Monthly Archives: December 2011

Speak up: Our Inabilities II

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Speak up: Our Inabilities II

The plant on the side of the street

is dying, but it can’t cry.

A sheet of dust covers the green.


A woman slams the door

and buries herself in a coffin,

that her husband calls a bed.


An innocent prisoner reads

his story in the newspaper,

and confesses to the crime.


The rooftop leaks

in the old man’s house

stealing his sleep, sinking his mind.


A lover weeps

Near his wife’s body

but she can’t hear him anymore.


She asked him yesterday

how many sugars he wants with his tea,

“Two,” he wanted to say.

But, she doesn’t hear him anymore.


A mute weeps – he wants a voice

You & I snivel

for our inability to speak

has become our handicap.

Water

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Water

It rained the night that I was born. It poured, it thundered, the sky was merciless and the streets were flowing rivers.

I was born premature, like the early monsoon. There were no incubators in the nursing home, and there was no way to keep me alive without one. No car could be driven on the streets. Some people made rafts, my mother said, but what raft could be given direction in flowing water?

The roof began to leak. The slow monotonous dripping of water was a lullaby to my ears, but it stirred panic within everyone else. The water had found a way in, and if it didn’t stop, it wouldn’t be much time until my bean-sized lungs perished.

My parents prayed for the clouds to get drained. The rain stopped when I was three hours old and spared my life that night.  The water that flooded the streets went on to unite with the sea.

The angry raindrops on the night of my birth made a twenty-five year old woman evolve into a mother, a protector.

*          *          *

I grew up to love water. I would sit on the windowsill of my room and put my ear to the glass to hear the sounds of the roaring water that dragonflies carried on their wings, the sounds that the wind carried despite their body-less element.

I would float in the sea, letting the waves give me direction. I would swim underwater with my eyes open till they stung. I would stare into my red and black eyes, watch them water, and blink to feel the warm tears escape.

Like siblings – we loved and we hated, we hurt and we healed and we came together and we parted.

*          *          *

I wonder if the water will take back what it spared that night. I wonder if it’ll make me happy that my eyes won’t burn and my body won’t wrinkle.

I wonder if it’ll rain the day I die.

I wonder if I’ll fight when it swallows me.

The Day She Slapped Her Dog

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The day her dog growled and jumped

on her,

he slashed her knee.

His paws drew blood

from her skin,

leaving behind three scarlet lines.

Her leg stung and

she hit the dog’s face.

It threw him off his paws

and he lay there whining.

When he regained his balance

he crawled next to her,

rested his head on her lap,

apologizing wordlessly.

She stroked him softly

under his drooping brown ears.


She was reminded of the day

she called her sister a bitch.

The day the hard rubber of her mother’s chappal

left an imprint on her skin.

She was reminded of her mother

stroking her forehead

while the skin on her own face

burned with awakened blood.

Going to College

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Wrote this 2 years ago before starting college. it’s nice to read it now and think about that first feeling!

to new Beginnings!

The sun sets and my mind wanders to the full moon in the sky that is gleaming with its fresh victory. “It won’t be time before the sun beats you again”, I whisper to the delighted moon. It is the end of today and tomorrow marks a new beginning. 2nd September, the day I commence a new phase of my life. It is a new beginning, one that most people get, but only some respect. It marks the end of the part of me that came home at night to a family dinner, or the part of me who had everything she wanted moments after the words left her mouth. I was stepping into a new life – independence is a positive way to put it, loneliness the flipside.

Next morning I woke up and looked outside my window for the last time before I left home. The overwhelming excitement of a was start lost in the sudden realization that the beginning of college also marks an end. Will I ever live at home again? The beginning is a milestone, it’s a step to reach for more, to be more. Nothing is mapped out for you for tons of options – you can pick one.  Opportunities are given to a person, but how you walk on that path will mould you.

A beginning connects to an end so profoundly that their link forms time in itself. The beginning of a day is the end of a night, and the end of the day brings back the darkness in the sky. College is the next step in my life and since it will be crucial in shaping the road after, I have to step with my best foot forward. As I shut the door of my room for the final time, I come to terms with the end and look onto the horizon to the twilight of my start.

People may see the glass half empty, but the glass I see is half full.

Lone Bodies

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Lone bodies

 

Lone light in my eyes

from the end of the mud path

Lone sound of my shoe

drowning in a brown puddle.

Lone dance on a stage

from a practised mind

Lone dance without a stage

from an euphoric heart.

Lone clicking of the tongue

to kill the violent silence

Lone blinking of the eyelids

we are only slaves of our bodies.

Lone stretching arms

protesting the routine

Lone book flung on the floor

same letters, same lines, same spaces.

A lone pen writes

no one notices,

A lone person cries

Still no one notices.

No one hears

the lone wolf crying,

no one identifies it

as the cry from their own throats.

Why I was impressed by the Bhagvat Gita.

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I think its safe to say I am an agnostic person. I pray sometimes (and I think I should be doing it more often), but not to a god – just to a higher power. When I read the Bhagvat Gita, I was expecting to disagree with it completely. For those of you who don’t know The Bhagvat Gita is a part of the Gita, which is the holy Hindu book (equivalent to The Bible for Christianity).

