was not just an opening for my suppressed sexual needs but something else that is unexplainable.”

She paused and I kept my eyes on her. I wanted to watch her expressions. Somehow this whole narration was leading me to an introspection yet there was a conflict, a wounded feeling of betrayal of the worse kind in my opinion. I think another man would still make sense but another woman ? It just did not sound alright to me.

” One of the endless ironies in life is the time we spend longing for others, when a different set of others are longing for us. I had longed for this spiritual fulfillment of being a woman from you for a long time and could not hold back when I got it” She resumed. ” After we parted at Pataya we were for a while in touch through emails but then she just began to slip away. I knew she was in a relationship so moved on with life. When you gave me the book it flooded me with that same fire. It felt like the first time together and I longed to meet her. The taste , the fragrance , the touch all became alive on that winter morning”.

“When I saw you looking at us I panicked for a moment but then you went away”. She finally looked at me with those deep dark eyes.

I was at a loss of words, I still am.

She rose and  touched my shoulder softly .

“It was a dream that ended . I always loved you and still do. I have been honest now it is for you to decide what course our life will take . ”

Soch Lo” , she said and sailed through the French windows like a gentle breeze.

My heart ached more than my tired body. I slept the day and went off to work quietly in the evening. She kept herself occupied with her work.

Now as I sit beside her writing this journal an inner voice is haunting me, ” What now ?”.

Whatever you decide, ek bar soch lo.”

*********************

 

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The entry won the grand prize in the contest. 

A Gateway to the Belly of Earth : Patal Bhubaneshwar


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 1350 meters in Pithoragar district known as “Dev Bhumi” (abode of Gods) and “little Kashmir” for its virgin natural beauty. Its distance from Ranikhet is 115 km. 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 200 steps 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 sanctorum 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  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.

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Nostalgic Memories : The Moon


The incredibly beautiful mysterious moon held me captive along with the night and the earth as she glided in the sky with a star studded garment trailing behind her. I watched as if in trance. The magnificent full moon, unusually large and low, was drifting carelessly behind the fluffy night clouds.

It was not just another full moon night for me. Lying down on the terrace, overlooking the majestic Himalayas, it brought back memories of someone special of all those happy times spent together. The solitary moon was as lonesome and alone as me despite being surrounded by millions of stars. I wanted to talk to her, to reach out and hold her. Her watchful gaze held mine and I let its cool calm light envelope me lovingly in its embrace.

My train of thoughts took me down the memory lane, to my visit to Kinnaur and the moonlit campfire on the last night of our stay there. Six friends, a little lad and lots of happy unforgettable moments together, as the sparks from the fire flew to meet the moon which had slowly glided past the nearest mountain and was hanging on one of the open branches of the tall trees which surrounded the campsite, as if to be a part of us.

It was one of the most romantic, intoxicating nights, pregnant with strong emotions and memories of my love far away. I wondered if he too saw the orange mystical moon that night through his window and thought of me just as I did. Walking away from the laughter and chit chat, I walked to a boulder near the edge. I wanted to be part of the silence.

The entire place was under some spell and my heart ached for someone special. I wanted to share the moment with him, to be wrapped in the warm embrace and live the dream we often shared. I let my thoughts reach out to the goddess of the sky and wished upon the bright evening star which accompanied her, hoping that some day my wish would come through. Rising I stretched myself, taking in all the positive elements from the cosmic magic around me.

I could hear the faint rustle of the leaves and the happy gargle of the river Bapsa flowing like a silver serpent in the valley below. I smiled to myself and felt awed by the beauty that the nature held in store for us. Instantly I felt warm all over. I smiled and went back to my friends.

It was getting cold and the soft sweet breeze from the Dhauladhar Mountains was becoming a bit strong, so I cuddled on a rocking chair on the terrace wrapped in my Angora wool shawl. Nothing could make me spend the beautiful night indoors.

The moon and I share a very special relationship and I often seek solace in its company. It invokes the spiritual side in me and makes me connect with myself and the universe around me. I often sit and meditation under the light of the full moon. It has a very calming effect as if all the negative energies are drawn by the glorious moon, leaving me refreshed and cleansed from within.

