Breaking Free at Dusk 

​From behind the curtains, Ravi saw his fate being decided. It was declared that it was his responsibility to carry forward the burden of his ancestral doings. Born into the family of zamindars, he was an exception to their rule. He was born out of marriage, but since it was a boy child that they desired, so be it. Truth was meddled with and while upholding the so called social morality, he was put into the family tree without any fuss. 

His father was a noble man but with flaws. And sometimes it is only the flaws that count. In his youth, he was carefree. Fearless in love, high on adventure and religious in his works. Like cloth, it slowly tattered. The moon at its prime, had surrendered to the laws of universe. It faded and since the shine was never his, he had to let it go. Lustreless, his life became distasteful. And helplessly he stood to see his son get his share of bitter fate. 

Ravi had something else in his mind. The incidents leading to the death of his mother was still fresh in his memory. Even twenty year later it seemed yesterday. He decided to run away. He could start afresh. He couldn’t leave his father, but he wouldn’t agree to accompany him either. 

Ravi’s eldest uncle was the head of the family. A staunch man with very less morals, he was a victim to the workings of the society. A victim who wanted to perpetuate the pain of his wounds on others. He was not right, but the way it had come to be, he wasn’t wrong either. 

Ravi had realised this. He didn’t like him but he couldn’t hate him, for his flaws had a baggage from the past and it was too heavy to be shared. He knew he could somehow be the change. But how was the question. 

While his uncle succumbed to ill health and his father too weak to carry on, he decided to take reign of the empire. He gave away his lands for school, small village medical units. He funded irrigation and kept enough for himself so that he could continue with his vision. Others termed him a fool and for the poor he became their Messiah. His other uncles were increasingly seeing their wealth drain, but couldn’t help it because it was no longer theirs to keep. 

His father on his deathbed, called for him. Ravi was in the farms at that time. He rushed back home. His father smiled. Smiled at the 3 yr old boy he had brought home. Smiled at the man who had the courage to do what he couldn’t. He had lost it to his fate, Ravi accepted it and did the best out of it. And while he smiled he said, “The winds were a little different that morning, but the sun did not sway. The winds were dusty that morning, but compromised the vision refused to fail. I still stand where I was, you did make me stronger. The winds are here to take me home,  thank you for holding tight. I know it was easy to abandon, you chose the difficult way. I know it was never our choice, you made color out of the grey.”

Looking Back from Now

​My dreams used to awake in lands too far,
Where days were greener and a world too small. 
Where thoughts desired words and smiles  reflected happiness,
Where the songs of past got better with a coarse voice and the strength still didn’t fade. 

Then, when things didn’t seem that way any longer,
The deserted smile, the agony and the unknown to the inside either. 
Like ice cubes, life melts and slides,
In depths of it is merges,
Lost and oblivious to what it was,
A life to another ceases. 

The Conversation

​The conversation,
There are words and sentences,
Gaps and spaces,
You stop,
You hear them say,
You agree to disagree,
You disagree to agree. 

Sounds and laughter,
Out of words sometimes,
The unsaid and silences,
And again some words later,
Silencing the unsaid. 

The clock hands take a round,
Stars change position,
You stand,
They are where they stood. 
The syllables are still music,
You never thought,
But still things were said. 

In bits and pieces,
In memory it stays,
A night to remember,
A conversation,
The words and its ways. 

The Last Call

​Oh beloved, how shall I stay without you gaze,
Oh beloved, how I used to look upon you with all my grace. 
Oh beloved, have you gone clean of your ways,
Leaving behind the paths that brought us closer.

For sometime now, the fervor has bleakend,
I feel it inside, you don’t seem the same anymore. 
How your laughter broke our tiredness,
Oh beloved, you still smile but your eyes don’t. 

Time is a mischievous player,
It changes things we thought would never change,
Oh beloved, I still sit near your books,
Their pages have yellowed, their story didn’t.

Dying Soul & the Vacant Heart

​The love I had has been lost in me lately,
I don’t feel the breeze on my skin,
My eyes don’t sparkle at their smiles,
Nothing seems to have changed,
Still I feel something in me has died. 

I savage the little things left,
Basking in the afternoon winter sun,
Kissing my cup of coffee a hello,
Romancing with the idea of love,
Pretending to do it all and still be real. 

The murmurs scramble my ideas,
The more I listen, the more I fumble,
There is no vacancy in my heart,
But there is a longing that aches,
No scars, no marks, still a bit of me it takes. 

On dew laden grass my mornings awake,
Everything was a dream, but I never slept. 
The hours just passed by gazing stars,
They told their stories in a land too far.
No corners tossed, not sleep deprived,
The clock did change days, my hadn’t arrived. 

