Warning : Serious poetry ahead !

I am peaceful and happy. And contented. Perhaps in stark contrast to my current state,I came across this poem someplace. I don't know what to make of it - except it was probably written one one morbid day by someone who has more on the agenda. Doesn't quite fit into classical lyrical structure of poetry. But there is something about this poem that cries out to get people to read it. So I am reproducing with permission it here.

I am tired

I cannot cry anymore

I cannot fight anymore

I cannot run anymore

Just let me go

To where there is peace

And a little bit of happiness

I just want to be devoid of any sense

Feel,touch, laughter and tears

No more tears.. please .. no more

I don't want to add one single drop to the overflowing ocean

I don't want to run the rat race

I am tired, exhausted

Almost hollow on the inside

Empty me quick

Empty me quick

Atleast then I can turn myself inside out

And let myself get parched dry

Not one bit of moisture

Not one soft tissue

All parched dry in the desert heat

So the heat is felt no more..

No cold, no heat - no uneasy places between

Black or white

Zero or one

Along will come someone else

To fill all the absent places

Or not

For it doesn't matter

Like a collage made of flags statues

One tiny dent in the NY skyline

The big picture doesn't change

It never does.

And the world lives on

It's something about the human self

That is so convoluted

You know you are one tiny insignificant speck

But you still live on

Yearning,hoping blindly

That your life will make a difference to someone else

Knowing it never might, yet living on ....

Another day ....
I sat down to write a post - making a feeble attempt to pen down those wafting , vague ideas into something penworthy. And then Dad called.Sitting miles away from India, their only source of catching up with the latest TN elections was the internet.And as news of early leads started pouring we discussed it all - election promises , caste-based vote banks,scandals,corruption,Jaya TV and Sun TV. We discussed what makes one "Indian" and if there is even a word "American" and if so, what that really means.

And then it all came back to me - elections and political scene - 1999-2000. I was in my final year of school. Tensions, exams, and applications time. Almost oblivious to the blaring loudspeakers,gaudy posters,and larger-than-life cutouts, our lives trudged on. There were some, among us who were daughters of MPs, MLAs and party leaders.But at 16, MTV, Agarkar's posters, and paper rockets on Physics teacher's head held our fancy - competing with timed tests and mugging Sanskrit shlokas.

As the elections drew nearer, we , at home, were hoping for a change in governance.And when a key electoral alliance was forged between a national party and a local party at the state, we knew there was a chance.As days rolled by,this alliance announced their Trichy contestant.Mr.RK was an educated lawyer - a change from your average run-on-the-mill moushtached , lungi clad , sickle-in-hand politicians that Trichy had seen so far - it was a welcome change.For the first time, I saw mom and dad excited to go and vote.

Through all the political uncertainity - bargaining,haggling,deals,scams, and no-confidence votes - came February - of revision tests and exams.And the cricket matches. "To bunk school or not to bunk" seemed to be the quandary of the day, the argument being, that I could watch the match for a while, and then study through the night, since there was not much happening at school anyway.And then I heard it - Dr.S - Trichy's town president for BJP was brutally murdered. Images of yesterday's lunch session-laughter and backstreet boys talk flashed before my eyes - his daughter was my friend in school.

As we stood in the assembly that day , the school principal announced that today was a school holiday due to riots.I came home as my neighbor remarked " So ,you finally get to watch your cricket match in peace today". TV and news channels flashed the news. Some terrorist organization, rise of fundamentalism and all that .The image of my friend and her mom, and her little brother on TV can never be erased from my mind.

Saffron or Green - the story remains the same.Did she deserve an incomplete family for the rest of her life? Did we deserve to lose the bubbly, enthusiastic chatterbox of a friend?What in the world could be more important than a human life? And yes, I was terribly antagonistic.

And then "Dev" happened. IMO, the media IS really, really powerful. It was a tale of two people - a young, energetic young man and an old, seasoned police officer - from different (warring!) religious sects of India.It is a beautiful portrayal of how "politics" and "king-makers" make use of peoples emotions to incite discontent - and fuel their own vote bank.It wasn't jingoistic - no loud claims of "patriotism" and "national integration" - just a heartfelt tale of how two men deal with their own internal belief systems - with respect to their own religions. One of them loses a son to fundamentalists , but learns to view it in third person - not take it personally and hold vendetta towards the perpetrators - rather, learn to abhor the idea of people turning against each other.

So,far from it all, I now know , that accumulated hatred and prejudices don't go very far.

As R says " You know how democracy works in India? Not on the premise that " we are all one" but that "we are all different" - as diverse as we possibly can. We acknowledge this difference, and live our own lives, in our own comfort zones, stepping out when needed.That's what makes us work".

It was evening. The sky was moody, a dark bluish black. It was almost spring, but not quite. An old man walked, with a wooden stick bent like it was affected with bow-leg. The man had a straight, almost majestic gait, as he walked up a winding road. No hurry, no lethargy - just the right pace. As he ambled along, he wore a greyed cashmere shawl around his shoulder to protect him from the remanants of a chilly winter gone by.

This was the part he liked best. The winding road descended rapidly, and one false step could mean tumbling down a hundred feet. But our man, almost oblivious to the impending fall, walked on autopilot. It was almost as if he was in another place, another time, and his body just did its job. Automatically - without thinking, without feeling.

An old, worn out cycle tire,hidden by some dried leaves, a few bottles of plastic, crushed by the few automobiles that dared to traverse this stretch provided a stark contrast to the otherwise uniform conifers. Nestled in the Eastern Ghats, this small little sleepy town was one of India's best kept secrets.Our man walked along, hoping to reach home before dusk, when another world - a world of mythical ghosts and oft-heard wild animals came to life. It is only fair, he thought, that there should be a time of the day when humans retreated, and let the "other world" take over.

(the next part will be continued here)