Monday, April 30, 2007
ഇരുട്ടില് മുളക്കുന്ന വിത്ത്.
എന്റെ ഹ്യദയത്തിനു നോവുകെട്ടി,
വരിഞ്ഞു മുറുകുന്ന പ്രസവവേദന.
പൊള്ളുന്ന ഉരുകുന്ന വേദന.
ഇടരുന്ന കാലടികള്ക്കും ഇടയില്...
എന്റെ ഹ്യദയത്തിനു പ്രസവവേദന.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
പതിനാറാം രാവായി ഉദിച്ചതും ഞാനായിരുന്നു. ഒരു രാവില് ഭാര്യയും, മറ്റൊരു രാവില് വേശ്യയും, പിന്നൊരു രാവില് തലാഖിന്റെ സഖിയുമായി കെട്ടടങ്ങിയ ഇളം ചന്ദ്രികയും ഞാനായിരുന്നു. എന്റെ തീരാതെ പോയ ചന്ദ്രഗ്രഹണവും...
ഇതും പ്രേമമായിരുന്നു, അറിയാതെ പോയ നിന്നോടും, പറയാതെ പോയ അവനോടും, തൊടാതെ പോയ വിരലിനോടും. എന്റെ വീഴാതെ പോയ കണ്ണീരിനോടും...
ഇന്നെന്റെ മുഖം കറുപ്പിക്കുന്നു.
ഇന്നലെ ഉടുത്ത പട്ടുപാവാട,
ഇന്നെന്റെ തുടയിലെ ചോരയൊപ്പുന്നു.
ഇന്നലെ കിലുക്കിയ വളയും ചിരിയും,
ഇന്നെന്റെ കൂടെ പൊട്ടിച്ചിതറുന്നു.
ഇന്നലെ പിടിച്ച കരങ്ങള്,
ഇന്നെന്റെ മുലകളെ പിഴിയുന്നു.
ഇന്നലെ പറിച്ച പൂക്കള്,
ഇന്നെന്റെ നാണം മറക്കുന്നു.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
പ്രണയം ഹ്യദയാഘാത ഗുളിക പോലെയാണ്,
നാക്കിനടിയില് ഒളിച്ച് വെക്കുമ്പോള് മധുരം.
വേദനകള് അലിഞ്ഞു ഇല്ലാതെയാകുമ്പോള്,
കയ്പ്പിന്റെ ഓര്മ്മകള് മാത്രം ബാക്കിയും.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
When I was in the third standard,my career plans were very clear. I wanted to be the next God. All I had to do was wait for the present God to kick the bucket and then I'd very smoothly take over the career. And mom said, the only criterion I had to fulfill was be good; which involved not screaming, no lying, no stealing, studying hard, eating everything on your plate, no climbing walls and trees, no bashing up cousins and neighbours, no digging your nose, no throwing stones at the neighbour's dog... I did try, though it was heart wrenching and thought-sweating at times. I was shattered beyond repair when finally I learned that God never dies. He was supposed to be in that chair for ever and ever :(. My first career destroyed for ever and ever.
When I was in the fourth standard, I decided that I'd be the Games teacher. The ulterior motive behind which was the joy of playing all day long and getting paid for jumping hoops. Days in classes sped by with the rosy tinted dreams of me in my flowered shorts and pigtails jumping hoops, stretching before running races and walking the rope... :) :) :). Then..one day i started noticing that the Games teachers actually wore sarees and didn't seem to be doing much of a jumping and skipping around. Another shattered dream.
I wasn't the pretty, chubby cheeked darlings in school who got to be the class leader and the angel in Christmas plays. I was usually the tree, the fisherman or the shepherd with my very normal face covered in leaves, itchy beard or a scarf. That must have made me want to be an actor somewhere. No, not the pretty doe-eyed actresses, but maybe those art filmy ones who required no beauty. Well..sadly that ended when they made me stand as the fisherman in "Sr. Veronica- The History of her Indian adventure" for our Annual Day. I stood on the stage for one entire hour with an itchy stinky fake moustache, a lungi that kept falling off, a huge basket i couldn't hold onto and a whiny nun behind the stage prompting me for some dialogue. i refused to say the dialogue and that ended my career on stage for ever and ever.
The next year, I took a break from wanting to be anyone. I decided I was the culmination of all creations and people ought to be working towards being me. Aaaahhh relaxed finally. But this peaceful life shattered too when I heard of creatures called journalists.
