Poetry this month is hexed


 

I am hunting for words,
in the marginalia and in
the frail silences that 
crumble at touch.
My mouth is filled with the
warm metallic taste of loss,
I bleed in letters of a language
I no longer understand;
everyday a fresh page,
smudged words, crisscrossed paragraphs,
images, music and sketches
skirmishes, idiosyncrasies,
noises and distractions,
thoughts pressed into wayside,
visual ideas, blotches of ink
there is a storm on my fingertips.

“Do not write of angst,” I’m told,

but I do not intend to wear a mask

I want to lay bare myself

I want you to see how
your love has affected me.

You are a sylph,
and I am haunted by you.

you can read all the You and Me posts Here 

You And Me – Pause


Suddenly, I don’t know what to say. I do know what I want to say but when the moment comes to speak, I can’t say it or even write it. And yet…

It is that time of the year again when the memory of the days and nights when I knew who I was often come back to me floating through the night. Sometimes I want to touch you, just a bit. A bit of your skin on my fingertip, a bit of your warmth against mine. Sometimes I want to hear your voice. Not much, maybe a word or two just to assure myself that you are real and that it wasn’t a dream when like a tree in bloom I had released my blossoms on you all at once knowing that it would be a long time before the next blossoming. Maybe never. Then suddenly everything fades and I don’t know what to say or do and this overwhelming quiet that cocoons me becomes a constant reminder of my sudden isolation, Was it really sudden or is it that I had always felt the undercurrents but ignored them. Imagined that they never existed. Denied their presence. Denied her presence even though it was always there. Like a shadow. Your shadow. You said you loved me but the way you spoke of her always told me otherwise. Under all the disdain, regret, sorrow I felt a sense of pride with which you took her name.

Maybe I need  this silence to pull myself out of the wreckage of my own dreams. There is an old knot in my heart that I need to untie. I don’t want to hurt loudly now. I don’t want all that I feel to find its way to you. I want to become invisible as much as you want me gone. What you give comes back to you . I gave myself.

Sometimes it is difficult to make out if  it is loss of feeling or a feeling of loss. Sometimes it is best not to stir the embers of a dying fire lest some sparks turn to flames and consume you.

Some things are better not found.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss. For a long time the question lingered on my lips and then on a fateful day I asked, ” Whom do you see when you close your eyes?” “No one.” You replied. “Who was I supposed to see?’

“The person you love most.” I said.  Your silence, your  hesitation unraveled everything like a loose thread in a knitted sweater. A thread I should not have pulled.

If one is unaware of something it is best that it stays that way till one is capable of dealing with the deluge of hurt and pain it brings. There is a reason why we don’t know it all. The knowledge that one cannot do a thing to alter, change or rectify it can suck the meaning out of life and leave one dejected and defeated. Suddenly I feel exposed to things I wish I had never known. They have emptied my life of joy. Of love. Of trust. Once more leaving me fragile, vulnerable and alone.

I have decided to stay in the peace of my new-found quietness. Someday maybe I will find myself. Someday maybe you will remember all that was good between us and then look for me. Perhaps it will be the day when you will find yourself. I hope you do because I want to be found and I want you to find me with the credence I long for, the credence that has faded with time. Till then I will weave myself warmly in a cocoon and wait for the unfolding which will come from you.

 

You And me – Three Poems Of Love Unrequited


1.

Time stands still.
I linger,
like the empty pitcher
at the mouth of the village well
waiting patiently
to be filled.

**************

2.

You did not say a word.

Nothing.

I could sense your

  stoic, composed self

from across a thousand miles

as I whimpered

about things gone wrong.

What you said or failed to say,

how I felt, what I thought,

the conclusions I drew

from the things I masticated on,

the hurt, the pain, the want,

I furiously punched  it all.

Glad that I did not have to speak.

That in our technology powered relationship

there were gadgets that could  be used as crutches.

You remained silent.

Not a word.

I punched a few more keys

wrote this and that

and a few more other things.

 I felt pulled from all sides like an elastic band

and then released.

The sting of pain shot through my head

as my fingers tapped mindlessly.

Then,

exhausted by my meltdown

and hoping for a response ,

I waited.

Still Nothing.

“Say something.” I nudged.

Still nothing.

Just a cold silence.

You had begun to bury me already.

Minutes turned to hours,

night turned to day

and slowly fell into the dark ,

a silent dark,

unreadable,

unsettling,

asphyxiating

dead silence

as wide as the distance

between us.

