While absorbing the news about the fanatical murders of the Charlie Hebdo staff, I was reminded of something Mr. Lewis Black said on a talk show. In the stand-up routine, ‘The End of the Universe’, he wraps up the show talking about faith. He talks about the importance of balancing faith with a sense of humor. In course of the segment, he says, “…and that’s what happens when you don’t laugh. You get all wound up in what you’re believing in and nobody goes ‘eh,heh’ and you’re ..you’re screwed.”

That is the role of a satirist in our society; to go ‘eh heh’, when group-think takes over people’s minds. Especially in today’s era of ubiquitous information, it is easy to isolate ourselves by cherry picking whatever suits us without

Said shallow to deep,
      ‘How can you be generous when you have so little?’
Said deep to shallow,
      ‘I have enough. I am quite content.’

      ‘How can you be carefree when life is terrifying in its uncertainties?’
      ‘I go with the ebb and flow. I learn from experience.’

‘How can you be a smiling fool, when crushed by adversity?’
Replied deep to shallow,
      ‘You can live to be a thousand
       Yet never experience anything the way I feel.

      ‘When I breathe, I feel the air
      You don’t even realize that you breathe

      ‘You can never feel the wind’s caress or the sun’s warmth

hh/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

That morning, Kannamma felt the weight of seventy years of life on her thin, frail body. She made a final check on the contents in the large bamboo basket. The green bananas to one side, small, tall and fat yellow bananas spread round the rest of the basket. Between the green and yellow, there was one dozen red-bananas. Those were special delivery for the bungalow-lady. Even the thought of the bungalow-lady brought no smile to her face that morning.

After inspection, she pulled the long, free end of the old, frayed cotton saree, rolled it into a bun and placed it on her head. Habitually she reached for the basket, when her hands caught her attention. She stood back staring at them. She examined the open palms closely then turned over her hands as she ran her eyes ruminatively over the sinewy veins through the infinite creases on the withered brown skin.

Memories flickered through her mind and reflected on her face. She clasped her hands together, tightly, unable to let go. Finally she released her hands, sighed heavily as she bent down carefully to pick up the heavy basket. She lifted it with all the might of an ant,

Recently, I happened to read an article in New York Times that impressed me with its blunt honesty.
Titled “The Charitable Industrial Complex” it’s an article written by Peter Buffet, son of Warren Buffet. The article discusses something he calls ‘Philanthropic Colonialism’.

How did Mother India get to a point, where an innocent young girl was raped, torn apart and discarded on the side of the road bleeding, to death? While an angry nation spilled out on the streets to protest, a tender, fifteen year old was being gang raped in Bihar. Yet another young rape victim from Punjab killed herself after being subjected to the pornographic interrogation by the police.

In an effort to diminish the protests, the shameless and irresponsible police along with the criminally negligent government have the audacity to blame the atrocity on the victims themselves, by talking about cosmetics and discotheques.

What has make-up and disco got to do with a woman being raped?

Double ring leap
Author-Skubik, A link from Wikipedia Commons page

Knuckle to knuckle she stands
Fists pressed against each other,
Elbows digging into her sides –
A bundle of nerves, as she twists around her waist.

She shrugs her shoulders, wrings her arms –
Trying to lose the butterflies.
She stares intently, at that which only she can see.

She inhales deeply as it dawns on her,
That all the time she toiled away,
Has condensed into this solitary moment.
As the spotlight shines, she must be sublime.

Time ticks mathematically. But, do we experience time with such rigidity? Here is a short poem about the difference between the clock and how we experience time.

balinesecouple/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

….while, on Planet Primitive, in the nation of Dysfunction, it was the year 140 BTLM(Before The Lone Man). A hundred thousand men had gathered in the nation’s capital to protest the passing of a bill into law.

The throng of protesters gathered around the parliament building spilled on to the adjacent street, flowing to the other end where the wrought iron fence surrounded the Presidential palace.

The protesters chanted slogans and banged on the fence from time to time, expressing discontent. The placards and banners they held cried out the deplorable state of men in the matriarchal nation of Dysfunction. Any minute now the parliament would finish voting on the ‘Neutralization Bill’. The air was thick with tension.

Within the compounds of the Parliament and the Palace stood a barricade of the Women’s Elite Police force, armed with taser and guns, ready to go off at the slightest provocation. A tall wrought iron fence separated the mob from the police. The clamor was growing, the police tense, and braced for the uproar.

Incomplete thought fragments
Strung together unimaginatively
With neither heart nor mind
This is the make-up of modern poetry –
Muddled, borrowed creativity