An attempt to hold on to
A drop of dew
and turn it to pearl
and a dream
before it turns ephemeral...
Monday, December 22, 2003
The Nest She Leaves Behind
She had been experiencing elation for a while now, but suddenly, she felt it being replaced by something else. The shade of elation was being replaced by the shadow of gloom. Why was she feeling this way? Is this not what she always longed for? The power to soar in the clear blue skies, explore every nook and crany of the world. Right from the day when she had landed on the ground - splat!!! Her first attempt at flight cut short by her then tender wings, bruised, she headed back to the nest, and tried again. Finally she had done it. The cynicism that pervaded her psyche for weeks - "I will never be able to fly, I don't have what it takes to fly". That very cynicism had been swept away by the strong but welcome swoosh of her feathers.
Finally she was no longer shackled to the nest, the nest that had become the symbol of her loathing for failure. How she despised every corner of that nest, and yet, due to her inability to fly, how she had to spend every night in that very nest. Cynicism can disguise enemies and make them seem benign, and it can diguise benign things and make them seem like enemies. Her inability to fly had this effect on her. She identified the desire to fly as not one that would help her soar the skies, but one that would help her escape the nest.
And soar she did. High and far she flew that day when she first successfully flew, her wings determinedly flapping in the eager quasi-rhythm of a novice. She returned to the nest, to take off one last time. Elation, yes, it was elation that surged through every pore of her body.
She took off for what she knew was the last time she would ever take off from that nest. She took off expecting this elation to magnify, for what other emotion belonged in her heart other than the expectant exhilaration of the clear blue future ahead, full of possibilities.
Yet, a shadow of gloom was creeping across. And the reason for this gloom was the nest. As she flapped her wings to take off, her eyes fell on the nest, and she realised why she was gloomy. The nest, that very nest which she hated till an hour before, now seemed to be the prettiest place on earth. How the cozy innards of the twiggy abode had held her as she slept every night. The tiny crevices of the nest probably still contained pieces of the egg shell that she cracked open when she was born. Her existence had commenced in this very nest. No matter how many clouds she flew through and how many lakes she flew over, they could not give her the unfelt warmth that this nest did.
The pattern of those twigs on the fringe, the pattern that she had by-hearted without knowing, would as much be a part of her as the creases on her claws. Random, and meaningless, and yet unique and meaningful.
For a moment she asked herself, why am I leaving this nest? But it was only for a moment.
She flapped her wings harder as she levitated a bit higher, gave the nest one last look, a mixture of affection and gratitude, and then, with a heart as confused as it had ever been, she flew into the clear blue sky.
Posted at 09:00 pm by Stitch
Saturday, November 01, 2003
How long before
the dew on the rose
to make way for the sun's ray
far more brilliant
than the tiny drop
which, with all it's heart
believed in the dream to stay
kissing the petal
Posted at 05:01 pm by Lilo
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Over a pint of overpriced caffeine
Here we sit and write a rhyme
'coz we need to while away our time
something unexpected occured yesterday
Miss Muffet sat eating curds and whey
The horse then sang a seductive tune
Gaurav sat listening to it on the dune
The donkey too started to bray
Hail all the adventists of the world who pray
A bitter chill today permeates the wood
I would be the Queen if I could
The coffee lets out a stale smell
The table then creaks out the tale it wants to tell
A mule, a mule, my kingdom for a mule!
What am I supposed to rhyme that with, you fool!
The sign on the door says loo
Believe the globe I spout, false or true.
Submerged in an ocean of eccentricity she lay
Isn't a girl supposed to know her way?
See what a pint of overpriced caffeine can do
Yeah, someone as lyrically-challenged as me can rhyme too!!
The thing above, I'd pretty unabashedly like to call a rhyme, is a product of "Rhyming scheme", a game Stitch
and I tried today at Barista
. The concept was fun. I would compose a line and he would in turn write another one that rhymes with the earlier (not necessary related to the previous one). This was what we ended up with. This was definitely fun.
