Let them be kids now


 

Lazy afternoon nap, I was taking at my home town. Amma was sleeping next to me, muttering the same question 100th of time, ‘when are you leaving for Delhi?’

She waits for me, coming home to sleep with her, telling her my office stories, and sharing my life with her. She counts days, rechecks my bag to count clothes; I brought home, to be sure about my days at home.

Amma, I told you so many times; its’ tomorrow evening’, my raised voice made me sound annoyed this time. Amma didn’t say anything after this; she got up quietly and sat on the bed, looking for her old and dirty spectacles. I realized my mistake that very moment and dragged my head to her cozy lap. ‘Amma, I told you, I can’t ask for any more leaves; they will kick me out of this job’, I tried to soften my voice as much as I could. She remained silent and kept on running her fingers through my hair and I almost cried at the feel of them, all my childhood memories stayed there in my closed tearful eyes, for a moment.

The days, when my now-85 years old, thin, physically fragile Amma, my grandmother, used to be a strong headed, single, and an independent woman; as I recalled her in my childhood days. I remember how even old villager men were scared of speaking anything nonsense in her presence. My mother is an emotional woman and exactly opposite to my Amma. I hardly remember my mother shouting at us, or caring for our school dresses, studies or anything else, she used to be too depressed and sick to do that all. Actually, she didn’t need to as Amma always played a strict and dependable father to us, shouting at us, fighting for us, supporting us physically, mentally and financially too. I remember her busy days starting from getting us ready for the school, working whole day in the farms like most of our villager women do, scolding us for playing too long or for not studying.

She was heart of our family, taking care of everyone, scolding every one for not being perfect at their jobs. Everyone used to respect and get scared of her, at the same time. She was still working like a strong man, few years ago until this dreadful disease hit her. I could have never imagined Amma as such a weak person, who now needs another person to even fetch a glass of water too. Walking slowly in the veranda of our house, she is hardly noticeable. Maybe new brides, kids, newborns in my house have taken much important place in everyone’s life. AND, now she has become a task for everyone; her special meal, her medicines, her appointments with doctors, is job to everyone. She coughs all night and everyone complains about their disturbed sleep. She forgets things and keeps on asking same question, but sadly my busy family including myself has no time to repeat the same answers for her.

But, then I saw my cousin holding his two years old daughter and answering to her repetitive questions about the flower pot in our veranda. What was the difference, I could not understand? I was wondering how many times Amma would have answered our weird questions? How many times she would have hugged us when we were hurt playing? How many sleepless nights she must have had, when we were having fever? This was never a task for her; it was a joy to her; it was her life. And, now when she needs us, she is task to us. We explain, saying, ‘we are busy in our own life.’ I wonder if she didn’t have any of her own life while we were growing.

I guess this is not only my story. We all are impatient with our oldies; we ignore them assuming they don’t understand our modern lives. Now, may be they are weak and have a short memory; but if you remember, we used to be exactly the same, when we were young and then, they nurtured us with their love and raised us to what we are today.

I hope we could be the same to them as they were to us. When we had tiny hands and no voice; when we were strangers to the world and the world was to us, they held our hands and let us see, speak, understand the world through them. They spent a life time to make us understand the world and gave the most pleasing memories of our lives. So, what if they don’t remember anything now, can’t we make a new memory every day for them; as a small effort to repay the IMMENSE which they gave us and they are still giving us. Love can overpower the most terminal sickness too. They supported us when we were kids so don’t you think, they also have a right to be kids now.

Then why we treat them as a task in our lives, why we are impatient with them.. we have played enough on their shoulders, now it’s their turn.. Let them be kids now….

My head was still resting in Amma’s lap and she again asked me, ‘kalu jana tu? (When will you go?)’ I kissed her lap and said, ‘kadi ni Amma’ (NEVER Amma).

Smoke


On a winter evening;

smoke comes to me as a secret chum,

Smoke, I make in the air;

Smoke, people hate about me…

Smoke of disappointment;

smoke of pleasure,

Smoke, who hides my past for a moment, I dare;

smoke, who gives a hope to have a future, bright or not; I hardly care…

Roasting peanuts’ smoke,

smoke wafting from my home’s chimney

Smoke from my village’s open fireplace;

that village, where I always sought solace…

An aspiring smoke and a deceased smoke;

that was the smoke and this is the smoke,

smoke, on a winter evening;

smoke comes to me as a secret chum…

Blue-black ink


On a sooty shelf;

found an old diary,

Looked for a virgin page;

started writing a smoky poem.,

Sniffed a whiff of happiness;

inhaled a cool puff of life,

Saw starry nights in my smoggy room;

my skin imbibed the white smoke,

Page is no more virgin,

pungent, blue-black ink;

Dropped in..

