Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Words... And words are all we have...

Papa knew something was amiss.  She was overly enthusiastic. Her lips smiled, but her eyes seldom complemented that expression.
Of all his children she was the stubborn one. The proud  one who would never let off her guard. 
His first born.  His lucky mascot.  The day she was born, he got his first promotion at work.  Every year his pay raises and promotions would typically come around her birthday. It could just be that time of the year she was born that coincided with his Bank’s pay revision cycle. But to him, she was his lucky mascot. 
Every birthday of hers they went shopping and brought gold jewelry for their little angel’s big day .   She was not particularly enthused with her birthday gifts. But they knew it was their investment for her future. 
The day he bought his first house she came of age.   
On her engagement day he had a heart attack. 

The hospitalization, the tests, the angiogram happened like a well-oiled machine. At the hospital the  Doctors had apparently see worse cases day in and day out.  They prescribed a series of medicines and regular tests and assured everything would be normal. 

Instinctively she knew this was a premonition for a disaster looming round the corner. Soon she was told to silence her instincts and move on with life.  

Father and daughter got themselves immersed with the wedding arrangements. For him it had to be a wedding like none other.  He wanted to spare nothing if it would bring happiness to his daughter.

The man she chose to marry was her choice. When the two men in her life met for the first time, Papa grilled him with his questions, like he was an Al-Qaeda suspect.  Later he did his surreptious checks on the boy’s character, verified his payslips and educational qualifications just to be sure that his darling daughter was secure in someone else's hands and she was not being  hood winked.          
Years later, they would laugh at the questions he asked  and the demeanor he exhibited on that day of interrogation.

After the wedding, she made sure she would not cry when he came to see her off at the airport. She knew he would ‘nt cry, but his heart was weak. Just a trigger from her was enough to break him down. She ensured Mama  was carrying the Sorbitol, the emergency first-aid  pill for heart attack.

Two days after the wedding, when she had gone away, came the Tsunami.  The real Tsunami. The tectonic  plates  moved, the ocean roared and spouted itself all over the Indian Ocean.

At the Marina Beach, Papa  saw it firsthand. He was out on his morning walk. 
By afternoon, when the Television channels blared the news about  Tsunami, people grappled coming to terms with that strange word spelt  with a Silent T. 
Till then nobody knew what a Tsunami was like.
For those who were affected and those who saw it first hand , it left them shell shocked.
***************
She was shell shocked…

‘Tsunami’ was not the only strange new word she would learn soon after her wedding.   She learnt there were many things, creations, situations, circumstances , experiences , orientations and  perspectives for which words were not yet coined. 
When words don’t exist in a vocabulary, how do you even express them?
If you perceive something, experience it and feel it , can that be called real ?
If it is real why weren’t there words to express  them.  Who coins words?
Do the animals, birds, marginalized and minorities have words which they use to express and communicate. 
Before the Tsunami struck did people who haven’t seen one in their geography or experienced it in their generation or heard from their previous generation even know what a Tsunami was like ?
At least ‘Tsunami’  was a word that existed in vocabulary. Apparently the Japanese had experienced it often. If she had been well aware of worldly matters  she would have known what a Tsunami with that strange  silent ‘T’ was like.

They say the Tsunami had come without a warning.  She never believed it. 
*****************
They would speak on the phone every day.  Over  the next few months, it became every alternate day. Then it became the weekly routine. Later phone calls were restricted to birthdays, festivals, anniversaries and once in a while events that happened on either side of the continent. 

They both knew something was amiss.  He was at loss of words.  Silence hung over heavier than words.  But ISD phone calls were expensive and meant for words .  There was no point drooling over silence. 
He knew her  voice, her words, her expressions very well.  Every time she came over the phone, her voice was unnecessarily nasal and her enthusiasm was unwarranted.  The voice and the enthusiasm did not complement each other.

When two connected souls speak, words are unnecessary to validate them.
Both of them knew it.   Yet...
Both of them believed they did not know it.
Both of them knew the other person knew it... yet
Both of them believed the other person did not know it.

Months,  became years and years became a decade.
She came back with heavy bags.  Heavy bags hanging under her eyes.
There was no mistaking it this time. 
And yet Papa could not bring himself to ask her if there was something amiss.
And yet she could not tell him there was something he was not seeing through.
***********
Years later …It just happened one sudden day. 
Without a trigger,
Without  any warning.
They were surfing their respective laptops. 
She was watching the Tsunami videos over you tube.
'Strange' she said, 'it took me a decade to google up and find out how it was to be around the Marina Beach when the Tsunami came' ? 
'You weren’t  around.  I experienced it first hand', he said without taking his eyes off his laptop. 

He was watching the movie ‘gaslights’ on you Tube.  'Strange he said, took me these many years to figure out what this word ‘gas lighting’ meant'.      
'You weren’t  around. I experienced it first hand', she said.

Both of them knew they were around in spirit and soul with each other.  They did not need words to experience what the other must have felt like.

When two connected souls speak, words are unnecessary and insufficient.          

*****************
Dedicated to all fathers on the eve of Father’s day.

P.S : This post is purely a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a character, place or incident is entirely
co-incidental.  

What if you and your dad wake up one fine morning to find out that your souls have been exchanged? How would it be to live your dad’s life for a day or (more interestingly) for him to live yours?


