Things gone by

I love writing prompts. Here I am going about my day, working, cleaning, teaching, cooking,  nagging, more working, more cleaning with not a single thought about writing anything. I open my mailbox and there’s a writing prompt and voila! for the next 30 minutes my humbug world of working, cleaning, cooking, teaching…… (ya! ya! I know you get the drift) recedes into oblivion and my mind comes alive. Pattering with ideas that it just can’t hold on to.

The problem! Till now all the writing prompts I knew of were  about photography. Do photographers need more prompting than poets or story tellers? I don’t know. But that’s the way it was. I used them nevertheless. Feeling like an intruder. Like a girl friend the daughter brought along from boarding school for  a family vacation.

So, this blog came as a happy surprise!  It provides writing prompts for poems :)  I found it  thanks to shiteki na usagi  -  my favorite poetic rabbit and I am eternally grateful. Not because I am very poetic. But cause now after I write a post I wont have to go surfing the net, searching for relevant pictures to insert so as to validate my entry! Often the picture surfing took longer than writing the post. So whoppeee! hurray! long live writing prompts! and long live “we write poems”!  May the likes of you grow and multiply  (shall we say) – like rabbits!!!

We write poems, writing prompt this week was

Simply, write a poem that uses twelve (12) words, no more, no less.

no other rules applied. So, this is  what I did.

remembering today

things gone by : image courtesy filemagazine.com

the shoulder

I once lay

on

oblivious

to the  world

I have titled these 12 words  Things gone by

Here are the other entries I found to this prompt.

as paintings fade

shiteki na usagi

If you do visit them you will be completely floored by their obvious talent in poetry. I am only a dabbler and till someone doesn’t start a blog with prompts for dabblers, I  will have to continue to pretend to be a photographer/ poet/ whatever…….

The drifter

Today

I feel restless

like there is somewhere else

I need to  be

my wandering feet

will you take me

Today I feel worthless

like there is someone else

 I hope to be

my shifting heart

will you show me

Today I feel

helpless

like a rudderless dinghy

in the vast rough sea

my drifting  soul

please steer me

Weekly photo challenge : “inside”

Don’t put the Blame on me ….

my insides hurt

they pain

and cramp

and ache

and strain

the memory

of what you did

I was

six

just  a child

and I loved you wild

with you

I felt

safe

protected

cared for.

but that touch

was that justified?

this must be

the way its done

loving

and caring

and protecting.

yet it felt so wrong

this secret

we kept

from the

world all along

it rested heavy

on my little heart

when realization dawned

the hurt

humiliation

anger

and guilt

immense guilt

almost made my insides spill

had I brought it on?

Could I?

Did I?

Should I?

share the blame

of your unrestrained lust

your brutality

your sneakiness

your  shame

yes I did share your secret

but

the  crime wasn’t mine

already

Its scars I  bear

the wounds

so deep

they will always be there

my tormentor

at least now

let me be

don’t

please don’t

try to

put the

blame on me ….

 

other entries in this weeks challenge

 

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. INside | Pseu’s Blog
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside « danikurniawan
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  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | A Number of Things
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  6. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside « It’s Just Me
  7. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside « beeblu blog
  8. weekly photo challenge : inside | bodhisattvaintraining
  9. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside – The Courgette (Zucchini) Flower « My 2012 Photo Challenge
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  11. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | No Fixed Plans
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  13. Inside turmoil … « MindBlur
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  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside (Again) | After the Engagement
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  20. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | a hectic life
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  22. one short « yi-ching lin photography
  23. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Humbled Pie
  24. Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | The Way I Live Naturally

Taking a walk down memory lane …..

I look at the clock. Its 7:35. “If we don’t leave home in 5 we will be late for school” I shout. The children come hurriedly. K tucking his t-shirt in his barely fitting shorts. “Need to get him a new pair”, I make a mental note to myself in the ever-growing “to do” list. And then comes M. Her shoulder length hair a mess. “What? Your hair is still not combed” I shout. No! she shouts back even more loudly. Realizing this won’t work. I attempt a calmer approach.  “Sit on the chair, I will make it” And then begins the  inevitable struggle. I brush, ‘un-knot’, detangle. She squirms, grimaces and wriggles.   ” I think we should get your hair cut short”, I say

“Ma, you remember what happened when dad did last time” she retorts!!!

I do!!! It was too precious to forget. This is  something I wrote about it back then  Welcome back Rubberbands.... Today M and I are  taking a trip down memory lane.  Care to join us.

