Love, Smile and Tears

LOVE is the panacea that keeps us living, keeps doors open in the most challenging times. It can cure mysterious maladies of the heart and body. Spread in abundance, its light keeps life rejoicing its existence. Its absence can cause hearts to bleed to a slow or a sudden death. When the Creator gave emotions to human beings, love was made the omnipotent king. Hence, love rules over our emotions in unpredictable ways. Love can turn saints into beasts or it can hold lights to lost souls. It makes or mars life. And at times, love offers just the right amount of elixir to life, it makes one fit into the comfort zones.
LOVE is the panacea that keeps us living. It opens the most unexpected doors in life. It can cure mysterious maladies of the heart and at times it can throw us into dark pits. The lights of love keep life rejoicing our blessings and help us to sail the stormy seas. Love gives us the best dances around life; be it the waltz, salsa or contra, love beats all other music. It holds life with ambivalence to its greatest discoveries of life.
Such a powerful force does not come without challenges. Love can kill and it can heal. People kill for the sake of love. Shakespeare did not write his epic works of Othello and Romeo and Juliet without the light of love on his pen. In real life King Edward III of England gave up his throne to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson in 1936. Romance is not contained in any time or boundary. While romance of Antony and Cleopatra continues to amaze us, beautiful Princess Diana lost to Prince Charles’s love for Camilla Parker Bowles. Mother Teresa’s love of the poor taught us lessons of how we can give our life to the cause of humanity. Fiction or non-fiction, literature is glued to real life like a spider’s web through stories of love. Romance or worldly love, when the Creator gave emotions to human beings, love must have been crowned the eternal queen. Love can turn saints into beasts or turn murderers to angles. And at times, love offers just the right amount of elixir to life to fit into the comfort zones and fill life with contentedness.
Love throws light into nooks and corners of life. Prehistoric man began to draw pictures on the walls of caves to express their love of life. As language found its way as a mean to express our feelings and emotions, love was the corner stone on which man began to write the story of mankind. Our march from the uncivilized world to the civilization of today is for one reason; we adore life and want to experience it to glorious heights. Although love finds it seeds in our hearts, love is a gift from the heaven. The mysteries of its presence and absence baffle us. We grope for ways to find it in its epic form. As we seek its lights, love comes to us with its magnanimous ways. Love lies in the heart of the beholder and spreads light to infinite heights. It spreads its branches and roots, holds flowers and fruits when one nurtures it. If love is reciprocal, joy and happiness soars to unimaginable heights. And when love is lost or not shared, the soul becomes barren, the flowers and leaves dry and return to the roots.
The Creator creates life and the endlessness of His creations is like an affirmation of His love for creating. The whole universe speaks of love through vast infinity. The countless colors on land, sea and beyond tells us that He loves variations. The deviations of life is countless. From the blue whale to zooplankton, the sun, moon and the smallest stars in the milky –way, from the giant sequoia to the dwarf willow, humans with their endless looks and traits; we are baffled by the Creators love of alternatives. We try to track the variants through science but often fail against the unimaginable works of God. But the sign of love is everywhere, He loves to create. We are born with love of life in our hearts and we leave the world with strings of love attached to our memories. Hate is opposite to love, but LOVE in its true form overcomes all hatred. Love brings us joy and sorrow. As humans we want love to come to us through happiness. It is through love that we measure life, a gift that is given to us with its destined hours.
Universal love finds delicate wings in romantic love. Romance carries its glory in human lives. Life finds new definitions as one heart touches another with the sweetness of love and desire. Gone are the days when spring of life and romance were supposed to be together. People fall in love at all ages. Octogenarians find love after they had given up all hopes of ever finding that ‘special one’ of their life. Toddlers fall in love with the holding of hands, they find love without knowing how cupid is connecting them for the years to come. In the modern age, teenagers or the old, people are seekers of love. All are impatient like the spring and are eager to bloom like the first crocuses. We live at an age when freedom of expressions reign supreme and we do not hold back to what we feel. With the aid of science and technology the world is on our fingertips. Internet, text messages, e-mails and telephones give people unlimited opportunities of finding the soul mates even on the other side of the world. Ages back people used to see a person first and then fall in love. These days the minds and hearts find invisible links as Cupid finds its ways through modern technology to send its arrow. People fall in love on the Internet and then take the longest journey of their life across oceans to see the beloved in person. “Love at first sight” is true for some but for many love strikes its first chord in the empty space.
