Sleep

There she lies on the bed,
The gentle rhythmic,
Breathing indicates that she’s fine.
I wonder, when was the last time,
That I slept without nightmares,
That keep plaguing me?

At times, there’s a sustained pause.
She mutters incoherently,
In the drug-induced sleep.
I wake up and sit,
For a while,
And then again lie down.
Nothing lasts forever!
Good or bad – we move on!

Blessed are those,
Who can fall asleep,
Without a pill,
Without a worry,
Without nightmares plaguing them.
Another sunrise, another battle,
In this city of fire,
In the hope of a better tomorrow,
We forge on….

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Thoughts on Mother’s Day

My timeline on Facebook is flooded with sentimental posts, pictures and quotes all celebrating motherhood. How does one define one’s relationship with one’s biological mother, or the mother who adopts us, or teachers who become mothers and guide us? It is very difficult to define this bond.

When a lady bears you in her womb, goes through hell to deliver you bearing a whole lot of pain; a part of her dies to bring you into this world. That umbilical cord that binds you to your mother is a special bond! In times gone by when adventures on the high seas and travelling by ship was the only way to discover new lands, umbilical cords were coveted among sailors as a lucky charm to keep them safe. Sailors believed that the cord would keep them safe, the cord was fashioned into a charm or amulet and worn by sailors!

There are some close people whom I know who share an angry relationship with their respective mothers, it is out of distrust and misunderstandings that snowballed into a rift boosted by the egos of the parties involved! I have had the task of setting alight the funeral pyres of distant cousins and family friends as the son/daughter in question was stuck abroad and could not make it to India in time for the last rites. I have had people breaking down to me over Skype and on the phone; cursing the very moment they chose to go abroad! I had a friend who said, “Mahesh amma oda pavizha-kallu padicha mookuthi irukkum da, adha mattum yaenakki anuppi vei da! I want it to keep reminding me that I let her down!” Incidents like these are many! There was the best friend of a time gone by who completely ended up a “penn-koandhan” toeing every line his wife said and ditched his mother in an old-age home; she died broken-hearted! The idiot just came and completed the last rites; when he lit her pyre that’s when he broke down completely! “Matchaan, thappu panitaen da, paeriya thappu panitaen, Meena pinnadi sithi ipidi vitutatenae yaen Amma va! Paava manippaey illai da yaenakku!”

It becomes a worry for me if my mother fails to answer the phone! Morning once I reach office, I call and confirm she is fine, evening once I step out of office I call her again. There have been times when she would be in a drug-induced sleep and would not answer the call, I would worry a hundred different things and keep calling every ten minutes till she would reply.

I have let go of many opportunities for her. There have been numerous wedding proposals that have come through! Without batting an eye-lid the girl’s parents would ask – “Amma va vittu thanni kuduthanam varanam thambi!” I would say – “Nadakaratha sollungo, ponnu ku vaera maapalai a paarungo saar!” Friendships that could have blossomed into something more concrete and and an actual love story; got cut short! Opportunities to go abroad have been sacrificed!

When an entire clan stood against us, asking us to give one more chance at redemption (after umpteen earlier chances), I firmly put my foot down and was in a way black-listed by a whole group of “well-meaning relatives”. We battle, every day, within and without, illnesses, medicines, food, cooking, choice of fruits to be offered to the Lord for prayers!

We battle every day with each other and others.. life goes on!

One wonders if it was all worth it??

All I want to tell you readers out there is – “Some battles are worth it and some battles are not worth it!” Don’t end up doing something that you will regret all your life. One day you will have to set your closest ones free! So cherish this moment with them!

Tomorrow may not come….

 

Adieu!!!

Suddenly the year,
Seems to be coming,
To an eventual close,
Nothing has changed,
The monotony, the pain,
The illness and sadness,
The empty void and the longing,
Like a frame perenially,
Stuck in deep focus mode,
Life goes on!!

From here to where?
From there to where?
As lost and puzzled,
As dejected and depressed,
As always with the stoic calm,
The wonderful mask, that comes handy.
I don it now with practised ease.
In fact, the transitions are smooth.
One more year is all set to end.
Friends old and new,
Memories some good and bad,
Life goes on!!

The writing is aimless.
The thoughts disjointed.
Day by day, I wait.
Counting my moments.
Holding on to life,
With a gentle prayer.
Believing that my role,
Here is yet to play out.
Everything could come down crashing,
One moment – one truth!
And curtains it is!!!!

Adieu!!!

