Gifted child   Leave a comment

Diana Žylienė via MirisA Song for my Child…

Your silence was dear
my ol’ gifted child
if only you knew then
how one of a kind you were

Now when I drive you home
hope you won’t break down
I shall be standing outside
When you’re ready to leave that pain behind

Oh my darling girl
my starry eyed kid
if only you knew then
You’ve got wings instead of strings


The people were always staring
felt wretched, now it’s okay…
Come now beneath my wings…
And share your secrets with me.


Posted June 6, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in lyrics

A new house   3 comments

It is disconcerting when you feel like a stranger in your own house. For me that had been the case for over 20 years. I felt estranged and orphaned in my own house. In fact I could never call it my own. I had no sense of belonging or oneness with anything in the house except for my jhoola and I secretly think that was because the wrought-iron, ornate jhoola gave me a feeling of being cradled with its movement. The only time I had invested in that house was when my mother had taken us along to choose a design for the wall-to-wall carpeting for which I chose a Turkish print. It was the bane of my mom’s existence for the next 7 years that it could endure her wrath as it ‘camouflaged’ everything that spilled, poured, shattered on it.
I had myself convinced that I am not the house material. I had issues with my femininity anyways and household chores were always avoided at every cost (and I had paid some dear costs for it!).
A couple of years back I was drawn to the book, Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. It sucked me in an alternate reality of house renovations with Italian flair. I was besotted even more by her second book in the series, Bella Tuscany. It connected me deeply to a part of me I didn’t know I had. One that loved homes, creeping bougainvilleas, wrought iron gates, garden furniture, rustic brass handles, chequered tablecloths and lots of sunflowers!
About two months back, a dear friend announced that he was moving to U.K. I had been visiting him at his place for almost a year. I had stayed there a couple of times as well and loved the spaciousness and the vibrant energy of the place. Just when he announced his shift, I remembered having the thought a week prior of wishing to shift into that place if ever they leave. And so, with much hesitation, I asked him if we could rent the place after he and his family left. I needed to work out my finances and had an upcoming work trip that supported the deposit. Moreover, my parents, who had been yearning to shift out of our old house for a long time but couldn’t do so because of financial reasons, were overjoyed to shift in with me. We divided the cost between us and decided we could take it on. There was an added factor though. The house we used to live in earlier had the number ‘301’ and this one was a ‘302’. Having indulged a fair bit in the science of numerology myself, I intuitively felt good about this. It was a step up for me figuratively as well. And so in I plunged with my first real “heartfelt” commitment. It felt like a marriage.
The first step was stripping – stripping my room – which I discovered was very easy. It took me an hour and a half of meditation to gather the energy for it and then I dived in for five straight hours pulling things out, emptying my closet, filling up cargo bags. All along I was feeling a sense of quietness…the child in me was just watching, not knowing how to react. I stopped for a brief glass of lemon barley water to refresh myself and in I went again. Celtic music was playing, weaving a quiet sense of surrender. And yet something was missing. The truth was, for a couple of weeks before the official shifting date, I was staying at the new place with my friend. My ‘acclimatization’ had already begun. And one of the things I noticed was the sense of lightness this place gave me. It was quite literal really! Every morning every room was flooded with sunlight that blinded me as I woke up. There was very little furniture anyways that my friend had set up. That expounded the sense of emptiness even further. And now that I was back in the old house for just three days, I was reeling under the weight of it. Contrarily enough, my old place had heavy black curtains that kept out all sunlight in all the rooms. There was too much furniture everywhere thanks to my mom’s impulsive sense of picking up everything from street side markets that fascinated her. From Bangkok to Kolhapur city, we had it all under one roof that had shrunk in size over the years with the extent of the collection. At the end of the day I was done stripping my room. In my head I was reeling. I started feeling a strange sense of sitting on a ball of mercury and felt displaced. I couldn’t place this feeling to anything I have ever felt before. As the day drew close, and there was still tons left to pack before dawn next day when the movers were coming in, I was feeling unreal and lunatic. I reached out to a friend who tends to be like a towering presence for my inner child in times like these. He is my lightning rod in the storm and it turned out that he was in the process of moving too! It all felt a bit unreal to me. And I kept telling myself, “This too shall pass…” Finally before sleeping at around 2 am I prayed and blessed the house, and thanked it for serving us and asked it to allow us to leave in peace for greater peace.

