Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze  

Summer breeze
warm and wet, from the seas
waving, moving, my hair set abreeze
running running
sand in my eyes
sand in my toes

sandals thrown , lost in the sand
echoes of my ammoomma’s voice
leave your sandals in the car, lost in the wind
too late too late, they are
gone in the sand
sand everywhere

winter breeze
dry and cold from the snow
boots dig deep
heavy steps dragging dragging
chills my bones and bogs me down
tries to stomp my spirit

pick up your feet, go on go on
life’s to be lived, and love’s awaiting
I call on the summer breeze
come blow, and blow
and fan the fire within me
warm up my soul, my body and mind

million miles from summer
million miles from sands
is it too far for the summer breeze to flow?
will it blow, will I grow?
I know I will, ‘cause
the summer breeze lies within

Shakuntala Rajagopal

Night-blooming Cereus

Night-blooming Cereus, May 22, 2015

Tonight around 9:00 P.M. two blooms appeared on my Night blooming Cereus. Perfect white petals arranged in three layers started opening about 8:00 P.M., and the bold –faced flowers, eight inches in diameter swung gracefully from ten inch long stalks which arose from the very edge of one leaf each. They look like they would drop to the floor any minute. However, each flower stayed attached while spreading an unique fragrance which filled the room.

This took me back to when I was ten years old, when the Cereus in my home in Trivandrum, India bloomed, maybe two or three times a year. There, in the subtropics it bloomed at around 11:00 P.M. All the children stayed up late to see the rare sight. In my home here, the farther North I am, and with the daylight saving time changes, the opening time of these flowers also vary. On the occasions they open in the fall, it happens later, like at 10:00 P.M. onwards.

Shaku flower 3 Shaku Flower 2 Shaku Flower 1

Just as we who moved North adjusted to the movements of the Sun, the Cereus, or (the “Night-blooming Lily” as we used to call it,) also varied its habits of blooming.

Tomorrow the flowers will dangle listless and damp-looking, all the wild white energy spent. The fragrance will linger for another twenty-four hours. That is it. Until more buds appear next month or next spring, whenever that happens.

Shaku Rajagopal

May 22nd, 2015

A Writer Writes

A Writer writes.

As an Author, I need to write my story.

Every one of us has our own unique story to tell the world.

I feel it is important to tell the young members of my family growing up here, the experiences of a first generation Indian from Thiruananthapuram, Kerala, India, who settled here in the sixties.

Where Raj and I came from, our given name is usually our ‘surname’ or ‘last name’ and is often used as the official name in business and documents.

So, when our progeny looks up, the search will end with the first person who came here.  Unless the entire family sticks to a common last name, or follows the family name, no previous history will be found.

Hence, it is necessary that we put down in words all about where and who we came from.

It is important that they know not only of the growing pains of young immigrants in this land where the language, the food, the clothes and the customs are different, but also of the joy and the spirit of comradery among us newcomers that enabled us to get accustomed to the place we made our home.

Above all, they need to know why it is important to remember people who helped us survive the tough winters and show them why we need to pay forward  to those who come after us.

I personally have this need to tell them how our Indian element became an integral part of the melting pot that is the United States of America.

I have been telling my story to anyone who wishes to listen, and am determined to put together my next book of how I was:  Transplanted  from 100°F in the shade to 10°F in the sun, in a twenty four hour period. I will also tell how our love for each other kept me and my husband Raj going, despite all odds.

Song of the Mountains Book Launch Event

At last I have the books in my hand. “Song of the Mountains, My Pilgrimage to Maa Ganga“, is my second book, and will be officially released on April 15th . The Barrington Library has an Author Event Planned on April 19th, and I will be among the authors reading from our works. This is an exciting Spring for me with a new book coming out.
I will be reading from the book at the Author Event listed below at the Barrington Area Library.

Song of the Mountains book

I hope you can all come to the Barrington Library Author Event on April 18 th, 2.00 P.M. to 4.00 P.M.”

Event Type: Adult Program
Date: 4/18/2015 
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 PM. Barrington is full of amazing authors and storytellers: meet them at our first annual Local Author Fair! Readings, panel discussions, book signings, and keynote speaker Sonali Dev, whose debut novel, “A Bollywood Affair,” has won honors from NPR, ALA, and more! You’ll meet and hear from poets, illustrators, and memoirists, researchers of Barrington history, and creative fiction writers both historical and futuristic. It’s the perfect afternoon for every book lover! Books available for purchase and signing (hint: signed books make wonderful gifts!). Refreshments.

Address: 505 n. northwest highway, Barrington, il 60010 Meeting Room
. For more information, contact: Ashley Johnson
 847-382-1300 x 3030.

Welcome Spring

March 19th 2015, last day of Winter.….according to the calender.

I woke to a beautiful, early spring morning today. The air is still chilly, but last week’s warm spell has melted all the snow in Chicagoland. Tulips and daffodils are already peeking out from the still cold ground.

Just five weeks ago when I returned from Thiruananthapuram, my hometown in South India, after a short three week visit, I felt like a hot iron rod dropped into icy waters. It was 89°F when I left India and -12°F in Chicagoland. And, ten inches of snow on the ground. Even a short three week visit in the tropical sunshine had changed the way all my senses reacted to the cold. One would think that after fifty-one years of surviving Chicago winters I would get used to it. Still, a drop of one hundred degrees did shock my body.

It is a miracle that human endurance allows us to survive such extremes. But it is an even greater blessing when we thrive and grow wherever we land in life.

It is good to know that spring will follow each winter. Let us get out and welcome spring.