Posted in On Love, Poetry

Though I made my pledge to thee

By night I may my oath forfeit,

And let my gaze wander and rest

Upon an erstwhile love confessed

And lost! Where fate did not merit,

 

The joining of two fum’bling hands

That strove to fend off frowning eyes

The glare of which then loosened ties.

And though the mind does understand,

 

That plighted I my troth to thee,

And reigned in firm the searching eyes,

The aching heart the vows defies

That uttered I unwillingly.

 

Old love by night, thus I retrace,

When slumber stays thy weary lids.

And though it is thy lips I kiss,

I see another in thy place.

 

Archaic verse has always been my baby, and though traditional poetry seems to have a dwindling readership in the face of free verse and the rise of the spoken word, I can’t help but go old-school. Do leave your comments! Thank you 🙂

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Posted in Fiction, ShortStory

Chocolate

There was cake in the fridge. I knew there was one piece left over from dinner. I slid around the assortment of containers and stainless steel ware, guided by the jaundiced luminescence of the fridge, in graveyard stillness of the sleeping kitchen. I couldn’t see it. A few minutes later, my fingers ached from having prised open every container in the fridge, but the closest I’d come to scratching that itch under my sweet tooth was finding a mouldy, half-eaten doughnut at the back of the bottom-most shelf. Shubham’s stash. Obviously hidden away for later consumption, before promptly being forgotten about.

There was only one explanation for the absent cake. Shubham. I stormed to his room, in as silent a fury as a sneaking teen could manage. Don’t wanna wake up the house. His bedroom light was still on. Gotcha, boy. There were only two things my brother could be doing up at 3 AM. One- eating stolen dessert. Two- this was a rather indelicate affair that involved the incognito tab of his laptop and lots of tissue paper. I half-hoped it was number one.

I didn’t bother knocking before entering; I wanted to catch the bugger red-handed. There was no one in the room- his bed was messy, and papers lay strewn across the floor. I felt like Alibaba in the secret cave; finding access to Shubham’s room in such a fashion was rather rare. He usually lived with the paranoia of an absconding felon; his room either had him it it, or was locked. I snooped about, looking for nothing in particular, simply reveling in the glory implicit in forbidden behaviour. My gaze fell upon something caught between his sheets. I wrested free a stained handkerchief from a tangle of bed clothes. It was crumpled as old papyrus, and stained brown… a familiar brown… Aha! I’d got him. He’d obviously enjoyed the cake- my cake, a piece I’d called dibs on- in bed and wiped clean his filthy hands of the crime on the tell-tale white cloth. I stuffed the evidence of his treachery into my pocket and trotted back to my room, just as I heard the flush sound in the common toilet, outside. Judging by the amount of time my little brother had spent in the bathroom, I was guessing the commode was clogged with a wad of tissue paper.

The next morning, I awoke to the sound of screaming.

A flurry of blankets and hastily donned specs later, I was tumbling out of my room towards the source of the commotion. Mom stood in the common bathroom doorway, hyperventilating into her hands.

“Mom! Mom, what is-”

My mother, Mrs. Sinha, lady of the household, for the first time in her disciplined life, did not admonish me for the profanity that then burst from my lips. My brother lay sprawled beside the commode, limp and white as sodden wool. The bathroom tiles were smeared with blood, and I noticed, through swimming eyes, that a trail of dried blood led all the way from Shubham’s body into the hallway. Later, on further inspection by professionals I didn’t care to acquaint myself with, little spatters of blood were found to lead out of our ground-floor apartment and into the building compound.

Two hysterical women have a way of attracting the attention of prying neighbours without any conscious effort. Soon- or maybe eventually, for I had lost all sense of time- our spacious apartment was cramped with policemen, paramedics, concerned neighbours and friends. Different pairs of strong hands guided me around the house, settling me into chairs and forcing water to my lips. Unheard consolations were whispered into my ears, and unanswered questions posed at a face that looked like mine, but belonged to an unselved being floating in a limbo. My mother’s ceaseless wailing was probably the only thing that kept me partially rooted to reality.

