Two Poems Of Exile


first published in Cafe Dissensus Everyday 

 

 

1

years ago I bid adieu to my homeland
the colours of autumn that stained my heart
have long faded and the rivers that ran
deep in the lines of my hands have dried

the place of my birth is a forgotten fragrance
a half-remembered dream whose ending is lost
but sometimes my sleepless nights are sheened
by the light of the winter moon I watched

leaning from the window of the bus I took,
the cool air awakens distant memories
it takes me back to a village
nestled between the mountains and streams

I run shoeless across the fields of saffron
chasing an invisible kite. the fiery chinar
warms my chilled heart, the bare silhouettes
of walnut trees spread their arms in welcome

on the steps of home you await my return
but as I reach out to you, you fade away
like soft summer light when evening comes
it’s been years since I last saw your face

maybe someday when you see the moon
reflecting in the quiet waters of the lake
and hear a boatman’s song echo in the breeze
I will be home never to leave you again

2

the spice shop perfumes the morning
in the streets of the old-city bazaar
as people hurry to private errands
a bangle seller displays his wares
promising good fortune to those who buy
at the tea stalls, people share stories
over a cup of hot masala chai
barefoot children chase imaginary kites
oblivious to the bustling crowd
a cow sits contemplating life
beset by flies it blinks its soulful eyes
women bargain with the grocers
for rice and lentils to feed hungry mouths
amidst traffic chaos people jostle for space
the late afternoon sun drifts towards evening
strings of lights twinkle like fireflies
laughter and singing echo everywhere
flavours and aromas fill the night
and the city – like a new bride
sashays dreamlike until the sun rises again.

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Monday Memories – 14 – You and I – Absence


rambling thoughts

rolling

like a pebbles

directionless

homeless

gathering dust

gathering memories

now stuck between

a rock

and hard place

it is raining incessantly

It had to pour

Something has shifted

since the time silence

fell upon us like a sword

so cold, so sharp one could cut oneself on it

A silence

that has rendered

me invisible

and

in this chaos of sadness

memories have turned green

under the

the empty aching blue

of your absence

and my heart

from this great distance

watches helplessly

nostalgia was supposed to be about

moments shared

memories created

laughter, kisses

endless conversations

songs hummed together

in different continents

pictures, poems, stories

waking up in each others arms

being silly

arguments. lovers quarrels

even silences

and

make up sex ( in whatever way it was possible)

Never Ever in my wildest moment

I believed

It would be

YOU

personified

I existed at two places

here

and

where you are

with miles and miles

of ocean between us

I drew you into my world –

 real  and imagined

painted pictures in words

but didn’t know where to draw a line

there are times even now

when I can’t decide

which one of us is missing

I don’t know which pain is

more excruciating,

the shock of what happened

or the ache of what never will be

I know it is over

as simply as it began (and I am trying to convince myself even now that THIS is a mirage not THAT )

THAT which is real

in my heart

throbbing

pulsating

a wound

which is

as much yours

as

mine

(Ah! the joy of pain we so willingly endure)

there are many words

you left unsaid

many questions

 you never asked

(maybe they were things you were afraid to know)

and many went unanswered

in your hesitation

I found all my answers (so I believed)

each of us

for all our lives

live

so bitterly

misunderstood

I listened to the friction within you

of wanting and not wanting

missing and yet not connecting

I heard it all

but my heart

it deliberately chose

selective hearing

and imagined a glimmer of hope

in the slithers of sun

that warmed like  love

and tickled me in glimpses

 between the veiled Autumnal shadows

that loomed large

closing in from all sides

nothing haunts us like the things

we never say

(sometimes also those which we so carelessly say)

I would not have left you

on that September afternoon

had I known it would be our last

 the regret pains my heart

now among other things

I dream of lost vocabularies

that may express what we no longer can

but even tough the words have turned stranger

it is alright

for I know

what we are

and what

we could not be

there wasn’t a  closure

No goodbyes

and I hope (there is still a hope)

that one day

when you  make an inventory of lost things

you will find me and remember

what I meant to you

till then

I will do what I do best

move in the rhythm

with your ebb and flow

All of  You and Me   

I collect your whispers and arranged them in tight sentences (lest they flee) try to make sense of it. In your absence sadness of things speaks for you. Your abject indifference has seeped in and taken shape of everything around me. Words have long since turned strangers. The cell phone has turned into a paper weight. No, if you think I am saying all this because I miss you you are wrong. One doesn’t miss oneself but gutters too have limits when the sky pours it’s rain .

