Travel, Poetry, books and an award

For years, I chased after dreams;  For years I made resolutions every new year and then looked away from them as the days passed – too ashamed to even acknowledge that I had made those resolutions.  Then last year, inspired by a friend who went after one of her dreams and fulfilled them, I decided to work on my inhibitions and simply focus on those things that I had always wanted to do but was afraid to. The end result has been publications of my poems in three different publications, a short-story in the anthology ‘Ripples’ , a story in the Chicken Soup Series, a ghost-writing book assignment and of course publication of my travel and general features.  The work-wise happiest moment though was in August, winning the Andra Pradesh State Tourism Department award for Excellence in Writing , handed out by the Andhra Pradesh CM.

This year has shown me what having a little confidence in myself can do. In the end the only thing that stands between us and our desires is our own attitude. While I have tried hard to make positive thinking make things work in my life, this year what worked for me was being neutral. Being positive cannot realistically be a permanent state of mind and I often felt so conflicted that I ended up wallowing in my misery. But being neutral was possible and helped so very much. And so what I did was focus on one thing at a time, be brave, kick my doubts aside and have strutted on to be more of me.  What am I going to do in the year ahead? Ah, I am gonna shake my world some more.

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On the streets of Ooty

On her forehead
worries collapsed
one upon another
a wrinkly pile of seasons harsh
sustaining each other

Wrapped in wool
her body refused
warmth creeping into her heart
with a strangers smile

She sat crumbling in pavements
indifferent to her plight
diffidence poised on her lips
waiting for the dusk
that forever hung over the horizon
to snuff the light out

My poems in kritya

It is not untrue when they say we can create the realities of our life. Writing poetry was always a closet affair. To find papers to scribble into and then tuck them away, lest they fall in someone’s hands. Writing away, I realised earlier this year that I had a couple of book full of poems. Re-reading them made me sense how childish most of them were. But rather than tear and throw them away, in a way it strengthened my resolve to write better. And since the words have been flowing out with a flourish which even I didn’t realize I possessed.

This poem and these others in Kritya are from the older batch. That they have been accepted, makes me humble. I promise henceforth the poems shall show more grace, thought and maturity. Does that mean I am going to send more poems to magazines, hoping they be published? Of course! Did you think I was going to glow in the victory of these published works and smile away into oblivion? Never. After all I have never been shy to put myself at risk for abject humiliation. I am quite shameless that way. Always have been. I believe in my honesty.  All I crave is my piece of land. Now I shall build my mansion at leisure.

Imagination

Sometimes when I am too tired
being a mother, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, sister
I seek refuge in my imagination
and ride away on its wings

The shower becomes a waterfall
the green grass outside is a mountain-side
the brown earth are sand dunes
the reflection of the sky in the puddle is my lake

When the body is stuck with everyday living
for a few moments my soul soars
and I travel in my memory
to the sights, sounds and smells I once knew

the earthy rainy mountains  I once trekked in
the sound of seagulls  in the beach
the forts that age graefully into an ignored tomorrow
the shimmering eyes of the deer in the forest at night

All weave their way out from my mind
into my everyday
I relive some moments in my imagination
because that is the only escape I have