Empty Verses

If my messy letters and my haywire words
don’t speak my stories to you,
if my commas hanging down the lines and my full-stops flying away from them
add no essence to my tales for you,
if my chaos and my strangled thoughts aren’t strong enough
for you to let down your walls,
if all you see in my writing is scribbles,
then, for you, I’m a whole universe waiting to be unfolded…

Read my words,
because their silence would scream my mysteries out to you;
look at those syllables,
they would unfurl my world before you;
feel my scripts,
they would echo the colors I hold within.

Read what I write,
and behold my words paint my worlds before you.

I am spelled out in my diaries, in my notebooks, my words, my phrases, sentences, poems, more than I am in me.

My heart bleeds through the tip of my pen,
And my heart breathes through the tip of my pen.

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Featured post

Quietly

Dawn adorns the sky,

Golden drops of sun ooze through

my window quietly.

The dawn is beautiful, isn’t she?

Image source: Pinterest

Purple Crayons and Orange Tricycles

Dear estranged,

Dad doesn’t know I’m writing this, don’t let mom know either.

It’s never been the same without you. Your empty closet, you bare book rack, your abandoned side of the bed, it just doesn’t seem to make sense; how can it? All those ‘happy birthday stupid didi’ cards still have a special place in my cupboard, and in my heart. That little tulsi sapling you planted for a science project, which you said “will be called Mochu because it sounds perfect for my baby”, I placed it on the window sill last week; now I open my eyes to its heart-warming and heart-shattering site everyday. These walls, they seem to inch closer to each other everyday, and it’s suffocating me; but that’s okay, at least the walls can be with each other in a house where we drift away from one another and ourselves with each passing moment.

Talking about walls, yesterday dad moved the study desk out of the room, and behind it, on the wall I saw that old little doodle you made with a purple crayon back when you were tiny enough to fit into my shorts like a pair of trousers. It’s hard to decipher what you’ve drawn, but it looks like a girl and a boy holding hands, the latter slightly shorter. You probably drew yourself and that girl who lived down our lane and rode an orange coloured tricycle every evening, but I like to believe it’s us. Us, holding hands; us, looking into each other’s eyes; us, silently standing, doing nothing; us just being with each other, like that last Raksha Bandhan we celebrated, one week after which you and mom picked up your bags and left, your little Iron Man rakhi hurriedly tossed into the bag, silently peeking out. Mom shut the door on my face.

So bhai, if I may still call you that, this letter might never reach you. I might crumple this sheet of paper and throw it into the bin. But I need you to know how much I still love you, and I am sure that one day, I will write you a letter and really send it to you. But I guess for that, you and I will have to wait till next Raksha Bandhan.

(Hopefully, still) yours
Mochu’s aunt

“Hey mom, hey dad
When did this end?
Where did you lose your happiness?”

-Broken Home, 5 Seconds Of Summer

Image source: Google Images

Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you sooooooo much to rainyshadows for nominating me for this award, this means a truck load to me!
You’re a wonderful writer, and I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog! I remember reading ‘Coffin Rooms‘ and going “FOLLOWWWW”!! Your comments on my posts make my day, and make me want to write more! Thank you so much, and yes, we could actually team up for a nice big debate xD
THE RULES:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select 8 other bloggers for this award.
6. Comment on each blog to let them know you’ve nominated them and a link to the post you created.
My Blog started out when I was sitting on the couch with an iPad like ‘let’s try this out’. I never knew what it really was, and how it would turn out to be, I just wanted to do it right away.
2 pieces of advice to new bloggers:
  1. Never ever think twice before uploading something, because in the end, it’s your blog!
  2. Never ever listen to anyone’s advice :p

8 bloggers I would like to nominate:

  1. Shower Thoughts; https://jeyanalogy.wordpress.com/ (everything-except-poetry partner)
  2. AnotherDeadLawStudents’s Blog; https://shivani13.wordpress.com/ (fangirl partner)
  3. Help Break The Silence; https://helpbreakthesilence.wordpress.com/ (the most bitter, yet true blog, needed for the 21st century devils)
  4. The Midnight Sun; https://themidnightsun9.wordpress.com/ (probably the most poetic person I know)
  5. I Refuse To Give Up; https://irefusetogiveup.wordpress.com/ (deal holder)
  6. Wordly Winds; https://logophile221.wordpress.com/ (bro)
  7. The Stories In Between; https://thestoriesinbetween.com/ (my online writer role model)
  8. Heartstrings; https://heartstringskeystrokes.wordpress.com/ (your writing skills are goals)

