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Rising Dawn

rising dawnIt is the setting of another day,

Nature is warming to the rising sun,

Soil is clean after the night’s rain,

Trees respire fresh and cool air.

 

The mind is booting its program,

To toss around or tuck up the blanket,

Fifteen minutes fly like a morning myna,

Awake! Behold the beauty of the dawn!

 

Early morning, why are you so enchanting?

Surrounding stillness, soaring radiance,

Chanting voices of the birds,

Crystal rain drops on the grass.

 

Where is my diary and pen?

What are the responsibilities for the day?

Anxious thoughts grip my thoughts,

No! This is not the hour for such plots.

 

This silent hour resonates like in an ancient church,

Every ticking second is like a precious pearl,

Penetrating my bones as the cool air tinges my skin,

Warm blood surges through my veins.

 

It is Father’s Day.

What best gift can I offer Him?

 

An hour of this thrilling morning,

Only Him and me, enveloped in the blue sky and lush green.

The Winding Road

winding roadThe sky is full of vastness
Surrounding trees have much to reveal,
But beyond every bend lies a mystery,
To reach that point is strangely anxious
What magnificence is hidden beyond the unseen,
Is wanting for the mind.

In distance the road is smooth,
It is shining black and clean,
Like a woman’s oiled long hair.
Nearer, the rough surface gets in vision.
Like a cell under a microscope.
But the tough tires run a comfortable ride.

It looks like the road is running with us,
No! t is going in the opposite direction,
Blink! The trees are also competing with us,
Some have bright and smiling flowers,
Others stoic like dead branches,
Nevertheless, all are in competition.

The road is carrying our jeep,
Bordering us from the growing wild,
Transporting from home,
Leading to the destination.
A course taken by others too,
Some have reached, others did not.

Destination is the hope,
The road is the way to it,
Few minutes, hours on the black tar,
Singing, laughing and cracking jokes,
Sleeping or day-dreaming at the view,
The road carries us all.

Uncertainity at every U-turn,
A smooth pass,
Or a lorry confrontation,
Some honk a warning,
Others are silent like before a tsunami,
Assurance on the steady grip on of wheel.

Puzzle clears out on this journey,
When the jeep moves forward,
Trusting the driver to take us through,
But what is the driver thinking,
Watch, pray and breathe,
Trust, is the answer to the puzzle.

A Solemn Morning

IMG-20170325-WA0007

It is a cool, calm, cloudy morning

In the serenity of the still weather, I think, write…

 

Looking into the expansive lake in Lamptaput.

Digging into the soft mud and smooth pebbles,

Relaxing in the slow flowing water,

Washing and cooling my tired feet,

Composing my overactive muscles,

My face breathes in the rising sun.

 

A shadow behind me,

Darkened by my foot impressions,

But, I doubt they will be washed away.

Venturing into the same rough ground others come,

Determined to leave their stories too

In the distant village to face the scorching sun.

 

Tested and tired we journey home,

Striding purposefully in the eucalyptus forest.

Reflecting on the few people who pioneered here.

Chased and stung by wild beasts and snakes.

Depending on the saving One,

We face the setting sun.

 

For it is a pleasant and purposeful day,

And in the shining sun I smile to my thoughts,

It is time for work.

Immanuel

A whirl pool of worries are constantly at banging on the door. Rise to a morning, pondering over the decisions to take. One faulty step and the future is doomed. Compromises or confrontations—what is the method?

King Ahaz, the King of Judah, was facing a national situation of another battle against his superpowers—King of Aram and King of Israel. He was sweating in his chambers recollecting the earlier defeat against these two kingdoms (2 Ch. 28, 5-8).

Pekah, son of Remaliah, Israel’s king was one of the threats to Judah. He killed his own king Pekahiah and usurped his throne (2 Kgs. 15,25). The two men had differences in their relations with the foreign kingdom—Assyria. The older man shook hands with Assyria while the latter joined hands with Aram to attack Assyria. This foreign nation brought shivers to Israel. There were two ways to protect themselves from it—either to become allies or agree for a battle. Pekah chose the aggressive means and wanted the support of Judah too. It was a shivering state for Judah to decide—shake hands or war against them.

Rezin, King of Aram had captured Elath, a port town developed in Solomon’s reign (2 Kgs. 16,6 ;1Kgs. 9,26). The people of Judah were driven out from Elath. So, Judah had a bitter experience with Rezin. They were busted by this north-east kingdom. In addition, their brother, Israel, was in allegiance with this hostile nation. Judah had two enemies to battle before they faced their giant, Assyria.

The king of Judah was surrounded by arrows aimed at him. No wonder, his heart was shaken “as the trees of the forest are shaken” (Isa. 7,2). He had three options before him—Ahaz could ally with Egypt against the three or join hands with Ephraim and Aram against Assyria or face Assyria by himself.

God had another plan for him. Isaiah is sent with his son, Shear Jashub (his name signifies a remnant will return). Isaiah prophesies for redemption to Judah. The sign will be the birth of a child.

Isaiah meets King Ahaz at an aqueduct of the Upper Pool. The King may have been inspecting the water supply when the prophet visited him. Ironically, close to the aqueduct, about 30 miles away is Lachish where Assyria demanded Judah’s submission (Isa. 36,2). The King was on a domestic affairs of the state but the foreign affairs were persistent. He was threatened by the invading outer forces but did not neglect on the internal matters of his kingdom.

