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Lullabies in The Streets Mourn

laila_al_shoa

 

#supportgaza

They say, my lullabies impair plus than
menacing propulsion of lead sling, a lot more.
Oh my poor lullabies! Oh my dear lullabies!
Let these streets mourn your demise.

Sang you was of only the unrequited love,
glittered in this green grass tips,
spraying the revision of peace,
damped to flat by pacing boots, in brutality.

Weep you was of the naivety
in my son’s minuscule fingers forced
to hold on hardness of a grenade,
Forgetting the wimpy elation of dolls
he played on with the past moment.

Praised you was of my mother’s defiance,
bearing the hundreds of bodies,
which on each piercingly labelled
of the frith fruited in the dark redness,
long left unqualified to instigate.

The time had come, oh my lovely lullabies!
A time long awaited to deflower
the mines blossomed in these garden,
to drain the lakes smelling of blood and bones,
to stop the silence from being guillotine.

I pray the lullabies to defiant as ever more,
to echo through these streets no-ever lasting,
to raise hands in unison,
to live in our veins for hope bestowed.

And at this time,
Burying my friends, my mother,
My youth, my humanity,
I hope my lullabies trembles more
louder than gunshots and blasts.
I hope my lullabies are stronger.

 

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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Poetry

 

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The Fallen

angel_statue_painting_by_ismaellourenco-d30eodm

 

We had a yesterday, me and this statue.

Stone-boned nakedness and grated eyes

of it, I bequeath now.

Lesser dawns flee reluctant before

Our eyes forgathered a glint of acquaintance.

And even lesser dusks failed to pass after

Confessed to it was of my sinned days.

We had a yesterday.

 

Remember I of its bravery, glancing unshaken

to the invincible burning skies, evermore.

More or less liable of recollecting the benevolence

It depicted, in thriving rains and scorching sun.

Disregarded was it by many,

and detested by a few more

for blenched remains of black sheath,

grotesque lone figure, eyesore to a few more.

 

Today, I look a space earlier present not,

once reckoned, a pale statue to summon.

Never far saw anyone I, whom

inferred the variance that was yesterday,

Nor a single soul apart me and stray crows,

empathized on the piece, today wasted.

 

Now, I pose the space,

con the dawns and desks.

I see a fallen, and remembers

a martyr of past, and confides in the

space that once was it.

 

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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Poetry

 

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Escobar*

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After inwardly went the bouncing of
three whistles, short, short and long,
through my obstinate eardrums,
was I confronted to three choices,
the likes of certainty had left.

First, was of the air inhaled in leather.
And promised me of a death serene,
not unless I let it enter,
to revolt a tempest inside, smelling
of poison to match the traitor’s, as said,
I had breathed in thus far.

Ignored it, then descended in the second.
Affirmed the grass bracing my boots,
to sprout wild on my stampings, and curtain
the identity of a mistake I done;
For all I must confess is fake deliberation.

Came last was the torching red.
And made me relay to scorch away
the misdeeds consigned, along with me,
more or less only if I bear heavily,
the rampant burns of a betrayer.

Negligence, I stood upon,
for I wished to die for my cause.
In a manner, more inevitably passionate
and affectionately patriotic.
Rather of air or grass or sun,
I shall die of a bullet,
powdered with their dismay to the belief
they showered upon me,
coated along emotions of fellow
Columbians favouring football.
I shall die of such bullet, content,
for in heaven awaits me a
ground of lush green and
a yellow jersey, paraphrasing my naivety.
For my name is Andres Escobar.

(*The Columbian footballer who conceded an own goal in 1994 FIFA world cup and shot dead by the fans later.)

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Posted by on June 20, 2014 in Poetry

 

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Of Lagoons

Blue Lagoon Master 1

 

Waiting alone in that aristocratic-fashioned room for the blind lady, I transfixed my vision upon the reverse aspects showcased on the walls. Paintings of Lord Krishna, goddess Lakshmi and many other deities were walled in between monotonous photographs of Karl Marx, P.Krishna Pillai and Lenin. I wondered how the images of symbols people labelled in discordance, one for sheer blindness of faith and the other for strong fists of idealism, conveyed the same semantic intimation to this blind lady. Quite a contradiction. And with each passing moment I sat there, I felt this house, not in the farthest means, depicts the aroma of blindness. This house had vision. I, once again marvelled at the enormous aptitude of this lady to relish the excellence of this house, which she can’t ever see. Sounds of the swans ebbing through the lagoon, beside which this house located helped me to adjourn the thoughts about the impossible enjoying dexterity of Divya Narkar, the blind lady for whom I was waiting for, and savored the last sip of tea, I was provided with.

