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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dreamers to Note

If you have a dream, do not share it
With those you share reality.
They will never understand.

If you have a wish, do not utter it aloud
Wishes are like butterflies, they die too soon.

If you have a vision, friend, close your eyes
Lest others snatch the light.

Close your eyes, fellow dreamers
Close your mind, hide it
In the farthest, deepest recess as possible.

One day, we will call for a conclave
Where we all will sit in a circle
Around a hearth of love
Huddled inside a cloak of trust
Our faces lit up with the glow of faith

We will giggle, rub our noses together
Kiss the nape of our necks
And tell us all about each other
And hold our hands tight, tight, tight...

Till then - do not share your dreams -
With those you share reality...

*********** Balachandran V, Trivandrum 28-08-2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Caught Behind

Every time I am caught
With my back to someone's camera
I look aghast
Refusing to believe, to accept
That the unfamiliar posterior of a human head
With dirty grey wisps of hair
Like an odd-looking horseshoe
Stuck on a hairless scalp
That reflects the light of the camera flash
Is  really me
Hiding behind an anterior
I thought I knew all my life -

A view of myself that I will never see
With my own eyes...

Balachandran V, Trivandrum, 26-08-2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Season of Change

Ask any Malayalee ( I don't like the term, 'Keralite' – as if we are kind of elite) about the best season home – to the majority it'd be the New Year season of the Malayalam era, the begining of the month of Chingam, that falls in mid-August. That's the time we go on a spending spree, sellers vying each other with 'offers' and freebies. The climate is pleasant and would be so till Jan - Feb. The festive season. It has been commercialized ad nauseum. Like a streetside hooker, we sell Kerala to the tourists who throng the land. The beaches, backwaters, mountains, Onam, the boat races – oh, by the way- I have been transferred from home (Trivandrum) to Alleppey/Alapuzha, the land of boat races and backwaters. Got to report on Tuesday, the 16th of August.

I was due for a transfer, but I had secretly hoped ( but never believed) that I would be posted somewhere nearer home, somewhere commutable daily, considering my age and seniority. But the Highnesses thought otherwise. Trivandrum – Alleppey is about 3 and a half hours journey by train, less trains in that route, and bankers no longer work 10 to 5 routine; most of us work late. So, commuting daily to Alleppey is out of question. P will have to be alone; rather, with Sancho and Sally. Fortunately, we have a maid who has temporarily agreed to stay the nights. It is a touch-and-go situation, but - Forward Ho! I have to resist negative thoughts, refuse to look at the disadvantages, the inconveniences of this shifting. I think of the lesser privileged and comfort myself, convincing myself that things could've been worse, they could've posted me farther away. I think of friends in foreign lands, the soldiers in Ladakh, those who had to forsake the comforts of home for survival.

I sniff the air, and feel the change of season. For me though, it is a season of change. I do not resist, I let the tide carry me. I sniff the air. I hope that like my soujourn in Kottayam a few years ago, which was one of the best seasons in my life, Alleppey too would welcome me. On days I cannot come home to P and Sancho, maybe I will roam and explore the old town. I might ride a boat into the backwaters, drink toddy and eat Duck roast and Fish Fry. I might take photographs of that beautiful land, Kuttanad and the vast Vembanad lake and backwaters. There might be new temples to peek into, for their exotic murals or carvings. There will be old beautiful houses to gape at and be awed. There will be the breeze that sweep in from the lake. There are new, strange, mysterious smells wafting down. I sniff like Sancho.

But - I have to watch out for the mosquitoes of Alleppey and - Filariasis to boot!!!
********** Balachandran V Trivandrum 14.08.2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego, Land of Fire! How further long
How many days and nights – or would it be months and years
Or – would it be never, I shudder to think.
How further long would you come to me in my sleep
In my waking hours, in my walks in the mountains
How further long would it be when I touch you finally?

Tierra del Fuego,  you have remained a dream
Decades old, when unable to resist you, I tore off a picture
And kept you in my treasure chest, locked in the depths of my heart! 
I yearned for you so much, Tierra del Fuego!

You were a kindred soul in my tempestuous youth.
Your trees twisted in the storm
Storms, passionate and intense, 
Raging waves lashing against the cliffs
Snow-bound peaks, aloof, saying, ' No, no further!'
Yet I could see in you a heart wanting to be loved, wanting 
To be understood, silently asking, ' look at me, I am not just 
The ravaged, savage land that you see' - I knew you as I know me!