The clock ticked.

The cellphone breathed its last.

Silently.

The pain returned with

greater vengengence,

concentrated at the corner of the eyes,

till the eyes softened

and tears began to recede

carrying the weight of a lifetime

then everything collapsed

I guess that’s when

the sky became overcast

and it began to rain.

***********

3.

That night never left me
It seeped into the hollow of my bones.
People leave
their absence doesn’t.
It goes where the loss 
goes to hide.
Inside the bones.
In the hollow.
filling it
with an immeasurable emptiness

**********

You and Me – The Unsigned Poem


CONCESSION

I painted myself

in a corner of your room

I painted myself in invisible ink

so you don’t know I am there

watching you secretly

sometimes you stop

whatever you are doing

and look in my direction

and I really have to keep my heart still

lest you recognize the familiar beat

That afternoon

when the sun was concentrated

in a shaft of light

that fell on the corner

where I stood

you, fresh from the shower,

had come and stood in the pool of light

that had gathered at my feet

looked at me with a strange light

in your eyes

and slowly traced your finger

over my invisible form

lingering over my lips

then

at the base of my throat

and further down

my heart beating wildly

under the tip of your finger

for a moment I had thought

the heat from your naked body

would end my little secret

and bring me to life

but

you turned got dressed

and went without a glance

since then I am trapped

in my own image

invisible to you

invisible to me

painted

in one corner of your life

starved for attention.

(First published on Memoirs Of A Homemaker)

You and Me – Four Seasons


In memory of that love which was there and yet not.

I lost all the four seasons in an autumn I don’t even want to remember and now it is winter and my heart is filled with the agony of untold stories. I no longer understand their alchemy or follow their plots,  the strange portals that lead to them remain closed or obscured behind a dense fog that has settled inside my head. I have known these characters from the days of their inception and now they refuse to obey. The words sound  trite and concocted. Devoid of joy the projects choke for the lack of air. Outlines fill the pile of drafts.

I am beginning to understand my limitations, my insanities. Beginning to feel my cracks. my fragments and the dislocations in myself. My vials of love have dried in the environment filled with ache and isolation. I have lost the elixir of life from which were born my stories, my poems . The cup is empty, the papers blank. Their voices mute. The strings inside me have broken, a pearl has slipped away into the dusts of time. Soon others will scatter too unable to hold on to the flimsy thread. It doesn’t matter When.

They say I look anaemic, that I have lost blood. A ghost of my former self. A writer’s blood is the ink and her tongue the pen with which she fills the blank papers. I let myself loose on paper and spilled the stories of love, pain, joy, terror, apprehensions and all that was me. I  squeezed myself in each droplet of ink till there was nothing left. I have nothing more to give, nothing more to tell.

Till then read those words that await in their shadows for you. They may seem just lifeless markings on a plain white sheet to you but look closely and you may see my heart and soul stapled to them. You may feel a pulse, a breath, a drop of crimson and salt in some of them. They may cling to you, ride on your mind, make you think, look within. They may crackle under your feet like autumn leaves that died and fell from the trees and like parts of me. Don’t forget to remember the colours they brought. It was a grand finale to something very beautiful. Gather those scurrying leaves rustling with the breeze. Listen and they will tell you the stories. Each colour, each crack, each pattern a cascade of nostalgia. Words, mysterious and magical even in death.

Nothing burns like cold. Find the winter in those words. The melancholy of lonesome nights. The deepening silences. The snow flurries. The long hours of waiting. Words ice locked gripped with bitter cold. You will see them trembling inside some story, invisible under a curtain of thick fog.  Numb. The air burning with their Fragrance. Our fragrance and the fragile familiarity of it.

Watch them cling to the sadness of things like droplets of dew. On a sunny day you may even see a prism of our dreams and hopes in the morning dew as the sun fills their lives. Jewelled words, a verse, a tale on wires, grass, flowers and leaves. Evanescent  as love.

Of endless summers and flirting springs I shall not talk, for you will find them as you rummage through that autumn  long forgotten this winter. I lost all the four seasons to it, the words turned strangers just the way you did and the story-teller disappeared in her own story.

Video courtesy You Tube. All rights to the owner.

