Kevin Spacey blurts out smirkily in the film American Beauty, “Nope. I’m just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose.”

That line stirred me. It was 1999. It stayed with me, and I drifted way beyond the context of the film and Kevin Spacey. Most of us consider ourselves ordinary, but we do have something to lose. We may come from modest backgrounds, lead simple lives, but all that we do is of worth. It impacts the people we connect with, beginning with our family, extending to our neighborhood, and stretching right up to that person we bump into on a holiday or a bus ride. I have had the privilege of crossing paths with some precious people who live each day in that awareness. They believe that we are summoned onto planet Earth for a unique purpose—a purpose crafted out just for them, one only they can fulfill. They hear the Call; they walk on quicksand, and their lives become extraordinary. Quicksand is about the simple things, the real things. It is about the men and women who do things. They distill the noise, hear the melody, learn the lessons, and pay the price. I salute them. Let me tell you the story of my gemstones. I encourage you to find your own gems, to write your own story as you dip into Quicksand.

Books Here are a few excerpts from my book, which will introduce you to my gemstones – the unsung heroes of Quicksand. Each of my heroes has been assigned the name of a gemstone, and you will find their full story in my book.I have also included a few poems and illustrations from Quicksand, just to give you a flavor of the content. Some of the illustrations are a gift from Aditya Jhunjhunwala. Hope you will like it all!

Tiger Eye

Have you met a tiger in the eye?
Have you felt his breath so close?
Did you whisper a speechless nothing?
Did you promise yourself something?
Were you just so shaken by his fierce wild?
Or were you broken by his grace . . .

Here is the story of a man whose
fierce and passionate relationship
with God, led him to do things
that are truly extraordinary.
He is my tiger eye.

Barack’s first day at School

Barack went to school; it was his first day.
His head was full of fear, but he dared not say.
Mordechai left him at the school gates;
he saw classrooms and teachers and lots of mates.

He felt homesick; he missed the streets,
he wanted something familiar.
He wished there’d be someone to greet,
a friend perhaps to chatter.

And although those streets had been mean to him,
a school such as this he had hardly seen.
He had worked on the streets since he was four;
he had begged for food and done much more.

But a book full of pictures he had never owned;
a box full of biscuits, a cake, and cone.
And although nice things happened in school,
the first days were like a large whirlpool.

But every now and then they came,
those bitter memories and the pain.
Now he had learned how to cope;
he folded his hands and to God he spoke.

And time passed by; now he is a teen.
He wears nice red shirts and dark blue jeans.
He studies real hard and gets good grades;
he helps at home and everyone he aids.

He is getting stronger,
I mean within.
He strives to move on;
he holds high his chin.

One day he plans to visit those streets
where life was bitter and full of deceit.
He wants to find other sad Baracks;
take them to school and give them a snack.

He never forgets to thank the Creator
Who saved him and gave him his laughter.
Had it not been for Mordechai,
Barack would have surely died.

So keep your eyes open; see what you cannot!
There is so much to do; all you need is a thought.
Spare some time each day and just look around,
God is waiting for you, just listen to the sound.


Dear Moon, so many have written about you,
about your serene beauty in the night sky.
They’ve romanced you and courted you,
but did they see the reflection of your Creator?

You reflect a mystery that is deep,
filled with peace and power all in one.
Of things eternal that cannot be seen,
of worthy things that yet have to be done . . .

This is Esther’s story.
She is my dear friend.
Her uncompromising faithfulness
to her Call continues to inspire me each day.
She is my moonstone.


Angelia was once a little girl, just like you and me;
she loved to dance and twirl, and play with beetle bees.

She grew up before her time had come; her heart was still so tender.
From the big, bad world she tried to run, but the evil witch got hold of her.

The witch promised her a cruise and cast a spell on Angelia.
She bought her dresses and shoes and taught her to cha-cha.

She took her to a big, dark city, and there sold her to a beast.
He hurt her and showed no mercy; he made her work, so he could feast.