‘February; Friendship and Feelings’


February is about kisses, chocolates, hugs, proposes; that’s what everyone around is telling me.  Happy rose day; happy pose day! Happy propose day; happy remorse day! Hah…. So, February is love for you and I guess for everyone else. But February is nostalgic for me, every single day is full of nostalgia; nostalgia of friendship, nostalgia of togetherness, nostalgia of laughing aloud, nostalgia of crying hard, nostalgia of living a lifetime in one year, nostalgia of making the best friends for life.

‘De’s been with me since the time; I didn’t even know how to spell ‘FRIENDSHIP’, and she got married 5 days ago, which is like a dream to me. I have never told her that she is my best friend and neither had she felt a need to convey the same to me, anytime in last 25 years.

I met ‘Dr’ through her and never met a more selfless person after that in my life. I remember Dr’s reaction when she saw me lying in the hospital bed; she wasn’t able to see my one leg and thought that doctors have cut my leg just after 15 minutes of my accident. She started shouting and crying like anything, oh god, I can’t forget her face.

And yes, Su;Su’ is one lady in my life who doesn’t know what fear is. Shop-alcoholic, fearless, bold, sexiest in the group and we call her ‘Satyabadi.’ She doesn’t know what a lie is and her Satyabadiness made her meet a wonderful man, whom she got married last year and that too in February (See, February is special).

Lastly, Chinky and Nones ; my only friends from college and they never stop fighting with each other. I can proudly say that there exists one person on this earth, who is more confused than me and that is ‘Nones’. ‘Chinky’ is what a true friend is, emotional, loving, caring and knows what friendship is.

The craziness began when we, six stumbled on each other in one city at one time and five of us staying under same roof. Oh man! What a ride that was; a road accident that I can never forget, friends laughing with/on me, on a hospital bed, a friend who lost true love of her life at the same time, wounds; visible, invisible, smiles with tearful eyes, craziness, a passion as journalism, a job paying me Rs. 7000, break-ups, patch-ups, friends supporting my madness, full adrenaline rush and what not! Life was hell and heaven at the same time. Friends were family and sometimes more than that. Su and me, the only entertainment in the house. Nones was dealing with the biggest catastrophe of her life, and chinky, struggling to prove herself in the big city with her big dreams. De and Dr, our full-time mothers, cooking & feeding all of us, picking me from my night classes at college and they still are full-time mothers for me. I never felt a need to call at my home even after one month of my being bed-ridden, due to accident and the reason was De & Dr.

That was the year when we discovered a new word, ‘Adam-teasing’ and Su, of course was the inventor. That was the year when we learnt, life is a struggle and this struggle is fun with friends. That was the year when we learnt, friendship is not about being judgmental, friendship is not about doing favors and making your friends realize about those favors but friendship is about staying together with friends, laughing in the dreadful situations, no matter what world think about your friends but you must know how you keep your friendship alive and fresh even in the tough times.

It’s been five years for that wonderful year but I am still floating in nostalgia. I know, life has changed for few of us and life will change for rest of us too but I am sure that this friendship will last forever and when we will be grandmothers, I will still be the biggest ‘Phenku’ of the group, De & Dr be our mothers, Chinky and nones be fighting with each other like the way, they always do and Su would still be our leader for Adam-teasing and we will still laugh with/on each other sitting in a park, on a winter afternoon, enjoying the sunshine, the sunshine of friendship, true friendship.

Love you all….

An Ode to my lost love


Love was always ‘freedom’ to me. Free emotions, Free love, Free lives!!

Friends ask me, “don’t you miss him in your life.” I don’t know or maybe I don’t realize as I have a busy life. Missing a person in your life means missing a caring heart, a few phone calls, an outlet for your happiness, your frustration and if this is all about missing a person, I think I never missed him. I am emotionally independent since the time I was born so missing a caring heart is no big deal; moreover I don’t feel comfortable when somebody is caring for me. Phone calls?  Well, I talk to my 5 five fingers of friendship, almost every day plus the fifth one stays with me and her nagging habits and the non-stop 24*7 loud mouth hardly let me miss any tête-à-tête or pillow talk in my life. And yes, the frustration, I got to tell you this part!! Recently I have grown this habit of abusing people and learning new slangs and at this moment, I can proudly say I know at least 100s of Hindi, Pahadi, English, Portuguese and Spanish slangs which can lob all the sleeping bugs out of your ears. Believe me or not; but when you abuse someone loudly with the dirtiest slang you ever know, you feel extremely relaxed and happy.