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
Every weekend, we give out creative writing prompts for bloggers to rekindle the love of writing in all you creative writers. Hope you enjoy our creative writing inspiration for this week. :)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

My Creepy wild forest - Season 4


It has been a long hiatus from blogging.  Actually this could the after effect or burn out from the April A to Z challenge or its hangover. Neverthless, I clicked some pictures this morning on that every so sturdy Nokia 520 and that inspired me to write. 

Creepy wild forest -Season 4


There is news from the Creepy wild forest (CWF) 

We harvested our first ripe tomato of this season this morning.  There  are a few that are yet to ripen.  Looking forward to a good harvest provided the monsoon pests in the form of  white aphids do not attack the tomato plants very vigorously.  

The bitter-gourd creepers are growing up fast and furious.

The betel leaf creeper that came from Kumbakonam  is spreading itself all over the place. 
     
Our Mint Chutney is now getting famous. We make it every time there are guests at home, just to show off the glorious products from our CWF.

For a change the 'table roses' are blooming in the hanging pots. We were never lucky with table roses.
But this time around they seem to have taken a liking to our CWF. We plucked them from outside the entrance of an 'Isha Nursery' where there were growing in the wild. 

On a road trip from Nagapattinam in Tamil nadu, I was intrigued by the number or small nurseries called 'Isha Nursery' all over the state highway. Isha Foundation's Project Greenhands has taken upon itself to increase the green cover in Tamilnadu and distributes saplings of wild trees at a very nominal price through these nurseries for anyone who cares to buy and tend to a few trees. They sell saplings of wild and endangered varieties  of trees like the sandal wood, Rosewood, Mahogany, Teak and timber. They also sell the ones with medicinal values like the 'Malavemdu' ( the Mountain neem tree), Manjal Kadambai ( Botanical name Harldinia cordifollia) and Karumarudu ( Terminalia tomentosa) varieties.

These are volunteers from Project greenhands who have spread themselves across Tamilnadu and have made these saplings accessible to the rural as well as urban populace in Tamilnadu. Each sapling costs anywhere between Rs. 5 to Rs.10 which is cheaper than a cup of tea from the cheapest of roadside eateries. 

As a memory from that trip we picked up 'Malaivembu' and 'Shenbagam' saplings to plant in our apartment entrance. That would be our little bit to make up for eroding the green cover of this urban jungle we live in which not so long ago was a forest known for its wilderness particularly the elephant population. 

With some little care, the 'Malaivembu' and 'Shenbagam' have taken well and are growing just outside our apartment complex. I hope they survive all odds, thrive and grow up into sturdy trees 10-20 years from now.  
10-20 years from now - really that seems like a very long time to wait. For instant gratification we therefore turn to Creepy wild forest (CWF) where lifespans of most species does not last more than 6-12 months.    

Every December we have visitors from abroad who cannot take chances with the water quality in this country.  When they visit, they end up buying two to three crates of Aqua-fina mineral water bottles.  This year after they were gone, it broke our heart to dump these empty plastic bottles in the garbage pile.  (We do not have adequate Recycling outlets in our country).

 In order to neutralise our carbon footprint, we decided that these Aqua- fina plastic bottles got converted into flower pots.  After a few tender saplings of Balsam and Marigold seeds germinated in a bigger mud pot they were transplanted transplanted one each into these containers.   The balsam bushes that grew tall and sturdy in these two litre aqua-fina containers are now approaching  old age. They came home as seeds along with the yellow marigold from that memorable trip with Sowmya and Nancy to Belur in November 2013. In six months they germinated, flowered and withered away. But not before propogating plenty of Marigold and Balsam saplings all over the creepy wild forest.

 As we await the second generation of Balsam and Marigold plants to flower, there were some valuable lessons we learnt. 

For all the money we spend, the branded variety of seeds that we used to buy from the stores normally last only one generation. They never  propogpate. As I understand they are treated with poison and sterilised and sold, just so that the business model for the corporations selling the seeds of these ornamental flowers and vegetables does not go bust. 
On the other hand when a seed in sown from the wild, such as left over seeds of tomatoes from kitchen waste or that podalangai (snake-gourd) left overs that we accidentally threw into the mud pot, their chances of  germination, survival and growth into a plant and a creeper are entirely left to chance with the nature. There is no guarantee as to what will germinate, survive and propogate and what will not. It is survival of the fittest and the luckiest given the circumstances and resources present around the place at that time.   And yet what manages to ultimately grow, gives so much of abundance in return.  





Sadly I may have to lay to rest our ‘Garden Babaji’. He came to our Creepy wild forest from an exhibition that was selling hand made products from the north-east a couple of years ago. He was a work of art by some unknown tribal somewhere  in the dense forests of the north east. 
He was an inspiration and a mascot for the creepy wild forest. 
But as in the  law of the wild, everything must go.
His fault has been that he attracts honey bees who have found  an ideal spot around him to set up their home.  Unfortunately the civilization of humans that inhabit this place  around  him find the colonisation of the honey bees very threatening.  This morning we had to evict the honey bees and pack him up in a plastic bag. He would be thrown away into the garbage pile from where he would travel to some landfill and rot there along with tons and tons of plastic covered garbage.


It saddens my heart indeed.  Just as I write this, I think, I might find another place to hide him and rescue him. As far as our Creepy wild forest is concerned it is good bye to ‘Garden babaji’.

Garden Babaji - you were the inspiration behind the creepy wild forest. 
You will be sorely missed. 



       

 Simpoo and Dimpoo will replace Babaji as the reigning mascots of the Creepy wild forest henceforth. 
If you are unfamiliar with Simpoo and Dimpoo and want to know more click here.  


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