They took him away on a stretcher with the white sheet pulled over his head. I did not say goodbye. Later, we were told that they had found a single stab wound right above his abdominal aorta. It had taken him hours to bleed out. Hours spent lying on the bathroom floor. Hours after I had heard that flush sound in the dead of the night. Hours I had spent sleeping, dreaming of chocolate cake. Hours

No one knew what had happened. The teenage son of the Sinha household in Delhi had been vagabonding out one April night, and had been stabbed mysteriously, only to have limped home and been found dead near the toilet the next morning. It was labeled one of those freak incidents that shook the urban middle class every few years, and had paranoid parents warning their children not to wander the streets after dark. We had to have our names changed for the press.

I spent the days after that particular morning locked away in my room, weeping between bouts of catatonia, into the stained handkerchief I had found on Shubham’s bed the night of his murder. I don’t quite remember when it was that I figured the brown stains on his handkerchief weren’t chocolate, but coagulated blood. Mother disappeared into her job, staying back late in an office that she hated, but nonetheless hated lesser than the growing lacuna at home.

We never brought chocolate cake home again.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Two summers later, when my brother was fading into memory and photographs, I sat talking to the single mother of the little girl I babysat over the weekends.

“I have never told anyone else this, Sanaya. I hope I can trust you…” I could see unspoken words burrow into her flesh from the inside out. A feeling I was all too familiar with. I encouraged her to speak. Maybe… Maybe I’ll tell her my story, too…

“I almost lost my little girl that day, Sanaya,” she rasped. I hugged her, feeling my own eyes well up with tell-tale water.

“I don’t regret stabbing that bastard, son-of-a-bitch. I did what I had to do when I saw my baby unconscious in his arms,” she continued. I froze.

“Wha- What?”

“Yes. He then jumped over our garden fence, the way he came in, and got away. Never saw his face in the dark, but he was a young chap.” I felt insects crawling up my throat.

“B-But what was he doing to her? What happened?”

“Two years, and we have never told anyone the truth… When we had her checked at the hospital later, they found a saturation of tranquilizer in her bloodstream. The bastard. He fed it to her in a piece of chocolate cake-”

Posted in Life, morning, Poetry

morning

 

is soft

upon the ears,

eyes blink away

perforated sleep

where aurora

waits to burst upon the horizon

like birdsong

 

early namaz

creeps upon the city

like a slow apology,

the crows an interpolation

 

a distant alarm goes off

like shards upon my soul

and it dawns on me

that this city-

stirring awake

like a drowsy child-

harbours enough restfulness

for chaos to skulk away

and sharpen its fangs

in darkness

 

my mother’s low breath

in meditation

tethers me to silence

and i wonder

who it was that said

 

crows do not sing.

 

 

Posted in Life, Poetry

Bridge to Tomorrow

Men dream of tomorrow to get through today

Like children detained from an evening of play

Will press their sore noses against frosted glass

And savour the sight of bare feet on the grass.

 

Men dream of tomorrow, but clocks do not lie

Like reveries that unrest beneath do belie,

For time flows like blood from wounds rankling and deep,

And dreams are but wishes that morn cannot keep. 

 

Featured image: http://www.messagetoeagle.com/
Posted in Humour, On Love, Poetry

The Romantic

Here’s some satiric poetry inspired by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s cocky modern verse. (I’ve attempted to use the anapest, but since this is my first attempt, I’m not quite sure about the success of my execution) 

There lived a romantic with daydreams of gold,

He brooked and confessed love in words proud and bold

To every dame passing his idle sojourn,

His days fancy prose and gay songs did govern.

 

One day, he descried a fair maiden in white,

Who blushed at his glance, clutching wild flowers tight,

And danced in the breeze, singing softly and sweet

As peaches in spring was the minstrel indeed.

 

The noble young man was as charmed as can be,

He gripped his pale pen and spewed rich poetry,

Before he accosted the beauteous broad,

And said, drunk with love (Oh, I pity the sod),

 

“Young lady be mine, and my heart claim to keep,

Pray, claim that I put that blush there on your cheek,

Forsooth, your decline would condemn me to weep-

Oh, can we but truly get married this week?”

 

And giggled the lady, so flattered she was,

And took his firm hand- no demurring, no pause-

“I’ll be your fair bride if you’ll give me your all;

The songs of your strength your pale pen stands to scrawl.”

