Time asserts itself in numerous ways,
like memories that begin fading,
and moments of madness that we start regretting.
We’re growing old,
soon we’d wonder if the anti ageing cream,
ought to be added,
to a budget that already hinges on prescriptions,
and then colour our hair,
splurge on botox,
plan retirement,
try to make a difference,
to the lesser world that we’re in.

Faces smile at us,
waiting for approval,
and we just scratch our heads.
‘I know her.
She’s someone I know!
What’s your name, again?’

And very soon,
the futility of mapping time,
shows us the truth of life.
Older connections are lost,
and happiness means,
finishing off the day sans the pain in the joints,
and having once in a very long while,
something the doctor prohibited.

And we see young people,
change faster than we did,
we want to ask them,
the paycheck that got you the tablet,
did that make you feel in love with it?
The one night stands that give you a high,
do they ever rest on loyalty?
And it ends with a sigh.
For the world never minds the mindless rumble.
We lived in different times, they say!


Incomplete #5

He waited with a bated breath for her to betray a glimpse of that unflinching storehouse of utmost affection that she had once showered on him. His condition, he felt, was like a moth ready to char itself to death in the devastating flame of the candle. He loved the heartburn more than ever. Inside him, his heart was creating a deafening ruckus. To his surprise, he realised that the lively Ananya had lost the spark she carried effortlessly as a young undergraduate in Delhi University. Prominent dark circles showed beneath bewitchingly demure eyes which had perhaps, in the last couple of years known a lot more pain than a tender soul as hers could carry. She looked so fragile and helpless. Ishaan felt dizzy, as if an ocean of emotions wrecked havoc within him. It ran in his veins with terrifying ferocity. He felt a sudden desrire to take her in his arms and let the expressive eyes tell him her story.

Ananya’s thoughts, on the other hand, were going through a turbulent storm in which incessant memories hurled themselves against her calm demeanor. They threw in front of her whatever had, at one time, passed between her and Ishaan. They had once again ignited the desire to be loved. She regretted having stopped.
But as destiny would have it, distrust and agony reigned supreme in the end, thus taming the wild turbulence her mind was racing through.
‘You must restrain yourself from trying to make amends now, Ishaan. You know that once anyone loses my trust, I’d rather not have anything to do with that person if I can help it. I’m surprised, though, that you even dared to shamelessly ask for an apology for an act that has, lets say, deleted you from my mind.’
Ishaan looked on listlessly.
‘Is it not enough, Anu, that I’ve come home to you? Now I know that it’s not Riddhi but you that I want to be with in the end. Does it matter so much that this realisation comes a bit later?’ He looked at her squarely.
Ananya shook her head in desperation, concealing the disappointment that he wasn’t able to see how much his actions had hurt him. How he had said things that would stay with her throughout life, pinching her conscience. She stood up, pushing the chair behind her with such a noise that Mrs. Rosy, the assistant librarian, looked up, eyeing her sternly. ‘Silence please!’
Embarrassed, Ananya apologised and turned to Ishaan, leaning forward and said, ‘Considering how tactless you can be at times, Ishaan Sharma, let me get my point straight. I’m just sick of your trial and error method of finding out which lucky girl takes you home. Do you think I even give a damn about who you’ve zeroed in upon? You should’ve known better than sleeping with her.’
Ishaan was too shocked to react against her tirade. Ananya softened a bit. She was struggling hard to gulp down a lump that was weighing down on her and tried to keep herself from clying. She must be strong.
‘This is my life, for God’s sake! It isn’t a fucking TV show! You are never to contact me again. I’m going back home next week…
-she paused-
…and that ends it.’
She stormed towards the checking out counter. Ishaan rallied behind, trying to talk to her.
‘Anu, please listen to me once naa.’
He overtook her and fixed himself between her and the exit. ‘Lets talk things out. Give me a chance to explain.’
Anu lost her temper and glanced around. Quite a number of heads had turned towards the two. She almost found herself shouting.
Get out of my way.’
Mr. Shantanu Ghosh, the History Professor noticed the commotion and stepped in, throwing an inquisitive glance at Ishaan. ‘Is there a problem here?’ Ananya shook her head and answered in a composed tone.
‘None Sir.’
‘Still, would you two consider taking your personal issues outside the library?’ Ishaan walked out and stood in the corridor, leaning against a wall.
Ananya walked past him and stopped short. She turned to face him.
‘I hope I never see you again.’
Ishaan pursed his lips and nodded.
‘As you wish, Ananya.’
Back, in the market, Ananya didn’t let even a hint of her emotions show on her face. She gave a cursory glance with no approval of recognition, turned, and walked away.

