December 9 , 3067 BCE- Part I

What Sukumaran Nair can learn from Karna?
His sons, brothers and gurus perished. Duryodhana did not shed a single drop of tear. But when Karna fell….he wept like a kid.

Cold. It was biting cold. The night seemed to creep through every gap of that linen tent. An oil lamp, made of solid gold kept on the ivory table fought like a lone warrior determined to keep the darkness ousted. He hated luxuries, but there seemed to be no end to richness showered up on him by Suyodhana even in the middle of this great war. Yes, the great WAR. The 16th day had ended. And for Karna it ended in style, with Pandavas squealing and running away like bunch of scared dogs. And mother Kunti, who kept Karna at her arms length, who turned her head whenever she saw him, came and begged for the Pandava lives. He did not expect her to be standing in his way while coming after a swim in Parusni river. In the end, she acknowledged the fact that Karna was more chivalrous than Arjuna or any other Pandava for that reason. This was the acceptance he craved for all his life. But for Karna, friendship and commitment was more important than sentiments that would ruin Suyodhana’s war efforts. Except for Bhima who played the spoil sport by killing Dushasana, the day was glorious for him. Anyway, Karna did not care for Dushasana . He fought for glory. Those who marginalised him as charioteers son, felt the heat of his rage. Though he had entered the battle field on the 11th day, Drona was the one commanded the Kaurava army. There were very few takers for Karna’s words. Karna felt humiliated during strategic meetings since Drona overrode his every opinion. Now that the old man was slain the command was completely for his taking. Karna struck. Like a zillion thunderbolts ripping the virgin earth, he fell upon the Pandavas who ran hither thither for their precious lives. He knew that there was nothing more powerfull than speed and intimidation. He did not know about respect, but definitely saw fear in the Pandava eyes.The 16th day of the great war was HIS day. His eyes looked tired and strained reading the Danurveda (book on science of warfare that lord Shiva handed over to Parasuram) under the lamp. The slokas engraved in those dried palm leaves seemed to slip away into the oblivion of sleep. Without Parasurama’s (his master) knowledge Karna had secretly made a copy of the original Danurveda scroll. There were mistakes in some cruicial places ‘coz he had scribbled it in a haste when Parasuram went out or  was busy with some other students. Karna was a perfectionist and he always feared of something going wrong. There was always this problem with memory and it left him completely when it was critical. But he would close his eyes and take a deep breath and things would flow back to his mind and body like a thunder. Then he would get back his unstoppable self. The light of the oil lamp cast a huge,flickering shadow of the handsome Karna on the linen wall of the tent. His angular face, with a strong jaws and a grizzling moustache, looked pale yet handsome under the grim light of the lamp. His tanned body, chiselled and grilled in the great embers of battles he fought for Suyodhana during the Digvijaya Yaga, made him look more like a weapon than a human being. Pandavas were in exile then, and he had peace of mind. So Karna personally crowned Suyodhana as King. And when Karna got bored after sometime, he went out and conquered every kingdom in every direction. He became the only warrior to do so. After this jolly outing, he crowned Suyodhana as the Emperor Of The World culminating in the Vaishnava sacrifice. He was on top of the world since his best friend was the emperor and glory and respect befell Karna once again. But it was all short lived. The Pandavas, like pests in the milk, came back to Hastinapur and Suyodhana summoned him from Anga. Again those teasing eyes of Krishna, those hate seething tongue of Bheema, those unsympathetic eyes of his mother that seemed to look through him, making him feel completely non-existent and transparent, disturbed his mind to great lengths. But the one he hated the most was the sarcasm, scorn and contempt for him that seemed to emanate from every inch of Arjuna. He did not understand why even Kauravas did not recognise his valour or glory even after he conquered the world in every existing direction. Was it all because of his lower birth? Anyways, his mind lost its cool with the Pandu brats around him. Now destiny had a given a golden opportunity to prove his mettle. Karna knew that the war was coming to an end. He could sense that in the air that tasted of a Pandava loss and smelled of a Kaurava victory. From today morning, since he was spear heading the attack, Pandava moral was down. Yudi knows that I can wipe out his entire army in a single day. But there was no fun in that. He made them squirm, squeal and run for their lives for the first time since the comencement of the war. He wondered what Arjuna would be thinking at the moment. He was sure Krishna would be in his tent, flashing that fake reassuring smile telling that him that everything is going to be fine. But Karna had seen a flash of fear in Krishna’s eyes for his beloved Arjuna. Had he not turned the chariot at the right moment, Arjuna would have been history by now. Lost in these thoughts, Karna lost interest in reading the slokas. He knew all of them by heart but still he wanted to revise them. Just in case… But Karna decided to close Dhanurveda and tied it compact with strings. He covered the same using bundles of purple silk. Then he shoved it among his cloths kept on his bedside which was just an arms length away from where he sat. It looked perfectly inconspicuous among the cloths. “Good ..” he thought with grim satisfaction. He pushed back the sandalwood stool as he got up. He stretched his arms and yawned. He scratched the matted thatch on his chest. He tightened the cotton around his waist and pulled back his oiled lush black mane with both hands. He then walked towards his bed and from underneath he pulled out a big rectangular wooden box. It was heavy. The nerves than ran his neck bulged, his shoulders and arms strained under its tremendous weight. Karna placed the box on the ivory table. He placed his right palm over the centre of the box that had a simple ‘AUM‘ inscribed on it. He closed his eyes and gave a silent prayer to Siva, Indra and Parasurama. Slowly, opening his eyes Karna unlatched the wooden box and opened it. A smile more glorious than a billion suns gleamed across his handsome face. From what he saw inside, he knew that the great war would end tomorrow.

To be continued tomorrow…..

