Status Update

I sought pardon,

For my sins,

In lives gone by,

And this existence.

I found refuge,

In temples, mosques,

Monasteries and churches.

In mountains and caves,

In rainforests in the heart of darkness.

Rituals and ceremonies,

To appease the higher power,

Whichever name you choose to ascribe.

The tests and struggles that everyone faces!

Either makes them stronger or breaks them down.

Every single time when I hit trough bottom.

I fought, for I believed, I had a chance.

An obligation to survive, because I was accountable to my mother.

To make her world and life as happy as possible.

Today, as I observe her in a drug-induced stupor.

We fight ailments known and unknown.

I am powerless to help her,

All I can do is to take her to hospitals.

Follow medication and diets as prescribed.

Still there is no clear solution.

No proper answers, the battle,

For a good night’s sleep,

Was lost long ago!

I keep my eyes shut tight.

But the ears remain steady,

Waiting for the slightest moan or cry.

I don’t know what I have turned into.

A robot who mechanically,

Continues to go about his chores.

My employers have been patient.

Helping in anyway possible.

Friends, a handful, call or message.

Fragments of a family scattered around the world.

A few good souls still keep in touch.

What lies next? I don’t know,

The charade of positivity,

Of hope and good things,

All remain mere masks.

I hope I find answers.

I hope things change, for the better.

I have just one reason left,

To continue this struggle.

As that reason too, disintegrates,

Bit-by-bit, cell-by-cell.

The tunnel of darkness,

Seems to beckon me.

If tomorrow comes.

We shall meet again.


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!!!!


Of Weighty Issues

When I was young,
I was the thinnest,
Skinniest child in the family,
In school, I used to be mocked,
There used to be snide comments,
That I would fly away,
At the mildest gust of a wind.

As the years grew by,
And I battled and cheated death,
Multiple times,
The medicines took their toll,
I look at old pictures of mine,
The boxer, the footballer,
Then I look at my reflection,
Now in the mirror.

The reflection mocks me,
Like Marlon Brando,
In “On the Waterfront”
I wonder – “I could have been a contender!”
Now I look fatter than the fattest bartender.
I am never one for these fad diets and all.
I am not a binge eater either,
Nor a fan of chocolates or icecreams.

New years come and Christmases go,
Resolutions are made and broken,
With the silver strands of hair,
Gaining prominenece on my head,
The waist not getting any slimmer,
The bones ache,
The knees hurt,
The back stoops,
I am transforming into a crazy,
Hunch-backed ogre from an old vampire tale!

Where do I go from here?
The heart feels old,
The mind is lost in its complex web,
The body keeps stressing,
That it is tired.
At times, I wonder of choices made,
In the distant past!
There is no regret, no gloom,
No joy or no pain!

I take solace in the fact,
That Po the Panda,
Was annointed the Dragon Warrior!
So I guess, I still have hope!

Fears and Prayers

Hospitals scare me,
For someone who,
Has spent a lot of time,
In hospitals being a patient,
And being patient and attending others,
Hospitals scare me!

There is a deep sense,
Of dread within me,
I cannot put a name,
Or an emotion,
To this morbid fear,
That haunts me.

I am in awe of doctors,
Learned women and men,
With their white coats,
Stethoscopes dangling down,
Nurses attired prim and proper,
Walking up and down!

I am not scared of injections,
Bitter medicines or surgeries,
It is just the realization,
That one by one,
All those who mattered to me,
Bid me goodbye in hospitals!

As Mum and I battle,
Ghosts from the past,
And the demons of the present,
I wake up in the middle,
Of the night, a cold sweat breaking out!
I walk up to the bed!

And look at Mum,
Lost in the drug-induced sleep,
And I see her rhythmic breathing,
And catch my breath,
Pinching myself to make sure,
Everything is fine.

I say a small prayer,
And lie down on the mattress,
On the floor, chanting an incantation,
Forcing myself to go to sleep again.
This continues every night.
At times, sleep evades me.

I just sit cross-legged,
Staring into space,
Looking at the night-lamp.
The inevitable is the truth,
Life is but a gift,
And death a chance for redemption.

As visions and dreams haunt me,
I just cannot seem to come to terms,
To the brutal truth,
That I will have to bid – “Good Bye”
I am scared that it will be yet another painful
Heart-wrenching visit to the hospital!

Dear God! My only prayer to you!
If such an event,
Is pre-destined and in my destiny,
Please be kind my Creator,
Let the end be painless and peaceful!
Prayers, prayers, prayers – My Lord!!

2014 – Glimpses in Verse

Running around in hospitals,
Chasing pharmacies for medicines,
Hoping things would improve.
Things are mildly better.

Of a solo visit to Tiruvanamalai,
Spending time in a shelter for animals,
Moved by the love that the workers,
Shower on the creatures.

Spending time alone,
In Ramana Ashramam,
And awe-inspired by,
The massive temple.

Visiting Thirukadaiyur,
And being blessed by elders,
A friend who is a brother now,
Thanks for the opportunity Bragadeesh.

Meeting a financial expert,
Akin to a character from a book,
Anand sir and family,
Thanks for the beautiful trips.

From Karur and Namakal,
To Kumbakonam and Thirumayichur,
Lots of wonderful memories,
To cherish all along.

Of Radha ji and the Azure Book Club,
Lots of fascinating things,
All centered around books,
Thanks for a wonderful time.

Of all the books that were read,
A book by a wonderful thinker,
Avis sir’s – ‘Fall like a Rose Petal’
Is indeed a special book!

Of losing my phone,
In the mad rush of the train.
And unexpectedly winning a prize,
A phone for a writing competition!

Of work and colleagues,
Thanks to the Lord,
For all the patience,
That my employers and colleagues have!