‘Will the pendant be ready by the 3rd?’
Mr. Sen, the jeweller nodded in affirmative and handed her the acknowledgement receipt. Assured, Ananya left the shop and came out of the complex.
Although it was early April, the day was nevertheless getting much too warm for her comfort. She realised that Manoj the driver would be waiting at the far end of the city centre and moved ahead in that direction.


She wasn’t sure what stopped first- her steps or the heartbeats.

‘Ishaan, you have such a voice that I can always recognise.’ She had said, running her fingers across his black curls.
‘Really?’, he had quizzed playfully.
‘And if I disguise it, Anu? I can really fool you over the phone.’
Her mellow laughter followed.
‘No you can’t! Your voice is seductive and with a tinge of smirk that cannot be hidden. I will always know it is you.’

But it wasn’t 2010 and neither was it Delhi. That it was Ishaan’s voice was beyond doubt and she turned. There he was, looking at her affectionately, waiting for her to respond.

Incomplete #4

In the confusion, she didn’t notice that a young man had stopped short some feet away. He was, if it can be explained thus, trying to believe that it was actually Ananya in front of him. He strained his eyes to take a better look at Ananya who was just too absorbed in recollecting her stuff. When she started walking again, he stood there, perplexed. He recalled the last encounter the two had had four years ago and specially the very last sentence she had uttered.
‘I hope I never see you again, Ishaan.’

He felt his face flush and an urgent desire to turn away and leave overpowered his senses. Yet, all of this didn’t even extend beyond the fraction of a second. Once again, she was walking away, without even knowing that he watched her. She disappeared into the store and he was still there. He moved towards the exit with leaden steps. All he cared right then was getting away. All this while, he imagined a thousand scenarios that might have taken place if he had dared to intercept Ananya.
What if she rushed and embraced him? Or walked away as if he was a stranger? What if he wasn’t able to control his feelings and perhaps planted a passionate kiss on her endearing lips?

Incomplete #3

She made her way across the market to the pavement. She heaved a sigh of relief once inside the air conditioned complex and started walking in energetic strides towards the other end where the store was located. She was oblivious to the people walking past. It was almost as if she was walking in a narrow corridor the other end of which only stopped at the store itself.
Her friends had often remarked that she walked upright, almost commanding an authority. They even joked that she’d not look at people even on an inkling of having known them. In her march, she abruptly bumped into a man midway and the contents of the other bag fell on the tiled floor.
Soon the fruits trickled out and spread across. She threw a quizzical glance at the man who bent down to undo the act. Soon enough, the contents were back in place and she started again.

Incomplete #2

Ananya had, of late, developed a fear of crowded public places. Any commotion made her extremely nervous and insecure. Yet today, as if she had to face the devil right in the face, she was haggling with the sabjiwala over the price of red juicy tomamtoes and overtly conscious of the shrill voices around her, she felt weak in the knees. It was almost as if her sanity had broken down to many dimensions, each dealing with a different dilemma -scorching heat, people brushing past, a man staring at her and the horrible fright of having her purse snatched. Having bought all that she needed for the week, she waved frantically to Manoj, her driver. Noticing her, he hurriedly disposed of the cigarette butt and rushed to help her with the bags.
‘This one. Keep it properly in the back seat, okay? It’s quite heavy.’
‘I can carry the other one, too, Madamji.’
‘Na na. Just take that one. I’m coming. I have to be at the jeweller’s. So do something, Bhaiya, park the car in front of the United Clinic.’

Incomplete #1