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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 🙂

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Perfect Harmony

A different language, where letters are unnecessary,
One where words are dispensable, a mere accessory,
Where every single word is complete in itself,
And no sentence is required to express oneself.

Where the silence speaks louder than any word,
And the sound begins to seem like an afterword,
Where the feelings speak louder than any thought,
And the instinct leaves no thought unthought.

If sentences were all that made up a conversation,
To believe this, your mind would need no persuasion,
If only every thought had a word as destination,
It would bring every single desire into observation.

Like the fragrance in the air, after the first rain,
When the clouds come back singing their refrain,
When all the pedestrians curtail their walk,
For the earth and the sky to begin their talk.

Although largely subdued due to the thunder,
They show no signs of quietly going asunder,
All those who rush for shelter, get closer in a huddle,
And listen to its humming song in every single puddle.

Pitter patter they beat and pound in a rhythmic code,
Like the everglad tidings that the monsoons forbode ,
Splashing its joy on the rare passerby who does stop,
Showering its own happiness on all, drop by drop.

Why is it that only the earth always gets wet and dirty,
In this conversation where both are equally thirsty,
Alas! There must be an end to this ceremony,
One that so closely resembles a perfect harmony.

This one is about my favourite topic, rain. It is about the conversation between the sky and the earth, and the unique kind of language they use. Although this language is not limited only to these two, but is infact an inherent aspect of nature as a whole, i chose to explore it as a conversation between these two only, because of my mania for rain.

Enterprise

To build up the house, card by painstaking card,
To prop it up often with every card you can discard,
And watch your budding smile come to a freeze,
When the house is toppled by the slightest breeze.

The cards lie fallen, scattered in a heap,
Waiting for their shepherd, like lost sheep,
Alas, the shepherd thirsts after an imaginary stream,
And will only get back to them at the end of this dream.

The road seems crooked, and gets even more winding,
And the end seems even farther, every new morning,
With many bylanes to tempt those that wander,
And a scorching sand to make any stream meander.

While others laughed away and chased butterflies,
You followed the path, the direction the eagle flies,
While others stopped to enjoy their dreams of another day,
You kept walking, kicking little stones out of your way.

Pity and hope, your two eyes, watched them play,
Perhaps that joy would be yours some day,
If only you persevered and worked harder each day,
Ahead lay all the games that you and life could play.

You think of those who wish to see you succeed,
And those for whose sake you need to succeed,
And wish they stand beside you when that day does arrive,
To share with you, the feeling of truly being alive.

You never understood why the day begins with a yawn,
Because for you, it signified the hopes lurking in the dawn,
When the days get weary, and the world gets tired,
You are just getting ready to perform, all fired.

You close your eyes and begin your life’s greatest performance,
And strain your ears for the applause from the audience,
Hearing none, you open your eyes to an empty hall,
Happy maybe, that no one was around to see the tear fall.

You sacrificed an entire lifetime for this one moment,
And nobody was present to appreciate how every second was spent,
In that moment, you see the sacrifice, the lifetime all gone,
But wipe away the tear, because you know the show must go on.

You brave the wind, brave the frost, every single day,
Freezing to death, you continue the climb, day after day,
After what seems eternity, you reach the much coveted peak,
And are so dumbstruck, the joy makes you forget how to speak.

Wishing you could stay forever, you begin to descend,
Wishing, all this happiness, there was a better way to spend,
But the descent is not a result of your boredom with conquest,
They are the first steps towards your search for a new quest.

Caught by surprise, your face begins to betray the strain,
Of years of your effort suddenly going down the drain,
You sink into an abyss, and begin to revel in your own pain,
And you realise, it will be many years before you smile again.

Yet you fake some, suppress some and get on with life,
For, stagnation is one facet, you never believed about life,
There will be many other days, when success knocks again,
But it can’t bring back those, that death took away in disdain.

Bitterness sets in, they seem to have deserted you for eternity,
Unable to see your suffering till you overcome its futility,
You wish they could wait to see you outstretch your hand,
And grow from being another of those grains of sand.

Thus you entered the world, your back against the wall,
And prepared yourself to bear someone else’s fall,
Being a fighter, you can always get up and walk,
Unlike those crippled by rumour and gossip, mere talk.

A world where they sized up your life, by how much it was worth,
Where, for a good enough bargain, they would sell the earth,
You get in knee-deep, and wade through its filth,
Wary of drowning, and becoming one with the filth.

The feet are tired, but the mind relentlessly pushes them forward,
When the mind gets tired, your objective propels it onward,
Many milestones pass by, but the appreciation takes longer,
For, these are people, who feed you for last year’s hunger.

Every now and then, you bask in the limelight,
Before someone else’s success steals the spotlight,
Soon you will fade out of people’s lives, out of their sight,
But you refuse to die down, to give up without a fight.

