October Ache

October knows my fatigue, where once amidst the candle glow, I had read Dante’s Inferno and,maybe a poem or two by Poe.

How I walk that lonely aisle again, its dark sides desiring to devour me. This season of parting birds, longer nights and bloated pumpkins, this season of life failing and leaves falling, this season aches my heart.

Gazing at the crimson sunset, I recline in the discomfort of my thoughts, that play like an old song stuck in my head.

Sorrow with its outstretched arms tip toes towards me, crawls up my cold feet, tired legs and hides in my aching chest.

The cold breeze through the pines whispers a monodic rhyme, and you come to me faceless, inodorous, voiceless. Do you look like those hazy pictures you share? Do you smell of floral hues or of aqua blues? What do you like? What do you dream? Do you think we’d ever meet? And where?

The night spreads on my balcony, slouching on my creaking rock chair, I open my eyes and I reek of the piled up uncertainties. I sit up and feel a pair of soft hands at the back, detangling my curly locks, pressing my shoulders, kissing the back of my head. “Were those hands yours?” Walking without an answer, I assume they were yours.

I open the door to a hopeless room and a hapless life. As I enter and shut the door behind, I affirm, “ Those were your hands, yes yours!”

And I feel them around me, clutching me tight, undressing me, walking me towards the hot shower, holding my chin up, showing me the vapouring sorrow, the burden off my chest, stroking my wet head, kissing my moist lips, and faceless, voiceless, Inodorous, vanishing in thin air.

Liquid Ache

Six winters waging a lonely war against myself, beneath a rougher sea, whelmed in deeper gulfs. A lonely woman leaning out of the tiny wooden window, my sable eyes staring at the wasted garden, waiting ceaselessly. Soft December night curled and fell asleep on my empty lap. Waking up to a bitter morning, time stained memories worsened my ache. Of friends, Of hope, of all bereft I strangled myself to a deep sleep, again.

His memories would wake me up from my deepest sleep. He would unlace the sloppy silver anklet of my foot, and kiss my bare heel with his scarlet lips. His lips would drive down my nape, tracing and tapping my collar bone softly. In crumpled sheets we would spend our days, amidst wine frenzy our mellow nights.

Sitting by the fireplace, gazing at the lofty pine trees covered with mist, and koti hills decked with twinkling lights. Restless nights, midnight smokes, long walks, all shorlived, a hundred indecisions all abruptly decided. The fabric of his presence started to fall apart. My tears unattended, my screams unheard. My calling rejected. Potting my bleeding heart in my pale hands, blood dripping. I swallowed the pain down my parched throat.

I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of his face. But now my too tired heart started to retire. I knew no games I had only words to play with!

Sick sweet

Winter night sternly frowned at my doorstep; the sick sweet December air numbed my lips with its cold kisses. Unease muffled around me like a worn out pashmina shawl. The feeble wanderings of my brain guided me to his faded aisles, yet again. Dropping my exhaustion with ice cubes in the bitter whiskey, the despair for love grew in me. It had been long since I had tasted the salt of my tears.

His cold touch sweated my body, his rough hands wounded my bosom, and his faint red lips swelled mine. Wounded whispers of my heart in his ears left unheard, I watched our love withering leaf by leaf.

How bitter was it to taste his smoke stench fingers, how savagely suppressing the weight of his bony body on mine. How addictive his coaxing me to sleep, how compelling his beguiling hazel eyes.

He’d stroke my cold feet, hold them close to his chest, kiss them fondly and I’d smile at its brief stay. Turning off the lights, how much he loved the darkness, and darkness he became. The chimes, the sickening cold lights, the pale snow on the mountains, the blood red wine, everything plunged me back to him. The better days of life were ours, the worst mine and mine alone.

Winter Beats

Would you now walk through those half deserted streets, lounging away the restless nights in one night cheap hotels? Would you be the age old whiskey to my now so parched throat? Do you remember under the light muslin the love we made?

Your pale hands I’ve loved beside those rosewood hued lips. Frozen in your warm embraces, did you leave me alive just so I could be lonely? And here I’ve prayed for you midst the minarets and sunsets, when the foggy days rubbed their muzzle on my window pane, and the rainy nights dampened the backyard of my heart.