Monday Memories 18 – You And Me – Absentia


The moment I opened the door of my home a sudden heartache hit me like a jab of an invisible knife. For a few seconds everything blurred. I held on to the door knob staring into the empty quietness that had occupied everything animate and inanimate. It was a home I cherished, my private sanctuary, a place of my own where I lived on my own but never felt lonely.  A place decorated with the imagined invisible tales of our love that warmed me and gave me company at all times but today it all seemed unfamiliar and surreal as if I did not belong there. Everything  gazed at me with mournful eyes. His brief visit had violently altered my side of the world. He had left but his absence still lingered, making itself more poignant with its presence.  I crossed the threshold stepped inside dropped the bag and the purse on the floor and began to assess the magnitude of the void which becomes more apparent as it gets filled and this one was rapidly filling up with missingness that was  flowing out from every pore of my body. Each step  more difficult than the last. The heaviness began to occupy me turning my limbs to stone. It hurt to be hurting.

The ephimiraliity and uncertainty that has hovered around me while he was here had transformed itself into sorrow and a gnawing sense of disbelief. A  tumultuous place a few days ago the house seemed like an echoing tomb today.  I felt that if I stayed there one more minute the hollowness will gather and  bury me alive in this plastered grave. It’s strange how I felt the lack of him more than his presence which has morphed into my tortured existence and everything around it.

I moved like a lost soul from room to room unsettling the quite trying in vain to fill the space he has left. Up till now I had too little time but now there was nothing but time and I felt myself being engulfed by it.

I had lost all my sides to him and in this altered reality I stood completely stripped off. Exposed. The cold creeping up my spine, filling me from foot to head even though it was a bright warm day. Numb is a feeling too, I always said and in this numbness I wasn’t aware if my heart still beat. Everything had come to a standstill inside me as if I had entered a zero sensation space. I wanted to cry but tears had dried and turned to heaps of salt. Something had malfunctioned inside me shutting down all my senses and bringing it all to an irrevocable breakdown.

A whirlpool was swirling deep within me.  Unable to contain the surge of emotions I rushed out picking my purse and closing the door in one swift action. Without looking back I ran down the stairs forgetting about the elevator and briskly walked down the street shutting myself to all the sights and sounds. I could not understand what was building up inside  – sorrow or rage  or just a feeling of loss.

I wanted to unscrew and pull out the  corkscrew of absence that had gone in so neatly. I needed to push the rising deluge deep into some unknown depth and to do that I bought myself  the biggest tub of the Haagen-Dazs’ ice cream and parked myself  on a high stool in a corner away from the huge glass windows overlooking the street. I did not want distractions and dug into it shoving it in my mouth and almost swallowing it  with no attention to taste or chill that was sending waves of cold fire down my throat. After finishing three-fourths of it  I closed the lid tucked the tub in a paper bag and walked out . The market was flooded with weekend shoppers but I just kept walking through it all hugging on to the tub hoping it  would heal the sickening ache that had taken residence inside her gut.. I didn’t hear the honking from behind till a hand pulled me to the side. The car driver hurled some angry words  at me and all I could catch was “die”. Yes sir that would be really nice. I found the lump in my throat melting and rising up. I mumbled a feeble thank you , lowered my head and shouldered my way  through the crowd of local vendors, rickshaws, sleeping dogs, blinded myself into a few shoppers, got two portions of spicy, oily hot comfort food packed, picked two king-sized candy bars, a big bag of potato chips and walked back home. The ice cream box had become warm from the mid day sun but I felt  unable to trash it.

I emptied the food on a tray , threw the candy bars on bed, stepped out of my clothes and curled up in a corner, knees to chin.  and stared at the steaming hot oil dripping food and spicy pickle. A wave of nausea hit me and pushing the tray aside I pressed my naked body on the hard cold marbled floor and wept fiercely. crumbling and disintegrating as if I was invaded and shamelessly plundered through and through. I felt ashamed of stuffing my face with a thousand calories in order to stuff my emotions and not just that I had also bought a cart load of it home. Tears flowed freely again as guilt and regret hit me like a knife. I wanted to feel the pain not tranquillize it with gallons of  food. I wondered what was hurting me more, letting go or holding on to something unreal. One side of my body had gone numb. I had never felt so exposed. Slowly I picked myself up from the floor, pulled a Tee over my  tired body dragged myself to the bathroom and stood under the shower with eyes closed. Letting the water  wash away everything not needed by my body, mind and soul. I did not bother to remove the tee which clung to me like a second skin. There were no tears, no thoughts, nothing, just a calm one feels inside the womb. Water is a healer so is the salt. It is not just for any reason our tears are salty.

