I wrote my first poem sometime in July 2004. In the last 7 years I have written more than 200, published a collection of 50 odd poems, many others published in a magazine, in my blog and in a poetry web site.
Looking at the poems over the years, I realize that the inspiration to write a poem, that sudden rush of thoughts and a fervour that compels me to express the thoughts in words, was as much intriguing and exciting as writing the poem . In the post ‘My first poem’ and in another one ‘Falling’, I have shown how I came to write that particular poem.
Having nothing else to do and the privacy offered at my seat in the office, I read through a document where I have kept most of my poems together. I note that the situation that led up to writing each of them itself is a fascinating study of the evolution of thought and its channelisation into the often very brief, often too long, often crisp, often erudite pieces of verses I call poems.
You may think it gross or coarse but some of my best thoughts and poems were born while sitting shitting. I am not the kind who takes along a newspaper to read while relieving at the toilet; on the other hand, I would like to finish off the business as quickly as possible. But the western commode is comfortable and relaxing- with a cigarette in hand to mask any noxious odour that may emanate during the process, one can spend a little more time than necessary.
The tiny bath cum toilet/potty/lavatory/can/crapper/john in my lodgings at Kottayam was such a place. Being the sole occupant of the particular room with attached toilet, I would walk around in the nude (the room was on the third floor and no buildings on the window side, which was curtained anyway) as soon as I was back from the office. The 10x8 room gave me a sense of security and happiness which I have rarely felt elsewhere. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was very happy at Kottayam. In that little space that held a cot, a table, two plastic chairs, I had my PC on the table, my suitcase beneath the cot – there was no cupboard – everything else was somehow neatly and tidily arranged – I even had a pot of Money Plant for the sake of a little colour.
At the john I could sit with the door open, smoke and let my gaze wander and think about nothing in particular. Notwithstanding the pleasure of emptying one's bowels, as one sits there, there is a kind of filling emptiness in the mind; empty, but strangely, utmost gratifyingly, peaceful, full. And then every thing l looked at came up razor sharp – mind did not hold on to the viewed – it flitted like a flea or – like 'Insignia's monkey- how I love that monkey!
That was the state of my mind when the following poem took birth. Even the mundane act of defecation - if you observe closely, move the images slowly, d-e-l-i-b-r-a-t-e-l-y - has spiritual undertones that culminates in ecstasy!!!
A toilet- one’s own
Gleaming white ceramic
Shining seat sans blotches
To lower oneself and relieve
In comfort, cleanliness and peace.
Clean, well-lit toilet
Like a restaurant to eat
Or drink- always to meditate
My home is a room and toilet.
Sharpness of senses
In solitude –
Obsessions, at the brink of neurosis.
An ant on the floor, a stain in the sink
A spider on the wall, a blot on the mind.
And the art of relieving, cleansing, emptying self.
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Balachandran V, Trivandrum 08-06-2011