Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A. V. Koshy writes

An Epic on Childhood -5

The ever flowering rose bush with its thorns
every matrix is right or wrong and wrong or right
or both right and wrong
or it is only what you make of it.
indian, christian, malayali, trivandrumite -
though it may have been the better one
in a different place or space
like the united states, maybe,
- all my friends who went there and stayed
or came back to india or went elsewhere made it bigger.
(or so it seems)
having learned better life skills? -
but my parents were nationalists
not rich, not knowing enough
to push me all the way out, out, there.
henceforth, my voice "would be calculatedly made to fall on deaf 

wherever i went
being male in a Mother-land, not sc/st/obc
highly gifted in English
the three so-called positive traits i was "given"
to offset the neutral ones
an odd combo.
caught in this plaintive web of grays
life stamped me as if with mediocrity
from which i try even now
to extricate myself
to catch the succulent flies
wealth, riches, fame, power, possessions
positions, awards, capital
fixed and movable assets
all immovable, none of which have come yet ...
only the fragrant sandalwood of poems
& the well-nigh everlasting teak of friendship
walk the road with my spirit's small beaker, poverty
as my schoolbag with my lunch in it and my water-bottle
to comfort me a-midst the varying surrounding scenery of 

     continuing misery
but when no one was looking
i saw the profusion of pinkish-white, reddish-white and  

     crimson-white roses in the single rose bush in my small rented 
     house's front yard
a bush brought up and carefully made to flower richly and profusely by my mother
the only silver lining in her otherwise monotonous drab dull 

     humdrum usual aspiring lower middle-class existence
silver lining of one who loved nature, poetry and beauty
but was imprisoned within four walls
and i, having read books
knew of how others even right next door had a different, much better life
i smelled the scent of the roses in the night in the small strip of a 

     confine of a front yard
and looked up at the night sky with its million multi-coloured 

     peacock-feathered eyes
its never ending distances
and longed
for freedom
for death
both being beyond me
like the sky
i wrote in my mind
my own death
my own freedom
my love for nature and beauty
in poems
as beautiful as the feel and fragrance of those roses, those stars and 

     the infinite, eternal blue-black regal night sky
poems i never wrote down
or wrote down and destroyed or lost
crumpled, torn up, forgotten, thrown away
in some dustbin or rubbish heap or burnt
in my secret world
of the perennially flowering rose bush of my childhood
planted by my mother
which cannot die
unless i am truly accursed
not only by man but god for my sins
in which case, of this too
nothing will last/remain
not even its memory
and all sink like the famed 9/11 towers
into dust and rubble
leaving behind but empty space
with not even a trace for the finger to follow
where once stood two giants
and now...just the presence of an absence
a gap where hearts once beat
smiles without happiness
and a(n) (in-)consequential story ended

*The quote is by Prathap Kamath, poet and friend, made fortuitously about me...

 Abstact rose painting | Holly Van Hart | abstract red roses with green and multi-color leaves, oil painting, title 'Amid the Scent of Roses'
 Amid the Scent of Roses -- Holly Van Hart

1 comment:

  1. A Trivandrumite is a resident of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital and largest city in Kerala, India. Marthanda Varma founded Travancore (Thiruvithamkoor in the local vernacular) in 1729, and Thiruvananthapuram became its capital in 1745 and a major artistic and intellectual center. In 1904, the Sree Moolam Assembly, the first democratically elected legislative council in any Indian state, was founded. Though it was never under British rule, the Indian National Congress had a very active presence there; however, Travancore remained independent when British rule over India ended in 1947. Its northern neighbor, Kochi, was the first princely state to join the Indian Union; when the two states united as part of India, as Thiru-Kochi, the king of Travancore became the rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union in 1949; this became Kerala in 1956.
    India has a quota-based reservation system to benefit legally recognized groups that were discriminated against. The terms Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) are recognized in the Indian constiturion. They were called Depressed Classes by the British, but SC are now referred to as “adi dravida” (or Dalits, meaning “oppressed" – often referred to as “untouchables”), and the ST are “Adivasis,” various ethnic and tribal groups considered to be the aboriginal population. In 1959, the “Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order” listed 1,108 castes across 29 states, and the “Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order” listed 744 tribes across 22 states. Other Backward Classes (OBC), and in some states Backward Classes among Muslims BC(M), are also recognized. The practice dates back to 1932, when British prime minister Ramsay Macdonald introduced the Communal Award, providing for separate legislative representation for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans, and “untouchables.” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who wanted a single national identity, vowed to fast to the death in protest but reached a compromise with Dalit leader Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar and Madan Mohan Malviya in the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune (Poona, modern Maharashtra) to have a single Hindu electorate with Dalits having seats reserved within it; electorates for other religions like Muslim and Sikh remained separate, however. In 1935, the Government of India Act gave Indian provinces greater self-rule and set up a national federal structure. However, reservation proposals were offered from 1882 onward, and in 1891, opponents in Travancore protested violently. Kolhapur (in Maharashtra) was the first to introduce the system, in 1902.
    The “9/11 towers” were the Twin Trade Towers in New York, the city’s tallest building, that were destroyed on 11 September 2001 in a terrorist attack launched by al-Qaida (al-qāʿidah, “The Base," "The Foundation," or "The Fundament"), a militant Sunni organization founded in 1988 by a member of one of Saudi Arabia’s richest families, Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, and his Palestinian mentor, ‘Abdu’llāh Yūsuf ‘Azzām, the “ Father of Global Jihad.”


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