Corridors

Walking away from today’s corridors devoid of light,
My chances of fully breaking free seem but slight,
Finally a flicker, the sunrays begin to draw myriad shapes,
While my mind is busy scripting one of its greatest escapes.

Although my shoulders sag, bogged down by ruthless time,
The heart hangs on, knowing memories are never past prime,
The anxiety, the anticipation only add to the confusion,
As life leaves me to wander, in search of an illusion.

Decades have passed since you’ve forgotten their meaning,
And so you decide to take a walk back into the beginning,
You take the first steps forward towards going back,
Wiping away the grime, whitewashing the memories now black.

As the black becomes whiter, and the uncertainty lighter,
The credibility intensifies, but hope grows no brighter,
But there is nobody beside to recollect those years,
To bring back yesterday’s laughter and share its tears.

The past walks through the window grill, mocking my desertion,
Bringing back haunting remembrances, attempting a diversion,
Challenging me to prove myself again,
By going barefoot through these ravines of pain.

Today the corridor is filled, with many more like me,
Playing the sunlight, played by sunlight, just like me,
Right behind the nearest door, my redemption looms,
While those still alone, peep into the empty rooms.

They find a clean blackboard, devoid of words,
Awaiting a chalkpiece, to etch out new worlds,
And those empty chairs of a hundred bygone dreams,
Where others will sit, to create tomorrow’s dreams.

This one has me stumped with a dilemma. Do I put it under Beacons because I was inspired by somebody, or under Mirror, because I experienced it myself, or under Gazebo because many others are experiencing it? Quite an amount of history this one has. To begin with, this one was yet another one that came to me, during those endless waits for employers to get free enough to interview me. However this happened not at the employer’s place but at the consultant’s place. I was sitting in the Dewdrop office waiting to be sent for the Dell interview when I had to wait for nearly 2 hours. As is the case I had brought my book along expecting such a wait.

The first thing that struck me was about a guy(my senior in college) who was in love with this girl, during college, apparently things didn’t go well, and atleast she called it quits. One year later, this girl came to the college to give her Wedding Card to a few lecturers, and co-incidentally the same day this guy also came to the college on some work. You should have seen his face when he heard about it, whiter than a blank sheet. I was in the class that day(yes, I sometimes did such a thing as sit in the class, when I got bored of bunking) and happened to see him dragging his feet along looking into one classroom after another, tears welling up, remembering the old days.

It would have been fine if this story had ended there. However a few days back I happened to go back to the college again on some work, and happened to walk past the classrooms, out of curiosity, out of nostalgia, I just looked in, and at that moment, that day flashed back in my mind again. Funnily it made me look back into the classroom trying to rewind my cassette of the same rooms, and I found things were different only at a very superficial level. More than anything, for me it was about those dreams that we all dream, of becoming somebody, of doing something, of getting somebody, and how after a while it mostly all fizzles out, probably doused by a liberal shower of reality. Yet those in those rooms never stop dreaming, probably because they don’t yet know, and maybe because dreaming is such a good thing after all. Perhaps it is the only thing that is ours to change whenever we want.

That about rounded off the story of how the concept came about. But the story doesn’t quite end there. What had happened in the Dewdrop office was merely the concretion of the concept and storyline itself, the actual lines and their interplay had to wait  for a while. Yesterday due to  sudden torrential rains, there was a power outage and by the time I got home it was already nearing midnight.  I don’t know why, but I got a wild idea, and decided to try it out. Probably because I wanted to complete this one and found myself ‘power’less,  I remembered those history textbooks I had read which said people like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar studied under the streetlight and  cleared the IAS exams and so on. I decided to try something on those lines. But unfortunately even the street lights were out, so I had to settle for the next best alternative, vehicle headlights.