‘Lagoons. Shallow bodies of water from the sea’. Her melancholy yet determined voice was heard from inside.’ You may have heard about the irrational ideologies the people of Naradamangalam holds for lagoons. A part of sea indebted by land, and employed to inherit the covert truths of sea. It preserves no lesser secrets than the sea does. Just a confined form of them. And they all are resting at the bottom. Highly composed too, awaiting return, once called for. If howled deep in, you could amass them in abundant. A tourist, who came here when I was a child mentioned the peculiar behavior of the residents of Naradamangalam with deep ecstasy. May be that was true, we are all subjects to the trace of mysteries. One way or other, we all are. We are lagoons’.
She greeted me.
‘Many had come here before you Gautam, with the same purpose’. She continued before she comforted her seating. ‘And they have all heard the story which you are about to. But just that is it. May be they all had felt this story less fascinating. Or they all thought I was mad. It’s significant to ask, but can I count on you?’

It was from a journalist friend of mine did I heard about this blind communist and the story she had, which later on surged my conscience tempted to pen down. Divya Narkar, sole daughter of a Bengali father, who triumphed in spreading the vigour communist aspirations wherever he had stayed, and a reconciled Keralite mother. But what aroused my inquisitiveness was the story she had. Story of Panchami. The 10 year old Dalit girl of Divya’s maid servant. That’s why I am here. Here at Naradamangalam, a village at the western end of Alappuzha. To hear a story.

‘She was a sweet girl. Tender, curious, but silent’. Divya said, may be cherishing the old times they had been together. She always had the symptom to be reasoned with logic. And talking about the condition she was enveloped with, I may go too well on her side. Why she saw a man that none else could? When an answer demanded, I supply logic. Conditions like this, usually prospers in the thick lack between utter ignorance, short of care, and formidable confusion. This would be immensely intense in case the one is young, young enough to be called a child. That’s what happened with Panchami too. She was neglected by many, even her parents. And her mind was short the strength to pull and authentically establish herself away from the delusions of fascination, to establish herself in reality’.

When I waited for her to continue, I felt my presence in here, beside the picturesque lagoon felt mysterious. This story. This place. This lady. Everything felt drastically mysterious. And I thought about the lagoons. It was like the lagoon muttering, in the warm sun, the gasps of secrets weathered in. Secrets about Panchami. Secrets about the invisible man. Secrets about Divya Narkar. Secrets about this lagoon itself. Panchami’s case- that she saw a man none else could and she left with him- wasn’t too different from the others deemed under the similar criteria. But it had a charisma, a charisma long invited the writer in me to expedite on the alternative routes and understand the possibilities of Panchami’s missing. Or in more sense, to learn why she went away with that man none else could see. I felt Panchami’s story was stacked up in the house. Between the rounds of slow breeze embracing us, between the sunshine that lightened us, between the differences in ethnicity of this house. Before Divya started talking about Panchami, I knew her story was genuine.

‘She was just like this lagoon’. Divya said and my mind was reeled back to her. ‘Deep with beauty and clear like the flow. When she first said about the man, whom only she could see, I took it for a fearless imagination of a child. And it was me who fertilized it. The roots buried deep. It was me who asked her more about the invisible man and compelled her to believe that man was a reality. I lied to her, and the worst part of it included cheating my own thoughts. Even I believed such a man existed. ‘What was I doing’? She let herself pause and steer her head away from me.

‘May be I still do. I remember telling her that the invisible man was certainly convenient and not to believe in him was blind, too blind to think about. I don’t know, it felt like I knew the invisible man. I knew his face. The only face I could conjure in my blind vision. I am sure she’ll come back. To take me with her. To place where she went. She’ll come’. Divya trembled while describing an impossible future, she knew sure isn’t happening anytime. I glanced more seekingly in her dusky eyes. Those were beautiful, not to mention the failure to emulate its purpose. But it had stories. A lot of them.

The story of a Dalit girl and her missing were linked up with mysticism in the initial days. But eventually, her story was substituted by more concerning ones. Now, more than four years after her missing, it subsided to deep corners of interest and in many people, it completely lashed away. Most cared less to believe her story. They just thought Panchami’s mother sent her away. But I somehow knew there had to be something of the invisible man that I could decipher to a story. I have read in a newspaper, four years back about the first time she reported about the invisible man. It was in school one day, when the students were asked to draw a picture. Unlike the rest of the class, she didn’t drew happy families or beautiful scenarios. Instead, she drew hell. With people split out in halves. Souls fried in fire. And breaths drowned in mud, upside down. She drew what possibly no other ten year old could. And when asked by her teacher, she told that she drew what a man stood by her asked her to. The teacher knew there was no man in the class. But she deliberately thought it as a passing imagination. Only, it didn’t stayed thus.

The time was getting dusky. The swans were still in the lagoon, and in hollow, mystic atmosphere, I felt they were heeding to the story of Panchami, the story they knew by heart.
‘It was a quiescent monsoon evening, when she let out herself to me’. Divya talked on. ‘She wasn’t intimidated by the invisible man, but affected. She had said how the man inclined to fill the voids she had been left with. The gaps of care and unbridled exhilaration. She said he gave her clarity. She got a company she wanted. I remember how her coal-black eyes unfolded the unblemished companionship immersed in, while she talked about him. He was sea. She was lagoon’.

