Love

A cold winter morning, a sky full of fog,
An empty street, a couple there, and me,
I walked my path, it led nowhere,
And somehow we ended up in the same café.
I looked at her, her deep blue eyes,
They had so much to say,
I looked at the boy who sat with her,
His eyes, empty, like a novel burnt to ashes.

Since there wasn’t anyone else around,
And the coffee was taking only too long,
My eyes kept wandering back to them.
They both seemed indifferent about me;
And that was alright, but alas!
They seemed so indifferent about each other.
Their fingers intertwined, his hand in hers,
But never a look, nor a smile at each other.

Who were they? I wondered,
Waiting for my cup of coffee.
I could not imagine why they would want to be,
The way they were, together.
For I believed, love was spoken,
Not with words, but through the eyes,
But alas! Their eyes never met!

And suddenly those three words were said,
“I love you”, whispered the boy,
“As do I”, she said in return,
Yet still neither faced each other,
Though now they were all smiles.

The waiter arrived, a bit later,
With my steaming hot cup of cappuccino,
“Isn’t it weird?” I asked him,
“How could they not see each other,
And yet say those words all the same?”
The waiter looked deep at me,
Smiled and said,
“Sir, they both are blind.”

And that day I realized,
How true it is,
When they say that love is blind.

Winter

I just finished reading ‘The Lord of the Rings‘. I have posted on this blog rarely because I was really trying hard to finish the novels. It is cumbersome sometimes to concentrate on reading when you have so much of other work going on in your mind. I feel that the fact that our brains can multitask is sometimes a bane for us. For some nights, I used to have the book in front of me, and I knew I was reading it, yet my thoughts were focused on completely different paths. But anyway, the books are done, and so in eleven months of this year I have finished with A Dance With Dragons (the last part of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin), the entire Shiva Trilogy by Amish, A Prisoner Of Birth by Jeffrey Archer, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, Deception Point by Dan Brown, and Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien. That is a lot of reading, per se, and it perhaps explains why I have posted almost only half of what I posted last year, but to be fair, I had read only four books last year (the first four parts of A Song of Ice and Fire.) For now, I am done with the genre of fantasy for the time being, and I do not intend to return to it soon.

That being said, December is almost round the corner, and winter is slowing creeping its way up trees onto frosted leaves, spreading its fangs around snowy streets, and making ice flakes out of waterfalls in the misty mornings. I have written really less this year, and looking back, I think the write-up that is closest to my heart would be the most recent ‘Call of the Mountains‘. I had initially thought of naming it ‘And the Mountains Echoed‘, inspired by Hosseini’s poignant novel by the same name, but it seemed too much of a plagiarism more than an inspiration, and so I changed my mind, though I did include the title in a sentence, because it was too dear to let go off. That’s the problem with me; I cannot let go of things easily. But it is okay, I am learning, and this year has been a lot of learning for me. If you’ve followed me this year, you would have noticed I have repeatedly hovered around the idea of dreams in my posts. Though somewhere at the back of my mind I might have done that intentionally, I think it is just that I have been intrigued by them lately, and probably that is the reason I’ve been writing about it. I finished watching the last season of ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ this year, that was the only television show I followed apart from the regular ‘Game of Thrones‘. But then since the latter is slowly deviating from the novel, I am slightly disheartened and am not as excited about it as I used to be. For example, earlier this week they released their poster for next season, yet I had almost expected the exact thing to be. The show was about unexpected twists, but sadly it has failed to offer that of late.

Let me get back for a moment to the ‘Lord of the Rings‘. If any of you out here are yet to read the books, go grab a copy today. Tolkien has created a magnificent world, with extraordinary character development and spell-bounding chapters. At the end, I could only wish that there were yet another instalment of the book that I had yet to read. But then, all good things come to an end, and so with this. But now that I have done a lot of reading, and will probably read only a little more this year, I intend to write a little more in December. I am going on a one-month trip to Suwon, so the next time I post, it would be from Korea. I hope I can take out some time during the weekends to keep this blog updated, for the last thing I want is to kill this blog out of inactivity. I already have the next book on my mind. I am going to start reading ‘To Kill A Mockingbird‘ soon, but not today, not just now. I need some time to absorb Frodo and Bilbo, and Sam and Pippin, and Aragorn and Gandalf, and the Fellowship, and Lothorien and Mount Doom, and Gondor and the Shire, and Saruman and Sauron. I wish there was more about Sauron in the text; I had expected at least half a chapter where he would be in first person or at least in third, so that was a little disappointment, but then, it is a classic book and is a legend, and probably I am not fit, not yet, to critique Tolkien, and would probably never be.

