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A HANDFUL OF ASH




               Clad in dirty torn knickers
               And reeking of cheap liquors,
               The man in charge of the pyre
               Let loose on me his drunken ire.
              
              “Where wast thou all these days?
              So busy couldn’t reach even for the blaze?
              And now that he is merely ashes,
              What good are your wet lashes?”
              
              As the wind blew up the dust,
              The undertaker spat out in disgust,
              “His sons were at each other’s throats,
              To decide who would pay my efforts.

             The daughters were splitting the spoils,
             Without a look at father’s mortal coils.
             And the village folk’s concern very simple-
            - Dispose the carcass and re-open the temple.”

             Seeing my eyes moist, he softened in a flash,
             Handed me gently a fistful of the hot ash;
             Muttered softly, “I know not who you are,
             But you deserve this for you have come afar”

             At this I started sobbing loudly;
             How to explain to this man, so kindly,
             That the ashes he thrust in my palms,
             Were his who comforted me in his arms.
         
            That he was the only human among the beasts,
            Respected me though I was from the streets.                


          








               

              

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LINGUA-WOES

A Tamil gentleman nearly got clobbered when he appreciated the food served for lunch at his Telugu friend’s place.

The poor guy innocently said ‘Pramadham’ which means ‘Excellent’ in Tamil, but unfortunately means ‘Danger’ in Telugu!

‘Tamasha’ means ‘light stuff’, ‘Comedy’ etc in Malayalam, but beware if you use it flippantly with the Hindi speaking people.

Indiscreet use of this word- which means a street dance or something in Hindi- is not received kindly by them.

The simple word ‘Avasar’- which also is a Sanskrit root word- means ‘Occasion’ in Hindi; ‘Avasaram’ means ‘Requirement’ in Telugu; ‘Opportunity’ in Malayalam and ‘Hurry’ in Tamil!

There must of course be several such examples in the various languages ‘spooken’ in our delightful India.




RIGHT WRONG

Seeing her eyes glow in excitement,
Obviously though she has it all wrong,
I rush to grab the correction opportunity,

Till I have another look at the gleam in her eyes.

Hell, I think, let me be wrong a hundred times over,
If only to preserve that glorious joy,

Rather than prove her wrong
And watch her enthusiasm wither.

THULABARAM

There is, in the Lord's Abode in Guruvayoor,
A common balance for weighment of offerings.

It's called Thulabaram.

Only, it is anything but common.

A priest there is entrusted the task
Of weighing the offerings you committed
To Lord Krishna.

It may be a few kilos of some vegetable
Or fruit, grains or sugar or what you will.


But it got to be necessarily what you committed!

For,

Have seen with my own eyes
The priest struggling to weigh
A couple of kilos or maybe three
Of a certain vegetable, think it was yam.

But it simply wouldn't balance, though he
Kept on heaping the yam on it!

Then, on the priest's asking,
The devotee said he had thought
Of a different vegetable, maybe raw banana,

But had settled for yam since he couldn't
Get the banana.

The priest quickly removed the yam
Asked the devotee to be back
With the vegetable committed!

Only then, the priest said with conviction,

The weighment would happen.