Death

​Death

‘Death’ I am drawn to him;

His name I whispered

On my tongue it stayed revered.

He looked at me and smiled

‘Wait for me’, he said and winked.

He wore no black alright

Attired in  all colours bright 

His smile beguiling

His arms promising

He vouched his friendship

When the rest go away wiped.


On his shoulders broad

Lay many a souls aboard

He treaded carefully along

Amidst the living with a mien strong.

He was on his knees

Before the souls of babies

Innocent souls- them he revered 

Gently on his arms, them he cradled.

Old and young alike

Lay pristine on his person 

At times hundreds he  carried

Any place never he tarried.

One day he and I did talk

He was patient and did not balk

When quizzed on his chore, 

He told, ‘It’s no bed time lore

This is what I do and is never a bore.’

‘How do you decide who’s soul to take?’, queried I

‘It’s never my call,  I’m there at each soul’s cry’

My surprised gaze  he doused with a look

‘Unwittingly each soul seeks me; it’s no fluke.

Some men know, but some unaware

I don’t take any without their call, be aware.’

How true that man, from cradle to grave

His every breath does death do crave.

I remained rooted in my thoughts

His gentle tap, to the world me brought

The hand stayed on my shoulders

It made me nice and warm inside

Promising a lasting bond beside.

‘Death’ I called aloud

Without another word

He disapeared into the clouds.

Now that I’ve seen him

I readied to walk my path of rainbow

The life I know will surely end as a bow

Draped around his wrist- ahem!

Death- I am drawn to him!

My School days-leaf 6

In my list of wonderful teachers, here I present 2 more.

My class teacher and the teacher who taught Sanskrit in class 5.

Class fives were seated in a tiny room at the far end of the Kendriya Vidyala school compound in SS Colony. It was a small compound housing classes 1 to 5 only. Being placed at the far end with our class room door facing a wall, and the fact that, to enter the classroom one had to circumvent the entire building, gave a sense of exclusion and importance for the fifth graders.

My class had about 15 boys and 8 or 9 girls. My class teacher then was a beautiful lady by name Miss. Shanta (I think so🤔🤔) looking like the yester- year heroines. We girls used to wait eagerly to see what colour saree she would come in everyday.

She wore her saree so beautifully, so much like actress Saroja Devi or KR Vijaya ( famous actresses of  Tamil filmdom)when they play the role of a wealthy, high class, sophiticated lady. She came in multicoloured sarees and matching blouses-sarees neatly pleated and pinned- all proper. She carried a small handbag of leather. She bore a picture of perfection.

Her oval face, though slightly dark complexioned was decorated with a slightly big ‘red sticker bindi’ in between her thick eyebrows. Her kohled eyes was complemented with her turmeric glowing cheeks. A square chin set in a smile ever. Her hair was another feature that enhanced her poise. We always almost saw her in a bun as big as her head and a flower tucked by her left ear. We have never seen her hair let loose or plaited.

The we I am referring to were, Vijaya,Kalyani and myself included. Later we got to know that boys too liked her style. This inside information we got from two of our friends Mohan and Gowrishankar.

She taught maths to the class besides being the form tutor. She always borrowed a wooden ruler from the front benchers and would execute punishments by beating on the left hand palm to those who would not complete their homework. But at the same time we noticed that she did not punish anyone unduly.

However, we were never in that category and so did not experience that harsh side of her. It was quite common those days to administer corporal punishments  (4 decades ago) and we did not think too much about it and that did not deter us from admiring her personality.

To boot to that,she was the best maths tutor in the school. Despite the fact that she was very stern while executing those beatings to the defaulters, she explained the mathematical concepts very clearly and we did not have any problem in solving them.

Of course I should mention that in our group we had the brainiest Vijaya, who would explain and help us solve the homework everyday. So we were her darlings too. 

For a child, right from the appearance of a teacher to  the warmth they exude,  equally important  is the quality of teaching. As we age and as our priorities change, the toppers might ignore the first two aspects as their focus is only performance. But a teacher’s personality and warmth goes a long way in every child’s life.

Next most charming teacher in the same school was my sanskrit teacher,a gentleman in the truest sense. Unfortunately I do not remember his name. By now you must have realised that I am not good at remembering names. I am may be afflicted by border line ‘dysnomia’.🤔

This teacher too was dressed neatly; had a long brown face with a set of white teeth that shone when he smiled. His shirt always tucked in neatly pressed trousers with polished shoes completed the picture.He did not appear like other male teachers who had pot bellies, unkempt hair and wore chappals. There you go, a perfect looking teacher who made the daunting Sanskrit for tamil speaking children so easy. 

He used to play lot of language games and made the lesson interesting. The best aspect was there was NO HOMEWORK! All exercises were solved in class and obviously we were thrilled with him. One other aspect that drew all the children to him was, he did magic show in class for us. Small tricks that kept us in awe. 

Contrary to the form tutor, he did not beat anyone, at all. Each one of us were eager to learn from him. We behaved our best. Unknowingly he was our hero. He did not resemble any film hero, he was just himself; having his own identity.

