Children Say The Darndest Things


Children say the darndest things,

They’re a constant source of fun,

And though once in a way,

We hold our heads in dismay,

I’m sure we wouldn’t have it any other way!


Shall we start with Charumathi,

Who went to school when she was three,

Told to write 1 to 100 she stops at forty,

That’s enough to pass with says she.

For a child who hasn’t come to two twos are four,

Percentages is a lot of maths to know!


Let’s come to Kadambari who is four,

She knows how to talk that’s for sure,

But, sitting smugly in the bus,

She says, mum don’t make a fuss

But I’ve decided to pretend that speak I can’t,

So if anyone says, “Kadambari dear, say something,” I won’t!


Aparna when she became six,

Put the male world in a fix,

She couldn’t understand why we claim,

Only our father’s in our name.

Let Krithika and Arun a Viswanathan be,

But me, I’m Aparna Padmini!


There’s Krithika who has completed eight,

Believes in saying things before it’s too late.

Please ma, no more poetry says she,

I’ve a horrible feeling you’ll end up dotty!


Govind must be turning nine,

His English is good, his compositions fine.

Everyone knows he’s the mahatma, says he

So I’ve just shortened it down to M. Gandhi!


As they grow older, to their utter delight and joy,

Their mothers become thier favourite toy.

When they cleverly goad and rile her,

Mother ends up saying the darndest things,

And though once in a way they hold their heads in dismay,

I’m sure they wouldn’t have it any other way!




Buy yourself some dinner

Take yourself out for an ice cream

Go watch a movie alone with you

Be your company over a coffee.

Play you some happy tunes

Dance with you to no music

Soak you in fragrant bath salts

Be your own perfect love.

Someone else might never love you

But it’s imperative that you do.

That you atleast, love you.
I dreamt a dream. Of lush green interspersed with vivid blue.
I thought a thought, that this was meant to be, in time due.
I felt a feeling, of joy when one made way for another,
I saw a sight, of a long forgotten desire coming to the fore.
In a moment of solitude, I received a blessing, one I wouldn’t know.
A blessing, disguised as a shortcoming, really an open gateway to presumably much more.



As Usha and I walked on, along came he

A broad-shouldered man who fascinated me.

At first sight of him I held my breath

As he approached I watched in stealth,

As he came nearer I became bolder

And looked openly at his shoulder.

As alongside us he passed

I stared near-about his heart.

As he walked past, I too turned,

And my eyes upon his back must’ve burned.

For he turned and gave me a look amused

And then turned away looking confused.

For I unblinkingly continued to stare

As he watched me standing there!

Shrugging his shoulders he walked away

Giving to his hips an extra sway!

If he could read my mind he would’ve felt hurts

I was simply FASCINATED by the design of his shirt.

Padmini Viswanathan (from Mylapore Lodge)







How can we stay alone

We’ll be terrified with fright

Get us a father on loan

To look after us at night.


Bringing up two little girls is no joke, I know

But, father on loan? Where on earth will I go?

Aah, I know how to put an end to this caper,

I’ll simply advertise in the newspaper.


Wanted  – Temporary father for a day or two,

Any ole Homo-Sapien male won’t do.

He’ll have to live up to my daughters’ expectations,

Hence will have to fit certain specifications.


Medium height, medium build, black hair

Thirty-ish. Complexion? – medium fair.

Kind, loving, friendly, full of fun

Any type of fatherly duty he should not shun.


The children are scared to sleep alone at night

His main job is to alleviate their fright.

I guarantee that he’ll be well fed

But beware, Don’t nurture hopes of sharing my bed!

Sd. Desperate Mother

(Whose husband is away on tour for three days and whose little three-                            year old daughter asks, “who is going to be our father for those three                              days?”)




The Men we Trusted

With our Most Precious

Life -Gods -Blur

God-men who were

Seemingly so Sure

Powerful beyond measure

When they All failed

Never to be nailed


Women silent -Praying

Nurturing ,Caring,Bearing

was always -Us Three

She You and Me

Yes No and Maybe

‘I Want my own little Baby’


Deafening silence aft life’s song

Hummed by you for so long

Priceless Moments Of Pure Grace

Now as my Thoughts Race

Mind unravels this Word play .

Worldly matters -night and day

Rough edges lacking the gloss

Grappling with – the is from the was?


In defense , can I mention

Reality from Perception

Tense -Stressed ,Stretched

Seem On the verge .

