Creative works


A  powercut inspired poetry…we get so used to our comforts and routines that we forget how to cope when our comforts play peek-a-boo.

It’s a dark dark world
Feared the house dweller
Lest she knew
There was a window
A window with adjustable shade
A pretty moon sending warm rays of hopeful shines
Through trees, leaves, bunnies and some wild berries
All I did was open the window
Slowly progressing to open the door
Felt the engaging warmth of embracing nature
I am fine, rejoicing the quietude;
And then, came on the power –
Nature? Embrace? Quietude?
Where is my phone charger?! 

Death of a star

Praises galore
feigned affection,
sadness in the air,
gawking public-
clicking pictures
to digital freeze
mourning favorite
matinee idols-
Death of a star

Life of a doctor

Cuts, Scrapes, Blood and Gore,
Screams, Cries and Painful mourning,
The doctor leaves for his son’s birthday,
A day late; with a smile.

-Swetha Sankaran


Lead Him

Here’s hoping

the hand that holds

leads to light

with bright future

the road least taken

to prove he can

achieve that which

the rest said no!

-Swetha Sankaran

Firecrackers and Diwali

Walking around the busy baazar,
Hundreds of bargains of firecrackers
shopping for the festival of lights
is a matter of prestige.
My 1000 wala has to be 10000
any less, and  I might as well mourn.
My little four and half walks with me,
Unnerved by the stress of my mind-voice
So many stores, so many discounts, I plan ahead.
Tiny hands tug at mine, I ignore,
They tug again and say ‘mummy please’
I look at where the child was seeing,
A beautiful child, sitting in a quite corner
of the buzzing bazaar with dirt spewing from 80’s scooters,
She smiles, waves at my ‘lil one.
She lets go of my hand and asks her name,
I’m Divya, and I like henna says the little one.
Can I paint your hand too?
Curious and eager, my daughter looks at me,
I smile, and nod.
That Diwali, our house had beautifully decorated hands and feet.
We had a special guest Divya to share our sweets.
Fireworks plenty exploded in the sky,
All three of us enjoyed the sight,
From our terrace, with our henna decorated hands.

Swetha Sankaran.

A talk by Swetha Sankaran on Karma at Interfaith gathering held at Durga Temple of Northern Virginia.


Solitary Indian woman in a temple.
Solitary Indian woman in a temple.

Circle of life – A mere observation:

“Signs of rejoicing
crackling,bursting, thundering fireworks-outside
in the stillness of ones abode
none to talk or make a sound,
quiet hum of a low running fan,
slowing ticking clock on the wall,
deafening sounds of the road muted
faint aroma of burning chemicals
breathed in but ignored nonexistent
withdrawn in the couch
the soul wonders,
a mind filled with questions
of what reality is and what isn’t
the joy that made one smile
mimicked, does it make you smile?
That smile of yours, the contagious one,
is that truly yours?
and that of theirs, is it theirs.
Fleeting moments these are,
filling up our voids
then they cease just as we do.
But, then the footprints we leave,
the smiles, the crackers, the sweet nothing laughter
are that which make our future
smile and rejoice too.”

by Swetha Sankaran

“Time and again nature reminds
never to judge a book by its cover
for even its prickliest of cacti
nurtured bears beautiful flowers!”

Birds- Acrylic on wood series

The watcher 


Grandma’s knot-

A trick to make the unstick stick,
hold it tight,
lest it gets undone.
For if it did,
down comes with it-
Grace and chaos.
Her sari in my house,
a memory to cherish,
my grandma’s knot
Will remain
just as she had left it.
For her trick to make the unstick stick,
is as applicable to my life
As it was to her sari.


#art, #poetry, #swetha-sankaran

Death of a List

First day of the first month of the brand new year. It feels like any other day with an additional queasy stomach. Maybe the two servings of cake wasn’t such a good idea. What else is there to do when your spouse is thousands of miles away and the ball takes forever to drop. Contemplating on making a real list, with real pen and real paper. MS word simply isn’t working anymore. I know, the by gone five years resolutions were promptly forgotten and are lying around in some huge e-book somewhere, or is it in the blue flash drive, or, was it the red pen drive? Oh, I think it was in the hard drive that got busted in the old laptop. Anyways, real pen, real paper.Really thinking hard. Why haven’t I gotten a call from overseas yet? Maybe the dearest is busy.  Maybe. Did I charge my cell? I think they are playing some film show in some TV channel. I think I should go check it out. Ah…wish I had coffee. I can think better and focus on the list. Corner store coffee isn’t bad, why did Leela say she doesn’t want coffee the other day when I offered her? Was it the way I asked her, was she dieting, was my coffee that bad? Am I a bad cook? No wonder dearest doesn’t like to eat four servings of my most famous chili. He hates my cooking. I hate my cooking, if only I took up the culinary course instead of the computer thingamajig , I would be the most loved spouse and will be on top of the world. Cooking, my mother was the best cook in this entire world. I swear by it, my grandmother’s desserts were to die for..wait…Why didn’t I get that darned call yet? Oh wait, phone is ringing. What is with the “Withheld” id?I am agitated. Some lady is talking gibberish…”Sorry wrong number”.Ugh! These people, what all sorts of new scams should a person be aware of. Disgusting.