I removed the Tee and gently rubbed a handful of  Epsom salt  all over my body feeling it release the old pain and melt away all the hurt with every stroke of my hand.  I let myself soak into the universal healing and then patted myself dry, got into fresh clothes. Once in the room I shoved the food in the fridge making a mental note to give it to the house help in the morning. along with the candy bars. The bag of chips went into the cabinet. I unpacked, uncovered the Buddha and pressed it against my heart before placing it on a shelf  where I could see it from anywhere in the house.

The sun was concentrated in a shaft of light in one corner of the drawing-room. I pulled the wicker chair in the pool of light and cuddled into it. I loved him and either I could stay trapped in what wasn’t or move freely into what is. The choice was mine to make.  I had decided to move on with him in my heart. It is never ‘over’ and I did not want it to be either. We were just living in two different worlds but I knew in my heart of hearts that he felt the same.  I smoothened the little silk cloth on my lap.  “Never too far away from you“, I ran my finger tip over it feeling the words pulsate with life.

The phone began to play a familiar ringtone. The heart skipped three beats then fluttered.

You and Me – A Poem


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rambling rubbish
illusion of a company
mulled wine
a heart
part broken
part whole
someone said I smell of love
I must be smelling of the sad songs of autumn
of remembering, waiting, hoping
and of the widowed morning
veiled in mist and rain
I must be smelling of YOU

You and Me – Chasing The Shadow In The Dark


It was nonsensical to pretend he would leave her. It could never happen.  I was in denial.  My mind weaved grand tales to turn that denial into reality, to make some sense out of it even while knowing clearly it was fooling itself.  I stretched my mind so much that now at this point it was impossible to bring it back to its former shape. It was in a different dimension all together. I knew that he would never be able to let her go and the guilt and fear will always make him feel wrong about being with me. . and yet  I stood at the door of the colorful souvenir shop there hallucinating what could happen.

I watched as he slid beside her on the boat. Her face beaming with happiness at something he was saying. I could see them merrily taking pictures and chatting. There were a few other couples and a group of tourists I had seen earlier in the market apart from the local crowd and yet  the moon light seemed to shine just above them like a spotlight on their semblance. I could see their silhouettes slowly fading into the pearly night.  Entwined without touching, their bodies fused as one. Drunk on the lust filled air, my limbs tingling with what I thought was a want of him. A dream he would resume after fulfilling his duty towards her. I pretended it to be that. Hoping that he would turn his head at least once, give me that gaze of reassurance, a smile maybe. He did not.

He had left me as effortlessly as I had loved him. There was nothing more to wait for and that nothingness filled the increasing distance as the boat carried him away to where I did not fit. She wore his promise on her finger. I , on my heart. It was all of him that belonged to me.

My exotic little adventure was over. Torn between magic and mayhem, need and disruption I walked back to the hotel. Faced with the biggest truth of my life I  did not wish to look at the challenge that stared at my face. A challenge of letting go of someone I loved, cared about and more than that I found it exceedingly difficult to let go of the idea, the belief in him because the intensity of disappointment of knowing that he wasn’t what he pretended to be was too much of a betrayal to bear. I often mulled over what could have happened in a certain situations but did not and often a voice in my head said,  “if it should have, it would have. ‘Could have’ was a stressful waste of time.”

I pushed the deluge of emotions at the back of my mind. I needed silence to reconnect with myself , to find some way to deal with the demons within. I had realized from past experience that seeking emotional support, love , care and a shoulder to lean on to was nothing but a smoke screen. A big lie. It did not in any way help to resolve the turmoil inside. All the smoke gave were burning tear filled eyes.

I was violently confused my his real inaccessible presence. For months I had been possessed by the imagination of his. He was distant and closed away and yet my imagination made him present to my mind and senses. I had spun romantic fantasies about us, written tales of love and longing, of a constant togetherness to keep me afloat in those long hours of  constantly hungry waiting.