I’d part the thick curtains of my room and muse over how like winter hath my absence been from thee. What old December’s bareness deep down I’ve felt. But I never mentioned longing or fear. I crouched like a good refugee and forgot why Autumn is harder than Spring.

Moonlit autumnal nights, rummaging through old pictures. Someone shot the air gun in the sky, a bluebird fell dead in the backyard, and so did you in the backyard of my heart.

Better my art you batterer of my heart! Live in these words while I fill these pages, live while my fingers ragingly ache. Live and die, die and live altogether.

Pic credits : Pinterest https://wallpaper.arabaresmi.com/2019/12/10/34598/

A Testimony

A halt. My heart needed to halt. The weight of those memories hung heavy on me, pulled me into those depths that I feared. “You look miserable dear,” said he, “has life not been treating you well?”

I collapsed into those hazel hued eyes, those scarlet lips pressing a cigarette between them, those fingers gently pulling out the cigarette from the subtle clutch of lips and those lips rounding to puff the smoke out…I drowned into him as he spoke – “what have you done to yourself?”

Long tiring years of loving in the wrong zones, I asked myself how real it was right now? I wanted to touch every inch of his flesh, every strand of his newly cut hair, the soft stubble on his face, I wanted to touch him and he would briskly deny. Deny my touch – physical and emotional.

He did not enter me, break me, tear me, or rip me, but I still felt that all! My body broke under the weight of his denials. That kiss on the lips didn’t last long, that warm nakedness clothed itself fast, that stupor of wine vanished, those tears dried, the smoke dissipated and he faded.

I walked back carrying myself, sadly in love, yet again! I started loving the rain, yet again! That night under the shower, rubbing to rashes, the spots of his essence, burning my body in that flaming water, disappointed I came out, this time caring even more- about him, his essence, his presence.

And he danced with another body while our song was still playing! Swirling in the caresses of her silken lips and warm bosom, her lovely words, and balmy touch…while I built castles in the clouds and craved to touch his body once, enter the domains that he kept shut for the world, I craved for him to look at me once the way lovers did! I craved to drink that ale to the brim and collapse into his arms. My silent testimony held me, my tears couldn’t show the enormity of pain.

Need is not transitive, that one may need without oneself being needed! I let my heart halt, till the time that would be right, and the love that wouldn’t be one sided. Befriended the inky nights and ale, the masks and deceptions…till he would be ready to reveal all that’s hidden in the folds of his heart.

मुन्तज़िर (Awaiting)

ज़ीना ज़ीना उतर रही है रात

बुन रही हूँ रेशम ओ अतलस में टूटे हुए दिल की बात|

सबा के साथ गुज़रती है मौज-ए-दर्द-ए-फ़िराक़-ए-यार,

आज भी कर रही हूँ जल्वा-गाह-ए-विसाल में तेरा इंतज़ार|

तू नहीं तो ज़िंदगी में और क्या रह जाएगा,

दूर तक तन्हाइयों का सिलसिला रह जाएगा|

मैं कब तन्हा हुई थी याद होगा…

तुम्हारा फ़ैसला था याद होगा…

वो ख़त पागल हवा के आँचलों पर …

किसने तुम्हे लिखा था याद होगा …

मुलाकातें अधूरी रही,

मुकम्मल करुँगी ये वादा रहा…

तन्हाइयों से भी मैं तेरी,

बातें करुँगी ये वादा रहा…


Dressed in a peacock blue saree, her glossy wavy hair subtly hanging at the ends of her shoulders, she wore a daunting red dot in the centre of her forehead. Wanting to be her best, for him. It was to be the end of that relentless waiting, that dreadful loneliness, when time had hung heavy on her, it was to be the end of it all.

There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison as theirs. They were meant to be together.

She had bought fresh garden orchids and had stacked them in the glass vase, they loved orchids. How, she remembered he would cheer her up with orchid bouquets whenever she would break down or get worked up! They would sway in the aroma of orchids all day all night, he would tickle her toes with the tiny buds and she would laugh her heart out. Soon their lips would clasp into a subtle kiss!

The sound of the doorbell excited her, she ran to the door, the sound of her anklets laden feet echoed in the whole vicinity, her heart beat surged up. She lit up all the chandeliers in the hall to welcome him back. Opening the door wide she found a letter saying – “I give up.” Where she thought of basking in his warm hugs, running her fingers through his hair, kissing every inch of his face; she was served with despair, beyond repair.

