Monday, 17 September 2012

Nothing


'What’s happening?’ 

You're calling.
I'm stalling.

We're talking.
A gun's cocking.

A car honking.
A couple bonking.

A drunk fighting.
A friend writing.

A sinner praying.
A teen straying.

A pain searing.
A mute hearing.

A kettle brimming.
A light dimming.

A cloud bursting.
A heart thirsting.

A day dawning.
A guard yawning.

A plane landing.
A band disbanding.

A nurse caring.
A customer swearing.

A wave roaring.
A kite soaring.

A fear growing.
A tear flowing.

A crook thieving.
A widow grieving.

A dream crumbling.
A stomach rumbling.

A dog chasing.
A father pacing.

A firm hiring.
A runner tiring.

A blend spilling.
A dude chilling.

A sculpture shaping.
A camera taping.

A villain resenting.
A victim relenting.

A will breaking.
A baby waking.

A hippie tripping.
A scissor snipping.

A debate brewing.
A doer doing.

A date waiting.
A critic rating.

A shell cracking.
A pupil slacking.

A cast rehearsing.
A stranger conversing.

‘Nothing.’

Friday, 17 August 2012

Red

The light shone red. The autorickshaw jerked to a grinding halt. A second early,
and I would have been alongside the white car that was hastily vanishing
from my present line of sight.

He pulled up casually in his three-wheeled truck, in no real hurry I now imagine.
As I stared long and hard at the blaring circular hurdle in my tumultuous race
to the railway station, he made me look the other way, at him.

Bursting gently into a heartfelt rendition of 'Tujhe Na Dekhoon To Chain
Mujhe Aata Nahi Hai', a popular 90s Hindi film song, he unhinged my frown
and set my resources pacing like a father-to-be outside a delivery room.

On impulse, I asked him, after waiting a few seconds for a break in the chorus,
'Kaunsi pickchar?' Which film? Then, before he could make an effort to answer,
I ventured, ‘Rahul Roy par filmaya gaya tha? Junoon? Junoon.’
Did the song feature Rahul Roy? From the movie Junoon?
Must have been Junoon.

He nodded in agreement, ‘15 saal puraana gaana hai. Gaate phirte the jab
pehli baar pyar hua.’ The song is 15 years old. I used to keep singing it
when I fell in love the first time. I let out an inward grin.

Without standing on ceremony, he humbly asked me for a cigarette, followed by a light,
both of which I gladly parted with. Passing the lighter back, he strode once more
down his lane of lyrical nostalgia, punctuated in greater variation this time around.
I threw in the odd line, without interruption, with equal soul. When he stopped,
I asked him where he was headed. He said something the whirr of passing traffic
drowned out entirely.

The light flashed green. As he turned his noisy engine on,
I waved him goodbye shouting, ‘Gaate chalo. Khush raho.’ Keep singing. Stay happy.

He laughed and waving back in return, trained his eyes on the road.
As my auto lumbered ahead, I mulled, ‘It wasn’t Junoon.
Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi. That’s the film.’ I was wrong.

As we pulled into the next signal, I looked out and saw that the truck
had come to a halt three vehicles behind us. A part of me wanted to step out at once
and present the assumed correction. But, I decided against ruining the symphony
that had stemmed from our ignorance, and stuck to my seat.

The red light had changed much. Sure, I was a cigarette shy. But, that wasn’t it.
My singing friend-for-a-minute had, with his song and light-hearted manner eased me
of the anxiety that had consumed me moments before, the monstrous apprehension
that envelops anyone accustomed to the unpredictability of city traffic especially
when a train or a flight needs catching inside peak hours. In that solitary moment,
he spirited away a part of me I needed losing and left me with a memory that will linger.

There was much humming inside the auto in the half hour that followed,
and much more in the days to come. Some of it has lasted to this moment.

And, in case you’re still wondering, the movie was Rang.
I intend to save the song for the next time I find love.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Two

The night is at its darkest best
A girl nestles into fleeting rest
Clearing day from clouded head
She greets the stranger in her bed

Politeness seems to weigh her down
Her instinct quells to free a frown
Not who or why, it's how she asks
The stranger wears a mirror's mask

I thought there lives just one of me
Are you the girl I used to be?
The echo floods her empty sheets
Tugs heavily at her heavy feet

The silence staring her in the face
Is one she's struggled to embrace
Her wonder can't conceal her guilt
She feels the shiver of a tectonic tilt

She is the one she let slip away
To a tackle borne in course of play
The cloak she chose to cast aside
In her solemn quest for fickle pride

This shade of her has lost its hue
As colourful as the soil is blue
Fading faster than Icarus fell
She flickers into her shrinking shell

The girl rubs her eyes in disbelief
Her cheeks moist, she knows relief
Her breath curls inside a lasting sigh
I am good reason to make me cry

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I

I choose not to grow
I choose not to know
I choose to remain
I choose not to flow

I am more than just a welcome vent
I am more than just a feeble dent
I am more or less the same as me
I am more than just a just intent

I hold within a faltering will
I hold within a humble thrill
I hold much I should forego
I hold within a void to kill

I am not the answer you seek to find
I am not the answer to peace of mind
I am not a door you can't get through
I am not the answer time swept behind

I hope to bend my view
I hope to start over new
I hope because it's all I own
I hope to make sense to you

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Ride

My head is a bus
A dozen-winged octopus
Take a ride if you will, it won't hurt
It brakes like a dream, kicks up no dirt

There is a place I've set aside
At the window to this hazy glide
The seats recline to soak your sins
In this twisted deck, I am your prince

Night and dark, you clutch the heat
Warmth between bodies that never meet
You travel without moving, carried by a whim
By affectionate curse and hateful hymn

Coasting through a simple spell
You cast your net into the well
Bait is tender, the catch too steep
Short triumph peering into rapid-eyed sleep

Hills of reason, towers of hope
An elusive nether where rebels elope
Slave to journey, sworn to cause
My wanderlust, to think is to pause