There was a stagnant pause after she completed her talking. I raised to defy it and talked what I knew more about Panchami.
‘She was sent to a mental asylum, right? And I waited for her reply.

‘Barely for 3 weeks’. It took a while before she answered. ‘That part was really harsh. Real hard business. She strangled herself to stay out of it. You could ask anyone from Naradamangalam and they would remember and phrase that day only with a tinge of sympathy. Panchami cried a lot. The small body of her struggled unambiguously against the manly forces that pulled her. She feared hospitals, she always had. Of course, a ten year old shouldn’t be able to distinguish the ordeals of a disease and a mental disorder. But somehow, she did. Maybe the man no one else could see had told her’.

She adjusted herself in the chair and continued with a slight cream of smile. ‘But when she returned, she was content. She said her talks were considered justified among the people she met in the asylum. She was manifested there in a way more consolatory than she had been here. She was cared. And people dignified her for her extraordinary ability to see invisible people. “Remarkable people”, she said about them. And she also mentioned it was spurious to held them behind bars, for the asylum could only bear their bodies, their souls are more liberated than ours. How standardized for a child. Isn’t it?’

I replied with a silent smile. Indeed, she didn’t see it.
‘The invisible man may have felt his ranks seconded among the care Panchami was bestowed with, and as like she said, “The invisible man went for a holiday”. She was back home after 3 weeks of treatment. And once after days were like before, when the love and care she received was abate, the invisible man returned’.

I had a few filed photographs of Panchami, from a local newspaper which reported her missing. Her eyes were similar to Divya Narkar’s. Dusky eyes. People with same sort of eyes have same minds, I remembered the lines long ago read. Maybe that’s why Divya feels the invisible man is real.

‘When did her parents started relaying on sorcery and black magic’?

‘When the invisible man returned, he told her to do things that were perilous. Once, she tried to take a piece of burning wood and scorched herself. That was then, her parents consulted an astrologist, who, after examining her horoscope and stars, prescribed rituals and mantras as inevitable medicines, until the man is gone forever. People said it was a spirit. A bad one, who is haunting her for the sins of her previous birth’.

‘The priest- that’s how the black magic practitioners were addressed. They set unethical rituals for Panchami. Blocks of red, blue and white squares designed on floor. In their belief, the fire flames were digesting the outcomes of sins committed in her past birth. I remember her cries, huge lamentations. The priest even used whips on her, leaving her outlined like not a human. She cried more. Through red, through blue, through the whips she suffered, through the negligence she was rewarded with. She cried for the invisible man’. Abruptly, she ceased her voice to let a miniature of a weep escape. Divya more or less, was on the verge of a salient, naive cry.

‘A blind eye cannot cry without knowing, I know that part Gautam. And I know nothing about tears, except it is Feverish and salty. I don’t know its colour. I don’t know any colour. But when this ardent liquid flows out of my blindness, it feeling a portion of my blood is flown out. And when I heard Panchami screaming that day, I felt the same’.

Sitting beside her, I witnessed a drop of tear, plunging down her dusky eyes and skiing through her right cheek. It was a blind lady’s tear. But it had a part of her blood, a part of Panchami, a part of the invisible man, a part of the lagoon. I wished it would dry itself from her cheeks. Because, the moment it would lose the grip on her cheek, I feared that part of Panchami would be lost.

‘You know, the lagoons, the secrets they are confronting deep inside, they shimmers. At night, when there is full moon, it shimmers in the moonlight. Panchami is likewise. I feel her in my dreams, and the invisible man too. His face is the only one I had seen. They promises to take me away with them, to a place. Where I can see like the rest. Wonder how a blind lady can dream?’ She wiped her teardrop and through a forced smile, shot a question at me. ‘I really believe she would come’.

Night arrived, like soft and calm. Like Divya and Panchami. Like the invisible man and lagoon.

‘Gautam’, She said before I was about to bid my farewell, ‘I have never seen anything, my entire life. I don’t know any colour. People say what I only see is darkness. But in my dreams, I see a man no one else could, and a girl who went away with him.

Before I reached the door, she called me once again. ‘Don’t get me wrong. I know you may fell a bit disoriented about me and this story. Everybody had. But just think, haven’t you ever felt like you saw something that wasn’t there? or heard a sound that no one else did? I know you have’. She stood up to say goodbye. ‘Or else, you are lying’.

Walking away from her home, parallel to the lagoon, I lifted the gradient of gratification in me. Yes, she was right. I had listened to the story of Panchami that no one else had. I saw a Divya Narkar that no one else did. What outsiders talk about the people of Naradamangalam are true. They are lagoons. And they holds mystery. She didn’t ask me whether I would write this story or not. If I am, then how should I write this. As like the story of a girl who saw a man whom nobody else did or as like the story of a blind woman who is waiting for an invisible man?
Or maybe I could write this as the story of lagoons.

