Monday, November 29, 2010


A childhood fantasy
to keep one, to keep many
for once and forever.
But they flew away.

Bubble and burst.
Again and again.
Yours to keep
and then throw away.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

At shut of evening flowers

Florets of sinopia and xanthous,
On a bed of smaragdine.

Stains of solferino and ferruginous,
In a cyaneous sea.

Nankeen feathers on a columbine tail,
Aubergine blooms on lovat floor lie.

An aeneous blaze on a waking star,
Leads the son under a cerulean sky.

Monday, November 15, 2010


She doesn't know why she thinks of that day. She doesn't even remember his name. Not properly at least. She has been thinking of that day a lot lately. She tries to reconstruct the events leading up to it, she remembers most details. But not his name.

It had happened when she was seven or eight, almost fifteen years back. She can't believe so many years have gone by and she recalls it only now.

It was second period- History, in 3rd E2.

The teacher, Mrs.Gulati was considered to be strict. She didn't hesitate before doling out punishment and called lions "loins".

She was her usual talkative self, he was sitting quietly. She never bothered to ask if he ever listened, at all. She's not even sure if they talked, if they were friends, or just partners waiting to be assigned to a new companion any day. It was his birthday. But he wasn't wearing the customary new, casual dress. Every kid loved the opportunity to not dress in regular uniform. Not him though, he seemed his usual calm and composed self. There used to be some rotation, ensuring every pair got their chance to sit in the front rows. They were in the fifth or sixth row. She isn't very sure, but she remembers wherever they were sitting, it gave him enough time.

"Take out your textbooks now," Mrs.Gulati calls the class to attention.

She reaches into her bag and starts looking for the pink writing on the pages that had been treated as blinds, common method employed by most students to help identify books. It was taking her too long to find that book, he was already sitting straight, with his book in front of him. She abandons her search and begins to prepare herself for the ultimate humiliation. She has forgotten to pack the book back, now she will suffer.

"Those who don't have the textbook, go sit on the floor." Mrs. Gulati was walking between the rows, inspecting, ready to unleash the first round of punishments. She was walking two aisles away, slowly heading their way. Three students had already made their way to the floor.

He looks at her, as if studying her, his options. Silently he moves his textbook to her side. She accepts it quietly, like a mouse. Her chatter and chirping gone, mute. She doesn't even question the fairness or unfairness of it all. She just doesn't want to be sitting on that floor.

He stands up just as Mrs. Gulati approaches their desk. She looks at him, realizes it's his birthday by the big pack of toffees sitting on their desk. She wishes him, takes a toffee, but no one is spared from punishment. Not even birthday boy. She walks towards the back, inspecting. He knows what's to be done. He picks up his notebook and goes and joins the other students sitting on the floor.

She's still keeping quiet, still accepting his kindness with a shameful silence. She looks at him, wondering how angry or humiliated he must feel. He looks straight ahead, his spectacles perched on his nose, looking up at the board. Where she was earlier dreading being sent to the floor, now she's dreading the end of the class. She couldn't face him. She has no idea about the lesson, only remembers reading the text blindly, twisting her fingers and looking at him from time to time.

But the class finally comes to an end. They are given some homework and reminders to bring the required books. She forces herself to remember for tomorrow, to avoid another today. He returns to their desk, dusts off his pants and sits. She passes the book back to him.

She doesn't remember if she had thanked him or not. She doesn't remember if that bothered her then or not. She doesn't remember how rest of the day, the week, the remainder of the year had had gone. But it's been bothering her lately. She has realized only very recently how big an act of kindness it was on his part for her, at that time. He had left the school at end of that year.

His name may have been Shepherd. Or Stefford. Or neither. She feels infuriated at herself, how she remembers so many other names from school, some of whom she hadn't even talked to ever, but has forgotten his name.

So many people from your past now stalk you. She has tried looking for him. But she doesn't remember his name, has no idea how he may look now. She doesn't know if she will ever find him and will finally get to thank him. Maybe he would have changed by now, maybe he would seek her out to reclaim the gratitude owed. Maybe someone will read this, ask a friend who's known by this name if he remembers being the nicest guy for a talkative, annoying girl. She knows this is plain day-dreaming.

But she still holds some hope. To find the birthday boy and utter a very delayed "Thank you".

Monday, November 01, 2010


When I'd gone to sleep, one of the lights was still on. The music was still playing. There were people in the other room talking.

I don't know how I woke up. It was the toffee wrappers and those shiny gift wrapping papers that crumpled and crinkled and made noises, like sharp nails clawing at your walls. Sleep still weighed heavy on my eyelids. But my ears refused to resort to selective hearing.

The room seemed too well lit for my liking. There's no way to find out the time of the day by looking out of the window. The only light bulb in the room was working furiously. Even with all that light, it took me some time to realize someone else was there in the room. And he was sitting there on my bed.

I thought he had left. I didn't want to tell him how happy or angry I was. I didn't know which one it was. I didn't want to look at him and I certainly didn't want to talk. All I wanted to do was return.

"You have to wake up", he said.

I remained silent. The smoke was making me nauseous. I didn't know where it was coming from.

"You won't understand till you wake up and see. There's light now, you can see"

I had no idea what he was talking about. I was up and awake, staring at him with all the hatred I could muster.

"I won't let you go that easily. You have to wake up and fight."

He seemed to be talking on and on. I was losing my patience. But I still didn't want to talk. I stared around the room. The walls had aged, with scars and breaks. The wine stains on the floor had gone from red to being a murky grey. People outside in the other rooms were not talking any more. They were shouting and screaming.

"You shouldn't have done it. It was my fault. No, it was all your fault too."

That crackling sound was beginning to irritate me. I wanted to smother all the voices. The noise increased. There were birds chirping, cars reversing with their annoying tunes and children yelling out to each other. I wished the windows were shut, the light was hurting my eyes. The burning in my eyes reached a peak. It might have appeared as if I was crying.

I closed my eyes. It felt as if a cold blanket had been laid upon them. I was fully clothed and yet it felt as if I was lying naked on bitter hard ice. The cold reached my bones and made them ache in protest.

The door opened and a chilling draft made its way in. And someone else came in too. This was the last thing I wanted to see. I never ever wanted to see her. No matter what. Not here, not in my own house. Everything here was mine, yet these estranged invaders refused to accept that and leave me alone. She was going to take him away. I was partly relieved, partly sad.

"We have to go", she said.

He nodded. He looked at me, but I had turned my face away. There was nothing to be said. At this point, it didn't matter what I wanted. I had to do what my mind commanded. To return.

"Will you wait?" he asked before he got up to leave.

I was bewildered at that question. What for I wondered. I wanted to ask him if he would. But before I could speak, there was a sharp jab on my arm. The frigid metal point pierced my skin,diving into my blood. Machines around me started whirring. There was a strange fear about them. I began to cry. I didn't want to return, I wanted this to stop. The pain was paralyzing me. They all fell silent around me, as if in mourning. I broke into a sweat. There was winter without and yet my nerves were on fire within.

I could see everything inside my head. All those times, all those places and people. Lights and corners, chatter and talk, smoke and clouds, smells and shivers, traffic and colors, rain showers and breezes, puddles and pools, shoes and watches. There was a jumble in my head. They rushed in and out, as if in a big hurry to escape. I realized I must be in a dream. Reality can be distorted to such an extent only in dreams.

But no one was waking me up from this dream. They all seemed to have left me alone, finally.