Indian Monsoon

Wandering miles through burnt grass
in search of the elusive water source
the animals all huddled up, look for signs
that can only herald the arrival of
their perennial savior from the skies.

One fine day, a cool breeze starts to blow.
The hot air now becomes the hunted
looking for dear places to hide
for death is certain with the arrival
of the Great Indian Monsoon.

The small streams and the rivulets,
pour their volumes into rivers beds
that were once sand banks and ponds
and playing fields to kids in summer
now slushy fields with the downpour.

Life is back to normal now that nature
has bestowed its blessings upon the
region that gets its bountiful rain
for which man was ready till now
to barter with gold and riches he had.

The Lost Life

It had been three days since I moved in with my parents. My father had got transferred yet again to this hill station after 5 years. He would be in charge of the repairs section of the Sanshet dam constructed around 40 years ago and which now stood towering in the distance.

I had barely finished college, scraped through it you could say. Pass marks in all subjects. At least I was consistent. I was wondering if I could apply anywhere with such an academic record. The morning mist looked inviting. The coffee cup was still waiting for me to pick it up. The newspaper sheets flipped till it reached the appointments page waiting for me to go through those that might suit my credentials.

As I was still undecided to get up, I heard someone calling. Thinking it was someone calling dad or mom, I didn’t pay much attention only to know the person whoever it was calling, was trying to elicit my attention towards her.

I opened my window pane to see Meena looking eagerly waiting for me as if she wanted me to show something. Meena was my classmate in school at Sanshet school before I left this small village town after my dad’s transfer.

Her hands were empty save for a couple of glass bangles on both. There was some calf love between us during those days, I must confide, which both of us were proud to admit. Her eyes seemed to talk. They looked sad and yet there were streaks of shine happy to see me after these long years which seemed ages to me.

I got dressed casually, put on my slippers and walked out of the room through a door which could open directly to the courtyard where stood a beaming she. Her silver anklets looked the same as her pretty frock she used to wear long back. Her form was the same when I last saw her. She had not changed one bit.

Before I could ask her anything, she took my hand in hers, clasped them tightly and beckoned me to follow her. The morning dew on the grass was making things slippery for my feet as the initial walk now became brisk and it was clear she would have broken into a run over the mounds and crests of fine green grass that adorned the beautiful country side, had I complied.

Where are you taking me, I enquired of her, my eyes riveted on that beautiful face etched in memory which I used to dwell upon in my loneliness and depression bouts at college.

Meena was the foreman’s daughter and they lived in the officer’s quarters that was half a mile away. But today she was taking me elsewhere. I tried to start another conversation thread. How have you been. Did you finish college? In silence she smiled at me; the same patented smile of her which I had taken care to imprint and nurture and chisel on in memory. The years spent with her in school was a dream run never to come again but the good Lord had given me the ability to replay those beautiful moments. She didn’t reply even this time but her lovely eyes did.

Where are you leading me, Meena? I thought you were taking us to your parents. How are they? Still the silence prevailed but I could see that she had slowed her steps while still holding my hand tightly.

There appeared a desolate house and I wondered if something was wrong as she led me to it. She opened the door to the house which welcomed us in with a creaking yet haunting voice. Except for a couple of old wooden benches and a chair there was nothing in this room of this shelter.

All of a sudden she let go of my hand and went into the other room. I thought maybe to bring me some water who was not used to such long walks in the morning mist which only aggravated my asthma. I now remembered I had not taken my Asthalin Inhaler before venturing out with her.

I waited for a few minutes and still when she didn’t appear, I came out, circled the house twice looking for dear her. Calling out to her also did not elicit any response. Sure she was playing a prank as was her nature. I walked to the officer’s quarters and located her house which was the fourth in the second row of houses that had got a fresh coat of white paint.

I walked in unwelcomed, so I thought, based on old memories. Her father looked very uneasy and tired sitting in the easy chair. His eyes looking into the far distance trying to solve some puzzle in which he looked entangled. Addressing him, I offered my salutations but he looked through me as if I didn’t exist. I walked around the kitchen hoping to see her mother or her but none I could see there. I walked back into the living room that looked lifeless and my eyes fell upon the picture of her mother that was garlanded with non fading flowers and was I shocked again when I saw another garlanded frame of Meena.

I sat next to her father and tried alerting him to my presence but he either looked blind and sounded deaf or both or was it I, who was dreaming all this while. I smiled how crazy dreams could was a matter of time before I woke up from it. But things remained the same and I got up as there was no point sitting in front of her crazy father or was it me who had gone crazy.

