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The Faded Dreams by Ravinder Kumar Soni - HTML preview

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I find it insulting.

You cannot forever draw

Fake curtains to hide me,

There is no danger of exposure;

One day, an awakened one,

Will recognize and play with me,

Wipe away my scowl

And make me laugh and smile

Then brightness will surround me

As never before.

 

Do not ask me to draw a line,

Thick or slender,

On the bare ground where I stand;

I have gained a preferment

I keep my feet firmly grounded.

My finger is sore from pointing out

The faintest of dark spots

Appearing on the vast canvas called the Sky;

I cannot teach you all the time;

Do not tire me anymore;

Let me live, my friend,

Make peace with that which makes you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*You Left Me

 

You left me all of a sudden

You played harsh with me

I shall not complain

But tell me

Why did you leave behind

With me

Many proofs of your stay

All those fond memories of you

I cannot now bear

How can I live with them without you?

I am in those memories

Tell me

How can I live without me?

 

 

 

 

 

*Trilogy

 

Heard pleasing words,

Old laughter ring,

Tears flow down.

 

On the window-sill

Play bright sunrays,

And the rain falls.

 

The doors are locked,

Who dare enters

Past sundown?

 

 

 

 

 

 

*After The Storm

 

I will not tell you not to disturb the calm,

It does subsist after the storm has passed;

The nights are spent sleeplessly loaded with fears

In the wake of the uproar raised by the clouds.

The calm that is here once the rain has ceased

Deceives and is dangerously disarming;

It can strangulate the will to act again upon

The mind’s dictates and the heart’s intents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egoism

 

They were still there

Where I left them last night,

My giveaways -

My failed hopes,

Unrealized dreams and

Not so bright plans

I believed would work

For a better tomorrow.

Devising these

I had kept in mind

Only me

Deliberately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Gods Do Not Die

 

It is the middle of summer,

Water is already scarce,

The land is bone dry,

It has not rained yet,

The sun is ablaze.

 

‘Has Dumuzid died?’

I heard someone inquire.

 

It was a voice

From the remote past

How could I hear that voice?

I thought gods do not die

Dumuzid could not die.

 

The world has not changed,

Events re-occur,

Our thoughts remain unchanged,

The changes remain etched in my genes.

The rains will come,

The land will regain fertility,

The farmers will sow seeds,

No one will die of hunger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Memory Lanes

 

I loved her.

I did not refuse her offer.

She asked me to walk beside her

Down her memory lanes

That she had often tread alone.

I matched my steps with hers,

Watched her fondle and cajole

Each word, phrase and comma

That gave shape to her memories

And made her rich

In thought and speech.

I saw many shapes float by

They did not stop for me,

They did not know me.

In silence, I walked alongside,

Time and again

Looked at her beautiful face, excited eyes

And quivering lips

That is a part of me and

Made me live.

I was happy enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Moment Of Truth

 

Believe me,

I would not have lied

To save my skin

Had I not relied on

Your words

Promising comfort and ease.

I did loosen the strings

That tied my hopes and wishes and

Allowed my dreams to run away,

This act I had denied.

We could not have found each other

Chasing the same goals

Had we not made

Our dreams light and bright.

Not finding you

I would have died.

 

 

 

*Stay Dry

 

The lid vibrates,

It is not music,

The fire burns fiercely.

The heat intense

Water in the cauldron

Boils.

The steam spreads,

Clouds will gather soon,

I shall watch the sky,

Not let doubts

And

Misgivings

Or

Evil thoughts

That will rain

Touch me

Or

Soak me.

I must stay dry

Stoking the fire

That heats the cauldron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Where are you?

 

The smell of rain

Falling on dry earth

Says the monsoon

Is almost here

I want to see you

Where are you?

 

This is your seat

In the shade of a tree

On an old bench

That is warm and wet

It remembers you

Where are you?

 

The gentle wind

Silently swings

Across the green glade

Knocking leaves

In search of you

Where are you?

 

Friendless I am

Very lonely and sad

There is no one here

To know about

My love for you

Where are you?

 

My eyes are tired

They are dry and sore

They have seen thru’ light

And seen thru’ dark

They see you not

Where are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Sublime Joy

 

I have secured the key

That opens the door

To sublime joy;

While I enjoy

I need not leave my body

Anytime now.

 

Contented and happy

I sit at the window

Overlooking the river

That guided me

And

Watch the Ganga flow unhindered

Towards the Bay

Telling my story.

 

I must pick up my pen

To write an ode in its praise;

And

Unhesitatingly describe

Through simple words

My newfound joy

That I cannot otherwise share

With anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Indifference

 

I am the water

Reflecting the sky

Lighted or dark

Gently flowing

Like a stream

Over rocks and sand

I do not call

I do not wait

For those who need me

Not even for help

When I lose myself

In other streams

 

 

 

 

 

 

*My Old Teacher

 

He was my old teacher,

That greyed and bent

Fatherly figure,

Seen across the street,

Purchasing vegetables.

At school, he was

Free to pamper and scold us

We, his students,

All grown up now,

Still, hold him in awe but

Never feared him,

He knew

Far too many things,

He could read our minds.

 

 

 

 

*Locked For The Night

 

Adjoining the river-front

At the end of a long corridor

There is a room, a very dark room

There

Even the light does not penetrate

I am in that room locked for the night

Given a sheet of paper and a pen

After let out to write

What I thought I could.

 

As did a cricket call its mate

During the night

I also heard the river flow seawards

No one sang a lullaby,

No one cried for help

And I

Snored and snored on loudly

Throughout the night.

 

At day-break

I unfolded the sheet of paper

Tested the pen but could not write

Other than about the delicious aroma

And the bitterness of coffee

Nothing else came to my mind

I knew I had spent a peaceful night

Immersed in a deep, dreamless sleep

I was happy

About that, I need not write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Mirrors Do Not Lie

 

The mirror on my wall it does not lie,

It shows people as real as they are;

Their appearance and the impact of their wavering moods,

These are reflected as they are along with their chosen injects.

I do ask -

Why am I not the same I see reflected in the mirror?

Why am I that which I do not see at all?

Why does my cognition faculty fail me?

Why do I suddenly become unaware of myself?

Why do I rely upon my memory of past acts and deeds and their unavoidable effects?

Is it to retain the hold on my perch and rest?

Is that how I prepare to know, react, live, breathe, dream and think aloud?

 

Like the ever glowing sun when not reflected I too do not cease to exist

I continue to hold my ground burnishing my form to confront challenging situations

Do I commit all this while I am that which I do not see at all?

 

Of course, the mirror does not reflect my thoughts, my emotions, and intents;

It neither speaks nor interacts with me or anyone else

But remains as though waiting to reflect my image to feed my sight and ego

And give me some relief, if I may add;

Why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Strangers

 

‘Have we met before?’ He asked

Without raising a crease on his forehead.

I was dumbstruck.

The man I knew for half my life

He refuses to recognize me.

People around me laugh scornfully,

They know him but do not know me.

These four words casually uttered

Made me a stranger in my own world.

Need I seek reasons? I ask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Children Of My Street

 

At this time of the day

When children gather to play

There is no one in my street

There is no noise heard

No hint of anger or laughter

No names resound

The wind flows by gently

Listlessly

Without moving a leaf

Or raising any dust

Or striking a door

The silence is unbearable

What have I done to earn this quiet!

I am scared

I never asked the children to keep away

Their presence kept me alive

Gave me a reason to breathe

To eat and drink

Tonight

I shall try to sleep if I can

Tomorrow I shall ask of them

Why did they all abandon me?

Why did they?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Return Of Haze

 

The haze of doubt pierced,

In the yonder beyond is visible

Fluttering in the wind

Atop the ever rising forgettable

Pile of errors and omissions,

And of dreams and reflections,

A light-blue scrap of paper

Inscribed-

‘I seem to have been here before but when? '

 

Simultaneously are heard

Above the din of scramble and scuttle

The many voices of the learned and the taught

Crying out loudly in a chorus-

‘This is not my hand;

I have never been here before but why? '

 

To resolve this issue of ‘when and why'

There is also lingering a twister

That opens up to unveil

Within the folds of over-lapping dimensions

New sights and visions,

More thoughts and understanding,

Which dimensions gradually reveal

The unique singularity of Time

In which the ‘when' and ‘why' do not matter,

Where consistency and natures of involvement

Redundant, and therefore, meaningless,

Have no virtual existence.

 

Jolted by this revelation

I stand withdrawn and aloof;

As an aberrated onlooker

I am compelled to step back and move away,

Allow things to be as they are,

And quietly watch the slow return of the haze.

 

 

 

 

*A Candid Comprehension

 

We remember Him as the cause of this world,

The lone being beyond all thoughts and hearsay,

Vast and great, and all-pervading,

Existing as Truth and Righteousness

(He can never be otherwise known).

We know that we are He, and He is us;

Inseparable,

Together we are the world.

It is our ignorance that makes Him seem distant

Though He is knowable and adorable;

By seeking Him, we seek ourselves,

By knowing Him, we find ourselves;

Our will is our might.

Our mind is a mirror, and the associated darkness,

These are His playful projections that do not exist.

 

*A Deserved Sleep

 

You will surely wake me up, O Deathless Tide, if you were to break against the rocks comforting me,

Then the noise of the soaring cracking waves will not allow me to sleep till you recede;

I have just gone to sleep to forget my world that has pricked and teased me for a very long time,

It is the same world that includes you and me.

