The Boy Whom I Loved

“Why don’t you get married” asked she suddenly. I was not prepared for this question from a total stranger yet I fumbled through an answer to put down the lid on the old lady who was grilling me on the subject which I thought people have forgotten. She seemed a jolly old lady who dared ask me about my single status and seemed satisfied with whatever answer I offered and so I asked her the story of her love and marriage. She gave me a tricky answer which I could not comprehend. She said “though I never married the person I loved but I lived with him all my life.” She laughed mischievously as I gazed at her in my stupor. Old lady is entertaining me with stories I thought. Before she rolled out another bouncer “and you know his wife too approved of our love and never complained my living with him.” “Have you seen titanic” I asked. She winked in affirmation and said “do I remind you of Rose in her old age”?.
I smiled as that was what I was thinking,
“My story is similar only the setting is different” she said getting up to leave as she saw my friend coming.
“Your granny is simply great” I said to my friend when she showed up. “She is not my granny she is my grandfather’s girlfriend whom he did not marry” came another bombshell. The old lady was indeed in love with my friend’s grandfather when the country was going through the cruel period of the partition. They were drifted apart by cruel tide of time which spared no one in those difficult times. They ultimately met again when the dirty dust of bloodshed and violence had settled. But by that time her grandfather was married and settled with two kids. Her grandmother also a victim of the pitiless rioting preferred to have her home than live with the guilt of thrusting a hapless lover of her husband in the ruthless world. Such was the time and so deep was the love that though my friends grandparents have passed away she lived with the family loved and revered as any granny in a family.
“And you know why she is here?” my friend asked. I shaked my head to indicate ignorance. “You know my brother and his wife were heading for a divorce. “But theirs is a love marriage isn’t it “I intervened “as if love marriage is some guarantee for happy marriage” she protested. “ But now this old lady has settled the issue by citing example of her love for my grandfather and importantly my grandmother’s tolerance”. she continued “for years I did not know her exact relation to our family but never was she despised by my grandmother they lived like best friends always.”
“It is sad that we the present generation which has every comfort and security keep forgetting the good things and harp on bad things to draw daggers on the boy or the girl whom we love while this old lady in her late eighties still relates stories of her love and charms us with her love life.” my friend said moodily as the old lady came with cups of hot tea to relate another story.

Unshed tears

Like dark clouds they strain,
On the verge of blue sky,
Vying to rush and drain,
The sea of her cheerless eye,
To show strength to world around,
With great effort she smiles,
For her child she holds the ground,
To protect from vile and guiles,
You left me alone she says,
To the one that parted ways,
Her heart for one thing craves,
As rough weather she braves,
Haven , where without fear,
She can let go that unshed tear.

The boy whom I loved

“Why don’t you get married” asked she suddenly. I was not prepared for this question from a total stranger yet I fumbled through an answer to put down the lid on the old lady who was grilling me on the subject which I thought people have forgotten. She seemed a jolly old lady who dared ask me about my single status and seemed satisfied with whatever answer I offered and so I asked her the story of her love and marriage. She gave me a tricky answer which I could not comprehend. She said “Though I never married the person I loved but I lived with him all my life.” She laughed mischievously as I gazed at her in my stupor. Old lady is entertaining me with stories I thought. Before she rolled out another bouncer “and you know his wife too approved of our love and never complained my living with him.” “Have you seen Titanic” I asked. She winked in affirmation and said “Do I remind you of Rose in her old age”?
I smiled as that was what I was thinking!
“My story is similar only the setting is different,” she said getting up to leave as she saw my friend coming.
“Your granny is simply great,” I said to my friend when she showed up. “She is not my granny she is my grandfather’s girlfriend whom he did not marry,” came another bombshell. The old lady was indeed in love with my friend’s grandfather when the country was going through the cruel period of the partition. They were drifted apart by cruel tide of time which spared no one in those difficult times. They ultimately met again when the dirty dust of bloodshed and violence had settled. But by that time her grandfather was married and settled with two kids. Her grandmother also a victim of the pitiless rioting preferred to have her home than live with the guilt of thrusting a hapless lover of her husband in the ruthless world. Such was the time and so deep was the love that though my friend’s grandparents have passed away she lived with the family loved and revered as any granny in a family.
“And you know why she is here?” my friend asked. I shook my head to indicate ignorance. “You know my brother and his wife were heading for a divorce.” “But theirs is a love marriage, isn’t it?” I intervened “As if love marriage is some guarantee for happy marriage,” she protested. “ But now this old lady has settled the issue by citing example of her love for my grandfather and importantly my grandmother’s tolerance”. She continued “For years I did not know her exact relation to our family but never was she despised by my grandmother and they lived like best friends always.”
“It is sad that we the present generation which has every comfort and security keep forgetting the good things and harp on bad things to draw daggers on the boy or the girl whom we love while this old lady in her late eighties still relates stories of her love and charms us with her love life.” my friend said moodily as the old lady came with cups of hot tea to relate another story.

