Affirmations #3

A different view faces the house today

And as always –

He tells her not to pay heed,

To the change outside.

*********************************

But as always,

She puts her coffee mug down,

And sails away.

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Out, away, to see close up –

To feel, and then decide…

To go ahead,

And to come back –

Renewed, redefined…

But no more –

Undermined.

Affirmations #2

This time the lagoon

Dazzles with the moonlight

And has decided not to let

The waves steal the limelight

********************************

This time the lagoon

Stays tranquil despite high tide

Waves may come and go

Or they may simply hide.

*********************************

The sheen, however, remains

Within every curve,

Around the banks,

On the outside,

And the inside…

What matters more?

To participate or to be the witness
To see the change or be the change
To envision the spectrum or to let it be white

To let the clouds rain or to wait for thunder
To paint some shreds or to color the whole canvas
To devour all the fragrance or to inhale just what feels right

To accept the reality or meander among dreamy landscape

To know when to stop or to keep moving with panache

To be content with whatever you have or to hanker after what seems alluring

What matters more…

To be as you are

Or to emulate

A seemingly brighter star.

Whose Fault is it Anyway?

Often, as today it is, the mind stands in conflict with the heart. Today is a pleasant day, looks good ahead too.

Human reach to its impermeable suburbs is profound. We think we know it all and will never ever succumb to situations which shake our faith in our powers. Yet we give in. We give in to fears, trepidation, unseen dangers, predicted horrendous outcomes and an unfathomable afterlife.

In all this, wrong decisions are taken, wrong paths are chosen, wrong words are said and sometimes wrong tears are wiped! Why do I say that?

Well, that is what I am to write about.

Incorrect direction of sympathy towards people who did not need them in the first place. You needed it badly, but in giving it to someone else, you felt satiated, sacrificial and weirdly complete.

Then, if insensitivity and narcissism tore you within….

Whose fault was it anyway?

Does it even matter then, that you gave it your all?

Does it matter at all that you were emptied of your core?

Does it even matter that you dissolved like salt?

Does it even matter that your world was actually in their globes?

Does it then matter that you existed like a speck in their sky?

What does matter though is the emptiness that is purely yours….and not theirs to share.

What matters now is to stop being the empath you were.

What matters is not the fact that you were at fault.

What matters…

Is, that it was nobody’s fault.

What matters…

Is that you, your sky, your earth

Is still yours to claim.

It does not matter if they left or if you pushed them away…

But it definitely does matter that your halo –

Your SANCTUM

Is purely yours TODAY

It is morning…..

And yet, it is morning again,

The stars had beckoned….

Lovingly,

Had carressed all the pain…….

Invigorated love,

Desires afresh…..

Every star had smiled

Last night, in the dark mesh……

And yet, it is morning again

Where the night was autumnal,

When biting winds swept within;

And every heart was in denial.

Upon every dark night

The torch bearer is restless;

Brighter he has to shine,

With grace and with finesse……

And yet, it is morning again…..

The dark night perchance happened;

Having slipped into oblivion,

When hopes had been dampened……

So we move on from here,

Knowing this for certain;

Some treasures are too dear.

Learn – Unlearn – Learn – Repeat

When was it that the world told you it would be easy. Learning is never easy. And if it is, it isn’t learning. We spend a mountain of lives forming convictions, developing coping mechanisms and deciphering outcomes.

Voices of education fill our minds. Here are certain do’s we have grown up with. Let us see how they hinder our true selves from evolving…

Planning For the Future

There is no such thing as planning for the worst or unpredictable circumstances. Insurance, savings, retirement plans….they tell you it is important. But what is more important is to understand that there is no future. It is just the present. In future, it will be your present. Plan if you must, but do not deny the present it’s due.

Follow Footprints to avoid faltering

What is unknown is dreaded. We naturally incline ourselves to the known. We know that it is important to settle, to marry, to raise children and once they settle, retire. What we don’t know is that our hearts may be screaming for something else. It is scary because half the time you wouldn’t know what is that unknown cliff you want to scale.

Self love is important

No, it isn’t. It is important to love people around you. Give them attention, explore their insides, follow their ideas, passions and ambitions. This will strengthen your core – it will offer you a clearer perspective of who you want to be. Love yourself, but not at the cost of hurting others. ‘I think I know enough of hate / To say that for destruction / Ice is also great’ said Robert Frost in the poem “Fire and Ice”. Indifference can kill. Self love stems from compassion and not from aloofness.

The earlier you learn, the better it is.

No, no, it isn’t. Learning is a lifelong process. Never say never. Learn, unlearn, learn again…Let the process enrich you. Experiment. Experiment everything,till you find your comfy chair. Isn’t that what we do when buying furniture. I’m 44 and I’m still taking courses and evolving. I’ve changed job profiles, encountered accidents and faced financial turmoil. What I didn’t give up was – learning.

Think of what your life has shaped as. You have evolved, despite all challenges and threats. Forget whatever practical advice is offered by the so called success books. You know what you are made of once the storm is over. Be your true self under any circumstances, soft or loud, demure or fancy, upbeat or a dreamer…The world is big enough to fit all.

You are born to learn, to grow and foster life in your own unique way.