 

You know my plight, O Time!

I cannot ask the wind to claim the sea opposing my efforts to touch the other side,

I cannot even stall a transfer of the stir raised by any living group;

The amity that once existed between roaming warring hordes did not last,

My falling asleep in the rocky cove is my eager search for the same endearing peace

It is known you cannot guide me or relieve my pain,

But you can spare my perch and let me be in the dreamless sleep of my design;

You too are unable to wish away the generating forces that make you motivated and contribute

And keep the vast sea, your support, and mine, alive, simmering and vigilant;

You deserve a break,

Maybe you need to sleep more than I do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A Glimpse Of Old Age

 

Maybe I am too old to bear the load

Thrust upon me and now impeding me,

That aided by the staff given to me long ago

By those who refuse to see me crawl

I am forced to drag my barren feet

In the dust that’s covering the open ground

Where I am seen playing the game of life

Despite the wrath of seasoned seers

Who had while seeing me take a turn

But ignoring my natural evenness

Proclaimed the virtual end for me

And closed the chapter I could read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A Glimpse Of You

 

Maybe one day we shall meet again

And then clasping your hands in mine

I will feel your love and warmth for me,

Till then I must ride the fierce storm,

Face the fires that burn freely without

And attend to each sound that is heard,

Stare at the mirror-like window-panes

And seek a glimpse of only you

Reflected in some other’s eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Battle of Life

 

Ever since leaving school, once a week

I have had the same set of friends gather at my place,

While relaxing on the rattan patio chairs

We exchange the same old oft-repeated words

Without knowing their meanings true or fair;

We neither gamble nor speculate,

But we do laugh at the same old sick jokes,

Discuss cricket and examine Modi’s role,

Savour the same dark brown Old Monk,

Devour the reheated spicy tikkas, Shami kababs, and aloo-parathas,

And then, spend the night on the floor stretched covered head to toe

Coming awake only as the Sunday late-morning light silently creeps in;

Such has been our enjoyment of life;

This has been our life of plenty and ease.

There is no reason for us to suffer boredom;

We are always in the process of discovering each other,

We have learnt to keep our jolly good moods revived,

Not waste our smiles and laughter

And rise above pain and tears;

There has been no need to console each other

For we do not hurt anyone,

We do not possess anything more valuable than the air we breathe;

In this manner, my friends and I fight out our battle of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Bitterness

 

Something is bothering me,

I know not what,

But my right thumb continues to twitch,

For no reason whatsoever

My right arm continues to ache.

 

Reclining against the book-shelf

I try to recollect

The book I had last browsed,

The name of its author and import,

And it’s subject

Not far removed from my world of ideas

And its object

Very near to my heart.

 

When at night I had called on her

To know about her response

To my overture,

My favourite dream hidden in my eyes

Played the victim and painted me black.

 

The few blank spaces that are in my mind

Left by stray ill-woven thoughts

They puzzle me and make me seek

The impossible,

Whereas the grass spread on the ground

Still waits for the early dew to dry.

 

Does this bother me, I ask?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Blinded

 

You have come,

To hold me close

To take me far away

Beyond the clouds

To a fearless world

Of ample love and care,

Quietly.

 

Trusting our love,

I shall go with you

Safely wrapped

In your arms

Smelling your nearness

Dreaming about you,

Blindly.

 

 

 

*Breach

 

I heard his call seeking relief

The strange affliction in his voice

Showed his pain and sufferings

That he otherwise did not hide

 

Last night his brother had come

Worried he said he did not want

To witness another death so soon

Their father had died a week ago

 

He told me that his brother Jayant

Did not want to live any more

That he was unable to breathe properly

Or even sleep during the night time

 

He had stopped dreaming or recalling

The past, or about the days to come

After father had died, he gave up belief

In himself and withdrew from his life

 

Jayant is older than I am and wiser

I believe he cannot give in so easily

He has a strong character and mind;

What bothers him we must know

 

We found him alone and barefooted

Casually strolling on the green grass

On seeing us, he asked us to join him

I was neither shocked nor surprised

 

I knew he was battling with himself

He could not get away from his mind

That he had found difficult to alter

Along with his ongoing perceptions

 

I was not anticipating this problem

Affecting someone as active as he

Fear gripped me, what if I were to be

In the same situation, Jayant was involved

 

He placed his hands on my shoulder

And looked into my eyes to read me

He smiled and quietly moved away

My thoughts had begun to engage him

 

‘I knew you would come’, he whispered

‘But I never meant to scare you thus

Just wait for your turn my dear friend

You will then know what ails me now.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A Lament

 

When the moment to discard our belongings is near, now you tell me

We had never longed for the darkest ever nights to descend

To hide our pent-up raw emotions

That could hurt the child in us given up as lost;

And our attempts to open the doors of our hearts

To allow new thoughts to creep in having failed

Our love kept ablaze has certainly dimmed;

That for once, if we cared, you and I can step around

To test the depth and warmth of the attachment

That unites us in a resilient bond of mutuality;

And, O Time, now you also ask me

To wait for the morning that may never rise.

 

 

 

*A Little Bit Of Patience       

 

A little patience would have won the world for me

Then I would have for long basked in glorious sunshine

Feted for my successful stint as an outstanding poet;

But I was really in a hurry, firstly to outdo others

And then myself;

I had filled sheaves upon sheaves of paper with words and phrases,

Some held meanings and some were merely a jabbering of sorts

Not actually meant to convey anything of note to the readers.

Indeed my readers appreciated each word I wrote,

Through my poems, they thought they had entered my world

As though to play the role I had drawn out for them alone,

And they laughed and cried with me

And they made me stand very tall.

Then one day, when I had almost exhausted my ware,

Rested my pen and mind I heard their screams,

My readers had begun to suffer more and more pain

Caused by my words whose true meanings they had of late come to realize.

What I wrote were not poems;

They had understood my farcical efforts,

I was thoroughly exposed,

I did not dare respond.

I lost my place which with a little bit of patience

Would not have been denied.

 

 

 

 

 

*A Missive Recalled

 

Whenever a song is heard loud and clear

Of deep and lusty passionate love,

The mind bound by covert ties is free;

It seeks your come back from afar.

The peal of bells as a welcome bend

Speaks out about our contentedness

And makes the words recover the gist

Of the songs that signal your return.

Hide in the shade of bamboo-trees!

They are tall and green of sturdy kind;

They shape the place to stay concealed,

There one can laze in wait for you.

Where ever you are there lie our roots

The serene state is our desired goal

Then endless joy spreads true and fair

That lifts us high over worldly cares.

Charmed by a flute’s simple strains

I lean against a tree to watch

The people groove and sway as though

You are with me to liven up my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A New World

 

Then one day

After a long wait

He did return

Our eager adventurer

The roving ambassador

His old glimmer and gait intact

He appeared unchanged

But when he narrated his tales

There was a queer pitch

The air was different

The unfamiliar words he spoke indecipherable

The strange places he had visited

Could not be known

And as we listened we wondered why

Influenced he certainly was

For, after his efforts

He had forgotten his native tongue

He had unlearned his past

Could it be

His visit to a new world

Had rendered him vulnerable

Made him lose track of his actuality

And forget what he ever was

Maybe he had created a world for himself

And only returned to include us

We might never know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A Meaningful Reflect

 

In the wee hours of a summer morn

I walked up to the yonder lake called Hope;

It was preparing to shine and shimmer

At the first strike of the brightening dawn

And its waters waited for the sun to rise.

 

I stood on its shore watching the waves

That was dark as they rose and fell all the while,

They told me not to disturb the quiet

That had built up casually during the night

To make me anxious and suffer pain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Cannot Paint His Dreams

 

Nothing could stop him, not even the fear of dark nights

Or the thunder and pouring rain of a wild storm,

He was strong of will.

He said he knew where he would like to settle down,

Somewhere far above the earthly din and commotion

In the bosom of the woolly clouds, he was very fond of

That he had cared to paint on the cold and rigid canvas

That adorned the stout branch of the old banyan tree

And guarded his bed where he lay weaving those lovely dreams.

He was deeply in love,

But he did not know how to paint his dreams;

What dreams?

No one knew about his dreams, this he knew.

*Careless

 

He was uncaring

He didn’t know

He had dropped the coin somewhere

The one I had presented

The one I had found

Lying unclaimed on the road

Shiny and new

He could have eaten a bun or two

He was hungry

Who would now find another coin for him

Shiny and new but unclaimed

 

 

 

 

*Chanchal

Once I had a black-coloured bird,

A mynah, as a pet;

I called her Chanchal

But she was not fickle,

She wasn’t good-looking either.

I taught her to converse with me;

Her fluency surprised me,

And when we were together

We engaged in small talks;

She would chuckle and laugh as I did

And often we lost ourselves.

She was the friend I needed.

Without our realizing

Days turned into weeks and months

And one day she announced

It was time for her to leave

And then flew away.

With tear-filled eyes I watched her go.

Bereft of her company I felt alone,

I had no one to turn to.

Now, I have no one to talk to;

Left to scan the trees and the sky.

I haven’t found my Chanchal yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Chaos

 

If I search

What will I find!