In verses, I have tried to go back to square one, spending time writing more of love tales than fantasy, and the last three poems do exactly that. When I wrote ‘For I Will Walk‘, I was not sure I was doing the correct thing; it felt as if undoing years of trying to overcome an obstacle and finally banging it head on, and not crossing it at all; but in the end it all turned out good. You have liked it, and that is all I care about. In case you’ve missed out on some of my latest posts, I did manage to wrap up with the ‘Return‘ series that I had started last year. It took me more than a year to finish it, owing to several distractions, but somehow I joined the strings at the end.

So much for now. Let’s join over a cup of coffee sometime later, when you and I can wrap ourselves in a quilt and sing a song of dreams and love. Good bye!

Confrontation

I was running, running fast,
And though I was panting, I did not stop,
Chasing you till the last of my breath,
You were wearing a white shroud,
And moved with the speed of light.
Just now you were in front of me,
And now behind my back.
The moon, nascent tonight,
Hidden by clouds for most of the time,
So that I had to squint my eyes
To see you.

You were petrified,
I could smell it from afar.
I was still running, but now I was a hound.
Snow white fur, smeared with red,
Red from the blood when I had snatched at your leg.
I tasted the blood, and it was not human,
And suddenly I saw you changing,
You were not you anymore.
But you couldn’t decide what you wanted to become,
You became a cat, and the next moment you were a tiger.
Your eyes gleamed and stared at mine,
And you saw how I felt for you.

Then suddenly you roared,
And now you were chasing me,
And I was running for my life.
I saw a pack of hounds at a distance,
It had to be my pack,
And I ran towards them.
But they melted into the fog, as soon as I reached them.
I turned back to face you,
And suddenly you weren’t a tiger anymore,
You had my face now.
I felt as if I was looking into a mirror,
Only I was fair, and you were dark,
‘Are you my twin?’ I asked you.

And I heard your voice, for the first time,
As you said, ‘No’.
I needed answers, questions ruffled my mind,
Who were you? Who am I?
You melted into the snow, suddenly you weren’t there,
But I realized I was wrong,
When I looked at the snow crawling up my feet,
You were gnawing at me, trying to turn me into you,
Shaking you off my leg, I ran again.

‘Why are you running away from me?’
‘Why don’t you embrace me?’ You asked.
You were running beside me now,
Snowflakes on your face, you were now as white as I.
‘Who are you?’ I asked you,
And you looked at me and smiled and said,
‘I am Man’.
And I came to a halt,
Transfixed as I was.
Haven’t I really been acting stupid all this while?

‘We were to rule this world like friends,
But you alienated me’, you said.
And I, teary-eyed, had nothing to say.
We were two sides of the same coin.
‘Why do I worship you?’ I asked.
‘Why do you control my fate?’
You smiled.
‘It is but fair,’ you said.
‘Why? Whom am I?’ I asked.
You replied, ‘You, are God.’

I tried pulling my hair apart,
And ran and ran through the snowy desert,
Until I found a cave to hide from you.
I took a boulder and covered the entry,
But when I turned around to look inside the cave,
You were already there
And the cave had turned into a hollow.
You encircled me, walking round and round,
And I, half-decimated,
Shut my ears and shouted loud,
But who would come? I wondered.

You took my arm and led me out,
And pulled me out upon a cliff,
I was afraid, oh, I was frightened,
My hands tied, my hair, unkempt.
And suddenly without saying anything,
You pushed me down the cliff,
And I was in air, gasping for breath,
Shouting for help, shouting loud.
I saw a raven fly, but it kept going farther
As I kept nearing the ground below,
And then I hit the ground.

When I woke up hours later,
I realized I cannot move,
My legs were broken, and so were my hands,
And I would never walk again.
I could see a silhouette of a man above,
Through eyes that I could only slightly open,
My head was on his lap, and I asked feebly,
‘Who are you?’
He looked at me with his shiny eyes,
Smiling at me all the while,
Ran his fingers through my hair,
And whispered softly into my ear,
‘I am Satan.’