The day of shifting dawned early and I was up at 6 am waiting for the movers to start. Boxes, bags, mirrors and the furniture got loaded. I felt purposeful. I finally had a sense of us getting somewhere. It all reached smoothly at our new place and the day was spent in coordinating the workers who moved and fixed our furniture. I was happy that they were not drunk (a criteria I had strongly insisted on when we had booked them) and were in fact polite and cooperative. When they were finally done assembling the very tricky ensemble of the jhoola we paid them extra and they commented that they loved our new place. It was a “Yippie!” feeling. That evening I finally met my ‘displaced’ anchor-friend. He shared with me a lovely perspective on colors. He knew so much! I was aghast. All along I was told men were colour-blind and we women know them better. And yet here was this man describing colours like bright blues, rust reds and pale yellows like he had been part of the fashion industry. I remembered that time how he had also been a major subconscious influence on me as I quit wearing black and had switched to white. Thanks to him, I had finally found my “real” black – white – my abundance colour. It affirmed my sense of femininity wearing white. And off late I had been uncovering my dormant feminine side sans the nasty bits that I had so often mistakenly associated with it. I was more gentle, more airy, wishy-washy and yet connected to the earth in me. I could now see how this house was the first manifestation of this side. It was all beige and the wind ran like a young, naive woman unabashedly naked through it. We had no power over her. I realised I needed to search for a wind-chime…one that sounded like the gentle, virile trees wanting to play with her to complement her sense of freedom. As I thought of this my friend complemented me on how collected I looked. I had even got a new haircut that day. It all fit so perfectly that I leave the unnecessary vanity behind to let the unbearable lightness of being that the house filled me with carry me into newness. My shoulders looked lighter, he also observed. Amused he connected the dots of how I always wore my shoulders bare as though they were weighed enough and now that they were lighter I was dressing them up. It filled me with joy to be around someone who was listening to unspoken signs and opening my eyes to the newness of me. My heart sang and my soul filled itself with a soft love effusing like gardenias after a summer sprinkle. I realized this might be the ‘grace’ he so often mentions in our conversations. Hmm…it made sense. The word fit. I left emptied further of tears and joy. I am at a high-point in my life, the voice of a wise woman spoke inside me. I smiled. I was beginning to listen to her. That night I put my eyes to sleep asking them to receive the abundant light that would awaken them. The song Sea Dreamer played in my mind as I drifted away…

Same tide that drew me closer
Pushed me far away
I held the hand that lit the dark night
Nothing I could say
I was on the outside
I was waiting for a sign
I set a course for a hidden island
That lay beyond the deceiving silence
I was on the dark side
I was sailing towards the light
I made my way through a sea of silence
A pirate’s life for a worthless diamond

I try and listen to the music when the ocean breathes
Wish that I could build a bridge across the sea
And the secrets of the moonlight would carry me
To where the sun meets the water and the sky breaks free
That’s where I’ll be

