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.

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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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

Runway 77

Every so often, you think, the power to choose is a birthright,
And so you set about, trying to separate the day from night,
Only to realise that, in order to appreciate the light,
You need to sometimes sacrifice your sight.

Every time you think you have closed the door on fear,
The footsteps of courage become too faint to hear,
Every time you stamp the last vestige of doubt,
Your certainty becomes too scared to shout.

You think you have succeeded in holding back the tear,
And strangely, the smile is still nowhere near,
The sorrow that you manage to keep out of the fortress,
Swims in the moat outside, along with happiness.

You think you have wiped away every stain of greed,
Only to find contentment no longer paying heed,
You think you have shown envy the door,
Only to find camaraderie speaking no more.

You think you have finally enslaved misunderstanding,
Only to find harmony chained beyond standing,
You think you have rope enough, for all thoughts to bind,
Only to find yourself no longer in control of the mind.

You know, standing before you, is the person you truly seek,
And yet, your pedigreed learning does not let you speak,
And as she leaves, you know it is your life walking away,
But pride prevents you from having things your way.

You see less capable people leaving you behind, on the ground,
And soon enough, you are the only one who is still around,
Standing on the runway, you wonder why life isn’t taking off,
Unaware, the things that keep us grounded, also prevent us from take-off.

This one takes the strike back to the Beacons again, this time for Jim Rohn and his beautiful saying. While the saying was the foundation of the poem, the bulk of it is my tribute to the movie ‘Girl in the Cafe‘ which is one of the most touching love stories i have seen, not to mention the empathy angle.

There are many times in life, when we feel life has left us behind, and the entire world has moved to the next paradigm, and you are still stuck in a time warp. What we fail to realise, is that the things we cherish to stay in warp, are the things that are keeping reality out.

We keep trying to reach one of the ends of the scale (depression/happiness) without realising the futility of our efforts. There is no such thing as the end of a scale. The ends only exist to give better meaning to the middle of the scale. We fail to realise that we weren’t born to be eternally happy, or eternally sad. That isn’t the real objective/purpose of anybody’s life. We were born to appreciate the balance that exists across nature and life in general.

We would never appreciate the day if we had never seen a single night. On the contrary, we would curse it, since that was all we would see all our lives. We wouldn’t appreciate white if we never set our eyes on black. We wouldn’t praise Rama/Krishna if Ravana/Kamsa were pushover pieces of cake. Their legends only grow as much as the legends of their opposition grow. If Ravana was a crippled guy in a wheelchair with both hands also gone like Sholay’s Thakur, then nobody would bother reading of the epic battle that took place Lanka, they would simply forward to the happily-ever-after ending.

Whether in stories or in real life, the extremes are glorified only to make living worth it, but somewhere along the way, people forgot the middle ground, and so balance went out of the window. So, even if theoretically someone did attain eternal happiness, they wouldn’t know it, because if you are forever standing in the sun, you wouldn’t know if it felt great/cool/rad simply because that was what you were/will be doing all your life, and so you never know how that compares since darkness is never a benchmark you have.

Here’s to the middle ground that everybody’s forgotten. The ground where people laugh together in happier times, and stick together in difficult times.

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