Thursday, December 20, 2007

... what a confession does mean?

'My friend says that everything ends with a confession
and I said that for me everything started with a confession...
What do you think?',
I asked her before a night's sleep.

'For me confession means a beginning
as well as an end', she was quite usual in answering.

I know that she lives in a point
Where the beginning and the end converge,
But I failed to notice that I was also in that point
When she finally left my sphere...

Friday, December 14, 2007

... a match stick and few papers

I have kept all my dreams
Written on those numerous pages
That were of our being together

You have but lit a single match stick
That is of our parting for ever

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

... silence again

We are being in a situation
Which resembles the last minute of a symphony...

Let's don't share anymore words
To preserve the beauty of this moment...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

... a declaration

A declaration from the part of tree
Addressed to the free bird
(Not until further notice as this declaration is
universal and subject to no further changes)

'After enjoying your freedom and flying to the whole extent,
if at all you decide to sit and rest on a branch,
do please let me know.

Doesn't matter even if it is after 50 years or after two births
as because I have just decided to keep my branches
Unoccupied till then'

Hope that makes sense...

There is another sunrise...

... the A's

'I want to possess you',
might be a misinterpretation.

'I am possessed by you',
must be the fact.

Any solution is temporarily undesirable...

This beautiful chaos may not happen once again...

Isn't it so?

... two Q's

There are now two basic questions
Which rule my days and nights

'Why I could not convince you so as to get into your thoughts?'

and Two
'Why I could not convince myself so as to get you out of my thoughts?'

I think the questions are logical as well as illogical enough
To have few more sleepless nights and brainstorming days.

Aren't they?

... dream dictator

"I think that I am the one
who does now dictate your dreams",
She was making her statement.

"Not exactly. But it's true that
I once had you in my dreams",
I too was ready for a dialogue.

"What happened then?",
She became curious.

"The dream grew bigger that
I lost my sense to distinguish it
from the reality",
My wings started showing up.

"You are going mad", she said.

"That makes sense", I smiled.

"What?", she looked deeply.

"That you made your comment in present continuous tense...",
I could restore her smile...

... obedience is better than freedom

"You have no other way except obeying me
as I am the supreme power",
Thus she began my day.

"I have my own inability in believing
the supremacy of someone",
That showed me as static.

"You can't say that",
She ruled me out with her dynamism.

'Whether you believe or not,
the supreme is ever existing',
Cried my spiritual base.

"That's true. If obediences is more creative than freedom,
Why don't I obey?",
I asked myself and then the same to her.

She then had that mysterious smile...

... a part of the whole

"We really had a meaningful dialogue last evening",
I told her this morning.

"Who?", asked she.

"You and me", I replied.

"But fool I wasn't there with you then",
She reminded.

"Look, I have become a part of myself",
I then turned to be illogical.

"So...", she paused for a moment.

"So as you",
I made that moment an eternal one...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

... _____ vs ______

Neither the day nor the night remembers you,
But the evening...

My friend says that
I am extremely mad as
Sunsets always remind me the one
who loves the sunrise...

Friday, December 7, 2007

... bearable paradox

Every passing day
Leaves a feeling that
I have no unspoken words for you and
You have many of the same for me.

None of these evenings
Seem to be realised of the paradoxical truth
That you speak much and
I speak less...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

...sleeping beauty

That day she asked me,
"Do you know the story of the sleeping beauty?".
I said, "No but you can tell me the story now".
She but smiled and went away.

In that evening the story
Unfolded its magical wings and
Started flying across my night sky,
Without letting me to sleep...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 you are you

Whenever the day seems to be mechanical,
a simple thought of you brings back the life into it.
As when our mother puts a little bit of salt,
the dish gets the perfect taste...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Madurai - Some thoughts on Urban Homelessness

The well-being of all its citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable is, to a great extent, dependent on the state policies and the mechanisms to implement the same. There are even greater spaces to be filled up by the state, where the society and neighbourhood communities fail to be humane. Even if the general societal feeling happens to be more accommodative, there is still a strategic lack to prove that as a means for the well-being of the excluded groups, such as homeless.

The present study has tried to trace out the role played by the state in affecting the lives of Madurai’s homeless in both positive and negative ways. There are indeed a few important initiatives to be elaborated here. The study has also tried to take stock of few more initiatives other than Governmental. These non-governmental initiatives are temporary solutions in nature and here we feel the importance of the state to play its insignificant role in a polished manner.

The discussions with the officials of the Madurai Corporation, revealed a fact that the homeless people are nowhere in their past or present agenda. Especially, the town planning division of the Corporation has just invisiblised the whole lot of homeless population in its developmental projects and they completely feel that homeless people are not at all their consideration. Citing all their financial hurdles, the Corporation officials believe that the responsibility to rehabilitate the city’s homeless people lies upon the State government and their regime is limited to the provision of needed basic services to the ‘legitimate’ citizens of the city, i.e., who live in houses. It is that financial resources have not been decentralised to local bodies in the state on par with the decentralisation of responsibilities. The Corporation wants to play a safer game without leaping into the deeps of unknown risks, and caters to those who have power, and are least bothered about the coreless, mostly who do not even vote. On the other hand the state government has strategically pulled out its hand in the name of decentralising the responsibility. As the homeless have been thrust into no-man’s land, their well being has gradually become no-one’s responsibility.