I kept thinking of the ways in which he resembled or differed from the man I loved, dreamed of, reached out for and every thought only exacerbated things. The illusion had hit me real and sharp. Stung, I wanted to cry but the tears did not flow. Maybe they did, inwardly, too proud to be seen. I could feel the familiar knot in my chest. My eyes were like two smouldering pools but not a single drop fell. I stared at the blur that had enveloped me. I could not bear to look at the bed which was still unmade. Each fold , each crumple reminder of him, of us, of a man who would never come back to me. I felt as if I was getting morphed into liquefied hurt. The room was buzzing with silent echoes of things lost. I grabbed the chair to steady myself and  slowly stepped out in the small balcony. The shimmering waters of the river were filled with overwhelming grief and unspeakable love. The silhouettes of long-tailed boats tied to the dock swayed gently with the night breeze, its touch light and cold like that of a departing lover.  The bamboo-hated vendors had all gone home after a busy day.  It was all so quiet on the waterway. Just like the water-colour painting that hung in my room. Dreams blurred with tears. In my case the unshed ones.

I sighed and dragged myself back to the room. Each step felt as if I was carrying a weight of a lifetime. One by one I began to throw my belongings into the open travel bag. Things I should have thrown in the trash bin instead but could not. I intended to keep what was mine. Even him. I was committed to the  memories, heartaches, laugher and joy, all moments of intimacy however short-lived they were. Committed to the tales of love, the dreams that kept me company in his long months of absence, the hope and the futility of it all. I wanted to treasure that “true love” which could never show forth. I did not want to wipe the slate clean and so I did not cry. I wanted to keep the flickering fireflies like stars in my eyes.  It was preferable than to face  the fear of letting go everything that meant a world to me. It was preferable than to step into the nightmare called future which was going to be  horribly empty without him. I knew it because I had planned  to share it with him. Even after knowing how utterly impossible it had sounded even to my imagination.

Usually one could see the fireflies at the waterfront during the nights of the waxing moon but tonight even their glow had dimmed. I had not been able to see even one. Such are some nights.

I held him tightly in my heart but had no hold over him. I loved him and I was not giving up on that I was just letting him go and even that hurt as much as hanging on.

With the daybreak I would be on my way home or let us say to the place I call home. For a home is where the heart is and my heart is a gypsy forever wandering  on paths where my dreams lead me to him. In my heart I also knew that in dreaming about being the queen of the ocean I had lost the pond too. There was never going to be a  “home”. Only stopovers.

The cell phone which had replaced  the watch for the lack of any other activity showed that the night was well into the last phase. I had been betrayed before in body as well as in mind and yet I had fallen in love again. Opened myself to another world of hurt. Knowing he would never be mine. He had a world of his own beyond those two oceans that lay between them. A family, a profession he was passionate about, a home whose comfort he was used too.  I neither belonged there not fitted.

He was a saviour who had lifted me out from the mess that I was living every day. Given me a source for dignified living. Given me kindness, care and … love. Given it to me as a fuel to my boost my confidence in myself and the life that lay ahead of me. I, on the other hand had given him myself.  Suddenly I had everything I had longed for, a friend, a confidante, a lover ( what did distance matter when the hearts were one.. so I thought)  and a man I implicitly trusted.

I had felt betrayed when I had seen them together for the first time. Maybe I should not use the word “betrayal” . It sounds utterly insensitive in our case. I felt betrayed because I had built up expectations and carved out an image of him from my imagination.  Occupational hazard of being a writer. He on the other hand had not promised anything but my freedom from the shackles that held me back to the world I needed to escape and happiness that it would bring. Nothing more.  As I said earlier there are variations of love and we ( I take the liberty and luxury of  calling “us” “we” here.  He did Love me but not in the same way I did. There was no question of any betrayal at all. Everything else , yes.

That made me think about her and the question, which one of us was less fortunate? I was seeking a bond of complete trust which could only be built on the foundation of  his breaking trust of someone else. The pangs of guilt hit me like a bolt of lightning. Love doesn’t consider all these things conscience does and my tug of war with the two popped up very timely to curb the flight of the heart. The mind was nothing but a manipulating mind controlling freak and in those moments of vulnerability , it leaves no chance to whiplash. I pushed the thought aside. There was no place for guilt and fear in Love. They came to me in glimpses and flashes but for him they acted like a fence that separated us.  Some things just happen and it is better not to dig deep.

He was faint hearted, I was a romantic and she didn’t know any better. We were all afloat like the boats on that graceful timeless river. Trusting the flow of life to take us to our final destination.

I was now at a point where I had to decide whether to wait or to forget . I decided to choose the first. I wanted to remain his best friend and not become some heartbroken stranger I was becoming. I checked myself before it was too late . I loved him with whatever there was or wasn’t. Call it a flaw in me to love an unattainable man, it is what it is. I am flawed and fractured but it is a better option than losing. It was maybe my destiny to fall in love with someone I could not have. Over and over again. With him , unlike others, I felt at home. You know the feeling, don’t you? The feeling that your search had ended and you have found your match. All about the Karmic soul-mate or the twin soul etc. It made me warm even through the coldest of hurts. It was a feeling of being a book with two volumes, one incomplete without the other. That’s what we were to me.  Strange are the ways of heart.

