Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Helping the Helpless - Part II

For all those who asked what happened to the injured calf, here you go...

Managed to click this yesterday on my way to work.

There were 2 calves and the hind legs of both were fine. (For, I was not sure which one really was the one which had been treated. They all look the same! Until, you spend quality time with them, you cannot differentiate).

For those who are wondering, what this is all about:

Adios for now!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

To my comrade!

I may have been sad in my earlier days -
But its only now that I cry, when to leave you rise.
I may have been single and alone then -
But I feel lonelier now, when you are gone!

My life would have been anything but complete,
happy, cheerful or upbeat -
If I hadn't chosen that lane, that night
Which (who knew!) led to you, my life!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Life - A worthy ride.

I was awake the whole of last night. And, this time it was neither the notorious 'Chennai heat' nor the mosquitoes, that kept me awake.

It was something else.

Something which has troubled me in the past too.

It was a question.

A question which, may have been what eventually, led many souls to go in search of the 'ultimate' truth.

A question which, may have been what finally, led them to the so called 'enlightenment' as well.

The question was,

"Where does one go after one dies?"

Now, would I too go in search of the answer to the question that troubled me?

...I wouldn't.


For, I did not have it in me to give up on the worldly pleasures and go in search of God (Isn't he/she/it supposed to be the synonym for "The Ultimate Truth"?).

Though it was a very disturbing question, indeed.

And I am sure you must have thought about it too.

It is very easy to answer that
- those who have done good would head straight to heaven
- the others would end up with the Satan in hell (in worse cases, in his huge boiling oil tub).

But isn't that what we choose to believe? Have you in person, ever met anyone who actually ended up there - either up or down?

Now, we could look at it this from a different perspective. Say, have you ever cared to think of what would happen if the world came to an end?

A sudden abrupt 'The End' (like the one you see after a Tom & Jerry cartoon).

Imagine the following scenario:
A Tsunami tide,
a blazing meteoroid
and an erupting volcano
...make friends with
a deadly earthquake.
A drought soon joins in.
All 5 friends come to visit the earth one fine day.

What would happen to all the 6,894,000,000 people (which is the total number of people occupying the earth as on today, Wikipedia tells me) then?

What would mankind do? (Other than die, perhaps?)

Would heaven or hell have the space to accommodate all these 6.894 Bn people (or spirits or souls or whatever)?

Will 6.894 Bn 'whatever' float around in space? Or will they still loom on earth?

Brings back the question "Where will we go when we die?"

In simple language and as per my reasoning I can only say, "I don't know. I may join the ultimate power perhaps, some call 'God', others 'Nature' and a few more 'Universe' !".

Now even if I end up there --> somewhere.

Will I still have my identity there somewhere as I do now?

Will I realize / recognize where I am?

Will it hurt? Will I remember?

Will I still breathe and eat and feel, the way I do?

Will I still be able to emote? (Don't know how successful I am at that even now!)

Will I still long for mommy's lap?

Will I still love the man I fought for, over a bunch of idiotic girls?

Will I still hate my ex-lovers for what we did / did not do?

Will I still want to buy that expensive shoes or the latest phone?

Will any of that matter anymore?

Everyone wants to know where they are headed in life.

I know a few who don't, yet they head ahead. Only to hope to find that final lodging, praying they remain happy with whatever they'd end up in.

That friends, is part of life.

What about afterlife? It may be a stupid thought.

But, I trust me, now I feel things I did earlier were stupider. Like for example:
- Fight for that extra piece of chicken at KFC (even though I din't know where I had sent that chicken to, after its valiant death)
- Give up on loved ones just because they did not agree to my philosophies in life (Chances are I will meet them soon and tell them that, when the 'question' appeared, my tiff with them seemed so trifle)
- Write this blog post (Little did I know that people would ask me if I were drunk while writing this).

The point I am trying to make here is:

Friends, we do not know where we came from (as a result of fertilization, from between a woman's leg etc are not answers).

We do not know where we are headed to either (the best answer I can come up with is the graveyard).

I am talking about the 'Metaphysics' bit of this whole thing (by the way, 'Metaphysics' is again incomprehensible to my mind). But whatever, it is a fancy term to use!