Posted at 09:53 pm by Lilo
Thursday, September 25, 2003
He got up from his chair and picked up his empty glass. Hobbling towards his kitchen he tried to remember the time when he had fallen asleep the previous night. But all that filled his head was a throbbing ache, the kind he had gotten used to now, even looked forward to. Loneliness drives a man to befriend the unlikeliest of things. His bosom buddy nowadays was hangover. At least it was there every morning, without fail.
Clutching the glass in one hand and his forehead in another, he approached the kitchen door. Almost habitually, he glanced to his right, knowing what he would find. It was there yet again, like a permanent resident of his house. The spot on the wall where the paint had worn off. The entire wall was perfect, except for this region. He stopped to examine it for a while, and ran his fingers along the spot's periphery. Should I call the painter to fix this, he wondered. It was high time he got it fixed. Had been on the wall for almost a year now. He seemed to recall many mornings when he decided to repair it, but somehow it always slipped his mind.
His mind raced 10 months back in time as he recalled how the scraped spot got there in the first place. It was 11 at night and Prerna had been bickering all day about something or the other. The something was usually his drinking, and the other was more often than not his drinking too. That day had been their anniversary but it had slipped his mind. Was never big on the concept of occasions and all anyway, he thought to himself. But Prerna was very upset. He was angry too. Here he was facing the worst crisis of his artistic career and she was cribbing about a stupid anniversary. He had just been told that the head of the music company had scrapped his comeback album. Could she not at least hear him out if not lend a sympathetic shoulder?
But no, she kept cribbing about his drink, and how he smelt of alcohol and how he was ruining both their lives. He finally managed to talk and told her about how the evil music company boss had cancelled his album. And instead of being the supportive and caring wife she spat out,
"What did you expect? Who told you to get so drunk at that party last week that you spat in his face and called him a pimp of art? Even now if you apologise...."
That was the point when the anger inside him just exploded and he furiously swung his arm at her. His palm caught her right on the cheek and there was a deafening sound. She staggered and looked at him with disgust. Never until now had he hit her. His anger was growing day by day as was his drinking, but she still felt that deep down inside, he was her loving husband, who just kept making colossal mistakes on every front. But this she was not prepared to take lying down. She ran into the kitchen and grabbed the first bowl that she could lay her hands on. Viciously she flung it at him. However her aim went awry and the bowl struck the wall, scraping the paint off.......
Yes, that is how the spot had come there. Why did I not fix it at once, he thought to himself. I could have called the handyman the next day and the wall would have been as good as new. I should have fixed it at once, he thought again to himself. But he remembered that the next few days had been too eventful for him to even think about walls and paints. Prerna packed up and left that night.
Yes, those days had been too tense for him to even think about fixing anything in the house.
He went into the kitchen and came out with another peg. On the fridge he saw the letter again, the divorce notice from Prerna, and below it the newspaper with the picture of his arch rival with the music company boss celebrating their album going platinum. He picked up the letter ruefully and threw an equally rueful glance at the newspaper.
He sighed and looked to his left, and there was the spot on the wall. He peered at it again and thought to himself "I should have fixed it long back. I will definitely fix it...but not today....tomorrow I will fix it for sure."
And he walked back to his chair with a full glass in his hand.
Posted at 02:40 am by Stitch
The moon shone bright that night, flooding everything it could encompass. The sun had been fierce the entire day and the rocks by the river side had been scorching hot as the uncomfortably warm yellow light bathed them like scalding lava streaming out of the mouth of a volcano. Now, everything seemed to have acquired a pale white sheen to it. Everything. Right from the huge boulder to the small cobblestone was soking in the refreshing chill the moonlight brought about the scene. The river's attempt at mirroring the sky stood wasted to the workings of a few frogs, insects, and night crawlers. The winds made the leaves rustle and the long blades of the grass which lined the stretch, wave from time to time. If you listened carefully a million voices would fill your ear. If you heard them like everyone else did, those voices would be all you'd hear. What I heard was all that and so much more. There'd be moments when everything else would die down, the drone of the numerous insects, the night calls of the birds and vermins which roamed the shadows, and all that'd remain would be the moonlight and the river and the rocks and the loudest silence you'd ever hear.