A message of comfort reaches him—“Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid” (Is.7, 4). He is encouraged to be strong against the teeny-weeny kings of Aram and Ephraim (Israel). It was a prophecy concerning the future events. In 732 BCE, Tiglath Pilesar III crushed Damascus, Aram’s capital. In the same year, Israel was also subdued. God knew their end, but King Ahaz was unaware. He could only hear of the threats from these two schemers. God assured Ahaz that he needn’t be afraid of them.

The future of Rezin and Pekah was declared in time. God assured Ahaz to the extent that he informed him in accuracy of the upcoming doom of the foes. Although it would not happen in Ahaz’s period of time, he was given a promise about his kingdom. All he needed to do was to stay strong because the forces was strong in his period of time. For until the destruction of Aram and Samaria, Judah would be constantly attacked. Against the doubt of defeat or surrender, God instils confidence in Ahaz to remain firm in faith (7, 9). This is the test our times, when the attacks around us so harsh that we lose faith. But the war is not won by threats.

Test of faith is the message of our Immanuel God. There are armies marching against us. We know their strategies. We are aware of the evil schemes they have against us. We are surrounded by our own brother-turned-enemy, then a neighbour and the most impending danger is from a terrifying kingdom. In the midst of such turmoil, the message is God is with us. He is the mightiest! Strongest! Victorious! Who can stand against him! God only wants us to trust him.

Ahaz’s story does not end with his dependence on God. He chose to befriend Tiglath Pileser, King of Assyria (2 Kgs. 16,7-9). The result was thrashing defeat. Israel and Aram were stubbed by Assyria in the same year. And Judah was sheared with a razor—the Assyrians (Is. 7, 20).

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” (Isa. 7, 9b) No confrontations neither compromises, faith in God to take us forward is the prophetic method or message.

Pulley

Weight of the gate on a pulley,

Balanced by a stone so heavy,

Pull and release—bang!

 

The gate was once upon a time creaky,

Passing in and out was noisily freaky,

The gardener devised a game.

 

The rusting gate was tied to a stone,

A rope holding the two all alone,

But the pulley gave it a rolling company.

 

No more screeching nuisance,

Only a silent assurance,

A pulley healed the noise.

 

Thence it lay silently on the tough bark,

Hanging in the shady dark,

Inviting no attention to itself.

 

Gently welcoming the peoples,

Children, adults and cycles,

For it controlled the movement of the gate,

 

However, when they rushed into it,

They limped for a medical kit,

For hurry is discouraged with a damage.

 

Once a boy banged into the stone,

A new pretty umbrella was not condoned,

Leaving them to grunt their teeth.

 

Like a child held by parents,

Or attraction between lovers.

A pulley smoothly controls the affair.

 

Few are there who compliment it,

Others spot not its existence,

But it rolls on faithfully.

Fireflies

 

Darkness looms around us,

A thumb is erratic for the button on the torch,

The quest is futile and frustrating,

“Look above!” exclaimed a touch.

 

Like glitters on a shimmering black saree,

The trees are decorated with flying lights,

Flickering on and off in a random order,

Flying close to my nose widening the pupil of my eyes.

 

Playful fireflies chase one after the other,

Like freed school children in fantasy,

Are these angels racing one another?

Or mini-stars revolving in a galaxy.

 

The sky above overarches the scenery,

Greater lights stand above smiling at the tiny ones,

An image for glory in the night,

The night is ignited with surprises.

 

Sources of light in the moonless sky,

Like firecrakers on a New Year Eve,

Greeting the coming future,

Forgetting the worries at the dusk.

 

Darkness is not a threat,

It beckons the days of creation,

“Let there be lights in the expanse,

To separate the day from the night.”

God said so and saw that it was good.

Fireflies

 

Darkness looms around us,

A thumb is erratic for the button on the torch,

The quest is futile and frustrating,

“Look above!” exclaimed a touch.

 

Like glitters on a shimmering black saree,

The trees are decorated with flying lights,

Flickering on and off in a random order,

Flying close to my nose widening the pupil of my eyes.

 

Playful fireflies chase one after the other,

Like freed school children in fantasy,

Are these angels racing one another?

Or mini-stars revolving in a galaxy.

 

The sky above overarches the scenery,

Greater lights stand above smiling at the tiny ones,

An image for glory in the night,

The night is ignited with surprises.

 

Sources of light in the moonless sky,

Like firecrakers on a New Year Eve,

Greeting the coming future,

Forgetting the worries at the dusk.

 

Darkness is not a threat,

It beckons the days of creation,

“Let there be lights in the expanse,

To separate the day from the night.”

God said so and saw that it was good.

Life-changing experience at HMF – a shelter home

I think this article is long overdue. It’s been more than 3 years now since we taught in Harshananda Memorial Foundation, Kothanur, Bengaluru. Karishma Paul  and I have co-authored this arti…

Source: Life-changing experience at HMF – a shelter home

One Step and The Next

 

Three feet tall and five inch bare-footed,

Palms that barely hold a broom,

Curly black hair, clear skin and happy shy eyes,

Standing before a bark, the size of a fully grown muscular arm.

 

Without an estimation tiny fingers grip a branch,

Bare foot attempts to clasp the rough-surfaced bark,

The first trail fails but the ascent does not.

Eyes spark to an idea! The adjacent fence is a support for the climb.

 

Up on the branch, what joy fills her smiles!

Enthroned! Dangling legs and swinging arms rebel against the inert state,

The descent! Body thrust the downward movement,

Established on the earth? No! She resets her determined eyes to escalate the rough terrain.

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