value friends

It was early morning and I was lazing when she called up.“Is it really her number” I looked closely to reassure that she was the one who was calling then ignored it. “I won’t spoil my mood early in the morning”, I said to my self pulling the bed sheet over my head to slip in to the comforting world of morning slumber. A beep of the sms disturbed me again irritated I jumped out of the bed, it was her sms it read “ I know you are awake but not picking up my phone because you are distressed because of me, want to tell you that I am suffering from cancer. Wanted to say sorry to you before I die.” I deleted the sms thinking that it was her regular trick. She always resorted to such histrionics to set the train of our derailed friendship on track. She had that habit of offending people in public and pleading innocence in private. In our last encounter she offended me more than I could tolerate so we were out of touch for three to four years. Many days passed nothing in this matter happened and the message and its sender were forgotten forever. It was a lovely morning and I was scanning through the newspaper when my eyes detected a familiar name in the obituary column. It was her name. She was gone. My eyes welled up. Everything seemed so meaningless, my ego, my insult. But I realized it very late. I cursed my self for every thing but alas. We were great friends and took each other for granted. But on that fateful day the devil in my mind said she is guilty and must be punished. I have that habit of withdrawing myself without giving reason because what anyone else does is their problem but what I should not tolerate is my discretion. That was what I thought till that day. Today I have changed and say what ever others do is their problem but I will see only the good side of everything. Because of my stupid ego I did not answer the call of my dying friend. I have got a fitting punishment of living in permanent guilt. As children we speak out our minds openly but as adults it becomes difficult to speak out for so many reasons. The fruit of innocence once touched by the finger of reason loses its bloom permanently. Thereafter there is only reason for every thing. The beauty of art of living fades with childhood and the ugliness of adulthood survives like unwanted weed difficult to get rid off. Through the tainted glass of adulthood everything is tainted. Even the most pure things appear otherwise. The purity of thought fades away. But some events give you a jolt and you want to dust away the dirt forever and retain only the innocent purity, what ever the price.

Emotional atyachar

A beggar woman flaunting a tiny unprotected baby in rags, at the traffic, signal asking for five rupees to feed the baby paint a smile on my face. Not that I am insensate to the privation that the poor face. I smile because at least they exploit our emotions just to satiate their hunger. Emotional exploitation is the most powerful tool of exploitation in our country. Actually we are trained from childhood to exploit the world with our emotions. A child wailing to seek attention learns its first lesson in emotional exploitation when the mother gives all the attention when it cries. With these memories the child grows in the world equipped with this deadly weapon to take on the world. The development of this skill depends on the effectiveness of the skill in individual cases. The more the effectiveness better is the development. No wonder a pampered child grows up to become a world class emotional exploiter. The best thing about this form of exploitation is that it is not punishable. So it is up to the exploiter when and where and how to use this weapon. Gandhiji used this weapon when he compelled people to join his non violent Satyagraha by going on fast whenever people did not support his nonviolent ways . . People supported his cause and bravely faced the British lathi charge not because they believed in non violence but because they loved Gandhiji. Or else how do we explain the violence that broke out after partition. His emotional exploitation of the nation got us freedom from the English rule . The comic side of this is that the exploited gets a high when the process of emotional exploitation is at its high. It is almost like a terrorist attack you never know when the emotional terrorist will strike. Or should I say it is like a sugar coated bitter pill one only realizes the bitterness when the sugar coating of blind love dissolves in the saliva of truth.