 

And so the two youths sauntered down hand in hand,

Into the red sunset, towards lonely lands,

Where, smitten, the lad did indeed use his pen

To evince his zeal in the arable glen.

 

So truly he loved her, so soundly he slept,

And dreamed of the rosy-cheeked babes he’d beget.

When dawn graced their shady nook with golden shine,

He woke with the glow of manhood in its prime.

 

And seeking the bringer of joy bountiful,

He turned on their mossy bed, saying, “Beautiful…?”

But oh, there was naught but a few broken leaves

Where lain had the wonder of his youthful dreams.

 

And found he his pen and a note in the cap,

Saying, “Night was great, honey, and so was the nap…

But now that your pen and free verse I have seen,

To stay and get married, no more am I keen.”

 

The poor young romantic lamented and wept,

His spirit was shattered and sundered and swept

Into the forsaken brown valley of woe,

Alas, off the cliff then himself he did throw.

 

‘And what of the vixen?’ concerned, you enquire.

Oh, stood she before a mirror to admire

Her newly combed tresses and fresh powdered jaw,

And thought of the foolish young lad to guffaw.

 

So folks, this dour tale does bespeak the sour truth-

Beware, naïve young maidens and hon’rable youth,

Don’t let the romantics your standards perplex,

It’s really quite simple; it’s all about sex.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Poetry

Reflection

Curse not the man who screams at you,

And smites you with convulsing lips.

No lasting grudge let stain and hew

Your heart, that fragile peace equips.

 

For, only one whose dark inside

Has atrophied with time and pain,

Will fire spit, in rage confide,

As joy to share does not remain.

 

Featured image courtesy deviantart (a beautiful lie)

13 things you should know before traveling overnight by Indian railway:

                             

Puri_Lokmanya_Tilak
Coimbatore to Mumbai: Lokmanya Tilak Express
  1. Don’t follow the herd at the station, everyone only knows which platform the train is arriving at after it has arrived.

  2. You will discover a whole new avenue of boredom-eating (and the olfactory-tantalizing aroma of samosas sold almost perpetually doesn’t help).

  3. Wear pants the waistbands of which can be loosened.

  4. Your mother will develop a sudden and unprecedented interest in your Kindle just when you reach the part where King Theoden dies in The Lord of the Rings (Oops. Spoiler alert.)

  5. People will always ask, “Papa kidar hai?” When they see a mother-daughter duo traveling alone.

  6. Don’t scream at the sight of that small, dark shape between your luggage under the seat, it’s probably just the boy-next-door’s runaway sneaker. Probably.

  7. Butt aches are inevitable.

  8. The travelers in your coach will be in a covert contest to see who can snore the loudest.

  9. Ergo, you are likely to dream of dying elephants, before waking in the middle of the night to find it was your cochlear nerve that was dying.

  10. Reading into the night has a whole different appeal to it… solitude in a tube full of sleeping people gives one an odd sense of solace.

  11. Despite being advised against the same, use the restroom at stations (or halts) to avoid peeing on your shoes.

  12. A two-tier A/C coach is usually monopolized by old people, and a 3 tier coach by screaming children.

  13. Scratch that. The screaming children reign EVERYWHERE.

    IMG_20160530_090526587
    Ek rail safar ki baat: Berth of boredom
Posted in Holiday

The Big Bum Theory

13 things you should know before leaving for a holiday in Maldives, to ensure you’re not an ignorant bum:

  • Shop enough prior to departure, lest you find yourself chopping up perfectly good pairs of jeans into hot shorts (to mummyji’s horror) the night before your flight.
  • If you think Mumbai is hot and humid, boy, will Maldives surprise you.
  • Butts are susceptible to looking incredibly huge in swimsuit candids. (‘The Big Bum Theory’ as my dad insists on calling it)
  • Do not freak out when you look in the mirror after a day in the ocean. (Yes, it’s your own hair on your head, not a wad of seaweed, and the bloodshot eyes aren’t conjunctivitis, but merely the effect of saltwater).
  • Take your camera to the all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, and a can of air freshener to the bathroom the next morning.
  • Never go canoeing against the direction of the ocean currents.
  • On second thoughts, do exactly that. Having to get towed away by Maldivian Water Rescue is more fun than you may think.
  • Ladies, don’t be afraid to use tampons. No, you DO NOT lose your virginity to the insertion of one into your lady parts!
  • Avoid falling off the Jet Ski if you seek to impress the hot instructor guy, because having to clamber back onto the watercraft will certify you the queen of Klutzville.
  • Avoid contact with any Unidentified Floating Objects in the ocean; what looks like an undulating piece of cloth from afar is probably a sting ray.
  • Waking at the crack of dawn will never be more rewarding; the orange tint of the incandescent sky is enough to put even Trump’s complexion to shame.
  • There is no such thing as having a stay ‘long-enough’ in Maldives. Leaving hurts. Period.