I began to reflect on what the moon had taught me in all its different phases. True love happens only when you are not consumed with yourself. When you are full of your own sunlight, you may do many good things, but not love. Become a moon, and you can contain and love each other.

The full moon means being full with the one another. The feeling of incompleteness allows you to become the most complete. It made me humble and let go of the ego and taught me not to get consumed by it. I learned not deny or eradicate weakness, difficulty and pain, to acknowledge it despite the pain. It helped me to be illuminated from within and to stay calm and serene even in the most difficult of my phases of life.

My fascination with the moon was not just limited to the romantic; every phase of the moon ignited my imagination in some way of the other. How much my thoughts had changed since I was a teenage girl charmed by the moon’s darker side. I always thought of werewolves and spirits and it evoked some strange energy in me.

Every surrounding brought out a new aspect of the moon. The many shades of the moon, the sea, the mountains, the city and the open fields and their special bond with the moon above transformed my inner self in different ways.

Even today I make it a point to connect with the moon and become a part of its mysterious self when I need inspiration, love or just peace.

Temples Of Khajuraho


A visit to Khajuraho takes one into the land of super consciousness. It is a journey everyone should take. The temples of Khajuraho have the most erotic, sensuous, and graphic, sculptures that can not be found anywhere else in the world. The facade-walls, windows, pillar brackets, and ceilings are intricately carved with figures from mythology and history. All the figures are perfectly proportioned though they are not masculine like the Greek sculptures.

The innocent depiction of love and sex and the celebration of women are the main theme of these sculptures. Various facets and moods of women, her beauty, seductiveness, compassion, love, desire and innocence is depicted beautifully in each sculpture. Each temple depicts the creative energy of ‘Shakti’ who is considered to be the feminine counterpart of Shiva and all the other Gods of the Hindu Pantheon. There are about sixteen types of female figures engaged in various activities like tying anklets, looking into the mirror, carrying a baby, writing a letter etc.

The female nudity is considered as a potent fertility charm. The Jain, Buddhist and Hindu religious sect all believe in the fertility cult and erotic symbolism can be seen in their art forms everywhere. Here in Khjuraho, it is more evident and open. Fertility has a deeper meaning than just procreation. It means happiness, wealth, prosperity, and auspiciousness.

I learned some important lessons of life and developed a new way to look at the most common thing everyone talks about-Sex. Through these sculptures immerges a deep sense of energy that changes one’s outlook towards sex and meditations, religion and worship. In my opinion each town must have one such temple so that people can rise above the beliefs and norms that they have set about sex. This will also end the suppression of sex which has made the society so ugly.

During the construction of these magnificent temples the artisan lived in a society free from inhibitions and they were also secular craftsmen. All the activities of human life were celebrated and one can see the love for life in every sculpture here. They got their inspiration from the world they lived in.

The origin of the name Khajuraho comes from the ‘Khajur’ or the Date Palm tree which is found in abundance in this region. It was the first capital of the Chandela rulers in the 10th to the 14th centuries. The Chandelas believed in the Tantras which called for a person to work inward from the erotic to the pure spiritualism. One can see the presence of both the Tantra and the puranic elements here.

There are different theories about why these temples have erotic sculptures on the outer walls and none inside the temple. Some people believe it to be the depiction of ‘Kamasutra’ while others think they were created as a part of educating the masses about sex but I disagree because there is much more to these sculptures that sex. One can find dancing couples, musicians, potters, farmers and other folks along with deities etched in stone. Only 10% of the Stone carvings at Khajuraho temples contain sexual themes. If we examine these temples carefully then there is more of a celebration here than education.

I was overwhelmed by the joie de vivre that can be seen in sheer abundance here. To me these temples are the finest examples of India’s glorious past. There is also a story about the Brahmin woman falling in love with the moon God and getting pregnant by him. The baby boy born to that woman founded the Chadela Empire, the creators of these awesome temples.

Osho’s explanation on this matter seems absolutely correct to me. He says, “These temples have, on the outer side, beautiful women, beautiful men, and all in love postures. Inside there are no love postures. Inside you will find the empty, not even a statue of God. The idea is that unless you pass through your sexuality with full awareness, in all its phases, in all its dimensions — unless you come to a point when sex has no meaning for you-only then you enter the temple. Otherwise you are outside the temple, your interest is there.”

