To Those ‘Once Upon A Time’ People

Hi,

Once upon a time I knew you.

You knew me too.

We don’t know each other anymore.

I don’t know why I thought of you today. It is not that I have forgotten you. You stay in my memories, and they never leave me alone. But today I think of you as my ‘once upon a time’ friend and I smile.

There are so many of you. Your faces pass before my eyes like pictures imprinted on a roll of photographic negative film. I see us laughing together, crying even.

Once, one of you told me that I was an important shade on the canvas of his life and that I will forever be there. I want to tell this to all of you. You all have been very dear pages of the story of my life. You all played your roles so beautifully. Some exits were dramatic, some just phased out like they were tired out of the long-drawn drama; some got better roles and simply quit.

But all of you left me with fond memories and warm smiles. The embittered feelings are there no more. All that is there is the feeling of ‘what-if’. We didn’t work. Do I regret it? No. I have accepted it. But yes, I never wanted us to not work. And this is not my justification. It is my mere confession.

So, my dear ‘once upon a time’ people I truly wish that you are doing good. I really hope that you are happy and smiling. And I pray that life is kind to you and God, merciful.

And I also wish that you don’t think of me or miss me. Because if you are, then we are just like those two people who are sitting with their backs to each other and wondering why they are not able to see the other.

Though I do wonder. Yes, I do wonder.

Do you ever think of me?

Whom do I mention here? There are just so many of you.

Those school friends, those friends turned foes turned strangers, those crushes, those ‘best friends’, those guides, mentors, and inspirations. Those fellow colleagues, writers, bloggers, chatters, talkers, strangers.

And then there is that old, ‘once upon a time’ me. The one whom I left behind with you all to be.

recite

 

The Book Thief

In the short life that I have lived I have read few books. And from those books only countable have been able to make it to the list of my favourites. Today one more got added to the short list – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Here is a book which I am sure I will read it time and again. If ever I become a mother then I will give this book to my children to read and perhaps grandchildren too. Yes, I even pictured a wrinkled, weak and frail me with sparse silver white hair on her skull, sitting in a wooden rocking chair and sifting through the book.

This book is ageless, just like how the narrator describes Werner to be. Werner, brother of Liesel Meminger and the first person to come in contact with the narrator. The Book Thief – here is a story about words, about love, friendship and relationships, about life and Death, about bravery and humanity.

This is the story which comes straight from the heart. It is filled with a warmth that seeps into the reader even as she eyes through those words that describes snow clad Germany. This story will make you happy, it will make you smile. This story will also make you sad and it will make you cry. It made me cry.

One cannot say for sure whether it has a tragic end because even though there is loss the story ends with a sunshine of hope. The characters are timeless. They will stay with you long after you have finished reading the book. But there is an end to each person’s story. And perhaps that is the reason that even though you are left with a hollow in your heart that usually accompanies the end of each book one reads, there is also a peace and a calm that it tags along and which continues to warm your heart.

All I can say is that today I earned a new friend, a new friend which will stay with me for a lifetime. And even though it is too soon, I wish that when I meet the narrator, he finds me lying amidst the words of this book.

23rd July 2015 – 8.30 am

Now that the hunger has subsided, let’s get down into the stream of consciousness. Travelling in train in the month of July is something I don’t think I have ever done before. And now as I sit in the sparsely populated 2-tier compartment, with people still devouring the depths of a slumber which eludes them during their mundane daily lives, I have finally gathered enough mettle to jot things down.

I would have loved to do it with a pen on real paper. But oh the spoilings of technology. That reminds me he had asked me yesterday about keeping a pen along with me. It had happened while I was giving finishing touches to my packing. It was a question that I had let gone unanswered. I guess it is Murphy at work all over again. I felt the need of exactly that what I had not bothered to pack.

Getting back to travelling in train during monsoons. Its certainly bliss. Especially if you have caught on to enough sleep during the dark hours to wake up at day break. The view from the window is serene. It is all green to the last inch of horizon. The air is cool and fresh and the entire nature seems to be on a weekend mode. Spring definitely is the weekend for nature.

