Trapped in time

What would it be like if time stood still….

Embalmed in time?

If time were to stand still,
Life would be such a thrill.
Frozen in time ,
We would eternally relive
Moments of happiness and sunshine.
The air would be fresh,
The garden, very green.
Eternally,we’d have spring.
The birds would sing,
The butterflies carouse,
Heady with nectar and flower juice.
Years would pause
At the moment when our lives stood still
And our hearts leapt up to behold
The rainbow of all joy and hope.
Eternity would stretch to infinity.
But,would it be tangible?
Would it be real?
Could I touch you ?
Could I feel you?
Can eternity be embalmed in time?

A walk down an autumnal landscape

How nice it would be
If we took a walk by that stream
Down under the autumnal trees.
Red and yellow with splashes of green.
How nice if we went into that painting
And got trapped in time.
Time stopped for you and me.
And we got lost in that moment of eternity!
How nice it would be….
Only you and me
Lost in an eternal moment
Caught in the web of time.
And time would stand still.
……..Only for you and me…….


The river

When I look out of my window, I see ripples of water in the little river / water reserve across the road. The river gives me a sense of tranquility.Here are a few lines to the river…

The river

For me,
This river means life.
Breath .
Every morning ,
I see it awake
Ripple with waves
Light up with the sun
Glitter and have fun
I see the birds that flit
Over it.
I see turtles swim
And cranes wait for the fish.
I see trees
Smile back at me
From the waves.
I see the play of light.
At sunset,
I see the water reflect the sky.
At night, it deepens and quietly sighs.
At midnight, it sleeps dark and quiet
And awakens fresh again in the morning light.

The water and the sky

The waves caught a bit of the sky
And brought it close to me.
A little cloud,feathery white,
In a dancing spree
Was rippling in glee,
Laughing with me…
And a little further down ,I could see
The sun littering jewels ,
Dusting the pointed edges of the water
With pin pricks of crystal bright.
The other day,
I saw rubies and diamonds sprinkle the little lake.
Sunset on water turned gold
A fluid necklace of ages untold
Molten lava across the skies
Captured by the rising tides
The water all dressed up,
Waiting to meet the dark night…
The fiery lava turned the sky cinder,
The water darkened itself, a willing bride
Of the deepening skies
Drowning it’s senses in the colors of the night.

How wonderful is life!

Hello! Here is wishing you all a wonderful start to a very happy week.
It will be new year for lot of people from India this week….


Step out of it
And look out beyond
Into this bright,wide world
Of happiness and light.
Look at the aura of the vibrant sun rise,
At the birds that fly so high,
At the colors of the sky,
At the beauty of the night.
Hear the hum of the fireflies,
The soft swish of waves ,
The rustling of the leaves,
And the murmur of the trees.
Feel the wind among the greens,
The fulfillment in the breeze.
Touch the water over the sand,
Race with the waves receding from the land.
Reach out,
Reach out to the skies
And say,
This world is mine.
Mine to hold,
To feel,
To conquer
To dream….


Spring is here ! Looking back nostalgically, here are some verses I had written last spring sitting in my garden ,enjoying the sunny,breezy weather….

Song of Spring

Come let us celebrate spring !

Let us dance abandoned in the air
With wild flowers nodding everywhere
Hear the swishing of the breeze
The singing of the trees
The distant hum of bees
The whistling of the birds
The laughter of boys and girls
It’s heady….this spring
I hear the voices ring
And songs that words do sing
I see the sky
Clear and bright
I feel the sunshine
Warm with gold
These are stories of all ages
Singers have sung this song
Through aeons
Now it is my turn to sing
A resounding ode to spring


The madness of words engulfs my soul.
The sound of words,the music,the rhythm,
The nuances, the schisms…..
I dance like a wild woman
My hair flying wild.
I turn in circles.
I gyrate.
I am in an open field……
Hear the wind.
Translate the sound.
The waves of the swishing grass.
The greenness of the ground.
All captured by words and sound.
The nimbus floating by
In an unending blue sky
Golden with the hues of sunlight.
I revel in words.
I dance to the sound.
Nothing more matters
As I turn around and around….

