Thursday, November 13, 2014

Letting go

It is easy to go on
Just place one foot in front of the other
Walk on by
The stars shine more brightly tonight
My work here is done.

You may think you are broken but you are whole
You are the eagle soaring high above every living soul
You are above, you are below and all around, encompassing everything
You are the laughter of a child, the tear of a bride, the wrinkle on old skin
You are beauty, you are truth, you are light
You are love. There was nothing ever more bright.

It is easy to carry on
A kind word should not bring tears to the eye, but that will take time
Curling up into a ball feels just so right
Get up from the bed, look in the mirror and actually see yourself
Are you hiding your cry? Oh you do that perfectly
So what if your eyes betray your pain after a few hours
The sun will shine tomorrow but now it brings rain showers
The flowers have wilted, those flowers which were supposed to bloom
On that abandoned tree which survived anyway.

I had come to bring you home
Lead you through a path strewn with petals and dreams
My feet, they have bled from treading on thorns
But they look as beautifully red as the flowers I have walked on.
I had come to make you whole
You, who had led your life in parts all along
I held your hands even when you let go
And now I see you are getting ready to fly.
The stars shine more brightly tonight
My work here is done.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thoughts on Depression

So I was reading out the first chapter of my supposed novel out to my husband and he says that I am very negative. I cant write happy stuff. I had a look at my poetry posted on this blog and I find them all dark. In the very first job interview, the HR head of a company had asked me what I write... I had told him two of my short stories and he said- you write very sad stories. Someone who does not like me might even comment that I seem to be perpetually depressed.
Well I do seem so, dont I. But truth is, I am basically a very happy person. Very pessimistic but happy. I am happy in my own company, which very few people can say of themselves. I am a thinker. I used to be a brooder, but with age, I have less reasons to brood and more reasons to worry. So the things I think about are mostly like- what would be my Booker acceptance speech. Which is to say, I am ambitious in my thoughts if not in my actions. And that I am not even always pessimistic.
Being pessimistic also gives me an unique advantage. If good things happen, I have given myself the leverage to be pleasantly surprised. If bad  things happen, I am always in a position to say I knew it!!
Truth is, I have stayed with depression almost all my life. However, every time, I think of depression as some kind of maze which I have to find a way out of. It is a challenge but I keep trying. Maybe that has been possible because I have never been acutely or severely depressed,  It is more of a sense of extreme sadness and hopelessness when I tend to let go of my perfectionist nature for a bit and sleep all round the clock. But there had come a time in my life when I had needed medical intervention. The pills the shrink gave me, which I took for 3 months, I call them my 'happy pills', did a lot to accelerate the process of coming out of my maze. Then I decided to stop taking the anti depressants and I have not needed them since.
I have often wondered about how people commit suicide. What is that darkness which makes them think that it is better to head towards the absolute unknown, to cease to exist, to jump into a chasm with no end in sight. It is like standing on a 1000 foot tall chimney ledge, with just enough standing room and strong winds, where you cant see the ground. Your situation is unenviable, no doubt. On the outer side you have a ladder. You can climb down in precarious conditions. It is hard, but the ladder will take you to the ground you cant yet see. On the other side you have a jump into darkness. You know nothing of whats inside the chimney. It is pitch black, it may take you infinitely down once you jump. But you prefer to jump anyway because you dont want to take the trouble to climb down into the light?? I dont understand that.
I have often wondered if killing themselves, for some, are not about their ego. I know of someone who had tried swallowing pills once. She was taking professional help dealing with her schizophrenia, but she was a student who was doing well, had friends and was not in a stage of life where it poses big problems. She survived, but it set me wondering why she would do it, other than to gain attention. That I suppose is also a big reason. Like you hear of Lady Diana throwing herself off stairs, cutting her wrists etc, and surviving at the precipice every time. It is a call for help, it is a call for attention. It is a sign for worse things to come unless help is given or taken.
I am glad to say writing... and reading... helps. Even googling 'depression' and reading about it helps. We should try that more. We should help ourselves when we feel the world is not helping. One thing is clear. We must never never ever waste the light to choose jumping into the darkness. The light is too dear, too joyful, too hopeful, to give it a miss for the one last time... every time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

There it is.
In the white glittering skin of twisted emaciated bodies.
Hanging from silvery trees
Swaying gently in an icy breeze
As it came to me in my dream that night.

And then in the cold feet of the old man
As I touched one last time unable to find
The man I knew just half a day ago.

In the life that went before it arrived
Known only by me, felt only in me
Left. And left devastation in its wake.

