He is tall but used to be taller Weighed down by responsibilities, shrunken with age His ego has now ebbed away as he brims with pride- Ah! Those grand children and their glories he cannot stop talking about or may be try and hide.
Done with his fair share of responsibilities Still anxious to make his children and grandchildren succeed He wishes to see their next conquest and subtly even great grand children. Passing on the tradition from one generation to another- He aims to keep the lineage pure But embraces the changing times with a clear scoff. Stubborn just as am I, we know he is kind He is made of experience and days that were a little too harsh.
In turn of events life played the inevitable turncoat- Left him alone with people he loved Each day he silently sheds a tear- As his wife who rested her head on his chest now rests in peace. He is strong but used to be stronger Calmness harboured by him- I hope it never reaches stillness Now he scolds a little less and hugs a little longer My Grandpa’s hugs are now warmer.
Recently I had a chance to collaborate with Smriti Gautam on a project with subject that we share a mutual interest for- women and the overpowering emotions.
Here is a glimpse of a very strong emotion- insecurity, that women face often and how they deal with it or choose to live with it.
A birth mark that looks a lil’ uncanny A beauty spot in place revealing which feels funny Scars from the everyday battle called life Etched on my skin is my story. Gazing at the color- The pensive pigments and frivolous freckles I see myself from a stranger’s eyes The eyes with a shattering voice caging me in notions of beauty Peeping at the mirror- I stand, I quiver, I introspect A narrative of glory was written only to be trapped in qualms of unfortunate desire Alas! I cover most of it- Forging a smile attempting to embrace silence of my skin.
Days, weeks, months and years pass I question who am I- I discover many talents and some experiences worth tooting Only. If only, I had the courage to stand tall with no fear of those wretched eyes and unkind voices Alas! I stand covering myself in a piece of cloth constantly feeling naked. The day I break away from the chains of being wanted The moment I learn to savour my unconventional beauty That day shall my skin recite the glorious tale of “becoming” Till then I’ll stumble upon zones beyond comfort wishing to nurture who I am.
A big thanks to Smriti Gautam and all the lovely ladies who shared a piece of themselves and their stories with us.
After ages of tossing and turning on wrong side of an empty bed Asking myself questions about the world, the crises and vividly my own existence I lay awake- no more; battling the torments of purposelessness I lay naked with a blanket of thoughts keeping me warm to spend a peaceful night No man beside- just tomorrow’s ordeals to make me feel alive.
As the sun rise- I shall embrace new beginnings with dawn I shall set foot for my journey- I know of directions, destination yet being anticipated. After a day’s hardwork- I’ll smile for trying The food will taste sweeter with flavors of progress I shall then sleep well- visited by dreams brimming with meaning Might be nightmares; just a little kind- For my body shall lay too dog-tired to pay any heed.
Exhausted by one, traumatized by another People are fickle yet they love each other Are we desperate, needy and alone? Wait, let’s not set that undertone.
We act fierce; irony- in the interest of life so farce But isn’t it healing when a friend sees your scars? People are annoying- with those quarrels and bickering But isn’t it cozy when a parent listens to your qualms?
People bring drama- chaos muddled in heaps But why does it hurt when a beloved weeps? We wish we had never known someone But why do we tear up to see them leave for a distant land?
Happy curious excited astonished envious, wrath fear sadness confusion jealousy Emotions too twisted to decipher Not as layered as a person Yet here we attempt to unravel each other.
In times of uncertainty My thoughts being naive- they brim with curiosity Maybe, maybe I feel and might I even understand Still- can someone answer my question in words that are clear Here again I ask- ‘ why is it that we love’?
The roses on earth are colored pink, yellow and white Somehow it is always the red that them people crave- Layered and beautiful, tender yet fierce Erotically scarlet- so has he been told The cupid struck the arrow But he understands not Not blind, but colorblind- The rose he sees is not red.
Two people meeting together, At times even ‘some’ becoming one The usuals, straights, queer, extraterrestrial what not- All the glitters, butterflies, drama and hate The cupid knows what did he create But he feels not.
The magic in the air, a spell hard to get rid of Red flags decorated as dainty- A little too in love to ignore A sweet disaster worth the taste, a tempting high worth the chase The cupid sees the forbidden fruit But he desires not.
Alas! I can’t paint a soiree With Victorian costumes and gestures that speak of grandiose The year being twenty-twenty-one, It’s just four people; and three screens. Living in time zones with different days and nights Measuring distance in kilometers- and also miles Each day they try to stay together Haha- to no surprise failing miserably. But tonight it is special The siblings laugh at their usual banters- For they have learnt to put away the dullness quite adroitly, The mother asks them to come back home just like each day- Not for too long; may be just a visit till new memories are created for her to hold on But tonight it’s the father who imparts new and the unknown He sheds a tear of joy And reveals that he stands tall with pride, acknowledging the two kids who try to now be adults May be, it is the empty glass of whiskey beside the vacant dinner table The two children: unaware, awkward and shy- Gleam for a moment with joy- untill they return to their usual banters and frivolous complaints The year being twenty-twenty-one It’s just four people; and three screens- And a million emotions that timidly scream.
Victim of gadgets and networks Funny, how we think of flowers, trees and birds chirping- A foliage from mountains and waves from unknown seas drift right across the bittersweet memory lane Days pass by- A few with new learnings A few with breath afresh A few with just breaths.
Meaning or none; Feelings or some Time- it doesn’t cease From bud- to flower- to withered remnants all lost in blink of an eye We try to heal from “wounds of actions” Only to find ourselves etched with “scars of experience” Creations once brimming with youth Narrations now by voices forever tired A medley of gallantry: no, I am not certain A hum of survival: a lullaby before I say the final goodbye.
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?
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.