I have been a perpetual victim of emotional exploitation and know how stupid one feels when the fact dawns. A friend almost always floored me with her emotional assault every time she said “oh, what will I do without you?” she is older to me and knows that I love and respect her for what she is. I would instantly believe myself to be indispensable and do anything she said instantly and with enthusiasm. Poor me, not gauging depth of that petty emotional stream, dived in the stream of emotions only to get my head banged on the hard surface of reality sooner that expected. Today I laugh at my stupidity in believing such emotional outpouring to be true and at my overlooking the meanness behind such calculated overflow of emotions. She has moved away to another town and in a way she is doing very well with out me being around. But when ever she gets a chance she teases me about how innocently I assumed myself to be indispensable and that too not directly but by convincing someone “oh what will I do without you”.

Fortitude

The roads bear a deserted look,

As the hot sun bakes up every nook,

But the neem tree in the garden,

Casts a cool shadow like a loving warden,

The sap in its trunk is bitter,

Yet the leaves shine with glitter,

A tanned laborer works in the sun,

As rivers of sweat down the body run,

He looks up at the green neem tree,

Then sets off to his work with glee,

Both of them bear the burn,

With cold grit they mock the sun,

I stand at the window witnessing the craze,

Determination has the power to bear any blaze.

The twinkle of the wrinkle.

The twinkle of the wrinkle. Every one wants to live long but no one wants to grow old. The other day my friend’s father said “I have a very repulsive face”. The old man is handsome, suggestive of the much better past and he knew it too. Yet that comment came from him. “I immediately told him that he looked handsome despite his age. My compliment made his wrinkled leather shines as he held back his naughty smile. It is common practice to compliment the young people about their looks but this practice works wonders in aged people. The wrinkled face granny glows at the reference of her being beautiful in her youth, add that she is much more beautiful today she blushes like a young girl of sixteen. Old age is not an illness, it is timeless ascent. As power diminishes they grow in beauty not only of body but of mind too. But this beauty like any needs recognition and the aged strive like all for recognition. Though, with age they understand that beauty is skin deep but they surely like to explore the depth of their skin. I love the way aged people hide the faults of their children. By doing so, they show us what age has taught them.

My friend’s father had returned from the U.S.A after spending time with his son, after his return everybody found him subdued but nobody knew why. Earlier whenever he returned he was vibrant after the holidays and ready with tales of his grandchildren. The other day my friend called and asked about his father’s mood. I told him what I observed. He had called his father to discipline his sons who were growing up. The old man used our good old Indian way of tuning up kids who do not fall in line. Things were going fine till the disciplining process was limited to verbal tuning. One day the old man raised his voice and used his hand too. American kids are trained not to tolerate physical violence, one of the kids called the police and the old man was in a soup. Since that day he had not been able to come out of it. He returned to India but the things that happened there troubled him. And from his behavior it was still haunting him. My friend asked me to talk to him and help him if possible. The fact that the little grandson making a police complaint against him, for so small a reason broke the little hope he had and after his return to India he died within a month. But the old man never discussed the issue with any one nor did he hold a grudge against any one including his son. The other day an old lady who lives alone in the neighborhood, was telling me that it was not her sons fault that she is staying alone but it was her choice. Living in the same town the son did not even bother to take care of his mother who stayed alone but she did not say so. Ours is the country where we touch the feet of the aged to show our respect for their experience and wisdom but some where in our race for success we are forgetting that the twinkle on the wrinkled faces of our parents is the indicator of our success.

