Archives for category: Tales

There’s this house inside a forest. It’s full of windows. But this morning, there’s just one that’s open.

A little bird flies in. It’s soon confounded, not knowing whether it’s in, or, out, trying to find its way back, restless upon the sills, pecking in panic, against windows, closed with clear as crystal glass.

The light changes all the time.
The bird grows tired.

If only it could be still, it would feel the light breeze flowing in, fragrant with the forest air, from that one open window, by which it had come.

If only it could be still, for that one precious moment, it would feel the insistent breeze. It would know its way back, to the freedom of its forest nest.

Would it be still, before it’s all spent, before it can flutter no more?

Just when it all seems hopeless, its mate comes calling, at just this one, open, window!

The night is enveloped by a thick blanket of dark velvety clouds. The light inside the temple is dim. Most unexpectedly, dancing winds tease through my long loose hair. A row of brass oil lamps flicker and lace, the pillared mandapam, outside the sacred sanctum.

Enveloped in an ochery haze, the auspicious mandapam is decorated with a beautiful border of yellow marigold flowers, interspersed with green mango leaves. There is excitement and anxiousness in the air. A gentle breeze fills my senses with the sensuous aroma of white jasmine flowers.

The head priestess, nods her head in approval. It is the auspicious hour of celebration and offering to the Gods! The silence of inward prayers, fills the night. The smell of the ocean, washes over us, as we raise our head in reverence, towards those who will appear before our eyes.

Like jubilant, thundering clouds, the sound of the mridangam, slices through the stillness. A singer stirs the empty space, with her voice, sending melodious ripples, into the darkness. A gentle sea breeze, caresses my skin. The clouds begin to unveil the darkness. I awaken to the shimmer of the full moon night, tiptoeing upon my skin and breath.

Suddenly, she appears, the woman of dreams, Swapnasundari. Ivory moonlight, kissed by the blaze of a golden sun. Swapnasundari, the sensuous, full bosomed temple dancer, gaja-gamini, with the gait of a graceful she-elephant.


Inspired by the Indian classical dance form called, ‘Vilasini Natyam’, by Smt Swapnasundari, at the Rukmini Arangam, in Kalashetra, Chennai, on the 25th of February 2013.

Seated in a circle, she encircles her life, endowed with keen, sharp eyes!
Breathing out a sweet inner incense, into this beautiful universe,
her loving words are afloat in a sparkling void.
She sees the unseen veiled mysteries across thresholds in time.
Her lesson is now complete.

She accepts death, and dying.
She accepts death, and dying.

Letting go of this birth, she’s reborn in cyclical time.
Letting go of this birth, she’s reborn in cyclical time.

I am finding my own path.
I can love myself with respect to what happened yesterday.
What threatens you?

My ego.

What are you afraid will happen?

We may walk away from each other.

I’m here to stay.

The bee moves from flower to flower. Its business is honey. In just going about its business, it’s a part of the hive.

Imagine a grumpy bee, going about its job, but feeling a great resentment towards all other members of its hive, spewing curses all the time, wanting no brushing together of wing tips, even by chance. It loves to change shape, now and then, so none can really claim to know it. It’ll exude charm whenever necessary, to fulfil its own need, either for collaboration, or, for company. But once fulfilled, it’ll not tarry long, to listen to the tales, or, to the woes, of its chance companions. They too, are not unlike the flowers, which have already yielded their honey, and are of no further use. This bee was born, purely for business, it would seem.

And yet, its bee nature struggles to break free, from that self created shell, and in those rare moments, its generosity confounds the very low expectations of its hive. It delights in the very confounding of expectations. And yet, at such a time, it runs a true risk, of creating for itself, an unbearable wave of familial love. With its ears tuned to hear the hypocrisy, in the warmest embrace, all gestures of affection, are suspect! Though small, its memory can hold a universe of wrongs. It’s a born judge, of all other members of its hive.

But all is not lost yet. There’s a rather charming female bee, born of another hive. It’s the only one to hold this businessy bee, from fleeing from the embrace of love. It’s she who helps his true bee nature to spread its wings. Light and lovely, she is the only one who carries nothing of the heaviness of his hive. She alone, will not judge him, in return for all his judgements. She alone will not want of him, more than he can give of himself. She will bear his children, and build him, his own hive, where he can be just the way he wants to be. With her, he can learn to give of himself, because it’s his desire and not because he must. With her, he can learn to forgive, for that’s the nature of love. With her, he can learn to bless, because his heart can no longer hold a single curse. With her, he can learn, to see the true ‘bee nature’ of all other bees.

On the evening before the beginning, of yet another conquest, the Emperor sat with his old Teacher.

Later that evening, the Emperor called an assembly of his Generals and told them to rest their weapons, and to prepare for peace instead. These were brave men who loved nothing more than a battle well fought, not unlike their horses straining at the leash, at the promise of speed.

“How can there be peace until the whole world accepts you as their undisputed Sovereign?” they asked.

“Can you tell me”, the Emperor asked his Chief of Staff, “how much more space do we really need, for wars to stop and for our people to be happy?”

The General remained silent, sensing that it was a question to which His Majesty had already found the answer.

The Emperor replied, simply quoting what his Teacher said, “Whether you be just one man, or, a whole Kingdom, you only need as much space as you can create for yourself, inside!”

It was monsoon. In the twilight, when the first star appeared in the evening sky, I lit a bonfire in my garden and set ablaze, all the cards, photos, negatives, journals, drawings, emails, tapes, CDs, gifts that were rattling behind me like a skeletal woman from my past! It was soon dark and a canopy of stars witnessed my prayers. I continued to offer all the memories that were binding me to my past. Both happy and sad moments danced their way into the gaping mouth of this enigmatic fire. Somehow, in the burning of it all, a huge memory got magically erased from my consciousness, just like that. It was like an emptying of a very full cup.

watched I.

all nostalgia
and agony
turn to ash.

a gentle breeze
the most delicate
and fragile
greyish-black wisps
in the space
around me.

the sky
thundered open ⚡
lashing out rain
swallowing pain
into the red terrain
forever and ever!

watched I.


Standing In the desert where water is most precious, he asked as I passed, “Could you give me some water please?”

I was on my camel while he stood on blistered feet. “I’ve just enough for my journey, my friend. If I give you some, your plight now could well be mine, before I’m through with all these dunes”. I ignored him as he sank to his knees and urged my camel on.

“Stop!”, he said, “I might have something you want. All I ask is just one drop”.

I looked him up and down wondering what it is this poor fool could offer, to one who had a camel and a water flask.

“Take me with you. Your camel could easily bear the weight of two. And I’ll not ask for more, than the water that dribbles down your chin while you drink”.

“What’s in it for me?”, I asked. The man rose and stood, withering away as we spoke. “It’ll surely bring you back”, he said, “from this desert you’re in”.

He’s going crazy, I thought and for some reason, I couldn’t just leave him there. I bid him climb the camel’s back and gave him water to wet his lips.

It was a long journey out of there and I gave him at the end, my very last drop.

But strangely enough, that fool was right. Every time I quenched his thirst, it felt as though it was the desert that walked, out of me.