Raw

Raw

27 May 2019

flames woman pd4pic com
Courtesy pic4dpc.com

She put the kettle on the fire and reached for the tea leaves in the tin on the shelf above the stove. The tin had again been displaced by her mother-in-law it seemed. She did indeed find it in the lower shelf under the stove. She wondered why her mother-in-law even bothered to do that as she never made tea for herself but came to her instead, even if it were in the middle of the night. Shanti hated how her mother-in-law would storm into their room whining that her throat was hurting her and that nobody had given her any tea or any milk and honey before she had gone to bed. She knew very well that her mother-in-law was lying as she remembered having given her whatever she asked for before but her husband would still growl and ask her to tend to his mother properly.

It pained her that she had to take care of everything relentlessly and that nobody in the house thanked her for it, on the contrary. It pained her more to think that her own mother was alone back in India since her dad had passed away and that her husband would not allow her to bring her to live with them. He did not have a problem keeping his mother in their house but always found excuses for why they could not have her mother with them. She felt anger at the age-old traditions well inside her. It was always the woman who had to give up her home, her name, her family and serve the family of her husband. When she thought about all the books she read and how they spoke about emancipation, she felt a bitter laugh rise in her throat. All that education just for making tea and meals now for a grumpy old woman. She felt like a slave and it was ironically even worse than that considering that her father paid a high price for that slave condition.

She had had so many dreams and her mother had kept feeding her more dreams, telling her that all she had to do was succeed in her studies and she could do anything. Unfortunately when her dad had decided that she needed to be married to one of their distant cousins abroad, her mother never spoke a word. She and her father both pretended it was in her best interest as her future husband was living abroad and she would have better chances to find a job and use the university degree she had got. It was all make believe as they knew well that he came from a very traditional side of the family who only wanted women to be educated so they could have a better match. None of the women in his family had ever made it to a paid job despite their higher studies. She winced as she took the vegetables out of the fridge and hit her hand against the door. Her hand was still hurting her from when her husband had twisted it. He had apologised but it was not the first time and she had started to understand that it would not be the last.

She slowly started dicing the vegetables. Her mother-in-law peeped through the kitchen door. « Still cutting the vegetables. When will the curry be ready ? » she yelled. « Where is my tea ? » she continued, almost in the same breath. She seemed to be hiding something in her saree’s hip area. Shanti followed her out of the kitchen and watched as she put what seemed to be a letter inside the drawer. She waited as she knew her mother-in-law would soon be going to the toilet. As soon as she shuffled out of the room, Shanti swooped into it and took the letter from the drawer. It was addressed to her and was from an aunt. She ripped it open, a bit confused why her mother-in-law was hiding a letter sent to her. In it her aunt asked why she had not come to her mother’s funeral. She put the letter down in shock. She was supposed to speak to her mother that weekend.

Normally, her cousin would go to her mother’s house every three weeks to ensure that she was able to use the video chat of whatsapp as her mother could not figure out how to use the device and the elderly neighbours were not of much help. It was no point calling her when she was alone as she would never hear the phone ringing despite the number of times that her daughter would call her. She had become quite deaf with age so it was a very complicated process to get in touch with her and speak to her. The letter mentioned she had been buried almost two weeks before. It was shortly after she had spoken to her that her mother had passed away. She wondered why nobody had got in touch with her to let her know that over the phone. She read on and realised that her cousins had called and delayed the funeral but they had reached her husband who had not passed on the message. She remembered now why. He was due to go to a convention that week and did not want to have to find an alternate solution for his mother.

Her mother-in-law came back and found her with the letter. She sniffed and snorted and pretended that she was not aware of what was going on. Shanti started asking her why they had not told her. Her mother-in-law pretended again she was not aware of what Shanti was talking about. Shanti started screaming with tears of rage and hurt streaming along her face as she held her mother-in-law by the shoulders asking her again and again why they had not told her. Her mother-in-law’s attitude infuriated her. All of a sudden she felt somebody haul her from the shoulders, throw her on to the ground and kick her in the stomach. She realised it was her husband. « Don’t you ever dare touch my mother » he yelled. She thought that it was rich. She had not touched the old grouch and instead he was the one hitting her. She tried to sit up and felt a searing pain go through her belly. She seemed to be bleeding at the bottom of her dress. Her mind was swirling. He had kicked her in the belly which was still terribly painful. Why was she bleeding down there ? Her mind went blank and she blacked out.

