On the water

Flashy white boats on the water,
Zipping around with no superior purpose
Than to entertain.
Helmed by monied ones leading luxurious lives
Wanting to escape worries of inequalities that abound.

Great black boats on the water
Chugging along around the world and back again,
Laden with great tons of consumable matter.
Beasts of burden, tools with the sole purpose
Of feeding the voracious appetite of this insatiable world.

Blue boats on the water,
Heading to a place of magic and mayhem where spinning wheels tell tales and twist fortunes
Wild and whimsical.
Over the years, many have come and gone
But the few who stayed on witnessed the waves of a million riches won and lost.

Red and white boats on the water,
Back and forth to just beyond the horizon.
So near yet largely unknown,
A realm of discovery for reclusive metropolitan dwellers
Hustling across the water by day, only to retreat into tranquillity after dark.

Junk boats on the water,
Brown and black, stunning red sails.
Mystical and iconic remnants of maritime greatness.
Transformed into ornate ferries
Propagating fairy-tale visions of the glorious past to myriad wanderers.

A motley multitude of workman boats on the water,
Commandeered by hard-working crew of vital skills, irreplaceable
Yet innocuous to all but a discerning few.
The best ones of them all,
Fulfilling and meaningful lives spent in virtuous isolation. 

Satyajit Venkatraman
30th December 2017

all these years...

all these years

i told myself i was happy.

i thought i was a good man.

while life always went by

in the blink of an eye.

all these years

i felt i had a good life.

i went around the world.

always on the move

chasing new dreams and making new friends.

and all the while, i was missing

a piece of me that grew a little each day.

and all the while, time just passed by.

but how could i have known?

all these years

i enjoyed the good things

i revelled in pompous comforts

with an attitude that some considered obnoxious

while others thought was unburdened luxury.

all these years

i thought i was free spirited.

i flew over the rooftops and green fields.

fuelled by the drug of freedom

nothing could hurt me at all.

and all the while, i was missing

a piece of me that grew a little each day.

and all the while, time just passed by.

but how could i have known?

all these years

i hear magical music.

voices comfort me with soft whispers

while i asleep,

the serene slumber of happiness.

all these years

i see lucid visions

that take me to enchanted lands

and still i sleep

afloat in a sea of tranquility.

and all the while, i was missing

a piece of me that grew a little each day.

and all the while, time just passed by.

but how could i have known?

(…to be continued…)

- satyajit venkatraman
January 2012

i am...

i sing my own tunes.
no training or talent to speak of
but i create a thousand songs everyday
inspired masterpieces of art they are not
but everyone loves them.

i dance to my own rhythm.
no stage fright or anxiety perceivable,
i can perform anywhere, at any time.
at times graceful, often amusing
but always entertaining.

i march to my own command.
with no care for rules or orders
but with a determined, almost obsessive, single-minded focus.
always doing what i want, when i want to;
even so, no one complains.

i’m scared of my own shadow.
and everything that moves or is still.
on the other hand, i can be incredibly brave
and do things no one else dares to do
as if there were the simplest tasks.

i walk on my own path.
stumbling, crawling and scrambling,
i move forward as much as in reverse.
never giving up,
until i reach my goal.

i write my own story.
with peerless creativity and imagination;
using any tools and substances i can find.
so advanced are my plots,
they are rarely understood by others.

i speak my own truth.
through hitherto unknown languages and media;
lucid and insightful but never philosophical,
my theories of life and truth
are often not popular or wide-spread.

i live my own life.
away from the all the pervading chaos,
in my own imaginary land.
unaware of the ways of the world and
at peace with myself and all around.

i am a child.

- satyajit venkatraman

21st July 2011

set yourself free

what happened to the serenity of simple living?
an easy and dignified existence.
sitting by the ocean, watching ripples in the water:
endless, limitless, flowing through our minds with nowhere to go,
the waves had no objective but to be there for us to watch.
we lived our own lives, honest and harmonious;
idyllic fragments in time.
the right to be at peace was not just a law.

where did it come from – that sense of urgency?
the suspicion that all was not as it seemed.
an urge to do more consumed us,
destroying our inherent tranquility.
a deceitful call to wake up and rise above,
lying to us about everything we knew as real.
an invisible force lifting us,
coercing us to break out of our ordinary lives.

have we come too far now?
all we hear are startling echoes of our deeds.
we despair at what we have become.
like scarecrows standing in a field,
we live an endless cycle of night after day,
exhausted from trying to out-run our fate.
why did we leave our blissful lives behind, we reminisce.
must we spend our lives drowned in regret?

where do we go from here?
have we come so far that we don’t remember our past?
but surely, things can be the same again
because we see visions of laughter and contentment.
must our futures be a whirlpool of misery?
or can we save ourselves?
there must be someone out there to help us!
will we have a chance to redeem ourselves?

why must these questions go unanswered?
we can reclaim our lives as our own.
we were peaceful once.
we must refuse to be prisoners in our own hands,
and believe that the future lies in our serene past.
we must set ourselves free.
and find that place again –
where the right to be at peace was not just a law.

- satyajit venkatraman
15th July 2011

this is my feeble response to the mindlessness of the events of 2 days back and the endless list of similar events. And the “mindlessness” is not just limited to the perpetrators but the world in general including the government, other politicians, the media and common people like you and me who claim to be outraged and helpless but cannot (do not want to) do anything more.

what if?

what if there comes a day
when you stop learning and start forgetting what you’ve learnt?
would you be satisfied that you have spent your life learning
and have something that is yours,
even if to forget?
or saddened at not knowing all there was to learn?

what if there comes a day
when you realize that your dreams may never come true?
would you be sad, knowing that you would never
dream another dream?
or enlightened that they were meant to be dreamt
and the inspiration for everything you achieved?

what if there comes a day
when you finally have to admit that you lack the talent?
to play that awesome riff on your guitar
would you grow your hair, pierce your ears and start a garage band?
or would you enjoy the thrill
of pleasant rhythmic strumming?

what if there comes a day
when you know you’re never going to own that red Ferrari?
would you rue the fact that you were never good enough
to achieve what you had always wanted?
or look back and see
all the wonderful things you’ve seen and enjoyed?

what if there comes a day
when you realize you’re closer to the end than the beginning?
would you have lived your life the way that you wanted to
or in the shadow of another?
would you worry about the long way down?
or savour the moment, poised on the edge of the pinnacle?

- satyajit venkatraman
24th February 2011