Life is…

empty when full
and full when empty.
Like the chaotic symphony
of the colorless cocoon
(no larger than a thimble)
unwinding into a mile long
silken yarn.

Waiting to be woven & inked
with jacquard pots of red & gold
into a scarf that bears artistic witness
to snowy wastelands of icicled mulberry trees.
Underneath which sits a fair maiden shy of her
own reflection in the bubbling brook, spinning delicate
sighs for her lover. And around her Chinese letters
rise up in air like prayer.

Later the same scarf tied around my neck
will get caught in the brooch of your breast
pocket and endure a tiny tear
as you pull away from
my embrace.

Leaving me to wonder how many miles
of unwinding, weaving and dyeing do I have to do,
before my life is fully empty of you?



How to create a Master piece

Brick WallI wanted to paint life in its rich palette of pastels;
sunflower yellows, caterpillar greens, pomegranate reds,
and its blessed hues of honeycomb gold, aster blue and
random dabs of rainbow.

Determined to create a masterpiece of sorts. I drew up
a country hut with a chimney blowing smoke, a cockatoo cooing
good morning, cattle grazing and birds chirping, hello, hello.
The scenery was idyllic but the passers-by gave it one look and
said it was “too contrived“.

So I drew up farmers and carts, children skittering in the yard,
a garden and a well used windy path. But the Farmers and the children
in the painting looked at me quixotically and said, “Where are we all to live?
In this tiny, little hut?

So I turned the hut into a mansion, and drew up courtyard fountains,
Rose gardens, stately lounging chairs and a path of white marble.
But they thought it was “too utopian, peasants don’t live in mansions!

So I drew up Skyscrapers, Westminster bridge, Trafalgar square,
Charing Cross station, hawkers selling hot dogs, bus stands buzzing traffic,
and lots of people rushing in and out like blood flowing through an artery. But the busy city people gave it a dull look and said it was “too unromantic, too common place“.

So I drew my final painting; an endless expanse of arched blue skies
and flowing green fields punctuated only with wild flowers. Soon birds and butterflies flew in, followed by rabbits and deer’s for company.

I stepped inside my own painting and with a sigh of resolve decided to seal my peace. At the threshold of the painting I drew a thick red brick wall and sealed the world out.

Later I heard from the birds and the bees they hung my red brick wall next to Cezanne and Pissarro. Staring at it for hours, they say,

“So Impressionistic …So Monet!”

Falling in love

Bora Bora 030Maybe one day I shall become a poet,
and write a book. Each page will be
enjambed with my tongue.
I shall publish it on recycled paper
and leave plenty of space in the margin
for your notes.

When you chose to relax
with a glass of wine, open my
book & like a dolphin dive in.
Leaving splashes of my words on
your couch.

Do not swim just sink into my poem
and let the music fill the pores of your soul.
For here my reader, my lover you will be
safe forever…

Road to Discovery

I wanted to feel the thrill of the wild zinging through my teeth, so I pulled up fragments of survival into a backpack, enough to keep Sequoia hospitable for a week. And set off backpacking with a group of four, towards the Alpine zone.  The deeper we receded into the woods the harder it got staying on the trail. The storms the week before had done a nasty job of hiding the trails.

 I must have failed to keep pace with the rest of the pack, for I found myself farther and farther away until the distant heads vanished into the thickness of foliage. Before long instead of following a team of four, I found myself breaking trail through un-trampled greens. The map no longer fit the terrain, the trails were completely disguised with the havoc the storm had caused and there were fallen trees everywhere. As the sun dimmed its intensity, my hurried footsteps got more and more confused. One wrong turn led to another, and before I knew it, I was lost.

Night in the woods descends like a mighty eagle with its wings outstretched. Darkness is sudden and complete. There is no comforting light peering through the embroidered curtains, or the mechanical buzz from the kitchen fridge, a sprinkler sputtering off at night, the friendly chatter of the TV, or the familiar clatter of silver ware and plates at dinner time. Instead there is the loud rhythmic thump of your heart beating against your ear drums. There are other disturbing noises intensified by the silence of the night. Like the rustling of leaves nearby, a sudden cry that resembles a baby shrieking except it is not, a howl, a hoot and an unnerving pair of yellow eyes watching from the distance…

 A small shaking flashlight in hand and a poor job of a tent later I find myself strangely secure. It occurs to me that a human’s most fetal need is the need for security no matter how frail the promise of security may be. Thankfully, the fatigue from the day wraps its sleep laden hands around my neck and drowns me into deep slumber. For two days I hike senselessly around the green corridors of tall trees losing my way constantly. Until several miles, an abandoned baby stroller, broken shards of beer bottles, disbanded backpacks, and several cairns later I am convinced that I am well on the road to discovery.

