A tribute to Indian folk art

madhubani

I traveled through India, often complaining

About the lack of infrastructure, feigning

A Westernized approach to the land, I should say

(Not proud of myself as I write this today)

Then there was something that left me

Mesmerized and amazed, when I did see

(Again like the typical Western traveler)

Folk art in its unadorned splendor

With vivid earthy colors, in media varied

Imprinted on walls, floors; clothing indeed

Bringing alive the vibrant culture of the nation

Retelling folklore in a pictorial fashion

From Mithila come the paintings Madhubani

Depicting flora, fauna and gods for all to see

Miniature paintings originate from the era of the Mughals

With intricate details and a Persian influence visible

I saw the vivid geometric forms in white stand out

In Warli paintings, against a red or ochre background

 

Carrying the weight of 2500 years of history-

I then acquainted myself with styles more contemporary-

Kalamkari- the art of drawing images with a pen on fabric-

Thanjavur paintings using gold foil have an effect quite dramatic

The Gond art forms that show a belonging with nature

The Phad scrolls that narrate tales, on cloth, of grandeur

The richness of culture emanating from these forms of art

Brought patriotic fervor back into my heart

As I learn about these ancient art forms whose existence 

Is imperiled today, I have to applaud their simplicity and brilliance!

 

 

Top: My attempt at a Madhubani painting

Bottom: clockwise: (images sourced from internet): Phad, Thanjavur, Kalamkari, Warli, Miniature styles

Vertically challenged

shortThere have been many times I have lamented

My height, or lack thereof, the idea firmly cemented

In my mind that the world respects stature in every way

A towering presence can make heads sway

The world is designed for people much taller than me

Thus I suffer in “high” chairs, my legs dangling aimlessly

I need footstools to reach everything in sight

I spend fortunes on tailors, it just does not seem right

I have forced myself into painful high-heeled shoes

To gain  vertical advantage, but what’s the use

In a world where six feet tall models don

Six-inch heels, such battles simply can’t be won

I do long to make a noticeable entrance

Into a room, to have a commanding presence…

**

This was how I felt in my younger years

Age has brought wisdom, quelling my fears

That being short I would be ignored forever-

That a commanding presence I would have never

As I gather years, more confidence I acquire

Not shy to state my opinion, I say what my heart desires

Within the realm of reason, of course- I have found

That I have gained attention and respect from people around

Me; my presence is noted where I contribute

Through my skills and knowledge, these are the attributes

That overshadow my being challenged vertically

This has changed my outlook dramatically-

And at the end, a closely guarded secret I’ll share

I look younger, being petite, despite my greying hair! 

In case you are wondering, yes I am quite short.

(Image source: Pinterest)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Relationship

connection

Introduced to each other by a mutual acquaintance
Both accepted the introduction with mutual nonchalance
Not particularly inclined to strike a meaningful conversation
They made small talk out of politeness, with some hesitation
Then came the innocuous comment that inspired
Both of them to laugh- in that moment fate seemed to have conspired
To draw them to each other inexplicably in a way
That defies definition, or description to this day
It appeared that an instant connection had been made
At the subliminal level, that is where it stayed
As they conversed further the connection grew stronger
In less than an hour they were strangers no longer
They were both in their sixties, it struck them both as peculiar
That through their lives they had not experienced a connection so singular
With anyone else, not even their spouses with whom they had spent
Years in successful marriages, in which both had been content
They felt this was more a meeting of like minds
They did not entertain romantic notions of any kind
And yet, faced with a predicament each one would think
The other one was the person who’d understand them in a blink

Over the years they communicated, not regularly though
Seeking counsel, or comfort, in moments high and low
Mostly they were busy in their lives, with grandchildren and such
They shared their deepest thoughts in few words, did not need to say much

Life continued its course, and then one day
Unexpected and sad news came her way
She discovered it in an obituary in the newspaper local
She wept silently, about their relationship they had not been vocal
She proceeded to live her life the way she had always done
She missed their connection,the loss of her friend she mourned

She had kept this a secret, though she had nothing to hide
She had not been unfaithful and yet deep inside
She knew the sanctity of the bond they had shared
Would be tarnished if she tried to make others aware
Of this relationship, no doubt she would be judged unfavorably
Knowing enough of this world, she hid it, albeit uncomfortably

As she grey older, the inevitable loomed on the horizon
Widowed and alone, she knew she had to unburden
Herself before she was heavenward bound
So the locked secret within her heart she unwound
Penning down the way it had happened many years ago
Without any embellishment she recounted what it was to know
An attraction so powerful and yet platonic
Happening so late in their lives that it was ironic
As she wrote about it her life’s moments danced before her eyes
All of it had been good, she knew she had been wise
To keep this relationship concealed, it had avoided trouble
No misunderstanding occurred, her family lived happily in a bubble

Reading her diary in the room where she had died
Her granddaughter stood, completely mesmerized
By this tale of her grandmother finding that elusive connection
Of souls, at her age- surely truth was stranger than fiction
The writing was good, surprisingly, and no wonder
An idea struck the very pragmatic granddaughter
To turn it into a memoir, just to emphasize
There is more to attraction between the genders than meets the eyes
What happened to the book you would guess, I am certain
It was a bestseller, and here I shall draw the curtain

(Image source: pinterest)

Musings of a doctor

physician.jpg

(Painting by Luis Jimenez Aranda- The ward in chief doctor visit. 1889)

I think in my daily life I crib enough

That life as a physician is pretty tough

Running at times purely on adrenaline

Assisted by a hefty dose of caffeine

Trying (and failing) very hard to squeeze

Sixty minutes of work in fifteen isn’t a breeze

 

I need to be efficient but doctor-patient interaction

Cannot be constrained by time, in any fashion

Need for documentation adds to my woes

I try to be meticulous, and there my free time goes..