Craving

Wasn’t there a time when we really craved
For each other?
When we could not spend a moment apart,
When all we thought was about each other,
And the times that we were together,
We created so much of hotness,
That we could not handle it ourselves?
What happened to all of that,
Why is everything so cold now?
Where is the craving, and why have I lost it,
As much as you have?
We still love each other, right?
Or do we not?
I am really not sure about it,
But that raw feeling, like a winter breeze on a naked shoulder,
I miss that, and I know you do so too.
Am I being too straightforward here?
Should I wrap this entire thing up in cotton candy,
So that it is easier for you to gulp in?
Am I being rude, ’cause I don’t think so,
I just want to tell you tonight,
That may be, may be,
We could recreate it somehow,
Time-travel back to those days,
See how we did it, how we really liked it,
And how much different it is now.
The path we’ve taken is horrendously wrong,
You know it, and I know it,
But even so,
We keep walking, nervous much to retreat,
Because we really do not know,
If at all after we get back to the starting point,
We will find another road,
Or if this is the only path possible,
And then we would not want to redo this,
Because no one rereads a book that he knows will end sadly.

Through Seasons

Oh, let’s just fall in love for a while.
Close your eyes and hold my hand,
Let us walk through storms and gales,
Our fingers intertwined.
Let us see a year, and cross ourselves,
Through all seasons.
When the buds blossom and the cherries turn red,
Let’s love each other beneath the shade of trees,
In the midst of spring,
Frolicking around, and swinging on swings.
When in the heat we perspire,
And the sun’s blazing hot,
Let’s love the summer as much as we love each else,
Walk naked feet on the burning sands,
Let the waters lap our feet at the shores,
Cooling them down, an insatiable want,
Want for each other, never quenching.
And when the leaves fall out,
And the lanes become home to them,
Let’s lie on the grass, and look at the branches,
And the rays that peer through them,
The damp sunlight, the smell of redwood,
Our smiles for each other never ending.
Come winter, and we’d be shivering,
Let us shiver together one time,
In the warmth of the quilts,
Seeing the snow through the windows,
Writing letters through the dew,
Settled on the glass of our doors.
Oh, let’s just fall in love for a while,
Close your eyes and hold my hand.

Hopes

Mothers, with their mortars and pestles,
Crushing red chiles on hot afternoons,
The aroma of spices, floating in the air,
Their smiles, their chuckles, and the whispers,
Their daughters come back,
Pails of water on their heads,
Their gait ever graceful,
Their faces benign.
She sees them from her cot,
Too old to rise up now,
Remembers how once she was the daughter,
And how once she was a mother,
Now too old, her only children,
Are her hopes, which she nurtures,
With loads of care, as she once did,
For her children and her husband.
She closes her eyes,
The heat makes the dark turn yellow,
She can feel the light with her eyes shut,
And her children float by, in her visions.
She hopes one day they will come back,
Their heads on her lap,
They will narrate to her stories,
From cities long forgotten,
From borders between nations,
From mines deep down.
She can smell already,
A tinge of love, floating in the air,
Her husband sleeping on the cot beside,
The toothless smile, the grey beard,
His auburn eyes, which can only stare,
She turns and finds it empty for now,
But hopes someone will sleep on it,
Before the night ends,
Before the winter ends,
Before her life ends.

Return – Chapter 1

As I sat there, watching the black of the sky fade into deep maroon, the sun rising between the clouds, more crimson than ever, and watched it light the sky into an orange, the chirps of the sparrows, and the caws of the crows who had left their nests already, the alarm in my watch buzzed. It was five in the morning, the iron bench on which I sat still cold, drops of dew settled on it, and on my coat, and the sun slowly started hiding behind the clouds, turning the sky into a black, and in a few minutes, the drizzle came upon me. The grass looked greener than ever, as if it rejuvenated in the morning mist and rain, the dogs running back into their shelters where they slept, and the road in front of me, empty. Only after the drizzle had stopped did I see old couples back on the road, some walking, and in some, one pushing the other around on a wheelchair. A guy in a raincoat rode a bicycle, had roses to sell, and newspapers too, but the papers were all wet already, and he didn’t have anything to protect them from the rain. He reminded me of a time long before, when I used to see someone else exactly this way, only the face was different, rest everything same. Or was the face same too? I didn’t remember. It was six o’ clock then, when I rose from the bench, and smiled at the guy who had been sitting beside me for the past two hours, never making an introduction, never saying a word. It was better that way, no one liked to talk early in the morning, he was out for some reason, I for some other, or may be the same, who knew. I had to return, I decided.