Phone is ringing again, yay! My overseas call….no..“Withheld”, again?  Unbelievable!

Lady with the gibberish talk, is she stressed? She does sound like it. Why would a telemarketer be stressed? Whatever,

Me: “Sorry, I don’t understand what you are saying. I don’t speak Chinese. Sorry…wrong number,  Oh!  And happy new year to you!”

Hmm….I think I’ll just drink that coffee now. I need to make the list.

Is it my phone ringing again? Yes..again the number “Withheld” WHAT!?

“Listen ma’am, you really have the wrong number, I…” there suddenly comes into picture, an interpreter out of nowhere.

“Hello, the son’s mom is dead in Vietnam and her son called from this number. Your mother is dead in Vietnam, so come home”.

Whoa! Wait! What? Who son? What mom?

Me: “I am so sorry about your loss, ma’am but you really got the wrong number”.

Panicked caller: “But her son called from this number and his mom is dead in Vietnam”.

At that point I just felt very sad, worried and plain guilty for not being that son.

Me: “Listen ma’am I can’t say how sorry I am for his loss. Unfortunately, I really don’t know how to help you. I don’t know which son you are talking about.  This is MY phone and I am an Indian woman living in the US. I am not sure how I can help you. I want to, trust me, but I have no idea who this son of yours is, whom you are trying to reach. I am so sorry. Please try to call the right number and please convey this message without further delay by conversing with me. I hope you contact him soon”.

Now the interpreter goes: “Don’t even bother calling us back. You can burn in hell”.

Call from another local number after almost half an hour during which time, all I could do was worriedly pray that they found the son.

Me: “Hello”

Caller: “Hello, who is this?”

Me: “Definitely not who you are looking for brother” I said. “Please try the right number and please hurry”

To which the caller on the other end replied-“Sorry, we just found out that we were dialing the wrong number. We contacted the son and he is on his way now, sorry for the inconvenience”.

Coffee? Chili? Overseas call? List? How vain. Yes, my list. Here it is for this year.

1. Hope the mother’s soul rests in peace and the son reaches home in time.

And for the rest of the years that I get to live my new year’s resolution list will have just one item



Based on real life incident. This is how I really welcomed the year 2013. 😐
This is also why I try to refrain from giving undue importance to materialistic things/possessions and worrying about not having or having them.
There are far more important things in life and lot of things we need to remind ourselves to be thankful for and be kind to one another.

Compulsive Hoarders

Compulsive hoarders,
aren’t we all?
one form or another.
At times filling up our abodes,
with no room to move around,
then filling our minds,
with everything encompassing eventual nothingness
no room to even breath.
I say,
compulsive hoarder we all are.
Hoarding and barely relishing the collection

Monkey dance


Blinding rays of golden sun,
hiding through the leafless branch,
peeking through the stained window,
questioning the eyes that stare;
Still doing the monkey dance?
Still singing the peacock song?
Scoffing, shaking its mighty head,
Blinding rays- of golden sun,
it sets leaving behind a chilly breeze

10 Word Stories

“Like a pendulum. Life happens, as time merges into eternity.”
‎”I am really busy. Housewife tells her corporate friend”.
‎”Party time, the clown cried hiding tears behind the mask.”
“One true friend. Following through rain and shine. My shadow.”
‎”Letting go of hands, the traveler carried his loving memories.”
“I am size zero”, the actress declared to her MagicMirror.
‎”Air. Balloon. Blown. Scary! Pop. Winks the pin.
“The lamp gives light even from the depth of a well. ”
‎”Mom, I love you! Daughter said holding her husband’s hand!”
‎”Between life and death, ego leaves trials of glittery dust.
‎”Eve of retirement. Dawn of a new beginning!
‎”Ransacked my brain box to find only rust and dust.”
‎”Your eyes are beautiful smiled the blind girl.”
“Money gives happiness, said the lonely rich beggar driving Benz”
“Trying to fix his broken stool-he now prefers floor.” I corrupted the stool with my touch. ha!

The Grinder

It was a Sunday. Ramu woke up to the aroma of fresh filter coffee that lingered in the air along with the smell of hot ghee dosa that he knew his mother would hand him as soon as he brushed his teeth. An absent minded smile adorned his lips. As he was sniffing the delicious medley of a food lovers paradise, he remembered that he was supposed to pick up the “Idli dough” from Subbamma last evening. An immediate sense of panic struck him. The feeling that one gets when they knew they didn’t do their homework and has to face their teacher. He was late and Subbamma has a strong dislike for his forgetfulness and carelessness as she calls it.

Subbamma the friendly old neighbor has an air of grandmother around her. Authoritative, kind and considerate she had a soft corner for Ezhili and a very strict attitude towards Ramu. He felt threatened by her and she wouldn’t miss a chance to make him feel guilty and responsible. According to her Ezhili is suffering and he should take over. He should support her even though he was just seventeen. She charges just one rupee for  Ezhili to grind her dough. “The concession for a young widow with a careless son” she would always tell Ramu. It made him mad and glad at the same time. He knew it was her way of helping them. Ezhili in turn would render her services twice a week even though she didn’t really need it. How many idlis would a household of two people need per week anyways? It was a complimentary and supplementary relationship they had, and that filled a part of the strange void of loneliness in all their lives.

