The Short Service Officer (An ode)

Long time ago on a Saturday morning,
I pinned on my shoulders,
the stars shining,
I wore the lanyard of tradition,
the beret of duty,
without any inhibitions.

I knew no rights or wrongs,
just fulfilled a dream I longed.
I had no biases to colour me ,
Only the tricolours fluttering along.

10 yrs, 20, 30 ?? What do you choose? , they asked.
I said, “Why count years? Is loving your mother land a task?”
“See your responsibilities then you decide,”.
I choose my flag always, there’s no need to hide.

They said, Oh, so you must have been a rebel,
to leave at ten?
Yes, no one stops me from serving my nation.
Said some , What’s outside? Money and breaking rules?
Said others,”Oh, your CV is plain, what was your pay level?
I laughed, “Don’t stress my friend , You will not get it,
My experiences lie on silent mountains , I don’t wear these medals as a jewel.”
-Major Nithi CJ

Resonate with what you relate to…

When was the last you walked to the top of hill and screamed in the valley that lay below, only to find your voice as an echo?

Resonance is a very interesting phenomenon… if you read the concept you would realise. It’s more than just sound…

“It is defined as the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighbouring object.”

– Definition from the Internet

The interesting part is the synchronised vibration with the neighbouring object is not possible until both commensurate with each other..

In the world of virtual bonding , and the increasing desire for approval, we are somehow losing on connecting with people whom we relate to. Likes, dislikes in the virtual world may give momentary happiness but what about eternal solace?

“The one who socialises mindlessly , is the most lonely person.”

-Nithi CJ

With socialising becoming a trend more on our devices, we have forgotten to connect with anyone on an aim beyond few drinks and few bites. In just few minutes of any gathering, we see the dissipation of focus into individual handsets. What about the conversations and the connections you desire to create with the like minded?

It is important to select your company in such a manner… and express only to them who understand and relate; and are sensitive to your thoughts. Casual hangouts can only ‘hang’ you ‘out’ momentarily from your actual self, but the question is how long can you keep hanging?

Won’t it be better if you could resonate with someone whom you relate?

The Symbolism-Paradox of Womanhood

Flash back to “Kuchh kuchh hota hai”, Kajol who was a tomboy in college , walks in wearing a saree and makes Shahrukh fall for her. Suddenly, “he feels that he is in love”. It’s nothing but idiotic infatuation glorified. We all suffer from this OCD even when it comes to our personalities. We get into defining people … she’s a tomboy, yaar she’s so girly… oh god isn’t she too bold ??? And the list never ends.

Then comes in symbolism. It can be seen being sympathised for ‘short hair’ to “Oh Nithi, you’re in the Army ? But u don’t look like ?”

This is a never ending psychological controversy. The main reason for this is our emotionally exaggerating selves.

Isn’t it possible for a soldier to where a cocktail dress and yet maintain her professional demeanour? She very well can! (Disclaimer: please don’t drag the uniform this !!! Because the sanctity of the uniform should not be experimented with..) So what if she wants to feel solemn by wearing a saree for an occasion? You will then see sarcasm knocking there.

At the same time there are people who are over concerned about “oh my god how do you wear those heavy boots?!! Poor girl!!”

We reach nowhere in this! Actually!!

Interesting is what we are left with as identities especially women? Either one who’s portraying to be a non conformist by ‘equating’ men through their appearances or one who portrays as an idealist by being conventional and socially acceptable.

I am reminded of Sadhguru’s quote that the believer and the non believer are on the same side… they both believe in something. Beliefs make us shallow , rather, we must endeavour for experience!! Want to sport a western dress do it !! Want to be ethnic the next day, do it!!! Let the superficialities of our attires don’t affect your identities, let them be cherished only as recreation for oneself, just to feel good , feel happy for yourself, cherish culture , not for portraying it to people!!

I hope this made sense to you!!! Simply enjoy what you want to be today !!!

