Sunday, 31 August 2014

Somber thoughts

Here is to Niconar Parra, who taught us the truth and the reasons for framing an anti poem, who turns 100 on Sep 5th

Poetic worlds where roses
evaporated into love,
Besieged mercilessly by reality,
Trees which gave life,
From branch to roots,
Spoiled by greed within hearts,
No love overpowered them,
No meaning governed deeds,
I watched as rotten money,
Eaten by rats and covered with filth,
Buoyed democrats,
Freedom; of thoughts and speech,
Flushed down the drains of politics,
I stood by as wealth proliferated,
As executives and bourgeoisie continued
eating into the infected rice bowls
of the farmer, the leper and the beggar,
I prayed to God - typhlotic in the show,
Obeying commands of gold,
Discerning opulence from scarcity!
I remained in silence as I watched,
With wrath and reason,
A leech leaving behind a trail
of my perfume-less blood.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Minerva

Starry Night by Alex Ruiz
Courtesy : The Mag

A valley suspended in dreamless sleep,
Sky - with thousand eyes peering,
Like jewels on an inanimate face!
Following green which gently pervades,
Awakening clout from oblivion,
As if flowers spouting from seeds.

Upon nature's canvas, science draws,
For man who remains in awe - I speak,
Picking words from reverent fantasies,
To pour accolades for an unmade artistry!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Amir

-
To Arjun, for being with me all this time
-

When a voice from the other end of the phone woke me up to the news of the demise of Amir, my childhood friend, the world had barely risen from its deep winter slumber. There was not a trail of light to soothe my eyes, nor a sound to destroy silence - which hung heavily around my ears. The news didn't disconcert my lethargy; it couldn't disturb the shallow post-retirement period where I found myself in fond company of solitude and regret.

'Aren't you supposed to go?', Esha asked.

Esha. She had been beside me - sitting where I sat, reading my thoughts before I spoke, giving me a world of abundance in a rather lonely life - for 45 years! I gazed at her. Life had stolen her numerous facets; her soft skin, the blackness of her hair, her imposing seductiveness, her fragile laughs and the exquisite music in her voice.

'Yes, I must go. Are you coming?'

'Shouldn't I? How could I forget Amir?', her passionate reply found me in a peculiar guilt.

Amir was my friend even before I could understand the miracle which separates sounds and language. Amir, Esha and I thought the same thoughts and dreamed the same dreams for the greater part of our youth. When I tied a knot around Esha, and claimed her to be the first and the loveliest possession under my ownership, it was on Amir's shoulders my weight rested, my life leaned. Sitting back on my cushion, I could not comprehend where the guilt originated from, but I knew it was something which would take time to recede.

Esha was ready within an hour. I had called up Pratyush, our eldest son to drop us off at Amir's place. Senility had completely destroyed my directions and fragmented my memories, it took a lot of queries to find the place which I have so often visited when I was a child.

'Call me when it is over.', Pratyush said as we got down. I nodded.

He struggled to guide his vehicle through the gathering which overflowed from the house and onto the streets. Every mouth moved in remembrance and tribute, every ear heard a tale of kindness, every heart melted tenderly amidst tears and every mind searched to out-pour its grief. Being a part of the elite, I couldn't entirely judge the genuineness of that social expression, but I could feel a remarkable sadness prevailing powerfully, which dissolved into me and perspired through my eyes. Esha held my hands tighter, she could feel my heart beat even before my cells respire with fresh air. She says that she heard my heart's echoes resounding with music on a rock concert 47 years back - the day Amir asked me to propose her!

I saw how baldness had disfigured Amir's hair. His hair was the envy of a whole classroom. He used to carry three things with him every single day; a purse without money, a bag with a single book and a bright green comb to present his most valuable treasure in the most perfect way. His body, shunned by the ruthlessness of life, remained sturdy, yet there was a dark patch beneath his eyes which showcased a lifetime of fatigue. I was sure it could no longer hold his extensive curiosity nor his avid dreams.

Esha leaned onto me and cried. I could feel the heat of her tears permeating my clothes and touching my skin. Yet, I couldn't bring out a single drop of tear to present to my comrade. I floated in memories, and found the place where there was an abrupt ending. Beside me was Esha, holding a baby who would grow onto be the fine gentleman who dropped us off today. We were moving to Delhi in a hope to find a better job and a better place to raise our child. Amir waved his hands in ecstasy but with tears in his eyes, within every single drop of his tear I found the tremendous love which made him run three kilometers to fetch us a taxi that day.