The search team must have been thick on its trail, for it isn’t long before I hear myself scream, hands flailing like turbines in the wind. As two distant flashes of light glimmer like twin candles in the thick of the night swiftly growing in size. Woods

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

- Calvin CoolidgeMeenakshiTemple 229


Here are some pictures of the famous St Xavier Church of Goa. The relics of St. Xavier are kept at this church in a silver casket and brought down for public viewing once every 10 years. The next exposition is planned for 2014. 084

Ubecute believes and respects the sanctity of all faiths and is not affiliated to any one religion.

The wealthiest Man

02A breezy autumn afternoon, and a long drive back home. We were returning from a long trip with our extended family; aunts, uncles, cousins and all. In those days there were miles and miles of farmland even on the outskirts of Delhi which is now a pockmarked cement jungle. We were all exhausted from our long journey, so we decided to stop and stretch a while at one of the sugarcane farms on our way back home.Man selling sugarcane juice

The village had a lazy aura to it. It felt as though the environment was drunk on the sweetness of the cane fields. The yellow-green rows of cane plantation reminded you of long siestas under the balmy sun that promise never to end. A bullock-cart passed by carrying a farmer and his family Tok, Tok, Tok. A vendor on a wooden cart squeezed a tall glass of green sugar cane juice adding a dash of fresh ginger, salt, lemon and ice upon request.

An old thin farmer in a white dhoti and a shawl wrapped around him, squatted on the side walk with a bunch of other villagers. His was not the face of a youthful, carefree man who has yet to experience the toils of life. Instead, his face was the color of dark caramel etched with wrinkles. He had the intelligence of experience and a carefree resignation that comes from knowing, “it will all turn out okay in the end.” After a hard day’s work at the farm, I doubt he ever had to spend his nights tossing and turning trying to sleep. A good night’s sleep is often the understated reward of occupations that require handwork and sweat.Man sleeping in the farm

I was probably nine or ten at the time and most of my cousins were even younger than me. We were all very tired and needed a break. My parents asked the farmer if we could stop for a while at his field. He welcomed us enthusiastically, and showed us the way to a cool spot under a tree and offered us water. Then he took the shawl off his back and spread it on the ground for us to sit. And without a warning ran off into his field to pick us some of his ripest produce. Meanwhile, the kids started to create a hullaballoo playing tag and doing what kids do best; creating a racket! Nobody sat down, children were running everywhere and soon enough the poor farmer’s shawl was stamped with tiny boot marks. Thankfully, my aunt chided the kids, picked up the farmer’s shawl and folded it into a neat bundle. By the time the farmer came back, we were hungrily devouring the lunch we had brought with us. We offered the old man to join us, but he refused. It was probably one of the best meals I ever enjoyed. The inviting breeze on our faces and the incessant gossip of the country birds; what five star hotel could beat this ambience? For dessert we enjoyed a sampling of freshly picked sugarcane the farmer had brought us. I know our parents thanked the farmer heartily for his hospitality and insisted he accept money as a small gift, but he refused outright.

Children are so impressionable. It’s been decades since that day and yet it is still fresh in my memory. As far as I am concerned this farmer who took off his shawl and placed it on the ground for us to sit, was the richest man I have ever had the fortune of meeting. Wealth is not measured by a bank balance or the number of houses and cars one owns, it is simply a state of being. To be truly wealthy means to be so sufficient that you are happy to share your riches without the worry of losing them. And who could be wealthier than this old farmer who would share the shawl off his back with absolute strangers? As you will agree, even though the world is full of rich people there are few who are truly wealthy. Such people live on a different plane from the rest of us. Each experience etching an indelible wrinkle of serenity in their hearts, deepening their belief that, “it will all work out ok in the end”. So that when it’s time to go to bed, it’s simply ‘lights out’.