The order needed isn’t there,

The turmoil is unbearable,

Reasoning has deserted,

And my thoughts,

They are all loosely strung;

I must bind them,

Their sequence is not unknown.

The slightest of noise,

Reaching my ears rings aloud;

It painfully pierces my brain.

 

I cannot stay still,

My noisy unrested mind needs me

To get rid of itself;

I must silence my mind,

I must use my inner fire

To denerve it.

*Confidence

 

Come! Let us swing along the bay

And mark the time of our stay

Beside the sea that's churning.

 

Then we will hear the windy howl

Soon wave and raise a silly scowl

Without the sea relenting.

 

Then as we rush to an empty beach

We will find within our easy reach

All things that are allowing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Connect

 

We meet again

At the same place

We did last

To speak the unsaid

To read the unread

Over and above

My memories that float around

The green trees and hills

That dot my little island I call home.

O Death! Be sweet to me

I shall not protest

I shall accompany you

Beyond the clouds

Far above the sky

Into the darkness

Existing behind the sun

Knowing

My return is certain

Pure and sinless.

*Conquering Fear

 

Yesterday I was on the hill I thought I could not have climbed;

Sitting there, I had gathered my breath and strength and had

Recalled to mind my strong determination and concerted efforts

That had in tandem worked and made my climb uphill possible

I also wondered what more could I have achieved,

I was affected by doubt and ambition, the drivers of my foray.

 

Back home I spent a sleepless night trying to find the cause

I had climbed a barren hill no one else had attempted before;

The acceptance of a challenge could not be the sole reason.

Early rays of dawn found me head down falling asleep and snoring,

It seems I knew about the outcome before I had begun the climb;

My deliberate venture had helped me conquer all my hidden fears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Consequents

 

For a moment, I forgot to raise my eyes

To look at the sky that mocked at me

And made me feel small and irrelevant;

Shaken up by a loud thunderclap I was

That had revived my nagging thoughts.

 

For a moment, I sought to remove the mask

That had kept covered my face for very long

Scarred by many follies and misadventures,

Then when I found my fingers frisk the beads

I knew I had the chance to claim my ground.

 

For a moment, I thought I never did exist

Things I touched, saw or heard were a sham

As though I did not then feel, see or hear

And had reached the remote dark beyond

Where all senses, thoughts, and dreams cease.

 

 

*Contentment

 

Maybe I too must walk the lane forgotten and forlorn

And test my lonely state;

The life I lead is a deadly load I cannot ride alone,

I have to mend my ways.

 

The lightning raids upon my thoughts by fearing impressions,

They do not ring a bell;

Uplifted are my basic bends they need to be engaged

They merely twist and turn.

 

The barren waves raising the stakes cannot be read alone,

Often they subside;

Alongside me, I see a brook that is filled with dreams and hope,

So I can flash a smile.

 

*Corporeality

 

Stressed,

He promised to ride

A white steed in the sky

On the wind blowing in

From the south-east,

On the air that carries rain-laden clouds

And keeps the land fertile;

He wanted to meet the god,

The lord of thunder and rain.

Without a weapon in his hand

He intended to rule the world,

Alter it with his love and care,

Forget old memories,

Sprinkle wealth and joy everywhere,

Earn its trust and faith

And be adored;

He desired to become a god;

He was very fragile;

He did not live long.

*Cover

 

I could not wait for the rain to stop

Eager I was to feel its dampness

I stepped out and swiftly walked

Towards the thick mango-grove

Wanting those trees to drape me

With their strong and sweet aroma

But by the time I reached them

The scent of the earth sticking to me

Had all washed away from my skin

The downpour was indeed heavy

 

Tethered to the edge of existence

The boat meant for me to tide over

All forms of pain and joy stood still

Beyond the pithiness of vacant words

The darkness that exposed my cause

Laid bare my brittle bones deadly white

Blurred were my vision and the sense of touch

And I could not properly see or feel

Once again I had to seek refuge

I had to seek the dampness of rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Death of a Hero

 

Maybe he is the last in the line of great heroes

Who had suffered the agony of remaining unknown while they lived,

He is about to die and knows he had done nothing of note

Except walking in front of the have-nots carrying a flag

Shouting slogans against the establishment run by the haves.

He is lying prone on the road that leads to the assembly hall

Shot in the chest by a policeman.

The have-nots do not want he should survive,

They want him dead.

They want a hero of the moment who has laid down his life;

The dead do not reveal the truth.

I see the pain reflected in his eyes

His thoughts were for his family;

He has a large family to feed, who will look after his family now.

Soon he closed his eyes.

Before the paramedics came to pick him up

He was already dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Delight Sublime

 

Now,

There can be no unexpected events in my life

To shake me from my reverie;

Sleep no longer affects me.

 

Now,

There cannot be things I do not know about;

There are no surprises for me to deal with,

I have discovered myself,

I have found myself not adrift but firmly rooted.

 

Aware of my place in the phenomenal world;

Aware of my reality;

Aware of my eternality;

Now I know who I am.

 

I know the truth,

I am the finality not easily discerned.

Friends, you too can find me within you,

Happy, dancing and smiling at you,

The delight of your experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Detention

 

Extending my arms upward

Towards the heavens

Seeking a new retreat

I have captured a small piece of the sky.

 

Time,

A study in comparison,

Whose passage leaves no trace,

I have eliminated;

I firmly hold

In my fist

A small part of Space,

The support of Time.

 

And,

Held therein

Within that fold

The imperfect and the perfect,

The two ancient conjurers,

Old adversaries,

Cavort merrily

Concocting shapes and sizes-

But acting evenly

They vie for the same space

Play out their roles

Either creating various thought-waves

As that many threads of continuity

Pursuing some quest unknown

Or

Watching and waiting for me to slacken my grip

Detaining that one small piece of the sky,

Testing destinies

And limits of endurance

The same old game

The same initiations

The same old imitations.

 

 

 

*Devout

 

I have waited for my turn

Stood in the long queue

Unshaded

With the offering of flowers

Coins and incense

Placed in a bright silver plate

Held in my hands

And grown very tired

My belief was at risk

My prayers were incomplete

And time did not side me

So I thought

 

I can be angry

Behave trantrumoniously

But why waste my efforts

I can see

The open temple-gate

Hear the bells ring

And the chants resound

I am almost there

I know

I am almost there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Easy Passage

 

Where is the other end?

A web,

Cast by my misgivings and lack of faith,

Seems to bar my way;

I must remove this web,

Discard my fears and

Re-build confidence.

 

Spring season is here,

The occasion is now.

I can see, -

My garden is green and flowery,

The bees and the butterflies

Flit about,

Soon the trees will bear fruits

Only for me.

I know I am resourceful,

Why then should I shiver and shake?

The air is the same

The will is the same

The result will be the same.

My passage to the other end

Will be smooth.

There is no web within sight.

The world waits for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Educated

 

Think about a library

And the pile of books

Each still unread

That you wanted to hold in hand

Weigh and appreciate

 

Think about their authors

Mostly unsung

And now faceless

Their name and place

All long forgotten

 

Then think about me

Seeking an understanding

Instant recognition

In the midst of

Thirsty and starved

 

 

*End

 

What if my end is near

And I am about to die,

Where will I be then?

 

After I die I will become a star

And quietly shine for a long time

My mother had told me –

When good people die

They surely turn into stars

Have I not been good while I lived?

I certainly have

My family and friends readily attest

My goodness

They cannot all be wrong

 

But all stars finally burn out

They die

Should I expect to die again, and again?

I cannot accept such a fate

Without some gain

 

Long ago my grandmother

Had promised me a different world

If I behaved well

A world where there was

No pain, grief, anger, hate, and greed

I prefer that world

I am ready to die again, and again

To be in that world

O Fate! Why should I burn like a star?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Abstraction

 

What do I hear?

The sky has fallen!

The bluish glass that made it

Lies shattered.

Who will now mend that glass?

Where would the birds fly

Or the clouds meet?

There will be no nights,

No days either;

There will be no moon

And the stars,

No pensiveness,

No dreams,

No love,

Nothing to write.

What am I to do now?

What will become of me?

 

 

*Affection

 

In my part of the street still there is light;

And from my window, I can see and read

The brightly lettered bold graffiti scrawled on the wall;

But, I cannot see who wrote those affectionate words

That meant something for everyone at different hours of the day –

‘My friend, seeing you is being young again.’

Simple words these, meant for me alone.

 

The word-meanings differed only for those few

Not yet sufficiently aged to compulsively impose

Themselves upon others

And also, could think a shade differently

Like the ageless night that can hold within its folds

The visible world and the invisible world,

The former connected with things spread far and wide

And the latter with the scheming ever-churning mind.

 

I am in no hurry to resolve the issue,

Young and old, let each revel;

Age does not matter; patient and hopeful I am.

I can wait for the darkness to spread itself,

I can wait for most of the living beings to go to sleep,

And even wait for those who do not sleep

To write on the opposite walls a few more words I can see.

I know the new sunrise will certainly light up the graffiti

And the uncomplaining but long-suffering people approaching it

Will coax or cudgel each other,

Read and copy,

To interpret and infer differently

With their hands tied and eyes closed,

For a short while holding their breath

Peep inwards and then exhale.

