I ask you if you’re Happy You say that you ALMOST are ... But for that deal still stuck in the pipeline; The car you’ve had your eye on; Of someday getting into the privileged fold With a house in a gated neighbourhood.
I ask you if you’re Hopeful You say that you ALMOST are ... But for the country’s socio-economic situation; The children’s future; their education; And, oh your eternally dismal luck! Your lottery ticket is always a dud.
I ask you if you’re at Peace You say that you ALMOST are ... But for the fear of contracting a dire disease; Of neighboring countries planning a seige; And that eternal noisy discord! from the red duplex across the road.
I ask you if you’re Alive You say that of course you are! You’re breathing, you’re living; You’re thinking, you’re worrying; you’re working, you’re hurrying; You’re planning and hedging Against what might be coming...
Stop! Breathe .... Listen ....
Open up your mind and your heart; Cast off the spell of your self-doubting trance; Quit just living, and come gloriously ALIVE! Be happy and be hopeful even as you strive; Face the sun, take control of this time, seize the day, The magic is NOW, not in your ‘morrows or yesterdays.
It’s the little joys in life That lift and hug the soul; It’s the little brushes with sublimity That paint the rosiest strokes
It’s the steaming mugs of tea shared With a friend, over confidences and laughter; The mugs wrapped in hands as warm as the hearts That are bonding, ministering, healing ... and after Memorializing that perfect little moment of joy.
It’s the sudden cool breeze that caresses the cheek And then wraps me up in its vital embrace; It’s the happy burst of a monsoon shower As she dances and cleanses; prances and quenches Leaving behind her intoxicating petrichor In a joyful bouquet of nostalgia and grace
It’s the intrepid, songful, mirthful mynah That unexpectedly struts right up to my feet Warbling of little delights; trilling with all her might Laying her little heart bare in melodious refrain It’s the big, big soul in that fragile frame That reminds me of the precious little joys.
It’s the beautiful Sakura tree, bounteous in its white and pink Waiting for a wayward breeze to stir up her flower-bedecked limbs; It is seeing the frolicsome duo of tree and breeze Create magic in a moment they mutually seize As the blossoms flutter down in lusty effusion Covering the ground with inflorescent profusion An enchanting, enthralling moment of joy.
It’s little kindnesses wrought in the moment A helping hand on a busy street, A warm smile in the milieu of rushing feet A tender word to the transiently fallen A little something more for the lonely and forgotten It’s seeing this shared transcendental camaraderie That gives me that small little rush of joy.
It’s looking up into a clear night sky And finding Orion and Taurus winking up high It’s watching the Big Dipper look tenderly upon Little Ursa Minor nestling just under the moon It’s seeing our little world from the vastness of space That fills me with joy and bolsters my faith
The quickening string that binds us all Our whole web of life; all living creatures Are these startlingly simple acts of joy These wondrous, alchemical creations of nature It’s this coming together of life’s vital energy That lifts and elates with its mystical synergy This is the mannah that nurtures the soul Mending our cracks and making us whole.
I have to spend some time waxing eloquent on the sublime quality of the beach at the Calamansi Cove Villas. The soft, powdery sand is only the beginning. If you’re a sea-splashing adventurer, nicely ensconced between the swashbuckling surfers and the comatose horizon watchers, then this place is perfect! We treaded the satiny sand into the sea at around 5.15pm on both days that we were there.
The sun was hanging at a pendulous 70 degree angle to the horizon, its daytime energy already transformed into eventide warmth. The sea, at that time, was calm and lovely, like a sheet of shimmering glass. We floated along on gentle swells watching a strawberry pink sunset putting itself to bed. And then suddenly there were clouds overhead and the breeze whipped up the waves into a lively frenzy. The benign undulations became cresting and crashing waves that would have been perfect for a bit of body boarding. Not having access to any boards, we just expended our energy standing our ground (or turning an inadvertent somersault) in the rushing undercurrents. Throughout, the water was almost tepid, warmed by the tropical sun; it was like being in a giant jacuzzi (with the heat setting at its lowest!)
The rest of the trip kind of unfurled around our sea experience. The only difference from our last trip being that this time we stayed at the Calamansi suite situated on the first floor as opposed to the villas that are all at ground level. It was a beautifully appointed apartment, and was spacious and bright. The only thing that detracted from the ultimate experience of seaside luxury was the lack of a tub or a jacuzzi. That would have been the superlative frill in the sumptuous resort experience. But like I said, the sun-warmed waters of the Indian Ocean made up quite nicely for the lack of any man made tributes to the same. The view of the ocean from the airy balcony was somewhat impaired due to the regulatory fringe of tsunami-ready palms waving their green fronds at eye level.
I’d be doing a disservice to discerning resort goers and the establishment if I didn’t add on some Opportunites for Improvement.
