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

Monday, December 26, 2011


At the back of my mind
Lies an undigested piece of thought -
That I have to leave my home tomorrow.

My bike carries me through these streets
Along the familiar scenes, pauses
At the places so known to me -
The coffeshops, bookshops, my haunts -
The libraries, the gardens, my previous office
The corners where I have hung around,watching
The milling crowds, a few faces recognized and nodded at.
Faces from my past, faces that have grown old with mine.

The city has grown, its roads wider and cleaner
Trees and corner shops have given way
To malls and multistoreyed monstrosities.
I try hard to remember what were there before
The old, tile-roofed houses replaced
By towering apartments and star hotels.

I realize what hurts me, this dull ache
In the pit of my mind -
I cannot leave this town, this is my home.

However I may dream and yearn
For the snow-clad peaks and seas of forests -
Destinations to reach and then to leave -
To return to my home, this little corner of the world.
I leave for the hills, lands strange and far away
Safe, in the thought that there is always my home
To come back at the end of the day.

I realize why ghosts linger -
Like me now, in the shadows
Of this garden of my life.

************ Balachandran V, Trivandrum, 19-12-2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Bullet at the Himalayas

In 2007 July, I went to Ladakh in my bike. A short version of the travelogue was published in the Malayalam automobile magazine, 'Fast Track' in December 2007.  The longer version lay idle in my computer. Though a book publisher had shown interest in publishing it as part of a book, it didn't come through so far. 

But recently somebody called me asked if I could share the story in his portal.  It is a web portal in Malayalam called Nalamidam. Rasheed liked the write-up so much that he desisted from editing it and is publishing a 3-part serial. 

Those who can read Malayalam, those who might enjoy reading about an adventurous motorcycle ride into Himalayas and into oneself, can find it  here. To those who cannot read Malayalam - sorry,  I am too lazy to translate it to English! 

Hope you will enjoy the ride. 

Merry X'mas!

**********  Balachandran V, Trivandrum 25-12-2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

For Dog Lovers Only

KUNCHI ( 1992- 2005)
TOMMY(1998 -  23-4-2010)


(Three generations)

The link given here is for a documentary, 'The Secret Life of the Dog', which sheds light into certain known and unknown aspects of human-dog relation.  Its a fantastic video.  Enjoy! 


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One Minute to Save the World

The link given is for an award winning 1-minute long movie on Save the World. 


Balachandran, Trivandrum 13.12.2011.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


The boys on the bike were coming up too fast -
Suddenly, right in front of me,
It swerved, braked and came to a stop.
In one swift motion, the boy in the rear
Swung his right leg up, slid off the bike
Said - ' Ta!' and left.

Shaking my head at the frivolity of youth
I look at the boy revving the bike.
Emblazened on his T shirt, across his chest
The legend -
Be Positive.

I press down my foot hard on the pedal
And the bicycle surges forward.
I smile, hum a tuneless song.
I am Balan, my blood, B+.

In a seeming Satori, I realize -
Sometimes, the secrets of life
Are blended in one's blood.

********* Balachandran V, Alappuzha, 10-12-2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Right and Wrong, Rong and Wright

Sitting up on the bed bleary-eyed one  depressing morning,
Cursing, asking myself, what the hell am I doing here
Away from home, away from the loved
Ruminating over the past, over the paths taken
The correct and incorrect, the right and wrong
Of the decisions, the choices I made in my life -

Suddenly  I burst out laughing -
There is always some right in the wrong
And some wrong in the right!!

************ Balachandran V, Alappuzha, 10-12-2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ant on the Wire

( for Abigail Thomas)

Along the wires
That connect my laptop to the mutiple pins
That connect my mobile to its charger
That connect the speakers to its charger
That connect my camera to its charger -
Wires, looped, coiled,  twisted, splayed like intestines  pulled out -
Along the wires walks an ant.

It could be walking (?) through an unending maze
Entrance and exit confused
A path directionless, destination-less .

What is the ant looking for - food, I presume
Though I would like to fantasize
That the ant is searching for -
Meaning of life? Ho ho ho!

Through the haze of smoke that drifts up from the cigarette
I try to look at the way I am going, the whys and wheres of it.
I wonder what I am searching for, what I am longing for.
Abigail* reminds me gently - there isn't any.
There is just the longing, that's all, just the longing.

****** Balachandran V, Alappuzha, 06-12-2011

I am reading an unforgettable, haunting memoir, 'A Three Dog Life', by Abigail Thomas. ( Harcourt Inc, 2007)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Snake in the House

In the background, I could hear the excited barking of my dogs; and voices faint, I assumed, that of my neighbours. Parvati sounded agitated - "There is a snake in the neighbour's house". More noises, the rapping of sticks, the slamming of doors - I pressed the phone to my ears. She said- "I can't stand this, snakes in the house, I am not scared of anything, but snake - ugghgh!!" "You ought to do something about it, why are you silent?"

I chuckle and tell her, well, finally, there is something in the world that scares you - "This is not funny, Balan!" I fell silent, remembering that Rat Snake long ago, slithering silent, scared, over the bed of dried leaves and disappearing into a hole. I remembered watching fascinated, its beautiful yellow head. In this 10 cents of wilderness right in the middle of the city, I have seen snakes, mongooses; a family of Palm Civets live right above my room, between the tiles and the wooden planks. From the small window of my bathroom, I have watched Kingfishers, Crows, Tree Pies, Tailor birds, Sunbirds, Small Green Barbets. Pariah Kites, Magpie Robins, Mynahs and Woodpeckers. Once in a while, a dainty little Shikra pays a visit. Years ago, Sparrows and Bulbuls used to be common; on the Mango tree, Golden Orioles would come and tweet. I still remember how excited I was one day to see a Forest Wagtail right beside the kitchen garden. No, not many birds come these days.

Parvati's voice woke me up - triumphant, she said - "Yes! They caught it and killed it, its a baby snake, I'm sure its mother is around. I can't stand this, I tell you, all these snakes and rats and cockroaches and geckos and mosquitoes and ants -"

Respectful of her phobias, I tell her gently that this is not Mars or the Moon this is Earth, this is our beautiful world with all the mosquitoes and snakes and rats and roaches. This is our world, of good and bad, beautiful and ugly, Hitler and Gandhi. Sad and joyful, this is it, Ammu.  Just as you and I happen to be here, so too are they.

Switching off the phone, sinking into a reverie, I muse - as urban dwellings transform from homesteads and independant bunglows with a little patch of land to high-rise apartments, we grow more and more alienated from nature. Nature and wilderness is something you visit once in a while. Paddyfields, streams, ponds, the verdant greenery all are become rare and remote. Our lives are becoming barren and browned. As the greenery outside diminishes, so does that inside us. We become intolerant of every other being, including humans. Tolerance and acceptance of myself and my world as it is, in full understanding and respect for life, gives some value to our passing existence.

I turn my attention to the beautiful book I am reading, 'The Hidden Life of Dogs' by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.

********** Balachandran V, Alappuzha, 01.12.2011