Thursday, February 21, 2019

Bangalore Days - Then and Now

Good old Bangalore - where art thou?

Our Bangalore was once known as the Pensioner’s Paradise.  Today, the only paradise that one can find here is Paradise Biriyani!   While we once took pride in its moniker of Silicon Capital of India and Garden City, we now have to sadly accept some of the more realistic tags of Garbage Capital, Traffic-Jam Capital. 

Growing up in Bangalore, we would have full-arm sweaters and half-arm sweaters to combat the cold season that would start from July-August itself and go on till February. But now, sweaters are hardly required. We need full-armed shirts to protect our arms against sun-burn and sleeveless shirts to beat the heat.

Gear up on your running Gear!
Running is now a big rage and serious business in Bangalore. Gone are the days when you just had to slip into a simple pair of canvas shoes and let your feet take over. If you need to run today, you will first have to get yourself a pair of the latest and funkiest pair of shoes from a well-known brand. Next, to match the shoes, you will have to invest in good quality dry-fit clothes (preferably with the brand icon neatly displayed). And obviously, one cannot repeat the same set of clothes everyday. So you will have to buy a minimum of 3 sets – possibly a pair of shorts, a full length track-pant and one that comes till your calf. Next on the list is a hip-belt that can hold your vehicle keys, and a bottle of water/energy drink that you will have to sip every few metres. In addition, you will need an arm-band that will hold your mobile phone while you can run hands- free. The ear-phones are an absolute must: you can listen to the music of your choice as you go about your running business. Finally, you will also need the latest, hi-tech watch to tie around your wrist – not to see the time but to record and analyse your run - time taken, distance covered, speed, calories spent, total steps taken, and such other important details. All this, along with your ‘selfie’ picture will ofcourse have to be shared through your Face Book account. After all, what good is running if your friends don’t know you are doing it!

Another change that you will find in Bangalore is that every locality now
Restaurants galore!
has not only the ubiquitous liquor store but also several medical stores and a vast number of restaurants. Infact today, the restaurant business is possibly the most successful one to be in. You just have to put up a sign-board and open shop; people will come thronging to your eatery at all hours of the day. This makes you wonder if people really cook in their homes and if the increase in medical stores is a natural outcome of the increased number of restaurants!

Also now, with DISK (Double Income Single Kid) or DINK (Double Income No Kid) families, pets - especially dogs- have become very popular. On a morning/evening stroll, you will see middle-aged men holding on to leashes, and taking their dogs for a walk (or is it the other way, the dogs pulling their masters?) Earlier, it used to be children and youngsters who would walk their dogs, but this has changed – it is now predominantly middle-aged men undertaking this task.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, kids of all ages are busy attending tuition classes and other improvement classes. Between school/college and additional classes, they hardly have time to breathe, forget taking the dog out. Secondly, most young women and teenaged girls stop to admire the dogs and pet them. The men enjoy this indirect attention, and take pride in their dog’s reflected glory! Hence, they voluntarily opt to take the dog out for a walk!

Bangalore's very own motto!

With the growing cosmopolitan outlook, Bangalore has certainly changed in very many aspects. But for the common man, one thing continues – “Swalpa Adjust Maadi!”

Note:  The pictures in this blog post have been sourced from the web, they are not mine.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Living in the Now

----- Published in Women's Era, in the January I 2019 issue

Have you tried to get a reluctant child to exercise? And have you been successful?  If you have, then you certainly have great persuading skills!

Jokes apart, getting my 11-year old daughter to jog with me is a herculean task.  I have to coax her, encourage her, push her and sometimes pull her too.  On one such outing, after plenty of whining (from her end), we agree to alternate between walking and jogging every few metres.   During one such ‘walking time’, my daughter devises a game and tells me to close my eyes and walk, while she will hold my hand and guide me along.

Now, it is my turn to whine and throw excuses -  I am scared that I might fall down. I am moving away from my comfort zone and that is unsettling.   But my daughter is insistent and I finally give in.  I reluctantly take a few steps – my mind is totally out of synch, what with the organ of sight not providing it with the necessary images to navigate the way.  I hold my daughter’s hand tightly and instruct her to warn me if there is a pothole or an obstruction along the path.
I am not sure if I am walking straight.  I can feel my entire body swaying to the right.  That is when the thought hits me – with my eyes closed, I am able to feel every movement of my body.  Every time I raise my leg, I can feel every muscle moving.  I am now more aware of all the sounds around me – an approaching vehicle, a dog barking, sound of brooms sweeping, birds chirping. I am also able to feel every small change in the lay of the road – a slight dip, a small pebble, a sudden ascent. With the eyes closed, my other sensory organs seem to be more active and I am able to sense and perceive a lot more things around me. 