 

@Rainyshadows, thank you so much once again for this 🙂

The gullies of my city

The gullies of my city breathe poetry.
The children running across the street have tales to tell.
The streetlights standing on the roadside have stories to keep.
The cups of tea brim over with essence.
The gol gappas are jam packed with the love this city has to offer.
The cries of the bangle sellers have songs to sing.
The temple bells in a distance have carols to croon.
The golden drops of sunshine ooze through the trees guarding the ornate shops.
The silver beads of moonlight hang down invisible threads in the soul soothing nights of this city.
The flowers blooming through cracks in the sidewalk remind of all the reasons to be happy.
The rain dripping down the houses bring the cheers from up above.
The lanterns exhale puffs of magic into the air.
The fairy lights in the markets complete the infinity of the city.
The buildings and the monuments radiate the joy they’ve always treasured.
The bricks laying down this city have feelings tucked up into them.
The smiles of this city adorn every nook and corner of it.
The tears rolling down cheeks paint the images of its vulnerable souls.
The gullies of my city breathe poetry.

It’s this city that breathes life into my soul.

image source: fineartamerica.com

Acid

“Class tomorrow we continue with properties of acids,” the teacher said while hiding a scar on her face.

“Hurt with acid, but pained by society”

-Akansha Singh

Image source: Google Images

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Come, let’s
Take a walk down the street
Where the troubled hearts go,
To hush their insecurities;
Stroll along the roads
Where the broken souls go,
To take a breath of life;
Wander around the avenues
Where anxious minds go,
To find solace;
Saunter in the crossroads
Where ripped consciences go,
To heal where they were pricked;
Amble in the places
Where people like us go,
To mend their dreams.
Come, let’s take a walk down the
Boulevard of broken dreams,
Shan’t we?

Burn

You are made of stardust;
Your skin sparkles the way those stars do.
Your veins are made of the earth;
Your blood blooms flowers and leaves and trees.
Your breaths are made of the air of this planet;
You blow life into this world.
Your mouth, your lips are made of words;
You speak tales that nobody else feels.
Your eyes contain the universe in them;
They have stories to tell and stories to bury.
Your scars are made of the chronicles your life has lived;
They’re constant reminders that you’ve felt emotions nobody has.
You are infinite.
How did you think it’s okay to burn yourself down?

Purna Viraam

(Hindi; full stop)

I am no Sita,
I shall not sacrifice myself
just to prove the purity
of the earth in my body,
the stardust in my chest,
the blood in my veins.

I am no Sati,
I shall not jump into a fire,
because oh!
my husband was humiliated by my father,
and it is a matter of shame
for me.

I am no Draupadi,
I shall not let five men
share me
as if I’m a mere toy;
I shall not let
anyone place me
in a bet;
I shall not let men
disrobe me in an open court
while I scream and wail.

I am no Menaka,
I shall not use my beauty
or my body
to entice a man,
and then be cursed by him,
and yet, carry the
blame of
destroying him.

I am no Gandhari,
I shall not
blindfold myself
to be one
with anyone.

I am not.

I am Shikhandi,
I shall destroy the man
who destroyed me.

I am Hidimba,
I shall not need
anyone
to help me suffice,
I shall be
enough.

I am Maa Kali,
I shall be the kind and
loving mother
to all,
yet turn destructive,
if be the need.

I am Maa Durga,
I shall combat evils,
unleash my anger
against the wrong.

I am Maa Saraswati,
I shall always
enlighten others
to the best of
my abilities.

I am Maa Lakshmi,
I shall bring
prosperity to each home I can.

I shall.

I am not an object,
I shall not let you
play with me,
disregard me as you will.
I am a woman.
Purna viraam.

Moon



                                                  “I
                                            look out
                                        side the window
                                     and there
                                  I see the
                               moon, and
                           that makes
                          me wonder,
                           ‘why would
                             such a beauty
                                  always want
                                    to hide a part
                                      of herself, why will
                                            she want to?’
                                                    ”

 

Silence

Everything screamed silence.

The bare walls gawked at each other across the hushed atmosphere of the room. The ceiling faced the floor, but seemed to look away, devoid of answers to unasked questions resonating in the room; unlike every time, when it had soundless words of comfort for restless spirits, today it needed consolation itself. Every inch of the desolate room echoed the cold quietness of the moment. A broken glass, neatly fitted in the window pane allowed some light to enter the room and cast pale shadows on the barren walls with melancholy and emptiness, and with a lone girl sitting in one corner of the room. Lone, to a silent observer; but for her, she never felt alone; her shadows and her gloom never let her.

