Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sleep, My Angel

comm-563-change-is-constant
Change, I heard, is the only constant in life. Most of us find change to be the catalyst of our joys and aspirations. There are also people who live in perennial hope of some radical change in their lives, never to live the joys of the moment. And when the change comes, it ascribes an altogether different meaning to the want. Have you ever been stuck in a change that you wished and prayed desperately for and yet, wanted to undo it all when it came in an unexpected form? ‘Sleep, my angel’ is the story of one such person.

“Sleep, my angel, roaming free,
the day is charmed, the night breezy…”
I had never sung her a lullaby. This was an unusual desire. I wished I could cuddle her. She had been mumbling in her sleep for quite some time now.  Her father lay next to her, exhausted by two consecutive weeks of running around, signing papers and finishing off with tedious, unnecessary formalities. She had wriggled out of the covers too. I tried to reach out in desperation; as if in a dream. The futility of it gnawed away at my core reminding me of my inability to make her snug in bed once again. She had already rolled over and put her arms around her father, who tucked her in lovingly.  I lingered on till the cuckoo clock sprung out, gauging the chiasmic distance between us. It had been two weeks now since we had parted ways. The weather didn’t look too balmy either. It wasn’t the ‘thunder, storm and lightning’ kind but just a melting, sweeping drizzle pressing upon the window. Irrespective of the weather, it was getting increasingly difficult to go away now.
Read the complete story at:
http://300stories.com/sleep-my-angel?fb_action_ids=10152387480283136&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Revisiting...





 FLIGHT OF FANCY


Green and white,
crisscrossed by black
the tiles on the floor;
some drooping shy,
some free and wild,
spring-flowers through the door
to-
the staircase then
leading to when
they hopped over the fence
the cobbled snake
moved on to meet
a sprightly wilderness.

A look about
and furtive search
for rabbits in the dark
mushrooms and twigs
and berry things
not found in the park

climb up a tree
that doesn't know
its nature, name or fruit
hang upside down
and try to see
the world with wandering roots

the beehive or the weaver bird
don't spare a look or care
the clumsy vines,
the unkempt hair
who needs to stop and stare?

the frenzied brook
and the broody nook
with cradled rocks ahead
the deer, the doe
that briskly go
to the princely tiger's stead

then run askance
and leave behind
all glories
and the chase
if one would stop
to ponder much
they'd lose their wondrous gaze

hop, skip and jump
and lo, behold
the house is back in sight
what joy, what fun
in the winter Sun
and a chair-bound aimless flight !


*****



WAIT FOR ME, TIME

I found my way back to this place, after a long trek through mountainous terrain, sometimes treacherous but mostly pleasantly tiring. Along the way, I met doubt, confronted pain, emerged triumphant and resumed my step, trying to catch up with lost time, sailing adrift a song:


Wait for me...
I’m breathless!
Don’t move so fast,
So reckless!
It’s a snaking spread
For me. For you?
just a darting spurt ahead.
I keep trying
t’ match your step
and just when
I think I’m dying
and barely up to speed,
with a teasing brush
of orchids
‘n’ spearmint
away you sprint
to another arduous lead.

I know you’re strong
don’t need to stop
at any curve or prong;
or even the coveted top;
what you have
I amply lack
the propensity of having
by virtue, vice or tact.

To travel light
like a mountain spring
or a string-less, hands-free kite
or a baby cloud
an empty shroud of
reflective, air-combs white
each one of these, a poet's muse
to the sky? -a wishful reverie
you never take
a walked-through path
yet beaten roads
are forced on me.
So, does that mean
that every walk
will be a test of strength?
I’ll keep calling, catching up
yet you will stay abreast?

Come now, my friend
call off this game
Go find a worthy opponent.
Henceforth, I give you not
any of you that’s mine;
you play with those
who have you none
and chase you so,
a-fleeting, O Good Time!


*****



MY PINK, HANDCRAFTED CUPBOARD


In light of assaults on women in recent times, these few lines are an attempt to relate to the thoughts of a rape-survivor, who is trying to regain balance between the trauma and her life prior to the incident.