Arunachala Animal Sanctuary – Where Love is God is!

The Arunachala Animal Sanctuary was established by Mr. Leslie Robinson a yogi whose love for animals is deep and profound and reflects in the care that he bestows on every creature. Ably supported by Dr Raja, Dr Arun and support staff – Shekar, Mani, Vishwa and a few more people whose names I do not recollect. This group of people protects and cares for abandoned animals, accident victims with unconditional love. There are a number of dogs and a couple of monkeys in the sanctuary now. Squirrels, donkeys, cows and calves, pigeons and crows and other birds all the beautiful creatures of the Lord have received care and love here. Stray dogs in Tiruvanamalai are sterilized and over the years there has been a significant control in the number of strays and incidents of human-dog conflict.

It was an overwhelming experience at the Sanctuary and as I spoke to Dr. Raja and Mr. Leslie, I realized the value of their selfless service. Currently around 175 dogs and around a dozen puppies are there at the sanctuary. The dogs have been hurt, are strays or abandoned pets. All of them receive care, love and warmth. When a dog relieves itself the place is mopped immediately, there is no flinching, no fear or worry, all I found here is love lots of love. The dogs started barking when they saw me for the first time then they came to me sniffing and settled down comfortably. If you are suddenly accosted by 30 odd dogs of all shapes and sizes, you do not jump, run, shout or be angry. You remain calm, patient and let the dogs know subtly that you are a friend.

The Sanctuary also provides veterinary support to people who bring their pets for treatment and those who can afford to pay are requested to make a donation. The main diet is milk, rice, vegetables and nutrient supplements a mix of Ayurvedic and Allopathic medicines. Every month at least 750 to 800 kilos of rice are needed, every day at least 30 to 40 litres of milk if not more is needed. The wonderful people who do this service need Rs 4.5 lakhs every month to foot expenses and manage day-to-day activities.

Stats:

Since the shelter opened in January, 2007, they have:

  • Performed 5,192 ABC sterilizations.
  • Given 8,561 anti-rabies injections (the homeless dog population is rabies free…people bitten still have to get the anti-rabies serum injections…there’s always the remote possibility that a dog had been bitten by a rabid bat, or other wild animal)
  • Gone out on 1,638 emergency rescues. (In the last twelve months, averaged 45 rescues a month).
    Had 20,879 out-patient visits for treatment in the clinic. (And have seen over 4,000 “owner dogs”…That’s a guesstimate).
  • Given 64,442 in-patient treatments.
  • Found good homes for 633 puppies/dogs, and 12 cats/kittens.
  • Treated 1,812 animals other than dogs: 327 cats, 480 birds, 373 cows & calves, 354 goats, lambs, & sheep, 71 monkeys, 83 rabbits, 12 squirrels, 28 donkeys, 3 pigs, 24 peacocks, 18 parrots, 3 eagles, 14 horses, 3 bullocks, 6 deer, 2 snakes, 5 turkeys, 1 owl, and 5 ducks.

I humbly request the readers of this blog to please visit their Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/arunachalasanctuary

Also their website – http://cms.arunachalasanctuary.com/

No donation is too small no contribution is insignificant. The Sanctuary needs your help and support. I humbly request you to help them.

Make cheque payable to “Arunachala Animal Sanctuary & Rescue Shelter” and mail to:
Arunachala Animal Sanctuary & Rescue Shelter
Chengam Road, Next to Government Arts College
Tiruvannamalai 606 603 Tamil Nadu, India
Important: Include a note with your name, address, and email address
 
Please write to – arunachalashelter@yahoo.com for more details and options to transfer money online.

Also do read:
http://www.anaflora.com/articles/fe-ther-ani/india-shelter.html
http://richardarunachala.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/puppy-pooja-at-arunachala-animal-shelter/

We can make a difference – I have belief that my readers love creatures big and small and they will offer support.

In you my dear readers I place my trust. Thanks with Grace!!!

Dear Uncle Robbie

Dear Uncle Robbie,
You are no longer,
With us in person,
But you shall always,
Remain in our hearts,
In our minds and thoughts.

Be it a man dressing up,
As a middle-aged lady,
Trying to save his marriage,
From falling apart.

An English teacher inspiring,
A room full of students.
Inspiring a generation of kids,
To puruse Literature.

The radio jockey in Vietnam,
Cheering up soldiers,
With witty one-liners,
Ruffling up feathers,
And raising laughter.

So many roles,
So many characters,
So many smiles,
All reduced to tears!

