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

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


It was hardly a wind, not a storm of course

That flew by the old mango tree.

I knew my time had come

But waited; lest they mock

That I fell on my own.

In the convenience of the breeze,

That hardly made my branch sway

Let alone shake the tree – I fell.

Detaching the last sinews

Bidding goodbye to the ants

Who looked surprised

And the Woodpecker, looking guilty.

Oh! To fly! I would like to think

I am flying, though I am falling, gently downward.

Passing, I see the termites busily building

The squirrels hoping up, skirting down

And the lone kite preening

And the Kingfisher, intent

On the gecko, slinking by.

The leaves of the Money Plant

Grappling up my tree

Thick leaved.

I am falling, I am falling

I see a butterfly fluttering by

Oh, I feel the rain, the wind!

I am going there – now here,

Oh, now thither –Ow, whoosh! I am taken-


I swing, I sway, I dance till my heart is full.

Oh, what a ride! I never knew what it is

To be free!

I see earth coming up, welcoming me,

So brown, so dark – ah, my old friends

Huddling, to break my fall.

I see them, the young, so green, so fresh

Waving goodbye at me.

‘Goodbye, goodbye, my dears, take care!

Take care of the flowers; shade them from heat

Let the bees rest on you!

And if a squirrel comes, tremble, make him jump.

Make sure that you bend hard when it rains,

Make sure the morning dew fall at the foot of our tree.

When day breaks, when light comes

Turn as much as you can, let no light

Escape you.’

‘Begging your pardon Sir, you are wrong,

The young ones, they do not

Laugh at me; that’s your tale, Sir!

We leaves wait for our death since birth –

That’s when we really move, you see

That’s when we are really free!’

********** Balachandran V, Trivandrum, 05.10.2010

The Falling Man by Tom Junod, Esquire, Sept 2003

In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity's divine suction or by what awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet. In all the other pictures, the people who did what he did -- who jumped -- appear to be struggling against horrific discrepancies of scale. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, and then by the event itself. Some of them are shirtless; their shoes fly off as they flail and fall; they look confused, as though trying to swim down the side of a mountain. The man in the picture, by contrast, is perfectly vertical, and so is in accord with the lines of the buildings behind him. He splits them, bisects them: Everything to the left of him in the picture is the North Tower; everything to the right, the South. Though oblivious to the geometric balance he has achieved, he is the essential element in the creation of a new flag, a banner composed entirely of steel bars shining in the sun. Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else -- something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man's posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears.



  1. Reminds me of the many nightmares and dreams wherein falling from heights are still haunting in memory. Why such dreams visit often, I do not know.
    I cannot really comprehend your emotion that penned these lines. But the fact is accepting the power of gravity has been played on and on in many a dream.

  2. When I visited the ground zero of the WTC, I did not really get the magnanimity. But when I went to 86th floor of Empire State building, I could comprehend what it must have been for people. People whose offices were above 100 floors had to use the stairs to reach down. They had to run for their life.

    And when I saw the New York city skyline and spotted the obvious absence of 2 towers that once majestically stood high above every other building, I was dumb struck.

    What should have gone through the minds of people who decided to take that plunge.

    But what made you write this?

  3. @Anil & Insignia: It is difficult to say as an afterthought how a poem evolved. I consider it as one of my better writing. Since both of you asked the same question, I will try to answer it, as another post.

  4. that was really nice B. enjoyed the article too. thought provoking...reminds me of this poem i once read. about this man falling who looks into every window and says "i'm all right so far."

  5. I must say that in reading both the poem 'Falling' and the 'Evoulution' of its writing, I am very much impressed with your verbal descriptions in both cases. Your own descriptive imaginary vision of falling is representational of one coming to terms with the inevitable... many of us do not wish to face this. You have perfectly described both the picture of the man actually falling and how death could be viewed by others...Splendid writing.

  6. @Sandy: Your words, as always, are like music to my ears! :) Thanks!

  7. Genteel courtship of linguistic eloquence and imagination.

    Superb.You are too good Balachandran.

    I was busy at work,and would have missed it.

  8. @Doc: you are too generous, Doc! Glad you liked it.

  9. "Fish die belly upward, and rise to the surface. It's their way of falling." -- Andre Gide

    Ever thought about it?

  10. @Doc: No, I haven't. Would it have anything to do with the air or gas inside? I have seen human corpses floating belly upward. Would that be for the same reason too?

    Andre' Gide's quote is chilling. What does he mean by saying 'their way of falling'?


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