Death. Black Death. Absence of all light. All around me now.
Every child taken is mine
If not mine, seen through these eyes, become mine.
Cant escape anymore the swaying ashen bodies of my dream
Keep running into me whichever turn I take
Following me faster than I can flee
I can feel its cold white hand almost upon my shoulder.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Toss a coin in the fountain of wishes
Put a lock on the bridge of love and drop the key into the Seine
Watch it sink slowly, to find its place with hundreds of lovers’ prayers
I didn’t love you like that.
Hold hands as we walk on the streets
Steal a kiss behind a tree, a sly snuggle by the lake
Immersed in each other as the world goes on in this mad rushing city
I didn’t love you like that.
I gasped for air when you left my side, gasped, for I drowned without you
Lost in a crowd, lost in the desert, lost among a million faces, searching searching for one
Dreaming with eyes wide open, smiling, laughing at memories, maddened by memories
I loved you like that.
Shouting screaming hair wild eyes wild hitting out in the air
Passion in my anger jealousy love love passion in my kisses on your face on your lips in your mouth
I will leave you I will never call you I want you need you desperate without you I will die without you
I loved you like that
That is how I loved you
Till you went away, till you decided that my way of loving did not count, till you told me so
Till you bared me to the world, stripped me naked and made me stand out in the cold rain
When you left you killed me
When you left
You made me not fear death anymore.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to (and how NOT to) throw a Princess Pirates Party for a 7 year old, within Rs 11,000/-

Dont plan a birthday party for a would-be 7 year old and you might have to deal with a grumpy face for the next 365 days. And while I would run at the idea of a party, leave aside throwing one in MY house, 7 is the age when they start to become mini adults, and hence starts the tantrums, the grumpiness, the expectations. And the judgements! My god! Cant we just leave the "you are the worst mom ever" to the teenage years!? But really, after all these years of just cake and a dinner, I think she deserved a small party at home.
Glad to say, apart from a couple of small hitches (excusable, this was my first time), I did it. And it was even proclaimed by one child as "The best birthday party I have ever been to." I kid you not! My chest just swelled 10 times in pride and utter triumph at this comment!
Here goes... what I did, and more important, what I didnt do, and should have done. Learning for next time.
  • Forget about months in advance, unless you want a whole lot of kids attending. If you have a list of about 7-8 kids or less like I had, you can start 2 weeks prior.
  • I asked my daughter to name her good friends in the building. It was a weekday anyway and it did not make sense to call any school friends at this age. The school is far away, the friends are scattered all over the city of Mumbai in the rainy season. Indians dont believe in RSVPs and moreover, I didnt want frayed egos in school. Neither did I want to call 20 children. So building friends it was. She named about 8 one day and probably had a fight with a couple of them in the next few days, so about 10 days prior, we settled on 6 friends. Two boys and 4 girls.
  • Monkey wanted a princess party, but with two 7-8 year old boys coming in, I suggested we make it Princess-Pirate, which she was very happy with. Also, children are particularly partial to popular cartoon themes, so Jake and the Neverland Pirates seem to be a current winner right now.
  • A home party planners best friend and worst friend? Pinterest. While it gives you amazing ideas on themes, decor, food and gifts, the alpha moms there can set the bar just a teeny bit high. My plan was to take ideas though, and do it in my own scaled down version. Still I ended up doing a lot and it cost me sleepless nights and a back breaking day!
  • Lots of free printables on the net. Any google search with "pirate princess party free printables" threw up scores of options. I made the invitation cards from two printables, one princess and one Jake and the Neverland pirates, taken from the Disney page. 

  • These are some of the resources I downloaded from various sites. Disney free downloads are very useful. Many come in PDF files which I cant paste. All you need is a printer and ink cartridges, I spent Rs 2000 on the printer ink alone.
  • I racked my brains on the return gifts. Since this was her special core batch of friends and just 6 kids, I decided to go all out. 

    • One home printed notebook. Pages are free printables from various sites.

    • Along with that I also added printable colouring pages, available dime a dozen on the net.
    • Also added small printed thank you notes, 5 stars (which were gold bars) and chocolate gold coins, which were part of the pirates loot.
    • I got small Rs 8 bottles from a shop in Dadar, and wrote on them 'Pirates Ink' with permanent marker. This was filled with lemon juice, their "Invisible Ink". Everyone got to take home one bottle.

