Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A tear

The light of your laughter,
The wonder in your eyes,
The pride of your work,

What all have you lost,
What all did the brutes
Wrest away from you!

 We will give you the tears,
We will remember your life,
We will keep you from slander,

But then what else can we give
Who have no power to return
What you lost- a promising life.


Friday, April 05, 2013

Female Quixote

You are in your twenties. You do not know what to do- whether to get married or pursue a promising career that exists in your dreams. You are brilliant; at college known for punctuality and studious hardworking nature. You have clear cut opinions on almost everything under the sun, including your future husband.

Secretly inside you live a person who believes in finding love somewhere quite unexpectedly but you don’t want that person to take control. For some strange reason love eludes you when it hits everyone everywhere: in buses, trains, offices, colleges, libraries, churches, hospitals, everywhere. No, its not that you do not go out but you are very serious about whatever you do. You go for work and keep cordial relationships with your male colleagues, who have a hard time understanding you. You go to church and either pray or sleep. You travel in buses full of guys but keep reading the boards everywhere. You visit the library crowded with handsome guys thrice a week but nothing interests you more than what’s new inside the well-vacuumed and orderly kept library.

Finally, when some guy is interested you are not and you don’t want to be either. You become conscious of all this stuff only when you decide to be good-looking on your cousin’s wedding day. You are no beauty but suddenly people take note of you clad in this strange costume and say: “Oh my God! You look beautiful. We’ll be attending your marriage next. May be I will talk to your mother. There are a few guys that I know.” There is laughter and you cannot help blushing. From uneducated relatives there are questions and sneers meant to make you understand that their hardly educated daughters had two kids and a handsome husband during the same period of time that you were working hard to earn a university degree.

Here you go. Suddenly you feel confused. You have dreams about your life though you do not know which route to pursue. These wise old women prescribe marriage for you as if you have become an old maid, as if marriage is the end of all these problems while you try to think about the whole lot of people who have trouble keeping their marriages intact.

Worse than the old women are your friends: school, college and workplace. They wonder when they can attend your marriage as if that was something they have looking forward to their whole life. Unbelievable. The haughty ones turn docile after marriage and speak in a sweet voice to their hubbies in a voice that makes you want to puke. In front of you they act that their life is so perfect and to have a perfect life what they advise you is to get married to someone they know: Do you know that my hubby has a friend named A, who is very good? He’s not that educated as you but he’ll keep you happy!” “Et tu Brute was not written without a reason.

If you are not a female Quixote, may be you are unbelievably blessed, lucky or born out of time in this strange age!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Nissim Ezekiel's "Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S"


our dear sister

is departing for foreign

in two three days,


we are meeting today

to wish her bon voyage.

You are all knowing, friends,

What sweetness is in Miss Pushpa.

I don't mean only external sweetness

but internal sweetness.

Miss Pushpa is smiling and smiling

even for no reason but simply because

she is feeling.

Miss Pushpa is coming

from very high family.

Her father was renowned advocate

in Bulsar or Surat,

I am not remembering now which place.

Surat? Ah, yes,

once only I stayed in Surat

with family members

of my uncle's very old friend-

his wife was cooking nicely…

that was long time ago.

Coming back to Miss Pushpa

she is most popular lady

with men also and ladies also.

Whenever I asked her to do anything,

she was saying, 'Just now only

I will do it.' That is showing

good spirit. I am always

appreciating the good spirit.

Pushpa Miss is never saying no.

Whatever I or anybody is asking

she is always saying yes,

and today she is going

to improve her prospect

and we are wishing her bon voyage.

Now I ask other speakers to speak

and afterwards Miss Pushpa

will do summing up.

By Nissim Ezekiel

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A True Gift in Green

To know the mind of woman, he has to know first, the mind of the land.
Sarah Joseph is one of the celebrated women novelists of Malayalam literature and she has he has received numerous awards and honours such as Kendra Sahitya Academy Award, Kerala Sahitya Academy Award, Vayalar Award, Cherukad Award and O.V. Vijayan Sahitya Puraskaram. Her Malayalam novel Aathi was published simultaneously with its English translation Gift in Green by Valson Thampu in 2011. In her interview with Valson Thampu, Joseph speaks about how she modelled the land of Aathi on a island Valanthakkadu in Ernakulam district of Kerala. She was amazed by the lives of the people who subsisted in fishing, picking mussels and farming Pokkali rice. They earned as much as Rs. 300 a day picking mussels but never fished for more than that as they count on the fish and mussels as their fixed deposits. The author praises the subsistence perspective of the people of Valanthakkadu by basing a novel on their simple life.

The land of Aathi is pristine covered with water on all sides. The people lived the water-life, drawing sustenance from the water and the fields. Their water-life meant that their daily immediate needs were met from earth and water as they could collect enough food to feed the whole family just by working till noon everyday. The mangroves that surrounded the land of Aathi contained plenty of fish, which the people used to catch with their bare hands. During high tide, these fish and prawns were carried across to the rice fields, from where the people caught them. They also knew the secret of growing rice in salty waters. In Aathi, people from the ancient times lived the water-life, harvesting only what they need from nature.

The destruction of the pristine, land, water and its people starts with the advent of Kumaran, a business tycoon who sees in Aathi, the means of making money. With his coming, the modes of living such as the water-life and farming are replaced by construction of buildings resulting in pollution, creation of toxic waste and destruction of natural habitat. The novel also shows the environmentalist concerns of the writer as she describes the present-day issues of Kerala such as water contamination, lack of proper waste disposal systems, dumping of biomedical waste in rivers and waterbodies, the use of endosulfan to ensure profit in farming, the problems of landfilling, destruction of marshes disposal of plastic and biomedical waste and so on. However, nature cannot be exploited and contaminated forever and the waters of Aathi rise in a flood and purify the whole land.

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