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An Echo of Silence

The old country road...like a testimony of silence and beyond...
Footprints Vanish…but Impressions Remain…

Silence. It echoed and echoed… till the rim of horizon. Kissing those infinite, green paddy fields. Touching the innocent little streams. Brushing past the motionless leaves of trees and bushes.It echoed. Caressing over the feathers of a muster of peacocks. Silence. After a long time I was taking a painful stroll through those winding village roads. I walked the course like I did a decades back. It all felt so nostalgic back then, when I was trying to make a living. In that race to transform myself into something more meaningless and objective, I pushed these roads down the stack of my memory lane. Now each stride is a regret and each step a tinge of affliction that I cannot explain in words. I lost the last reason that gave me life and that is why I was there, in my village. I kept walking, aimless wandering I would say. I did not take any gadgets with me. Gadgets I thought I cannot live without. Without them, in the city i felt ripped off, almost naked. But now, there is serenity and peace of mind. I kept walking and silence- it echoed. Finally I reached the road. I stood lost in its beauty. I glimpsed my past rush past through that old village road stood in solitude. I saw myself bouncing ahead holding my father’s fingers. Barefoot and happy. Then I was running with my friends, rolling that thin cycle tyre with a twig. What followed was love.Sauntering with her, eating sweet juicy ripe mangoes during summer. Holding her hands, only to be left free and vanish into oblivion forever.Those trees that stood guard to that road on both sides were still there. The leaves that held dust, dew and rain with the fervent love of seasons as they changed, were still there. Nothing had changed. Only I had changed. I searched eagerly for footprints on that road. Strange, I always did that. looking for footprints. Everywhere else I did find them in ample. But here, in this road there were none. It looked like nobody walked that old village road. I wondered how it remained so serene and unperturbed, watching generations flow by? Standing there, unnerved- like a silent witness to almost every emotion of man and nature that flowed through its body. Maybe this road was destined to be like this. Stand alone and watch. Again I searched for footprints, more closely this time. No. There were none to be found. I did not have the courage to walk through that road because it stood there like a testimony of silence and beyond. I closed my eyes and wondered how this road would look a hundred years from now. It may look the same, for there remained no footprints any more. I turned away, leaving that old village road behind me. The possibility of not seeing that road ever again in life was as high as certainty itself. As I walked, a Hornbill perched somewhere in those green memories, tore the echo of silence with a thirst-drenched vocal. I realized for the first time that footprints vanished, but impressions remained.

– By Srinath Krishnamoorthy

reach me @ srinathtk86@gmail.com

Dreams are to be lived…

“Dreams are to be lived, not chased.”

Dreams. Indeed they are strange. They define the very essence of our existence but still we waver away from them. Are we all scared to chase our dreams? Well, I would say “chasing dreams” is a cliché and has lot negative than positive. What is wrong with that you may ask. We need to chase our dreams correct? But I would disagree. Dreams are to be lived, not chased. Whenever you say “I’m chasing my dream..” our brain automatically gives an image of us running behind something that in turn is running away from us. So next time you get that over whelming feeling of making your dreams a reality just close your eyes, take a deep breath and then with your body, mind and soul envision your dream. Never think about the phrase “chasing your dream” instead fill each and every cell of your body exactly with the feeling of “living your dream”. Let that feeling sink in, deep in your mind. Feel that you are experiencing what you dreamed of achieving. Then open your eyes. Do it everyday. Get motivated and your actions after this fruitful contemplation will take you one step closer to your dream. The wind, the trees, the clouds and the rains would conspire like a wonderful orchestra to make you sing your way towards the destination of your life. There is this big wall of fear that stands between ourselves and the dreams that we love to live. That wall is our biggest enemy.But there is hope. This wall of fear is just a myth. We think it’s there, but it’s really not there. In fact, fear is the twin of every man. But those who cleverly finds a way around this twin finds success.

People are happy as long as you keep doing what they are doing. But as soon as you try doing something different, they shake up all at once. Never listen to the naysayers… and if there is too much pressure just understand that you are too close achieving what they have even not dared to dream !!!

But fear lurks in every nook and corner of life. It does follow you and in those crucial junctures, it stands and smiles at you. A ruthless smile though. FEARs are bricks which we have accumulated over the years from our society. But there is always a path less taken. Your every step may be deemed as a hearsay by the society and men who constitute that obsolete system. Fear not, move ahead. Follow the pebbles and grass.Follow the stars of vision and winds of solitude and there at the end of that lonely, winding path you will find the palace of your dreams. A palace, million times greater in grandeur than what you saw in your dreams. For every struggle life gives us in the path to glory, smile at it like nothing can deter you now. You are already experiencing that bliss.

Again, never chase the dreams…live them, walk with them for they are to be lived not chased.


The Author of this blog is Srinath Krishnamoorthy who like millions out there is trying to figure out what needs to be done with life. After a brief stint as a software test engineer in Tech Mahindra, he is right now pursuing an MTech in Computer Science & Engineering in MA College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. His debut novel Hope We Never Meet Again is getting ready to be released this year.
The Author of this blog is Srinath Krishnamoorthy who like millions out there is trying to figure out what needs to be done with life. After a brief stint as a software test engineer in Tech Mahindra, he is right now pursuing an MTech in Computer Science & Engineering in MA College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. His debut novel Hope We Never Meet Again is getting ready to be released this year.

By Srinath Krishnamoorthy

Reach me : srinathtk86@gmail.com

#Blogging101

The Final Touch

A HIS, HE, HIM story by Srinath Krishnamoorthy
A HIS, HE, HIM story by Srinath Krishnamoorthy

     End. This is the end.HE decided sitting in that cheap hotel room and staring at the lazy ceiling fan. The closed door, the green curtains  opaque with ages of dust and the closed windows that let neither light nor air inside, made that room dark and spooky. The air was damp and reeked of alcohol and cigarette smoke.

Deep clefts of debt scarred HIS face. The scars cut deep into his soul as well. A lone mouse ran across the dirty floor, finding its way through the confusing maze of cigarette stubs. It swiftly climbed over the shaky, almost dilapidated wooden bed. There, lying on the bedspread which carried dirty stains of sin and filth of months, was a packet of bread. Half empty for HIM. Half still remained for the mouse. With a little apprehension the mouse went close to the packet of bread. HE did not notice. So the mouse started nibbling the bread merrily and started feeding its hungry bile juices.