The next day my mother called me from a place deep into the heat and heart of the old city area where we could buy brass statues at a wholesale price. She had a steal she said. It was part of my vision for the house (my house?) to have a brass Ganesha statue as the first view when one opens the door to my house. My mother is renowned for her resourcefulness. So she did the initial reconnaissance and off I went into the winding, hot, sweaty streets in the mid-afternoon sun filled with flower markets, curtains being sold off carts, people pushing their way through and the vendors shooting voices into tall octaves and reached a tiny shop with every inch covered in polished brass statuettes. When she showed me a sun face hanging from the roof with a Ganesha at the centre, I was disappointed. It did not fit my vision. However, I decided to look around. Soon I found a large brass head of an elephant with a bell in its trunk. Something about it called me. I liked the grandiose. And yet it was not ‘perfect’. I looked around further and my eyes caught sight of a Ganesha in a dancing pose, one foot in the air, on the head of an elephant holding a bell. It clicked and the price was just right. Something in me tugged my heart to look further into the wealth of the shiny brass gold in the shop. Brass has always been my favourite metal. At times I catch a longing in me to wear a brass anklet in one of my legs, heavy and intricately carved. Like a village bella. I love the look of gold and heaviness of the earth that brass combines. Gold, for me, is too ostentatious and I generally avoid it for it feels too heavy. It is a play of ironies indeed! Moments later the invisible became visible – the tug manifested into a couple of brass door handles – fairies-cum-mermaids – with hands in a Namaste pose curved into a handle. Something about them was bewitching and yet elegant. I couldn’t imagine them to be door handles for sure and hence settled on them flanking either sides of the Ganesha. I was satisfied! The resonance was deeper; as I made my way to an ATM almost half a kilometre away to withdraw the cash I needed to pay for the fairies, I felt my blood gush with the feeling of having followed the universe’s call. As I walked back to the shop to pay for the fairies, I felt, yet again, cradled by grace. Maybe this was the beatitude the old saints spoke about.
It took two days to get the carpenter to fix the three brass statuettes right. I had managed to find a set of coordinated buckets of various sizes, a set of spoon holders for the kitchen, a lace-ended plastic sheet to cover our circular dining table and a place to hang our original Schwarz-Wäldern, hand-painted cuckoo clock that I had bought four years ago laboriously all the way from Switzerland. I carried the prints of a couple of Van Gogh’s bought from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam to put them up in this place and mentally labelled the task of finding the perfect frames for them as “expedition two”. The large mirror went up in my room and it was then that I finally felt complete and one with the house. The house owned me more than I owned it. My mother was pleasantly surprised at my dedication saying this was a different daughter she was seeing. I was glad she was acknowledging the inner change that had brought about this. In a way, I was starting the alphabet again with a capital ‘a’. This was just a beginning of a series of commitments in my life is what I felt. The long road home had just begun and I was deeply grateful that it had started from home itself. I was the alchemist who worked backwards, as with everything else in my life – i was starting with the pot of gold on the journey down a rainbow. My dear anchor told me to drop the “gratitude” in my message signature. I replaced it with “joy” to be more authentic to what I was feeling. And I have only been experiencing gratefulness ever since.
Now the Tibetan flags hanging over the jhoola flail their elemental chants on the breathless wind. I hear my voice chant Om every morning calibrating itself with my electronic tanpura. The need to be me seems complete. A sense of surrender beckons tears of purity as I practice bharatnatyam rachanas in front of the mirror. “Je suis contient…” the heart whispers loud enough for the universe to hear…”je suis contient….finalement”[I am content…atlast].

Posted May 12, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in articles

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Raining kaleidoscopes   Leave a comment

Sometimes there is nothing left to say
in a vast moment of grace
when thoughts of you have blown up a storm in my head
“why do I yearn for you?”, I ask myself

I look up at the empty skies
birds swirl without any noise
I ask them what is your secret?
they say we never hide..

An ocean keeps its depth quiet
I gaze at you waiting for thoughts to settle
watching a caravan of sadness pulled along by love…
across castles turning to dust

You turn to me and ask, “what are you searching?”
“That which I hold too tightly…”
“Love?” he asks, amused,
Angry, I throw the seed I was clutching

The glass shatters
its colors scatter
the birdsong soars
raining kaleidoscopes

Posted April 27, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in nouvelles poèmes

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Meteor Tamed   Leave a comment

ball of flame,
rolling in the open sky
watching everyone
with spaces so wide
flaming and burning
she wants to explode
breathing heavily
she wants to let go

rebel child wakes up
next to a man
who could lead her
into a glory path
but oneness is all
on her tiny mind
a peephole into
a universe so wild
she spits in anger
rattles the saviour
wants to tear her hair
go bald feeling the wind
on her naked head
and yet she wants
to stay masked
thinking she loses
her only weapon
if she let’s someone in
undoing the mystery
for when he leaves
she will be empty

meteor tamed
is the story broken
he must drag her
to the pain of truth’s snare
let it snap,
let her fall,
and when she gets up
let her be
the strongest of ’em all.