Tense -Past and Future

With the present Merge


Tell me How To Be -Or Not

Now I Have-Now I Have Naught

Depression and Grief is a Blot.

Acceptance lost the plot

The “Yes We Can “- Our Plan

This was not how it ran .

It was not Meant to Be

Sadly we now See – Reality





In front of the mirror I stand and stare,

At the pouches under my eyes, the grey in my hair,

I can even spot a wrinkle or two,

Tension lines there are a few.


I feel listless and tired with no energy,

This state of mine rather surprises me,

I’ve always thought it a matter of pride,

That I could take a lot of work in my stride.


Is it because up and down the stairs I go,

Or that I’ve recently started cycling too?

I’ve taken on the kitchen work also,

Is it all too much for me to do?


Oh no, said Usha, with experience more,

You’re just growing old, that’s for sure,

For that’s exactly how I felt, you see,

When a few years earlier I turned thirty!


That I count my grey hairs I do agree,

Could well be because I’ve turned thirty,

But, that I tend to get into a rage,

Surely has nothing to do with my age?


I’ve never been placid or soft spoken I know,

But temperamental and moody I’m not for sure,

Somehow I seem to have lost my poise,

I’m constantly shouting at the top of my voice,


My gait has changed,

I stand erect no more,

My walk has changed,

I don’t briskly go,

My attitudes have changed,

I used to stand up and fight,

Instead of which,

I just let things ride.

I used to laugh a lot,

I’m rather stern faced instead,

If given the choice,

I promptly opt to go to bed.

It’s very sad to admit,

I need an afternoon nap,

And perhaps the worst of all,

I’ve begun to burp.

Oh woe betide,

Wherever is that younger me who took everything in her stride?


One thing about Usha I feel forced to admit,

Her judgement’s always right, there is no doubt about it,

I was just ‘turning thirty’ as I can see,

Now that I’ve reached a complacent thirty-three!


PADMINI VISWANATHAN (who is now 67 years old and feels fit and fine!)





The long summer days are far away,

in a land that feels obsolete.

To set pace for the cold night,

with suspended mist and that slowing down of time.

The all too familiar touch of the chilling wind,

the snow bringing beauty and gloom in the air.

Made better with a friend, the lack of a plan and

the resting flames from the fire that had once caused despair.

Why do you run my friend?

To graze the horizon ahead,

maybe to leave the pain behind?

Look, the cold is upon us, that horizon is foggy,

Look, the pain is far out of sight.

Why do u run my friend, try instead to pause,

pause for that momentary breath

We are safe now, our roads devoid of fear

The children are out playing cricket in the snow

In the snow without any gear

The streets are brimming with banter

This time of a happier kind

We are still the same people

The same people from the same homeland

Come let’s share a cup of tea, and talk about the weather

Let’s maybe take a walk outside, or indulge in harmless banter

Of times when we loved each other, of when the doors said welcome

For then it was just us, us and no one else,

And our home that bound us together, as if by a spell.

Why do you run my friend?

To graze the horizon ahead,

maybe to leave the pain behind?

The same cold is upon us, that same horizon foggy,

The same pain is what I feel, it’s cut from one tapestry

Why do u run my friend, try instead to pause,

Pause for that momentary breath

My doors still say welcome,

My heart’s warmth will eventually spread.

For with a surrounding so hauntingly beautiful as theirs,

They’re already richer than the rest of us.



                                   WORDY WONDER

                              By PADMINI VISWANATHAN

                                     (from Mylapore Lodge)

Once long ago I would stop and stare

With my breath held abate

And wonder how those students dare

To stand on the stage and debate.


Some gave speeches extempore

Others did act or recite

If onto a dias I was made to go

I’d be rendered speechless with fright.


It was my biggest sorrow when I was young

That literary talents I had none.

Little did I know that the Almighty

Was just waiting for me to turn thirty.


Words, words and words some more

Phrases I’ve never thought of before

Now to my utter delight, I find

Thousands of these pouring out of my mind.


Of being a housewife, I’ll never complain

I’ll never use ‘monotonous’ or ‘mundane’,

For in everything I do or see

I find beautiful poetry.


My children hide behind a smile

When at breakfast, lunch or tea-time

I leave my meal awhile

To pen a new phrase or rhyme.


If a similar thing they were to do

Every grown-up, whether it be me or you

Would definitely point out, they figure

That such behavior was bad manners, for sure.


But such bad manners coming from me

Has to tolerated as they can see’

For I am not just anybody

I happen to be their mummy.


