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Morning scenes

The wind blustery Skies grey blue A light so muted Birds are quiet too We walkers go Sidestepping Couple-dancing No touching Looking or meeting Glances…Oh no!   Masks dangling From chins Below noses Hanging from one ear Or sometimes Fitting so properly Covering everything So no one can see Or know What we’re really like.   Runners running Soundlessly Iron determination Seeping through So much so   That dogs being walked Know they cannot Wag tails Or even Bark a greeting.   Two men Creating content One breaking into Hair flipping, body popping Dance Faithful friend filming In fits and starts As a security guard Sips his chai Utterly bemused.
Recent posts

This is why acid attacks continue to destroy lives

  Last week, I went to my local kirana store and bought a bottle of ‘acid’. You know the kind of store I mean -- one those neighbourhood shops that stocks everything from groceries to greens, to cheap Made-in-China toys, to household germ killers. I wanted acid to clean my bathroom. So the friendly shopkeeper called out to his assistant: “Hey, get that bottle of ‘acid’, will you.” “Do I need to wear gloves or any protective clothing,” I asked. “No, you can either use it as is, or dilute it,” he replied. The shopkeeper did not ask me for either age-proof or id. The other patrons around me saw nothing amiss, either. They went about their purchases. So for just Rs 60, I gingerly carried a bottle of ‘acid’ home. Life went on as usual. But should it? Shouldn't we all be more concerned that acid can be bought so easily? Did you know that the Supreme Court has laid down a number of guidelines against such sale or purchase of acid, in order to prevent acid attacks? For in

Getting by with a little help

How a country treats its most vulnerable -- the poor, the elderly, the destitute -- is a good measure of its fundamental strengths and flaws. And the long hot summer of India’s lockdown has exposed everything tragically wrong and yet, also triumphantly right about the country. Where government agencies or systems collapsed, communities, non-governmental and nonprofit organisations, even complete strangers, have stepped up to help those in need or distress and those needing help. Sowmini T, in her late 60s (she is unsure of her exact age), lives in Narikkuni village of Chelannur block, Kozhikode district, Kerala. Sowmini’s place of work is 40 minutes by bus -- the house of Radha Nair, a retired English professor in Kozhikode city and my mother. Sowmini has been with my family for over 45 years. She cooks, acts as occasional caretaker and general supervisor of all things to do with the house and household.   When the lockdown was announced on March 25, Sowmini, who has a basic phon

On seeing millions walking home...

We saw them on our way to work In those makeshift tarpaulin shacks Naked children playing with roadside trash Near piles of their own excreta As skeletally thin mothers tried to cook gruel in pots, We looked but didn’t really see.  Every morning, we saw them from our cars Shrunken bodies in tattered clothes, in a huddle Waiting for an ‘agent’ to get them work. What did we do then? We cranked up the AC, we plugged into podcasts “How long before this signal changes, damn it!” We drank the bytwo coffee they served us in darshinis We looked but didn’t really care to see. We were too preoccupied with ‘personal milestones’ That we just had to share on our Insta Stories #Ran5Kms #FeelingStrong #LifeIsGood #FeelingBlessed We passed under-construction sites In our localities and our neighbourhoods.  We saw them and... we quickened our steps. We held handkerchiefs (no masks then, you see!) to our noses Oh, the smell! These people are so filthy! We saw them. We all did. How could we possibly not?

A meltdown

Some days ago, I had what you might call, a meltdown. I went from anger to intense anguish in moments. I worked myself up into a frenzy. I wanted to lash out at my family. Hurl words that would wound and scar. I wanted to hurt myself.. Physically harm my own self or something/someone else. I wanted to break things,something... Anything would do, I felt, at that moment. Just to cope with the heaving emotions inside. Just so I could make sense of what I was feeling. So, I shouted at my loved ones. At my son for something he did or didn't do. At my husband for slights real and imagined. For angry words we have exchanged over the years. For everything we have ever done to each other. Then, I shut myself up in a room Immersed myself in all that was and is torn and tormented inside And I cried my heart out. I ended up with a migraine that day. But later, when I calmed down, I felt better. But more than that, I found that my family still loves me. My young son s