Saturday, August 28, 2010

We live in Unromantic times …

When was the last time something MAGICAL happened to you? ...

The twinkling eyes of surprise, honest eagerness, the midnight oil, the elation of possession of something awaited or the presence of a loved one and all those little things that made everyday feel like a romance with life, are lost somewhere. These are for sure unromantic times! These are times when we fail to remember the last time we felt things were magical enough to make us feel reality as only a passing and that there is something greater and better.

I wish I could be there on spring afternoons when eager children awaited the keeper to go off sight, to break into a protected mango orchard, armed with self-made catapults & stones. Mango trees with branches heavy of ripe fruit - a bright pleasant sight - struck free of their weight by the children who then devour the mangoes – a fresh yellow & green.

My fervent heart fantasizes the times when love letters and stolen moments captured in poetry were treasured as memoirs of great displays of affection between lovers. Times of Shakespeare, Keats & Ghalib. Moments that were passed on over generations as models of how love could be a candle in the dark. I envy those times when distance could churn a deeper sense of affection in lovers than break it.

There was time when the theatre & films were the primary inspiration of the lives of many; where they searched for inspiration to churn realities. Long queues and journey’s after, the pleasure of the plain two-tone printed paper – the ticket, shone like gold. To engage elated in the elaborate states of fiction where death evaded the hero as the mother’s devotion infallible protected him and he always got away with the best woman.

I look for inspiration into a time, when there were no politicians, but were leaders &/or legends who inspired masses with nothing but pure will. Those who made death feel like rebirth. They were men & women who could not be stopped by the many things that could arrest mortal souls in their steps. Almost divine their presence could awe all and sundry to action in blind faith.

We live in such unromantic times where the magic is lost. The inspiration is lost. There is pain, doubt & ignorance that disturbs us and takes us away from all that is and could be magical with our lives. There is a growing space in my heart for those lost & simple but magical moments. I only pray now that I could find a few of my own and you could find yours.

Let’s make life more romantic!

~ Arun Raj ~

Monday, August 23, 2010

~ Pursuit of Love ~

Oh blessed are thee, those hurt in love.
Of journey’s done in the pursuit of happiness
This be the noblest of them.

~ Arun Raj ~

Images from Krista - Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist

Sunday, August 22, 2010

~ Dancing for Wings ~

I danced until my heart cried
Praying wings for my feet – they pained.

Awaited now the flight.

~ Arun Raj ~

~ Sweet Pain of Love ~

So blue my heart of the pain of love,
That the red of my blood turns green
In the envy of its displeasure !

~ Arun Raj ~

Saturday, August 21, 2010

~ Spirit Free ~

I bathed in the light of a thousand candles.

To yellow to white and to gas I turned.

And now free of my body at last;

I can fly beyond my human boundaries cast.

~ Arun Raj ~
March 16, 2010

Image Credits - Richard R Young

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pictures - Friends lost, Love found

Some pictures of a past
Long behind - stand out!
Of friends, lovers & moments
Set apart by time, captured in Pictures.

A cup of tea, a shared smoke,
A cake smudged across faces,
T-shirts worn alike or the cheap hang-outs
We spent time at - all shine clear now.

Oh younger we were
As babies, brothers, sisters and
Trying Teenagers.
Unbound, unfolding like an intense book.

Tears find the corners of the eyes
Like a puppy to its ball.
An overwhelmed heart
Pumps out emotions lost.

The age of each picture evident
In pecks of dust gathered,
The crumbles on some
And the tear on others.

Our faces growing older
The signs of age taking over.
People in our arms changing
But not the love we share.

Some love of a past
Long behind - comes back!
Of friends, lovers & moments
Set apart by time, captured in Pictures.

~ Pushku (Arun Raj), 17.08.2010 ~
Dedicated to Shiju, Jikku, Pappi, Jestin, Lisha, Ashi & Albert who know me best as 'Pushku' - Love you guys :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Woman I knew

I once knew a woman.
Light as a feather she tread;
Watching every stone underneath,
As she took each step
Lost in the delight
Of watching her own steps take flight.

I once waited for her
On a busy street – eager.
Around the corner I keep watching;
A minute – a decade, and
A second – a year, it feels,
But time had lost its purpose.

