Labor

What is it to live a life unfulfilled in reaching for the stars
a dream daunted by doubt, forever deposed by self

The exhale of your breath keeps lit an undying flame
an inkling of an inspiration, to continue onward, to push forward
to take a step onto the ship that leads us to our intention

To work endlessly for momentary satisfaction
to ceaselessly toil without respite
the hours of dedication
for the precious seconds of success

I reach for my destiny with a foot off the ground, an arm extended
with hopes of laying a finger on my dream
a palm on my prize
to clutch tightly the fruits of labor

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Dandelion

The delicate nature of life; the soft landscape of our souls
hold onto its stem with a tight grip in fear of letting go
The beautiful mind that spreads wildly through forces slight as gusting breath
carries the seed to affect, to bear influence on those who come close

The million little thoughts taking shape on the body
form a reality for the mind, held together but fearful of falling apart
beautiful, well rounded, fickle
carried off through the breeze to plant seeds for growth

For Mental Health Awareness Month

Pen

The perfect pen that paints pictures of prose
curving onto paper through the tips of my fingers
Write me a series of sentences, worth a thousand images
And let me be to myself, reclining back into my mind of mysteries

Imprint these words on fresh white sheets
until they cover me like tattoos in my waking moments
Let these words bear permanence on my body
as the marks of knowledge acquired on their silent reflection

Through sequences and volumes
long lasting in their length, forever in their lyrics
the endless chapter carved from the pen
writes on through the times of life
until the ink of life has dried
and my book withered into a million broken sentences

On Political Borders

Let us divide ourselves, our bodies within lines. The political boundaries, the ideologies and people that we once were and cannot seem to be anymore. Let us draw a line in the sand and dare the other to cross it, under fear of imprisonment, under punishment of death.
When did we learn to fear others? When did others learn to fear us?
And how shall we work to steady this ship
To understand that we are all in the same boat.

On my grandfather

My grandfather was a stage actor. He was a father, a son, a brother, and a husband. He was also a salesman who traded oil by day and sold laughter by night.
In the name of Marathi stage acting and farce, he had the ability to put on a show. One of the few men I have met with the ability to turn a bad joke into a good chuckle. He was convincing. He was funny and his never ending love of pets passed down the burning torch that is my care and love of animals.

I always imagine myself standing in front of him as he is seated on his bed, his diary in his hand and his books neatly arranged around him. I await a sentence that never comes from his mouth. Perhaps it’s because I can’t think of a question or maybe he did not hear it as he often did not towards the later stages of his life. I stand and I stare, a moment suspended in memory. I can’t get comfortable, I wait with impatience. Perhaps, one day, I will take a seat next to him again and finally ask him something I once knew the answer to but will ask anyway, if I am so lucky to relive such precious moments with my grandfather.

On the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation

Expand my mind, so it may stretch into a runway for launching ideas, for the harboring of uncertainties of novel nature in hidden hangars.
Let these ideas prepare as stowaways, uninvited, unaccepted, yet to find the freedom and bravery to take flight due to its audacious nature.
But when the wheels of this idea shall spin into action, when the stowaway is accepted as a passenger, the world shall look up to her and wish it had gotten on board earlier, to take flight together.

On the importance of education

The people that beg to differ
shall only beg in theories of mind
The man or woman with the hand outstretched
who begs all the time, for bread or for wine

The abstract will always be present
between right and wrong
The truth that shall set me free from bondage, mental and physical
that shall fend off starvation
lays in these theories that we may not touch but with which we shall affect the world
these are the means by which others may eat

Leaving Mumbai

To leave behind the intensity of travel, to set aside homeland for adopted aspirations of international living. I spend hours in contemplation and equal amounts in transit, worrying about the details of my trip and stuck in between worlds so different from one another. A world that is forever loud and unpredictable in motion to the world that is usually stable and tranquil.

I give up the pleasures of Indian culinary delicacies, of a world that remains simple through its complex social and political structures of life for my adopted home; one that can stake claim in my education and making but not in my birth. I might never return to live in India in my lifetime, and certainly never continue life in the subcontinent as if I had never left; as if I have never been displaced, as if I belong and know what I am doing.

My life shall forever be suspended in a world that requests my appearance briefly before I must go. Before I must leave to an unknown land, to an unfamiliar place where I must build from scratch and try again to create a life for myself.

In this life, I am forever a passenger, forever in flight, eternally stuck in transit.

The Wedding Procession

A small crowd proceeds down the main street in a crowded Mumbai district. The people march in front of the percussion group with an invigorating sense of explosion in the steps. All of the sudden, a young man cannot hold his excitement any longer. He throws his hands in the air, waving his body from side to side, dancing to celebrate the special occasion.

The drums continue to pound loud to the rhythm, the group moving slowly but fiercely down the hot street. Dressed in white and covered in colors derived from powder that is thrown around, the wedding procession stomps their feet and dance away the afternoon in jubilation. The beat builds up to a burst of energy and more people get involved in the street party.

Winding down the street to the venue, the little wedding congregation has attracted many curious bystanders. The procession continues, celebrating the young couple with sweat and dance intensifying to keep pace with the unstoppable city.

Mumbai III

The scorching sun rains a hell-fire of heat onto the cracked city pavement. These are the sure signs of the blazing summer that has laid siege yet again upon Mumbai in the depths of the midsummer. The sweat trickling off the foreheads, the unbuttoned shirts, the looks of thirst and need for shade on the faces of the city inhabitants.

I have spotted stray dogs taking shelter under cars and trucks. Puppies parched with their tongues whipping to the side of their mouths, their eyes squinting from the pollution and light that breathes heat onto their furry hot coats.

The government buildings are as they always are with people sitting, standing and eternally waiting to fulfill their daily duties and tending to legal and binding matters. A young man brings a large tray of tea for the clerks. Another drinks from the water fountain, only to be scolded by a servant none too pleased that the young one has placed his dry lips on the faucet. He is reprimanded before being sent out of the building while another young man opens the door to a room with thousands of files; a backlog of old cases that are available upon request to those that may require old legal documents. The senior officials are easily spotted. Wet with sweat and surrounded by crowds, the stand near to the ceiling fans that propel warm air over the fortunate visitors that await their turn in this game of patience. The officials command, authorize and commit to their duties with deliberated conviction.

As I make my way out of the building and back into the crowded city, I find it difficult to imagine employment in such offices, with bureaucracy as thick as the paper stacks that fill the drawers. In a complex land of connections, the paper work is deemed essential by authorities for the mass of people the city must accommodate on a daily basis. The game of patience must be played with no expectations and with complete commitment.