Juhi the Fragrant (119)
Her strength lay in her honour, she knew. She knew what she had to do. Her war weary hands cradled her son, for the last time. The child, his face splattered with gunpowder and her blood, gurgled happily. The stench of battle no longer suffocated him. As the sound of the thunder of hooves grew nearer, she looked at him with a forlorn gaze, his dancing eyes reflecting her loss.
Finally, with an inhuman effort she gestured. Krishnabai took him in her hands and made him clasp his small palms around the handle of the flaming torch. The child suddenly cried out and protested, as if sensing the danger. But, Krishnabai was firm.
As they rode away, Damodarrao cried.
Mandappa KC (108)
I could trample a thousand souls
My words could kill a hundred hearts
My actions bereave a score minds
And my glance could silence mouths
But a little butterfly could melt my soul
A glancing wink could melt my heart
Dylan could melt my mind
A lollipop could melt my mouth
How strong am I?
Strong enough to stand my ground?
Strong enough to flow with the crowd?
Strong enough to carry you? Am I?
An ant made me wince in pain
While I withstood the howling monsoon rain
I build a thousand fires, but I’d burn in the same
How strong am I? How strong am I?
“Did You Hear, Tina Is Expecting A Child??”
“Tina Didi, Mummy Ne Yeh Badam Bheje Hai… Chhote Baby Ke Liye”
“Tina, That Girl Na, Who Went Abroad For Studies… Some Bartending Course…Huh!! Some Guts This Girl Has, I Tell You!!”
“Didi, Yeh Baby Ke Papa Ki Photo Hai??”
“I Also Heard, She Met Some Online Friend Of Hers And Went For A Holiday With Him…Didn’t Even Think Of Her Parents Once….”
“Didi, Agar Boy Hua Toh Name Hoga Tarun Aur Agar Girl Hui Toh..Umm… Teeshaa… Okay!! “
“But, Weren’t They Planning A Marriage Or Engagement Something?? Whatever, The Forefather’s Name Is Gone, Forever”
“Didi, Papa Ne Kaha Milk Peeke Strength Aati Hai… Aapko Toh Bahut Jarurat Hai.. Yeh Lo!!!”
The Red Ronin (120)
a single bead of sweat trickles
down, through short hair
over the mighty brow as the nearby vein
pulsates steadily to a rhythm, designed
by a lean heart steady yet intensely aware
of peculiar modulations abruptly rising
in anticipation of the signal; emanating
from the uppermost echelons of power and strength.
a tiny messenger departs towards the ancient heart
bearing wisdom to engage in action the grand organism
known only by man as mighty. The resulting synapses
sparkle and crackle and infuse the ancient one with a viguor,
unrelenting and unrepentant. This insane passion
explodes from deep within, tearing apart limitations
and renders asunder the truth; in melancholic form.
The finale ends with a resounding clap as bone meets bone.
Dok Saab (120)
“Now break this”,
Grandpa had tied all the sticks together.
“See! Unity is Strength.” Grandpa smiled.
“Baba, that saying is outdated.
I couldn’t, doesn’t mean it can’t be broken.
Those sticks broke because they were rigid.
This bundle is rigid too, and you just need more force to break it.
Try breaking this, Baba”
Gaurav gave him a rubber stick.
It just bent and bounced back however hard Grandpa tried.
“See you could not break even a single stick.
Do you know why, Baba? I’ll tell you why. Because it’s flexible.
Baba, in this age of single child and nuclear families, unity is meaningless.
The real strength lies in the ability to bend during adversity and bounce back.”
I looked blankly at the question “What is your strength”
Was it –
My smile? Granddad always said I could get away with murder with my smile.
My sharp tongue? Used to the hilt, while ticking the errant gardener, when the
waspish oldie hid our cricket ball ,when the irritating salesman didn’t take no for an
Spinach? Mom always heaped our plates with it, saying, “it’ll give you
“Spinach” was my scribbled answer.
The interviewer looked and remarked “Ms Sen we asked for your strength, not
your eating habits”
Sigh!!!! Mom you were wrong.
I tried to smile – the interviewer just looked stony.
Grandad you were wrong too.
I felt too weak to try my third strength.
Rudaba was the eldest of Shamshuddin’s eight children. Losing her mother at 11 left her a blurry eyed drop-out from school and a mother to her siblings. Her marriage to Abdul Rasheed brought her to the town. But Rasheed’ s accident shattered her dreams of studying again. Austerely, she resolved to educate their son Munawwar.
This afternoon they were going to a fair after school. She had been pinching pennies. He ran out of the school gate shouting with joy “Ammi nayi topi …” , not noticing the truck. She shrieked “Munna, mere bacche….”
The headlines read: “40 kg woman stops 400 kg truck: saves child”. Her small room was filled with cacophony ” What gave you the strength?”
Ruda whispered, “Love”
Manu Maharishi (75)
S– (to begin with) is Superman wearing underwear over his pants.
T– is Thomas Edward Lawrence’s maddening desire to be extraordinary.
R– is Randle Patrick McMurphy’s rebellion against the tyrant Nurse Ratched.
E– is Erin Brockovich’s fearless self-conviction and blatant sense of humor.
N– is (also) Norman Bates’s insanity .
G– is Gandhi agreeing to partition.
T– is Terminator’s journey of realizing ‘why humans cry?’
H– is Hoover Family’s last performance in Little Miss Sunshine.
Coffee is my poison (117)
dedicated to my parents.
from strength to strength.
i hated you
you didn’t let me
picked me up,dragged me through this
you were my strength
when all seemed wrong
lifted me up
you made me strong.
from you i learned
right from wrong
never to hurt
always be polite.
you gave me
that inner voice,
telling me whats right.
you are the ones
who put me
forsooth,even when i can’t see you
you are with me always
telling me what maybe
best for me.
and i hurt you
yelled at you
certainly i hated you.
you still loved me!
cared for me!
put me ahead!
the only issue in your life was me!
Konfessioner Singh (117)
It was an accident, my hearing it on the phone.They didn’t know how I would react, besides it just wasn’t the done thing. Young girls from good families take such news calmly, over a glass of milk perhaps. So, I was to be told and someone had to do it.
The phone had been ringing for a long time now; parallel connections always cause twice the trouble. I put the receiver to my ear and focused on the clock…
Early evenings in the porch… arguments… long walks…days at the farm… books…bridge… who would fill those hours?
It’s six years since that dawn, it took more than strength to pull me through.