Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A String of Pearls - मोतियों की माला

Don't thread these pearls
On a weak string

Each one's
A solidified reminder
Of a moment so precious
An emotion so deep
Collected with care

A moment
Of being truly alive
Of letting go
Of experiencing
The rawness
Of Life
That shakes you up
Of squeezing out
Every last drop

Handle them with care
Oh Beloved
For they're not just
Pearls of grief
Interspersed also
On that string
That adorns are
Moments of gratitude
Tears of Joy

इन मोतियों को 
कच्चे धागों में न पिरोना 

हर मोती है
एक ठोस सबूत 
उस कीमती लम्हे का 
गहरी भावनाओं को 
संभाल के सहेजा हुआ 

इक पल 
ज़िन्दगी को गले लगाने का 
आत्मसमर्पण उसे 
अनुभव उसके कच्चे सौन्दर्य का 
जो झिंझोड़  दे 
उसकी हर बूँद 
निचोड़ लें 

संजो के रखना इन्हे  
ओ प्रिये
ये सिर्फ गम के ही 
मोती नहीं 
बीच बीच में मिलेंगे तुम्हे 
इस माला में सजे हुए 
क्षण आभार भरे 
आँसू खुशी के 
- Seattle, December 31, 2013
(Inspired by Anne Lamott's Bird-by-Bird)
Image credit: Morning_Pearls_by_ChrisBay101

Friday, December 13, 2013

Now, I choose

Now, I choose
That gurgles through
Mountainous, rocky pathways

Now, I choose
That drenches
Every pore on every shore
Without restraint

Now, I choose
That bursts through
The very fabric of my being

Now, I choose
To know my whole Self
Embracing my shadow and my light
Now, I choose
Not to withhold any part of myself
Take it or leave it
This is who I am

 - Mumbai, October 29, 2013
अब, मैं चुनती हूँ 
जो झर झर गुनगुनाए 
पथरीले रास्ते अपनाये 

अब, मैं चुनती हूँ 
जो करे रोम रोम सराबोर 
असंयत हर छोर 

अब, मैं चुनती हूँ 
जो फूटे  यकायक 
कहीं भीतर से अचानक 

अब, मैं चुनती हूँ 
पूर्णतः आत्म ज्ञान 
गले लगा अपनी छाया एवं प्रकाश 
अब, मैं चुनती हूँ 
अपना ही साथ
आप चाहें या ना मानें 
यही है मेरी पहचान  

- Seattle, December 13, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Banyan Tree

Just hearing the words evokes memories of childhood…
A sprawling tree in one corner of my school's playground. A shady spot of respite to cool off from the intense heat. To sit under and talk to friends. To rest against its strong trunk and regain my strength. It always tempted me to grab hold of its shoots and swing around like a monkey. And something about the way its broad leaves fanned out over my head was extremely reassuring.
That Banyan Tree in that playground, way back when, was a symbol of strength and stability. Of generosity and benevolence. Of patience and wisdom.

Over the past few weeks, I've experienced 'The Banyan Tree' of a slightly different kind.
How interesting that it evokes much of the same feelings!
I first experienced it during the staged readings at the ACT Theater in 2012 and when it went into a full theatrical production this year, I found myself lending a hand to the team with their props and costumes. From my early visits to the rehearsals to the opening last night, it's remarkable to observe how this Banyan Tree has grown so beautifully.

How Tulika's script itself had such strong roots - providing stories that ran the entire gamut of emotions, provoking thoughts about our roles and choices in a personal and societal context...
How Agastya, as the director, offered continuous strength and support to each participant, guiding and tweaking, helping each member to be ever present and really get under the skin of the character they were portraying...
How each actor absorbed the rich nutrients offered during this creative journey, developing their own unique qualities to extend the reach of the Tree and strengthen the whole…
How the camaraderie and playfulness during practice translated into some delightful moments for the audience and flowed with a natural ease…

This production of 'The Banyan Tree' is a terrific example of how theater as an art form gloriously shines a light on our own human idiosyncrasies. How showing a mirror to our inevitable daily struggles through the lens of humor makes them a little more palatable. How portraying seemingly difficult conversations helps us to deepen our own roots and draw the strength we need. To grow into the best possible versions of ourselves.
 - 7 September, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Of a molten hot weekend...

Flowing rods aflame
Softly embrace the mandrel
Frit and stringers, turquoise
Ivory, black and coral

Possibilities umpteen
The first bead white, pristine
Followed by a veritable explosion
Rainbow hues in fascinating fusion

Balancing my flame amid
Propane and oxygen
For stray, distant thoughts
There is no margin

The glowing glass mesmerizes
Melding colors, full of surprises
Many an experiment
Much bewilderment

Some turning out
Exactly the way I thought
While others, bringing results
Wholly unsought

Some that shatter
Some with chinks
Are the ones that matter
That form true links

Teaching me life’s great lessons
An adventure always beckons
That in the end, it is about the journey
Of expressing and creating
Of Life squeezed out each moment
Of dropping all judgment
Learning to thrive
Of being fully alive
And always to strive
For love and surrender
Especially, during
Molten, hot weekends!

