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Monday, November 29, 2010

The Rice Kettle

For a moment I was selfish;
(We all are, at our own conveniences)
Now I'm back again
To share my world with you and the universe.
I'm not saying I'm not clueless anymore;
I'm not saying I'm wise, it's far from that.
I can't make promises,
I can't look you in the eye,
But one blind spot can now see
And you'll know I've learnt something
Something ineffable, something transcendent,
And it boils my heart to compare
What could have been to what is...

They are alright in the beginning,
the rice at the bottom, the water on top,
and filling the spaces in between.
Then they feel the heat, and they wince a bit
trying to comprehend the change
then they become a little more frantic,
they call their oracles, pray to their gods,
look for omen and blame each other.
In a while there are talks of a revolution,
as the entire body of the community
starts feeling the tremors
the dance in unison,
the waltz that becomes the salsa
and then the wild aboriginal tribal dance
and then finally the bacchanalia -
drunk with the heat, mad in the head,
metamorhosing in the very being,
as they soften and weaken against the heat.
It goes on forever, I think,
in the cosmic cycle of things
at varying frequencies.
The Tenor breaks someone's heart
while the Soprano pierces another's.

But then the particles of choices slow down
every time I turn off the kettle
and turn and turn twice more
before they settle down,
slowly ceasing their maddening dance,
cursing, proclaiming their return
Waiting with bated breath,
for a rebirth, the destined moment,
beyond which even Zeus cowers
with his tail between his legs
like the poor mongrel at any roadside dhabha,
waiting for the next bone to come its way,
for fortune to fill its sails with wind again,
for the carousel to complete a circle,
so they can get on to it again
reminding me of my vulnerability,
my vanities and my pride;
crushing them, but not without a fight.
There rages a war, and I am the battlefield.
It doesn't matter who wins or loses -
the blood is on me, it fills my veins, and then it overflows,
maybe I added too much water to the rice.

I wander off in another direction
(as the water overflows till enough remains)
where walls of Troy have fallen, or were never built
where Helen stayed where she should have
where Eve never bit the darned apple;
where people would sit and stare
at the beauty of the moon,
rather than trying to reach it,
mincing their lives making buildings
and guns to kill each other or themselves;
swearing, shoving, extorting
climbing back onto the carousel,
taking a full circle, as the kettle boils,
doing all they can
before the thermostat turns the kettle off
and there will be no more bubbling,
no more overflowing with froth and venom,
poisoning the walls and the very earth it came from
till all is quiet,
the storm quietened with one command!
the form changed along with the being.
I am not who I used to be
I have been in the kettle.