Romantic love has this incredible power of conquering hearts repeatedly. These days the adage “the one and only love of life” holds lesser credence. People seem to fall out of love just as easily as they dip into this incredible emotional experience. Just as “I love you” has the world bathing in a new light, the utterance of “I am having an affair, I have found a new love” can bury another heart in the bottomless dark pit. And when love decides to close the doors it leaves an invisible knife repeatedly gnawing the heart, a slow poisoning that kills a soul. With the arrival of love all the flowers of spring seem to bloom at once. When love coils back, cold dismal winter chills the heart. Love comes with its ecstasy and agony hidden among the other mysteries of life.
The saying, “Love conquers all” seems to pique new questions. If love did conquer all then why did Tony, a young man at the tender age of 22, commit suicide because his fiancé deserted him? What went wrong between a mother and a daughter that had the daughter leave home and start living on the streets? Why was the refusal of love requests sent to an unwilling village girl result with throwing of acid on her? Did not agony fill the heart of fifty-year old Rosa when her husband, a balding man at the age of fifty-five, filed for divorce because he had another younger woman in his life? She wonders why love did not conquer the marital strife.
What about the bonds of love between children and parents, between siblings, friends and relatives? Why does it hurt the deepest when the child a mother has held in her womb one day says, “I hate you Mom, why do you want to control my life?” or what about the day when a father kicks out his fourteen-year old son saying, “ I did not become a father to raise a disobedient brat like you!” Life touched these people with its perplexities and love became a twisted test of life. Love seemed to have lost its way and the wounded hearts wondered what went wrong when love was there to put things back together. Life has many unanswered questions and when love goes topsy-turvy one ends up with endless Whys.
Love binds us to a mysterious, infinite hunger in the soul. It begs for time to the Creator who creates each living thing with its own lifespan. Life holds us helpless with the love of this world and our desires to be happy. We, the mortals know that death waits us somewhere around a corner of our journey between life and death. Yet our love of life does not diminish no matter how sick or poor a person is. Love of life keeps us going, it has us climbing mountains, sailing treacherous seas and flying without wings. At the moment of death love grips the heart with the desire of living with its strongest force. A dying man will cling to the last ray of hope to go on living. Love is cruel when it keeps its grip on the heart, the emotions bubble, even knowing well that death, when it comes is inevitable. Love would be kinder to the dying if it loosened its grip on the heart for the hunger of life. Maybe that could make it easier to accept the end, to accept the decision of the Creator, to find peace as the soul leaves the body.
Love, pregnant with its multitudes of meanings for life on Earth makes us cherish the birds, trees, flowers, seas and sky. At the same time keeps whispering “You have to leave it all one day.” Emotions come to the human beings with so many faces. Perhaps the Creator added love to our emotions as the biggest challenge to life, daring us to earn it in this world from each life that crosses our paths. The bigger challenge is that we know the Creator loves that man who is loved by his fellow being. Love of life comes with great responsibilities and to fulfill them we have to pledge ourselves to the best of our beings. And, what other life can be worthier than to be loved by all, birds, beasts and man? Love is be there in life, like the sky overhead or like the smallest particle in the nook of your house, and it will make a nests in our hearts and souls. Love has its own riddle on each life, it plays games of joy and sorrow like the games of fate, so unpredictable. Great stories of humanity, romance, and sacrifice come from this God given emotion. Love of power and freedom makes and remakes history. Love of beauty makes the poets write their poems, the musicians compose their songs and the artists and writers create their maser pieces for the love of the creativeness that feeds their intellectual beings.
Love, with its agony and ecstasy comes to us all in its own form and makes us laugh or cry. When love ceases to exist in a heart the human in us also dies a cruel death. We may go on living but life becomes unbearable, we suffocate even when the wind is blowing with its strongest force. Yet, we continue to celebrate love and want its lights knowing well that there is darkness under the flame of the candle. Love continues its riddles in its own ways from life to death for each individual, tells its own story for each and every one of us.