  • I spent maximum amount of money on the take home return gifts. Anyone looking to cut their budget can easily do home made printable crowns, tiaras, wands, pirate hats and card board swords. Thats a savings of straight Rs 4000 odd.
  • Food was home made fruit skewers with cheese and juice for snacks, Pizza, Garlic Bread, Juice, Coca Cola for dinner, and ice cream for dessert. I had planned to get mini dough nuts which kids love, but couldnt get it in time. 
    • For fruit skewers I got pineapple, cherry and cheese cubes (cut into 4 pieces each). On toothpicks skewer the fruits and a cheese. Some kids just loved this. 
    • I made my big mistake in the ordering of the pizza. With children this age it is always safe to just go with plain cheese pizza maybe with a topping of tomato. I ordered only one cheese pizza and two large chicken pizzas (since the group was predominantly non vegetarian). However they became picky about the chicken pizza, all wanted the cheese pizza and I ran out of it soon. One kid left her chicken pizza untouched. I had to call her mom and say that she hadnt had dinner!
    • Second mistake. Less garlic bread. I ordered two servings. But kids just love garlic bread and I should have got one more. I ran out of garlic bread while they were still asking. 
    • Third mistake- dont listen when a kid says I will eat nothing. Once everyone eats, they will too. I would have ordered one more cheese pizza only if this one girl had not come and specifically told me she had a stomach upset and would not eat anything at all.
    • I got Amul vanilla ice cream and Hersheys chocolate sauce and the kids loved it. No need for fancy ice creams. Simple works best. I could have topped it with nuts and Gems and sprinkles or raisins, but who had the time. Learning: keep these things handy! However, they loved it with the chocolate syrup which is anyway tasty.
    • Chocolate cake always works for most kids, but some will be picky and it is best to keep some cup cake or dough nut options handy. Thats my fourth mistake in foods. Learning: Get cup cakes and doughnuts one day early. 
  • I had planned plenty of games. Two hours were divided into 10-15 mins slots (keeping 30 mins for food and cake cutting) with games in each slot.
  • Kids nowadays are used to professionally managed birthday parties with games planned and arranged. I had some kids ASKING for games constantly. I had made a poster of Jake the pirate, and the kids played blindfolded- put the eye-patch on the pirate.
  • I had a childhood set of 9 pins of my daughters. A narrow corridor in front of the rooms got converted into a bowling alley.
  • We made Invisible Ink with lemon juice. I had already pressed some lemons and kept, and some were left for the kids. They had fun squeezing the lemons and getting the juice out. They wrote their messages with a paint brush. 
  • I had arranged for "walk the plank" with cardboard strips, but there was no time to play.
  • With lots of balloons, the kids went crazy playing balloon volleyball. This was unplanned but they had such fun, I started fearing the neighbours would complain!
  • I planned a Treasure Hunt. Now this is what the kids were super excited about. I am so proud of my treasure hunt. They played in one team and the treasure was all their goody bags. This was a roaring success and the kids went mad running from one clue to another. More about the treasure hunt in my next blog.
  • I had bought face paints and tattoos but they didnt get used.
  • I bought black cloth for Rs 80/mt, 2 mts and cut them to make bandannas for each child. Home made eye patches with ribbons also were a huge success.
  • Cost: 
    • Erasers and Stickers- Rs 500
    • Pirate set (2)- Rs 598
    • Tiara-wand-jewellery princess set (5) - Rs 3300
    • Bottles- Rs 50
    • Lamination of bookmarks- Rs 160 for 16
    • Books- Rs 1183
    • Bandana cloth- Rs 150
    • Cake- Rs 1700
    • Pizza and garlic bread- Rs 1500
    • Juice and Cheese- Rs 300
    • Ice cream- Rs 200
    • Cherries- Rs 100
    • Chocolates- Rs 400
    • Decorations, balloons, streamers, ribbons etc- Less than Rs 900
    • Total: Rs 11,000 or less.
  • I am leaving out the printer ink- That was Rs 2000.
  • I am also leaving out the face paint since it wasnt used. That was Rs 1500.
  • Dont buy the princess and pirate sets (Rs 4000 approx) and straight away the total amount goes down to Rs 7,000.
  • Shopping areas- 
    • Dadar for small items like erasers, stickers, cloth, bottles, fruits.
    • Crawford market for all party decorations
    • Hamleys for the girls return gifts, face paint and tattoos
    • Online for the boys return gifts, books. (babyoye and amazon)

Friday, May 2, 2014


You promised me a brave new world
Here I am
With a heart wide open
Wide as my arms, when I asked you to hold me
My mind wide eyed
Only waiting for a sign
To believe.

You promise me, my love wont be unfounded
Here I am
Loving you with my finger tips
Feeling your beauty seep into my skin
As you reject my touch
Only smiling as my heart suddenly withered inside me

It took you a withered heart to realise
That I have starved for rain.
It took you my lifeless body, to see
How I tried in vain to breathe you in.
It took you a broken soul
To start to want to mend
While I had started to look away into the unknown
Reaching out my hand to the heavens even as you mourned over me
Wondering if only the darkness held my dark lord.