Pant-legs take 2

Pant-legs take 2:

Even as i was seeing it live
the image indexed an old memory
dusted it off and brought it into view
like an old black and white appearing after a flicker of hesitation on the flatpanel of my mind.
I saw...
a flapping pant leg seemingly empty, seemingly vacant...
the over-sized grey fabric draping a leg
not quite fitting any shape, just hiding, concealing
Its a memory I recorded as  I walked alongside my old grandfather
some 30 years ago...
he was old then, pale-white, wizened and wrinkled
I remember noticing how he lifted his knees a little more than normal
like he was wearing pads...a batsman going out to bat
how there was a tiny veiled point where his knee was supposed to be
and how the skinny thigh and leg didn't even pretend to fill the trouser on either side of that knee.
He walked with a gait
a gait that bore testimony to his battle with arthiritis
his knees now concealed in that grey pleated wool pant from Harrods
looked like the pits that came from with…

Weeding 101

“Make sure you pull out the weed with its root”, my grandfather would instruct me lovingly, over the garden sounds of the water sprays emerging from hoses, whistling leaks at the garden faucets and the chirping of birds in dark trees silhouetted against the dawn.
I was but a teenager or younger, impatient to boot, loving our time together in his garden but unappreciative of his requirement for thoroughness.  Both, my years in boarding school and my demanding parents before and since then had appeared to care only about one metric, one measure of success… “Was the job you set out to do completed?” If the evidence suggested that it was, then it was proof enough. So without knowing it, and without anyone intending it, my reactions, even my instincts were honed to present successful, quick and efficient completions. It didn’t always matter that I didn’t pull every weed out by its root or wash every dirty dish with soap or clean the tires on the car at the end of the long carwash ritual.…

The Chai realities

How many cups must a chai lover drink
before he can wake to the morn?
How many cups must he drink when evenin’ falls
before he can peacefully lie down?
The answer my friend is written in the leaves
the answer is written in tea-leaves…
The biggest fear
as the month of fasting rushed head-on
tearing thru the calendar on my laptop…
…How am I going to give up my Chai?
Ohh! the headaches
of chai withdrawal
Ohh! the mental fogginess
of a chai less mind
Ohh! the jitteriness
of a chai less life!
…And now that fasting days are almost over
I am faced with the eternal question
that every human must answer from within…
Do I go back to 2 cups or one?
Science tells me I need less
my Soul tells me I need more!
Chai in the morning
bulldozes the debris of yesterday’s happenings
sets the stage for a confrontation with life.
Chai in the evening
settles the mental scores for the day
sets the stage for a capitulation to the night.
Who cares to define, what chemistry this is?
who cares with a…

No zero sum game

the everyday kind...
I realize
NOT a zero-sum game
because quite often, everyone loses

the rights of a disabled sister
of a well-meaning family
and a protective mother
each remain unfulfilled
For weeks my sister inquired about the upcoming Eid celebration
in her own partially-grounded-in-reality, expectant manner.
Looking forward to the holiday
holding no specific expectations
but for the one big one…
The one
of spending her day with family
playing with nieces and nephews
the excitement of dressing up in traditional clothes
the rare chance to eat a home cooked meal.

this (Eid) morning she called
to ask about today,
about our plans?
I could not get myself to answer the phone

How do I explain? …
to her with an intellectual disability
the mental disability of another, her mother…
Our mother,
her personality disorder recklessly navigating her life
at once unpleasant, suspicious, accusing
convinced of the malintent of others
and raging re…


I watched in disbelief as women in sub-saharan Africa
spend four hours each day getting water into their village.
I then switched off my reason and my empathic self,
got back to my life and drove two hours to work.

A Meditation on Aging...

I saw him stumble and reach out for my hand
one so sure-footed that others had always reached out for his.
I heard him panting and gasping for breath
one so strong that it had appeared he never rested.
I felt him grasp tightly, my arm for balance
one so independent that he had seemed to need no help
I saw him tear up as he reflected on of his life
one so driven that he’d seldom looked back
I heard him talk about the feelings and hurt
one so formidable that we’d never considered his pain
I felt him turning spiritual and philosophical
one so practical that he had appeared only to see the material.

He thinks today’s is the last suit he’ll ever buy
a man who seldom acknowledged endings
He recapped simple instructions as we drove
a man who knows how to do everything
He said things that are obvious and apparent
a man who had little patience with chit-chat.
He thanked me today for a suit I bought him
a man who bought me every suit I’ve ever owned
He wondered aloud why people are mean
a man …

the Eulogy

The priest said that she was a wonderful person. One who had kept the family together.
What did he say at my father’s funeral? After divorce and suicide had delivered him there.


Our civilization has arrived at this station
we alight and look around
to find
buildings filling with our mothers and fathers
hospitals filling with grandparents and relatives
who are wandering the wilderness of old age
as insecurity’s companions
grey-matter greying
tendons aging
joints decaying
eyes watering
as they shuffle their way through long days of weakness
always lonely
Minds firm, bodies infirm
bodies firm, minds infirm

Oh Medicine! see what we’ve done…
pushed on the boundaries of our mortality
bought a decade maybe two back from death’s timetable
So around us we find
aging children of super-aged parents
the infirm caring for the infirm
One tired generation at home
another fragile generation in old-homes

Oh Medicine! see what we’ve done…
Sandwich generations are the norm
no longer the exception
The joy of four generations at the Thanksgiving table
tempered by weightier burdens of inter-generational responsibility.

Oh people! see where we’ve come…
to a worl…