My daughter warns me that we next have to take a step down.  What would have been a normal step with open eyes, now seems to be a ‘big step’ with my eyes closed.  I move my foot expecting to touch the ground but it takes a few micro-seconds more before I actually place my foot on the ground.  Those extra micro-seconds seem more like a minute to me.

This simple game that my daughter devised drove home a few basic truths. 

1. I realised and understood the idea of being mindful, of being in the present, of enjoying and being aware of happenings in and around me.   In our fast-paced lives, in our urgency to reach from point A to point B, we forget to appreciate the path we travel by.   This simple game reiterated the fact that we need to slow down and stop to smell the roses.  We need to be aware and be sensitive to the happenings around us.

2. My initial reaction when she asked me to walk with eyes closed was an immediate ‘NO”.  I was not happy to do it.  Why?  Was it the fear of appearing foolish, the fear of falling down or just the fear of moving away from my comfort zone?  I guess children are more open to try new things.  We as adults, are hardened and do not see the beauty or the enjoyment one can derive from simple acts. 
Let the child in you play with your child

3. My daughter’s little game taught me to loosen up.  It gave me a chance to let out the child in me and enjoy the moment.  In fact, when I opened my eyes, I was all smiles and both of us had a good laugh.

4. And finally I realised these simple moments spent with my daughter would remain etched forever in my mind.  Children grow up all too fast and before we know it, they are leading their own lives.  So, I was happy to be enjoying the time with her and making pleasant memories.   

Next up on my daughter’s activity list is to ‘balance walk on the edge of the kerb’. Would you like to join?  Please do.

Picture Credit - the images used in this post are not mine.  They have been taken from the internet.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Cat Tales-Ordeals of a house cat!

----published in the Deccan Herald's Humour Column dated 30th Sep 2018

That's my spot!

The people around me call me Squeaky.  What an atrocious name for a good-natured, mellow cat like me! What kind of a name is it? Do I squeak like a rat? Please spare me;  I mew, period. The humans that I live with are a bunch of crazy folks.  They gave silly names to my siblings too - MokshaGundam, Holmes and SJ.   And to cap it all, they called my mom ‘Mommy’ – just goes to show that their imagination is very limited. I remember, they watched a movie called 'The Gods Must be Crazy'. I can actually make a good, realistic film titled 'These Humans Must be Crazy' – I have more than enough content to fill up a 3-hour movie with their idiosyncrasies!

Catching a quick nap...

Well, I am sure you know cats are experts in the field of slumber.  We have different forms of sleep - we take a quick nap (the famous catnap), we doze, we go into a deep slumber, we snooze, we have a lie-down, and sometimes we simply sit down and shut our eyes taking on a Zen-like appearance.  Our siestas are not restricted to the afternoons; mid-mornings, early evenings are also a good time to catch up on our sleep. After all we need to get in our 18 hours of sleep time every day - that is how we have been designed by the Almighty Lord.   But what do our human friends have to say about this? They gush to every Tom, Dick and Harry they meet that I do nothing the whole day except eat and sleep! And every time I try to sleep, they come along to ‘pet’ me, completely disrupting my sleep pattern!  I tell you, these people have no basic sense. They think I am like a dog that loves to be petted. Gosh, wonder when they will learn.

Me with my Maker - where did that mouse go?

The so-called ‘evolved race’ certainly needs to learn a thing or two.  The other day, I caught a rat with great
difficulty. It is getting harder by the day; there are zone restrictions that I have to consider before I hunt down
a mouse.  As you know, we cats are very territorial. We love our individual space and protect it fiercely from
other felines. Well, I can catch any rat that moves in my territory but once it steps into the neighbouring site,
I have no control over it.  And these pesky little fellows are getting wilier -they cross borders and escape into
enemy territory. Given this situation, it is not easy to hunt one down. But the other day, much to my happiness,
I succeeded in pinning one fellow down. In a moment of misplaced gratitude for the human who usually feeds
me, I thought I would give him my ‘prize catch’ and so I left the dead rat on his front step.   You would think he
would be grateful and thank me profusely. But instead he got terribly upset and abused me. And worse, he
scooped up ‘the gift’ and threw it into the garbage, making ugly faces all the while. Just thinking about this
maddens me no end!