Intoxicated with the sound of words.

Ghostly Meanderings

I am terrified of ghosts,perhaps, because I have an imagination. I have never seen one. I avoid reading about them too. When I was a kid and someone wanted to tell a ghost story,I would put my fingers into my ears and shout, drowning all sounds…let me assure you a most effective way of shutting out anything you do not want to hear. Of course,if my sons dared do that, they would be given much to think about.
When I moved to Singapore, I thought I had left all ghostly things behind as it was such a new country…
But I was wrong.
Singapore has it’s own romance with ghosts. In August,Taoists burn paper to appease hungry ghosts.When we were house hunting,our house agent informed us quite seriously that roads are not built straight so that ghosts don’t find their way to homes. The conclusion being, there are ghosts and ghosts do not take meandering pathways. I noticed houses at the end of a straight road were priced lower. And, now,there is this vast majority of literature about ghosts, poems and stories, written and printed locally. It has the nomenclature of dark literature. I have never dared to touch it for the fear of the unknown.
When my son went into training for National Service,(every child born here needs to serve the nation for two years before going to university)we found out that the academy was next to a graveyard. Many trainee national servicemen had evidently noticed paranormal activities,I had heard.Though, we were assured in a talk given to parents that there are no ghosts. My friend’s friend’s son had professed to see some such paranormal stuff.Of course, the unimaginative and prosaic could dismiss it as “hallucination due to exhaustion and fear”.
Then one weekend my son came home and told us a “ghost” story.
He used to wake up at 4 am and get ready for the day by 5 am. It was his task to see people were up. One night, he had a bad dream…he dreamt he woke up at six in the morning and their whole platoon was given a zillion push ups for it as a punishment. He woke up in cold sweat and stumbled across the dark room in search of the clock. Suddenly,one of the boys sat up on his bed, closed his eyes and started praying. He prayed and prayed with his eyes closed till my son returned to his bed and fell asleep, reassured that it was still night and he had had a nightmare. The other trainee continued to pray.
The next morning, the trainee ,who spent a large part of the night praying,went up to the instructors and said he had had a sighting. For some absurd reason, the instructor asked my son if he had been walking around the room at night. When my son,responded in the affirmative, the instructors shook their heads and we had a laugh.
The boy,who had the sighting, however, continued to assert it was a ghost and not his batchmate!
To be or not to be, that is the question…as the great bard would say…
I continue to fear the paranormal…have no desire to meet, to greet or to eat with them…with all due respect to beings of the other world, I rest my pen….forever hoping to maintain a distance from them.

Short story

Here is a short story to entertain you over the weekend.

