VERSE|I shot the Sheriff

And I think he’s called the Covid, the Covid 19.
I also know this declaration seems somewhat extreme
Because I hadn’t been tested
So how could I have bested
The microbe that has its pestilential claws
render all it touches, grievously impure?
Try “dead” to be factual!
But hope doth spring eternal ....
In this pandemic, we lasses are only gently brushing by Hades
We’re nothing if not intrepid of spirit, what say you ladies!

But I digress- yes I still maintain,
That I encountered the corona conta-gion!
It came upon me like a flash in the pan;
One day I was hearty, the next, weary and wan.
And my muscles, they did ache
Like someone had driven a stake
Through both of my legs, ala some Vampire Chronicles
Except ‘twere my limbs that were speared, and not my coronary auricles.
Could have been the ventricles too I concede,
But poetry is distinct from prose, you too will accede.

Continuing the saga, I was sick as a dog
No not quite, I’m just exaggerating a tad!
But there was intermittent nausea and my spirits had dithered;
The full bodied lily had ever so slightly withered.
I thought I would get lighter
By a kilo...or fiver.
But the ‘piggy pangs’ continued to be salubrious guests,
And so, I beat the virus at my robustest best.

So why do I say that I have sat at the table
With the Mighty Corona and am yet able
To count myself not only among the recovered and well,
But also that alone, I greeted and then bade him farewell?
Because it defies logic and reason,
That the virus is enjoying a full hunting season
In the First World, which with all its military might
Hasn’t been able to quell this microbial blight;
While the much more vulnerable emerging nations
Are seemingly left to their third world machinations.

So I’ll end with a salute to our high caliber genes
For besting a bacillus extremis like Covid 19

De khudai pe aman

Mahvash.

PANDEMIC 2020|The Corona Theatre – the Muses weigh in

We have indeed entered the Age of the Mighty Microbes as the days go by and mankind continues to buckle at the knees in the face of the latest onslaught. Welcome to 01AC – Year 1, Anno Coroni

Despite the obvious ravages wrought by the bacillus, one can’t help but take an existential view of the situation. Twenty first century Political ideologues, Economic powerhouses and Moral custodians all continue to be similarly baffled and besieged by the all-embracing, unrelenting sweep of the “invisible enemy” – some would say a Diviner, a harbinger of things to come.

In the midst of this unprecedented assailment, Melpomene and Thalia* have managed to do a few merry dances together choreographed by Dionysus** himself, as we continue to see blitzes of comedy, madness, revelry and of course, kindness and triumph in the advancing milieu.

The Comedy and the Madness: personified so aptly by our very own planetary resident uno – the 45th president of the US of A. His initially altogether bewildered, butted-in-the-stomach look has very rapidly evolved to his signature winging-it-with-the-confidence-of-a-rocket/ (microbiology!)-scientist avatar. This time though, the usual spin doctoring is very hard to believe even if one is a Die-Hard Trump supporter. Because when all’s said and done, there is a difference in dying hard literally, especially with the Corona at the helm of the transition from figurative to literal. Entertaining and cringe-worthy simultaneously are the expressions of the medical professionals of the American Coronavirus Task Force while Trump oscillates between making comically absurd statements (the “Chinese virus”/ we are hours away from a vaccine) to downright obnoxious ones (slamming a journalist who asked for his response/ reassurance for the troubled American populace at large). Other charming inclusions here are the Brazilian president who thought congenially rubbing shoulders with Senhor Corona was a political tour de force; and the Sri Lankan politico who was convinced that his act of taking off his own well-worn mask and putting it around the face of another was the ultimate apex of on-point political savviness.

Act 1, Scene 1Thalia and Melpomene are hamming a demented fox trot all over the summer harvest; the picture is both jocose and psychotic.

The Revelry: with the younger denominator around the globe and the fogyish in places where it is “UnBritish” to enforce controls of any kind, there has been an almost unhinged disregard for the calamitous prophecy embedded in the Corona DNA. Pubs, clubs and beaches have continued to be thronged by the Corona cynics; because communal drinking and socialising traditions that have prevailed even through the extreme exigences of WW2 can hardly be sidelined by the scare tactics of a (Boris) Johnny come lately.

Act 1- Scene 2: The Theatre twins are pantomiming a steroid-fuelled ballroom dance across the streets of the First World.

The Triumph: And then, the veni, vidi, vici moments of some nations as they adjusted for, battled and triumphed (at least for now) over the ‘C-adversary’. In an ironic twist of fate, the bulk of the nations here have been from the Asian/ developing world. The dignity, gravitas, foresightedness and pertinacity with which these nations brought their people together to ‘little by little, drive out” the enemy is unparalleled, given, in some cases, the relative vastness of their populations.