“There is no escape. I’m trapped. There is no escape. I’m trapped.” HIS heart kept repeating these words. HE thought about his beautiful wife who blamed him for their plight. HIS heart overwhelmed with love and shrunk with possessiveness for HIS little daughters. Well, they will never call HIM ‘father’ any more. Some other man will be taking HIS place…soon. Stress. Tremendous stress of being a son, a brother, a husband, a father and an entrepreneur who had invested everything HE earned in this life. “There is no escape. I’m trapped. There is no escape. I’m trapped.” Now the ceiling fan seemed to swing to the rhythm of these words.

HE had a masters degree in Chemistry. Chemicals were HIS life. HE believed in those imperishable, impregnable bonds of nature. But the bubble had burst and Uncle Sam was broke. HE came back with HIS savings to the land where he really belonged. To make true sense of life and to enterprise. But things went wrong. Terribly wrong. Little did HE realize that the theory of science and theory of life changed with time. HE raced hard to catch up but eventually lost. And now there was no going back. HE closed his eyes in dismay.

When HE opened his eyes and looked at the table in front of HIM. The small glass bottle with those colourless crystals in it seemed to smile at HIM. Their  transparent smile had a strange seduction of freedom from everything that gave only pain. That bottle was the only thing HE was able to save and scrape back from his enterprise that crumbled like a palace made of playing cards.

HIS life was meaningless, but HE was determined to make some sense out of his death. HE decided to reveal the taste of death. The taste of KCN (Pottassium Cyanide). A dark secret that mystified humanity for ages would end with HIM. Not only that, HE wanted to reveal what HE saw when life transcended to death. HE wanted to tell the world what HIS eyes saw when HE stepped on that thin line that separated life and death. HE had made elaborate plans for this.

Right next to the bottle of KCN were two white sheets of paper. On the first sheet HE had written the flavours that could be defined in terms of human taste buds. It started with ‘Sweet’ and ended with ‘Undefined’. Somewhere in the middle was ‘Bitter’. The other white sheet had various visual sensations scribbled all over it. It started with ‘Darkness’ and ended in ‘Undefined’ and somewhere in between was ‘God’. HE knew that there won’t be enough time or strength to write down the exact taste or vision in words. Luck did not favour HIM to make a living, but in case it favoured HIM during death, there would be time to tick one of these options. HE won’t take a small dose and agonize HIS way to death. No. That was not HIM. HE wanted this to be lethal and quick. Even HIS death should carry HIS master touch, HE insisted.

There was exactly 500 mg KCN in that bottle. HE had taken enough bread to keep his stomach-acidity -level low. A high acidity level may save HIM. A abnormally high acidity level is what saved Gregory Rasputin; foiling an attempted assassination using cyanide. HE knew that Rasputin was the only human to have ever survived a lethal dose of KCN.

HE opened the bottle. HIS hands did not shiver. They did not even flinch at the thought of death. Holding the bottle in HIS left hand and his pen in the right, HE inhaled the life giving oxygen one last time. HE heard the cacophony of the city traffic banging the doors and windows of his room. HE heard those wry sounds made by the screws protesting each rotation of the ceiling fan. And then HE drowned the contents of the bottle into HIS mouth. HIS body convulsed violently. The tip of his black pen ticked “Burning” , then tick marked “Bitter” and finally it touched “Pungent”. HIS eyes dilated and then HE was shocked at the vision HE had. HE had guessed HE would see this. And that’s why had made a note of it as well. HIS hands quivered towards the second sheet. But as HE made that dire attempt to put a tick mark against what HE saw, HE fell down. HIS body sprawled, face down on that floor. HE did not move. A mysterious dark shadow hoovered over HIM. HE never made that final touch. The traffic blared outside. The ceiling fan winced. And the rat kept nibbling the bread as if nothing had happened.

– by Srinath Krishnamoorthy

IMG_0893
The Author of this blog is Srinath Krishnamoorthy who like millions out there is trying to figure out what needs to be done with life. After a brief stint as a software test engineer in Tech Mahindra, he is right now pursuing an MTech in Computer Science & Engineering in MA College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. His début novel Hope We Never Meet Again is getting ready to be released this year.

Author’s click by Dr. Vivek Vaidyanathan

Reach me@  srinathtk86@gmail.com

Image Courtesy : http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_6iqvSWllxFg/S_fnbNMk5vI/AAAAAAAAAMY/T17zzM9z6OE/s1600/534381429_e31e961b07.jpg 

Nadi

It was loud. Very loud. And little Nadi woke up with a jolt.

A few minutes back, she was sleeping peacefully. Nadi was enjoying that cozy embrace of blanket and the soothing touch of misty- cool morning breeze flowing through the window. The chirruping sound of birds was so sweet; it seemed to melt like a lullaby in her ears. Her room was pristine white, newly painted. The bed and wardrobe were all plush, made of teak wood. Her books were stacked neatly on her study table towards the far right corner of her bedroom. Right on the wall, opposite to her bed, was a big poster of Sachin Tendulkar. She felt happy seeing Sachin in his glossy blue jersey, lifting his bat and smiling at her. It was like he was sharing his triumph with her. Nadi loved cricket and she loved to play. She loved speaking about everything under the sky and loved to listen to people. She had her own doubts about people, places and objects. But she always found people very busy to share her dreams. Nadi’s father, Abdul Karim, was a PWD contractor. She along with her brother and parents lived in a two storey house built over a plot of nearly 9 cents. Coconut trees surrounded their house, blessing it with shade and nuts alike. Abdul Karim had lovingly named his home after his daughter as Nadisha Manzil. Nadisha was her real name, but she liked people calling her pet name- Nadi. Her parents occupied the ground floor and she along with her brother Shihab kept the top floor. They were living in one of the well to do neighborhoods in Vazhakad. Vazhakad is located in Northern Kerala. It had the credentials of a town, but the landscape carried the innocence of a village. But modern day technology and globalization had already started making inroads into the soul of Vazhakad and the people who lived there.