But the allure of fame, of achievement, no longer seems to work,
And the potion of disenchantment slowly begins its work,
The warm fires of discontent begin to burn in your heart,
And that is when everything you worked for, starts falling apart.

When the laughter, the joy, belongs to somebody else’s world,
You begin to feel and become, an alien in your own world,
When the sunshine, the rainfall, falls on everybody else’s land,
You desperately begin to feel like disowning your own land.

When survival becomes the sole yardstick of the living,
And you find yourself no longer capable of giving,
You wonder to yourself if it is really worth living,
And whether another life would be more forgiving.

But what about your companions, those now walking with you,
Those who understood you, those who believed in you,
Will you walk away from their memories, away from their lives?
And live you life alone, leaving them searching for alternate lives?

Having walked this path, touching their hearts, with your life’s song,
You should atleast expect, that forever, they will walk along,
They will walk with you, till you get rid of this guilt,
Walk with you, till you get back, to the house you once built.

The house has fallen, but the cards still exist,
Intact as a test, for those who persist,
Or maybe as a chance, to build it again, better,
Instead of crying over what has gone bitter.

You roll up your sleeves to once again demonstrate,
The never-ending battle of humans against fate,
You slog through the night, to open its doors to sunrise,
And show the world, the fabled human spirit, of enterprise.

This one is dedicated to Sukanya, who in my terms is a ‘survivor’ for those that can understand the term in the sense that i mean it in. When you go through the entire range of experiences that life has to offer, you tend to remember the scars than the victories, because the scars are visible whereas victory is not. It is this paradox that bogs down a number of achievers into mediocrity. It is this paradox that clips your wings when you need to fly that one last time.

Some people look further into the scars and find the victories that caused them, and the failures that enriched them. These are the ones that achieve more out of life than the mediocre ones can in a hundred lifetimes. But that makes them neither immortal nor immune to the vagaries of time and the tricks of the mind.

Sometimes they need to be reminded of the past to get on with a future that is more promising than all the past combined was. Once clear about that fact, they pick up the pieces and get to work. The house of cards was symbolic of the experiences we all have in life. They all differ in nature like the faces and figures on the cards. Not everyday does one get a joker, and not everyone gets an ace everyday. It is this understanding that despite not getting the winning card, life is a card game where luck is not the only aide, and that hard work can take you to farther places than luck can, that fuels the enterprising.

The enterprising fall more number of times and fail more number of times than the prudent and risk-averse person, but in the end, the enterprising with a fuller and richer experience of life than the conservative. This poem is about one such enterprising person asking her to use the fallen house of cards as a chance to build it again in a more beautiful manner with a lot more wonderful experiences that the previous ones, and understand, that there are people everywhere who are willing to help her rebuild, even if only by standing by and saying an encouraging word, because everybody must build their own house of life.

(got lots more to say, will get back to this when i find more time).

A Walk To Remember

Remember the walk, that we walked to remember,
When we decided to walk away during life’s December,
The pounding rain had slowed down to a drizzle,
As if to keep quiet during our ensuing tussle.

It never came, for, didn’t we amicably split,
Maintaining our dignity, our civility we called it,
And thus buried in our minds the remains of bitterness,
After we had burnt to shreds, every last bit of happiness.

Happiness, that elusive word that brought us together,
But to find it, many a storm we had to weather,
Not finding it together, we decided to search for it alone,
And so we went our own ways, leaving happiness alone.

Having gone down many roads, seeing the world,
And having learnt that compromise never grows old,
We came back to the beginnings, this park, the walk,
Only, this time, there were a thousand things to talk.

We ambled along, as if we had all the time,
As we explained to each other, the passage of time,
How much we were sorry wasn’t even betrayed by a tear,
That much we both understood, just by being here.

Bygones were already bygones before the walk began,
Now every footstep was a new journey, a new lifespan,
There was no more looking around, and no looking back,
Maybe afraid to find the past, if we ever turned back.

In the simplest of ways, it all began with a walk,
It all ended in one, and all it took to begin again, was walk,
We promised ourselves that we would remember this walk,
Never mind, Not only this, we have many more miles to walk.

Happened to come across this title when i was taking part in a “Never-Ending Movie Quiz”, and though i haven’t seen the movie, have simply fallen in love with the title. My obsession for fancy(catchy?) titles being what it i, i couldn’t sleep unless i had written a poem on it.

This is a slightly “gazebo” kind of situation that i see myself in, and wish maybe that someday things would simply get sorted out by walking and talking. Although wishes never did fall form trees, wish this one does happen, given the slow death that walking is slowly experiencing, must be painful, to know you are dying and watch your last moments on its last legs.

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