Wednesday, August 31, 2005

When life pays back times two

as I drive along, my eyes glance upon the tachometer of the car
my mind comprehends the vague figure as 83020 (kms)
I’ve driven down a long way in my life

a decade filled with more painful experiences than peace
occasional flashes of joy, random minutes of happiness

but the present, presents itself so bleak, so uncertain
things just don’t work the right way in life, they go awry

a friend whom you cherish so closely ignores you completely
a jolt so hard that it pains more than the prick of a thorn

there are times when you think maybe somewhere in the past
you may have ignored a friend in life unknowingly, it hurts more
maybe its not just worth it to push too much affection
or too much attachment even in friendship

as myriad thoughts of nostalgia flash through the mind
I recollect those lines another friend of mine used to quote -

“whatever you do in life, comes back to you times two”
“always remember that”

And when that happens, it hurts twice as much

Monday, August 29, 2005

Left to my own devices

as I see around, I am enveloped by darkness
darkness has its own demerits,
people fear it because it holds the unknown
people avoid darkness, as it may lead them to the sadness
or rather the sadness that someone may pass on to them

once in your life - surrounded by people who rush to talk to you
the present moment, the yearning for a call persists
you gaze at your phone with anxious looks, pick it up
and realize it was all but just an imaginary tone in your mind
the bane of urban loneliness as people may candidly call it

then comes the time
when tears freeze and fears rise
the eyes say it all and the heart cries
words pour out but arent heard no doubt

the mind plays strange games and thoughts play havoc
anxiety shrouds itself into the nerves and results in numbness

further contradictions and the body resists movement
the mind refrains from speech
silence remains . . . .

Is there an end to the mounting agony ?
I'm but .... Left to my own devices ....

Srimad Bhagavatam

Sri Vedavyasa, the very incarnation of Sri Vishnu for awarding sacred knowledge and freedom from fear, is the author of eighteen Puranas (lit. narratives of ancient times) running into four hundred thousand shlokas or verses. The names and extent of each of the eighteen Puranas is given in detail in Chapter 31 of the twelfth canto of Srimad Bhagavatham, which is one among the eighteen, having 18000 shlokas. While Srimad Bhagavatham is not the lengthiest of the Puranas (Skanda Purana with 81100 being the longest), it is certainly the crown jewel among them. It has been said that the other Puranas spread their luster in an assemblage of the righteous only so long as the Glorious Bhagavatha is not directly visible. It is considered to be the cream and essence of the Upanishads and a person sated with its nectarine flavour will not find delight anywhere else. The Bhagavatha is the delight of the devotees of Sri Vishnu - is free from faults and impurities and has the sole aim of Kaivalya or liberation which is the goal of Parmahamsas. A mere reading gives so much peace to the mind and the soul. The power is astonishing.

There are blessed men, like the Late Anantharama Dikshitar, who had immense memory and literary prowess, He could recite any verse from any of the epics, like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavatam, Narayaneeyam, and the like, with uncomparable ease.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pinneyum (Time and again)

pinneyum pinneyum aaro kinaavindey padi kadannu ethunna padhaniswanam
pinneyum pinneyum aaro kinaavindey padi kadannu ethunna padhaniswanam

pinneyum pinneyum aaro nilaavathu pon venu oodhunna mridhu mandhranam
pinneyum pinneyum aaro kinaavindey padi kadannu ethunna padhaniswanam

padi kadannu ethunna padhaniswanam
pinneyum pinneyum aaro, aaro, aaro ....

Time and again, i hear footsteps of someone crossing the doors of my dreams
Time and again, i hear footsteps of someone crossing the doors of my dreams

Time and again, i hear gentle notes of someone playing a flute under the moonlight
Time and again, i hear footsteps of someone crossing the doors of my dreams

....the footsteps of someone crossing the doors of my dreams
Time and again, someone, someone, someone ....

Sakhiye !

sakhiye nee dhaan thunaye
vizhi mel amarndha imayeh
inam teriyaamal inaindhom kiliye
sakhiye nee dhaan thunaye

boomiyai ketaaal vaanmugil thoovum
pookalai ketaaal vandugal paadum

veedhiyai ketaal thendralum veesum
saadhiyai ketaal kaadhalum thonrum

kaadhalin raajiyathil visithira vazahakam
kangalai vaangi kondu idhayathai kodukkum

oru vizhi paarvai uyir-ayum edukkum
maru vizhi paarvai uyir-ayum kodukkum

iru viral theen-di-naal
saadhigal thadu-kkum

idhanyangal thendinaal
edhu nammai pirikkum

sakhiye nee dhaan thunaye
vizhi mel amarndha imayeh
inam teriyaamal inaindhom kiliye
sakhiye nee dhaan thunaye