I watched the empty bed from the couch where I had curled up. The sadness of  which spoke to me in his absence. The faint light of daybreak made it look surreal. I felt as if he was there, lying on his back, feet overlapped, head buried in the soft pillow, asleep like a baby just like last night when I had watched him sleeping after we had made love. This time a tear quietly escaped my eye. Missingness is the worse feeling ever a human can experience. We aren’t designed  to endure it.

I stretched my limbs and rubbed them to get the blood flowing then got up and walked out to the balcony. Birdsongs of predawn veiled in mist greeted me. I could see the locals arranging their wares on the little canoes and in rows and rows of wooden shops along the edge of the river selling almost the same stuff. Most of them were closed at this hour.

The people in the houses built on planks were slowly waking up to another noisy day. A few Sampans waited for the tourists to begin their journey down the river. The whole place was a tourist trap but people came back again and again to be a part of the old world oriental charm. To escape the maddening city life they  took a plunge in another kind of madness. Soon the serene river would be plugged with boats and the place would resemble a tropical forest with exotic vibrant colours and people of all shapes and sizes. There were locals waiting at the banks to offer food to the monks. A sight that always filled me with a sense of calm. The boats selling fruits and delicious meals would soon outnumber the tourist boats.  I wanted to get away before their return. I was supposed to. The bills were already paid so all I had to do was pick up my overnight bag and disappear.

We were two hours away from the main city where he had come on the pretext of a conference a few days earlier to my city and from there we had came  to this small province for our little adventure. She had flown in only yesterday morning. They were staying in some swanky city hotel and he had gone back to pick her up and brought her in the morning as part of a tour. It had hectic but then all these secret getaways are usually time bound and messy.

I longed for a hot mug of coffee and decided to go down to the small quaint, richly decorated 24 hours coffee shop the hotel had. I needed some human warmth and company to help me cope with the long lonely day that lay ahead.

It was a gorgeous property set in a century old house and had exquisite ornate interiors done in traditional Thai style.  The sleepy lobby was draped in early morning rays that filtered through huge windows overlooking a magnificent oriental garden with fruit trees and exotic flowers. A small wat called temple of dawn stood at a strategic angle where the first rays of the rising sun flooded the statue of Buddha.  I decided to spend some time there. A section of cafe cha was open air. I decided to sit there in the midst of rose vines and from where I sat I could feel the energy of peace and calm radiating from the sun-kissed statue. Mesmerized by the aura that surrounded me I barely noticed his presence.

“Beautiful isn’t it?”

“Huh? Yes it is.” I smiled as the steward laid the breakfast and coffee on the bamboo table. I had decided to eat and leave before they came. They were staying in a boutique hotel right at the river front and I did not want to be of any embarrassment or trouble. Any way my stay here was till noon.

I thanked the elderly gentleman for remembering to bring exactly the kind of coffee I needed. He nodded and gazed at me for what seemed like a long time.

“You must go and light some incense sticks there. I will bring you some.  It is better to ask for love, compassion, joy and sympathy from Him than ordinary people.” His gaze was fixed on me. Suddenly my eyes filled and I looked away unable to stop the flood of tears welling up inside me.  I snatched a tissue from the table and hurriedly wiped the tears away.

” Kob Khun maak Ka” I said. He nodded and walked back to the main café.

With the first bite of Waffles I realized how hungry I was. The piping hot coffee almost scalded my tongue. It was the best meal since I arrived here. We had not got chance to do any site seeing r indulge in any local cuisine. It was all room service and a hurried dinner at the dining hall. Food was the last thing on our mind. The thought made me smile and the warmth of the memory of time spent together brought colour to my face.

I wasn’t feeling so low now , maybe it was the Buddha or the breakfast and coffee or just plain affection that the old man had bestowed on me. Sometimes hearts connect and there is an instant energy exchange between two strangers. Whatever it was it charged me for the day.

I licked the plate clean to the last crumb and was about to step into the garden when the old man returned.

” I think you should leave. I will burn the incense for you. Here take this.” With that he handed me a small figurine of exquisite black wood Buddha set in a silver case. He took out a fine silk cloth from his pocket  wrapped it and handed it to me.

