Saturday, 23 February 2013

Embracing the Past – Part I

Déjà vu sensations apart, she became a bit euphoric when she got down from the bus and stepped into her home town… a town where she was born, bred and lettered… a town that had witnessed her childhood idiosyncrasies and intellectual feats.’ Gosh, I’m back in my place… my home town after ages. It’s going to be a great rendezvous with my past,’ she thought, slipping into whirlpool of emotions.
 The evening sea-breeze had set in already and she inhaled a whiff of it with a flourish. The salty -breeze had its aroma in tact – the scent of the home town. She giggled - her eyes reflected an overwhelming joy of having at last come to her hearth to embrace her long-last past.

 The new grandiose bus-station - until now it was only a silhouette shot due to drizzling - was the first object that came to her view soon after she landed her native town. It seemed quite a new structure, disclosed the marvels of modern engineering. However, she sulked to see the new bus-station looked odd, awesome and alien. She thought of the old one, which though was crammed and indolent, gave her a sort of belongingness. Its quietude, its not being so ostentatious was so remarkable that it had left undeletable marks in her memory.

 She looked out for the vast playground that had nestled by the side of the old bus-station. It was one of the cherished landmarks of the town - her all time favorite hang-out too. If you could rewind the ‘Time’ a bit, you could see her aggressively playing Badminton with her friends; you could also notice the ebb and flow of emotions on her face when she was playing a losing game with balls going past her racket. The playground was no where to be seen. Instead, there sprang up a sturdy mall in its place wiping out a familiar ambience… cutting the chords of her connectivity to her roots.

 She got miffed, started walking toward ‘Hotel Minerva ’- a three star hotel where she had earlier booked a suit for her. Exhausted by the arduous bus journey she had had all through the day, she plopped into the bed staring at the ceiling full of cob-webs and peelings of paint. She woke up in the mid-night with a bang when the sea-breeze with a new momentum rattled the unfastened window doors. She didn’t close the windows - she had no mind to do so, for the sea-breeze was familiar to her- her old acquaintance. The breeze sneaked through the window blinds, soothed her frayed body. It had its old rhythm in tact, stroked her hair like her mother. ‘Welcome back home, my child’, she heard the breeze whispering into her ears, but she knew it was only hallucination of an excited mind.

 It was late in the morning when she started her expedition up the town - she grinned as the very thought of it gave her exhilaration and a sort of euphoria. She chose the main-thoroughfare, walked thorough the pedestrian pavement stinking with uncleared garbage. The road was clean, but was getting strangulated by traffic snarls. High-rise buildings accosted the road on either side. They looked fresh, painted with potpourri of colors. Though they defined new sky-lines with grand ground plans, they were a far cry from the old settings. The buildings were strange, simply the outbursts of speculative minds, but lacked the soul… the homeliness.

 She sighed, astonished when she saw the whole town looked quaint, not even a blur of the old one. It had razed down the past, stood on its grave wearing a halo of modernity. The roads were freshly laid, but still groaned under heavy traffic, making the old tranquility a victim. The old tar-topped roads flanked by avenue trees came to her mind.

 There was not much of traffic then. On her way back home from school, she and her friends would vie with one another in picking up the tiny, olive-shaped neem fruits that had fallen down from the trees and littered on the road. Troupes of Mynas, Koels, Squirrels and Crows were seen perching on tree tops and their chirping were music to her ears.’ Where had gone the trees? ‘Who had shooed away the birds’. She wilted seeing the bare road without a single tree. The roads were as flat as the modern human minds. ‘Is this the road where I rode my bi-cycle once?’ She asked herself, paused and moved further on her way.

 ‘The new avatar of the town is perceptible everywhere even in the lanes and alleys’,she thought and looked out for some prominent landmark spots and buildings she once knew and grew up with: the square well [ its water was always potable] at the corner of the East Car street, the small, but prominent ‘Anand Vinayaka temple’, an old antique choultry where the tourists took refuge, her favorite cloth store, a road-side restaurant where her dad and she would take their evening coffee, the manually operated railway gate at end of the South street and above all the Balakrishna theatre[ a small structure roofed with asbestos sheets] where she had watched all most all the Sridevi films.