 

*Aftermath

 

The Sun had set when he came,

He did not knock at the door

And entered my room blaming me;

He held me responsible for his loneliness

But did not want me to speak my mind;

He had left me at the break of the first Dawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*An Eternal Truth (A Vedic Revelation)

 

Manifesting in the subtle body and entirely pervading it,

Enlivening the gross body and making it aware and active;

The fire burns within warm and radiant,

Enthusing the observance often formed of disciplines and rigours

By men of faith who aided by knowledge

Attain the highest plane of Truth

After having known that

As much as is the extent of all-pervasiveness, completeness, and permanence

Of that force firmly established

In the worlds that are visible and invisible,

That much is the extent of the collection and spread of things and thoughts

Produced, fulfilled and protected by the fire

That rages accompanied by a steady breath.

 

 

*An Invocation

 

At each Dawn

I invoke my heart, my mind, the sky and the sun;

To these fearless four, I offer my prayers,

I pour oblations rich, powerful and sweet,

And seek protection

Against defects and evil imports.

Clothed in life and bountiful,

They cover me with their fine mist

And allow me to divine their truthful gaits as they move.

O Lord of Speech!

Lend me the words and notes

For my songs in praise of the first rays of sunlight;

Let me tend those songs for the skilled singers;

Let me dwell in this body to feel your presence;

Make my heart incline towards my mind, support me,

And lift me skywards far beyond the blazing sun.

*And I Shall Then Cease To Be

 

There are the three fires that readily burn;

The domestic fire that works and serves,

The fire in the heart that slowly heats up words,

And the fire in the mind that explores limitless space;

These I adore, I am because of these three.

The fire that works and serves purifies my home, body, and mind,

The fire that slowly heats up words makes me aware of my world,

And the fire kept lit in the purified mind leads me on as my life-force;

These three combine to reveal the truth hidden within me.

Combined these three will one day consume my body and mind,

And I shall then cease to be.

 

 

 

*Anguish

 

Then,

I heard his cry,

He was in great pain.

His throat was parched

And his thirst tortuous;

As the noon-time sun blazed upon him heat and fire

I heard his croaked cry -

‘Help me! Pray, give me some water to drink.'

I halted,

And found him prone and stretched

A few paces away from a wayside well,

He had no strength left to draw water from that well.

This morning,

Both of us had separately set upon finding the truth -

About who had made us and why;

I was proud of my learning

And he of his memory.

Even as I could easily discern the fifth connotation

He could easily provide the necessary background.

He was the other side of me, ever thirsty for refusing to change

And wrestled with rigid laws and logic, limitations and barriers;

He was doomed to suffer, this formless projection of my mind.

He knew why heat had affected him and spared me.

With him, I had no blood ties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Arrogance

 

Had I not seen you before

With the same little wry smile

That had suddenly creased your lips

Upon finding me bungle with the knots

Of the dark brown hessian rope binding me

As though I were a culprit readied to be sentenced

I would not have otherwise recognized you

As you stood at my doorway

And sought to draw me out

Embarrassed

I had then hung my head in disgust

I was then not aware of your wiliness and deceit.

I continue to stand

Beneath fruit-laden shady trees

Amidst the roaring crowd of needs and objections

Subjects and contraventions

Briskly waving my arms held high

To attract the attention of all those incited by you

They should know

That the fire you have caused to burn

Once lit cannot be easily doused.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*As Friends

 

I have always wanted a friend;

You are a good swimmer,

You have saved me from drowning,

From now on,

I will call you my friend.

 

Be my friend;

Between friends, there are no secrets,

So

Do not hide your smiles and tears from me,

I will show you those that are mine.

 

Now

With our goals remaining common,

Our ways will also not differ,

With no fears and doubts to bother us

We will slake our thirst for good.

 

Then

We will have for us the same sky and the seas

And share the same horizon;

The Sun, the Moon and the stars

Will shine for us equally

And no need to prove ourselves.

 

We will see the same world all the time

With the same pair of eyes;

All joy will be ours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*As The First Step

 

Instead of the stars

Last night

I had sat in my doorway

Gathering words

Floating in from far and near

And fell in my lap;

I gave up as lost

Those that did not reach me.

I handpicked a few words

Pleasing to the ear,

Arranged and inscribed them

On sheets of white paper,

Allowed them to glow

And sound my feelings

In the form of the poem

I now write.

You will find those words

Honest and meaningful,

They have never failed me.

*At Each Dawn

 

At each dawn

I play the flute

Its lyrical notes inspire me

To write tender words

Full of love and praise

That I then recite softly

As the sun climbs

Spreads its heat and light

And awakens for me

The one I love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*At The Riverfront

 

I was standing alone near the bridge

I waited for her to join me

For a walk alongside the riverfront;

I had not seen her for a very long while

And, when she came, I did not recognize her,

Not even by her dress and gait,

I was troubled by this failure,

I thought I knew her well.

I dared not question her change

She did not appear weak

And I had no grudge to grind

I kept quiet

I stood still waiting for her to say something

Pleasing and reviving

Then I would have opened my heart to her

Showed her the scars I carry

That her absence had made upon my psyche

She did nothing of that sort

There wasn’t any touch or glance exchanged

And she stood alongside me gazing at the river flow

Her silence said everything I needed to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*At The Temple

 

He could not enter the temple premises

And stood outside bare-footed

Facing the open door,

His hands folded in prayer.

The vermilion smeared idol,

His object of worship, it was clearly seen;

The incense used was thick and strong

But agreeable.

He had everything he needed.

What for he was praying

Even he did not know.

For five minutes he stood thus

Reciting the mantras silently

Then he lowered his eyes

Put on his sandals and walked away.

He had once annoyed the priest.

He had asked him

Why he who prays at least thrice a day

Day after day does not gain

The wealth etcetera sought and prayed for

Or is it a case of quiet containment.

He knew,

A priest does not pray for himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Fervour

 

Why run towards the end of the dark lane

To reach me;

It leads nowhere;

A sincere step or two would have sufficed

And made us avoid

The infectious meanness, greed, hate, and spite

There always is in our minds.

With use, the golden lustre of the vessel will soon wear off;

Though our eyes may not be able to see

The uneasy complexity

That clamours for space, and contests

The binding rites, deeds, and beliefs

By raking up stale issues to strike with,

The dead will certainly not rise.

The clouds will pour rain without asking for it

And the boa will constrict to kill its prey;

And the whiteness of the chalk,

More prominently displayed on the blackboard,

May not by itself teach anything new or old,

But it does not impinge anyone's right to learn

Nor does the ink-pen that leaks

Or the books left unread beneath the foot-rests

Or the teachers who are only half-prepared

Or the dimming light of any classroom.

Indeed, eagerness has no colours to match or change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Follow-on

 

As my day slowly progressed,

Sitting beneath an ageing tree,

I watched the river flow

Beyond its hidden bends,

I sat holding a twig,

Twisted brown and very dead;

Its leaves had lain beneath my feet

Yellowed, dry and crushed;

With that twig, I dug a pit

And planted tiny seeds of doubt

Imbued with worry and useless fear

Caused by stress and loss of faith,

I wished to see how doubt would fare

Once it sprouted, spread its roots

Outside my mind.

 

 

 

*Forget The Past

 

Forget the past, you say!

Whose?

Yours and mine, is it?

Where would we both be then?

Sunk in a stinking puddle, we could say,

Filled with some ancient grime

Gathered by our thoughts

Or

We can still say,

We should neatly forget our past

If only to see Time fly by,

Swifter than thought,

Covering us

Sculpting new dawns.

 

 

 

 

*Fright

 

Oh, No,

Not again!

My old heart

Disturbed my sleep.

It flutters and stutters

At each sound I make

As though fearing the end.

I was only dreaming.

While dreaming

I had loudly snored,

My heart panicked.

Here I am

Awake,

Not likely to sleep

Soon.

 

 

 

*Ghastly Pride

 

Proud, he held his head high,

Did not look at his feet and hands

Or the earth supporting him,

His home.

Very proud he indeed was

Known as a learned person

Rich in expertise

That he did not notice the ditch

Where his journey ended.

He stumbled and fell,

There was none to save him.

He was not a wise man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Her Face

 

I did not find her

In the crowd of

My varying dreams

I did not remember

Her face

And her voice

I had caught sight of her

In a crowd

There were many faces

And voices

She did seem familiar

As though I had known her

For a long time

I still remember her

But strangely

I did not recollect her face

In my dreams

I shall go to bed

Early this night

 

*How Can I Close My Mind

 

There is no romance in the air,

No adventure either,

No beauty to intoxicate me,

I am bored;

Leading such a life no longer excites me,

I have shelved all my hopes,

Erased my dreams

And put to rest all kinds of speculations;

I have decided to rest my senses.

I will not look for anything I cannot find

Or listen to those songs that gladdened me

Or extend my hands to feel a cosy warmth

Or pick up bright roses for their smell and taste.

I shall neither allow sunlight to creep in

Nor ask the wind to prick me.

I can do all this

But I cannot get rid of my memories;

I cannot close my mind.

Tell me,

How can I close my mind?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Ill-defined

 

Why catch the mist

With your bare hands

And watch it

Slither away,

Leaving behind no trace;

But it clings to the darkness

That does not show

Its hidden aims

And ways,

Its tenuous form

And sway.

Its vaporous trail

Seen on the ground,

Deceptive though it is,

It leads us to nowhere.

