I have never written about you. I have written about girls I have liked but never written about you. So here I sit down and type this letter just for you, dear mom. Although I don’t have clear memories of my early childhood and never asked you if it was easy for you to give up your job as a nurse to look after me, to take care of me, help me grow up, I thank you for that. It may have been a difficult decision for you to make I assume, but you still did it for me. Women are hardly asked about the effect of quitting their jobs to care for a baby or look after the family. It is expected of them, so much so that in certain cases if the newlywed wife doesn’t intend to give up her career she is criticized unfairly by others. Of course, things are changing in the present times but men are never expected or asked to give up their careers to bring up a son or daughter. You were so practical and did it anyway just for me so that I could receive your love from the moment I was born.
Mom, we don’t talk much. I mean at least when I compare with my friends talking to their mothers I don’t think we talk much. But I tell you things I would never have the courage to tell dad. I tell you about the girl I like, about the time I went to meet her. You ask me if we watched a movie and I say “no, no”. And I always feel very happy when you ask me to get KFC’s zinger burger whenever I go to a mall. Can I tell you something more? I have many close friends who are women, and also if I wanted to have a sibling it would be an elder or younger sister. Perhaps it’s the way in which women-kind can empathize and sympathize that makes them such amazing people, whom one can easily confide in, and talk about most things under the sun without being made fun off. I have guy friends too who share this trait but they are a rarity.
You know the one thing which is so underappreciated and equally undervalued is the immense hard-work you put in maintaining the home and family. It might seem that you are duty-bound to do it but the commitment and perseverance you show is just unbelievable. I have seen you washing clothes early-morning during the winters, do the dishes, when dad and I either just sit in front of the television or doze-off. I have seen you enthusiastically waking up early to prepare breakfast so that dad can go to the office and I can go to school on time, even though you might be running a fever. You never have any designated days as holidays. Dad has off days at work. I have off days as a student. But you never have. I heard you saying once “we women never have a day off”. I didn’t understand it then but now I do. Especially after you fell ill last Christmas and I had to help out dad with the household work. I realized how effortlessly you do the entire body of work without complaining about your grievances. I know I have let you down, by not providing more help in maintaining the house and share the chores to reduce your workload. But I intend to work on it. Men have so-called “more important jobs” and women are left to do the “unimportant, menial tasks”. I don’t think anymore that women do unimportant tasks. Their contribution is as important and sometimes even more as the husband’s or the son’s. I have to make sure that you have holidays too and that we share the household workload more.
Mom, I love your liking for water-less puchkas and excitement for an occasional “yum-yum chili-chicken”. I love your eyes lighting up for steamed-momos, rosgollas and misthi-doi. I love the sweet mango pickle, our “jelly-pickle” you make during the summers and the kheer you make whenever I return home for holidays. I get so delighted when you prepare “tikhil-asma” and “bairka-asma” and our favorite, though tasteless yet very fulfilling “thappa-roti”. I miss the “osa-dishes” you made when I was small. I used to love mushrooms at that point of time. I miss our walks back from primary school. Mom, you know what quality of yours I love the most. Well, it isn’t just one. It’s your humility, your perseverance, your silent sacrifices without ever making a big deal about it, your quiet stillness and calm amidst all chaos, the way you stay calm and brave even during earthquakes when dad gets all panicky and scampers out of the house like a rat. We both know about that. I have grown up to be a bit like you, mom. I definitely look like you and I have some of your qualities, though not up to your level but I am working on it. And I have so much more to say and write but I will stop here now. I know words are never enough and I don’t say this enough but I love you, mom.
This is a capture of 25th October 2018.
A bunch of weeds atop my neighbour’s terrace caught my attention. And, I kept thinking each day when are these weeds going to be removed. With each passing day, I felt like taking a sickle and removing the weeds by myself.
And, then finally came the day when hired labourers were at work all the day through.
The terrace then, looked neat and nice.
The following day as I opened my window to the sight of a tidy terrace, I missed the overgrown weeds and that set me thinking to something deep.
Just as weeds are unwanted growths – be it on the fields or on terraces or crevices on the walls, in the life of humans are certain weed-like qualities. They look beautiful on the exterior, but have no productivity in our lives. As you can see in the picture, the bushy weeds were good to look at by themselves (that’s why I clicked them). But not only they were useless, they also obstructed movement and usage of a part of the terrace.
And, I moved on to think what are the weed-like qualities in me.
Think of it as you see this picture. What are the weed-like qualities in you – they keep on growing lush with each day – but have no use for you, rather pose as impediments in your life?
