Monday, August 14, 2017

Arrival

I am sitting at the International Arrivals section of Dulles airport right now and watching people.
Reunions are always special.Different communities of people arriving and being received by their loved ones is something to watch. However different they are, I see no differences in the way they are greeting and hugging each other. Their language may be different but the body language is the exact same- the smiles, the grins, the way their eyes are lighting up, the hugs, the kisses, the running into each other's arms - there is no difference between people. The Arrival Gate is one of the best ways that you can understand we are all the same, the differences we see or read about and hear about are elements fostered in our own minds giving rise to misconceptions, assumptions, prejudices.

Each child is ditching their bag(s), shrieking and running into their father's, mother's, grandparents', uncles', aunts' arms. They are the best part to watch. Such unadulterated pure joy. It's an amazing experience to watch love among people - you always know there is still so much good in the nooks and corners of life that usually get overshadowed by daily routines, politics and hate.

Imagine the possibilities if we all stopped a little in our lives to move together as one community instead of focusing on differences between our own selves.Unfortunately, most of it is in our nurture and the way we are brought up. A lot of prejudices and differences get built into the brain and our habits which almost becomes innate and is difficult to overcome. But all we need to do is consciously try. A little effort could always go a long way.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Loneliness

There's something about loneliness that is extremely appealing,almost sensuous, in the way that it  meticulously seduces and lures most people into its bear trap. The offer it makes is an escape route from the ever changing chaos we live in - peace, quiet, solitude. This very first offering is its last one and enough to start the avalanche to rock bottom. You foster in this new found solidarity and convince yourself how amazing this feeling is. Somewhere your perception of time gets changed and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a month or two of peace and quiet.

During this time you have cut off from the world to enjoy your new found existence.
As you walk through this tunnel of yours, you glance back one day.
That's the point when you realize the escape route makes you feel different now - alone.

The tunnel has nobody else, it's eerily quiet and the lights behind you have switched off as you trudged ahead. You pause and debate moving ahead now. In this moment of indecision, there is an involuntary urge to stay bathed in lights. After what seems ages, you decide to take a chance and make your way back. You turn around towards the darkness and glance back at the lighted part of the tunnel once. You take a deep breath and start back. This time the lights around you don't turn on as you walk. However, you can see till some distance ahead of you from the lights behind. Then you round a bend and all the light gets sucked up by the dark walls - now all you can do is fumble around in the inkiness to make your way back to the entrance. Needless to say, to go back the same distance takes more time and effort than it took for you to cover it in your initial spike of exuberance and euphoria.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Holiday

Just before stepping within approximately a kilometer of the train station I could suddenly smell the whole trip.It was a scent that bordered on familiar at the very edge of my consciousness, awakened at that last moment spurring up my heartbeat, this strange unapologetic mix of fast food, diesel fumes, stale sweat, unclean bathrooms and a counter-attacking feeble lavender air freshener. With that sudden new realization courtesy my olfactory senses, the dripping rivulets of sweat cooled off as the mind finally accepted the entirety of the excitement that lay ahead of me the next few days.

The body is a wonderful machine. Until then, my mind, exposed to several months of homework and examinations had not yet let go of the daily routine, sure that I would return to bed that night and awaken at seven in the morning next day to put on my iron uniform and lead shoes to start another school day with heavy-lidded eyes, all the while wondering how the teacher was so wide awake and brisk in his manners this early - "Maybe that's what grown ups just do-something changes in you while growing up and you are just wide awake in the morning", that's what I told myself as everyone took turns at announcing their presence in the classroom.