Do you have any favorite  posts that treasure memories of your children as they were/are growing up? Aren’t you glad you wrote them, when you did? Do you go back to them often?

Parenting! At the traffic signal…

The tap  at the window makes me look away from the countdown of the clock at the traffic light. A woman dressed in a shabby saree has stuck her face to my windowpane. Seeing that she has caught my eye,   she makes a gesture to indicate that she wants some food. I look into her eyes, the desperation in them seems genuine. I look at the purse kept next to me. But my hands don’t reach out to it.

Instead, my mind goes to all the horror stories I have heard about  organized begging. Children being pulled out of schools / kidnapped/  forcefully restrained and even maimed and made to beg, drug habits cultivated to ensure ‘victims’ stay in the begging circle, babies being rented from slums to increase the  “pitiable” factor. “When we give alms to beggars we do them more harm than good”, I have sometimes been told. I have never been able to make up mind about this though.  And every time a beggar approaches me on the road, the dilemma pops up – fresh as ever. Always Unresolvable!

I look at the woman again trying to make up my mind. I nod negatively, trying to indicate that I will not give her anything.  But my ‘no’ doesn’t have enough conviction or determination. She senses the doubt and lingers at my side.  Tapping, making the same desperate gesture, trying to appeal to the doubt in my eyes.

My six-year-old son sitting on the rear seat has been watching all this intently. ” What happened Mumma?”. I decide to put my dilemma to him. Kabir she wants some money.  I can’t decide what to do? “Give it Mumma” , pat comes the reply. Unhesitatingly, quickly, without a trace of doubt.

Just then the traffic light turns green and the impatient honking of the cars behind me forces me to move on! Kabir, quickly stands  on his seat , Turning around to scour through  the rear windshield.  “Mumma there she is! Should I call her?” . ” No baby, we can’t stop now”. “Yes, but we can call out to her and then we can take a U-turn and go back” he replies innocently. I can’t help smile, at the easiness of it.

I had intended to explain to him the depth of the issue. About  the racket! How the money we give may end up in the hands of a mafia and  cause more harm than good. How we may be inadvertently encouraging  children  to be kept away from schools, or kidnapped or maimed. But the guileless sympathy in his voice, kept me quiet. It was too precious! why be in a hurry to kill it right now? It may die soon enough!

I recalled the incident that had robbed me, of mine. I had just started my first job as a junior researcher for an NGO. During my training as a social worker. I had met gangs of street children. Heard their heart wrenching stories of abduction, forced begging, drug habits, rape and violence. I had begun to appreciate the complexity of the issues in their lives. I had learnt that they needed much more than just a few coins to regain their lives.

Going on my scooter I spied an obviously pregnant young woman being supported by an older woman. From the way they dressed they both looked like village women. Up ahead they were approaching the other commuters, obviously asking for help. No one paid any attention to their obvious plight. My heart ached. I called out to them. It seemed the younger one had started labour pains and they wanted money to take her to the hospital. I offered to drop them on my scooter. But they refused. “She needs an auto-rickshaw.  she can’t really go on a scooter.” Seemed sensible and I was in-fact,  getting late for work. I pulled out all the money I had in my bag.  Rupees three hundred and gave it to them. Other commuters looked on. I glared at them, silently admonishing them for their lack of sympathy.I thought about the woman all day.

Three days later at another signal I came upon the same duo. Instead of being angry or challenging them, I felt  ashamed.  Ashamed, that I fell for their silly trick! Also a bit ashamed that they needed to resort to such lies to earn a few bucks. But looking back I can say, that at least some seeds of cynicism may have been  sown that day. From them on, I have no clear policy on dealing with begging. Each time a beggar approaches me I make  on the spot decisions .  Sometimes handing over some loose change, at others buying them some food (so at least they can eat), sometimes refusing outright. My stand is not clearly defined. And no matter what I do,  it always leaves me the uncomfortable feeling that I may have done them more harm than good. Or certainly not done enough.

Should I explain all this to kabir. Help him see the various aspects of the issue. Make him understand that begging is a manifestation of a larger socio – economic problem – poverty. And that simply handing out money while assuages our guilt may be doing nothing to really help the beggar. How should I word it so while he appreciates the depth of the problem he  does not lose his sympathy for its victims – the beggars!