( The names used in this essay are not the real names of persons.)


YYYAAAAYYYYYY….Got published in an anthology from Wicwas Press….thanks to life experiences, all special, because it came to you. The book has a better edited version, angel editors do that stuff. smile emoticon Title: Safe to Chew. This is the article I sent.

To: Wicwas Anthology 2015
Contributed by: Tulip Chowdhury
Date: 01.22.2015
Subject: 2015 Anthology

Learning From the Bees

Growing up in a remote village of Bangladesh in the early seventies was a challenge. Our only access to water was a pond nearly a mile away. We had no electricity or gas and cooked on earthen stoves with dry leaves and twigs as fuel. Life did not have these comforts but we had a vast resource of natural beauty around us. Our village, sitting on a hill, was surrounded by mountains and marsh lands. Along with long stretches of green forests we had plenty of birds, butterflies, bees and other small animals. All the flowers on the green land around us looked like a colorful carpet of nature. Our cottage was surrounded by trees and wild flowers of all kinds. The fresh mountain air was heavenly. It never failed to give me a second a wakening to the day every morning as I stepped out into the yard.
When the wind blew, I would breathe deeply to inhale that glorious crisp air and fill my lungs. As the cloying scent of the flowers reached my nose, my ears would pick up the buzzing of the bees and the sweet tweet of the birds. It would be an orchestra of the birds and insects. We had three small steps on our front door that lead down to the yard. All around the front and backyard flowers, butterflies and bees assembled with a festive air. I would settle down on one step and watch the bees as they flew up and down on the flowers.
The trees around me had birds fluttering up and down. While the birds sang with their high and low pitched songs, the bees buzzed endlessly. Their buzzing would be high or low, depending on how near or far they were moving. I could sense strength in the bees’ determined movements and their steady buzzing. Most of them were honeybees collecting nectar from the flowers. Occasionally a bumble bee would fly with its loud buzz and send the smaller ones scurrying around. I felt sorry for the smaller ones. The ‘right of might’ was very much a part of nature even where those insects were concerned. When the bees sat on flowers with soft stems, the flowers swayed as if welcoming the bees. Together, they portrayed the pleasure of giving to life and its needs. The flowers seemed to be so happy when the bees sucked out their nectar as they spiritedly danced with the wind. They radiated more brilliance in their colors after the bees sat on them. I had no doubt that the flowers felt fulfilled with their giving. At school we were taught to be like flowers, to learn to give from what we have, to be whole hearted with generosity. The flowers had life and so did the bees. But the flowers did not turn away when the insects sought food from them. Watching the giving and receiving of life in the beds of flowers around me, I would feel my own heart open up. When the wind blew, and the sunlight surrounded us all, we were a huge part of creations. All those were lessons to me, to be kind to life; to live and let live.
I knew that the bees had one queen and rest are workers. As I watched, I would wonder who was who. But and then when the bumble bees came, they were like giants from another land, ready to conquer the flower fields. The bigger bees symbolized the presence of force in life. The little girl within me understood that in the game of survival one had to fight for one’s existence. But there was no menace in the gentle play of force as the bees shared the fields of nectars. The honey bees gave away to the bigger ones, and moved back when the bumble bees flew away. The Earth was home to us all and life was mostly about sharing what nature offered us.
Bees were busy folks just like the little ants running along in lines beneath the trees over which the bees fluttered around. On a mango tree nearby by there was a bee hive. Countless bees buzzed and fluttered all around it. It was growing bigger day by day. I knew there was honey stored inside it. It was amazing how those tiny insects were carrying mini drops of nectar and storing it all in that growing hive. Sitting for long hours, my eyes never tired of watching them fly on and off that hive. I was sure all the bees did not take honey from our yard, they went to other distant places to gather their honey. The colony of bees held the lesson of unity and hard work for me. There was so much harmony in nature and how those insects survived through diligence. I also knew that my grandfather would have the hive down and sell the honey for a high price. I would be sad to see the hive go down for I had watched how hard the bees worked for their home. But they did their job and let go to the game of life. There was the lesson of each of us doing his or her own part in life and do it to the best of our abilities.
Bee stings could be bad but those honey bees never stung me. It was, as if they knew I was not there to hurt them. At times one of them would buzz around over my head, giving me some messages in their own language. Bees pollinated the flowers and were the means of continuation of life. I found the bees over my head as symbols of love. Love and reproduction often came together. I was tiptoeing onto the teenage years and whispers of romance floated to me as I watched the bees go through the unique plans of the Creator. In our folk songs came the lines, “Bees come to flowers looking for honey,and I come to you love like the bees…”.
People find life’s meanings in various ways. My childhood and the bees left milestones in my growing years. I shudder to think how it would be, if bees were no longer to be found, if the pollination stopped or if honey ceased to exist. Honey was the secret remedy for many health problems of humans. Without bees, there would be a big void in our life indeed. What a big part of our life is filled by the little insects. No life is small, each unique its own way.

