Mama, my elderly friend was happily humming to himself when I went to say hello to him on my way back from the murukkan kadai (pan shop )
May be enjoying the absence of his wife.
No, enjoying the absence of your posts in the FB.
Mama, my desk-top had a stroke and am not able to copy and paste with my iPad.
How did you pass your matriculation without knowing copying ?
Who said I cleared my Matriculation exam?
Then how did you work and earn?
Who said I have worked and earned?
If you have not studied, earned and married, how did you become such a stupid ?.
Ramu got up from his seat and exited,
“It is better to tolerate what you write than what you utter. Let me buy a new laptop and read the rubbish you write.”
The winter like an armed and masked bugler, is fast approaching Baltimore. The leaves of Maples, mulberries and a few other trees are fading and the green is changing to red, pink, golden yellow etc. The dried leaves fly off or fall down sadly and most of them silently, filling their bases with a brown breathless layer. Not long ago, those were bright, pleasing to eyes, dark green or blue in color, singing and dancing to the tune of the wind, chatting with bees and birds and now, lying on mud, shapeless, motionless, and lifeless. Shortly, all will get further disintegrated and turn into pieces and then to power and then will become part of the soil.
I had to use a winter-wrap this evening while going out for the walk. The moment I stepped on the foot path, bordering the high way, could see at a distance, a V -formation in the sky, by the tree-tops on both sides of the highway. The sun was setting behind the apex of it, away from me. And the golden rays were profusely propelling all over the sky, as if buckets- full of coloured water was splashed by an angry maiden. White cloud chips, poetically described as ‘meghasakalam’- pieces of clouds, are now hovering above my head and suddenly, before my eyes, all of them are turning golden as if they are very thin gold plates.. How so many pieces could be spread in such a short period, I wonder. Or could it be only reflection of the golden yellow leafage lining on my sides? I search my hands and chest to verify whether my body too has turned gold. No, it hasn’t. Real wonder, the far away sky is affected by the colors of the foliage on the earth but not me standing very much on her soil !.
”Wrong”, tells another voice from within, ”sky can influence the earth and not the other way”
“If so, how the rivers and trees you destroy, affect the sky, weather?” questions the first voice.
I am confused, but this is not the time to muddle my mind. This is the time for enjoying the glory of the clouds. Inundated by the unexplainable glory of the sky and unmindful of the noise from the speeding cars on the adjacent highway, I raise my head and hands to the sky and pray,
“God, continue to light my eyes, brighten my mind and sharpen my brain, in whatever form I am reborn, as man, animal or bird, wherever I am reborn and whatever be the season so that this hunger to enjoy the sun, sky, moon and stars never ceases in me.
The great Samkara’s similar prayer rings in my ears:
“Narathwam devasthvam naga vana mrugathwam masakhatha,
Pasuthwam keetathwam bhavathu vihagathwadi janananam
Sada twadpadabja smarana paramananda lahari.
Vihaarasaktham che dhugdhaya miha kim thena vapusha”
Be it in a human form,
Be it in the form of Gods,
Be it in the form of animal,
That wanders the forests and hills,
Be it in the form of mosquito,
Be it in the form of a domestic animal,
Be it in the form of a worm,
Be it in the form of flying birds,
Or be it in any form whatsoever,
If always the mind is engaged in play of meditation in thy lotus like feet,
Which are the waves of supreme bliss, how does it matter what body we have? “
Looking down can be rewarding, at times, as I’m now endowed with. From the balcony of the eighth floor apartment of my nephew Suresh, I have a panoramic view of the crown of a papal tree, down below. Amazing is its panoramic expanse ! What a display of abundance, artistically, evenly and elegantly spread greenery, covering a wide area, moving the head in rhythm, dancing to the tune of the wind, providing shelter to hundreds of birds and cool breeze to those below!
‘Moolatho Brahma roopaaya,
Madhyatho Vishnu roopinae,
Vriksharajaaya thae namha”
” മൂലതോ ബ്രഹ്മ രൂപായ,
മധ്യതോ വിഷ്ണു രൂപിണെ ,
അഗ്രത ശിവ രൂപായ.
