The Odd Hour

I fold up the lace curtains,

Enough to see the streetlights flicker, in the wait for the sun,

An hour hypnotized by an odd mix of stale freshness,

Torn between the two planetary worlds.

 

I sat on my bed, with my feet on the titled marble,

In stark emptiness, with a mind full of thoughts.

It was so quiet, yet the loudest hour of my day.

I looked at the clock- it was still hours before I’d start my day.

 

I tried to put myself to bed, with my lights shut down,

Hoping to R.E.M myself to darkness,

But my head juggled thoughts and images

That I simply didn’t wish to pursue,

There was so much to be pondered over,

There was so much to learn, so much to do,

So much noise- for no other than myself.

 

I shuffled in bed, hoping to find a spot that would kiss me to sleep,

Restless,

I reached out for the jug of water, quenched,

I lay in bed, gazing at the street light that was now competing with the rising sun.

 

I saw the guards wake up to pretend like they had been up all night,

The dogs barked at their ghastly act;

Only to be bribed by a generous bowlof milk.

 

The odd hour had passed,

The fresh air was settling in,

The sun was at the horizon,

It was morning, I could wake up now.

 

 

By

Sonia Agarwal

Image

O Dear God

O Dear God.

The diya is lit, the ghanti starts to rattle, and the elder most in the family takes the puja ki thali and starts rotating it clock-wise with all dedication and sincerity possible.

As the prayer enters the chorus for the second time, the elder most hands over the thali to another family member. We continue to sing, keep the diya lit, keep the ghati ringing, until every member has had the chance to say their prayers.

With my eyes shut, head bowed down, and my palms pressed against each other near my chest; I tuned off to the people around me rushing and humming the parts of the prayer they were unsure of. I stood zip lipped, imagining myself to be in front of God- no there were no faces, no idols, no photo frames, it was a feeling, a powerful one. I knew that this mental conversation I was having with myself was being witnessed by someone. So, what did I want God to hear?

Did I want to be thankful for all that he had given me? Or did I want to take on the selfish route like million others and ask for something more this year? I could be cheeky and draft my prayers vaguely and thus secure myself more grounds of happiness? May be I should ask for something for my family and friends? or for the less fortunate? But I felt unfair to take such a long list to God. 

My favorite had been, “O dear God, please ensure good health and happiness for me and people around.” But then I wondered, how I could make God responsible for my happiness? 

Only I was responsible for my actions and if actions determined emotions then I couldn’t hold anyone responsible for my emotions, other than myself.

Confused about what I wanted to tell him- afraid of over-burdening him with demands, I thought I’ll keep it short and simple.

I took the puja ki thali, taking an extra second to ensure I was moving it in the clock-wise direction. I shut my eyes, suddenly the room cleared out; it was now me and God. I knew he was there witnessing every thought in my head and the source of it. This year had brought me unimaginable love, buckets of tears, sky full of hope and trench deep falls.  

I smiled, and felt a smile in return. A million thoughts rushed into my head but none that got my attention; may be some stood out- but I let them flow along. 

O dear God, you have been nice, you have been mean; but I pray to have you witness my thoughts like now and always. Not sure what he said in response, but I know he witnessed it.

I see my God in the people around me. I see him in some of my family members, in the man I chose to love, in handful of my friends; I find my God in each one who means well and who gives me the respect, time and comfort to come witness my thoughts. 

This year, pray to find your God; and once you do find him, pray that he never leaves you.

Happy Diwali!

Chaushiva. 

 

Image

Ask.

As I peered through my window, watching the snowflakes helplessly melt in the sun; I asked myself what I wanted to think about today. Wouldn’t it be amazing if- I could self-select my train of thoughts- decide when I wanted to pull the chain and get off –or  choose when I want to hop on to another train. Imagine if you had the ability to lay out the tracks for your mind. I guess, it would be amazing-rather truly amazing; but I had fallen prey to my mind way too often, to know that this ‘illusionary-stoner’ path didn’t exist.

But if this Bob-the-builder resided in me – then somewhere deep down- subconsciously- I was laying the bricks. So I decided to dig- to dig deep-till I found bob. As I unearthed my brain, I found no answers. We always seek answers- so for the first time- I decided to seek questions; the right ones.

I realized that our minds are pre-tuned to give answers to the questions we ask. If you ask yourself “what’s wrong?” you are inevitably going to make a mental list of all the wrongs in your life. If you ask “why did it go wrong?” you will only identify your life as a flaw and find yourself in a pool of excuses; but if you ask “how can I make this right?” then you would find yourself with the answer you were truly looking for.

My mind was not going to be dictated by my thoughts- if I didn’t want to live off fate- I had to start asking. But it’s not all about asking questions.Think about who is planting those question marks for you? If I wanted to drive my own train- I had to ask my own questions.

So, if you seek good answers, ask good questions. 

-Sonia Agarwal’12