 Among the precious landmarks, AVT [Anand Vinayaka Temple] was on the top of her itinerary. The temple was in every inch part of her childhood. Those days she would frequent the temple both mornings and evenings and help up-keeping it. Come, Vinayaka Chaturti, she along with her friends would sweep clean the temple, mop its floors with cow dung and draw beautiful Kolams [beautiful diagrams created by using colored rice flour] on the prahars of the temple. She was so devoted to the Amanda Vinayaka that, even after her migrating to Chennai, she would have the elephant god coming to her dreams and calling out to her to visit His temple.

[To be continued]
Image Courtesy: Google

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Spell of L-O-V-E

 Ravi was a breezy and flighty young guy, cherished being called an alpha-man. Displaying pleasing appearance and a sort of machismo, he got many girls ‘killed’. He was smart, had always thought life a rainbow that would stay put in his horizon forever. A go-ahead young bloke, his domain of friends was well spread through the college. He had a knack of organizing college functions with aplomb and that indeed made him the cynosure of all girls’ eyes.

 Meena too was vivacious and flippant. She became crazy about Ravi’s appearance and popularity. She had her heart pounding and adrenaline rushing whenever she looked into his eyes. They got married though her orthodox family opposed it and cursed the lovers.

 They had now two new stars in their horizon… two school going children. Life was a bed of roses for Meena until when Ravi disclosed her that he was in love with one of his office colleagues and wanted to marry her. And there arose fracas between them… sudden storms without warning. For, Ravi had fallen down from Meena’s esteem- a macho man now becoming a Machiavellian- constantly demanding her assent for his second marriage.

 “You braggart, did you ever love me,” she asked him helplessly with tear-filled eyes.

 Rita, a college girl, with streaks of feminism, was called a retro-cutie since she had a strange flair for watching Rajini Kanth’s flicks released during 1980s. She was one of his die-hard fans, allowing her to be swept away by the actor’s film antics like, throwing knife from one hand to another, back and forth, lighting cigarettes in style and spewing out some punch dialogues. She liked his performance in antagonistic roles. Though Rajini was a hopeless, incorrigible villain in those movies, a heroine, like a flash in the pan, would enter his life and reform him a good, pious soul.

 Krish, though looked like a la Rajini, was really a scamp. However, Rita fell for him and married him. She brushed aside all better councils against her marrying Krish. She said: ‘I’m confident of reforming Krish like the heroines in Rajini films did.’ Woefully, that did not happen. Krish was beyond repair. His boozing and flirting with women went to new highs leaving Rita a helpless spectator. What she got from her married-life was beatings and scolding. When reality of life bit her, she had to bear the sting silently, melting her woes through tears.

 I know narrating these stories may strike a discordant note or blur the color of love. But then, what makes me to bring such soup stories to light is to show how the word ‘love’ is mostly misunderstood and how people stretch it to suit to their feelings. Our perception about love is only knee-deep as we believe that love is exclusively based on how we feel. Love in fact is still an elephant to us and we, the rational- blind, touch its single part and boast it represent the elephant. A guy or girl who is bereft of emotional rush of feelings never buy love impulsively.

 Love is not a feeling; it is not floating on clouds like the one in movies, televisions and songs. People in love don’t feel ooey gooey about their love. However, it is quite natural for youngsters to prefer romance to wisdom since they are susceptible to attraction to the opposite gender. They could very well avoid chaos visiting their married life if they realize that attraction is only transient and wanes as time moves on.

 A girl may like a boy because he is sporting a hairstyle like her favorite star or speaks or acts like Rajini, but then such a liking is only an instant thing. Love born out of attractions-physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual- may be anything but love. Pitifully, guys/girls saunter into the realm of marriage believing their attractions to each other as love. But, sooner than later, they find their attractions or likings dissipate and their love gets burned by the hard realities of life… realities sans emotions.

