A Little Bird

It was beginning to get a little warmer. The Sun came up early in the morning. The buds were sprouting from the bare branches of the trees in the neighbor’s backyard.

Alighting on a top branch, a little blue bird, rubbed its beak on the dry bark. It was as if the little bird was caressing the branches, silently acknowledging his hardships and bravery. The bird was thankful that the tree was still standing. This was the tree she had chosen to build her nest. Read more..

Remembering Mashi

Last night, I was in surprised and overjoyed when I looked at the pencil sketch that bore a striking resemblance to my mother’s eldest sister, my one, and only Mashi. Mashi had passed away when I was just a pre-teenager. It was a long time ago. I am now a middle-aged lady and a mother of a pre-teenager and a teenager. Whenever I think of her, I remember her loving and giving ways and her single-minded devotion to Goddess, Ma Kali.

Mashi, along with her husband had gone to visit Mathura-Vrindavan, the birthplace of Krishna and where most of Krishna’s childhood days were spent. Unfortunately, she got infected with meningitis during her trip and breathed her last in Delhi, where she was rushed to, for treatment.

Last year I had made a sketch of a nice lady who is celebrating her 75th birthday later this year. I had taken a photograph from her youthful days and sketched a portrait, as best as I could possibly do at that time. Needless to mention, It had a bunch of mistakes. With practice I may have learned a few things, I thought. So my plan was to make the sketch better and probably closer to the photograph and give it to her as a present for her birthday.

Yesterday, when I worked on the old sketch for some time, I realized that I could not make it look like the photograph. But all was not in waste. Staring back from the sketchbook at me, I saw a strong resemblance of my Mashi. I felt blessed and loved. If Mashi still lived, she would probably have celebrated her 81st birthday on December 25th.

Mashi wherever you are, you are certainly in my heart. Pranamas.
mashi

CONNECTIONS

connectionOn January 18th, 2013, I and my family started our trip to India to attend a wedding in the extended family. We got up early, washed and got dressed for the long journey overseas. We had some leftover orange chicken and rice for breakfast and set out for Denver International Airport at 7:30 am. After getting our seat assignments and checking in our luggage, we proceeded to the gate. We had three hours to spare as our flight was to depart at noon. There were nice shops and restaurants lined on both sides of the walkways. We decided to eat at a restaurant called Mesa Verde. From the place where we were seated, we could see a wall to wall picture of an archaeological site that showed the remains of a group of Native American dwellings built out of limestone at the edge of a cliff.  I stared at the beautiful picture and wondered where it was located. One of our family member remarked that it was the picture of Manitou Cliff Dwellings. I had visited the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and even though the native dwellings in the picture had similar features, I could tell that it was not the same place. Hence I uttered a confused “may be” to the remark. Read more ..

Blacku

Once there were nine fish who swam in a big beautiful aquarium. There was a colorful backdrop that had pictures of corals and plants and colorful rocks. The bed of the aquarium had shells and interesting ornaments with plenty of places to hide and sleep.

There was a good supply of food sprinkled every morning and evening. Blacku, who was black as soot all over, was spending happy days in that aquarium. He was friends with all the other fish because he had a nice disposition and did not believe in getting in anyone’s ways.

The food supply was steady and consistent but there was a greedy fish among the group. His name was Dalmatian because he was white with big black spots all over. Dalmatian was growing fast as he gobbled a big portion of the food. He started to fight with Blacku and speedily grab the morsels of food floating near him even before he could get to it. Blacku would go looking for food in other directions.

One week went by he seemed to be getting less and less food every day. Read more

The Empathizer

Rabindranath Tagore

The leaves were shimmering in the wind and the sunshine. It was midday, almost time for lunch. Luckily, lunch was going to be at my uncle’s house. My uncle lived close to my hostel. It was a ten minute walk, when one took the short cut through a cluster of small houses, shared by multiple low income families, typical in Navi Mumbai about fifteen years ago. I had an umbrella to protect myself from the scorching sun rays. The fad of sunscreen had not caught on there in a big way then. I was heading towards my destination in a light pink cotton salwar kameez, wishing that my aunt had cooked her signature chilli chicken that was so delicious. On my way through the narrow winding path between the houses, I could hear Bollywood music, floating down from cheap transistor radios, probably sitting on bed-side tables. Most people were relaxing inside at this time, with their curtains down, the ceiling fans rotating at the fastest possible speeds, their bodies plopped on soft cotton sheets. Ignoring the heat, I made it to the sidewalk of the big main road where my uncle’s apartment building stood and hurried up the few flights of stairs that led to their door. “Ding Dong.”  Continue reading …..