“Something we give to our special guests.”

I kissed the gift and tucked it in my  purse.

“May he look after you and show you the light.” I took his hand and pressed it gently.

” Thank you. You made my trip memorable” I said.

“Go safe.” He said and hastily walked back inside without waiting for my response.

“Yes, I will.” I said softly and went to my room.

I hadn’t asked him why he wanted me to leave so suddenly. I just followed his words.

After a quick shower I changed into a casual denim and tee picked  my bag and took one last look at the room.

On second thoughts I kept he bag on the wooden floor and walked to the bed and  ran my fingers over the creases of the bed sheet. A fragrance I still carry on my fingertips.

I kissed the pillow and pressed its cool white surface against my cheeks. I held it for a while tightly hugged and then in a swift moment kept it back , picked the bag and walked out in the corridor closing the door behind to yet another parting.

A girl was at the reception and I said my goodbye to her, handed the key and walked out in the morning sun. The mist had lifted long ago and the place was a riot of colours and noise. Quickly I making my way through the notoriously chaotic traffic to get to the bus station when I spotted them just a few shops away. Before I could react our eyes met and instantly he looked away and turned his back. She was bargaining with the vendor about some stuff and I stood there staring as if I had taken roots through the dusty pavement. Everything else blurred.

Without realizing , as if pulled by a force, I began to walk towards them. I think he sensed it and tuned. His eyes not believing what they were seeing. I could feel the rising conflict of emotions swirling inside him. His face intense, his eyes following my every move.

She struck a final price and turned to him with the magnificent stroll in her hand and stopped mid sentence. I was near enough to overhear her. She asked him if he was alright to which he nodded and forced himself to appreciate her purchase. She looked around as if sensing something but missed me in the crowd of tourists who had emerged from the adjacent shop. I turned and walked away with the group without looking back. I put my hand inside the purse and grabbed the little Buddha in my fist and walked briskly through the crowd to catch the bus back home. “Please leave” that’s was his eyes had conveyed in those few moments.

I still don’t know what had made me do that bizarre thing in the market . Sometimes we just do certain things however unreasonable they may be. I knew this will surely come up in our conversations later. I knew that however I may try to harden my heart I would never be able to break away from him. I could not. He was too much a part of me.

“Your phone.” The woman next to me pointed at my bag.

“Oh! Thanks. I didn’t hear it ringing.” I took out the cell phone amazed that it still did what it was meant to do. I had totally forgotten about it being in the bag.

I stared at his face on the screen unable to decide if I wanted to take the call or not. Thankfully it stopped ringing. A beep indicated a text and I opened the message with trembling hands.

“Tried calling. Go safe. Will connect once I am back.” After a minute there was another beep.

“By the way that was wicked. You almost gave me a heart attack. Love always.”

For the first time I giggled at the little prank I had played.

I replied with a digital heart and kiss and placed the phone back in the bag.

At the airport I browsed at the book store, had another cup of coffee and some sandwiches and waited.

Waiting  was one thing I did well.

With nothing much to do I took out the Buddha encased in the shimmering silver case. I had not paid much attention to its beautiful ornate carving. The smooth black wood had a lovely shine to it. I ran my fingers over it and turned around the case. Something caught my attention and my heart skipped a beat when I saw my name engraved at the bottom of the case. It was then my eyes fell on the inside of the silk cloth. On its ivory surface were scribbled a few words. “Never too far away from you.”

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. )

You And Me – Solitary Amid Silent Ruins


I am tired of building sand castles, tired of so tastefully infusing each grain with love and passion only to be swept away by tide or the strong breeze blowing across the oceans that lie between us. Nothing remains, not even ruins. Nothing but handfuls of sand slipping through my fingers into the void left by crashing waves. I love the stories written in stones and bricks, ancient, crumbling structures that once were home to lovers and kings, temples made in honor of goddesses, tombs, castles and once vibrant, thriving city states now nothing but crumbling ruins shrouded in folklore, mystery, and intrigue, blurring that thin line between myth and reality. Each brick, each stone whispering a story. Touch them, run your hand on these broken walls and they will come alive and speak to you of passion, betrayal, envy, compassion, deceit, and death, everything that love is capable of. Sometimes I feel they were built as ruins and all the grandeur was added to them only to fall off with time to reveal once gain the alluring perennial beauty like that of a  woman whose true essence lies underneath the layers and layers that cover her. Her true self emerges only when all the veils drop.

