Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Mere Words!

Well, what more can I say!
About silence, so much has been said,
Mere words, they strike my eardrum,
Bounce back and fall down dead.
Nothing penetrates through that wall,
For I do not hear even the clarion call,
As I watch the bugler’s cheeks rise and fall:
And when I walk this city’s street,
I feel the step not the sound of feet,
Nor the sound of the automobiles
Or the curses of the imbeciles.
Mere words! what are they,
For I do not hear what you say
I look at you and you look at me,
The eyes meet and the heart speaks,
And I feel the softness of your cheeks.
Mere words they can never sing,
The song that my heart sang,
Or cry like the child therein,
For in that silence that surrounds me
I see my God there within.
Mere words they fail me when
On the paper I place my pen,
To translate the thoughts that flood
The recesses in my head.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I was reminded of William Henry Davies’s poem ‘ Leisure’,

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Sometime in February 2012 when I was in the United States my daughter took me to a concert at the Fox Theatre in Saint Louis. She had planned it well in advance for she knew I would enjoy it. It was a performance by a musical group called the ‘Rain’ and it was a ‘Tribute to the Beatles’. The group was very good as they recreated the aura of The Beatles not only by the sheer excellence of their musical performance but also through their appearance and showmanship, in fact while playing numbers from ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ they wore the dresses as appearing on the album cover. Throughout the show my wife was watching me and my daughter looking at me expectantly that at any moment I may get up from my seat and start dancing with the crowd. As an elder I was supposed to maintain a certain decorum. But funnily a large portion of the crowd there belonged to my generation, we had grown up with the Beatles music and I could remember nearly all the songs and the lyrics. There were a lot of young people also and as the concert progressed many in the crowd could not restrain themselves and were up from their seats waving to the beat and that included me. I enjoyed myself, at that moment there was no inhibition and it was sheer joy. My daughter was happy and my wife was relieved that I did not go on to the dance floor.

We have all watched a child when it laughs. There is nothing beyond that laughter, there is no analysis, no inhibition. The child laughs because it felt like doing so and it is sheer joy for all of us when we watch the child do so, so full of innocence, so truthful. I got wet in the rain the other day while I was walking along the beach and for a moment there was exhilaration as I went back to that day when I was a child of five dancing in the rain and believe me I had no clothes on at that time. Of course I cannot do that now, that is dance with my clothes off, I would be taken to the nearest mental asylum. But the sheer joy was there for the moment. Now I may be worried that I may catch a cold and be lain down with fever. When the rain now comes we run for cover.

Have you ever gone to a children’s painting competition? It is an experience as you watch them painting totally absorbed. I had the occasion to be a judge at one of these competitions when I was in Ahmedabad and as I was walking among the participants observing them, one particular child caught my attention and I stood watching him while he drew a scene obviously from the Mahabharata for the serial was being aired on the television during those days. There were two chariots and he showed two persons fighting with the arrows flying across the page. He was so absorbed in the painting that I am sure he transformed himself into one of the warriors there and it must have been Arjuna, for Krishna was also depicted in the painting. He was not bothered whether anyone was watching him or of the people around him. It was not technique or an analysis that was involved here, it was just purity of thought. Of course as we grow, we perfect the techniques and come out with more realistic paintings closer to the original, but in the process of course the innocence is lost.

        We all have a child within us, but we have locked it up. We have forgotten that pure childish joy, innocent, spontaneous. We can no longer laugh our guts out, we always feel watched and our actions are constrained by our surroundings. We have forgotten that tender teenage sensation of first love, we have forgotten to fall in love. We conclude that these are sensations that can no longer come to us as we have grown beyond all this, we have grown old. I can still fall in love, in fact I do that everyday. Sitting here as I write all this down, I also walk across the mountains feeling the cool breeze and breathing in that mystic silence. I sit by the brook as it begins its journey downwards and listen to its gentle song as it caresses the pebbles and flows over them. I stoop down and put my hands on its surface and feel the beat of its heart and as the clouds slowly drift in enveloping everything in its fold I lose myself to that everlasting stillness. I know you will call me a dreamer, but this is what makes me want to write, to paint, to sing and even dance.

Unleash yourself, for the joy of living is in living without rationalising each and every action of yours, bring back that child in you which you have kept hidden for such a long time. Express your affections openly, for this is infectious and tends to spread around you. Happiness can be shared but not so hate. Hate can only bounce back and hit you. Be a child, nobody hates a child. It required a Munnabhai to tell us that there is nothing wrong in hugging a person to tell that I am there for you, it is more effective than just reassuring him or her by saying “don’t worry I am there for you”. Mere words come from the mouth but the feelings are from the heart and by hugging I guess you have a direct access to it.

It is better to be crazy and thought to be so then to be dull and inconsequential.