As I walked back she appeared again briskly trying to catch up with my footfalls. She held my hand as we walked in silence. I tried to play along with her act not showing what I had learnt upon the visit to her house. But the silence was killing me. Are you on a vow of silence? I asked not expecting an answer. “No”, she answered taking me by surprise. I wanted you to know what had happened after you people had left. I used to frequent the typing institute to hone my skills in it. I must have gone two years and got a good speed.

One day on my return through these same paths there was heavy rain accompanied by thunder and I had to take shelter in that house where I took you today. I couldn’t venture out that evening and got trapped there in the incessant downpour. Someone came there, a stranger. It appeared he was staying there without nobody knowing except me in my misfortune. I never saw his face in the darkness but he sensed my vulnerability and took advantage of it and as I resisted him, little did I know that he would snuff the very dear life out of me.

He fled the place and was never to be seen again in this territory of mine she said with a change of tone. Now as I looked at her she was not the diminutive Meena I had known. She was a beautiful woman yet of a pale self. Were you waiting for me these years? Yes she replied I knew you would come so that we can spend some ages together in bliss. How can we, what makes you think…. I broke off, not knowing what I should say.

Come, let us go your house, said she, sensing my thoughts…Wanting to give a glimpse of what a life I had lived I started to enlighten her. After I had left Sanseth, I had got into bad company at college. First smoking then drinking which seemed soothing at first before I got addicted with drugs whatever I could lay my hands on or whatever the peddlers could give me.

A once healthy me was a pale self now, with frequent attacks of asthma adding to the aggravation. I tried to wean away from all these considering the love of my parents and you who I knew doted on me and would wait once I came back after graduating. It was easy to kick smoking but not doping. The drugs were the demons who came to you every night and pestered you till you relented and met their demands. They pleased and praised you and left early morning with you defeated. Yesterday it looks I had a heavy dose or else how could I explain your appearance though you now appears lost to me. I couldn’t understand how such misfortune could come in our lives.

Life’s lessons are sometimes too harsh and at too short a notice. You never know what hit you and slowly we reconcile ourselves to the grim truth of reality. Isn’t life a chain of events like beads in a rosary caused by karma and a mix of choices that we make? With a throbbing head and with the shadow of Meena in tow, I walked into my quarters where could be heard a wailing from my mother with father holding her crying self over my body now lifeless, eyes looking into the distance trying to make out the purpose of dear life.

How some stream that we take channel us into paths best avoided and before the gravity of it sinks in, we get drowned before anyone could help us. There is no point thinking over it now nor staying here anymore, Meena said, as she held my hand and led me out into the sunshine…

Waiting is killing

A rich man had lots of money. One time or the other some of his trusted assistants would abscond with some of his money. He always would seek them out wherever they had gone into hiding and put them in prison. Nowadays he was aged and more wise.

This time, another trusted associate ran away with his money and the police entreated him to give his nod. Please sir, we just need your consent so that we can go ahead and catch him from wherever he is now.

How long will you need to bring him back? Maybe a month, maybe more, maybe a year not more, the police man replied. My associate also will be thinking on the same lines. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next month, they will come looking for me and I do not want this agony of waiting for him to stop. That will be his punishment…

The talking metals

Over the ages, man has always accorded value to the fair glow in the metals be it copper, silver or gold. Iron though being the working metal still ranks behind…

Ganpat the farmer had a daughter Megha and Dikshit, a well to do person in the same village had a son Sachin. Both Sachin and Megha fell in love once they saw each other at the last year mela or the village annual fair at the Bhuvaneshwari temple. The Goddess at the temple was known to be very powerful.

When one day, Ganpat told Dikshit about his wish of his daughter’s marriage to Sachin, he made fun of Ganpat saying he wanted to give his daughter to someone his equal and not to a poor farmer.

Over the summer months, Ganpat was busy tilling the fields . One day he went to the blacksmith with his pick axe to sharpen it. The blacksmith was sitting in rapt attention as if listening to the tools in front of him. He asked ganpat to be seated but continued to listen to the talking metals. The pick axe also joined in the conversation. Yes, you are right. Iron is the downtrodden one just like this ganpat. He tills the land with his plough made of iron. The rich go in vehicles made of iron but does anyone give him or us the position we deserve.

They give value only to the fair silver or gold. They spend their lives either in getting it or hoarding it. They cover the temples and the gods in silver and gold as soon their positions improve. What happens to us, who toil day in and out for him.