It rings loud

and hollow

in its shiny newness

my pink, hand-crafted cupboard,

as I begin

to put in

one after the other

vibrant drapes

to adorn my work and play.

Layer upon layer

the shelves and walls

absorb within

the clamour of loud, soulful hues.



It was then yesterday,

that I wore on me

an apprehensive thought

in rueful blue

and paisley yellow

as I ravaged through

the pile of clothes

from a brand new cupboard

and straight on to bed.

The void inside

started to grow

as the heap on the bed

bled to the floor.



The voice of contempt

rang loud and hollow,

like a void

hitting a void;

guttural sounds

running straight into

a larger empty space

on the shelves now

and the walls

empty with

an emptier nook within,

and hooks and hangers

to put

frightful memories on.

Was that yesterday?



Some time today…

…My hospital bed

and the white-washed sheet

is safe because

an unassuming apprehension

has been replaced

by a listless, sanitised calm.



But the soft caressing

of cotton sheets

can’t stop

my skin from pricking

at the recall of rough hands

like nettle on unsuspecting skin

over my mouth

breasts and thighs

engulfing the memory

of my father’s gentle fingers

and brother’s benign wrist.



The hollows

in my eyes

stare at the moment

that led me to that space,

in which,

robes undone

mindlessly lying

where they didn’t belong

unclaimed, unwanted

yet devoured and relished.



I’ll take them

To a tailor,

perhaps

or a seamstress, that’s better

to darn the gaping holes

or possibly

restitch together

a patterned, patch-work quilt

Would that help?

The nurse is not

a seamstress

She says she doesn’t know.



I wonder as I,

on this hospital bed,

relive

in every empty moment

thrusts

of ruthless, mocking laughter

my body, that cupboard

now a gargoyle

for refusing

newer waste

Then and now.



Be brave

I’m told

stay strong

the only way to be

Alive.

I am, always was

and yet, now

I do not know

how to live

despite the acerbic breathing

in a prickly world

of sympathetic stares
and inquisitive cares

that dress me

like mouldy, nettled fabric…

…I find all around…

barter after barter

trade after trade

bravery for safety

courage for peace

comfort for silence

blue for grey

red for white

And yellow for an abysmal nude.



It’s tomorrow now…

I’m home

and normalcy rules

in the corridor, lane, road

outside my house.

And in the loud

ringing hollows

of my cupboard,

I shall fold the colours

to tuck them away

in the deepest nook;

I am now learning

to refill the emptiness

and order the chaos

In my pink, hand-crafted cupboard.



*****



ROCK, THE STAR



A rock can be a mountain,
and mountain becomes a rock
when shadows
come ahead of you
and the fiesty Sun behind
grips you at the ankles
it consumes
your smallness
that tallness
then purges
the mountain
and you, the rock.

At that step,
do turn around
and leave
the shadows behind
just run up to the Sun
through sweat and singeing skin
does that change the facts?
For some.
As the shadow then
gets to tail you
and before it
nails you
at the next pile of rubble
you have left 
the mountain far
and you,
the rock
now, a hurtling shooting star.

*****



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reblogged

So, I re-blogged two excellent posts today. One for the ticklish quality of subtle, tongue-in-cheek humour and the other for saying things as they were ordained. I have been reading from a  potpourri of things lately. From fiction, to inspiring tweets and blogs to ridiculous debates on Rahul Gandhi's speeches. The lesser said about the latter, the better.There is so much going on in the world outside that sometimes, a writer just wants to shut out the echoes in the head and let someone else do the talking. Like, Jo says it, let's blame it on October. These two posts, however, summed up a few things that were fomenting in my head. So, I'll take the liberty of guiding you to the blogs of two fine bloggers. Get to my wordpress blog below.

http://jasthinkingaloud.wordpress.com/

The two posts to look out for are:
1. So, Today I'm Not Happy And...by Jennie Orbell
2. Yakking it up by Jo Robinson

Have fun and feel free to leave your comments.

And Let There Be Light!

Note to self: The next time a thought comes knocking, don't make it wait in the reception lobby. Bring it into the cabin and get it to work. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rock, the star



A rock can be a mountain,
and mountain becomes a rock
when shadows
come ahead of you
and the fiesty Sun behind
grips you at the ankles
it consumes
your smallness
that tallness
then purges
the mountain
and you, the rock.

