I met you little brother, only after you had gone away

I was running late for a meeting, when I suddenly met you little brother,

I couldn’t reach out and touch you

I couldn’t see you grin, showing that much-loved crooked tooth of yours

But I still met you.

I was running late for a meeting, when I met you little brother

I was hurriedly rummaging in my drawer for a hair clip I knew I had in there

I didn’t find the clip, but I found you

As my palm closed around a well-worn leather wallet.

Even before I took it out, I somehow knew it was yours

I remember someone thrusting it into my hands

As they readied you for your final journey

The memories come rushing back now

I remember coming home and putting away the little wallet

In the farthest corner of the drawer

So I wouldn’t find it easily because I didn’t want to.

And on a day, when I was rushing to keep an appointment

You held me back

As if to say, look at me

Look inside me; I’ll show you sides of me which I bet you didn’t know existed.

With trembling fingers, I opened the wallet

You kept your word; I did see you as never before

I saw you in the little bits and pieces of paper inside

Random notes from Mum and Dad to you

Couldn’t bear to throw them away could you?

Dad’s business card – why did you keep that so hidden and so safe?

Why didn’t you ever tell him you were so proud of him?

A preachy note I had written to you on the choices life gives to us

I thought I had written rubbish, but you kept it

What did it mean to you?

I saw photos, all tattered and falling apart

Telling me how often you must have held them, looked at them and put them away.

You always came across as irreverent

Disapproving of display of emotions and sentiments.

Did I really know you little brother?

Till I met you after you had gone?

I wish I had met you when you were around.

I could have at least ribbed you about the softie you actually were!

Bharathi Ghanashyam

 

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My imperfect world

Tree

Welcome to my imperfect world! The picture says it all. My harum-scarum world that only I understand. The chaotic world where only I can see the flowers – they grow any which way. Even the sky in my world follows its own order. In my world the grass grows the way I want it to – wild, without rules, not in any order – because being in an ordered world is to defy the ‘larger plan’. Being in a world of big plans is to defy and ignore the small ones that make life worth living. And yet, there are some perfect things even in my imperfect world. Like the tree!

The perfection in an imperfect world

The tree is exactly the way I want it to be, and the way I want to be – strong and unshakeable. It gives strength when all else is crumbling. It defies the sky sometimes; it nurtures all the little creatures that grow in its shade. It allows uninvited guests to come and make their homes on its strong branches – and doesn’t voice a whimper when they leave without as much as a bye leaving their untidy nests behind when their little ones have grown up and away. Is the tree something of a ‘doormat’? No, it’s a welcoming host.

It’s the tree that provides shelter against threatening storms and drenching rains. And when the rain is past and the refuge seekers have left, leaving their litter behind, the tree just smiles, forgiving them and waits for the next batch of refuge seekers. Is the tree devoid of self-esteem? No, on the other hand, it’s actually very sure of what its role in the world is.

The tree it is, which gives fruit to the stone-pelters, the free-loaders and the exploiters. It gives fruit without asking pesky questions. What will you do with it? What is my ROI (return on investment)? I need to meet my targets so I’ll crush my neighbouring tree. Is the tree unambitious? No, it’s just self assured.

The tree is not insecure; it doesn’t need constant reassurance about its place on earth. If that were not true, the tree would not live by its own rules, swing to its own music; it would not send fresh shoots up into the very place that the tree-cutter left his destructive trail. That’s because the tree spent years growing roots before it grew into the sky. That’s because it was in no hurry to grow up before it grew from inside – defiant, spunky and unafraid.

In my chaotic, imperfect world I take strength from the tree. There will be order in chaos one day. I am growing inside. Like a tree.

Bharathi Ghanashyam