വൃക്ഷ രാജായ തെ നമ ”
I pray, closing my eyes, recollecting the hymn displayed near a similar huge tree in the Sreekanteswaram Temple premises, which I visited earlier.
Now we talk about the necessity of saving the Nature; our elders worshiped her!. Circumambulated them, in reverence, performed their wedding by tying yellow and saffron threads. How thoughtful!.
And there are also, mosquitoes, those insignificant insects, surprisingly flying so high, invading therough the narrow openings and humming to annoy me, close to my ears as if I am a deaf . How efficiently they search my blood vessels, stealthily suck my blood and fly of proclaiming their victory.
The other day, I had been to a similar high-apartment and was pleased to see a harsh-voiced, dark skinned crow, approaching the widow- sill to collect the snacks served affectionately by the house lady, The moment she was sure of the feed, the bird invited her friends and relatives and in group, enjoyed every piece of the food made available.
I remembered my father anxiously awaiting, on the terrace of our house, holding a ball of rice, sanctified by Vedic hymns, inviting the crows, shouting, ‘ka,ka’ and we, children, behind him, clapping hands and shouting, ‘ka ka’ still louder. The contentment on my father’s face, the moment a crow responds to his shout and pricks with its beak, the white ball of rice, placed on the parapet of the wall, after cleaning the area with water meticulously. If the crow had faced the side where the Sun rises, while collecting the food, my father’s eyes opens up, face brightens with a benign smile. Our father believed that the crow was none other than his forebears in disguise, from another world. What a crazy man, we didn’t say then.
No wonder why the majestic papal tree shelters crows and not mosquitoes.
Alas, the lovely yellow Dahlia, humbled by the maiden snow pellets never woke up. She had the look of a bride awaiting her partner under the shade of the nuptial solitude, just a few days before. The single dahlia brightened the entire deck area and its beauty spilled over the dining hall penetrating through the glass partition-door. That overflow of calmly beauty was a festival.
I loved the fall of white pellets of snow when they rained from the sky like little angels. Why did they kill a flower, I wonder. Flowers are not to be killed. They should fade on their own. when their time is up.
I am sad, I am dispirited.
Hei, wait a minute; look around. look at these cheerful cherry and maples, paling pines and oaks. It is as if one has stood high up in the sky, hiding behind the clouds, smiling mischievously and poured buckets full of colored water, over all the trees , everywhere in the garden , on the borders of the highways, in parks, in boulevards, in bushes and in small forests around here. What a color display ! Golden yellow, dazzling orange, pleasing purple with gorgeous green in between ! How could the Nature wrap so many trees with so many apparels of unbelievably absorbing colors, so generously, so artistically and in such a short time !
And the maple right across my window is fully soaked in a vibrant vermillion velvety solution !
I wish this colour show lasts for ever !
How foolish I am to expect a show to last for ever ! Shows never last. A few days before these multi-colour magic was not there and in a few days now on, that will cease to exist. Then the entire leaf-wealth of the trees will dry, shrink, shiver and shed on the mother earth and get dissolved in her bosom.
I am sad; I am dispirited.
Hai, wait a minute. the leaves will come again; they will, I assure you. They will take a rebirth, bloom on the tree, rejuvenate her, enchant the birds, entertain the bees and elevate the spirit of the wind that will embrace. But when they come again, the same colors will not adorn them. But how does it matter ? When the next fall arrives, the naughty boy there high up in the sky, hiding behind the clouds will lavish these foliage with lovely colors again! What is there to worry ?
I am not sad; I am not dispirited. I am enjoying today’s festival.
Baltimore. Nov 9, 2011
Copy right fully with the author
Got up from bed at 8.30 this morning and looked through the window as usual, at my maple and oaks, pine and cherry trees. Wah, what a sight! It has been snowing since last night as predicted by the weather man ( how correct he is in his forecasting !) .The trees and lawns, cars and streets are covered with a thin, white sheet of snow. I am bolting down to push the kids to the duck area . Oh, they are already there throwing snowballs at each other, well protected with warm clothes.The first snowing always calls for a celebration though it might become an unwanted guest in the long run. Let me not worry about the tomorrow or the day after and spoil the joy of today.