Honking of a boat was heard and I rushed.

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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Short Story

 

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The Girl In Blue

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Pooja went missing.
One week before the missing happened, Gautam slept over a book, before reading these lines.
“Thoughts of any intensity whether discreet or loud, deliberately derives the source for a momentary realm. A realm of scant guesses and stupid confusions. And then stories bloom, veined from the moistened-slender thoughts. Stories conjured from deep emotional foundation. As humans, its an evolutionary compulsion we were taught with.
Just legacy.
Stories and magic have a lot of traits in common.What secret does the excitement furnished in magic holds?
We force ourselves to believe the deceiving tricks we see, even after knowing the gimmick beyond. We believe. Now, stories are likewise. We looms into the stories, rip down words, and we just let them sunk in.Regardless the fact that we are deceived by our own stories, we believe them. Thought-weaved stories. It is a power exhibition of magic, least to mention story makers are the greatest magicians in the world.”

Pooja.
14 yr old Pooja.
Blue-eyed, adventure savouring Pooja.
The same night, the night Gautam slept over that book, what ran through Pooja’s mind?
She full heartedly planned in on an adventure. An adventure she had longed for long. She indicated the thoughts of perpetual random sounds in the carnival, and thoughts of the diversity in stalls,trapeze players, wonder exhibitioners, comedians, gamblers. Picturesque scenario, it was. And then with a part of her daring mind, she thought of the magic show. A meagre fascination exuded in. The dark inquisitive atmosphere inside the magic hall, ears believing the soothing wonders, eyes curious about the moment next, hands applauding the brilliance of the magician. She wanted to see ‘The girl in blue’, and it stood alone in her amused mind for quite some time. She had seen it once, five or six years back, of which the memory was pale. She wanted to see it again, to feel the intangible intend of absolute magic.
That night, as told before, she planned in on adventure. The plan, that reasoned her missing.

What did her missing left Gautam with?
Fear.
Anxiety.
Regret.
Helplessness.
Before you care to answer, let me tell, this story concern less about Gautam, Or Pooja, or about her missing.This story is about magic.
                                   
            

It was long after sleep resigned from his bed, does Gautam thought of what a night’s difference could make. Last night, under the star populated sky, he was stimulated about doing something he felt adventurous. Something he thought, suffice to call so. Only an impalpable tinge of fear dipped inside, which was consoled soon after the remembrance of her words.
‘We must watch it before Venkat does’. She said some days ago, revising their common competitive hatred they reserved for Venkat. There is nothing to fear, Gautam. Nobody will know.’
After all, love is about the finding the hidden courage inside to do things that felt impossible. That night in sleep, he dreamt of a girl in blue appearing from an empty space.

And what of this night?. With a stressed mind, Gautam thought of Pooja. Where did she go? And with each ounce of thoughts about her, he felt more and more of a coward.He had let her go missing. Even if no one accused him for- which itself was a way too prediction, he knew it. It was him reasonable for her missing. He should have never left her.
And what could have happened to her ? In her thoughts, he inhaled deemed obsession and exhaled fire. Fire braced in fear.With weary eyes, he tried to remember her. It happened all of a sudden, he couldn’t remember her. Her smile. Her blue eyes. Even a momentary slice of her’s seemed to deviate from him. When he thought of her, all it was confined to was the sounds from the carnival, the whistles, welcoming sound of gamblers, shouting from volume of crowd, the scenes from the inauguration of grand food stall centre. And the silence that was disguised in the empty dark magic hall.

And Gautam did thought of the night after this. What awaits him?
Chaos, he felt. Future for him bounced chaos to his mind. He censured himself to greater degrees and wished they hadn’t gone to the carnival, bunking school. He wished he hadn’t gone trying the wagon wheel leaving Pooja alone.He wished today hadn’t happened like today.A chord of cry stacked in. Potentially, he silenced his weeping against the pillow.

Gautam heard prayer chantings from the room adjacent and realised grandma was still awake. She might be reading the beads of her rosary, he reckoned. He remembered how his grandma lamented child abductions and molestations. She, a social-worker long retired, had criticised the damaged moral virtues of the society for long. She prioritised the safety of children more than any other. He hadn’t took her’s for note ever, now there is a victim for it. The girl in blue is missing. It was little uncalled for him to think grandma’s assertions to Pooja’s missing, but such a thought was revolting inside and it let his tumult whirling, just like the magician whirls his wand, while doing magic. It can’t happen to her. Thinking the likes if it had, let him feel an eerie crawling in his already intact psyche.
                                                

‘Its not something new’. She told him.’Its certainly old, antiquated as history, that inclines us to believe its new, every time we see it. Lady in blue, is not just about magic, I can promise that. It lifts us to something extra. You may feel its impossible. Of course it is. That’s why we love it’. Despite the rock hard adeptness of Gautam, he surrendered to the compulsion. Between the school hours, the magic show on the carnival tented in the church ground,was not a peradventure possibility.
‘We can bunk the sports meet’.The Plan was finalised two days ago.