I was sitting with the book in my lap in the busstop, and whenever a vehicle passed by, I would get to write about 3 or 4 words a line. The rest of the time I would spend thinking about the continuation or the next line. Just when I had got a portion of some line, a vehicle would pass by providing just enough light to put down those words. That was also fine until the clock neared midnight, and the vehicles got very scarce if any at all. So I packed up, came home and with the last bit of battery left in my cell brought it to a conclusion by getting it out of standby every 10 seconds that its backlight went into power-saving mode. No sooner had I finished it, within 5 minutes, the power came back. Guess some things are meant to be out of the ordinary.

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Broken

The smile seems so real, but its happiness isn’t,
The tears definitely real, but their sorrow isn’t,
When the eyes stand deceived by mere expressions,
You wonder how really deep are all those emotions.

The happiness, the sorrow, are but simple reflections,
Of many a misplaced attachment, unknown affections,
Of a waning devotion requesting a newfound zeal,
For too many actions and their consequences to deal.

One by one, the seams holding you together begin to give way,
And your life itself seems to have given up and gone away,
For, you couldn’t convince it to hold on, much longer stay,
Leaving an apparition behind, it left your heart and went its way.

Alone you walked, alone it walked, each to their own way,
It smiled, you frowned, at how much it still held sway,
You get immersed in work, and life is busy with its play,
But the straighter the road gets, the farther you go astray.

The moment you smelt trouble, you tried to steer away,
You thought you could remain a stranger by keeping it at bay,
Unfortunately it’s indefatigable, always making its own way,
You only reach as far as proximity, before it catches up someday.

But rudderless, soulless, you keep on getting nowhere,
And the emptiness within, is more than existence can bear,
Just another scorecard, measuring time, moment to moment,
While the watch competes, ticking away at your lament.

So when everybody’s watching, eagerly expecting the smile,
The unconscious acting involved considerably delays it a while,
Thus you pretend to drink it, stirred, not shaken,
From a cup, that is long since empty, and broken.

This one continues where the previous one left off, at the person beneath that mask. This one for the Gazebo deals with what most of us become after sometime. We all start off thinking of being somebody, doing something, and on the way, we get tired of the waiting to be that somebody, to do that something, and so decide to take the shortcut that always seems to popup nearby however farther we go. So we sell our souls, if only for a moment, for a day, for a lifetime, and get at the destination, to find ourselves without one.

Having got there or atleast nearly there, we look back and think whether the means were worth the end, specially since we had our conscience tormenting us all the way through. The destination doesn’t seem as attractive as it did, when we were along the ‘straight’ road. Now it somehow seems tarnished, rather blemished with our own corruption. This one is for those moments when we went astray.

P.S.

I forgot to add, this was my 150th poem on this blog, and its been exactly one year on WordPress.

Coated Gold

The widest smile fills your face, atleast till they turn their back,
Then the grimness hiding right behind, proudly comes back,
Not just the face, it claims more than its share of your mind,
Confident enough, to this defection, everyone else was blind.

It’s not often that these subdued expressions get a chance to relax,
The consciousness holds a tight rein, keeping them from getting lax,
Forcing them to stay till they seem convincingly imprinted,
Then the mind itself relaxes, happy at the facade well implemented.

Sometimes a frown, acting for an uninhibited glee,
Sometimes an earnestness, when waiting to flee,
Sometimes a grimace, pretending for appreciation,
Sometimes a twinkle, to cover up the deprivation.

Clenched teeth, all grinding against repression,
Sunken eyes, both hiding from depression,
Drooping ears, eagerly anticipating a decision,
Talkative lips, silently conveying indecision.

A collapsing mind, feigning absolute lack of fatigue,
A troubled conscience, pretending to belong to the league,
An anxious heartbeat, faking regularity and precision,
A determined life, practically without a mission.

Some stay for a few moments, mere fragments of time,
Others linger on, stubborn to the end of lifetime,
However long, each of them leave their mark,
Those rings of age, deep inside, behind the bark.

Few can read, the moment between the blink of the eyes,
For the rest, this hidden being, they are none the wise,
It is only when the sword is separated from its bejewelled sheath,
And heated in the furnaces of truth, can you see, what lies beneath.