Police, being the prime force of the state government, has an important role to play in allowing as well as not allowing the homeless population to live on the streets/pavements. Anyhow the police force of the city was more patient towards the homeless crowd and was not torturing them to leave their residing places or not even taking any measures to rehabilitate them. As the Justices F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and K. Veeraraghavan of Madurai Bench of Chennai High Court have mentioned in their recent court order to rehabilitate the Madurai homeless beggars, the Head of Police Administration in Madurai city itself was not aware of the functioning of the Special care homes and the Government care camps in the State. Even the persons who were arrested (which happened very rarely) for alleged begging, were detained under public nuisance case and not under the Tamilnadu Prevention of Begging Act, 1945. It is again important to note here that majority of the homeless populace of the city is being dependent on securing alms for their livelihood and the above said act of 1945 marks begging as a punishable offence. Still, the police force was not ready to effectively implement the prevention act only because of the rehabilitation elements contained in it following the initial detentions. The most disadvantageous part of the act is that it starts with the proposition that begging is a punishable offence and thus allows the use of brute force in detaining them in the initial stage before rehabilitating them. But that is the only way any state would know to shift its unmanageable sect of people into the manageable sphere.

Towards the end of 2006, a lawyer, who said to be affected by the homeless beggars of the city, filed a writ petition in the Madurai Bench of Chennai High Court requesting to direct the state or its police force to strictly implement the above said beggary prevention act. The court, on March 26 of 2007 issued an order favouring the writ petition and even awarded him with a cash reward of Rs.10,000. The order forces the police to detain the homeless beggars of the city and then to rehabilitate them in Special care home and work house which is situated only in one place for the entire state. The court has ruled out the inconveniences that the Police may need to face due to this single rehabilitation home for the entire state. This has led the police force to detain many of the homeless people of the city, including much of the respondents of the present study and consequently sent many of them to the rehabilitation home, which is situated in Melpakkam near Chennai. But this so called rehabilitation measure has made many of the homeless people to leave for nearby towns and another significant portion of the homeless people has temporarily escaped to their villages and again came back to their streets after all these rehabilitation drama is over.

The Government with its conservative mechanism many a times resort to the same kind of invisiblisation and custodialisation in order to deal with the unmanageable sect of its population. But, what is needed is to provide the rehabilitation measures a humane face and lifting up the responsibility of rehabilitating them from the police department so as to include the same in the agenda of social justice or other similar department.

There is also a general but illusory idea that the free food provision in temples at the lunch time serves the homeless people to a great extent. It is said to be illusory as the discussions with few temple authorities of Madurai Mennakshi Temple revealed that the preference in free food provision is given to the devotees of the temple who come from different parts of the country. They rarely consider the homeless people who resides adjacent to the temple premises and at few times they are served with the left over food items. The scheme of free provision of lunch in temples was introduced mostly as a means to attract more votes from the upper caste Hindu community and not very much to serve the poor people.

But, there are few non governmental agencies that are committed to provide free food to the homeless population of the City. Some of them are very much focused as they do not serve any able bodied homeless person with free food. They want to serve only the old aged, disabled and mentally disturbed homeless populace in Madurai. There are anyhow other voluntary efforts for providing free food to the homeless without such discriminations. What is lacking with these organisations is a long term vision for rehabilitating the homeless people and most of them feel that it is Government’s duty to find a way out. Those who do not believe in state existence too have narrowed vision of rehabilitation homes which again needs a lot of external funding to be poured in.

The root cause of Madurai’s homelessness is very much in the failures of families and native societies in having a humane face towards these vulnerable people. Thus, even if the Government wants to rehabilitate them, the efforts should be taken with a humane touch and not by using brute force.

The solutions lies also in financial decentralisation from state to the local Governments, which can again help the Corporation to have an independent plan for City development by accommodating the homeless people in its broader agenda. Secondly, preventing the police force from implementing the outdated ‘prevention of beggary act of 1945’ to detain the homeless beggars for the so called rehabilitation. There instead rehabilitative centres can be initiated in the city itself by having the involvement of the voluntary organisations. Government run night shelters will be another way to accommodate them as a measure to protect their otherwise unsafe nights. Provision of better alternatives for their livelihoods would still be challenge until there are safer measures for their initial rehabilitation.

People indeed take the hard decision of coming out of their homes at the peeks of their being not respected and also their reasons and reasoning for being homeless are to be respected. Still, efforts can be very well taken to restore themselves in their families or native societies if it can turn out to create a pleasant outlook. The implementation comfort of this strategy is yet to be discussed upon.