The goddesss Bhuvaneshwari on her walking rounds reached the blacksmith’s workplace. She touched ganpat lightly on his shoulder so that he could see her and listen to the talking metals.

Man in pursuit of riches and happiness takes countless births. For the ever changing man greed is the only constant. He gets sorrow pain and happiness in return. Just like when he digs for gold he gets other metals, but he disregards it and his persistence wins and when he gets the coveted metal he thinks he is happy. These so called noble metals carry stories of war, murders and betrayal. After all the painstaking efforts to get it, then you need to protect it and there man loses his peace.

Ganpat fell at her feet and told his problem. All the while, working at the fields I was at peace but the moment Dikshit mentioned 25 sovereigns of gold, I lost my peace. Metals like iron, I hold in high esteem because they are the working metals like this Ganpat, the rest all are useless, said the goddess.

The talking metals and the blacksmith praised the goddess who was taking their leave. Ganpat, I will help you with your request but I want you to adorn me with 25 sovereign iron jewels. The money for the metal shall come from your hard earned money and you should buy the metal from the blacksmith. Give it to the village jeweller. I will give the instructions to him in a dream. Put your request this Sunday in front of me at the temple and ask dikshit to repeat how much he wants in jewelry. This time, I will adorn his tongue when he replies to you.

On the eve of the Sunday festival, among the jostling crowd, Ganpat put his request again to Dikshit for his daughter’s wedding. A ruffled Dikshit sounding agitated said how many times Ganpat I have to tell you I won’t take anything less than 25 tolas of loha from you. Everyone one was surprised to hear this strange ask from Dikshit. Ganpat again asked, can you please repeat it, to which Dikshit confirmed the same, “25 sovereigns of pure iron”.

Everyone talked about it during the day but no one had the guts to ask Dikshit as to why he had made such a strange request. Ganpat after offering salutations to the goddess hurried home took his hard earned money, gets the iron from the blacksmith and goes to the blessed and informed jeweler the next week who takes upon the task of making iron jewelry for the goddess. He decided to make a set of bangles, earrings and a chain that would come to 25 sovereigns just as how the goddess had instructed him in his dream. After a couple of months the jewelry was completed. It was shown to Ganpat, the blacksmith and to the goddess on an evening at the blacksmith’s hut. The goddess was satisfied and so were the talking metals. Now Ganpat, tell the priest about all what has happened. He will understand and adorn this jewelry on me this Navami. Now to the bewildered and at the same time blessed jeweller, “prepare one more set exactly like this for Ganpat and show it to me first before handing it over to him”.

On the Navami day, the goddess shown with a brilliance never seen before, partly due to a new metallic jewelry which had a rare hue. To some it seemed blue while for others a combination of other colors. It really is a rare metal jewelry gifted by Ganpat to our goddess, remarked many. Even Dikshit was surprised to see the change in fortunes for Ganpat. It was heard that the jeweller was now making the jewels for his daughter’s wedding.

The second set of jewels were ready. They were again taken to the blacksmith where on her evening visit, the goddess Bhuvaneshwari saw them and touched them sending a spark of energy through all who were present including the talking metals.

The rest of the story goes like this. Ganpat’s daughter got married to Dikshit’s son who never came to know that he had asked for iron jewelry, but whenever his wife showed the priceless jewels, to him, it was beyond doubt made of the finest gold, one that had a blue hue and a sparkle of other metallic colors that radiated from it. Please close the jewel box Radha and keep it in the safe, he lovingly told his wife, It is so divine that one cannot look at it for long just as the jewels gifted by Ganpat to the goddess…

The Madava Pass

Long years ago at the outskirts of Patannam, there was a flourishing Friday market that used to come alive in the afternoon. The Madava river flowing nearby used to host the market proceedings as traders from far off places used to trade  their goods for barter or for coins. Men and women from nearby villages used to come and witness the grand proceedings of trade and also barter the goods that they used to bring in and take back the ones that they wanted.

The streets of Pattanam were tidy and wound themselves into different directions. The main highway was also well patrolled by the king’s sentry except for the  Madava underpass at a distance of 10 miles from Pattanam. There was a forest section with a hillock into which a road was carved after chipping away the stones and the tunnel constructed by the locals was around 50 metres long. Some robbers used to loiter around or inside the tunnel and would whisk away the goods of people returning from the market if the conditions were favorable for them. Initially it was a few incidents of robbery that made the travelers weary of the thugs and therefore they used to go in groups inside the tunnel and hence mostly escaped from the robbery.