Walking to nearby bus stop, after leaving school unknowingly, Gautam and Pooja listened to Ayoob. The mad Ayoob, who sat below the laburnum. Sun-burnt, unshaven face and wrong grown hair. Like every other child, they were also taught to avoid him. But instead, Gautam liked Ayoob. Beyond the mad blabbers, beyond the irksome actions, there was something that distinguished Ayoob from the totalitarian society. People called him mad, but he was equitably different. He talked about things people less comprehend, even if taken to account that they listened. Coincidentally he talked about magic, that day.

‘Magic always want belief, magic loves eyes with belief, magic grows upon it. With belief only it gives its appealing clarity, reason and shape. Or else, its just an expanse of transient lying’. He went unperturbed. But even with belief, at the end, when thought hollow, magic is about self betrayal. Its cheating ourselves to some excitation. Its about losing something in self, than believing. Magic cheats you’.
And then his murmurings clung to those words, on and on and on.

‘It was seriously mean’. Pooja retorted later while travelling to carnival. ‘If I had tried to laughed it off, it would have been an offence. What do this mad man know about magic?’.

‘The girl in blue’. I tried to cool nerve and falter ourselves from Ayoob.’Isn’t it too trivial title for a magic trick?’

‘Maybe. But there is a story accompanying the title’. She explained what she knew. ‘Long time ago, the rule of Ottoman dynasty, it was then the invisibility magic tricks were first practised. There was an expert magician in there who made the audience  go inexplicable with the roun of his trick, “the lady in blue”.That was the reversion of his pre-eminence in craftsmanship. He crafted it well. And he had a beautiful assistant.Obviously, they were in love. Deep, mad love. Nobody knew their name. They were called red and blue for which the magician was always dressed in red and the girl in blue’.

‘During magic,She would hide herself in a stoor box. The magician will cover the box before whirling his wand over it three times, and then she was gone. Obscure. Just like that. Only the box remained,empty. She’ll reappear then, some time after, from some other side. Nobody could hypothesize where’.

‘This trick, is still conspired the old way, almost. Through ages, among the numerous mutation magic castrated, Girl in blue stayed alike.  Only men had changed his red to black. The girl remains blue, still.’

‘Have you heard about the first magic?’. She continued. ‘This happened long, long back. In distant past. Even before the Ottomans. Even before Alexander. Its some time we compel to call pre-historic. The then king, of lands and oceans sought a groom for the princess. But he had a condition, indubitably. The groom must be strong enough to forbear the whole world in his shoulders. The whole world, more or less. The king searched seven lands, and seven heavens, yet he couldn’t find a match. Even the strongest among the strong couldn’t do it. Some couldn’t carry the air, or for some, the water was difficult. Gravity, Soil, people. Everyone failed in carrying one or the other. How a world could be complete without any of these?. The King stood his ground and the princess remained single. Then came a man. With a fantasy hat and wand. He whirled his shallow piece of wood around and confined the whole world, the smell, the light, people, animals, gravity, everything inside the princess and then carried her. It was a stupendous act, the King hadn’t even dreamt of. He was convinced. The magician and princess got married. It was the first act of magic known’.
                                          
                            

Gautam remembered the eerie, timid feeling he had when walked through the vacant, dark magic hall. The half crushed plastic bottles, soft drink cans, cigarette butts and food wrappers were stretched throughout the hall.The place did smelled of devoid mystery, rather magic.

“It is too early for the show”. A dark silhouette from the dull stage had shouted. It was difficult to find the face who sourced the voice. Outside, the inauguration of a mega food mall was progressing. Some sound vibrations of the cause rooted inside the hall and it reverberated inside. Pooja later told him how she felt the place way too odd for magic.
“You could hang out for couple of hours, or” An intended pause was shot at Pooja and he continued “you could wait. May be I can show you our workshop, where we practice to entertain”.

He laughed then,It wasn’t a giggle,Gautam could remember. Nor a guffaw. It was a fiendish, voluminous laughter. Through echoes, the silhouette reached every place. Gautam grabbed Pooja’s hand and they ran to exit.
                                             

Thinking through his palpated heart, Gautam wished he hadn’t gone to the wagon wheel. The decision to try it alone, to show off the spurious bravery drawn inside him, that was biggest of the mistakes he did that day. When Gautam returned from the wagon wheel, she was gone. Intoxicated to the point of being known. The population congregated at the grand fool stall, among which she stood when Gautam went to wagon wheel, had dispersed and she wasn’t there. Just erased. Like a wand whirled, she was gone. It took him less than a moment to apprehend she was missing, and to actualize the darkness breaching his eyes. She is missing. Just like a reflection obliterate at the touch of a feather, her blue eyes were gone.

