Musings

Sweltering red rock.
Watermelon slices outside prison, waiting to dissolve in the succulent juices of an April summer.
April is always a month of insights. Last April, a clear, spiritual focus found me. I always knew it was coming, but sometimes its the dazy heat of April that quietens the mind, and tells you it is time.

Suffering. Memory.
Memory, play, repeat.
I was walking, walking fast, walking calm,
Walking slow and focused- staring at the weary faces of the women waiting for me to shell out my ‘peace games’ and ‘art therapy kit’, I was reminded of my ex-partner-a gentle guy who ended up threatening to wring my neck in our last fight. A small gesture, a maddening anger. Pain bubbles as sadness mirrors- everyone is suffering.
Did I give in?
Does love resolve itself? Does time resolve pain?

As I walked on the broken cement at the women’s prison, I thought of Jimmy Baca- an ex-convict I’d met in the US many years ago when I was teaching in a prison. He had lead an extraordinary life of suffering and transformation. Spending six hears in prison, out of which, three years, in isolation (Some American prisons have isolated cells for certain types of incarcerated people)- he taught himself how to read and write. He had suffered and suffered and suffered his whole life but the man I saw and met was a man who was clear, unjaded, humble and whole. A fellow inmate convinced him to read out his poetry and slowly and steadily, he built his life back.

One can read more by googling him and his work but the most extraordinary thing about him and his work was that there wasn’t any ‘golden end’. Any rags to riches tale, any wiping out of all of his suffering with a stroke of fame. Sometimes, we think of transformation as magic. Pain becomes glory. And you’re a clean slate again.

But perhaps, acceptance is transformation itself. We often think of acceptance as giving up. But maybe, in this very quest to transform pain, we are only looking for rewards? Baca portrayed transformation as acceptance. Of self and the other. Of fear. and pain.

Can one really transform the pain of the other?

Does one just forget?

I finished my session with those beautiful women today, hungry to learn, waiting to receive, unfree, burdened by their pain. I packed my drums and said goodbye and I remembered, April is the month on insight.

prison

Expressive Art Therapy- Community Building

Khula Aasman is a beautiful, earthy space for artists right in the middle of Chembur in Mumbai. With their focus being ‘Play for Peace’, they work whole heartedly in the realm of community based therapeutic art work, facilitated over long periods of time. They’d invited me over to do a ten-hour, two-week spanning therapeutic engagement with the women-at-risk. The focus was for it to be a community mural- with their ideas, stories and representations of truth.

Check them out here!

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Tasting

What stories do you feed your lovers?
The rice has been boiling,
for over a week now,

I’m waiting

You taste of an old memory,
a bowl of greens beside me
you tell me
a secret,

But the rice has been boiling
over a week now,

I’m waiting.

The starch has started
to stain my lips,
the water is turning dry,
What stories do you feed your lovers?

I’m waiting.

She and I and her and Togetherness

Silence and looking are related.

I like to look.

I like quietness and looking.

How does one really see though? Of course, there is the regular mental clutter that stops one from really being able to see. But I am not talking of that, I think. I mean, how does one know when one can open one’s eyes to that which is worth seeing? I think silence comes from not-judging. There is immense power in silence. There is immense power in seeing. Maybe it is this power that blinds me.

These images are from an afternoon of looking in Pune, at a theatre space.

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Yes, it has

This city has become you, dearest lover, even though you’ve never been here.
Under the willows of wanting you, I have become one with this city.
The hurried footsteps in its anxious trains,
The empty chatter in the distant skyline,
The trees that look so forgetful,
dearest lover,
These are you.

It doesn’t matter you’ve never been here.
I am you now, in this city.

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Valves

I was looking at you look at me, from the corner of your heart.
It is a place only you and me can see together.
The valves mingle within the warm waters of what you call love.
I am not there.
You are.

Suddenly,we look away,almost together.
It is as if what we said or did or understood as ours was not ours anymore but you now speak in third person.
I don’t exist.
You don’t exist.

You are now looking at me looking at you, the you that doesn’t exist. You are here. I am not.

All I see is you. The you that doesn’t exist.

Image

By the Sil

No,

we are not

together

in this,

in that

or the other,

we never were

asked to

ask the milk man

the garbage man

the boy next door

or the cat

if they heard us

when we were

asking each other

if

we heard ourselves

when we

were

together

No,

that did not

happen,

No,

it never did

I came out

empty

as we

swallowed

the cat

by the window sil

The First Instant

I’m coming
home
to a pile of love
an empty bed
on
a full page,
crisp sheets,
a tattered
envelope,
a weary
traveler,
a bit wet too,
the rain survives
the call
of my heart
as paper
suffices
to let
me think
of you.

An empty cloud

Outside your window,
an empty cloud,
a disappearing
reminder,
your gaze,
we meet,
but
what shall we
say
to each
other?

And I’ve moved again

Image

I’ve moved to another set of streets to discover. This time, it is raining, not snowing. The little coffee shops have turned into tinier one-hall-kitchens, the streetlights are dimmer and twilight has vanished into a sultry, soaking heat that reaches the very top of my head. Bombay is a busy, busy town and my children are busier.

Working in the field of drama-in-education is opening up new staircases in my mind. Let us see where this one goes.

A link to our network of drama educators:

http://theatreprofessionals.co.in/mainlinkcontent.php?catid=1