Confession

I still don’t want to believe it has already been ten years,
Maybe because it is so much easier to recount the tears,
The days, months, years just dissolved, I gave time no value,
Thinking, why would I need a watch, when I already have you.

Days when we spent, arguing about each other’s beliefs,
And evenings we went, walking the path of fallen leaves,
You laughed it off, when I said every memory was a fallen leaf,
And a brand new belief is born, from the stalk of every grief.

Times when we spent, just looking down at the road,
And places we went, turning around at every crossroad,
You shrugged it off, when I said every experience was a blade of grass,
And we could sit on it, or just trample it while walking along the pass.

Moments when we spent, wondering if it was the last stop,
And glances we sent, guessing who would let it all drop,
You winked it off, pretending we weren’t there to begin,
If only you could see how much the silence burnt within.

Lifetimes we spent, wishing there was a way this could all revert,
And feelings we meant, to express without the other getting hurt,
You wiped it off, saying the tears were a sign, I was too late,
But what could I do, having always presumed, our life was the date.

You told me, the man of your dreams, was sitting on that bench,
I nod and look over, and you fail to see my hands weakly clench,
Seeing the sparkle in you eyes betray your feelings, for the one front of you,
I wonder if being beside you could have been different, if only you knew.

I know everytime you smile now, is only to force me to do the same,
And I comply, knowing there’s nobody, not even myself to blame,
A smile that was lost, not because its love had no expression,
But because we shared a bond, that asked for no confession.

This one is also dedicated and inspired by my teacher/Beacon, Sirivennela. This one was sparked off by his song Ye Chota Vunna from Nuvve Nuvve. Everything from the verse structure, to the analogies, to the theme progression, oozes a heart-wrenching experience. This poem is about a life that could have been, a road that might have been. When two friends share a lifetime, and then one falls for the other, things change beyond just a relationship. Is it worth risking the friendship for the sake of love, will that love even pan out, will it prove worthy of the sacrifice, or will it be a pale shadow of friendship, does one need to be sacrificed to get the other, can both of them never co-exist, what if you lose both the love and friendship? This poem lightly touches upon all of these and more.

What happens when love becomes your friend, just when your friend falls in love? Is it love, when you let it go away hoping it will wash over your friend with your friendship? Is it friendship, when you want whatever is the best for your friend’s love? Is friendship lovely, or is love friendly? When the pain of unrequited love stings you for your friend, would you wince out of love or friendship? There are some questions to which we cannot live without knowing the answer to, and other questions that we would die to not know the answer to.

Isthmus

The things that keep us together, are the ones keeping us apart,
And the things keeping us apart, are the strings tying each other’s heart,
Even two rooms with a common wall, are separated by a door,
When opened, it shows, they are actually joined by the same floor.

We were proud, about having the same view, sharing the same thought,
And gloat about how similarity has made sure that we never fought,
Only to realise, the reason we had only one view, only one window,
And this ensured, there was only direction the wind could blow.

We were happy, that the words we both spoke, were all the same,
And exulted at how either of us could for each other proclaim,
Only to realise, the reason neither of us, was ever able to exclaim,
Was because, we knew every word, before it came, or became.

We were excited, that what I thought, what you said, we did,
And cheered that all we needed between us, was a single eyelid,
Only to realise, why none of us knew, any more than we saw,
So concerned with seeing the same, neither of us noticed the flaw.

We were heartened, that we knew so much, about each other’s happiness,
And boasted it was all that was needed to flood any outpouring of our sadness,
Only to realise, each of us had our own individual wars to be battled,
And even common emotions weren’t enough, to keep the differences bottled.

We were sure, we could hear the anxiety, in each other’s heart beat,
And believed we could even walk the exact same path, feet in feet,
Only to realise, all we could hear was a single repetitive sound,
Even a multitude of harmonies, couldn’t pry our ears unbound.

The more we are together, the lesser we actually merge,
Because we change each other, until neither is left to emerge,
Love is not the dream, that our every similarity seems to consist,
It is the reality, that we can be different, and still together exist.

This one is inspired by the works of my teacher/Beacon, Sirivennela. The very very very evocative piece ‘Yedho Yedho’ from Sasirekha Parinayam struck a raw nerve, causing the words in my mind to unsettle into the arrangement that this poem is. His song presents the case for the apprehensions a girl faces when having to face the prospect of living with a stranger. Everyone she knows, promises that its for the best, there’s nothing to fear. But the heart knows what only it can know, feels what only it can feel. How do you know if someone you need to allow into your life, your heart, your thoughts, will let you into theirs, or will even let you have yours once, they are in it.

There’s no way you can know, except to make the leap. We spend so much of our lives, changing our lives to match those that we love, to please those that we love, or influencing them to change their lives, to suit or thoughts, to match our feelings, that we fail to notice, we are changing the diversity of humanity on its head, and creating more and more clones of ourselves, trying to remove those things that make everyone distinct, and asking them to pour their souls, into moulds of ourself that we have created. We have this need to see reflections of ourselves wherever we look. We want those that love us, to look like us, think like us, feel like us. So much so, that when they finally do so, there is only one person left on the earth, ourself. The rest are just poor imitations we have created to feel surrounded by ourself.

Everytime we do something that causes someone to change, change to conform to our preferences, our expectations, we are creating poor duplicates of ourselves. Unfortunately, while that is somewhat less apparent, what is not apparent at all, is that when we look at these duplicates, we are looking at reflections of ourselves. And reflections are just that, exact copies, but facing the opposite direction. So the more they seem to be converging into our path, the more they are actually diverging. A line that seems to be colliding into the mirror, is actually running away from it.

To sum up, stop trying to find someone who is your type. Someone who likes what you like, who eats what you eat, who speaks like you speak, who thinks like you think, and who sees how you see. There is no one like that. If God had wanted it that way, he would have given you a xerox machine with human blanks. So even when you happen to find someone, anyone, who is close to, similar to what you expect, stop trying to mould them into a braindead transmitter of your thoughts, feelings, and words. If you really love someone, stop trying to manipulate them into becoming something for you, and if you love yourself, stop trying to mould yourself into someone else, because the person in love with you, or the person you want to love you, wouldn’t want to love someone else, they love/want to love you. If they don’t then, they are in the replicator business, and you should run as far away from them as possible.

The idea being that, you do not need to be similar to mix, and you do not need to mix, to be together. Every one can be their own self, and be a part of a together bond. Hydrogen burns, and so does oxygen. They can also not burn, as water. And yet burn when split up. The idea of love is to create, not destroy. The purpose is to make a new bond with its own characteristics without wiping out the existence, characteristics of its constituents. The idea is to create water that is distinct, without making hydrogen or oxygen non-flammable, and without changing the fundamental properties and structure of either element.

Pollyanna

When you are faced with odds of insurmountable strength,
It is all right, to not see the mission through to its full length,
Will you forgo the applause, just to pull down the curtain,
Or push forward until the goal is yesterday’s burden?

When your life’s only dream is shattered and buried,
It is expected, to just give up the desire to succeed,
Will you stand, with your head staring down at the rubble,
Or pick up a shovel and continue with the struggle?

When your own people strike trust a heavy blow,
It is naturally easy, to let the pent up tears flow,
Will you languish, in your lament till the eyes run dry,
Or will you wipe the tears away before they see you cry?

When words with friends get ugly and all are flared,
It is understandable, to show each other you are scared,
Will you run, leaving everyone angry and afraid,
Or stand to show them they too can remain unswayed?

When nothing you try, is going according to plan,
It is wise, to retreat and retrace the path you just ran,
Will you try, desperately to find events you can rewind,
Or prove there is nothing about the future that you mind?

When your love decides to put up with you no more,
It is obvious, to find that every solace has a closed door,
Will you allow, the hope and faith to gracefully depart,
Or persevere until they dejectedly return to your heart?

When you are asked to give up the beliefs that make your self,
It is necessary, to put your ideology back on its shelf,
Will you distance, yourself from your life and character,
Or draw them closer until your blood is imprinted on every letter?

This one is for the Gazebo, since it looks at a world that could have been. It continues from where Godse left off. The fundamental premise is that Gandhism is no longer a term anybody recognises or understands. While Godse (the poem) contends that this is due to all of us, Pollyanna dwells upon the roots of that demise. Gandhism, was killed not by anyone born decades later, or by errant invididuals, it was killed by Gandhi himself. Now, it would seem moronic to suggest such a thing and attribute the death of a movement to its founder, and an icon no less. But just read through the rest of the stuff, and decide for yourself.

The whole foundation of the non-violent, show you the other cheek, when you slap me, movement has been built around the principle of being true to your beliefs and winning the other person over through the strength of your conviction in your beliefs, and what you are willing to endure, to see them through. This was the reason, instead of assembling a  bunch of rag-tag commandos, Gandhi chose to simply wait out the Britishers, and make them feel ashamed of being extortionate occupiers, and run away sweating with the shame of having exploited and enslaved such a noble race as the Indians. Would have been made for a fantastic movie script, if it had worked that way.

Unfortunately, what actually drove the Brits back, wasn’t a bunch of topless voluntarily-handicapped Salman Khan protestors. Instead, it was a combination of things ranging from the formation of the United Nations, growing global disdain on the enslaving of colonies, growing dissent and unrest within the colonies, necessity to rebuild their own war-torn homeland that was in a political upheaval, and so on. The Brits definitely did not run with their tails between their legs, just by seeing millions of people eagerly waiting for them to feel ashamed of themselves, and hoping they would just wake up one morning and vacate because they grew tired of doing the wrong thing, and Jesus had appeared in their Queen’s dream and told her ‘treat thy neighbour as thyself’. What a story of miraculous transformation.

But my story doesn’t quite end there. I searched and read up as much as I could, and in my limited exposure to literature, I couldn’t find a single reference to Gandhi condemning the Indian Army and calling for its disbandment. I have heard hearsay stories that Gandhi called for the abolishment of the Congress Party post-Independence, though I haven’t seen any written word to that effect. So, it would seem absurd to you, that I would expect Gandhi to get rid of the Indian army. What possible connection could the Indian army have to do with anti-Gandhism?

The answer can be understood through a simple analogy. Let us say you are Gandhi, and you have a house, one your ancestors were born and lived in. One fine day, a guy walks in, (lets call him Occupier) and at gunpoint kicks you out of your house, and stays in it. Apart from kicking you out, he also makes you do all of his household chores. Normally, you would have kicked such a person in the teeth and told him to bugger-off. But then, you are Gandhi, so what do you do. You ask Occupier to leave, and when he doesn’t and slaps you around, you cry, and refuse to do any more household chores, dare him to lock you in the closet, and wait for God to work upon Occupier. The whole idea being, that Occupier would see you in the closet, everytime he reached for his trenchcoat, and after seeing you in the closet for hundreds of times, be so overcome and wracked with guilt, that he would recognise the scorn in your eyes, the pity in your words, the sorrow in your heart, the freedom in your mind, and be overwhelmed by all these emotions, that he would run out of the house.

So far, so good, mission accomplished. Only there is a small hitch. Now that the house is yours again, you then assign a few of your family members to stand outside and prevent any more relatives of Occupier from ever getting in again, and you instruct them to do so by any means necessary, event if that means at gunpoint, or by bullet wound. Here is where the anachronism comes in. You seem to be willing to abhor violence for the purpose of getting your house back, but will not hesitate to resort to violence to ensure the house stays under your control. Now, I don’t know what that makes you, but I would generally term it as hypocrisy. The fact that Gandhi did not talk about the existence of, his like/dislike for, the Indian army, itself speaks volumes about the kind of freedom we purport to have ‘won’.

Please bear in mind, I am not questioning the necessity/purpose of the Indian armed force. Why would I? I am not a Gandhian. All I am saying is that all those followers of Gandhi, or should I say, pseudo-Gandhians like Nehru who were supposedly Gandhian, but gave orders to the Indian armed forces and instead appreciated the role played by the army post-Independence (while pretending to be non-violent people) are the ones who killed Gandhism. So that would make Gandhi the first pseudo-Gandhian, who began the events that killed Gandhism. Godse only shot at Gandhi’s body. Gandhi killed himself when he didn’t live up to his own beliefs.

Of course, let me sum up by saying, I am a nobody to be raking up mud on historical figures of national importance, and I guess there is some statute that prevents anyone from maligning the gloried name of the Father of our Nation. But then, enforcing people’s thoughts, through a statute, is the same Fascist crap that Hitler and Mussolini dished out, and the same crap that allows contempt-of-court to be (ab)used whenever someone questions a court verdict, or that boorish partymen tactics, when they forcibly destroy property of businessmen who dare to do business on a day when their party has proclaimed a strike, and expect people to show solidarity for their movement, by beating them into it, like those Telangana Fascists. So enough said already.

Tunnel

There are those that trust light, because it has a beginning,
And others still who fear it not, because it has an ending,
But darkness is another matter, for, it begins nowhere,
And even in the midst of light, is always forever there.

It is difficult to understand something, that’s made up of nothing,
And yet, is pervasive enough, to be within everything,
Darkness is the envelope, that helps define every beam of light,
And still can be seen by everyone, specially those without sight.

It is the womb from which all light is born,
And is the grave for all visions that are stillborn,
It is the medium that connects one light to another,
And is the canvas on which one colour differs from the other.

Darkness is not a journey, since it cannot ever begin,
It is the path on which all light created travels within,
It is the black imprint that every footstep of light leaves,
It is the web that captures every illusion that light weaves.

It appears to expand and contract with every change in a shadow,
But what really changes, is the light, from broad to narrow,
Darkness has no size, no speed, because it doesn’t need to move,
It is the encompassive stage, on which light has a point to prove.

In many ways, the only truth there is, is the darkness,
Because it stays the same in both shade and brightness,
It has no colours, no shades, for, those are the offspring of light,
The only progeny of darkness, is the transient permanence of night.

While everyone views a tunnel as the conduit for darkness,
Few realise, that it is the last harbour for nothingness,
Black does not flow, like light through a funnel,
Because there is always darkness, at either end of a tunnel.

This one is for the Beacons, dedicated as it is, to Sirivennela Seetharama Shastry. It is based on his line from one of the greatest Telugu film songs of all time. http://manoharamu.blogspot.in/2007/09/sindooram-ardha-satabdapu.html The line goes like this: 

అన్యాయాన్ని సహించని శౌర్యం దౌర్జన్యాన్ని దహించే ధైర్యం

కారడవుల్లో క్రూరమృగంలా దాక్కుని ఉండాలా వెలుగుని తప్పుకు తిరగాలా

This one is about an all-pervasive omnipresent phenomenon called darkness. It carries on from what began as a dialogue with brother Satyajit (in Into Your Life and Shadows). The beautiful thing about darkness, is that people refuse to give it the credit it deserves. It is perfectly human, that people who wage battles since the beginning of civilization over land, while water covers over 75% of the planet, would try to portray their God as being limited to the light.

I have no problems with the light, except that it is a minority in the grand scheme of things. In the universe, as well as in galaxies, stars (sources of light), are tiny specks of white against an infinite black. So to call their God as the light (“I am the light”, “Dispeller of darkness”, etc.) is absurd because it excludes the fact that God is also darkness. In effect, they end up calling their God as ‘Dispeller of God’. All I am saying is that Darkness is God. So to associate darkness as being the freehold property/playground of some Satan, is to say that God is the property of Satan. Fundamentally, if God is everything, then God is Satan. That brings us to this zero-sum game of “God is the light” and “God is the darkness”. So white=black.

But that is merely, the premise upon which the poem is built. Being an abstraction, the core idea, is more around minorities, and how they are glorified at the expense of the majority (think land vs sea, light vs darkness). So in a society, that globally and locally portends to have a constitution that says all citizens are equal, except that the minorities are more equal, there is something seriously flawed with the checks and balances by which we govern ourselves. I fail to understand how punishing the son for the sins of the father qualifies as social justice, unless an eye-for-a sons-eye-by-my-son is the accepted norm of social justice. The constitution allows discrimination on the basis of caste/creed/religion/gender as long as it is for-the-benefit of some minority. Now unless I have my understanding all soaked in hogwash, nothing can be of benefit to one party without being unbeneficial/harmful to another. You cannot discriminate for-the-benefit of a minority without it being to-the-detriment of a majority in a mixed population organization, be it an educational institution, or a workplace. You cannot be pro-women without being anti-men. You cannot be pro-SC/ST without being anti-FC/OC in an organization that caters to both sections. The only for-the-benefit discrimination that is partially  neutral, is a minority-exclusive organization. In any other context, it is tantamount to punishing the descendant of one community, for-benefit-of the descendants of another community, whose ancestors bore the exploitation of the ancestors of the other community. We live in weird times, when a document that allows this is our constitution.

As long as charters of such inequality are the founding papers of a country, there is a bleak future for social justice. The cycle never ends and has been proven to be a law of nature that is self-correcting. A few lions terrorize a few hundred deer. So to restore order, man decides to shoot the lions. Now the over-shot lions, become an endangered species, while the population of deer grows out of control. So man launches a “Save the lion campaign”, and shoots off the excess deer, to restore balance. By which time, the lions grow too many, and the deer becomes an endangered species, due to too many lions, and too few deer. The same is the case with the minority/majority equation with the constitution/law playing the role of the gamekeeper, shooting each side as it grows out of control.

I Do

The eyes are moist, but I know they do not for anything weep,
Just that, imprinted images are the hardest memories to keep,
You let them flow away believing there will be something new,
But there isn’t anything new, you know, as well as I do.

There were other times, when the tears and their sorrow were true,
And you thought the black clouds had forever changed the sky’s blue,
You thought these feelings were premonitions of what you knew,
But there isn’t any thought, you feel, as well as I do.

You speak not of the times, when you compulsively broke into a cheer,
And you said you acted so impulsively only because of someone dear,
You agreed that the happiness wasn’t worth getting used to,
But there isn’t any joy, you show, as well as I do.

Your lips turned dry, hearing no words at all from the throat,
And you understood the difficulty of keeping emotions afloat,
You realized that words weren’t worth any looking into,
But there isn’t any emotion, you speak, as well as I do.

Your mind turned blank, unsure if your being was ignored,
And you discovered, there is so much to life still unexplored,
You felt the world did have many obligations overdue,
But there isn’t any debt, you bear, as well as I do.

Your heart was torn, sliced slowly by pangs of separation,
And you wince, because there’s no more chance for reparation,
You find that people stick close when pain is the glue,
But there isn’t any hurt, you share, as well as I do.

There isn’t anything, you do as well, because I do it all for you,
I take whatever you do, add my soul, and give it back to you,
So every time you feel your life has no purpose, no clue,
And yet no one cares a damn , just remember, I do.

This one is for the Mirror, and is inspired by you-know-who. It started off as a study on rationality and branched out into an abstract expression of irrationality. What is rational? Acting in the greatest self-interest of ourselves, that is how logic would define rationality. So by that definition, civilization itself is an exercise in irrationality. Let’s see why.

By logic, survival is the most basic and only native instinct of any being. So when man began farming, he was using food that he would have eaten back into the soil, to get more of it. In other words, he was giving up what was essential for his survival, to ensure his future survival was insured. That first act of irrationality sowed the seeds for all related future acts. Now that he did not need to spend every day worrying if he would last the day, his focus turned onto what he could do while he waited for his future food to grow, leisure. Leisure, isn’t something unique to humans, squirrels hoard, ants store, bees colonize, bears hibernate off their fat. Leisure allowed to explore his finer side a.k.a the arts. The arts is what allowed civilization to really develop, since builders tried to build more better buildings, farmers tried to develop better crops, writers/composers tried to design better entertainment. But everything he did, he did to enhance his own standing in the scheme of things. That distinguishable portion of the individual came to be called identity.

So when it comes to things irrational, there is none more irrational than love. Given that self-preservation is a given, it would be audacious and atrocious to suggest that someone would want to give up part/whole of themselves for the sake of someone else. A further extension of this, is the concept of courage, which throws off the yoke of self-preservation often for strangers, quite unlike love. When someone is in love, they are willing to kill a part of their own existence and even identity to please someone else. This act of irrationality is what makes us human, because animals don’t behave so irrationally as we do (there is love aplenty among them, but almost never courage).

So what could be more irrational than love and courage? The courage to love, of course. Since we humans call any excessive irrationality as madness, here’s to all those crazies among us (since love is merely extreme irrationality).

Until Tomorrow

Ever since I learned to walk, I’ve always been on solid ground,
There’s always been land, land, and more land, everywhere I look around,
It is not an observation that most people like to call profound,
But look beneath those words, and you might see why it can astound.

For someone whose feet have always been conversant with the sand,
For someone whose decades brim reticent with memories from the land,
For someone with remnants of the earth forever on the palm of his hand,
It is blasphemous for his mind, to anything else consider or demand.

But the mind has never known firm ground, steeped in its own quagmire,
Washed ashore on the banks of temptation, flailing in the gusts of desire,
The gales of curiosity busy tearing it asunder,
The waves of trepidation drowning it down under.

I know this won’t tarry you from asking the obvious, why,
So let me tell you the reason I’ve decided to finally fly,
I’ve always been piqued by my dormant fascination for the sky,
Perhaps awakened by the flutter of the wings of time flapping by.

At a time when all the stars invite you to freely and openly pry,
You never pause to ponder, if leaving home will make you cry,
All that you know and feel, is that you have to atleast give it a try,
And besides, there’s always the promise of a wind, to blow your tears dry.

I know I can no longer rely on, or even land back on my feet,
But that has always been the only determined variable, between my dream and defeat,
All earth shrinks to a miniscule dot upon knowing the first moment of flight,
All that remains is the preponderance of not knowing yourself from the light.

But the best thing about flying, is that nobody can do it forever,
Flight is never complete, without a touchdown on land or river,
So lose those creased lines on the forehead, and the upturned brow,
Because even the biggest bird, must return to nest, today or tomorrow.

This one is for the Mirror. It covers my feelings on being employed, my constant satisfaction/discontentment with being so, and my flights of hope away from and into employment. It also barely touches upon the HR paradox that is a modern-day corporation. My employer doesn’t give me the hike I ask, so I leave to a competitor and get 100+30 as pay. Another employee at the competitor, asks for, doesn’t get the hike he wants, so he leaves and arrives at my employer and gets 100+30 as pay. It turns out to be a zero sum game. Me at new company with 130 pay, and new company employee at my company with 130 pay. We could both have continued at our previous companies had we got 130, and employee retention would be at its highest for both companies. Funny the way the world now works.

That apart, the wanderlust in me doesn’t like resting at any place for too long, especially when it is under someone else’s roof and dictum. The only place I ever had a choice and left was Accenture and that leave me with a lot of sentimental feelings than the other places, since I chose to leave, and not circumstances doing my choosing for me.

Enchanted

One of the few things noticed while walking in a maze,
Is how earnestly the next turn is beseeching you gaze,
Although you already know this isn’t any race,
Yet, you fervently want to just get out of the place.

You told me I would know no silence, as long as my fury was at war,
Choiceless, I knew that withholding it would cause my heart to char,
I tried hard, but found no other way, except to release,
Because sometimes, fighting is the only way, to peace.

You told me life wasn’t worthy, without potential for a dream,
But mere dreaming is not easy as life makes it seem,
So, for yours to come true, I wouldn’t spare myself the knife,
Because sometimes, death is the only donor, to life.

You told me I would never know thirst, unless I drank some wisdom,
But analysing cause and effect seems a little too weird and random,
So, to learn more on you, I had to force my identity off the ledge,
Because sometimes, ignorance is the only reason, for knowledge.

You told me, every work I spoke, was time spent not listening,
But how could I relegate my ears to keep forever hearing,
So, to hear more from you, I decided to mute myself for the magic,
Because sometimes, silence is the only voice, for music.

You told me, everything I saw, was only my version of reality,
But it was unbearable to believe, that every fact has duality,
So, to save you the pain, I resigned myself to the untruth,
Because sometimes, lie is the only face, for truth.

You told me, from this point on, we would have to go our own way,
But being together for a lifetime, I ran out of things to say,
So, to let you have your own way, I could surely despise myself somehow,
Because sometimes, hatred is the only companion, to love.

This one is for the Mirror, stemming as it does from some very intense experiences. How often do we see a conflict between the choices we have, and the choices we wish we had? When life leaves you with only one path, and it is not one you are willing to be nudged along, it often takes the diametrically opposite reason, to make you walk down the path. Not because you love the path, but because the path is the only destination for your love.

Missing

There are few who can really lay claim to knowing missing you,
I need not prove it, when I say I belong to the missing few,
Because I am one of the few, who tried getting away from you,
Only to realize that it was one of the hardest things to do.

I thought, losing you would be as simple as just walking away,
But no matter which direction, I just couldn’t lose my way,
Every road I took already had the footsteps of your anticipation,
Every turn I took, showed me, that you were the path and destination.

