On Waiting

In Tamil: paartha idathilellaam-unnai poalavae paavai theriyudhadi
(rough English translation) Everywhere I look-your semblance emerges in everything

My respect for single parents has been renewed this week.
It is 2nd week of back-to-school.
Utter craziness between work and the boys.
Primarily because Kumar was out of town and I was on lone-warrior duty.

I can write more. But, don’t have to. Because, there is a song by one of my favorite poets that captures the very essence of the heart ache involved in waiting for a loved one.

It is called “Theertha karaiyinilye”. Even if you don’t understand Tamil, the pathos in the song will tug at your heartstrings. A female version rendered by Oscar nominee Bombay S Jayashri

Theertha karaiyinilye – song in Tamil, english transliteration and translation can be found here.

Poet Bharathiyar created an entire category of songs for women- titled “Kannamma” songs. Kannamma is also a female name in Tamil and also used as a term of endearment for both male and female. These songs, ranging from inspirational to romantic captured the writer’s emotions at various times in his life. The lyrics are complex and rich and powerful.

So, I wait here for him. On the boundless verge of time. To drop by anytime now, knock on the door and relieve me from lone-warrior duty.

Neruda’s Poetry

When there is too much going in my life, I try go back to where I find solace……within books.

Today morning, in the midst of the rolling thunderstorms, I decided to walk over to the book shelves and pull out a treasure . This treasure was gifted to me in Summer 1999 by a treasure (my grad school friend Gargi Adhav) that loves shayari (poetry) as much as I do.

Neruda thoughts are going to be my best friend for the next few days. I’ll possibly carry the book with me everywhere I go… and amongst the hustle and bustle of life, my mind will soak in what Neruda calls for.. “a poetry as impure as old clothes, as a body with its foodstains and its shame, with wrinkles, observations, dreams, wakefulness, prophesies, declarations of love and hate, stupidities, shocks, idylls, political beliefs, negations, doubts, affirmations, and taxes.”

Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He wrote his poetry in Spanish. I am reading the translated version in English. I am sure lots has be lost in translation…yet, the beauty of his thoughts have survived. Read more about him here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Neruda


This Too Shall Pass

There are days when we all need the reminder “This Too Shall Pass”.

Those are the days that I go back and read Theodore Tilton’s The King’s Ring.


Once in Persia reigned a King,
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel, at a glance,
Fit for every change or chance:
Solemn words, and these are they:
‘Even this shall pass away!’


Trains of camels through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to rival these.
But he counted little gain
Treasures of the mine or main.
What is wealth? the King would say;
‘Even this shall pass away.’


In the revels of his court,
At the zenith of the sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests,
He, amid his figs and wine,
Cried, O loving friends of mine!
Pleasure comes, but not to stay:
‘Even this shall pass away.’


Lady fairest ever seen
Was the bride he crowned his queen.
Pillowed on the marriage-bed,
Whispering to his soul, he said,
Though a bridegroom never pressed
Dearer bosom to his breast,
Mortal flesh must come to clay:
‘Even this shall pass away.’


Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield.
Soldiers with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his tent.
Groaning from his tortured side,
Pain is hard to bear, he cried,
But with patience day by day,
‘Even this shall pass away.’


Towering in the public square
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue carved in stone.
Then the King, disguised, unknown,
Gazing at his sculptured name,
Asked himself,And what is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay:
‘Even this shall pass away.’


Struck with palsy, sere and old,
Waiting at the Gates of Gold,
Spake he with his dying breath,
Life is done, but what is Death?
Then, in answer to the King,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray —
Even this shall pass away.

Sickness in Winter

I came home to see this.
Adi was slouching on the couch.

Ear hurting.
Head hurting.
Bundled up.
Drinking hot tea to sooth his throat.

Of all the diagnosis that Dr. Kumar (for the record: my husband isn’t a doctor, this is a title I have given him when he diagnosis problems) has made about me, the top diagnosis is #OCD.

Despite my #OCD-like symptoms which including furious cleaning and urging everybody in the house to be clean, Adi fell sick today.

Because of “sick” symptoms yesterday evening, he asked me to write a note yesterday night to his PE teacher to be excused from the mandatory 1 mile run today. I did write the note. But, given the trooper he is, he reported back today evening that he did not use the note. He ran and set a personal-record. Despite the sickness and a terrible headache.

As a parent, one of the the hardest things to watch is your child lying down on the couch with a fever.

All evening long, I am going to be singing Bharathiyar’s (one of my favorite Tamil poets) lines to Adi:
shaTru mukham shivandAl manadu sancalamAgudaDi
neTri shurungak-kaNDAl enakku nenjam padaikkudaDI
un kaNNil nIr vazhindAl ennenjil udiram koTTudaDi
en kaNNin pAvaiyenrO kaNNammA ennuyir ninradanrO

If your face turns to discomfort, even momentarily, my heart is disturbed
When I see your forehead wrinkle, my heart flutters with fear
If I even see small droplets of tears in your eyes, a whole river of blood flows in my heart
(because) You’re the light of my eyes, my life is yours

Here is the full song