Oh no! This isn’t a sight the artists would paint pretty But the one the poets would run away from in search of peace Yet the writers would love to stumble upon the chaos- For the “rush” that inspires an early mid-life crisis or a moral turmoil once in a while. I might speak otherwise, but the city- it has my heart; Born here- you’ll never realise the difference Travel a step or two: within this city you’ll come across abundant hues. The roads here are always rushing The streets crave for pin drop silence- Alas! All they accomplish is pitch dark corners; Harbouring a new crime or conning a judge for an event soon to be deemed “historic”. History here once was a matter of gallantry and pride- Memoirs of war heroes; battles- now merely “narrated scars”, Monuments standing tall and wide; Crossroads named after idols who once had a future bright But how come the present is dusted with a “phenomenon” called smog? Is it a roof over head for those who are “forced” to sleep beneath the stars on the umpteen footpaths? Men and women torturing each other inside homes, keeping themselves vocal But no one to raise a voice against the unjust! Oh yes! Communities for festivities and fancy parties But in times of hardship are we all alone? I might speak otherwise, but does the city have my heart?
She was painting a picture, Water blue, the sky lit white Shore had yellow, mustard, a bit of brown But how did the sea in her picture make that sound? Bikini and sunglasses, readers and surfers But why could he not un-see that sundress fluttering and listen to that one girl thinking? The bushes were green; flowers dotted pink, yellow and red But why it was the wilted ones who talked beyond words? The memories were clear, the picture being painted with a hint of quagmire But why were the details from that one dialogue reading between the forbidden lines?
Did a few words ever brought you close to someone? Did they make you feel understood enough to communicate your feelings one more time and then another till it finally became a common abode for the both of you? Do you remember mumbling those few words (most of which were mere sounds) only your mother could make sense out of until you gradually learnt to form nonsensical sentences which were a cluster of random words? This was all happening in your mother tongue and slightly in English if you hail from an “educated” Indian family. As you grew up you still were struggling to pronounce your words right and absorbing more of those in your evolving memory so that you could communicate with clarity. With time, experience and adequate nutrition develops mind, physique and personality. This also leads to emotional and perceptive growth in turn enabling you to express your individual self as well as identification within a social group. Does language play an eminent role throughout? Remember entering teenage and creating your own jargon with a bunch of friends while the teacher emphasized on “minding your language”? Also, the schools made an attempt that you developed an extensive vocabulary and got the “English” grammar just right. We were told to speak in English, watch English movies and develop a habit of reading English books while the mother tongue was a havoc and led to “fine” or even deduction of a few marks/ credits here and there. Subconsciously, we were taught that English was a superior language. But what was determining this hierarchy? Who were the people influencing our mindset even with the presence of abundant diversity in the Indian heritage? Being a British colony did hit us hard but after that we had enough time to embrace our own culture! Yet we are awed by the Western lifestyle. The need for globalisation has made it necessary to share information via a mutual medium but that never meant for us to start demeaning our own regional ethnicity.
The early men started communicating using gestures which were accompanied with the sounds they made. It was slowly and gradually that the words were formulated. Scripts and grammar were created much later. Languages continue to evolve even today especially its vernacular attributes. This was happening simultaneously all across the world amidst the primitive civilizations. Now the modern man can easily learn languages that belong to a different country while sitting at home itself. He can improve his skills by talking to the native speakers who volunteer online or wish to exchange knowledge about each other’s language. The media now is easier to access. It is appreciated to be multilingual. It opens up our mind and broadens are learning abilities further. It allows us to empathise with different cultures with regional literature as a powerful tool. But again, hierarchy and popularity of languages is extensively analyzed and understood before taking up a new one. Every time we visit a new place, especially the ethnographic researchers, the natives share more of their lives with us if we speak their tongue. This hints at the sudden sense of belonging that a mutual language generates. Also, have you ever grooved to the tunes of a song that wasn’t in a familiar language but still felt relatable? It shows that language is aided with expressions and emotions that need to be conveyed. A language may not be that easy to decipher and would require linguistic professionals, however it is an extremely powerful tool to share all those beautiful thoughts in our head using the innumerable precious words.
Been stuck in a room; now for a while? The windows are at a stand still, The curtains flutter towards the familiar edges, The walls- they wouldn’t move The fan hums in an absurd harmony while the roof reeks of monotony- Truth be told, the time has come Try and take heed beyond that stubborn door.
Been trapped in a city full of lights; now feels like a lifetime? The road is drenched with noise The flicker of the red light glitters; Yet it doesn’t appease the one in your eyes The sky is dawned with dusk The pace now depraves the lust for the details- Truth be heard, the time has come Try and find peace in a lover’s arms.
Been loved like never before, now for an eternity? The walk- the talk- the fears- the tears- Lived through them all The fun and games have been left behind Curiosity now pays the debt of adapting; The stories aren’t wicked anymore, Just crooked with yet another encore Truth be felt, the time has come Try and stop being a slave to your inner boredom.
You came across these words Glad, probably intrigued Hence, here I assume you have a shelter to retreat I know you can read; I wish you understand.
