Wednesday, December 09, 2009

by the beach...

A seaport has always been the grandest of gateway to literature. I have read over a hundred stories from ports all over the world. Symbolising life's struggle; of pain, suffering, hope and joy. 

I do live in the city with a seaport, and by the beach. The city, though, rarely wakes up to the charm of the beach or the grandeur of the port. Sadly, there are not that many writers. Those inspired by the sea, port, and the beach must be very few. May be, these writers are littered along the northern shore of the city, lying undisovered. 

Somehow, the port has failed to fill the veins of the writing class. There's not much of writing on the working class also. Or are they not part of the mainstream literature? Sadly, a city of rich culture (call it coffee, carnatic, bharatanatyam) has far less to boast in terms of  literature. May be, all the writers missed the port, and thereby the city's soul. 

I have been dwelling here for a decade but there is only one place where the view of the sea port strikes you in face. As you drive from the northern parts of the city to the collectorate, there is a bridge (under which they used to sell heroin). On top of the bridge, the port's view is dramatic. Sturdy, energetic and vivacious. 

I too have missed the port. At least, I'm happy to drive along the beach on weekdays watching the sea in its myriad hues. Emerald diamond, brilliant black, whale blue, shark grey, bluish green, bleached blue, and at times pale brown. Somedays, the sea waves to you and the beach beckons. 

After the torrential winter rains for five days, the city's skyscape, for once was deep blue, with spongy clouds suspended between the horizon and the lazy sun of a late afternoon. My feet followed the soul to the shore. 

The sea was draped in a deep black spread.  The ships were anchored miles away shone in splending lighting. Very rarely, the ship's contours are visible from the beach. I had to be content with the camera in my mobile. As I took a picture of the distant port, this crow flew into the frame, and lent it the poise. The dyeing waves though were touching my feet,  murumuring the mysteries of the bay. 

The beach has a hundred stories to say, the port a thousand, and the sea a million.The fisher folk, the guardians of the sea, know it better. Catamarans cruise through the bay. On the coast, the crows fly around. As they land, the crows freeze in flight. Time stands still.  

Fly. If not afar, at least, to the beauty of beach. 

Bach's baroque. 

Sunday, December 06, 2009

tip toe...

There are two things that maketh a man. Travel and writing. As you pursue this paralell path, that intertwine all the time unlike the train track, you subtly open the windows to a world of wonder, as the secret chambers of a self-centric heart wakes up to the true passions of life. On the way you learn to have an observant eye, an alert mind, a radiant heart and discover that free spirit. 

After three years, I tip toed back into the passion called travel with my not-so-dirty shoes. Why had I not traveled? What was stopping me? Where was I? 

Nowhere. May be, I was self-indulgent in my own stupid ego around reams of paper in a concrete jungle and bound by the love of a few dotting girls at home. Self-inhibitions can be killing. This truth, you will keep discovering time and again. Till you take the time to travel. 

Without knowing, I subtly stepped into my travel canvas a few months ago. On quite a few enchanting journeys. I was back in the blue tube wearing my blue shoes treading varied landscapes, on the rickety buses to the mountain slopes and a couple of boat rides on the blue expanses. 

As usual, the rains unleashed the spirit for freedom. A valiant port renewed my vigour to life, then the rainforest embraced me in her lustless bosom, a silvery stream stitched a distraught soul, a church and choir sang lullabies in a garden city, an emeraldish bee eater in a paddy field reminded me of rare beauty, and a pelican in penance amidst million golden droplets on a high noon set me free. From my faintest of ego. 

Come, let's walk the path together. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I am trying to remember serenity of my small town far away from thechaos and confusions of a crowded city. A town on a hillock on the leeway side of the western ghats. I always think of those mountains to be purple in colour under a clear blue, breathtaking sky. Here on thehills, a few gentlemen began building houses in the late 1960s. Every town has its own character. My town's character is in those single-storied, semi-circular houses with a pillar or two in front anda grilled, large semi-circular window, with a long glass panel runningthe length of the house. My grandpa, one of the founders of the town,had one such airy, lovely home in which most of us lived ourchildhood.