Weary at finding you in every corner, I grew suspicious of land,
I believed, the water was one place you couldn’t force my hand,
So, with a paddle in each hand, I headed for the expansive blue,
How much of a surprise I was in for, I had absolutely no clue.

With every gust of wind that innocently toyed with my sail,
I began to hear the bellows of how tragically I was fated to fail,
Because you were the waves, bracing and coasting me ashore,
Only to prove to me again, that you were the sea and shore.

That was when I decided, it was the earth holding me back,
And that flight was the only way to let go without turning back,
So I strapped the sturdiest wing available to each shoulder,
All the while wondering why it took me this long to get bolder.

It must have hardly been a moment since I took to air,
When the drag of your memories, became too heavy to bear,
It was not until every feather refused to any longer cling,
Did I come to agree, that you were the wind and wing.

Call it sour grapes, and call my words a failure’s grumble,
But failing to get away, has shown me how to be humble,
Humble enough to share with those still thinking of escaping,
That the word ‘miss’ shall always be a part of missing.

Although a Beacon, this one is for the Mirror, since it is true as much as it is fantasy. She doesn’t need to be named, because she understands (or atleast she pretends she doesn’t).

Highway to Pandora

I was hitchhiking my way, when the samaritan came along,
I smiled at him, seeing no harm in walking as a throng,
Only on seeing lonely wayfarers dying, did the thought finally occur,
On how every fellow traveller was company enough to provide succour.

The samaritan taught me not, to invite everyone into my tent,
He showed me how lending a blanket, was kindness well spent,
I saw the samaritan give his own quilt to put a shivering soul at rest,
The warmth on his own shivering face, emanated from the joy of the quest.

While I held my bread close, praying it would last me to the destination,
He freely gave his around, hoping to save atleast one from starvation,
The more I carried for myself, the harder it was to move forward,
While he proved the more he shared, the lighter was his path onward.

While I paused every now and then, to reconfirm my footsteps with my map,
He used the time to talk a fallen brother out of their misguided mishap,
Every story I heard, of tragedies unravelled through his conversation,
Taught me how little I knew of others, perhaps, my greatest limitation.

Why he tried giving more than he had, I never could surmise,
Until the moment he revealed, the unseen rewards of sacrifice,
That when you go out of your way, because the needy need you to serve,
You’ll be surprised, at how many come forward, to give you what you deserve.

It was only when he showed me the true spirit of celebrating failure,
I came to realise, that success all the while, had this over-glorified allure,
I realised, that alone, every step I took, was too indistinguishable to remark,
But together, every stop we made, was our journey’s next landmark.

He knew that I could feel hurt, because of my inability to forgive,
So I came to believe, only mercy and compassion I could forever give,
The highway to Pandora taught me, that my only enemy was a fellow traveller’s fall,
And I would recognise and reach no heaven, without realising that love is all.

This one is a Gazebo piece about the journey called life and its purpose. Sometimes we are fortunate enough, to have transportation, and other times we have to walk along with everyone else. What matters, is that we help others reach the destination. That in itself is the true destination for those who know it.

Maudlin

Sometimes, however angry at you, the world might seem,
You need to understand, it is just a way of letting off steam,
Although snapping back might relieve the pressure causing the flow,
You might agree, that it is easier to instead defuse it with a guffaw.

Other times when people seem to just run out of patience,
You need to understand, they’re just weary from having no options,
Given that impatience is not the simplest quarry to head-on tackle,
You might be surprised, that it can easily be disarmed with a cackle.

Often when the world seems to be drowning in its own sorrow,
You need to understand, it’s because they don’t believe in tomorrow,
While it may seem simpler to just cut the moroseness in half,
You might not believe, that it can instead be denied with a laugh.

When people grow tired of keeping up with every struggle and travail,
You need to understand, they are merely hoping for respite to prevail,
However rational it might feel to choke it without room to wriggle,
You might be unaware, that it is more fun to disable it with a giggle.

There are times when things are grim enough to be labelled bleak,
You need to understand, this is courage not encouraged enough to speak,
Despite knowing you can disperse the depression, by spreading it thin,
You might concur, that it can instead be disfigured with just a grin.

Most days, when people abuse you, in an effort to apparently redeem,
You need to understand, they unconsciously suffer from low self-esteem,
Assured though you are, that reciprocation will force it to buckle,
You might already know, that it can be dismantled with a chuckle.

You wonder why the world doesn’t acknowledge life in its every breath,
You need to understand, it is too preoccupied running away from death,
Cliched though it may sound, that this keeps happening all the while,
You already believe, every battle in life, can be fought with a smile.

This one is dedicated to a Beacon called the HBO movie Wit. It merely summarizes the essence of the movie, a zest for life. One that is only recognized by those who appreciate how little they have left of it.

Jettison

I doggedly refused to believe it was a case of stress,
Had I not held my own, and triumphed under extreme duress?
Or that my pent up anxiety was desperately awaiting a release,
Blissfully unaware, I let these keep dragging down my knees.

Why did everybody think I couldn’t get over the fear,
Always being followed by shadows too uncomfortably near,
I cannot hold my breath for every moment uncertainty teasingly reveals,
Ignorantly unsure, I let the suspense keep on pricking at my heels.

I never knew I was even remotely capable of hatred,
Until the time when myself I had gradually come to dread,
Unable to hold my distaste back, every time I hear someone praised,
Voluntarily unhappy, I let the discontent hang around my waist.

You don’t even need to look into my eyes, to see the disbelief,
The lesser you talk to me, you can see my relief, etched in relief,
Because, opening my mouth reveals, that lies are something I never lack,
Hopelessly untruthful, I let the glibness continue straining my back.

While I stay busy, cowering alone, before my own cowardice,
I fail to understand, why courage seems to need no accomplice,
Defeatist enough to let my anger burn me from getting wisely older,
Thoughtfully unclear, I see the fury keeps dragging down my shoulder.

I vividly remember, every time I stretched my arms in helplessness,
And how stubbornly folded they were, to congratulate another’s happiness,
When my apathy prevents me from helping a fallen friend to stand,
Painfully callous, I realise not what is really holding back my hand.

I know from every expression, why I cannot wash away the shame,
And how uncontrollably guilty I feel upon just hearing my name,
I only hope, before this emotional baggage can talk me dead,
I can let go of them, one by one, if only to once again raise my head.

This Mirror one is about the baggage we all carry, and how we drown in the sea of life everyday because we refuse to throw some/all of it overboard. Sometimes, the only way to stay afloat, is to get rid of excess baggage, and that’s where this jettison comes in.

Awake

When I can find nearly no difference between day and night,
And I realize not, the extent or gravity of my plight,
When my thoughts constantly oscillate between either extreme,
I knew then, I was walking in the garden of my dream.

When every step I take, seems the next turn in a maze,
And I find that even the wrong never turn never ceases to amaze,
When the mere act of walking, brings raptures of ecstasy,
I realize that I am breathing the fragrance of fantasy.

When I feel my breath hanging onto every single word,
And I understand that silence is what I can least afford,
When the mind can run untamed, wild with imagination,
I am assured I am in the company of hallucination.

When my every conversation is enlivened by friends,
And every enemy of mine, queues up to make amends,
When my heart is no longer captive, in the cages of permission,
I believe that everything I see, is the beauty of vision.

When I can listen to the melody hidden in every heartbeat,
And I find no reason, why this time won’t itself repeat,
When I wonder why every exit looks like an entrance,
I understand I am swinging under the groove of a trance.

When every thought of mine appeals for a lasting peace,
And I no longer have any anger, greed, or jealousy to appease,
When my most confounding reaction I can easily foretell,
I doubt not that I am under the influence of a benevolent spell.

When the only way to ensure I am not sunk in a reverie,
Is to question and analyze every emotion and memory,
When emerging from the stupor alive, is a mistake,
I agree that dreams are the only place I am truly awake.

Another one for the Gazebo. This one is about the two worlds we live in. A dream one and the real one, or is it vice versa?

Forgotten

I’ve spent so much of my daily life glaring,
That my mirror has forgotten, how they looked, welcoming,
I’ve seen so little of my own eyes, sparkling with delight,
That I have long forgotten the true purpose of sight.

I’ve spent so much time piling abuse upon denigration,
That my mouth has forgotten a word like consolation,
I’ve spoken so little, to support those that plead and beseech,
That I have long forgotten the true purpose of speech.

I’ve heard for so long, cries of suffering and desperation,
That my ears have forgotten, the sound of music and inspiration,
I’ve heeded so little to the pleas of the truly deserving,
That I have long forgotten the true purpose of hearing.

I’ve swallowed for so long, the bitter humble pie of failure,
That my tongue has forgotten, if success is also a famine to endure,
I’ve tasted so little achievement, even in stark distaste,
That I have long forgotten the true purpose of taste.

I’ve been stinking so long, from the stench of distrust,
That my nose has forgotten, the aroma called trust,
I’ve believed for so long, about living in hell,
That I have long forgotten the true purpose of smell.

I’ve used up a lifetime, following the footsteps of hatred,
That my heart has forgotten, the path love had once tread,
I’ve ignored for so long, the urge for compassion and sharing,
That I have long forgotten the true purpose of feeling.

I’ve thought for long, that helplessness is the only state I could understand,
That my entire being has forgotten, the meaning of a helping hand,
I’ve wasted so long, questioning others belief in religion and divinity,
That I have long forgotten the existence of my own humanity.

A simple one for Mirror, inspired again by the movie Vedam, specifically the song Malli Puttaniyi.

Luciferin

Every time I am asked, why the truth has me enslaved,
It reminds me of my freedom, that darkness has depraved,
So I tell them, “the truth has, and seeks, no control of me”,
“The truth is not about control, it is about being free”.

It is easy to fall in love, because lies are so beautiful,
But it is only to the eyes, that lies even appear beautiful,
The truth and the sun, have a beauty at which you cannot stare,
For the fear of being consumed by their liberating glare.

The truth and the sun, have neither morning nor night,
You cannot know darkness when you are the light,
And without the night, there can be no morning,
There can only be ignorance and awakening.

The truth and the sun, both have no shadow,
Both are the light, a liar fears to follow,
Because every lie, has a shadow called guilt,
One that changes shape with every new tilt.

The shadows of a lie grow longer in the night,
And shrink at the slightest sight of light,
The lie can only exist, as long as the truth we hide,
But the truth can exist, long after no people abide.

Hiding it in the heart, is like keeping the sun in your pocket,
They will burn their way out, even through a metal jacket,
And all that it leaves you with, is a lot of heartburn,
Because the sun, the truth, will both inevitably return.

The truth, put simply, is all about courage and your character,
Courage to sacrifice an easy smile, in return for eternal laughter,
Every time we shelter a lie, we force every minute of life into fight,
But you can choose, to be dragged, or gracefully step into the light.

This is one for the Mirror, and reflects my take on the similarity between the sun and truth. Both have friends, and yet neither cares about it. It is also my reflection on the single largest motivation in my life, the quest for truth.

Is There

Not to throw, whatever we can against the wall,
Not to mouth, every profanity we can quickly recall,
Not to vent out, pent up frustration into the community,
Anger is there, to test our affinity for serenity.

Not to cover up, some thing as serious as infidelity,
Not to make up, for some thing as silly as timidity,
Not to utter, because it’s the only thing that can soothe,
Lie is there, to test our dedication to the truth.

Not to give company, to some forlorn tears,
Not to take the blame, for many unfortunate years,
Not to fill the void, left by a heart’s emptiness,
Sorrow is there, to test our longing for happiness.

Not to use as an excuse, to justify every war,
Not to feign, as a stranger closing every door that’s ajar,
Not to malign, as the reason behind this whole mess,
Hate is there, to test our commitment to forgiveness.

Not to pity, as a nuisance while crossing the road,
Not to ridicule, for wiping the car we rode,
Not to throw, as a catchword at seminars on humanity,
Poverty is there, to test our capacity for generosity.

Not to ignore, any word or to play with every word,
Not to merely sing aloud, a tune never heard,
Not to shout, to everyone about every squabble or difference,
Speech is there, to test our love for silence.

Not to spend, every second running behind a goal,
Not to manage, a vacant minute to salvage your soul,
Not to prove, there really is someone above,
Life is there, to test our willingness to love.

A simple and self-explanatory one for the Mirror, this one is also about my religion, Godism. It merely states that misfortune is there for us to make something positive out of, not to sit and cry about, or curse God about. It takes off from what Godforsaken and Unbelong conveyed.

Rocky Nest

We knew there was no other place, but the mountain top,
Because this was where everybody we knew, had set up shop,
I still remember, the location was merely the first of many a grouse,
But that still meant, that this was where we would build our house.

It was a place where our feathers were constantly singed by the sun,
The place that first taught us the value of sheltering someone,
From the piercing white embers, of which the hottest summers are made,
We learnt the importance of providing each other with shade.

A place so open, the chilly winters made us literally shiver,
With only the fish below comfortable, in a long-frozen river,
When we had no choice, but to closely huddle to survive,
We learnt why staying together, was the real reason to be alive.

To the days when we were greeted, with a howling wind,
And all plans of searching for prey, we had to rescind,
It was from those times, when life had us forcibly grounded,
We learnt to take the time, to express a love that abounded.

In those months of monsoon, when the merciless rain lashed,
And it seemed, the very water would push us off the cliff, unabashed,
When it seemed we would have to build a new nest for spring,
We learnt to truly become a family, by each spreading a wing.

While you struggled all day, to drag home the food,
I foraged for tender twigs, in the adjoining wood,
When hundreds of different twigs, can together make a nest,
What more do we need, to tell our individual differences to rest.

But what the woven twigs constitute, is merely an abode,
A place to rest tired limbs, before morning can again goad,
It is only when each of us lets go, of our ego and its nome,
That we come to recognise what we together built, as home.

I have often been asked, what is it that differentiates a married couple from a family? Well, here’s my answer. It is also my answer to the other question, of what differentiates a house from a home. A couple live in a house, while a family lives in a home. As simple as that. So take out your checklists and see if you are simply married, or are a family. see if you have a house, or a home.

This is a continuation of where Foundry left off, and hence slides nicely into Gazebo. Will add more explanation upon receiving comments. 🙂

This one is dedicated to Tuffy (released 08/12/2010) who was a lovable, huggable part of our family.

P.S.

Nome: Any melody determined by inviolable rules.
Being the music freak that i am, couldn’t keep music out of this one 🙂

Lake Infinity

Just when I was almost pleased at seeing the first rays of dawn,
I was dejected, that they weren’t looking for my lawn,
It seemed everyone took pleasure in provoking me into delight,
And then reminding me, there was no morning to my night.

My legs are still sore, from constantly falling on my knees,
The handcuffs cut against my wrists, repeatedly begging release,
My mind only pleads, that you wipe it for a fresh start,
And my heart is crying louder, requesting to be torn apart.

I was naive to think, suffering was a cup, with a measure,
And every day, how full or empty, I could measure,
Atleast now I have realised, that suffering is the sea,
And how deep I have been dipped, I cannot see.

If suffering was a true measure of how long one had lived,
I was sure everyone on earth, I had already outlived,
And when there’s nobody else left, what’s the point of living,
If not to leisurely walk hand-in-hand, with suffering.

But slowly I began to see other people, ones a lot older than me,
A dozen, hundreds, thousands of them, centuries older than me,
What most of them had in common, I only noticed after a while,
Despite their age, life had repeatedly failed, to wipe off their smile.

And that was the first time I felt completely ashamed,
That I had always thought of who could be blamed,
Ashamed, that instead of trying to swim bravely to the shore,
I was willing to sink, so that someone else could be punished some more.

I wish to thank those who taught me to let the tears dry,
And that the only way to kill tears, was to ignore them till they die,
I wish to thank those who taught me, that we are all very rich in suffering,
But very few of us, use it to make something worth remembering.

Although this has a lot of my personal experiences, this one really belongs in Gazebo. The concept is very simple, suffering is like wealth/money. The more you hoard/save it, the more it remains the same. You keep $10 in your locker and after a hundred years, they still remain $10. You share that $10 with somebody who needs it, and you may get $100 or $0 in return. That’s the same way suffering works, you hoard it, it eats you from inside, but doesn’t diminish one single bit. You share it with others, you can immediately feel the burden lightening. You channel it into something positive and constructive, the rewards will far outlive you or your suffering.

The title is inspired from the pre-climax scene of ”Truman Show‘ where Jim Carrey decides to brave the rough seas to make good an escape, and finally finds it is actually a set. Sorrow is similar in nature. You resent/fear it, it will appear as infinite as the sea. You brave it, face it head on, it will show its true form, which is a backyard lake.

Perfection

Around the edges, the eyebrows taper a little too sharp,
And the face is imbalanced, neither round nor oval, they harp,
Perhaps just a little more effort, could have salvaged Mona Lisa’s fate,
It could have been a lot better, is all that the critics know to state.

When your lifetime of art, is ripped apart, not by a rival worth admiring,
But by a person, who has never managed to sell a two-bit crayon drawing,
And this person has a following, that knows not pencil from charcoal,
Perhaps, that is when perfection ceases to any longer be a goal.

I can never understand, why nothing is ever good enough,
Or why the roundest pebble is still slightly rough,
Or why there isn’t a melody, that didn’t need some tweaking of the tune,
Or how somebody always feels, you could have better drawn that cartoon.

Maybe I will never understand because I refuse to even try,
Often I found it better to understand the sorrow, rather than simply cry,
And when people point out, that my humour has turned a tad too wry,
I ask them to watch the experts fight it out on why deserts are never too dry.

Whenever I hear of a masterpiece having a concealed flaw,
I wonder if it is their own reflection that they saw,
While a hundred thousand knew only to appreciate its beauty,
One guy feels. that parading the flaw is his beholden duty.

You never hear an artist tearing apart the intricacies of another’s work,
A true artist knows, the time is better spent improving his own work,
So the next time somebody tries to put your effort down,
You can be sure the person has lesser achievements than a clown.

So, while the world is waiting to prove that my product has a defect,
I spend every minute, ensuring that my effort is perfect,
The only thing that matters, is my satisfaction, in my dedication,
Because I have already learnt, that acceptance is the key to perfection.

This one is for one of the inspiring Beacons, Paayal. i have since long wanted to write something in the contentment genre and kept putting it off. Kept putting it off until i came across her posts on self-respect and perfection. It forced me to write what i was putting off for months. So Paayal, this one is for you.

Spaces

The day when you thought we were seeing too much of each other,
And had thus gotten too familiar and bored with one another,
You suggested that we maintain some distance and create space,
And try to see if we could appreciate something other than each other’s face.

So we walked away, afar, each to our own way,
Not sure what we would feel,  on waking up the next day,
It was a chance, you said, a test to see how far the mind would stray,
But try as much as we did, our minds simply refused to obey.

I walk into the restaurant, and see you empty chair,
You pick up the comb, and remember my ruffled hair,
I close my eyes, and see you returning the stare,
You open the door, to believe I am not there.

I walk away, only to notice, the footprints are a pair less,
You evade a reply, and recall what I would never confess,
Writing a letter, I recollect, that you had all the words,
Awaiting the train, you observe, the tree has no lonely birds.

We thought, letting go of the thought, was simply wishing it off the mind,
Unfortunately, just by closing their eyes, people do not turn blind,
And so we stand, separated, by thousands of miles in distance,
Yet, united, beyond choice, by our mind’s dogged resistance.

There’s still something between us, the farther each one departs,
Because love is the only distance between any two hearts,
So, that which separates is merely the glue upon our heart,
Holding us together, just as much close, as apart.

Space is not a measure of how far, it’s a measure of how close we are,
Look up at the sky, there’s only a centimetre gap, between star and star,
And if you still can’t believe, just walk away, and follow your own heart,
Because then I can be sure, you will unknowingly be following my heart.

This one is for the Gazebo. It was inspired from multiple sources, but mostly from a dear friend horribly crooning Atif Aslam’s Doorie.

Godse

It might only take a man to kill another man,
But sometimes, it takes a nation to kill the beliefs of a man,
For, no man is truly dead, until his every belief is,
Because, that is when nothing can exist to be called his.

So, you would think, what of a belief, that lit a billion lives,
How many generations, before such a belief no longer lives,
You would be surprised, that it is easier than killing a dream,
After all, most beliefs often age into a forgotten dream.

To kill a dream, you have to let go, the effort of remembering it,
To kill a belief, you only have to act, like you ignore it,
Once enough people ignore it, beliefs transform into dreams,
And even memorable dreams trickle down our memory streams.

So it was, the man came to be killed, a trillion times over,
And the man rolls in his grave, knowing this is far from over,
Every day, every minute, somebody is busy killing him,
So busy, they don’t even notice the death, or him.

Every time we slap a person, we sweetly butcher him,
Every time we abuse a person, we silently murder him,
Every time we hate someone, we lovingly stab him,
Every thought that hurts someone, we gleefully behead him.

it takes more than one man and bullet, to kill a legend,
And destiny has very creative ideas, about heralding the end,
It makes you believe, that no man can outlive his message,
And that the message died a long time before your age.

Although someone else physically pulled the trigger,
All said and done, each one of us is equally the killer,
We kill every day, through thought, through word, and action,
Let it be known and understood, this man was killed by a nation.

This one is for the Gazebo. It is mostly self-explanatory and deals with how people can kill a dead man a million times over. It has two inspirations, both of which can be traced to one person, Ram Gopal Varma. The first is from Jeeva’s dialogues in Sarkar that go something like “Sarkar ek aadmi nahi, ek soch hai. Aur aadmi ko maarne ke pehle, soch ko maarna hai.” This perfectly summarises what Gandhi is to this nation, he wasn’t just a man, he was a set of beliefs. Ones on which this country was supposedly founded. i say supposedly, because i hate to believe that the foundations of a nation could have gotten so easily eroded.

The second is from a title of his article for Eenadu on fascism titled “The ideas that killed a million people.” A very catchy headline you would agree, which is why it got me thinking of the reverse. The result is this poem, about “the million people that killed an idea.”

P.S.

I personally do not subscribe to Gandhian philosophies and am not a pacifist. Although i am not war-hungry, there are circumstances when war is necessary. Specially when somebody takes first offence against you. By the way, to play around with one of his famous quotes, an eye for an eye, does not make the whole world blind, it only makes the whole world half-blind. This poem is merely an effort to document the erosion of a philosophy that a nation was built on, one that is concretized on currency notes, shit-ridden statues in every city and town, and on the walls of every non-functional public office. It does not mean i believe in the philosophy. (so that doesn’t make me a murderer!!!!!!!!!!)

Fred Claus

The little boy was more confused than ever before,
Surely a festival must mean something more,
What his grandpa said, seemed to make little sense,
It seemed like something badly conjured up in defence.

So he went back to nagging the exasperated old man,
On this eccentricity that was celebrated only by man,
But this time, he decided he would do all the talk,
He only hoped, the old man wouldn’t fall back in shock.

“Why is it, that people spend the year, yelling at each other”,
“And finally choose a day to treat one other like a brother?”,
“Why is it, that people put up with a year full of abuse”,
“And take comfort in having a day, to praise each other profuse?”.

“Why do they live every moment for themselves, without relent”,
“Thinking one day is enough, to chant a prayer and repent?”,
“Why do they spend a year, closing the door on their neighbour”,
“Knowing they can invite them in, just in time for any dinner?”.

“Why do they shout at their crying parents, every single day”,
“Hoping, that decorating a tree together, will make those words go away?”,
“Why do they teach their children, to run the entire year in a hurry”,
“Wishing, that opening some gift, would wipe away every worry?”.

“Why do they think, a single sorry can soothe a year full of hurt”,
“Believing, that lighting a candle, is enough recognition of effort?”,
The old man was too puzzled, to notice the boy short of breath,
And only let out a sigh, because the boy regained his breath.

“Why can’t they just be nice, every day of the year”,
“And try to prevent, instead of wiping each tear?”,
“Why can’t they cherish every moment along the way”,
“Instead of dying the whole year, to live for just one day?”.

This one is obviously for the Mirror, since it is a continuation of Rudolf. This one reflects my actual views on festivals/celebration. So lets move on to the usual questions.

a) What’s with the title?
The title is from a movie of the same name, about Santa’s brother, who goes to the North Pole and saves the day for Santa and the entire world.

b) Why two poems?
The concept is too strong to finish within one poem without diminishing all of its essence into shortened sentences. The poem could have been double my usual length, but that would deny supporters of the festival with a poem. So splitting keeps both parties happy. Those who like festivals can read the first, and those who don’t can read only the second one. Besides, while the first one seems in support of celebration, it is actually a sly representation of the views that are debated in the second one. It helps to glorify the adversary in order to magnify the victory.

c) What is it about festivals/celebration that pisses me off?
The very words and what they signify. Take for example some thing like birthdays, which celebrate nothing significant. You being born is merely a statistical event that is by itself insignificant. But Happy Birthday is a festival of depression-era origins, when people needed some thing to make them feel alive atleast for one day, and bakers cashed in on the opportunity. Also read my favourite article on the topic.