Osho’s Quote is from his book ‘From Unconsciousness to Consciousness’ (Book Title)

The temples depict the energy which transforms sexual to super consciousness, from lowest to highest form. There is a serene calm on the faces of the men and women engaged in various sexual positions as shown in the sculptures. The idea was not to suppress sex but to use that energy to reach the ultimate level of consciousness.

Meditating in front of those sculptures frees one of any sexual desires and with that purity of mind, body and soul one goes into the temple. This was a path to Nirvana, a path of renunciation or ‘Moksha’, to leave the visual and sensuous pleasures and move ahead without attachments, desires and regrets. I feel that the logic was to show people a correct way of life through the enjoyment of ‘arth’ (material wealth) and ‘Kaam’ (sexual pleasures) while perusing the ‘Dharma’ (Duty) while on the way to enlightenment.

The temple town of Khajuraho in the state of Madhya Pradesh is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is famous for its remarkably intriguing erotic sculptures. This celebration of the carnal which weaves beautifully with the austere Jain religion is just amazing example of the level of super consciousness of people living at those times. Many of these temples are based on Hindu religion. These temples were built over 1,000 years ago. The unsurpassable stark beauty, grandeur, and art of these ancient temples leave one in awe of those who created them.

Khajuraho temples are set in an archeological park with mowed lawns and landscaped gardens which is very different from its original setting of semi desert like environment and palm trees which gave the place its name.

The intricate detailing and artistry of the sculptures is worth noticing. Each temple has a distinct layout and features although there are some common factors also. They are architectural delights made of granite and sand stones built on high platforms. All the temples have a sanctum sanctorum or ‘garbha griha’. The temples are constructed in famous ‘Nagada’ style of architecture dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The famous western group of temples which are entirely based on Hindu religion are the most exquisite among all. The figures have a unified design and a harmonious rhythm in them. The horizontal bands of carvings are in perfect alignment with the vertically towering main structure. All of them follow the strict convention of ‘shilpashatra’ (the epic text of sculptures) and temple art. There are cult icons, surrounding figures, ‘Apsara’ or the ‘Sursundaris’ (celestial beauties) and the erotic couples. There are many auspicious and luck bringing motifs.

There are relief panels depicting the king at court, the royal hunt, domestic scenes marching armies, dance processions, teacher and students, traders with camels, and sculptors at work etc among others. Nandi (Lord Shiva’s Bull), mythical animals, elephants and wild boars are some of the animals which are carved on the outer walls.

Some of the finest temples are that of Kandhariya Mahadev, the Chitragupta Temple that is dedicated to the Sun God, the Vishwanath Temple which has a three-headed image of Brahma (the Creator of the Universe) and the superbly decorated Lakshmana Temple.
The eastern group depicts the marvelous Adinath Temple whose lavishly embellished sculptures mesmerizes you the moment you set eyes on them and the Parsvanath Temple which is the largest Jain temple here.

The temples of Khajuraho originally consisted of eighty five temples of which only twenty two exist today. They are stunning examples of art and architecture of that period. Each temple is different from the other.

As I watched the beautifully chiseled faces of those human beings etched in time, a sense of calm began to seep in. Somehow one feels like withdrawing into complete silence and close the eyes to all that is momentary.

*( Image and material researched from  Google images/ search results. Full credit to the photographer. )*

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Triveni : the three line poems or Triplets


I am an admirer of Gulzar Saheb. He is my muse too. Triveni is unique poetry style developed by him. The trivenis are written with three misra’s (three lines of poetry) where first two lines forms a complete sher and the introduction of third misra(line) gives the sher a new dimension or meaning

Triveni examples of Gulzar

1

maa ne duaaye di thi…
ek chand si dulhan ki….

aaj footpath par laete hue… yeh chand mujhe roti nazar aata hai!

2

kantewali taar par kisne geele kapde tange hain

khoon tapkta hai qur naali me beh jata hai

kyun is fauji ke bewa har roz ye vardi dhoti hai

3.

aaise bikhre hain jaise raat din

motiyon wala haar toot gaya


tumne mujhe piro kar rakha tha

Here is my attempt of writing Triveni. I just call them three line poems, they do not follow the uniqueness of Gulzar Saheb’s work but still it is a first attempt towards a new verse form. These triplets do not have the same pattern as the Triveni of Gulzar.