The Corona may yet turn the tables and angle the tide on the current world order. It may yet drastically change priorities and aspirations, visions and goals, neighbourliness and compassion, community and connections – the very essence of what defines us as humankind.

Act 1- Final scene: While Melpomene slumbers, Thalia sways gently to the rhythm of the swishing leaves as a fresh, new breeze blows lightly through the field.

De khudai pe aman.

*Melpomene and Thalia: the Muses of Tragedy and Comedy respectively

**Dionysus: Greek god of Theatre and other fun things! Look him up 🤓

PANDEMIC 2020|Why this Kolaveri, Corona-weary, Covid-19?

These are strange times indeed! It’s almost like the human species is being cosmically positioned at the brink of a life-altering crossroad. Like we are being asked, nay, told by the universe to excogitate to the next level mentally, emotionally, spiritually and materially. The time for cosmic requests and gentle omens is probably done.

Each day is unfolding in an alternate macrocosm kind of way – unprecedented and grandly imbibing the nature of all the apocalyptic sci-fi plots the celluloid and literary worlds have regaled us with all these years. Like Aldous Huxley’s “A Brave New World” meeting Orwell’s “1984”; like all the Hollywood and J-horror pestilential and malefic microbe-driven, world decimation plots unraveling in real time! To those able to take an existential (and somewhat empirical) view of the current crisis, we are now residents of a very peculiar, almost alchemistic world. Collaboration, sharing and compassion, rather than geographic, economic and political oneupmanship are the ironic catalysts to see this through; and the inevitable gamut of similar Sui generis global debacles that our planet will face in times to come.

Our current state of affairs, what we call living a successful life, is now more than ever, worth introspection, cogitation and transformation. Our ethical and moral compasses, our belief systems and our very humanity are all up for realignment. We have known this for some time now, but the unrelenting bustle of our “regular” lives has served to make this intuition hazy and peripheral.

Maybe it’s Nature’s way of telling us to re-harmonize ourselves with our world at large, or be subjected to a brutal all-pervading culling, followed by an entirely contradistinct evolution of body and mind. Maybe the virus is the Last Prophet explicated by most organised religions, come to offer a final call via a master plan we are likely to understand- a Doomsday scenario playout- to get our “intelligent species” act together. It is conventionally deistic too, in that it is indiscriminate and all-encompassing in whatever it is doling out (full of brimstone and fire to boot, in an apt salute to the sinister overtones of all self and institutionally appointed custodians of faith these days). Any which way, the Corona will probably quite permanently change the way we interact, assimilate, empathise and connect across social and political divides.

In ending, these old lines come to mind with new pertinence: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”(A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens).

De khudai pe aman

VERSE|The Severance

I should have seen it coming ... I felt it coming.
The personal angst, both sitting with their own.
The self-deprecation; the momentary loathing; the struggle to dignify; the failure to clarify -
The ever-triumphant Status Quo!

He speaks; he accuses; he rails and he rants;
He threatens; he shouts; he’s shaking - he’s livid.

I recoil in disbelief; something sinks beyond the grasp of our shared togetherness.
I watch him before me, as I watch us within me,
Sink.... sink........ drown.

I feel the cold sweat break out, but I don’t feel my hands or my feet.
I feel my heart thumping against my chest, but I don’t feel the warmth of the blood gushing through me.
I dissociate; I levitate.....

I see a woman.

She sits there transfixed, pupils dilated.
..
Then something snaps -
She speaks; she explains; she questions and she battles;

She shouts, her voice hoarse with tears of frustration.

She diminishes; she’s silent.

She’s broken.

She should have seen it coming - the end of the line.
She just didn’t see it coming.

VERSE|Thank you for the Joy

They say the creative types produce their best work while in the throes of incredible happiness, or while in the savage, unrelenting grip of immense anguish. Much like the perpetually conflicted Michaelangelo, who while being devoutly catholic was also inimitably homosexual. The constant inner conflict arguably served to inspire his best work, lesser known of which is the “Prisoners” series of sculptures.

And so (on a much more modest scale!) the below came about while I experienced an extraordinary time of tremendous joy 2 years post my mother’s passing away after a protracted and distressing illness. I share this heretofore very private memorialization in the hope that it may bring a few moments of comfort to folks going through something similar.