At that moment, however, the acceptance opened up a new world. The struggle through the crowds and the traffic towards the station seemed to be a minuscule point in a universe that consisted of oceans, waves, seashells(that would be collected in a quantity so high it could be a Guinness record for a child), mountains, lush green fields, sand bars, sunshine, wind, siestas, villages, towns, factories, railroad crossings, bicycles, dark skinned people, fair-skinned people, old people, middle aged people, crying children, spider children, silent children, social children,awkward teenagers, honeymoon couples, shops, colors, clothes, toys, walks, laughs, swimming trunks, sweaters, hoodies, shawls, towels, car seats, shampoo sachets, board games, card decks with frayed aces and bent Queens, peanuts, boiled eggs, rock salt, 'bhelpuri', 'jhalmuri', 'frooti', tea, coffee, endless sugar-cones filled with softy ice cream, food trays, water packets, newspapers, spilled gravy, simmering hot food, blankets, air-pillows, mineral water bottles, barred windows, open windows, languages, torn comics, old books, new books, doodles, crayons and entire households packed into three suitcases fastened securely to the underbellies of the blue seats with a snakelike chain held in place by a lock whose (Alice In Wonderland like) tiny key was the most safeguarded item; all of it being rocked together in a drowsy steady staccato.

I was about to step into an entire plethora of references from which school essays would arise and stories during language exams at school would be spun. I smiled and climbed up to build my own cozy corner on the topmost bunk as the engine hissed and the people faded away.

Friday, July 28, 2017

That Butterfly I Could Never Catch

Rustled it's wings and liquified the colors on it's back
like the ocean does to the sky on the horizon,
it tempted my inexperienced fingers to savor a touch
on the powdery blue and shimmering gold
yet like the proudest queen that walked the Earth
not to be touched by the unexceptional,
it rose into the air the moment my naked fingers came close.
I pinched the summer air, hot and heavy from
the exhaust pipes of the rat-race cars and the smoke
from chimneys stemming out of hearths where
apron clad men and women cooked brains
to serve to dark men in dark suits and dark sunglasses,
the very definition of contrast to my butterfly
sitting on its next perch of wild primroses that stared with their jaundice eyes
without a feeling in the world by themselves
but add them to the hand of a man about to go on a  first date,
there was now something about the flat petals and their jaundice eyes.


There were other butterflies around me to catch
but the blue and gold was etched into my pupils
as they clenched to keep out the sun.
I failed over and over till the sun went down
and my pupils finally dilated
enough for me to accept resignation.

You Are

A boy who, all of a sudden in the middle of class,
slips his hands into the left pocket of his friend's trousers to grope at his private parts.
A girl who wouldn't pick up calls or meet him after
she left him a text saying she was pregnant because words can create and destroy the world.
A boy who started chain-smoking at the age of fourteen
and tried to quit in vain till you found your nicotine patch in God.
A girl who never paused to listen to what others around her were trying to say
because you always kept a packet of condoms in your room till the right time.
A boy who disappeared inside a well years ago
and resurfaced out of the blue as a woman and shocked everyone who knew you and didn't.
A girl who stitched together magazines to shut herself out from the cold
and got interviewed by the biggest magazine in the city for your debut ramp walk.
A boy whose mother picked you and your friend up after school,
who showed him his first dirty video after lunch when he came back to your place .
A girl who collided with a wall while you were dancing
to a tune released by Britney Spears ignoring your homework for the next day.
A boy who understood the ways of the world at ten
so got labelled as the bumbling class idiot by his friends and overconfident by his teachers.
A girl who decided to take the matters into your hands
but got beaten up by your own husband while your in-laws looked on.

I Realize

There are these memories ingrained
within every person and object I have chanced upon,
stirred alive on dark winter afternoons
that sleep slowly into oblivion so deep
that you could hear brittle bones getting ground into dirt
which rises up and floats around everyone else
infecting everything and tying every one of us together
and the ones that are stirred alive in dark shadows
of that lone tree on the hottest day of the year where
there was so much food that I beckoned
squirrels and birds to help us finish the lot
as everyone else drowned in a siesta
except the children who were now free of maternal reigns.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Bodytalk

I'd call unknowingly
You'd know before I do.
Even if we're  over,
habits don't die soon.

My eyes don't blink as much
as my brain strays to your eyes.
As our bodies did all the talking
I couldn't spot the lies.


Should I hold on to bits of you like
flaky leaves on winter trees?
I'll run away
I've made my choice
but my feet are slowing down.


What a waste of time.
What a waste of time.
What a waste of time.
What a waste of time.
What a waste of time.

Arrival

I am sitting at the International Arrivals section of Dulles airport right now and watching people. Reunions are always special.Different ...