It pains me to see that we fail to realise that most festivals are effectively celebrations of life and our thanks to our maker (whoever he/she is) for blessing us with whatever we have on that day. Knowing this fact about festivals, we fail to realise that celebrating them on that one day, makes us relive the Depression-days, by indirectly stating that there is only one day a year when we forcibly choose to be happy, even if we aren’t. Reminds me of one of my favourite sayings:
Perhaps this is why it is man alone who laughs: he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Why is it that we can’t simply celebrate each day of our lives, for its ups and downs. Why do we feel that only a cake completes celebration? Or that only decorating the house, completes a festival? Why do we have to shout at our parent/children every day and then make up with them for the sake of a festival? Why do we have to abuse our friends every day and then wish them a Happy Birthday? Is it not possible to be nice to everyone everyday?

Of course, some people are downright nasty and deserve a dose of their own medicine, right? If you feel like retorting to someone because they aren’t nice, then you’re allowing their worthlessness dictate to your politeness, which makes you no different from them. if you really want to see the difference, be polite and nice to everybody no matter what, and see the difference after maybe a year or a decade. Most often people aren’t nice to you on that day or that year, because nobody has been nice to them that day/year. Waiting for the other person to change is only going to ensure everyone does the same, and we are left with status quo.

If you really want to see a change in the world, be the one to lead it, rather than follow, since nobody else is going to lead. Try it today, throw a party to the person who has just slapped you, and see his/her reaction. Shake the hand of a person who has just abused you, and see their reaction. If not today, their reaction will change over time. Of course, initially everyone will look at you like a lunatic, but atleast its better to be a happy lunatic, than a depressed conformist. People treat those who stand out as lunatics because they are insecure about their own conformity. Once the tide slowly switches and you become the mainstream, they will look at their previous beliefs as lunacy, that’s people for you.

So, i hope you understand, why i care not even a damn for any festival, and why i am not reachable on my birthday. its time to end the practice of living for one day in a year, and start living every moment of life.

P.S.

The whole Rudolf carol is anti-celebration. Because the problem Rudolf is facing is being an outcast. So taking him away from the reindeer and making him a celebrity among humans, is like taking a cat rejected by other cats, and making him an exalted exhibit among dogs, and expecting the cat to be happy because of the miracle of the festive spirit. A true miracle would have been if the other reindeer had welcomed him into their fold because of the Christmas spirit, and not humans cheering him on.

I would like to end with a relevant line from ‘Sirivennela Sahityam’:
“Padhuguru soukhyam pondhe diname panduga kadha?”
“Is not the day, when a dozen people find solace and relief, a festival?”

Rudolf

All around him, the houses abounded with festoons and bunting,
And from every roof, miniature bells and stars were hanging,
He had seen all this for quite some years now,
But had never understood the significance of it somehow.

All he knew, was that people greeted each other with an extra large smile,
The same people, who couldn’t stand each other’s company, even for a while,
Suddenly everybody had woken up, to a word called share,
And the most popular catchword of the season, was the word ‘care’.

He pondered long, before asking his grandfather about it,
What is the meaning of the festive season, and the Christmas spirit?”,
First surprised, then amused, he put the little boy on his lap,
He tried to explain in kidspeak, about Santa and his burlap.

He said, “Christmas is a time when people do some soul-cleaning,
A time when they try giving sorry more than just a meaning,
A time when people take the time to remember their near and dear,
And recollect with each other the hurrahs and regrets of the year”.

“Christmas is the time for people to sit back and think,
About how often from the cup of happiness they could drink,
It’s the time they evaluate the purpose for which they live,
It’s the time people relearn to give, and to forgive”.

“But why do they have to keep it all for the year-end?”,
Asked the little boy, still not able to fully comprehend,
And why do you try to be extra nice to me, for one day?“,
This time, it was the old man who didn’t know what to say.

“You will understand some day, when your existence becomes stagnant”,
Said the old man, as if reading aloud from a sacred covenant,
“Your life will become wretched enough, to force you to pray”,
“That God make you feel special, atleast for one single day”.

This one is for the Mirror. It is the first in a two-part series on my beliefs on celebration. What is it exactly about celebration that pisses me off? That is some thing that will have to be answered only in the next poem. For now, here are the answers to the other obvious questions.

a) Why Christmas?
Well, it could have been anything else reall, like Dusshera, Sankranthi, Ramzan, or something. I chose Christmas because of the wider connect it has to audiences across the world. But fundamentally, most celebrations/festivities and their underlying reasons are the same.

b) What’s with the title?
The title is derived from a carol, about Rudolf the reindeer. How he was a loner, and rejected by all his peers, and then it was Christmas time and Santa came along and made him an offer, and sunndely he was the toast of town. The carol hopes to impress upon the listener the healing/unifying powet of the Christmas. To me, that is the best example someone can give for having a festival, and hence the title.

Dystopia

Ever wondered as to why we maintain so many faces,
As if in contingency to the day’s innumerable phases,
The only thing we are saved, is from physically changing the mask,
But that does not make it any simpler a task.

We look at some thing, believing we like that we see,
But to express that admiration, we want a common decree,
That liking what we see is not against social policy,
And thus most often, we are forced to only quietly see.

We hear some thing, and find it so spell binding,
That we wish we could keep forever rewinding,
But disapproval is a very persuasive kind of fear,
So we are left, never again wanting to hear.

We know some thing, and badly want to tell,
But how they would react, we cannot foretell,
We don’t want to be hasty and then repent,
And that’s how most of our words fell silent.

We leave our heart open, to explore and feel,
And yet let the feelings be subdued by another’s appeal,
Telling us we must be careful, about what we harbour in our heart,
And so we close it, letting our entire life fall apart.

We are intrigued by some thing, and want to further learn,
And are told, such knowledge is a right we must never earn,
That releasing the light could make everybody burn,
We are left with no choice, but to forcibly unlearn.

So everytime we believe there’s some thing we fully know,
We keep getting reminded about how lesser we are in the know,
And it is only when we get rid of this voluntarily unconscious myopia,
That we can realise, each of us is living, in our own dysfunctional utopia.

How often do we wish that we could change the world and remodel it to our liking? How often are we frustrated at not being able to do the thing we want, or speak the thing we want to? This poem is about why we can never have our utopia and live in it. if you notice, the entire poem uses the word WE. The reason is that due to myopia, we fail to see that we are a part of the world that we believe is perpetuating the cycle of repression. So the next time you feel somebody stopped you from doing something, remember the time when you stopped sombody else from saying something.

This one is for the Mirror.

Frank Einstein

“What is beauty?”, a friend once casually asked me,
And I thought, “of all the people around, why me?”,
But somehow, the question seemed less casual and more profound,
The answer was something easier understood than found.

With slanted eyebrows above each of his squinted eyelid,
There could be no second assumption about what he did,
But he could see the hard work behind another’s flaw,
And it was one of the most beautiful things he saw.

With wilted ears too small for his oblong head,
There was no mistaking to what amusements they led,
But he could hear the sorrow from a suffering man’s unspoken word,
And it was one of the most beautiful things he heard.

You wondered why his nose was so bulbous and crooked,
There was no doubt about what his palate wanted,
But he could smell the agony a lonely man felt,
And it was one of the most beautiful things he smelt.

You joked that his lips were in a perpetual pout,
There were nasty jokes on what the pout was about,
But he could console someone who’s heart just broke,
And it was one of the most beautiful things he spoke.

You were sure his heart was as black as his face,
There was lot of hope it would soon stop keeping pace,
But he could pray that everyone was happy when alive,
And it was one of the most beautiful reasons to survive.

So I told him, that beauty is not in the features or their perfection,
Beauty is in the acceptance of everybody’s imperfection,
Beauty is not in the age or colour of a person,
Beauty lies in understanding the character of the other person.

This one is for the Mirror. The title is a self-coined anagram of ‘I, Frankenstein‘. Quite often i used to ponder about what really made a person LOOK beautiful. If you hadn’t already noticed, beauty all around you is a combination of one awesome feature with a collection of average features. Take for example, a morphed image with Aishwarya Rai’s eyes, Marilyn Monroe’s nose, and Angelina Jolie’s lips. The result would truly be nightmarish and probably related to Frankenstein. The individual faces of these people look desirable because they have beatiful eyes, set against average noses, and lips etc.

Besides, I wonder if Aishwarya Rai would have the same number of fans if perhaps a little acid fell on her cheeks and forehead right after her first movie, and there weren’t cosmetic surgeons around. Which brings me to the second talking point of this poem, the ephemeral nature of physical beauty, and how most of us discriminate against those with real beauty, inner beauty (myself included). It is a challenge to step out of that stereotyped mindsets about judging a person by their looks.

Personally, though I do not discriminate against someone who doesn’t look appealingly attractive, I do respond favourably to someone who looks attractive, which is still a form of discrimination. So here’s to overcoming our collective weaknesses.

Think

Nobody knew when he slept, when he went and came,
All we knew, was that ‘Tanker’ Ralph was his name,
That he would be at the docks hours before the boat,
A decade-long dream, the only sound from his throat.

After a hard day’s work, while we settled to make merry,
He would be at the harbour, working the night ferry,
Early in the morning, he would be slumped over the deck,
Half-ready for another day, another chance to risk his neck.

While we rubbed our faces to wipe from it, the scalding steam,
He was working and lost, far away seas in a ship-sized dream,
Over and over he would tell us, “one day this tanker will be my own”,
We thought he was crazy, and so just left him alone.

But it was not some day, or month, took him a whole twenty years,
Before the tanker in front of him, could move him to tears,
Years and tears of enslavement with scalded hands and a broken back,
But he was a man in a hurry, with no time and desire to look back.

In no less than a week, tossed like the toy of a naughty wave,
His tanker burst into flames, with nothing left to save,
Imagine standing ashore, watching your life go up in flame,
Knowing you only had yourself and twenty years to blame.

We rushed to his side, to say a word or two of consoling comfort,
Only to realise, it was such a surprising waste of effort,
Struck with a blow that would have buried any man,
Resolutely sea-gazing he stood, laughing like a madman.

“Can’t you see”, he said, “now everything can again be new”,
And on the very sand before his feet, a bigger ship he drew,
“Will take another ten years, of hawking my soul and my abilities”,
“But after that”, he said, “just think of the new possibilities”

This one is also from and for the previous Beacon, Remington Steele. This is a versification of a small story narrated in the episode that has the dialogues from the previous poem, Yes & No. Although in the serial, it is merely a story, couldn’t help notice the pragmatic approach and how much it mirrored my life right now. At this very moment, i am sitting with my tanker in flames, and this story helped me realise the approach i should take towards the whole matter.

i have always believed, that things don’t go away by crying, just as much as the sun doesn’t go away by closing the eyes. And sometimes, things are snatched away from you, to help provoke you to deserve and achieve better things for yourself. It has been one hectic month catching up on my writing that i had let take the backseat for my tanker. But that tanker sank due to a deliberate wave, and the writing has sapped out all the agony and angst. Now all that remains is the peace, emptiness, and a single dream.

Enough for this month. Shall take rest for the rest of the month. Any poems will only appear from the next month. phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

btw, for those statistically inclined, this is the poem no. 200 on my blog.

Yes & No

It is surprising how two little words can play with your life,
Like frozen butter being teased by a serrated knife,
They hang on at the tip of a person’s tongue,
And then vanish like the tune of a paean unsung.

The word everyone wants to hear, is a definite yes,
But unfortunately, life is more complicated than chess,
Thus choice is something we confer, merely for show,
Because the word we can least bear, is a crushing no.

We must have asked each other this, a million times,
Within the confines of our own mind, like silent chimes,
And we look into each other’s eyes, guessing what the other would say,
But whatever the word, it always had to wait for some other day.

Times when we were happy, it was the last thing on mind,
Times when we were sad, it was too awkward to remind,
And so we would shrug it off, as something for tomorrow,
Naively believing, that there is a holiday for sorrow.

Reminds you of the nights, when I held your sobbing head,
While you haltingly pondered, which way things would head,
You tried unsuccessfully to hold back every tear, to prevent me from wiping,
While I tried, in vain, to hold back the world, to prevent you from weeping.

With cloudy eyes, and a cloudier mind, you tell me,
Tonight is the beginning, of a future we both want to see,
And that tonight if I asked you, you couldn’t say no,
That you were willing to leave everything and just go.

But tonight is a time I would never ask you,
Although that’s something you never knew,
And I know this adamance will take you by surprise,
But I promise, to only ask you, when you really have a choice.

Obviously for a Beacon. Two words, but two worlds apart. It’s like St. Peter refereeing between two doors, and Morpheus behind you saying “I can only show you the door, you’re the one that has to walk through it”. This one is inspired by, and dedicated to the serial Remington Steele. Very rare;y do you come across something that can change your outlook to mundane and important things in life, in such a significant manner, as this serial did. In fact, two of the lines from the poem are actually paraphrased dialogues from one of the episodes. That is how deep an impact it made on my life.

So deep an impact that the next one, ‘Think’ my 200th poem on this blog, is also from the serial.

They are one of the smallest frequently used words in conversation, yes and no. But nevertheless in one circumstance, they are anything but trivial, the answer from a life partner. So how do we ingeniously devious beings counter the risk? By playing out an elaborate ritual, restaurants, movies, champagne, flowers, sweet nothings, joyrides, the works. And after all that is through, a visit to the jeweller, and a patient wait before going for the kill. You see, the timing has to be perfect, so we wait like a tiger waiting for the unsuspecting deer to lower its guard.

But you see, the small catch is, there is no unsuspecting deer, you should probably strike it and change it to ‘expectant deer’. There is only a deer playing along through the entire charade, with a one-word speaking part. The catch is, the deer might decide to improvise, then you are really screwed. Because, all of your preparations, all of your routines, prepared you for the yes, so much so, that the no was merely an insignificant statistical possibility. But what happens when the tables are turned, and the yes becomes an insignificant statistical possibility? Are you prepared enough for the day when the deer stalks the tiger, and you have nowhere to hide?

The thing is, we want something so badly, that we want to believe the other person wants it as much, and so try to rub it off onto them, at times and circumstances when they are cornered into agreeing. I mean, if somebody spent a zillion bucks to make you feel like royalty, and then in return asked you a simple thing like ‘go walk into this cage for me’, it would feel downright awkward to say anything but yes, irrespective of the consequences. But, true love lies in choice, and that sometimes means abiding by and respecting the other person’s choice, however conflicting and detrimental it may be to our own choice. If you really love someone, then why should you not give them a fair chance at exercising their choice, unless of course you fear that their rational-minded choice may not be something palatable to you. Sometimes it sounds like a politician who has done months of canvassing, and then on D-Day hires a limo to drop the voter and a valet to hold an umbrella over the voter’s head until he finishes voting. For some weird reason, that smells of rank insecurity, but then maybe, love today, is really that.

What the voter fails to sometimes comprehend is, what happens after the vote is cast? Will the valet and limo still be in service for them? The answer to that, is what guides the real freedom of choice.

Icarus Glue

I never thought I would fly in such rough weather,
But I care not, having glued myself feather by feather,
I could fall faster than my meteoric rise, but I don’t bother,
Because a fall isn’t really painful, when taken for a brother.

When I first heard that destiny had this challenge going,
About who could worthily prove to be my undoing,
I laughed it off, thinking it was just another game,
Until I realised what it was they set about to defame.

The whacks from their batons, hit my legs hard,
But my knees decided, that was reason to run more hard,
The flicks from their canes, leaves my palms charred,
But my arms decided, that was reason to flap more hard.

The more burdened my chest, the easier I could take-off,
Because every feather has a thousand other to care of,
And before they knew it, I had already far away flown,
Leaving behind their guilt, to keep them company alone.

Every slap on the face, punch in the stomach, elicited no sound,
Because the only objective was to bring me back to the ground,
Every ignore, every neglect, was calculated to make me wince,
But only the louder flapping of my determined wings they could evince.

There were hundreds depending on me, to prove they too could fly,
And destiny owns the entire window, but not an inch of the sky,
All it takes, is to realise, that the walls and windows are a lie,
A simple realisation that has so far kept me flying high.

The harshest lies and toughest blows cannot force a single tear,
Because it isn’t the pain or sorrow, that I truly fear,
In this relentless battle to tarnish my unsullied name,
Am afraid, that stopping flying, will lower my head in shame.

Obviously for the Mirror. I always had this fantasy about this joke of naming a glue after Icarus. Imagine creating a gum and branding it Icarus. Funny though it may sound, paradoxically life is such a glue. We fail a thousand times at things that we believe we will never succeed in. But if we took each of those feathers, and stuck all of them together and used them to propel our next attempt, there is no doubt, success is not the only barrier we will breach. Letting petty insults, and temporary blows affect our opinion of progress will only serve to melt our confidence to the ground. Brushing them aside with every stroke of our hand, will make sure they understand their place in the scheme of things, while ensuring we soar.

The most important thing to remember, is that the only person who can damage your self-confidence, is you. Through a lack of trust in yourself, you help anyone determined enough to distract you from the goal to win. Trying to fly with a single feather will keep you grounded forever. But, flying with a thousand feathers, will take you to new heights, provided you can keep each of them glued together, and self-confidence is that glue, the one modern day Icaruses lack.

I was going to post this after I got a new job, but then figured, what the heck, a little morale booster can’t hurt. Although wings are cool, Dangerous Dave’s jetpack won’t hurt once in a while. So, for those who know what you did, this is my anthem declaring your failure, because trickery and deceit can win on one day, but the human spirit of endeavour will the victor forever.

Effortless

Man has always been fascinated by the mysteries of the sea,
Maybe because there isn’t an inch of land that’s left free,
So he sets about elaborately courting the ocean,
Alas, if only to his own follies he paid such attention.

For the idle stroller on the early morning beach,
It throws a few cowrie shells within easy reach,
For those too leisured to even walk back and forth,
They simply content themselves with its bubbly froth.

For those eagerly waiting ashore to grab,
It spits out an unlucky or two crab,
And for those too meek to wrestle their own fate,
It merely washes their footprints along with their feet.

For those hoping they can find a boat to launch,
It keeps them grounded with a colourful conch,
And for those who will not be content with merely a wish,
It always washes up a score of patterned starfish.

For those that do venture out in their hard-earned sailboat,
It teases them with fishes too alive to play dead-and-afloat,
And for those who can together cast a crafty net,
Few dozen fishes and a reason for return is all they get.

For the one who swims inside, shoulder against the tide,
To those depths where the first of its secrets abide,
Bearing every insult the capsizing waves deign to hurl,
To him it grudgingly abandons, the coveted mother-of-pearl.

For those merely interested in finding the horizon,
It keeps them busy with the scattering light of a setting sun,
From those concerned about their shoes, to those willing to lose their shirt,
The sea pays them all, to each according to their own risk and effort.

A self-explanatory one for the Gazebo. This was inspired by a line in a background song for the movie Vedam. One the face of it simple, yet profoundly philosophical. The poem has lots of factual inconsistencies, but what the hell, it’s a poem, not a scientific article on oceanography. The message is simple, the sea throws out many things to tempt man, froth, corals, shells, fish, and what not. But the sea never throws out its pearls, they are reserved for those who will dare enough to get into the sea. Each of us gets rewarded by what Investment Managers call, the ‘Risk-Reward Equation’. Although, it may not seem immediate and in-your-face, the reward is always commensurate with your efforts.

Free

The words finally come out, but are they free to go?
The reason they were released, you’re the only one to know,
I can’t ask those words because they just wouldn’t slow,
So all that we can do is merely go with their flow.

Just by themselves, they are merely listings in a lexicon,
But they can’t only mean that they mean, I reckon,
For, if only everything was as clear as the day,
I wouldn’t give a second though to anything you say.

But words are merely the method of an instrument,
One that can ask not, only mutely implement,
Whereas the mind is what the mind is,
And you very well know why I remind this.

The real orders come from the guilty one, the mind,
That elusive birthplace of every thought you can find,
It seeds them, waters them, weeds them, and reaps them,
All the while making you believe, you farmered them.

So you believe, that happiness is the result of an occurrence,
And that sorrow is consistent, only in its recurrence,
That you emotions are really well-thought reactions,
Caused purely as a result of somebody else’s actions.

You fail to realise you are a pawn in a wonderful game,
Where the mind puppets you, to live up, to you name,
Be always wary of the one that pulls those strings,
For that is the one who created all these things.

So every time you think you are free to say what you feel,
Free to objectively think and what you said you feel,
Remember, you’re an eternal prisoner of your own mind,
And it uses your weakest and simplest thoughts to forever bind.

This one is for the Gazebo. It is a sort of mixture of fact and fantasy. With Robo/Endhiran coming up for release this month-end, i thought it only pertinent to explore a favourite thought of Isaac Asimov. Is there such a thing like mind control, and if there is, can we really control our minds? Reminds me of the Mirabai bhajan “Chalo re man, chalo re man, ganga yamuna teer”. So often we believe that we know what we are doing, but in retrospect realise we were above our heads on that one. And more often than that we believe we know what is right and what is wrong, and that we consciously choose the path from among the two.

Alas there could be nothing more misguided than that. Not only do we merely have a belief of what is good and bad, as opposed to a knowledge of the same, we can’t even distinguish between the two at times. The fault does not entirely lie with our mental faculties, fundamentally right and wrong are not black and white issues, and it is the ignorance that they should be either black or white that causes the conflict. This poem was also my tribute to the movie Raavan that beautifully depicted those shades of grey, those means-justify-the-ends versus one-man’s-good-is-another-man’s-bad versus how-much-bad-can-we-get-to-accomplish-a-supposedly-good-thing dilemmas. One can only truly be free when one can function beyond the control of one’s own mind.

Walk Back

When you get another of those envious stares,
From solitarily climbing the endless stairs,
And you understand, why sharing makes the burden more light,
That is when you feel, you shouldn’t have let me out of sight.

When you break out into a jealous smile,
Knowing not, the genuine one for a while,
And you realise, what really made up that happiness,
That is when you know, what you really miss is the togetherness.

When tear after tear, tears itself away,
Hoping to finally find their own way,
And you comprehend, why they wouldn’t walk with you,
That is when you regret, the path that life took you.

When the thing closest to your heart is fear,
The feeling that the inevitable is much too near,
And you agree, that this is not the way things should end,
That is when you hope, there is still time to mend.

When what you need most is a friend,
Searching for someone you can depend,
And you acknowledge, there is no one who wants to stay,
That is when you see, you are far down the wrong way.

When you feel that you really have everything,
Yet, there is something that’s still missing,
And you fathom, it’s about me somehow,
That is when you believe, what’s missing is love.

But regardless of what you do, think, and feel,
I shall always wait for you wounds to fully heal,
Because, in life, each of us sometimes goes off-track,
What’s important, is that you have the courage to walk back.

This is another one for the Gazebo. We all make mistakes, and there are two ways to correct it. When the other person makes a mistake, pretend they are beyond redemption and Walk Away, or understand they are human and forgive them. This one is about the second path. Need i say more?

Walk Away

When you hold me, to shake me awake,
And not even the slightest effort I make,
That is when you should realise, the more I dream,
That much longer our relationship will take to redeem.

When you feel me, throbbing with a secret pain,
And yet all I share with you is the disdain,
That is when you should realise, the more you stay,
The slower you would have been, in going your own way.

When you see me, honestly paying attention,
And yet cannot recall anything you mention,
That is when you should realise, the more I listen,
The faster should those strides of yours hasten.

When you hear me, earnestly telling you something,
And somehow none of the words have any meaning,
That is when you should realise, the more I talk,
The greater should be your resolve to get up and walk.

When you know me, and still want to forgive everything,
And I don’t feel that is worth anything,
That is when you should realise, the more you forgive,
The lesser is the time this love has, to live.

Despite every disappointment, when you look into my heart,
And see the heart of a stranger, please quickly depart,
Before this stranger can convince you to delude yourself,
That I will someday reform and become myself.

Given the years together, I know this won’t be easy,
Sometimes you just need to do the things that make you queasy,
But as long as you can still live for another day,
Today, and now, is the best time to just walk away.

This is another one for the Gazebo. Sometimes after years of living with a person, you realise things are just not working out. The other person is talking apples, while you are talking jackfruits. What then is the best course? This is a part of a two-poem series that looks at the alternatives.

Crossroads Again

When all that matters came to a standstill, you decided to finally move,
Believing that walking away was the only way to surely prove,
So you ran away, not knowing what the journey had in store,
But soon stopped, when you encountered not one road but four.

The right took you to the dead end of a deserted street,
Filled with imposing buildings, there wasn’t anyone to greet,
But there was a message screaming from each of the signboards,
For, this was the road of my unspoken words.

The left took you right into the backyard of the familiar,
Stocked with acquaintances, the stranger was the most dear,
But there was a feeling streaming from each of the vacant lots,
For, this was the road of my unspoken thoughts.