Man!!! Was i excited?!! You bet! The dream of being a journalist sustained me for more than five years. I finally met my destiny. I was so so destined to be a journalist. What with my nosy nature, sideway glances and totally alien looks instilled all the confidence I needed to be one, in me. I took up to writing and reading with a never before vigour. Afterall my life and my destiny depended on my use of words. Finally, I had settled on a career of my own.
All this while, I was busy ignoring mom's MBBS hopes, dad's Engineering and my Brother's IPS. I agree i had second thoughts on the IPS part. Bashing up people and getting paid for it (MMMMM???).
I did my degree in Functional English with papers in Media taking up all my interests. I jumped at all the seminars, opportunities that brought me closer to journalism. I was the script writer in our documentary film, Founder member of the English alumni, Editor in Sanjayan Memorial magazine and co-founder of Indo-Anglican Drama Club. Journalism had started growing in me and above and around me.
Religion and society shattered it. I went straight for the jugular- I joined MSW without batting an eyelid. MSW opened doors for me that I might not have seen had I stayed a Journalist. I walked with raw people- prostitutes, street children, mentally unstable, homosexuals, AIDS patients, abandoned grandfathers and grandmothers... I saw the darker side of the world. Now I'm not sure what I'm ready to be - Just me or a journalist? A social worker? A career woman?
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Laryngitis is surely a pain in the neck! Get that? A pain in the neck! Ha ha ha. Ok. Thats one week of whispering more sweet nothings to everyone. The only thought in my mind then was,
"No screaming. No screaming. No screaming...."
"Taxi!" I whispered humbly to the door keeper of the building.
"Sardar Vallabh Road, House 134," another humble whisper to the taxi driver.
Thoughts are like fishes in aquariums. Swimming on and on in circles in your head, stopping for micro seconds and staring dumbly into your eyes.
I woke up into darkness. Groggily feeling hands on me and silence shaking me up. Pulling open my eyes, I saw the taxi driver with me in the back seat. The car was in some part I couldn't make out, dark and silent with a field of very tall grass right in front. The driver was leering at me. Dirtily, if I could make out in the dark. I felt his hands groping my body clumsily and I had a thousand worms teeming up from inside me. I opened my mouth to scream and then I remebered the doctor's warning. He had said, "No screaming "
And I sat there, "No screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming, no screaming."
Sunday, April 8, 2007
I have worked one year in Unity Health Complex, Mangalore. My worst years in career, an autocratic organisation that has no idea where it is going and anyone can be anybody there. The pharmacy boy is the Administrative Co-ordinator there, the PRO is asked to be the Chairman's secretary and MBA graduates are receptionists... The saddest group are the nurses there. Paid bare minimum salary that hardly even stretches beyond 15 days or so, everyday the Matron, the Administrative Co-ordinator, the Chairman, the ED and every passing Harry finds out something to cut their salary/cancel their holidays/suspend them/dismiss them. And finally the hospital refuses to give them an experience certificate too. Icing on the shit!!
Having known how bad the nurses' conditions are in hospitals, yesterday's news didnt surprise me, it horrified me. Most of the nursing students come from the southern part of Kerala - Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Idukki... daughters and sons of poor parents. The lure of a job abroad in USA, UK or Middle East where the pay for a nurse is high has led lakhs of families to acquire loans, borrow, beg and sell their land to send their offsprings off to any nursing school that will accept them and the huge fees. Most of these colleges are unrecognized by the Government and Education Boards. Conducted from tiny buildings rented out, probably in a single floor without proper labs or practicals available; its quite obvious how good they will be in their profession.
Karnataka has the highest number of nursing colleges and schools in the country. With a total of 550 colleges out of the 1540 in the country, most of these institutions crop up without the least clue. A government Task Force Report that came out last year said that the conditions of 302 schools were unsatisfactory and 108 colleges did not meet the required standards. The Task Force headed by C.M Gurumurthy recommended the government not to sanction new nursing schools and colleges for the next three years. The report also came out with a surprising news that most of the colleges existed only on paper with the classes conducted in shanties, rented rooms and dilapidated buildings. This, in a state that turns out lakhs of Nurses every year. Sathya Sai School of Nursing - a paper school that does not exist at the given address. M.A.J School of Nursing that has students but no building.
Ok, lets just forget all that above there. The nurses finally scrape through these years, living in bare minimum facilities provided hostels, 13-hour work schedules, bond period, huge sums of fees borrowed from banks at cut-throat interest rates, poor food, poorer remuneration salary. A job as a nurse in India today is hard to find and harder to please. Forget the pink frosted icing words of Florence Nightingale "Most noble profession on earth" and blah blah blah.There are nurses working for a monthly salary of 1500! A pen today costs 10, and a meal at 15. With the "Sons of Soil" policy declared in UK and USA, the job market abroad had slammed the door on their face. With salaries and job on the low profile, the nurses are under immense pressure from the family and the financial issues. This is where my news comes in...