I love challenges, but caring for sick patients can be

At times, an emotionally draining exercise in futility…

*

Then there are those days when I find

That the patients that had been occupying my mind

All of previous evening- being in a critical condition

With me unsure if my efforts would be brought to fruition,

Have turned the corner, their condition stabilized

This positive change again has me galvanized

Into action, I am ready for the challenges of a new day

I have adrenaline coursing through me in a good way

All the aforementioned issues pale into insignificance

I feel blessed to be able to make a difference

In people’s lives, ultimately that is the reward I seek

It serves as a reminder when my days are bleak..

(Image source: http://doina-touchinghearts.blogspot.com/2014/07/under-hippocratic-oath-paintings.html)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of choice

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Sitting at my desk, sometimes I am lost in reverie

As to where in the world would I be

If I had taken the other road, the one

Less traveled by, less trampled upon

Conventional choices I think I have made

Within narrow confines I have stayed

For the most part, would life have been different

If I had been more willing to experiment?

Broader vistas would I have explored?

Is it possible I would never find myself bored

The way I am now, if I had made a choice

To go against the flow, to develop a new voice?

Then I remind myself of the choices I’ve made-

I left my motherland, I could have stayed

My chosen career, my cherished profession

Could have been different- it was my decision

In its entirety, never was I coerced

I knew what it entailed, I was well-versed

I am not the most adventurous, yet I

Have made some unconventional choices, that’s why

Sometimes I find myself all alone, I confess

Maybe that’s why over my choices I obsess..

At the end of the day I am defined

By the choices I have made, whether my mind

Was the one leading me, or my heart

My choices have become of me an integral part..

I’m afraid when I hear…

DSC_0195There are some phrases that come loaded

With premonition of a bomb that has exploded

My adrenergic system promptly goes into gear

When these ominous phrases I hear

Fear grips me, I start to prepare

For what could be my worst nightmare-

“I need to show you something” is one 

I wonder what error of commision or omission

Have I made in the last couple of days

“Needing” to show something is one of the ways

 

 

A blunder is revealed to an unsuspecting soul

(I do the same in the opposite role)

The other phrase that I fear is this one-

“We need to talk”- it means an altercation

Is about to ensue- I prepare instinctively

To defend myself in such an eventuality

Then there are those phrases dropped sotto-voce

That someone somehow brilliantly chose

To represent passive-aggressiveness

At its most artful, disguised best

“Just saying” is one of them, I think

Can make you feel guilty without raising a stink

“Just kidding” is along the same line

Whatever they said is just not fine

No one is “kidding”, the words are deliberate

They have stated exactly what they wanted to state..

 

And then there are the calls on my phone

From my son’s school, that chill me to the bone

The pessimist in me is convinced it’s bad news

The staff, though, has been in my shoes

So more often than not, the first sentence I hear

Is”Everything is fine with (my child)”, they know my fear..

 

So these are the phrases that never fail to scare me

This is one of life’s lessons, unfortunately!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weight of Expectations

quotes-on-expectations-paulo-coehlo

Fed on a steady diet of regulations and norms

Presented in every manner and form

From what to say, how to, to whom, and when

From how to be seen and not heard as a woman

Sartorial choices, type and level of adornment,

Narrowly defined, giving way to resentment-

Navigating the narrow alleys of behavior acceptable

She grew up, often confused, sometimes unable

To reconcile the dictats of her heart and mind

Sometimes  a common ground she simply could not find

Between what her heart thought was right, what the mind refused

The results of this quandary left her no longer enthused

Over the prospect of trying to follow her heart’s desire

She thought is was best to douse such a fire…

**

Ah…but the fire that smolders deep inside

Its heat makes itself known, it is impossible to hide

So her heart’s desires that challenged many social norms

Could not be prevented forever from taking form

The urge was powerful, and she did learn

To ignore the society at many different turns

And follow her heart, because she realized

 

The number of people who she feared would criticize

Her choices were few, not many people cared

About what she did, she had been needlessly scared..

**

Now in her thirties, an independent woman is she

Her personality is a reflection of her individuality

She dresses the way she pleases, oh yes, she is loud

She sings to herself, she can swing with the crowd

There is but one thing she refuses to wear-

The weight of others’ expectations, on this, she is clear!

(Image source: http://www.fearlessmotivation.com/2015/09/23/10-of-the-most-powerful-inspiring-quotes-on-expectations/)