A Table for One

Intriguing young woman. Contently staring at the book, charmed by the written word, cast a spell upon may be. Thoughts fixed, or moving you couldn't say. You couldn't say a thing about her for sure, hence the intrigue. Hair clutched into a loose bunch at the back, strands of it falling apart, being repeatedly tucked behind her ears like being disciplined. Is that some kind of a style? You couldn't say. Cheek bones meet to form a rather pointed chin, like a perfect triangular vertex, a face not too small not too large, somewhere in between. And I haven't seen her eyes yet, I have to keep looking some place else, staring at her with that devoted a constancy would arouse suspicion, wouldn't it. Now she is looking up from the book, and I have to pick something else to look at, momentarily though, oh, and is that a smile I gather from my peripheral view. Is she going to smile at me and say hi? Rather not, she is smiling at the waiter and asking for another cup of chai. And, by the way, eyes, pretty mundane though, I imagine would be as much drunken and intoxicating over an intimate conversation about life et cetera.  Ain't I thinking too much. Being carried away by the intrigue.

This is a book store, overlooking the highway, with walls of glass. And this is being written as it is happening, like being broadcasted live. The more enticing combo is that of literature and some thought inducing beverage. You know how it works. Half the time you scan the book shelves standing in narrow aisles not knowing what is it that you're looking for, but basically shortlisting the books you could glance through later when you're sipping the not so sugary chai. But the problem with the inbuilt tea shop was that there weren't enough tables. And there was this table for two with this personification of intrigue seated, busily purring over a book whose name I couldn't read out from that distance. So I took that excuse to tread closer and immediately took the vacant chair. It must have given her quite a jig, the ones that strangers give. But she hadn't cared to look up. Now I make out the book is called May you be the mother of a hundred sons. Non fiction, oh!

This is the weirdest thing you would expect, wouldn't you. Sitting with a stranger in a cafe more familiar, whiling away an afternoon, staring at the cars zooming past on the highway, uncaring, unstopping. The stranger, who has now run me out on intrigue, curiosity, sex appeal, and even on blah, has switched books, has picked up one of those written by an enlightened newbie, an aspirant is she. I cannot ask her what she is reading. On another thought, shouldn't I stop jumping to conclusions about her and wonder why these cafes do not have A Table for One. 

Chaos

You me, January rain, lost roads, cold winds, missing tunes, whispers in the air, solitude, love, the dearth of it, the end of us, the beginning of me, forced belief, a quest for survival, craving for death, winters stood, winters awaited, hallucinations of warmth, drugged consciousness, stares into the dark, colored beads, dazzled eyes, dried of tears, a way to go, nowhere to go, memories of yesterday, a clueless tomorrow, timelessness, success, recognition, failure, estrangement, being ugly, becoming uglier, glimpses of beauty, of forgotten lust, trapped remnants of it, listlessness, being tongue-tied, writer's block, a surplus of un-cagable thoughts, meaningless syllables uttered, toes, red nail-paint, deep, very deep eyes, lined with kohl, in them a distant stare, You me, me me


Hah! 



Nicotine

There was a woman who smoked. Smoke was an escape, an interval of time carved out from its magnanimous continuity, for her and her alone. Often drowned in wisps of the white cloud, she would pick up pieces of reality between her fingers, neatly and throw them, as far as she could. If they found their way back to her again, it was time to light another one. Long bouts of such vague hours, spent in between consciousness and unconsciousness filled up phases of her nights. The woman who smoked.

As the nicotine filled her nostrils and lungs, flowed through her blood for a while, the nerves in her head went off to snooze. An artificial high of sorts dictated her thoughts. Though sometimes she cried too, she laughed hysterically, inhaled and exhaled. Looked back at the past, looked down at the past, mocked at it thick-skinned, unaffected, immune.

When overwhelmed, like said, she cried. Drops of tears, scanty though, wet her lashes and slipped out when she closed her eyelids. With every such drop removed from her conscious were stashes of regret, failure, wrongdoing, like undone. And the woman sighed in relief, short-lived though.

This was her one chance to take control of the things that had for long been evading. One chance to renounce all imposed myths of inferiority. Emerging from behind the shadows, and flying away like an angel. She laughed, like mad this time, lighting the next from the present, trying to stretch her escape into deeper hours of the night. Not letting any truth loiter around her being for a radius mile-wide.

Pause

Our afternoons
the smell of tea
colors of maroon & brown
noises of children playing outside

Our nights
dimmed lights
whispers traded, shared
sighs, breaths & darkness

Mornings
dew drops on petals
new hopes
a harmless hurry, impatience

Our evenings
a nearing shroud of night
I, waiting at the window
craving to be together with you, again


Us
and our times..