-The set menu was fabulous at breakfast but became increasingly lacklustre by dinner. The Calamansi kitchen produces excellent local fare but struggles with continental cuisine. A little more effort/ finesse on that front would make a big difference to the overall food experience. -The electric kettles (we experienced 2 in quick succession!) are a boiling water disaster waiting to happen. They don’t go off on their own and by the time I switched ours off from the mains, the whole kettle was scalding hot, including the on/off button. Got a first degree burn on my hand to show for it. The resort also ran out of regular black/ English breakfast tea bags ... while the ginger, green and earl grey sachets danced around in unmitigated abundance! -The duvets continue to be made for the tundra freeze; I was obliged to play a seemingly endless game of hide n seek with mine all night. I suppose some like it hot!
The service team was exceptional as always. From graciously obliging us with culinary favours, to arranging a taxi post haste when our car refused to start (yes, karmically gentle misadventure to balance out the happy times!), the Calamansi crew are quite the hospitality champions. Thank you again, to the whole team for another memorable getaway.
This is well meaning satire. (Clarifying for the benefit of those readers who are still in awe of the Royals and may feel quite contrary about such outrageous literary endeavors 🤓) Read to the lilt of “Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, How does your garden grow?”
Harry Harry! You’re so contrary How does this scandal go? With Meghan talking The Monarchy balking And the Commonwealth all in a tizzy so.
Hairy Hairy! The story’s getting scary! As Archie’s peaches’n’cream glow ... Was once under suspicion Since the pasty skin condition Is vital for the bluest blood to flow.
Marry Marry! In crowns and skirts a-flarey You had to jostle the imperial bough ... Daddy did the right thing Big brother duly followed him You went and started a socio-cultural row.
Goblins and Fairies! You wish that you could tarry In Nevernever Land with Cap’n Hook ... For reality’s a-biting This game of thrones is frightening And it just seems nicer to be hiding in a book.
For Friends and Adversaries! To know was necessary That is how great changes take root ... So keep the commoner cloak on The scandal’s far from being gone Granny too’ll want to stomp her august boot.
But when all’s said and done ...
Its hurrah hurrah Harry! You’ve been extraordinary For calling out the system so ... The bigoted beast’s a-fester Of king and queen and jester Dang! It’s been a cracker of a reality show!
Day ends and darkness sweeps in, Enveloping the ready and the unready into its blackened folds. It scuttles into crannies and leaps into fissures, Blotting out the light for another 8 hours ... or eternity... Tonight, am i happy to be in its restful, warm embrace Galvanizing my body and my spirit for tomorrow? Or am i dreading the walk with Erebus* in the murky corridors of gloom? The choice is mine to make.
Night ends and daylight marches in Casting off the monochromatic grey-black silhouettes. Lingering shadows disappear; the sounds of silence explode into daytime clamor. Exultant photons ricochet through the air As Earth waltzes around her own cosmic maypole; one dance done, another begun. Am i ready to seize the day today? Or am i dreading the tread of Helios* outside my bedroom window? The choice is mine to make.
The gods of Myth and the gods of Now Continue their battle in the sacred space of my heart. They wrangle with each other, the twain never meeting; Perpetuating confusion, torment and intrigue; Shredding my soul as the spoils of their unholy war. Will I continue to shed blood, lose hope and malinger for the false prophets within? Or am I ready to make this day, this life, my own? It is MY choice to make.
*Erebus: The god of Darkness in Greek mythology *Helios: the god of the Sun in Greek mythology
A couple of months ago, after decades, the island of Sri Lanka welcomed the Pakistani cricketing legend of yore. Thankfully, the political mantle is still too new to disenchant the international fan base. Not that I think he is a corrupt bag of officious bones in the manner peculiar to many of his South Asian compatriots and indeed, his very own predecessors. No, he’s just a little soft in the head; a natural affliction, I have come to believe, when one decides to not go down the oft trodden path of political corruption and depravity. The cerebral mush of course, leads to an entirely different set of bureaucratic disasters. The long and short of it is that Imran Khan’s heart is in the right place but his brain is an addled brew of eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog*... And so, even with the best of intentions, the empire double doubles, toils and troubles!* But i digress… and can you blame me! Like everyone else in our beleaguered country, I too am a devoted armchair warrior and am wont to vent.
So why did our PM Imran Khan visit Sri Lanka?
What an interesting question, full of intrigue and the promise of riveting conspiracy theories (rubbing my hands gleefully and wanting to quote more eccentric old world verse!)
So here’s my take on it. The global power structure is gradually changing, and the South Asian bloc wants to be ready to play its part. Colonially-seeded geographical antagonism is seeming more and more irrelevant and incongruous as our unipolar world dithers on its North American weighted axis. As the US struggles with its burgeoning domestic issues, its inconvenient truths, it seems less and less likely to hold the moral mantle of global leadership. And when that dignity, skin deep though it may be, is shaken, the fall of the rest of the edifice is not far behind. No one wants to be told what to do by someone who can’t keep peace in their own backyard. And so, when some little but worthy nation somewhere tells Uncle Sam to mind his own business, we need to be ready to play our parts in catalysing the new equilibrium. Who those game-changing tRICksters* will be, is anyone’s guess. What is pertinent is that success will depend on there being some semblance of peace and harmony between the mighty neighbours of the Eastern hemisphere. And that peace has to begin ground up; with the smaller warring nations politely brought to heel first, so to speak. And so it was that on a swarthy February day, in the golden arms of the south Asian tear drop island, Pakistan was brought into the loop of the Global Reset. Because having two bickering nuclear armed neighbours in the region is generally not favourable to the efficacy of grand plans. And so, a meeting of the two estranged sisters, India and Pakistan, was arranged.