When she woke up in the hospital the nurse told her softly that she had lost her baby. She was sore all over but barely felt any grief for the baby. All her grief was turned towards her mother and the ache of not having been able to be there for her funeral was just eating at her. She felt terrible but she was not sure that she wanted that baby at all when she thought of it. Now that her mother was gone she could finally go away and be free and if the baby had lived, she would never have been free. When her mother was still alive she would not have wanted to cause her any shame but she did not care what the rest of the family thought. She knew that she would not stay with her husband once her parents had passed away. This was not the life she had wanted for herself and she had never been the kind who would take abuse. She had only kept quiet so her parents would not feel bad and she had not asked for a divorce because she had known how crushed her parents would have felt with the shame. Theirs was a traditional family after all.

When she returned home she picked up her clothes and piled them up in her suitcase. Her husband had stayed back at home and followed her his fist raised as if to strike her. She lashed out at him when he attempted to. She was no longer going to take it silently. He lunged at her again and she struck back. It was a bloody battle, with her scratching and biting and him striking. At the end he won of course with his brutish force and she lay on the floor bruised and battered, her belly aching again. At the end of the argument he had taken her passport and burnt it on the stove. She had tried to retrieve it but it was all charred. It would take her several weeks now to be able to get a new one. She could not imagine staying another day in this house but she would still have to wait until the next morning before she ventured out as she had no money and no documents to identify her. She went to the stove and put the kettle to make herself some tea hoping it would help ease her belly pain. She could hear her mother-in-law creep into the kitchen. It felt like déjà-vu except that it seemed to have a more sinister feel to it.

She turned around just in time to see her mother-in-law splash some liquid on her dress, face and arms. As the liquid reached her, she could see it lighting up like a wave of fire all around her. She realised that her mother-in-law had thrown some inflammable liquid on her. She could smell her skin burning and she tried to run and find something to put the fire out but the old woman pushed her with her cane. Suddenly she was not so frail and plaintive anymore. She hissed in a horrible voice while she struck her with the cane at her forehead « That’s for lacking respect to my son. He is hundred times your worth ». Shanti fell to the ground, her body writhing with the combination of pain from her belly and the burning. She tried smothering the fire by rolling on the floor but the flames kept licking at her as the old woman kept spraying her with the liquid. She could see her husband’s face appear at the kitchen door. He looked aghast at what was happening as he watched his mother bathe his wife in alcohol while she was burning. « Mother, how could you ? What are we going to do now » was the last thing Shanti heard.

When the ambulance arrived, she had been severely burnt all over her body. She passed away the same night. Her husband told the police that his mother and her were cooking in the kitchen and all of a sudden the bottle of alcohol they were keeping to clean items had spilled over on his wife’s clothes making them catch fire. He explained that his mother had tried to help but owing to the fact that she was old and walked with a cane she had tripped and slipped instead making the whole bottle spill over his wife. He had just come in to see that happening and had quickly gone to look for a blanket to smother the flames on his wife but she had continued to burn. The police did not find his story very credible given the amount of scratch marks and bites all over him and the bruises all over the parts of his wife’s body that were not burnt. They charged him for murder in the first degree. His mother watched and whined plaintively as they took him away in the courthouse. She would have to go back to the village now and live with one of her other sons who had not done so well and gone abroad. All because of that stupid Shanti she thought.

Shanti’s husband sat in a corner of the prison courtyard. There were a lot of inmates who despite being hardened criminals did not take kindly to men who beat up their wives who could not defend themselves. Some of them were eyeing him and planning on teaching him a lesson. The bell rang for lunchtime. He plodded along with the rest of the prisoners knowing that things were not going to be so easy for him in here. This was his first day in prison and he was already regretting that he had not told the police it was his mother who had killed Shanti. Would they have even believed him, anyway ? They would have simply thought he was trying to pin it on her using her as a scapegoat. He reached the dining area. There was a sickening smell coming from the kitchen area. He knew that smell.