Ruins have that strong naked feminine energy running through them, holding them together in all their beauty despite the ravages of time. Tinged with melancholy there is an unsaid acceptance that these ruins are more real than the perfection we aspire to.

We ventured into this haze, arms locked together, hand in hand strange warmth radiating between us, a light squeeze of hand in the grip of another, a message, assurance of being there in that moment. We traced invisible lines on the crumbling walls, our fingers laced together as one. It was in this moment of togetherness I realized even if this meeting had an end at least it had a beginning.  Time stood still as we talked along the trodden path. The fringes of the day lingered on the arches and columns that stood like trees of life. Supporting whatever still remained of the glorious past. The stones spoke to me and I seemed to know their mute language, and they too seemed to understand what I felt.

Patches of light played hide and seek on the building facades as the sun played mysteriously sought its path among the silhouettes frozen in time. He was a tourist I a traveler  seeking something more than what lay before my eyes but somehow it was enough to just be with him even in our differences.  The unintentional occasional brush against each other sent sparks shooting up my spine like a comet. I wondered what feelings these ruins evoked in him. Between the sunset of past glory and an uncertain dawn he and I stood separated by a dark frightening night.

Today I stand solitary amid the silent ruins. We never really forget someone after we have felt their hands, their fingerprints on ancient walls, after we have engrained their body heat into our very body chemistry and the fragility of it all. Today these ruins are filled with silent murmurs of our hearts. I ran my fingers along the weather-beaten Gothic columns like prayer wheels of monastery and suddenly I felt his presence, as if he had come back to me travelling all the seven thousand five hundred miles, filling all the gaps and cracks in me, filling the emptiness, the void, for I am a ruin myself, wandering among the ruins.

I leaned against the pillars draped in twilight and felt my inner darkness merge with the lengthening shadows of these pillars. I began to walk along the familiar path, now empty and more ruinous that it was meant to be. I reached the arch from where we had looked down upon the eerily silent, dramatic, desolate vast expanses of structures with dark lonesome interiors. My own loneliness and the pain of separation began to rise from some deep dark crevice within. The walls of my heart resembled those that lay beyond the frame the door made. Piles and piles of abandoned stones once part of some structure built brick by brick with some ol’ loving hands now in ruins flung up in jealous rage by winds of change. No wonder these ruins remind me of love, of distances, of  deep sorrow that clings to the senescent walls like jungle vines eclipsing everything that comes in its way.

Strange, how darkness paints everything in its own color.  I climbed the staircase into the open, out of the darkest recesses of my being. These stairs had seen many ups and downs in the lives of those who lived and dreamed. I chased scents of those as the landscape began to dissolve into inky night.  Sometimes a sorrow greater than ours acts like a sedative and tranquilizes the emotional pain, the ruins did just that today and now It was time to leave , the company of inner storm and wind that rushed through the decaying, neglected, lonesome structures of the past.

I know why I love to linger among them. It is because they aren’t neat and safe like buildings of today too superficial and undisturbing. It is only in the broken, obscure, jumble one can find oneself. only here one can shed all that is not part of the real self and look at the naked truth. I picked a handful of sand and watched it slip slowly from between my fingers.  Just like time.

The moment that brought us together as one had ended. Each of us carried with them a part of other. He was gone for I don’t know how long and left me wrapped in a myriad of emotions. I took the bridge which he had crossed with me that day filling my world with laughter, love and an immense feeling of togetherness leaving the shadows of the past behind.

I will wait for you as these ruins wait for travelers who seek the voice of  their soul. I will wait for you to run your fingers along the contours of my body just as we ran them along the walls and columns, plinths and arches. I will wait, even though it is hard to be left behind.  I want to get used to this feeling that you are with me even though you are not by my side or may never be. Waiting isn’t about patience or even hope, it is about keeping the dream alive for sometimes it is the only thing one has. The only thing to live for. A mirage that keeps a lost and lonesome traveler alive with hope in the harsh reality of life. I know that no oasis awaits me with its bountiful gifts .. love is sometimes just a distant dream, togetherness an illusion. Sometimes one knows one’s place –  outside the periphery, just as these ruins in the desert and that is the beauty of it.

I would like to thank James Goddard  for allowing me to use these excellent photographs from his travels to Syria and Spain. The photo credit goes  to him. 

This is the last post of the  series    You and Me .. at least for now ..