Makes you think the best way would have been to go straight,
Everybody is moving, and yet held back by some weight,
But there was a soliloquy flowing through each of their ears,
For, this was the road of my unspoken tears.

The only way left was to go back, beyond the beginning,
To the place where people had turned their backs on forgiving,
But there was emotion outpouring from each of their cores,
For, this was the road of my unspoken remorse.

Having exhausted every road, you come to a halt,
Only to realise that there is no one without a fault,
And that there is no road that will ever let you part,
Because your every footstep falls upon my heart.

I am your journey, and I am your road,
I am the dusty imprint your every footprint strode,
The farther you choose to go, the closer I will get,
Because we could only be separated until we met.

This one is the Gazebo. It is about the small mistakes we all make in life and how not owning them up can cause big rifts, that are sometimes unbridgeable. Unless we open our hearts to our mistakes and work on them, life will take us down a road we seldom want to hear about. This is also about love lost and love found, and how sometimes it never goes out of our lives, but is simply ignored until we choose to acknowledge its presence again.

Galaxies

Like old time chums who must bet on every game,
We know that for us, the game isn’t just a game,
We even go to the stadiums, faces painted like raving fans,
But at the end, all that remains is the empty cola cans.

Like those people in mascara, who stole our hearts,
We know what we lost, and it isn’t just our hearts,
We go to the movies, booking weeks ahead for those premium tickets,
But at the end, all that remains is the popcorn buckets.

Like every other tramp who really frequented that street,
We know that we found more than our feet on that street,
We go back there, if only for those old times sakes,
But at the end, all that remains is the unwashed plates.

Like every other bloke who awaits the evening for a home,
We know that what we return to, is not just a home,
We finally get there, with every limb aching sore,
But at the end, all that remains is the constant snore.

We realise that we can only walk together till the corner,
After which each of our lives turn their own corner,
That we must each keep walking, as long as we can walk,
Taking satisfaction from seeing each other on the opposite sidewalk.

We realise that each of us must dream our own dreams,
And that each of us must swim our own streams,
That we must flow paths that might never, one another see,
With the reassurance that we will finally meet in the sea.

Someday we will understand, the more together we are,
The more farther from each other we really are,
For, in this world, each of us is an island,
Separated, and held together, by submerged land.

This one is for the Mirror, and although it sounds very pessimistic, it is merely a statement of facts. We all go on about how we are inseparable and the lengths to which we would go for each other. Sadly, in reality, our friends, family, well-wishers, whoever, can only walk with us so far. They each have their own journeys to make, and it might for a while seem that someone else’s journey is inextricably intertwined with ours. But that is merely a temporary crossing/merging of paths. In the end, there is no ours, there is yours and there is mine, and then there are the points where yours and mine met.

It just goes to show that although we have those times of togetherness that seem infinite, there will always be those times when you will be lost in space, in that cocoon of yours thinking about everything and nothing in general. And strangely you don’t think of anybody in those moments, you simply think of life and its many reflections (the kind of thing trivially described as ‘me time’). It is at such times you wonder about the path you have taken, the rocks you have flown over, the pebbles you have sculpted, the banks you have submerged, et al. This poem was the result of one of those reflections.

In a way, it seems so much like the galaxies. These billions of stars and planets that together form a galaxy. Ever wondered, how the sun never seems to matter or never seems to gush that it is a part of the Milky Way? The same way we believe that these hundreds of countries make up our beautiful planet, and these dozens of states make up our beautiful country. But hey, do you really matter to the country, does anyone really know that your contribution to the country is indispensable? I guess not. But nevertheless we plod on with our lives, not because of our relative insignificance, but because of our relative exuberance for this miracle called life. The miracle that separates us as much as it binds us together.

Palace Lights

The darkness of the world snuffs the last of the lights out,
If only for half a day, the night has considerable clout,
But the night is merely a stage for my insecurities to play,
A backdrop so tempting, that even fear joins the fray.

For every time that I railed against injustice with fury,
And felt nothing about causing the other an injury,
Like the reckless sands, tamed and smoothened by the sea,
Your eyes were commanding, totally in control of me.

For every time that I burned within, from searing hatred,
And cared the least on whom I ruthlessly tread,
Like a charmed tulip undisturbed by the buzzing of the bee,
Your eyes were mellowing, like the humanity they made me see.

For every time I envied another’s progress with greed,
Unbothered about how much a man can really need,
Like the fruits being plucked from a helplessly forgiving tree,
Your eyes were granting, whatever could really fulfill me.

For every time I felt I should surrender to the tears,
And was filled with misfortune right upto my ears,
Like the distorted smile in every frown that none can see,
Your eyes were comforting, like the only real joy there can be.

For every time I couldn’t bear the burden of this stage,
And was ridiculed by everyone, like an animal in a cage,
Like the fluttering wings that set every bird free,
Your eyes were uplifting, to the place where dreams flee.

For every time I felt that the world was no longer my home,
And that even dreams were no longer safe enough to roam,
Like only two hearts that beat together as one can  agree,
Your eyes were reassuring, you would always be there for me.

This one is for the Mirror since i cannot name this beacon. She was the anchor that steadied my boat innumerable times and kept me rooted in humility and humanity.

The poem has an interesting history to it. From an inspirational standpoint it combines the weirdest possible sources, an Akbar/Birbal story with a Javed Akhtar/Ustad Nusrat song (aaNkheN dekhii to maiN dekhtaa rah gayaa, jaam do aur donon hii do aatishah). What makes it all the more interesting is that it was written during a period of great inner turmoil, when i felt i needed something to relax my heart. So i chanced upon this photo of hers with those captivating eyes, and immediately words started pouring out.

The remarkable miracle being, i spent the entire day (till 7PM) writing this, and then was booted out on my unceremonial ass from Deloitte. And the only thing i felt, was myself at peace. The poem had completely healed all the unrest and all i felt for those who did what they did was pity. For myself, well all i felt was the beautiful hope that the future held. Here’s to the one who keeps my boat afloat.

Recoil

They had always agreed it was like a crystal, resplendent,
And so flaunted it as if it were a diamond pendant,
The hundreds of patterns merging in a design so intricate,
That they altogether avoided touching it, however delicate.

But then, what’s the mind for, if not to play games,
So, on an afternoon when someone was calling him names,
He naively listened, thinking everything was under control,
And yet, suddenly everything he heard seemed like vitriol.

So in that moment we casually call stimulus,
He did what still makes his hand tremulous,
But in that instant, all he heard was the shattering,
The crash drowned out whatever he was uttering.

The sound immediately ended any thoughts of violence,
And he was left to contend with its stinging silence,
Sitting, surrounded by hundreds of shards of glass,
He wondered at how life changed within a flash.

He wished all of this could go away like some imagined figment,
But couldn’t look away from the stares of every single fragment,
He would have to do something by the time she was back,
Make it was glittering again on it own rack.

So he began, reassembling it, minute by precious minute,
Sighing only when he finally got done with it,
He allowed himself a grin for not missing a single piece,
And not messing it either, knowing how hard she was to appease.

When he took a step back, the grin slowly drained away,
For, all he saw was a jagged contraption, begging to be thrown away,
Every piece still glittering, with his rage unspoken,
Still shimmering, like pieces of a dream forever broken.

This one is for the Gazebo, since i don’t have any such personal experiences from the last 15 years. Quite often we jump into something in a fit of fury, commit acts that we live to regret for a day, a year, a lifetime. Just think of each time you act in anger out of reflex as stabbing someone, sometimes it is just a jab, other times it is fatal. However in all the times, decades after the wound heals, the scars still remain. Every time they look at it, or you look at it, it brings back those memories however long forgotten. So, just remember, you can stick back a broken mirror, but you can’t erase the cracks.

Foundry

Mocking, they said, for the both of us it wouldn’t work out,
That, all it would take is a match stick, for both of us to burn out,
And for a while it seemed we both too, were in doubt,
How true it all was, we would very soon find out.

That is how we came to realize that something was badly broken,
And we had to fix it, if only to continue remaining bespoken,
We knew there was more than familiarity to revoke,
If those old feelings for each other we had to evoke.

Unconsciously each of us had built an invisible wall,
A wall that doggedly separates us footfall by footfall,
Alas, it’s a wall we love, wall we hate, wall we cannot mention,
Built by the bricks of our values, our beliefs,  our every emotion.

We need to work on this brick by brick, level by level,
Till we reach the very foundations of this upheaval,
When all that is left, is the mangled bars of foundation,
We reach the point that is beyond mere decimation.

That’s when we need to bend my ego with your humility,
To break your aggression upon my timidity,
To stamp my fear over with you courage,
To clear our ignorance with this knowledge.

To relent your obstinacy along with my stubbornness,
To cherish your sorrow along with my happiness,
To quench my greed through your contentment,
To shelter our union from every disappointment.

Only then can we mix every tear with a smile,
So that you and me can take us forward another mile,
For, only when each of us gives up control over what we hold,
Can we truly together possess everything we behold.

This one is for the Gazebo although it is inspired by head-over-heels impression of the movie Ye Maya Chesave. To put the point across in simple terms, love takes a lot of work. To build a monument called love, egos need to be crushed, boundaries need to be laid, bonds need to be cemented, beliefs need to be sculpted, trust needs to be concretized, emotions need to be polished, etc. It is much akin to making a diamond ring (the reason why the poem is titled Foundry).

To make a diamond ring, you need to cleanse the ore to get the gold, and that means burning it with a lot of acids. You need to melt the gold, pour it into a mould and wait for it to set. You need to clean the rough, choose a cut, and optimize the size. You also need to then set the stone in the gold. If any one of these stages was dispensed with, you might end up with either a rough stone on glittering gold, or a scintillating gem on a piece of ore. There is no middle ground, each of these has to let go of the things define them to become a thing that together defines them. The movie very beautifully captures the pain points that prevent each of them from reaching out to the other. We all need to go through that furnace together and burn our differences, melt our apprehensions, and mould our desires before we can truly become one. Each of us call its by a different name, but in the end, its all the same, unless each of us lets go, we can’t make it together.

Ten Percent

Often, the stories we hear from unfortunate brothers are the same,
Stories of loss, stories of failure to keep ahead in the game,
Whatever their story, all that seems to change is the name,
The rest is simply different shades, flavours of sorrow and shame.

The one thing they won’t tell you, is it all began with an action,
The rest of their story is merely the compulsion of reaction,
Ask the ones with broken relationships from a fit of fury,
Ask the ones with the lucky hand, now enduring penury.

All they did, was react before they thought,
Striking when the iron was way too hot,
And you know what happens, when molten iron breaks the mould,
It frees the butterfly before the cocoon is ready to unfold.

If only they had waited for the iron to slightly cool,
They could by now be holding an indispensable tool,
But most often, the maybes are never meant to be,
Else their own sweet future everyone could see.

If only they could pause those words, to sit back and think,
They wouldn’t be struggling to pull their lives from the brink,
They wouldn’t be burning their bridges faster than they blink,
After all, even the Titanic took only a few hours to sink.

Most of your life happens based on your reaction to it,
And that itself is the simplest way to fix it,
You cannot change life through some fancy premonition,
You can change it by simply changing your reaction.

When hysterical, just sit down and give it some thought,
Whether it is an issue really worth being fought,
Freed from emotion, when your mind is allowed to consider a thought,
You will suddenly find all those answers you have always sought.

Although this is one for the Mirror, it goes elsewhere because it is inspired in part from Stephen Covey‘s ‘Ten Percent Rule’. So, here’s another for the Beacons, one of my funda principles that has held me in good stead in life. Since the poem is in non-abstract verse, no more stories necessary to explain it. 🙂

Sitting Bull

For as long as the oldest among us has known,
We owned everything in sight over which the eagle has flown,
But those days and the eagle were about to be numbered,
And history textbooks was the only place we would be remembered.

When you came with your guns and priests, last fall,
You said they were for the betterment of us all,
You told us they would help turn us into civilized people,
And that we would truly become one with your people.

But your sight was unmistakably, always on the land,
One that you sought to grab with an iron hand,
So you set about mixing our destinies with our sand,
Slowly and surely, until there was none of us left to stand.

You began by setting tribe against tribe, brother against brother,
Till the mindless fights intensified enough to disown their mother,
You sat back and witnessed not just the death of those fighting,
But the very demise of centuries of our way of living.

Like cattle we were herded, from settlement to settlement,
And all we had covering our heads was each other’s resentment,
We were only left with the ground on which we stood,
And ironically many believed it was for our own good.

You can force my children to forsake their name,
And towards their own, feel nothing but shame,
Force them to believe, they are animals you should tame,
And turn them into pawns, in civilization’s shameful game.

You can take away everything you think I really own,
And rip apart my family, my home, to the very bone,
You can take my land, my culture, and my life away,
But you can’t stop me from living my life, my way.

Back to the Beacons, this one is for HBO. Among the things that shaped my views in the last 10 years, the most significant influence has been HBO. Every movie/masterpiece they have made has been thought-provoking in their own unique manner.

This one is inspired by the character Sitting Bull from their movie ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’. It is merely a lyrical translation of the movie’s theme. Which goes a long way in dealing with our ideas of freedom, and addresses bones of contention like whose freedom is worth what, whether one man’s freedom should be achieved/furthered through the slavery/captivity of the other, specially in a land that was built on liberation.

Sleeping Buds

Looking around at their cousins taking in the sun,
Life for flora was definitely a whole lot of fun,
All they had to do, was bide their today as a bud,
And tomorrow would show the magic that grew from mud.

Swaying along to the lilting tunes of the breeze,
Proud of the persistent visit from the bees,
By morning, they too would wear the colours of blossom,
Spreading the fragrance that rose from their bosom.

At the crack of dawn, a dozen people came silently,
And plucked them from their future thrones, violently,
They showed no guilt, no remorse, only the boredom of the chore,
Their fatigue, the only indicator that they had to do a lot more.

A clinical snip cut off a thousand dreams in a single instant,
Into the truck, with every moment, their home grew distant,
Wrapped along with a thousand brothers of a dozen colours,
They wondered if this was the only reason for the existence of flowers.

To be taped together and cast into a shapely vase,
While a guy waited nonchalantly for his lass,
To bear the unabashed, if only momentary, gushing of the woman,
Before the talk moved to important things, things that were human.

When there were no more guests left, to come and stare,
Their wilted figures were too much for the waiter to bear,
So they landed up unceremoniously into the trash,
End of story, a thousand lives terminated in a flash.

Only one thought was on their mind, as they finally closed eyes,
What would happen to their siblings at the next sunrise,
Ones who were innocently sleeping with dreams of tomorrow,
Unknowing, that theirs too would be a journey of sorrow.

This one is for the one of the most important Beacons of them all, Veturi Sundara Rammurthy. Words are insufficient to describe what he has contributed to my life, and hence suffice it to say, i am forever indebted to him.

This is also my personal belief on flowers. Flowers were made by God to be seen on plants and enjoyed, not killed and planted in vases, like tigers in a zoo. Sure, a hundred thousand get to see the tiger at the zoo, people who would never have got to the jungles, but do you think the tiger likes it one single bit. Atleast animals have PETA since they can growl/howl/scowl/cry. Flowers have nobody.

Every time someone passes by a bouquet, they exclaim at the sheer beauty of the flowers, and then go their way, probably because that is all the flowers mean to them, some nice looking toy to look at for a moment, and get going with life. They see my complete disinterest in the flowers and ask me if i hate them. The truth is unfortunately very far from it. I love flowers, but not as corpses to fulfill a girl’s fantasy, not as objects to admire after killing, not as useless rot the next day. Even the previous day’s newspaper has some resale value the next day, so people preserve them despite the information no longer being useful, flowers, well that’s another story.

So enough of rambling, i just don’t like flowers away  from their plants, period.

Girl in the Mirror

Puffing and panting towards the auto, I manage to get the front seat,
And wipe from my forehead, the sweat that’s flowing for the heat,
I look into the mirror scratching my sweaty itching beard,
That was when all of the traffic before me suddenly cleared.

It wasn’t her, or her striking face that I first saw,
Sitting between two women, each with a clenched jaw,
Pushing back the hair from her face, strands ruffled by a breeze,
She leaned back, unruffled and so consummately at ease.

Ahead, the vehicles kept moving, striving to keep the frenetic pace,
Honking incessantly, expecting the sound to change their place,
As each got busier, trying to work their way out of the maze,
I too was busy, completely preoccupied by an enigma, her face.

Across the smoothly undulating, broad plains of her forehead,
The sticker was what stood out, a tiny dot in crimson red,
Her eyes were darting lazily, taking in the surroundings,
Looking this way and that, involuntarily shaking her ear rings.

Amidst the smoke, her nostrils gave no indication she was breathing,
Until one saw her lips busy with a phone, boy, she was talking,
Everyone around her was stuffy, the weather and sundry cursing,
She seemed the only one unconcerned, simply busy conversing.

Every time she looked ahead, I had to look away,
Furtively glancing as if I was interested in the way,
But my fascination soon got curiouser and held sway,
And I felt the mirror had today, made my day.

We finally got to the destination, time to alight,
I got out but couldn’t let her out of my sight,
She took a few steps, turned around and smiled, leaving me shocked,
It was the smile of a girl who knew all along she was being watched.

This one is another for the Mirror, being an unexpected continuation of Multitude. Sometimes the perfect symmetry in some people’s faces leaves you fascinated, and you keep staring and staring and staring. That perfect eyes, beautiful bindi, infectious laughter, what a muse. Can’t obviously put her name here since she might not approve, and me not asking. 😀 (seriously, from one artist to another, you would understand the fascination for faces, plain fascination, nothing more)

Impetus

Quite often we wake up to the same journey, but a new beginning,
Only to see hundreds already sweating from hours of running,
You just shrug and start walking, wondering why they can’t sleep,
And smile, because sometimes, imagination just can’t make the leap.

Well, one can’t rub away the flaws from a diamond,
Just as one can’t rub the lines from the palm of a hand,
When we refuse its brilliance, insisting it can be better,
We understand that rings can no longer be on any finger.

We believe that our life depends on every single mark,
And that without the grade, life will forever be dark,
We become so obsessed with that one mark we didn’t get,
That the ninety-nine we have become easy to forget.

Easy enough to forget, that life is more than a grade,
That marks are the easiest way for knowledge to degrade,
Obsession enough to forget, the true purpose of education,
That character marks the real end of education.

We know that education ends, but never learning,
Because knowledge is a quest that knows no ending,
It is a journey that fuels itself along the way,
Lighting up the path for the few who choose to stay.

The hundreds that run, with the thousands more that follow,
Realise not, that chasing education is like following their own shadow,
A benchmark they will never improve or grow beyond,
Because the hundred makes them grow too fond.

For those still running the race, from long before sunrise,
We can only hope they will someday wake up to realise,
That excellence cannot be measured by the precision of calculation,
Because, perfection is a journey, not a destination.

This one is for a new Beacon, Raj Kumar Hirani and his existential brand of cinema. Although this is a continuation of the story that began with Broken Pencil and Frontier, this one caters to a more mature audience. Adult students who can think and identify right from wrong.

I always wonder what it is, that unlike children who are goaded by parents into burying their childhood amidst pages and pages of drivel that kills their minds instead of expanding it, adult students have a mind of their own that can think. However, it might be the conditioning from childhood that carries over, and makes people fall head-over-heels in pursuit of centum.

I fail to understand why someone would think a guy who got 90% is worse than one who got 96%, or that a guy who got 35% in Chemistry should spend their life being a third-class engineer, when they got 95% in Physics and could have been rendering yeoman service to science. Why should the failures of one subject tie a person’s future, or for that matter, why should the less than perfect scores in most subjects make one person inferior to another.

But then, i guess that is what institutions across the world breed, mediocrity from talent, and show the real talent the long path home to where it belongs. More on this on my upcoming posts on the IIMs’ and IITs’. Fanboys of these institutions should stay away because it will not be pleasant, and believe me, it is not a case of sour grapes. It is just a honest feeling from a leftist-leaning dreamer.

Crossroads

Every so often, we set out, to get somewhere in life,
Only to be taken for a ride, by this guide they call life,
Leaves me wondering, what is to take, and who is taken,
But make no mistake about it, because life is never mistaken.

At the beginning, every destination seems very clear,
But passing time reveals, a mirage is the only thing that’s near,
For foolishly trusting the senses, thirst is a steep price to pay,
And can only be quenched with eagerness out of the way.

I soon lose trust by forcibly walking with my need,
And lose more friends, by talking with my greed,
When I follow my mind, I even lose all respect,
From a slave of caution, what more can one expect.

I close every door and window leading to my heart,
But that only causes the remaining good to depart,
So temptation tells me, the highway and I must part,
Into the by-lanes that lure me and my destination apart.

Running in a hurry, I soon stumble over desperation,
And stand again, bruised and badly in need of inspiration,
And every single time that I come close to the end of the rope,
I have to steal a little from the truth, to give to hope.

All that I know suddenly seems a whole lot less,
When every extra mile is fuelled only by a guess,
I know not what lies in waiting, around the next bend,
For, every route I’ve taken, has led me to a dead end.

The farther I move away, the closer I get to the start,
For, all the roads in life depart, and converge, at the heart,
Among all these crossroads, the smile is the only shortcut I can take,
The distance is the same, but every footstep a pleasure it does make.

Back to the Beacons after some mirror breaks. This time Aparna does it, by leading me back to the beginning, back to the roots. Often, we lose track of what we set out to achieve, and most often it is because we lost heart in the objective, or because we no longer find the happiness that the path promised.

Most often such paths reveal the hidden happiness only after we get there. But sadly, most of us lose heart and get sidetracked, long before the destination is near. The only option is to take some of that ‘Getafix’ magic potion to drink along the way to keep us enthused and motivated towards the destination. That ‘Getafix’ potion is inner-happiness, so you know where she fits in. 🙂

Unbelong

You created the sun, to enlighten me, enable me to see,
And I created a candle, to bring light toward thee,
To live on, and spread your message, you gave me the earth,
I marked a portion on it, and said this was all you were worth.

I tried convincing everyone, that you can help them overcome fear,
And all you asked, is that I be there to wipe a friend’s tear,
I persisted with telling people you are the only source of happiness,
And you instead asked me to help people get over their weakness.

To shout your message I had travelled, the world around,
And you wanted me to rather help those not gifted with sound,
I spent all my efforts getting everybody to chant your name,
You instead asked me to pardon those whose heads hung with shame.

I was busy selling idols of you, in stone, metal and wood,
While all you wanted, was that my neighbour have some food,
I was busy praising the way you look, in many dozen a book,
And all you wanted, was that I help those who cannot look.

To pray to you, I reverently folded my hands together,
You asked  me to stretch them towards a needy brother,
To glorify you, I offered to build a temple with a golden dome,
You asked me to instead shelter those without a home.

Everything that I offered, you put back into my hand,
To teach me, that true prayer begins with a giving hand,
What can I offer the one, who has the stars, earth and the sun,
When the only offering you want, is to let me help a needy one.

I try  to praise you through the paeans and hymns I have heard,
But what can I call the one, who speaks through every word,
Of all the words describing the resplendence of the lord,
None is more simpler and straight from the heart, than God.

This is another one for my religion, Godism. No further lines, since it is self-explanatory. :). And, oh, it goes into Mirror.

Thirsty River

From a tiny spout, it slowly begins to take form,
Filled drop by drop, from the contributions of a storm,
Every single memory, every moment, a part of the deluge,
And when you cross the banks, they have no refuge.

At first glance, when you covered my eyes with a cloud,
Pleasantly blinded, my eyes refused to share this aloud,
The cloud soon gets too heavy, and yet refuses to rain,
The fear of losing you was that much of a pain.

What my eyes can’t, I ask my mouth, the lips stay sealed,
They say you are too precious a treasure, to be revealed,
Besides, why waste words, when they pale in comparision,
They left all the talking to the eyes that can envision.

But even the eyes cannot describe the colour of a smile,
Having not known such geniality in a long long while,
All the colours in the world would disown their own brother,
To be in the picture that captures those lips spreading together.

Every staring moment, you have been drinking,
My life, drop by drop, without me even thinking,
The minutes, hours, days, flow away instant by instant,
As I wonder how the raindrop never feels the river distant.

Everything I have had, I have long since given,
And everything that I will, is already given,
But that smile of yours never stops asking,
And my enslaved attention forces me to give without having.

The more I give you, the more you will always want,
But even giving up my life to tell you that I can’t,
Is like shooting our memories, to empty an inexhaustible quiver,
Like crying my heart out, to quench a thirsty river.

This one is dedicated to a person I shall not name. I happened to see her photo after more than 1.5 years, and the very first glance wiped away more than a year of depression. It showed me new meaning to what i was doing, and new purpose to what  i have long wanted to do. This one naturally goes into the Mirror.

