Tuesday, December 27, 2016

teri gaddari mein ae sanam
apni bewafai se pyaar kar gaye
tere jhoot ke samundar mein doobe aise
apni majboori ke kadradaan ban gaye

Thursday, November 10, 2016

mohabbat ke mukam aur bhi hai

rishto ke aage 
mohabbat ke mukam aur bhi hai
ghar, sindoor ke aage
pyaar ke nishaan aur bhi hai

naam nahi 
lekin khwaisheyin toh judi humari
hakikat se pare sahi
ek duniya toh bani humari

soch rahi hoon--
teri meri iss duniya ko
nikharu thoda aur
toh kuch lavz tum likho
kuch lavz main
beet jaaye yun hi zindagani humari

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

wo hi silsila

ek baar phir
wo hi silsila chede
aa ke mohabbat ki garmi mein
saalo se thandi ruh senke

teri saanso ki leh mein
meri saanse chale
itni nazdikiyan phir
chahe sirf teri nighaye badhaye

meri khwashyein saari
iss ek pal mein sama jaaye
kaash ke tu aise dekhe
ki phir ek baar wo hi silsila chid jaaye

Monday, January 18, 2016

Of ethereal mornings

Young sun rays pouring in from the window
Sieved through leaves of the mango tree outside
Softened by the taming fabric of yellow curtains
Flooding white marble floor with warmth and light.

Window pane flora in full glory
Leaves swaying to the rhythm of gentle breeze
Pink and white periwinkles
Brightly smiling to the unfolding morning.

Little sparrows alight at the window
Announcing their arrival with a chirp and flutter
Wiggling wings in a shallow water pot
Before flying away with mouthful of millets.

Water tap running at the basin
Rustling of turning newspaper pages
Rice cooker whistling and
Clunking of steel vessels in the kitchen.
Sounds that signal maturing
Of this ethereal morning.

Wafts of incense and ginger chai
Aromas of rice and spice and
Soapy freshness of shampoos and creams
Scents that fill the morning
At my house.

These scenes
These sounds
These scents
Let me breathe again in a space
Painted by them.

Friday, August 28, 2015

[Short Story] Matching the combs

Have you ever tried to match the teeth of two identical combs? Like this?

You would expect every tooth of one comb to align perfectly—head to head—and form a straight line with its counterpart on the other. But you’d be lucky to have even one like that.

It is probably the usage that bends and deforms the teeth. Some of them even look thinner than the others. And then there also a few missing ones.

She often did this as a kid sitting on her mother’s dressing table. She imagined herself to be one of the combs and squeezed the rest of the world in the other. She put it on the table and tried to match them. She defined two perfectly aligned teeth as a harmonious, meant-to-be relationship, full of unconditional love and acceptance. She would sometimes cheat and bend some teeth of the comb representing her. It was fair to bend and modify herself, she'd reason. After all, she only wanted to love everyone and be loved by everyone.

But now, at 22, she had stopped the modifications. She resolved to let the comb be itself. And let her be herself. In school and college, her self-edits and self-alterations were rampant. Sometimes to remain with the coolest gang in school; sometimes to attract the most handsome boyfriend; sometimes to stand apart from her boring cousins; and sometimes to keep her parents happy. Most of them did not make it with her to 22.

It was almost 11:00 pm. She had had her night shower and was sitting at her dressing table combing her long black hair. Looking at herself in the mirror. Her eyebrows arched in pride. Pretty and successful—she was happy with her 22-year old self. Most proud of not losing herself to the madness of the world. She knew who she was and was actively carving out what she would be.
She put her comb on the table and once again, moved it towards this other comb lying alongside. Only two teeth matched. A content smile flashed across her face.

She knew them both. One was her mother. The other her best friend. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

[Short Story] Preparing for the spring

Today was the third consecutive morning she woke up with a jolt. A strange fear spread from her toe to brain. Heart pounding, mind scrambling, palms sweating, and toes curling. This is what failure felt like. She knew it from the time she froze on stage during the school debate.

She pulled her quilt over her head and sighed in the darkness that engulfed her.  Strangely, in here she felt strong. Her eyes opened wide and all her muscles relaxed and awakened, ready for the fight. She thought this is what confidence must feel like, maybe.

She lazily climbed down from the bed, picked up her phone from under the pillow, and walked towards the kitchen. She looked at her feet advancing on the floor and made a mental note—feet trusts the floor.

In her living room, she stood behind the long glass doors watching her backyard— a carpet of shiny snow glistening on the surface. It was December, the peak of winter. So deceiving, she thought. The soft delicate white snow petals were actually murdering life beneath. She imagined her summer backyard—a happy place of lush green. She remembered every small detail-- the shape and size of the leaves on the trees, the angles of the grass blades, the different shades of green. She felt a pang of anger. How could anyone like snow? How could they ignore the murder?