Who is the statue - the giraffe or me?

And talking about feeding, I literally have to beg for food everyday.  I have to mew loudly, incorporating
different sounds to seek their attention.  I then have to rub my body across their legs – for some insane reason,
they seem to enjoy this, and I pretend that I do too. Only after a few minutes of this will they pick up the packet
of cat food to drop it into my plate.  My begging ordeal does not end there. I then have to make those dumb-
heads understand that along with cat food they need to serve a cup of fresh water too. That needs another
round of mewing, and rubbing legs and repeated trips to the bathroom to show them that I want water.  Whew!
And they think a cat’s life is easy!

These days, my waking moments are spent in prayer – I pray to the Lord that He puts some sense into the
humans.  Amen!
My Zen posture - me, myself and I

Friday, June 1, 2018

How to cope with the Empty Nest Syndrome

------published in the Women's Era, June - I  2018

The Empty Nest

As parents and more so as mothers, we spent the better part of our lives tending to and taking care of our children.  Starting from the pregnancy stage, our first and foremost concern has always been the well-being of our little ones - did they eat well, did they get enough sleep, did they get sufficient physical activity, did they do well in school, and did they make good friends, and so on. We worried endlessly, tried to protect them from hurt and rejection, encouraged them to grow, to explore newer horizons; and urged them to spread their wings.

We built a small nest – filled it with love and care and nurtured the fledglings.   We sacrificed quite a few of our own dreams and desires to keep our kids happy.  As working mothers, we opted for jobs that had flexible hours that let us spend more time with the children.  We put our careers on hold and did not pursue bigger opportunities as that would have meant leaving the home and the children.  Many of us quit our well-paying jobs just so we could be around the kids and tend to them.  Our every waking moment was spent planning their activities – driving them around, dropping them off in classes, waiting  to pick them up, preparing their favourite meals, baking cakes and pies to satisfy their sweet cravings,  rustling up quick treats to feed their and their friends’ ever-hungry stomachs. All our schedules were planned to revolve around the children’s activities. 
Today, the little ones have grown and morphed into young adults.  They are ready to leave the nest – to pursue higher education, to take up new jobs, to follow their dreams.  And with their going away, we are left with an empty nest.  As mothers, this is a very difficult period for all of us.  Not only do we feel the emotional vacuum but we are also at a total loss not knowing what to do with our lives.  After all, we spent a good part of twenty years ‘revolving around our sun’ and now without our ‘respective suns’, we feel totally out of place; lost in the nether world, continuing to spin but without any focus.    The sudden feeling of ‘not being wanted’ and not being important in our children’s lives catches us off-guard and shakes our confidence and our self-esteem. The raw hurt that comes from separation gnaws at our insides and may sometimes be too much to handle.

But let us not despair.  This is a situation that every mother will have to face.  This is a period that we need to plan and prepare for.  We need to think positively and with an open mind.  Here are some key actions that will help us gain control over the situation.

Life beyond parenting – Learn to spend time usefully -     The most positive outcome of the situation is that we now have plenty of time on our hands.  Our time is no more bound by our children’s schedules. We can now look forward to spending it meaningfully on activities that we had always planned to do.

Get fit and active - An able mind in an agile body is the panacea to all our problems.  Now that we have time, there can be no more excuses.  Our health and fitness is of utmost importance and now is the best time to start and adhere to a strict regimen of healthy eating and regular exercise.  We can enroll into a yoga course for regulating our breath and improving our flexibility, or we could join the local gym. (For some of us, it may be re-joining as we diligently took a membership before but ended up visiting the gym only on very few occasions).   For those of us who love to dance, we could join a Zumba class or a Pilates class to make our work-out routine interesting and fun.  Or we could just put on a pair of shoes and go for a brisk walk or take an early-morning jog. When we exercise regularly, the ‘feel-good’ endorphins get released in our brain, thus making us happy and cheerful.  All worries and anxieties are kept at bay and the stress of separation from our children can be better handled.

Pursue a hobby – We have often complained that we did not take up a hobby as there was no time.   That will no more be a valid reason.  We can now enroll and start afresh or continue from where we had paused.  It could be classical music, or dance, photography, foreign language or any other course that appeals to us.  Not only will this help us learn the art, we will also be using our time constructively.

