June 18, 2004

feeling feministish ;-)

i just came across these lines from alexander mcCall smith’s the no.1 ladies’ detective agency…(its an old setwana poem, the book says)

we are the ones who ploughed the earth when modise (god) made it,
we were the ones who made the food
we are the ones who look after the men
when they are little boys,
when they are young men,
and when they are old and about to die.
we are always there.
but we are just women, and nobody sees us.


reminds me of my maasi‘s favourite couplet. and she always says it with a mysterious sighhh…

aurat teri yehi kahani,
aanchal mein dudh, aankhon mein paani

(woman, this is your story
with your milk, you feed,
your eyes, filled with tears)

its interesting to note how different communities have viewed the role of a woman along the same lines. i hate to admit it, but sometimes i do tend to agree… being a woman can be a thankless job, but not so much that i would ever want to belong to the other side!

while i’m on these lines, i’m also thinking of shubha mudgal’s man ke manjeere songs (which never fail to perk me up), one of which concludes proudly with the realisation: “mujhme hi rehti thi meri humjoli re…” (my best friend was always within me).

hmmm, no wonder i’m feeling a little feministish today 😉

i’m curious however. there *should* be more stories about womenfolk like the ones above… all over the world!

what does your hometown say?

June 14, 2004


what do you have
with your hands full
a restless mind
and a backbone
of its own weight?

just for today
i thought
just one more day
skipped bowling with praveen
and my parents-in-law
stayed home to hear
the children next door
for england
(which lost, eventually)

at home
as i chopped and kneaded
scrubbed and washed
happy to be
left alone
in my space

lobo whispered
into my ear
his best songs yet


June 8, 2004

the sun’s left cheek

i wouldn’t want to miss it for the world!

and so i was up very early, only to find there were many others before me. the entire town was celebrating…i walked fast, half-ran. i was so excited i could barely contain myself.

when i reached the (town)centre i waited for my turn patiently, tapping my feet, pushing behind my ears strands of hair that threatened to fly away, looking around at all the curious shops that seemed to have come up overnight, vendors selling solar filters and books about the transit of venus, the event that occurred once in a hundred and twenty-two years. now, here was another thing i would tell my grandchildren about (or leave behind to read it themselves on this journal 😉

maybe when venus, earth and the sun would queue up again, it would be time for them to tell their grandchildren: “ahh, this was what my achchamma was talking about years ago!”…
as i stood daydreaming, i heard someone call out my name for “the viewing” and i stepped forward, my heart racing, climbing what was like a small hillock of green.

what i saw next almost made me remind myself i had forgotten to breathe! there it was! the sun, radiant and magnanimous, bright reddish-yellow and so silent and angry… near its left cheek was a tiny teel-like spot, making its way slowly to the other side. i had made it!! i jumped excitedly, clapping my hands like a child. i had made it to the once-in-a-lifetime event!

when i finally closed my mouth shut, and narrowed my wide-open eyes, i noticed tiny little shadows running alongside the yellow planet. like a relay race, they had in their hands some sort of baton that they exchanged before the next person began running again. this went on for a while…at least six people running and pushing the speck a little ahead, and a little more, until they covered the full length of the sun. for a moment i wondered what they were up to, but then i remembered it was a six-hour carnival after all.

far beyond, tall sleek buildings glistened in a twilight-like hazy glow, steely white birds stooped very low and almost wanting to be comforted…they had never seen a beauty spot on the sun before. nor had they seen so many saturns so close. pale blue, their frosty rings spinning icy winds across miles together. carefully erect though slightly wobbly-at-times were the digital words splashed all over them: “£5 ONLY! JUST FOR TODAY!” and “WATCH THE TRANSIT OF VENUS AND WIN…”

i slapped my hand to my head. “how fast these ad-people work!!? brilliant idea though, hai na praveen?”

i looked to my right and praveen had disappeared. arre! i thought. he was just here. i sighed and decided to take one last look at venus-on-the-sun again, before i set out to look for him in the mela below… the six little men were still huffing and panting, and that’s when i realised. i had been looking at the sun with my naked eyes.

i blinked, surprised that i wasn’t blind, yet. i *must* find praveen and tell him, i thought, turning around to run…

the birds were still chirping and chattering away noisily, sunlight all over the place. a pedestal fan whirred softly nearby, the sheets were still warm and praveen, still fast asleep next to me. i blinked again, chuckling to myself this time. “wake up praveen, wake up,” i shook him gently. “it’s almost 6:15 and we have just four minutes before the transit-of-venus begins…”

it must be this book i was reading before going to bed. something tells me i’m going to do it again tonight!

ps: after a lot of trials, errors, and torn empty boxes all over the lawn, praveen and i did succeed in spotting venus on the sun! we used a mirror — placed under a piece of cardboard with a hole to catch the sun in and reflect on the opposite wall. one of us then just had to focus on the reflection (on the wall), using my father’s 70x210mm zoom lens, until we got a clear picture…much more satisfying than the star in my dream 😉