He searched, from everywhere to everywhere.He asked the crowd, from everyone to everyone.Every question he asked the people around, confused him with a reply bizarre in flow than how he asked. People seemed to take him minuscule for their interest. He wanted to ask more people. He wanted to search more places. He wanted to disclose the burden he was bearing to some one, but the fright of a response unfavourable, let him silent. He dragged his mind to believe this was part of a magic. May be like the girl in blue, she would reappear, from somewhere. He really hoped so. Only, she didn’t come.
                                        
Inevitably, the chapter ended. Evening was born. Up in the sky, placid intense of blue  was replaced by the menacing red. Down here,Pooja was gone, Gautam remained. Later, walking home drenched in heavy rain, Gautam perceived of the possibilities that could’ve embraced her. And each of them heaped more reverence in him and less hope. May be she got home safely, he endeavoured trust in his thought-weaved story. On reaching home, he tried to ring her but the rain had already paralysed the telephone lines. He wanted to talk about it. With phone dead, parents abroad, and grandma not an option, he felt alone. He felt like Ayoob. He wanted to cry. Cry like it would comfort him. He had nobody to discuss his mind with, to cry with, and with unexplainable downfall and agonising clarity, he realised what a hold she had over him.

In bed, Gautam thought what would happen tomorrow?
Chaos, it will be. He will be seized tomorrow. Accused of bunking class, and moreover of suspicion regarding her missing. He wished today hadn’t gone like today. Whatever Ayoob confronted felt legitimate to the extent. “Magic is more about losing something in self, than believing”. Gautam had lost something.

His thoughts went serene sometimes,narrowly. He thought may be he had gone too far. She must be home. She could’ve felt something wrong and went home. May that was it.But what if not?. What if something had happened to her for real?. His mind swayed like a pendulum tirelessly between both the extremities. It went on and on. And at midnight, he felt sleepy. Like snowdrops crawling the window pane, sleep conquered him.

Before dawn, Gautam had a nightmare. A wand was whirling around a box with an extreme force of motion, yielding a hissing sound. Gautam, the lone spectator was seeking the magic upcoming, closely. Suddenly, the box bounced to his feet. Inside, all left was blood. Blood with traces of blue. When Gautam woke,trembling, he was bathed in his sweat, just as was in rain some hours ago. It was Five past four. Dawn. His mind again lend space to accommodate something said by Ayoob.
“When we wake up at dawn, nightmares, insomnia, or because of anything, or if even without any reason, it is because someone remembers you, and want to be remembered back.” Ayoob had told once.
True, it is. Gautam knew no matter whatever people scorn Ayoob, when problems arise, that madman’s words were divine. Gautam left the idea to pursue sleep. He just stayed in bed, remembering Pooja. She would’ve conveying him, and wanted equivalent, he thought. It was like a telepathy expelled, but never received.

Next day, Gautam voluntarily reached school before anyone does, and waited for her. He waited at the corridor. Then in front of class. Then near the seat she usually takes. Venkat came. Other classmates came. When the live buzzing of school settled in for daily chores, her seat remained vacant. The first period started and she hadn’t come. Or she will not. Ever. Gautam felt very much of all these. He felt a distressed and tranquil hollow insidious. Sleepy, Gautam rested his head against the bench. He knew he had enough of sustained, awful time and needed rest. Effortlessly, he drowned to sleep. The teacher, with bifocal glass and less focussed eyes, bothered him less.It was over now.

Soon before the end of first period, Gautam had his certainty. He was vigorously separated from his sleep to inform he was wanted by the principal. He knew that was it. Only the interrogative inquisitiveness of what had happened to her stayed the course. He let all the curious eyes probing him to descend in. They’ll know soon. ‘I’m convicted’. He uttered silently. ‘And my judgement is near. I knew it was certain. It was just a matter of when’.

Magic, suits more with the empowered sense of utter joy and pleasurable emotion of astonishment. When Gautam turned the corridor to principal’s room, he beheld a sight of surprise. A surprise whose head hung down eyeing the uniform motion of ants. And In reply to footsteps, the surprise looked up.Then, he saw the face of a girl he couldn’t recollect past night. He saw a smile hidden pitched in the saddened face. He saw a pair of blue eyes, that he always wanted to believe at most. The girl in blue, just as in magic, had reappeared from somewhere. All of once, His body was intensifying the charisma of a moment he thought was impossible. Indeed, it was impossible. May be that’s why he loved it in abundant.
‘My dad was there yesterday, for the inauguration’.She confessed before Gautam entered the room. ‘And I had to tell him whom I was with. I couldn’t help it, Sorry’.
Her confession was short, but Gautam knew it had more apologies. It doesn’t matter now. Apologies or no apologies.