Revive old friendships and develop social network - The importance of friends and friendships in our lives can never be overrated.   They are there for us at all times - to share our moments of glory and happiness, to lend their shoulder in our moment of grief, to yank us back to reality when we are floating on clouds of irrationality.   Due to our busy lives when caring for the children, we may have lost touch with a few of our friends.  Now is the best time to revive those old friendships.  Quite a few of them may also be in a similar situation as us and hence will be able to appreciate the importance and need to renew the bonding.  This is also a time to socialize more and make new friends – after all, we now have the time and maturity to look at situations and people meaningfully.

Take up social service - We can work as volunteers in NGOs and other associations that work on issues that we support and which we hold dear.   Most organizations may have the funds but not enough hands to execute their social projects.  Hence, our volunteering not only helps us realize our potential and boosts our self-value / morale but also helps the society at large. 

Travel more - Travel to a new place, meet new people, explore the country and cuisine, enjoy the local music, imbibe their traditions and culture -nothing broadens a person’s mind like travel does.   We now have all the time in the world to plan a long trip to far-away places, possibly those places like the Valley of Flowers which can be visited only in a certain month but which we never did thanks to being occupied with our children’s school and their activities.  We can plan that trek to the mountains to catch the brilliant and soul-stirring sunrise; we can go on a pilgrimage to all those temples that we wanted to visit but had to shelve the plan as the kids did not want to visit yet another temple town!  

Read more – We have often complained that the only time we get to read is when we use the bathroom.   But not so anymore.  Our time is our own; we can now read a book undisturbed in the comfort of our room (not bathroom!) We can bring back to life the avid and voracious readers that we once were prior to the birth of our children. 

Get a pet - Handling and taking care of a pet can do wonders to our morale and psyche.  Over the years, we have been conditioned to take care of our family and children.  A pet dog or cat kindles the caring nature in us and thus makes us feel important.  The loyalty and affection showered on us, especially by a dog, can be a very soothing and satisfying influence.  A pet helps us to find meaning with our lives and helps us stay rooted.

The empty-nest syndrome has often been misconstrued as a slightly scary phase of our life.  Let us learn to face this with an open mind.  Let us learn to embrace, respect and enjoy the new-found freedom and time.  As the age-old saying goes, “an idle mind is a devil’s workshop.”  Let us learn to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.  This is the only way we can ward off all health problems.  The empty nest certainly turns our life around; let us learn to welcome it with open arms, learn to look at it as an opportunity to live life on our terms doing the things that we always wanted to do.   

Picture credit -  all pictures have been sourced from the public domain

Monday, October 23, 2017

The graceful and refined raga ReethiGowla

----published in The Hindu dated October 19th 2017   All images are from the internet

When we listen to the Carnatic raga ReethiGowla, what are the first impressions that we get? 
It is absolutely soothing on the ears, possessing infinite grace.  It takes one on a journey - with gentle turns, gradual ups and downs;  never does it feel like a rough and raucous roller-coaster ride.  In fact, it reminds one of the river’s journey – like a young maiden, playful yet charming and sweet, gently traipsing down the hills.  And then, the river maiden slows down and takes a meandering path with soft curves and turns,  cruising over small rapids that remind her of happy moments that she enjoyed while finding her way down the slopes, and smiling merrily at the memory.  As she approaches the plains, her movement is calm and sedate, lightly punctuated with dips and ascents before she finally joins the sea in ecstasy!

There are several kritis composed in this divine raga. Swathi Thirunal’s composition “Paripalayamam” is a popular kriti in the raga ReethiGowla.  The essence of bhakthi is beautifully captured in the endless grace of the raga.
Similarly, the kriti “Janani Ninnuvina” written by Subbaraya Shastry is set to this same raga and has a divinity associated with it, with its graceful movements and gentle ghamakams that render it soulful.  While the song pleads with the Goddess to have compassion on the devotee and bless him, ReethiGowla  does complete justice to the composition by steeping it in the ‘karuna rasa’.  It leaves us drenched in a beautiful shower of empathy, benevolence and compassion.   
A sense of contentment and peace flashes through our mind when we listen to kritis composed in this raga.  Thyagaraja’s composition ‘Dvaitamu Sukhama’ is another classic example of a kriti set to ReethiGowla.  Here Sri Thyagaraja asks Lord Rama to clarify as to which is better – Dvaita or Advaita – Duality or non-duality.   ReethiGowla enhances the beauty of the composition – with its slow but fluid movement, it is smooth and elegant, very soothing on the ears and extremely comforting.  While Thyagaraja  questions if duality is more comforting (sukhama) than non-duality, it is easy to see that raga ReethiGowla  is definitely the most comforting!