 

 

 

*Insurgence

 

Had I the faintest inkling of guilt

I could have easily marked my way,

Step by step and then brick by brick

I could have paved my path with joy.

 

The sky and the light hold me back

For a glimpse of that euphoric life

In a dream, I had led before l rose

To open the door and step outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Judge Me

 

What makes me difficult?

My indiscretion may be,

Or my indulgence.

Wait a minute!

If you will, my friend,

Judge me proper;

I have just lost my way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Limitation

 

The darkest hour of the night;

Outside

Few heavy footfalls,

Slight commotion,

A knock on the door,

And I heard

Someone whispered -

‘Open your door.’

I did hear

But did not respond;

How could I?

I did not know

How to open the door;

Many long years ago

I too had knocked on this door

And whispered;

Someone had then indeed

Opened the door

And let me enter the room.

Alas! Here I am

Unable to walkout

Or allow someone else

Enter the room

I continue to occupy.

I could never again

Meet that person

Who had let me in,

To gain

That much-needed knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*List

 

You want me to stand face to face,

Look deep into your eyes,

Expose to you the inside

Of my heart and mind,

Show the depth of my love,

The intensity

And truthfulness of my feelings,

All for you.

If I were blind,

And you knew

That I loved you as much as I do now,

You would not have searched my eyes,

You would have been my eyes,

You would have guided me to your heart

To stay.

 

 

 

 

*Lost Dream

 

Where is he?

I asked,

Where is my thinking friend?

I found him sitting at a wayside

His back pressed to a wall

Glaring at a dusty old lamp-post

Seeking guidance it seemed,

He was unhappy.

What ails you, my friend, I inquired.

He looked at me and said -

I have lost my dream

Can you find it for me?

I looked deep into his worried eyes,

He was speaking the truth.

I will if you specify that dream,

I replied assuredly.

You can find him reading his palms

Tracing his still to be identified dream

Locked in those fateful lines.

*Loved Ones

 

Early hours of the day

I hear

Raindrops pattering on my window panes

The daylight is dim

No birds are seen flying

But there is music.

The raindrops beat a steady rhythm

And there is the exotic smell of wet loam

They ease my mind.

The earth will now revive

Draped in varying shades of green

And vie with the blueness of the sky

I shall rise fresh and bright

And gleefully receive my loved ones

They are coming to meet me.

I will watch them push around

And listen to their small and big talk

Soon their laughter will fill the air

And expel the dreary silence from my room

Leaving me to weave new dreams

And be happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A Prayer

 

Through knowledge and noble deeds

I seek your protection.

Shine upon me, O Sun!

Filling me with knowledge

Uplift my urge,

Purify me with your brilliance.

In the light of your visible and invisible rays

Which we know and do not know

Truly reveal all things existing;

Those rays belong to the fire of knowledge

That burns within all living things.

Alive, active and ever eager

I too am your noble reflection.

 

 

 

 

 

*A Provider’s Call

 

In the sky

There are clouds

Gathering to hide the sun;

The spiky nip

And the failing light

Herald the monsoon fun.

 

Standing alone

In an open space

I wait for the rain to fall;

Drenching me

To my skin and bones

To cleanse my body withal.

 

Never before

My eagerness

In the past had appeared so live,

Now I know I can reach my goal

And plant new seeds to thrive.

*A Revisit

 

When

Darkness reigns

The mind astir

Buried views

And deepening faith

Reshape the core

And sound the knell

Then pithy verse

Materialize

Darkness erased

The rays of light

With hope and sight

Find their place

And stay alive.

 

 

 

 

*A Statement Of Fact

 

We have met once, you and I,

Near the Qutab Hotel;

It was evening-time,

You had then sought directions from me.

You were wearing

A light-blue salwar-kameez and a laced dupatta,

Your dark hairs tied in a tight bun,

A bindi shone on your forehead and lips coloured crimson-red,

I was taken in by you.

Through my eyes and ears

I had absorbed

And made you a part of me;

I can never forget you.

 

All things seen, said and heard,

During those brief moments,

Remain firmly etched in my memory;

It was as though Time had stood still.

Since then, my love for you has grown more,

And now with you accompanying me everywhere

I cannot think of anything else.

 

I have wanted to write about those moments

But I have not dared; fearing I may not find proper words;

I cannot forsake those moments,

It was then that I had felt a deep love for you.

 

Though I have not seen you ever since

I have asked Time to make this possible;

I trust Time, but it too has its specific priorities,

Unlike my mind, it never looks back or grieves,

It holds no regrets,

It simply marches on at a steady pace.

 

You are my sole fortune,

My love for you also moves on hopefully

At an even pace, low-keyed and without frills.

*A Tale of Love

 

The drizzle has started

The grass is wet and greener

Branches cleaner

The pigeons and the parrots

They have folded their wings

And the air is pleasantly cool

Look at me said the peacock

Note the colours I now display

Each with a meaningful resonance

Of love and fidelity

Carried by my nimble feet

Already set in dependable rhythm

Of a coveted rain-dance

You will soon be mine I say

The peahen busy pecking the ground

Was not impressed

She had weathered many storms

And heard such boasts before

She did not doubt his love

But craved for a change

In his attitude and conduct

That she could not define

Nevertheless

She lifted her head and looked at him

But not for long

She chose to wait for him to tire

Drop his thick plumage

And approach her

The weather supported the peacock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A Void to Fill

 

You invited me to the river-bank;

Made me sit beside you,

Made me see how you traced

With your slim bamboo pole

Figures upon figures on the river-surface

That I could not decipher,

I could not decide.

 

I felt small and humiliated

And had quietly walked away.

Even from a distance,

I could see the river flow by.

The figures you had carved on its surface

Were not to be seen.

The river water changes rapidly.

 

But I could spy a turtle raise its head

And questioningly look at you.

Methought he was objecting to your presence.

Unmindful of that creature

You continued with your exercise

And did not stop drawing figures

On the river surface.

You had not even noticed when I had walked away.

Suddenly,

A colourful butterfly landed on my left shoulder

And softly whispered -

‘Do not disturb your friend,

Within him there is a deep void to fill;

He is doing just that.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A Way Out

 

I am languishing in the today that is not of my choice;

I am made to wait for the dawn of a new bright day

That will certainly rise only to remind me of this day spent

Not learning the lessons that make up my past,

The past made up of yesterdays that can never return.

 

Sitting at the edge of the fluid freely flowing time

I am left to dip in its depth my right-hand forefinger

And without raising any ripples on its surface

Try to trace

Impermanent patterns that I alone can read;

No meaning derived can be ignored.

The future holds new meanings and a firm resort

And therefore, by itself validates my wait.

*About Finding Me

 

He saw me

And rolled up his sleeves;

He had seen the dust

Covering me,

The dust of time

I dare not part with;

It made me.

 

I knew,

He was concerned;

A witness to my progress

He had measured my brilliance

And seen me soar high.

 

He wasn’t biased;

He could not accept

The dust that covered me,

He did not know

It had brought me down

And imbued self-effacement.

 

I will soon let him know,

This dust of time it is

That has helped in finding me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*About Love

 

When I said I love you

You stared at me

Searched my eyes

To read my mind

And touched my arms,

What you found

Did not favour me;

I did not convince you

And you were angry;

I felt your fury.

I could not prove

My love for you;

I did not tear open

My heart

For you to see it bleed;

I did not show my pain.

I know,

True love causes no pain,

Instead

It gives immense joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*About My Dreams

 

And,

Then he said –

‘How do you manage to see so many dreams?’

I was truly shocked; I never wanted to be questioned thus,

Especially about my dreams which are wholly mine,

And I do dream much; imaginative I am,

Almost child-like.

The person who asked me about my dreams

I did not know well.

 

But, I recollect,

There was a boy who lived next door,

I had befriended him I do not know when

But I enjoyed his company as much as he did mine

And we trusted each other.

He was a good listener.

He had left this place long ago.

 

I had told him that I was gifted;

My memory was strong and long-lasting

I remembered all I had heard, read, imagined and dreamt;

I could weave and narrate wonderful tales

That I often held out as my intimate dreams.

Had he wanted to know more he would have in jest

Re-framed the same question thus –

‘Why do you see so many dreams?’

 

And then,

He would have stepped aside to wait

And watch me loudly laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Glitter On The Neck

 

Here and there and everywhere

I see many flowers blooming,

Some are red, and some are white

And some are blue ‘n' charming.

I shall string them up for you

To make a garland yielding,

That would dress your slender neck

To glitter as you are moving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Meeting Death

 

The darkest hour of the night,

Deep in sleep

I heard a knock on my door,

I asked- 'Who is it? '

There was no response.

I hastened to open the door,

Standing in front of me I saw

Death, in its most pristine form,

A wispy bundle of joy,

Smiling at me,

Exuding sheer delight and merriment;

I had not seen Death before,

But I wasn’t scared;

When seeing it for the first time

I found that I was no longer tense

My mind and body were not agitated

Pain and expense forgot

I was at peace with myself.

And,

There was the sublime delight

I had never experienced before

Soothing my nerves and sinews

Mesmerizing me

Dragging me towards Death

Even though Death did not enter my house

Or embrace me.