Pic Courtesy: S

Too Late

Behind my sarcasm
and my hate
my unanswered silence
I hide a dime of
gratitude, for you

For without you
I would have never known
love, and its nuances
darlin' darlin'

A long time has passed
since then and now
and I have known
nothing but betrayal
felt worthless, lifeless

Filled with anger
sometimes vengeance too
suppressed screams
I have only regretted
knowing you, my heart

But now
as I realize that
my wait for you is
never-ending,
Oh, it's not a wait at all, it's nothing

You're not coming back to me
we can't go back in time
I can't go back in time
I have to shed my spite
one at a time

I wish to preserve
the price-lessness of it,
all that it was,
let me, won't you? 
And want to

Thank you,
for each smile you brought on my lips
So tell me,
Too Late,
is it?

Prequel: Too Soon





Heathcliff

You know Heathcliff? Catherine's jilted lover. Wuthering Heights. He left an impression, rather a scar on me. Every woman has a Heathcliff. Her Heathcliff.

A man who loves her, and loves her like no other man ever could. No I am not talking mundane love here, the one that comes and goes, shows a symptom or two of attraction and then leaves the victim distraught, but only for a while. Just a while, and before time could even blink we move on. It's true, even those of us who have witnessed the most maddening bouts of compelling passion would agree, life is above it all. But not for Heathcliff.

He destroyed himself, and everyone around him, in the process of wanting Catherine. Ironically, he was responsible for Catherine's end too. What kind of love was that which destroyed the object of affection itself? Wasn't the motive lost in madness. In specimens like Heathcliff, love tends to insanity.

And every woman has her Heathcliff. A man that needs to be done away with. Seriously. Every moment you let him be, he would take a step further towards self destruction. Every moment you let him be, he would become the Heathcliff I fear he would become one day. So dear woman, make yourself as worthy of his hatred as you can, kick him in his heart. And be not guilty of it, you're only saving him.

Be guilty only if he becomes a Heathcliff. But die of shame if he becomes an artist in your love.


JFK & Jacqueline 

Last Man Standing


Will you be my Last Man Standing? My last first love. Will you? Please. Because the day I fell for you, I had made to myself a quiet promise that you would be the one. The One for me. And after you, no man would lure me ever, an inch away from where I am. And I was right in your arms. Thinking of you all the time. Kissing castles in the air, making dreams with you. Honey! I had asked all those forces of destiny, if they exist, to give you to me. I wanted you, and wanted me to belong to you even more. I envy that surety, I doubt I could have it again in life. The dire intensity of the craving, makes me gasp for breath even now. I had never wanted anything like that. Hadn't the courage to. Don't know what was with you though. 


But now things have changed, and as they say 'There is no point in it'. Hanging on to illusions, supposing them to be truths, wanting them to be truths. There is no point in it. So in this pointless existence of mine, I have one thing to ask of you. 


Will you be my Last Man Standing? The last one I ever loved. Will you leave memories and pain so strong that I would never incline towards the candy-floss fantasies of love. Will you? Please! Let this be my parting gift. Last so long in my heart as is needed to make love an impossibility. Help me hold that quiet promise I made to myself when you happened. This would mean the most to me. 


Be my Last Man Standing. You will, wouldn't you!

Traded-off!

I have never felt passion. The deepest passion, the one that swells from my heart and takes charge. Never have I walked by my beloved to see him off, hoping a cab never stops by. Never have I had the chance to count my breaths, rising and falling in waves. Or taken in gulps of cold air believing it would freeze the surges of warmth inside of me. I have never truly felt passion.

My locus of control unquestioningly lies in my head. And in those moments when I could have been taken away by a gust of wind, I have held my hands in my hands, and stayed. In the moments when my senses couldn't have been but more alive, I have been dead. A stimulation was amiss. Hence I have been numb.

Midway, I realize I have lived half my life like that, like dead. What is life without passion, if not the antithesis of it anyway. Though it doesn't completely feel like a waste, I wish I could have indulged, and regretted more. Walked by my lover to see him off, hoping a cab never stopped by.

And oh I have heard, money seduces. We shall see how and how much. Given a chance I wish I could replace everything I love with something more materialistic, that is more lifeless, yet more undying. But I can't.