Trivial Delights

Choking souls

and stifled voices

Roam this world

sobbing in silence


and followers of More

Push and hustle

around the content

Aching whispers

are pushed hard here

By the merchants

atop the rampart

The fumes rise high

from pyres of hope

Darkening the very source of light

Obesiance to the wallets and purse

Pull out some paper or plastic

Watch it manifest into trivial delights…

Verses by Philomath

Fifteen minutes of Patriotism

Patriotism holds different meanings to each one of us.. even at different times within each of us…. And over these years independent India has definitely seen the changing hues…some bright and some dark… but has it lost the spark???

When anyone packs bags for their visit to Amritsar, Harpreet was the first one to get a ping on her mobile. “Hi, We are coming!” This phrase meant more than what it sounds like. The meaning often varied depending on how close they were. Friends? Relatives? Or acquaintances? Because the visit could transform from anything between fun to formality.

Harpreet Kaur was a soldier in the Border Security Force which was responsible for the famous Parade at the Wagah Border in Amritsar, Punjab. And her present posting at the same place , was the reason her phone mostly rang. Except one, that of Biji (referring to Mother in Punjabi language). Biji’s call involved queries related to having proper meals, safety, situation between the two countries vis a vis the requests by people to visit Golden Temple ( famous temple of Sikhs) , or witness the Wagah Parade. Calls for passes to see the parade might shadow that of well wishers in number but cannot weaken their blessings.

Wagah and Attari are the bordering villages between Indian and Pakistan, wherein Wagah is part of Pakistan and Attari is in India. The two nations are geographically connected here through railways as well as bus services, all taking place under the vigilant eyes of both nations. The parade conducted at Wagah between the border forces of the two nations, Border Security Force (BSF) of India and Pakistan Rangers is a melodramatic spectacle most sought after by the general public. ‘The Retreat‘ as it is referred to is a formal ceremony conducted by the parading contingent for lowering their National flags for the day. The main parade is an approximately 15 mins event , but the public conglomerates much before time for witnessing the cultural activities and also participating in the same. The parade epitomises many things, the historical relations between the two countries, the competition, the hatred , the love, inquisitiveness and the Patriotic demeanour.

It was time for the retreat. Harpreet was in the marching contingent again. As she got ready in the ceremonial uniform, she could hear the cheers of “Hindustan Zindabad” (Long live India) and “Vande Mataram” (Hail Motherland) , filling the air. She peeped out to see people gathered in thousands with the tricolour Indian flag fluttering in their hands. She gently smiled thinking of the fates of these flags in an hour from now. She looked at the gleaming faces of innocent youth painted with saffron, white and green. Each pair of eyes on both sides , filled with pride and anticipation that their country’s parade will be the best. Her thoughts dissolved when a colleague called,”It’s time!”

The master of the ceremonies dressed in white, made the announcement and signalled the public to welcome the contingent with cheers and war cries. The drums rolled and the parade commander gave them command. With one smart jerk the contingent marched towards the Border gate and took positions. Next followed Harpreet and her partner marching towards their positions near the gate. Cheers for the Women soldiers filled the air. Stamping the last step Harpreet faced her Pakistani counter part with show of anger and pride which was also part of the drill , and what actually gave the viewers the adrenaline rush.

Lastly, the parade commander marched smartly to his position near the gate. There were gates on both the sides painted in their respective national colours. As contingents of both sides smartly stood for further orders to retreat the flags from the hoist, the decibels of the patriotic cheers increased with the setting of the Sun.

Just when the Sun reached the point between the flags, the parade commander gave the command for lowering the flag. The contingent held on to the ropes strongly and brought down the flag slowly and gently , as it still proudly fluttered. The public had already stood in respect as is customary. As the flag further swirled down, the contingent formed itself in a manner to hold the flag and prevent it from touching the ground. In a military order they folded the flag. One of the soldiers marched back with the folded flag, which received salutes and standing ovations.

