Plant Life

I shoot through the darkness of crumbly chocolaty dense cover-
The cover that had kept me hidden for a really long time...
And there! I felt the first rays of the Sun bathing me like I were his kid!
I tried looking around!
But everything was quiet..
Everyone around was pensive and tense.

I wished to screech out of happiness!!! Breathing my first breath!
As I began to do exactly that..“Shushhh!”
I wonder where'd that come from?
I look up and get a big glare from a biggy who supposedly was my community!
And I went Shush...

Gradually over time I was told that the funny unmoving brown-green creatures were my community-
And that if I wished to survive, I’d better listen to them.
But how could I in my little voice explain to them the impossibility of holding the sheer joy!!! 

Of the caresses of the wind!
The pit-pat-patter of the occasional rains!
The twinkle of the stars with the Moonglow cooling us all after a long day of swaying!
The incessant chirping of other funny small little creatures that surprisingly moved through air with such agility that I wished I could get a chance to learn from them!
Probably they are the gifted ones!
But never mind- I’ll surely learn the trick from them soon ;)

Most of all,
I was looking forward to my first encounter with those gentle magical beings who moved around places and sang such melodies that just warmed the heart!
Ok. HOLD ON! You must b wondering how do I know about them if I haven’t seen them yet aye?
Hmm, that is a question that puzzles me too but I have this strange vivid memory of their presence and I know they must exist somewhere out there!
That is something I look forward to every dawn that I open my teeny-weeny eyes just in the hope that “YESSS! Today’s the day!” and pass the day at my spot enjoying all the delights while straining my little body as far as it can go to catch just a glimpse of them only to again wake up next dawn to be energized with the same exhilarating thought that someday I shall see my best friend!
“Oops!” I hope no one’s heard me!
I look around surreptitiously to make sure there aren’t more angry upset glances in my direction.

Oh yes! I have to tell you about this strange fear that my "community" seems to b having of these beings.
Me being really curious about their existence, stretched out to the left and happened to ask him whether he had ever heard of such beings or better even seen them?
He looked dumbstruck as if I had asked him the secret of life! Duh
Well then I stretched to my right and considering that she looked like she'd been here a long time-
Thanks to the wide range of cobwebs adorning her body; you see I couldn't go up to her and ask her how long she'd been here eh? I did that once with the one on the faaaar left and I had to shrink to as low as I could, seeing the piercing stare I received in return!
Funny! I'd proudly announce my age to anyone who bothered to ask! Ain't it an achievement?
I thought she might have some answers.
She put on a whole mysterious look-
She was laughing her ass out just a moment ago!
And bending over me like a sweet-already-bent-over granny, gave me the "I-know-Everything" look only to shoo me away with a smooth shift over to "You-are-too-young-to-understand" look.
I'm sure she thought she put up a great act worth an Oscar!
But, that didn't help me at all except that I realized that the "community" knew about them but liked to put them as far away as possible.
If only they told me!
Well it doesn't matter- I know it in my heart that they are the most wonderful beings somewhere out there!

Next morning brought rivers down from the blue up there-
Seems like the air just decided to become water today!
Well I really enjoyed the surprise until the "Crack!"
The next moment I regain my senses, I thought I was sent back under cover! 
Oh no! Please let me out! Don’t punish me! Just 'cause I asked a genuine question???
But oh! I could lift myself though..
Phew! You guys aren’t that bad after all! Thanks gracious! Love you guys!
So slowly and slowly I tried lifting myself to my original posture but somehow I knew something was amiss.
I had gone shorter! 
How was it possible? I was always told that it was the law of the universe that I was supposed to grow and grow and grow until I touched the skies!
Funny that the skies decided to come down instead!
I recall that the water force was strong and that the “Oscar” lady tried to protect me from the force by hovering above me to drain the load away.
But little does she wish to accept that her engines are going loose and one of them decided to escape on this fateful day and land right on me
THAT was the Crack! 

Well it doesn’t hurt really and I’ve not really changed in case you are wondering that I myself went crack!
I’m not going to go away that easily now that I have finally found you! 
Oh shit! Did I leak the secret?! Damn! But u still don’t know how it all happened eh? All in good time...All in good time
Well so as I said, I knew something was just not right.
I grew shorter!!! 
I started imagining all sorts of things, the best of which was that I was special and that normal things just didn’t work with me!
The thought of that made me feel good. Real GOOD!
But I had to figure out where exactly was the glitch?
I feel it…My mid-left side decided to buckle under the weight.
No wonder that got me shorter! Whew!

Another good thing was that no one really noticed the change.
So it’s like a BIG secret that I keep to myself that I shall reveal to only those that I choose to!
Isn't that Awesome!?