memories

A canoe of memories floats,

On the waters of time,

Like a lamp lit,

To illumine the darkness of my nights,

When you returned home in the evenings,

The birds chirped with me,

You would bring in joy,

In my little world,

Where you lost the way,

I still cannot know,

Those were the days of joy,

Those nights of colorful dreams,

Those evening of starry skies,

morns full of blooms,

Than who spilled tears,

On the smiling love story,

I hope you realize,

Whom you left behind,

How mercilessly you shattered,

The castles of our dreams,

Who will heal this pain,

That plagues me because of my madness,

To part or meet are matters of destiny,

The tears in my eyes are gifts of your love,

Lets not talk of days that have passed,

And set on fire a pool of water.

Fragile dreams

Like an ardor less flame,

The Venus dims,

The dark clouds,

Have borders blue,

Like dreams,

The stars fade away in the sky,

The night wastes  away,

In the sea of light,

Relax, oh dear,

Your star stirring embrace,

Beyond the horizon,

Stands the herald of light,

The night birds passionate songs,

Have ceased to reach the ears,

After the concert,

The crickets are asleep,

Silent cool breeze of morn,

That tiptoes into the world,

Ruffles the dried leaf,

As it comes,

Silence and sloth,

Soaks all the directions,

Chaos will roar again,

In the world very soon,

Dew condenses

On the grass blades,

Stars drench the earth,

With tears

Relax, oh dear,

Your star stirring embrace,

Beyond the horizon,

Waits the herald of light,

Prajakta flowers,

Fall at its feet,

With the wind disperses,

Its choked fragrance,

Aspiration, love and hope

Are deceptive,

Yet madly we worship

These fragile idols

The cattle awake

In the barn,

Send jingle of their bells,

To the ears,

Figures far away are,

Regaining the hues,

Rustle and bustle

Has started again,

Relax, oh dear,

Your star stirring embrace,

Beyond the horizon,

Waits the herald of light,

Call it a madness,

Of one night,

Call it a dream,

That stays for a night,

Relax, oh dear,

Your star stirring embrace,

Beyond the horizon,

Waits the herald of light,

The footsteps of light,

Can be heard,

Its golden flags,

Are hoisted,

Thousand heralds of light,

Will set the world on fire,

Exposed foolishly thus,

Criminals we’ll be tagged.

Uneducated Dream

dreamOne day I sent my dream to school,

To learn the art of survival,

A reluctant Kid, I dropped it there,

Promised to come to fetch it back,

When I returned it sat there,

Like an innocent child, ragged and tired,

After the hard day’s work,

Holding my hand, staring into my face,

It declared, “don’t educate me ”

“For I am a dream”

Since that day it sleeps  in my eyes,

Poor ignorant fellow,

Happy at its destiny.

Paper tissue

tissue paperSitting among the important things ,

The paper tissue thought “she loves  me”,

So happily it winked at the golden bangles,

Proud of its own destiny,

In came a hand and pulled the paper out,

Clean and soft spread on fingers,

Up went the hand to the oozing snout,

Sad the paper among the dirty strangers,

Said she seeing the twisted brow,

“oh you are just a use and throw”

On the shore

calm-sunrise Ahead lies the immense ocean;

Beloved, on the shore we stand,

Crescent moon’s fair sparkle,

Flings a mesh of soft rays,

Picture like the silent world,

A blend of dark and radiance,

Rarely the calm breaks,

When the nocturnal birds fly,

Blurred by darkness seem,

The blazing flames of the city,

The evident agony of existence,

Parked or stirred, are burnt,

A glittering ship on the horizon,

To the west fades away,

Like a squad of flames,

Marching in search of sun,

Softly the fluttering waves,

Ebb away on the shore,

Like the lovely dreams of life,

That Inspire, bloom, shatter and recede,

Yet, on the lovely shore,

Beloved, we meet,

For Life like the ocean,

is Neither just beautiful nor just solemn.

