Thursday, 30 October 2008

Tree #7: a picture!

Here's a lovely pic of a little chikku tree planted for me in Bombay, by my friend Jill and her three girls (yes, they're triplets)!
If there is an art to scanning, I do not know it. After trying several times to crop all the white space around this picture, I gave up in frustration.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

TUCK EVERLASTING, by Natalie Babbitt

This is a most unusual children's book. It is a book about the importance of dying.

It's about the Tuck family, who is blessed with (or rather, doomed to) eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, and a ten-year-old girl who stumbles on their secret.

I often think we hide from death too much. Like babies who cover their eyes and believe that what they can't see doesn't exist. Sweet - in babies. A bit silly for the rest of us, given that the only certainty in every single person's life is that we will die one day. Most of the world likes to pretend that death doesn't walk around with them wherever they go. And then someone dies, and we are shocked, immobilised and offended by this "horrible" thing that has happened.

I suppose I think about all this more since my father was diagnosed with cancer. He's recovering now, but the experience forced me to accept that death WILL come, some day. It could come for me before it comes for him, for that matter. It nearly did, back in 2003 when I had the dengue haemmorhagic fever. Since then, I've started looking at life - and death - not just differently, but also more frequently. I decided that, like the baby, I need to keep growing. I need to uncover my eyes, end an endearing but pointless game, and dare to look, explore, find truths, and grow. I want to be ready. I want to die better, and also live better.

Finding this lovely little book, at this time of searching, was one of those pleasant coincidences that I often suspect are not coincidences at all.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Tree #6: an update

Alas. The poor thing did not make it. Well, we tried ..

"We who have no right to grieve ..

 This poem is no longer true to me. I still do feel this way at times - guilty for all that I have, judging myself and my depressive illness - far more harshly than anyone else might judge me, in fact. But I call this poem untrue because I have learnt this: EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO GRIEVE. To hurt, to cry, to want more. We are human - and rich or poor, safe or uncertain, we all have the right to our feelings.

We who have no right to grieve,
grieve the death of great ideas.

We who have no right to cry,
cry for the little we do not have.

We with everything at our feet
look at the moon with longing.

We whose lives are full,
look at the emptiness inside.

We with all the time in the world,
sit and weep so many moments away,
thinking our lives colourless and gray.

In other worlds,
there is the colour of night,
the colour of blood,
the colour of one against another.

In other worlds,
they fight for their right to smile.
Their tears are not wasted on the grief
we have the luxury to entertain.

(4.23 pm Sunday 22 Dec 1996)

Friday, 24 October 2008

"Shadows crossed my window ..

Shadows crossed my window one night
(trees across the path of a garden light)
I thought it was the Angel of Death
(though it might have been the wind)
and in the morning I heard
women wailing next door.

Tonight he was here again
but he knocked and went away.
I think it was his way of telling me
he'd be back for me one day.

(written in Jan 92)

Monday, 20 October 2008

"Across unexplored distances ..

Across unexplored distances
part of our souls are entwined
in an intimacy that can't be explained.
We know each other,
but are strangers.
We may never meet again,
but we have come together.
A man and a woman,
but not as men and women do.

There is a bond,
and there are no bonds.
There is a kind of love that cannot be called love.
There are secrets behind each other's eyes
that we are beginning to understand,
and secrets we are too remote to share.

Finding everything my heart has longed for,
and nothing of all my body desires,
I cannot call him friend or lover.
He is both less and more.

(written for R,  on 13-3-95, 1.45 a.m.)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

You complain that love is fickle

I suppose I wrote this when I finally ventured into another chance at romance. The only trouble is that I don't think it's entirely true that we can heal our hearts and move on. We always carry the scars and perhaps that is how it should be.

You complain that love is fickle.

I am thankful for this mercy.

I do not think I could have carried
a broken heart with me all my lifetime.


(wrote this in 93? or 94)

Edited 11 April 2014

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

"The promises we never make ..

The promises we never make
are the ones we never break
but the hearts we keep to ourselves
for the fear of hurt or hurting,
break anyway.

(written on 24-2-95)