Friday, November 22, 2013

What We Do to Our Children

      It was a late afternoon. I was a taking a longer but peaceful route home from the department. It was a cloudy but pleasant day. The the four legged denizens were all taking advantage of the lower temperature and were all around the place. As I passed the Kendriya Vidyalaya, I could see kids in small groups on their way back from school.
      A little boy was walking little ahead of me, talking to his friends, happy as any kid would be after the school hours. And then he saw a small puppy walking towards them, wagging his tails. His friends weren't so sure of what to do and they kept their distance. Our hero, the little boy was so happy to see the puppy that he bent down to pat its head and generally to pet the puppy for a while. The puppy started moving towards its mother and the boy followed. The older was bit tensed at first but later relaxed and the boy began to pet both the puppy and its mother, all stray dogs. This friends gathered around them and it was a happy scene.
      And then the boy's mother who was walking a little ahead turned back and saw the boy with the dogs. She started shouting and screaming at the top of her voice asking the boy to leave the dogs. The boy was a bit reluctant and slow it getting. I was so shocked to see what happened next. The lady picked up a stick and broke it into pieces and stared throwing them - at the dogs and also at the boy! And then she dragged the boy away from the scene.
      These are the kind of messages that we give our children. Whatever bit of kindness and sweetness they have inside them we make sure are drained out by the time they grow up. This little boy would get two lessons from this small incident and at his age such impressions will last. First he'll remember that any random act of kindness towards another living being is not generally appreciated. Second he'll learn that violence and cruelty - whether against humans or animals - is acceptable.
     This is what we do to the young children around us. And then we complain these days young people don't have love and affection, the rate of violence is increasing, they are uncaring, and what not. They are learning for what we show them!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On Reading "Writing Octopus"

One evening Veena and I had an outing and came back to the room. We were very happy. We had just got a copy of K. Srilata's latest collection of poems Writing Octopus. We started reading the poems aloud. We liked them. There was small talk, poems, love, and laughter. It was beautiful. There were really nice, sweet, fun filled poems. There is a poem about the bright blue bird that flew into her house and,
"When it flies out, leaves behind
its bright blue.

The blue hops down
Becomes first one word,
and then, another,
till, finally, it assumes the face of a poem. "

Then we got to the poem "Not in the Picture". I had read it before and told her so far that was my favourite in the collection. Then she started reading it aloud. The poem ends,
"this desire,
for certain photographs. If you are not watchful,
it can stab you through the heart."
Once the poem was over, there was total silence. No more laughter, no more words. We just sat looking at each other for some time. 

These moments are what we get from gifted writers and such moments are what making reading poetry a rewarding experience. It is all the more rewarding, if you have the company of someone who loves poetry as much as you do.

Writing Octopus is a wonderful collection of poetry. This is one enjoyable, readable (read to yourself when you are alone, read out aloud when you are on a high, read to each other when you are in good company kind of readable) collection of poems that I have come across recently. Reading this one is pure joy. It has that power to give you moments to remember. The blue bird that dropped its blue, the baby dolphin in the blueness of the ocean, the oysters stolen from the sea and thrown towards the sky, photographs old and new, and of course the octopus will remain with us long after we have finished reading the collection.