'No one had to run to call an ambulance. He fell down and died instantly', a relative said. I scanned the vicinity in a hope to identify Amir's wife or children but could not distinguish any emotional break down from the other. It seemed everyone was equally sad and equally at loss.

Esha and I walked away from the house. Just then, they took the body for burial, a wave of tears erupted. Esha leaned on me again. I looked at her imperfect frame and mocked at life which couldn't claw into her threshold of love, nor take away the glow in her eyes. I felt Amir's hands curling around me, comforting me and asking me to move on.

We walked away from the place where Amir's spirit still tends his banana trees, where his hands still graces his farm. We reached the bus stop where years before I saw a boy in white shirt and dark blue trousers, who asked me my name and told me his, who shared his cold and damp biscuit with me during recess, who laughed at me when I fell down while playing, who held my hand and asked me to count ten before jumping into a pond, who used to tell me he sees phantoms roaming about his room at night, who cried with me when I lost my father, who shared his lunch box when my mother was sick, who motivated me with his smile, who destroyed my tears with his laugh, who kept coming back to me after our fights and in the end who cried like a fool standing alone in a station as our train blew past!

While we waited for Pratyush to arrive, I asked Esha, 'Do you know what made Amir my best friend?'

'No', she replied.

'It was my first day at school after my father died. Everyone offered me to help out on anything I would possibly need. I felt an overwhelming pity crippling me and suffocating me that day. I asked Amir if he could help me complete my notes, and then with an impish laugh he politely asked me to piss off!'

Esha gave up her tears, which impeccably gave a spontaneous smile as she imagined the scenario.

I continued, 'Only then had I realized that more than all acts of love, saying no marked a more substantial trait!'

Esha's smile widened, she hugged me and I sat still.

'You know Esha, that bastard still took the time to write my notes, he wrote it all up and gave me the next day!'

I didn't look at Esha, but I could tell she would have heard my heartbeats, because she held my hands tighter. I saw drops of tears running through my cheeks and disappearing into the humidity which held every joy and every tear of Amir's cherished life.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Gods and Golds

Upon this Earthly abode,
Amidst madness of love,
Paralysis made by drugs,
And insignificant insanity,
Lies salvation.

There is a detour,
Through a cave of gold,
An idol - deprived of life,
Who shall save you from strife,
Oh, the mental flops!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Autumn


"The world is inhabited by all kinds of people. They are isolated by land and water, religion, customs, habits. The minds and heart of these people are much alike. Under sudden or stressed emotions, they blossom forth or explode in riots, fights, dance, song, prayer. At such time they become one mind, one heart. And the world vibrates with the intensity of their feelings, emotions, angers, laughter."
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

-

There is a hymn of nature which is profound, enveloping all mankind within its arduous composition, few get a chance to taste the melody, and even less understand the meaning. Today, Aaron became one among the few who understood both.

‘Children, today we shall learn about seasons. What are your favorite seasons? Let us start with you Aaron. What is your favorite season?’

‘Autumn!’ a delighted Aaron said.

‘Wow Aaron, now that is a good time of the year. What about you Sandra?’

However Aaron tries to remember that day, he could never remember what Sandra answered. He had been rewinding the scene a long time over, but every time he found himself proud and excited over the due consideration he obtained from his teacher.

Eighteen autumns after the questionnaire he remembers clearly the answer Sandra gave to his question, a long and sweet YES. It was a day when all the trees in the park had turned a fiery orange, a day when he held her hand for the longest time in his life. They watched in silence as the gentle shift of colors marked the mourning of a planet, which wished for eternal spring, but instead got thrown into a pinnacle of coldness. While the trees began shedding lifeless leaves before entering into a gentle sleep, while all birds in the park flocked in unison to find their last prey before coldness suffocated their beloved home, the Sun gave his last waves of passion before Earth moved farther away from his benevolent grasp. In that hour of sincere cosmic reverence, Aaron and Sandra kissed each other for the first time. Both of them felt lifetimes of unaccounted bliss passing through their lips as they stood still around the splendor, and before they parted ways that evening, Aaron asked Sandra the question,

‘Will you marry me?’