1

Paani ki ek mauj
aayi aur chupke se baha le gayi
pyar ka ret gharaunda

2
beti ki kilkari
nadi ki satah par kuch bulbule
aur phir sab shant
3

Shaam ke surmayi adhere me
phighal raha hai dheere dheere
uska gum e tanhayi
4.

sharabor hain bageeche ki deeware
barish se ug aati hai kayi unpar
yaden hari ho gayi hain

5.
Kabhi yunhi jek jagah tham jata hai samay
jad pakad leta hai
darakhton ki tarah

6.
Thak kar ghar jate huye maan me ek sawal
kisko khilaun, kisko bhookha marun
aaj ki raat
7.

door vadi me khile hai
gul bahar ke phoor
jaise jal uththe hon lakho diye ek hi sath

8.
Syah raat
ghati se bansuri ki aawaz aur ek jalta diya
shayad koi premi hai
9.

ek ujda purana makan
gilehri, parinde, kutte
naye bashinde
10.

sookhe darakht
phir se dikha
wahi neela samandar

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Poem : Under the Bruised Sky


For the last time

just before we parted

wrapped in silence

I sit across the table

dewy eyes, head bowed

mourning the love

he had slowly killed

averting his gaze

there at our favorite joint

I eat my dreams,

promises, hopes and desires

Words turn stranger

as a surge of memories

the bitter  hot coffee

scalds my tongue

I struggle to cope

with the ending

so ruthlessly imposed on me

Everything was beautiful untill

the darkness of familiarity and ego

began to cast their shadows

Each time I looked at him

I saw myself

through him I began to understand life

He gave meaning to my identity

I was more of me when with him

than with myself

I found and lost myself in him

and never found again

and then

I lost him

Now

sitting under the cold, wet, bruised sky

I wonder

did I lose because he was he

or because

I was I ?

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The Tragic Tale of Elderly In Our Society


My mother turned 79 on 31st March. The family gathered for simple dinner and for sometime she forgot her dizzy spells, her weak heart and all that the old age brings with it. After my father’s death 5 years back my brother decided to brings ma back to Delhi and since then they stay together ( He does not like to say she stays with him).

There is a person to take care of her and she is free to live her life as she desires. Ma travels, attends events, goes for movies, exhibitions and does all that her health permits. Even after all this sometimes she looses it and the feeling of dependency and loneliness creeps in, making us feel helpless.

She is well-connected to us through phone and we do visit her often. She is internet savvy so connects with old friends too. My brother, in spite of heavy work schedule in TOI, does his best to see her comfortable, healthy and most of all happy but how many old people living in the cities with their children get this?

I have already done a post on Being a daughter, old age and empty nest

Someone told me yesterday,  ” hey you have a long life, you will live a hundred years. I was just thinking about you.”

I wondered ” how many would like to live a hundred year in a society where old people are made to feel redundant ??”

A recent story which my therapist narrated made me write this post.

Mr. Jaganath ( name changed) is a professor (retd) from University of Delhi . He is 97 years old. His wife is 88 years old and both of them are in frail health with old age complications . The couple stays in a posh flat in an upmarket colony and has five children. Four boys, three of them are in U.S.A. teaching in major universities and the fourth son in Delhi itself working on a high position in some company. The old couple stays with their widowed daughter(58 years) and grand-daughter. None of the sons were willing to keep the aging parents and rarely visit them.

The daughter who herself has sever health problems grudgingly looks after them and leaves no opportunity to humiliate and scold them. The only reason she is bearing with them , as per her, is the property in her father’s name. Every day is a struggle to survive for them. My therapist goes daily to help them and the stories she narrates are horrifying. Many a times she intervenes but is told to stay away from family matters.

Things turned worse a month back when the mother fell sick. Since then the old parents are not fed properly, mother complains of being beaten up at night for disturbing sleep. They have lost weight. Hardly any nutrition goes into their frail bodies and the diseases which were brought under control have started to take their grip on them once again.They stay in their room all the time and are never ever taken out to any functions or even to any park etc so they too can breath in fresh air.