Monday Memories 12 – You And Me


Some things are forbidden and yet we indulge.  We want to create memories.  Memories are not always made of  what happened it reality. They are also make beliefs. Things we imagined , dreamed , yearned for and with such intensity that they began to  seem more real than reality. It happens with dreamers, story tellers , poets , lovers  and people who aren’t too full of themselves. You need space to let these memories to take birth and grow. You have to endure the pain, the discomfort, the ecstasy and the constant reminder that they are not fragile and ephemeral as reality. They are amaranthine . They are powers of darkness and when these imagined memories collide with the real ones they become vehicles of destruction. It is a hypnotic drone and blur which makes nights sleepless and turns the days into a perpetual black hole.

I am entangled in those memories of you. Both real and imagined.  When people withdraw or leave they leave a gaping hole. Different people fill it with different things unable to remember what initially existed before in its place. I filled and glamorized  it with memories of time we spent together, with pain and self-pity, with tears and hurts. I called it solace, peace, solitude but it was nothing of those. It was just noise. Cacophony.  And then one day the tears dried. Just like that but pain remained. The hole remained. Gaping at me more than ever before and to make things worse It had taken a shape of you.

I was unmistakably going through lots of pain when I met you. You assured me it will go away. I had apprehensions. I had heard these words before but despite my apprehensions I believed you.   I waited. Patiently.  Days, Weeks, Months, Years. The vanilla flavor has long gone but the taste is stuck in my palate,  I am trying to wean myself off you. It is a long painful process of disengaging cell by cell, pore by pore, nerve by nerve. Sometimes I pull a wrong nerve and the scream shoots inwardly at a deafening speed leaving me convulsing with pain.

When you hand over your splintered heart to an absolute stranger you take a big risk. You are prepared for what it holds. You know if it all fails the memories of it will shred you but you still go for the forbidden.

Indifference is opposite of love , not hate and there is nothing I can fill these silences with other than memories. Nostalgia holds a lot of importance in our lives. Memories can also make you muddle-headed at times like they did to me today. They can make your adrenaline rush and bring with it bouts of immaturity and catastrophes that leave you feeling even more miserable than before. It makes you impulsive and everything done on an impulse is not good. It can go so terribly wrong that it can startle you.

I was thinking I had lost you but nothing is really lost to us as long as we remember it and today as I think of you memories are bringing me the whiffs of smells of places  that I did not pay attention to, that I didn’t really think existed. It is bringing to me songs that take me back to a  moment in time like nothing else can even if its bony fingers, sharp nails and pointed elbows hurt me no end. It is worth all the pokes and jabs and scratches.  Whatever is left unsaid , undone can be added to a memory and turned into a dream to savor till it too becomes a memory. New things take its place and the cycle continues of dreams and memories and all that it is between that. In these flickering images i find the warmth you forgot to take with you when you left.

Love Hurts. You And Me 

(song shared from You Tube. )

Silences :Poem


swaying in the breeze a swing

a bicycle leaning against the lamp-post

cigarette stubs  in the ash tray

worn out boots and an old man’s hat

Coat stuffed in the closet

with a poem folded in the pocket

Spectacles on the writing-table

dust under the bed

the kitten curled up in a corner

remains of a  favorite coffee mug

the pipe now not in use

chessmen waiting

the first streak of light

that slides from under the door

and crawls to my feet

the fixed stare that  follows me

from your  portrait

slumbering spiders in the book shelf

snowfall

A dull ache that seems to live

with emptiness

in my old bones

the swirling darwish dance of shadows

the cemetery at dusk

the neighbor’s tree that keeps watch

the bitter tears shed on your grave

for words left unsaid

and deeds left undone

and lastly

these long hours of waiting

First prize in contest  for the love of poetry.

When words turn strangers … RIP Tejaswee Rao


In remembrance of our dearest friend IHM‘s daughter Tejaswee

In our hearts forever

Born: 19th Jan 1991.

Died: 11th Aug 2010.


Some days are such when words turn stranger and we are rendered speechless , when thoughts freeze and one feels the numbness slowly seep through in the body. Pain… loss.. grief… and the circle of life from birth to death to rebirth and again …

Today is one such day..

Death you winged thief

you steal those closest to our heart and yet stand defeated on our feet

for those we love truly live closer than before

in memories, in heart, in small moments of tears and laughter, joys and sorrow shared together.

you take with you nothing … the body goes back to where it came and the soul … beautiful than ever before is released , set free to fly to the unknown …

When you die, you release your energy and with that energy your whole life’s experience.

