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)

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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