Let me play with the kids now. Children enjoy the nature fast; in fact they enjoy the life best . When we grow we think less and less about the nature and worry more and more about us and the people and things around us, movable and immovable, may be wife, children, job, house, furniture; even about a cockroach in the kitchen or a mole on neighbor’s face. Where do we have time then, to look at the sky, moon or stars , clouds hanging lethargically from the roof of the sky or racing fast through its corridors in different shapes. ?
But the nature doesn’t forget us. In fact, it thinks about us always. That is why, when an unwanted bacteria or virus enters your body, you are warned by a raise in its temperature or when a tiny dust enters your nostrils, you sneeze to expel it so that it doesn’t find its way to your precious lungs. When a tsunami is about to struck, the animals smell the danger and ruun for shelter. Animals live close to nature and they know each other better than us.
12.00 noon. The snowing continues. it is nice to watch the velvety grass on the lawn trying to remove the white veil and peer to see whether the sunlight has arrived. Every one needs sunlight including the tiny, tender grass. The bright yellow Dalia flower which was so prominent yesterday under the bright sun, has pathetically hung his head as if it has committed a shameful act. No, child you have not erred. It is the external force which has made your head to bow and this damage is not permanent . you will raise to life again tomorrow morning when the Lord of the sky kisses your forehead as a mother does when the child is weak.
But the much stronger cherry and maple trees have to wait longer for rejuvenation. They are aware of it and so are not perturbed. They know it is the law of Nature. Waning and waxing. The moon has taught them; the rivers have taught them. We also receive the same lessons but where do we have time to learn ? We are busy thinking about the cockroach in the kitchen or the mole on the face of our neighbor !
2.00pm . No more snowing since an hour. A mild wind blows and the cherry trees , though depressed due to the loss of leaves, are moving their head in appreciation. A tiny bird arrives from nowhere, shirks off water droplets from its wings and perch on the tree opposite to me. Looks at me, expecting that I will talk a few words. I do say with a smile , “welcome , my friend ”
The sweet little bird moves its head to say, ”thanks” . ” Feeling cold?” I ask. ” Not at all, this is just the beginning; another 4-5 months, I have to bear this.”
“Will you live for another 4-5 months ?”
I wanted to ask but instantly control my tongue. Thank God, I didn’t spill the words. What would have happened had I asked that stupid question ? That sweet little heart would have got hurt. She would have cursed herself for flying towards my study and perching on the tree opposite to me, discarding the discomforts of snowing..
For a moment I dread to think what answer to give, had she thrown the same question at my face ” Will you live for another 4-5 months ?’
I cursed my arrogance. It is nothing but sheer difference in size between us, made me even to think of such a stupid question. Thank God, I didn’t ask that question to that sweet, little bird !
My sweet little grand child Nikhil (4) flashes into my study and exclaims, ”thatha kuruvikittae pesara -grand pa is talking to a bird !”
” Nothing new,” replies Ananya (6), his sister , ”Nan kozhanthai irunthappo thatha kaakai kittae pesina- when I was a baby, he spoke to a crow ! ”
How lucky I am to have crows and kuruvies , oaks and pines, maples and cherry trees as friends and the ability to talk to them!
Love and regards, sperinkulam
Baltimore, Octo 29, 2011
Copy right fully with the author.
It is good to lie flat on your back under a tree or sit in a corner once a while and meditate on this magnificient globe we are blessed to enter and occupy for a short period. How insignificant are we , confined to a corner,compared to the magnanimous extravaganza we are in!
Look at the galxies, nebulae and other wonders millions and millions of light years away from us, in the pictures below:
As the poet asks,
“അനന്തം, അജ്ഞാതം, അവര്ണനീയം
ഈ ലോക ഗോളം തിരിയുന്ന മാര്ഗം
നോക്കുന്ന മര്ത്യന് കഥ എന്തു കണ്ടു?
Sri.Nalppattu Narayana Menon
It is endless, it is mysterious, it is unexplainable-this universe and its function.
Confined to a corner,who and how are we to explain its ways?