The lighthouse

In tempest the life ocean, dark the night,

On the water wriggles the angry wind,

The baffled stars suffocate in cloudy crowd,

With vengeance the wind rips the sails,

With ruffled hair the waves roar around,

Like A huge glass the waves break down,

Our ship sails on such a dark night,

A feather on the whirlwind flight,

But in the dark shines on the docks,

lighthouse2A beacon emerald silent and radiant,

Like an angel spreads its wings,

Carving bright figures on dark,

Watch the glitter on the castle far away,

And light the flame of hope, in your heart.

Nay

I have to say something,

But will not say,

At the threshold of temple,

Devotion will not, I weigh.

The fragrance of imagination,

Fills my heart,

Yet will not bloom

The flower of my art.

Of the stellar world,

I know the mystery,

But yet my words,

Will never reveal it.

A lonely purple cloud,

On the edge of the sky stays,

But the secret of its solitude,

No one will know.

solitudeOn the shore far away,

A silver liner is parked,

Yet it will never, Touch the shore,

Your graceful gaze,

Has set me ablaze,

Yet that fire,

Will never scorch you.

The long wait

flower-butterflyColourful butterflies dancing in air,

Joyfully ignoring any probing stare,

Smiling sunflowers follow the sun,

The moon drops in to join the fun,

A shy little star peeps in the twilight,

Tempting the others to drop in by night,

I sit by the lake waiting for you,

As the little grass blades bathe in dew,

All the orchestra comes to an end,

As the west dresses in black blend,

Still no news of your arrival,

Yet I live on to justify survival.

Blind!Who?

eyesThe colors of god’s kindness are visible only when reflected against His strictness. As a child, I always complained about his unkindness in not delivering me directly as an adult.  My mother tried to convince me that, there was fun in growing up, but I remained doubtful. Attending school was the main reason of my anger against god. My antagonism with the school was a source of amusement for the adults. So when it came to electing between NCC or Guides or Social service. I was to choose social service as it involved the least active participation and less attendance should not be the issue. When the NCC and Guides authorities rejected the students, social service people accepted them. Therefore, when I chose social service as my first choice the teachers gave me curious but welcoming looks. Generally, social service students had to visit an old age home and help the aged with some activity just once or twice in the academic year.

However, that year the teacher gave the students a real feel of social service. The students of social service painted the school compound maintained the school garden and many more activities to my displeasure. The appreciation from the school meant we had more activities on card.

“We are going to picnic with the blind students,” declared the teacher one day.

Everybody was happy because picnic meant fun. Nobody understood the responsibility involved in taking blind students along. The day arose our bus proceeded for the blind school. In the bus, every blind student shared the seat with a normal student.

. We were to get down and take charge of one blind student each. With inhibitions in my mind, I got down.

To be abruptly amid abnormalities is shocking. Deadly looking white colored cornea and frightening odd-looking squints scared me; I held the hand of a girl whose eyes looked normal at least apparently. As if my touch put on her button, she said, “My name is Smita. What is your name?” I replied.

“Don’t worry, I will not harass you,” She assured as if sensing my inhibitions.

Smita kept on asking me about many things I kept on answering her curiosity. Her questions irritated me and I rudely asked her to keep quite. She did not speak to me until we reached our destination. I did not sense any abnormality in her silence.

“Come on, let us get down and why are you  so quite “I asked

“Because you asked me to”, Smita replied coolly.

“I was watching the beautiful scenery,” I excused apologetically.

“But I missed it because you did not narrate it to me” said Smita.

“Sorry” I said almost in tears.

However, Smita forgave me readily.

“But you will tell me every thing on our way back” she smilingly said.

We were to climb up a small hillock to reach the top where there was a rest house. The way was rough. I offered to hold Smita’s hand so that she did not fall, but confident Smita chose to walk alone. The cool breeze and beautiful weather gave her confidence. She loitered alone in the open space; I kept a vigil on her. A big boulder sat on her way I shouted, “Watch out the boulder Smita”, but before I could complete she was bleeding, there was a small cut   on her fore head.