A huge rise of pharmaceutical giants in India has opened job markets for a huge population. This is where the nurses come in.Pharmaceutical Companies like Smithkiline Beecham, Apollo Hospital, St. John Hospitals etc. pays these nurses Rs.5000 - Rs. 20000 for allowing them to test their latest drugs on them. Human guinea pigs in the real. The nurses -male and female are paid Rs. 100 for registering and after a thorough check-up, a healthy nurse is injected with the drug and he/she is to report back after 30 days with details of side-effects if any. The hospital or the company is responsible for treating the side-effects only during this 30-day period, after which the company or the hospital is not responsible. And most of these nurses take two to three shots from different companies and hospitals, making huge amounts to pay off their loans and extravaganza. There are also companies offering the latest gadgets in exchange to this "be-a-monkey" offer. Most of theses nurses pay no attention to the havoc the reactions these drugs can cause or they don't care. Maybe they find it easier to pay of debts this way with the bleak future they see ahead as nurses. The injecting of multiple drugs into their bodies and what havoc these drugs can wreak on their health.
Thats the view from Payangadi Kunn.
My dad and his siblings. (My dad the male on the right)
The cousins (I feeli like an alien here )
The payangadi station
I was born, bred and buttered in Calicut - Kozhikode "Nagaram". Although I never grew up feeling like a city kid -thanks to umma, my favourite memories were often linked to Payangadi;my dad's homestead. A tiny villagecity nestled in Kannur. Whenever I think of Payangadi, I have the feeling that it fits comfortably in my cupped palms. Its that tiny to me. When I was young, payangadi had scores and scores of cousins my age who knew a lot of amazing stuff. I walked around with a perpetual round eyes answering to the name "Kookki aisha." Boy!! Could i scream?!!! Obstinate to the very bone!
Dad tried to teach me swimming at the Payangadi kulam during our long summer holidays. The green pool of water with a natural inlet and outlet of water, stone steps and a natural dive-board of rock. The first time I went there with Dad, I must have been four years or so. Somehow I remember the day with superhuman clarity. Mom was with me, I was wearing a yellow spaghetti sleeved dress and my cousin Zaheerka was swimming in the pool. It was the first time I was seeing something like a green pool. I stood there transfixed with saucer-eyes and Zaheerka offered to take me for a dip. Man!! What more could I ask for at that point of life? I pulled off my dress and ran to him in my cartoon character underwear. The next thing I know is all the things in my head can be experienced!! Water in my nose, my brains, my eyes, my mouth, my heart and everywhere else. Nobody told me I couldnt breathe inside water!!! I never learned swimming after that. But what I also remember vividly about that dip was a red toothbrush sticking up from the murky grounds of the pool, a tiny fish racing past a huge hole and green slippery steps underwater. That ends my tirade with the Payangadi pool and sooner that I could say "swim", I crossed the age for appearance at the pool.
Payangadi Kunn aka Madayi Para, another vivid memory of mine. Scampering up behind umpteen kids, skinning my knees and falling down but too excited to cry. The ghostly-well up there covered with trees surrounded by stories of being haunted by some lady. Up there I saw another pond for the first time - blue in colour. The sky was reflected in it with all its glory, blue as blue. Right up there you could also see the land stretching beyond you with green fields, the river and the treetops. We played football there and there I learned the thrilling pull of a kite when it soared. Everytime the string tugged at my town-fingers I had gooseflesh all over me. We went picking cashew fruits from all over the hill, returning home with stained faces and stained smiles. We sat there in the evenings and I saw the shadows of clouds as it drifted by. But my most favourite memory remains of the rain I saw from the hills. It was sort of late afternoon, there was anu, muchu, zafeera and me on the hills walking by the school. And then I suddenly hear this roaring sound in the distance and a cool wind. I could see the Payangadi River being misted over and the water breaking out into ripples (goosebumps), followed by the treetops and the fields rippling towards us. I was spellbound at the sight!! I had never see a rain come!! Never. the rest of them pulled me and started running. we were trying to outrun the rain and reach home. It was a run that knew no sight, blindly rushing down giggling and screaming. But before we could even leave the hill behind, the rain touched me on my sweating, hot shoulders. Cold but welcome.