The legendary singer BMK with the music maestro Ilaiyaraja

With such alluring charm about it, it is no wonder then that this raga has been used in quite a few romantic duet songs in movies.  One fine example is the song “Chinna Kannan Azhaikiraan” from the movie Kavikkuyil  which was released in the year 1977.  This was picturised on actors Sivakumar and Sridevi and the music director was none other than the music maestro Ilaiyaraja. The song was sung by renowned classical music singer Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna.  It has an evergreen feel to it and even after four decades of its rendering, it retains its charm.  The song’s lyrics were penned by Panchu Arunachalam who was mentored by his illustrious Uncle and famous poet Kannadasan.  
Still from the movie Kavikkuyil
At the start of the song, Sridevi is shown drawing water from the well while humming a tune to herself.  She suddenly hears the same tune being played on the flute by Sivakumar and rushes out of the house to the open ground to hear him.  She is drawn and magically attracted by Sivakumar’s tune in the same way as Radha is drawn to Lord Krishna when he plays her favourite and secret tune in his flute.   Raga Reethi Gowla does wonders to this song – it lends divinity and an ethereal grace.  The gentle zig-zags in the ‘pallavi’ make it extremely melodious while the smooth ascent and rise to the peak in the ‘charanams’ followed by a gradual descent and a meandering flow adds a lovely rhythm to the song. 

From Subramanyapuram - the song Kangal Irandal
Another film song in Raga Reethi Gowla that is at once impressive, captures the heart and pleases the senses is the song “Kangal Irandalfrom the Tamil  movie Subramnayapuram.  The tune is supremely  melodious and delicate in its twists and turns.   Reethi Gowla captures the tenderness of love depicted in the song and heightens the moments of light-hearted passion.  The raga  brings alive the simplistic beauty of the mutual  affection and love felt by the hero and heroine – playful at times, sharp and poignant at some moments;  and heart-achingly defined in some others.   The song composed by newbie music director James Vasanthan became a super hit and catapulted him to instant success.  In the movie, the song talks about how the heroine, played by newcomer actress Swathi, has captivated the hero Jai, with the simple beauty of her expressive eyes and her bewitching smile.  The protagonists’  eagerness to meet, to talk, to be together, their bitter-sweet longing  and their desire to be united in love is wonderfully captured in the song – the lyrics, the picturisation and the captivating raga have blended together into one mesmerising melody.  

Prem Adda's Kalli Ivalu song
The same movie was remade in Kannada as Prem Adda.  The song “Kalli Ivalu”, also set to raga Reethi Gowla  is beautifully rendered by singers  Sonu Nigam and Shreya Goshal and it gracefully captures the same expression of love and ardour felt by the hero and the heroine, their playful tenderness and their moments of passion and bliss. 

 Raga Reethi Gowla is an absolute treat to the senses and transports the listener to a world of nostalgia and happiness.   

Where does beauty lie - in the Raga or Sahitya? Explored through Sahana Ragam

-------published in the The Hindu dated May 25th 2017  All pictures have been taken from the net.

What defines a Kriti  - Sahitya or Raga

There is a lot of debate on whether a kriti or song is considered great because of the lyrics (sahitya) or because of the ‘raga’ to which it is set to.   The sahitya conveys an immense amount of bhakti and emotion, transporting both the singer and the listener to a different world.   Definitely, the bhava and the raga adds to the allure and enriches the entire experience.  While purists argue that certain compositions have attained greatness thanks to the purity of thought in the lyrics, modernists and rasikas allege that the greatness of the composition is also affected by the raga in which it is composed.   The same song may possibly not be as impactful when sung with a different tune. 
It certainly is a continuing debate and there can be no clear answers.  After all music, like beauty, lies in the eyes /ears of the beholder / listener.

Take for example the raga Sahana.  It is a very melodious and beautiful raga.  It is very gentle on the ears, has a smooth, well-rounded flow without any sudden or jerky movements.  Just listening to the tune being played on an instrument evokes a certain sense of beauty tinged with a little sadness.  If one were to personify Sahana raga, it would be a very sweet, shy and beautiful damsel, one whose eyes shine forth with tenderness and innocence; one who is the embodiment of feminine grace, motherly affection and compassion.   