How often do we come across people who have such a strong impact on our lives that they alter not just the course of our lives, but also the course of our thinking. Thirsty River is about such a challenging person who drew out the best in me, when i was least bothered about it, and made me care about it. She is stuck in my eyes, and i never cry in the fear of losing her in the tears.

Godforsaken

God is not in the sunshine that lights up every morning,
He is the very vision that lets you see it dawning,
God is in the finger that wipes every tear,
Knowing that your fears, only the soul can hear.

God is not in idols, and all those places of worship,
He is forever waiting, at the tip of everyone’s lip,
God is on every tongue that speaks the truth, words without charm,
Knowing that those very words will cause them harm.

God is not in the justice that keeps good and evil apart,
He is the forgiveness that abounds in everyone’s heart,
God is the mercy that makes you ignore an unforgivable sin,
Knowing that its pain will burn in you, even within your coffin.

God is not in any scriptures, and those books of yore,
He is the river that has kindness on every shore,
God is in the lines on the palm of every giving hand,
Knowing they have not, left, even the ground they stand.

God is not on top of the mountains, or at the bottom of the sea,
He is inside every grieving heart that you can compassionately see,
God is the innocence in the smile of every child,
Knowing not, that life also has sorrow, stockpiled.

God is not in the prayers, that the faithful chant,
He is the belief itself, which mere words cannot supplant,
God is in every happiness that refuses to die,
He is in every sorrow that refuses to cry.

God is not in heaven, on a throne of diamonds and precious stone,
He is in every repentant sinner who wants to atone,
God is in every forgiving heart that wants to condone,
For, humanity is God, honesty is God, and with you He is never alone.

This one is about my concept of God, and about my religion, Godism. Although these lines do not enough justice to the entire concept, i shall not bother to elaborate, because God should not be too complicated to explain. Whatever is here is sufficient to express my general beliefs, and make this a part of Mirror. This is also my tribute to Kamal Hassan and the movie Satyame Shivam (Anbe Sivam), one of his best, also happening to be his take on God, heart-wrenching. Now i shall move onto something i have never done before on any of my posts, and hope to never have to do again, put out a disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER:
1) This poem was not written to ridicule anyone’s beliefs or faith. it was merely written to state my opinion on the matter. For those who feel offended by the lines (which were merely used for poetic effect), please replace every instance of ‘God is not’ with ‘God is not only’. Sometimes good sentence construction comes in handy in the most unexpected ways. 😀

2) When i use the word ‘He’, it doesnot  mean that i believe God belongs to any specific gender. Again, another word used for poetic effect, but one that stems from centuries of andro-centric writing (and something i have grown accustomed to, writing as if the world is limited to my gender). Easily-offended people/feminists are free to replace every such instance of ‘He’ with ‘She’.

Paper Planes

“Aswath”, he said, when I asked his name, hesitant,
Soon some of his friends join, equally reluctant,
The closer they got, the more I could sense a distance,
But I was sure I would soon overcome the resistance.

The bag of goodies is what converts them all into eager,
With everyone wanting to grab the toy that is bigger,
There are smiles on most faces, and frowns on the rest,
Who expect a little more from this infrequent guest.

For someone whose survival depended on others giving,
He showed me the pride I should have, for just living,
The simple, small things creating so much joy was so compelling,
That its showed me the shallowness present in my complaining.

Among so many kids, I don’t know why he caught my attention,
There was nothing remarkable that I can really mention,
But he taught me a lesson I shall not easily forget,
There is a great joy in giving more than you get.

I could forget the building and the caretaker after a while,
But my mind could never let go of his disarming smile,
One that showed me how much hope I offered,
When he really felt, that to someone, he mattered.

Forsaken by the world, forsaken by his own,
He had nobody he could and would disown,
And yet I have always wondered why,
The sparkle never left his tiny eye.

Born with nothing, growing with nothing, I often wonder,
How often, about the future, he would wonder,
Tears well up in my eyes, as I hear him explain,
That, driven by dreams, fuelled by nothing, his life was like a paper plane.

This one is for a new Beacon, Ruby Ilyasuddin. This is for doing something that I never had the time, patience, humanity to do, but only had a heart to do. She’s been a beacon because she was able to translate those ideals into action, while others like still languish in their ideals. Everybody wants to do some good, but very few act upon such wishes.

Petunias

Flowering by the roadside, beside the softest footfall,
Towering before you, along the lengths of many a wall,
Violets, pinks, whites, blues, more colours than you can call,
And yet, seen and unknown, like the spring in every fall.

The tulips, the magnolias, and dahlias, all begin as a bud,
Blossoming forth from the seemingly nothingness of the mud,
For that single day the live, knowing when their sun is done,
Hoping they have somehow made a mark on someone.

It takes courage to look into somebody’s empty heart,
And search for the remnants of the hate that made love depart,
To walk along with that person down their memory lane,
And understand how love could be replaced by such disdain.

It takes courage to face hate, face to face,
And call it what it really is, a double face,
The mask that detests, and love, the actual face,
One that is always being forced out of its place.

It takes courage to confront the other person’s spite,
And soldier on, the challenges of rejection despite,
To convince the spite, that even dislike has a respite,
And that even defeat knows, when its has lost the fight.

It takes courage to drag love back, into the game,
And show it, that to return home, is never a shame,
To help it find its pride back, and repeat its own name,
And continue creating moments, that are worthy of a frame.

It takes even more courage, to do all of this,
And know that the doctors and healers, nobody will miss,
Ones who ignore their heart’s pain, so that others can heal,
All the while maintaining a smile, that changes the way we all feel.

This one marks the return of my infrequent muse/Beacon, Aparna. As usual this one is about those smile through their own suffering, so that others who suffer more can find something to stand upon. So that others can get out of their misery seeing the happiness that even a genuinely pained smile can bestow on them.

And oh, i forgot to mention, i wrote this during the AHM. It was loads of fun, with Anne Jacques sitting beside me, trying to decipher the heiroglyphics that my handwriting is, and wondering what kind of notes i was busy taking with a heading that shouted Petunias. For me, it was a pleaasant escape from all the humdrum.

Final Stand

Silently we sit, staring down at the menu on the table,
The gaze is firm, but the mind is not yet stable,
In one quick scoop, our hands desperately grab,
Holding down the menu, I let my modesty take a stab.

Your vision begins to blur, when the tears form a cloud,
And every single drop, is an unspoken word, crying aloud,
We finally manage to order, the first mutual conversation,
Sadly, the words brought back memories, void of expectation.

But today, we both decide to give our emotions a voice,
A chance to correct the consequences of a wrong choice,
Sometimes the words just need to be out in the open,
True communication begins only when the heart is open.

So we let the words out, in a torrential flow,
Neither of us caring, to allow the tide to slow,
It is only when neither of us is able to follow,
That we pause to question, why they sound so hollow.

We found nothing that really justified the hate,
And nothing that revealed love’s unfortunate state,
With every thought laid bare, there only remained the distance,
And so we decided, to try and dissolve the resistance.

We both came alone, for this attempt at reunification,
And left together, each, holding the hand of separation,
Wondering whom it was, that we came to meet, us or separation,
Now all that is left, are the morbid formalities of reparation.

There isn’t a future for us, only a future for you and me,
But that night at the restaurant, we first saw the meaning of we,
People say distances can only be bridged when both the hearts are open,
We laugh in retrospect, some bridges are accidents waiting to happen.

This is one for the Gazebo, because i guess i will never see such a day. The poem is a versification of the restaurant scene at the end of the novel ‘Lightning‘. Although the novel has a happy ending, have changed it to a KB one because the novel’s ending cheats/disguises the actual KB ending with a happy one. So either ways, this one is about a couple who meet one final time at a restaurant to agree to separate.

Open Window

I open my eyes, with very vague memories of last night,
And find the hazy glow of the morning’s soft bouncy light,
The sharpening light throws focus on millions of particles of dust,
Each particle resembling the fragments of my growing mistrust.

Being told that life was free, it was happiness, joy and fun,
Being able to believe that a mere thumb could block the sun,
I never thought that such a day life would ever bring,
When I would lose the willingness to smile, dance or sing.

Suddenly, the future shrunk from years, to months, to days,
And the reason was apparent every time I saw my own face,
It isn’t unfair that my life is stolen, breath by breath,
Everyone wants the best they can get, so does death.

For the first time I hear every second, loud and clear,
Like rhythmic drums that herald a terminal fear,
Don’t give up, they tell me, and wipe away tear after tear,
They soon walk away, tired, but my eyes refuse to clear.

When the hours are running out, the moments refuse to move on,
And the memories linger, despite the challenge forcing me to move on,
It is just one moment, that really separates me from eternity,
And yet, it is in that moment, that I often found eternity.

Awake or asleep, today I have decided that the sun shall not set,
Not when its warmth is too close, for me to easily forget,
Yet, powerless, I watch as it turned orange from yellow,
Clouds fill my eyes as I watch it turn even more mellow.

The body has long given up, but not my steadfast mind,
Pre-occupied, searching for any shred of hope it can find,
Gathering some, I open the window, for the night,
Knowing, tomorrow the sun will return, with a brand new light.

This one is dedicated to the lass of all fighters, Paayal. Ever since i got to know her, i found more hope in myself than i could see in the last 22 years. My circumstances have always been the same, but my outlook changed after getting to know Paayal. So this is one more for the Beacons. I don’t know how many of us would walk out of  a place like that and smell like daisies every extra day of our lives. Some people are just extra-ordinary, in that they also inspire the ordinary to achieve something extra. 😀

Soulmates

They say people like us are already made for each other,
How, we had wondered, since we didn’t know one another,
Always the prankster, time sure took its own sweet time,
Before agreeing it was time our little story had its time.

Every time ego caused our first little steps to stumble,
We kept walking, each try making us a little more humble,
Each time we felt the path too strong, and ourselves too weak,
We kept finding solace in a happiness we did not seek.

We shall grow richer each passing day, as we earn new memories,
Rich enough to outgrow this existence, and life’s little vagaries,
We shall get poorer each passing day, as we lose more distrust,
Poor enough to outlive doubt, and any more loss of trust.

We shall grow stronger each passing day, when we fight for each other,
Strong enough to command discord to go away, and not bother,
We shall grow weaker each passing day, when we long for each other,
Weak enough to blushingly admit, we can’t live without the other.

There will be lots of fights, and a great deal of misunderstanding,
But each one is an opportunity, to improve our understanding,
There will be lots of fun, and a great deal more of tears,
But every teardrop throws a challenge, to reduce it over the years.

As the days get longer, the words get shorter,
Because the need to express moves farther and farther,
Instinct and understanding becomes our silent language,
And we realise our oneness has now truly come of age.

We know we shall not live to see the romantic forever,
And so shall walk into the sunset, more together than ever,
The distance shall soon grow tired, and stop ate the world’s ends,
While we just shrug, and continue on this journey that never ends.

This is one for the Beacons, and was written for two soulmates, Rajasekhar and Sukanya. This is dedicated to those who realise that happiness is not the absence of sorrow, but the realisation that life is too small to spend frowning, fighting, and hating. This is dedicated to those who realise that every minute of life will seem like a lifetime if spent smiling, caring and sharing. So Chanti Bava, you finally have something dedicated to you [:)], see i dedicate something to a guy, even if shared. 😀

Shadows of the Earth

Tall be the oaks, that tower above the forest,
Broad be the oaks, that stretch east to west,
Extensive, encompassive, everything below, they shield,
Protective, predatory, not a ray of sunlight they yield.

There was a time when each was a mere sapling,
And for every bit of space, constantly jostling,
Each determined to prove the other a weakling,
For that last bit of resource, their every root grappling.

Tall and sturdy they have grown, on the shoulders of the meek,
Yet their roots get weaker, week upon week,
Slowly fading into history, attention is the last things they seek,
Because man has never been known to spare or forgive the broadest teak.

Far below, where the light cannot pierce, never reach,
And every single stray ray, thousands of saplings beseech,
It’s a miracle when only single ray, bounces on a hundred leaves,
Every single bounce affecting a thousand more lives.

Every new morning begins another big fight,
A fight for survival, a fight for light,
Yet, it is not the light itself that they seek,
All they want, is to live, survival of the weak.

They are the unseen masses who feed the rest,
Silently and tirelessly giving away their best,
Toiling through the years, as silent witnesses to their own turmoil,
Equally silently they perish, forever rooted to the soil.

The oaks that stand, tall and mighty on their feet,
Can never look down, and these puny equals ever meet,
Though unsung, of such heroes, there is never a dearth,
Ones who work silently, in the shadows of the earth.

This is one for the Gazebo, and is dedicated to all those millions of unknown people who make our everyday life a possibility. Thousands upon thousands who sincerely do their duty everyday enabling the clockwork that this globe is, to keep ticking for another day. Yet all that remains at the end of each such day for these thousands of heroes, is the night, a glum reminder of another nondescript day to come. How many times do we think of thanking the person behind us, because he/she didn’t break the queue? How many times do we think of thanking the milkman who came on time 25 days a month?

Sadly, we only remember the guy who appears on TV, or the guy who gets talked about on the internet. Even those things last only a few minutes/days in our memory. The less said the better, about innocuous nobodies like you, me and everybody else, the ones who really make the globe, and yet never stand in the limelight.

Resilience

They say it is the words that first cause such a thing,
And that nothing quite matches the angst that words bring,
Hurting in places far deeper than the skin, than the mind,
And an equally acerbic retort, is the only solace I can find.

So deep a hurt, that the only words left were silence,
A silence that grew as a measure of each one’s patience,
It soon became a matter of the mind, a test of resolve,
With neither of our stands ready to try and resolve.

Like adoring statues we sat, staring at each other,
Willing, not wanting, to speak to one another,
My mind wishes that this were all an aberration,
But it knows that the person before me, is no apparition.

From a swearing fest, it turned into a staring contest,
Both of us determined not to let the other get the best,
It seemed that something more than a relationship stood to test,
As it became more of a showdown than a simple conquest.

The eyes grow tired and yearn for some sleep,
While the wound is busy, burning within, far from asleep,
Soon the heart begins to feel the warmth of each ember,
And the images get more vivid than you want to remember.

Even the lips do not hear the mind let out a scream,
As it is shaken awake from a listless repentful dream,
I understand it is now time to wake up, make amends,
For, what are few words, to separate true friends.

Being incessantly hammered, the dam finally breaks,
Not by a flood, or by the overflowing of a hundred lakes,
Overcome with remorse, I let go of all that I hold dear,
And all my resilience is washed away, by the first tear.

This one is for the Gazebo, since it is too fictional to imagine myself crying, hardened rock that i pretend to be. It is for those times when we lose relationships over silly words, and then stare at each other, hoping the other person would be the first to repent. The resilience that we believe gives us our self-respect often also takes away friends/relationships from us.

Falling Leaf

Nestling in the sun, tethered to the strongest stem,
Looking at cousins in my shadow, I laugh at them,
Basking in the glory of my sun, I miss the impending grey,
I should have listened to those stories of the sunshine and hay.

I soon feel the link weakening, my only life cord,
And finally came the snap, one, none of us could afford,
Free to fly, no wonder they say, death is the final freedom,
But the looming ground distracted me from all this wisdom.

Floating and fluttering, every second of the way,
Surprised and shocked, I clearly have nothing to say,
Hopeful and helpless, in a free fall to the ground,
Spellbound and deafened, I await the dreadful sound.

Whitewashed feelings hover for directions around a blank mind,
One that never found itself put into such a bind,
Their silence is temporal, my silence is eternal,
Their sound is external, my peace is internal.

Stripped of my ego, shorn of my pride,
There is no friend left to even confide,
Buried in the pain, sunk in the sorrow,
There is not even a smile, left to borrow.

Looking around, I see many more falling,
All at the end of their ropes, no more stalling,
All of us were together, and each of us was alone,
Yet, every one of us, stubborn to the tombstone.

The last we hear is a crunch, the last we see are feet,
As we depart. hoping to never again meet,
A few feet away, a sapling begins to sprout,
We grin, having learnt, what life is all about.

This is one for the Mirror, because it best reflects the rock-bottom that my life is at today. Despite being crushed like a leaf on the forest floor, the only thing i can now see is the sprouts of a new beginning.

Sunflower

Very few acknowledge that the day really begins at night,
At the stroke of midnight, the wings of morning take flight,
Leaving darkness behind, for the resplendence of the sun,
And dejection too finally gives way, to the possibilities of fun.

The sun has risen, but is more darker than the night,
Battered and bruised, blackened from the long standing fight,
It now needs more light, than it gives,
And takes more lives, every moment it lives.

Everyone has resigned to the confines of the brighter night,
Even in the battle for darkness, the sun has more might,
Blind by the day, and more blinded by the night,
The denizens of darkness make such a pretty sight.

They go about their activities, regardless of time,
And only for the dead, do the bells any longer chime,
They have lost their light, only to earn that extra dime,
And in doing so, crowned their reason over rhyme.

They see and they don’t, their own wretched existence,
And ignore it all, upon each others cold insistence,
They hear and they feel, sorrow’s yearning pang,
And yet are too busy, to help it solitarily hang.

Weaving away their remaining time, bonded to the loom,
Unconsciously, they create, the fabric of their own doom,
They survive on the coast, of that seashore of gloom,
Where the sand forgives not, sunflowers that dare bloom.

Behold, the first golden bloom, on this arid land,
It grows beyond the reach of man’s rugged hand,
So that the world can now see, that happiness is light,
It is the bliss that bestows every life, with true sight.

Today it is the Beacons turn to gloat. This one is for my frequently infrequent muse, Aparna. Set in a world that is too busy to laugh, too occupied to smile, and too ignorant of happiness, it tries to extrapolate what happens when Aparna walks into such a world. A world that had lost its sunshine, the light of their lives, called joy, and how one sunflower defied man’s own nature to save mankind.

Stillwater

Wind glazes the edge, causing ripples on the surface,
But soon there is no blemish left on its face,
A stone stirs up ripples from its bottom,
Soon all that is left, is the stone at the bottom.

The first few words might have unsettled the mind,
But they are not enough for the indecision to bind,
Words being words, they soon meld with every other sound,
And the mind leans back, not the one to be pushed around.

The first few events that somehow manage to get past the eyes,
Find that they no longer command the same thrill, the surprise,
They soon fade from that fuzzy region called memory,
Hoping the events that follow can perhaps rekindle their story.

Things must definitely be wrong, when the boring gets interesting,
When the quietest of moments, seem the most arresting,
The trouble is, you never know when the euphoria is really dead,
It always feels alive, if only in some corner of the head.

Time though, was always insensitive to happiness and sorrow,
Just as it is unconscious of yesterday and tomorrow,
It seems to exist in a parallel world of its own,
One that is beyond the known and the unknown.

Whatever their differences, at some points time and life collide,
And it is in those intersections that eternity does abide,
The intersections where everything comes to a dead stop,
And you wish that these collisions wouldn’t stop.

Sometimes the best progress you can make, is to make none,
For, that moment when time stopped was always the best one,
So every time your life gets stuck in deep water,
The best consolation, is that it is just stillwater.

Another for the Beacons, this time for a sister. Sukanya this one is for you and all those ‘differently interesting’ HC calls. We used to be in the same bucket. :D:D:D

Rain It Will

All activities have ceased, but the dust refuses to settle,
As if in deference to every hard-working man’s mettle,
Sadly the hard work is no longer worth its own sweat,
But dust is the only thing these sons of failure can beget.

Every single drop is terrified to go solo, to trespass,
And they believe this longing will soon come to pass,
For now they decide to bide their time with the cloud,
Atleast until the cloud thunders its displeasure aloud.

Down below, every grain of sand awaits its deliverance into dust,
Knowing, the cloud’s displeasure is something they can always trust,
Tired as they grow, with every new footfall,
Silently they wait, having no one to call.

No one knows whose thirst is greater, man’s or the land’s,
While the eager man waits with cupped hands,
The arid land yearns from its burning sands,
Ever hopeful, yet helpless, each of them anxiously stands.

They watch the first black cloud swiftly escape,
Unaware that the yearners below can only longingly gape,
The longing turns into panic as the rest of the clouds follow,
And they realise their spirits can never get more low.

Among them, one small child refuses to lose his smile,
Believing that the most adamant clouds relent after a while,
For, clouds are no different in their quest for redemption,
They just wait until someone can really grab their attention.

And then, the first drop kisses his cheek, unafraid to rebel,
The rest of them, the cloud can neither restrain nor compel,
They rush with ferocity, towards every parched bosom,
And glisten with contentment, on the last surviving blossom.

Another for the Beacons, this time for Yanni, whose title compelled me to write this one. Not just the title, the evocativeness of the piece also forced me to pen down the experience.

Leaving Neverland

It never ceases to surprise, the emptiness that makes up the inevitable,
It teases, taunts, it makes a mockery of everything that is believable,
And it never goes away, morphing into a vacuum that feeds into itself,
For, the soul can only be torn away once, from this body, the self.

It all seemed a dream, since I never really woke up,
Woke up that is, before this charade of a game was up,
Funny, how these seconds steal their minutes from you,
And each minute conveniently forgets to remind you.

Times when you get so attached to the things that made you grow,
Are when you least realise, you love them more than you know,
So much so that you never really learn to accept the reality,
And resign to acknowledging separation as a definite possibility.

The first step, they said would always be the hardest,
I thought they were mocking, when I found it the easiest,
They were probably seeing it the wrong way all the time,
Because it was the last step that gave me the hardest time.

When the foot that is lifted, stubbornly refuses to fall,
In that fraction of a second when I take the final call,
I realise there never was, and never is, any hope of going back,
Every time that determination questions the courage I lack.

While the eyes are busy herding the crowded tears,
I am left alone, to confront new and unknown fears,
Fears of leaving the certain, venturing into the uncertain,
Fears of being unable to cope, unable to bear the pain.

And then it happened, my worst nightmares came true,
Though the signs were clear, miles before they became true,
I could never retrace my steps, as there was no turning back,
So I stand, in the battlefield, not knowing what to attack.

This one is for the Mirror. It deals with my apprehensions of getting into a ‘professional’ job and letting go of my reckless freedom. Not everyone notices that after you have placed your first foot in a new venture, there is still the last foot left in the previous venture. This poem is about that last foot, one that doesn’t want to rise. The one that makes change the hardest.

Princess of Light

The deepest black always begins as the lightest gray,
Yielding a little every time nights prowls around for prey,
With every changing shade, you wonder if gain is really a sacrifice,
Like losing a single brick, in an already crumbling edifice.

Vision gets dimmer as the darkness gets brighter,
Footsteps get heavier as the possibilities get lighter,
Hope gets shorter as the distance gets longer,
And courage gets weaker as the fears get stronger.

When the sunshine retreats into the realms of scarcity,
And the darkness gleefully steps into the vicinity,
As fear runs amok round the boundaries set by night,
The basic uncertainties of life suddenly come to light.

Just when the lamp of possibility flickers more dimmer,
Out in the east, there appears the first hint of glimmer,
Imagine a mirage that spans the entire horizon,
Fanning out its rays, gathering the momentum to rise on.

As soon as the first ray scampers past the window of desperation,
I begin to get the first fleeting glimpse of aspiration,
It’s been a long time since I remember a sigh of relief,
But today is one of the few days I can fully suspend disbelief.

Emanating from nowhere, the rays begin to rapidly multiply,
Each one giving me the proof that my dreams can fly,
It filled my heart and turned me blind,
Showing me the wonders of turning off my mind.

If there ever was a world, where the future is always bright,
Where I can sleep every day, banishing the demons of the night,
I would gladly let this sun glide out of my sight,
Knowing you’ll be there for me, ever the princess of light.

This one is dedicated to another Beacon, Robert Miles. As expected, the title is lifted from another track of his legendary album. Never fails to get my spirit up.

Songstress

For the first sunrise that heralded our day,
And showed us the future of a pair,
Let us carry that sunshine along our way,
And show it the future that we share.

For the first warmth that sprung from every word,
And made us fight for long over its true meaning,
Let us follow those words to when they were first heard,
And fill them over, with a whole new feeling.

For the first full moon that filled our night,
And took us for a free ride into fantasy,
Let us always move slowly within its sight,
And let it drink from our cup of ecstasy.

For the love that gave us both a chance,
And took us to places beyond this world,
Let us give that love another chance,
And bring it back into this forlorn world.

For the tears that cleared your vision and mine,
And made us want to wash away some memories,
Let us give those tears their own sorrow to divine,
And help them find their way back to those memories.

For the separation that introduced us to fear,
And made us experience the pain of being apart,
Let us prove to it that we are too dear,
And acknowledge how well it has played its part.

For the life that brought you to me,
And made our relation a reality,
Let us live it like it was meant to be,
And sing an ode of thanks to serendipity.

The Gazebo seems to be getting the title of the most crowded page ever since i joined a particular company. Wonder why this is so? 😀 This one is for all the things that bring two people together, and what those two people can do to repay those things.