Rest of the contingent reeled back into a pre-rehearsed formation and marched back to the place of origin of the parade. Applause, appreciation and amazed expressions accompanied the contingent as they marched.

“It was again a good show,” Harpreet thought to herself but soon returned to the usual composure. This was all not new to her she told herself as she gazed at the fading public. Few clicked pictures with the soldiers on guard, few with the contingent. A dreamy Harpreet was also pulled for a picture by few where she grinned with plasticity. And as dusk fell, silence and darkness cladded the place. The waved flags now lay on the dust like any other plastic trash lying there.

As people started their retreat, Harpreet viewed the changed souls, not struck by instilled patriotism but by their usual selves! Unruliness won over patriotic discipline as people refused to move in a line when requested by the BSF soldiers. Few even got into heated arguments.

Honking of vehicles replaced patriotic cheers. At a distance, two groups of youths got into a tussle over some parking issue. The laughter of few girls echoed who discussed about what movie they should go and watch now. Few mothers spanked their kids demanding them to walk faster as they had domestic chores waiting at home. Vendors greeted the dispersing public to earn their living through the patriotic mileage.

But the fence gazed quietly at the schemozzle. The civil volunteers started their job of cleaning up the place to prepare it for the next day and Harpreet and others prepared for their turns of night duty on the fence. Whatever may be the situation, the vigil at the fence was uncompromising.

Some important activities were to be finished. Representatives of both countries completed the formalities of few people who were being repatriated to both sides. Few had families to receive them and few had solitude.

And so all human souls got back to their routines, few by keeping the parade as a good travel memory and few falling back to their true duties. As for patriotism…well that continued having its 15 minutes fame.

Episode One: Why Hate Fountain Pens with Vishal Singhi, Founder The India Pen Show

January at Majorly talks is all about interesting conversations on everything about fountain pens. A fountain pen enthusiast myself it is intriguing to see how people have used this simple writing tool to spread messages on sustainability. How in this simple writing instrument the found their life’s purpose…

Episode 1:Why I hate Fountain Pens with Vishal Singhi, Founder , The India Pen Show

Let’s be honest , fountain pens have gathered as much hatred as much they’re loved. Ink leaks, stains, high maintenance, not for the commons , are few allegations on Fountain Pens. Are these true ? How much ? And how can they all be resolved?

Listen to this candid conversation with Vishal who busts popular myths about fountain pens and gives excellent insight into this world of nibs and inks!!!

Links for the podcast are given below

A Soldier Prays

Greetings to all on Army Day. Sharing this small prayer which every soldier carries in his or her heart. Please spare a minute to this. Jai Hind

May you Flutter with pride,

My Soul prays everyday.

My longing to clad in you,

my mortal remains,

Be a wish that doesn’t go in vain.

For you’re my Mother

and I your protector,

Our bond cannot be a uncertain end.

Let my soul win this fate

oh dear Mother Land !

With this thought

I live each Day….”

~Nithi CJ

A Soldiers Oath

Scoot from the left,

scoot from the right.

Crawl up to the enemy,

and destroy him with all my might.

Don’t mourn my beloved citizens,

Nor possess any uncertain tremor,

I am here to safeguard our land,

Your Knight in the Shining Armour!

I watch over the Mighty Himalayas,

And dive deep in the blue sea.

Not a morsel of this land can be snatched,

the enemy must submit

or flee…

The sandstorms cannot blind me,

nor can I be washed away by a Tsunami.

I will be the wall for you,

No matter what is the calamity.

I exist for the nation’s interest,

I cannot be weakened.

Rumours and Vices can try their best,

But my duty is my religion.

My people know my mettle.

And thus, happily I leave my nest.

Challenges are now routine,

And soon I would have to give my best.

A word of caution dear citizens.

Ignorance towards your responsibilities,

is an enemy bigger than the West.

Let knowledge win over ignorance

and harmony over distrust.

This land is sacred due to sacrifices

of Saints, Poets , Soldiers , Teachers and Farmers,

Let that not go in dust.