But, this did weigh down on me and the already-inquisitive-enough-me started asking more and more questions as I felt more and more that I was different.

An Angel Visits

It was the day of Ekadashi so my mom and me had kept a fast. Now, my reason for the fast came from the wish to calm my long-troubled tummy ahem.

So well, in the evening, mom, me and my new neighbor Neetu go to the temple.
Somehow I’m feeling really happy (Guess it’s thanks to the overflow of realisations dawning on me)
I go around saying hello to each god and just take in the feeling of joy on seeing Krishy! Ha!
Done with that we sit at the steps and I aimlessly look around while mom and Neetu talk away the society woes.

Aaand I spot this strange man with a turban standing at the bottom with his back to the temple and shortly after he comes from within the temple and halts in front of us.
He stretches his arm forward and gives my mom a portion of the prashad (some yum sweet) and Neetu spontaneously stretches her arm forward too (I thought he intended to give only to one of us) and he gives her a portion too. I look away trying to give him space to not necessarily give it to me but he extends his hand and gives a portion to me too!
This is the whackiest part: He makes ready to leave just before saying “All the best” (he looked at me when he said that!!!) and I promptly replied with a cheery “Thank you”!
'Twas a strange encounter in  many ways-
First, cos he was a stranger (Come on!);
Second, I saw him just a while ago down there- How did he manage to finish the round of prayers so quick and come to us with the prashad?
Third, It wasn’t the prashad offered at the temple (which we had gotten anyway) instead 'twas some sweet called “milk cake” according to my mom.
Fourth, the very strange thing he said- “All the best” for what? I wonder…

Anyway, as he left, Neetu was suspicious about eating it- She said we musn’t eat anything a stranger gives to us but my mom said 'twas a temple where we received it and one can’t disrespect prashad… 
While my ears were with them, my eyes followed him down the steps where he gave a portion to some other ladies too and I saw him pop the remaining into his mouth! Tada! I exclaimed he ate it too! Now 'twudnt be risky to eat it eh?
My mind was already racing at the coming together of these strange events on an auspicious day! And I  decided 'twas God who came and gave prashad and wished me best personally!

Krishy! Was it you or one of your angels? And all the best for what? Something comes to my mind but can I trust that? Is it my mind trying to force things I want, to fit in here or is there something I’m missing?
Oh and while we were sitting Neetu and I had been discussing that we should include a visit to the temple in the morning walk we have been planning since ages but haven’t managed to make it..

Phew! Let’s see eh? But I believe 'twas you or one of your other angels!!!
Thank you Krishy soooo much!!!

PS: And indeed I know what it meant but that's a secret until my life is spent :-P

The Lady in the Sky

I saw a Lady in the Sky
With a river of hair flowing by
In a gentle stance so shy
That she managed not even a- Hi !

O why o why?
Would she not even try?
I don't mean to pry-
But what's the meaning of this sly?

Up in the sky did she fly
and caught my attention so high
Almost as if I'd heard a cry
Seems strangely strange aye?

So, whether you are a gal or a guy,
This is a story you've got to buy.
Believe you me- This ain't a lie.
Says who? Says I.

In the arms of drifting fluffs did she lie
Teasing away at the limits o the eye
And she gave a look so wry-
I knew the time to depart was nigh.

Along the shores of that river awhile, did my boat ply
I could only hope it never ran dry
And I saw her knot her hair into a tie-
That's when I heard her goodbye, a bye without a hi.

I look back now with a sigh-
And smile knowing well, up again will she fly!
So, If you see a lady in the sky-
Don't forget to tell her my Hi !

And whether you are a gal or a guy,
This is a story you've got to buy.
Believe you me- This ain't a lie!
Says who? Says I.

Ask Away My Friend!

There is a way.. A requestful wishful way;
Of asking the Universe for something, Anything.
Mistake it not for your servant- To be commanded or demanded of;
Treat it as a friend- To be loved, respected and conversed with.
You do not own the Universe- Neither does the Universe own you.
So keep your vanity aside-
Open-heartedly and humbly your wishes you may confide.
Ask. And ask away.
Say what you've got to say.
'Cause you see- There is no other way!

The Domain of Inbetween

It is the season
Of digging into the Earth
Sowing seeds, houses.
The seed that decides
Resides out of sight, below the Earth pondering-
What it is to bask
In the sun, to feel the breeze
The sky’s curvature
Exposed to all eyes,
The insider’s intense gaze
To be and not flinch.

No storm can uproot
Submerged formations of stone sprouting foundations.
Lightning cracks the sky
Foundation breaks surface
The plinth sets the stage
A site for healing
Rift between earth and sky
The stage is empty.