Posted April 22, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in nouvelles poèmes

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The delusion of love   3 comments

“Why do I have to be guilty for my feelings?”, she thought as she rode furiously through the brittle wind on the pavement. It was almost morning. The darkness and the frequent cobblestones made it even harder to focus on the road. “I want a break…from this man…from all men…from this line of thought that they are perpetually deaf”. She was even more angry now. Her jaw was tight and her eyes shone with tears, more from emotion than the frigid wind. Mercifully she had reached the lake in the city center that was flanked by hills on the other side. She slung her backpack off her sore shoulder and brought out the bread for the birds. The swans and seagulls fought as she threw crumbs at them. She threw them even more violently aiming at the spaces between them. One would think she was mad. “Oh but I am! Mad at the stupid men who cannot listen”, she thought in reaction. She wondered what delusion she was suffering from. She unzipped her jacket and leaned on a ledge, as the cold air gushed to fill in the warm spaces created in her body from the activity. She contemplated about how belligerent she was when she confessed her feelings to someone. Like cards caught in a gust they fell…one by one…every man she had confessed her true feelings to. “What do I really want with them?”, she gazed out at the ducks searching for the leftover crumblings since the swans and the gulls had moved out. “Why do I keep attracting men not wanting to be with me for good – men who were commited elsewhere – to their career, to their other life, to their spiritual path, to everything but companionship? Where am I like this? Am I wanting something other than what I am?”. She stowed her cycle in one of the stands, locked it, and headed towards the gardens. Above her suddenly a seagull swooped low, and took a sharp dive right in front of her. She stopped, startled, and saw it pick up one of the crumbs that she had accidentally dropped. “What am I missing here? I wish I could sit on this seagull’s back and watch my life from above”, she sighed.

The gardens were just turning green and tender yellow daffodils were shyly waking up from their shoots. They seem to have “returned” rather than be new ones. Here was reincarnation happening at a rapid pace. No wonder they had no sorrow at being lost. They knew it would be year after year they would be born from the same shoot. “Why am I so delusional?”, she thought angrily. All her life she had waited to “grow up” not knowing what that had meant exactly. Now that she was “old” enough, she was still clinging on to what was right and what was wrong. She still wanted to battle her loneliness inspite of having lived and survived it for so long. She wanted not time, but affection. But she also wanted a regularity to her feelings. She missed that constancy, a promise that someone will be there for her when she needed him. And yet, in so many ways, she had not found anyone holding this truth. She also wanted space that this someone could stay out of her hair and stop putting demands on her choices and straddle her for an opinion on everything and everyone. Is there someone who can listen and hold the space for her?

She walked through the beautiful labyrinth made of pearly white stones and poppies. The sun had come up and was washing the land like a gentle father waking up his little snuggling children. Her hands and feet had turned cold. She reached the center – a spiral of water, like a conch, that emptied itself into a cavity. She closed her eyes. The mist emptied itself onto the leaves. A light fragrance filled her olfactory. It almost reached her ears. Thoughts – like ether can only be felt. Not seen or touched. It was an unusually quiet morning. Slowly the tears started to flow. She let the fragrance do the comforting. It weaved its wand over her entangled heart. A pigeon perched nearby cooed and started turning around. The head is only at rest when it finds the shoulders it grew up on. Why so much mystery then? She ached. She had to decide and walk away from these mythical men. She had to be her man for now. And she had to forgive herself for choosing this story. She breathed deeply and opened her eyes. In front of her the mountains stood still and alone, inspite of each other. They were perfect and more beautiful because of their asymmetry. Each had its own character though the snow was melting evenly from each of them. She brushed another tear out of her eyes and headed back. She found herself carefully stepping onto the slippery cobblestones. Spring had just begun.

Posted April 15, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in short stories (fiction)

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Musings in a foreign city – Bergen   1 comment

I am enjoying the provocations of loneliness and solitude. The spaces in the city give my heart the space for sorrow to be emptied. I wish to be in your arms…but I know it is not you I want. I want my lovefulness back. I want you to touch my hair and kiss them. I want you to kiss my ears and make my every sound yours. I want you to break my heart a final time so that it can be free of this fear of heartbreak forever. I want you to give me your arms and be my saving grace.