In my dreams you burn, your snows and blizzards and open vast lands
Your cruel seas, screaming winds and gently flowing streams!
My fingers tremble, my heart flutters as I see you, as I see men standing -
All I have are your pictures, I chant your name as I have, as I will for years!

Tierra del Fuego! Look at me. In my dreams I do not climb your mountains
I do not fish your streams, I do not scamper over your craggy landscape.
Somewhere, somewhere in you, I stand leaning on a rock, looking out
To the land's end and beyond the seas, in my dreams I caress
A stone, moss-covered - I slip it into my pocket, close to my heart!
*************** Balachandran V, Trivandrum, 07-08-2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Uno momento

Try to visualize this.

The time is 1931 hrs. I sit in my room, at my table where at the left extreme end my old Sony music system with its huge speakers idles; next to it is a PC – a mongrel if there can be – the monitor is a massive 17” Philips and the CPU is the mongrel. To the right of the monitor, in front of the Inkjet printer, in that cramped space, my love, my little Dell Netbook – I have not fallen in love with any computer till date, but – I love this baby.

To my left, a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey, gifted by one of the few real friends I have, Sreekumar. He acquired it during his recent European tour- 3 larges down, I am wonderfully tipsy but things are so clear that i can type out letters on my little baby Dell without – well, not too many mistakes.

At my feet lies Sancho, I keep my feet warm on his fur. P is not home; she is expected by 2300 hrs, I have to go and pick her up from the railway station far away near the sea.

Jameson true Irish whiskey is too good. Why, it is a close rival to my lord of all lords, The Glenlivet Single Malt Whiskey – now, dont you dare say a single word against Glenlivet! Bliss – has only one other name – Glenlivet Single Malt.

Outside it is quiet, the silence broken only by the pitter-patter of a drizzle. K calls me from Bangalore. He is stuck in the Forum Mall in Koramangala it is raining heavily there and is browsing at the Landmark. He gives me a missed call. I call him back. K says he is hungry and discovered he didnt have any money and came to the ATM in the Mall. Full of burgers or whatever, he says – 'Acha, there is this book you might like, 'Himalayan Vignettes', all old B&W photos of Himalayas, 2000 bucks do you want it I can buy it for you'. I ask him to tell me the name of the book and author, search flipkart and they offer it for 1600. K wants to buy that for me I tell him no i can get it from flipkart.

As I type this, I realize I am getting tipsy, making too many spelling mistakes, lord, am I happily drunk!
I tell K about a T shirt I bought for him at Manali, which says – 'MY DAD IS AN ATM'.

I browse. http://www.oldindianphotos.in/ I am transported to the past, in this virtual Time Machine. I brood over old photographs, India in the 19th and early 20th century and I look at these pics of Himalayas and people and I take another sip of good old Jameson may he live forever, IRISH FOREVER!

Between the letters that jump into this little 10.5' screen and my mind, I remember you – Anil, Doc Antony, Bindu, Melange' (will you stand up please and identify yourself and stop torturing me with all your exclamation marked receipes which I will never be able to try out in my kitchen, you are tormenting me with your Choora curry) Dr Kavita Saharia ( will you take a look at my potholes in the molars where all the peanuts and chicken get stuck forever) and Ousu, who almost seems to be reliving my life 30 years ago and – Bikram, I ENVY YOU for your bike ride to Scotland - Jesus H Christ, as some characters in the old James Hadley Chase used to say – my friends I love you all and I am into my 5th ? 6Th? I am beautifully, pleasantly drunk but still sober enough to correct the spelling mistakes and i told you I love my Dell Netbook and NO, NO Microsoft and Bill Gates, I love my UBUNTU!

Suddenly. My friends, let me tell ya somethin'. I am an old bum soaked in whiskey. Naah! I love my shots, hadn't one since 15th July and I am more of my real self, not the brusque, aggressive facade that I keep, I am me, the bald old man of 54, who loves dogs and mountains and P and K and all the friends and Tierra del Fuego and Ernest Hemingway and the little insignifcant moments of joy.

I light another Gold Flake King size and I am happy as i take anothe sip. Sancho puts his foreleg on my lap the signal that he is hungry and I have to feed him and Sally.

My good ole friend, Doc KVS calls I had invited him to meet Jameson today evening with me but he could not come I tell him how good Irish Whiskey is.

In another few minutes, my friends, curtains fall on yet another happy moment of my life!

Jameson or not, thank you, planet Earth for this gift of life!


Balan. Trivandrum 06.08.2011 2051 hrs