But do I know the marks of Death?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Meeting Place

 

When one speaks,

For speech is the meeting place,

He utters words

That carry and contain

Divine knowledge and wisdom,

For truth, righteousness, and study,

These three, are associated with speech;

Unknowingly the words he utters

As a prayer

Kindles the fire

To have the knowledge of fire;

And know the distinction

Between the ever-existing

And the non-existent;

He neither decries nor denies

The empirical nature and reality

Of the visible worlds;

He seeks the place

Facing the radiant sun

And shine as brilliantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Mirrored Image

 

It was a hot afternoon.

I found him shaded and in a chair fast asleep.

How could he close his eyes and his mind to the entire world?

How could he forget his being and mine?

I wondered.

Last night,

He had appeared tense and pensive;

I could not bring him around to join me in my evening repast,

I sat alone at the table but mindful of my vow.

I had vowed to make him emerge and move

Fly like a butterfly in search of bright flowers exuding sweetness,

I wanted him to share that nectar with me.

He had indeed roamed the gardens I knew so well,

He did not lose his way;

He had my soft touch so could not hurt

The things he liked and chose to feel anew;

He could never hide the excitement leading him on

For he knew the nectar was his to taste.

But he needed to be held back,

He seemed to have lost the will to commit himself;

Though he could weave many thoughts

And had mastered the appropriate words

He had no voice,

He could not speak;

It was when I caught him looking at me

That I saw my pain in his eyes,

I found my weakness and tiredness exposed,

I knew I was looking at myself

Reflected in the mirror held in my hands

The mirror I can never dare throw away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Mother

 

How can I describe her - her face, her eyes, her winsome smile,

Her petal-like tenderness, her loving concern, and care for all,

Her firm ways, her deft course through tricky odds and trials,

Her patience, endurance and unfailing will and mental strength!

 

Dispensing love and justice as an elder or as a companion or guide;

Her jubilation at the achievement of others and her feats,

Her honest struggles to remove painful deceptive figures and bonds,

I have seen her in these different forms each more endearing.

 

 

 

 

*Moving Consciousness

 

Why does night always follow day?

I have often asked

Motivated by an urgent need

Like moving all conscious beings

Towards the centre of consciousness

For them to read and then casually erase

All lingering fond and bitter memories!

 

What is night’s causal relationship with the sun?

I have repeatedly asked.

Is it the inference of the unperceived from a perceived mark

Though the relation between the two is not?

Like that of space, there is between two letters or words

As also between any two intervals of time!

 

Why is the night a consequence?

Why does it depend on a condition?

Why is its inference a fallacy of reason?

These questions stay etched in my mind.

Is it Time arising from the change

Seen and experienced owing to things extending in space

Or that which can be known

Neither through reasoning nor by a shining intellect

Not even through repeated hearing!

 

Tell me

Why do I face such confusions at each crossroad of life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Muddled Confrontation

 

She sought a safer turf and crossed over to the other side of the road

Cradled in her arms were her dreams and his promises

That she now saw reflected, in the stores' glass window-panes, pure and bare.

She could also see the faint smudges and creases on her cheeks and brow as marks of time.

She had not been kind to herself, how could she have been, she pondered.

 

And, then she heard him loud and clear as though he was beside her sharing her walk and her cautions;

She heard him voice as though she was talking to herself,

He said, -

Do not ignore the omens; do not avoid me.

You have come across but could have waited and watched

The flow of traffic restore your trust,

Your trust encourages me; it gives me strength and the will to lead.

Without you, I am not what I seem or want to be;

Without you, I can never know who I am.

I adore you and follow you everywhere even up to the end's edge.

I am your dreams and also the promises not withheld.

Clear is the air, the ground, and the road; nothing can block our run;

 

She heard him speak thus,

Once again heard his reassuring voice and words emanating from within,

And, she could have opened up and stretched her arms

To let her dreams and his promises spill and fly;

Instead, with her eyes full of tears she lowered herself and squatted on the filthy pavement,

Holding to her chest close and tight, all her dreams.

 

*My Face

 

I see a face in the mirror every day,

Quiet, serious and indrawn;

Of course, that face isn’t mine.

It lacks my sparkle in the eye

And the brightness of my smile.

Whose face is it anyway?

Tell me.

Mine, you say!

You hardly know me,

You met me in the dark only last night,

You do not know my features,

In fact,

Even I do not know my face.

When I was born, it was past midnight

And very dark

My eyes were tightly closed.

I could not see my face.

And as it is

Even now I cannot see my face,

Whose face is it anyway?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*My Father’s Invite

 

He called me a moment ago,

My father, him I adore,

He is my preceptor.

Now I wait

For him to call again;

Then I shall pack my things.

Who knows

My journey could be very long;

The clothes I wear might not suffice,

I do not know.

I have no shoes to wear,

I have no food to pack either.

But there are things

I cannot take with me,

My thoughts, dreams and aspirations,

These have no place

Where my father lives;

He left me with them

Long ago.

*My First Love

 

I cannot describe her beauty in a few words,

Very delicate, demure and captivating, the least if said;

At first sight, I could not take my eyes away

And I have not seen ever again a face more beautiful than hers.

 

She made my college days most memorable,

I simply adored her for sitting close to me

In the same class and shared notes,

Her writing was elegant as a swan

Smoothly floating on a lotus filled lake;

I doted on her and to her,

All my days and nights belonged.

 

Soon, we graduated and moved apart;

She knew the place where I lived

But she had never told me where she did;

I never met her again, did I?

I had not told her about my love for her

But I love her still, my first love.

 

I never did find her;

But she is with me even when I close my eyes and go to sleep

Then she embraces me and holds me in her arms

Whispering into my ears sweet nothings;

I have not lost her ever for a single moment

I know she will always remain with me

Even till my last breath and even when I finally close my eyes.

 

Indeed, Time has taken its toll, and now I am old and weak

But because of her, just because of her

I have learnt the meaning of love and felt the pain it gives.

I see her everywhere, the same little shy beautiful girl I love.

 

 

*My Home

 

My home is where peace and the tranquil dwell

Where happiness reigns and laughter echoes again and again

The grass and the leaves they swivel and flowers bloom

The sun shines quietly from behind the cooling clouds

And the birds some perched and others in flight

They sing their songs to make me feel alive

And not engage in thoughts that are alien or strange.

Be my guest; join me at the stream

That trundles down-hill on its path carrying along

The twinkle in my eyes and the dancing smiles on my lips

Like gifts for those who do not uplift their minds;

Call out to them loudly if you will you must

To share your experience with me and the place I live

I am the one you love and returns that love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*My Inseparable Shadow

 

He said -

'You have waited for many a sunrise to light up your world.

Your world now covered by the brilliance of the sun throbs as though it were alive.'

 

He has always kept pace with me,

Vies to occupy my space

Not as a rival or a competitor; he wants to be me;

To think, walk and talk as I do.

He is an able person.

But, why has he referred to my outer world alone?

He should have spoken about my inner world too, but he has not.

Perhaps, he has waited too long for his world to come alive.

So be it.

 

As one aware of light and life, he had once told me

About the three ants that had variously found three sugar-granules.

He saw

One ant pick a granule and disappear;

The second ant was grappling with its granule unable to lift it,

Whereas the third ant was found alongside the remaining granule waiting for assistance;

These were the three stages of education and experience, he said.

Though not aware of my inner world

He still follows me the whole day; my inseparable shadow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*My Life

 

I can describe

My entire life

In one brief sentence

Comprising two small words -

‘I am.’

A third is not necessary.

 

Once asked,

I wrote it down

On a white piece of paper

With a soft pencil,

Soon the dot at its end glowed.

The paper caught fire.

 

 

 

 

 

*My Visitor

 

There is a knock at the door,

Someone has come to meet me,

Maybe my wait is over.

Who has come?

Who has strayed?

I will not inquire.

No one has come visiting me

From the time I came to know

I was not alone in this world,

That was very long ago.

Tonight

I can talk and laugh.

I think

I should open the door.

Why hesitate.

 

 

 

 

*On The Verge Of Discovery

 

My old friend,

Whom I trust and often visit,

I found him at his favourite window

Staring into the yonder beyond;

'I am bored', he said,

'I no longer need this sun,

It does not interest me,

I do not enjoy its hot angry stare,

I am tired of waiting for the nightfall.'

 

'What can be done to cure this affliction?'

I asked

 

And he replied, -

'I want excitement,

I want to explore and experiment,

Therefore, help me find a new sun to befriend,

Help me find an unfamiliar moon too

And new trends of thought;

I do not wish to repeat myself.'

 

Thoughtfully,

I sat beside him

And likewise

Staring into the distance beyond the outside

Began my search

To help accomplish my friend's desire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Our Truth

 

A glimpse of you, you say!

No.

It is the very thought of you

That makes me keel,

Tumble into the deep ravines

Between swiftly changing vortexes

Of space and nowhereness,

The boundless, timeless emptiness,

To find me rejoicing in the cosiness

Of the many-layered velvety folds

Your thoughts and mine combined

Draw with the utmost care and love

Upon the lustrous ringing fabric called joy;

These tenuous folds do not conceal our truth

The prying eyes cannot find.

 

 

 

 

*Painful Existence

 

I could hear him ask -

'Why do you grieve?

Share your sorrows and sufferings with me.'

 

I could hear him loud and clear against the roar of the waves.

I was then leaning against a dry rock near a cluster of coconut-trees.

He was sitting on that very rock.