I once sat with her – listening keen;
Of poets living from the pages
Of books – worn, and words – animate.
My time was now a machine;
Tick-tock it did. But my heart – anew,
Sang to me – ‘The beginning, the end is all here!’.

I once sat to write a song about her.
I strung a few words together, on a stray paper.
And I wished they felt fit in her tribute.
But they ran away – insecure!
Into a jungle of memories;
All they send back was – Special!

I once sat with her across
A table - uneasy between us!
Something in her sent me fetching
Each time I looked at her.
As if my words eloped
With her singing spirit.

I once walked alongside her
In loops around – as no end seemed right.
How much we wished
Each moment stood &
Each tingle we felt evaded time.
Oh, how little we knew each other!

I once had to say goodbye.
Some say I cried & others say I laughed
When I had to leave her behind.
I wished hardest then;
To stop my broken heart's leak!
But goodbyes evaded me.

I do wish now that we could do it all again
The endless roads, the poets forlorn,
The lost time & the busy streets;
Her hand in mine!
With a passing gale now I wish to it -
Take me along to her - that Woman I knew!

~ Arun Raj - 15/08/2010 ~
Dedicated to a special lady

Photo by rsplatpc

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A New Era of Matrimony

Aakanksha Singh, 24/05/2010

It's raining marriages recently, 16th may Delhi records ~20K marriages, Mumbai was far ahead with ~50K wow! I wonder, if all these marriages are trademark heaven, how busy god might have been with the task of paring the perfect ones, because looking at the preparations here surely Earthians drill every nook and corner of the marriage commodities market.

Away from the flashy lights, a peek into the groom-bride hunt is a tiring journey in the service class community. The search is dominated caste (to be understood), family status followed by right age, educational qualifications, job status and security, physical compatibilities of skin color to boy-girl height ratios etc etc - initial screen test passed. The next scene unfolds "meeting of the prospective couple", an affirmative nod implies background search of the boy (inquiring at work place to get a general ans). Merrily the families come together and propose the marriage budget. Common middle class rates are 20-25 lakhs (the girl's family sheds it, strictly for marriage preparations), backed by phrases of "parivar ki izzat ka sawal hai" "rishtedor ka aise mauke par khayal na rakhe ge to kab" "apki beti jab hamari hui to hamari ijjat bhi to apke haath mein hui, bas aur kya chaiye". The bundles of loans, Debt from friends, relatives follows. Becuase to be true, the girls parents earnings were spent on her education and managing the house, and whatever the parent could save has lost the value in today's modernized society. And apart from money, you can only be hopeful that your to be spouse meets the bare minimum criteria to understand you as an individual.

This materialization and commercialism of relation of the present days has left more than a few in a flux, they cannot bring themselves to be a part of the arranged (its fixed rather) setup, and hardly have any alternatives to look for , where parents concerns as well as their like-mindedness form the base of a relation giving money a backstage.

A few years back i wanted to help my friend, advice her as to what alternative could be, and i had no clue, and the situation occurred couple of days back with another of my friend. Having seen 25-30 years of life, it warms the heart to be able to hold hands with a companion for life, today we base our thinking on realistic dreams, the Cinderella story tales are over. sensible, self made, self morals and principles, an outlook to life and the mindset to deal with it are a part of what we are today. Now if in these times i am only looking for a like-minded guy or girl to spent the rest of my life and if Pre-marriage love didn't flourish in my life, do i have to bring myself to adhere to a system with is difficult to get under my throat.

Some of us are faced with this question, but hardly with any moderate alternates as in if not the same caste than maybe an acceptable one to the family but a person on my thinking lines. Seems too much to ask for. we are aware that the confluence to 2 different personalities calls for adjustments, up-downs/disagreements difference of opinions are a part and parcel but with equitable mutual respect and a sense of understanding is appreciable too. And if that's there, i guess why to lash out so much money, we can convince family going through a rigmarole with them and if not at least device a way by taking shared responsibility on our (the engaged couple) shoulder's rather than burdening one's parents alone.