Within Beyond

When the boundaries of humanity are marked by endless sand,
And yet you know, beyond the water, there’s more land,
When there’s no more land, than the place you stand,
And yet the water keeps seeping right through your hand.

When you have finally measured the real distance to horizon,
And yet find yourself nowhere closer to the sun,
When the journey ceases to be any longer about the distance,
And yet you cannot stop measuring the lengths of hesitance.

When you realise some things deserve expression through speech,
And yet the silence cannot be broken, completely out of reach,
When your throat goes dry, right when words mean the most,
And yet your mind is at ease, because you tried your utmost.

When sorrow is high, and there are no consolations to hear,
And yet a lot gets spoken, by the first falling tear,
When the pain gets more than the mind can pretend,
And yet the continued silence, convinces you it will end.

When fear means more than just a possible danger,
And yet courage shies away, pretending to be a stranger,
When the night gets older, and shadows grow longer,
And yet you find your confidence getting stronger.

When time takes you on a ride, for every simple task,
And yet respite is the last thing you want to ask,
When life fills you with more memories than you can keep,
And yet you wish for some of them to forever sleep.

When the opportunities are fewer than the possibilities can grasp,
And yet chances always seem to evade your determined clasp,
When you are told it is childish fantasy, to wish upon a star,
And yet you smile within, for, things are as near, as they are far.

This Gazebo piece is for the dichotomous nature that abides and pervades most of us. We are stronger when we are expected to be at our weakest, and weaker when expected to be at our strongest. We are more determined when we know nobody believes in us, and sometimes, bewildered when so many believe in us. But that dichotomy makes us what we are, and takes us to where we will go. This one is dedicated to the belief that things are only as difficult as we perceive them to be, and and only as achievable as we want them to be.

Tranquility

Soft and inquiring, like the chirping of the first bird,
Slowly joined by others, yet soft, as if almost never heard,
That is all I can remember about your first word,
There were more important things that then occurred.

At first there was the silence, ethereal and all pervasive,
During that time, sound seemed untraceable, evasive,
There was an uneasy calm, hanging in the air, all around,
As we waited to see, what would come of the first sound.

Sure enough, there came the sound, that broke the silence,
And it filled the world now sore by its absence,
It was universal, not constrained by language,
For, nobody yet claims laughter as their language.

If ever there were more words to express happiness,
Then silence would have to remain a mute witness,
For, among the many feelings that are beyond expression,
None quite matches happiness’s infectious passion.

And the happiness aroused by the tinkling of your laughter,
Showed us a fleeting glimpse of the world called ever-after,
Transporting us to the place, where words are never enough,
To explain, why remembering contentment there, is tough.

We found we lost some of it, trying to speak the joy,
And learnt that words are the cheapest way to enjoy,
It is most often the nuances, that get lost in translation,
That gives us all, that extra reason for jubilation.

From eternal silence, the big bang was the first sound,
And now there are billions more that this wold abound,
But for us, it shall always be your laughter, that broke new ground,
One that proved to us, there was an earth with happiness all around.

The Beacons beckon me again with that healing smile called Aparna. This one is dedicated not only to her, but to all those who happiness made a difference to our lives. To all those whose laughter made the sky look bluer and the roses look redder. This one is dedicated to happiness personified.

Firdaus

Where footsteps have never yet made sound,
And yet everybody is forever on moving ground,
Where hands have never yet known the meaning of touch,
And yet reality is the only thing completely out of touch.

Where every word has its own independent voice,
And yet every interpretation is spoiled by lack of choice,
Where every thought feeds on the fruits of liberation,
And yet every deed suffers from the absence of deliberation.

Where truth can hold its head forever high,
And yet doubt is forcibly pushed to fly,
Where fear is flushed out from every corner,
And yet courage found no votes it could garner.

Where nobody cared whether the time went slow,
And yet limited each day, by the amount they could flow,
Where distance was a measure of where rather than far,
And yet they needed to only think, not wish, upon a star.

Where death is a term coined only for the dictionary,
And yet eternity never seems out of the ordinary,
Where life is a term that signifies mere existence,
And yet living is an appropriate measure of its distance.

Where every feeling is worth more than its meaning,
And yet they possess no emotion capable of revealing,
Where every end is only the means to a new beginning,
And yet they never remember ever winning or losing.

Where the mind has wings, and the heart has a voice,
And yet they cannot find a single reason to rejoice,
There, consciousness is something they would gladly miss,
So that they can spend another moment, in this eternal bliss.

This one was destined for the Beacons, being my tribute to Gulzar. This person has single-handedly change the course of my feelings more times than anyone can imagine. (imagine a multiplication factor of 50 times per day)

Strangers Again

Not long after monsoon bid its last droplet goodbye,
Uninvited, unexpectedly, you happened to come by,
Looking out for someone, who definitely wasn’t me,
Politely reminding me, to not bother, just let you be.

But time is a trickster, so it decided not to wait,
And hooked us together, with a common bait,
Coming together seemed so much of our own accord,
That we never wondered, on when time had played its card.

They say time flies swifter when it is least observed,
Specially, times when life seems not, the least bit reserved,
So too were we, drawn together, like sparks from a flint,
Warming up into a flame, without the slightest hint.

Every time I believed there was something more than I knew,
You made it appear that there was a lot more still due,
And every time I believed that it was finally over,
You teased me into reconsidering what I meant by over.

That was a long time ago, a time when you were here,
Now all I can do, is to imagine, you are still near,
The ensuing years have dried out the last tear,
Making me believe life never took away anything too dear.

Even today I wonder, if it was all a game, merely a test,
Whose result I know nobody who will truly attest,
For, everybody has their own journey of no return,
And along the way, they have their own bridges to burn.

Our time is now gone, like it will be for all some day,
The day when each of us must inevitably go our own way,
Strangers we had met, and strangers we shall remain,
Until fate decides, to bring us together again.

This one is a continuation of a previous post Strangers. While that was an abstract one on the relation between love and life, this one is more grounded, and is about people. That pushes it into Gazebo.

Sunset

For that moment, I really believed everything fell silent,
Or maybe, the engrossing moment made my ears feel absent,
Because, once the spell broke, the world echoed with its sound,
As if in celebration, of this fantasy that came to ground.

Going back to when we came, to sit at the end of land,
Watching little shells emerge, and disappear into the sand,
As one wave competed with another, in a desperate bid to stand,
But forced to fall on their knees, as if by the flick of a wand.

Teasing you, tempting you, you know not, but they beckon,
Always watching out, for someone to embrace, you reckon,
Atleast to humour them, you decide to wade, a few feet in,
Hoping to see their quenched desire, turn into a grin.

But time wasn’t shy, to drag you a few more feet,
It had decided it was high time, you two did meet,
And there I stood, following footsteps that led nowhere,
Knowing that yours had stopped right now, right here.

The sun begins to go down, on another day so grand,
As I watch, the finality of it all, failing to understand,
The quest of the sun for another world, a new found land,
Abandoning this world, to darkness’s ever-forgiving hand.

But the waves can’t wait, to wash them away,
To cover up the fact, that someone came their way,
Helpless, I sit down, staring, trying to rearrange the sand,
Oblivious to the fact, that things are already out of hand.

The emptiness beside me, is only on the sand,
For, are you not there, forever holding my hand,
Looking into my eyes, while our feet get wet,
Pleading with us, to stay, until after sunset.

Another one for the Gazebo, about the days that are lost. when lost ones are found again, in another form.

Aspirations

The horizon is far, but the sky is even farther,
The euphoria is overflowing, but control is not worth the bother,
The travails of this effort exhaust, but show now, as much as a sigh,
For, is not fatigue indistinguishable, when the spirits are high.

The steps fall rapidly, yet softly and assuredly,
By noon the distance seems to vanish happily, reassuredly,
The peak seems but a few thousand steps away,
Insignificant before the thousands already under way.

There are times when it seems but a distant dream,
But you shrug it off, knowing life is the biggest dream,
For now, all that matters is getting to the peak,
And keeping quiet till your achievements can speak.

Constantly flirting with life, and its every moment,
Not quite sure how every minute, hour, of it went,
But dancing in the arms of destiny everyday,
You are sure, the top of the stairs isn’t far away.

At every step, yesterday’s memories haunt,
And with failures from the past, incessantly taunt,
Unflinchingly you persevere, knowing well the end is near,
And far above, the first tinkle of success’s bells you hear.

You keep fighting on each step, rushing through each door,
As the promised dream gets nearer, floor by floor,
You finally reach the top, take a breath, and look around,
Neither contentment nor disappointment, absolutely no sound.

The emptiness that engulfs you, is so stifling,
And the disappearance of joy is more surprising,
If all eternity could be compressed into one single moment,
You are already through that now receding moment.

Back to active blogging after a sabbatical of exactly one year!!!!!!!!!!!!! This one was promised a year ago to Meghna and is dedicated to her. The last one year has been a thrilling roller-coaster ride plunging more to newer depths and never quite scaling new heights. What matters is i have managed to come out in a single piece and am back to blogging. So Meghna enjoy being a Beacon again.

Cannibal

For a second, all seems quiet in this primeval forest,
But only a second, silence is something they all detest,
Each to itself, noise is their only music, their only protest,
For, asking for understanding, is too formidable a request.

Above the saplings, beneath the vines, I finally reach a clearing,
Only to comprehend, it is the end of the jungle I am nearing,
There was once a time, when it stretched to the ends of land,
Ages ago, before it was within grasp of man’s lusty hand.

But things have changed, and so have the times,
All that persists, is the pungence of its ripe limes,
The grandeur only remains in the great oak’s tale,
As a witness to a relationship now nearly stale.

Gone are the days when the flora swayed in the breeze,
To the tune of young birds celebrating their release,
Days when the daisies couldn’t wait for the sunshine of spring,
Nights when cuckoos shivered, at what the winter would bring.

But the birds, grow tired soon, and shall no longer sing,
They find the tree too stuffy, to  even rest their wing,
Deafened by time, the trees too are now beyond caring,
Although they admit, the separation is beyond bearing.

The squirrel meekly watches, as the birds go their way,
Leaving the old peepul behind, for people to log away,
It looks up one last time, at the slowly receding pack,
Now more than sure, nothing will make them come back.

One such a ground I stand, a slave without a conscience,
Greedy, slogging for the greedy, who demand obedience,
Sweating, I continue, hacking away at the roots that feed humanity,
So that my children’s dream can soon turn into a concrete reality.

Although any reader would surely put this under Gazebo, the place it rightly belongs is Mirror, because not only is this about the environment, it is more about my own life than anything else. The message and the rest of the stuff is merely camouflage over a more sinister story of my own life. It is as much about an educated woodcutter and the ecological balance, as it is about two people whom I value more than my life fighting with each other, unable to bear each other. There’s a lot more to say, but that will have to wait till I get some comments :).

Threshold

The morning breaks out into a clear blue sky,
And you decide, today is the day, to give it a try,
So you begin, to prepare a schedule, fix the time,
By the time it’s done, the clock strikes noontime.

So busy, engaged in imitating yesterday’s work,
That you forgot, to try and make this schedule work,
Perhaps a little later, maybe the evening you decide,
Another of those opportunities that chance was denied.

Soon the sun too begins to get rid of its glow,
And you’re still busy, catching up with the flow,
When the strength gets weak, and the morale is low,
You coax the schedule to make its clock go more slow.

The sun is unwilling, but the moon cannot wait,
That’s when you realise, that things aren’t right,
You and chance part ways, hopefully only for the night,
Hoping tomorrow would show it in a much better light.

Just close your eyes, and think of the day goneby,
Look at the roads not taken, and ask yourself why,
Then open your eyes, an look above at any star,
And learn to ask how near, instead of how far.

Make sure atleast tomorrow takes you forward,
And doubt not, if progress can only mean onward,
Just because something seems to snap every time you try,
Doesn’t mean there is reason enough to stop and cry.

Because there is always hope, and abundance of it,
Awaiting to be useful, whenever you deem it fit,
There’s always sunrise tomorrow, to emerge from this darkness,
Because every morning you stand, on the threshold of greatness.

This one was a close contest, but I guess the universality was what pushed it into Gazebo from Mirror. This happened to be another of those ways life wakes you up, when you are sleeping at the wheel. In this case it was in the form of my employer. I was happy that I got into a nice comfy job, and had started to neglect my research, justifing it to myself with some or the other excuse. When all of a sudden, when I was almost asleep during an Induction Programme(why do things always strike me in sleep?), I half-heard the word ‘Threshold’.

At that instant, all my sleep vanished aand thoughts suddenly started flowing. In 15 minutes, the whole poem was ready, and once I read it I couldn’t help but agree that it really reflected the sad state of affairs that I could call my present life. The reason I am posting this today, is that I have finally climbed the first step to greatness called ‘effort’. Today morning I finally acheived the breakthrough, I got myself the schematics to the circuit board that I was searching for more than a year. They say life is what happens when everybody is sleeping, so too it did, today morning at 3AM, I finally got the schematics.

Anthem

Happy and sad, about being sad,
Certain and uncertain, about being glad,
Enraged and composed, on being compared,
Desirous and content, of being ignored.

Anxious and patient, to do nothing,
Hopeful and scared, to learn something,
Curious and nonchalant, to create something,
Hopeless and expectant, to need nothing.

Delighted and bereaving, the ensuing joy,
Unabashed and bashful, on being coy,
Flustered and pleased, for being complacent,
Farther and nearer, to becoming self-distant.

Pained and relieved, on feeling the hurt,
Cheerful and grim, for heeding the heart,
Cleansed and stinking, from the hidden dirt,
Restored and fatigued, from all this effort.

Surprised and humbled, by this sudden success,
Filled and emptied, by a renegade excess,
Stirred and propelled, from an expected failure,
Interested and bored, in the promised cure.

Seen and unseen, all of my actions are known,
Heard and unheard, they converse with the unknown,
Touched and untouched, they want me re-living,
Kindness and neglect, they taught me giving.

Liberated and chained, I live in parole,
Till life and death, get tired of my soul,
Faithful and blasphemous, I shall continue to pray,
For, spoken and unspoken, there’s lot more to say.

This one is dedicated to me, to the Jekyll and Hyde within me, so that puts it in Mirror. How often have we felt multiple emotions over a single incident. I don’t know about others, but every single incident in my life has always made me think and feel in two or more ways. Sometimes a whole range, starting from shock, moving to horror, then waning into pity before fizzling out into mere sorrow.

I understand that I am one, but my consciousness refuses to believe in it completely, and thus leaves scope for repeated reinterpretations of one single moment. What purpose retrospection serves, to what end is introspection useful, I still know not with conviction. But what I do know is that this is the truth that my life is all about, the feelings that my story is all about, this is my song, my anthem.

Abyss

The day was quiet, very much like the silence it brought,
Soaking in the serenity that my existence has long sought,
I wished music would beat noise to be today’s first sound,
As I compel myself to fight back and win lost ground.

Forgiveness is alien, something I feel ashamed to ask,
Surprising, how speaking suddenly seems a difficult task,
When the reluctant words are forced to hide,
The mind has no choice but to dumbly abide.

The shame gets me thinking, “why this reluctance”,
Why do feelings and words maintain their distance,
Some times I feel the feelings are ready for a confession,
But most often it turns out, they stop short of expression.

Everyday I am aware that the remorse does exist,
Yet I choose to ignore it, as if shrouded by a mist,
And I probably have the willingness, but not enough courage,
After all, I cannot guarantee my future relapse into rage,

When the doubt creeps in, it throws me into two minds,
Making me question, “is it the act, or the guilt, that binds”,
Leading me to think of the repercussions, if you choose, not to affirm,
And thus I languish, neither able to deny, nor able to confirm.

I notice you searching for that regret in my eyes,
You see it, but lying or not, you cannot surmise,
Because it is was true, they could surely have been spoken,
Instead of hiding behind an apparition, that was already broken.

All said and done, the fact remains that it is still left unsaid,
And that’s what bothers me every night when I go to bed,
About never having a chance, by the time I get the courage,
And whether I want to stall, till things reach such a stage.

This one is again dedicated to Divya. A continuation of what started with Chasm. So I guess that makes it one more for the Beacons. Many times after words escape our mouth, we wish we could do something about it. Maybe get back to the person and apologise, explain your side of the story. Somehow in most such cases we never get around to doing it. Atleast not until it is too late. And then we wish we could have done so, one day before, one hour before, one moment before. But that moment is gone and will never come back. So I guess if you want to say something to somebody, there’s no time like NOW.

One Step

Looking at myself in the mirror, I see myself all wrong,
Causing me to doubt the truth I had known for so long,
When left seems like right, surely something isn’t right,
Maybe it was the reflection, or perchance the angle of sight.

Confused and bewildered, I step out onto the street,
Looking forward to any person I could happily greet,
But the picture I saw, sent me into shock,
Perhaps the first time my smiles ran out of stock.

All I could see were hundreds of faces lined with worry,
Thinking of a thousand more ways to even faster hurry,
Clockwork, the next foot was up before the previous one could rest,
And I probably understood what they meant by ‘survival of the fittest’.

Everybody it seemed was busy running after time,
Regardless that their watch would run out sometime,
They know none who has caught up, but it doesn’t matter,
They care not for the logic, embedded in such a matter.

They seem to believe that the heart is out of the question,
And therefore talk through their minds, talk sans emotion,
When the words escape, finding their way past the filter,
Consideration and propriety are forced to run for shelter.

So what if it made the other person feel hurt,
Couldn’t they see, their own heart was anyway hurt,
They thought others would understand the pain from this lesson,
Alas, the others, they too had filters, and saw only the agression.

If only they took one step towards those walking away,
They would find atleast one person coming their way,
Even if nobody turned around, it would be worth the effort,
For them to know, there’s somebody trying to heal their hurt.

This one definitely belongs to Mirror(though I have doubts it probably also falls into Gazebo, am having a lot of these overlapping ones nowadays). It all started out on my last day in Bangalore(for that period of time). I had by then become convinced of my opinion that BMTC conductors were the nastiest people on earth, and that they seemed to derive a sadistic joy from uttering the most disgusting things and behaving in the rudest manner possible. On that fateful day everything changed(or atleast everything about the opinion changed on 2nd May 2008).

There was this bearded middle-aged conductor in the bus while I was getting off at Vasanth Nagar, and he had the most congenial attitude I had seen in anybody in a long long long time. He greeted every single person in the most courteous way, and I must admit he was probably chivalrous to the core when it came to the ladies. Right from a student to the old lady unable to walk up quickly enough to the bus. I could see the happiness manifest itself suddenly on all their faces. It was probably that moment that I felt if only everyone everywhere could be like him.

While I understand that being Government employees and lower-level employees upon that, people like conductors carry a lot of angst with them. An angst that comes from long hours of consistently bad work environment, thankless irate customers lack of recognition and a pitiful pay to boot. This however doesn’t give them the excuse to pass off all of that pent-up fury on customers, most of whom have no other viable option and have to therefore bear all of it with a closed mouth. These conductors were appointed to be the customer-end face of the organisation, and if not for general well-being of the society, they should atleast behave considerately for the sake of the organisation that pays them to treat theh customers with respect. They seem to neither care for the organisation or for humanity in general, simply because nobody seems to care for them.

And it is not just the conductors, if every passsenger spoke gently and considerately to every conductor, they would feel like reciprocating and vice versa. Why are we always waiting for somebody else to smile first, somebody else to greet us affectionately first. If everybody shouted at everybody simply because the other person was also shouting, the world would be the biggest cacophonic fishmarket of the universe. Every time you smile and reply to somebody instead of answering with a grim face, you are unconsciously improving that person’s morale, uplifting that person’s spirit. This poem is dedicated to that Conductor of Route No. 290, who made my day. Wish everybody would follow suit. Change begins at an individual level.

Nightfalls

Nobody seems to understand, though it is a simple fact,
It seems they believe you’re a party to this daily pact,
Going it appears, into nothingness at the hint of dawn,
Happy that the sun is breaking out on another morn.

They know not, that you neither come nor go,
For, aren’t you the companion they don’t know,
Although always around, they never observe you stay,
Likely too busy to notice being abandoned by the day.

Left to yourself, you wouldn’t even talk of the day,
So I decide to let you for this once, have your say,
Everytime I think of my meeting with you tonight,
Visible yet shrouded, the possibilities taunt my sight.

Every dialogue in our conversation remains etched on my mind,
Realistic, believable, unlike the path to you that I had to find,
The yearning was probably what made every step seem new,
Directing me through an unfamiliarity I thought was you.

All the while thinking of questioning a reputation you deserved,
Yet, upon seeing you, my speech suddenly becomes reserved,
Ever expecting the ordinary, I stumble upon your surprise,
Vacant in expression, I could scarcely believe my eyes.

Each time you reluctantly reveal to this world your heart,
Reaffirmedly they wait, for morning, to see you depart,
Yielding your identity, for those that condemn you,
Never once bothered, that the same ones despise you.

I now understand how it must feel, to be hated for the light,
Glad though, that I made an everlasting friendship tonight,
Happily in the company of your blindness I shall soak,
Till I find truth, the one hidden beneath your cloak.

This ones is dedicated to two Beacons, Chint2(for the content-inspiration based on his poem Talk to Darkness which affected my life in a way I cannot even describe[the kind of stuff that should be made compulsory reading]) and Meghna(for her acrostic poem ‘Nightfalls‘ that was so simple and sweet, that it made me revisit the times when I used to write simple little poems in school).

This one describes my “one night with the night”, but being a very abstract one, you will find multiple points of reference for it, the night as a person, as a state of day, as a manner of living, as an object of fear, etc. What made the most impact on me was the way I thought about night previously, and the way I do about it now, such a contrast, and I guess I have ‘the day’ to thank for such a drastic change in outlook.

For those who have been wondering where I have vanished, musst confess, the writing never stopped, only the posting did, so get ready for a small deluge(couldn’t post what I had written due to many consistent technical and other glitches).

Sad Cypress

A few years ago, they took me away, cuffed and chained,
Only doing their duty, they knew not how much it pained,
Days, weeks, months I have sat, staring at the bars,
Awaiting the day to fly and converse with the stars.

Alas the bulb above my head tell me neither day or night,
And the minutes seem like an eternity to ponder my plight,
Of ever leaving this room, my hope has lost all sight,
Atleast they offered me a few hours of this artificial light.

None would listen, they wouldn’t believe that I was innocent,
I should be ashamed they thought, I should be repentant,
They were shocked at the lack of remorse on my face,
Knowing not, that this ignominy is more than I can face.

They parade me around, an apprehended dangerous criminal,
And my chances of walking away are sealed, almost minimal,
Standing in the dock, of the portals of law, supposedly called justice,
This was my last chance, and I really hoped I could do it justice.

Sadly all they believed was evidence, one given by circumstance,
It confounded me about why they denied truth a chance,,
It finally came down to my word against the evidence,
That was their value of my life, a gamble with providence.

They questioned my testimony, my character, my credibility,
And separated from it, every shred of believability,
There I stood, spoken, unheard, untouched, ravaged,
Following their orders, hoping my soul would be salvaged.

Alive, alone, death seemed the only one who was proud,
The only one unafraid, to call me its friend, aloud,
But God knew, and I knew, the difference between justice and reality,
And that knowledge was my compass, in the journey into infinity.

This one is for the Beacons, dedicated to Agatha Christie. The title is from one of the episodes of her detective Poirot’s serials. Somehow the moment I read the title, it reminded me of a lot many things that I used to dream about. And surprisingly, although it might seem odd, one of my childhood influences that left a lasting impression on me, namely, Tolstoy’s “God sees the truth but waits”, had nothing whatsoever to do with this one. The relation to that struck me when I was typing this post. But come to think of it, it does seem more and more like a versified form of that.

I always used to have this idea, probably from reading too much of Robin Hood, and such other stuff, about what I would do, how I would behave if I was imprisoned wrongly. Somehow all my life(even today) I keep getting this fantasy idea of myself as a vigilante after getting released for some crime I didn’t commit etc.  But thinking practically of a scenario where I couldn’t get out to do all that superman, batman stuff, this was what I could come up with. Maybe this is the way it will be.

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.

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.

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.

Chasm

When the silence sets in, on a world darker than the night,
Every word sets out, in search of that elusive spark of light,
They fervently search every word the mind can harbour,
And find their quest for sound, getting all the more harder.

They finally leave the shore of belief, out into the ocean of doubt,
More quiet than happy, for, had they not forgotten how to shout,
It has been quite a while, since a smile replaced their laughter,
A while, since every sob had been replaced, by a tear more softer.

As long as their courage couldn’t swim, their fears wouldn’t sink,
It seemed the only thing still afloat, was their ability to think,
To think, over their every word, till it could be refined no more,
To silently spell every letter, till their parched throats grew sore.

