Walk me down the aisle

Walking down this aisle - by Lake Ginninderra in Canberra
Walking down this aisle – by Lake Ginninderra in Canberra

Dear dad,
as I walk down this aisle
with my eyes streaming
and my soul dreaming
my heart is filled with joy
with every step I take
freshness breezes through my hair
and a chillness numbs my knuckles
as I clench, I know it’s only fair
that you join me with chuckles
as twilight chases the winter noon
arm in arm, as father and child
dipping toes in a solitary lagoon
watching the sun set himself
down below in Down Under
dear dad, wish you were here
to walk with me down this aisle
as I move on to an all new home

P.S: I just relocated to Canberra, Australia, and this poem was inspired by this wonderful walkway.


The visitor

“Hi mom!”

Jennifer stroked her mother’s head and left the bag of oranges on the bedside table. Waving back to the nurse who’d led her in, she slumped on the chair next to her mother’s at the centre for the aged and helpless.

“Hello,” her mother replied in a small voice, unable to muster enough energy to speak or extend a smile beyond centimetres. She remained silent for the rest of the hour. With all hope of seeing the outside world gone now, she often took short walks only within the corridors or, on certain good days, the garden. Years had weakened her Parkinson’s-riddled body, and her once-bulletproof memory was now letting go.

Jennifer couldn’t have cared for her on her own. But alas, the world knows only to blame.

“See you tomorrow, mom.” Sighing, Jennifer kissed her mother’s forehead.

“Bye, Laura.”

Laura was one of the three nurses who took shifts to provide her round the clock care.

Troubling lovebirds

As I stare at the blank page on my laptop, I can’t help but get distracted by the birds chirping away in front of me. My new life in Australia started pretty well with great housemates and a cold Autumn. One of my housemates breeds lovebirds—not only because she likes them but also because they make good money.

She’s been doing it for a while now, and so it wasn’t my place to comment or raise eyebrows. She’s even sold a few birds, for about 20 dollars each.

Not a bad deal, I thought when I first heard of it. But the more I observe, the more I’m reconsidering. The marketer in me has begun evaluating the return on my housemate’s investment. Considering bird feed, the cage, nursing the eggs, nurturing the young, the cleaning efforts, and the constant attention, breeding and maintaining birds is an arduous task for which 20 dollars seems a laughable loss.

But it’s her business, and she’s been doing it long before I was in the picture. So I held my silence.

However, as I watched the birds today (for lack of anything else to do), I started wondering why people paid, however much they did, to own these birds. Why would anyone pay money in exchange for years of caring and, in a sense, servitude to birds they could crush in seconds?

Beauty—that’s the obvious answer to most problematic questions. But that can’t be all.

Some people, like my housemate, look at it from a severe business perspective. Of course, she loves the little chirpers and caresses them in her palms, cooing and cuddling even when not so appropriate. She likes spending her time with and for them. But when it’s time to give them up, she’s ready for the next batch.

Some others treat bird raising as a hobby. But even they who look at bird raising as a pleasurable activity still spend a lot of time, energy, and money on maintenance—which makes me wonder why. Why would they expend so many resources to observe caged creatures that grow so finicky the moment you make a sudden movement around them. I only switched my crossed legs, and the two birds in the cage wailed out as if I were slaughtering them. Their behaviour is understandable, too. If I’d been locked up all my life and only given food on certain days and times in a day, I’d become paranoid also. I’d feel so tortured in my mind that I won’t be able to think straight or trust anyone enough to share a conversation.

How is it then, I wonder, still watching the flustered birds, that someone who acquires these birds, makes them sick, and gains pleasure in watching them every day isn’t a troubled soul themselves?

What every child needs

The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, California
The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, California

A lifetime of dreams

and world of expectations

presenting, a book

Photo: The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California

To the other side

North pedastrian gateway - State Capitol of Texas in Austin
North pedastrian gateway – State Capitol of Texas in Austin

Through the gates of hell

goes every mom in labour

gateway to heaven