From Land of Stories and Story-Tellers
Chennai is blessed for it has a beach, a long shoreline. It is here the rich and the poor walk the same wet soil, the water that washes the dirty feet laps and cleanses the rich legs too. They are one and same there by the side of the sea, for at least a few moments, breathing one another’s exhaled air…A kid came running and hugged me from behind, her grip tight around my legs. I turned around and her eyes narrowed failing to recognize me. Her grip loosened, eyes swelled, and words stammered. She is lost. She took me for someone else and now her eyes frantically searches for the faces she knew. I lifted her on my head so that she could see the crowd and search her loved ones. She found her father. A man richer than the earth. He thanked. Her brother hugged. Her mother nowhere to be seen. But she laughed again. Her laughs brought smile on my face. I walked back with a corn in my hand, the only gift I accepted, for my mother sold corn that I never knew the taste of…!
The Hindu Priest – Devan
I remembered that young temple priest. His head shaved, his forehead and body smeared with sandalwood paste , bathed in sweat coming out from the temple kitchen. His skin hugged his body like a tight brown cloth on a skeletal frame. A torn, yellow towel covered his lower half, hardly reaching his knees. His hands held the garlands for the his deity. White, Red, Yellow and green were the colors on a cotton thread, woven into a simple garland for the simpler deity from the simplest human. He smiled at me. His face glowed like the god behind him. Like the king of a hundred thousand lands. Standing there I saw the real god, outside the Sanctum Sanctorum – Devan, the priest.
The Half Open Window
She was coming back. I don’t know where from. Closing the gate, she turned around, short hair, shorter sleeves on her white Kurta, Sharp nose and sharper limbs, a compound wall between us…Our eyes met… Electric effect.. Thousands of tamil movies played… I felt my heart melt as she walked away. But nothing happened.. A cold stare remained…
The power was out. I felt my way through the messy roads to reach the gate. A nineties Yezdi roared, it’s silencer louder than normal for there was no sound. I could hear crickets sing and dog’s barking a mile away. My neighbour’s kid on that. The angry young man he was. unkept hair, long and in all directions. Gave me a threatening glance.
A moment later, I came out. This time the sharp eyes and sharper angled body of that girl awaited me. She sat on the rear seat – the typical Indian way. Her eyes shone in the moon light. It smiled. It said, “SShhh….” Her hands pressed the young man’s shoulder. He got it. The bike roared and they were away.
It rained here in Bangalore. Wind plays around with the blocking structures finding its way through my half-opened windows. It’s cool. It has that peculiar smell, of spring flowers and dried leaves, now all wet, and decorating the black roads, turned into a slippery mash, of neem and of Eucalyptus. Lightning streaked the distant horizons like a dream half- lived. They brought memories – Of Pilani and the summer rains…
I am torn between many a souls, split between many a realities, between people who cared. A handful of promises made waiting to be kept – I am that man in between, not a boy anymore !!!
It felt like a dream. I wanted to wake up. Realized there was no waking up. I was living it. Every second, every breath of it. Everything seemed unrealistically real. It was dark. There was light. I was walking towards it. Images blurred. I was not able to understand. Every scene played like a 35mm clip, parts of the dilapidated reels eaten away by time perhaps. Were they flashbacks, my present or the future seen from a future to come thereafter? No Idea. Vague. Mysterious. I was walking a thin line. It was not a question of life and death. It was about sanity and madness !
He asked,”Can you sing for me?” “No, you better not hear me sing !”, she replied, “But I can dance for you”, she volunteered. “I can’t”, he shook his head. But still they danced to soft music hitting the table and chairs, singing till the dawn peeped into their room, the warmth of the morning filled their eyes and the room. (The couple were blind !)
Technology – Changing A Kid’s Life
Today, I saw my cousin’s five-year old kid using an iPad with ease. Not just looking at it, but browsing menus, interacting, playing keyboard, games and what not. Then he came to the Dell laptop that I was using, kept his finger on the screen and tried to do the same thing expecting my laptop to respond only to be disappointed. Disinterested he was at the clumsy keyboard, left quickly to pick up the iPhone to play “angry birds’. Now that is Technology Revolution !!! I had used a black slate, wet cloth and a chalk to study, look at today’s kids !
~ Trilok ~