Saturday, September 17, 2016

Medical Report 2016

Dr Oz announces a healthy report, but we know the truth.
There’s a cancer spreading across the land.
It’s being transmitting between communities,
finding the sadness in their lives and injecting malignant cells
into those wounds.

It breeds among the innocent and
revives latent diseases, embraces them.
Nurtures them with hostility and ignorance.
Civility is stripped, revealing ugly sores
that bleed and ooze colors.

The scourge is eating its way to the heart.
The eyes have turned blind and cannot see.
The deviant becomes acceptable.
Reverence for life and dignity ignored.
The disease becomes robust as voices in an echo chamber
feed each others lies and misconceptions.

The Conscience is overcome by helplessness.
Does it cut its own hand to save the rest of the body?
Where is the antidote that could stop this infectious hate?
Can the malevolence be halted?
When can the healing begin?

Overachieving Woman

My daughter asked me why I was crying when Hillary was accepting her nomination for President of the United States.

She is fifteen. It is 2016.
She knows a world of celebrity selfies and transgendered you-tubers.
She knows her aunties are doctors, lawyers, business owners, sales directors, and technology architects.
They are wives and mothers, or maybe not.
She knows men who lean in.
She does not know how many times we have walked into the room of all men,
eager to contribute, yet all eyes rest on our bodies.
Our soft voices are overtaken by louder male voices.
Our ideas wither in silence.
We raise our voices to match the fire of our peers.
“You have too much passion.”

Hillary sat at Congressional hearings, propping her head in total disgust.
Stacks of emails printed as props, camera candy.
Mistakes displayed for judgment, and achievements hold no value.
We understood the ritual of criticism and critique.
Those moments strike the naked vulnerability in us.
Our collective memory of men parading young girls and elderly women
to judge them virtuous or witches.
Of men controlling women’s spirits until they are numb, frozen, cracked, and splintered.
She listened and conformed, draped in self-confidence.

My generation saw Hillary defend herself for refusing to sit at home and bake cookies.
The Mother Wars began. Stay-at-home Mother or Career Mother. Pick one.
Betty Crocker is offended.

We saw Hillary handle the public humiliation of her husband’s infidelities. Power is an aphrodisiac.
The Wife Wars began. Stand by your marriage or just leave his ass. Pick one.
                Tammy Wynnette is offended.

We saw scandals materialize without understanding why, how, or where.
Why not George Bush? What about Dick Cheney’s underground server network?
                Republicans are offended.

Forty years ago, Hillary did not know how to dream this big.
She graciously let destiny lead her on another journey.
She cracked a Ceiling. We were proud.
We know you cannot always get what you want in life.
Now, she broke through the Ceiling.

My daughter will know a world where the sky is the limit.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sacred Ground

Houses of worship.
Simple wooden frames, spackling, drywall
insulation, cinder blocks,  shingles on the roof.
wiring and carpeting, open flooring secured at budget rates,
Plumbing to usher in the holy waters.

Volunteers come together to pray,
to feed souls and bodies
to find the truth in their stories
to learn to construct a future together.

Shoes and egos left at the door.
Enter Pure and Clean.

Peer inside the windows, and see
wide-brimmed Sunday hats dripping with flowers
with the netting just right.
Vibrant dupattas flow over heads and shoulders with one graceful drape.
Rows of colored turbans side by side.

Listen to the kind words greeting each other as family.
The hymns carry a pulse that beats 
into the collective aura of the group,
reviving the centuries 
old traditions drummed into the veins 
for generations future.

On the outside, visions and minds are blurred

    by false realities
        by biased propaganda
            by fear
                by hate
The Beast rushes inside. 

The worshippers return
to wipe the stains of blood from the floors.

August 5, 2012. Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Oak Creek, WI. Six Murdered.
June 19, 2015. Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Charleston, SC. Nine Murdered.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

But Radha Wants More

Please click on the image to make it easier to read.

I was inspired by a popular Hindi song "Radha On the Dance Floor," about a girl who likes to party. The one refrain for this song is "But Radha wants more." I started thinking about Radha as a real woman, and if she wanted more from her life.

Her name in history is always coupled with Krishna and she doesn't stand on her own. There have always been questions around her relationship with Krishna, as they're seen as a epitome of romance, yet they were not married.

I wanted to give Radha a moment to reflect about herself and what it means to be chosen by a divine entity. 

Like the garland of flowers, she is gone, but her essence lingers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trick or Treating on Diwali

There were two princesses –
one with curls of chocolate, another of amber,
two fluffs in lavender tulle,
tiaras and blinking shoes.

They flounced and twirled at each door, and
announced their royal names. They fluttered
their lashes and invited neighbors to gush at the glitter.
With skirts raised, they raced
from house to house, only their giggles reaching
before they did.

When an Indian man opened one door,
one Princess peered inside and saw
people she knew well --
a woman in a salwaar-kameez and
a sari-clad grandmother behind her.

Candy fell into her bag, but
she stood there.
Waiting for more.
Waiting for something that should come next.
Something should be said.

 “Happy Halloween.”
"Happy Diwali," she said softly.

Like a firecracker that was lit,
laughter was sparked.
The grandmother scurried
to see the Indian princess.
“Happy Diwali!” we all cheered.

She found her spirit and called
“Happy Diwali!” as she sprinted
to join her regal friend
who asked, "What is dee-wali?
I don't know dee-wali,"

"It's an Indian holiday.
Not everyone celebrates Diwali.
Everybody celebrates Halloween!"
as they ran to the next house.

She knew.
She has a holiday to call her own.
More than a footnote,
more than a date on a paper thin calendar
with a multi-hued multi-armed goddess.

A real holiday to light candles,
Share cookies and laddoos,
light firecrackers and sparklers.
Clinking bangles, twinkling bindis.
and spinning in a silk ghagra meant
for an Indian princess.