No woman dared to go alone through the tunnel be it during the day or the evening after the friday market which is when the market was its peak. There was incidents of teasing and kidnapping where the victims were never found. It seemed that there were more than one gang of robbers operating in that area who had their hideouts in the forest. Some would pose as guards and offer their services to take the unwary victim safely and falling into their trap they were either dumped after the robbery and humiliation or not to be seen again.

This went on and on for months and there seemed to be no solution as the vassal king and his sentry also did not pay much heed to the reports. This became a talk especially among the women folk in the weekly Friday market. One of the traders, Vijayan, who visited the market decided to do something about it. He went and stood before Paniappan at his village who had a solution to every problem that was brought to him. Paniappan dragged at the pipe and infused the tobacco and looked long into the eyes of a bunch of kids who were brought by their parents to him. These kids were causing a lot of headache to the village with their pranks. They would climb palm and coconut trees and cause the fruit to fall in other people’s area, thus causing fights between the owner and the possessor of the nuts. They were a naughty bunch and no less than a rogue of elephants in their strength and determination. They had got into angry fights with a couple of villagers who questioned their exploits. But as Paniappan thought they needed some work to direct their energy but what work to give them was still a dilemma.

To a hesitant Vijayan who thought he would share the robbers story at the tunnel after this bunch of young lads had been dispensed off, he was asked to present his story first.  Vijayan was a good narrator and he made the story very interesting in such a way that whoever heard it wanted to go and confront the robbers and give them a sound beating.

The question was posed to the kids to take up the pattanam assignment in front of a crowd and now they could not back out. Doing so would mean all their exploits so far were just for show and they did not possess the true grit required for this assignment. Girish one of the lads came forward and said we will vanquish the ruffians  and return home victoriously. A couple of other well built lads Bheema and Sahadev also came forward. The others though they seemed interested were too young for the job. Paniappan trained the lads for 2 weeks. They were well fed and given difficult tasks which they were able to complete in no time.

But the three lads, would they be enough to drive out the robbers? was a question that still tormented Vijayan’s mind as they ventured towards the town of pattanam which would take them a couple of days walking. On the way a discourse was happening at a temple and our group joined religiously. The priest of the temple chanced upon the young lads and said he too had a boy of the same age and asked gopal to accompany the trio with Vijayan. Now Vijayan couldn’t say no to the priest but he never wanted gopal to be a part of this team. He was lean and appeared a bit timid for the task in front of them. But somehow there was something about the boy, his lovely smiling eyes that bore into you had the power to read your mind.

His eyes were sweet as was his laughter. His heart was sweet as was his gait. His speech was sweet  as was his nature. In short everything about him was sweet.

But that was the problem. How can he gel with the others and tackle the thieves? He was a delicate boy who needed the protection just as the women did. Let us hope everything works out well thought Vijayan to himself as he proceeded towards the market. They reached their destination on the third day mighty tired and feasted on the fruits at the market and setup a makeshift lodging. Vijayan also asked the boys to set up a northern gate on the path to the madava pass, so that they would know the people who would venture to the pass towards the market. He set two of his boys each at the market side and the northern gate. He also had two sentries locally recruited for fridays manning the gates assisted by his boys.

Girish and Bheema manned the northern gate and Gopal and Sahadev were posted at the market gate. In short whoever left the market towards the pass would meet Gopal and Sahadev who would make enquiries before letting them pass and escort them if needed. Vijayan would spend the next week incognito as a villager and make his way through the underpass many a times in disguise. There was no untoward incident during that week and so Vijayan told the sentry to keep doing what they were told to and left for his village promising that he would be back in a month or two It was during Vijayan’s absence that a young village girl  also volunteered to be at the northern gate. People going and coming through the madava pass were curious as to how these lads and now this girl would protect them in the underpass. But they were happy and a bit assured that the added security cover if requested from these lads would be readily available. Some of the womenfolk took a liking towards Gopal and Vani the girl because of their innocent and yet determined nature and always requested them to accompany them through the pass.

The robbers had their task cut out these days as mostly the women were escorted by the well fed Girish and Bheema who did not mind walking umpteen times to the market and going back with eatables from the market. In a month they had gained so much weight that they looked fearful for any one to confront them. On the other side, Gopal and Vani were so sweet that even the robbers inspite of their hard hearts got lost in their charm. Whenever Gopal escorted the women, he had invented his own style of keeping them enchanted. Every day he had something in his hand to sell to the women and the women not wanting to lose his company dilly dallied with their purchase of the saleable item even though he ran around them in the madava pass with his super negotiating skills. He would put a price on the item in hand just as then entered the madava pass and each traveler would want to buy from him and he would go on increasing the price and then start decreasing it as they neared the end of the pass. Another wonder was Vani used to run after him in a bid to catch him and dissuade him from selling it. It was always a sort of procession when the group went through the pass.