On being questioned the daughter says, ” its time for them to leave the earth. isn’t it?”. ” I am stressed too, am unwell myself, it’s too much “, she complained. I am doing all I can, a maid is there for them 24 hours, I am paying for doctors and everything, giving them khan peena but  they are not satisfied” ,  she retorted in anger.

Caregiver Stress was breaking her she said. Amazingly she wants her father to sign the papers for the flat and put it in her name. All the money, jewellery as already been given to her. She managed to get things done her way by forcing them.

” I am feeding them so it is my right. ” she defends.” I am growing old too. don’t have more strength than this to look after them”.

” Is it not her duty to look after them  or if she can’t at least find a decent care home for them ? ”

“What care home? What will people say? They have little life to live why waste money ? was her reply.

The parents stared blankly at her and then looked at the therapist with eyes that told the story of their pain in bold letters.

The son when contacted refused to take charge due to the pressure from his wife who had earlier thrown the father in law out because he wetted his pajama accidently on way to the loo in the night. He was called a dog who pisses anywhere,

The vacant  hurt on their weathered faces, the fear of unknown in their eyes and the tears that well up all the time tell a sad and tragic tale of neglect .

The daughter was advised to put them in some care home but the social image is the most important thing for her. No one knows what goes on behind the four walls but sending them away in this condition will open many debates, also the property and , money etc will not be passed on to her.

The old couple quietly waits for death to knock on their doors to get rid of every day humiliation, pain, sickness and trauma.

I always wonder what exactly can be done in this situation. Even thought of the role of welfare associations of the colonies which can mark the houses where elderly people stay and check their state of well-being but then the other members make sure that they keep their mouth shut and speak only good of the family otherwise face the consequences.

These old people who once lived a life of content and raised their children, educated them and gave them wings now sit huddled in dark , smelly rooms, deprived of even a decent meal and basic health care.

I told my therapist to take some action against the daughter or do something to help the poor parents and she did try but failed. Even a police report would worsen the matters in their case she said with  such pain in her voice. It troubled me. We are still thinking how to change the situation. The woman is well to do so the monitory condition is not the reason.

In a country where familial ties are held in high regards more and more cases of extremely closeted and complex phenomenon of Elder Abuse are coming into notice.

In a country where we preserve our heritage properties, cherish the old relics and heirlooms, the living heritage is being so severely neglected and abused. Economic insecurity, loss of physical ability to work and care for one’s self, falling  health, physical and psychological isolation , often the social and religious taboos play havoc on these elderly people. Sometimes there is a fear of losing the spouse and low self-esteem also makes them vulnerable.

Sensitization of the younger generation in this regard is of utmost importance and it works too but what about educated people like the one above who knowingly neglect and push their ailing parents towards death?

Many a times these elderly people also suffer from self neglect due to many reasons like malnutrition, dementia, depression, over medication and illnesses but those who do not fall in this category are often pushed towards it by the care givers.

The question is why?

Why taking care of the parents who can’t look after themselves, who once took care of you,  become this generation’s latest major agonizing life crises ?

Are we under the  duel pressure of being” sandwich generation” raising young children and caring for old parents?

Two decades ago, caring for the elderly was hardly an issue. The joint family was a harmonious secure haven for both the young and the old so the question arises

Was the system of joint family better than this new age nuclear family system?

Or have we just become more stressed and less tolerant?

Many NGO’s working for the elderly like the Help Age India claim that the reports of abuses and neglect have gone up in recent times. Most of them say that children turn abusive once the family property has been signed over. Then the ” use” of aging parents is over and hence the anger, abuse and neglect.

They have to wait endlessly for the meals, medication and such basic needs. A complaint creates disharmony and that is one reason many old people prefer to stay quite.

There is a parent maintenance act but how many are aware of it or avail its benefits. The fact that we should need a maintenance act for our own parents is such a shame but it does help those who are neglected and abused.

While the youth enjoys the benefits of the economic boom the elder generation is completely out of picture.

Sometimes I feel that Ichcha mrityu or

euthanasia should be allowed.

At least it will end the trauma of ” To be or not to ” in the elder generation.


There are estimated 90 million old people in India.


Their grief remains unresolved and life… it goes on .

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