So, if I don’t miss him and my lost love; why I am so sad and incomplete. When everybody is around me then why I miss someone every time. Maybe I really don’t miss him but for sure I miss something. Now, when somebody asks me to trust her or him I look at their face with a raised eyebrow. Now, when somebody tells me about their love stories, everything seems a big lie to me. Now, when somebody smiles at me, I start looking for the reasons behind that smile. Dreams, smiles, love, and care – everything is so momentary. No doubt I am stronger now, but I miss my fragility. For sure, I have become more secure in my life but I miss those little vulnerabilities, I used to have. I live more in my present now but I miss that little girl who used to spend hours and hours in thinking about past and daydreaming about future.

I miss that beautiful and confident lady inside me who was ready to love a person with whole heart, surrendering everything of hers for that love. I miss those sanguine eyes that used to believe ‘Everything will be alright in true love.’ I miss that innocence in my smile when I used to wait for him for hours and hours without ‘a single blue line of nerves’ on my forehead. I miss that woman who used to trust everyone and anyone in love. I miss that woman whom my friends used to say, ‘you are lucky darling.’

When I fell in love; I remained the same person; I was before love. In fact I came to know who I am, when in love. But to my surprise, falling out of love was different. I was no more ‘Me’. I knew and I used to believe that you don’t make love; In fact its’ love that makes you. But love sometimes breaks you, and that too in the finest parts and even if you try to gather those parts and make a ‘new of you’, it will always be ‘a new of you’ not ‘the same you’. so I don’t say I miss him or I miss my lost love but for sure I miss ‘Me’ , I miss the person I used to be when in love….

Main tenu fer milangi kithe? kis trah? pata nai – I will meet you again, where? How? I don’t know


It was 3:50 am in my digital table watch. Things were so spread all over in my room that even if somebody breaks-in; he has to actually search for hours and hours to steal the stuff. This is me, in my ragged knickers, sitting on my sofa-cum-bed-cum-carpet with a laptop on my lap. The irony is even after 36 hours of brain-fuck (yes, that’s the new word I have learnt), including 12 hours of detaining at the airport and 24 hours of travel (deportation to-be-specific) back to India, I was still restless and awake.

I think this is what exactly happens to you when you suddenly meet a person who is not a different person; but your alter ego. The one, who responds you in just one go; the one, whom you talk to the first time; still he makes you feel like, you have always been belonged to him. The one who reminds you of signals and symbols from every Paulo Coelho’s book; the, one who reminds you of Amrita-Imroz and their paintings & poems.

It was only two days, not even two days and he is all over me; from hell-head to toe. We haven’t met but feel like we have already spent a life-time together. It seems as if we belong to the same place or the same destination or at least we will meet somewhere before heading to our destinations. I know he is so-not-me, I am so-not-him. He is a nomad river and I am like a tranquil foothill. He wants to walk on the waters and I would like to wait for him on every shore. He wants to let his soul roam across the world and guess what; I dream of becoming his that-soul. He is those dry leaves of a tree which would like to be free and flowing with the air; and I am as stupid as that tree that would cry after every parting and again wait for the next spring to meet him.

I hate him because of his carelessness, his happiness, his ‘I don’t care; I don’t feel anything’ attitude; maybe because I always wanted to be like that but could never become. You know what it might sound crazy to you; but he is like one of those giant fast streams which is so fearless as if it knows it is going to swallow everything that comes its way. He is as raw and pure as nature and I guess that’s what charms everyone more-or-less like me. Life was simple before he happened to me and now nothing more is simple. He unhinged me, every emotion of my life, my priorities, and my dreams every-damn thing. He hasn’t any fear of losing anything as he has left everything behind; but I am yet to find the reason why? He is like the golden words of my favorite books or that fragrance of my old novels which let me freeze and make me alive in a single moment. He is like that fog on the rugged roads of my village which used to play hide and seek with me. I know the more I effort to get closer to that fog; the more it’s going to be away from me. I want to get lost in that fog but I know even losing myself will not be worth.

To love a person is easy but to love a soul is different. I haven’t seen him, felt him or touched him but it seems, he touched my soul somewhere. I am yet not sure if he even remembers my names’ initials or not. I don’t know what and how much he matters in my life but for sure he is one hell-of-a-person in my life that made me believe serendipity  possibilities, signs, symbols, or Brian Weiss which used to be the words of a different language of a different planet for me. I remember Punjabi poetess, Amrita Pritam used to describe her relationship with her lover Imroz, “Yeh mein hoon, Yeh tu hai, Aur beech mein hai Sapna.” I don’t know even if my love or whatever it is, so intense but that’s the same way I am feeling right now it’s absolutely me, him and this dream.