Hence, the idea of why not to bring up a platform for mutual arrangements for people who are more of true socialists, and those who want to be initiators of this social change but rather do not find an accessible medium for actually bring it into their lives. Thinking on these lines, why not we take up the task of associating with matrimonial sites, magazines, newspapers for bringing up sections where the profiles are browseable based on off beat track, and on similar lines we form up our own group, promote in families, friends, work place etc etc and create it ourselves.

~ Aakanksha Singh (A volunteer from AID NOIDA Chapter)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Love has come!

One too many light-years it felt but,
A silent drought just gave way;

To a burst of misplaced happiness!

A wind blew under my feet, tickling

My failing senses amuck with sensations

I thought lost & past revival.

To spread arms and seeking to embrace each breathing

And non-breathing gift - God’s mischiefs,

Wished a heart that took to steps of its own!

An orchestra - Violins, Bass & grand Pianos,

Leave their stern conductors, to take a stance

With the flutes, clarinets & trumpets in tango.

The percussion, to its soul notes played

Free of their maestros, in a rhythm unheard;

To match each splashing drop of the impulsive rain that begun.

As the world around took to its random heart steps

The Gods gift the sun-pleasured earth with

A stray shower sparkling in tints of pink roses & tulips yellow.

A stubborn bolt of lightning, finds its way
Through a lazy dark cloud, to the middle;
And skid haplessly in the acoustic trance of the percussion.

Smitten and their workday un-mind, a few passerby -

Embracing a lost rhythm in them, flaunt

A forgotten drift in their own songs.

The loved, lost & the have-nots alike walked

Along me in a symphony alive; shaking off the mundane,

The withered & the worn; born to a fresh heart.

I look over my shoulder to find,

A fallen leaf – still fresh from its tree’s song,

Jiggles away with no fret of its impending demise.

I feel a pyre – dancing in a bright yellow flame,

Setting off the lost to ash, taken away in a rootless

Stream steered confused by the fallen bolt of lightning.

And so came love - back to me – back

As a spark and left me claiming excited -

Love has come!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celebrating my most treasured Women : Part 3(i)/3 – Friends

As some wise people have said, ‘Friends are family you get to chose!” I can stand testimony to this and claim that some of my closest friends are as good as Family to me. And above this, a Woman as a friend tends to be more to both man or woman than just a passing commentator on what you should do and not do. They take up every role that can be thought of – as the cushions that support your fall, as a mother that cares for you, as a sister who stands by you no matter what & a friend that fights for you.

These here are few Women whom I respect for their abilities to spread hope, love and yet stand unfazed through difficulties.

Rupa Bidap – Counsel, Great Friend & Cynic Extraordinaire

This irreverent petite lady packs quite a punch and can easily be passed on as irrelevant, but that is until she speaks her mind out. Her calculated irreverence has the strength to overwhelm any opponent that comes within her ring of fire. Making her the perfect person to set the sails of senses into you!

Life has made her tough as a stone but her womanly sensitivity lies dormant and takes expression unlike any other human being. She takes to counsel, direct or support for you, from her refined sense street smartness. She is the quintessential self-made woman, unfazed by the very things that effect normal people.

Sonia Singh – Friend, Big Sister
& sometimes Mother

We met as part of my volunteer activities with our Project – AID Prayas around 2 years and our friendship grew as if we were destined to meet. The session that defined our friendship was one where we were interrogated for a bombing attempt in a mall in NOIDA. Its true and you can read about it here !

Sonia, I am sure was designed to and will become a great Mother one day. This lady is a classic example of the perfect Mother – exceedingly caring, asks you what exactly you want to have and gets it prepared for you, sits to listen to you, keeps reassuring that everything will be alright, sets your blanket for you at bedtime & tells you to keep your shoes outside the house and wash your feet.

Both these women being demanding professionals are respected by team-mates, partners & friends alike. They are known for their focused, reliable and assertive approach. Ambitious but still close to their essence of being a Woman (at least in the classic definition).

Arun Raj

PS: Its taking me time to close this bit. Part 2 of this finale post is in the writing, will try to finish it the next few days. :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Celebrating my most treasured Women: Part 2/3 – The Fighters of AID Prayas

Working at Prayas I have seen my share of instant gratification searching individuals. But then there have been a few people who I have worked with in the past 3+ years tenure as a volunteer for AID Prayas, whose work and value cannot be justified by words. Today on Women's day I would like to highlight some individual ladies without whom Prayas as it is today would not have been so.