Whatsoever you have been – sad, happy, loving, angry, passionate, compassionate – whatsoever you have been, that energy carries the vibrations of your whole life. I agree with Osho  but then something still snaps within .. Is it something about being a woman , a mother , about the umbilical cord  joined with the child you give birth too.. no I don’t think it is the umbilical cord .. it is something deeper that bleeds unseen… flows in the tears … and then they dry … but inside the wound remains raw …forever… the ache … the desire , longing to hold your loved one again to turn the cycle of time… but… life goes on .. every moment …

A silent tear rolls down …and then all is still… inside and outside…

I decided to write this remembering that a beautifully lived life stays fragrant forever ..


Friday the 13th

On Death

Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Remembering DAD and The Gift of Life


DAD AND MOM Just after their wedding

DAD AND MOM Just after their wedding


This is a NaBloPoMo post 4 under the theme Heroes

Today is my father’s third death anniversary and Sitting here alone praying for yet another life which is fighting to beat death I think of what he taught us as children. The biggest gift that my father gave us was the power to discern. To judge the right from wrong.
He always said that life is beautiful gift that has been given to us and we should respect and love it in all it’s forms. That our aim in life should be to blossom from within.

Dad was one of those rare people who left the comforts of a pampered Indian male’s life to fight for gender inequality and the orthodox system of favoring the male child.

He gave up all his rights to ancestral property and material benefits because he thought there were treasures much more valuable than these and led a simple life , never turning his desires into his wants.

All through my childhood and in later stages I wondered why my dad was different. Unlike all fathers why he did not earn and made mom work but slowly I recognized how much he cared about what mom wanted to do. When it became a choice about who will quit the job to bring up the family .. He did.

Mom excelled in her field and dad brought us up with the best education of humanity he could provide. We were a middle class family and the only wealth was his teachings, mom’s unconditional love and total support.

He not only practiced what he preached but also completely trusted the universe and the healing abilities of the human mind and body.

Three years ago when I watched him lying on his hospital bed in Pune, I wondered who was this person I am looking at? The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS, formerly known as “preleukemia”) took life out of him.
Silently waiting for his last journey he his eyes saw more death in the eyes of those around him.

Many a times he would slip into a state of delirium or go back to his childhood or teenage days, recounting stories to me. I felt he transferred a lot of insight and strength into me as we were very close.

He would want me to sit beside him and remember some nazm or sher from Firaq or Faiz and in quivering voice explain it to me. I with welled up eyes would hear but my mind would only listen to the sounds of my childhood, of happy evenings spent together playing chess or our long nature walks, even the long hours of conversations on life which I at that time detested sometimes calling them sessions , urging mom to rescue me.

Later I understood that at least some part of what he said I subconsciously retained and it helped me become a better person.

I dropped my surname coz he wanted me to be known by my name and not as someone’s daughter or belonging to some caste etc. I was initiated to become independent and courageous since childhood and he sent me on a trekking expedition when I just turned 13.
Never in my life I felt that my parents treated me and my brother differently, in fact I was given a higher status and persuaded to do every that is considered “For Boys only”.

He himself did everything in the house from getting us ready to school and cooking to managing finances and almost anything a homemaker would do. I think he did a better job than many women.
Not that mom did not do anything but in her life as a working woman she never had to bother about the home when dad was around.

There were negative elements too and every life in the house was open to debate and discussion. We were friends. Religion was not forced on us and he always told us to respect other people’s beliefs and listen to our inner voice.

Some people thought ours was an abnormal family as each one had a right to decided his or her own course of life but in reality we all were individuals with a choice to lead our lives in the best possible way. He and mom always said that they were their to guide and offer advice and support but we must learn to choose our own path and make our own destiny. Something rarely parents do.

Today I miss his physical presence but the gift that he have me lives in me and guides all my decisions in life.

A young life is about to end any time now unfortunately as I write this and my prayers are with him. He chose to squander the gift of life and did not use his power to discern. Drowning himself in alcohol for no apparent reasons or maybe just to avoid facing his own self. The lives attached to him are affected deeply and his own beautiful life is coming to an end. I have spend my childhood with him and known him like my self and all I can say is a gifted life wasted.

My prayers are with him and all the love and remembrance of happy times spent together.

Please do not squander your life as it is a gift. Love it respect it each moment and never do anything that is against your inner. Justify your existence on this earth as a human being and look within each day to see if you have done something that makes it difficult for you to face the mirror.

Do not forget to connect to people you love and especially those who love you and say your thank you and sorry before it is late.

LIVE ..DO NOT EXIST.