Posted in Doodles, Experience, Poem

The House In The Village

After years of dodging; every occasion with a more bitter excuse
Finally came a day when somehow the visit just couldn’t be refused
From far away, that house in village stood still and tall
Now haunted with lifelessness
On inside did it suddenly grow small?
Or was it the memory of it that brimmed with grandeur?
The windows creak
The walls reek
Spiders smile weaving a trap of nostalgia
The garden once full of roses and lemons is now musty;
Haunted by emptiness somehow braved through my grandmother’s beliefs-
Evident by the statue of Shiva I remembered since I could remember;
Survived lessons from my cousins teaching me to play games-
While I stood there being timid, young and shy.

Monkeys in the yard
My aunt’s smirky remarks
Talking to uncles altogether a hurdle-
I knew I never would fit in there,
Now affirmed.
Yet the lullaby from past lingered longer
Singing to me of a wish why did I let go so easy-
So early at an age so tender!
Alas! Now it is too late to return
Only reminscence, what hath been done cannot be undone.

Posted in Article, Experience, Graphic art

A Letter To The “Almost” Discarded Clothes In My Wardrobe

Dear ALMOST discarded clothes,
They say vanity is shallow yet turn to it for rescue when in vain. We are made to believe that work, career and money are supposed to be the primary priorities and attire is completely secondary or even a little beneath that. But aren’t these secondary objectives the reason to prioritize the more meaningful ones? We experience that intellect stands with us throughout while beauty fades. But isn’t it because we let go a little too easy? Why can’t the two be in a symbiotic relationship? This is the reason for you adding colours in my wardrobe and my life.
The humble garments with a varying touch of fabrics had brought an utopia of its own kind to me. You have allowed me to be flattered of who I am and made me believe that I can be whomever I wish to be. You have made me feel pretty when a guy would comfort me for being ugly and showed me the mirror when I was too overwhelmed with my bold sartorial experiments. Those floral bras have supported me when nothing else was in place! My mother’s saree draping me with her nurturing tenderness had inspired me to care a bit more. Those socks, scarves, mufflers borrowed from friends never really meant to be returned open the doors enabling me to relive the several thousand memories and remind me of how I have a part of them in my own persona. The brother’s T-shirts meant to be worn out in the gym have made me feel loved and empowered simultaneously. Dad’s shoes have always been too big to fit in. The sweater from ex-boyfriend would never go well with any of the dresses yet it lies somewhere in a corner, at times tearing me apart. You may never get the credit for standing through thick and thin with me but somewhere unknowingly and without any need for acknowledgement you were giving me reasons to take care of myself.

My mother had been asking me to get rid of you since ages but looks like I can’t let you go. You have been a part of my evolving personality since a child who didn’t care of what to wear to a snobbish teenager, a girl in her twenties trying every bit to be a lady, a woman in her thirties who would realize she now is a rebel, another one in her forties who would question was everything worth it, one in her fifties drenched in nostalgia of youth and in her sixties a little content with herself because- she would have seen it all. How would bidding goodbye not be a matter of heartbreak? The time changes and so does the trend. Even if I choose to be a fashion laggard in the name of “experimental fashion”, you don’t fit me anymore. Hence, there is no way I can style you any further. Don’t worry, I won’t let you suffer with my younger cousins even when I am bombarded with the idea of responsible sustainable fashion as a trick reminder by my mother. I apologize for the times when I demeaned you and chased after the ones in stores and online even when you were in the best of condition. Sorry for differentiating amongst you based on brands. Sorry for thinking that you were not enough at times. My dad has blamed you for wastage of money but secretly you were giving me lessons on how to save for a reason. No matter how old we grow, howsoever we ignore each other I’ll always love you and know that you’ll always be there for me even if it has to be a different silhouette or a new form altogether.
Love,
The girl you own.

Posted in Artwork, Poem

Can I?