There are quite a few kritis  like Thyagaraja’s ‘Vandanamu Raghunandana’ set to Sahana.   This is a simple composition – Thyagaraja first pays salutation to Lord Rama and entreats Him to have mercy and to not mock his followers.  He pleads for being one with Rama, requests the Lord to come to him and promises never to fail or leave His altar.  The sahitya in the charanam is beautifully written and follows a rhythmic pattern – the verses end with the same note.   While the lyrics themselves are poetic, Sahana raga lends an ethereal beauty to the song.  It wonderfully captures the beauty of the song and Thyagaraja’s pleas for salvation are evocatively highlighted. His anguish and devotion are palpable - one can almost feel the sadness when Thyagaraja  entreats “Please stop playing games with me; with a glance, please save me.”    This marriage between the saahitya and the raga clearly brings a greatness to the song – making it unique and memorable.

K.Balachander's epic serial Rail Sneham

In the film world, K.Balachander’s epic TV serial Rail Sneham has a popular song set to this raga which is sung beautifully by Dr.K.J.Yesudas.  The song ‘Indha Veenai ka Theriyaadhu’ has some wonderful lyrics that highlights the poignancy of the characters’ situation – played by Nizhalgal Ravi as the Father and Baby Indra as his teenage daughter.  She is aptly named Sahana.  She does not know that she is a child born of wedlock.    She reads about the story of her father’s past through his diary and thus gets to know the truth about her dead mother and her own birth.  The song, penned by V.S Narasimhan, likens the baby who does not know its real father with the veena instrument whose maker also remains unknown.    While the song has a melancholic note to it, the lyrics manage to bring in a positive note – portraying images of a life filled with hope. Sahana raga, soft and mellifluous, enhances the sadness of the situation and makes the lyrics more meaningful.  

From the movie Veera Abhimanyu

Poet Kannadasan
Sahana raga is also used beautifully in the song “Paarthen Sirithen” from the black and white Tamil movie Veera Abhimanyu, released in the year 1965.  The love, the passion and the aching eagerness felt by the hero and heroine to be united together is breathtakingly captured by Kannadasan’s lyrics and needless to say Sahana raga brings alive the tenderness felt by the romantic couple.  The song itself has amazing lyrics, and the poet Kannadasan (a much-sought after lyricist and a poet par excellence) has penned lines with unique word-play, amazing puns and punctuated the verses with beautiful rhyming.  He uses the word ‘then’ in the song nearly 30 times to convey the love shared by Abhimanu and Uthara.  The song, set to Sahana raga by composer K.V.Mahadevan has been sung by P.B Srinivas and P.Susheela.  This amalgam of simple yet profound lyrics with the soul-stirring sweetness of Sahana raga makes the song a memorable composition, an ever-green melody, despite it being first rendered nearly half a century ago.

From the movie Avvai Shanmugi

Sahana is again used wonderfully in the song “Rukku Ruku Ruku” from the movie Avvai Shanmugi.  Here, the raga continues to be soft and melodious but at the same time is a little playful.  The lyrics, the situation, and the picturisation of the song also lend a fun element to the song to make it a breezy and catchy number. 

So the importance of the raga and the part played by it in enhancing the meaning of a song cannot be discounted.  If anything, the raga and the sahitya merge together to create a musical masterpiece – one that survives the passage of time and continues to shine like a beacon, giving pleasure in equal measure both to the singer and the listener. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ode of the Leech

---published in Nature in Focus in Oct 2017

A leech after it had its fill of blood

I am a common leech, quite thin and small, just about an inch tall, 
I lie under the leaves on the forest floor, trying to escape the heat, 
When suddenly, the skies open up and there is rainfall.
I come out of hibernation, ravenously hungry and ready to eat. 

Then along comes a na├»ve fellow, wanting to spot an elephant, 
Eager to see the pachyderm, he misses me waiting on the ground, 
I silently jump on to his shoe and crawl up his pants
I move stealthily, making not a single sound. 

I clamber up his socks, and take a deep dive in
He does not feel me; he does not sense the prick 
As I enjoy the warmth and the smell of blood on his skin, 
The chemical that I release stops the clotting and does the trick. 

I drink in his blood, swelling up and enjoying the trip, 
He feels the wet blood, and is shocked to finally see me 
He starts to pull at me but alas, I have a tenacious grip
All his forceful pulling and yanking will not set him free. 

Finally, I slide off his leg, bloated and red; 
I am sated and decide I have had enough of the pitch 
But this man – he needs to be taught a lesson, he is haughty in his head 
I have the last laugh, for now I have given him the 3-month itch!