“പാരാവാരം കരേറി കരകള് മുഴുവനും മുക്കി മൂടാത്തത് എന്തോ
തരാജാലങ്ങള് തമ്മില് സ്വയം ഉരസി മരിഞ്ഞത്ര വീഴാതതെന്തോ
നേരായ് ആരാഞ്ഞു നോക്കിടുക മദം ഇയലും മര്ത്ത്യരെ നിങ്ങള് എന്നാല്
ആരായ്ക്കാനാകും എല്ലാറ്റിലും ഉപരി വിളങ്ങുന്ന വിശ്വേശ രൂപം “
Why the oceans are not occupying the whole land?
Why the stars are not colliding and collapsing?
Muse, oh, Man! you full of pride and arrogance
And see the scintillating superpower above everything
Why go that far? Are we able to fathom the depth of the ocean in our own mind, regulate its waves and recover the hidden treasures?
Are we able to view the motions, vibrations, additions and alterations that take place in our own body and tell exactly when the machinery will cease to function?
How small am I ?
No, I am not really!
There is a great monkey king in me, which when needed, will grow to the size of the universe, cross the unfathomable ocean, annihilate the evil forces and reach to the divinity dumped in a corner.
Let me always have that awareness.
An amazing sight was awaiting for my wake up this morning!
The Cherry tree in the garden, across my bedroom window was, till last evening, standing alone, fully naked, beaten by the penetrating pellets of snow and then wrapped by them to choke, drowsy like a drunkard, disheartened like a discarded lover, deprived of all its assets and fortunes, drapery and decoration. It has now blossomed with full glory with thousands of white velvety flowers with a brown dot in the center as if it is decorated with thousands of pearls with a coral in between. The dark flower- bees which had deserted the tree have appeared all of a sudden from no where in large numbers and move around buzzing and fluttering. The maple tree near by, like an younger sister about to get married, tries to open-up its veil. The happy, vibrant, mischievous wind, like a bride-groom, give a mild shirk to the cherry branches and instantly, the silky petals of cherry flowers fly in the air in thousands and spread all over the lawn below as if it is spreading American -diamond crystals all over the land to weave a necklace of emerald intermittent with diamonds and pears for the earth’s neck.
The sun appears on the horizon with all its glory and smiles.
That majestic magnanimity was denied to me and all living and non-living things around here for the past over three months and the first celestial celebration after a long gap, immerses my soul in unexplainable ecstasy.
I wanted to sing the glory of the divine delight. I have learned hundreds of verses in different languages, illuminating mantras, crisp and crystalline Rhymes from the Rgveda but alas, not a single word comes out of the cavern of my heart.
I wanted to at least wide open my eyes, fill them with the honey of the lotus of the skies and enjoy the royal parade. But alas, unwittingly, my eye-lids close partially, become moist, my hands move up towards my chest, palms join together and I remain motionless.
Extending His scintillating long hands across the window, The lord of sky whispers, “Why are you getting emotional?”, and concedes confidentially ” I am only a ‘sakshi,’ witness”.
“You are the ‘kartha’ the cause”. I wanted to tell him loudly.
But no words come out of my lips. I wipe my tears..
The temple bell announces the ‘harati’ time.
Searching for an answer
The fortune lasted only a few days. The elaborate decorations, the bejeweled crown, the overwhelming ornaments and the glossing silky apparels- all vanished with the same speed as they appeared. Not a single flower was seen on the body of the cherry tree when I awoke today. They all have either fallen automatically or pulled down by the wind and were spread all over the soil and the lawn below. It is only a matter of days before they all will get absorbed by Mother Earth. It is total death; absolute extermination of an entity of enviable beauty.
But the tree is alive! And it may probably, continue to live for the next several years and even after it is destroyed, a new tree could take birth from its bosom. The change in the weather brought some development on its body which stayed for a few days and vanished ? The tree has been witnessing this drama year after year and I’m sure it will be an emotional experience for it. Our eyes or nose, hands or legs do not develop afresh and decay after sometime, though regeneration in a limited scale takes place within the human body too, which is not as visible or as attractive as in a tree. Only the mythological Rakshasa king Ravana had that unique gift and his heads ( not one but ten numbers) had the capacity to regrow every time they were chopped of.
The tiny leaves which appeared on the tree, soon after a few rays of the sun affectionately touched its body, have now grown well, taking over the place of the flowers, giving a great relief to the mother. After a few months these leaves also will go away, leaving the tree alone to suffer the onslaught of the winter. Still the tree thrives.