As Gautam had expected, her Parents were inside. Walking to them, the short distance to judgement, he lived a long trance of the day before.He felt his thoughts too cumbersome and silly. And foolish. ‘Thoughts are magic’, he comprehended.It had deceived him, his own thoughts. They are the most amazing magic tricks and thinkers, faint or solid are the best magicians in the worlds. And during the short walk, despite the strict and repulsive atmosphere, he was relieved. Relieved from the greatest magic he lived and only the wonder remained. He celebrated it with a silent smile. Whatever awaits him in here, explanation from parents, suspension, or even dismissal concerned him less. The girl in blue had reappeared.
                                                

Two years later, when the school auditorium opened, a magic show came to school. Among the perplexed and gratified audience, Gautam and Pooja breathed the charm of magic. Bullet catch, Dove pan, Head mover, shadow vision, and last came the girl in blue. A girl in blue attire covered herself in a box.The magician whirled his wand around it and seconds after when the was box opened, as you guessed, she wasn’t there. Some gasped, some uttered their fascination, some simply blinked, hard to believe what they have witnessed. Before claps, Pooja looked at Gautam sitting two rows behind and smiled. He paid a smile back and waited for the girl in blue to reappear.

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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Short Story

 

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H

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I remember H. Unlike most in this city, I do remember her. H, in deep dissection may feel mean of a letter to resemble her; for her name was quite a grand one. But let us keep calling her H, in respect of what she lived for.
H resembled hope.And that clarifies my conscience recommending you to call her H.

I believe people should surrender themselves  to the sheer act of remembering.But what inclines more is how we remember. “Faggot-blood”, Mrs.Nirupama Rao, the eldest in office would say of H. I wonder how talking such failed to materialise the decrease in her dignity as a renowned feminist, Not at least one bit. Some others like sweeper Rajan, one visible at the lowest level of pay scale hierarchy, one whom had been helped by H numerous times, would remember her  another way.A remembrance scented and lined with sympathy. It’s his way of showing respect and gratitude. But certainly, H don’t deserve tears of sympathy. She deserves applause of admiration. Admiration for the justice she did to life.

Likewise, there profound a great deal of chance, that every mind knew H could remember her in unique, gaped ways. But I remember H as a symbol. A symbol of prevalence. A symbol of bravery. A symbol of sustainable credibility to ensure this society that H, for anything it stands for is not plain as its written. H is a loop. H is hope.

During old days, when our feelings were young, we used to sit along in private. Only perpetual monsoon wind and oranged evening sky were the visitors. One such evening, H showed an embroidery she had done.A bird in a cage.

‘You’re being pessimistic in your virtues’. I joked.

‘I am finishing another one, in which the bird break loose from the cage and fly to freedom. Reserve the judgement for then.’

But she didn’t finish it for a long time.

We did talk about books too. A very few rare evenings passed on without watching the duel over the books related to faith, and the subject. I’ve seen her buried deep in spiritual and religious books even during busy hours, when time ran a little slow for her alone. I can’t authenticate she was deemed with mysticism. But here and there, it was prominent that she compounded in herself a strong liability in divinity.

H was more or less a great poetess too.I remember the four lines she deliberately wanted me to read.

The dawn, beats rouse for us,
defying the lurk of you and me.
and with dreams were the time,
loved turned master class.”

Reading her made me feel sane in every perspective. I felt more filled. I felt she completed me.

I’m not sure whether I loved H. But the stage was past mediocricity.There remained an obvious reliance of bond in thoughts reagrding her.More than my senses could define. And I’ve felt the delicacy in those thoughts too.
“Was it love”?, is a question still to put on. I’ve read, in love, no question is ever pertinent. But I ask back, In a question like this, Is love pertinent?.

But It was late-o-late before i came to knew about that answer.

When the news spread that she is HIV infected, the magnitude of majority including me filtered her from what she was the day before. Behind her, they cracked jokes of highly empowered insult. Murmered silent sympathy stanzas. Conjured gossips of no significance. People started calling her H, after the first of the 3 letter-ed abbreviation that then showcased her identity. HIV was a risk far more intensified to be shouldered than anything. I abducted my feelings and murdered them from reality. She turned out to be just an office girl, not to mention the label she was left alone with.

But she startled all of us. With perspective towards her worsened day by day, her hindernce towards it grew stronger in will. She wasn’t a girl who would simply adore the inevitable luxury of changing herself, no matter what. Fore and after she was diagonised with HIV, she reamined H. And being H sprinkled lumina over everything she was, everything one could say have made her of.

‘H, you make me afraid. Its atmost strange how you manage to live a life less scathed by changes, midst changes in people around you. Why you avoid for a break, although you had passed the phase of choices, choices to choose from two forms of life, indulgent?”.Once I asked her.

‘What difference does that change make, when not least it concerns me?’.She replied. ‘ Change is too high for me now. You know Rajan, our sweeper, who sympathise for me?, His wife?, His daughters?, His amma? They live a half life. People like them need change, not me.’