These ladies have all the basic traits of any woman - Compassionate, Caring, Devoted, & yet much more.

Charu Garg

This write up is going to give her the shock of her life but this really what i think of her.

All the arguments and nonsense talk that we do apart, I have seen this lady grow in devotion to the children of Prayas and also shown a keen but dispassionate & balanced position for the activities at Prayas. Without much talk and all action I am floored by the self-driven motivation she has under the pressures she face from home and parents.

Linkan Subudhi

This one is a fighter lady. With a heightened sense of self-awareness, she can be arrogant but yet with clarity on her position. She can fearlessly pickup fights to fix the wrong while being aware of her individual limitations.

Like the other ladies at Prayas her devotion to date is unshakable and unquestionable. Strong, independent and self-motivated, this is the way I believe all women should be.


Oh my God ! If you know this lady you would agree with me that the phrase 'Gift of gab' should be rewritten as 'Gift of Anuradha'.

I have known her for 3years now and she has not changed one bit. Talk about self-satisfaction at such a young age. This tanker of humor and unbridled energy has the very important task of keeping the energy levels high at our team meetings and sessions at Prayas.

I would also go to the extend to say, she single-handedly did turn around Prayas at one point.

Aakanksha Singh

I have to agree that I don't know her too well, but I am impressed by the way she has taken up the more under-understood tasks at Prayas and is driven and focused on it. It is always difficult to take the initiative towards the path less-trodden. Mostly soft-spoken, but the words I get to hear about her perspectives on social issues and working of Prayas I feel all the more proud that we have had the honor of working with such an individual.

The mettle and devotion shown by these ladies are highly commendable and are worthy of every praise that can be showered on them.

I salute you Ladies!

[NOTE: The ordering of names above has no relevance. :P]

Celebrating my most treasured Women - Part 1 – Mom & Sisters

For me 0.001% is still hope that there is a chance of a better tomorrow. This Women’s day I wish to raise a toast and shower my adoration to the women that have given me this hope, stood for & by me as an angel when I needed support and taught me compassion.

In this first part, I wish to let my hearts love flow out for my Mother & my two lovely sisters - the most important people in my life. This series of adoration will have two more parts - one for some individual women who have influenced who I am today and have been close to me and the third part will cover a few my favorite & inspiring ladies of Prayas.

My Mother

Oliver Wendell Holmes quote:
~ Youth fades; love droops; the leave of friendship fall, A mother's secret hope outlives them all. ~

Unlike the many ephemeral / passing statements of hope that we receive in our moments of low, as Oliver Wendell rightly states in his quote, a mother’s silent hope and devotion stands tall and gets us through the drear and dreads of life.

My mother’s reassurance during some difficult times and her warm arms that I could retire to when I return home has taken me through the many heartbreaks of life. Her smile has an elixir effect on me every time I think about it, and I miss her every moment she is not around.

My Sister’s mock her when Mom tells them that she heard me calling out to her, when I am not at home. To add, one of the best moments of my life that I keep recollecting and feel blessed are the ones when I return home and call out to my Mom, ‘Mummy !’, as I reach the gate at our home in Kerala. And then she comes rushing out with a smile – undemanding, grateful & finally at peace! Life, could not be better!

My two lovely sisters – Veena & Vidya

Deborah Moggach’s quote:
~ Whatever you do they will love you; even if they don't love you they are connected to you till you die. You can be boring and tedious with sisters, whereas you have to put on a good face with friends. ~

Mom’s devotion & innocence seems to have rubbed off on both them; at least mostly. They have taken from Dad a deep sense of sincerity to friendships and relationships they make. A great mix, as you may agree, for making a compassionate and caring individual.

To add to that is a dash of independence that they have grown to possess. Especially now after 3 years of being in college and with the many challenges that colleges offer from roadside Romeos, tight string pocket money budgets, reasoning with Dad & Me to go for trips, etc.

I see and wish deeply that these two women become into more than just somebody’s wife or just another person. I pray that they become able to make strong decisions not just for themselves but also be able to guide and support others.

Happy Women's Day to all Mothers & Sisters !!