The Night

This night,
Spreading like a cat on its claws,
Arches down the driveway,
Knocking air out of people;
Like smoke that freezes against glass windows,
For you to slide your fingers across it,
And give me a sign.
And I will stumble out with staggering steps,
Straight into you.
Take me somewhere,
Where I cannot hear it rattle,
Against my feet.
Where I cannot watch it dissolve into the humdrum of the day.
Brutal like a pack of wolves,
It chases me to the end of the road.
Gathering men around it.
Leeeing,
Groping,
Calling me names I know not why.
Because you say,
The night sold its secrets to the day.

Aparajita

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Life

‘Auntie?’ , implored Ashima cautiously.
Her aunt Pamela, who was making hot chocolate for her favourite niece managed to mutter a faint ‘hmm?’

‘I am 25 now.’

Pam smiled.

‘All grown up, eh?’

‘Remember the question I asked you years ago and you told me you’d tell me when I was 25?’

Pamela handed her a mug of deliciously heavenly chocolate as she sank into her bean bag beside the young woman.

‘Of course I remember Ashi! Well, how time does fly!’

Pamela didn’t know how to begin but she decided to start with a routine query,
‘Tell me Ashi, have you been in love?’

Ashi eyed her delightful aunt with hesitation before lowering her guard.

‘On and off, I think I might have felt something bordering on love.’

Pamela chuckled.

‘And I hope that you get lucky, my dear.I hope that one day you’d be in that place where you just want to spend your life with someone, married or not. That you’d want to watch your child grow through trying times.’

‘For me, I never had that happy chance.’

Ashima raised her brows in mock disbelief.
‘You are telling me that you never fell in love, auntie?’

‘Oh, no, I did. I did fall in love so many times. Or I believed I did. In retrospect, everything is a blur.
In retrospect, everything seems a lost opportunity. At least that is what some people keep reminding me.’

She smirked.

Ashima knew only too well that Pam was referring to her brother, Ashima’s father. He had only lately resigned to the fact that his 51 year old sister was not a bitter woman who kept to herself because she hadn’t married.

‘But you never felt the need to have someone close to you most of the time?’

‘Ashima, I had my books!
I had my students. I had young, eager minds waiting to be sculpted. I did not feel the lack of a family.
Sometimes I did feel lonely. But you see, you can feel lonely in a crowd. If it is meant to be, you can drown in your own loneliness as you sit with your arms wrapped around someone.’

‘And it surely gets painful at times, Auntie?’

Pamela placed her mug on the floor. Ashima couldn’t make out her aunt’s expression as she bent but when she looked up, her gaze seemed distant.

‘I’m sorry if -‘
She began but was cut short by an impatient wave of her aunt’s hand.

‘I do not know Ashi, why the world wants to believe that I am resentful because I chose my way of life. Isn’t that wishful thinking? Like I manage to break away and you’d make such a fuss about it, and say youre sorry about my life, making me question my own choice at times.
But that is just how the world works. You ought to be a wretched wreck if you decide to do anything that they dont sanction. It gives them the satisfaction of saying, ‘I told you so!’
But you see, I have had my books clutched tight, drawn close to my chest on some nights and I cherish that.
I have had my students look up to me and that is enough.
I have this family. You are enough.
I sing and dance and draw and make friends.
This too, is beautiful.
As beautiful as walking into the sunset holding hands.’

‘And if I ever wanted have the joy of watching a child grow into a wonderful, kind person, I have had you. Nahi?’

Ashima fought hard to hold back tears. She alighted the wickerwork chair and walked up to her aunt.

Bending down, she wrapped her hands around the woman, tears streaming down her cheeks and onto Pam’s shirt and said,
‘Yes, ofcourse, yes.’

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.
‘ENOUGH!
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.

Delusion

‘Have you ever nurtured a dream for so long that it begins to imply nothing but meaninglessness?’ She asked him, sliding her arm in his, as they sat overlooking the sunset over a distant horizon.
‘Elaborate, dear’, he replied nonchalantly.
A cool breeze brushed past the young couple. She tucked away curly locks behind her ear and smiled faintly.
‘Like holding on to memories until that remind of nothing. Like humming a familiar tune until you lose track of it. Like walking down a road you’ve trodden on so many times that all of a sudden you realize that you’re lost.’
He shook his head.
‘How can you be intrigued by things that don’t matter?’
She sighed. How deeply she wished he would see things and feel emotions the way she did.’ What matters then?’
He slipped his fingers into hers and said, ‘Ambitions, achievements, comfort, your love for me; these matter.’ She wondered if the order of the priorities in his life was reflected in the aforesaid sentence.
‘What about your love for me?’ She looked at her hand which he held firmly and tried to feel the touch but failed.
‘Don’t be silly. You know I love you.’ At this confirmation she lifted her head and looked at him. To her utter dismay, she now was looking at a complete stranger. Her words came mocking at her. . .