For to a Soldier’s soul,

that adds only agony and disgust.

Take care of my mother land,

not my family,

as through these games of war,

it has learned to survive itself.

Fulfil my this dream ,

and cloak me in the Tricolour.

Let my soul become immortal,

and be your knight in the shining Armour!!

The Purple Umbrella

It was not long before that Binodini was known a happy go lucky girl amongst her peers. A young girl with big dreams , she was as bright and full of life like any Assamese girl. Jovial yet rooted to the Ahomiya culture. It soon would be season of festivities which Binodini loved. But little did she know then, how life will swirl her into the Binodini she is now…..

Bebejiya was a small village in a town called Tezpur , in Assam , a Northeastern state of India. Typical to an Assamese neighbourhood, Bebejia too had the typical aluminium roofed houses , beautiful verandas staring on the by lanes. And like a typical Assamese household, Binodini also started her day by helping her mother in sweeping the verandah.

Laid back yet full of vibrance is peculiar of the Assamese people and so was Binodini and her family of four ; which included herself , her parents and her kid brother Babu.

It was Rongali Bihu. Binodini’s favourite festival , as it marks the beginning of the festive season in Assam. Fun and frolic painted the sleepy village with moments of festivity. Binodini was all geared up with her basket of colours to spread her joy in the streets which painted her colourful childhood.

Binodini in Assamese literally means Joy. And so was the essence this young village girl. Joy to her , also included trips to the riverside of the mighty Brahmaputra. Evenings, Binodini and Babu ( her kid brother) went along the banks of Brahmaputra with their most perpetual companion, their father fondly addressed by them as Baba. A walk on the riverside also meant sweetmeats for each of them and a plate of the spicy Puchkas ( an Indian snack. Sabitri , their mother, could seldom join because of her work commitments.

Sabitri worked as a help in a shop at Tiniali. Tiniali which literally means a Y junction in Assamese, was close to their home. But she would be back only by dinner, as shops opened late and closed early, as is the conventional Assamese routine. Thus, an in between break meant monetary cut which Sabitri couldn’t afford, especially her dreams to resume her children’s education , couldn’t.

Sabitri was a hardworking lady and her modesty and compassion was evidently inherited by Binodini. As festivities also meant employers giving bonuses to hardworking employees, Sabitri’s employer wanted to reward her , for all the hardwork she had been doing. He asked her as to what would she prefer as a reward. The mother in Sabitri replied that she would ask her children and let him know.

Sabitri came home and told this to the family , who were overjoyed. Babu wanted toys and Baba suggested to take money instead. And as Sabitri eagerly looked at Binodini for a reply she found Binodini suddenly quiet and dreamy. Sabitri asked her, ” Binodini.. what is the matter , child? Don’t you want anything as a reward?”

Binodini replied,” Ma( Mother)! Ask for an umbrella..” and continued after a pause , “ these stubborn rains can stun us anytime, and you will still need to go to the shop. An umbrella will protect you from the vagaries of the weather. For how long will you get drenched for us ?”

Sabitri was speechless. The untold deep love between the daughter and mother seldom got expressed but when it did, it was unique and special for Sabitri. As if Sabitri’s guilt of discontinuing Binodini’s studies was not enough that Binodini would further add to Sabitri’s agony with profound and unconditional love. But one thing Sabitri was very certain , she will not let Binodini work as a labour, instead she would encourage her to learn a skill so that she can start her own business.

A day later Sabitri went to the shop only to find the shop owner awaiting her reply. She said,” Sahab(Sir), I need an umbrella.” The shop owner was surprised to hear this request from a mother of two children, instead of toys.

Nevertheless, Sabitri was rewarded with an umbrella. It was a big beautiful purple umbrella with a wooden handle. It was sturdy enough to face the strongest rains. Sabitri walked back home with her award in hand and pride in eyes waiting to see her daughter smile.