The prisoner at the counter smiled at him. « Meat for your first day, you lucky bum» he said smiling. The man had not heard unlike the others why he was in prison. Shanti’s husband looked down at the meat. That sickening smell. « I can’t eat it » he screamed. « I need to eat everything raw. Raw, you hear me ? Raw, raw, raw ! » he continued screaming as he tried to throttle the man at the counter. He seemed to have lost his mind. His eyes were glazed and he was frothing at the mouth. He screamed and kicked while they carried him out of the dining room and into the infirmary. He never recovered speech but he only got raw food since then or there would be another scene of him turning into a madman again. He ate his food quietly in the corner. The other inmates did not even bother teaching him a lesson. He was like a ghost, barely noticeable as he had thinned down a lot. Nobody bothered talking to him and none of his family members asked for him. From time to time the prison psychiatrist met him and when she asked for him, the guards would only answer referring to him with the nickname he had earned there :« Raw ».

 

 

Note:

According to Wikipedia “In 1995, Time Magazine reported that dowry deaths in India increased from around 400 a year in the early 1980s to around 5800 a year by the middle of the 1990s. A year later, CNN ran a story saying that every year police receive more than 2500 reports of bride burning. According to Indian National Crime Record Bureau, there were 1948 convictions and 3876 acquittals in dowry death cases in 2008. India reports the highest total number of dowry deaths with 8,391 such deaths reported in 2010, meaning there are 1.4 deaths per 100,000 women.”

According to an April 2017 article in India today, “Twenty-one dowry deaths are reported across the country every day. The conviction rate, however, is less than 35 per cent. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) states that in 2015, as many as 7,634 women died in the country due to dowry harassment.” https://www.indiatoday.in/mail-today/story/dowry-deaths-national-crime-records-bureau-conviction-rate-972874-2017-04-22

 

Piya Ho – A. R. Rahman

Love token

Love token

5 May 2019

Love token The_Wishing_Star_-_painting_by_Christian_Schloe
Courtesy Christian Schloe

Two to tie

Within is without

Seven flags

Fly about

Rings of fire scorch the trees

Penitent on knees

 

Dragon’s lair

His smell in the air

Wings that lift

Nightly drift

Black holes guide to inner stare

His world here not there

 

Concealed might

Whispers in the night

He gifts me

Second sight

The Northern Star guides me right

My frame in his light

 

Magic tricks

Bosoms split in six

Spells that fix

Feathers mix

Bring together what was torn

One eyed king is born

 

Awoken

I am unbroken

He grants me

Love token

Three times soft words are spoken

His heart in my care

 

Spring has come

Lost weight of winter

Suns rays play

With my eye

From him I will never shy

Eagle of my sky

 

Reading of the poem:

Mute angels – Hammock

Cold front – Hammock

One Another – Hammock

Shores undivided

Shores undivided

23 September 2018

shores deviantart com the_moon_goddess__edited__by_dferous-d5ek0y5
Courtesy deviantart.com

 

Square linings in thoughts

Scent of a heart set on fire

Perfume felt my pulse

 

In between woodlands

A gate swings North west and creaks

South a remembrance

 

Wind a rhythmic friend

Over treetops lone whistle

Beings in the wild

 

A silence heaves hard

My bosom a place of peace

In prayer penance

 

Twenty three sparrows

Memories of my journey

Carry them in tale

 

Wisdom a handful

Merging with the feminine

Shores undivided

 

Reading of the poem: 

Riverside – Agnes Obel

 

In between two minds

In between two minds

18 February 2018

Phoenix blue birds
Courtesy pinterest.com

 

She watched as the visions of her invoking the rain unfolded but she was not determined yet to bring them into this reality. She surmised that when she had first stopped the rains with the combined effect of her worded intent and the shamanic trances with their resulting phoenix fires she had been fully possessed with the wrath of the phoenix so it had resulted in a heightened output of drought. The result was not just a cessation of rains but also a heightened temperature that was very unlikely for the season. She realised that for now she was only fully willing to bring in some winds to cool the otherwise unbearable temperature.

She came out of her trance and looked around her. She had to admit that even if it weren’t for the fact that she was in between two minds it would be difficult for her to bring back the rains on the land. They had indeed stripped her garden of its tall trees that had given her a connection to Gaia and she knew it was not possible for her to do the raindance in one of the parks where there were trees as people around her might call the police thinking her crazy. She wondered whether the smaller shrubs in her garden could give her a connection that was strong enough to allow the intent to penetrate Gaia’s core.

