“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Monday, September 28, 2009


I am listening.

The loudest, the most persistent

is the hum of the ceiling fan.

Cawing crows

Horning cars, rumbling trucks

Voices from across the street

Parvati moving about in the next room -

And the slow intake of breath into my lungs.

I turn my ears inward.

Conscious of myself tapping at the keyboard

The cursor blinking.

The little black line, going on and off

On and off, on and off

And waiting, patient.

I am emptying my mind – or so I would like to believe.

************* Balachandran V, 28.09.2009, Trivandrum.

Few days back, a friend of mine – I will call him an'internet friend' or 'blog friend' or 'Orkut friend' - I understand he is studying at a seminary to become a catholic priest – asked me what I think of catholic priesthood or priesthood in general. He is preparing a paper; perhaps he is answering questions he asked himself. From what little correspondence I have had with him, he appears to me as a gentle, sincere, likeable boy.

I replied to him briefly – that I am what is generally called a non-believer, in all the sense that I do not believe in myself either, that 'belief' means pulling down shutters, blinds, curtains, that I would rather keep myself open and let everything flow through me rather than cling to, clutch to anything, anyone, that i do not think people need an intermediary to communicate – with whom? God? I would rather say, with oneself. I told him that all this talk about God has alienated humans from Nature, if anything should be worshipped it should be Nature, Mother Earth, life. I think of all the violence, sorrow and deception that religions have brought to humanity and the world. The concept of God – your God, their God and mine – how this belief in a supernatural power that loves and hates us , reprimands, punishes and wreaks its wrath on us is so pointless, absurd. That the force that propels us to believe is simply the fear, the insecurity, the truth of our helplessness, our insignificance. And our cowardice to face it.

Among my relatives and friends, there are devotees of Amrthanandamayi, Sai Baba, Ayyappa, Jaggi Vasudev, Ravi Shankar, faithful church-goers, devout Muslims. Each of them swears by his/her belief, benefector. There are those who swear by J Krishnamurti too. All of them have one thing in common. They have ANSWERS. Or so they believe. It has brought fame, fortune, peace and tranquility to them; or so they believe.

And I – I am unable to understand why I cannot be like any of them, to find comfort and peace and security by believing in someone, something. In the journey of my hitherto life, what i have learnt tells me that intrinsically I am alone, and all the rest is make-belief. Images flash before me- of deaths, of great tragedies – moments of great joy and love too – I stand apart and look at it all – where am I ?

I am reminded of the verse from Bhagavd Gita – 'Dukheshu anudignamana sukheshu vigathasprha-' but that too is something to be achieved, something to be yearned for – how different can it be from yearning for jewellery or a Rolls Royce car? All are adornments, aren't they? It is the wish to change from the existing state to an exalted one- The facial expressions of the TV swami who quotes slokas and the woman sitting in the luxury car at the traffic signal are amusingly the same – smug.

In the latest issue of 'Vanita', the Malayalam women's magazine with the highest readership in the world in its category, there is an article by Anoop Menon, a cine actor. It is about a young girl he knew, Gopika, who died of cancer. It is a beautifully written, unsentimental piece – how ironical that the article should be in such a magazine that promotes accumulation of wealth and beauty!

In this turmoil, in this great flux, this state of movement and stillness, I sit before my laptop, gazing at this mystery called life – or is there a mystery? It is all just this, isn't it, just this being here?

************* Balachandran V, Trivandrum 27.09.2009

Oh, I also told my friend to watch the movie, 'Doubt'. Meryl Streep. A Must See, you too!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Thin, Bright Line

Last night you came

In my dreams.

You were sitting on a chair

And glanced sideways

At me, standing.

You looked young and slightly plumb.

You never were plumb, I thought in my dream,


You talked to me; kind words -

And smiled gently, with warmth.

Listening, I wondered happily

How you had changed.

In my dream, I remember

I wished, wistfully

At the images beginning to fade

That it wasn't a dream.

But then -

As it narrowed to a thin bright line

And then to a receding dot

In a pitch black screen -

A dove sitting on the window sill

Rose, in a flurry of wings.

**************** Balachandran V, Trivandrum 22.09.2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

An Onam Gift

Come September, Malayalees the world over celebrate Onam. I do not want to tire the reader with what he/she already knows. The spending spree, the discount fervour, new clothes, new consumer goods, holidays, get-togethers with family and friends, excursions – you know all that. Of course, one of the best parts is gifting your loved ones with new clothes – saris, shirts, pocketmoney for children which they spend on sweets or toys – it is fun, isn't it?

It has been quite a long time since I took part in the festivities of Onam. Something had died inside me long ago. There was a time when I used to roam the streets of Trivandrum which would be all aglow with illumination and cultural shows and beautiful women parading and us boys ogling at them to our hearts' content. But now, the festival spirit isn’t just there. Maybe it is that I am getting older; or that now I prefer solitude and quiet – perhaps a close friend or two – nothing more than that.

This year too, like I have done several years after my marriage, I went with my family to Eranakulam ( Kochi) where most of Parvati's relatives stay. Hers is a large clan; they all gather, chat up, drink, laugh, shout, rib each other, recount old family jokes – even after 19 years, I feel somewhat left out. I sat with them for a while and then slinked away upstairs to read a novel.

Parvati had left a few days earlier; K & I joined her on the 1st September; Onam eve is as important as the day of Onam, on the 2nd. 3rd being a working day, I returned home to my dogs by 2nd night. K came back today, the 3rd. P would be back only by 7th or so.

I have been/ am going through a rough patch. An unexpected huge (for me) financial commitment for forced buying of a piece of land, which put a terrible constraint on my modest resources, has shaken me out of my laidback, placid ways. The purchase is going to set me back lakhs of rupees. I am constantly reminded of it; my BP which used to be normal has shot up in the last couple of months.

Today evening 1730 hrs. Rap music blasts from K's room. He is with a couple of friends. K (his real name is Nachiketh – pet name, Kuttappu) is all of 17 years. Medium height, broad built (he pumps irons) fair and quite handsome with his charming smile, K is all of 17 years. Oh glory!

K barges into my room, splashes my religiously saved Adidas Eau de Toilette all over him and comes over to me and peers into the laptop. He says - “Acha, Cheriyamma gave me 1000 bucks”. Cheriyamma is Parvati's younger sister, Devi. I tell him- “Great, but don't splurge on all of it”, though he has every right to. He would gorge on Chicken Biriyani or Sheverma or Coke – but like parents the world over, I guess, I just lightly caution him. He says- “No, I won't”. My son gives me that shy grin and holds out a 500 rupee note- “This is for you, Acha, for buying the land”. I get up from my chair and hug him, kiss him on his bruiser cheeks. Tears gush out and I am at a loss for words. K is embarrassed, as any 17 year- old would be, at his emotional, weak, father. I straighten up and say - “Thank you, Appu”.

To a father who hasn't given him an Onam gift, K gave all he had – love. I don't think, at this moment, there is a happier father than me anywhere in the world.

************* Balachandran, Trivandrum, 03.09.2009