11 year old Nadi was having her early morning dream where ice cream cats were chasing chocolate rabbits. Like a beautiful butterfly, she was flying around in a garden full of flowers, watching these yummy cats and rabbits running around. She was flapping her wings merrily, merrily, merrily… and all of a sudden this blaring music from the 5.1 speaker shook her like a hurricane. Rabbits burst in to crumble, cats seemed to melt and her wings were gone. She had no clue why her elder brother Shihab did this to her every day. Disturbing her mornings. She would be in those final laps of her dear sleep and he would put some junk song in full volume. She had complained but he won’t listen. Not even Uppa (father) could control him. Whenever challenged, he would retort saying this was new generation. Loud. Very loud.

But today it was so loud that when she covered her ears with the pillow, she could hear her heart banging against her ribs. Lup-dup, lup-dup, lup-dup. She lied down like that, reluctant to wish goodbye to sleep. Minutes longingly cried with an innocent desperation in her mind to become hours. That is when Ummi’s (mom’s) wakeup call that blended perfectly with Shihab’s music whacked her head.

“Nadi mol it is 7:00…wake up…” Love. It was not more than 5 minutes and her Ummi, Zohara called her again. Ummi’s voice sounded like a ghost caught in a barbaric storm of clamor:

“Nadi… it is 7:30…wake up and get ready for school or I will come there…” Threat. And Nadi would wonder how the hell those 5 minutes blitzed its way to 30. Again she dozed off hugging her pillow tight against her ear. Ummi finally came in, and then frisked the pillow and little Nadi off the bed.

“How many times I have to call you Nadi… GET READY…” Terror. Nadi heard Ummi roar as she struggled to open her eyes. Ummi was slim yet she was astonishingly strong for her stature. Mission accomplished, Ummi dashed back to kitchen. Only then, when Ummi was gone, Nadi opened her eyes. The clock showed 7:25 AM. She felt deprived…sad…even cheated.

“I could have slept for 5 more minutes…” she thought as she dragged herself to the bathroom.

She stood there facing the mirror with toothbrush and paste in her hand, contemplating on whether to brush or not. Time just seemed to drag a bit too slow. The songs had changed from Malayalam to Tamil to Hindi and now it was some Telugu song that seemed to have followed her in to the bathroom. She felt it thumping her back. Irritated she closed the door with a bang and went on with her chores.

Nadi got ready for another boring day at school. She looked at the clock and it was 8:05 AM now. She was in her usual creamy-white shirt, blue skirt and white socks. The Donald Duck in her Fast track watch seemed to smile her hugging the red strap from her right wrist. Her hair was pony tailed and hung beautifully on both sides of her shoulders. Black, bold kajjal highlighted her big lovely eyes and Cuticura talc made her look fresher and a shade fairer. She neatly folded a white hand kerchief into perfect square, and kept it in her pocket. Then she took her thattam (head scarf) and covered her head so that only her beautiful face could be seen. She cross checked the books in her bag against the Monday timetable.

“Mathematics, Hindi, Social, Malayam, and Science…pencil box…” yes everything was there. She closed her red bag, grabbed her multi-colored Poppy umbrella. She gave one final glance at Sachin’s poster on wall. Bleed blue. A faint smile ran across her lips and Sachin returned her smile. Quickly she headed down for the dining table for breakfast. It was getting late.

To be continued… (17/06/2015)

By the time Nadi came down, taking one step at a time, holding the wooden reeling with her right and Poppy umbrella with the left, it was almost 8:15 AM. The chillness of the marble seemed to creep through her cotton socks and touch her tender legs. Their dining hall was an extension of the main hall. Nadi walked towards the oval shaped, glass and steel dining table. Shihab was already sitting there with one leg on the chair. He was also in his school uniform (same blue and white). She kept her bag below the dining table. As usual the table was empty, except for the Malayalam Daily that lay there untouched. Ummi had still not finished preparing the breakfast. She looked at Shihab who was bent over the Samsung Tab Uppa had gifted him on his last birthday. He was fiddling it with all his might as though he was going to crack it open then and there. He was too occupied to notice her presence. Nadi felt almost scared since the pointed spikes of his awkwardly gelled hair menacingly pointed at her like a porcupine. She thought about the Porcupines she had seen in the zoo and in Animal Planet. Well, compared to her brother’s head, they looked far better. Shihab was a thin, fair boy. He was too tall for his age and what made him taller still was his spiked hair. He had sunken eyes and long fingers. When teachers and Uppa scolded him for keeping this awkward hairstyle, only then did he subdue those vigorously erect hairs of his. Else, they would again stand up straight in attention. Luckily for her, the music from the 5.1 had stopped. Now their 54 inch Sony Bravia, fitted on the wall that faced the dining table, was on. A guy with arms too huge for his thin body, wearing a tight red T-shirt and light-blue jeans was wishing all his loyal viewers a very good morning. He was speaking a mix of Malayalam and English. His English had a Malayalam hangover and his Malayalam seemed to be a distant cousin of English. She walked towards the kitchen that was on the far right corner of the main hall, adjacent to the dining area. She wanted to check if Ummi needed any help and at her sight Ummi growled:

“Go and sit there Nadi… I’m bringing the breakfast…”

She walked back to the dining table and Shihab smirked at her. Then he went back to his tab. She made a face at him but he did not notice. She sat on the chair opposite to Shihab, swinging her little feet weightlessly over the floor. Nadi could hear the sound of water being splashed in large quantities from the ground floor bathroom. That was her Uppa taking his routine power bath. Was he singing as well…? No. She opened the Malayalam Daily and started reading the news. In the first page, a minister was caught in 300 Crore rupees scandal. But she doubted if he was really ‘caught‘, since he was smiling gleefully showing all his teeth. Now that smile… she had seen it somewhere. Is this the same guy who had come to her school and hoisted the flag on the Republic day.

“Yes… it is him!!! Oh my god, did he not give a lengthy speech on patriotism and the importance of being true…” Nadi thought with dismay and confusion. Worst part was that her class teacher had made her climb the stage and offer a rose flower to this minister. And now he was smiling at her and all those people who opened this newspaper as if nothing had happened. Well, who cares, she thought. But 300 Crores…!!! She looked long and hard at those figures printed red- ‘3’ ‘0’ ‘0’ on the news paper. She started crunching hard at the number of zeros that needed to be added in real to that ‘300’ figure to actually make it 300 Crores.

