The breeze that knocked me over

You’re the breeze that knocked me over,

And I’m lying on the floor.

I struggle to rise, clinging to hope.

I’m in a better place now, but still struggle to cope.

You’re the breeze that knocked me over,

That left me lying on the floor.

Fear and anger helped me rise,

And gave me the strength to run.

I say I look for justice but what I want is revenge

I’m stuck in a memory that’s a nightmare and there seems to be no end.

Unable to let go and unable to move on.

It’s unfair that the one to forgive is the one who was wronged!

My anger is a fireplace that nurtures the flames,

Until they burn me up and I see that it’s doing me harm.

I might fight for justice, or I might give up,

Losing faith in a system that I know is corrupt.

But not losing hope, because I know there’s a way,

I know there’s a price but I’m willing to pay.

I need to let go and I need to seek,

The distant memory of that feeling of peace.

It’s a decision at first, to have faith and to believe.

Until something inside me changes and faith becomes belief.

You were the breeze that knocked me over, and my anger was a wall.

A wall that kept me closed in and kept the breeze from moving on.

My anger once consumed me, but that wall stands no more,

And the same breeze that knocked me over is rattling your door.

I could have looked for justice, but what I wanted was revenge,

But this peace I feel now changes things,

And I wish you well.

I know you’ll find the journey hard,

And you might not have the strength.

‘Cos first you’ll need to look inside,

And see your true inner self.

You were the breeze that knocked me over, but now’s a different phase,

My peace causes you distress and it’s written all over your face,

The breeze that knocked me over now takes you to the floor,

And the anger that you have inside you,

Keeps it at your door.


The Nirbhaya case hasn’t taught us anything and it’s getting worse. Unlike earlier, the perpetrators of violent crime now have social support, and that worries me.

I wrote this poem in hope that my readers join me in looking inward and taking responsibility. This poem is not about any particular situation, but rather, a call. That we let go of anger and discord – in our personal interactions and move towards healing.

I believe that we can make a choice to change. We can change our personal choices and the kind of behaviour we encourage and support around us. And we CAN change that small part of the world that we live in.

We need to believe and to cling to hope during these days when it looks like we’ve lost our way.

My choice

I chose you and I lost my ability to see.

I couldn’t see your failings, though I was aware of them before.

It’s not that I was blind, but that I didn’t want to see.

Deep down inside, I think accepting your flaws was a reflection on me.

Because you were MY choice.

 

I chose you and now you’re proud.

I supported you when you did wrong and let you pull wool over my eyes.

And it’s starting to get to me.

Because your failings are so visible now that I can’t deny them.

And I can’t deny the role I’ve played in helping you pretend you’re perfect.

That your flaws don’t matter.

It’s my failing and I’m suffering for it, because they do.

 

I chose you.

Not because you were the best, but because you were the best available.

Not necessarily because I had something to gain by making that choice, though it’s possible,

But more because I felt I had no alternatives.

Or because I was afraid of the repurcussions of choosing someone else.

You were my compromise then, and you’re starting to be my shame.

 

I chose you and I’d choose you again.

For the same reasons. But I think you need to learn humility.

You forget that you stand where you are because of me.

You forget that I matter.

You forget that they matter, not just me.

 

They the silent ones, who have no way to speak.

You turn away from  their faces and their silent tears.

They bear the brunt because they’re vulnerable.

I’ve been letting you fool them with false promises and they believed.

Because they were ignorant and desperately looking for hope.

But they’re getting wise and I’m wondering what they’ll do when they run out of options.

It worries me – this failure of yours, which is also mine.

 

I chose you still, but I want to change.

I want to change and I want you to change.

It’s a new way for me, because till now I’ve gone with what’s convenient.

The truth is that you supported me when I wanted to do wrong.

So I kept you happy by supporting you.

I want to change, but I’m fighting with the side of myself that’s gone comfortable with wrong.

 

I chose you still, knowing you’re flawed.

Knowing I’m the same.

I’m willing to accept it now.

To accept where I did wrong, because I need to do that before I can make a change for the better.

And I’m starting to expect you to do the same.

I stand by my choice for now but it’s not because I believe you can change.

You’ve yet to prove to me that you can.

It’s a case of  ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’.

 

But there’s a time limit and your time is slowly running out.

I’m wondering whether you have what it takes to change.

And whether I should continue to believe in you.

I might still chose you again if you fail me, because I feel stuck.

Because I feel there’s no alternative.

Or I might not chose at all, preferring to be alone.

 

Dear Reader,

This poem started with my feelings on dealing with transfer of membership (relating to shares in housing societies) to some relatives, after the death of family members.

On dealing with the corruption in housing societies, when they sensed that grief and loss had created vulnerability and thought it was time to exercise their power – to bully and to harass. The power which they have, because the rules governing the functioning of housing societies, and the way they are regulated allow individual members who have an agenda to do this.

The feelings were still very raw, years later, after things had been sorted out and I finally let them go when I wrote the following poem.

I’ve tried to approach the matter of choice in a general way. Focusing on how human and fallible we are, though we sometime like to think otherwise.

It’s about the way we sometimes make choices and dig ditches for ourselves. And then struggle, until we realise that the power to change lies within us.

 

I could look at you in envy

I could look at you in envy

For all the things you have,

The ease with which you cope,

Your luck when things get bad.

 

But i look at you in awe,

You’re my teacher and my friend.

I look at you and learn, that i can try to change,

Turn my struggles into chances and reach up for the skies.

 

I see the work you’ve put in and i see the dues you’ve paid,

And your graceful acceptance, when all you try just fails.

I see that every chance you’ve got you’ve carved out for yourself,

And i look at all of you in awe…my teachers and my friends.

 

… this poem was inspired by all of the wonderful women i know, who’ve succeeded.  In making time for their families, their careers and for themselves. In doing all the things they do with commitment & with joy.

 

The colour of gold

The inspiration for this poem

To the average Indian woman, gold is beauty, security and an investment in her future. Sadly, it’s also for many women, a way to determine whether another woman is well off enough, that they can consider being friendly with her.

I learned this because I don’t wear gold jewellery and I often wear no jewellery at all. I’ve had full conversations with women, with their eyes glued to my ears and neck – showing me that they notice the lack of adornment. 

Worse still, we lived on rent when we first moved to our current location, moving a couple of times, before settling down in our permanent home. And every move meant making new friends from scratch.  Initial friendliness from women neighbours can sometimes turn to reserve once they’ve conducted their brief interview and realise they’re talking to someone who does not own her own home! 

It’s a value system that is so accepted in our society that families invest in gold jewellery, leaving nothing for the comforts that make daily living easy.

I often get told I’m lucky that my daily life is relatively comfortable. But it’s not about luck. It’s about personal choices and priorities and spending on what we value most. That’s where this post comes from.

Gold is the colour of :

  • All the machines that do my house work for me.
  • The comfort I get in shopping for convenience and not necessarily for discounts.
  • The education that my parents gave me.
  • The investment of both time and money, that I make in my ongoing education.
  • The family support I get, so that I can work at what I love.
  • The time I get to spend with family.
  • The silence of the morning every day, when I’m having a leisurely cup of chai

Concerned friends, have asked if I own a set of jewellery and my answer is NO. It’s a waste as I’m not going to wear it anyway. Maybe someday, I’ll consider buying some bling that’s actually gold. I don’t know – maybe…

But it won’t mean anything more to me than all the lovely stuff at Archie’s.