Chennai - Some thoughts on Urban Homelessness

Urbanisation in two ways has caused the homelessness in Chennai. One is the direct attraction in had in the initial period, which again has drawn thousands of rural mass into the city in search of new economic opportunities. Many of the rural areas around Chennai having experienced more dry years and failed agriculture in those days made these people to refuge into the growing industrialisation of the city. This has indeed provided them with numerous direct and indirect employment opportunities, which were then enough to secure their food and not a place to reside in. They have settled down their lives in the streets of the city and gradually adopted into homelessness.

Besides this direct attraction, it is believed that the infrastructural development of then growing urbanisation, such as, four lane roads, electric trains and recent fly-overs have caused more and more indirect evictions which left the native people to be homeless in their own places. It is important here to note that Chennai is a cluster of ‘once upon a time’ villages, which are merged into the development of a metropolitan city and lost their identities as individual villages. Places like Mayilapoor, Thiruvanmiyur and Thiruvallikkeni having very old temples are still evident for once existed villages. As no one notices a small cloud, which gets melted amidst the colourful evening sky, the history of urbanisation has no traces of these indirect evictions happened during the course. Apart form few old people none of the homeless either know that some of them are the natives of the same place and once had their houses there.

There are also few non governmental initiatives that have taken place for the well being of the homeless people and they are all proved to be inconsistent due to the non-availability of funds and change in staff structure, etc. But these efforts in a way have managed to evolve a kind of co-operative spirit among the homeless people by forming them into associations and self help groups. Many of the homeless women are now into the SHG route and have their own little savings. The associations among the homeless people have facilitated the emergence of the local leaders, who are now half trained to fight for the rights of their fellow homeless people. They are half-trained in the sense; they are suddenly left alone by the sudden withdrawals of the NGOs involved in training them.

Certain non governmental initiatives are now trying to adopt a right based approach by restricting themselves only to the provision of legal support. Here again these organizations are so irregular in performing their task and also not very much convincing of their principle, which has now made the homeless people not to depend very much upon the voluntary sector. But there are still few homeless people who work for these NGOs as community mobilisers and secure some minimum remuneration for their work. Though these initiatives are not being proved as fruitful to the whole homeless community, the general feel is that it is good as at least few among them are able to make some money out of it.

Still, the expectations upon the Government support is very much high and has been viewed as the long term solutions for their sufferings.

Rephrasing the forgotten history may not help the homeless people to improve their present situation, but it still helps us to realise the humane face that the urbanising phase should have. Any policy level decision to improve the urbanite character of the city should also consider the lives of the poor as well as dependent population living in. This ethical consideration is getting its importance in this juncture as the State Government is now decided to implement the Chennai metro rail project (as it is in Delhi) by pouring in some thousands of crores of rupees. Central Government and few foreign agencies have also agreed to support this new metro project in Chennai. Now the concern is that the project should not only leave any poor people homeless, but also should not disturb the lives of the people who are already homeless in the city. Such an indirect eviction is not a righteous history which can be repeated again.

... meow

Whenever you utter some meaningless syllables,
My imagination gets trapped in search of their meanings.

You always love to leave me in between a hell and a heaven,
As a cat on the wall...

Monday, December 3, 2007

certain probability...

Both of us happened to be in our own ways.

We never tried to realise whether
Both are same or at least parallel.

There was no pause as we wanted
To be in the move on our endless ways.

And there is only the probability of meeting again,
Which is certain at this moment…

'?' and '!' ...

Mine was the right question
And I am not sure whether
Yours was the right answer.

It was a sunset which brought my question in
And so there is a hope that
Another sunrise would cull out your answer again…

Saturday, December 1, 2007

... the 'key' word

When the day passes without a word of you,
My evening ceases without entering into the night.

By having been denied the entrance into the night,
I just start searching for that single world
As someone who lost his way in a desert...

Friday, November 30, 2007

...stringless music

The first string of my instrument
Was simply broken
When you started laughing.

And there is no one string
Which is now properly functioning.

Still, it is strange that
My music is being played endlessly…

Thursday, November 29, 2007

... a feather brings the spring

The tree was in a grave silence.
Having few living leaves on its branches
and a heap of withered leaves around its roots.
An unusual autumn.

Surprisingly then the bird flew over it
By leaving a silent feather.

Which would now bring the tree
Its next spring...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

...omnipresence of the bird

The wind was talking to the tree this evening
“Are you not worried as the bird is not there on your branch?”

