I Am Not Homeless

Old woman and respect

She haunts me all the time
I close my eyes
And her battered image
Looms large before me…

Unkempt hair, soiled clothes
An eerie, emaciated figure
Always at the bottom of stairs
Sweeping the floor with her stole.

Always cleaning…
Cleaning the dust from the footwear
Kept outside the Sikh temple,
I visit sometimes.

Never does she enter
To pay obeisance
Never does she miss that, though
Never pays attention

As she rubs her forehead
At the bottom of the stairs
Again and again…
A thousand times, it seems.

I look at her each time
A thought reverberates…
Who is this lady…
Why is she so desperate?

I sit at the bottom of stairs
To attract her attention
She looks at me
With empty expression!

I mustered all the courage
To ask: are you homeless?
She muttered, under her breath
I have two sons!
© Balroop Singh. (2010)

Inspired from a real life incident, I wrote this poem to calm the turbulent emotions within me.

My culture nurtures and upholds strong family values. Anyone who doesn’t respect and care for parents is looked down upon. The responsibility is often handled by the sons but daughters too have taken up this task since they are becoming economically independent and traditionalism is giving way to modernisation.

Thanks for reading this. You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more such poems. If you are a poetry lover, Emerging From Shadows would inspire you to read more!

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Learning Lifetime Lessons From Emotional Afflictions

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This little girl didn’t know anything about Santa. She didn’t even know children could request him to bring exquisite presents of their choice. The magic of gifts or Christmas was never real for her…it existed only in the stories.

She could not visit a single day in her memory when she had received a gift. She lived in a small town, oblivious of any such festivities. The cocoon in which she existed was just wide enough to peep outside and see the commotion of people, wearing new dresses and going somewhere.

The magic of gifts:

The gifts can be so magical and so loving was revealed to her through a story, which she happened to read in one of her schoolbooks. For the first time she could experience the joy of receiving gifts just by reading that story.

She always wanted to know more…why gifts are given…how could she get one and when would she get it!

She could never get an answer for her questions, so she had become quieter but the stormy thoughts in her mind didn’t subside.

Till she saw Santa!

She couldn’t believe that he actually existed. She went closer to touch him and all her friends laughed. But she was now grown up enough to understand all!

Trust in this mystical figure can only be created at a very young age when children look up to their parents and believe all they say, when they learn to be good for the sake of Santa, when they can smile at the make believe world created for them, just for fun! She had missed that stage of her life.

The yearning:

How she yearned to grow up again, to be loved, to be heard, to be understood!

Not just for the gifts she had never received.

But to grow up with that magic, that faith that comes naturally… to grow up with the feeling of belongingness…to fit into the multi-cultural society that looks down upon certain people.

She wanted to study why is the society so hypocritical and judgmental.

The lessons:

 Emotional affliction

As an adult, she refused to live according to the expectations of the society. She crawled out of that cocoon, which had made her reclusive. She chose her friends very carefully. She abandoned certain people she didn’t like.

She found great satisfaction in giving. All the gifts that she had not received were given. She started with her own children but her range was much wider than her surroundings.

She didn’t choose just one occasion to bestow blessings on the needy. She knew her efforts were just a grain of sand; a drop in the ocean but that thought didn’t deter her efforts.

The blessings:

The innumerable blessings that she continues to receive have steered her towards the path of humility, forgiveness and spirituality. She wonders how she gets the resilience and which force is guiding her trail. The travails of childhood have contributed to her growth in a huge way, she knows that. She doesn’t hold any grudges. She expresses gratitude to all those who neglected her and provided her with the invaluable lessons of care and affection.

These emotions have evolved with time and age. Forgiveness and gratitude were the most hard and arduous to cultivate. She spoke to her inner voice thousands of times; she calmed its shouts as many times and has succeeded in convincing herself that life is content and peaceful if we accept it as it comes.

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Why Are Birthdays So Special And Emotionally Charged Moments

sleeping2-c-akirahbabe.blogspot.com_Every year there was a day when this girl waited for darkness to descend soon. She also waited for the house to be quiet and then she cried her heart out, silently, to her pillow. The sobs would not subside till she fell asleep.

She knew nobody is going to empathize with her tears, she knew nobody would even ask what was her problem. She had known that for eight years now and she didn’t expect any words of affection.

The sobs of this little girl would have never ceased if the Birthday fairy had not given her the assurances. She caressed her long, soft hair and sat beside her. She told her very softly that there would come a time when people around her would not forget her birthday. She assured her that this day was going to be the happiest day of her life only if she waits a few years.

This childhood fantasy gave great solace to her, assuaged her hurts and raised her hopes.

The first few lessons she learnt were that a girl can never claim to be equal… that birthdays are only for boys…that girls have no right to question certain norms of her society.

But she also learnt to think positive.

She kept her hopes and expectations to herself. She didn’t want to share them in the fear of getting disliked.

Conflicting emotions churned in her heart and mind, trying to balance out.

Seeing seemed more powerful at that impressionable age but she didn’t let those impressions entrench themselves in her. She took an inspiration from the subjugation and discrimination, which stared starkly at her face.

Her promises to herself kept getting firmer with each year. She learnt new lessons with each put down and her resilience grew to unimaginable heights. In fact it became an invincible part of her personality.

At least she had the freedom of thought, she told herself. At least she had the capabilities to distinguish between virtues and vices. At least she had the opportunities of learning, which many around her were deprived of.

All who live in neglect are not that strong, they have the tendency to drift into negative crevices. They learn to accept all the atrocities calmly.

All are not so positive and imaginative to have met the birthday fairies!

For her, birthday was just another day till she met her soul mate.

Were childhood dreams true or was this just another phase of life? – this question often reverberated around her.

Yes, a day did come when there was no dearth of flowers, cards and wishes around her on her birthday.

It followed year after year. Her husband made this day special for her in all the loving ways. Her friends, her students and her children added brilliance with their smiles and wishes.

Birthday was not just another day now. It ushered in new delight, even the sunshine seemed to be special!

Birthday Quote

All this could be possible just because she met an open minded man who let her flower into a luminous personality, who didn’t impose his views on her, who didn’t consider her to be another woman of his era but respected her.

Celebrating birthday of all the children of the house is essential as:

  • It gives them pleasant memories,
  • Makes them sensitive
  • They learn the values of togetherness and love
  • They grow up into cheerful and confident individuals,
  • Happiness of those little moments, which make them the center of attraction, is a learning experience for them,
  • Highlights the importance of self-love

We all cherish childhood memories; clutch them all the more as we grow up; they conjure up those moments of delight when we look at a familiar spot or a child we love… and the childhood yearnings return.

Birthdays are those landmarks, which evoke such memories. Some special emotions are attached to them…love, gratitude, respect, admiration, pride and honor are imbibed effortlessly.

Do you have any such memories, which are difficult to share?

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Balroop Singh.

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