“One’s, ten’s, hundred’s,…thou…thous…and…” Nadi’s fingers lost the battle with the mental count of zeros. She judged that these news papers were misleading the people and helping these politicians by not putting the exact number of zeros in the paper. In the next page, a cruel looking fellow had hacked his innocent looking father and mother to death. She got upset and scared and looked at Shihab for a moment. No, he had no interest in hacking anyone, only his hair looked dangerous and she felt a pinch of compassion for her brother. She searched for happy news, but the news that caught her eyes was devastating. A driver had slept off killing four passengers including himself as his car hit a big truck coming in the opposite direction in the highway. Both the drivers seemed to be in some dreamland of their own and BANG. Nadi wondered how someone could just sleep off while driving. Her Uppa would never sleep. He would talk, talk and talk until everybody in their car slept out of boredom. But Uppa would never sleep; he would happily listen to some Mapilla Pattu (songs that that have a unique Muslim touch of northern Malabar) and drive their white Volkswagen polo. However her heart went to the poor souls who lost their lives in that news.

“Why police is not fining the people who sleep while driving…?” Nadi thought as she moved to the next page. Next page had news of a prominent Malayalam poet protesting against sand mafia. She was complaining that there was no water in the rivers due to illegal sand extraction.

“So sad…but it is raining. How come there is no water in the rivers?” Nadi doubted the intensions of this poet. She made a note to ask her Uppa about this unbelievable connection between sand and water in the rivers. She swung her little feet as she read the next news. The swinging stopped when the news hit her hard. Three engineering students had drowned in some god forsaken river.

“Preposterous. Liar. ” She thought aloud. Shihab looked up at glowered at her with his eyes. She did not bother. Now she was sure that the poet was a liar since these engineering students had found enough water to drown and die. Nadi wondered why these news papers carried so many lies. She read the news once again and contemplated on the reasons as to why only engineering students drowned? At least once in a week some engineering student will drown somewhere. Her Uppa always insisted her becoming a Civil Engineer. She carried that dream as well, even though she did not have a clear idea as to what Civil Engineering meant. But now she understood that swimming was not being taught as a part of engineering curriculum. As a result of this cruelty, students went hunting for water and drowned themselves.

“Crazy. The frustrated poet should go with these engineering students and see the waters that get them drowned…” Nadi affirmed in her mind. She decided she will tell Uppa to take her for some swimming classes else she won’t do engineering. Nadi was not the one to foolishly go and drown in some river. She could not imagine herself becoming a column in the obituary. Suddenly, that thought kind of scared her. She shut the newspaper abruptly and closed her eyes. Nadi silently made a mental note to ask Uppa to take her swimming. That is when Ummi entered the dining area with a steaming casserole of dosa and kadala curry. She asked Nadi to get the Boost that she had prepared from the kitchen. Nadi jumped off the chair and brought the Boost and steel glasses. Ummi took them from her and kept it on the table. Nadi went back to her seat opposite to Shihab.

Appam or dosa or dinosaur made little difference to Shihab and he did not even look up from his tablet. He did not even flinch when Ummi pinched him to have breakfast. Nadi took a plate, took her normal quota of three dosas and poured some curry over them. The steam that rose from the dosa and curry seemed to fill her olfactory with its spicy aroma. And instinctively her mouth watered for those flavors. It was really very hot and her little fingers burned. But, she started slowly from the edge of one the dosa and with a feather touch of the curry, started her breakfast. Meanwhile Ummi laid the plate in front of Shihab, then served dosa and curry. Still he was engrossed in the tab, messaging someone over Whatsapp. Nadi guessed he was eating someone’s head, most probably a girl (sister instincts always proved right). Well, no one knew her brother like Nadi. Ummi put the ceiling fan over the dining table in full swing and sat on the right end of the dining table watching TV. The curry and dosa started cooling down instantly. Nadi continued with her breakfast and Ummi increased the volume of the TV. There was this strange expression of happy bewilderment in Ummi’s face as she watched her favorite song being played in the music channel. An expression gave an impression that she was waiting all her life to see this song. And Nadi knew Ummi was watching the song may be for the millionth time. But still Ummi was amused, bewildered and excited. All the while Shihab was making designs in the curry with a piece of dosa and with his left hand he would be typing. He would nibble a piece sometimes.

Towards the end of the third dosa, Nadi thought of putting forward the idea of  swimming.

“Ummi…” No response from Ummi.

“Ummmmmiiii…. Shall I go for swimming classes?”

“Shhhh…let me listen to this song Nadi…” Ummi, like a Traffic Policeman, stretched her left palm indicating her to shut up.

“Ummi…” There was distress in Nadi’s voice.

“Nadi, be quick with your breakfast. It is getting late already for school…” Ummi growled at her.

Nadi looked down on her plate dejected and sad, and then continued with her breakfast. She was already feeling full, but Uppa had taught her not to waste food. She poured a glass of Boost and took a gulp to wash the dosa down her throat. Nadi was now desperate to discuss the matter of swimming with someone. She looked at her porcupine-headed brother in front of her. Hopeless. That is when her Uppa came and joined them. Like always Abdul Karim, her beloved Uppa, was meticulously dressed in white. He was and elegant looking man in his forties. Tall, fair with gleaming intelligent eyes, Karim was a man who could easily be categorized as handsome and charming. He carried a thick moustache, but had a receding hairline. His shirt and mundu (dhoti) was starched and pressed stiff. The fragrance of his expensive perfume seemed to fill the hall. He smiled at Nadi as he pulled the chair and sat next to her.

“How are you Nadi mol? How are your classes going on…?” Nadi’s spirits lifted as Uppa smiled lovingly at her. Meanwhile Ummi served him the breakfast.