From where do I get inspiration you may ask.

After all, writing poetry is no simple task.

I write of my children three, of course

Of constant inspiration, my husband is a source.


Uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and in-laws too

Servants, milkmen, sweepers there are quite a few.

Interesting, irritating, aggravating, annoying they may be,

Alluvasudden , in me, they inspire poetry.


My house, the garden, the picture on the wall,

The vendor on the street or the vegetable stall

Coming down to brass-tacks I think

At present I can even get inspired by the kitchen sink!


An old college friend came home one day

Of my present poetic phase I told her, when she

Placed a hand on her heart in dismay

And said, “A verbal diarrhoea is the name for your malady!

A Small Afterthought

If a murderer an axe were to take

And my head into two to break

He’d end up looking a terrible clown

For in the out-pour of words he’d drown.


                                              FOUR SCORE AND MORE

                                           By PADMINI VISWANATHAN

I really don’t know how it is with you,

But my mind seems to have taken the cue

From the older people around me,

And I’m thrilled that I’m turning forty!


If you look around at the forty-plus kind,

To your utter surprise and delight you’ll find

That their age doesn’t bother them a jot,

They’re a healthy, happy, fun-loving lot.


She’s been through her highs, she’s been through her lows,

Who her True Friends are, she knows,

He children’s needs are on the decrease,

Now she has only herself to please.


Occasionally with her husband she can dispense,

He’s neither “Oh-so-possessive” nor too intense,

He feels she’s growing old after all,

She can’t always be at his beck and call!


This leaves her relatively free

to go with her friends on a shopping spree,

To do all the things she always wanted to do,

Like learning music and perhaps Sanskrit too!


The hectic life of the twenties are far behind,

The travails of the thirties a thing of the past.

Her tensions are all of a totally different kind

Like “should I eat a sweet when I’m on a fast?!”


Don’t let this fool you into thinking that she is the frivolous sort,

With one quelling look she can tie you in knots,

But when she decides to turn on her charming smile,

You’ll want to stand and bask in it for a while.


Staunchly behind her husband she’ll stand

And help out, if only by holding his hand,

When he has more work than he can do,

She can handle his office without much ado!


                                            After the Deluge

                                       By LAKSHMI MOHAN


A day or two after the Deluge,

Call it what you will,

The worst in 100 years.

We’re landing, hovering over Trivandrum.

The serene roof of coconut trees is intact,

A church top poking through,

A temple wall there, in the muffling green.


The runway safe, precious,

Overworked, not under.

A small airport, a small city

No flying ambition.

All looks the same, as the old song goes.


And yet,

The sun plays wary.

The sky a spent grey

The air innocent of trespass.

The sea is close, close enough to touch.

Those waves display a competent ferocity.


But beyond, there’s a swollen peace

Where fishing boats bob,

Like the paper boats of childhood

Set afloat

On every turbulent rainy roadside rivulet


Fragile and daring,

Rugged, plying familiar seas once more.

Boats like that were arks on a mission

Saving lives,

Fishermen as rescuers,

With their valiant defence brethren


On the busy thoroughfares of before.


The devastation is epic.

The earth shuddered,

Soaking, slipping, sliding.

Dams opened sluices wide,

All that masonry could hold no longer

The primeval force of plain water.


Mountainsides tumbled.

Cities and towns submerged

Rs. 30,000 crores in damageand rising.

Can money pay the cost?

Of lives terminated, torn?

Of homes washed away,

Or wallowing, awash?

Of livelihoods to be made again?


Limping along, the cliché goes

As always, to the point, and never enough.

The capital city is standing up,

Ringed by floods,

Spared by monsoonal sleight this time,

Relieved, and guilty,

As if caught stealing from its neighbour.


These roads are fine,

Only 10,000 other kilometres

Scourged by wrath.

Trivandrum much the same.

“A small heaven in waters’ midst,”

Says an old auto driver on immaculate city stretches,

Tight-chested, water-rimmed words. Grateful.


As God’s Own Country reboots, rebuilds,

Can we make sure

We play by Nature’s rule book?

The heavens don’t have to crash-land, you know,

Every time it rains.


Can’t there be a Covenant?

With Earth, Water, Air, Mountain, and Tree?

You thrive,

We live, and live in peace,

In your Grace.






































One thought on “poems

  1. Loved and enjoyed the gentle humor and style of your poems Padmini! Will send you some to upload, soon – during the weekend! Been too busy right now…


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