Oru Naal Oru Pozhudhu

oru naal oru pozhudhu, unn moonji kaandraama
usuru allaa-du-dhey
maru naal varum varaikkum, pasee thookam kollaama
manasu, mallaa-du-dhey

kaaveri-nadhiyum rendaaga koodum
ull-idam vandhu onnaaga chaerum
kaala-thin kanakka yaar kaanathoodum

neenda mudi konjam niram maari pochu
sangu kuzhi odu koral maari pochu
odi vayasu aachu, uru maari pochu
nenapaga mattum thaaney
maarama irukku

enna sutthi oru kootam sirikindra podhum
onna patthi enn udhadu oyaama paesum
kaatru mazhai edhanaalum
karayaadhu paasam
kattai idhum vegaadhu
kai thotta vaasam

oru naal oru pozhudhu, unn moonji kaandraama
usuru allaa-du-dhey
maru naal varum varaikkum, pasee thookam kollaama
manasu, mallaa-du-dhey

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Losing sleep over....

What is it like to lose a lot of sleep ? Well, if you ask me these days, I can surely tell you a word or two. Why ? Well, what do you do when your mind is so preoccupied that you are just not able to put it to sleep easily. Its not hyperactivity, but this spaced out feeling. This sinking feeling that whatever you end up doing, however positive you are, things just dont go your way. The sheer state of helplessness.

How do you feel, when someone you cherish a lot, a friend whose shoulders you want to fall on, isnt showing up on your cellphone screen ? Blame I shall not, for if my time is bad, then whats the use of blaming my dear friend. Sometimes, good luck brings you, great surprises you least expect. But, the sheer bad luck brings not even a speck of shine to your face. And you touch a point in Life, when things just suddenly go blank - as blank as a TV screen with white dots scattered all over.

Tere mere saath jo hota hai
Sab ke saat woh hota nahin
Jab saara jag hi sotha hai
Phir neend hamein kyun aatheen nahin ?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Waiting for a miracle

Why is it that there are some things in Life which we can never control inspite of all our efforts ? why is it that there are some things which seem so near to us and are yet so far ? Is this a feeling of sadness thats engulfing me ?

No, its not the sadness, its beyond just that. Or is it the desperation ? Negative. Then what is it that shrouds so much within you, eating you in and out, and not giving the inner peace that you very much crave for. When mounted with obstacles in Life, there is no hope but to wish for a miracle, a miracle that may be waiting to happen, a miracle that may not happen, but the thought of a miracle that still instills a small ray of hope in my inner-sub-conscious. Time heals, they say, but what if it does not ? Then what do we turn to ?

"Dont worry" "things will work" "have hope" .... all these phrases seem so obscure.

tanhaai mein basee hai zindagi

tanhaai mein basee hai zindagi
kuch bhi nahi
kuch bhi nahi

sach hai yehi
sach hai yehi

aise, kahaan se yoon chalke aa gayee
mehki hawa, teri sadaa, sun toh zara,

sunn toh zaraa....

chalo hoon main toh teri chaah mein
milenge jaane kis raah mein

kahaa hai mere dil ne bhi yahi

iraada hai ki tumko paaoon main
jo kehna chaahoon kehte jaaon main

tum hee toh umeed ho meri
tum hee se judi meri harr khushi

kho gayen hai khayaalon mein kahi
tum bhi yahi
main bhi yahi

jaana kahaan
khabar nahi

kisi ne toh pukaara hai mujhe
kahin se toh ishaara hai mujhe

hei dil mere, chal, chalein wahi
aaj se nayee hai zindagi

chala hoon main toh teri chaah mein
milenge jaane kis raah mein

kahaa hai mere dil ne bhi yahi

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Zindagi mein koi

Zindagi mein koi kabhi aaye na rabba
Aaye jo koi, toh phir jaaye na rabba
Dene ho agar mujhe baad mein aasoon
Toh pehle koi hasaaye na rabba
Zindagi mein koi kabhi aaye na rabba

Let someone not enter my life
The one who comes, let (her) not leave
If (she) has to give me tears later
Let (her) not make me laugh before that
Let someone not enter my life

Signs of an End

Signs of an End

As in everyone's life - there have been several instances in my life where I have had to face situations where relatives/grandparents have passed away. But during most of the scenarios, I've faced it only indirectly. For the first time in my life, on the 12th of Aug'05 - I saw death coming. PRN Iyer, a paternal grand-uncle, was suffering since two months. He was ailing. The pain in all his joints and legs made him immobile and bed-ridden. There was an attender by name Raja who took care of him. When we are free to walk and run, we hardly realize the freedom, agility and mobility that the marvelous human body holds. In the case when a person is totally restricted to bed, hardly able to move due to pain, and immobile - that is real agony. It is only then that we realise that the words agony and pain are so harsh on us. PRN had undergone 4 major surgeries in his lifetime, the most major being a hip and joint replacement one.