It is indescribable the amount of love I feel for Europe. This continent has its strings weaved into my heart in mysterious ways. I worked 4 years in various jobs I didn’t enjoy just to receive these 12 days of Europe in Bergen, Norway. Since adolescence I was fascinated by France as much as girls my age were fascinated by boys. As I walked the cobblestoned streets in my tick-tocking boots, I thanked this part of earth with my every step for bringing me here. There is an insanity about love, and that is exactly what Europe is for me. I work in this field called IT which I feel like quitting every now and then owing to office politics, disheartening managers, and its attitude of applauding selfishness above communal growth. And yet I stuck to it just to be rewarded these 12 days. In these 12 days I have lived 12 lifetimes. The pleasure of sharing my Indianness with a family from here, the joy of walking with an unknown woman guiding me to my apartment without us ever knowing each other’s names is an experience that builds itself in a zone of exhilaration. Everyday my gratitude deepens… As I chat with fellow colleagues about the demerits of Indian men, the near impossibility of having a love child in an Indian society, I find a deeper connect with these women to whom I look and sound foreign but who in turn seem known. I want to freeze-frame the empty streets near the railway station into my camera…no wonder this city has so many artists – every alternate shop near my hotel is an art studio. Sometimes the art is bizarre, sometimes chalky images of the landscapes around. Maybe they too cannot get over the pleasant spaciousness of this city like me. I discover the statue of Ole Bull, the violinist who encouraged Edvard Grieg, another musical prodigy late in the 1800s. His secret marriage with a woman 40 years younger to him intrigues me as much as the appreciation for his clear violin renditions. I wish they have a record of this man who could fall in love and have the courage to have a daughter at that age. The insanity of love.

Amid the ebb and tide of loneliness and solitude brought about by this loony place, I discover that my heart is broken. So much time has passed that I have lost track of who broke it. Maybe it was an ex-lover from Europe, or maybe the initial stirrings were that of my dad for having broken my heart when he didn’t want or need my opinion on something. I listen to Norah Jones incessantly on a loop. I discover her latest release from an album called Little Broken Hearts. Dots connect themselves when left to move on their own.

The nightingale sings the grief in my heart. I am enjoying these provocations. I cry and write a letter to a man who feels like a lover but is miles away from being so. One that I will never send to him. I write to him every week. Like carving a statue that was never meant to see the light of the day. I am fooling the words that they will bear sunshine. One sided love is unbearable whatever the odds. Especially when you are falling in it. I see no birds here in Bergen. I hear no birds. Maybe they are all travelling like me to distant lands to gather back pieces of their hearts. I hope they come back whole and rejuvenated. Perhaps with a new love even. J’espère.

The endless maze of streets that my mind finds hard to comprehend. My feet ache so badly that now they have stopped talking to me.

It is past midnight. I cajole my feet with a balm made from some hauntingly sweet spice from Africa. They cry. I hold them near and cradle them. I sing them Norah’s traveller song. Another day has gone. Soon this solitude will end. There is no attachment this time. I am playing it safe. I know this man called Europe is going to betray me. I grieve it before it happens. It is like a child being aborted that you spent so many months nurturing. It feels like a life is going to a dark place where there is only uncertainty. I pray silently that there is a man reading this who feels my ache, this umbilical pull towards Europe and becomes that space shuttle that will promise me eternity here. Maybe other planets can wait. With cities like Bergen, there is no chance another planet can seem so enticing. Maybe someone out there recognizes this yearning for our own home even as we stay in it and have hence stayed away. Let them be so. There are still so many layers of beauty this virgin earth has.

I am on Day 6 and half of my stay is done. I have tried to live each day like a new book being written hastily. By next week this time I’ll be in what feels like foster home after this. I intend to find oneness with this place that I so yearn for. My very need, I wish, turn into my savior and release me from it. That is what I wish from my soul. No love can come close to what i feel for Europe, what I feel for this land. I am still sucked into the womb of this love and am reluctant to move out. May the northern lights lift this spell. I look up at the magnetic sky. Goodbye.

Posted March 29, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in articles, wanderlust

Show me your face   2 comments

As the big puzzle becomes clear
Pieces of me join back together
Where through time did I lose you?
The sky shudders as you come near

Moving from my heart to my lips
Moving from loneliness to bliss
Moving through this pain into suffering
Moving into the life that is unravelling

As I experience this pull
It robs me of all silence I held dear
The shattering of tenderness that this takes on
The screams explode to bring oneness on

This fight in me wrecks me further
Whether it is safe to be with you
Or in my cage of desperate ignorance
This time I choose to give in to trust
Hoping to be undone from this insane division

Keep my secret safe in your heart
I am scared to be betrayed should you share
If only I could find a ear that can contain
All the grief this child has locked up in vain

Each day I turn more deaf
Growing numb from the false stories
That just point to the Beloved
“Show me your face”, I hear myself say
Please open your arms and let me experience grace.

Posted March 23, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in nouvelles poèmes