In the instant that followed, a piercing sound pricked the still ambience; it was the telephone. “It must be the doctor,” she muttered, unmoving in her place. “I must go and get it; he surely has some news about mother.”

She tried to stand up, but her hungry body of a week protested. Her tired eyes looked at her limbs, lifeless and unappealing. Bones peeked through every corner of her physique, veins bulging out, trying to break free from the cage.
She had no energy to get up.

Even her heart refused to budge; if there was any left. Her heart, her soul had given up on life, and now she was slowly fading away, becoming a part of the darkness. “He surely has some news about mother,” she reminded herself. Her broken conscience, her shattered spirit, however unwillingly, did manage to radiate some reason for her to try again.

She gave it another try, and rose to her frail feet. She walked outside to the telephone.

Beside the telephone was a window. She looked out. The piercing sound of the phone continued to fall on her ears, but she chose to ignore it; the pain of the world outside was much more than hers.

As she looked through the crippled glass of the window, she saw a place she did not recognise. No. This could not be her town, where she spent her days as a child. That little town had flowers, butterflies, people, families and happiness, but this place only showed destruction and sadness, and the dilapidated buildings, that housed refugees in their own homes. One could listen to chirps of birds, whispering of the wind, and laughter. But all she could hear in the war-torn city now was war-sirens, gunshots and, phone bells, she reminded herself, and picked up the phone.

“Hello?”

“Hello. You must have guessed it; it’s me, the doctor. I-I- just wanted to tell you that your mother- er–”

“Passed away?”

“Oh child! Please don’t cry! I know it’s devastating for you- not just as a daughter, but as person. Just- just be strong, like your mother. She was the bravest person I’d ever seen. She fought the soldiers in the most fearless way possible, till those wild hounds tore her flesh down.”

“Hmm.”

“You’re not sad?”

“Sad? What’s left of me to be sad? I’m just a piece of flesh left to perish. They took away my heart, my soul, my humanness. Every day I just sit in this run down building- which I can’t call home anymore- with my loneliness, looking it in the eye. The broken pieces of my heart lie on the floor staring at me, demanding an answer. But what do I tell them? Why did I let this happen to them? I avert my gaze, running away from these questions, but I end up stumbling across my hopes and my dreams; they mock at me, yell at me, throw tantrums at me, before I see them fade away into an endless void of despair- like myself.”

“But despite all this, you’ve been brave. Continue to be brave, don’t give up yet.”

“Sure. Thank you so much for all you’ve done for me- now, or ever. I can’t thank you enough. Goodbye–”

The door broke open in the middle of her sentence. Three men wearing military uniforms and black masks walked in, guns aimed at her. They had come. And they had shot her.

The bullet went right through her weak chest. She dropped the receiver. She collapsed to the ground. Before closing her eyes, she managed to utter her last word and complete her sentence; “–dad.” Her eyelids shut her eyes close.

Everything screamed silence.

Magic?

I once knew of this boy,
who had magic in his fingertips.
Some small, subtle tricks,
and not the abracadabra hymns!
He made his cats into bats
and took out mats from his hats.
His money smelt of honey,
and his bunny, oh so funny!
His bells would never ring,
yet his wells would always sing.
And before he went to sheep,
he would always count his sleep.
With a flicker of his hands
police patrol around the slate
and his maths teacher
would write upon the state!
I once knew this boy who said,
“I have magic in my fingertips.”
Oh, did I tell you how
his dysgraphia rules his scripts?

Jai Hind

Marchpast contingents, check.
State tableaus, check.
Cultural dance performers, check.
Bikers, check.
Awardees, politicians, audience, check.
All of them had left the streets; it was time for the scrap dealer’s daughter.
Picked up a plastic flag from the road, blew dust off it, held it high up in the sky, and said, “jai hind!

Birthday

“Thief! Thief!” I yell pointing to the man running away with my Christmas presents.
“Shut up,” says Jesus. “It’s my birthday not yours.”
“Oh, and merry Christmas,” he says, jumping out of the window. 

Heavy

Every year, they take away one of us.
This time, it was my turn.
I was ripped apart from my home, from my family.
I was tied up in heavy ropes and sold on the streets.
Heavy garlands knotted and held hostage every inch of me.
I had weights attached to every limb.
Burning lamps wrapped up my body, heat burnt my sleeves.
I was dying slowly, alone in one corner, they just looked at me and rejoiced.
Then said, “what a beautiful Christmas tree; merry Christmas!