And finally,

  • SUNSCREEN DOESN’T WORK. Given the Melanin content of the typical Indian’s skin, expect to return looking like a misshapen sculpture carved out of cinders. Ergo, brace yourself for the inevitable ‘Hai beta, kitni kali ho gayi hai!’ from the concerned aunties in the block.
 
Posted in On Love

Aspection

An inspection of the situation

unveiled several reasons

for my desolation.

 

…he was stolen from me

 

Retrospection, being inevitable,

triggered an evolution

of these reasons.

 

…he chose to leave me

 

But it was introspection,

forcing the cold daggers

into the hollow between my ribs,

that finally showed me the truth.

 

He was never mine.

sad chick

 

Posted in Introspection, Life

Sometimes it takes darkness to really see

light-in-darkness.jpg

It’s 1:15 AM, and I struggle to type in the darkness, darkness I daren’t banish for fear of my slumbering mother waking up. The dead of the night is a great time for revelations.

I am someone who’s thoroughly dissatisfied with life, despite being graced with necessary material comforts and generally favorable circumstances. Over the years, I have developed a penchant for brooding about the higher purpose of life, ruminating about the true nature of the inner self, and generally pondering the extent of the futility of existence. I drive myself crazy wallowing in unhappiness about the fact that I’m not happy. In fact, I’ve got so used to feeling melancholic about existence in general, that the familiarity of the feeling has caused me to inadvertently build a comfort zone around this particular state of being.

I often have lengthy, cathartic colloquies with a couple of my friends, who share my acknowledgement that life is meaningless. One of them, however, brooks a perpetual “I-don’t-care-about-the-redundancy-of-living-cuz-I-just-wanna-create-cool-shit” attitude that I have been unable to fathom, despite it seeming like a highly desirable attitude to live with. How does one conjure the enthusiasm to wake up every day and go about working, loving, TRYING so hard in life, when it’s all meant to end? Somehow, my mind seems inclined to leap right back into that cesspit of an existential crisis.

Sometimes, like right now, I can’t sleep, simply because I know that tomorrow’s going to be just like today, which was just like yesterday, which saw us engaging in feeble attempts to grace our lives with redundant actions and achievements. But presently, boredom and my Facebook feed conspired to lead me to a bunch of quotes by Charles Bukowski, one of which jumped out at me. It reads as follows:

You know, we’re monstrosities. If we could really see this, we could love ourselves…realize how ridiculous we are, with our intestines wound around, shit slowly running through as we look each other in the eyes and say “I love you,” our stuff is carbonizing, turning into shit, and we never fart near each other. It all has a comic edge… And then we die.”

I laughed (silently) for eight minutes straight. In a moment of clarity, I suddenly seem to have assimilated the fact that our lives, our pain and fears and love- it’s all a cosmic joke of epochal proportions. Maybe, if instead of going all doom and gloom over the whole Mono No Aware side of life, I ought to acknowledge how little we really mean in the grander scheme of things. Life’s too trivial to be brooding about the meaninglessness of it all. Besides, existence really is hilarious, with all its paradoxes and dramatic irony. We’d do well to laugh this ephemeral life away, than ruminate all the way to the grave.

I’m pretty certain I’m going to relapse into a cycle of what-is the-meaning-of-life in the near future, but even a fleeting epiphany goes a long way, and when in the cesspit again, I shall remind myself of this moment of acceptance, and draw from it.

And to end this piece, regretfully platitudinous in its hopefulness, I shall paraphrase the words of another wise man I much revere. “Life has no higher purpose. Life is a purpose unto itself.”