Sunday, December 2, 2012

UPDATE


Dear friends,

Even though I haven't written anything in a while, you have all been very much in my mind these past months. Some of you asked me about it, and all of you have chosen to stay with me even though this page has for long been dormant. If time is the measure of anything, then I am proud of this companionship. I am proud of you.

Which is why I feel I owe you an explanation.

In 2010, as I left medical college for Kasaragode, I had already been decided on wanting to appear for the Civil Services Examination. Initially the idea was to prepare for a full year and to attempt the exam of 2011. Yet in my third month of rural service, one fine day I chose to just do it already. Not only did my friend the station master at Manjeswara arrange for a ticket within the hour, (in the only long-distance train having the briefest of stops there), he even watched from the platform and made sure that my rather numerous bags were loaded safely before giving the express train the green signal to proceed! - God bless Him.

I went straight to the town of Palai, a sort of gateway to the eastern highlands of Kerala, even today retaining some of that old world frontier charm and simplicity. There I enrolled and stayed at Pastoral Center of the Church who were giving classes for civil service aspirants. I made many friends there, people from widely different backgrounds as mine, many of whom remain fast friends to this day. I would not have ready net access from that point on until much later.

I moved back to Thiruvananthapuram in June, where I would stay at yet another Church - a church proper, not a hostel - for another two years. Was intented initially to stay for a month, two at most, but then developed such deep mutual respect and affection between me and the people there - priests and laity both - that me, a practicing Hindu, was told that the subsidized rent room was mine 'for as long as I wanted it'! That I had done a substantial part of my education in Christian institutions might've helped, but it also represents a certain conditioning of the heart and mind that one still comes across quite generously in Kerala. From time to time, some of the priests would invite me to their rooms where we would discuss things ranging from Victorian poetry to world politics - where I would often criticize the church's failure to integrate liberation theology into the mainstream discourse. A few other's - mostly college students - who were also staying there would come to look on me as a friendly elder, and would come to my room in the evenings, sometimes also bringing me dinner. Even the lower cadre staff would approach me - sometimes for writing a letter, sometimes for medicines, sometimes simply to gripe about the clergy and the laity. On my part, I always took care to show proper respect and maintain decorum of the place of worship, maintained a low profile generally, even though over the course of my stay there my readings into society and politics would make me even more critical of organized religion.

I wrote the exam in 2010 November, again in 2011 November and attended UPSC interviews in 2011 April at Delhi. I have written one final time in 2012 October and now awaiting results. In the meantime, I have joined Kerala Health Services as Medical Officer on contract at Govt.Hospital half a km away from my home in Punalur.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking myself seriously enough to want to write about my many preoccupations. Even otherwise, having chosen to deliberately exclude oneself from the ebb and flow of life, there wasn't much to write about in any case.

Which is why it pleases me no end that you have not given up on me, that many of you might stop to read me if only on your way elsewhere.

Good day.





Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the rain drop.

It rained last night.

I put my hand out through the window, and caught just a drop.

It tasted of the air above, the earth below, the salt of the seas and the warmth of the sun.

And I thought of the mother.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Creation

It may be that..

In a moment of intense gloom and agony,
out of the darkness pervading the universe,
God created Man.

Then God looked down upon his work, aghast and crestfallen,
and in another moment of infinite love and compassion,
fashioned the Woman.

Then God stood back, bowed to her, and begged her forgiveness.

Friday, May 6, 2011

the Sunflower..

It may be that..

the Sun feeds and warms the earth,

and puts up with everyone on it..

Just so there could be the Sunflower!

Friday, January 7, 2011

of love and other demons

Of what good is love, she asked, if you don't care for, or give respect!

Of what good is it, he agreed, if you can't trust, or won't try to understand!

Their hearts still sang as one, as they always did,

and though the wind howled madly through the night, yet the dry earth remained parched.

The grass was a gift, I remember, now that it is Summer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Couple

The traffic was inching forward, and end-less lane of angry cars stretched as far ahead as the eye could see. The evening rush was worse than usual. He glanced at the clock impatiently, not wanting to reach home late. His wife would be waiting.

She was dressed and ready when he reached. A quick shower and they were off. He had advance tickets to the latest flick. More than the movie it was the memory of the old times that they wanted to relish. Somehow the seats seemed smaller now than they used to be just a few years earlier. Funny, she thought, how time comes to settle around the waist, like a tree’s girth around the trunk would tell the age. Then he took her hand in his and she forgot all about trees.

She had wanted to go to the road-side eatery they used to frequent. He thought they had outgrown it. They settled for a new restaurant that had come up in the vicinity of their old college campus. She liked the wine.

They went for a walk afterwards. A passing police-man recognized him and saluted smartly. He looked embarrassed. She smiled to herself, perhaps from memories of another time. Different memories.

A mild breeze blew from across the lake. Her smell still sent a chill down his spine after all these years. She slipped on the pavement, having worn heels after a while now. He caught her. She held on to his arm for one moment longer.

It began to drizzle. The evening was past. He called for his driver. They went back.

Then he dropped her and went home to his wife.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gibran

Kahlil Gibran, the Arab mystic poet, has been one of the most profound influenzes upon my life.

He wrote about longing and belonging, of the pain and suffering of existence, and of love.

He knew that there was a being inside Man that rode the skies with the angels, but that there was also a beast inside of him that was not yet human. And he loved all three of them.

In my days of madness, I would find refuge in the utterences of his 'Madman' and find solace. I can now see that those who understand us, enslave something in us.

In Love, I drew her to me with his words, and her gibberish made me laugh.

He taught me to be at peace with my soltitude, and I could finally come to see my place on the earth.

Cautioned me not to measure the strength of the ocean by the fraility of its foam.

He suggested that to see faces, one has to learn to look beneath the fabric that one's own eyes had woven, and behold the reality beneath. I have since come to realize that its a cruel thing to deny people of their deceptions, to try to see the man beneath the mask. I know, now, that the mask is the man.

Bread baked without love feeds but half a man's hunger, and I have tried to be brave enough that my work might indeed be love made visible.

Too bad, he didn't have armies spreading his word. The World would've been so much a better place.