Of Moments And Wishes

Across the river, far away from here, there stands a shop. A sweet little cottage, one that reminds of Red Riding Hood’s Granny’s. Its windows are made of dull-yet-lovely pink hued rippled glass, and its door is inscribed with intricate carvings of delicate designs. Fairy lights adorn the sweet place, adding to the radiance it innately holds. It stands proudly amidst little shrubs and herbs, while trees guard the beautiful tenderness it holds. Netted sunlight falls on it through shallow and vague yet curiously pretty stencils made by the leaves, and wind always blows across the sight, whispering silent melodies to the cottage. Little birds and butterflies fly across the field of view, while their humming and chirping always adds tune to the scene. The panorama is completed by hills and valleys and colourful woods elegantly perching on the horizon in the background, while thin clouds hover above the cottage.

Here, moments are made. Wishes are sold. No, not dreams, wishes; your dreams of growing up into a pilot, steering your plane over cotton-soft snow-white clouds. Or those of marrying your loved one in the setting of your choice.

All these dreams, are too expensive for the shop to sell, too expensive for you to buy.
It sells wishes.

Wishes of a few moments you seek, moments you wish to treasure and cherish all your life, moments that become a part of you.

Wishes like – dancing in the rain with your best friend, while your umbrellas rest in your bags.

Or a moment of frolic around the backyard with your golden retriever, before you drop tired on the grass, basking in the evening sun.

Or, a rare trip to the outdoor food court with your family, gossiping over the hot food, your chirps enveloping the atmosphere along with theirs, giving way to laughs that stay hung in the air long after you leave.

In return, it demands a price, a small one: a piece of you. In all the moments it grants you, you leave behind a piece of yourself. As you stand still at a point in your life and look behind on your journey, you find these pieces scattered all along the trail like breadcrumbs, leading you back to memories, to yourself.
True, memories are a ‘piece of yourself’.

Here, moments are made and wishes are sold.

Kurta Pajama

Ammi jaan, darwaza kholiye! Open the door! Ammi jaan!”

“Oh sweetie relax, I’m coming!”

Sahiba rushes to open the gate. A very excited Salim darts into the house like a bullet. Hurling his shoes straight onto the sofa, tossing his bag right beside the fireplace, the little boy nestled tightly into his mom’s chest.

 

Ammi jaan, tomorrow is my birthday, right?”

“Mm hmm… and I’ll be preparing your favourite dishes,” Sahiba leaned in closer, “sewaiyaan too!”

The expression on the boy’s guileless face was priceless as it lit up to the thought of savouring the vermicelli pudding!

 

Salim was a handsome young boy, just about to turn seven. He had messy hazel-hued hair that fell over his forehead, curtaining his wide, milky white brow. Further down than this were deep muddy brown eyes that reminded of a whirlpool, yet gleamed with innocence.

 

Following the two hour long chit-chat between the mother and the son about their day so far, was the time for Namaaz. The duo sat to read their evening prayer, facing the Ka’ba, or the west side, where in Mecca stands the House of Allah. After seven minutes of offering their devotions to the Allah, Sahiba and Salim were back to their talks and gossips.

 

“So Salim, what do you want for your birthday?” asked Sahiba.

“The green kurta-pajama we saw in the bazaar the other day!” blurted out Salim, without even giving it a thought for a second. Obviously, he’d been planning the answer since long!

“Oh beta! That’s just another pair of a robe and pants!”

“But that’s what I want!”

“No Salim, forget about it!”

“If you don’t get it for me, I’ll complain about you to abbu jaan!”

“Well, then why don’t you ask abbu jaan for it? He’ll get it when he returns from Lucknow after a whole month!”

“If you- if you- don’t get, I will- um- leave you and run away!”

Mahshallah, look at his cheeks, blackmailing his mother!”

 

The sweet little bickering in the courtyard of the house- oh how gratifying!

 

Soon, dusk settled in. The sun gracefully snuggled into the clouds, like a blushing bride would burrow into her veil. Darkness embraced the night sky. The moon elegantly rose up and beamed at the earth below. Mist enveloped the cold January night, while tens of thousands of people curled up in their blankets in the simple yet beautiful town of Akbarpur.

 

Here, a weeping Salim hit the sacks, a disappointed (to-be) birthday boy; there, a smiling Sahiba tucked herself in the bed, a proud and excited mother.