Of friendships lost and gained,
Of realizing that somethings are,
Just not meant to be,
One learns to put the ‘fake smile’.

Of marriages all around,
Good times and happy memories.
Lovely feasts and lengthy rituals.
The clock keeps ticking!

As 2014 draws slowly to a close,
With a week more to go,
Here is wishing all my friends,
Real and virtual, known and unknown —

O for ‘Onnu Muthal Poojyam Varai’

It is Vishu today – Happy Vishu to all my readers 🙂 – the festival ushers in the new year!

It is the letter ‘O’ today and though many of you dear readers would have thought this would be a post dedicated to the historical classic – ‘Oru Vadakan Veeragatha’ – I have picked something else.

1986 was a fascinating year for Mohanlal as he essayed a whole variety of roles and practically won the hearts of all Malayalees with his movies. The movie that we examine today is a fascinating tale of love lost, found and lost again! A gem of a movie called ‘Onnu Muthal Poojyam Varai’– when translated it means ‘From One to Zero’.

The movie is about Aleena (Asha Jayaram) a young widow living in a lovely little cottage with her sweet little four-year old daughter Deepamol (Geetu Mohandas). Aleena pines for love and yearns for the love of her husband played by Prathap Pothan who is dead and was a musician. We have a lovely song which shows him conducting a music piece.

Aleena works as a painter and things go along as mother and daughter find comfort in each other. There is a telephone with which Deepamol dials random numbers and speaks to people. One such day she dials a number and speaks to her Telephone Uncle with whom she instantly connects and discovers a paternal bond. For a major part of the movie we do not see Mohanlal at all and just hear his voice as he speaks to Deepamol and Aleena.

The powerful bond between all three characters grows just through the telephone, which becomes an integral part of the movie. Finally after much persuasion, Telephone Uncle promises to visit Deepamol on her birthday and both mother and daughter wait eagerly for the ‘stranger’ to visit them.

I will not reveal the climax – it will be gross injustice to reveal what happens when Telephone Uncle finally meets Aleena and Deepamol. Please watch this movie; available on YouTube; stream and watch it!

The movie won the debutante director Raghunath Paleri an award, Geethu Mohandas won the best child artiste (female) award and Shaji Karun won an award for cinematography. Shaji would go on to become a successful ‘art-film’ director in his own right. The movie had lovely songs tuned by Mohan Sithara and written by ONV Kurup.

End the post with a beautiful song from the movie:

April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge – A for ‘Aparan – The Stranger’

So it is time to set the ball rolling! The first post in the April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge and when I thought the theme of cinema would help me; little did I realize that with the umpteen choices that I have I am going to face more problems in picking a movie. Since 7:30 AM the time I caught my train this morning – I have been deliberating over Aparan, Advaitham, Adhipan, Ananda Bhairavi and Ananthabhadram. Each a treasured movie; finally Papettan; director Padmarajan wins and the first post is my thoughts on – ‘Aparan’ – ‘The Stranger’.

Aparan is a dark, moody tale of a man whose life turns upside down when he realises he has a look-alike who is a criminal of the first order! Aparan is the Tale of Vishwanathan – Vishwan played by Jayaram in his stellar debut – many people believe that Jayaram has not been able to outdo this performance. I tend to agree; he has become a comic parody of sorts!

Vishwam lives in a small village in Kerala with his loving parents and sister. He decides to go to Kochi/Ernakulam the financial epicentre of the state to secure a job. On reaching the city he is rounded up by the public and arrested; thankfully his classmate Mukesh who plays a police-officer realises that Vishwan is his friend and not the criminal. As Vishwan and his friend talk of old times; Mukesh reminds Vishwan that his look-alike has no name and is a dangerous criminal. This also leads to his sister’s wedding being called off!

Vishwan then finds a job and a mildly romantic track with Shobhana starts; I believe Jayaram and Shobhana are the best on-screen couple in Malayalam cinema!

He loses this job as well when his MD’s friend says that Vishwam had promised to provide a girl by taking money but had not honoured his promise. In the ensuing altercation that ensues Vishwan realises that this menace will never end and decides to track down his look-alike criminal. Then starts the transformation we get a name for the criminal – ironically named Utthaman. Vishwan starts visiting shady places, wears dark clothes and keeps looking for a way to find the true criminal. In a final burst of Providence – Vishwan accepts payment for a murder plan hatched by Utthaman.

This is when the story gathers steam and we do not realise who is hunting whom. Vishwan decides to hand over the money to his father played by Madhu to ensure that his sister’s wedding takes place. Enroute to his house, he is attacked by Utthaman and his gang. Done beautifully in the darkness the gang-members mistakenly kill Uthaman, while Vishwan manages to escape with the money. But next to Uthaman’s body – Vishwan’s bag with his clothes and certificates are found by the police.

In an emotional sequence – Vishwan sees his father perform the last rites of Utthaman, imagining the criminal to be his own son.

That night Vishwan confronts his father and tells the truth. He hands over the money to his father to help with his sister’s wedding and bids goodbye.

Then plays the haunting final scene as the embers and flames of the burning corpse recede slowly – a magical moment of light, flame and smoke and a sinister smile plays on the place of Vishwan’s face. Did Utthaman die? Did Vishwan die? If Utthaman died why does Viswan choose to take Utthaman’s identity!

The movie ends with numerous questions that emerge in the mind of the viewer and a discomforting truth takes shape – could Utthaman be still alive and planning a life of crime afresh in a new city???

This is considered as one of Padmarajan’s lesser works – but is still a brilliant portrayal of the workings of the human mind! Without a song and a simple and effective score and a fascinating performance by Jayaram – do not miss this gem! It is a wonderful piece to get introduced to Padmarajan’s works!