There happened few meditative moments
And the tree answered
“I am not because the bird was only sitting on my branch earlier,
but now it is omnipresent all through my extremes”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

...wings of the tree

Again the same bird was there on the tree
To render its sermon
“You can’t realise freedom
You are bound to the earth
Your roots are your shackles”

There was then a mystical silence
Before the tree said with a smile
“No dear, they are wings of different nature”

...prevention is not better than cure

Once told the bird to the tree
“It is my freedom which prevents me from sitting on you for a long time”
Then the tree had to say
“Dear it may not be the freedom which is preventing you
But the fear of losing the same”

...another vacuum

It is great that you now leave a vacuum in me
Which can hold the whole universe in it
But it would have been greater
If you yourself could have filled it…

a cage a bird and a sky

It was indeed a vast sky in my hands
With a sun a moon and many stars
The bird but unfolded its wings and flew away
By saying that as a cage, though made of gold…

Sunday, November 25, 2007

... day after tomorrows

You have simply put the weight of a century
On a single day.
And it is not that much easy
To experience a hundred years of solitude
In one day's time...

Friday, November 23, 2007

... another paradox

You bring my silence
Whenever you come.

And while going away,
You leave me amidst
The mad rush of words.

Strange familiarity you are...

A drop of fire...

You feel that
You left only a small drop of fire
On that evening...
But that was my sun for the next day.

Of course the day was then warm enough
To leave me alone in this chilled night...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

... and we solved it

I raised the question and
You found the answer
In the very next moment
To our surprise
There was no question and no answer...
But a mysterious smile!

Monday, November 19, 2007

...let it melt away

It was a winter when she asked
“Who is going to break the ice finally?”
I replied
“No need to break… it will melt away when the spring comes…”

...thamassoma jyotir gamaya

She was once telling
“I love the darkness of this world…”
I then pleaded to her
“Thus you are the right one to take me to the light…” is all about

It was another day when the question was
“Is life all about dealing with complex thoughts?”
And the answer was
“No… but it is all about taking simple decisions…”

...yes it is

Again asked the same friend
“Is it possible to look at the silence?”
I had to answer then
“Yes it is… as we can listen to the sight…”

...the war is on

Once asked my friend
“Why do you burn your midnight lamps?”
I then answered her with a deep smile
“The nation never sleeps when the war is on…”

Saturday, November 17, 2007

In the name of...

Let us have the first cup of our tea today
Lying down on our relaxed chair
As our mothers and sisters are not the ones who got raped

Let anything be the reason…
Communal violence or the so called economic development
It has not strip teased our daughters yet

Let us wish a good day to each other
And then share our sympathies over the abducted ones
Just before getting into our safety 'nets'

Let us continue to work from our 'workshops'
And still be socially sensitive
As we are assured of reaching home safer and so our spouses

Let us raise our voice against all the injustices
And not the hands, not even the eyes…
As to do justice to our personal comfort

In the name of Vodafone
In the name of God
In the name of Google
In the name of Development
In the name of Pepsi and Pizza
Let us do everything for ourselves
And still have the guts to say that
'Love thy neighbour'…

Saturday, November 3, 2007

... and you are the flow

There was sky above you
and I am not sure
what was lying beneath you.

A poetical guess says that
the answer can be
a vibrant river,
flowing from the past
through the present
to the future...

can't just take off..

I today saw a child
waving at the landing flights.

I am sure that once if they land
on her warm eyes,
it would be really difficult for them to
take off further...

silence please...s...

what else can be there
except a deep silence,
when a storm passes
without leaving any traces back...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

try it yourSELF.......

It is again from an old mail that I have sent to one of my pal...

Today in our exam for Guidance and counselling, they asked one challenging question, 'Define self?'

I just wrote, ' The exploration of self will answer four fundamental quetions,...

1] What we are?

2] Where we are?

3] How we are? and

4] Why we are?

Then I added, ' If the self is considered to be the combination of letters then it can be said as the word not without meaning but having the meaning within. It is meaningless even to try to define the self as the very self is self-explanatory.' I do not know whether the evaluator will read it or not.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lets KNOW something...

Today she asked me,
"What do you know?"
I replied
"I know what I know"
She nodded, "then..."
I continued, "and I do not know what I do not know"
She refused " it can not be like that"
I became silent.
But I wanted to tell her the following words

'That is the problem with many of us.
We think that we know
what we really do not know
and we tell that we do not know
what we really know'

We two...

I have one friend.

My world is of thoughts
And Her world is of action.

Once I told her,
“This world is filled with
 the death of persons,
whose existence is unstable”

Then she completed my sentence
Like this,
“and also by the life of the persons,
who exist forever”

Behind a Sunset...

That evening I was alone, sitting on your roof. After a few rainy and cloudy days, the sky was somewhat clear at that time with a very few red clouds. There comes the sunset. This time the sun seemed to be a coin. An invisible hand dropping a coin into a big bowl and I felt like saving one more coin, which can be spent anywhere in the world.

Friday, October 12, 2007

From my old diary... on Narration...

Hi Friends,

I just want to share my experience which made me to trust the ability of narration in identity building.

During the break that we had for self reflection I happened to travel for a long distance. I had been to Himachal Pradesh, a northern state of India. As I was having no reservation for my upward journey, I had to travel in an unreserved compartment upto Delhi. It is 43 hours journey from my home town to reach Delhi. The compartment was crowded with people of different kinds and languages. There were lot of people in the initial stages of the journey, who speak Tamil and I was quite comfortable as I am familiar with that language.