Apart from the lullabies of my aunts and my teacher mom, my child'seyes must have browsed through a daily and a magazine to which mygrandpa subscribed for decades. I began my career in journalism withthe same daily `Dinamani', an anti-establishment paper, steeped inethics. Now, you know that I was initiated into journalism very earlyin life. Surprisingly, I have seen that magazine only by my grandfather's bedside. It had the title `Dharma Chakra'. After half-a-life, I am more or less certain that Dharma is not to be found easily anywhere or in anyone. As a boy, I have read a few passages from that magazine. I think there were articles on goodness of being, the beautyof life, eternal thirst for spirituality and the more importantly the moral code of conduct for a man. I feel grandpa kept reading that mag till it went out of print as there were not many subscribers. That morality though is still shining in him for us to follow.

There are few other traits of our grandpa that many of us must haveinherited knowingly or unknowingly. To me, `Thaneer Pandal' is one of the noblest act of my clan. This makeshift `pandal' is laid on the road to the temple on the local festive day and as children we revelled in the coconut groves and found happiness in giving water,butter-milkand the chocolate coloured sweet drink called `panakaram' to thepassers-by. In simple words, we discovered the art of giving under that thatched pandal.

What do you do as children? Chat, talk and yell, all the time. OnSaturdays, grandpa had this habit of observing the silent penance. Itmeans he will not talk the entire day. As children, we found it funny. It even gave us the freedom to dare him, a stoic. We would run for cover and at times out of the house whenever we saw anger in his eyes at our stupid, childish pranks. Only later in life that we realized the power and magnificence of silence, the self's key to realization.
Another door opened.

Even now, my generation cherishes its unforgettable images from thatornate home. The festive seasons, especially the deepavalis, breakingthe windows at will playing cricket only to see a red-faced grandpa chasing us out of the house, the big, black-eyed girls learning bharatanatyam, the countless hours of television watching, the elaborate arrangements of toys during navarathri festival, and the moonlit dinner nights at the courtyard behind the house and the starry, singing nights on the terrace. We never knew we lived in perfect happiness, bordering bliss.

Then there are the other images like my grandpa doing his morning pujas, his apple-eating style, khadi dressing, the stoic way he sat athis textile shop, the pride with which he drove in a blue Fiat to manage a college, his near death experience before the brain surgery, his morning walks, the scare on his head, not to forget the radianceof his spirit.

There are many, many images from that blessed home. Nothing will endure the image of a frail looking woman, his compassionate partner in life, sitting somewhere and silently observing the happenings in the house. Not many would have credited her with the way the family members has succeeded in many fronts. If no one knew, she is the secret of the family. I am not sure if her very own daughters know it as they, like the town, are in awe of grandpa, a classical example of rags-to-riches story. My grandpa may know all about success. She seldom shows happiness. It manifests itself in her face whenever shesees her grand-children. She is the source of life. She is the soul of the family. My grandma (avva in telugu and patti in tamil), sure knows all the crevices creeping toward the doors of happiness. In her are the rich traits of an anonymous, under-rated Indian woman who silently prays and cares for everyone in the clan. Tell me, why will not a man succeed if his wife has never ever questioned him but has accepted him as he is.

Ageing though is a loving treatise of life. Watching my grandma telling her respected husband for six decades to shut up or asking himto stop watching news to allow the great-grand children watch cartoons and him tending to her needs by giving her the required pills to put her to sleep, taking her hand in hand when she is weak for a stroll inthe house, in essence, living a new life, contrary to the previous life from their prime, you are filled with a rare warmth and tenderness to life as a whole.

Of late, I think I was the first one to be born and brought up ingrandma's new house in the early seventies as I always dream of owning a spacious, well-lit house with a few trees breathing into it with children playing all around. Often, I long to go back to my little town to settle down for a peaceful life. A life not mechanical but with memories and melancholies to liven up the soul. This particular saying keeps resonating in me. There is nothing morebeautiful than being in your own home town, to sprout like a banyan tree, with the aerial roots feeling the winds of seasons, a light heart so pure that it looks up to the limitless expanse of the blue sky as the actual roots breath beneath the moistness of earth, spreading out and sprouting all the time. In our home, we have this peepal tree, the sacred fig, intertwined with the banyan tree.