‘To hold on or change, is a matter of choosing’. H continued. ‘Holding on is a road less travelled. And I’ve decided in favour of this cause. You know why, dear. Reverberating the thoughts of leaving the old myself makes me aware, what I’m engulfed within is a fatal certainity. Or else, it is just a company till death. It does make me feel more like the fairies I read in childhood. Can you guess a more serene idea to behold in this time?’.

I forced a laughter with her’s. She had hope of a fairy end. She hadn’t changed.

And as days passed, her presence or absence felt less valuated. One day, H derived to the conclusion that her time has caught up. She resigned from the job. She retired from the apartheid we served for her. I feared an eye-to-eye conversation, and much to the fact, it happened.

She smiled straight across my face.

‘What will you do without me?, and what happens to the dream we had together?’

She asked and then she waited. And waited again. I forgot the relevancy to answer,intentionaly. May be the feeling I held for H, of which I blushed a great deal in the past, was completely out of me. Those feelings were then outlaws, as she was then.

A look into my eyes, and she knew the voice wasn’t coming. I think she believed what my answers would have been quite shameful to her thoughts.

‘I’m moving. Somewhere distant from my identity. Where my blood isn’t a faggot’s. Where I’ll be treated even. Where my words explore equal excitement as those of normal.’

I remember the last words of her farewell.
She wasn’t planning to change. She was waiting for the world to change.

When she left, She took her part of me too. Then, evenings weren’t windy, skies weren’t orangey and I thirstened for her poems. I felt far worse than lost. I felt hollow.

Five years after, I saw her again. I knew of her living from a newspaper. Now, she was teaching HIV infected children. The fatty figure of her had skinned to skeletons. The skin had roughened. Fairness lost to dullness.

‘You deserve better’. My wasted remorse couldn’t help but utter.

‘Better!’.She vivified.’I’m feeling better in here, by people treating me better. Or I convince myself so. I’m living the life I deserve. You remember the embroidery I promised?, I completed it. Now, the bird is free. Its liberated.’

‘This is my world now.And its an immortal feeling , not to put to words, that I endure by teaching these children’. I could vividly finger the trace of determination in her voice. Determination discovered from despair.

‘We are not HIV infected’. She continued. ‘We are affected by this wrong-resolute society. By its blashpemy, Its eyes upon us. Its quite ironical to thing who really is affected. We or the rest of the world? We’re living as we were before. Only the society changed its stance on us. They’re more prone to HIV, I guess.

‘At first I believed why god gave the misery to these small children. But then I understood god gave them a strong heart to thrive too. All it need is a simple training.I’m doing that.This world is a ruthless place for us. I ought to teach my children to be brave. I need to teach them defiance. I want to teach them hope.

She was defiant, and she hadn’t changed.

That was the last time I saw her. Next year, during monsoon winds, I read a poem of her published in a local magazine that barely sells out a thousand copies.

I, come no more thicker and faster.
See world, the time had caught upon my flow.
And death, O’ death, only show kindness,
for that you may come and fade me like sleep”.

She knew, it was time.

I remember H. What was she?
When the times remembered of us together in effervescent eternity, she was love. Memorising the balance she performed over the moments between heights of HIV and depths of death, she was life. In age, when she pounded the strength to spread that glory to small children and others like her, she was H.
She was hope.

I’ve never came across her after that poem. So, I can’t authentically state that she is dead or alive. The subject of her mortality is still an uncertainty, and please, let me keep it that way.

You may ask me her real name. But I won’t say. Lighting her real name would be a disgrace to her life and would dismount the ideas illuminated. Please don’t ask me. All I can assure is that her name was too real and too beautiful. For now, lets keep calling her H.

 

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Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Short Story

 

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The Call For Old Times

A boy with India's national emblem painted on his face poses in Chandigarh

 

 

We’re short the scent, once we shared,
that spread wildfire-like
in every veins of India.

We’re less the unity once we were;
bridged upon was the weight,
fathomed of brotherhood and harmony.

We’re far the insight once we had,
saw it was of vibrant venom
stocked blind behind
fundamentalistic treason,
in remarkable awe.

That we are now is we are,
lesser in fading rays of freedom,
faith stricken by religion,
morale shrunken to boxes
in papermade paychecks,
And the old of elders,
relishing for times old to reborn again.

What we have, all of all is,
a few liberation-calling youth
of heroic hearts.
A few less hands stronged
by redeemed valor.
A few lesser eyes filled with
tears of sustained wisdom.

But what we have, is we have.
Silence sold to whips,
Truths unmade by money
and ideas constrained in religion
must all be, we must not have.

Pray for times,
of which those hearts beat
inked in soul of common good,only.

Hope for times, when wisdom
practice equality in its eyes;
for all minds stood together,
this vision clears together.

Sin for times,
at which courage inclines,
to write history of the revolution,
long before began, and long after endures.

 

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5 Comments

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Poetry

 

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