“Fine Uppa… I want to go for swimming…” But he was not listening and was staring at Shihab. Then Uppa looked back into his own plate and continued with his breakfast. Hopeless. He too had thought. Nadi was confused whether to interrupt Uppa in the middle of his breakfast. She looked at Ummi to press the matter again. But she had settled down near Shihab, pulling the chair sideways so that she could watch the TV better. Now the earlier anchor who wished good morning was gone. In his place stood another boy and standing really close, was girl. The guy looked funny with a hair style that resembled her brother’s porcupine. And the girl looked as though she was dipped in white putty. Her lipstick was very bold and hair looked like the broomstick Ummi used to clean the floor. The girl looked beautiful though. That’s why she came every day morning to wish Happy Birthdays to tiny tots. Nadi was surprised to see that she pinched the guy many a times. Not only she pinched, the guy seemed to giggle at that and he even seemed to mildly enjoy her pinch. Nadi was surprised since Shihab would have beaten the hell out of her had she dared pinch him. But this ettan (elder brother) was laughing. Nadi wondered how thick his skin would be. Suddenly her thoughts came back to swimming.

The curry that was left had almost dried in her plate, but Nadi was determined to discuss swimming with Uppa.

“Uppa… I want to learn swimming…”

“Swimming… Nadi mol…Why?” Amused, Uppa looked at her.

“I don’t want to drown doing engineering Uppa…” she replied with enthusiasm. She was happy her Uppa was listening.

“If you want I will….” Her Uppa started, and that’s when his white Blackberry rang.

To be continued… (18/06/2015)

Uppa got busy with his business call. Little Nadi waited for two minutes. Three minutes. Five minutes. Uppa would not cut the call. So she got down from the chair and kept her plate in the kitchen. She opened the tap and washed her tiny little hands in the tap and cleaned her lips with wet hands. She picked her bag and Poppy umbrella with a heavy heart and said:
“Ummi…bye…”

“OK. go and come back safely”, Ummi wished her back without even a glance.

Little Nadi walked out of the house and looked at the Volkswagen Polo silently waiting for her departure with its hollow neon eyes set on the gate. Nadi walked across the rain drenched concrete lawn to the gate and opened the black iron gate. She had to lift her toes to reach the latch and open the gate. And when she was out, there stood an unexpected guest in front of her.

To be continued 24/06/2014…

“Mmmmmmeeeeehhhhhhh”, it bleated. Those copper brown eyes, tiny little horns and those huge hanging ears scared little Nadi. She stood there stunned as if a big cruel ox was in front of her. But it was just a black little goat. It looked menacingly aggressive at Nadi as she stood there clenching her umbrella with both her hands. The goat had a dirty red rope hanging loose from its neck and there was a small bell of brass that clinked with each subtle movement of its head. The hair of the goat was wet and clung slickly to its skin. It took a step forward threateningly towards Nadi, but she held her ground. She knew her Poppy umbrella had the power to even kill the devil. Well that was what the Umbrella Man did in the advertisement. The goat took another step towards Nadi and she flung the umbrella with all her might aimed at the enemies face. And it hit bulls-eye. The goat ran away as it was scared for its good old life. Nadi wiped off the perspiration that had gathered as a result of this unexpected encounter using her right hand. She looked at the cloudy sky and sent thanks to Poppy Umbrella Man for his timely intervention. As she walked ahead, Athira came out from her house and so did Anne. The trio walked together to school as usual.

To be continued 25/06/2015…. 

Nadi studied in one of the finest schools in her neighbourhood and the name of the school was “Holy Trinity”, a school run by Christian Missionaries. The students mainly came from well-to-do families. They hardly experienced any scarcity  for anything in their lives and the abundance clearly reflected in their attire and body language.

As Athira, Anne and Nadi walked towards their school, Anne took her brand new Mobile Phone and looked at her reflection on its screen. Though the screen was ‘Gorilla’, Anne was reassured by her reflection that she was pretty still. Nadi could not stand this and she retorted:

“You are not supposed to bring mobile to the school…”. There was irritation in her voice; a kind of childish harshness which her friends readily ignored.

The girls shoved her aside as they walked ahead completely glued to Athira’s mobile phone.  As Nadi followed them, head hung low and completely dejected, from nowhere came an auto rickshaw that almost ran her down from behind. She almost fell don over the sidewalk and cried out  There was blaring music

“Ouch…”

But neither Athira nor Anne walking ahead even pretended to notice. In fact, they had no clue as to what was happening around them.

There was blaring music  that trailed the speeding auto and Nadi noticed that the vehicle was jam packed with students to St. Pauls, yet another school in the town. She could see the slanting head of the auto-driver which clearly showed that he had a mobile phone squeezed in between his left ear and left shoulder and he was talking over the phone.

Nadi was too small to get dismayed about the catastrophic fate of a mad,  technology-driven society, but surely felt irritated about crazy people like the auto rickshaw driver. She knew in the hearts of her heart that complaining was all in vain. So she dusted her hands, uniform, regained her composure and continued her journey.

On her way to school was a theatre complex. The Royal Talkies was one of the important screens in the town and there was a major release that day. Even though it was so early for the show, she could see college students with their bags waiting for the gates to open. She knew they were bunking classes and wondered when she could do the same.

“Why it was so cool and proper to bunk classes when you reached college and not when you are tied up in school? ” she thought airily. Her nose did catch the faint smell of gunpowder and she could see the multi-coloured remains of the crackers that were burst during the special screening of the Super Star’s latest flick for his fans early in the morning. Ignoring all these, she walked on 🙂

 

 

 

 

Only You Can Tell Your Story

The key to the future of humanity is not locked in the smart phones that we hold or television screen that we are glued to. It is locked down deep in our imagination, our ability to empathise, the solace of contemplation on millions of other lives scattered across the globe and to understand humanity through the ages of its evolution. This happens only if you read, read and read.