To descend with grace
Is the way of all raindrops
Till they fall on stage
Only to scatter-
What are explosions but flowers
Blossoming quickly
Will the floor recall
When dispossessed of its sky
How rains celebrate?

To ascend with grace
Is the way of all columns,
To build is to grow.
Defoliated trees
Memories of branches, leaves
Some beyond recall.
Who can tell how deep,
Columns plunge into the earth
To withstand the sky.
To be a column
Is to cultivate patience!
While staking shadows.

Beams are but columns
Dreaming branches, reaching out
To other branches.
When columns and beams
Dream together, leaving earth
Soaring as an arch-
To think is to fly
Transcending beams and columns
With stones and stillness.

Did you not wonder
With such flights into the sky
Would the stones return?

Stones in full flight freeze
Relish anti-gravity
Leaf and butterfly.
When stones taste the sky
They return home to earth
For a little while
Arches recall
Arrival and departure
In a single sweep
Tracing lips that frame
Mouth open in disbelief
At such momentum.

What can they enclose
When Walls proceed beyond plinth
To watch a tree grow.
Walls know how to wait;
Dwelling is a lingering
Waiting to return.
Trees know how to spread
Branches, branching into tongues
As so many leaves
Chanting earthian hymns
That ascend as sky descends
In consummation.

The bird that alights
Fans out its structural wings,
The feathers are still.
Like a self styled sky
Simulating horizons,
The roof reposes;
The house reconciles
Roots that clutch, wings that soar
Between earth and sky.

What is it to roof?
What can house that which houses,
That which embraces.
Resting on shadows
On wings of cantilevers
On a grounded pledge;
No gaze can trespass
Where earth and sky intersect
The roofs cutting edge;
The line of cease fire
Is the distant horizon
Where all roofs spring from.

Does the view not change
With the way arches perform
On that which is seen?
What does the arch frame-
The view within or without?
The shade or the sun?
Healing distances
Is the way of leaping stones,
Rainbows across time.
Will the dew linger
When the leaf begins to turn
And the sun returns?

To linger, to dwell
In the neighbourhood of death
Where all life takes place.
The snails epitaph
Is the form he leaves behind,
Shell is memory.
And then who can tell
Between the snail and the shell
Dweller and dwelling.
To be in that space
To be in the treasury
Of all that happened.

Sleepwalkers beware
Dwelling is all pervasive
Dweller all aware
Where to change levels
Is an act of commitment
Unleashing stairways
That defy railings.
House is never logical
Logic dwells in it.
Do not take chances
Where right angles fear to tread
Through squeezed doors and stairs.

All places take place
Or are places arrived at
When you least expect.
Angels do not dwell
-Where everything has its place
Where does the wind go?
And where do shadows?
All angles are full of them
Dreaming of nightfall.

Where do trees belong-
In blind darkness of deep soil?
With sun-blinded leaves?
Could the earth fortell,
Could the cast sky imagine
Where all paths converge
There the house presides!
The hill circumambulates,
Flowers spiral open
To a redefined sky that locates its bearings
Where the house resides.

Where does it begin?
When does it stop becoming?
Will it ever be?
The dream of the house
Is to entice the dreamer
To linger awhile
That which was within
Is no longer a secret
But an oasis.
To see is to touch
But to be touched is to see
For the very first time.

Glass cut and stacked in strata
Opaques to reveal
The yearning of all
That is invisible
To become visible.
What was transparent
Is as translucent as mist
That fills the valleys.
Ancient light filters
Into rooms behind glass veils
Moonlight on water.

House is the mirror
Full of everything it sees
The forest outside.
Inside the forest
You come upon a clearing
Courtyard among the trees.

Courtyard is silence.
To talk about the courtyard
Is to break the spell.

When the center recedes
Leaving its absence behind
With its own heartbeat
The house remains poised
In between two outsides
Where leaves hold their breath.
Some places become
Sites of possibilities
Where trees yearn to be.

Diagonal slashes
The rectangle into two
Triangles open.
The pathway turns to
Subterranian chambers
Underneath gardens.
Roots metamorphose
Into fertile grounds that sprout
Grass and domes of glass
Ringed with wine bottles
Intoxicated with light
Sunflowers celebrate.

Form follows fiction,
Stepping across the threshold
The sceptic believes
The visual logic
Of virtual reality
Is it as you see?
Where does the house dwell?
The domain of inbetween
Where we always are.

To blend with the earth
To stand out against the sky
To transcend seasons.
To be is to dwell
To preside and to reside

To speak of the house
Is to wipe the mouth with words
So that it may speak.

H Masud Taj

‘It took the architecture of Nari Gandhi to braid the three strands of architecture, poetry and calligraphy into “The Domain of Inbetween” and for that I remain thankful.’

And I remain thankful to you for these precious pearls of inspiring imagination!