There are the freshly ploughed fields with soil which is not caked but looks beautifully dark after being washed by a night pour. Then there are certain fields which are done with sowing and tiny plants have started to emerge from earth’s surface. Some of them probably celebrating the days when they finally witnessed the sky. They remind me of my own back at home. I am the careless mother to them who are being tended to with utmost love by their father. Yes, of the two of us he is the one with the green thumb. All I do is breath in their freshness and greenness that too for my own comfort.

This journey is turning out extremely blissful. With the company of a heart-warming book I have a vast expanse of green carpet laid outside the window. As the trees run past many things crop up in my head and all of them barely make their presence felt. It seems like a melee of thoughts but a happy one if something like that is even there.

I look at the tiny bird which is flapping its windows with all his might trying to soar to better heights. Then there are those stray skeletons of dwellings standing little away from the tracks which often make me wonder about their stories. There are those huge electronic grids the rows of which go till the horizon. And those hidden shrines and ruins of some small temple hidden beyond the dense wilderness.

All this raises just one urge inside of me and that is to know about their stories. Stories of those farmers who have ploughed all those fields, about those who used to dwell in those abandoned, ruined dwellings and about the million others who walk those small muddy roads, who live beyond the small stations beyond which I cannot see. I wish someone could tell me. I wish Ruskin Bond could tell me.

एक और कहानी

उस कमरे में एक अरसे से रात ठहरी थी

वो कही नहीं जाती

बस वहीं एक कोने में सिमट के पड़ी थी

बिखरी सी सिमटी थी

माँ जैसे करीने से कपड़ो की तह लगाती थी

वैसे ही उसका आँचल पड़ा था

रात का आँचल ओढ़े वो रौशनी की सेंध लगाती थी

एक अरसे से रौशनी को ढूंढते

उसने उस ठहरी रात से दोस्ती कर ली ।

Life… as we know it

and at times you have to satisfy yourself with the fact that even though it got over, it did happen.

that they lived every second they were given and touched the sky every chance they had.

The day will grow on you
so will your shadows

the person you meet at the end is you.

Few words will remain unsaid,
few will be written but may never see the light of the day,
and rest will be wasted

in the end, everything is overcome and a life is lived.

PS: Lines 2,4 and 6 are by Mr. Irfan Kazi. Many thanks to him for making it so beautiful.

Disconnect

Disconnect and you shall set yourself free.

Off late, I get this urge of throwing away my cell phone. Once considered a luxury, the present-day symbol of status, in my opinion, is the cause of all our problems today. Until we have this damned gadget in our hand, we can never gain that peace we so desperately seek.

Today I tried disconnecting. I went for a stroll and made sure to not carry my cell phone. The cautious head said “Oh what if you get some urgent call? What if after you return you find that your family is in a state of panic just because they couldn’t reach you? You know how they are. What if this happens or what if that happens?” I still stuck with my decision of leaving it. Then my cautious mind resorted to more alluring temptations. “What if you struck upon an idea of a story? What if you see something that you want to click? What if you want to communicate with someone?” I became stubborn and despite my mind making all these noises, I walked off.

My mind is one fussy kid who really doesn’t know what it wants. It is fickle. One moment it wants something and in the next it wants something totally opposite. It is really a task to tame it and quiet it. But today I found the key. I disconnected. I did it against the will of my mind.

In the beginning, it whined a little. Tried to distract me, tried to trouble me with alarming thoughts. Then I gave it his favorite lollipop. A bookshop. A quaint little peaceful bookshop. I touched the books. Several of them and then I sat and read three stories – two of Ruskin Bond and one of Anton Chekov. I had previously read one of Ruskin Bond’s story and the Anton Chekov story.

“What is your dream?” a story by Ruskin Bond which I had read long back. A very small story. This story had not made much of an impact when I had read it the first time. But today I read it in a totally different light. Today I took it all and let it seep into the deepest trenches of my existence. It was as if fate had conspired me to read it again. I love the works of Ruskin Bond. He is my favorite author. Today I fell more in love with his words. Today I disconnected and got connected to a love long forgotten.

The second story – “The Bet” by Anton Chekov. I remember reading this story when I was a school kid. I had loved this story from the first read. There were many stories that i read as a child, but there are three stories that have remained with me. These were “The Bet” by Anton Chekov, “The Gift of Magi” by O’ Henry, and “Love Across the Salt Desert” by Keki N. Daruwalla.