I still hope that I find that love,
What I haven’t found in this world so large,
I pity those people who think they got their share,
The miseries of the ignorant don’t seem to fade. 

Till the time I can’t be selflessly selfish again,
Till the time I can’t let go of my ego,
Till the time I can see the world burn and still hope for warmth,
How can love be a possible good start?

The souls dread the great romantic fallacy,
In falling in love with the idea of love,
For it was never meant to be so desirable. 
It is thorny and stings your heart,
The pain they say is sweet,
What I know for sure is that words need not be always too sour.

 

The Diverging Roads…

​There is a lot of thought that goes into deciding as to where does one want to keep his next step. Every step brings with it, its own baggage of good and bad but you can’t forever stand still. Life is moving faster than you think it does and the challenges are growing more fierce. The warship of survival ever at our doorsteps calls us out and we must fight back, with all that we have got, even if it is all that we are left with. 

How do we make choices? Gut feelings and practicality are often seen conflicting, though one might see it as the extension of the other in a more stronger sense. So of whom do we heed? The brain, the mind, the ‘others’. In reality, practical decisions are far from perfect and our gut feeling needs far too much courage than we find ourselves having. So where to go? Whom to listen? We keep finding the best answers, but what if there aren’t any! What if, all that we have is to work through the course of time and let the future decide for itself and then maybe we can think of what to do next, contemplating the present with the lessons of the past. For no two lives have been parallel and there is no mantra of living a happy and content life.

Everyone has a roadmap for his life. He fixes the intermediate destinations, the milestones that he wants to reach. The road sometimes needs repairs, sometimes we need to go back to refuel and recharge, for we don’t know where will we find them next, the bridges may be broken and   we may need to change our path. It may take a little while longer, or sometimes flyovers and expressways may get you sooner, but if you have the will to travel, the milestone is never too far way. But if you keep standing on the edge of the river, waiting for someone to built the bridge for you, then all your dreams were vacant, because they didn’t give you enough energy to direct your ambitions. 

It is neither easy to choose a path, nor is it easy to continue. But if you choose your dream nothing will ever haunt you. The easy may seem tempting, but the burden is for you to carry. The easiest job in the world is to suggest people how to lead a life, because we know what is ideal and we strive continuously for that perfection. But perfection is unrealistic and hence being content with life is boring. There is absolutely no harm in living a life that has no elements of completeness because honestly there never will be. Only the sense of being complete is important. The feeling of evolving with every milestone, the nostalgia of the struggle so far and the discontent of not have done enough yet is what makes one complete. Satisfaction is the veil of the coward, for no man has ever succumbed to its self declared glory. 

Every decision writes your history. How motivated were your decisions, how stable were you emotionally when you took them, whether or not you truly believe in what you have chosen for yourself are important questions. However, what truly brings home your dream to you is your perseverance. Being persistent in your struggle, courageous in your actions, humble in your achievements, the ability to make mistakes and the strength to accept them. Life is a continuum of choices, and there are many ifs that may have been but once we have move past one decision point, it is wiser to grace the present rather than to live in a parallel world that is non-existent and non-existent is that it will ever it.

Colorless Faith

​The vessels were empty;

And the windows broke;

The stomach longed for food;

The tongue had forgotten its taste.

Thirsty, desperate and disturbed

The mind didn’t agree to rest. 

In the corners and crevices of the city,

The eyes searched death with hope.

His faith had a color once;

With dire times he painted it with all,

Green, Saffron and White;

Helpless his faith become colorless. 

When will we paint the world white?

​Feminism, sexism, racism, castism, ageism. The gala words and the world goes gaga. The 100 other ‘-isms’  and the more recently my self proclaimed addition to this list – wordism. Though the word absolitely doesn’t make any sense, I would like to define it is as the practice of sprinkling seemingly sensitive words to make a point on serious issues for the sake of being crowned the SMART ONE. 

There is a  sort of obsession with these words today. Stories, reports and our day to day experiences do color our maps dark, but painting such serious issues with exciting tones is a mockery of the struggle that we as a mankind are going through. But are we all really together in this struggle? If we had been a wee bit more sincere, we wouldn’t have scavenged on petty things to prove that the challenge is for real. 

When I read media articles on sexism, when my facebook wall is filled with the stance of left and right wing leaders, I am saddened. Not because I prefer to agree or disagree , but because I feel that the world has failed to decide, to honor the commitment it is not only meant to but also obliged to. People have atleast started talking about these things and such issues have increasingly become hot topics of conversation is no argument for being content with the progress. Because what then? What happens when the coffee goes cold? What happens after all said and done we still judge a person for his/her skin color,  roots, or sex? Our conversation, perhaps  only reflectred an opinion of the well read class and not of the class which meant well. 