 

Next morning, the alarm in Salim’s room went off at 6 of the clock, as it did every day. The piercing sound brought Salim back from his post-sleep-early-morning dwam. He fluttered his eyelids open and rolled out of his bed onto the carpeted floor that tickled his little toes. Rubbing sleep out of his eyes, he walked towards the kitchen, cross with this mom, yet his eyes twinkling with anticipation.

 

Just as he pushed open the door of his room, he saw a green coloured kurta pajama lying on the threshold- just what he had wanted!

 

Salim rushed across the courtyard that was blanketed under thick winter morning fog, into the arms of Sahiba.

Ammi jaan, bohot shukriya! Thank you so much! Now I will never leave you!”

“Oh beta! Happy birthday! Come on, now go, get ready for school. And wear your best clothes today; let everyone also know it’s your birthday today!”

“Yes ammi jaan!”

 

Salim hurriedly ran to the bathroom, brushed his perfectly arranged rows of milk teeth, none of which had fallen by then, and had a short bath following which he ate his breakfast. Afterwards, he bade his mother a sweet goodbye- a kiss on the cheek- and left for school. “Hallelujah!” murmured Sahiba looking at Salim in his new kurta-pajama.

 

Skipping all the way on the streets, he made such a delightful sight for the entire neighborhood (save those unfortunate people who missed him), while his mom prayed to nullify any evil eye on him. In school, people just couldn’t stop admiring how cutely handsome Salim looked in his clothes! And the pride and enthusiasm on his face- just so precious and enthralling!

 

Back there at home, Sahiba turned on the radio as she put milk on the stove to boil. Humming to the tunes of Kishore Kumar, she imagined what Salim might say when he would eat his favourite sewaiyaan.

 

Ammi jaan, this is better than ever today!” he would exclaim.

“Hmm? Do you really mean what you say, or is it just buttering?” she would joke.

“No, ammi jaan, really!”

And then she would gather him up in a warm huddle.

 

At that very moment, the radio shifted from songs to news.

 

“And there goes another wicket! Yet another loss for the team!

And here we have a recent update. Terrorist attacks at a school in east Akbarpur.”

Sahiba rotated the volume wheel towards the right.

“Bombing attacks at IFR Public School in Akbarpur left 47 casualties, of which 38 were students, and over 60 injured, including more than 50 students. All the injured and the dead have been rushed to LACM hospital.”

 

The ladle slipped from Sahiba’s shaky hands as she leaned over the wall for support. She fell to the ground with her back rubbing against the wall. Tears were inevitable. Hurricanes arose in her mind, destroying all her thoughts. She could feel her happiness fade into hopes, hopes for her son’s life to be saved. The hurricanes grew louder, washing away her delight and leaving behind trails of worry instead.

 

Suddenly she heard a knock. She wiped off her dewy eyes and wet cheeks with her dupatta and tried to stand up on her trembling feet. Stumbling, limping, she somehow managed to reach the main gate. With baited breath she opened the gate hoping to see Salim. Instead, a tall man in the uniform of a school guard stood there with a school bag and a pile of neatly folded clothes.

 

Sahiba immediately took the clothes and unfolded them. It was the pair of green kurta pajama– she very well recognized- Salim had worn.

 

She covered her mouth with her hands. She tried to hold back her tears that now rolled down her cheeks in voluminous streams, while choking on her gasps. Sahiba could take it no more. She collapsed to the ground and ran her shaking fingers over the clothes.

 

In between her sobs, she could hear her little sunshine talking to her. His radiant face was still vivid in her brain, and so was his silvery voice in his dulcet tones.

 

“Now I will never leave you!”

A Sigh Of Relief

5.45 am. Too early to wake up. But what else do I do? Sigh, I wake up. Had it been any other day, I would have still been snoring; afternoon is the default morning for me. But today, there was a strange uneasiness in me. I was so filled with nervousness and anxiety that I felt like running away to a sweet escape.

So, I got out of my bed, and started roaming about in my room and I was just trying to wish myself the best of luck.

All of sudden, a sound struck my ears. It was the birds chirping. Beautiful. I peeped out of the window, but could see nothing. So I went tip-toeing from my room, through the lobby, across the living room and into the balcony. As I stepped out of the door, the only few words I could utter were ‘whoa what place is this?’