At that step,
do turn around
and leave
the shadows behind
just run up to the Sun
through sweat and singeing skin
does that change the facts?
For some.
As the shadow then
gets to tail you
and before it
nails you
at the next pile of rubble
you have left 
the mountain far
and you,
the rock
now, a hurtling shooting star.

*****

http://300stories.com/blog

Healthy Talk


What happened to the writer who fell short of words? Well, they just got written off. That's for the cursory fling with blank spaces. Do people ever fall short of words in their everyday communication? Barring an awkward situation or two, people generally like to babble. It's a communicable disease the world over, the only known antidote being a stifled yawn and a vacant expression in the listener's eyes. But the antidote actually works only on smart -talkers who keep a keen eye out for their listener's responses. For others, it is a flash-flood of thoughts that generally tends to sweep away the innocent and the unprepared. The very concept of gossip emerges from the urge to talk even when there's nothing to talk about. And willing, cooperative listeners make the activity organically productive.

As a child, I was quite a motor-mouth. Verbal diarrhea may just as well be a polite euphemism for my jowl-movement. The only complaint (I'd like to highlight 'only' but being the modest gabber that I am, won't do so) that my teachers ever had on PTM days was that I was a compulsive chatter-box. It was difficult to put a lid on my expression, with little or no reaction-time for my audience. I'd say audience because as a child, even a groan about the humble tiffin-box packed by a sleepy mother at 5:30 in the morning, holds the possibility of advanced physical theatre. I guess that's the reason why children hold us in rapt attention even when they are sleeping because there's language oozing out of closed eye-lids with rolling eyes beneath, snoring nostrils and twitching of fingers. Anyway, back to the point. Teachers, in our times, had the special ability of dousing a good spark if they saw one. One was encouraged to aspire more towards receiving stars on the personality chart for being quiet for twenty minutes, than for learning to talk one's way out of a sticky situation.  Parents, being parents, would never forget to remind me to cap it.
Initially, only in the house and later, when it became embarrassing for everyone to be around a girl who is verbose and uninhibited, at social gatherings too. Consequently, the eloquence found its way to the debating platform. I could argue and declaim without giving a sorry a** to anybody's reaction. Fortunately, that attitude worked wonders. Invariably, the winning trophy would be mine. Unfortunately, it was a disaster in the real world where the driving word for communication is 'diplomacy'. And then slowly, that slogan in the library unfurled its meaning to me. Silence is golden. Better still, silence keeps you alive and loved. Free thought and free speech belong to the land of books alone. Thus came new learning: 

Talk if you must, 
but only just, 
to please or appease
and certainly not,
to flare or combust.
And if silence means,
to hold your beans,
then let 'em rot,
but air your bags out first.

The gift of the gab often landed me among people who wanted to use my free speech to kick up a free storm. Politics beckoned where action need not match words and my words were pricelessly persuasive. However, it is ironical that a field where free speech is the goon, diplomacy of inaction is the king-of-the-ring. And never the twain shall meet.

Anyhow, the point is that, thanks to well-meaning teachers and parents, talking became more of an internal activity than a mode of communication with the world outside. And when that internal chatter becomes incessant, it becomes de-rigueur to write. The world called it upon itself. It's not my fault anymore. It may have been easier to hear and bear than be dead as you read.

Therefore, world, do not rejoice when you find me silent. Prepare, instead, for the print-sprint.

Parents, let that kid talk. If you can’t make sense of the non-stop questions, observations and remarks, then perhaps you’re the ones who need to air out those bags (lungs, incase, you didn’t understand earlier). And teachers, you’re paid to speak, aren’t you? Go eat your words. It's all healthy talk after all.


Cheers and burritos!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Missing Wordsworth. Again.

Someone asked me for an introduction. I just gawked. Really, for all it's worth, my poems speak of me the way I am. Or am not. Who knows. My poems know me best. Ask them.


No time to stop and stare,
in a forest sans all care,
Herding, ambling along
through creepers, vine and root,
and sound of marching boot,
no music and no song.