Petty issues are seen in perspective of caste and religion, when the background to it entitles a different story altogether. That being said, don’t misinterpret my statement to sweep the realities under the carpet. Because the tales are sadder and their ends haven’t seen justice.  

I am not here to preach about how to free ourselves from the shackles of such a long history of being unjust and facing injustice. That has a rather simple answer , and to the dismay of my readers I will like to keep that question open for introspection because we don’t need the answer but the courage to accept that it is indeed the true one. We need the courage to change our attitude. It is going to be tough, the war of two thoughts has never been easy, but no where was it said that we can’t claim victory. We live in a country with a history of diversity, value system, complex social and patriarchal hierarchy, and things will need time to run it’s course. It may question our values, it will try to break the system that now seems obvious to us. The war does bring casualties and though the wounds may heal, the scar will remain. 

So what are we then talking about? We are talking about the need of maturity to deal with it. To be able to inculcate a long forgotten lesson of think before you speak. In this age of social media, the gravity of words have fallen. Nothing is important, everything just passes. Words once mightier, find it difficult to get expression among the so called sensible. Everything is divided in two, the middle path is lost into the arguments of the extreme. Hypocritical comments are condemned, but I myself find hypocrisy to be more of a natural instinct than a flaw. Because more often than not we are not in the position to decide and what we choose doesn’t reflect our minds but rather it manifest our helplessness in this mad world in these mad mad times. 

This battle has been long. The debate of a perfect society is a monologue of the more privileged ones. It is not easy to dissuade oneself from the liberty to speak. But it is the responsibility that should matter more now than ever. It is time we give back the words their power, by cumulating its presence in actions. 

Portrait of a Father

​He sat down on the couch, being the victim of his own offenses. He had begged to differ with the world at one point of his life, but now he was one of them. It disturbed him. How his silent but optimistic web of dreams had succumbed to the wars of his own creation. He had tears in his eyes and a blank smile on his face. 

He looked at the frame on the wall opposite to him. His father stood tall and sincere. He respected him all he could, but never did he love him. He stood up and gazed at his reflection on his father’s photograph. He had his father’s eyes, he knew. But he didn’t want to find himself there anymore, for he thought he had lost all reasons and dignity.

That night was going to be long. He heard a knock on the door. He knew it was her. He opened the door. She was cumbersomely dressed, her hair all wet and kajal smudged. He was surprised and stared at her for quite some time before he asked her what had happened. She rushed inside the apartment and he stood still in amazement and doubt.  He  was scared and the fog of mystery didn’t promise to disappear anytime soon. 

She sat on the couch. She tried to appear strong and unaffected from the ghost of her doings. My weakness must not be revealed, she told herself and that was the only thing that kept her going.  He offered her water. She took a gulp down her throat with a heavy breath. She tried hard but couldn’t succeed. She cried. Out loud, disturbed and perpetuated by what time had made of her. Her voice cracked, and he felt feeble. He didn’t gather the courage to ask her. He wasn’t a coward, he just cared far too much. 

He sat there. Waiting for her to vent out her feelings. He was helpless and his only source of strength was withering away. But still, he waited. He knew no good could come of consoling a troubled heart. Her anger, her anxiety all were accepted without question. At the end it was only her smile that mattered, and he awaited for that glimpse. His sister could not surrender herself. After all that had happened, she was the only person who could take them to where her father wanted them to be in life. A life of content and peace. A life adrift of agony and fear. The time had come to lose the hope of perfection. It was time to accept that flaws are not so bad after all. He wiped her tears, baked his emotions in the furnace of his will to win over his life.

Ego, fame and recklessness had cost them a fortune. Lost of their father’s hard earned respect and money, they held each other’s hand. The photograph was still there. It still stood tall. But the smile appeared a little more brighter this time.

The Girl by the River

​The fiery river flushes down,                 

The sun rays braids through branches high,

Dry the color of eyes, weighed in frown,

The rays sparkle on teary eyes. 

She besprinkled the petals torn,

The banks now painted in sorrow. 

Her hairs scattered by winds that mourn

A sand that was lost to time. 

The river still divided their lands,

The current broke the letters apart,

He stood and she waited long,

He let go and she lingered. 

The night closed in, the moon didn’t wake. 

In finding him, she found herself;

What love didn’t teach,

Distance and hate taught her.