Most of the family folks shuddered speaking to PRN even when it came to casual talk as he was very blunt, loud and sometimes crude in his comments. Life in the soil of Kerala where feudal landlords are plenty, had made him one too. "I know it all, you dont!" was his tagline. And right from maidservants to relatives, no one was spared of shouts and scoldings. However, he did have a faithful servant who listened to all his taunts and abuses, the ever-quiet, the ever-tolerant - Narayanan, who served him well. He didnt believe much in God but cursed the Gods when he had problems.

But suddenly at age 88, there were changes, but his inner harsh qualities remained. He started suffering with ailments. It was just the age and immobility and not disease or sickness, inablity to move due to pain and his life was restricted to a cot in a room. But however harsh a person is, when we start seeing the suffering, we are deeply moved. PRN was disgusted with his life due to the pain and suffering. Once when Raja asked him in his rural dialect "Ayah, enna venum ayyah, sollunga ayyah" (sir, what do you want sir, tell me) PRN softly and rather in a gentle tone told him, "enakku....enakku....konjum vesham venam" (i...i...need a little poison) - and suddenly Raja's eyes were moist. Even though he had heard abuses from the man he was serving for a few months, he was shocked when he heard those words from PRN. There were bouts of shouts from PRN due to pain whenever he moved or wanted Raja to move his legs, and due to an infection in his ankle, the Doc came everyday to dress the wound and monitor his condition. As days passed, and pain mounted, with sleepless nights, PRN became more restless as ever. His memory deteriorated and there were times he spoke irrelevant things out of context, murmured words with no intent, and so on.

However, one day, a strange thing occured, right from the morning, he was too quiet. His eyes mostly closed, and he opened his eyes only for brief moments. Was this a sign ? No, maybe not, maybe he was just tired, maybe he was tired of shouting too, and well maybe not, maybe it was a sign ? Two days passed and PRN remained a quite self, really different from his usual mood. The quietness was a sign of relief from shouts of pain and agony and was as disturbing too at the same time. His usual diet which comprised mostly liquids was decreasing and Glucose-D was recommended.

PRN had cold and cough and was having a difficult time breathing. Raja retired for the night after feeding PRN some Glucose-D and water. As folks at home finished dinner, we started hearing strange murmurs and sounds. Was PRN talking in his sleep or was it the pain or the pain-killer medicine at work ? This was a sound which I had never heard. We tried to decipher what he was murmuring, but could hardly understand the sounds. Two words which clearly stood apart in his murmur was "Narayana....Narayana". Though he was away from his native village in Kerala for nearly half a year, his inner sub-conscious still had his old servant's name which he had retrieved from this thoughts.

Whats in a name ?

A month before, when someone told PRN, "Please start praying to God, you will get well soon" PRN had replied in a furious tone "Get lost, I will never chant Gods name". There's this tale in the epic "Srimad Bhagavatham" which narrates the tale of a king who never worshipped the almighty. He had 11 sons and as his days neared the end, he was still ailing and of all the sons, he started calling his youngest son, who's name was 'Narayana'. After calling out his name a few times and seeing him, he breathed his last.

In ancient days, most people in India named their children after a name of God - Ram, Krishna, Shiva, Devi and so on and so forth....were all common names and there was a hidden reason to this which most of us may not know. As you can relate to the above tale, it was due to the fact that the parents in their old age can call their names as like they call God, and even to ensure that God's name was repeatedly uttered when they were calling their loved ones. Of course, some also beleived that divine vibrations existed in the sounds of these names.

There is yet another explanation to uttering the names of Gods. Even if something bad is spoken of a person with God's name the speaker still derives blessings and not sins. However bad a person may be in his deeds or qualities, when he calls out the name of almighty, he is forgiven. This was true in PRN's case. He had called out his old servant, but unknowingly, he had uttered the name.

There's a rhyme and reason....

After sounds of "Narayana" - what we heard from PRN was even more strange, the murmur increased. His breathing was hard due to the accumulated flem owing to cold and cough. He was given a cough mixture which however made him more uncomfortable. I thought ...."once he falls asleep, he would feel better when he wakes up next day". But reality proved otherwise and though he had not fallen asleep, his eyes were closed.