The Swap

Arpita sat in her office with the whole world stretched out before her.
She was a strong woman.
She was a powerful woman.
She was a bold woman.
She was a lonely woman.
Arpita was the chief minister of a newly founded state in India.
Her career had peaked. She started as a journalist, became an activist and then, here she was wearing the crown of her new-found glory.
She folded back the newspaper announcing the Nobel prize for an Indian economist and sighed pensively….
Nostalgically,she recalled her grandfather’s lovely garden…She recalled how as a child she had buried a dead sparrow under a red and white rose bush, the result of her grandfather’s experiments with grafting. Her grandfather and grandmother stood beside her…The sparrow had fallen wounded from a tree the day before. Her attempts at healing the bird were not very successful. That is why she dug a little grave for the tiny dead sparrow and held a little burial.She remembered ,a few years later,the roses had turned uniformly pink on that bush.
Her childhood was spent with aunts,uncles,grandparents and cousins . She was always surrounded by family and love…but never her parents ,who were too busy setting up their own business and pursuing their careers.
And then she was a teenager,beautiful,lissome … At eighteen she went to university, where she completed her masters in Economics with flying colors and met Tushar. Tushar was an Economics lecturer ,three years her senior. He doted on her,adored her. He had the ability to love deeply,with all his being. And that is what he gave to Arpita, his deepest love and devotion.Arpita liked him. He was the son of the economic advisor to the prime minister. Tushar was smart ,dashing and popular. That he chose her above all others flattered her.
Arpita started work in a newspaper office . Getting a job for her had been a cakewalk as she had freelanced for newspapers from the age of eighteen. She could write on anything really well…sneezing,snoring or politics ,dance or books… anything.
Tushar doted on Arpita and took her out to lunches,dinners, dropped her home and picked her up from work,took her to theaters and movies. Her parents , who were now part retired and harvesting the benefits of their earlier frenzied existence, were more at home. They liked Tushar. The parents met. They liked each other. A date had been set for the engagement and wedding. The youngsters felt life was a breezy dream…
Then ,it happened… the sole event that changed her life.
It was 5 am in the morning.
The phone was ringing loudly. Jay, her father, sleepily picked up the phone at his bedside and then sat up suddenly. “Hello…what? When? How?”
Jay shook and woke up Shilpa, Arpita’s mother. ” Wake up! Tushar just called up with very bad news. His father passed away of a massive heart attack last night.”
Shilpa sat up,” What? What did you say?”
“Tushar’s dad died of a massive heart attack.”
“We just met him two days ago…and now…why ? How?”mumbled Shilpa.
“Heart attack.We have to go there now. Tushar was almost weeping,”said Jay. “Wake up Arpita and tell her to get ready.”
Shilpa went to Arpita’s room. She peeped in. Arpita was fast asleep. Shilpa went up to her daughter’s bed,sat on her knee at the bedside and kissed her daughter’s lovely face and said softly,”Arpita, Arpita ,you need to wake up. We have had some shocking news…”
Arpita loved having her mother caress her awake . It happened rarely. But this time her mother’s words had her sit up . “What happened?”she asked wide-eyed.
“Something very bad. Tushar’s father died of a massive heart attack at night. Tushar just called us up.”
“What will happen to us?”wailed Arpita.
“I think we have to think of them right now. Let us get ready and go,”said Shilpa.
By 6.30 am, they were on their way with her grandmother waving them goodbye.
They found Tushar’s driveway inundated with journalists. Somebody called out Arpita’s name as they got off the car .Arpita turned around. Her mother caught her arm and said.” Do not respond. Walk straight in right now.” Sandwiched between her parents,Arpita walked into the house. It was a huge old British bungalow,the official residence of the economic advisor to the prime minister.
Inside the hall, on the bier lay the body ,covered with a white sheet and decked with flowers. There were men in white pajama kurtas talking in hushed tones. Tushar stood among them with a face that seemed ready to weep. Arpita felt no sorrow but a sense of tiredness and embarrassment . Tushar looked a bit indignified and ridiculous to her.
From inside, came the sound of wailing. Jay went to Tushar and gave him a hug. Tushar detached himself from the cluster of men and took Arpita and her mother to the women. His mother and sisters were weeping.
They had more women sitting around them. When she saw Arpita and Shilpa, Tushar’s mother gave them a hug and wept some more. Shilpa held Tushar’s mother sympathetically to her chest and stroked her hair softly. Arpita stepped back. She found the whole situation awkward. It was nearing eight in the morning. She would like to go to work. Tushar looked in. She averted her eyes. He came up and said ,” Thanks for being here for me.” She smiled vaguely. As he went off to the next room,her father came and told them he was going with the men for the cremation.
Arpita waited for them to start. Then, around eight thirty, she told her mother,” I need to go to work or,at least, to call up office.”
Her mother looked at her aghast,” How can you think of work at this point?” whispered Shilpa.
Arpita shrugged her shoulders and walked out. She felt stifled in this crowd of mourners.
Somebody called out her name again. It was Gitika from her office.Arpita smiled and went towards her.
“What are you doing here?”asked Gitika.
” What are you doing here? His son is my fiancĂ©.”
“I came to cover the story for our newspaper. They are not letting journalists in. We have nothing except a press release from his office. Maybe, you can do an insider’s account as an exclusive for our paper. It would be a great break in your career,”said Gitika.
“Why not? ” said Arpita.”I will inform our office. That way I can keep my mom and the office happy. I can stay here and still work.”
She went indoor and called her office to tell them she would do an exclusive , an insider’s story covering the whole event of death of the economic advisor.
Shilpa was looking for her daughter.When she saw her using the phone(for this was a decade before the mobile explosion), her mother nodded approvingly from a distance ,thinking that her daughter was arranging leave.
When they went back home after an emotionally charged and exhausting day, Arpita told them,”I have some urgent work.” She went into her room and pounded away at her typewriter(for it was before personal computers or laptops became a must for writing in newspapers).
She came out for dinner and told her parents,”I have to drop my assignment urgently in office. Can I please borrow the car and go? Then, I will be back in twenty minutes. I will eat after coming home.” Her parents agreed. Her office was a ten minute drive or a half-hour walk.
The next morning,when her father opened the newspaper,he hollered for Arpita. ” How dare you do this?” He was pointing to her exclusive that filled half of the first page. It was her article with a byline and a logo saying ” An insider’s account”…details of the family’s grief and loss… a vulturine account with morbid details. Jay was furious. How could she infringe on the sanctity of personal relationships and make it public! Where had he and Shilpa gone wrong in the upbringing of Arpita…
The phone rang. Tushar at the other end was incoherent…but Arpita understood that she was free again….
For nearly three decades,she had stayed free of all family encumbrances,including her own…
Now, after almost three decades,Tushar’s name cropped up in her world again…as a Nobel laureate…no longer a mere lecturer…
Arpita thirsted to see him. She loved success and the successful.
How she wanted him now!
But, would Tushar want her ?