She knew that without Gaia’s collaboration even the strongest of Shamans would need at least a month in order to invoke rain after activation of the wrath of the phoenix which had released its flames into the atmosphere. She realised that having the rains come after the rainy season, especially if that season had been incredibly warm would seem too odd and perhaps someone would notice the discrepancies and that would create more problems for her. She wondered whether she should invoke the rain at all as her projects had still not come to fruition and she was not sure they would not interfere again in her life making it unbearable.

That night she went to bed early as the Mother had told her she wanted her to be available for a journey. As she fell asleep, she saw the beautiful face of the Mother who guided her and told her that she needed to journey to the land of ravens to make up her mind and see what sources of connection to Gaia she could use to manifest her intent into the world. Several months ago, the Mother had already told her that the beginning of the manifestation was by the written word that was like a magic scripture and that further intent with shamanic intensity as well as connection to Gaia had to be put in to manifest any reality that was linked to Gaia.

As she walked in the dream she saw ravens collect around her and some sat on her head and shoulders. They cawed loudly as she swayed to the hypnotic music that played somewhere in the distance. It was a mixture of drum beats and flute that echoed strangely across the empty lands. The ravens cawed in unison to the music and then rose above her head to form a swirling circle that looked like a whirlpool. While she gazed at the whirlpool she saw within it red poppies, bougainvillae and roses. The Mother told her that these would be her connection to Gaia and that she would need to hold the bougainvillae or the roses while she was doing the shamanic dance so that it would be more effective.

She wondered why the Mother had not simply told her which connection to use for Gaia but the Mother told her that Gaia like all other living beings had her own free will and chose freely how to connect with humans. That choice could only be voiced to humans in an altered state of consciousness through the portal that ravens created which is why she had had to journey to the land of ravens otherwise also known as the land in between mundane reality and the Netherworld. It was a land that one visited when in shamanic trance or within dreams. The Mother also told her that she would need to make up her mind on what she really wanted to do as manifesting something only worked when one was totally convinced that one wanted it to happen.

She shook her head and looked around her as she woke up from the dream. She was not sure she wanted to invoke the rain but at the same time she knew that if she kept the wrath of the phoenix alive then the land would be scorched in a few months as the temperature would keep rising higher. She realised that it would be easier if her projects had been fully successful as she could then be relaxed and dedicate her time to a successful outcome instead of being in between minds about the weather and not manifesting the rain.

She looked out of the window and pitch black met her gaze as there were no street lamps near her house and the moon was hidden. She squared her shoulders and looked back inside the room at her reflection in the mirror. Her face was tired and drawn. She needed to make up her mind on whether to carry out the shamanic dance using the points of connection shown in her dream. She could feel the Mother hovering in the air behind her. She hid her face in her hands for a few seconds and then turned to face the Mother…

 

The Call For Total Surrender – Byron Metcalf & Steve Roach

Roads to pave

Roads to pave

15 February 2018

001-amazing-concept-art-graszka-paulska inspirefirst com
Courtesy Graszka Paulska on inspirefirst.com

Molten fire

Waking the desire

Pelting rain

Wash the pain

The bloodlit paths on the plain

Dark to discover

 

Uncover

Dodging the bullets

Riddled booth

Cracked tooth

Fairies older than the truth

Fate is a lover

 

We hover

Between instances

Tidal wave

Roads to pave

We will put to rest the knave

None can seek cover

 

Reading of the poem: 

Remember to Breathe – Byron Metcalf

True Ground – Byron Metcalf

Fire Passage A Warning from the Elders – Byron Metcalf

No rain

No rain

29 January 2018

christian-schloe pinterest com 29 -sense-of-night-1370333733_org
Courtesy Christian Schloe on pinterest.com

She paused and looked at the clouds forming. They had been seeding them in hope of getting rain but she planned otherwise. Using the old conjuring of spirits of dry, she danced wildly invoking desert drought and parched lands. The land was cool from the winter winds but the skies grew clear of clouds and the dust flew in the air filling people’s chests. After all they had done to her, she vowed to not let the rains bless their lands until she received what they had taken away from her. They had thought her to be a mere vessel that they could lull back to sleep, not realising that within her the powers of the Shamans of old were reignited. She had rediscovered within her the spirits of the lineage of Shamans that went back to time immemorial when she had danced in Machu Pichu her senses blazing from the Ayahuasca brew.