This is another one for the Gazebo. For those who thought it was senseless, it was supposed to relate to the mask that we all wear through this play called life. Masks of happiness, masks of sorrow, masks of surprise, of delight, and those of anger, of despair. The reason I call them masks is because they are emotions that actually hide the real person underneath them, giving the person shade, while pretending to be the person.(went through something of this kind a few days back, and felt my system merited some cleansing)

The concept could probably be related to the ‘Facade’ portion of the ‘JoHari Window‘, in the sense that the portion not known to others could either be positive or negative, that is only known to the person itself, and therefore the covering to cover the positive or negative aspect of it from the observer. Just because an object is coated with gold, need not necessarily mean there is a baser material beneath, there could also be a possibility that gold was simply coated on gold itself, for what purpose, with what objective, each person knows in their own hearts.

Ascension

The clock may have stopped, but time still goes on,
And always more of the road, appearing from the horizon,
The moments seem but milestones running out of distance,
As you strive to extract more from life than existence.

You have long since quit the race, running against time,
Realising that everybody has to lose this race sometime,
Your body slowly begins to abandon fatigue, so does your mind,
So you set out, to see if any fallen travellers you can find.

Looking around, you certainly find no shortage of this kind,
Ones whose departing failure had conveniently forgotten to remind,
That they were just a few feet away from the doorsteps of glory,
And this was the moment, their chance to rewrite their story.

And so you walk along, helping them see the way,
Encouraging them to walk that extra step today,
Telling them the pain in their sore feet would go away,
That a joyous rest was ahead, if only now they would stay.

Many years of failures endured, a lot many naysayers heard,
That your very presence seemed like the first positive word,
Your first few words were encouragement in bountiful excess,
Their first new steps already leading them to success.

You showed them how far they could go ignoring the pain,
That success wasn’t a fluke, they could repeat it again and again,
Made them believe they no longer had a use for their tears,
Now they only thought of the laughter in the future years.

You have always wanted to give more than you got from life,
So your contentment lies in helping others rebuild their life,
You move on, knowing there are others on whom you can depend,
To help a fallen fellow traveller to start afresh again and ascend.

This one is another for the Gazebo, something that I hope I can continue to be when a few years are gone by. This poem is inspired form two sources, the title, from a concept in Stargate SG1, namely Ascension, and the body of it, from the character called ‘Divya’ in the movie ‘Naa Autograph’. I guess the title conveys a lot of things relevant to that character, and hence I thought it might be appropriate.

I pity my regular readers because the next few ones are going to be more and more abstract ones like this. But then only for a while, maybe only the next 3 or 4 poems.

Moontide

Tired for the day, as the sun lets go, of its fast mellowing beams,
I begin my daily walk, past my life’s long-abandoned dreams,
Some just stare, some greet me with a smile, some with a tear,
Some try to stop me, demanding to know, why I left them here.

Not knowing the answer myself, I just try to keep moving ahead,
But there always seem to be some of them, wherever I try to head,
An answer I know not, but their circumstances I do,
That moment, and its lifetime, nothing else I could do.

They force me to remember my journey, and the winding road,
And the stranger’s reality, that my dreams everyday forebode,
AS I let them fall, like tears, each of them grabbed the sand,
Seeping into it, washing the dust off my mind’s hinterland.

Behold, the uncertainty disappear, the path ahead begins to clear,
Refreshed, renewed, the promise walks to its fulfillment near,
When the loitering wishes finally find their destination,
They drink into a new thirst from the well of anticipation.

When the tender saplings just begin peeping into their story,
Its time to point their tiny offshoots onto the path of glory,
Show them the need, the opportunity, they won’t ask why,
They’ll lap up the sunshine, and reach out for the sky.

Heads above the clouds, they no longer know a season,
All that they trust, believe, is their tiny seed of reason,
Their flailing arms are overladen, bearing the fruits of yesterday’s action,
Some too raw, the sap of discontent, some too sweet, oozing satisfaction.