Like holding on to memories until that remind of nothing.
Like humming a familiar tune until you lose track of it.
Like walking down a road you’ve trodden on so many times that all of a sudden you realize that you’re lost.

Gently, she pulled herself from him and stood up.
‘Are you leaving already?’ he said.
She gazed at the crimson sky veiled in her heart’s disappointment.
‘It has been a long time coming. I must leave.’ She walked away, leaving him to his own thoughts.
The breeze blew past them yet again.
To him, comforting and mystical; to her, cold and ruthless.

My sky

Its my sky,
a bit of me and my life.
Clear and starry one moment,
dark and overcast the next.
Winged aspirations soar high,
fluttering free, undaunted.
A dose of poetry,
prose and verse amalgamated.
A whiff of you, a piece of me.
And that is how my sky is complete.
Yet endless, vast,
stretching beyond the horizon,
beautiful, serene and tranquil.
A plethora of windy storms on the surface,
frozen crystals underneath.
Too simple to be indulged into,
too complex to be believed.
My sky, a part and the whole of ‘me’.

Status quo

Image

Loss is an important part of our lives as any other aspect we value. It just teaches us so many lessons. Somewhere, along the way, all of us need to understand this. We just cannot keep holding on to people who have decided that time is ripe for them to leave. Suppose we have a material possession that we are very passionately attached to. What happens when realisation dawns upon us that it has been irretrievably lost? We resent the lost and regret our carelessness in not safeguarding it properly. But slowly, no matter how late, we do come to terms with it and life goes on.

People, on the other hand, fulfill our emotional requirements. They influence us in varying degrees and as becomes the dependability on some of them that we cannot imagine life without them. All of us are constantly waging battles against our own feelings coming to terms with people chosing to walk out. It hurts, obviously. Deep down inside, you get plagued with a sinking feeling that takes control and there is nothing else you can put your attention to. Physically, the body reacts with extremeties- anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, frequent mood swings and convulsions. It all arises in the head and you btake turns to blame others and most predominantly, yourself.

There is no rule book that can put down how failure in a romantic relationship feels. It either makes or breaks you. The heart that has been hurt thinks it may never love again. But sooner or later you get out of it if you endorse the correct attitude. The first step that we should take is the acceptance that even if we might have loved someone dearly, he/she cannot be forced to love us back. And when they choose to leave, the decision needs to be respected and there must not be any kind of bargaining to just keep that person back for the very sake of it. Loss, as I stated, is inevitable. It creates a void that no one can fill. But it does’nt mean that there is nothing left to look forward to. Love yourself for the time being and the tears shall dry up and be replaced with a wry smile. Once we reach that point when we can smile about all the good things it brought to us, we’ll be a step ahead in our efforts to rebuild our lives.

It ends?

Your reasons are beyond me.
Do I not interest you anymore,
now being within your reach?
Months of hide and seek,
an adventurous escapade.
And it ends?

I’m not the mysterious puzzle anymore.
Did it take you so long to realise?
That I can’t be flawlessly beautiful at all time.
That I might be messy and untidy and I ought to be excused.
That I can’t forever stay young.
You are just like them.
Like all of them.

Take away these memories.
Heaps of absolute rubbish.
Go away, sweet heart.
There’s but one regret,
down the years when you realise,
that you wronged a heart which loved you so,
you might want to come running,
begging me for another chance.
Oh frail me!
I may not be here,
my love.
I shall not be here.

Bare

Locked up within trecherous depths of apprehension,
a blatant assertion laid bare.
It shocks and surprises you,
it startles me.
Read between the lines and you will find out why.
And while you and me, go on distractedly,
holding on in speculation of ‘Perhaps,maybe,I wish, I hope. . . ‘
while the brutish truth stares in my eyes,
and I look away.
All the truth, like an open book.
And while choose to turn pages and be engrossed,
here’s a book wanting to be embedded in your intellectual spirit.

What you desire is mine.
And while we let go of the sadistic contempt made obvious,
hold my hand and lead me through.
I surrender my being to you.
Read between the lines.
Between the wrecks of a heart that has been bottled up
and thrown into a sea of crowded emotions.
Hoping to be picked up by you,
wishing to open up.
So desperately vying for an eternal kiss,
the ghost of an embrace that didn’t exist.
Between my thoughts and yours.
Let them entangle and become a perplexed storm,
painful to envision a lonely existence.
My feelings lie here, undressed, bare.
And in the glow that your eyes burn with,
they gleam and glisten.

Love today

Love, a word that has become so frequently used today so that it has lost its magical charm in the imagination of young lovers. I’m talking about romantic love. In an era where it is simple enough to fall in love with someone you’ve met over a social networking site, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the charm alive and kicking. ‘Break-ups’ are the norm of the day where attraction towards somebody is supposed to be identified as love. Had the romantics been alive today, they’d have torn their hair apart to realize what the word ‘romance’ now means. Times change. So do definitions. What really needs to be answered today is the question whether the newfound ecstasy would last long enough.