“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Points and Counterpoints

Sitting here, alone in the night in a lodge

At the foot of the hills

Drinking whisky and smoking,

Sitting like a fat Buddha with glasses

The liquor- flushed cheeks rubbing its frame

The bloated belly like an over-filled sack

Slumping over hiding my nudity

The fleshy thighs spreading over the chair

Like over-watered dough

And the smell of fried beef in my nose

Its spices still tingling my tongue

And its shreds snuggling

Between the yellowing teeth –


I am trying to take a fresh look at myself.


Overweight, smoking, sluggish

Muscles long forgotten to stretch

I fit the bill for a cardiac case.

All that remains to be known is when.

It jerks me out of my drunken reverie

That it could be in the next moment

Or the one after the next.


While my estranged wife would be

Busying herself with religious rituals

That will bring her blessings and good fortune

Benefactions of the Goddess

Like the thousands of her sex

Who pollute the city for a day

And while my son would be busying himself

With an enactment of preoccupation

With his studies

While actually listening to Rock

Or to the intermittent telephone calls

Of his friends

And while my dogs would be

Lying panting, exhausted with barking

At all those passing our gates

And I believe, wondering where I have gone-


I sit here, an escapee from that din outside

Though helpless, having to listen to that from inside

And as ever, pursing my lips and repeating

That I have to cut down my eating and drinking

And smoking and shouting and later wallowing

In self-pity

And walking every day morning

And working it out at the gym

Or swimming in the pool

And to be sharp and assertive

And write poems and write what all

And go for long rides on the bike –


And wondering, what the hell,

What is the point in postponing

The inevitable

But then wishing I would be free of this guilt

This guilt for living the way I want to

Wishing I could live the way I want to

Without wrestling with this guilt

But then again at the back of my mind

This constant ticking that

I am a potential candidate for myocardial infarction

And then thinking, Hell! Everyone is,

Everyone eventually will be, that or something else

But the question, I realize

Is not about the hundred ways of dying

And having no choice in that matter

But on living –

Which brings us to an examination

On the quality of life

If somebody would provide a standard

So much measure of happiness and sorrow

So much of richness and depravity

So much pleasure and so much pain –

And I am getting confused

But have to put an end to it

The best way, I know

Is to remind myself again

To reduce weight

To stop smoking

To stop drinking

To be happy

Be happy

Be happy

And never never to look deeper into oneself

Or ruminate over the past –

And –

Perhaps at the moment

Of the inevitable

Tell oneself – now I am puzzled-

What or wonder if there is

Any point at all in talking

To oneself as one lie dying.

***************** Balachandran, Kallar, 09.03.2009





  1. I am reminded of the beetle that entered the room through the door. It flies all around trying to get out, beating its head on the wall here and there and falling, falling... And all the while the door is wide open.
    You will forget this poem very soon. The other poem by you I saw today suggests the soon is already within reach.

  2. After writing a poem, I read it again and again, like watching an old favorite movie. I, the poet, is not there. Just the words, its jugglery, the hints and subtleties and somewhere beneath the rags, a universal truth...

  3. u can make verses come out of nowhere no? anything from every thng and evrthng from anythng ?
    i cant help wondering..the words shud b feeling proud for being tapped in such an aesthetic and majestic way..

  4. Well Balachandran,to leave a feedback might be easy,provided it's just a post.It's a stack of ideas and nutshell of what we go through in usual life stuff..

    While my estranged wife would be
    Busying herself with religious rituals..This particular stanza (don't know if it's wrong to call) made me think a lot,haunt me a lot because I was just seeing it as a soul,a very 'homely soul' who upon freeing from the body witnessing the happenings of the 'din' without him.And while thinking in that way,I had this spiritual feel,ultimately leading me to the 'helplessness of a human soul'...
    But then I came to your 'guilt' part I was very much in this world.Which forced in a way to compare between this 'helplesness of soul to express without body' and the 'guilt of a soul resulting from torturing his own body,the very weapon to express'.What a piece of thought you have given me Balachandran.I just stopped there reading and left the space yesterday.Somewhere in my personality lies this urge to be disciplined in thoughts.I want to mine and mine..I am thankful to you.

    I very much appreciate your head for the poem that nothing can beat this one.When it comes to your guilt and decision to 'clean up' everything and giving an order there,you are going further from 'saving your body' to keep your mind out of self-pity and being sharp,me as a reader don't have anything to say .I am silent.It's perhaps this confusion that define us in life.

    But on living –
    Which brings us to an examination
    On the quality of life
    If somebody would provide a standard
    So much measure of happiness and sorrow
    So much of richness and depravity
    So much pleasure and so much pain
    Helpless there as well.As a writer,that's where you excel I think.I am again silent.

    As an individual,not as a reader mind you,I love to call you to the long corridors of ICU,then trembling lips of a 10 year old reciting 'mantras' to please Lord,the long waiting outside the cabin reading 'cardiologist',which is often a blurred sight coz of the tears,then converting the hospital as home for few weeks...For almost 20-30 days every year.Can this make a difference ? for a child ? for a teenager ? for a father who regret ? Ultimately the person who suffers doesn't matter.Your health,your survival matters for the people near you.The reality of you not there can bring horrible differences for them,not to you.

    "Aarogyanikethanam",the book has brought a complete change in me.As a teenager (they all call me Bookish-Theoric'.but who cares ?).Anyways I assume you might have read that too.As such 'Jeevan Masai's conclusions on the reason of death is 'Ripu'.Enemy in oneself,may be physical,may be emotional,may be thinking.Whatever,being obsessive into anything is Ripu,finally causing your death.It's interesting to review and laugh at our 'ripus' once in a while.Can't escape no ?

    Finally before concluding,once when I happen to intrude for a Sri Sri Ravisanker's interaction with press (I was in search of truth' those times.)I happen to overhear what a journalist commenting to another on what Ravisankar been talking."Hey,what we are doing here ? It's a wrong place.He talks on how to get rid of pain.If there is no pain,what about creativity ? Get lost"..hehe.


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