She is standing in the cold; it is freezing outside.
The snowflakes are falling; the night’s a long ride.

She shuffles and wails, Angelia is lamenting.
But to no avail, her client is waiting.

She disappears into the snowstorm; she dies inside some more.
Pain awaits her in the morn; he’ll handle her like a boar.

She seeks to run out of town; who can she trust?
They have all let her down and trampled her to dust.

She is one of those sand grains; please lift one up,
hold it under a lens and see the close-up!

Every grain is a jewel in the waiting; go bring out her real beauty.
Adorn her with love and caring; she is soul more than body.

You and me, we can save Angelia; she needs protection and esteem.
Let’s take this sand grain to the Delta; she’ll shimmer like a galaxy in stream.

There are many sand grains out there, trodden on and treated with contempt.
Don’t wait too long, just simply care; it’s worth more than all you’ve dreamt.

Blue Topaz

Blue is the sky; it’s the Creator’s abode.
Blue is the sea, where dolphins whistle and float.
Blue is the planet we call our home.
Blue is all the space and the in-between tones.

Blue is peace; blue is serene.
But there is passion and ice, a sparkling sheen.
She walks on the planet and does her thing,
shields herself with blue, but there is fire within.

Fire to build the broken, fire to sing His song,
fire of the heavenly Father that keeps her strong.
Blue flames are hot, and yet solid as ice,
a touch that heals and burns you inside.

She speaks to your heart; you hear the Creator.
A dovish rhythm, a gurgling river.
Love and mirth, the joy of rebirth,
the smell of fresh rain, upon dry earth.

He whistles that haunting tune
you have heard in the womb.
It’s the melody of love and priceless sacrifice.
So precious we are; He paid a dear price.

Listen . . . it’s crystal clear blue, tranquil, and true,
sung just for you.

Martha has been the reflection of green pastures and quiet waters on days when I have found my feet stuck in quicksands of my own making. She points her finger to the azure blue sky when my head is hung low. She reminds me that I am the daughter of a heavenly Father! She is my blue topaz.

Jacob from the book of Genesis

The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Genesis 32: 27-28

Star Sapphire

God numbered all the stars; He gave them all their names.
Not one goes missing; He has set them in their place.

And some He has set, on the earth below,
they shine in dark alleys, they expose the foe.

Many such beacons on the planet there are;
one such I met, a sapphire star.

His focus, zeal, and hunger for truth.
His home, his folk, his neighborhood.

He shepherds and leads them like his very own.
Family is not by blood alone.

He has taken the message to many he does not know.
His sapphire awaits him, and much more is in store.

In Josiah, I have found a brother who keeps it all so simple.
He has inspired me through his writings and the manner in which he conducts his day-to-day life. Jesus has called us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Josiah is a fine example of a person who truly endeavors to do so. There is nothing as challenging and humbling as to love your neighbor as yourself. Whatever else we may choose to do with our lives, we are all called to this common purpose.

His love for Christ is absolutely infectious!
He is my star sapphire.


Where do I begin with the story of Pearl?
She was a beautiful maiden, her head full of curls.
Lovely and shy, a child full of woes,
cows to milk and a lot of house chores.

The lantern burned bright in the cowshed one night,
Pearl was studying there, with the cows by her side.
She fell asleep on the hay, she was exhausted to the core;
a price she had to pay for being a maiden among boars.

The brothers got the best of the broth;
Pearl had to scrape the bottom of the pot!
Such were her beginnings, but out of the ashes she rose;
her Creator she sought, she withstood all her foes.

But her heart never changed, she didn’t hold a grudge,
she was loyal and giving, she didn’t judge.
Another Pearl there can never be,
this is her story, her life inspired me!

Many broken hearts she touched
with her kindness and mercy.
A pearl she was, reflecting inner beauty.
And a tough Pearl at that, full of grit and spunky.

Pearl was my mother. She has gone home to be with the Lord.
I miss her. She is indeed my pearl!