But now, we shall see! 

incognito

There is a certain beauty
about sanity
hard-earned sanity
I hope, you know


Thus
She was beautiful
staring into the mirror
An intent glare


Deep, very deep
like drilling into her soul
Unblinking
Calm, like dead


Though never as alive
One protruding chin, thoughtful tresses
thin brows, large deep set eyes
and that killing glare, oh


After a lifetime of being cursed as ugly
A moment of sanity told her
that she was indeed
Beautiful, insane no more.


But not the kind that
titillates the flesh
But the kind that
frees the soul from it, the flesh


Beautiful, sigh

Criminal Isolation.

I have been isolated for the last two years. Or I have been in a place where complete isolation is more possible. There is very few people I know. And I take every care to keep them respectably distant. It's a small hilly town, everything about it is petite, and if you're an optimist, then adorable. I haven't seen a big city in quite a while, tempting sky scrapers and liberating highways. So much so that I might find them intimidating when I am there, the next time.

What I should be scared about though is that, that next time isn't very far away. I just have a couple of months left to live in this hilly town, post which I would have to pack my bags and go. Just go. Where? I don't know! But go I have to, there is no escaping that. Nothing is forever. I have to go and find my place amongst a bunch of strangers. What I am scared of is that I am doubtful if these sturdy walls of my isolation would still hold then. Probably and honestly, I think they wouldn't. It so sucks to say this, but they wouldn't. Only I would break them down, the fruits of my own sweat and blood, to let in a few straying temptations, surrender before them, and suffer their brutal consequences until they leave me, injured and abandoned. All over again. Temptations, I tell you.

And post that, it would take again, a lot of my time and labor, persuasion and tears, to built those walls again from their ruins, around myself, to protect me, to isolate me, to convince me never to break them down again. These walls. Why does one have to go about life, being aware of every potential trap that awaits her. Doesn't it feel like building your own tombstone already. Oh!

Beauty

Here, I am just trying to capture what I see. And I like it when my words obey me. This is a struggle in search of beauty. The abundance of it scares me, but I am still searching. I don't know if I am a non-conformist or what. I ain't a conformist for sure. Ain't I something in between. Aren't we all something in between, afraid only that we're totally reaching either shore. Isn't there beauty on either shore anyway. I will tell you. Tonite I will write about beauty, the one thing that has scared my wits. I want to write something that defies your interpretation, reach that zenith of exactitude.

There is beauty on either shore. If you're a conformist, you live like one. You go breathless for what you are supposed to have, have it, live with it, sometimes look through the glass at the illusion on the other side, the greener grass. But you live on, without raising a voice, revelling in mundanity and the security of it. Your clich├ęd life. And one day you die, and be buried. I am not being sarcastic, trust me, but there is beauty in that.

If you're a non-conformist, all you do is ask questions. Question the time trusted realities of life, so much that you threaten to extinction their very existence. You break rules like they never were. You pursue the un-pursued, look at the one who is not like you like she were a retard. You live like you have nothing to lose. What is to lose anyway. But sometimes, you look into the houses of people who chose to settle down and call it all off, and take my word, you feel for the possibilities you killed on the way. And there is beauty in that too.

But you're neither. You're in between, afraid only that you're totally reaching either shore. I am neither. But I am pretty confident I am on my way from one to another, from the former to the latter.

Totally Sane

She was reading a book about lovers finding each other in their past lives, the time transcending tale of love. Sarcasm was filling every cell in her body as she moved ahead with each word. All this, ha! One life is all you have and there is nothing pretty much beyond this. And love of course is a costly hypothesis created in the minds of lonely women.

A guy she now has known for six years, pictures of him came trickling into her mind. The Metallica T shirt wearing hooligan he used to be in school, down the lane, chasing bootylicious nymphs, wasting his precious time! Way back then she used to be quite the antithesis of the bootylicious nymph and so she laughed, how life comes around. This guy and she were never meant to be friends, there wasn't a motive behind them even coming across each other. Honestly, they weren't even friends in the truest sense of the word. They were acquaintances, who stayed in touch. Why did they stay in touch? Because there wasn't a motive behind them turning away from each other. The thing is like that. You can't help the presence of some people in your life, you're mostly indifferent, so much else is happening all the time and you're already so bummed. At the end of the hoopla, you find that person still there, like always. And this way, they moved on, together, alone.

He had a violent break-up, ended up so miserable that she poured in all the sympathy she could. In such a situation, their getting cozy was but inevitable, I mean how could you not. But they respected some ground realities, both of them. No matter how intimate they were, they couldn't be together, she didn't have to remind him of that ever. She had a couple of heartbreaks too, sometimes he was a bit of a help. Six years went by.