He followed behind, hoping to convince them to stay,
Only to find his own tears, gladly joining their way,
All he could do, was wipe them away, and pray,
That his prayer, would find its voice one day.

Why couldn’t anybody else see the noose, at the tip of his tongue,
One from which every minute, every protesting word was hung,
Unspoken martyrs, all of them, for a cause long since lost,
None of them would ever know the value, of effort’s real cost.

Prisoners from birth, each of them learnt to speak, fluently, silent,
Correcting each other, on what the nuances of expression meant,
Composing into tune, what their every syllable sung,
Silencing their music, till its very heart quietly wrung.

A chance meeting with a stranger, led them to the destination,
And there they laid their brethren to rest, in calm decimation,
His heart, and soul, forced his eyes into celebration,
As his ears first heard, that primeval cry of liberation.

Another one for the Beacons again. This time it is for Divya. I came across a post by her titled Mute, which beautifully conveyed certain thoughts that I myself have long been feeling. The poem however left me with another additional thought. What if that person finally found those words, but couldn’t blurt them out any longer, because he was physically what the poem calls him, MUTE?

What if he could no longer create sound, and wanted to do so just one more time? To maybe, apologise, to maybe tell somebody how much he loved them, to maybe cleanse his mind of all that accumulated thoughts waiting to be sounded. But then, by the time I reached the ending, I myself felt so sad for him, that i decided to make it a ‘filmi’ ending. One of the things that happens to me sometimes. Guess that way there will atleast be one less reader who felt sad the poem ended the way i did.

This poem was titled after the depths of the throat from which voice emanates. Most often we believe that it is from the abyss of the throat from which words are generated, but sometimes, sound is created from a place far more deeper, the bottom of the heart. Such words live long after the sound has dissipated, like the voice that echoes after a long decade of silence.

Oblivion

Walking amidst the sights, I nearly felt myself lost,
Gypsies all around, selling trinkets at an enviable cost,
The sun was just beginning to rise over the last tent,
Such an aura of heavenly joy to this beautiful day it lent.

I strolled, from stall to stall, searching, expecting the ethereal,
Somehow, it seemed to me, nothing was any farther from the real,
Atleast I thought I believed so, until the moment I set eyes on her,
Frozen stiff, I wondered how people could pretend not to bother.

My feet pushed me, forcing me to join everyone in the play,
The more they tried, the more detached I got from the fray,
My mind couldn’t have been more still, in such a stormy water,
My body, just tiring, from a day that was getting slowly hotter.

She was looking at a curtain, seemingly admiring the intricate lace,
While trying to push back her hair, which was slowly taking over her face,
By doing so, she gave me the first complete glimpse, of her face,
Maybe this was what they called distortion of reality, of time and space.

I got so close, I could almost hear her, and her infectious laughter,
Whatever the reason, it was surely something my heart was after,
She moved on, leaving me behind, soaking in her fragrance,
Floored, somehow, standing as I was, was an effort in pretense.

Sometimes, I felt she might turn back, catch me staring,
But some reproaches, despite the joy, are worth bearing,
Sadly, happily, she just walked on, oblivious to the world, to me,
Years away now, her enduring smile, is the only thing I can still see.

History, they say, repeats itself. So here I am, back to Aparna, guess the while has again come a full circle. Guess these Beacons never give up. Although I would have wished that this episode was true in its entirety. It is however not so only on one point, there was no Aparna in it. That however is only what lets me take the imagination to the next level, everytime I remember it.

This was an incident that happened when I happened to visit an exhibition, and found one girl who kept smiling more as the day got hotter. All around her, people were getting more irritable with the passage of the day, and here was one woman, who seemed to derive more happiness as the day moved on, it was as if she drank in the day. Though I long left the purpose of my visit there and simply spent the day following her, just looking at her, she was, it seemed, oblivious to everything, specially the likes of me, lost in her own world. Hence the title. Makes me remember Aparna, everytime I recall that smile(since the event was long ago, I can no longer recall her face, only that permanent smile, so it makes it all the more easier to transpose that with Aparna.

Frontier

frontier.jpg

It is already late, but the night is still young,
But my mind can’t go on, already high-strung,
When the words begin to find the dawn, the day,
I know that tonight, sleep has found its way.

The morning brings me a paper I nearly seem to know,
And so I begin writing, furiously from the word go,
I try to remember the order, down to the last thought,
I can only do so much, the fate of the result, I know not.

Day after day, every morning, I religiously ran the run,
All for this one day, when I had to even faster run,
Short of breath, I pushed myself with one final burst of speed,
Useless, maybe next year, another attempt to try and lead.

Standing near the podium, I begin to uncontrollably cry,
The winner steps down to console, saying, atleast I did try,
I hold my medal hard, feeling its heart, already stone cold,
Wondering how long I had to stare, to turn it into gold.

Every attempt I made, there was already somebody better,
And his record, tomorrow somebody else is going to better,
Is that what life is all about, always being ahead of the rest?
If so, I must admit, life is a very very badly designed test.

Is that all that matters, setting goals and achieving?
Running against yourself, against the world, competing,
To put every moment of life on a scale, upon a benchmark,
To compare and consider, before you can again embark.

Why can’t life be about enjoying the second, the moment?
About learning and sharing and improving your talent,
About the surprise of letting each moment lead the way,
And giving our satisfaction, the chance to forever play.

This one is also dedicated to Aamir Khan and Amol Gupte, already among the Beacons. Had earlier written one that not only was too much abstract for my own good, but it also failed to cover another important aspect of the drama, the human angle. The unquenchable thirst for betterment, for rising above the mundane, and conquering the stars.

It often used to make me wonder, why we need to compete. To prove to others what we have got. Why can’t we just do what we do, at the best we can do, and let the results speak for our efforts, rather than have a benchmark appreciate our efforts. Why must the yardstick of one’s effort always be the measure of another’s effort? Why cannot people find the satisfaction of having done the best we could do, as a good enough yardstick? Why must the reward for our efforts be always contingent upon the comparision with somebody else’s efforts? Why cannot the joy of watching our efforts fructify itself be the reward?

The poem was titled after that invisible barrier we set for ourselves, and spend an entire lifetime trying to cross it. In the end we will never know even if we have, because it is invisible. It is the end beyond which we can never go, and yet we refuse to believe it, and expend every valuable second we can trying to accomplish just that. There is nothing wrong, with such an effort, infact it is a very complementary part of human nature called endeavour. The problem begins when in the process of endeavour, we forget the simplest of joys, the smallest of joys that life holds. When we forget the satisfaction that effort itself is supposed to generate, and find solace only in the accomplishment, rather than the journey, that is when, competition becomes death itself. For without finding true joy, there is no greater purpose for life. That is the moment when the very accomplishment itself is the death knell.

I still remember the 100M running race in school, when one guy(I somehow managed to forget his name, like always) was competing for the all-rounder medal and had to win this race compulsorily(it was the last of the track events) to get the medal. While practising the previous day of the race, he happened to sprain his ankle, which put paid to his hopes of the medal, something he had worked for every single day of the year. Race day. The whistle was blown. I saw something I will never forget for the rest of my life. All the runners held hands and walked the entire distance, step by step, and slowly, lest that guy’s ankle get more strained, and at the very end, lifted their right foot, and at the count of three, set it down. It is another matter that in a highly controversial decision, Praveena Sir adjudged that since Ravi Kanth’s foot had come down a fraction of a millisecond before the others, he was the winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Well, nobody said life was fair. But it is moments and gestures like these that aim to set right that imbalance that matter more than winning or losing.

How many times have we seen Donovan Bailey stop running to attend to a fellow-runner who twisted his ankle? How many times have we seen Lance Armstrong get off his cycle to help someone who had fallen off theirs? That day, in school, I learnt what sports was about, what sportsmanship was about. It definitely was more than today, now and gold. It was about life, about living, caring and sharing. About humanity.

It is this same feeling I get when I remember my Board Exams. How many people can you mention, who were studying to be rankers, and how many people can you mention, who could-have-been rankers, and yet set that aside to help others who could barely pass to do so. I can mention a minimum of two, off-hand, Harshavardhan Dawar and Sainath Choudary. These were two guys who could have aced any exam centum, every time they wrote it, and yet chose to spend the days before the exams helping clarify other guys’ doubts. Anytime was never an interruption, the night before the exam, the day of the exam, the hour before the exam, no time was an interruption, and no doubt was too silly. It was this humanity, that anyway we can pass, atleast let us help others also do so, that touched my heart, and even today, I never send back anybody who comes to me for help in a subject. If I don’t know what that means, I will take it upon myself to first perfect it, and then teach the person, but never send them away saying, I am competing myself, sorry can’t afford to spend time on you.

But sometimes, many things just remain dreams. All shouted and done, absolutely nothing will change about this scenario. Only new actors, new backdrops, the story will always be the same, self-improvement over community-improvement.

P.S. Thought this would do it, unfortunately, there are still some more angles to cover, so you can expect the Part-3 some time soon.

Multitude

Pushing my bag underneath, I climbed onto my berth,
Crawling slowly, I dusted it for what it was worth,
Stretching my legs, I turned around to have a look,
Nothing out of the ordinary, so I got back to the book.

Forty pages later, it was getting more and more boring,
I closed it, dreading what the next pages would bring,
I watched as a hawker passed, chips around neck, like a string,
What a racket, I wished he would just sell and get moving.

Bored, I climbed down, nudged the old lady and sat,
Opposite me, a toddler sat, ah the noisy little brat,
Bleary, flustered, I was nearing my point of frustration,
When the train slowed down, pulling into a station.

That’s when I noticed her, staring out of the window,
As if searching for the ends of the fading rainbow,
Stretching her hands out, to feel the rain,
Oblivious to the train, now moving again.

At the far end, the tea vendor was nearly shouting,
And the toddler, probably chided,  was now wailing,
The old lady, dozing, was beginning to fall on my shoulder,
I really didn’t care, I was busy myself, watching her.

Hands still outside, the water was dripping from her fingertips,
The pure delight, all the while sparkling white between her lips,
There were a thousand people, and sadly, nobody was watching,
The thousand-odd ways those drops were trickling, bouncing.

As if self-conscious, the rain stopped, she turned round,
Wiping her hands dry, she finally began to look around,
Having seem them all, her gaze now came to rest upon me,
Held my breath, she stared, stared, stared, and smiled at me.

For that single instant, unbeknown, I too stared,
As if challenged by those eyes that so dared,
Transfixed, tacitly we sat, eyes still glued,
Together, yet so alone, in this multitude.

This one is for the Mirror. Happened on a lonely journey to Hyderabad. Guess that was the only noteworthy point about the journey, besides making me wonder of the many times when we are in the middle of a bustling crowd, and yet never feel more alone in life. Of the times, when we are alone in the room, simply staring at the ceiling, and yet the heart feels congested in the crowd.

The prisoners of our own thought. The travellers of our journey. many times we have company, more often we don’t. So often we take it upon ourselves to feel alone, when surrounded, and other times, so together in each of our loneliness. This one is dedicated to those thoughts. Ones that separate, ones that celebrate.

P.S. Don’t know her name. She smiled, I smiled, she laughed, I laughed, Hyderabad came.

Undesire

Come to me not, as the cascading waterfall,
Whose beauty lies, only in its own downfall,
Whose bubbles only froth, when its heart is filed,
Whose very purity, is always questioned and distilled.

Come to me not, as the charming breeze,
That moves around with a restrained ease,
Only once does it get, to caress my face,
After which it always seems to lose pace.

Come to me not, as those droplets of rain,
Those that pretend to fall, only to rise again,
Those that seem to revel in sharing your fun,
While all the time, silently blocking the sun.

Come to me not, as a blooming white lily,
One that survives, by being adored silly,
That yields its fragrance, with an effortless smile,
Knowing that the end is only going to be a while.

Come to me not, as an innocent child,
As if waiting to be liberated from the wild,
Laughing aloud, at my ceaseless effort,
Crying abandon, at my inner discomfort.

Come to me not,as the now blazing fire,
That kills all else to fulfill its own desire,
Knowing, in its heart, nobody to embrace,
Unknowing, how tomorrow’s hunger to face.

Come to me not, as the benevolent sun,
Though a source, it is only another one,
Seek me, hunt me, find me, however afar,
Let me know you, for the light you are.

Another one for the Gazebo. Hoping for the day when people would stop associating Divinity with objects and people,and start realising the true form of it right within themselves. The day when they will stop waiting for some messiah to come and show them the way, and instead start making their own way towards the light, one good deed at a time, one human emotion at a time.

Iscariot

One by one they emerge, slowly walking out,
Stopping and asking each other, the way about,
Though they all profess to have one common mind,
Consensus is something humanity may never find.

Only yesterday, it seemed we walked a common road,
As I trace without you, the path that we once rode,
With everyone else beside us, most of the while,
The last day which I knew, ended with a smile.

I only wish the rest of it wouldn’t be so vivid,
But then, the truth could only be more lucid,
I had done what I had, my own failing,
Nothing, I was sure, could prevent me falling.

Like falling pillars, they left me behind, one by one,
While I looked around, hoping to find atleast one,
Long gone, they were afraid not, to support me,
Afraid, they would be labelled another like me.

I failed to understand, what part of me was unpardonable,
What portion of my soul, was completely uncleansable,
Why my very sight, was to all, unbearable,
Why my very name, was from now unhearable.

In one lifetime, I did more than make up for it,
But nothing seemed to allow them to forget it,
Though I reside in everyone’s heart, they ignore me,
Atleast until the day they are forced to stand beside me.

For one single deed, my entire life hung in the balance,
While everybody else watched, in pretended silence,
If it was only life, I would have given without hesitation,
They trampled my life, only to get after my reputation.

Another one for the Beacons. This one is dedicated to many people to whom history has not been so kind in its treatment. The first name that comes to mind is Judas Iscariot, someone who is portrayed as the lab specimen of how a person shouldn’t be, and the very name is reviled. The same can be said of others long after him like Hitler and the like, whose very names must compulsorily be associated with evil, else the world would outcast the person defying such an unwritten edict.

Coming to our own epics there are some names that come to mind. Firstly, and most sadly of all, Ravana. To put things in proper perspective, Ravana was the master of all the 4 Vedas, as well as the 64 Upanishads, as well as master of a great many arts apart from being a formidable warrior, unbeaten in battle. Atleast that was the case until he came to meet Rama. A person who had neither of the above-mentioned qualifications, except probably being an equally good warrior with the same track record. The only sore point being Ravana had kidnapped somebody else’s wife, probably something the equivalent in today’s world would have hardly got him a year or tow in prison, for illegal confinement of a person violating her freedom of movement in the country. An act for which he is made to seem like the epitome of all evil, somebody whose very name deserves to be uttered in disgust. How silly it would seem in regard to some of the things being done today. Despite that he put in all his efforts and loyalties into the battle, purely trusting the words of his sister who told him a half-truth. How many of us would do that I wonder? I also wonder how nobody notices the nobility in that. Despite that he might still have got away with it, had he not been betrayed by his own brother in a fight among equals. A brother whom people have come to regard as saintly, simply because he was in the hero’s camp at the story ending.

Another name that comes to mind is Karna. This was another person who should have got his fair share of praise, if history had not conspired to steal it from him. He was a man who lived by his word, and sadly died by his word. A perfect gentleman who happened to give his loyalty to someone who recognised his worth, and his word to a mother who had shamelessly abandoned him at birth. Knowing well that he had a chance to turn the tide of the war in the favour of his friend, he chose to spare the life of nearly each and every Pandava, simply because he had given his word. An action that ultimately cost him the war. I hope I need not mention him being a far superior warrior than Arjuna, at whose hands he fell when weaponless and defenseless, and yet remained a man of his word to the very end.

The reason I mention a brief biography is to highlight what I feel is the injustice by history to these people whom it turned into outcasts merely on the premise of a single bad action committed by them. Why do we see nobody naming their children as Karna or Ravana, or Hitler or Judas for that matter? And why do we see them naming their children after spoiled polygamists like Arjuna and Krishna, or person’s who abandon their wives who followed them loyally into the forest like Rama. As you can probably understand everybody commits mistakes. That’s what makes them human. The ability to also forgive such mistakes and accept their consequences is what establishes the victim’s humanity. Is it not sheer propaganda of the victorious sides that gets history written this way, that people would shudder before even utter these infamous villain’s names. God forbid, you are caught supporting anything they stood for, or are caught appreciating them for what they were, you know your name too is on the list.

Why can’t people see the positive in everyone, and improve from it? Why can’t they learn the good from these Ravanas’, Karnas’, Hitlers’ and Judases? Why can’t they learn to love the humanity in these people, instead of fuelling their own hatred and being worser human beings themselves over an account that history fictionalised. One of the most beautiful things I have heard somebody speak and still follow to this day is “learn to hate the quality, not the person”. The quality is but one among the many that the person had. The quality is one that many of us have, though we deny it all our lives. Why can’t we learn to hate greed, lust, treachery, rather than hate people who seemed to be filled only with them? Is one single action so bad that a lifetime of good done atoning for it still doesn’t equate the balance. Is one single action so bad, that all the good done before it was a mere pretense that can be written off to mitigate not even a fragment of such an action?

May some humanity prevail over those still searching for the way.

Broken Pencil

brokenpencil1.jpg

Fresh from nowhere, it came, baggage in hand,
All I could do was gape, just letting it stand,
Though invited, yet so unwelcome, it would never understand,
While every passing second was encroaching upon its land.

It looked me in the eye, but asked not for pity,
Only shelter for a while, in this now strange city,
Seems only yesterday, it had grown up in this lane,
And today’s sunrise was already mocking it again.

I let it in, harbouring the tiniest hint of a doubt,
And watched as it struggled finding its way about,
Seeing it stumbling around in its own home,
I wonder, all these days, where it did roam.

Relaxed and settled, it asks me what I want,
But this time, it is something even it can’t,
So I smile my best smile, and force myself to say “Nothing”,
If my wishes had wings, I really wouldn’t need anything.

But the tears are something that I still don’t remember,
For, asking it to leave, was the last I could remember,
Surprisingly, I had to be content with crying alone,
Because no one else would accept it as their own.

Out, on the road, it stood just simply staring at me,
Was it pity, sympathy, or merely anxiety for me,
I would never know, because I had to open the door again,
I couldn’t just live every night, imagining our common pain.

So, in, it came, waiting for me to kick it out again,
In this matter, there was nothing I could do to restrain,
Me, I have other things horrible to bear,
Atleast that is something, we both share.

brokenpencil2.jpg

This one is dedicated to Amol Gupte and Aamir Khan for giving this country ‘Taare Zameen Par‘. For showing people what mattered more in life, specially in this country. This was something that had been troubling me right from my childhood, when I would open the paper in my 2nd Standard and read of students hanging themselves to death for not securing a particular rank, or for failing in a particular subject. Right from then I have been wondering what kind of environment produces such parents who put the fear of life or rather sow the germ of death into their children’s minds over a mere number, that might even if true, be merely an addition mistake of the clerk, a printing mistake of the press, or worser still, an irritated evaluator trying to put a value over a year or more worth of the child’s effort within 15 minutes.

Alas such a system should exist where that was all a child was worth, just another commodity. My cow gives 10 litres of milk, my car gives 14 kmpl mileage, my company gives 12 days casual leave annualy, my child gets 98.32% marks or better regularly. Indeed that is what children have finally been reduced to, pawns in a game of oneupmanship with their neighbours. How much did your child get in Maths, do you know how much my kid got in Geography? Is that all there is to a child’s life? Get up in the morning, go for early morning tutions, get ready for school, return from school, get ready and leave for more advanced tutions on the same subject again and again, until the very numbers and words appear as monsters in their dreams.

This poem is titled after a memory of my own childhood, wherein upto the 4th Standard we were supposed to use only pencils, and everyday before each session of classes began, the teachers used to sharpen the 40-odd pencils and put them in the pencil box, for us to collect as we entered the class after the morning prayer. We would all rush to get our hands on the pencils first, rather than the books. Probably because, the books were all the same, but the pencils weren’t. Some were sharper than the rest, some were longer than the rest. Everybody wanted the sharpest and longest pencil for themselves. Weren’t the rest of them also pencils, weren’t they equally useful if not immediately in the condition they were. We never knew then. Atleast I know now. A child’s life too has become like a pencil in that box, there is that constant competition that is created to be the tallest and sharpest among the rest. Unfortunately no parent or teacher seems to realise that the more you sharpen a pencil, the shorter it gets. Alas they seem to care not, that the length of the pencil is its very life, its childhood.

Although this poem was initially supposed to cover my heartlfelt feelings on the subject, something deep within stoppped me from putting everything down immediately, it was probably too much even for me to bear. So it turned out into a very very very abstract rendition of the fight every child has to fight between following his dreams, and being reluctantly awakened to their parents expectations of them, thus being forced to push the dream from their lives and fill it with words and numbers. But not for long, as these dreams continue to haunt them everyday, in the many forms of other children they see, other children that they hear about, other lives they only wish they could live. This one is also for all those dreams that have no voice.

So this poem should only be treated as the first in a series of installments on this topic that I will soon be bringing out. Hope that will soothe my anxiety to more human levels.

Pair Of Wings

Sad, dejected, half-heartedly, I continued to walk,
Wishing I had somebody, to whom I could freely talk,
Someone human, someone imperfect, someone fallible,
Someone who believed in the concept of impossible.

Someone  who sympathised with the mind’s inherent weakness,
Someone who empathised about society’s ironclad harness,
Someone who realised that living itself, was life’s greatest progress,
Someone who yet understood, why everyone, must someday digress.

I suspected nothing when my feet never touched the ground,
My mistake, I believed that such a thing shouldn’t astound,
What else were dreams for, if not to fly,
Where else was a freedom, none need buy.

Though you weren’t mortal, I thought it mattered not,
Apparently that was the first flaw in my thought,
Thought the days, the clock, was running out on me,
You never worried, time wasn’t something you could see.

Maybe the problem was, you couldn’t feel at all,
You could foresee the mistakes, but not stop the fall,
You wish so much, to correct me, comfort me,
Yet I am more astray than even you can see.

Not just a lifetime, we are completely lives apart,
And so I only wish you too had atleast a heart,
For, that distinction between our souls divides us,
So that we must exist, neither as one, nor as us.

You never could get those embracing arms, not even a conscience,
Thus we stand, thus we float, my body in between, like a fence,
So I decided, to ascend, leaving behind all bothering things,
Sadly proud, of having finally got, my own pair of wings.

This one is dedicated to Nicolas Cage and his intriguing eyes and wonderful performance in City of Angels. The movie joined my list of all-time favourite movies, for one simple reason, it has the first pre-requisite, a sad ending(something I call a KB ending, Indians don’t seem to have caught up on that front yet, since there are hardly any recent movies that have made it to this list with the exception of ‘Gamyam‘.

This poem was my own interpretation of what I might possibly do if faced with such a dilemma as Meg Ryan faces in the movie. Although it takes the premise further, hope it is justifiable in the name of poetic licence(the point that if in the movie, angels could descend into mortals, surely we too can ascend into angels???).

Fable

When you close your eyes to the world you know,
Thus opening them to a world you will never know,
You cannot control the direction your mind can go,
For, here, control is something you must forgo.

Sweltering under the sun, you long for some shade,
But your over-eager mind, you fail to persuade,
Surprisingly, you feel not, the thirst, the heat,
And neither do you feel it burning your feet.

So confusing, awake or asleep, you know not,
All you can do, is avoid that very thought,
Aware or ignorant, is something you care not,
For this thing seems to evade every thought.

Though the mind seems the only one in control,
You know not, if it can itself control,
When every single is enslaved by its thought,
Liberation would seem only an afterthought.

When the mist covering your eyes finally clears,
You start to believe they were merely tears,
Though their reason, purpose, you cannot now recall,
You content yourself that atleast the veil did fall.

Sheer outlasting joy, for there is nothing to see,
Because things aren’t what you believe them to be,
When every moment you doubt what you feel,
You fear how much more the truth will reveal.

You know not, whether to trust, the mind or the heart,
And yet there is somewhere you must surely start,
But every beginning seems to be an end,
As every moment creates its own legend.

This one is dedicated to Robert Miles for giving me Dreamland. A masterpiece of simplicity, in an era of synchronised, synthesised multitudes of sounds pretending to be music, and  the loudest among those cacophonies  pretending to be its very soul. I mention simplicity , not because of the layers, but more because of the  spartan  manner in which  those  layers have been relegated to an unmindful background, while  the  bliss of music occupies centrestage.

This poem is named after  one among those masterpieces in the album, which i guess might have  defied infinity if stretched, because of the beauty of the arrangement  where every single note that reaches a  crescendo, immediately  segues beautifully into a diminuendo of the next octave and carries on in that fashion until you believe it will go on forever if Robert Miles didn’t have pity on our souls to end it, so we could go on the journey again, instead of one single journey into forever.

