To build up the house, card by painstaking card,
To prop it up often with every card you can discard,
And watch your budding smile come to a freeze,
When the house is toppled by the slightest breeze.
The cards lie fallen, scattered in a heap,
Waiting for their shepherd, like lost sheep,
Alas, the shepherd thirsts after an imaginary stream,
And will only get back to them at the end of this dream.
The road seems crooked, and gets even more winding,
And the end seems even farther, every new morning,
With many bylanes to tempt those that wander,
And a scorching sand to make any stream meander.
While others laughed away and chased butterflies,
You followed the path, the direction the eagle flies,
While others stopped to enjoy their dreams of another day,
You kept walking, kicking little stones out of your way.
Pity and hope, your two eyes, watched them play,
Perhaps that joy would be yours some day,
If only you persevered and worked harder each day,
Ahead lay all the games that you and life could play.
You think of those who wish to see you succeed,
And those for whose sake you need to succeed,
And wish they stand beside you when that day does arrive,
To share with you, the feeling of truly being alive.
You never understood why the day begins with a yawn,
Because for you, it signified the hopes lurking in the dawn,
When the days get weary, and the world gets tired,
You are just getting ready to perform, all fired.
You close your eyes and begin your life’s greatest performance,
And strain your ears for the applause from the audience,
Hearing none, you open your eyes to an empty hall,
Happy maybe, that no one was around to see the tear fall.
You sacrificed an entire lifetime for this one moment,
And nobody was present to appreciate how every second was spent,
In that moment, you see the sacrifice, the lifetime all gone,
But wipe away the tear, because you know the show must go on.
You brave the wind, brave the frost, every single day,
Freezing to death, you continue the climb, day after day,
After what seems eternity, you reach the much coveted peak,
And are so dumbstruck, the joy makes you forget how to speak.
Wishing you could stay forever, you begin to descend,
Wishing, all this happiness, there was a better way to spend,
But the descent is not a result of your boredom with conquest,
They are the first steps towards your search for a new quest.
Caught by surprise, your face begins to betray the strain,
Of years of your effort suddenly going down the drain,
You sink into an abyss, and begin to revel in your own pain,
And you realise, it will be many years before you smile again.
Yet you fake some, suppress some and get on with life,
For, stagnation is one facet, you never believed about life,
There will be many other days, when success knocks again,
But it can’t bring back those, that death took away in disdain.
Bitterness sets in, they seem to have deserted you for eternity,
Unable to see your suffering till you overcome its futility,
You wish they could wait to see you outstretch your hand,
And grow from being another of those grains of sand.
Thus you entered the world, your back against the wall,
And prepared yourself to bear someone else’s fall,
Being a fighter, you can always get up and walk,
Unlike those crippled by rumour and gossip, mere talk.
A world where they sized up your life, by how much it was worth,
Where, for a good enough bargain, they would sell the earth,
You get in knee-deep, and wade through its filth,
Wary of drowning, and becoming one with the filth.
The feet are tired, but the mind relentlessly pushes them forward,
When the mind gets tired, your objective propels it onward,
Many milestones pass by, but the appreciation takes longer,
For, these are people, who feed you for last year’s hunger.
Every now and then, you bask in the limelight,
Before someone else’s success steals the spotlight,
Soon you will fade out of people’s lives, out of their sight,
But you refuse to die down, to give up without a fight.
But the allure of fame, of achievement, no longer seems to work,
And the potion of disenchantment slowly begins its work,
The warm fires of discontent begin to burn in your heart,
And that is when everything you worked for, starts falling apart.
When the laughter, the joy, belongs to somebody else’s world,
You begin to feel and become, an alien in your own world,
When the sunshine, the rainfall, falls on everybody else’s land,
You desperately begin to feel like disowning your own land.
When survival becomes the sole yardstick of the living,
And you find yourself no longer capable of giving,
You wonder to yourself if it is really worth living,
And whether another life would be more forgiving.
But what about your companions, those now walking with you,
Those who understood you, those who believed in you,
Will you walk away from their memories, away from their lives?
And live you life alone, leaving them searching for alternate lives?
Having walked this path, touching their hearts, with your life’s song,
You should atleast expect, that forever, they will walk along,
They will walk with you, till you get rid of this guilt,
Walk with you, till you get back, to the house you once built.
The house has fallen, but the cards still exist,
Intact as a test, for those who persist,
Or maybe as a chance, to build it again, better,
Instead of crying over what has gone bitter.
You roll up your sleeves to once again demonstrate,
The never-ending battle of humans against fate,
You slog through the night, to open its doors to sunrise,
And show the world, the fabled human spirit, of enterprise.
This one is dedicated to Sukanya, who in my terms is a ‘survivor’ for those that can understand the term in the sense that i mean it in. When you go through the entire range of experiences that life has to offer, you tend to remember the scars than the victories, because the scars are visible whereas victory is not. It is this paradox that bogs down a number of achievers into mediocrity. It is this paradox that clips your wings when you need to fly that one last time.
Some people look further into the scars and find the victories that caused them, and the failures that enriched them. These are the ones that achieve more out of life than the mediocre ones can in a hundred lifetimes. But that makes them neither immortal nor immune to the vagaries of time and the tricks of the mind.
Sometimes they need to be reminded of the past to get on with a future that is more promising than all the past combined was. Once clear about that fact, they pick up the pieces and get to work. The house of cards was symbolic of the experiences we all have in life. They all differ in nature like the faces and figures on the cards. Not everyday does one get a joker, and not everyone gets an ace everyday. It is this understanding that despite not getting the winning card, life is a card game where luck is not the only aide, and that hard work can take you to farther places than luck can, that fuels the enterprising.
The enterprising fall more number of times and fail more number of times than the prudent and risk-averse person, but in the end, the enterprising with a fuller and richer experience of life than the conservative. This poem is about one such enterprising person asking her to use the fallen house of cards as a chance to build it again in a more beautiful manner with a lot more wonderful experiences that the previous ones, and understand, that there are people everywhere who are willing to help her rebuild, even if only by standing by and saying an encouraging word, because everybody must build their own house of life.
(got lots more to say, will get back to this when i find more time).