Wherever you are now,
I am sure you are,
Safer and happier,
And are no longer,
A tormented soul.

Dear Uncle Robbie,
Our prayers are there,
In support and grace,
For your family and friends.

Finally you have been set FREE!
Take care my captain,
For I know,
Perhaps this too is a role,
That you are playing out.
Oh Captain! My dearest Captain!

Lines from “Dead Poets Society’
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

“We’re not laughing at you – we’re laughing near you.”

“There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.”

A genius who was too talented, a manic energy that radiated from him, a life full of worries and battles with himself, his inner demons and alcohol. Finally the mind caved in and he chose to end his life. Wherever he is I hope he has found solace. R.I.P. Robin Williams!

The Christmas Gift

Solomon was a daily-wage earner working a wide variety of jobs, gardening, climbing the coconut trees, working as a mason’s assistant, a labourer; he straddled multiple jobs to take care of his Sarahma.

It was Christmas Eve; Solomon had hoped that Sarahma would be strong enough the next morning to attend Mass at the church. He had managed to buy a new saree for Sarahma; times were tough and with Sarahma’s towering medical expenses; the two of them somehow managed to make things run.

They lived in an old abandoned factory. The factory had been closed for over 10 years now because of labour-issues and the property was caught in an ugly legal battle among the sons of the founder of the company. The property overlooked the lagoon and during starry nights – husband and wife would look at the sky; holding their hands.

Sarahma and Solomon led a tough life in the unkind and harsh city of Kochi; everyone was busy, lost in their own worlds in a mad pursuit of money, power and fame. No one had time for a poor couple like Solomon and Sarahma. When Solomon entered the small enclosure of the old abandoned factory that he lovingly shared with Sarahma; he was in for a shock. Sarahma was lying down on the coir-mat. He dropped the paper-cover which had the saree and rushed to Sarahma. He touched her forehead it was cold. He turned around to look at the wood-fire oven. There was a vessel with some rice-gruel. He removed the vessel, lit fire and began boiling a vessel of water. He then began rubbing Sarahma’s feet, he recollected the camphor that was in the shelf next to Mother Mary’s painting. He quickly got some camphor and pressed it near Sarahma’s nostrils.

He continued to rub her feet and also applied a warm-press using a towel. Sarahma suddenly moaned, she said ‘Solomon, I am dying!’ He chided her with tears in his eyes – ‘Sarahmey, sarahmey, nothing will happen!’ He kept rubbing her feet vigourously. After a while Sarahma got up slowly with Solomon’s help. He supported her and helped her sit on the single wooden chair that they had.

Sarahma said – ‘Solomon I have only brought you suffering; let me die, so you can be in peace.’ Solomon scolded her – ‘Sarahmey, what is this? Be strong!’ He then boiled the milk left for next day’s tea and added it to the rice-gruel and fed Sarahma slowly. Sarahma ate with great difficulty, some of the gruel dribbled down her lips. Solomon wiped her cheeks gently and then gave her some warm water to drink. He then gave her the daily tablet and syrup. He lit a candle in front of Mother Mary’s painting, said a prayer and returned to Sarahma.

He held her hands and sat down on the floor; rubbing Sarahma’s feet vigorously. Sarahma fell asleep after a while. Over the course of the night Solomon fought fatigue, hunger and tiredness as he kept rubbing her feet. At some point in time he too fell asleep; holding her hands!

It was Christmas and the church bells rang with joy and fervour. The rays of the morning sun and the cawing of the crows woke Solomon up. He woke up with a sudden fit. Sarahma was in deep sleep, but the pale countenance of the previous night had gone and she was in a deep but peaceful drug-induced sleep.

He smiled, got up went to Mother Mary’s painting and said a prayer of thanks and lit a new candle. He then gently went about his tasks without disturbing Sarahma. He finished his morning ablutions and a bath in the lagoon and made some black tea to drink. He had bought some unniappams from the shop the previous night. He arranged the unniappams and the tea glass on a plate. He woke Sarahma up gently, she woke up slowly and smiled at Solomon. He said ‘Merry Christmas Sarahmey’ – she held Solomon’s hand gently and with a timid and shy smile said – ‘Merry Christmas Solomon’. Solomon then took out the white saree with the red border that he had purchased the previous evening and gave it to her.

Sarahma smiled and held Solomon’s hands; the two looked at each other; Mother Mary smiled at the two from the painting. Only she knew how close to death Sarahma had been the previous night!!!