Ramu woke up and went about his daily morning routines. He couldn’t help give his mom a hug and kiss when she handed him his dosa in his favorite ever-silver plate. He knew it made Ezhili shy away, grown up boys don’t display their affection openly to their mothers, she’d say.  He was a teenager now. Ramu helped himself  with his mom’s special chilli powder with a generous amount of sesame oil.

He loved his special plate. His dad Paraman had bought it for him on his birthday when he turned eight. He remembered how elated he was and how happy it made his father to see him enjoy something as simple as a plate. It was their special moment and unbeknownst to them their last. Ezhili and Ramu were home distributing Eclairs to their neighbors for his birthday, when they heard the dreadful news from Paraman’s colleagues. Fate had decided to give a ride to Paraman in Yama’s buffalo chariot. With a big sigh he finished his breakfast and couldn’t help the bitter sweet emotions he felt. Ezhili reminded Ramu about Subbamma and left for the market. Ramu got ready to leave reluctantly.

On his way to Subbamma’s house his mind started revisiting the events that transpired the previous week. Subbamma was exceptionally tough with Ramu when she learnt that he scored really less in his math. Assuming the role of a virtual matriarch of their household, she scolded Ramu with an added dose of how thankless he is. That was it for him. He had had enough of taunts from this woman who was neither related to him nor had any right to yell at him. So overcome with anger was he that he swore he’ll never come back again and would find another grinder for his mom. He still remembered the shock on her face when he said that. The expression that showed not just pain and anger but a sense of failure and defeat.  He knew he didn’t mean it, and knew Ezhili had apologized for his outburst to Subbamma inspite of his demanding not to do so. He couldn’t understand the inter-dependence they nurtured. In a complex way he felt let down by his own mother. She had let Subbamma insult him and get away with it. He dreaded the meeting and his visit to Subbammas.

Reaching the alley where Subbamma lived, he spotted a few kids playing outside. They had improvised a stick as cricket bat and gravel stone as ball and were playing like their future depended on the match. He dunked when a gravel makeshift ball fired his way and avoided an almost bloody gash on his forehead. He knocked Subbamma’s door and waited. His knock was met with silence. He knocked again, harder this time mumbling words of disbelief at the old woman’s laziness. After almost fifteen minutes of knocking he turned towards the little boy whose pitch almost broke his skull and asked about her whereabouts. The boy asked who he was. While he introduced himself to the child, Ramu saw  a lady chewing tobacco approach him. “Are you Ramu, Ezhili’s son?” she asked. “Yes” replied Ramu. “Come with me.”

Ramu went with the lady. She turned and saw him and smiled with her colored teeth. They were bright red. It made Ramu queasy. He never liked the sight of beetle leave’s spit. And this lady kept coloring the parapet wall as she walked.

On reaching her thatched hut, she asked Ramu to wait outside. As Ramu restlessly waited outside, she went in and came back out with a heavy cardboard box. “Here son, Subbamma asked me to give this box to you when you came.”.Saying that the lady flashed her smile again and showed him to the huge box on the ground.

Ramu was very curious and confused at this point. He hurried home and waited for his mother to arrive from the market. As soon as she came he narrated the events of the day and showed her the box. Ezhili opened it and inside was a new grinder and a note addressed to “The future mill owner. Take good care of your mother. – Subbamma.”  Ezhili was quiet and Ramu, speechless.


It Breaths


“It breaths” – Oil on canvas.
It sees some,
It speaks some,
It hears some,
But, It breaths it all.
It becomes it all,
even if it doesn’t realize.

The Phoenix Woman

This was displayed at The Franklin Parks and Arts Center, Purcellville, VA.

“Daughter of fire, she is reborn and liberated”

Digital contrast. Still the same. It evolves, constantly. digitally too.

Book – “Mayor of Caterbridge” Note from a couple of years ago.

Recently re-read “Mayor of Caterbridge”. Couldn’t help but feel sorry for the character of Michael Henchard all over again. Mayor or not, we are all alike in our core, aren’t we? Longing for love, searching for happiness, regretting the past, scared of the future and forgetting the present.

Running around in circles
Behind the elusive rainbow sphere;
Run, and run, and run.
But, the string “stuck in our back”,
Unreachable the sphere remains.
Clock stops, transform you must,
into a different being.
Smiling you think,
the sphere never really mattered!

Tainted, Golden, Passionate and driven Sakthi

Mixed media-Acrylic, feathers on canvas
I thought it was interesting it looked so different from a different angle.


Learning to paint on wood


When you don’t have much to say
yet want to say a lot.
When things go beyond just share
for symbiotic thoughts
leave not much words to be said.
Yet you yearn to discuss more,
and not sure on what anymore.
Take up an art,
start a project,
learn something new &
grow together – more!
Cultivating memories,
that will make this break,
evergreen in our minds-
when we look back and reflect