Silence! Every other emotion could have made Aaron a potential contender for being the hero of a sad love story, but the shock of seeing Sandra without radiating her divine heat and throwing him helpless with her smiles, Aaron felt an overpowering numbness, a numbness which he would retain for a long time in his life. Every word of condolence hit Aaron like a hammer, every relative who came by escalated his grief to no extent. But he didn't shed a single tear, he felt his eyes dry and his mind blank. He asked for the switch to electrocute his wife, pressed it, turned back and walked. He saw the first drops of snow painting a sorrow picture on his window, and then in the loneliness of his apartment, which suddenly seemed to be filled with the scent of Sandra, he cried. He collected every last thing Sandra left; her comb with strands of her hair and grease of her oil, her clothes - hopeful and freshly packed in the rack which could never feel her skin again, her pen which still bore her fingerprints and a paper in which she drew a meaningless masterpiece. The snow grew harder, it covered Aaron within his apartment. Even after it cleared, Aaron felt its physical presence enduring inside his mind along with Sandra and her nonchalant smiles.

‘I need some time away. I can’t go on like this’

Everyone who knew Aaron agreed, they knew it was time he himself tried to break out of the shell within which his happiness was buried along with Sandra’s memories. They were all surprised with the intensity of his appeal and the determination that guided him. Next they would find him on his bike, with a vague smile and a yearning one finds in a traveler before his most awaited journey. The buzz of his bike barely left their ears when the first drops of rain soothed an Earth which was baked for 3 months in incessant heat.

True agony lies in the eyes of the lonely, the unattended and the unloved, Sandra used to say. If there was one attribute which Aaron loved more than everything it was her philosophy, the altruism with which she viewed an entire humanity. Aaron found her most beautiful on days she cooked for homeless, stitched dress for children and attended the elders of their society. There was a lucid aura which spread around her, within which Aaron always felt humbled. His journey was not away from Sandra as everyone expected, it was rather an adventure into Sandra; into her spontaneous acts of exceptional sacrifice, into her socialistic paths, into a revolution which she started but could never complete. The determination Aaron's friends saw was not his own, it was what dissolved into his eyes little by little from their first kiss to the very last - moments before he electrocuted her.

In the 29th autumn of his life, Aaron discovered Sandra once again. It was an achievement he made at the shores of Sabarmati river on a seemingly normal day. He watched the endlessly long Sabarmati river telling him tales of sorrow she witness every single day. Sabarmati told him about thousands, who fills their stomachs with dread at breakfast, lunch and dinner. He heard her tears while he tried to curtail his own. Quite spontaneously he saw a group of parrots take flight, making a wondrous silhouette on the sky, he felt the numbness which paralyzed him shatter into a million unrecognizable pieces, which slowly settled among many others he could now see in the ashram. Behind him he heard the charkha move, the Hridayakunj became what it had been in the past, for a passing few seconds he heard the owner of the house commanding for the next phase of revolution to begin, he could do very little but to accept that command! As those words fell like tears on his ears, Aaron felt an incredible similarity to his first kiss. He stood there in admiration, he felt his eyes getting wetter, he searched for Sandra and he found her the way she was when he first saw her, in that classroom getting up to say her answer to the teacher's question. Her eyes were gleaming in a happiness he never saw in another person, the gravity which he felt every time he looked into her eyes still hid somewhere unattended, and then he heard the answer,

'For me it is Spring'

'And why is it darling?'

'I love flowers, I love to see them bloom!'

Today, Aaron is speeding past with a bundle of clothes to deliver to the NGO in which Sandra worked. Aaron is now a regular volunteer in the organization too. He still holds the view that autumn is the most beautiful time of the year, for him it is a mark of how Earth copes in its struggle for survival. It is autumn which makes spring more beautiful. But now he is thinking about something else, something more serious. There is a revolution he must complete. Every single time he hands over a cloth or a slice of bread he sees a smile he had seen only on Sandra; and in the eyes which he served, he would see a reflection of his own smile. Everyday for Aaron is now a pursuit to understand Sandra, to find her smiles in the harshest places of the country. He hears a music which Sandra used to hymn, he now knows it as the universal hymn of love. Quite naturally he finds himself singing the hymn along with Sandra who sits happily behind his bike filling the void of autumns past, if you watch closely you could see her holding a happiness you would never see in another human being!