 

I told him -

'How am I to share my sorrows with you?

My sorrows

They are all mine,

My tears too;

The pain afflicting my body and mind

It is for me alone to bear,

No one can take it away from me.

I can never share my pain,

I can never make you feel sad likewise.'

 

He looked at me and then at the sea

Churned by the Earth, the Moon, and the Wind,

But he was not nostalgic.

 

I said -

'The rock I am leaning against is a part of the Earth,

For many millennia it has stood still and speechless,

No one has shared its pain.

This coconut-tree bears the sea and the air,

And does not complain

But the agitating sea it incessantly sounds its complaint,

For the sea also suffers and wants someone to share its pain.'

 

My wise and inquisitive friend asked -

'These rocks, these trees, the sea and the Earth

Do they possess a mind of their own? '

 

'Of course, they do.' I said,

'All things in the universe are rhythm-bound and pulsate,

It is in their nature backed by a strong will-to-be,

And that will is always goaded by a purposeful mind.

The atoms of an element are compact bundles of energy

They live, vibrate and participate.

There are inert things in this world of objects;

Consciousness pervades all objects.

When atoms lose their rhythm and cease to pulsate,

They cease to exist; they disintegrate.'

 

Hearing me speak thus,

My friend began to reflect, grew pensive and withdrawn.

 

 

 

*Peace Of Mind

 

I do not need it

Take away my peace of mind

Bury it farthest from me

It has served no purpose

It has made me dull and insensitive

I can feel the cold in my bones

Blood freeze

Heart harden

And my skin grow thick

I did not act wisely

I was foolish to have pursued it

Having achieved the peace of mind

I ought to have ceased to breathe

Take it away from me

At once

 

 

 

 

*Plea

 

Help me find the word I had just uttered

To relearn its true import;

Complete I shall then be.

 

My legs drag me to your doorsteps,

Your house I cannot enter;

The door has closed on me.

 

Be my saviour, towards your strength I look;

O Wisdom! Firmly grip my hand,

Do not ever let go of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Promise

 

When I arrive at your gates it will be

The arrival of awaited Spring to meet.

I have noticed, of late you haven't been

Cheerful and active, your garden dull and dry;

But, I shall redo your life for you,

And Spring will revive your garden too

Filling it up with coloured and scented blooms;

We shall then gleefully make you move and act,

Be lively, smile and long for more.

 

Your sunlight, the wind, and rain I am,

You are my life, my love, and cosy shade;

Because of us and for us all things exist,

Making us worthy of life we lead

All happy, spry and eventful.

 

 

 

*Qualms

 

How am I to describe

The blankness of my mind

Now that it does not waver,

In it no longer reside

Desires, needs or jealousies,

Anger or spite,

Neither joy nor grief,

Ideas or thoughts,

Neither knower nor known;

The hows and whys are not chained,

Faded shades darken,

Fears resurface

Arranging old notions afresh;

And therefore a bit surprised,

I ask-

How can my mind ever remain blank?

Why should I describe its partial blankness?

Only to disturb its peace and poise!

When I know-

Till the time my body and mind, both perish

My mind can never

Erase its range and wares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Reason

 

Sixteen paces, he said,

Separate the living and the dead;

These paces are in three stages and one.

The living are possessed of sentience

And the dead are only a half-stop speech.

The intervening space is where all names resound

And there is no lack of corporeality.

 

I told him -

I want to remain a child

And engage in understanding my wakefulness

That I do not wish to know about deep sleep

And then begin the count of sixteen steps

Abruptly stop being a child

And gradually move to my death.

 

 

 

*Recusal

 

Soon after dusk, I heard her cry.

She could not draw up her sore limbs;

Her limbs were stiff and painful;

She had slaved in the fields all day long

To sustain herself.

She could not bear hunger

Nor sleep in peace;

She had suffered and was in pain,

There was no one to comfort her

Or apply a salve;

 

I heard her cry.

But approach her I could not,

She did not want to see me,

I reminded her of the past.

I had hurt her,

I had betrayed her faith that had cost her dear;

She had lost herself in the crowd of wants and needs.

In fact, I had withdrawn myself from the world

And she was hopeful of a better world and life with me.

I detested pain yet caused her pain;

She is the happiness I always desire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Revisit

 

He said –

Why wait if we can turn back Time

To impress our choice

On finding our voice

At the nodal point

Where all this began.

 

No one disagreed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Saga Of Wait

 

Somewhere somebody still waits for me

To emerge from the cocoon woven by desires,

Needs and longings, dreams and anticipations,

I have had no occasion to repeal or revise.

 

That somebody who so waits will call for me

To enlighten me and then narrate bit by bit

The long saga of wait written on the wind

I alone can read with an open mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Search

 

Where are the words

That could describe

My new hopes and dreams

With utmost ease,

I have not found them.

Tired,

My head, it aches,

My eyes pain,

I am unable to sleep

Lest I miss the words

I await

That would suddenly pour in

To brighten my mind

Fill me with glee

Make me write.

The words I have

And so often used

Are worn out and frayed,

They are dull and dry,

Already served me well

They tell old tales.

Why not

Somebody help me coin

The words I need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Secrets of the Dewdrops

 

When I wake up

Little do I know

About the secrets

The fallen dewdrops hold

Hidden by the wind

And the night

From the sun that shines

In the blue sky above

And that lets the shadows

Of trees, clouds and hills

Spread on the meadows

To shade us all;

Those secrets revealed

At the strike of the first rays

Of each new dawn

Make the dewdrops glisten

As though in a taunt

And then they vanish;

No one has learnt those secrets

Hidden in the dewdrops.

I shall have to wait

For the next dawn

To rise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Seeking Release

 

Set me free from my pen and thoughts

They enslave me

And keep me bound to the sheaves of paper

Lying atop one another on my stilted shelf

Undusted, forgotten and yellowing

Stop me from writing the no-one-understands

Stop me from thinking about the inevitable

Cheer me up and make me smile again

O Vanity, make me write a song to you

Let me savour my presence

Allow me to mint words of praise afresh

Allow me to relive the old days today

I cannot wait for the tomorrows

That do not promise change

 

 

 

 

 

*Star Worlds

 

Come, join me in my walk towards the stars;

The stars, they wait patiently;

Heading skywards is the thoroughfare I found

Not difficult but pebbled.

I have walked this path often and so will you

Map its various pits and rend,

Your feet won't bleed but will leave their prints

To be followed across the land;

The ‘ifs' and ‘buts' will bother you no more

And all your fears will dissipate.

These stars will then take you to their worlds

That's lit-up with infinite charm;

The rivers of light that flow there all the while

In their gushing run, you will bathe,

With your body and wits charily cleansed

You'll shine anew a rising star.

 

 

 

*Strangeness

 

Facing the mirror when I say - ‘I know you',

Do not believe my words

I have never known who I really am.

Time passes by,

The boards we stepped on still creak,

And the winding staircase too, these

We had often climbed together playfully,

The one in the mirror and I;

And, I do remember,

On reaching its top we never rested

To dust or explore the attic,

The storehouse of our past,

Where our toys stayed alive

Seeking our roving touch;

They could have rekindled our love,

They could have united us, made us become one.

But long ago,

Eternity, the bane of the present and past,

Upon invading the future

And thus testing our verve

Had loudly laughed

And mockingly cursed -

‘You and your reflection, both are strange;

You can never understand each other,

You can never know each other,

You can never be same.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Child In Me

 

I have grown old

Even my grandchildren are grown-ups

I lost the child in me long ago

Without him

I have never been alive.

Yesterday,

My neighbours little one

Gifted to me a few small round glass balls

Not beads

And went away;

He wanted me to play with those marbles.

I have never played the marbles game before,

I only knew marble meant metamorphosed limestone;

Glass and limestone are brittle,

They need careful handling.

I looked at those differently coloured glass balls,

Each colour had a hidden design,

I began to understand those designs.

Soon they became my prayer-beads,

Some consolation,

But where was the child in me that I had lost,

The child who needed neither gadgets nor prayers,

Not even words to excite him.

I did not find him,

I did not find the child the marbles promised.

Tears flowed from my eyes;

From my hands, the round glass balls fell

To roll on the white marble floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Dream That Lasts

 

You have waited for the tide to ebb,

While ready to walk the beach

You have watched the sea recede

Leaving behind a long pause;

You have retied the knots of doubt

With colourful threads of old

And cast a snare to trap

The wise and favoured few;

You have valued the time employed

In building the bridges of love

For those many hopefuls who quietly sleep

The delight-filled dreamless sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Following Day

 

Then,

The façade was over,

The drums were quiet,

The conch-shell and the flute,

And the clarinet too;

No more was there joy;

There was only the whistling by the wind.

Picking up my stick I rose from my seat,

I had to forget my being;

It had stealthily caused

Much hate and avarice

Letdown and mishap fed.

Your face is an outline,

Covered by a scarf.