At times like these I'd imagine I was back in the womb, inside my mother. The silence, I fancied, must be similar to what a child experienced. I would be with her at such times, a part of her. My Ma, who died minutes after I was born. I had never seen her but I knew I had touched her, lived within her, and that was a fact I built my fantasies on.
When the roof got to heavy for me to breathe and the drunken ramblings of my father got too mindless for my benumbed senses to endure, I'd run down here. The walks left an effect, which is hard to put in words. Indescribable. With the rocks and the trees, the grass and other creatures, I would take in the balsamic light as well.
We knew each other well; the river, the moon and I. And with time I learnt to eavesdrop on them talking in hushed whispers. I'd listen to them talk for hours at times.
Then one such day, I saw him. He lay there, on the rocks, a peaceful and serene look spread across his face, like a baby. The moon cast it's benevolent shadow on his face too and it glowed in the soft white light. There was a movement somewhere though, and I looked around, but there was nothing which would disturb the silence I had cultivated for myself. I was close enought o breathe on his neck now, and the stir was starting to disturb me. I went behind him, to the other side of the rock to find the source. The search was futile. I climbed the rock and sat there pondering, by his side, while he slept, blissfully unaware of everything. Then for a moment, I shut my eyes and heard them talk between themselves, for the last time, they said something. And the disturbance waned as their overheard conversation neared its end. I bent over and kissed his cheek and he woke up startled, his big eyes staring at a silly girl grinning at him.
I no longer hear the moon and the river. But I do hear him talk. Talk endlessly, talk real. And at times I flash a grateful smile heavenwards or as I gaze at his and my distorted reflection in the river. I thank them for telling me what I would've never known otherwise. What moved that night was my heart.
Posted at 12:40 am by Lilo
Sunday, September 21, 2003
On a journey with no roads
He sat there, sucking at his hookah as I pretended to rearrange my haversack.
"Stupidity, sheer stupidity." he said with a conviction that was rooted in the multiple wrinkles on his face. "There are camels, jeeps, cars for people like you. There are known routes with guides. And yet you want to do this."
I maintained a polite smile and shrugged as I scanned the sight in front of my eyes. A small tea-shop behind me, and a big dune in front.
"The desert is ruthless. The desert is cruel. The desert is........"
"Beautiful!" I interrupted him, and the chagrin was evident on his hardened features.
"Son, you are young and reckless. Tell me what good comes out of wandering in a place as hostile as the desert. There is no road to lead you to the right destination. Just coarse grains of sand."
I looked at the empty horizon behind me and the barren sand dune in front silently, feeling a mixture of irritation towards him and a longing towards what I waited for. The sky was a dark blue, a colour that was neither peaceful nor threatening. There were a few slivers of white cloud spread around the horizon.
A whistling wind swept across the landscape, ruffling my hair. My eyes closed on reflex as the wind kicked up the sand around me. This mini-sandstorm of sorts lasted for a couple of minutes. As the sand kept brushing my body, his words kept brushing my eardrum
"See, there will be storms like these, then what will you...."
I stopped listening. Though the sand was still flying around me, I felt an urge to open my eyes and look at the big dune again. And there she was, crossing the top of that dune, her hands shielding her eyes. She took a few steps, lowered her hands and saw me. I waved at her and started walking towards her. A couple of steps and I stopped.
"Bhaisahab" I said to the old man "Have you never been on a journey where what mattered was the companion and not the road? Where what mattered was the actual journey and not the destination?"
He looked at me blankly for a few seconds, and then he spotted her as well. The resentful features broke into a knowing smile. His verbosity vanished with the sandstormed and he got back to the hookah.
I walked towards her, and as I did, I noticed that the trail I left behind in the sand gave the impression of being a tiny road by itself. I thught how much better it is when a road follows you instead of you following a road.
As I approached her, she flashed me the usual euphoric smile and I smiled back with the same euphoria. The kind of euphoria that only beginnings can arouse.
Our journey with no roads had begun.
Posted at 01:16 pm by Stitch