However, upon reading it I was surprised. It doesn’t repeatedly go on about prayer or what you should do to impress God; it speaks of ‘the self’. The book is about deeper, more profound and arguably more “real” stuff. Here is my take on why everyone should take a look at it. You don’t have to read it like your life depends on it, but at least skim through it. As a completely liberal person, I was impressed that I could connect to a religious book. Maybe some more people ought to give it a chance. So here it is:

The Bhagavat Gita is the written record of the words of Lord Krishna who teaches Arjuna that it is his inherent duty”[1] to fight. Arjuna finds himself in a dilemma because it requires that he fight his own blood. Through the length of the Bhagavat Gita Krishna explains to Arjuna the laws that govern the Earth and the means to reach Krishna. While doing so he repeatedly speaks of one’s mind and psyche. The Bhagavat Gita is not a set of rules or doctrines to follow, but a theology that stresses heavily on the role of the mind, not mere actions or karma. The text is theological as it is the words of God as regarded by Hindus across the world. Although the book has continuous references to psychology because of its emphasis on one’s self, thoughts and beliefs, it is not limited to psychology, as it is completely directed towards God. Krishna imparts knowledge on how to control one’s mind rather than physical control or renunciation. Essentially, the book speaks of attainment of God through the mind.

The Bhagvat Gita begins with a quandary in Arjuna’s mind and this remains the central idea through the book. It is interesting that Lord Krishna refers to Arjuna as ‘The Great Arm’ because it brings out an important irony. Although Arjuna is an immensely skillful warrior, he is not keen on the war that shows the extent to which his mind controls his body. This irony reflects the superiority of the mind over the body underlining that the physical being is not a complete entity without one’s mind. Krishna speaks of the same, telling Arjuna that “it is just these bodies of the indestructible, immeasurable, and eternal embodied self that are characterized as coming to an end.”[2]  It is clear that Krishna wants Arjuna to understand that the mind or the soul of a person is the constant element in one’s existence and it is through the mind that one can come to terms with oneself and solve any points of conflict.

The importance of will complements the emphasis on one’s mental state. Lord Krishna, who is “the beginning, the middle and the end of creatures”[3] knows of the end of the Kurukshetra and that it is Arjuna’s destiny to fight, yet, he takes a human form to convince Arjuna of why his destiny is correct. Humans aren’t just puppets of their destiny, but the destiny is ours by will and our will is already our destiny. This shows that the will of the person is crucial, and it is the intention and not the act that matters. Hinduism is a religion based on the logic of the mind, which is underpinned by belief. There is also a differentiation between one’s will, intention and desire. Will is consent or willingness to perform a certain action and can be good or bad depending on if it is in sync with one’s destiny or going against nature. Intention is crucial as it is the primary factor in making a decision. Desire for consequence is going against nature because if you start demanding from the universe, you will be unable to attain the end. “The disciplined man, having abandoned the result of action, attains complete peace; the undisciplined man, whose action in impelled by desire, and who is attached to the result, is bound.”[4] These are explanations of the psychological variations of the mind and these explanations form a psychological map for the reader, which can be regarded as the lessons of the Bhagavat Gita.

The Bhagavat Gita is a path for mortals to attain nirvana, or the peace and ultimate end that is represented by Krishna. It is intriguing how the book does not simply speak of sinning and morals but instead a natural course in life which you either adhere to through awareness and meditation or live in ignorance. Krishna’s preaching is mostly psychological with references to action, may they be positive or negative. The ‘knowers’ are those who have achieved awareness and know of Krishna, as he explains, “for those whose understanding is limited, the reward is limited”. Their minds are not polluted by thoughts of conflict because they have attained a level of peace and balance that is necessary to submit to Krishna. The “duality which arises from desire and hatred”[5] causes delusion in one’s mind which takes us away from Krishna. Such elements discussed by Krishna emphasize on the varying states of mind indicating that the way to God is through the stable mind. Action is not neglected by Krishna since it is controlled by the mind at all times and there is value to the action that roots from thought. “For no one ever, even for a moment, exists without acting;”[6] The message of the Gita, then, is more to one’s mind than physical existence.

Krishna goes on to make intelligible that he is present in everything that the earth is made of, weather it is real matter or abstract elements like thoughts. This is missing from other theologies like the story of Genesis. When God creates the Earth, he creates all the organisms and physical entities like the wind and mountains but the story does not include the psyche of humans. Krishna preaches freedom of the mind from materials and ego, but does not neglect the nature of man and the cycle of life that is his destiny. Krishna is death and Nirvana, two possible ends to a mortal’s life. Complete submission of the mind will lead a man to Krishna and a tranquil state of contentment, possibly even enlightenment.

Like the Quran, the Bible and other theological texts, the Bhagavat Gita aims to make one believe in the power of God, and a definite end. The difference lies in the psychological nature of the book and the word of a God that revolves around the nature of the human mind, it’s variation and it’s control. It is a theology that is a part of a war story but does not focus on the battle, explains the indestructible soul and the “unsteady mind”[7] which can be improved through submission to Krishna. The Bhagavat Gita is integrated in a way that its theological message depends on the understandings of its psychological explanations, combining into a theological as well as psychological text.


[1] Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. Print. Pg. 9

[2] Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita. Pg 8

[3] Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita. Pg. 46.

[4] Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita. Pg. 24.

[5] Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita. Pg. 35.

[6] Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita. Pg. 17.

[7] Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita, Pg. 30.