As I paced the living room and gazed at the clock, it was past 11.30 pm, Folks at home started retiring to bed. A glance at the calendar showed me the dates 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 ...and so on in the page of august and revealed that the date that day was 12th. Indian Regional calendars (say tamil or malayalam) reveal astrological details such as star, rasi, etc. and on the next day the 13th of Aug, the star (moonsign) was Vishakam. It was the birthstar of PRN. All these stars occur once in every month as per the lunar cycle. As per astrology, when a person passes through a very bad phase at old age, sometimes the person's life ends before his star occurs in the next nearing month. This is one possiblity, the other being that otherwise, if the person lives till that star occurs the next month, then his situation worsens further in life. Either way it is bad.

Seeing PRN breathing so hard, I rummaged through the wardrobe and got a stethescope. As I kept it in his chest, what I heard baffled me. The sounds outside were that of hard breathing whereas there was distortion inside his chest that I heard through the stethescope. PRN heart's beat was not to be heard due to the rough breathing sounds inside his chest. As I moved the stethescope to the right side of his chest. I heard a sound which I had never before heard in my life. A humming sound which went (hmmmmmmm....) and was rather an ailing eerie sound. I could realise that this was not the sound of Life, then it had to be the sound of .....yes, the end was nearing ....or Was it ? I still had hope.

After a few minutes, PRN suffered from acute nausea and expunged the liquids he had consumed earlier. There was a still silence in the room. All of us stood still. I gathered courage to touch his hands and feet and thought that there was still life in him. I moved my hands slowly towards his nose and mouth. There was not a whiff of breath. He had passed away. I looked at the clock, it was 12 midnight. The next day was his birthstar. He had not crossed it.

"Sometimes the pain is so agonizing that the patient feels he will attain peace only through death....I'm telling this out of my own experience, I've met with an accident earlier and have almost gone to that stage of pain and death, and I've come back to Life" - said the Doctor who was treating him for a month. As he walked away, the Doc added, "In a way, I feel he is lucky, he did not have to suffer more".

"May his soul rest in peace"

Monday, August 15, 2005

Where do I begin ?

"Dear Ganesha .... Lead well ....this army of words"

Where do I begin..... As I start typing, my mind oscillates for words .... thoughts from "The Ramayana" that I had read three mornings before, comes to my mind.... There are subtle finer points in this epic that make us think of certain basic principles of Life.

Philosophy apart, I had heard that reading the Ramayana during the malayalam month of Karkadakam [Aani/Aadi in tamil - July / Aug) brings a lot of good, be it to one's thoughts or deeds. Now what stops you from doing this ? - "oh come on ....I know the story of the Ramayana...." - however when I started reading the Valmiki version of bound text, I realized that there is more to it than meets the eye. This is the same we presume of Life sometimes - "Yeah I know....I know.... " - we tell ourselves - whereas sometimes we really do not know or understand certain situations or circumstances in Life, but tend not to show it out that way for various reasons whatsoever.

Subtle nuances....

Why does Rama kill Vaali hiding from the back instead of engaging in battle one-to-one ? Vaali has a boon granted from the Gods that anyone who fights Vaali instantly loses half of his strength. Therefore, no one can win him in a one-to-one fight. This explains why Rama shoots Vaali from the back.

Though Dasaratha loves all his three wives (Sumitra, Kausalya, Kaikeyi) equally - he gives into granting boons to Kaikeyi when he is in bed with her due to his sheer lust for her and ends up repenting later in life. Kaikeyi begets these boons when she saves Dasaratha's life in a battle long ago and Dasaratha promises her two boons. Capturing him in her web of lust, Kaikeyi asks him for one wish and two boons and threatens to commit suicide when Dasaratha disagrees with her boons initially. Eventually Dasaratha gives in to her.

"Its better to prevent and prepare than repent and repair"

In the Ramayana - Vishnu is born as Rama and Adisesha (vishnu's serpent) is born as Lakshmana - whereas in the Mahabharata - Vishnu is born as Krishna and Adisesha is Balarama, Krishna's elder brother. The contrast therefore being that Lakshmana serves Rama whereas Krishna serves Balarama. The balance is maintained.

On his return from Lanka - when Hanuman is asked about his mission to Lanka - neither the pride in Hanuman nor the ego surfaces - He utters only two words "Kanden Seethaiyai" which conveys a lot of meaning to Rama. He does not mention to the vanaraas about the personal dialogues between him, Sita and Rama. This says a lot about the discipline, respect and privacy that he maintains in his heart for Rama.

.... and in mythology .....there are such countless small nuances which convey big meanings.