The Sulthan Thod. Sulthan Lagoon. The salt water lagoon at one end of payangadi that was my most favourite spots of all. What made it all the more appealing was that my favourite uncle, Seeruttile Mahmoodka had his house there with his back door opening straight to the lagoon. Cousins taught me how to hunt for crabs with red shoeflower tied on a coconut leaf. The crab would come out of it's hole tailing the shoeflower and there would be Nasirka or Raheemka or Safreeka with a stick to whack the life out of it! Wham!! And we'd have the poor crab in our carry bag. I learned the lazy joy of fishing sitting there for hours under the slanting coconut plams waiting for some dumb fish to take my bait. I watched women seperate baskets of fish into families of fishes sitting under thatched sheds. One of them killing a snake-like creature with one thrash holding its tail; with a very expressionless face. She was my supergirl for a whole week.
Watching yellow bodies slithery snakes in the water-channel behind Zaindeen moothaappas house, from miles away and throwing stones at it from miles apart, listening to Zafeera's stories about the annaachees with wide eyes, making long garlands with the water lilies from the fields in front, catching fishies with towels all evening till you could hardly see your own hand, seeing frogs the size of your thumbnail, the cricket matches in the empty fields, the many mangoes and rose apples and cashewnuts we roasted and ate till we were sick...How I wish life came with a rewind button!
The unforgettable Jainu- nightmare of evry child in Payangadi. My first encounter with him was at Moothamma's place. I was wandering around alone in the 'thodi' busy with my own invented sequences and stories and then I look up and see this man's head over the wall staring at me unblinking. I was freaked out. A harmless man, with psychiatric disturbances who stood and stared at you outside your gate and stole plants off your gardens. I've heard that he takes the plants home and plants it; and the next day he would plant it upside down...
My last memory of Payagadi always stops at its sleepy Railway station with a cardboard green ticket and a small teashop that still has the glass jars with buns and vadas in it. The distant view of Ezhimala and the sickening sound of the approaching train. The station was always surrounded by crores and crores of fireflies which my cousins would trap for me and tie in a handkerchief for me to carry home. They committed suicide before I could take them to my civilization- like true nationalists...
P.S: I stopped loving Payangadi in my adulthood. Payangadi is a child's haven and an adult's hell.
P.S again!! : Due to constant mental pressure I'm forced to admit that those photos belong to Mr. Riyaz Ahmed :).
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Everyday is a major day, according the women folk (I count myself out, puhleaaaseee).
Starts with Kalyanamvili- the invitation- where every sister and cousin sister is to accompany the bride's mother to invite for the marriage. And every house to be invited has to prepare for the welcome of this group...Invitation that are not done in person is considered to be a slap on the face and I know of hundreds of people who still don't talk to eachother/don't invite 'her' for the son's marriage/ don't give 'her' a damn because 'she' didnt invite her for 'her' daughter's marriage...Weeks of eating and merry-making ends with the end of kalyanam vili.
Now begins the big ones...ഇരുത്തം, വെറ്റിലകെട്ട്, പൊന്നുകാണല്, മൈലാഞ്ചി, തലേന്ന്, നിക്കാഹ്, വീട്ടിക്കൂടല്, അറയിലാക്കല്, വലീമ, അമ്മായിതക്കാരം... Rituals and functions of the bygone era thats making a comeback when people fail to find means of being extravagant. A dress for each day matched with jewellry and food and people and all the rest of the paraphernalia. Iruththam, Vettilakett and Ponnukaanal are functions involving women- just a means of getting together, a platform for the latest gossips -
- ആരുടേയൊക്കെ വീട്ടില് എന്തൊക്കെ നടക്കുന്നു എന്നതിന്റെ ഒരു ക്രോസ്സ് വിസ്താരം.
- വിവിധ വ്യക്തികളുടെ ദ്രിക്സാക്ഷി വിവരണങ്ങളും കേട്ടുകേള്വി വാര്ത്താ കൈമാറ്റവും.
- സംസ്ഥാന തലത്തിലും തറവാടു തലത്തിലും വിവിധ ഭാഗങ്ങളില് നിന്നുമുള്ള പ്രധാന ഫിത്ന ശേഖരണം.
- ആരുടെ മകള്/മകന് കെട്ടുപ്രായം കഴിഞ്ഞു അഥവാ കെട്ടിയില്ല / പിയാപ്ല ഒഴിവാക്കി / വീടര് ശരിയില്ല / ഒളിച്ചോടി മുതലായ കാതലായ വിഷയങ്ങള്.