It couldn’t go on forever like this. I had tried long and hard for four years to stay away from her, and had thought that maybe we both would forget each other, get on with our lives, move ahead, never looking back at the path we had left. And yet, God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes, you run so hard away from destiny that you don’t realize you’ve taken a full circle back to where you started. Maybe in a parallel universe we might have never met, and had been much happier than right now, but then, I needed to live in the present. I needed to be happy. Spring was around the corner, small green leaves on each tree, wet with the morning fog. I liked the winter rain. It made the surrounding slightly colder, and nothing could be better than going back inside, cuddle a quilt around, sip a cup of coffee, and get engrossed in a novel. However, right now, that didn’t seem the best option. In fact, going back didn’t seem a viable option at all. Going back now would mean getting back to square one. When one has read a story one didn’t like a bit, he is less likely to want to read it all over again. I was somehow the reader of this very bad book, and it seemed that someone had just thrown the book on my face again, only with a new cover, or maybe not even so much a new cover than a reprinted one. Yet if I had to read it, it were better I got started and get done with it already, rather than procrastinate it so much that it would seem to have gained more importance in my life than it should have.

I plied a bus and took a seat near the window. A few stops later, a man got up and took the seat beside me. He was roughly middle-aged, and smiled at me congenially, which was perhaps the first good thing that happened to me in the day. I was too flagged to make a good conversation with him, so I decided to let him speak if he wanted to, assuming he would get tired after a while and try to lessen the small-talk. But when he stopped, I felt miserable. It was nicer when he was talking, and so I started talking to him. He was a father of two kids, he said, had been living here for the past three years and found this city extremely affable. I laughed at my destiny. Here I was, listening to a person telling me how pleasant this place was, when it had succeeded in giving me nothing but nervousness of what was impending. A few stops later, he got up, we shook hands, and he left. A beggar got up in the bus, pleaded for some money, and I gave him some. I had always been lenient towards them, perhaps it was because of the way I was brought up, or maybe just because I had a soft corner for everything, or maybe, I really didn’t know what spurred me to spare something for them every time they asked for something. Perhaps deep inside, I wished that if ever I had asked someone for something, may be they would also give it to me, just as much as I wanted it, nothing more, nothing less. But life, strange as it is, hardly works in the ways you would have wanted it to. When I got down from the bus, the place was completely new. It wasn’t how I had remembered it, and not really how I would have wanted it to be. My memories raked up the old place, and superimposed it on the current. The entire scenery looked misplaced now. I realized that time indeed does change things. It might not have been weird to see it grow into what it was today, had I been through it entirely. But right now it felt as I had time-travelled into the future, and that somehow twenty years had passed since I had last seen it. There was no smoke from the chimney of the tavern, instead air-conditioning machines placed on the roof. The trees used to bear orange leaves perennially, yet now they were all green. Something was different about this place.

Perhaps it was time to embrace the change. Perhaps it would be better for me to go back to the point where I started again. Maybe this was the way it was all supposed to be. If so, then life was giving me a second chance. If not, it would be the most terrible mistake that I would ever commit in my life. I only hoped that this time the journey would not end so soon, like it did before. My mind was firm, and strong as ever, but my heart wasn’t ready to accept this fate. But when it saw the spring, and how the trees bore new leaves again, it sometimes found solace in nature. It realized that this is how life was supposed to have been in the first place. Make, break, make, break. It was an endless cycle, and how much ever you wanted to get out of it, at the end, it was inevitable to get sucked into it. Because that was the difference between God and us. We could not control everything. Because if we could, then we would have been as powerful as Him, as stoic as ever, never wandering from our path, and never being forced to choose anything. But now that I had made my choice, I would live by it, and live it good. Or so I wished. I would soon set things right, but before that I had one last thing to do.

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