At the next signal, a little beggar girl, in a dirty frock and matted hair came to us. As she knocked on our window, I looked at her. Even if the dirt and desperation were an act. The poverty was real. I turned back to see Kabir, looking at me intently. I instantly made a decision. I reached into my purse and handed him some coins. He opened his window and gave them to the girl.

Better to teach him the lesson of sympathy than understand the complexities of life at this age. Let him coin his own dilemmas when he becomes older.  I relaxed and  turned on the radio. Even though it may be ‘wrong ‘ Giving (even though not enough)certainly brought more satisfaction than not giving at all. Just when we were about to reach home. Kabir spoke up again. “Mom how much did we give that girl?”. “Two coins” I said. “How many rupees was that?” he asked. “Two I think”. I answered. “Mumma is that enough to get her food?” That hit me like a bag of stones. I mentally kicked myself . Where was my mind? Had I just taught my son a lesson in empathy or  ‘tokenism’?

Not sure about what to say,I kept quiet.  “I am sure two rupees are a lot! Aren’t they mumma?  My friend gets two rupees a week for pocket -money!” and he happily skipped away.

I was glad the moment was over. Thank god for  innocence! I know I will get a second chance. And then I will be better  prepared, to teach the lesson better.

Have you ever faced a similar dilemma? What do you do when a beggar approaches you?

Travel theme : “night”

night

it comes

slowly

silently

tiptoeing

into my empty house

stealthily

it spreads

its dark blanket

over my unseeing eyes

it lies there

forever

it seems

to my

sleeping mind

enveloped

in its thick  darkness

I fervently

wait  for

dawn

waiting for dawn – image courtesy icimdekiuzayli.blogspot.com

My friend ailsa at Where’s my backpack? runs this weekly challenge. though the challenge is about travel related  photography. she indulges me !

A Question to the Moms and Dads of Blogosphere ……..

Many of you, who are parents will agree with me that there is so much to being a parent ,that it’s not always possible to do everything correctly. So, there is this little pat you give to yourself for getting something ‘right’. A mental kick for the times when you go wrong! Some days the pats are more than the kicks and those are the good days. And then there are the other kind! the “kick’ days!

lets make that parenthood – but it pretty much says it all!!!
image courtesy angiegoboom.com

But what do you do when you are not sure whether your action was “pat-worthy” or not? Leaves you pretty confused I say!

The one good thing I do as a parent is, I read!  I read books and blogs on parenting. there are some great ones like this one. And I am always astounded by the variety of parenting techniques and philosophies out there. Now, I am somewhat of a listener, an ‘appreciator’ of different perspectives. That leaves me in a unique position. A dilemma all my own. The dilemma of finding that I agree with what appear to be conflicting schools of thought!!!

image courtesy mumsgone2aus.com

A case in point : I read a while ago a blog, that spoke about appreciating the gifts that our children give us. Now, I know I agree with this. I have a six year old and an eight year old. They like to give me things. Little handmade cards on mother’s day or my birthday. A flower that caught their fancy. A craft they made at school. Small little things, that as an adult, I have no practical use of. But, that I cherish because it came from my babies!

And then today, I read something completely conflicting. Here, its relevant to add that I have been reading on and off a book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother . The book is by Amy Chua, an American of Chinese origin, about her experience of raising her two  young girls in America,  the Chinese way. There has been a lot of criticism of Amy Chua’s ‘tyrannical’ child rearing methods and though I knew about the book I had never read it. Then at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year, I heard her speak. I found her funny, intelligent, witty and most of all open to cynicism and, willingness to debate her parenting choices and admit her mistakes. I found myself nodding to a lot of the stuff she said, and felt that the critics in the audience were not really listening to what she wanted to say. Just reacting to her “apolitical”  words. That made me buy her book!!! And its been at my bedside since. I must admit though, I don’t agree with everything she says and has done,  but the book does raise very pertinent issues. The chapter I read yesterday happened to be about a birthday card!

image courtesy borders.com.au

Here, the author  talks about an incidence when her daughters – then 7 and 4/5 approximately gifted her ‘surprise’ cards on her birthday. The younger one’s card was nothing more than a simple paper folded into half with the words “happy birthday mom” scribbled over it hurriedly. Something her daughter would have made in not more than 20 seconds (I am paraphrasing here). Amy says, Instead of planting a kiss on the girls face and accepting the card, like her American husband would have done. She rejected it.  She told her daughters, that she cherished everything they gave her, and has a special box where she stores them. And that the  card was not good enough to go in there.