They key to the future of humanity is not locked in the smart phones that we hold or television screen that we get glued to. It is locked down deep in our imagination, our ability to empathise, the solace of contemplation on millions of other lives scattered across the globe and to understand humanity through the ages of its evolution. This happens only if you read, read and read.
The key to the future of humanity is not locked in the smart-phones that we hold or television screen that we get glued to. It is locked down deep in our imagination, our ability to empathize, the solace of contemplation on millions of other lives scattered across the globe and to understand humanity through the ages of its evolution. This happens only if you read, read and read.- Srinath Krishnamoorthy

I am scraping my brain for words to write this article. There is this mystifying cacophony of croaking frogs and playful crickets that is getting drenched in rain as I’m typing. The night that was a dome, jeweled with sparkling stars, is now spotless and dark with clouds. Well, its the night and it ought to be dark. Well, night… it now stands like a beautiful seductress drenched in rain. But not so long back did I start enjoying these little nuances of nature. Not so long back did I start feeling the music and rhythm of rain; in its drop and within those drops. Not so long did I start loving the process of writing.

Earlier I would hear the rain, but would never listen to it. Now I’m listening to its music- splotch splotch splotch!!! Earlier the wind would just blow, but now it sings, whistles and roars. Is it not boring to sit for long hours in front of computer typing nothing? I have serious experience of standing over the epitome of boredom when mind brims with words and stories, but the fingers would simply stop inert. Imagine you got a bundle of brand new A4 sheets right in front of you, waiting eagerly for that FIRST KISS from your Parker pen. And what if those fragrant white sheets seduced your hand to put some ink on them and make the nib REALLY KISS their body?  How devastating you would feel if your imagination failed to put a single word on to that sheet? It is really tiring and even frustrating I would say.  To sit in a room and do nothing but make your fingers dance over keypad of your laptop spitting meaningless words on the monitor. Or just keep rolling your pen in your hand, churning your brain, searching for the right word to begin with- it rots, it sucks and if it was a gun and not a pen, would enjoy the sound of a bullet cracking my skull. But there is something convincingly beautiful in this pain. Let me assure you, the ‘beauty’ part of the pain comes as an incentive when words scream over your screen or when the ink smears on your paper. It is a pain but then an intoxicating pain.

Words. Words. Words. There is no world without words.A mute world is deaf world too. We all love reading books, swimming deep in those beautiful lines is nothing but an ecstasy. As we read, we get this creepy feeling for writing something of the sorts that our idols have gifted us in the form of novels/ stories/fiction or books…whatever you call them. I mean…I got rooted over the years, like an old tree discussing books, authors and stories with likes of myself. I go for a movie and it is not the movie that I see there but a story that could be penned down. There is this  endless brooding over inability to write anything when there is so much down there locked in my mind. It makes me damn crazy. But one day I read an article written by Anita Nair and her advice to aspiring author’s was this :

“Don’t talk about your book, just write it”

And that just changed the way I used to ‘think’ about writing. In that article she talks of procrastination as the biggest hurdle that stands between a young writer and his book. That’s when I started seriously writing… no you can call that jotting down things. And the beginning part is agonizingly slow. You grapple for words, you choke and you suffocate, but in the end it will not be the words that flows with you, but you who will be flowing with the words!!! I started writing and the pure joy that is derived from cannot be explained in words. And after killing the devil of “will do it tomorrow”, it’s all the more fun. I just felt like my brain just opened it’s windows to an all new beautiful dimension. Churning out the stories, meaningless stupid ones in the beginning. But refinement and meticulous plotting eventually kicks in. And then there is this pure joy of writing. Writing a story -silly, funny, smart or mind blowing just don’t care. Then the big one comes- your first novel. Giving it to your Mom, Dad, friends to read and getting a review. Even a rejection letter/mail from a publisher is sweet. You have your story in your hand. a story that was locked down there, deep in your mind even without your explicit knowledge of its existence is right there in front of you. What can be more satisfying? What can be more pleasing? The answer is- Nothing.

As human beings, we all have stories to tell. About mountains, about myths and mythologies, about the common man, about fairies and angels and spirits and vampires….well who knows, this universe itself may be a big, huge story and we are just characters in its gigantic plot? Let’s give this world our stories. Forget intellectuals, forget great writers, kick the fear of committing mistakes, forget what critics would say, forget what the society would whisper and write your story TODAY…NOW!!! Maybe there are better writers than you. There is a possibility that you are the worst writer who ever walked this planet. Pseudo intellects and writers who are technically suave and who can play with the language like expert jugglers may laugh at you…mock you. But there is one thing they cannot do. And that is – tell your story. Only you can tell your story and there ain’t nobody better than you to do that.

Today we can see a generation that has alienated itself from to reading. The have closed themselves in that small cocoon of their own world. They seldom go out to play or mingle with other children of their age. In those four walls of their house and classroom, they run a race against themselves and collapse crashing against their parent’s expectations. Many a times they don’t even know what is expected of them. They do not hear stories from their grandparents- those old folklores and stories about the hen, fox and dog who were friends are all but gone. Life is nothing more than the food they have watching Japanese Manga Cartoon shows. Just look around you. Can you see the cover of dust on the playgrounds and the vibrant hullabaloo of children playing in the evening? We see isolated playgrounds, deserted lanes and closed doors. Yes, there are immortal smart-phones and social networking. There are movies and oh yes… televisions. There are reality shows and as though to beat them in the drama we have news channels competing with each other. It is said that Earth rotates at 1670 kilometers/hour. The current rate of progress as far as humanity is concerned leaves no room for speculation that our lives will catch up with that speed soon. A day is all about remembering when we got up and forgetting when we slept off. Life is all but a visual treat now. Visuals are instant and perishable. But imagination is forever. Read a few lines, scribble a few words and it will really help a lot. Make your children read a good book. Inject in them the pleasure of words. Let them immerse themselves in their visualization of events than throwing the visual like fast food, right in front of their eyes. Yann Martel says:

” You don’t have to rake your brain searching for a good book, a cheap Penguin paperback can do the trick for you…”

Well, a Twinkle Digest, a Baalarama, a Chacha Chowdury or Agniputra Abhay can work wonders for your tiny tot.The key is- make them visualize things.