When the train entered into Andhra Pradesh, a nearby state of Tamilnadu (I started my journey from Tamilnadu), the compartment was filled with majority of Telugu speaking people, which is an unfamiliar language for me. I was in a position which was restricting me from talking with other persons as the language was a barrier. I was sitting silently in a window seat. Nobody was much bothered about me and I too could not make them bothered. There was a lot of sharing happening between other passengers as they speak same language. I was really thrown out of their circle. When the train was moving out of Andhra Pradesh, all the Telugu speaking people have disappeared and this time it was Hindi speaking people to fill the compartment. Again, it is a language which I can only understand (that too 50%) and can not speak fluently. I continued to be silent in my window seat.

There were a lot of people to observe and liveliness to feel inside the compartment. But still I felt a kind of Identity losing in that situation as no one was keen to know about me. Neither a single person conversed with me nor could I start a conversation of my own. The only instance in which a fellow traveler related with me was also too short. The person who was sitting opposite to me purchased something in a station and offered also me a packet. It was a Gutka packet (an intoxicant) and the way I refused it surprised him. He withdrew with a smile. That was it… Even thinking about myself and dreaming about the life were also meaningless beyond a point. I was full of emptiness, without anybody to tell the story of mine. I myself was also not ready to listen to me.

When I reached Delhi I immediately called my mother, “Ma! It’s me” and she responded, “Yes dear where are you now?”. I was regaining myself, “I’m in Delhi now, next I need to catch a bus to Mandi (Himachal). The bus is at 6.45. I still have one more hour to spend here”. She continued to tell about some other important matters that I needed to address and also told me to contact a few persons. When I put down the receiver, I felt completely recharged as I have restored myself by a few minutes of narration. It was a great experience when I could speak about myself after some 44 hours gap.

After reaching Himachal it was a completely different experience. I stayed with one of MA classmates who treats me as her younger brother. She is working there in a Voluntary organization. In that small town called Mandi, I know only her and whenever she introduced me to somebody I had to share about myself with them. Everybody wanted to know about my place, work, life, etc,. I could feel a kind of identity construction during the instances I narrated about myself. I was attempting to bring different parts together to create the whole. Those moments I was really looking at myself and was putting different selection criteria in projecting myself. I felt myself moving a step forward in the life.

While coming back to home, some of my juniours (of MA) joined me from Delhi. They were three in total, but in different compartments. They paid visit to me once in a while, individually. One boy among them, during one of his visit asked me to explain him about my work. He knows the basics of our project as he had attended the August introductory session. It was a challenge before me to make him understand the function of our project in its right sense. The act of explaining also made me clear about my role in the whole project. I was surprised with the clarity I acquired by narrating the concept and context of the project to him. He then introduced me to his brother, a person who has a vision to become an IAS officer and does hard work for that. He was an intellect and when I introduced myself as working in a research project, he wanted to know more. When I started explaining him the basics, he had many critical opinions to tell about and also asked me several questions. I was again made to think about my work in its entirety and finally could succeed in answering him in a convincing way (for both).

My act of narrating in these occasions has surely constructed an identity for myself with which I was not familiar before. I also feel that the narration need not be oral always. It can be of thoughts, oral or written. But, once if the narration takes place, we can surely say that there is a kind of identity construction.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Unsung...

When the wind wants you to go with it,
The roots always bound you with the earth.

And it is here the sufferings of the withering leaves
Going, eternally unsung…

_ ,..

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Have you ever been in the storm?

There is silence before and after the storm…

But being in the storm is again different…

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Confession…

The stomach is getting filled by

Writing stories of the starved millions…

Be with the hunger is again different from


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Causes behind Homelessness in Madurai...

It is strange and also interesting to look at the life as a series of cause and effects. By stating that we do not intend to discuss about the whole lot of ‘Karma’ theory here. But we want to put the homelessness at the ‘effect-end’ as in Madurai people are homeless not because they were in that state of life. It is this presumption demands us to look beyond and trace out the causes, which made these people to lead a homeless life. There are surely certain situations/incidents happened behind the scenes. We can also assure that most of those situations would have been unavoidable by the people who are homeless now. It is the unavoidable causes lead to undesirable effects.

When we say ‘unavoidable’, it is death which comes first in our mind (It is different matter whether death can be said to be a cause or it is an effect? Still, we refer ‘death’ as a cause for the interpreting comport). Most of the life stories collected in Madurai state the ‘death’ of a dear one or dear ones as the important milestone from which their journey towards homelessness has started. The death of a husband or wife, by leaving the other alone in the midst of non-caring children, relatives and society, naturally leads the widowed to live in an unbearable loneliness. If they (the lonely ones) are not strong enough, both emotionally and economically, the non-caring and also exploitative people around drive them simply into the life of homeless. It is the same case when the parents of a child die at his/her earlier age where the relatives ill-treat him/her or deny taking care of his livelihood. Even if the ‘orphan’ child is left with the assets of his/her parents, it never assures him/her a better livelihood rather the exploitative relatives snatch it off by leaving the child to be homeless.

