At The End Of It All

We had an interesting conversation the other day about how it will be when “all this” is over. “All this” was a long list to it. Quarantine and Covid came first. But the bunch quickly moved into other potent and damning things like lives, livelihoods and work. So, ” what do you see at the end of it all ?”emerged as some kind of a hazy north star towards which the conversation meandered.

Like a boat that bobbed up and down guided by the waves, the more articulate threw the conversation around. The better informed provided data. Disagreement was the standard suite of the argumentative ones as was silence with the quiet ones.

Yet, it was a poem which sent the data to the deepest recesses of a lump in the throat that arrived without announcement. Stay silent and still, it seemed to urge.

Derek Walcott‘s “Love After Love” was brought alive by a silent someone in the group even as the conversation about jobs and careers was going full steam. Going downhill to never land that is!

He unmuted himself and the room fell silent as it was not his wont to unmute. A perky restrained smile made a quiet appearance in the corner of his lips. . “I lost my job last week”, he began. “The world looks different now, so much so, I wish it had happened to me earlier” he said.

And then, went on to read the poem.

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other's welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self. 
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.

“At the end of it all”, he said, “everything is new. And everything is a possibility. Because everything you knew as ‘The’ way, is now ‘A’ way. One of those ways.”

“So, at the end of it all, you can begin again. I have. For that reason, there must be more ends.” And that was that. That conversation. That settled the information abundance and the thought poverty. It dwarfed arguments and provided closure to hopes and fears. At least for that night.

There was nothing much left to speak. It was at the end of it all.

Tom Sawyer moments

I have something called a Tom Sawyer moment. Amongst my childhood heroes, Tom Sawyer is one heck of a kick ass dude. His successes with Becky Thatcher aside, his ingenuity to get a group of friends whitewash the fence was jaw-dropping awesome as a kid. It remains jaw-dropping AWESOME as an adult with a paycheck.

For ages I have hankered for a Tom Sawyer moment in my life. A moment when what got handed out as a punishment morphs into something quite different. A happy time when a lofty proposition is made loftier and transformed into a fun happy time.

A few weeks ago after some insane amount of peering into monitors and hammering away at the keyboard, the missus sentenced me with the responsibility of taking care of the little miss. When it became clear that I perhaps would end up enjoying it all, she threw in another angle. There would be two other kids that might join in.

Without much ado, we got working. The girls had to first scamper around and collect as many dry leaves as could be found in the garden. Then for strewn flowers. It took them an effort but they had a whale of a time. After which, came the task of arranging it all for display.



Their hands were a dark shade of brown. The colour of the soil with assorted grime that came about by heckling the wind and peddling joy. When playtime neared its end everyone was happy. The mommies were happy that their tasks were behind them. The morose gardener let loose a rare smile and a good word to the girls to see most of his cleaning done.

As for me, my Tom Sawyer moment had arrived. The girls have said they want to do it again and one of them put it in simple terms. “Uncle, I will share my lollipop with you”

Plus, the little miss was one proud bundle. ‘My daddy’ she said. The moments that stay in memory are the unannounced and silly times. They whizz by. Slow down, put out your hands and watch them fall into your life.

Life teaches everyday. If only we care to listen.


Tom sawyer 1

Giving !

It is morning. Its still raining. The flowers on offer are too tempting to resist. Bright white ones. With those dots of yellow. All kept in a red bucket. Fresh from a pond close by. Theres not much aroma. But they are a treat for the eyes.


Theres a knock on the door. And a young innocent school going kid stands on the other side. She smiles. And proceeds to state that she is from the 10th floor of the same apartment.

“Its the Joy of Giving Week uncle”. So she speaks. In a well rehearsed presentation. The request is simple. She is collecting old newspapers from each house in the apartment. She wants to sell it and ‘GIVE’ the proceeds to slum children living close by.

She sure should have given slum children something. For all the newspapers in the apartment would have added to decent sum.

More importantly, she sure gives hope. That all is not lost. That people still do think about the man living down the street. And are willing to go knock and open many doors. The mind is young ! Nothing can be more encouraging.

The Joy of Giving week is here ! Actually, its slipped into its third day ! It sure does merit an extra thought ! And some action too.

In the modern day, fast paced world, to stop and look is at a premium. Giving is still further away! Perhaps its time, to make a start. To stop, look and give ! Perhaps its time to commence by giving !

Whatever. Clothes. Eyes. Appliances. Books. Sweets. Whatever ! Perhaps its important to add there : Time, hope and such else too. And maybe they are the ones on real short supply !

So people, here is the message. To all those that give, give more ! And for all those that have been thinking about it : try giving !

The Joy of Giving week is here. And we are three days into it ! Make a start this week. And carry it all along ! Perhaps you can let the world know by sharing it too. You never who it will propel to action !


Ah those flowers. They were beautiful weren’t they.

The smile and joy that emerge after sometime, evident from their wide grins and shy nods is but a logical visible consequence.

A consequence of something as simple as a small conversation over a pack of cookies that were in the car..! It has always caused unceasing wonder, that such smiles indeed reside in otherwise sad faces.

The beauty in those smiles.. well.. they beat the beauty of the flowers. All the time !

Kala Ghoda Festival ’09

The Kala Ghoda Art Festival of Mumbai beckoned. Kala Ghoda ( Black Horse ) is the name of that area. (Named after a statue of Prince Edward astride on a black horse, which incidentally is long gone) .

Read the details of the festival here.

A festival, to my mind, is a swarm of people, a riot of colour, a ring of happiness, sounds of cheer, loads of music, tonnes to see, and of course leaves you with a ring of joy. That’s what happens at the Chitrai festival in Madurai.

That’s what happens at all festivals. That’s something that was abundant at the Kala Ghoda Festival too. Make no mistake though, each has a different character and ring to it !

Here are some pictures from the Kala Ghoda festival !

The Entry Arch !
Art out of bottles, buckets and such other ‘water carriers’ ! The amount of plastic and waste that we use seem to be going sky high !

We seek to look upto the sky for some answers !

This stall both educated and appealed to the people with toilets at home. And sought to remind that there are many without that facility. And what a way to do that ! This one stayed with me.
The stage backdrop

A clothes stall with puppets in front.

Of course. The symbolism was hard to miss. As i stood outside, looking at other sights, the missus was inside !

A flute vendor

I wonder why they don’t give some flute lessons along ! The chap plays flute so well, that you are tempted to buy it with the hope that the magic is in the flute. And that you too would be able to pull off such mellifluous music from thin air.

Alas. When the flute comes to my lip, all it could produce was a vague gust of air and some strange sound that was almost like a fire alarm.

A wire made man walking a narrow strips !

Art from metal was captivating ! And captivating was just not the word. I stood there for a long while. Just to revel in the ingenuity of the human mind. And wondered why we seem to go in tangents so very often.

There are faces on the wall. They seem to be saying something. And that’s there on all walls of the world ! Aren’t there !?!

Empty well arranged bottles that had a people squinting, jostling and keen to look at what was inside ! And all the jostle had more people jostling to take a look ! Curiosity value gets some takers ! But this Osmosis was quite a sight !!
A kathak performance that we watched. Enthralled. Standing. Jostling. Yet, eyes rivet ted on the synchronous movement of legs, arms and body, to create a delight for the eyes and the ears.

And when we walked away at the end of it all, there was no mistaking the thrill that was there in our hearts !