It’s crowded when I read,
which happens off and on;
and thus these books to me
are often a clarion
that blows away the cobwebs
of ego and illusion
and brings to light a tableau
born of kindred seclusion.
Baring such truths well-nested
(always were there to see)
My books and I stop here
under this whispering tree
where me, my pen, my longings
at play, yet adequately rested.


*****

Writing for 300stories.com

Dear friends,

I have been busy lately. Thankfully. Because it doesn't happen often. More routinely, busyness has to try hard and find me while I keep giving it the slip and a run. But it often descends on me when I've got my guards down, scavenging through a heap of books. That's when I get trapped and then, that busyness bug hums in my ears till a particular book draws out a yawn or two.

Anyway, I tend to digress most when I'm thoughtless. Ironical, isn't it? Therefore, I thought I'd give this idle thinking some direction. And so, apart from working on a few book ideas, I've started writing for a friend's library's blog. Not only would you find interesting reads on the website of 300stories but also book reviews to help you ogle with that reading-goggle. If you are an avid reader and would like to share your views about a book/short story/author, feel free to write in. I've got a book-review up there already. It's on The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. If you'd like to read, do visit: http://300stories.com/give-em-bach-book-review-of-illusions-the-adventures-of-a-reluctant-messiah

Go, try a book. Have fun.
See you, booker!

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Pink, Handcrafted Cupboard



In light of assaults on women in recent times, these few lines are an attempt to relate to the thoughts of a rape-survivor, who is trying to regain balance between the trauma and her life prior to the incident.

It rings loud
and hollow
in its shiny newness
my pink, hand-crafted cupboard,
as I begin
to put in
one after the other
vibrant drapes
to adorn my work and play.
Layer upon layer
the shelves and walls
absorb within
the clamour of loud, soulful hues.


It was then yesterday,
that I wore on me
an apprehensive thought
in rueful blue
and paisley yellow
as I ravaged through
the pile of clothes
from a brand new cupboard
and straight on to bed.
The void inside
started to grow
as the heap on the bed
bled to the floor.


The voice of contempt
rang loud and hollow,
like a void
hitting a void;
guttural sounds
running straight into
a larger empty space
on the shelves now
and the walls
empty with
an emptier nook within,
and hooks and hangers
to put
frightful memories on.
Was that yesterday?


Some time today…
…My hospital bed
and the white-washed sheet
is safe because
an unassuming apprehension
has been replaced
by a listless, sanitised calm.


But the soft caressing
of cotton sheets
can’t stop
my skin from pricking
at the recall of rough hands
like nettle on unsuspecting skin
over my mouth
breasts and thighs
engulfing the memory
of my father’s gentle fingers
and brother’s benign wrist.


The hollows
in my eyes
stare at the moment
that led me to that space,
in which,
robes undone
mindlessly lying
where they didn’t belong
unclaimed, unwanted
yet devoured and relished.


I’ll take them
To a tailor,
perhaps
or a seamstress, that’s better
to darn the gaping holes
or possibly
restitch together
a patterned, patch-work quilt
Would that help?
The nurse is not
a seamstress
She says she doesn’t know.


I wonder as I,
on this hospital bed,
relive
in every empty moment
thrusts
of ruthless, mocking laughter
my body, that cupboard
now a gargoyle
for refusing
newer waste
Then and now.


Be brave
I’m told
stay strong
the only way to be
Alive.
I am, always was
and yet, now
I do not know
how to live
despite the acerbic breathing
in a prickly world
of sympathetic stares
and inquisitive cares
that dress me
like mouldy, nettled fabric…
…I find all around…
barter after barter
trade after trade
bravery for safety
courage for peace
comfort for silence
blue for grey
red for white
And yellow for an abysmal nude.


It’s tomorrow now…
I’m home
and normalcy rules
in the corridor, lane, road
outside my house.
And in the loud
ringing hollows
of my cupboard,
I shall fold the colours
to tuck them away
in the deepest nook;
I am now learning
to refill the emptiness
and order the chaos
In my pink, hand-crafted cupboard.


*****