Monday, January 15, 2018

Prison

​I've built my prison
Brick by brick
Cutting off branches,
Burning bridges,
Turning a deaf ear,
Shutting my eyes.

A window I've left
For the sun and the wind;
I peer through the hole
At the sliver of the sky
Across which strolls
A slice of the moon.

The visitors thinned​.​
The calls diminished.
What right have I
To complain of ​fate:
I'd asked for this,
I got what I wished.

From their memories
I've now vanished.
From their lives
I've been erased.
I got what I asked
For I'd asked for this.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Restless Mind

Where does this restlessness stem from, and why does it not go away?

A constant state of discontent, the feeling of having left tasks undone, the shadow of a deadline over my head; no matter how much I run towards my goal, it continues to remain at an arm's length. One more step, just one more. Just one more thing to do before I can stop.

Why are we never satisfied? Never at peace?

What next? What next? The tiresome search, the incessant longing, the evolving ambitions.

Am I stuck here with no apparent escape, forever struggling to break free, torn between burning desires and fear of change? Every year I find something new, hoping that it is my deliverance. Every year it passes and I'm left behind. Hope – the damnedest thing!

Is it something to do with age, or the fact of, in all likelihood, being closer to the end than the beginning? The fear that time is running out, and will be gone before I can figure things out? Are we supposed to figure Life out at all?

Among the many things I dreamed of at different stages of life, even my so-called achievements lost their sheen soon enough, because new quests and hunger took their place. In spite of everything, are we expected to leave, feeling unsatisfied, incomplete, failed, at the end, because of that one unfinished task?

Why is it that every day the exasperating questions Where am I ? What am I doing? Why am I here? keep pounding inside, giving no peace? Will a person who has found her raison d'être be really content? Or will there be one final incomplete thing for her to be sorry about?

When will my search for the me-shaped hole in the universe be complete? And what if I never find it? And if I ever do get there, wherever there is, will I be satisfied? At peace? Or will I pry myself loose and go wandering again?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A page full of words

Life is like a page full of words - each person has a page on which is written the story of their life. There is only one problem - the sentences are not complete: there are blanks - dashes - where certain words should be.

Every day we hop through each word. Every once in a while, sometimes more often than we like, we encounter a blank - and it is up to us to fill it, based on our experience and knowledge and current mindset.

What words do we choose to fill it? The easiest one? The quickest one? The most complicated one? The bravest one? The smartest one? The cowardly one?

I - do it.

I will do itI cannot do it. I won't do it.

It's up to us to decide. Our choice modifies our story. More blanks appear.

Some sentences remain unchanged, regardless of the words we have chosen. They're the fixed pillars of our life.

Thus we hop through our page, word after word, filling the blanks when we can, how we can, believing it will enhance the story of our life, that it will save us from peril, that it will improve our future. On certain days, we jump over several words; on others, even one is an effort.

Some people try to get away without making a decision by swinging over the chasm of the blank. Some leap too hard and fall between the words and perish. Some climb back up and continue their journey. And some... get tired of the seemingly endless hopping and let themselves fall between the cracks.

Some are given more words, and some don't have enough to fill the page.

Until finally one day, we reach the last word on our page and hop out forever...


Monday, November 13, 2017

Shadows with Dreams

I cannot be your shadow 
That fades at noon
Or melts into nothingness
When the sun goes down...

I am not the bottle 
you toss away, empty
In the midst of your 
cross-country run

I am not the twig you break
Nor the grass you step on
Or the water you push back
When you swim forward

You pass me by; unseen 
My struggles, my progress, 
With your eyes on the horizon,
Seem to you like baby steps

I'm seeking unexplored oceans; 
Unseen depths of the woods
The other side of the desert
The vast expanse of space

I must be the sun 
I must be the chequered flag
I must be the trophy; 
I'm the finishing line.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Lost Child

The little girl was missing.

A thousand storms burst over my head. Lightning flashed in my eyes and thunder roared in my ears. A little girl entrusted to my care was missing! What could possibly be worse?

