Patience

Photo by Danka Peter

I waited while you looked around

Trying to find a place for yourself

In the crowd surrounding us.

I waited while you held on to beliefs

That were untrue and unfair.

I waited while you grasped about

Trying to make sense of what I am.

It is not easy, I give you that,

To make sense of a person.

And so, I waited patiently for you.

 

You walked on ropes,

Putting one foot demurely after the other,

Tracing back to your comfort, once, twice.

I waited, as you finally let go

Of the hold of old notions

And walked in air trying to balance it all.

You were very brave

To leave what was your truth

In order to find what was mine.

Hence, I waited patiently for you.

 

You rushed the last few steps

And fell into my arms

As a child would fall while learning to walk.

I waited very patiently

While you gathered your jumbled emotions.

Confusedly, you looked at one emotion

Trying to understand it.

It is not easy, I give you that,

To make sense of one’s emotions.

And thus, I waited patiently for you.

 

You have now, perhaps, made up your mind.

You have now formed an opinion of me.

But you still look around for words.

I’m still waiting patiently for you

For it is not easy to form bonds.

It is not easy to give a part of oneself to another.

It is not easy, I give you that,

To leap with faith into unknown.

I’ll wait patiently for you to close your eyes

For leaps of faith are best made when blind.

 

But while your eyes are open

See, that I have made a leap of my own

For it to come to this.

While your eyes are open

See the smile on my face,

See the trust in my eyes.

It is not easy, I give you that,

To see the gift that my leap has given me.

I’ll wait patiently for you to see

What cannot be, with eyes open, seen.

 

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You Lied, Mother

‘Leaving the Nest’ by Siobhan Knox

You lied, Mother.

You said it will be easy.

You said the world was a beautiful place to grow up.

 

You pushed me gently out

Coaxing me to go a little more,

Just a little further on the branch.

You told me not to be afraid

As the wind swayed me about.

You lied, Mother.

You said I will not fall.

 

I took off, nearly toppling,

In what was a miserable attempt at flight.

The nest seemed so far off,

Its thought itself so cozy.

You told me to enjoy the sunlight on my face.

You lied, Mother.

You said the world was warm.

 

You said I will not fall.

I fell many times,

Hard on my face, flat on my back.

You said the world was warm.

It cold-shouldered me,

Its tragedies chilled my bone.

Why did you lie, Mother?

 

The world keeps telling me

That each time I fell, I failed.

It keeps reminding me of my bloodied nose,

Of my injured, drained body.

Is that why you lied, Mother?

So that I would be unable to see

My falls as my failures?

 

The world keeps closing its doors

Leaving me out in snowy, wintry days.

It teases me by lighting fires far from my reach.

Evoking desires of what is not mine.

Is that why you lied, Mother?

To give me this gift

Of warm satisfaction with my flight?

 

Your lies have made me blind.

Your lies have made me strong.

You lied, Mother, but I forgive you.

A Fair World

It was more than a decade back. The Navratri celebrations in our society had Garba competitions. (I’ve talked about Navratri and my love for dancing here. For the new readers, Navratri is a nine-nights long dance festival. Garba is the dance form). It was announced that the dancer who dances continuously the entire night (excluding official breaks) will win.

I was nine, passionate and a fairly good Garba dancer. I held a wish in my heart. I wanted to win. Working up the will, I danced tirelessly. I did not stop when there was barely space enough to dance.  I did not stop when the crowd lessened. I did not stop when my body started aching. I danced the entire night.

It was time for the prize ceremony. I was feeling elated. I had danced more than ever before. I had had more fun dancing than ever before even though I was tired. I was proud of myself. I had achieved something that I hadn’t thought myself capable of.

I did not get the prize. It went to the organizer’s daughter. At the risk of sounding, well, childish, I should mention that she did not dance for even one complete hour. I don’t have an accurate or objective memory of her dancing skills.

It was the first time I learnt that the world isn’t fair. You may not always sow what you reap. You may not always get the fruits of your hard work. You may not get any acknowledgement or appreciation for giving your whole, undivided devotion to something. I was too idealistic. The realization broke my heart.

Over the years, I’ve mainly had good experiences in this matter; most of my efforts have been rewarded. But then, there have also been a few experiences where I’ve felt wronged, resentful, betrayed. Experiences, where the child in me wants to cry out, Unfair! and fold her arms in indignation, frowning, and going all Calvin.

I identify myself with the work that I do. I gain satisfaction from a job well done. Anything less than perfect eats at me, though I’ve been working on not letting it affect me. The point is, I pride myself on working wholeheartedly. When that work is not appreciated, it hurts me. And there is not a lot that really hurts me. I suppose it is not healthy to depend on rewards for satisfaction. And don’t get me wrong; it is not the materialistic rewards that I seek; merely recognition for my efforts.

It is an age-old adage that one shouldn’t work for the fruits, just the satisfaction. And that Karma takes care of everything. Eventually everything works out for the best. I would be lying if I said that I do not believe in it. There is some part of me that is still idealistic, that still believes that rewards will come, albeit not in the form that I expected. But then, there’s this other part of me, a somewhat pessimistic part. A part that has been asking these questions lately:

Is it enough to get returns in another form?

The balance may turn out to be all right at the end of the balance sheet but is life mathematics, with each wish, each reward having an equal value? Aren’t some dreams and efforts worth more?

And at the end, when we feel satisfied at least with ourselves, is that satisfaction real or merely a consolation that we fool our hearts with?

These are some questions that I’ve been grappling with, especially the last one.

This is my answer to it:

I shall continue to put in my best efforts in whatever I do. I do not know any other way to work. The satisfaction of it, consolation or not, is very real to me. But at the same time, it is important to be worldly wise too. It is important to know where to draw the line between working tirelessly and getting taken advantage of.

I still do not know all answers. I still want to learn.

What has been your experience?