I could see the night slowly fading away and the sun bit by bit piercing through the darkness, carrying with it the torch of the new day. The gentle breeze blew across my face just like the whispering winds sway the trees. The sky right from the zenith down to the horizon was covered with bright warm morning hues of orange. All the shades in the red family starting from crimson to lime yellow were spread across the sky in a contrasting gradient. Blotches of blue were also scattered across the canvas. I let myself forget the hurricane of thoughts that was rising in my mind till two minutes ago and let completely loose of myself. After about ten minutes, the sun shone and casted its warm golden light all across the field of view. The entire neighborhood was glowing under its morning warmth.

Suddenly, there was a tap on my shoulder. As I turned around, I saw dad.

“Anna, I am going for my walk. By the way, what are you doing here, so early?” he inquired.

“Dad, I am quite tensed, you know that, right? So I just came out for a while.”

“Hmm… but Anna, don’t worry sweetheart. I am sure you’ll top your board results. You are a very intelligent child. After all, you’re my child!”

He gave me a warm smile. I forced one, too.

But, as I heard those words, a huge storm aroused in my mind again. I had my Board results for tenth today, and BAM! I was melting down! The girl who never cried could now not keep her eyes from shedding invisible tears! And, especially when everyone around you has so many expectations from you…

As I saw dad downstairs with his friends, I heard Mr. Sharma saying, “Brother, this time, only a box of sweets won’t do the trick!” My brother, now a pass out, topped the school in his tenth boards. What if I won’t be able to do that? Millions and zillions of words were revolving in my mind, with one word leading them all: EXPECTATIONS.

Before long, it was now mother looking for me. She called me and said, “Anna, it’s a great day today. As always, you are going to make us all proud. Come on, now go get a bath, my rock star, and we’ll go to the temple.” I simply nodded.

Anna was a girl never too keen on visiting the mandir. But today, I think the circumstances were such that I felt that the temple is the only place where I could find my ‘refuge’.

I went into the bathroom, brushed my teeth and had a bath. I came out and mother and I went to the temple. On the way we met mom’s friends who unanimously said, “Anna, we’ll be waiting for the sweets!”

Soon we reached the temple, where I found fellow classmates- all of whom were praying for their good results, perhaps. As I waved my hand to them, I was replied with a “you don’t need to be here, topper!” comment.

Why was so much even expected from me!

We went back home, dad was already back. Mom prepared breakfast for everyone, and dad said, “Anna, I am going to my office. I’ll check the results online,” and bhaiya said, “I’ll try to check, too.”

But I didn’t want them to see.

What if the scores are bad?

So it took me not more than five seconds to think of a way out.

“Dad, bhaiya, please don’t check my results. I want to be the first one to see them. But I’ll make sure I give you a call.”

They agreed and then left, dad for office, and bhaiya towards his college. Mom said, “Come, let’s see if the results are out. It is 10 o’clock already,” to which I replied, “No mom, I want to go to the school and check the results there.” Mom okay-ed my plan. I somehow wanted to just delay seeing my results.

So, with mixed feelings of hopes and anxiety, I stepped out of the house. Everything – the houses, the trees, the roads, the streetlights – seemed so cheerful, as if trying to wish me luck.

The school was a little less than two kilometers from my house. So, as I did every day, I took a rickshaw and took off. But the journey seemed just so long and never ending.

Finally, I reached school and the first face I saw was that of Ms. Ahana, my previous year class teacher. As she also saw me, she gave a smile as bright as that of a toddler. Her cheerful smile was enough to tell me that she also had as many expectations from me as my parents. To this bright smile, I gave back a dull one. She came to me, patted my shoulder and said, “Anna, you have always been a very bright child. I am sure you’ll continue making us all proud. Let me know about your results, I am eager to know.” and she gave me a tight hug before leaving me trudging aimlessly.

Suddenly, I heard a yell, “results are out, everybody!” after which, 8-10 students gathered round the display board. I was at the back of the ‘crowd’ of the 8-10 students. Strangely, I heard murmurs, “this is not possible,” “there is something wrong,” or so.

I asked what happened, but nobody would tell me. I tried to push my way forward, but all of a sudden, Ahana ma’am came. “Anna, I heard the results are out? Tell me, did you do the magic again?” she asked me so sweetly and excitedly. A boy from behind me yelled, “Ma’am there is something wrong. Anna got only 64%!”

WHAT? ONLY 64%! But- but, how?

No one could believe that. Ahana ma’am said, “What, that’s not possible, come let’s talk to the Principal about this.” The whole crowd started towards the principal’s room, with Ahana ma’am leading us. As we walked in, the principal sighed and said, “I know, too. I just called the board, but the results are correct.”