I stretch my hand to pluck, but they have grown beyond reach,
I had never imagined, my own sky my dreams would breach,
I only hope, the winds of dispersion don’t carry them out of sight,
Such a pretty sight, solitary dreams basking in the moonlight.

If anybody got what I meant, please tell me, will be glad to give you hundred hugs. 🙂 This one is another for the Gazebo. Yet many times when I re-read it, it seems to fit more into Mirror. I shall leave that choice to those who believe they understood anything at all in the first place. A lot of it seems from my life, but at times,(I mean my most depressing times, I wonder if I knew such days at all).

Messengers Of Mortality

At the break of dawn, life has already begun,
Amidst the victor and vanquished, the task is half done,
Those unfortunately alive, are pre-occupied with the dead,
To notice the direction in which to futilely head.

The unborn generations would readily believe,
From the earth, there’s a better way to leave,
Than by a downpour of bombs across the distance,
On innocent civilians, who offer no resistance.

A flood of blood, that tears mother and child apart,
You wonder, whether anywhere lies hidden, a human heart,
Among the debris, try as much to atleast find,
The word ‘kind’ is surely missing from mankind.

Everyone’s awaiting to fight their blood brother,
In an encounter that will obliterate one another,
The planet will be left with only peace and tranquility,
After we humans perish, the messengers of mortality.

We fight amongst ourselves, unheeding the reality,
The reason for our clash, we lack proof and clarity,
That it wasn’t fair, our conscience will stand as surety,
If only we were to eliminate our uncompromising vanity.

This one is another for the Gazebo. Seems many are coming that way nowadays. Anyway, this one was written, again on request from a freind in College. She had asked me to write an essay-kind-of thing about the Iraq war, and being as lazy as I am, I told her I couldn’t write an essay, but I would write a poem since that would be less tiring.

So I set about and the first thing that struck me was the scene of the war itself, I was supposed to go on and on, but then after the beginning I just kind of got bored, and later could never get back to it. For those concerned with chronology as I am, this one was written around December 2004. So that makes it another one from the archives.

A Bride’s Farewell

You are the brow of a tide, in our happy family’s song,
Glimpses of you, in our memory shall remain eternally long,
Bedecked in finery, you’ll soon be drawn away to your abode,
The worthiness of a Bride’s Farewell and goodwill we bode.

Be caring and sharing, be busy in mundane existential chores,
But carry forth the majesty of your ancestors, across family shores,
In thoughts of us, and words with him,keep your duty at the fore,
That itself will fill us with life, enthralling our heart’s core.

You were brought up amidst an atmosphere of amity and feeling,
Towards your new responsibility, prosperity you should bring,
With tear-filled eyes and a choked voice, we bid you away,
In right or wrong, joy or sorrow, be with him, along the way.

There will be moments, when circumstances are really tough,
And you think, for all the pain there isn’t joy enough,
But never give up, follow the ideals, and set an example,
In lineage history, praises of you, will surely be ample.

This one is another for the Gazebo. I had written this in 2001, as a request for Pavan Chetty, for his sister’s wedding, and ended up liking it so much I gave a similar one for my sister’s wedding. I use the word ‘similar’ because from then till now, the only thing that has changed is one single line in the third paragraph. I had given my then collection of poems to my English teacher to comment upon, and she, a self-professed feminist, commented about that one single line, she told me it was too much chauvinistic. In fact I had only put in that line, because the scriptures suggest so, but nevertheless, that comment got me thinking, and I did something that I haven’t done more than twice in my life.

I changed that line a good 2 years after it was written, and today I must confess I fell better about it. Probably since I had been made to see the matter her way, this poem should be dedicated to Ms. Usha Ramani. But the reason I put it under Gazebo, is that it is the way I visualise the concept, the moment. It is the way I believe is good for everyone concerned, as also my own personal desire.

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