Next to the death, it is the ‘loss’ of something becomes unavoidable in many instances. In our exploration for the causes for homelessness, we are also able to trace out certain losses in the life stories of people who are pushed to be homeless. Loss of health, job, property, etc. When a person suffers from incurable illness, it marks the loss of his/her health and thereby the loss of physical capital. In the Indian context being employed is mostly dependent upon one’s own physical capital. An incurable illness or any sustained injury affects the person’s physical capital severely which automatically reflects in his/her loss of employment. A woman becoming unemployed would not be a serious issue in the Indian family life. But when the same is happening with a man it creates serious implications in the family. He is supposed to be the primary breadwinner and the principal contributor on its economic front. When it gets disturbed, the non-caring and also economically vulnerable family of him has no other way except ill-treating which would naturally perusable him to walk-out (!) of the house.

Spending for the treatment of any incurable illness and selling out the properties for getting the children (especially girls) married are certain other factors seen in the life stories as the causes for the loss of house and other properties, which naturally leaves the people with a single option of being homeless.

When we talk about these unavoidable situations/causes, which lead the people to be homeless, we mean that they were unavoidable only at the personal level of the homeless and not at the societal level. There is a probable past for this present homeless live. All these situational causes could have been avoided if the society or at least the family would have shown their human face to these lonely people. This is well-reflected in the responses of the homeless people we met with as more than half of them have stated different family related problems, such as, abandonment by family, absence of family, family abuse, etc., as the causes for their homelessness. Also the public of ‘Madurai’ is of the same opinion as most of them emphasized more on the failures from the part of the family as the major reason for homelessness.

There are also certain avoidable causes (from the part of homeless people) which could be sensed from the life stories. Drug addiction, extra-marital relationships, love affairs and even the wish to be a “Sannyasi’ (saint) are some of them.

For a certain group of homeless people in Madurai, being homeless and nomadic are their ways of life as they are all ‘perform-beggars’. Interestingly they all have houses in their villages, which obviously serve as their retreat homes.

Most interestingly, the ‘City of Madurai’ itself is being viewed as one among the factors for homelessness. Because, most of the homeless as well as non-homeless people were referring to the hospitable nature of Madurai, which never harasses the homeless people and never horrifies the homeless life. They also referred to the provision of free food through different means as one of the factor why they do not want to leave Madurai and return to their villages/homes.

Encroachment of their living places by Government and private parties could be seen as the sole administrative failure, which again turned out to be a cause for the homelessness of a very small portion of homeless population in Madurai.

We can conclude with the understanding that in Madurai, homelessness is obviously not the effect of urbanization of the city (as it is yet to develop an urbanite character). The causes for Madurai’s homelessness are mostly due to the failures of families and societies in and around the city, which are otherwise expected to have a humane nature.

Coping Strategies of Madurai Homeless...

Life’s music has never been a monotonous one. It includes different tunes and makes the living a musical one. But when the same type of tune is played again and again, one gets stuck and starts searching for new tunes to regain the rhythm of life. We can hardly identify the efforts that the homeless people make to give different shades to their monotonous life. Still, they find different events to mark their life into a bunch of varied experiences.

A few homeless people who in part of their ‘Philosophization’ of life reveal that human enter into this world without anything in the hand and die without taking anything with them. This, they continue to tell, makes them not to own anything. Their owning nothing is not a curse, but they visualize it as their choice. “I am happy to be like this”, tells each one of these philosophers. “I am happier even than the people who own many thing”, there is no letting themselves down.

Especially, some of these ‘philosophizing’ homeless people touch the extremes by saying “Even if some relatives/family members/friends approach me with an offer to help, I deny them”. They want to make it sure that they can manage the life by themselves. Thus ‘philosophizing’ seems to be the easy way to cope up with the abnormality of their life.

But this type of people are really very few and the other homeless people, who can not ‘philosophize’ the life need to find out hard ways to move along with homelessness.

Next comes the usage of drugs. This is another major technique used by the homeless people to get out of the space and time that visualizes them as homeless. There are different varieties of intoxicants ranging from beedi, tobacco to liquor, ganja, etc.., When they are in the state of intoxicated, they feel themselves of entering into a different sphere, which temporarily destroy the fact that they are homeless. Interestingly, this usage of drugs creates a kind of group cohesiveness among the users, which is again a bonus to resist with the lonely nature of homeless life.

Recreational activities, to a small extent, try to pave the way for coping up with homelessness. There are some important recreational activities which cerate happiness for a short duration in the long days and nights of homeless, such as, street plays, going for movies, listening to radio and sometimes even watching television by standing in front of any shop. But, these recreational activities are not much effective as the usage of drugs.