Blessed, naturally.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

இன்றிரவு நான் எழுதுவேன்

இன்றிரவு நான் எழுதுவேன் துயரமிகு வரிகளை

எழுதுவேன், உதாரணத்திற்கு, `இந்த இரவு நட்சத்திரங்களால் ஜொலிக்கிறது
அந் நட்சத்திரங்கள் நீல நிறத்தில் நடுங்குகின்ற்ன தொலை தூரத்தில்.’

இரவின் காற்று வானத்தில் சுழன்று இசைக்கிறது.

இன்றிரவு நான் எழுதுவேன் துயரமிகு வரிகளை
நான் அவளைக் காதலித்தேன், சில நேரங்களில் அவளும் என்னைக் காதலித்தாள்

இதைப் போன்ற இரவு நேரத்தில் ஒரு நாள் என் கைகளில் ஏந்தியிருந்தேன்
அவளை முத்தமிட்டேன் மீண்டும் மீண்டும் எல்லையற்ற வானத்தின் கீழ். 

அவள் என்னைக் காதலித்தாள், சில நேரங்களில் நானும் அவளைக் காதலித்தேன்
எவ்வாறு ஒருவன் காதல் வயப்படாமல் இருக்க முடியும் அவளின் பெரிய, சலனமற்ற விழிகளால். 

இன்றிரவு நான் எழுதுவேன் துயரமிகு வரிகளை
அவள் என்னுடன் இல்லை என்றெண்ணும் பொழுது, அவளை இழந்துவிட்டேன் என்றுணரும் பொழுது.

அவள் இல்லாமல் விரிந்திருக்கும் இவ்விரவைக் கேட்கும் பொழுது
கவிதை விழுகிறது ஆன்மாவில் பச்சையை நோக்கிப் பாயும் பனித் துளிபோல்

எது முக்கியம் ஏன் என் காதல் அவளைக் கட்டிப்போடவில்லை
வானம் வின்மீண்களால் ஜொலிக்கிறது ஆனால் அவள் என்னுடன் இல்லை.

இதுவே முழுமை. தூரத்தில் யாரோ பாடுகிறார்கள் வெகு தூரத்தில்
என் ஆன்மாவில் திருப்தி இல்லை அவளை இழந்து 

என் விழிகள் தேடுகின்றன அவளை அருகில் அழைத்து வந்துவிடுவதுபோல்
என் இதயம் தேடுகிறது அவளை ஆனால் அவள் என்னுடன் இல்லை. 

அதே இரவு வெண்ணிறமாக்குகிறது அதே மரங்களை
நாங்கள், அன்றிருந்தது போல் இன்று இல்லை

இன்னும் நான் அவளை நேசிக்கவில்லை, இது உண்மை, ஆனால் நான் அவளை எவ்வளவு காதலித்தேன்
என் குரல் காற்றைப் பிடிக்க முயன்றது அவள் செவிகளைத் தொட 

வேறு ஒருவனுடையவள். அவள் வேறு ஒருவனுடைய்வளாவாள். என் முத்தங்களுக்கு முந்தியிருந்த அவள் 
அவள் குரல், அவளின் வெண் தேகம். அவளின் முடிவற்ற கண்கள்.

இன்னும் நான் அவளை நேசிக்கவில்லை, இது உண்மை, ஆனால் ஒருக்கால் நான் அவளைக் காதலிக்கலாம்
காதல் மிகச் சிறிது, மறப்பது மிகப் பெரிது

இதைப் போன்ற இரவு நேரத்தில் அவளை என் கைகளில் ஏந்தியிருந்ததால்
என் ஆன்மாவில் திருப்தி இல்லை அவளை இழந்து

இதுவே அவளால் துன்புற்று அனுபவிக்கும் இறுதி வலி
இவையே நான் அவளுக்கு எழுதும் இறுதி வரிகள்.

Monday, February 09, 2009

காலை முழுமையானது

புயல் சூழ்ந்த காலை வேளை
முதுவேனில் இதயத்தில். 