From my window…

Every morning when I wake up and see the sun rising ,I feel a new hope in my heart. I feel happy when I see the white butterflies fluttering among the green trees. The golden Orioles add color when they flit from tree to tree. When the Angsana trees are filled with yellow flowers,the Orioles become an extension of the blooms as they flit from tree to tree. It seems as if the flowers are hovering and are on the brink of fluttering their petals and moving out of the trees.

The Angsana Oriole

I saw the Angsana flowers take flight
And become a Golden Oriole bright.
I soared with the Oriole
And saw the flowers
Colored by the sun
Turn yellow in pure fun.
I saw the water lap the trees
And felt the warm sultry breeze.
The grass below giggled
And wiggled,by the breeze tickled.
I saw speedboats’ cruising rippled
The water into big waves.
All this I saw with the Oriole
Before it returned among
The golden Angsana flowers
Again a part of the sunshiny ,yellow towers.

Indistinguishable….lost….part of the whole.


The Flame of the Forest and the Angsana did a merry dance
And out of it was born a vibrant new plant.

All came to see
As the blooms outdid the other trees
Phoenix like ,red and yellow,
They seemed to rise
In a fiery guise
And reach for the sun.
They shone with gold
Outdid all flowers of old.
In a burst of purple flame,
They seemed to rise
Eternal birds
In their endless flight towards a happier time.
With their red and gold, they foretold
Of a future where all are bold.
Where there are no fears,
No need to wipe trouble torn tears.
No boundaries drawn,
No limits sworn.
Where the flowers can turn to birds
And rise,flying towards a paradise.
… Songs of infinite life and harmony…


When I look at the waves running at me
And sunshine dripping off the trees
I know I must have done something right
To have the privilege of this lovely sight
To look
To see
To have the ability
To put together
These things
And realize
Our blessings
In the turn of each leaf
In the drift of each breeze
To put them into words
And sing for
The Eternal Bard
With the gift of his own song
That gushes out in a language
Made by Him
I am privileged
To see
To write
To sing
None of this is mine
Don’t you see
It all belongs to Him
The Maker of waves
And the Painter
Of sunshine on leaves.
All this is a part of
You. Me.