 I remember one time we all put in a petition to our headmaster to appoint our sanskrit teacher as our form tutor. When he asked why we did not want Ms.Shanta(?), we had no reason to reject her and we remained quiet. Even if he wished to accede to our wishes, he could not have done so as the sanskrit teacher was a part time employee. There! all our hopes crashed, but we were happy that he stayed till the end of the academic year.

Looking back and recollecting those times now, I realise how small and insignifucant things have great significance in a student’s life and school life memories. A perfectly groomed teacher immediately attracts the children and even more so if the teacher is able to connect on a inner level with the students.

All in all teachers should have a special ‘mana’ that could relate to some hidden aspect in every child.


I am fifty today

I am Fifty today – 16th December 2015

Second only to the womb’s warmth ever is
To be cushioned in mother’s arms.
This best eluded my mind’s recesses.

Eager crawls towards distant glitter and
Faltering steps righted by firm hand;
My growing grey cells shunned.

Vague images, a fluttering screen;
Double plaited self, a three room house,
Voiceless father figure, as flashes seen.

Huge grandpa’s home, in which
Scenes of dad’s final parting rouse;
Next few years time’s hands did douse.

Hop scotch, hide and seek, lengthy prattles
Were the prime matters until youth harked
Its coming; pain and blood on me marked.

Girlish dreams decorated the mirror,
School and friends enmeshed together,
Time spun a glorious veil in a whir.

Teen age and college days rolled on;
Betwixt then grand pa, grand ma and aunt
To a world never to return, moved on.

Vows of marriage knocked my door,
Then began a procession of partnership
And motherhood with a squalling son- a long tour.

Tiny hand clutching my finger,
Cackling laughter assuaging my hunger,
Waddled along my daughter – verily a joy harbinger.

Time and tide pulled me across the globe;
Into my life, teaching strung along to probe.
I learnt more than I taught and the joy stayed.

Partner in life taught me to love, care and work.
It is drudgery I felt while doing things I hated, but
When flowing river I became, the pain abated.

Like all others who came before me and went
I asked the right questions of life – what, how, why and when
In asking I was no special; so I stopped.

Play well, the cards dealt, is my motto
Amidst all, I yearn to be me, in toto.

To stand and savour the sun’ s warmth,
To smile at butterflies,
To marvel at the crawling ant,
To relish the dance of swaying leaves,
To soak in the cool shade,
To hear the skies whisper,
To live a million lives through books,
And to love and to be loved!

I am fifty today;
I yearn for another fifty this day!

The Threshold

My fear is the final crossover, from life on to death. The fear of crossing the threshold. So here it comes.

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The Threshold

It is there waiting!
Waiting at the threshold
Like a gentle breeze
Like the first ray of sun’s hue
Like the soon to disappear morning dew!

Like a waft of nature’s perfume
Mingled with labour’s sweat
A butterfly’s touch on the honeyed flower
The night watcher’s vigil
The taste of life’s blood
And like the gentle footfalls of the night creatures
It is waiting as part of life’s features!

Ah! When I come afore it….
It is me ! I see
How?
A mirror, I realize!
But with a difference
That takes you in as if
It is an entrance!
Not until you touch
You don’t realize much!
It is a threshold
Through which you disappear
And yet see it happen as it appears.

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A strange supplication
Which intrigues and repels at once
You want to go beyond
Yet wish not to relinquish your stand!

Then! A moment came
When I flew through the window frame
As I drove towards my ‘home’
Stead I met the blinding truck lights
In that glorious second I thought I was “home”!
I saw my garden but blooming in ‘gold’
I saw my kids- even Amy, whom I thought ‘lost’
Oh! My mother!-hale and hearty!
Trotting on her feet and no wheels!
Oh! My mom! Oh! My Mom!
Yes! Dear son!- a  scratchy voice boomed
The darkness and the pain on my arms screamed.
I had been ‘somewhere’
Which for others is ‘no where’.

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I knew then!-it was ‘that’ door
Through which we all have to pass
Which no one can pass
And I had come too closely to pass.

It is there in our lives
Like the unseen trace of dusk rays
Like the unheard tremor
When the globe trotters thither
Like the unsettled sweat
On a labourer’s heart!
When I come afore it
Ah! I see myself again
Battered and tattered but, whole in my grain.
Having teetered precariously on that plain
I have nothing to lose but to gain.

Now I know to see through
the beguiling door that sucks you through!
I have heard many share
Their visions so clear
To which I had no ear!
Knowing that one
Hath helped me stop bemoan
Life’s despair!
Of which there’s none to spare!

I shall live every moment!
As ever fervent
Think of no torment
For I shall never lament
Whatever the life for me is ‘meant’.

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At least now I am aware
That when the ‘time’ comes
We all must become
A fond memory
An oft repeated name initially
Only to fade away slowly!

When the ‘time’ comes
That ‘threshold’ will beckon
And, you must ‘go’ as you have no time to reckon.
So I shall ‘live’ my life un-forfeiting
For I know the ‘threshold’ is waiting!