விடைபெறும் வெள்ளைக் கைக்குட்டையாய் மஞ்சுகள்
பயணிக்கும் காற்று தன் கை நீட்டி வழியனுப்பும்.

எண்ணிலடங்கா இதயம் தொட்ட காற்று
நம் காதலின் மவுனத்தின் மேல் துடிக்கும்.

ஒழுங்கும், புதினமும் கலந்து, மரங்களினூடே தெறிக்கும்,
போர்களும், பாடல்களும் நிறைந்த மொழி போல்.

வேகவீசி, உதிரும் இலைகளைக் கையிலேந்தும் காற்று
பாயும் அம்புகளான பறவைகளைச் சற்று திருப்பும்.

நாளம்இலா அலையாய் அவளைத் தள்ளாடி விழச் செய்த காற்று
சீரழித்தது பொருளற்ற சாரத்தையும், சாயும் தீக்கற்றையும்.

அவளின் மொத்த முத்தமும் தகர்ந்து, அமிழ்ந்து 
கோடைக் காற்றின் வாசலின் எதிரே நிற்கும்.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ஆ! எல்லையற்ற தேவதாரு

ஆ! எல்லையற்ற தேவதாரு, அலைகள் முணுமுணுத்துச் சிதறுகின்றன
ஒளிக் கீற்றுக்களின் மெல்விளையாட்டு, துறவியான மணிக் கூண்டு
மாலையில் மயக்கும் ஒளி உன் கண்ணில், பெண்மையே,
நிலவுலகின் முதல் யாழ், உன்னில் நிலவின் இன்னிசை!

உன்னில் பேராறுகள் இன்னிசைக்கும், அவற்றிலென் ஆன்மா பாயும்
உன் ஆசைப்படி, உன் விருப்பம் போலதை நீ செலுத்தலாம்.
என் பாதையை உன் நம்பிக்கை வில்லில் வை,
வெறியில் விடுவிப்பேன், என் அம்புகள் அனைத்தையும்.

சுற்றிலும் மூடுபனியான உன் இடையைக் காண்கிறேன்
உன் மவுனம் என் அல்லலுற்ற நேரத்தை வேட்டையாடும்
உன் படிகக் கால் போன்ற கைகளில், என் முத்தம்
நங்கூரம் இடும், ஈர வேட்கை கூடு கட்டும்.

ஹா! காதல் மணி அடிக்கும் உன் புதிர்க் குரல்
மறையும் மாலையில் எதிர் எதிரொலிக்கும்!
அர்த்தமுள்ள அந்நேரங்களில் பார்த்துள்ளேன், வயல்களின் மேல், .
கோதுமையின் காதுகள் காற்றின் வாயில் கண்டா மணியடிப்பதை!
*தேவதாரு - pine

Friday, January 16, 2009

ஒளி உனைச் சூழ்கிறது

ஒளி உனைச் சூழ்கிறது, அதன் மானுடத் தீயில்.
அறிந்த, தெளிந்த துக்கவாசி, அவ்வழி நின்று
மறைத்தான் காலமெலாம் உனைச் சுற்றிய
மாலை நேரத்து மங்கல் ஒளியை.

பேச்சில்லை, என் நட்பே,
தனியநானேன், இறந்தவர் நடமாடும் நாழிகையில்
உள்ளம் முழுதும் வாழ்வின் கனலுடன்
அழிந்த நாளின் உண்மை வாரிசாய்!

சூரியனிலிருந்து ஓர் பழக் கீற்று
வீழ்கிறது உன் கருப்பு அங்கியில்
இரவின் நீண்ட, நெடிய வேர்கள்
உன் ஆன்மாவை உயிர்ப்பித்தன
உன்னில் ஒழிந்தவை வெளியேறின
வளம் பெறவே; உன்னில் உயிர்த்த,
நீல, சலனமற்ற மக்கள்

நீ! மகத்தான, உயிர்ப்பான, ஈர்க்கும் அடிமை
கருப்பு மற்றும் தங்கத்தை மாற்றிச் சுற்றும் வளையத்துக்கு:
எழு, வழிநடத்து, புதினத்தைப் பற்று, வாழ்வின் நிறையுடன்
உதிரட்டும் பூக்கள், சோகத்தின் முழு வடிவாய்.