I could bear it no more. I just ran away to the washroom. I was in tears. I looked into the mirror and saw the reflection of failure staring back.

“Hey you, how could you do this? You know, right, how much your mom and dad have done for you? How they would stay up late to teach you! How bhaiya used to miss his classes to make sure if you’ve understood everything or not! How your teachers made their best efforts to teach you! You know why? Because they love you! And you? You’ve just disappointed them!”

Unexpectedly, I heard a ring from inside my bag. I looked and I found mom’s phone. “She must have kept it along with the tiffin. Whose call would it be, let me check…? OH MY GOD! It’s DAD!’ I didn’t know how I would tell him so I didn’t pick it up. It got disconnected and I was even more disappointed with myself. I was avoiding their calls! What a shame! Soon it was his call again, and I didn’t pick it up this time either. Then bhaiya and mom also called me, but in vain.

Oh no! I had no courage to pick up the phone. So I just ran out of the washroom, out of the school building, to the basketball court, where I would bunk classes and tell my teachers I was practising. Suddenly I fell down; I couldn’t open my eyes. I just lay there on the court, numb to the world around me as if everything had come to a halt. And, then there was a hand on my belly, shaking me and saying,

“Anna, wake up! You’ve your results today! Come on now, don’t make a fuss!” And, my dream, rather nightmare was finally over and I sighed of relief!

Thank you!

I walked into a red bricked building
With quivering hands and a heart pounding fast.
The corners of my lush pink lips drooped,
Streams of tears rolled down my plump cheeks.

I clinged onto mom’s dupatta,
Clasped dad’s office tie tighter.
I was not willing to leave my shell,
Wanted to be tucked in my parents’ laps forever.

Two warm hands reached my quaking shoulders,
Soothing my frightened body.
Her eyes sparkled with life,
And promises of joy and delight.

She took my shivering hands
And clenched them into strong and confident fists;
She wiped tears off my dewy eyes
And placed hopes and dreams in them.

She caressed my anxious heart
And moulded it with love;
She touched my little lips
And gave them a reason to smile.

She made me who I am today,
She helped this little human blossom.
I owe myself to you,
Oh thank you dear teacher!

“The World Has Changed”

“The world has changed,”
they say.
“Nothing is as fine
as ever before.”
“It’s ugly and loathsome
to live in a world
like this.”
“The world has changed.”
Well, no.
It’s not the world
that has changed,
It’s still the same.
The sun used to rise in the east;
it still does.
There used to be twenty-four
hours in a day;
so are now.
Fire used to be scalding,
ice used to be frosty;
such is the case
even today.
But definitely,
something has changed-
Our minds, our hearts.
Corrupt, brutal, stupid,
wicked, inhuman, ruthless.
Our minds have gone crazy
for money.
Our hearts have gone cold
for no good reason.
We kill, we fight,
we steal, we wound,
we lie, we cheat,
we hurt, we fake,
we wreck, we hate.
We do so many wrongs
that make this Earth pathetic.
Our minds have changed,
Our hearts have changed.
But still we say,
“The world has changed.”

The Red Leopard

Amidst pieces of wood,
A Leopard took birth;
Surrounded by rocks
That lay on the earth

In the colour of blood
Small, but bright,
Lay the Leopard
And gave out light

Gradually, but soon,
The wood melted away.
She got bigger and redder
And left behind ashes of grey.

Slowly and steadily,
she grew more and hotter.
No one could stop her
Other than water.

A leopard so big
And fierce and red
And bright and hot
In her wooden bed.

She increased in fury
And size and violence.
Except for her crackling,
There was utter silence.

Very soon she was
Completely grown.
Piercing through the darkness,
Her passionate eyes shone.

Finally she was big enough
To prey upon me,
Larger and bloodier,
Than anything could be!

Elegantly leaping forward,
While dancing in the night,
A fire stood before me,
Fierce, but bright.

Yes, fire it was,
Ablaze right in front of me,
Magnificent and regal
As a leopard would be.

The Light With Wings

As I stood in the dark,
I saw dots of gold,
Dancing in the air,
In the night so cold.

They were just so little,
Like marbles of light;
The light with wings
Surrounded me on every side.

They were like luminous commas,
Hung in the air with invisible strings.
Others may call them fireflies,
But I still call them light with wings.

The Prettiest Princess

It was a beautiful night,
I was walking by the stream.
The beautiful white moon
Winked at me and beamed.