Again, the point here is: I want to change.

I want to take a conscious decision to love and care. (Despite being born human, I will still try.)

For I don't really know where I am headed.

So, I might as well make the ride a worthy one!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Fate, the absolute tyrant -
Brings me to my desk,
And I sit down to vent
This infernal night,
As prose or verse,
Or utter hogwash -
My wasted emotions -
Which some termed rhapsodic.

I promised myself not to cry -
As the day would dawn,
And I'd wheel down the aisle.
Making myself fall prey -
To another trade
Of cash and silver and solid gold,
A car and bungalow and so much more
- Of which in detail, I wasn't told.

Though I was called a beauty
Who could leave people dazed,
With two curvy dimples,
That lit my pretty face.
People never touched me
And would look at me with shame
Tell me I looked fragile
Once they knew I was lame.

I grew within four walls -
Comfy cushions and space
And it wasn't my legs, feeble
That restricted my pace.
It was love from parents
Siblings' scorn and care
That kept me from the wisely world
To go outdoors, I never dared.

I grew up crawling on my limbs
And seeing people walk
I never wished for them to stop -
Only prayed that they wouldn't talk!
For it was not their legs, I longed for
I reveled for what I was!
I only hoped they applied thought
Before pitying, how crippled I am!

I grew up watching the world go by
Each day and night would fly
Fantasizing with what I had been blessed -
My free and 'abled' mind!
I dreamt of a world - filled with trust
And friends who would 'walk' with me
Who would talk to me for who I was
And not offer sympathy!

I wished for love,
And found mine, divine
In a fairy tale -
Ironic indeed!
I sang love songs,
Wrote mushy poems
Painted wild dreams -
All to him, which would eventually lead.

You must have known this little boy -
Though a flaw, he did make history.
"Pinocchio", he was fondly called
And was known as a puppet with zeal!
It was not his quest for love that struck
Nor his zest to live
For it was his gait with wooden legs,
In which I could identify me!

But my dreams were thwarted
When to a man, I was entrusted -
(Or rather, on me thrusted)
One - with no love, but legs instead.
Along with blessings
For him to take along
Ample gifts were bestowed -
To keep us betrothed!

And now I await
To be proclaimed his wife
In the presence of a world
Which always kept me deprived.
It will be dawn
And I will soon be gone -
Yet I will yearn
For my Pinocchio to return!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Promise.

It was a lazy Sunday morning, the week before Christmas. A hard earned weekend for me, after a crazy week and a late night at office the previous day.

The phone rang flashing the name 'ABR'. It was only 8 am. I knew the debate would soon begin.

ABR, aka Aswin and I were volunteers for the HUGS camp, an NGO that 'Helps children Go to School'. It had more to do with play learning, for the underprivileged kids. The recent camps were at the Royappuram Boys home – a government shelter for orphans, children of convicts, kids who ran away or were sent away and so on. We heard about HUGS through Facebook (these days I turn to FB for everything – for gossips from friends’ circles to the latest tips in make-up, from current affairs to the international news. FB has got it all covered!)

Both of us were pretty lazy to wake up and spoke with our eyes closed, under the pretext that that would help us catch on lost sleep, as our lips gibbered away to glory!

I waited for him to say "Let's chuck it and go back to bed". That way the blame would not be on me for backing out. Neither would be the guilt, of disappointing a bunch of kids who looked forward to meeting us every fortnightly.

I guess he read my mind. So instead he said, "You decide Geethu. Am game whatever!"

Hmm... Smart a _ _ !

Spoke like a true man. Left it to the woman to decide. Now I was stuck.

And trust me, it was tough to have decided not to go and yet say, 'Ok! Fine. I'll meet you in 30'. But, that's what I said.

So there we were, that cold December morning, riding from Royapettah to Royappuram, covering a distance of almost 18 kms, on the most dilapidated bike ever! (I know by putting this up, I risk my chance to be ever spotted riding pillion on it).

Aswin spoke as he rode, about old Madras and its monuments along the roadside. He was thanking the British for building short-cuts roads and said that the one we took would take us to the home faster. I wasn't too happy, for a longer ride would have meant more time for me to sleep. However, my desperate attempts to snooze would anyways go futile, for Aswin ensured that not a single gutter or pothole went 'unattended'.