- Pratt Fine Arts Center... a fine place to be

Seattle, Feb 10, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Molten glass

Molten glass
Bursts forth
Like lava erupting from
The bowels of this earth

Wanting to simply break free

It has been held within
For too long
Facing a building pressure
Deep within
Churning turmoil seeking a fissure
Deep within
The surface of apparent calm

It had to break free
It had no choice
Holding it
Deep within
Only leads to
A horrific implosion

Bursting forth
With a relieving mystique
It transforms instantly
Into a cold dampness
Across my cheek

Tears of sorrow
Tears of pain
A new tomorrow,
Tears of laughter
Tears of gratitude, perhaps

Never in vain

- Seattle, November 12, 2012

Monday, June 10, 2013

Train tracks

Memories of childhood travels
Fascination always
With the parallel tracks
Stretching out to infinity
As far as the eye could see

Astonishment always
At forces that hold them
Together with such certainty
So they can…
Just Be!

Wonder always
Does one rail ever get lonely?
Tired with its existence solitary
Carrying a weight constantly

A question that fuels my curiosity
Why do train tracks die?

Haven’t you seen them
Lying by the wayside?   
Their whole purpose denied
Desolate, lonely
Twisted and withered
A silent, sorrowed abode
To weeds and cigarette butts
Waiting endlessly
For a train that arrives

Haven’t you felt their anguish?
Sleepers rotting, junctions corroding
The tracks sadly languish
Their former shiny glory waning
Confidence starkly dissipating
Lying about in disrepair
Forlorn, morose, filled with despair
Lost, rusted
Hopelessness encrusted

What caused them to decay I wonder?

I’ve entertained many a notion…
Perhaps a seldom used station
Inattention causing putrefaction
Elements causing corrosion
Non-maintenance due to corruption
Perchance a misaligned junction
Or simply
Trains changing direction

But the bottom-line remains
Train tracks die
If one rail decides suddenly
To explore its own new territory
Losing meanwhile its identity
Ending up eventually
As a rod of scrap metal

Train tracks die
If they try to converge
Twisted metal
Sounds their dirge

Train tracks die
When there’s no maintenance
If either rail
Forsakes its penance

Train tracks die
When they no longer serve
Losing their purpose
Costs them their verve

Conversely though,
Train tracks thrive
When the rails journey
Side by side
Knowing deep inside
The other is always, just
An arm’s length away

Train tracks thrive
On a strong foundation
Anchored together
By a common purpose
A shared goal
Bearing the load equally
Carrying it in all safety
Connected intermittently
By sleepers and plates
Grounded well in reality

Train tracks thrive
Upon shedding all
Thoughts of entanglement
Setting their sights simply
On their complete enchantment
With the horizon ahead

-          Seattle, March 16, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Like the Sun...

Like the sun
He radiates His Blessings
Without reserve
Never questioning
Does she deserve?

Like the Sun
He Lights that Sacred Fire
That turns to ashes
All that I no longer need
Quelling needless desire

Even when 
My clouded vision
Leads me to believe
The Sun is hiding
Leaving me pining
Like the Sun
He blazes forth brightly
Showing me The Way
Waiting patiently 
For the clouds to part
And for me to catch
A glimpse of 
My own Divine radiance

Like the Sun
He teaches me to
Embrace, Experience, Enjoy
Shadows of all kinds
To simply
Turn towards the light
If ever they threaten to destroy 

Like the Sun
My Guru
Dispels darkness
From the depths of my soul 

Like the sun
He melts away
The misty veils of ignorance
Through the Fire of Knowledge 
Burning up impressions 
Building up my endurance

Like the Sun
He gives me
New life everyday
Healing me utterly, completely 
Nourishing my Soul
His unconditional love 
Making me whole

Seattle, March 31, 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Outside my window…

A hint of the moon
Peeks from behind itself
On a clear
Cloudless blue sky
Outside my window

Outside my window...Snow-capped mountains peek
From behind their own shadows
Atop the clear
Waveless blue waters
Outside my window

Sheets of azure glass
Interspersed with graffiti
Birds, boats
The occasional kayak
Outside my window

Sounds of laughter
Traffic, trains
Even the occasional plane
A sweet, chattering twitter
Outside my window

Bright, cheerful sunshine
Dappled shadows 
Chattering, dancing, cavorting
A soft breeze springing
Outside my window

Blossoms on every tree
Blossom hope in every heart
Out of the stillness of winter
A new world springs forth
Takes a new birth
Outside my window

-          Seattle, March 31, 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 Holi Celebrations

...with a heartfelt thanks to CRY Seattle
होली के रंग 

कहीं नीला, तो कहीं है पीला 
लाल, गुलाबी, हरा, जमुनी 
आज दिखाई देता यहाँ 
है हर तरह का रंग 
छाई है मस्ती, मचा हुडदंग 
बरसीं अचानक रंगीली बौछारें 
सावन ले आया इक नयी उमंग 

कल रात मनाई थी  
होलिका की विदा 
मिल के जलाई थी 
अहंकार की चिता

आज चारों ओर 
नए रंग हैं खिले 
दूर दराज़ से यार-दोस्त 
सब यहीं हैं, मिले  

उड़ चला है हवाओं में 
इन्द्र धनुषी सा गुलाल 
उठ गया मन के कोनों  से 
छुपा बैठा कोई मलाल 

हर रंग लाया है संग 
अनोखी कोई भावना 
सिखलाये निभानी है मुझे 
नित नयी भूमिका 

आज के इस उत्सव पर 
इन रंगों में खो जाने दो 
इच्छाओं-आकांक्षाओं को त्याग 
इनसे भी परे हो जाने दो 

इन रंगों को जल तरंगों में 
जल्द ही बह जाने दो 
सफेदी की सादी सरलता को 
इस रूह में समा जाने दो 

फिर हर क्षण होगा यहाँ 
अदभुत अनन्य अनन्त
जीवन के इस खेल-चित्र में 
खिल उठेगा हर रंग 

-    Seattle, March 30, 2013