Binodini and Babu rushed to the verandah to see who one the bet? Sabitri had fulfilled who’s request? Binodini was overwhelmed to see the big purple umbrella and exclaimed,” Ma, it is so beautiful na? How beautiful will you look , when you will carry it wearing the violet mekhela ( Assamese traditional dress for women)!!

Sabitri chuckled seeing her young girl’s innocence and said,” Binodini, even you will look pretty my child carrying this umbrella.. this is as much yours as mine !”

And thought to herself thanking god in her heart,

‘Richest may be those who wore diamonds,

But luckiest are souls who had daughters.”

Rains arrived late this year.

Brahmaputra’s thirst quenched only in July. But rains grew heavier day by day. Thankfully, Sabitri still could walk to work because of the purple umbrella.

One evening, the clouds were unusually dark and swollen, when Binodini peeped out. In rains Baba avoided taking them to Brahmaputra.

Binodini made a concerning mention to Baba that the clouds looked peculiar. As she finished saying this rains started as if hell broke open.

It was past twilight now. Binodini went to light the oil lamp but the darkness of worry loomed as Sabitri was not yet back from the shop. The worry soon shadowed Baba too. Baba decided to go to the shop and get Sabitri.

Minutes turned hours as Binodini waited. Her anxiety only increased. But the rain had now calmed down.

Suddenly , Binodini heard some noise coming towards the veranda.

Darkness made her squint and she saw the purple umbrella flashing . Happiness ran in each nerve turning a still pose into a sprint to the gate.

But Binodini’s happiness soon coupled with tiny floods of tears from her eyes and by the time they trickled to her cheeks the sorrow had casted its shadows on the innocent face.

Sabitri lay bloodied in Baba’s hand and the purple clinging his collar. Binodini could not believe that her ever hustling mother today, lay motionless in her father’s arms.

The house which resonated with Binodini’s laughter soon was shattered with her wailing cries. Her Ma, her beloved Ma was not with her. All she was left with was, the Purple Umbrella.

Binodini , now 22 years old, has started working at Bijoy uncle’s tailor shop. She is his most trusted tailor for creativity as well as sincerity. And also her expertise in making umbrellas. But Bijoy uncle could not decipher, why Binodini always made purple umbrellas. He didn’t dare to ask , now a much quieter and stern Binodini. Not only Bijoy but other villagers used to also talk that Binodini is an exact replica of her Mother, especially when Binodini carried the purple umbrella. But there was a difference a real big difference. Sabitri used return after work to a chirpy home , but all Binodini returns to , is solitude. Few months after Sabitri’s demise, Baba had also passed away and Babu succumbed to an illness which couldn’t be treated due to lack of facilities and money.

Once Binodini returns from work she takes a bath and gets ready for her evening prayers. The beautiful lamp lit on the altar, now reflects not any deity but the purple umbrella kept on it.

The purple umbrella is the only idol now which Binodini worships. And Sabitri, her only deity…

Children of Blue Light

Lovely lonesome children of abyss
Frolicking in the rain
Jumping in the puddle
Here she peeks at your nakedness
Ashamed they run and hide for cover
Less they be embarrassed
And crushed
Under the walls of their own unforgiving judgements

Swaying as serpents and vines
Climbing fastidiously painfully
Throughout the music
With a straight swollen red eyed faced pantomime

Rock solid frozen jewel
Azure and solitaire
Chances of survival extend
From eternal to rare
Dare dare dare dare
Here there nowhere somewhere
Extended spread wings
Levitating balancing gyroscopes
Drowning innermost core
And the obsequious whisper in your ears

Clean and polished fragility
Perfumed immorality
Swept away under handwoven Arabian carpets
Retching stench of greed and gore
Dripping down pockets and souls

Love me love me cries out the child
Radiating and flashing
Blades and bullets in their
Desperate flights
Smeared with brutality
And armed with gadgets of divide
Euphoric glory stand atop
Maimed butchered and disemboweled
Silent helpless fragile
Children of bright blue light.

Written by Guest Poet and a dear poet friend Philomath