THANK YOU FOR THE JOY

I saw you in a dream a few nights ago
I had your gold bangle on - the one you always wore
And i felt you near me
I closed my eyes - so afraid I’d lose the thread.....


And then I felt my heart beat fast
As I felt you closer still,
Eyes closed, I whirled around the room
And then I felt my hand grasped lightly
And I held my breath, Mama
And I whirled with joy - I whirled and whirled
And then YOU held my other hand
And you were there! And you laughed!
And I laughed! And I held on to your beautiful hands
As we whirled together in joy and laughter!


You were well, and you were happy - and you came to me;
In your infinite compassion, wisdom and love - you came to me.


I tear up as I write this not because i grieve this time,
But because I’m overwhelmed; I’m overcome with knowing you’re healed and happy,
And that i danced with you in extraordinary bliss.


I ask just one thing of you today Momsy,
For us to grieve a little less and to celebrate you so much more
Just once, every year, let me and the girls dance with you in joy.


Until we meet again Mama.


OPINION|The perils of being somewhat discerning!

The title does sound somewhat entitled, and snooty even, but please bear with me. I speak from a multitude of recent experiences that has had me picking at my voluminous but sparsely populated noggin (whether of the keratin or grey matter variety, I leave to your gentle conjecture!😁), and gnashing my already well-worn enamel.

Having been a part of the Customer Experience realm for close on 20 years in an exacting industry like the financial services, has honed my BS radar and quite woefully lowered my threshold for plain old bad service of any variety. That’s not to say that I will ruthlessly judge a service provider for delayed service or even providing a pot of tepid tea (the latter though, will depend largely on my then caffeinated state of well being! Tepidophobia is a thing and is quite devoutly and unashamedly a part of my prized anxieties!)

I am speaking of a consistently poor stream of delivery, for instance in the provision of a good or service which, by its nature, is conveyed over a period of time. The caveat is not in the mistakes that can occur – to err is human and all that jazz. Plus, reliable research* has shown that customers tend to remain more loyal to a brand where they have experienced some issues but where the service recovery was substantive, timely and focused. More so than even with places where they have not yet undergone a service breakdown. No, the caveat is not in the faux pas occurring; it is in the dismal failure to even genuinely attempt to fix things. An apathetic attitude is the icing on that poison toffee apple. Too many times, processes are formulated with no attention to service recovery protocols. That is a death blow to repeat business and as we all know, the pie is only so big.

I feel 3 Kgs lighter after that blog post (‘rant’ just sounds guilt-ridden which brings with it its own …. weight (‘burden’ just sounds even weightier!) And since ‘slender body’ and ‘good hair’ days are few and far between after 40, I’m going to go with this being a thoughtful study in the “benefits” of being discerning 🤓

Khudai pe-aman – (may you grow, glow and prosper, or just simply maintain your status quo for now. Until we meet again).

*Reliable research: opinions gleaned not only from the nerdy ramblings of academics or the corporate savvy presentations of management consultants, but from the life experiences of yours truly. That i do promise you with all my heart – to wax (and wane) eloquent with the utmost honesty until death…or just the digital milieu, do us part!

WRITING|The Failure to Launch…

It’s an actual thing! It’s taken me over 2 decades of mental preparation and many self-pep sessions to write this very first piece. Which is also about how it’s taken me 2 decades to start writing my very first piece – an “Inception” type event in my maiden blog! Who’d have thought I’d be able to inject some Sci Fi in the third line of my very first scrawl. Portentous of not-so-far-into-the-future blogs to come methinks!

Right, so back to how it was never easy. Here’s why: I’d built up these enormous fortresses of literary self expectations in my head. It had to be sensationally brilliant or nothing at all. (Modesty is over-rated 😁). That mind-set obviously didn’t work because here I am 20 years hence – the putting pen to paper phase having languorously passed me by – high-teching it during my first (faltering!) steps as a writer. Am I up for it? Hell yeah! …. (Constant underlying self pep: fake it till you make it M 💪🏽😅).

The feel of my first blog is definitely “text-y”. But I’m thinking with my heart more and feeling less with my brain….or something like that. Basically allowing some feel-good (aka, get the hell on with it!) mush to muddle the exacting synaptic connections in my left-leaning brain. I’m cringing and revelling in turn, at the opening of my creative flood gates. You, my dear readers, will henceforth bear irreparable mental scars or if I’m lucky, grin like Cheshire cats. A little more of the latter is the hope in this budding writer’s tender breast 😉🤞🏽

De Khudai pe-aman – (may you grow, glow and prosper, or just simply maintain your status quo for now. Until we meet again).

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