“If only I could see,” she said smiling.

What was easily possible for me was impossible for her but she had no hard feelings. She taught me what even the best teachers could not.

The teacher

lifeLife like a naughty child ,

Plays with me funny games,

Just when i am losing,

It throws in a new chance,

I pick up from there,

Happy at my own destiny,

When suddenly I realise,

The futility of everything,

The teacher called life ,

Teaches without any clasroom

Impassive Nature

breatheI have seen life and also death,

Difference between the two a single breathe,

A little red flower smiling in glory,

A twirling yellow leaf tells another story,

Dancing in death and smiling in life,

untouched by the routine strife ,

Natures song fills length and breadth,

life is beautiful so is death.

alleys

alleys Along the twirling path I love to wander,

In lush green grove in lovely meander,

 By the brook here there and yonder,

Along that coiling path I love to wander,

 Along the twirling path I love to wander,

 On the slick,slithery,slippery muck,

 Along eroded rock where one get stuck,

 Along that coiling path I love to wander,

 Along the twirling path I love to wander,

 On puzzling roads with mysterious zest,

 Along bamboo bushes in deep forest,

 Along that coiling path I love to wander,

 Along the twirling path I love to wander,

On the narrow constricted ones up the dale,

 On the high soaring ones beyond the vale,

 Along that coiling path I love to wander,

One that takes you here there and everywhere,

 One that takes you beyond the horizon ahead somewhere.

Mind your garbage

Psychologists use many techniques to differentiate between personality types. However, my maidservant has a unique technique, which can make the Jungs, Ericksons, Freuds, Frommes jump from their graves. The old woman judges everyone based on their trash disposing habits. I would not have discovered this had she not called me ziddi for waiting for the kachra wala and not allowing her to dispose our trash as per her wish. She was referring to the rigidity trait in my personality. Thrilled at her way of classification I probed further and what I found out is very interesting.

trashAn old man in the neighbour hood has a habit of stealthily throwing a bag of garbage anywhere other than the community dustbin. While his garden always remained clean, no one ever saw him disposing the garbage. Our old woman had seen him throwing bags of garbage in front of many a compounds she calls him chatra admi. Her judgment was close to accuracy as the old man was a known opportunist. There is another man who has small pit in his garden where he dumps all the garbage and produces manure for his garden from the waste. He is termed as chupa rustum by her. Surprisingly the man she was referring to is an introvert with artistic mindset. There is a person in the neighborhood that burns the garbage in front of the compound and ensured complete combustion. Interestingly her comment about this person was “sau choohe kha kar billi haj ko chali”. I must confess that person is a hypocrite.

The other day the same man in our discussion had taunted me on the amount of garbage I give to the kachrawala; he behaved, as if we were the producers of garbage and in other words pollution, while the stinky smoke that he generated polluted the neighborhood early in the morning. Charmed at the accuracy of her style of evaluating I tried to apply her theory to some more people I knew. The other day I went visiting a Sikh family I know, they were all pulling weeds from their garden. On my entry I was also asked to join “o aa ja pahle ghas ukhad phir chai piyenge ” out of my curiosity I visited them three days later and was happy to see the uprooted weeds lying there in heap, probably the extroverts were waiting for some one to help them in disposing them.

Happy at my own judgment I grinned. So this technique worked I thought. I shared this style of judging with a psychologist friend of mine. A big heap of garbage lay in front of a house. “This must be a house of an endomorph” she scoffed and before she could complete her sentence a huge bulky man rolled out of the house and we could not hold our smiles. Therefore, whenever I see small or medium-sized heaps of garbage I wait to see what type of person is it. Mostly the ectomorphs have small heaps and the mesomorphs have neat medium sized heaps. People having hold over the subject ridicule me, like any great person who puts up a new concept. The above fact itself is a proof of validity of the theory. While I work on the finer aspects of the theory, readers may draw their conclusions and contribute to the development of this new style of judging a personality.