Every time the clouds gathered she willed the weather back to that of dried lands. She had been in public once though and could not stop the rains from falling as she could not break into the dance of flames. As soon as she could, that one time it had rained, she had hurried back home and willed the rain to stop. Her eyes blazed with the fire of the phoenix rising within her and scorching the pelting rain to vapour before it had stilled it and reduced the clouds to small cotton balls in the sky. Hers was not a mere revenge but a mission she embarked upon with all the vigor and will of those who had been coarsely and negligently wronged.

During the nights, she spoke to the spirits of the rain and pacified them, letting them know that they could visit sites nearby where they could flow all their ardour into the lands. In her altered state she took them by the hand and guided them to locations that would either benefit from rain or where she wanted to wreck havoc in vengeance, taking them far away from where her physical body was lying. They danced through the desert skies, high above the clouds and making sure not to come into contact with these latter so that they would not be charged and wet the lands with their content. Every time she danced with those spirits, her astral body sizzled with the intermingling of the flames of the phoenix and the waters of the spirits of the rain. The result was a trail of mist and steam that onlookers identified in the sky as a streak similar to that of a wishing star. Together they danced right over Paris and other European cities before returning to the place where her body dwelt. Once the dances over, she resettled back into her body and slept a sleep riddled with dreams of the Mother.

 

The Most Astounding Fact – Nibana

Among Thoughts (Star Paths) – Nibana

I am a Soul – Nibana

The Djinn

The Djinn

12 January 2018

Djin on assombrado com br
Courtesy assombrado.com.br

 

The house loomed against the night sky as she walked up to the front door. As was the case every time she came back there she felt the same feeling of dread and belonging mingle inside her. It was a very complex situation as the house repelled her and attracted her all at once. When she was inside it, there was a sense of peace that pervaded her although every time she was leaving the house a strange sense of eeriness overcame her, especially at night. That same sense of eeriness was there when she came back to the house at night time after a long day out.

The porch was flanked by two tall pillars that reached right up beyond the balcony of the first floor to the roof where a small carving in the rooftop wall made it seem like someone was watching from up there. Whenever she entered the house at night the door creaked when she closed it behind her and a strange sigh seemed to follow the creaking noise as if the house were breathing with relief that she was back home. This and the several other peculiar noises that punctuated her waking hours and sometimes woke her up from her sleep gave her that mixed sense of belonging and foreboding.

She had attempted to leave the house and move somewhere else on more than one occasion but for some reason the attempts turned out to be unsuccessful and she had had to return to the house and resume her living there. On some nights she would feel a presence in her room and at the same time her dog would bark repeatedly but when she sat up in her bed she would see nothing but just sense that someone or something was watching her.

One night she woke up to the barking of the dog and came face to face with an amorphous grey-blue face right above her own peering down at her. She fell back in shock on her pillow and when she sat up again there was nobody so she wondered if it had been a bad dream. She could sense however some sort of movement from the corner of her eye but when she looked directly at the space there was nothing. At the same time she could smell an awful smell that reminded her of something putrid and at the same time burnt so she got up and lit a few incense sticks to make the smell disappear.

The next day her helper said the corridor and the stairs were smelling terrible and the dog had been barking all night so it was surely the visit of a Djinn. According to the local mythology, Djinns were some sort of creatures made of fire sometimes good and sometimes demonic , which when demonic had a foul smell and liked to play tricks on mortals. She tried to convince her helper to be more realistic and that maybe it was somebody with dirty shoes but the helper seemed bent on her conviction. She insisted that she had to remove the negative traces and stop further visits so for the next few hours the house was full of a mixture of reciting of Quran and buddhist mantra chanting which the helper had found on youtube.

A couple of other times the corridor and the stairs had been all smelly and the dog had barked all night but she had not awoken to see the same face again and the helper just repeated her rituals for the full day all the while repeating over the phone to all her relatives that the house had a Djinn that would come up from under the ground and visit the premises.

 

Dreaming Cooper – Mysterious Places

Dreaming Cooper – Zero G

Dreaming Cooper – The Lost World