P.S. Mr. Akshaye Khanna, if you are still reading this blog, please note that i also dedicate poems to MEN, in fact even the next two are to be dedicated to men, so please update your opinion 🙂

Shades of Silence

When the matter is confusing, and our opinions fight,
Much time is spent agreeing who is in the right,
Though you assure me you do not mind,
I doubt, the silence in your mind.

When the times are bright, and moments, many to enjoy,
Laughter often doesn’t do enough justice to the  joy,
And so you just let each moment smile,
I like, that silence in you smile.

When the weather is rough, and familiarity new,
I wish our reservations would be more few,
Though I cannot control my own thoughts,
I want, the silence in your thoughts.

The truth is something, that we both shall miss,
Something we lost, when I broke the promise,
I thought that would take you by surprise,
I see, the silence in your eyes.

When the difference are too big, to softly speak,
And humility seem, like a virtue of the week,
And yet I find you short of words,
I fear, the silence in your words.

When every moment needs a lifetime to stay together,
And we scarcely believe, even a moment we can weather,
Everytime I talk, of us growing apart,
I know, the silence in your heart.

If existence was a dream, everyone would be a fairytale,
But face to face with reality, dreams  will always  pale,
And so, when they tell you of my death,
I hear, the silence of your breath.

Had promised my dear friend, that i would rip off a lot of concepts from his site and reproduce them in a new and mangled manner here. Though it hasn’t yet come to that, this is another effort at first running through the titles of his posts(of which i must say there are many more that impress me, guess Yanni must take a break, i mean i guess Yanni must be relieved) before getting to any of the concepts actually talked about on his site.

The moment i saw this title on one of the posts, i knew this was something i badly wanted to write about, the different shades of silence we come across. Not that we can grade silence, but there are so many nuances in silence itself that makes us wonder if silence was really so silent after all.

So this is another one for the Beacons, dedicated to Dreamcatcher, for letting me so kindly reinterpret a beautiful theme of his, well only the title has been rehashed, but soon maybe the content also will be.

Just give me time. 

Sunset

When the day grows tired, and decides to leave,
The night is more than ready to help relieve,
The ending was too simple, just like any other,
For, each of their lives, were shortened by the other.

Every day was a new fight, every minute new territory,
Only for a day they enjoyed this transient victory,
For, to even contemplate rest, the next battle was lost,
Such was the price that this incessant struggle cost.

Though each one is less than happy to go,
They know there is no way they can say no,
They go their ways because they will surely return,
There is no way this fate of theirs, they can overturn.

Though this is a cycle that will forever repeat,
They never wonder why they both can never meet,
All they know of, is an assumption, a hazy transition,
Something that spares each of them, the difficult decision.

Sight, they know not, to see each other,
Speech they know not, to greet each other,
Desire, they had not, to feel each other,
Fear, they need not, to meet each other.

That the two of them, were so separate may seem so strange,
But they really had nothing in common to atleast exchange,
Despite their wishes, they were forced to remain silent,
For, they know not, such barriers how to circumvent.

Deemed to never be together, they preferred themselves alone,
And nothing described their lives better than forlorn,
Strangers to everyone, there was no sympathy they would get,
For the only friends they both had, were sunrise and sunset.

This one is again another for the Gazebo. Simple it may seem at first, but if you looked deeper, you might realise whom i am talking about, or rather why i am talking about what i ma talking. Initially things might seem as clear as day, but the more we look at some things, the more night we begin filling into them.

We begin to ferret out questions from every answer until there is no question that can be fully answered, and our life becomes filled with that big question of what caused all of this. Was it possible that if we were less curious, the world would be a simpler place to live in, a more content place to abide in?

Bye

You step away, and I believe it will be forever,
Forever seems alien, since I can’t even define ever,
Walking back, I cannot trace even a single footstep,
They just seem to wipe themselves away, step by step.

I try asking something, but the words disappear,
I try recollecting, but all the courage turns to fear,
Probably the fear, of causing one final displeasure,
Or maybe your reaction, an inability to measure.

Foolishly, disregarding caution, I let my dreams fly,
As if seeing through them, you give a fitting reply,
Being dreams, they are already prepared for such a demise,
But this one is just too much, even for them to surmise.

Every passing moment is a riddle, puzzling to its own very self,
For, you know not, the number of times I question myself,
Being unanswered, the doubts pile with every new moment,
You realise not, these queries, or how much they torment.

I decide to capture every moment, until the last glance,
But I know not, against fate, whether I stand a chance,
The eyes get distracted the moment you begin to speak,
For it is now the ears, that all of my attention seek.

And thus I stand, when you begin to walk away,
My feet utterly confused, whether to follow or stay,
The mind is inconsolable, but the heart sheds not a tear,
Though a lifetime apart, it knows you are always near.

When distance is an illusion, a mere matter of perception,
Every step away from me, is just a victim of deception,
And so I let you go away,
Because, I am, the only way.

Most often in everybody’s life, there comes a moment when we lose somebody close, and wish we had a chance to say goodbye. Or when somebody who leaves with every intention of coming back, never happens to. More than the act of saying goodbye, what we fail to realise is the sorrow of spending that last moment. How many times have we separated from someone knowing it will be the last time we will be ever seeing them, hardly a handful.

On how many of such occasions did we already know beforehand that we would never see them again in our lifetime, maybe one or two, or maybe none. Suppose you got to know days/weeks in advance, somebody you cared for, was going to leave you forever on a particular day, what would you do? What preparations would you make? How would you plan your last moments with them? What would you say? What would you do?

This poem is about one such opportunity granted perhaps by God in His more humorous moments, to get something I never could plan for many years ago, get a lasting last glimpse. The last time I saw those two people, I never knew it would be the last time, and was never prepared enough to depart for a lifetime.

But God being what He is, gave me another chance at life, by sending me advance notice of my last glimpse of a person who I would say, peculiarly resembles both of these two people, given their extremely different characteristics. So I spent the last whole week thinking and thinking over what I would do when I see Snigdha for the last time in my life. The outcome of those thoughts, this poem is therefore dedicated to her and those underlying Beacons.

Leaving Atlantis

To walk away from there, you never let anybody even suggest,
The very thought, there was nothing you did more strongly detest,
So when the day finally came, you wished it was all a test,
And kept hoping everything worked out for the best.

With every single step, the feet grew heavier,
Requiring quite an effort to simply step on the next,
With increasing loneliness, the mind grew even heavier,
If only to turn back, you could think of some pretext.

For some moments, you never wanted the stairs to end,
For, in such culmination, you seemed to imagine your own end,
In other moments, you hoped they wouldn’t any longer extend,
So that this despair, this uncertainty would finally end.

Nobody told you it was a journey, a very long one,
You always thought of it as a moment, the last one,
Every moment you had known, dissolved into nothingness,
Every ray of light you had seen, was hiding from the darkness.

With the darkness as companion, you were never alone,
The trip made you understand, darkness was never alone,
There would always be fellow-travellers just like you,
Travelling with it, to a world neither of them knew.

You still wonder, if you were chosen, or if you chose,
To walk away from them all, former friends and foes,
Your ears kept ringing with the onslaught of a deafening silence,
To break its monotony, all your shouting made no difference.

Those chosen, and those who chose, was the journey different, you wondered,
You would never know for sure, for, truth isn’t something that can be pondered,
With the thoughts slowly drying up, the mind has nothing to tend,
And then, you begin to doubt, if this was the way you wanted it to end.

Another one for the Gazebo. A very disparate interpretation of a person who decided to leave Atlantis after vowing all his life of never doing so, and after laughing his head off derisively at anyone who dared suggest such a thing. What is it that leads him to such a decision? Can it really be free-will if everything was already pre-ordained? How does one leave Atlantis? Abandoning Atlantis where else does one reach? Finally, what is this Atlantis I am talking about?

Hint: Loosely based on the movie “Leaving Las Vegas”

Promise

promise.jpg

Many years ago, I made myself one,
Though initially I told it to no one,
It is one of those things that needs no telling,
They seized it, like an idea that needs no selling.

Only for a few decades, one lifetime, I had thought,
And yet I cannot even count the daily battles fought,
It seemed every victory was only an encouragement,
Every step ahead, another test in mind management.

People might say, forget it, they are just words,
They were never supposed to have an afterwards,
But a word once given, remains given forever,
Something I will never be able to deny, now or ever.

The clues, my lips may play around with, and converse,
But your name, it shall always remain hidden in this verse,
Many times, from the temptation, mind does almost cave,
But worry not, this is something, I’ll take to the grave.

You have never seen me, the way you know it is,
And we have never talked, the way it really is,
Perplexed, though you don’t, you know it but you don’t,
I am sorry, but in this matter, the secrecy is paramount.

We have never talked, I said, and so you never suspect,
And what puts you off the trail, is probably the respect,
With too many dead ends, you don’t know, whom to expect,
Which suits me all the more better, in fact just perfect.

But every secret has to die sometime,
So too will this one, after a lifetime,
But until then, there is something that you will never miss,
The story of the person, behind this unbreakable promise.

My first post in the new year. Though it might sound like gibberish to most of the readers, one of the ones that give me the most personal satisfaction in this new year. I feel like as if a considerable portion of the weight i have been carrying has been shifted to the blog’s shoulders.

This is another of the Mirror ones which is truly mirror in almost every sense. This is the closest i have ever come to telling my story. Though it had a more than a thousand chapter, one for each day, this was something that was like the overlapping theme connecting them all together bound by a promise.

It tells of the difference one single promise made to my life, and how nothing was the same again. It would have been simpler, people would say if the promise was broken, because then i might have got much more happiness than now. Alas such a happiness would never have lasted like this one does, and will keep doing for as long as i live. Even afterwards, the happiness will show through every line that i wrote about it.

Every so often, we all make promises, how many of them are ones that make us commit ourselves for a lifetime. And on how many of such promises do we maintain our commitment in the letter and spirit of the word given? We will never know the satisfaction of successfully maintaining our commitment on the ones that we do, but then, that’s where the actual pleasure in the whole game lies.

Being a winner without even being able to know it, receiving the reward without even existing to accept it. It makes every single temptation that we come across seem like the test of a lifetime, because that’s what they are, ones that try to break the determination of a lifetime. It also makes every single temptation we overcome like another little step towards our very own star trek, and mind you stars are never very near.

Santorini

To the casual observer, they seemed like a pair any other,
If it wasn’t for that singularity, they wouldn’t even bother,
Like all the others, they seemed immersed in their own world,
With the occasional interruptions reminding them this world.

They seemed not, to understand concepts such as time,
To indulge their senses thus, there hardly was any time,
For, they spent every valuable second, one moment at a time,
But the clock was ticking, and they knew it would soon be time.

Building walls around them, against death was no good,
And to waste it in such an activity, life, was too good,
They knew, that, for time, life was a regular food,
And so needed to make the best, before being gone for good.

For everything they said, something more could be read,
From what snatches you hear, everything seems so well-said,
All that needed to be, all that was, would eventually be said,
And whatever still remained, would forever stay unsaid.

To say time was of the essence, would be an understatement,
To claim they were dreaming, would surely be a misstatement,
They realised, and prepared themselves, for the final arraignment,
There was a lot more distance to even grasp any contentment.

From their sheltered cocoon, they never tried to venture out,
Yet in both their minds, there lingered one common doubt,
Which of them, would be the first, to finally leave,
Bestowing the other, with a chance, to briefly bereave.

Or perhaps, even death could be put to shame,
If they had already flown, by the time it came,
Maybe it would chill death’s own bones deathly stiff,
All they had to do, take a deep breath, and over the cliff.

This one is for Priyanka, the last of the KiDNAP(not the last you will read about them, but the last for quite a few months). With this i conclude the Beacons series on KiDNAP, and hopefully move on to other things. The first thing i am sure she will ask upon reading this is why me? as would any other of them, but thats exactly the tricky part.

Each poem dedicated to them has one characteristic of their personality cleverly woven into the narrative that it escapes all but my own eyes(of course the casual reader[people who dont personally know any ofthe KiDNAP] would not know any way).No prizes for guessing what this one is about, though i would be mightily be surprised if anyone guessed the entire premise on which the poem is based.

Another of the titles that i so liberaly borrowed from Yanni. Dont know what i would be writing if it wasnt for him(have personally found that unattractive titles lead me to write less expressive poems).

November Rain

Such a shower, would normally seem out of season,
But he had long since stopped searching for reason,
He knew not when he lost it, cared not if it lost him,
A lot more important things had already left him.

He clearly remembered the day, as if it was happening today,
He knew not, they would no longer be one, by the end of day,
A misunderstanding, he told her, begging her to stay,
But in this matter, she had nothing more to say.

He was walking back, alone, when it began to rain,
He continued, for, weren’t they both the same strain,
One, unwanted by the sky, living a fall from grace,
Other, unnoticed, in search, of a now lost embrace.

Joining the earth as a stream, it would never again be the same,
Walking back from a rejection, he found no one else to blame,
Never the old form, even perhaps if it did evaporate again,
No newfound love, could erase, heal, the old one’s pain.

In its life of a few minutes, it changes and rewrites, many a fortune,
In a span of many years, he will never face a greater misfortune,
Every drop is saturated, with so much potential to live for,
Every moment is torturous, the next hasn’t any better to offer.

Those whom it caught unawares, scurried, running helter-skelter,
He hurried not, there was none left for his heart to shelter,
But it will soon be quenched, and people back to the asphalt,
Not him though, his life had already come to a final halt.

Condemned back to earth, it slowly meanders its way to redemption,
To even expect a glance back, would be the pinnacle of presumption,
For many years to come, people would never see such a November rain,
It was something he would relive, every moment, again and again.

This one is dedicated to Nisha, another of the KiDNAP. The Beacons never seem to stop glowing, beckoning, atleast for one more time, till Santorini is done with probably tomorrow. Am surprised with myself seeing the amount blue on the calendar widget for December, and there are still few more to come. Guess thats the luxury of being jobless.

When someone who you thought was yours forever and ever, suddenly decides to call it quits and never wishes to see you again, what will you do? This is an attempt to capture what i thought one person i knew might have done in a (to use an economics word) ‘free market’ scenario. And besides it also deals with another of my favourite topics, rain, and how both the rain and this guy are not really much different fundamentally, as they arise from the same conditions.

Another of the titles that i owe to Yanni. Somehow whenever i get short of titles he seems to be waiting to remind me of one.

The Spotless Mind

Pretending it wasn’t over, was not going to be much use,
For, to feign forgetfulness, was not his cleverest ruse,
The floods had stopped, but the wreckage remained,
And everything around him, had forever been stained.

Over time, even the wreckage, may finally get cleaned,
But the scars, he knew not, on whose side they leaned,
They seem engraved, every time he remembers them,
And seem to fade, every time he begins to forget them.

He never seemed to know, was she a moment, was she a memory,
Whether what he remembered, was the reality or just a story,
And those mementoes, supposed monuments of romantic eternity,
Were they all fake, or just piercing questions about his own sanity.

The separation should be clean and final, they both did agree,
But memories are no verdicts, that any court can decree,
Nobody can fairly expect thoughts to suddenly vanish,
Even if they determined to steadfastly try and banish.

Did she too think as often about him, he wondered,
Because every so often, towards her, his mind wandered,
Did she ever think,of walking back the track,
Like he did, every moment of wanting her back.

Like a chain, every single memory clung onto the next,
Unable to get them to leave, to forget he had no pretext,
He understood how she must have felt, unable to forget,
But somehow, not remorsive enough to merit any regret.

Helps not time, the more it passes, darker grows the stain,
No sooner does he forget, it can’t wait, to remind him again,
How simpler  life would be, if he could leave her behind,
And start afresh, a new beginning with a spotless mind.

This one is dedicated to the next in the KiDNAP list Komal. Will the Beacons never stop? Hopefully i will get over them when the next two get posted and done with. Somehow kid myself that this is the way it will always be. Somehow end up not getting fooled at all.

This one is about a crisis that most of us face. Assuming an impossibility that i would face such a situation, this was a kind of intrapolation of how i would react and what i would require to survive thereafter.

Silver Lining

Tired of running this race, every single day,
You wish, for a while, the time would just stay,
Or atleast wish you had a stronger pair of legs,
Ever thought, what a boon it is, to simply walk?

Tired of finding your words, heedlessly into the air blend,
You wish some of it, in pristine silence you could spend,
Or atleast wish you possessed a more commanding voice,
Ever wondered, what a gift it is, to merely be able to talk?

Tired of enduring, the endless litany, that you daily hear,
You wish that every word could, in some small way endear,
Or atleast wish you could turn deaf to all this drivel,
Ever asked, what it is like, to never know sound?

Tired of watching, constantly registering what your eyes see,
You wish that this world, for a moment, would leave them free,
Or atleast that the mind spares it, to into an eternal sleep,
Ever realised, how many thousands, sightless this earth abound?

Tired of thinking, of processing a reaction for every emotion,
You wish your brain could, for once, stop its silent commotion,
Or atleast devoid itself of any thought, like a clean new slate,
Ever pondered, how fortunate you are, to be atleast able to think?

This one is another in the growing list of dedications to DreamCatcher. Also another for the Beacons. Had promised him after quite an endearing chat that i would write up some feelgood sort of thing to cheer him up, and here it is.

This one is about the little things in life that many of us take for granted, and how we expect  the entire world to change for our desires to get fulfilled rather than realising the magnitude of good fortune that already is ours.

This one was to make DreamCatcher wish to start writing once more, because only those who know what it is to not be write as like they could know the pain of seeing a lot of potential writing going waste.

Resonated

You know it not, by the darkness of night,
You hear it not, so does its footstep fall,
You hope you can see it in the brightness of day,
So you sleep, hoping morning will solve it all.

But the sun brings not, any new pair of eyes,
And more than last night, you are none the wise,
The suns aids not, merely blinding your sight,
Alas! On this thing if only there was more insight.

You wonder, which of your senses will it greet,
For, it is too much distant for your mind to meet,
You wonder how it moves, can you hear its feet,
Sadly not, it is more silent than your heartbeat.

The air, you think, but it is too petty to desire,
It burns with an intensity that ashames fire,
You dip yourself into it, it is smoother than water,
Yet hard as ever, a blend of the earth and ether.

You see it not, because it has no form concrete,
And nobody has measured ts dimensions complete,
Yet not for a moment do you doubt its existence,
Because that would question your own existence.

It moves not, but is always in constant motion,
Yet it is pushed around by your own emotion,
Try as you can, and will, it is immune to change,
Yet such a permanence in your life seems strange.

Unseen, unheard, it follows you, on every path you take,
Like a shapeless shadow, it haunts you, for your own sake,
Its constant interruptions, may or may not cause hesitation,
Left with no choice, it is your only chance for salvation.

This one is dedicated to DreamCatcher. Another of the Beacons. Had promised to write him a foreword for his future poem ‘Resonance’,and so here it is. I cannot even guess what his ‘Resonance’ will deal with, but all I know is that it will surely resonate for quite a long time, and hence the title.

This one is a kind of riddle. Started out as fun,and got more serious towards the end. Besides it is one of the few poems of mine that have a mysterious subject that remains concealed even after the end, this is because that is the way the object i am talking of remains in real life also. So put in your guesses and i will surely confirm if any of you hit the jackpot 🙂 .

The Eternal Sunshine of

When darkness becomes a stranger to the night,
And there no longer is an end to broad daylight,
When the moon and the stars separate upon a fight,
And yet he never doubted his future was bright.

If there was any indication of the events about to come,
He would never have believed the person he would become,
And that day was not very far off from today,
It was too late, to divert, too late to change his way.

He thought he knew her from the very first day,
And so couldn’t believe it would end this way,
Surely a joke, by fate, indulging in naughty play,
Or was it for real, for true, he could never say.

All that he knew, was that, the sun had set,
Set on a life, he never could fully forget,
The rains, they would never come, he had bet,
Alas, such drenched dreams, they leave him wet.

Barely in control, she turned around and walked away,
And found that they had indeed walked a long way,
A few more steps, and maybe, she could somehow end this day,
Memories, if only her mind could keep those vultures at bay.

She hesitated, turning around would seem most awkward,
But maybe it was the only way to move on, take life forward,
Why didn’t he ever look back, and see her pause,
Pondering a reprisal, fighting her own lost cause.

Though it mattered to none else, it mattered to her,
When the first tear fell, it wiped away her anger,
The clouds being spent, split. watching the two pine,
And let through between them, new rays of sunshine.

This one is dedicated to Deepthi, another one for the Beacons, and the second in this series. Saw the movie yesterday, and fell in love with the concept as well as the execution(felt sad for another reason though). Decided the title was too good to pass up a poem on, and since it was anyway a too big title for a poem, i decided to have double the fun by splitting the title and using it for two poems.

Although the next one was supposed to be The Spotless Mind, had a conversation yesterday after which i changed my mind, and decided to finish two quickies for DreamCatcher, titled ‘Resonated’ and ‘Silver Lining’. After which i will get back to the KiDNAP series as well as other long-pending ones.

For those not yet done thinking, this was about the simple ways in which a lot of relations breakup,and the small steps that people hesitate to take to get back on track. It is about how there is still hope every single day, if only we retraced our steps and found a common ground, maybe even if that means standing on each other’s feet.

Nothing

It was trivial, I though it didn’t even merit such a fight,
She thought not, and refused to acknowledge my plight,
I tried telling her, that she knew not all the facts,
Unconsciously, she told me, that I knew nothing.

I tried telling her, about my pain, my lifeless days,
I tried convincing her, in quite innumerable ways,
I tried showing her, all my heart’s hidden pain,
Unflinchingly, she told me, that I felt nothing.

I tried asking her, about the reason for her fears,
I tried promising her, there would be no more tears,
I tried questioning her, the reason for her stand,
Unwavering, she told me, that I understood nothing.

I tried assuaging her, it was all my fault, a mistake,
I tried proving her, this time my tears weren’t fake,
I tried asking her, another chance at love, at life,
Unruffled, she told me, that I realised nothing.

I tried showing her, there was still a reason to smile,
I tried coaxing her, to think things over for a while,
I tried requesting her, that we needed another try,
Uncaring, she told me, that I deserved nothing.

I tried forcing her, to force herself to reconsider,
I tried begging her, she had a lifetime to consider,
I tried reminding her, of promises we made each other,
Unmoved, she told me, that she had promised nothing.

All that I had asked her to feel, she simply denied,
It seemed every action of hers, compassion defied,
I tried telling her, we were inseparable, for this lifetime,
Unperturbed, she told me, that we both were nothing.

This one is dedicated to Aruna. Seems the Beacons are getting more of their dues back with every passing week. More than the Beacons, this one was particularly the beginning of a series I will be bringing out in honour of KiDNAP. Was simply sitting idly at home and going through the Beacons, and found that apart from what i had written mostly in college there was hardly any new content on the KiDNAP.

So i decided it was time they got a fresh lease of life from reading something on themselves.(it must be noted that none of these poems actually represent what they are in real life, and are only mere visualisations of whatcould be, in case certain characteristics of theirs got into freeplay. The order of this series is purely alphabetical, and hence i request that people don’t waste their already strained grey cells, trying to figure out a pattern out of this. The rest of the poems coming up in this series are

2. Eternal Sunshine of

3. The Spotless Mind

4. November Rain

5. Santorini

After they get their dues, will be moving on to other things equally close to my heart.

Icarus

The closer he went like a light-craving moth,
The farther he seemed from her, like her wroth,
Like the helplessness in him, his actions had wrought,
Less better tidings, the day’s moonlight brought.

There was once a time, when his life meant sunshine,
And sorrow was something he never could define,
The days were to him, rosy, cheerful and sublime,
And he never felt the need to measure such a time.

And then one day, he wished upon a star,
Committed for his life, to an object so afar,
All that he wished for, was one single meeting,
He knew not how swiftly his wings were melting.

Watching it alone, day after day, at midnight,
He had no one, to share, to unburden his plight,
He had no idea, that this was beyond his might,
He only had the destination, imprinted on his sight.

But she was human, more than a twinkling star,
And though face to face, she was never more far,
She looked through him, noticing, yet ignoring,
And the pity, sympathy, was beyond his bearing.

Thus began his descent to earth, feather by feather,
Such a rejection, even his hardened wings couldn’t weather,
Deserting him, they floated like brush strokes by an artist,
It was nearly morning, approaching with its forgetful mist.

He had never believed that a star could be so cruel,
That it would challenge his own heart to such a duel,
The body was anyway gone, along with those feathers,
The soul however, would join other such unlucky brothers.

This one is dedicated to Akshi, (another one for the Beacons) whom i last happened to see sometime in March 2003. Although this poem in no way reflects her original personality(which was much more sweeter than many of my poems allow), somehow when i began writing, it was always her image that kept flashing until i was done. And therefore i decided to give it a little bit of humanity, although this was supposed to be a completely sad version, i changed it at the last moment, to spread the sorrow both sides of the fence.

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