Can I tell you a secret,
Even if my lips promised the head to keep mum?
Can I narrate you a story,
Even though I don’t want you to recognise the fiction reeking with reality?
Can I sing you a song,
Even if the music can’t hide the shenanigan beneath the happy lyrics?
Can I look into your eyes,
Even when mine would let you glance through the tears I have been holding back?
Can I say all the promises I make are mere words,
Even if I stay wide awake making the ends meet?
Can I walk you across that one dreaded street,
Even if it ends amidst the unkempt memory lane?
Can I show you all my fears,
Even if I won’t be able to mend you for eternity; followed by those beautiful years?
Can I paint you a picture,
Even if I wish to mask the vision blurry?
Can I write you a letter,
Even when the words fain to lead towards the true expression?
Can I leave a mark,
Even if you wish to flaunt you’ll embrace it hidden?
Can I say the rose on my cheek is newly bought,
Even when your presence does that to me?
Can- I – Can – I – Can; but-
Alas! I better keep that secret.

Posted in Article, Experience, People, Photography

“Toffee Tureshi” Taufiq Qureshi Mohammad

Taufiq Qureshi. Have you heard about him? Well, I was fortunate enough to meet him in person very recently. No, I don’t talk of the Indian classical musician Taufiq Qureshi. Instead, I am talking about Taufiq Qureshi Mohammad- a ten year old guide. This little boy in pink shirt and green sweater has a lisp and I almost mistook his name for “toffee” but that is worth the sweetness in his story. Taufiq means the ability or opportunity to achieve success and this comes handy with education, knowledge and passion. Knowledge and education are yet to embrace him, but passion is what he beholds.

As I stand with my family in front of the Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri he approaches us and asks us if we need a guide. We stood there half astonished, half doubtedly. Astonished about a child his age being confident about showing us around while my nine year old cousin is still being taught the basic manners and he still got nothing! Well, being a resident at Delhi and facing and hearing about crimes such as pick pocketing each day- the doubt part is obvious. Anyhow, the child urges us to take him along and says he would charge whatever we feel like giving him- rupees 10, 50- whatever! Does he really need the money or is it something else? I ask him if he goes to school. He does. He studied in 5th standard during the day and comes at the Buland Darwaza around 3pm everyday after school. He spend weekends there itself. “But why?” I ask him. To which he replies ‘Bas ese he madam ji, mujhe acha lagta hai yaha, muje acha guide banna hai ek din ( no reason mam, I like it here, I want to be a good guide one day)’. His dreams are different from the ones the kids in metro cities babble about. Astronaut, pilot, engineer, doctor, artist, scientist, model, designer or guide- I don’t know which are realistic or unrealistic, which are better which are worse. All I know is that these are innocent and tender dreams influenced by a difference of situations off course.

As we move forward he brings the horse shoes adorned on the massive gate to our notice which were otherwise being ignored by the designer’s mind. ‘These are for good luck, madam ji’ he educates me. The monument itself is magnificent and has a story of its own, but somehow it is Taufiq whose story tickles not just my brain but also my heart. As we move forward we come across a wall pointing at which Taufiq remarks that Anarkali was punished there. It is a plain grey wall in front of the graves that belong to Akbar’s descendants. Taufiq elucidates that Akbar’s family members rest in peace beneath those graves. Listening to this my 9 year old cousin asks, ‘Are they all dead? All of them?’. He goes through this bewilderment at the thought of loss of an entire family. He is too young to know about adversities that life has knocking on its door but he isn’t naive enough to be unaware of emotions and belonging. Anyhow, the guide replies with a sense of wisdom and a bit of indifference in his tone, ‘ Nahi. Abhi kuch zinda hai (No. A few are still alive)’.

Taufiq further leads us to the mosque. He ushers all of us inside but remains outside himself. Doesn’t this little fellow has prayers to offer? Doesn’t he wish for fancy toys? Inside the mosque a man continuously asks people to leave offerings (materialistic) for baba. Religious places- they all are the same! We return our white caps as we step out of the mosque and find my 19 year old brother cherishing the Sufi music being played right in front of the mosque. He chose to stay outside and listen to serenity over the shenanigans of worshipping and all the unwanted squalor religions invite. Meanwhile, Taufiq was joined by his little friend Faisal who was 9 years old. I asked the same question to Faisal that did he go to school and with great pride and confidence he replied, ‘Everyday, madam ji’. The two boys are friends but competitors too. Competition does start early in life! Taufiq tells us that there are 84 doors and 200 minars. As my 19 year old brother asks him what comes next Taufiq fails to count and I am obliged to ponder if the lessons at his school are being taught well? Does Taufiq prefer learning in the open neglecting what books and institutions have to offer him?

