Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Memoirs of an Eighty year old- Episode V

Episode: Family November

I was supposed to post about the life of grandpa and grandma in the railway quarters. But despite me having a bunch of data with me, it is all jumbled up and confusing. I need to have another big chat with grandpa to get the details right. That will have to wait since their house is currently filled with family, fun and mild chaos. So I decided to write about this family time. What is it to have your children, their spouses, and your grandchildren staying with you for a few days? I think its super fun and so does grandpa.

I have as usual been a regular visitor to their house despite the relatives. And why not, I am after all accepted as the extended family by almost every one of them. In a society where one’s own relatives act weird, having someone else’s family accept you with open arms tells about their upbringing. When the parents love all their children equally and give them the freedom to live their lives without too much interference, the love is reciprocated.

I have met grandpa’s youngest great-grandchild, a four year old girl; the daughter of their first grandson. The reason I am specifically mentioning her is because she became my cutest little friend in less than two days. We spent most of the evenings playing with the dolls in my house. She is a sweet girl with great imagination and good observation skills. There were times when she answered just like grandma, maybe she will turn out like her. J

The rest of the family is no less friendly. They have a way of involving you in their conversations and making jokes at each other. The mothers in this family are totally cool and casual, yet practical. At any time of the day we can hear chatter, laughter and some banter between them. I have seen that grandpa gets totally active with people around him. The more the number of people the more active he gets. And grandma is the “busy bee” as ever. She just cannot sit idle.

I am off to visit them again, so meet I’ll you in the next episode. Till then, be happy, be human.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Eternal Sky- Part IV: Star-struck, Love-struck

Star-struck, Love-struck

What can I say about the star-studded night sky? The scatter of tiny looking shinning dots across the vast dark sky, twinkling and winking at us, is a sight to behold. The moon is the guest here, with the waxing & waning and rotating positions across space.

Personally, I love the sky with no moon in it because then, the stars are the real heroes. The darkness emphasizes their beauty, their natural shine. As an amateur sky watcher, I love searching for different constellations spread over the vast expanse.

Being a layperson, I use a very useful app called the "SkyViewFree". It enables me to track all the planets, constellations, star trajectories and man-made satellites. How fun it is to be looking at a planet or a star and imagining that some extra-terrestrial life might be watching me at the same time!

The star formation, their lifespan, their death and the evolving of a  new star from the same dust makes the stars special. Look at a star that is possibly a million years old. Try to imagine the process it has endured to shine at us.

Each night when I look at the stars, I am star-struck, love-struck again and again.

Picture Credit: NASA (Instagram)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Mystic Stallion

Out of the swirling mist
into the valley
came a mystic stallion,
pale as silver,
strong & silent as air,
with its coal mane dancing
in the wind..

Reaching the crystal lake,
the mystic stallion appearing
golden in the sunset light,
stood admiring the dusk;
While I secretly marveled
the reflection of its majesty,
in the clear water of the lake.

Paintings by Mrs Ratna Pochiraju

Thursday, November 3, 2016


I was reading Agatha Christie’s 'They Do It With Mirrors' when I got a vague idea to use ‘Illusion’ as a main theme in an article. Later, visiting a store that sells electrical equipment I liked the various glass forms and designs. All the pieces gave different effects and reflections. I searched the internet for the meaning of Illusion and have many results ranging from mirage, hallucination, fantasy, sham, delusion, pretence and many more.

So I randomly asked a few people as to what is the first thing that comes to their mind when I say ‘illusion’. The replies I got were as different as the people where. So many perceptions, so many thought processes. I tried to define their answers in my own way.

Rainbow – a play of light and water drops.

Magician’s tricks – quickness of hands.

Ghost – product of the fear of unknown.

Mirrors – optical reflection.

Kaleidoscope – mirrors again. Reflections and refractions.

A straight line – depends on line of vision. Parallax error.

Joining of sky & earth – trick of mind. Wishful thinking, maybe.

Life – this is the reply I liked the most. It was given by my teacher. Sounds philosophical initially, but then all the above replies are a part of life.
What we see, hear, feel may be quite different from what actually is the truth. Life is most of the time a guessing game. Do we always see what we want to see or what others want us to see? I think it’s both. And that keeps us thinking and wondering about the versions of truth, the possibilities.

Now with so many people acting effortlessly in their daily lives, it has become all the more important to recognize an illusion and separate it from reality to understand the true nature of a person. The society demands and forces a person to create an illusion for the sake of others and one by one everyone begin to live the illusion to a point where they are no longer sure about the reality.

I suddenly remembered a poem I read written by Gabriel Okara, a Nigerian poet & novelist. This poem talks about the change in the society and the attitude of people from one generation to another. This poem, in its own way suits my version of ‘Illusion’. 

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time, son,
they used to laugh with their hearts,
and laugh with their eyes;
but now they only laugh with their teeth,
while their ice block cold eyes
search behind our shadows.
There was a time indeed
they used to shake hands with their hearts;
but that's gone, son.
Now they left shake hands without hearts
while their left hands search
my empty pockets.

‘Feel at home!’ ‘Come again’:
they say, and when I come
again and feel
at home, once, twice,
there will be no thrice-
for then I find doors shut on me
So I have learned many things, son.
I have learned to wear many faces
like dresses – home face,
office face, street face, host face,cocktail face,
with all their conforming smiles
like a fixed portrait smile.
And I have learned too
to laugh with only my teeth
and shake hands without my heart.
I have also learned to say, ‘Goodbye’,
when I mean ‘Good-riddance’:
to say ‘Glad to meet you’,
without being glad; and to say ‘It’s been
nice talking to you’, after being bored.

But believe me, son.
I want to be what I used to be
when I was like you. I want
to unlearn all these muting things.
Most of all, I want to relearn
how to laugh, for my laugh in the mirror
shows only my teeth like a snake’s bare fangs!
So show me, son,
how to laugh; show me how
I used to laugh and smile
once upon a time when I was like you.