She plopped herself on the sofa nearby and sipped on the coffee she’d made a while ago. She had to figure out a plan of action. Her relationship of seven years ended three days ago. The void he left felt enormous even today. She was tired of sympathies and sorrys from friends and family. She wished at least one of them could be angry like her. She hoped that someone could fight for her, really fight and beat the shit out of him. She felt the anger surging upwards again and tried to subside it with a sip of coffee. She continued to look accusingly at the snow and said a small prayer for the beloved dying green.

She placed the coffee mug on the table to her right, and picked up a small notepad lying alongside. She scribbled on it with black ink:

“He is the snow. I am the grass.”

She paused and glanced out again. Suddenly, her eyes widened and her muscles relaxed and awakened. She felt confident just like under the quilt this morning.

She continued writing.

“But the grass is not dying. She is letting the snow prepare her for spring.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You cannot ride a rollercoaster to the grocery store

Imagine this.

You are sailing on the left-most, fastest lane on the freeway, comfortably at the speed of 75 mph. It is relatively uncrowded. See that white Accord farthest from you in the right most lane?

Some relationships in your life are like that. You are aware of them, even see them but there is always going to be so much distance between you'll. No chance to peep into their world or for them into yours. Just a knowledge of each others presence without any real insights. And you let the other be, aware that you need the distance because of the different speeds. You want to experience the freeway differently. Just a wave through the window satisfies.

Oh..that black Mercedes did it again! Just over took you and race passed. Bloody, there he comes ahead of you again. You gotta gear up higher now.

Haven't we had a black Mercedes in our lives at some point? A challenger who compels you to shift to a higher gear, out of your comfort zone. And you have to respond because that's what you must do. Show them, or perhaps maybe only to yourself, that you are better. Accept the challenge and win it. And boy, does it feel good to get ahead again! Certain relationships are meant to be there only to get you ahead of yourself. If it wasn't for them, you wouldn't have pushed yourself, known your limits, your mettle.

Wait.. What's that driving one lane apart? A graffiti imprinted Beetle? Intriguing. Who would do that to their car? And why? Who is driving it?! You shift a lane to the right, even slow down to have a look. It has sparked your attention and curiosity. But just then it jumps to the right lane and... there it goes towards the exit. Now gone.

Some relationships are fleeting like this. You notice them, make movements, adjust to the changes just for a chance to look inside. The outside of it is so unconventional and most times, so unlike you. You are motivated to have a clearer, closer look. You look away for half-a-second to bring out your binoculars and... bam!its gone. Leave you feeling betrayed and angry. You'll never forget how it made you feel--fresh, lucky, and special. And in some corner of your heart, you'll nurture a longing to encounter it just one last time.

On to the road again...a few miles down you see a car stopped at the shoulder. With broken headlights. Looks like an accident. You slow down a bit and wonder if you should offer help. You feel sorry for the situation and see a towing van approaching. Relieved that necessary help has arrived, you continue driving.

You enjoy the sunshine only because you know the rains. Those messed-up relationships you get involved in...they sure as hell give you grief. But if you are wise, you'll learn from experience and respect the sorted bits you have. You'll learn to discern between the worthwhile and useless and gain clarity about yourself, your preferences, needs and wants. There is always a lesson in adversity.

Now, five minutes to your destination. Phew.. finally there. You glance around the inside of your car--a blue Altima. You know every corner, buttons and features of this one, You know its quirks and patterns--it makes a weird whirring sound above the speed of 35. You know its needs--bi-monthly service on its brakes and annually on tires. You pay for it, care for it.

Like the closest relationships. You spend yourself in every way to maintain them and in return, they carry you and support you in your journey. You know every nook in it, every small details, their strengths and shortcomings. Similar to how you sometimes feel like getting a new car, you crave a change from these familiar bonds. But you soon get around to realize their preciousness. Memories, nostalgia do their part to align you once again to where you belong. There is no replacing them.

You smile at the thought and turn towards the mirror to look at a happy you. Your satisfied eyes suddenly turn wistful in the reflection. Your body and mind leap, once again, to the rollercoaster experience you had at the amusement park last month. The thrill, the speed, the stimulation. The way it made you feel--funny and vulnerable--in your gut and left you wanting more.

And then there are the rollercoaster relationships. You carefully wrap them in a constructed narrative and stow it away in a secret alley of your heart. You have gone through every aspect--physical, emotional, spiritual--so many times and out of it, you have cautiously plucked out things that matter and recreated the experience in your mind. To suit your feelings. To suit your story.To let you be the hero. But there is still an emptiness you cannot get rid off. And so you program this entire memory in a way that it only shows up when called for. But it never obeys. Randomly resurfacing and reminding you of the thrill, stimulation, the high anytime anywhere, igniting that spark of wanting it again. But you know these out of the world, invigorating experiences can be afforded only for a short time. The intoxication that engulfs and seeps within you makes the normal impossible. You once again try to allay the conflict by reiterating the rationale--You cannot ride a rollercoaster to the grocery store, to work every morning, or to your best friend's place.