 To get into the spectrum of love and lead a happy married life, it becomes incumbent upon the young to know the intricacies of love and liking. Our attractions are too entangled in our feelings to see the truth.

 What then is love? Love is friendship without influence or dominance. It is not built with layers of attractions or feelings. In true love you have no fetters, can behave as you like. It is your heart where truth only prevails.

 If this being true love, how can one identify it… how can one have ‘dharshan’ of it as the world become more and more pretentious- full of people wearing masks. Since fake, make-believe attitudes and artificial Good Samaritan deportment will not last long, they can be identified if you are a bit patient not allowing your emotions overtakes you.

 My waxing eloquent about what is not love should not be misconstrued that I’m against love, making Cupid my arch enemy. I respect love, honor love since I believe love is the language of the soul.

Images courtesy: Google

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Winter Rains?

 Margazhi [winter], is the most beautiful month in the Tamizh calendar! Lord Krishna says that he is the month of Margazhi from which one can imagine the beauty and sanctity of this month.

Here comes Margazhi, a Ms. Cool. Under her wet spell, the wind becomes frosty and the earth gets laced up with mists. The tinkling sounds of a temple bell lacerate through the silence of morning, rummage though the sky and wake up the Sun to hitchhike early to the earth to dispel the lingering darkness.

The courtyard of my house is mopped with cow dung and there blooms a variety of ‘Kolams’ [ground patterns made of rice flavor]. A figurine of Lord Ganesha, artistically made out from a clump of clay, is sitting like a king at the center of a peacock Kolam, sporting a shoe flower on His head. Wrapping up mufflers over their heads, a band of oldies [one of them has a Harmonium hung around his head by a strap] is passing through the dark streets, singing ‘Bhajans’. Sure, Margazhi, an auspicious month, is full of religious fervor and special poojas at temples.

 Suddenly, it starts raining… raining like elephants and lions as if the legendary Arjun strikes the earth with his ‘Varna panams’ [rain of arrows]. My grandma speaks in non-sequiturs. “Why, rain in Margazhi! Like people, Nature too goes awry. Kalikalam [kaliyuga]”. Grinning at granny nonchalantly, I look out of the window. The park across the street is in puddles. Meadows over there greet the rain with a flourish and drape themselves in sheets of water. Mango leaves, dancing in the rain, try to hold the rain water in their bosoms.

 The big, sturdy Tamarind tree at the entrance to the park looks  brighter than ever as the tree has now taken its long missed bathing.’ Do you want a cake of soap, dear Tamarind?’ I whisper. Crows come in troops. Using the Tamarind as a transit camp, they dry their soggy wings by brushing them against the rough surfaces of the tree’s branch. They, then, fly through the rain and descend on the front yard of my house in search of feeds. Rain water wash away all the magnificent Kolams, but not the clay-made Ganesha whose shoe flower, like an umbrella, still protects Him from the rains.

 It’s only drizzling now. Streets get deserted as people making them shut   in their homes and curl up in the beds. An indolent lot! The ‘Bhajan Band’, winding up their ‘operation-gods-awaking’, now takes refuge in the awning of a window. “It’s bad… this rain devil. It brings to naught all our activities,” snarls a group of laborers while striding towards their homes. I’m puzzled. ‘Why rain becomes such an anathema to people? When birds and other creatures greet rain and choke themselves in the water falling down from above, why the human beings frown even at a small drop of rain? Why we have such an ombrophobia not knowing the fact that one dies temporally if one has no heart for Nature’? I moan mawkishly.

 “Never mind the rain, buddies. Come out of your shelters. It starts raining again. Let us go, drench ourselves in the downpour and get rid of all our impurities, both physical and mental. Sure, the rain-goddess will give you a new vigor and happiness if you allow her to choke you with water. Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.” I shout at the empty streets and slammed doors. However, no one hears me out except the crows that still move around my house enjoying the down pour.

Images Courtesy: Google