Sounds heartless!!! Doesn’t it?  She went on to explain to them, that she expected something more thoughtful, something that reflected their feelings more personally. She told them how as a child their age she would put in much more thought to make her mom’s day special for her. In other words she rejected mediocrity and lip service and demanded more effort and deeper thought.

Is that such a bad thing? As a parent is it not our duty to work towards making our children more thoughtful, generous and attentive to others? At the same time is ‘this’ (Amy Chua’s method) the way to do it?

Are we doing more damage to a child’s psyche by saying something they did is not good enough? or by letting them constantly do ‘passable’ stuff and get away with it, and not challenging them enough?

image courtesy scsk12.org

As an Indian parents, I know most of us are quite expressive about our desire to see our children excel in academics/ sports/ drama/ art/ music etc. Most of us would have no qualms telling our children when their performance in a test has not been up to the mark. But would any of us do  what Amy Chua did? Would we tell off our children if they did not do enough to appreciate us? When as parents we go through so much trouble to make our kids feel special, is it wrong to  expect them to be thoughtful enough to return the favor. In their own way.

If thoughtfulness is a trait we want our children to develop. What do we do to develop it? A lot of us, including me, try to teach this by example. Hoping that when they see us being thoughtful, they will be encouraged to be the same. And a lot of time this does indeed happen! But not always! Many mothers with teenaged or middle-aged children discover this the hard way. Forgotten birthdays, anniversaries or other important dates, leave them feeling hurt and piqued. One often hears mothers of sons complain about their lack of demonstrativeness.

teaching children to show affection. picture courtesy parentingwithunderstanding.com

The fact is as children become adults, we expect them to become more responsible, expressive and show us their care and gratitude in tangible ways. The other fact is that while they were kids we didn’t teach and train them to do this. If we have never held them responsible for being thoughtful or generous to us as kids, how do we expect them to develop those qualities when they grow up? On the other hand, can something like thoughtfulness be demanded? If our children give us perfectly made up cards on our special days and “breakfasts in bed” does that ensure they will be thoughtful grown ups?

I can’t make up my mind. So, I am taking a poll!

Here is my question.

How many of you would do what Amy Chua did? and Why? or Why not?

If you knew that your daughter or son is perfectly capable of making  beautifully embellished cards, with pretty verses.  But has just scribbled something on paper as a last-minute after thought for you. What would you do?

  1. Would you feel bad but not say anything
  2. Not feel bad and of course not say anything (it’s the thought that matters after all)
  3. Speak about  it   to them, right then or later

There are no right or wrong answers and I am just trying to get a feel of what other parent think. So feel free to choose any option or write something all your own! I will be grateful! Thank-you!!!!

oh! waning moon…

waning moon – image courtesy favim.com

oh! waning moon

riding the dark blue night

my love can you see

underneath the starry skies

does she too search for me

Maggie at haiku doodle is having a birthday bash.  The muse is “the moon”. Visit her here and leave her a little present :)

Weekly photo challenge : “Fleeting Moments”

For what is a traveller?

If not A Collector of Fleeting Moments ….

The photographs in this post were taken on our road trip to leh – Ladakh. this summer. This is the first cut, random shots , clicked through the window of our car………..

As most of you know, I barely know my way around a camera. These snaps have been clicked by my travel mates : my cousins – Shilpa and Abhinav and the hubby : Siddharth. You will see many more of their shots in the next few days. right now we are deluged with unopened baggage , unread mails, undone homework and unsorted photographs!!!! In that order. Nice as the holidays were, Very glad to be back! see you all soon

Also check out other entries on fleeting moments

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  27. Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment 2 | My Sardinian Life | La Mia Vita Sarda
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  29. WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge : Fleeting Moment « Cheryl Andrews
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  38. neighbors « yi-ching lin photography
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  52. A Fleeting Moment, Without Beginning Or End (A Daily Post Weekly Photo Response) « Nyck’s Notions
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Weekly photo challenge : “Create”

One of the things that sets us humans apart from rest of the living beings is our immense capacity to create.

It’s a drive,a desire, almost a need.

We create when happy

sunflowers by vincent van gogh image courtesy dailymail.co.uk

We create when inspired

Michelangelos famous E.T. inspired God painting courtesy
meidell.dk

But most of all we create when in pain…

The Scream – Edvard Munch courtesy biographyonline.net

And that’s how many masterpieces were born!
So next time you are blue,
feeling a bit subdued
Bring out the paper and
let the feelings flow
Believe ,
It is God’s way of   nudging you to
CREATE….
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