Monday, August 29, 2022

Fifteen Years Old Today!

 Yes, Of This and That has been around for the past fifteen years, for better or worse. Nowadays I often see it as just a repository for my musings on Facebook, but nonetheless, it exists. My intentions towards it are always honourable. Perhaps I will do you justice before you turn sixteen, Blog.

These fifteen years have been transformative in so many ways. Many warm friendships in the real and virtual world. An opening up of worlds hitherto unknown. Friendships across the globe. Babies and small kids who featured in their parent's blogs are now grown up, or almost. So much has transpired in these fifteen years. I had the support and love of so many during my parents' last years. Travelling to the USA for the first time in 2007. Subsequent visits, for my son's wedding, for the birth of both my grandchildren, just for fun. Travels to Australia, Singapore, Thailand, England, Europe: some featured here, some ignored due to inertia. The wisdom of so many others, the poetry of many poets, my introduction to some absolutely fabulous authors and poets, movies, theatre, all began in the blog world.

I am so thankful to the technology that has brought so many close to me. I grieve for the misuse of the same technology. I remember Forster's wise words, Only Connect.

Yes, that is what we have always tried to do, me and my blog. Only connect.

Happy birthday, Blog.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

August musings, (with a little July)

My duranta is in bloom.
A lone balloon on the lawn
A skinny kitten eludes the camera
Whitey perches on the guestroom
window sill
A few fat drops of rain
That do not keep me from
Completing my last round.
Happy morning!

26th July, 2022

The insomniac's wife is majorly sleep deprived.
He sleeps whenever sleep comes, like a baby.
Like a small baby's mother, she is advised,
Sleep when he sleeps.
It didn't make sense then,
It doesn't make sense now
There's the household with its rhythms
And its help, its particular timings.
And morning walks are possible only
In the morning.
Breakfast merges with lunch.
Leftovers get leftover again,
Then are given to the help.
Each snore is an onslaught upon her brain.
She prays that he sleeps through the night
And life gets its rhythm back again.

28th July, 2022

Who was the betrayer,
The one I always loved
Who now refused
To be good to me?
Or the vicissitudes of age
Which led to problems
Between my beloved and I?
No longer were we in harmony,
Once made for each other, but now
Troublesome, painful in the extreme.
My beloved, favourite arhar (tur) dal,
Tell me why I can no longer digest you?

31st July 2022

Random thoughts on Independence Day 2022
We were brave enough to move house last year on this day!
Our "own" apartment, as 'permanent' a residence as is possible in this temporary world of ours
Which fact many forget in their hubris...
We are only guests on this planet, not permanent residents.
We, humanity, haven't been good tenants on this earth of ours
Leaving it in a greater mess than before
While Nature wreaks havoc in despair.
My mind leaps from thought to thought
Is it not a strange coincidence that our housing societies are governed by RWAs
Which seem very Right Wing in their practices?
The polyester flag is statutory this year.
You have no option but to pay for it
And have it installed in your balcony
While poverty, ignorance and disease
Run rampant. Huge funds spent, and collected, on shiny polyester flags.
Symbolizing perhaps our synthetic patriotism, in a country where huge power
Is held by descendants of the polyester baron.
And yet, my heart sings songs of freedom
'Jhanda ooncha rahe hamara
Vijayee vishwa tiranga pyaara'.
Though I despair of so much that happens here
My love for my country is visceral.
Happy 94th birthday to my mother.
She was already mother to a toddler then,
And would go to Gandhiji's prayer meetings
With my father, all those decades ago.
Our independence was truly hard won, something to cherish and preserve forever.
Happy 75th Independence Day, India.

15th August, 2022

The Archeology of Dentistry
Every single new hairdresser I've ever been to
Complains of the lousy job the one before them did.
Similarly, dentists.
When you get to my age
And have lived in several cities
And have had several dentists
You are asked strange questions
To which you don't remember the answers
If you ever knew them, that is.
Because once pain is over
Treatment is done, and you feel half human again
You blank out all memory of visits to the dentist of the day/month/year/city,
And what was done to what tooth when.
Which dentist was responsible for which root canal, which crown, which implant...
Impossible to remember.
While having a very long overdue cleaning session today, with my very competent and charming young dentist, I recalled an ancient fantasy of mine:
To be wealthy enough to have a dental chamber at home, with my personal dentist brushing my teeth for me every single day,
So that I would never have to go to the dentist!

24th August, 2022

Catching up!

The French window is open
The plants I watered this morning
Are enjoying the rain
The lights are on
The son is home
Breakfast done
The country is unspeakable
We have rain today.

30th June, 2022

Mr. Beagle
Seems to think
That the walking path
In our green belt
Belongs exclusively to him
So he stands in front of me
And howls at me
Until he is leashed
And taken away.
I have to break stride
For him, annoying,
But I know that we are soul mates:
We both claim that path
As our own!

15th July 2022

The rainy day
Had the dryer
Justify its existence
A thunderclap:
Pigeons panic
flying to shelter
The airconditioner
Has time off.
And we go for a long drive.

17th July 2022

I am introduced at approximately one hour and ten minutes.
Of course, it would be wonderful if you have the time to hear the whole programme.
Srijan Poetry: Tribute to ANNA AKHMATOVA & June Multi-Lingual Poetry Adda!

Right to Life: Powerful indeed

 SAILLE: Right To Life

A woman is not a pear tree
thrusting her fruit into mindless fecundity
into the world. Even pear trees bear
heavily one year and rest and grow the next.
An orchard gone wild drops few warm rotting
fruit in the grass but the trees stretch
high and wiry gifting the birds forty
feet up among inch long thorns
broken atavistically from the smooth wood.
A woman is not a basket you place
your buns in to keep them warm. Not a brood
hen you can slip duck eggs under.
Not the purse holding the coins of your
descendants till you spend them in wars.
Not a bank where your genes gather interest
and interesting mutations in the tainted
rain, any more than you are.
You plant corn and you harvest
it to eat or sell. You put the lamb
in the pasture to fatten and haul it in to
butcher for chops. You slice the mountain
in two for a road and gouge the high plains
for coal and the waters run muddy for
miles and years. Fish die but you do not
call them yours unless you wished to eat them.
Now you legislate mineral rights in a woman.
You lay claim to her pastures for grazing,
fields for growing babies like iceberg
lettuce. You value children so dearly
that none ever go hungry, none weep
with no one to tend them when mothers
work, none lack fresh fruit,
none chew lead or cough to death and your
orphanages are empty. Every noon the best
restaurants serve poor children steaks.
At this moment at nine o’clock a partera
is performing a table top abortion on an
unwed mother in Texas who can’t get
Medicaid any longer. In five days she will die
of tetanus and her little daughter will cry
and be taken away. Next door a husband
and wife are sticking pins in the son
they did not want. They will explain
for hours how wicked he is,
how he wants discipline.
We are all born of woman, in the rose
of the womb we suckled our mother’s blood
and every baby born has a right to love
like a seedling to sun. Every baby born
unloved, unwanted, is a bill that will come
due in twenty years with interest, an anger
that must find a target, a pain that will
beget pain. A decade downstream a child
screams, a woman falls, a synagogue is torched,
a firing squad is summoned, a button
is pushed and the world burns.
I will choose what enters me, what becomes
of my flesh. Without choice, no politics,
no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield,
not your uranium mine, not your calf
for fattening, not your cow for milking.
You may not use me as your factory.
Priests and legislators do not hold shares
in my womb or my mind.
This is my body. If I give it to you
I want it back. My life
is a non-negotiable demand.
—Marge Piercy, from her 1980 poetry collection The Moon is Always Female