The robbers waited for their time for days and even tried their best to rob some one, but utterly failed as at any moment of the day, they would find either of the four inside the pass who would always give them the slip if they tried to administer any injury. The four lit the forest pass with lamps in the evening which refused to die out till the next day morning, so there was ample light and the presence of any of these four was guaranteed whenever circumstances warranted. To cut a long story short, the robbers could do no harm to the travelers as somehow they felt their strength subside when they tried to confront any of these boys. Slowly the robbers were identified and when Vijayan who arrived with a bigger force the next time, caught them from their hideouts near the pass and  madava became free of any such incidents that had got it a bad name. One fine day, Gopal and Vani were not to be seen. They had left the region never to be seen again and the folks in the region made their story a folklore and even constructed a temple at the northern end of the pass dedicated to them. Even today, anyone who prays at the temple has never known to have faced any issue while making their way to and from the madava pass…


Every now and then with parched lips

the farmer looks up to the skies

to deliver the blessings of rain

but then knows he has to endure

the mighty trials and tribulation

of a long simmering Summer

before he can enjoy the fruits

of a cool pleasant Monsoon…

The Lovely Clown

Pic Courtesy:

A famous actor once came to party in town

a crowd went to him that included a clown

who appeared quite shabby in a long gown

which was torn and colored dusty brown

shaking hands, the actor was seen to frown

at a sad painted face decked with a crown

all of a sudden who pushed the actor down

who fell into the deep pool about to drown

hands that helped him up were of the clown.

Getting ready for Exams

The academic year winds itself up slowly with the string of months coming to a close. Some of us have in us those hidden phobias about certain subjects or in fact all if you acted like the grasshopper and not the toiling ant. These fears or demons come out of their hiding during the examination time and play havoc with your mental and physical health.

While some start having stomach pains and headaches some have a nauseated feeling, some get paralysed with fear while in some hands and legs tremble. All this could be pinpointed to one thing that is lack of preparation.

In the months of March or April, the summer also make its much more difficult to think with a cool mind. So these winter months must be put to good use so that you can enjoy the monsoon along with your results. Do remember that they not only cheer you up but also your parents and teachers who would be happy about your performance.

So the question comes, how do we prepare mentally and physically for the examinations in the near future. Like the rising Sun on the horizon, it will be in no time that the examination days shines upon you. Whether you shine and are prepared for it depends on how good you put your time to use.

You have to eat and drink well to take upon the burden that awaits you as mental work is almost equivalent to physical activity and you may soon get exhausted. See that parents keep your food rations and fruit juices where you can reach them. And now to the mental frame that you need to get into. Just like in history think of one of those warriors who went out to battle complete with armor and head gear and a well trained and disciplined army.

The Armor that you wear to your examination is your confidence and attitude. Don’t let the armor have any chinks or weak points in it. The head gear is your calm and composed mind that you keep while writing the exam. But then the armor and headgear will be of little use if you don’t have a disciplined army with you. The army that comes with you is the amount of well charted preparation that you have done all these months. More the preparation more is the count of your army personnel from whom you can get the timely required support.

That in short sums up your battle preparedness or rather exam readiness. Once you are equipped with all these then knocking each question down or giving a fitting answer to each question that blocks your way to success is sheer fun.

If you can assimilate all these in you then you will be battle ready and rarin to go and perform at your best and beat the demons inside you and those that await you as questions in your examination paper…Good Luck.

The tree I planted

The tree of love I planted as a seed

while in despair when I felt lonely

it started branching out to all those

who needed love and care as a tonic.

They came to me now and again

with love I tended to them all while

I forgot my despair bestowing care.

Now I am blessed with folks around

who glued them to me with gratitude

and that is when I looked around me

the tree of love had got them all back.

This poem was inspired from APJ Abdul Kalam’s quote…”I had a sparrow as a pet it flew away one day then I had a squirrel it ran away. I planted a tree and they both came back”.


It was almost a year he had been confined to this hospital bed and he knew from the doctor’s look that the end was near. A close friend tired like himself looked at him with brimmed sadness. Turning his eyes away from him, he looked at the few plants he had nurtured to keep him company during his lonely stay in this city hospital where he had been diagnosed with terminal illness.

Some of them were dying and some were trying to cling on to life just like him this winter, but poor them, like him, they missed the sun to brighten things up…