The ride lasted well over 45 minutes, thanks to the drizzle in between. As he parked the bike within the compound of the home, many hands extended out towards him, calling him "Maddy", "Madhavan", "Anna" fondly. The children inside the shelter seemed happy to see us.

We walked in to see Karthik briefing the new volunteers about HUGS. Renita meanwhile was being her chirpy self, organizing the set of toys to be distributed amongst the volunteers. It was my third trip and I felt like a pro already.

The children assembled in the hall. Christmas was round the
corner and a few kids were decorating the walls. Somebody had to keep the rest of them engaged till the play session would begin. Aswin, Sidharth, Amit and I sat amongst the kids.

A few children, who were familiar with us from the previous sessions, came closer to ask how we were, went on to tell us what they had for breakfast and so on. While the new kids watched on in awe. It would take a little time for them to start mingling.

For a few were shy.
Few scared.
Few indifferent.
Few differently abled (deaf, dumb, blind, physically or mentally challenged).

And there were a few more, who could talk, see and
hear. Yet they couldn’t mingle with the rest of the kids. For they spoke languages no one could decipher – it could have been Assamese, Gujrathi, Konkani or even Oriya.

The huge responsibility of talking to the children and locating where they came from, based on their mother tongue, fell on the translator appointed by the government. And he spoke only 2 languages - Tamil and Hindi.The lucky ones were traced back to their homes. The others were provided with shelter, food and education. And they just stayed on. And soon picked up Tamil.

Yet another reason why HUGS needs more volunteers, who can speak different languages.

Coming back to the 19th of December, 2010. Renita and Monica had split the toys for each group, while we helped split the kids into groups of 4 to 5 each.

That's when I noticed Aswin sit with a boy, hardly 10 years old. He was crying clinging on to the window and refused to budge and mingle with the rest of the gang. I offered to help. The 'woman' in me had woken.

I held him close. But he moved away, as large drops of tears kept wetting his faded T-shirt. His answers were restricted to nods and wipes (of his tears, of his nose and occasionally his T-shirt). I had to ask him several questions like
'Did your friend fight with you?'
'Did you not eat this morning?'
'Did someone at the camp scold you?'
'Do you not like the rains?'
'Did you hurt yourself'
… to finally figure out the following:
- The boy had been at the home for hardly 2 days.
- His father had left him there, for he could not provide for his education.
- He had lost his mother earlier that year.
- His sister was also put up at an orphanage nearby.
- He did not like the place (that was the easiest to figure out).

I did not know how to manage the situation. Do I just sit with him or do I try console him and make him cry further? Renita and Karthik offered to take over. And whatever they did, they really seemed to be good at it. For the boy was soon playing and laughing. He was introduced to the rest and they were asked to make him feel at home. Many heads nodded and we knew they would keep their word.

Meanwhile, I had a bunch of loyals from the previous s
ession waiting to play the 'Indianised' version of the Monopoly, with me. They loved the feel of the money, though fake. They refused to play any other game. They waited patiently for me to divide currencies among them - denominations of 10,000s, 5,000s, 1,000s, 500s, 100s, 50s and 10s. And as we played, I observed that this time they were better organized. They were well-planned about how to spend their money and highly enthused to purchase plots and construct houses.
I was amazed at their willingness to help friends who turned paupers!

At HUGS, we use games like Building blocks, Memory cards, Snakes and ladders, Dominoes and sorts, to teach the desolate kids something - to count, to remember, to share, a good manner, a duty, a social responsibility. Any one thing that we could in the 2-3 hours spent.

But usually it worked the other way around.

For often, the kids ended teaching us - the privileged lot, much more than what any school or college could ever offer!

After yet another fulfilling session of play learning, I walked out and waved goodbye. And my 'loyals' came along and called out to me,

"Akka, we will wait for you... Please come fast for the next session!"

I nodded my head.

Only to hope I'd keep my word!

To know more about HUGS or volunteer, please check the following links:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Be mine!

I do not ask for love -
That transcends death.
I don't ask for love -
That knows no depth.

I do not ask for love -
That transcends time.
I just ask for love -
That I can call mine!