Our eyes are dry;

The harshness of the eyes

Belies the vague smiles

Dancing on our lips

Hiding the hunger

And our intense pain

That will last

Until the next festive times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Girl On A Bike

 

When I was young

Just twenty

A pretty face

Never seen before

Had done me in

I saw her eyes

They were bright

And the arched brows

They matched her nose

And her smiling lips

Her ruddy cheeks

And her curly hairs

All worked to cast

A deadly spell

I stood still

And all was quiet

Though I had strained

My ears to hear

Her kind of voice

She did not speak

She did not giggle

She did not laugh

Her quietude

I could not stand

And hurt I felt

Most true and deep

When passing by

She lowered her eyes

And sped away

Without a wave

Riding her bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Hour Of Rest

 

A sip of tea and a biscuit-nip

Starts my day with the rising sun

But Time has changed its flimsy drape

From milky white to a seedy shade

Birds aren't there to urge me on

And automatons they rule the day

All is grey a dusty grey.

I see no flowers they are things of past

The smiles and laughter and joyfulness

No longer light up any eager face

The twig just picked is dry as sand

The fountains have dried and do not cool

The trees are stunted and give no shade

The commas in a daze and the full stops

They wait for a new sentence to start.

The black coloured ribbon is in tatters and soiled

It hangs from an open window

Inside my room, the air stinks

With the odour of rancid old cleverness

The mirror dulled with age now reflects

My wrinkled face and a toothless grin

The ancient clock with its limp hands

It has ceased to strike the hour of rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Lady At The Bridge

 

Though she never acknowledged his presence

And he did not know her name,

He had always seen her at the other end of the Yamuna Bridge,

Shabbily dressed,

With her back resting on the parapet,

Her right palm open and outstretched begging for alms;

When alone,

He had often thought of the inner pain reflected in her eyes,

He had often wondered about its nature and feel.

Yesterday, as he approached the other end of the bridge

He did not find her standing at the usual place,

She was lying inert on the pavement, her eyes closed;

A few people did surround her,

And he thought she was dead.

 

She was dead, indeed.

 

He heard someone say -

She had no home, no husband, no children, no relatives or friends,

Where did she sleep or eat nobody knew.

But he found himself strongly bound unto her,

That bond he did not understand or resist;

He only wanted to touch her face, hold her hands and loudly cry.

 

He did not do anything of this sort,

Quietly he stood there for a while reminiscing,

He withheld his tears and did not weep;

He slowly walked away.

He accepted limited life and transient relationships.

 

He knew he would not see her again;

He would not see the sort of goddess he had come to worship;

He would not ever see her inner pain reflected in her eyes;

He would not even think about the real nature of that pain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Lost One

 

I knew he would come. His coming was long overdue.

What delayed him?

 

He sat beside me.

He wanted to read to me his poems.

 

He had the observing eyes and a feeling heart and made him a poet.

He preferred writing short poems; short poems are difficult to write.

He likes difficult situations.

Therefore, he is more of a loner.

 

He reads his poems only to me; no one else appreciates his work.       

I thought he was not a likeable person; I was mistaken.

He is not flamboyant. His peers ignore him.

He keeps to himself.

 

He fears to publish his poems; he does not consider them that deserving.

He shuns publicity.

 

After he dies, no one will attend to his writings.

No one will remember him.

No one will know him as a poet.

 

He should have taken to writing short stories instead.

In those stories, he could include the entire world.

People love the tellers of tales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Open Blank Page

 

My poems!

No one reads them anymore,

Not even those who know me,

Not even the approving few.

But I cannot stop writing,

I cannot stop thinking,

I cannot curb my emotional upsurge

And stop weaving dreams

That my pen truthfully records

And nobody is hurt.

The words I use are the same,

Their meanings stay unaltered,

And their rhythm unchanged;

But no one reads my poems;

No one dares to turn over

The open blank page

And dig deep.

 

 

*The Widening Breach

 

Come! Help me wedge the widening gap,

That has existed ever since our first appearances,

As the ever-increasing breach which had accidentally occurred, it seems,

Between day and night, bright and dark, and high and low;

Between this and that, here and there, and now and then;

Between yes and no, good and vice, and love and hate

And, between many other pairs of opposites that still raise their heads.

 

Lest that gap widens uncontrollably

(To cause much pain to us later on),

Come, if you will, now itself come,

Putting aside all else holding you down to earth,

Avoiding the dos and don’ts, and the rigid restraints

That separate life from impending certain death.

 

Come, let us fill that breach to the brim

With our thoughts, deeds and noble intents,

The treasured findings, from our numerous jaunts across

Countless obstructing sediments and inviting sops,

We did accept gratefully.

 

Come! Let us together fill the widening breach

With what’s left of time and faith and resolve,

Beyond the crowd of rights and needless wrongs,

Amidst routine and unplanned revolts and strife,

And favoured looks and peaceful sights;

Let us wedge the gap between these lines.

 

 

 

*Tides

 

I know,

Your door will stay open for me

As always to let me in

To savour the repast

It is on your dining table

Laid out for me;

Hungry I am.

At the table, I will surely recount

The jollity of our younger days,

Protected and cajoled we were then

By those to whom we belonged

Which is why we had no care

For the tomorrows that we did not wait.

I will not talk

About the later harsh years,

Each day was a rusty nail driven deep,

Tacked to the old boards we already were.

I will not talk

About our failures and sorrows;

Our eyes are dry.

I will only talk about

The repeated ebb and flow of time

We feared

About the tides that did not take us away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Unhappiness

 

I am happy I told him so

My friend did not believe me

He saw me smiling no doubt

He also noticed my eyes

He knew I was hurt

He could do nothing about my pain

He did not offer any relief

I had lost belief in my being

I had lost everything I had

He gently tapped my shoulder

And without uttering a word

Walked away

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Unheard Melody

 

In the shade of the olden banyan tree

Near the village well

There is a crowd gathering noisily

To hear the wise words

Sung by a minstrel just arrived.

 

There has been a noticeable delay,

The performance has not begun;

The notable one is tuning his sarangi

Examining its strings by running over them repeatedly

The three thick guts of the bow,

Preparing and summarizing the notes-filled form

He had conceived to please the crowd.

 

The half and quarter notes now emanating,

Have not pleased him, as he also watches

Written upon the assembling faces

The same eagerness and expectation

He had himself felt only last night

When in the open field

Surrounded by sweet smelling chameli vines

He had arranged for this day

The musical notes and words as a new raga and song.

 

He does not appear to be tense for he knows

His musical instrument, his Sarangi, will support his voice,

The words will easily flow

Matching his breath and heartbeat

And make the crowd tap and sway.

 

But in his eyes, there is a fleeting hint of fear,

His fingers tuning the strings seem slightly uncertain;

As is often the case,

Even seasoned campaigners, the battle-hardened veterans,

Nearing their goal run out of ideas, they abandon their quest,

So it appears this minstrel too.

 

But, he is honest and aware of his abilities;

He thought -

‘I have to rise to the occasion,

I must complete my assignment;

My sarangi and my voice,

These two have never failed me;

I must strike the right notes and sing aloud.'

He appears confused.

 

Why is the crowd now silently moving away?

Their silence is deafening, and they seem listless;

They have found the basis of their quietude.

They no longer need the minstrel to enthrall them;

They have found their music and song hidden in their silence,

And that silence grows ever louder as they begin to disperse.

 

The minstrel too has risen holding his sarangi and bow,

His music and song blocked.

The village well still holds water, fresh and invigorating, waiting to be drawn;

The old tree is also there.

Alongside me, these two have witnessed an awakening

That has left us lonely and wanting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Usual Spree

 

Brightening light in the east

Sunrise

Dawn of a new day

The sleeping lot awakens

Birds take to the air

The rest

Stretch their limbs

And begin to move.

 

Browsing an anthology

Of my old poems

Refreshing fading memories

Knitting my brow

And a new pattern

Of thought

I sip the cream-laced tea

That reminds me

Of what I am

And what I could be.

 

It is noon-time

The Earth is warm

But not yet friendly

Coaxed and cajoled

By near and dear

I trace the distant outlines

Of my vast enclosure

Filled with things and happenings

Not of choice

Guarded by fears.

 

The sun is about to set

Daylight will soon fade

With it

My hopes and plans

Giving way to dreams

To fill and light-up

My long night of wait

Congenially.

 

*A Deliberation

 

A sceptic he must be.

 

He said -

Why read the written,

The already memorized?

Why revise, he asked,

When the preserved texts

Need no revisions.

 

So be it.

 

I thought -

Why must one study,

What is improvisation,

Of what use are thoughts

And speculation,

Why must I exert?

 

Can I close my eyes?

*Within Here

 

The sky

Golden hued

The orange peels

Thrown on grass

The greener grass

Where we stood

Last night

Admiring the moon

And tiny stars

Where fire burns

Like in the sun

Within here

Creating new lives

Defining fates

Concocting ways

To pains and joy

We all suffer continuously

Needlessly

Never questioned

Why the seeds

Take roots

For new trees to grow

You may also ask

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Without You

 

In your absence my love

A melancholy strain fills the air

And there is the old sadness revisited

And the quiet dripping of tears from swelling eyes

There is in the visible sky the welcome mark of death

I can hear its call asking me to die

Is death the only remedy to cure the blues

Wipe away our follies and vain desires I ask

If so do not make me say I loved you true

Then my love for you it is that made you die

My love for you it is that makes me die

Where will then be the music we often heard

Where will be the fragrance of jasmine and rose

Where will be the tenderness natural to us

And where will be the light in my eyes ever seeking you

You have left me alone my love

Convinced that we cannot unite barred by the cruel world

The same cruel world which does not allow me to live

Without you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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