Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My Experiments with Poetry - II

This is the latest poem I scribbled while taking a break from studies at the library... wonder if it is worth anything or just few words spun together without much consequence... I look forward to reading your comments...

Road Travel
Riding thru lanes, streets, crossroads, highways and boulevards
I see vistas of happiness, grief, hope and loss
Scenes of prosperous grandeur and sights of abject poverty

As I make my way through villages and cities, I wonder sometimes:
When the world is so beautiful And full of goodness and beauty
Why do people fight in the name of religion and polity?

And when I feel tired, lonely and hungry I wonder
Am I on the right path Or have I taken a wrong detour
Is this tour an adventurous reverie?
Or is it a grand plan gone badly wrong?

I am not alone meandering across nations
For there are others on the road
Searching for love, adventure and livelihood

My dear friend these roads are not only for us to enjoy
It is for all those who seek adventure.
And a break from their daily grind

So learn to share the road like families share homes
And you will reach your dream destination
Safe and sound within a reasonable span of time.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Kaufmann - a quaint little wild west town

Yesterday we visited Kaufmann, a city of about 8,000 people located way south-east of Dallas. The reason for our visit was quite mundane, we wanted to check out an estate sale and also to take a look at semi-urban Texas landscape. Kaufman is characterized by vast open spaces with tiny residential communities dotted here and there. This city presents a completely different picture of America, no high rise buildings, narrow and mostly pot-holed streets, bushes and weeds in most backyards, etc. Kaufman could easily pass off as a small town, say Mysore (Karnataka) in India, if not for its sparse human population and heavy vehicle density. The few things that remind us that we are in the US is the fact that most houses are in good shape, very few people on the streets and every home has at least one truck and a car.

One of the pleasant experiences we had in this small town was meeting with a fellow South Asian... not from India, but from Pakistan. After coming to US, I have interacted with several people of Pakistani origin, but none have ever been as friendly or humble as this young chap in a convenience store in Kaufmann.

Wanting to explore this small town we decided to drive around and see what Kaufman has to offer and chanced upon a quaint war memorial. Christened the Kaufman County Veterans' Memorial Park, this memorial celebrates the sacrifices of American soldiers in various wars the nation has fought. A list wars given in the memorial's website includes the following wars:

  • Spanish American War April 25, 1898 - December 10, 1898
  • World War 1 April 6, 1917 - November 11, 1918
  • World War 2 December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946
  • Vietnam War December22, 1982 - May 7, 1975
  • Granada & Panama August 24, 1982 - July 31, 1984
  • Desert Storm December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990
  • Iraq April 17, 2003 - Present
The memorial project has cost the city of Kaufman over $250,000 and there are other maintenance and enhancement expenses in the future. One of the features of memorials and public monuments in the US, that continue to impress me is their careful conceptualization and execution, which evoke pride, patriotism and exude a sense of aesthetics. For example this veteran's memorial is shaped like a five edged star, the symbol of Texas, has the American eagle bust in the epicenter of the monument and of course the flags of Texas, US, Kaufman, etc fly proudly in the monument. Of course there is a Patton Tank placed at the extreme end of the monument to complete the effect.

I firmly believe that we Indians have so much history in our country that we have begun to forget its value. We should learn from the west in this regard and start celebrating our war heroes and remembering that our freedom was won at a great cost and we need to honor those who sacrificed for the sake of the country.