மீண்டும் மன்னிப்பாராக!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


``நீங்கள் நெருடாவை மொழி பெயர்க்க வேண்டும்.'' இரு வருடங்களுக்கு முன் 
கவிதை சொன்னது இது. இப்பொழுதுதான் வாய்த்திருக்கிறது எனக்கு. அம் 
மாபெரும் கவிஞன் எழுதிய கவிதைத் தொகுப்பின் முதல் காதல் கவிதை இது. 

அவன் என்னை மன்னிப்பான் என்ற நம்பிக்கையுடன்.

பெண்ணின் உடல்  

பெண்ணின் உடல், வெள்ளை மலைகள், வெள்ளைத் தொடைகள்  
பூலோகத்தைப் போலிருக்கும் நீ, என்னில் சரண் அடைந்தாய். 
என் கடிய உழவனின் உடல் உன்னுள் ஆழப் பாய்ந்து  
பூமியின் அடியாழத்தில் உருவாக்கி எழச் செய்யும் மகனை.

நீண்ட கணவாய் போல் தனித்திருந்தேன். பறவைகள் பறந்தன 
நீள் இரவு எனைச் சூழ்ந்து பரவி ஆழ அழுத்தியது. 
எனைக் காக்க உனை நான் ஆயுதமாய் அணிந்தேன் 
என் வில்லின் அம்பு போல, கவட்டையின் கல் போல.
ஆனால் பழி வாங்கும் நாழிகை நெருங்கி விட்டது. ஆம், நான் உன்னில் காதலுற்றேன் 
உணர்கிறேன் உன் உடலின் சதையை, பாசியை , அதன் ஆர்வம் மற்றும் தடித்த பாலை.
ஆஹா, மதுக் கிண்ணம் போன்ற முலைகள்; ஹா, வெறுமையின் விழிகள்,
ஆஹா, பெண்மையின் இளஞ் செவ்விதழ்கள்; ஹா, உன் மெலிய, சோகக் குரல்.

இது என் பெண்ணின் உடல், நான் உன் நளினத்தில் வாழ்வேன் 
என் தாகம், என் அளவற்ற ஆசை, என் மாறும் பாதை! 
இருண்ட நதிக் கரையோரங்களில் தீராத் தாகம் பாயும், 
சோர்வு எனைத் தொடரும், டன் அளவில்லா வலி.

Friday, January 02, 2009

An Officer & A Gentleman.

This One Is For The Family

A year has passed by since we last saw him in person.  How true is that we all tend to forget people within a year of their death. It has been a year since the youngest of my fathers was framed and garlanded in our ancestral home overlooking the once great river.

In a nation corrupt to the core, this officer was one of those rare gems. He never took a paise in spite of serving in over a dozen villages for twenty-five long years. Even voluntary donations were diverted to pay school fees for the deserving children in the village. 

He always did his duty to perfection, even writing the registers. When we went to obtain his death certificate, my brother-in-law pointed out with pride the four lorries parked inside the collectorate which were seized by beloved `chinna' (father's younger brother) the week before his death. 

He was not a man of many words. In fact, he hardly spoke even to us, the family. But his heart must have been full of unbridled love. For, when we opened his secret box a day after performing his funeral, we were in for a surprise. That small squarish tin of a box had nothing but photos. Of every one of us. As children, adolescent, at the time of marriage or with our children. A collection of hearts, always kept very close to his chest. Never expressed. 

Can words ever take us closer to truth? It may not. Still, dear daddy, this is an extract from the small tribute that was penned to that invisible yet shining truth that dwell in you, and that troubled you, perhaps.