When we say that we lack great innovation, we are implicating that there is a real scarcity of great ideas. Well, great ideas are born out of minds that have great imagination. And for great imagination, we need brains that can really ‘imagine’.Imagination has nothing to do with number crunching, the number of telephone numbers you can remember, the grades that you get in your exams or the big fat salary you take home.Imagination is the process that happen in some remote, unknown planet in your mind. A place where you can look, feel and visualize your ideas. It becomes an innovation when your imagination hits something new, produces something raw. It is about cooking up an idea that nobody has ever thought of.

The habit of reading is inculcated deep in the western culture. I got to know this when I went for an outing with my friend’s to Kovalam (a popular tourist spot in Thiruvananthapuram that attracts tourists from world over). The scorching April sun was grilling everyone on the beach. The beach had more foreign tourists compared to native ones. But even while sunbathing, they had a paperback or hardback or a kindle in their hands. They were completely immersed in their read. I still remember a guy reading Edge of Eternity written by Ken Follett and enjoying the sunbath. That scene would never fade away from my mind and the books that go untouched, uncared and unwanted in our libraries would also never fade away.

The key to the future of humanity is not locked in the smart phones that we hold or television screen that we are glued to. It is locked down deep in our imagination, our ability to empathize, the solace of contemplation on millions of other lives scattered across the globe and to understand humanity through the ages of its evolution. This happens only if you read, read and read.

Let us dance to the music of words,

Find our friend, foe, merry and thrill in them.

Let imagination break the shackles of time

Let us all come back to books!!!

I would like to end this blog with 6 tips from the legendary author John Steinbeck to young writers:

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

(Tips excerpt from the interview given by John Steinbeck’s to Paris Review http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4156/the-art-of-fiction-no-45-continued-john-steinbeck)

Image Courtesy : http://www.firstcovers.com/user/952047/we+all+have+a+story+to+tell.html

 

Srinath Krishnamoorthy (1)

– Srinath Krishnamoorthy (14/06/2015)

A Leaf in the Autumn Wind

This poem has death and sorrow in nature as its undertone. Human beings, in their deadly quest to sabotage nature, seldom realize that he is killing himself. This sad poem sung from the lips of a leaf in the autumn wind is a wakeup call that would shatter our deep slumber of ignorance.
This poem has death and sorrow in nature as its undertone. Human beings, in their deadly quest to sabotage nature, seldom realize that he is killing himself. This sad poem sung from the lips of a leaf in the autumn wind is a wakeup call that would shatter our deep slumber of ignorance.

I am a leaf in the autumn wind,

I swayed and rustled on the hands of my mother tree.

There were thousands of hands and millions of my kind,

We danced together in the autumn wind.

Where did I come from, I do not know,

I asked my brothers, I asked the mothers,

Neither the leaves nor the branches knew where we came and what our destiny is?

All they told was that you are the smile of nature,

For you are leaves in the autumn wind.

I bathed in the soothing sun,

I slept by the shade of moon,

Then came the grand old wind,

It was old as millennia and whispered the story of ages.

I danced, I swayed. I rustled

And I danced to the tunes of mighty winds,

It embraced the sands of time

As they whispered my secret origin

I now know I was a seed,

Was buried in the cradle of nature,

Nature’s womb held me there

Fed its breasts for this dance and sway,

Well she is the mother of all!!!

I asked the wind, I asked the sand, why nature put me here,

Where should I go from here?

“This is the place for you. And this is your destiny” they said

I looked up and down and around we,

With a heart that leapt with joy!!!

I saw the birds resting;

I saw them chirruping,

I saw the squirrels jumping a branch,

I saw the woodpecker drumming a beat,

I saw the seasons change on a chameleon skin Green, Brown and Gray.

I am here to love them; I am here to serve them,

And that is my destiny.

Sun scorched my little head,

It glistened my days and smothered my evenings,

The Moon kissed me like a fairy in a dream

Then she kissed my little swaying head.

I swelled in pride, I burst in joy

So were my brothers in far far trunks,

We were destined to dance in the autumn wind.

I grew a little, grew a little, grew a little more,

Each day made me broader still,

I could shake my hands with wind and embrace the sands of time,

For they were my friends and bought stories from far of lands,

They whispered a story of ages,

And mourned a tale of drought and loss.

The winds just cried and the sparrows wept,

I was stunned to see the tears they kept,

I don’t know why, I don’t know why,

The breeze was hurt and dust was sore,

Though the world around was a heaven in store.

The day came with some men in arms,

Not one or two but five with axe,

They tied my mother, they cut my brothers,

I knew by then how weak I was.

I saw my kith weep then shout and fall,

Ears exploded with their desperate wisps,

My world so serene flipped to deadly hell,

And my heart just missed a little beat.

I called the wind of ages;

I called the sands of time,

But they were gone and no one came.

What was left was the silence of the lame.

I remember them telling me,

You are everything what you see

You are the cloud, you are the air,

You are the rain, and the mighty sun that glare

But now I know; now I know

I am just a leaf in the autumn wind.

Desperation tore my heart in two,

And tears welled and in my eyes,

I asked the Nature “Mother, I gave them shade, and they cut with spade…

I gave them life, and they burn with fire

I played with them in joyous times,

I rustled and sang for their happy times

Why then this betrayal? Why then this betrayal?”

The shade was me, the wind was me,

And the grand monsoon rain was me,

The life and strength of Mother Nature was me,

But now…

I am betrayed and I am withered and weak,

My end has come and my time is up.

A sharp pain rose through my nerves,

Like a deadly cut it serves.

The last of cuts will bleed for sure.

I looked around with dying eyes,

And I was the lone leaf now in that tree.

And there I fell and wisped through the air,

I saw dust, I saw the Sun,

I saw and felt that searing pain,

And then the hollow face of a man with gain.

He lacked the sorrow and was far from sane,

Around me I watched Mother Nature slain.

My destiny served, my life severed,

Is there a meaning in cry for my revenge?

Even my death is a gift for some,

So be it, so be it, so be it

But what can I do, what can I do

Than cry like a song in sorrow

What more could I do, how less could I feel

I’m only a leaf in the autumn wind.

– A poem by Srinath Krishnamoorthy