- ആരുടെയൊക്കെ പൊന്ന് മുക്കാണ്, കടം വാങ്ങിയതാണ്, തറവാട് സ്വത്താണ് തുടങ്ങി ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ പുതിയ പതിപ്പായ “വണ്ഗ്രാം ഗോള്ഡ്” ആണ് എന്നതിനെ കുറിച്ചുള്ള ഒരു സമഗ്ര പ0നം.
- ഒരോ പെണ്ണുങ്ങളും ഇട്ട സാരിയുടെ ഉത്ഭവസ്ഥാനം. സില്ക്കി/ കല്യാണ് കേന്ദ്ര / ജയലക്ഷ്മി/ ശീമാട്ടി മുതലായ ഉത്ഭവത്തിനേ വിലയുള്ളൂ.
- ബിരിയാണിക്ക് മസ്ത്ത് ശരിയായോ ഇല്ലയോ, അരി മുന്തിയ കയമ തന്നെയാണൊ, കോഴിക്ക് നെയ്യും വേവും മണവും മതിയായോ എന്നതിന്റെ ഒരു വോട്ടെടുപ്പ്.
- ആരൊക്കെ “കോലം കെട്ട് നാശമായെന്നും, തടിച്ച് സുന്ദരിയായെന്നും, പിയാപ്ല/പിയോട്ടി ഒരു കോലവും ഇല്ലെന്നുമുള്ള അന്തിമ തീരുമാനം.
And in the midst of this world council are caught people like me - out of the time machine. And feeling all stupid and lost for not having one single gossip to pass on and watch them having a testing like the wine tasting sessions. A sensuory evaluation of the flavour, feel and importance of the latest gossip added on by bits and pieces in each ones custody. By the next marriage, the tiny gossip is a full-fledged story. You have to be fine tuned to express the gossips with the right level of voice fluctuation, narrowed eyes and flared nostril. “ഇതെവിടുന്നാ വാങ്ങിയത്“ എന്ന് അറിയില്ലെങ്കില് പോയി മോളെ കാര്യം...കൈമാറാന് ഒരു തൊങലുള്ള ഫിത്ന ഇല്ലെങ്കില് വെറും വെയ്സ്റ്റ്... ഇതൊക്കെയല്ലെ ജീവിതം ജീവിതം എന്നു വിളിക്കുന്ന അപാര സംഭവത്തിന്റെ അന്തഃസത്ത?.. Misery befall those who haven't as yet known this truth and elixir of life. Watching them at work you can see youth spring from within the old ladies - lighted eyes, glowing faces, animated expressions....
On the mehendi night, the bride is dressed in the finery for the day and made to sit in a circle of women, who takes turn in applying a dot of mehendi in her hands. Behind the bride sits a group of womenfolk singing at the top of their voice, clapping in accordance. "സാരമേറിയ മംഗലത്തില്/ ആരമ്പമണി മാരനെന്ന/ താമരക്കണ്ണും മുഖമെന്/ ഓമനപ്പുതു മാരനെന്ന്..”The mehendi paste is to be brought from the bride's fathers place. The function goes late into the night with every man, woman and child applying a dot on the bride's hand.
The wedding day is a confusion of bringing the bridegroom home and then taking the bride back and then bringing the guy home and so on and so forth. The night when the "arayilaakkal" ceremony takes place, is the official permission for the couple to sleep together. the day when women of my granny's age used to see their groom for the first time.There is the usual "kottum kuravayum" , sidy comments and songs. The fathers sister takes the bride into the room and leaves her there with her groom.
Thus ends a marriage... well it doesnt actually end there. But i'm bored.
To put it down quickly... The night after consummation there is waleema [It's a wild guess that there must have been consummation the very day after :)]. Then there is umpteen ammayithakkaarams, where every aunt is to invite the couple home for a dinner. Everybody else also gets invited.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
I see the automen rush in carrying more buckets, and rush out with injured people.
I see workers and coolies rushing into the fire pulling out people and saving the unburned goods.
I see one shop-owner carrying water and sand to help stop fire in someone else's shop while total strangers are stopping fire in his shop.
I see men work along-side the firemen pulling hoses, carrying water, thick blankets and huge blocks of wood. They form a bigger barrier to the fire.
I see dr's and nurses working non-stop.
I'm reminded of the Train Accident in Kadalundi; where all night every house opened it's doors to accept the victims in; where every auto/taxi/van/bus was on the road neatly divided to carry patients, announce for help, carry dr's to the site; where fishermen, boatmen and workers dived into the freezing water bringing up the victims. Not one person in that accident lost one ounce of his Gold, not a penny of his money, not one of his belongings.
Calicut, I salute you. I salute your big heart and I salute it's God men. calicut, I love you.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
My artwork on myself.