It had been long since I had read these stories. Years long. And today, by some divine conspiracy I stumbled upon this thin collection of short stories by Anton Chekov and the first name in the content list was “The Bet”. And that was how I revisited a lost love.

Somehow both stories spoke of freedom. Each spoke of freedom in totally contrasting contexts. But the eventuality was that they spoke of freedom. I don’t know if it’s my current state that is reading too much into mundane things, but I want to take it as a sign. This disconnection restored my peace. It calmed my restless mind. And here I am back with this menacing gadget, pouring my heart and happiness out.

Yes, there is a beautiful and different kind of happiness in this tranquility. And I am savoring and lapping up every bit of it. I disconnected and i reconnected myself.

“live long my friend,be wise and strong, but do not take from any man his song” ~ Ruskin Bond (What is your dream?)

waiting room

its a room.

a room filled with sepia light

a door from which I came in

a darkness from which I came out

there is another door

a door which will lead me out

a door leading me into light

till then i am here

in this room

my life now

the waiting room of my life

 

Crossroads!

These days I feel like screaming at people. I want to scream my rage out at those whom I have never screamed at. People, who come scream at me whenever they want, who dump all their rage on me and go away. All I do is listen to them silently, speak to them softly with a hope that may be, may be my calmness would help me ward off their rage, may be it will help them calm down too and understand what I feel. I understand their concerns, I understand their anxieties. But are they even trying to understand me?

I have a lot to say. But I am not able to. I thought maybe I’ll write it all down here. But this place isn’t safe anymore too. And it saddens me. I dunno whom to blame. I feel like running away from everyone. Probably end myself so that it can be end of all my miseries. But I will not do that. I can’t give up this time. I want to live. All I want is I want to live it the way I want to and not in someone else’s way. I need strength. I have a lot of fight to put up. I am breaking every moment. But I can’t afford to. I may cry right now. I am trying hard to hold back my tears from escaping my eyes.


I am having trouble accepting the fact that I cannot keep everyone happy. But am I wrong to expect that maybe I can convince them and in the end all be happy? I don’t want to harm them. I love them a lot. But they think I don’t, just because a chose a different lifestyle for myself. Oh God! Why is it all so difficult? Cant I just fast forward my life and see what is going to happen? The anxiety is killing me.

…and to be loved.

Trying to find a voice, that would perhaps floor anyone who reads me. I wish I had a complex head. Which could spurt surreal. I try to imagine, but all that this mind conjures is what they call ‘cliched’. 

Where do I fit? A bit too much at times. At times so less that I fade away without a hint. For moments I’ll be the violet and the indigo and then I’ll turn grey.

Easy I am? I don’t want to be. I want to be incomprehensible, the vague, the juxtaposed. A puzzle. Let me be a dark poetry. One with lot of twisted images, grotesqueness. I’d rather be that than be beautiful. I want to be loved too. Loved because I am exquisitely ugly. Touch of my withered skin would bring them joy. Their pleasure be my cries. Their elixir be my blood.

Living in a form like that of a shapeless dark shadow, I want to be that for whom the sound of nails scratching on the surface of slate be music. My wails be their songs. My pain, my ache  be their source of mirthful bellows of laughter.

What a pretty ugly picture! One that makes your nerves cringe, one that makes the blood in your veins freeze. A picture with grey, chapped lips. A picture with a dark scarred face. A beauty of its own. I want to be that.

I want to be that and be loved.

"Would you want me when I am Not Myself?"

I am not happy.
And I wish to stay 
in this state for a while.
I am somehow hating my smile.
Somehow hating my every 
smiling pic ever taken.
I deleted all the smiling pics 
that were stored in my phone.
I want to get rid of this sweetness.
Its nauseating.
Its utterly nauseating.
I feel like scratching my face off.
Just stay blank.
People will question me.
They will not like it.
They will ask me “why”.
And I’ll remain quiet.
Because for now 
I can’t.
If I smile I would be faking it.
And I don’t want to be a fake
for other’s sake.
So let me be not happy for a while.
And here I ask the question
my favourite question of all times
“Would you want me when I am Not Myself?”


PS: Dear John Mayer, I Love You.