A major proportion of the homeless people, when they can not ‘philosophize’ their lives, can not get themselves intoxicated by using any substance or when they can not console themselves with recreational activities, tries to stay under the shelter of ‘pseudo spirituality’. By ‘pseudo spirituality’ we mean the attitude that makes the ‘Fate’ and ‘God’ as the responsible factors for whatever is happening in the life.

(“Religion is the opium of man” – Marx). This kind of spirituality or belief helps them to ‘go on’ with the mantra of just two words, “It happens”.

‘Relationships’ are another factor that plays a significant role in the ‘coping strategies’ of homeless people. The relationships, which they develop with other homeless people or with any other non-homeless, create a kind of belongingness (to the worldly life) in the minds of the homeless. There are several noted cases of co-habitating partners who live a kind of married life, though informally. It is only their homelessness that unites them in many instances.

Also there are a few homeless people who come out with new meanings for their homelessness, such as, homelessness as a ‘Tapasya’ (penance) homelessness as the need for punishing ones own self, homelessness as free and uncontrolled life, etc..,

All the discussed strategies help the ‘social animals’, though they are homeless, to have a ‘storied’ face/life. Still, most of the homeless people are miserable most of the time as they continuously fail to make these stories as their own. They have the masks that never fit on their faces, but they still cover their faces with that or at least trying to.

A Short Visit into the Past

It was an “as usual” Sunday. The friends who would have otherwise slept in their homes were called to Thiruvannamalai for being a member of a group which had planned to have a short visit into the past.

As per Dakshin and Kalyani it was a sudden idea as they had visited the ‘Perumal’ temple in a place called ‘Chengam’ only two days before that Sunday. There they happened to see the paintings in the roof of the main hall, describing the Legend of Ramayana. The paintings are of nearly five hundred years old. Unfortunately the natural paintings are almost destroyed and it was told to them that the temple authorities are planning for renovating the temple which would indeed cause in washing away the antiques with newness and without knowing their values. There came their idea to take some children to the temple so as to introduce them the beautiful past which is there present but may not be there in the future.

Here is again our Sunday. When all of us gathered near the sacred hill of Thiruvannamalai, we were a good team to explore the beauty of the past (as well as the past of the beauty!). Let me introduce the team first… there were Dakshin and Kalyani as navigators; twenty one children from the village of Alampundi; James who facilitate the functioning of the Eco-Art centre for children in Alampundi; three volunteers from Italy who are now working with the children of ‘Alampundi Eco-Art centre’ in their own innovative ways; and myself.

As I told you the visit was planned to visit the ‘Perumal’ temple of ‘Chengam’, a place which is 30 kilometers far from Thiruvannamalai. It was really a musical journey as the children kept on singing on our way to the temple.

When we reached the temple, the mid-day sun was there above the tower to welcome all of us. Dakshin gave a small introduction to the children about the purpose of our visit and a little about the temple (Especially the greatness of that big wooden door!). There was only a little shadow in the temple premises for all the bare-foots to stay cool. By that time the door was opened to enter the main hall. The whole team must have experienced a kind of quantum leap into the past when entered the main hall.

When everyone were into the beauty of the past, Dakshin started explaining the facts about the temple, the King who built it, when it was built, what is depicted on those paintings, how it would have been drawn, what might be the materials used, and it went on. When he was about to finish, almost all the team members were lying down on the floor and were comfortably (!) looking at the paintings of the roof.

But our mission has made us to wake up and work. All the children were given a chart and a pencil each and were asked to draw any object or painting of that temple. They really enjoyed the task and started exploring the artist inside. After sometime there were lots of artists tracing down the past in their charts. It was an authentic trial to save the past so as to present it to the future.
We could manage to get some red soil, leaves and flowers by the time the young artists finish their mission. Then started a fresh task to introduce a form of Eco-art to the children, i.e., to create paintings with natural materials. Dakshin came out with an expert show by explaining different forms of paintings that can be done with red soil, leaves and flowers. Both the children and we the elder(!) people have become the ‘amazed-spectators’ of the show.

The children were allowed to experiment the new eco-art for some more time before closing the doors of the past. There was an ending session to share all our experiences and excitements.

The children made again the way back a musical one and our time machine stopped when we were dropped in our worlds.

When we were back to our places, I just thought it was not an “as usual” Sunday.


That was a morning. I was walking with my cousin and we were on the way to our office. A typical sunny day. It was an uncultured (!) way. There was a man standing on the road and directing his friend to go to some place. He was very much dynamic and I took utmost care while crossing him. Despite of me taking care, he suddenly turned, with the right hand held straight up, to show his friend the exact place. That was enough for his hand to hit my face. The hit was exactly on the lips. The lower one smashed with my teeth and some droplets of blood flowered out of my lips.

