April 29, 2008
I wouldn’t have noticed her, if we weren’t the only girls in the train compartment. May be her college bag, travel bag, her pale blue jeans and orange t-shirt bought my attention towards this fair, smart girl who looked to me almost my age. “Might be she is a student of some near by colleges, like myself”, I thought. I was on my way home after our half yearly exams, to spend the week with my family. I was in a vacation mood, happy that the exams are over and looking forward for the vacation as my cousins are coming to stay with us. Vacation would be hell lot of fun!!! I thought. I decided to give this girl a small smile, while usually I’m introvert and a bit hesitant to smile to strangers.
And as I expected, the smile bought a lot of conversation between us, even though she was the first to start it.
“Najeeba, and what is yours?”
Usually I would have stopped here and plunged in to the book in my hand if it was someone who was not of my interest ( almost everyone are). But the happiness of going back home made me stay away from the book. All I wanted was to share it with someone, and celebrate every moments of my vacation. And I was glad to find a person who was also going home for her vacation.
After a long thought about what to ask, finally I put the question, “ Where are you studying?”.
“Manglore doing my degree in MBA, and you?”
“Kannur. B.Tech. Going home, in Kozhikode.”
“I live in Thrissur. Mannuthi, exact place. Have you heard of that place?”
“Sure”,said I. There was an agriculture college in Mannuthi where I have often gone to buy plants for my garden. “The agriculture college in Mannuthi.”
“My home is about a few kilometers away from it.” Replied Shinsi.
And so we started talking, about college, food, politics, love, marriage, life and everything under the sun. She has got a younger brother in higher secondary, her mother a doctor and father a scientist at BARC. Her brother was also staying in a boarding in Manglore.
“Why in boarding when there are so many good higher secondary schools in Thrissur?” I asked.
“Coz my parents believe that boarding is the best place to educate children.” She explained. “I was in boarding schools from my first standard on wards.”
I was shocked! She was in boarding from her fifth year onwards, while I have felt like running away from boarding a hundred times within these three years!! And I didn’t hide my surprise.
“Not from fifth year, dear, from forth year itself.” She was cool!! “I joined first when I was four years old. And I have stayed in……”
She put up her fingers and started counting….
“…….1…2….3…….5…..9…10…15…..yup, fifteen hostels in all.”
“Fifteen?!!!!” One was more than enough for me. “Don’t you get sick of hostels?”
Her reply was even more surprising.
“Nope, I get sick of home.” There was a few moments of silence while I sat like I haven’t understood what she said. Sick of home?
“There is no one at home for me. Mummy goes to hospital early in the morning and comes home only after dusk. Dad comes once in a month. And I have nothing to do at home. I don’t like home for more than two days.”
The child of the post-modern age, I thought to myself. I have read about such people in newspapers, magazines and books. Who else can prefer boarding places to home? Anyway, not me!
“So what do you do after your education? You will have to go home, won’t you?” I asked.
She smiled. “Never. I plan to find some job in a place away from home and stay in a working women’s hostel there.”
“And marriage….You will have a home and family then.” I said.
“Marriage??!! Me? No way!” She shouted. “I hate men!!”
Oh! My God! What a creature!!
“And who do you think will help you when you get old?” I wanted her to understand the importance of a family. But her answer was quick.
“And what for do you think people are building so many old-age homes today?” She asked. “ I work till I am not able to work, and then rest with the money I have made by then.”
I could think of only a different version of the Sanskrit slokan:
Pitha rakshathi koumare – Father cares her in childhood,
Barhtyaa rakshathi youvanne – Husband cares her in adolescence,
Puthro rakshathi vardhakye – Sons cares her in old age,
Nna sthree swathanthryamarhathi – No women deserves independence.
Convent rakshathi koumare – Convent cares her in childhood,
Hostel rakshathi youvanne – Hostel cares her in adolescense,
Old-age homes rakshathi vardhakye – Old-age homes cares her in old age,
Nna sthree paranthyamarhathi – No women deserves dependence.
April 29, 2008
Dear Sister, please forgive,
Forgive me and my society,
For the little little aids
I and my society have made
Towards eliminating you,
From the face of this earth.
I do feel pity for you,
When they shower bombs on you,
Your family and your children.
But I cannot come out of this comforts
That Allah provided for me.
I cannot start a day without Nescafe,
I can’t think of a lunch
Without McDonalds and KFC’s,
And how can I have an evening
Without the sip of a Pepsi?
I do want to stop all these,
But I know I can never do it.
So, endearest sisters,
Forgive me and my society,
Who lives the way I live.
And all the best for you
In your fight for your land,
Your culture and your future.
This is all what I can do.