No one can be you.

What 2020 was like…

It is neither too late nor too early to talk about 2020.


For long I’ve kept the repercussions under wrap because almost everyone feels the same as I do. Caught in the same whirlwind, agonized by similar trials…basically, for once in a lifetime, territories, regions, boundaries…do not matter. We all feel pretty much the same.


Pardon me, I am herein going to talk about me.


It is difficult to not generalize when you’re writing for others to read. It’s like every word that you write is being watched, scrutinized….and Phew! I have not even begun yet.


I realize how cumbersome it must be to write about oneself. We hardly ever peep into our core. As I ponder so, all autobiographies that I’ve read to date scroll in the mind in a whiff. The strongest of them was “Raseedi Ticket” by Amrita Pritam…Well, more about it later.

The Jolts and the Rush
Well, for one, the surge and subsequent lockdown in April last year was a jolt. I had just finished with the checking of Board Examination Answer Sheets and the lockdown came into being. The days following it were spent in fear of probably having contracted the Virus…..a little body temperature, sneezing….set off an alarm. No, I don’t want to go back there. It just suffices that I am out of that phase.

PowerPoint and Web Camera
Huh, in all of my teaching experience, I was never dependent on the screen to satiate my students’ curiosity. But this time, the school management had to be satisfied more than the students. My kids knew me well already and cooperated like angels. PowerPoint was all over, strewn about my life like the air we breathe. How will I teach the poem? Are the Slides ready?

Hell…..Robert Frost is more than that. I believed I could reincarnate Lord Alfred Tennyson in a live physical classroom. But this, this silence on the other end of the screen was unnerving, to say the least.

Lured to give up work, almost at the brink
The pressures of coping with altered teaching strategies led me to believe I no more need this. I will call it quits. But, every day, some random query, the helplessness of parents, students….made me stick around. The kids needed us more than ever. Deferred salaries, insane working hours, unrealistic expectations…..nothing deterred the forward push, and we went on, like soldiers on the Frontline, keeping our mental turmoil at bay. The country was at stake. This was not the right time to quit.

Writing took the front-seat


The only friend that didn’t turn it’s back was the words. They came back, with more effervescence than ever. I returned here, to blogging and poetry. My first love-the verses.

Dealt with Seniors at work more openly
Here, the picture altered like anything. If at all, the management was equally flustered and depended on us as the frontline warriors. They sought us out to seek shelter. We could express ourselves better in Online Meets. They ached to have us back on the school campus. For once, it hit home, that the school was not merely the Playground, the edifice, or the beautiful Garden. Humans were missing. That hit real hard.

Went live on Facebook for the first time

Ok, this was challenging. I had to interview a great method artist on behalf of the school as an Art Fest initiative. Grooming had taken a backseat last year. Presenting myself to a vast audience Online was a challenge. Nevertheless, it was met with arduous prep and the interaction was…wonderful, to say the least.

Intolerance also took a backseat. That we were in this together was a big deal and is….till date. There still seems to be a lump in the throat, like all has not been spoken and remains tucked within layers and layers of the Antarctic snow.

Am I exaggerating? Tell me, if you don’t relate. 2021 seems worse…we have lost precious souls in the wake of the second wave.

If 2020 was the threshold to drastic changes, let 2021 be the end of it all.

Unmasked, Undeterred… Undone. Period.

The Fort we built

I may have said this a hundred times before
That the denial is not mine to give away…

I may have looked away a hundred times before
When the Sunlight pierced sharp into the day…

I may have chosen quiet over words
When your echoes became louder in my mind…

I may have decided to rest awhile
When you wanted to chase the grind…

I may have known the tunnel was nearing the end
When the light at the end became clearer…

I may have known the journey was about to end
When your coursing through the forest aggravated my fear…

I may have spoken a lot or too less
When balance was what you sought…

I may have been too much in the head
And you found this insane and self-wrought…

Whatever it was, serene or ravaging
It took years to build the fort
Whose walls, vulnerable to the West Winds
Took one second…

To fall,

Leaving, amidst the sand –

Remains,

Rummaging for a new land…


Without…

How is the weather inside
Does it breeze gently
With gusts of rain

Or does it storm
Profoundly
Like an arrogant hurricane

How is the lightning within
Does it thunder
With growls unrestrained

Or is it quieter
Unobtrusive
Like gurgling bubbles-chained.

How do you reckon
To match the two…


The thunder within,

with the ramshackle..

Without.

© Shalini

All that is…

What is this
That tests my hopes so…

What is this colour in the sky
That repels and is so loud…

What is the rush in the waves
That seems to devour every shore…

What is this…this roar
That silently lurks in every corner…

What is this garden
That doesn’t let the winds in…

What is this speech
That is scared of being mouthed…

If this is what the world is
What then is the release
What is the way out…

What is that door
Beyond the cacophany…

What is that grass
Overly green, like Paradise…

What is this shift
From boredom to ecstasy…

What
What is this world

That lives on in uncertainty.

-Shalini

You may look up the book ‘Messiah’ for my collection of short poems.

https://www.amazon.in/dp/1947697498/ref=cm_sw_r_wa_apa_glt_fabc_DEBD6EFKWMFHY71DGC7X

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