It is also interesting to note that hot on the heels of the Pak PM’s visit, the citizenry was treated to rather strategic Indo-SL combined military aerobatics, showcasing the battling might of mostly the Indian airforce. A polite but stratospherically overt reiteration that while there is some appetite for absurd but fit-to-current-form alliances, it’s best not to forget who the Saber Holdersare and who the Saber Rattlers are.
All this of course is a funny-feeling-in-the-gut conjecture; the waxing eloquent of conspiracy theories. But these days, when truth has so often been stranger than fiction, the civic mingling of sworn enemies is not such a far fetched ideal. The proof of the gesture will of course be in how the two neighbours deal with each other going forward. (Watch out for startlingly long periods of peace along usually tempestuous/ skirmish-ridden borders).
Wade Davis’ words are a reverberating mantra for our times when he said, “No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise. Every kingdom is born to die. The 15th century belonged to the Portuguese, the 16th to Spain, 17th to the Dutch. France dominated the 18th and Britain the 19th. [By the 20th century], the torch had long passed into the hands of America”.
Let’s hope America continues to scratch the surface of its domestic/ social inequities, leaving little power vacuums across the globe. Let’s also hope that the Prodigal Sons of the East (daughters are in scarce order!) rise to the occasion. When the time comes, it will take a concerted effort of going against the grain of everything we know to be our patriotic truths, to seed a new epoch.
*eye of newt.... verse quoted from Shakespeare’s Macbeth *tRICksters: the RIC in the word stands for the 3 global powerhouses of Russia, India and China.
Our Earth, now home to almost 8 billion humans. Also home to 153 million orphan children. Also the nursery to 140 million new births every year. Empirical population statistics when you look at each one individually. But when you connect them via the human equation, one can see the bizarre manifestation of our humanity gone awry.
The need to procreate has been so essential to our culture, beliefs and even our biology, that to build a family unit without passing on our exclusive DNA to our progeny is unthinkable; even unchristian, unislamic. And so, we continue to go from generation to generation, bequeathing with unrelenting tenacity, not so much our values, ethics and a spirit of industry, but the genetic codes that cellularly define us. We proudly bring another nestling into the world, the amalgam of our essential genomic structures, while another child somewhere not far off, adds to the global orphan count. The latter faithfully, effortlessly remains a de-sensitised statistic.
Even organized religion has given in to its baser instincts; and via insidious cloak and dagger plots of familial temptation and intrigue, has summarily discouraged adoption. For how can an adoptive father not be carnally tempted by the fact of the unshared DNA; or an adoptive mother blame herself for her lack of love and care for the child who is in fact, not her child. These are the ugly predispositions that guide our belief systems. And so it has come to pass that some of the most devout nations on earth continue to have the highest birth rates in the world.
I don’t profess to being maternal. The sum total of my maternal instincts extends to my niece and my nephew (they’re as close to my own children as I’ll have), my team in my corporate past life, the support staff in and around my regular surroundings, and the animal world. (It would appear, there are vestiges of the instinct after all; just not in the customary manner of speaking!) However, I have seen many, many… too many snot-nosed little kids that have become a part of the crazy, conveniently distant tumult on our busy urban streets. And I have heard countless … heartbreakingly countless horror stories of the forgotten children that are manipulated and mauled in the same orphanages and sanctums of faith that avow to protect them. Somehow, somewhere down the line, we have forgotten that we, the human collective, are the nurtures and providers of all the children that we bring into this world.
I am also not a detractor of the traditional family unit. It is, in fact, still one of our conventional social constructs that constantly reminds us that we are innately compassionate, loving and tolerant. However, I am a detractor of every dogma, ideal and manifesto that equates those same human qualities with the sharing of DNA. I am a detractor of all the myths and parables that typecast the concept of adoption in anything but the most judiciously humane light. In our current existences where economic inequality is shamelessly rife, the right of every orphan to be loved and cared for, unassailably surpasses our own need to perpetuate our heredity. The traditional family unit has to evolve into a more conscionable, accepting and diverse whole. The patriarchal ego has to take a back seat as we gradually but steadfastly make the word “Orphan” obsolete.
We no longer have the luxury of compartmentalising the children of our planet into a hierarchy of care, based on genetics. It is high time in fact, that we rallied together like the proverbial village to raise all the children of our world.
*Title inspiration from a 2006 dystopian science fiction movie thriller of the same name.