Tulip Chowdhury's photo.
Tulip Chowdhury's photo.
Tulip Chowdhury's photo.
Tulip Chowdhury's photo.

Looking into Winter’s Eyes

It is a gloomy, winter day in Amherst, Massachusetts. Layers of snow cover trees and ground. The snow is like white caps of different shapes and sizes. The hushed silence of deep winter hangs heavy in the air. The stillness plays on the memory chords recollections of the past seasons. It is like the final beats to a piece of music, like the concluding part of a play. Winter takes a final look at the time spent before moving forward to spring, to the coming year.
Beneath the snow I could see winter hugging the previous spring. When I step on the soft snow, the leg digs deep until the snow is laired on the brown grass. And you remember that the brown grass was green only some days ago. The daffodils, crocus, tulips and other perennials are in their seasonal sleep. Leaves and flowers that adorned the trees through summer days have withered and are decaying on the earth. Most of the birds that sang through the warm days have migrated. Few birds that stayed back to brave the snow and cold send occasional tweets to each other. People prefer to stay inside and rest by the fireside. The dark, winter day is like a suppressed light, like a breath withheld that makes one wonder when the sun will be out again. Winter, coming in the end of the year, beneath its grayness holds spring, summer and fall in its bosom. Like a keeper of secrets, it harbors traces of the days gone and bubbles with aspirations for the new year.
Winter comes to place a period after the twelve months for 2014. But the ending is pregnant with tales of the past, and whispers of possibilities for the future. Images of the marked months on the calendar flit on the mind. Voices echo and memories play games in light and shadow. Emotions take rides with joy and sorrow. While some memories strike happy and sad tunes, the poignant ones hold us in awe. In the same package are thoughts that accept life challenges and then move on with patience and hope.
This winter with its chilly wind and snow is also a winter that waits to herald in the next spring. While animals hibernate, leaves and flowers take a break in their displays, our wardrobes and lifestyles take seasonal changes. These are days when a dashing beauty walks by with her boots clicking away on the pavements and makes you stare at her face. Times when your heart cries for the less fortunate when a man in scanty winter clothes waits shivering at the bus stop. Winters in December, with snow or without, mark the end of the year. Somewhere in an invisible lair of sudden pause, winter rests with promises of warm days. There are rainbows on the sky of our memories, they touch us as we fly on the wings of time.
Standing on the threshold of a new year, life is reflected on a two-way mirror. Life and death, sunrise and sunset, joy and sorrow and so many other paradoxes of life highlight the bleak winter day. Within it all our hopes and dreams weave tales. The past months have enriched our wisdom with experiences and yet the future looms with apprehensions. Will the coming spring be beautiful like the one gone? As the winter gives stark reminders of decay and death, thoughts of inevitable death comes.
Stepping out of the house, I step on the white snow. As the feet dig into the soft mounds, I vision the sleeping grasses beneath. To me, the snow is not white at all, it reflects all the colors of spring, summer and fall. I imagine the vibrant colors on the endless white land. I wonder how green the grass will be in the coming spring. And with a quivering heart I wonder if I will be there to witness the appearance of yet another spring. The lust for life makes me open my heart to 2015 while I hum Tagore’s song,
edin aaji kon ghore go khule dilo daar
aaji prate shurjo utha shofol holo kaar…