From the day he happened to me, whole world seems like a big signal to meet him. I remember apart from sun rays and cool breeze in last morning; there were so many signs floating in the air. Remember the saint smile of that hotel manager, that stranger baby girl who stopped and waved me good bye, the guy wearing that familiar blue jackets in the same shuttle to our plane. Everything seems to be a symbol, an omen –good, bad I hardly know. Sometimes you just get trapped in a long, dark tunnel and unable to see the bright rays of hope on the other side of the tunnel. For a different reason I am happening to see the other bright part only; no more darkness and I guess this hope will bring him to me and One day I will meet him, where how , I don’t know. I read this poem long back and liked it; that time I didn’t know the meaning but today every word seem to explain ‘ME’ –

Main tenu fer milangi

kithe? kis trah? pata nai

shayad tere takhiyl di chinag banke

teri canvas te utrangi

ya khore teri canvas dey utte

ik rahasmayi lakir banke

kamosh tenu takdi rawangi

Jaa khore suraj ki loo banke

tere ranga vich ghulangi

jaa ranga diyan bahwa vich beth ke

teri canvas nu wlangi

pata nai kiss trah-kithe

par tenu jrur milangi.

Jaa khore ik chashma bani howangi

te jiven jharneya da paani udd da

main pani diyan bunda

tere pinde te malangi

te ik thandak jahi banke

teri chaati de naal lagangi

main hor kujh nai jaandi

par ena jaandi

ki waqt jo v karega

ae janam mere naal turega

Ae jism mukkda hai

tan sab kujh mukk janda

par cheteyan dey dhaage

kaayenaati kana dey hunde

main uhna kana nu chunagi

dhageyan nu walangi

Te tenu main Fer milangi…

                                                                                                           –         Amrita Pritam

She is with me


For last few days, some sounds are literally being resonated in my mind. It feels as if I want to stop somebody from going away. I say, ‘stop, listen to me once; I can’t live without you; this is going to be hard for me; once you are away.’ But it’s not stopping, it’s going away; leaving me crying on my knees; yelling at myself and my stupidity; lying on the desert , a large and lonely desert which has nothing for me; no water, no love , no life.  I keep on thinking whom I miss so much in my life, who I never want to say goodbye to. I have almost everything with me and why I am saying ‘Almost’? I definitely have everything with me. Lovely family, lot of good friends, love of my life, then what is it, which is indispensable for me; yet away. I want to chase that figure, go after it; want to know who and what it is? I tried several times, but I get exhausted running after it, the moment I catch it, it slips from my hands, it disappears, it fades and there is only a white smoke of disappointment every time.

Then, this day happened to me; which was quite an unforgettable day. From love to work everything failed; not because, I made a mistake but because it was a failure from the very starting. I tried a lot; sacrificed a lot for making everything work; from career to love in my life. And, I succeeded. People loved me because I pretended; I wanted to shout but I laughed. I was not happy with my relationships but I pretended to be in the best relationships of the world. I was never content with the outputs, I got at work but I faked to make the things look the best.

But one day, before this broken morning, when I was alone in this god-dam crowded city, I got to listen my own heartbeats. Every heartbeat, slowly, audible but still silence. All around this huge world what really mattered were my heartbeats. This is what makes me alive; if it stops, everything stops. If this is there deep down in my system, my system works. I have this with me; my heart, my heartbeat, my life, my companion, then why I was afraid all these years; of losing things, getting hurt, crying hard, living the way I wanted to. Now, the chase had been stopped; I was calm and composed enjoying myself.

That figure was still 2 steps ahead me but I didn’t want to catch it now. I didn’t even want to know who and what it was. Eyes closed, counting my heartbeats, I just wanted to be in that state. Then something strange happened that figure turned. I opened my eyes slowly to have a look; it was there, she was a girl; a beautiful girl, smiling to me. I shook my head, my eyes seem to cheat me; my mind was absent and I tried to recognize who she is.

Slowly the figure became clear to me; she was me, a girl; honest and pure as innocence, long back I used to be. No fakeness, no lies, opening my heart to every second person I used to meet, helping everyone without an expectation, making people smile, smiling and laughing without guilt. I found her finally, she imbibed me deep and once again I started listening to my heartbeats not in silence but even in this big deafening city full of fake people around me.

I understood the only thing you need in your life is to be alive and Mean it when you say,’I am alive’ and I am ‘ME.’ Now, I don’t get afraid, I don’t lie, I don’t pretend. Why??? Because, she is with me and she promised to be always with me, no matters what!!