Taufiq draws our attention towards a chandelier which looked familiar. He then adds that this is the larger version of the one at the Taj Mahal. At one of the gates with honeycomb my father questions Taufiq about the bees frivolously. He fails to answer. My father remarks how will you become a good guide Taufiq if you won’t be able to answer what people ask you! This rings a bell in his head. He digs deeper, applies logic and unknowingly knows it all.

As we reach the central face Taufiq points at the religious harmony appreciated by Akbar and my father elaborates about Hinduism, Islam and Din-i Ilahi. A professional guide dealing with a group of foreigners stood beside us. Glancing at him Taufiq got on his feet in an envious manner and he took cues from his senior. He taught us to take a selfie that could include all the family members along with the dome at the central face. Now Taufiq sounded a bit different- professional to be specific. The tour to Buland Darwaza ended and Taufiq took us down the flight of steps after we collected our shoes from the shoe counter run by his colleagues. Our next destination was the Jodha Bai’s Palace which was adjacent to the Victory Gate. Impressed by the little guide we asked him to accompany us to the next destination but he refused due to the fear of police. The policemen often harass these children at such monuments. Anyhow, he dropped us till the entrance of the palace. My father tipped him and my brother handed him a pen from the set of embellished pens he had just bought from another child outside. I hope that someday education helps Taufiq and he could focus on his childhood lessons and not just the survival necessasities. Several thousands of children redeem with their mirth everyday in unusual ways in order to let the ends meet. The sight is always heart touching and beautiful, but do they provoke any thoughts in your mind?

Posted in Doodles, Experience, Poem

I Like Winters At My Home

The sun rises early
When my dad forges it upon
I wish to dream a bit more; but-
I like winters at my home.
His fear scattered across the rooms
On roof top sits his little garden
He nurtures the creepers and reckons the roses
He says things that:- I know he’s right
But no, I won’t listen.
I stand pompous and proud
I’ll fall and choose to rise on my own
That is when he looks at the creepers
And glances at the thorns
They say I resemble him-
Two egos too big and strong
But no- My father forgives me each noon.
I like winters at my home-
More cozy and less alone.

Posted in Article, Experience, People

People You Laugh With :)

Every time I pick up the pen to give words to abstracts or the most materialistic ideas the ink flows in a familiar direction. But the urge to write about the people I love has left the paper with blotches and specs of blue. No words. Just abstracts. Abstracts I can’t pretend to materialize. Materialistic talks- strangely- with great depths. The friends, the family and the hardest choices.The moments I fain to express! Alas! A failed attempt of expressing and realizing but a still better option of living the moment. I don’t understand the joyful glitches of depending on people. All I know is that somehow these things are meant to be no matter you possess the hardest shell.

Our lazy-selves and hectic classes (at least according to us students) does not allow us to be morning people. Just one of those crappy routine things our parents think we are too proud of (we aren’t- just a lifestyle- not good or bad- just there).Certainly the rule of king, prince and pauper does not apply to us hostlers. But we have our very own set of rules including pretending to not share food but share it anyway; fight for the last bite; no plate belongs to a sole person; talk your heart out but don’t lose focus while eating- you probably know otherwise; and the list can go on.For us meals are not just a routine. They are a kind of synonym for rejoice. Keeping up with our daily revelry one afternoon seven or eight of us were waiting for food at the dhaba we generally visit. It was fun as usual. All the chirping, mockery, leg pulling, linking people together, terrible session of match making and off course eating! We kept sitting there even an hour later. We just weren’t ready to get up. No realization of the clock ticking by. At that moment we were unaware of all the stress we had before stepping there and the one we’ll have to redeem with while we step out. Suddenly all my friends’ smiling faces grabbed my attention. How typical? I know! Even after knowing their every fucking flaw hearing it from someone else makes me heed towards my turtle shell. Those few seconds of staring at them laugh deciphered a secret message that all we need is people we can laugh with. It might not be everything but it is exactly the kind of typical I want to stay forever.

P.S.: I know this is too cheesy. But what’s too much is me looking at the videos of my friends from the trek I missed!