The stars in the dark sky
Twinkled at their best.
The night provided a pleasing vista,
Full of charm and zest.

But the prettiest sight
Still awaited me,
A maiden in a red gown
With satins of green.

I walked towards her,
As elegant she was.
Her red and green attire,
Devoid of any flaws.

I went closer to her
To get a perfect glance.
She gave me a little smile,
And stood in a gracious stance.

“Oh pretty lady!
You must be a princess,
Because in your red calico,
You look truly the best!”

Then she laughed a bit,
And shook her lovely head,
“I am not a princess,
But a rose!” she said.

Who Took Me Home?

It was a dark, stormy night,
Not a single body in sight.
Amidst the chilly, foggy air,
I was all alone over there.

All alone, in the middle of the road,
Something was lit up, was it a lamp post?
Or the moon? Or a star?
Or the headlights of a car?

The cold, icy air numbed my feet,
While I stood there and chattered my teeth.
Someone took my arm
And said, “I’ll cause you no harm”.

“Trust me, come along,
I’ll take you to where you belong”.
Along with him, I walked away,
And realised, a blind man had showed me the way…

It’s Time

It’s time, dear humans,
To undo the ill;
There are wounds to clean
And gaps to fill.

It’s time, with earth,
We fairly dealt,
Animals are dying,
Glaciers do melt.

It’s time to care for
The earth that fostered us.
It’s we who destroyed her
And created this fuss.

It’s time to clear the air
Of all its pollution.
Let’s get up and think,
And find a solution.

It’s time to clean up
The garbage we’ve thrown
Let’s get up and work,
Not sit and mourn.

It’s time we restored the trees
That were felled for our greed.
Let’s green the earth
That you and I need.

It’s time to kill wrong thoughts
That make us do bad,
For our will ought not be
To make someone sad.

It’s time to remove masks
And stop being fake,
For stabbing a back,
Is the biggest mistake.

It’s time to end racism
And make everyone equal.
No white or black,
No boy or girl.

It’s time we lived in harmony
And loved everyone,
And apologised for every
Wrong said and done.

It’s time to change
And write a new story.
Let’s the give the world back
Its long lost glory.

An Indian Lady

An Indian lady,
So beautiful she is,
Proudly she walks,
Dressed in herself.

A bindi
Isn’t merely a punctum;
It’s an exemplar of her decency
And the purity of her thoughts.

A dupatta
Isn’t just a lace on her chest;
It’s her pride and self respect
That she carries everywhere.

A sari
Isn’t just a six-yard fabric;
It’s her identity and pride
And her trust in herself.

Her sindoor
Isn’t simply red powder on her head;
It’s her love for her husband
And her faith in her marriage.

Her mehandi
Isn’t barely a brown design on her palm;
It’s the reflection of her promises
And her belief in her culture.

Her chudiyaan
Aren’t solely bands on her wrist;
They are a manifestation of
Her incandescent soul and cheerful life.

The solah shringaar
That she wears
Isn’t merely her jewellery or attire;
It’s a piece of herself.

But She’s Still A Human

Yes, it is a baby girl,
Not an auspicious son.
Though you may be sad,
But she’s still a human.

You say she is unlucky,
And she is not strong.
Well, having huge breasts,
Is it really wrong?

Or giving birth to a baby?
Or bleeding for five days?
Or looking really pretty?
Or working always?

Your daughter’s a girl,
Your mother’s a girl.
She’s also a human,
Then why isn’t she equal?

A man can remarry,
A lady can not.
A boy can study,
A girl can not.

Males can rule,
Females can not.
Why is it so,
Have you ever thought?

“He” is good,
“She” is not.
This is what to us
The society has taught.

Just sit for a moment,
And think for a while,
Why is “she” treated in
Such a “savage” style?

Oh! Dear society,
“She” is an able person.
What if she’s a girl?
But she’s still a human…

In The Dead Of The Night

Silent was the moment,
The moon sent forth light
And the stars gleamed overhead;
The darkness seemed so bright!

The owls hooted at a distance,
The wind whispered to the trees,
‘Oh let me sing you a melody,
While the people sleep with ease.’

Thus she started singing,
And the leaves danced onto her beats,
The stars twinkled to her rhythm
Up above the empty streets.

The road lights flickered,
And the moon shone ever so,
Clapping at the performance,
And beaming at the earth below.

All this was so
winsome, you see;
It filled my heart with
Delight and glee.

Oh who says the night
Is melancholic and glum?
I say its beauty has
surpassed that of sun.

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