Yes, what you think is right… He just uttered a word “Sorry…” and turned again to his friend to continue to be the messiah. I took my kerchief out, wiped the first drop of blood, second, third… Finally it stopped when my kerchief got six blood spots. I told my cousin, “At least he had the mind to tell a sorry to me”. He just smiled and started telling another story. That is what I actually wanted to share with you.

He started like this, “When ever I hear someone saying sorry for committing any mistake, I get tempted to laugh”.

I asked him, “Why?”.

“There was a manager in Vadakkencherry (our native town in Kerala) VVR shop, named_______ (I don’t remember it now)”.

I was just curious, “What happened with him?”.

“That was a rainy day of Kerala. This guy was sitting in his shop. There was a passerby stopped a little near to the shop and started urinating (Of course that was a rainy day!). The so called manager of the shop could not bear the scene that a third party (even he himself could not do that!) urinating on the walls of his shop. He came out of the shop and neared that man. By that time the other has fully responded to the nature’s call. That was really a hilarious situation. He asked that guy, ‘You fool! What are you doing here? Don’t you have sense that it’s not the place for urinating?’. The passerby was in a great relaxation after the task. He casually looked at the manager and uttered carelessly… ‘Sorry!’. It made our manager more irritated. He fired his next question, ‘You idiot… Will the smell of your urine goes off when you just tell a sorry?’. Wow… that was really a nice question. This time the man was answerless. I really could not control myself from laughing out loudly. After that incident whenever I come across a sorry I just get tempted to laugh and of course try to control myself with a smile”.

That was really a good story to remember. So I just need all of you to remember this story before you utter a SORRY to others.

And… and… I am really SORRY for making you to read this story.

The 10th Platform...

That was an evening and I entered one of the electric railway stations of Chennai. After getting the ticket for Guindy station, I asked the man in the ticket counter, “Which is the platform?”. He stared at me for some time and spelled out the answer with a great frustration, “It is 9th platform”. I thanked him and moved from the counter.

There was an over-bridge in the railway station to move between different platforms. When I was walking on it a man neared me and asked, “Hello, which is the platform to go to Guindy?”. It was the same place where I need to go. I just told him, “It’s 9th platform”.

There came a sign board soon after I answered him, ‘Way to platform 8 & 9’. I viewed the 9th platform from the top of the bridge. There was nobody. I was a little confused as there were persons in 10th platform who seem to travel in my route. Again that was on the other side of the track. When I got ready to go to the 10th I saw the same person who asked me about the platform, trying to get down into 9th platform. I then said to him, “I am doubtful about 9th, though the person in the counter said it so. Look there is no one in 9th. There might be changes. Do please clarify with someone else”. He seemed not to be convinced of my words (or my expression was not strong enough to convince him). He just got down and entered 9th platform. I thought that he would come back when he sees no one there.

I moved towards the 10th and got down from the bridge. Started waiting in the 10th as it was the right platform. I was just looking at the girls over there. I then suddenly saw that man on the other side of the track, waiting alone in the 9th platform. I was puzzled. ‘Why is this man standing alone there? Why doesn’t he come this side?’.

I tried a lot to ignore him from my sight. But I was constantly getting into a kind of guiltiness as I was the person who directed him to go there. I finally decided to go to him and tell that he should wait in 10. I again climbed the stairs of the same over-bridge, crossed the track and entered 9th platform.

He was on the other end of the same platform. Thus I started walking towards the other end. On the half of the way I suddenly realized that he has already left the platform. I saw him crossing the tracks and climbing on to the 10th platform. Of course he took a short-cut route, jumped into the tracks and crossed.

I had no other way than returning to the 10th. Yes, you are correct. The very same over-bridge. When I was walking over it I saw a train leaving from the 10th platform. Almost all of the passengers have left by that train. I also could not see my FRIEND there. He might have left by the same train.

I was not worried of missing a train then. Instead, there was some kind of relief that I could feel while waiting for the next train.

The over-bridge was silently looking at the 10th platform as life goes on…

The Continuum

Dear All,

Thought of writing you something from the heart...

I am continuously failing to feel myself as being in my home. There is a growing inconvenience with all the jobs I am indulged in. It is a continuum of meaninglessness everywhere. The search for meanings by my own is also going futile. A state of perfectness has never been achievable it seems. I am losing my words and going silent most of the time. A gravest silence. Having our own initiative is also a non-satisfactory idea in this present situation. Still we need to go for it atleast for my temporary escape. Going out of this boring life can be a permanent escape but I will not be dared to be so.

Of course all the people are good here but.....

and life is still beautiful too...

Yet there is this search for my own home... It may even prevail nowhere...

No one is sharing the platform with me is something which makes this drama so boring... Need to find out more actors to come into it very soon...

Interestingly there are several audiences who go on applauding at my mono-acting and the fact is that I am not acting at all... Being a motionless picture, a snap shot of an artistic moment and that is still making people to get interested in me...

You would find it illogical so as I am...

Just a curious question of a fellow traveler --- Where could/did you reach in the journey? Are you in peace with yourself?