April 10, 2008
Once upon a time, there was a tree, with branches that touched the sky and spread across the forest. It had so many flowers and fruits on it, such that you can always see the birds, bees, squirrels, … on it. The tree was so loving and carinedg, that it gave it fruits to the hungry, shadow to the tired and nectar of its flowers to the thirsty. It was also very polite and humble. But the tree was always sad. Sad because he cannot walk, run, jump… or at least move a millimeter.
His sorrow increased when the little worms which passed by pitied him by saying, ”Oh! What a huge body! But it is really sad that you cannot crawl like us, the tiny one!” The tree would try hard to put a smile and reply, “You are right my friends! But God never gave me the ability to walk.”
And he would weep when he sees the fishes in the pond jump high and splash into the water. He would cry to God and ask him why he hadn’t given him the ability to jump like the fishes. His biggest sorrow came when he saw the birds. The birds, which comes for his fruits would pity him for not being able to fly. They would ask him why he sent his roots down so deep into the earth, which makes him stand still on the ground. Tears would flow down the trunk of the tree, and his answer will become inaudible due to his weeps. The years passed as the tree grew huger, longer and wider – and more still on the ground.
One fine morning, the tree was shaken from it’s thoughts by the sound of a man. It opened its eyes to find a man, so tired and weak, sit under its shade. He caring tree moved its branches above the man so that the sun’s rays did not reach him. The tree also dropped some of it fruits for the man. The man was happy, thanked the tree, ate till his hunger left him, and was in a position to talk k to the tree. Like every other creatures, he too sympathized for not being able to move.
“What a pity it is, Oh my huge tree, not being able to move around the place and see the things!”
“You are right”, said the tree, “God never gave me the ability to walk!”
“You are huge, but look at us, smaller creatures! We can fly in air and dive deep in sea! We can o even beyond the sky! What progress we have made on earth, in sky, and now reaching beyond! What revolutions we have had! Rewrote the history with big wars! Killed all people who stopped us! God gave us intelligence and made us the ones who should rule the world. “
The tree thought for sometime, then waved its branches, smiled, and replied, “I am happy that I’m a tree. I haven’t killed innocent men, weak women and little children in the name of war. I haven’t made people homeless, orphans and refugees. I haven’t thrown people away from their homes to build new industries. I feel myself proud for not being able to move.”
(Story based on the cartoon of O.N Vijayan, a talented malayalee cartoonist )
April 7, 2008
With the thunder of all rains*,
New umbrella, new bags,
New books and new lessons,
Everything new, bright and shining.
And to schools in the morning,
With the new raindrops of the year.
But this june,
Brings no brightness to my heart,
As it is the last year
Of my student life.
No more new umbrellas,
No new bags, no new books.
The new smell of the first page
Have vanished forever.
From now own, we are man and women,
Not the little boys and girls!
We step into a world
Were jealous and pride hales,
Where crime and war lives,
Were wealth is worshiped,
From the world of innocence.
I want to play in the rain
The rain that June brings,
But something is holding me back.
Who can give my childhood back?
Who can give me the rains back?
*In India, the academic year starts in June, with the start of the monsoon. 🙂
April 7, 2008
As the morning sparrow sings,
She wakes and prays in silence.
And gets to milk the cows,
In the shade of the dawn.
Pure in heart and good in deeds,
She is the pet of the family.
She binds them with love,
Cares them with kindness,
While she steals from heart to heart
Never a complaint, nor hurry.
And as dusk glides away,
She prepares for her silent prayer.
Prayer, pure and unselfish.
She prays for the people and world,
For cows, sparrows and green grass.
And she sleeps, silent and chaste
With a smile on her face, that shines.
and dreams of sparrows, flowers,
Of streams and toddles playing.
She’s the farmers’s girl, his beauty.
April 7, 2008
I saw cranes in water,
I saw boys with fishing rods,
I saw little girls in petticoats
playing family on the bank,
And I saw our river flowing
Smoothly into the laps of the sea.
We heard lorries and people,
Digging up the pure sand.
We protested, for it was our river,
And we lived on its water.
But they asuured us,
They are only digging the sand,
And the water is there for us.
Lazziness to think made us return,
To the comforts our homes provided.
Whem evening came,
We saw fences at riverbanks,
It was by then “Private Property”,
Sold to an MNC.
We were intruders there,
On our own river that gave us life!
And water was a private property!
We started our protests again,
But it didnot last long,
For our throats were dry,
And we had no water
To even wet our lips!
We then saw tomorrow,
As a dark shadow,
Darker than the moonless night.
And we saw our grandchildren,
And the ghosts of future,
Cursing us at our laziness.