“I don’t know where she is, Madam!” The ayah who was supposed to keep an eye on the children waved her hands up and down in a pointless gesture that could mean that she was terrified, or that it was not her mistake, or that she didn’t know what to do. When I turned towards her, I could see the fear in her face. She seemed to be more frightened of my rage than of the fact that the child was lost. The same fear that was in my eyes, but for a different reason.

If I could vanish with the lightning, I would gladly have. I ran my fingers over my eyes.

The ayah just stood there, bewilderment and helplessness on her face, waiting for my orders, whereas she should have been running around looking for the girl.

“Go, find her! Go find her! Go!” I yelled. She just ran, possibly to hide herself from my fury, I thought vaguely.

I took a few deep breaths. She was right there, an hour ago, when all the children were taken for lunch to the third floor. I was there myself, supervising the proceedings, making sure all the bouncing, squealing, laughing seven year olds were within view. It was only a matter of a few more hours, three at the most, and the ordeal would be over. After the children finished their lunch (during which I had to keep yelling every two minutes to make it fast), we took them as carefully back to their classrooms. Yes, Nishika was there then, I was sure, for I remembered noticing the way she straightened her dress and pulled her hair back carefully behind her ears like an adult. She always made sure she looked right and set her lips in a way some women do to pretend that everything was alright. She must have seen someone do it. Then she sat down by her model to wait for the next visitor.

Continue reading ->

Saturday, September 30, 2017

If only...

How simple life seems through the eyes of a child; how easy!
Life is either black or white; right or wrong; this or that; left or right.

How strange adults are, how proud, how arrogant!
How heavy the burden they carry,
How unbearable the sins of their past;
How they struggle with a simple smile, a sorry...

How harsh on friends but kind to strangers they seem.
Polite to the powerful, how callous to the poor they can be.

How quickly occur misunderstandings,
How difficult they are to resolve.
So unsolvable are small disputes;
So effortless it is to hold a grudge.

If only things could be as simple as seen by a child
How easy theory appears against practice!

If only one could live for the moment,
Forget every tussle in minutes,
Worry not what may befall, fear not the future.
If only one could bury one's ego...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dreams

If you have a dream to pursue,
An ambition to chase-
That does not involve
Worrying about tomorrow's meals,
Or about a loved one's incurable disease
Or about your child's school fees,
Consider yourself lucky.

Because there are many
Whose today's dreams
Are confined to
Making tomorrow's ends meet.
They may be denied the luxury
Of dreaming the way you do.
Or perhaps they have cast aside
Burning desires that once kept them awake.

If you work for your goals or not;
Struggle with failures or not;
If you have twinkling stars in your sky,
A rising sun on your horizon,
If you don't see death in your spouse's eyes
Or pain in your beloved child's,
Consider yourself privileged.

Spare a thought for those
Whose dreams may never be;
Hold your luxury close, value it;
Tomorrow the tide may change.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Inspired

There will be death. There will be illness. There will be failures - tonnes of them. Any narrative that does not acknowledge these can only be partially true, at best.

We're no longer inspired by brilliance that has faced no setbacks. Heroism that knows no doubt. Success that has encountered no roadblocks. People who experience no longing. Happiness without misery. A God with all the answers.

We're inspired by weaknesses. By failures. By repeated disappointments. By abandonment. By uncertainty. By depression. By a series of mistakes. And then by a spark that has to be blown on for minutes, for hours; that has to be protected against excessive wind and rain until it bursts into flame.

We're inspired by oceans that have no borders, by the land that we lose sight of, by the water we swallow while we are drowning, by the strength of will that survives in spite of impending doom.

We're inspired by the smallness of our world, the largeness of our hearts, the blueness of the planet, the greenness of nature, the darkness of our deepest feelings, the enormousness of a man-made structure, the endless expanse of the Universe.

Quite simply put, we are inspired by those that we chose to be inspired by.