Even a cactus can grow up
to be beautiful with all its
prickly thorns and
thick petal flowers,
alone in the desert
with no nurture or
refreshing water showers.
With no gardener
to take care of it,
or some bird to
come and sit on it.
No animals to
gnaw on its leaves,
no prayers to be offered
Around, with any beliefs.
Strong and alone in the
barren land it stands,
taking in all it can get yet
happy playing with hot sands.
Even the most beautiful
tchotchke seems unnecessary
at times, feels like it’s just
taking up space for something
better, something nice.
But all it is doing is beautifying
the corner, not expecting
to be admired all the
time in spite of being a loner.
Even a festoon gets
unnoticed albeit hanging
on top of the main entrance,
just dangling, looking
beautiful, not causing
anyone, any hindrance.
Not bothering if anyone
pays any heed to it ever,
nor expecting to be
witnessed on some
auspicious occasion, never.
Sun, rain, wind or cold, any
weather not causing it to
bow down low,
on the top, the glossed
over festoon hangs,
with pride aglow.
Even with a worthy life we
tend to astray from our path,
not trying to move forward,
clinging on to our inglorious past.
Loving, cherishing the present we
ought to live despite any strife,
standing tall and moving forward
with all love’s glory in life.
Sometimes I assume
I am carrying problems
on my shoulder
rather than the actual weight
my shoulders hunch
as nobody tells them to relax
my world is an emotional baggage
of what I don’t see
and what I see
yet I have chosen not to unload
I have become used
with this excess baggage that
it has become comfortable to carry
I have forgotten to enjoy a ride
with less baggage…
Sometimes I carry a hidden baggage
of anger, fear, and sadness
that sneaks up on me
and ambush me out of nowhere…
I want to get rid
of that old baggage
that I carry every day
on my shoulders
I wrote a list of my impacts
and tucked it into my purse
little did I realize that
the old baggage I am carrying
day in and day out
has been holding me back
from maximizing my potential…
I finally gathered the courage
to let this emotional baggage go
I tore the list into pieces
and dumped into the trash
my shoulder is
no more burdened
with the weight
my heart is light
like an infant smile
I am moving forward
less weighted down
by the past…
There are those who fall
and then those who crumble in love;
Those who want it but never feel
Those who felt it but never said
Those who said but walked away
Those who left but chose to return
Those who stayed but couldn’t last
Those who stood by but couldn’t let go
Those who chose to let go and got so hurt
Those who chose to hurt but stuck to strive
Those who fought for it but did not survive
Those who learnt to endure in all the squabbles
Those who spewed words but ended with a kiss
Those who never spoke but lived together
Those who gelled together but didn’t get each other
Those who merged but were not blessed enough
And then there were those
who were blessed and lived happily ever after.
It matters not
This love or that love
His love or her love
Gelled in love or broken in love
Rise in love or fall in love
It began for reasons unknown
and ends with fate uncertain.
Love is bliss
blessed are those
who’ve known love.
On a January winter morning,
The gossamer mist engulfs me.
It carries me away in the cold air,
Above the tiny ever-growing city buildings
And gently lowers me on the banks of Teesta, the mysterious green river.
I see footsteps on the white sands,
Once they were mine,
It’s been a long time since I walked on them.
The kids blow balloons and frolic around,
The silvery water gushes past the huge boulders,
My mother warns me not to go into the water,
I am a good boy and I listen to her.
I have always been cautious of the river,
Buses have fallen into it, people washed away never to be found-
Adrenaline pumped teenagers have been drowned by its strong currents
But I never blame Teesta.
We have to respect the power of nature.
I recollect how Teesta’s beauty captivated me,
The serpentine contour, the murky green surface,
The forested hills rising on either side of it,
Rocky hills, Strong hills, Old hills.
We jump from rock to rock carefully balancing ourselves,
My curly haired-crush moves deftly on the rocks.
I am rather tentative and worried that I will fall.
I am so in love with her.
We don’t have smart phones to take selfies,
We don’t need one as we are lost in nature.
I can smell the chicken-masala wafting through the air,
My feet can’t stop tapping to the rhythm of the song,
All of us hold hands together and we dance in unison,
Our faces, look happy, all smiles, at least for a day,
A day worth the wait,
Picnicking on the banks of Teesta.
The mist disperses as the sun comes out,
I am brought back to the present.
I retain the smiles and the joy,
The times have changed, and picnics are no more regular.
People throng the malls more than the serene riverside.
I stand on the bridge and look down at the green waters,
They flow where they have to as life goes on.