Then came the much-awaited group of simple spiritualists. They are part of one of the largest groups in the country believing in the words of one of the saintly man to have stumbled upon a profound truth that space is god. He was a scientific spiritualist simplifying yoga and perfecting a set of standard exercises for healthy living. He taught his disciples, mostly simpletons, powers of blessing.
Without hatred, hurting anyone, helping a few on the way and blessing everyone on the way. It was his mantra. He had died about a year ago but had ignited in thousands of souls a quest for spiritual well-being. Here, there were three. Two women teaching the yoga in that locale and a man, another uncle, initiated personally by the saintly man.
Only, the woman, seated in the middle, spoke in a calm and clear ringing voice.
``We are here to mourn the death of a dear one. A life has been lost.
It must have been a wonderful life. Unfortunately, it had to come to
an end. It is inevitable, we all know. In this case, Mr Raman had died
young apparently. It is all the more sad. But there is no point in
mourning forever. We are here to give him a happy farewell.''

The small hall listened in intent silence. Only two kids were fiddling with a torch light. Outside, tranquility was descending on the skies of the temple town as the sun was setting deep into the dry-river. The day's rustle and bustle had died down in the town and the four towering gopuras stood in silhouette.

``As you all know, man lives his life in emotions. Like everyone, Raman uncle could not have been perfect at all times. He was a good man who behaved differently with different people at various points of time. We will have both good and bad memories of him. Let us leave the ugly images and hurt feelings behind in this hall itself. Please, think of him as a smiling, kind man. Imagine that face of him within you.''

Obviously, that evening's spiritual teacher was unaware of the self-sufferings of his wife and daughters in their childhood primarily due to his alcohol addiction. Not every alcoholic is a bad man. There is a strand in the spirit that stimulates good men troubled by the vice allaround them to take to drinking in a state of helplessness. They want the world to change and see beauty of living but as the skewed society is hard bent on being selfish, these heavy-drinking good men are also branded drunkards.  Uncle was one such tormented good man. He was the ultimate gentleman within the family and Mr Clean in the world outside. 

``We can't allow him (the ghost) to hang around the house as he might have unfulfilled wishes. The soul has to take its place in the vast ocean of truth. It should not be allowed to surf the surface of the earth forever. It is our duty to guide the departed dear soul to its real home. Please, focus and impress his smiling face in your self. We are about to begin our journey.''

There were a few practitioners of that particular form of yoga in that small hall. As they had already been initiated, they could relate to the sequence that followed. Others followed it word by word, blindly but blissfully.

``Now, hold dear uncle hand-in-hand. Let us lift ourselves and float in the atmosphere. Mind has the power to travel anywhere. So, let us begin a long journey. Imagine that we are leaving behind the earth. If you look back, you can see the blue planet. Now, we cross the moon and drift farther away from all the planets in the solar system and into the Milky Way. Expand yourself and let us drift along the galaxies of the universe. It is called Sakthi sthal. Remember that our universe is feminine. Stretch your mind and reach out to the borders of the universe. Now, slowly step beyond those borders. It is pure bliss. Let us leave Mr Raman there in that pathless land. May his soul rest in peace. Let us all return to where we belong.''
During their return journey, the mourners flew past the galaxies of the sakthi sthal, float around the moon and come back to earth's atmosphere and back in the small hall. It was unbelievable. The small hall had traveled where the world would not travel ever. ``Let peace prevail. Om Shathi, shanthi, shanthi.''

The small hall relaxed and the chattering began. Anand climbed the balcony facing the river. On the banks, a few age-old trees, witnesses to both the birth and death of Raman uncle, were murmuring to each other. Chanting mantras, the priest in the nearby temple was beginning the evening prayers. The Sleeping God, the presiding deity of the temple, was awake but still. Fragrance from flower vendors by the roadside filled the air. The tall temple towers resonated with chants and hymns of evening poojas. In silence, the river sang a melancholy.


Uncle, as you can see, will keep smiling from the frame, from both the visible wooden and the invisible cellular one. One word, though, might sound meaningful. Love.

Stories From The Soul Town

There lies a magical land. Surrounded by the green ghats to the west, gurgling great rivers on the east, the valley with the very blue sky. A temple town of the tamils. Sitting on the dancing rock on the highland overlooking the valley, the writer procreates the lives of the people of this lesser known south west. Full of strange yet simple souls.