I am really amazed at the ability of the tree to recreate and its mental tranquility to withstand the loss of such regenerated parts of its own.
“You are not only a sakshi, but a kartha, the cause too” . I tell the tree.
The cherry tree vigorously shakes its head to say, ” I am neither”, and looks up at the sun. The sun looks up at the sky and tells me, “He is both”.
I am unable to see any one up there in the sky.
So, l look deep within myself searching for an answer.
This is’ Karkitaka’ Masam, the short span of mid July-mid August, pre-harvest, pre-festival, lack luster period, in that distant land of my birth. The incessant rains and inactivity in the paddy fields, enabled our elders to earmark this period mainly for prayers and worship. Special poojas, such as ‘Baghavathy sevas’ are performed and ‘Adyathma Ramayanam’, that great poetical work soaked in devotion, of the great Master Tunjath Acharyan, is sung every day, through out this month.
Sitting before the desktop in my son’s study at Baltimore, viewing the vast stretch of lush green lovely landscape, laced with oaks and pines, I remember my late father,who introduced me to the wonderful world of Adyathma Ramayanam. Fresh from bath after a long day’s work, his forehead and wide chest and long arms smeared with ‘Vibhudhi’, he used to sing “Jagadaasryan Bhavan, Jagathaayadhum Bhavan —-” in a melodious tone, sitting before a big ‘kuthu vilakku’- an ornamental brass lamp, which enhances the sanctity of temples or pooja rooms. It was a unique experience to lie on his lap and slide into the dreamy valleys of sleep, hearing the sthuthies, devotional hymes of Ahalya, Agasthya or Jadayu . Those melodies pours out of my heart unintentionally, whenever I see a magnificent sight or experience joy or sorrow. Looking at the mighty Niagara falls and wondering at the great gift the Nature has made to the humanity, closing my eyes I sang..”Agana gunamadyam, anantham, advideeyam…..”. When I stood and strolled on the 12,000 ft high Jungfrau peak in Switzerland, C N Tower of Toronto, Eiffel tower of Paris or any such awesome heights, I sang the glory of the Creator, through the words of the Thunjathu Guru.
” Santhaya, Roudraya,Sowmyaya, Ghoraya, Kanthimatham kanthi Roopaya they Nama,” murmured my lips, looking at the glowing setting Sun , while cruising the Sein river of Germany.
Another wonderful asset, I inherited from my father, is the love for Kathakali. During Sivarathry time, there used to be Kathakali programme for a week or so at the Kallaikkulangara Kshethram and I remember as a kid, following his ‘Choottu Velicham’, while crossing the rocks beyond the railway lines. ‘Choot is an indigenous, eco-friendly torch and it was a pleasant experience to follow its light and walk through narrow paths at night. Last year, when I went to Olavakkode, I almost wept seeing the devastation made by human hands in leveling those lovely hillocks and making a pathway in the middle.
In my anxiety not to miss a kathakali programme at the Govt.VictoriaCollege grounds, a couple of years ago, I almost missed my trip to overseas.
Pattars should be thankful to their ancestors for migrating to that wonderful land of divine beauty, which is in no way inferior to the well tailored landscape of Austria or Alpine mountains. And man, where do you get that quarter chaya and Nenthrapazham ? I longed for them while strolling aimlessly through the streets of Paris and London : I longed to see a single Nair, clad in snow- white dothy and shaking his head vigorously while asking” Entha mashrea?”
The sight of the gigantic Colosseum at Rome almost stopped my pulse beat when I thought about the innocent lives, lost just to satisfy the sadist pleasure of the Royals. How harmless was the pastime of Pakatakali and Namboodiri jokes.
Nairs,Nambudiris,mappilas,ezhuvas,Nazranies—what a homogenous group we have in Kerala! Avial,Olan, Kalan,Pappadam, Idichupizinja payasam— Oh, Great !
” Ninnil thanne Pirakkavu Jnan oru
pullayenkilumnen Malanade “
I desire to be reborn only in you, even as a grass-blade, my dear land of hills!
So I wrote in my college magazine, several years ago. Today, after walking sa long distance and having seen many places, I still would like my prayer answered irrespective of the inadequacies of my land of birth.
Aug 2, 2007