Kala Ramesh


The Breath


The bamboo flute touches the third note on the scale, the majestic Gandhar. Emotions leap, in the silence after the note, as the musician gently coaxes the beauty of the raga into our very being.

                                                the sun rises the sunflower faces

It was a known fact that often he came onto the dais drunk. The flask, kept behind him, from which he took frequent sips, was rumoured to be whiskey. Sometimes, he did not come on to the dais for hours, and it would be announced that the musician has actually arrived and will be coming on stage any moment. We waited. He was affectionately called Flute Maali, and we all loved him.

Having come on stage and on blowing the first note into the bamboo flute, at times, if the quality of the sound was not to his liking, his face would droop with great disappointment —as expected, the audience would respond with a soft moan.

I was twelve years old when I heard Flute Maali for the first time. I distinctly remember, the concert hall was packed to pindrop silence, as we waited for that first note.

 a firefly trails . . .

 the stillness

 of mountain treetops



I look at the four generations of women in the photo, with my perky daughter, seen animatedly talking even when the photo was being taken . . . next to her, is my grandmother, whose smile is all that I remember. I wonder whether she was ever allowed to go beyond that . . . somewhere there my mother and me, trying to hold on to our ground, firmly.

Now, my daughter, she airs her views on everything but isn’t home the place to toss ideas to see how they boomerang before you present them to the world?

a fly jumps in

and cracks the skin —

cold cocoa