She was reading this book about the time transcending tale of love. He popped the question. Will you be my girl friend. He couldn't make out what she was thinking, there was a short lull. And then she shot back. How bored are you, with your life!

Went back to the book, totally sane. So sure that their friendship wasn't effectively ruined, or anything.

Sometimes you feel like thanking people for just being there in your life, though they had no other way but be.



Li'l Miss

Li'l Miss sat on a dining chair, her tiny pink socked feet floating in the air. She made squeaky noises with the fork on her plate. Her plate of course, was made specially for her, the Li'l Miss. Had all the colors her eyes could imagine and smileys too. She was the Apple of Daddy's eye. Mommy's last first love. She had a funny looking ponytail tied in a band of beads, very pretty. Her feet though kept floating in the air, not looking for any ground at all, it wasn't time yet.

Li'l Miss had been trying Daddy's slippers and dragging them around the whole house, until mommy barged out of the kitchen and put her on top of this chair she couldn't get down from, the height was a little scary. So she now made those squeaky noises and screamed aloud that she wanted her egg poached, sunny-side-up. And that she wouldn't eat it otherwise. Li'l Miss, very little, very pretty sat on the dining chair and made squeaky noises with her fork every morning.

But the sad part was, she was a part of a dream that never happened. Never. She couldn't be born, tired of waiting she must have given up, waiting even to be conceived in the land where souls meet. She couldn't be. With her, a lot of other things too went down the drain. Promises made behind cold walls on deep winter nights, of being together forever. Secrets shared under tall trees, in the corners of lonely streets on roaring monsoon afternoons. All lost. Somebody forgot to turn the hour glass up again. Possibilities died. And the Li'l Miss never could happen. Never.

A silenced whimper

Do you know what a disability is? I hope you don't, that would be too unfortunate. We crib a lot over things that could otherwise seem petty. But we have no idea how it feels to have one unrecoverable lacuna. A void that no force in the world can refill, so much so that it forces you to a live a life with so many shortcomings. You cannot even ask what you did wrong to deserve this. The situation would drive you insane, wouldn't it? People call the disabled, differently gifted and special and blah blah, but the truth is so harsh, it's even difficult to look at it in the eye.

Once when I was a little girl, someone asked me what class I studied in. He didn't ask, he wrote the question down on the last page of my notebook. He couldn't speak. I was a little stunned but I said aloud, '5'. He pointed to his ears and shook his hand. He couldn't hear either, he was deaf. I wrote a '5' neatly beside his question. He smiled. I looked down and cried. I was very young to realize what this could mean, as in really  really mean, but I was so shocked, I wondered how could life have been so unfair, I cried. That was my first brush with a disability. Since then I have encountered it many times, but haven't reacted as much. We get used to such things, human beings that we are, we could adapt ourselves to almost anything.

But lately something has happened, something, and I can't be indifferent again. My heart feels so burdened that I don't know who to ask what question. I don't know how long to wait for an answer. The truth has never been so imposing, unchallengeable and ugly. A disability ruins a life, a bit after a bit, patient enough to cause the maximum possible amount of pain, leaving you with a faint ability of mere survival. It's very difficult.

But then John Nash was schizophrenic. I am awed how such geniuses make it through. Probably because they are geniuses. For the rest, the hoi polloi, surviving through every day, not breaking down every moment is the challenge at hand. God Bless!

Not for the Fainthearted.

She sat on the platform, clutching her bag, dozing off now and then. Teeth nearly tottering in the late December cold, waiting. She was supposed to switch trains at this obscure station, she was going somewhere. Eyes were nervous, heart coaxed her to return with the silliest of excuses. But some wish kept her from falling apart.

Trains went by, she awaited hers. Provoking stares, some lingering ones. Counting minutes, giving up in between, making tiny wishes. She was en route to meet the man her heart longed so much to meet. Wouldn't you call that silly? Why couldn't he come for her? Isn't she being a little desperate? God, isn't she scared? Travelling alone all the way? What if he's just playing her? What if her heart breaks at the end of it all? Would it be worth it? How much would she cry? Would she ever be able to trust a man again? How harsh could be the cost of following your heart? Oh dear!

But she spared not a thought. Was engaged deeply, in making wishes, as I said. Shivering and waiting. Breathing out mist, smiling, yawning, pushing away every force that wanted her to return. Chasing what she wanted. 

Unlike the rest, who move from one obsession to another trying to forget the previous, losing themselves in the process. Unlike the rest, who are afraid of a heart break. The ones who give up. Unlike the faint hearted, she waited, she moved closer..towards him.