The world has come to a standstill; even though for a brief timid while- It had been all over the headlines But there’s a mother in a village who knows not why- The world is shutting down While her’s isn’t even around. What went wrong? Why was the voice trembling in those last few calls? A wife cooks that humble delicacy now reduced to two or even one meal She might not understand the written- But deciphers the silent cries in those last few calls. The little children roaming around had been asked to stay home While their mother struggles to get their lessons right They wish their father’s stories were a little more convincing over those last few calls.
Have you ever been in memories? No, not in love- that in itself is a bitter ball game But in memories of someone not for a day or two- Somehow, managing to take heed for an eternity Not the same forever A picture- new and vivid being painted each time One morning, a flicker of the first kiss Another night, all the reasons why you walked away An evening filled with contemplation of who’s, what’s and why’s A noon in remembrance of all promises made with fingers crossed and heart set free A dusk of those absurd fairy lights with giggles and laughter A dawn of tears when we couldn’t stand each other. Do you ever stop by in someone’s dream? In nightmares hurting them; A little more dramatic than reality, In day dreams- as stories that were never lived. Do you know? Do you realise? Somehow I wish they weren’t just mine.
Oh he is 6 feet 3. Appropriately built, athletic, dimple on his chin, curly hair, smirky smile and prettiest eyelashes- a fashion illustration walking in real life! I come across him at the gym almost everyday- Monday to Friday 4 to 6pm, Saturday around 2pm and I haven’t been there on any Sunday. Every time we cross by a rom-com followed by an awkwardly wide blushing smile starts taking form but thankfully, just in my head. I could bet he was a model and my stalking skills affirmed it. I found him on Instagram. He might not be aware of my existence on social media but he wasn’t unaware of the real life version of me. We exchanged glances several times and the lucky days were when we would do alternate sets on the same equipment. We had the most meaningful and deep conversations where I would ask if we could go alternatively and he would sweetly (read bluntly) reply ‘No, let me get done first’. Yikes! He’s rude and that’s hot. Anyway, that was my cue to stop dreaming of him.
No, crushes don’t mean to stop ever. ‘Stop’ here translates to obsess with him and dream exaggeratedly of him even when wide awake. After crushing on him for around a life long of five months we finally matched on some dating app. I wished for it but wasn’t expecting that. We started texting. He would not reply in more than three to four words. That meant he either had string of girls drooling over him or just didn’t find me good enough. Anyway he asked for my number. He hadn’t shown up at the gym since a few weeks but now if he did- man! it would be awkward. He asked if I would like to meet him. I would love to! But what would we even talk about in three or four words. I might be able to hold my impulse over texts but in reality, I TALK. We decided to meet on a Sunday and when it arrived I felt almost stood up because he had gone several kilometres away and didn’t text in the morning. So I carried on with my usual Sunday schedule- sleeping. A text popped around 3pm and it said let’s meet in the park near the lake anytime I was free. His kilometres were now back to the usual. Cool! But park is a weird place for a date. When I was almost going to prioritise my Sunday sleep another text dropped and it said ‘You play badminton, right?’. I jumped out of the bed, got dressed for a badminton date (not too sporty, not too lady-like) and met him in an hour.
Damn! He was beautiful. He had made no attempt to dress up yet looked magnificent. We started looking for a place to keep my handbag away and play the game. We even had bit of a conversation which made me realise he wasn’t uninterested he just wasn’t a very good talker. He struggled to frame his sentences right. We played for over an hour continuously and he was pretty good at it while I was bearable. We exchanged our general where abouts over the game itself. He even taught me more about the game. It was truly fun. I had never been on such a date before. Then it was time for me to leave. He walked me out and suddenly he realised that he had lost his house keys. We got back in park and tried finding it for a while before giving up.
I reached home and received a text from him that he had a wonderful time and would like to meet again sometime. I concurred. The next day I received a text from him that read ‘I am getting harmonal disbalance’. I was a little confused so asked him ‘What?’. To this he replied, ‘Don’t you go through the harmonal disbalance?’. Now I was clear about what his ‘hormones’ desired. Somehow his desire was understood but it was his way of expressing that was such a disappointment. So much of obsession, such an amazing game and this is how it ends! I shouldn’t have dreamt of kissing him while I zoned out in a class. I was definitely scared of my karma but you gotta do what you gotta do. Therefore, I started ghosting him off course after taking the wise advice from my friends who were aware of the intensity I wanted to scream with.
After a few days while emptying my bag I found the single key to his appartment. I was obliged to inform him that as a responsible human.
P.S: I still have that key lying somewhere around my apartment.
Wasn’t a morning, neither a night It was just a noon- a time nobody cares to write with pride That is when I met him Rather a glance while he was at rest. A beggar, a thief or just another vagrant- Simply I do not know. I saw a man that just ‘another afternoon’- A man sleeping on the road, The penchant for pain was obvious Hence, I stood there in awe and wonder No alcohol, just a dirty pillow beneath his dreams An ugly torn quilt atoning the crimes of that winter wind. I looked and looked; It was more than a while Tucked in during the day time A tiny wound let his head hurt Did anyone sing him a lullaby? Did anyone, anyone kiss him good night? When ire of his destiny started knocking at the door of my empathy- That is when I decide to get past
I saw the man Now a chilly night He still was tucked in, sleeping sound I stepped towards him That is when derision mocked life He still was at rest, but now in peace .