The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.

She stared at the letter in her trembling hands. The hands that he kissed now held the testament of his incapacity. A heaviness took over her, a heartache, a numbness. Under the shower broke out a river of tears from her colossal eyes, the Kajal smothered…dribbling down with tears.

It had been years now that the orchids had withered and she hadn’t disposed them off. Today another year passed and she again dressed up in that peacock blue saree, with a daunting red dot now on her wrinkled forehead, put on Kajal in her eyes with her trembling old hands, and waited for the doorbell to ring! Waited…under the Amaltas tree in her garden, among the autumnal winds, the summer sun, the swirling spring and the dying winter. She waited onto him. Waited with those dried buds of orchids in her aged palms.

They say with love comes longing! And a love even for sometime is enough to last for a lifetime!

And then he came….with the orchids in his hands and pain in his heart. At a loss of words! “Sorry” was all he could say and she was no more there to forgive him with that subtle kiss!

The ceaseless ache

Leela’s eyes had lost none of their glitter nor her walk it’s old rhythm.

She ascended the stairs, her anklets jostling, her infectious giggle rippling like a fresh brook finding its way into the locked domains of his heart.

The memory of that moment hit her like a surging ocean wave- drawing her into it, the sour smell of darkness, those sobs erupting like an echo from a bottomless pit. She held his burnt photograph in her old, wrinkled hands feeling odd how simple things can still remind one of those terrible times and how the moment one tries so hard to forget becomes ones sharpest memory!

He caught her by her tender arm ornate with green glass bangles that made a cracking sound. His lips whispered “leela” in her ears, she shivered and giggled and started running…he ran after her and caught her by her slender waist….delving deep into her fragrant jasmine adorned hair, he felt her entering into him through the forbidden passages.

She thought about all the rules they broke in the name of love. Those evenings at Assi ghat when on the far end they mused over the pyres burning, and feared they’d too die someday, feared about who would be left alone if one of them dies early! She walked on those water smeared steps telling him to take her away….it was time she turned on the radio, and request for the song ja ja ja o bewafaaa….that played every evening on one of the monks radio on the ghat, he would’ve been a victim of unrequited love, she thought then, and empathised with him now! And with a cold sigh, “Angad” she would say….and lie on her broken chair, plunging back to thoughts of him that were now 40 years old and still new!

But he IS there…she knows, in the balmy Subha- e- banaras, whispering her name in her ears. He is there in the orange embers spitting from the pyres, he is there among the boats on the Ganges, in those simmering hot tea cups, he is there in the evening Aarti on the ghat….he is there in the floating oil lamps, he is still there holding her by her old tender waist….he is there like no one else ever was, or ever would be!

Melodic melancholy

Barefoot, I sauntered on the old, cracked wooden floor of the little deserted cottage that I had rented for a week in the unruffled backwoods of Dagshai. The morning mist collided with my face, with the gush of raindrops, numbing my nose. With no hint of morning sunlight, the fog grew denser and rested on my gossamer covered body. The frozen wind sat cross legged on my nape, and untied the knots of my hair.

And there was a sound…

A maiden voice, practising the morning Riyaz, the Farida khanum song woh jo Hume tumhe Qaraar tha….tumhe yaad ho ke na ho..” escorted by mild tabla flaps, along the wistful wailing of the melancholic flute. I could hear the subtle tinkling of her anklets and treading of her soft slumber feet. With the murmuring shadow of the intricate raag and riyaaz in that dark dawn, my oblique memories of you filtered.

Years ago when we were here, under the evening sky and the faint scent of the sultry air, resting together in the great lone hills in the storm filled weather, watching the skies as they paled and burnt. Under the shade of crimson dyed Palash trees, I rested my head in your lap, looking at your sunlit, passionate eyes, touching your roseate velvet skin, slipping into a brisk siesta. Waking up from which, I know not where you went! Maybe you hid yourself behind the branches of the Palash or went wandering alone in the woods…Or got lost in the hills somewhere, and you never came back…just never!

Now when I stroll in the Moreish calmness, amidst the squealing sound of towering pine trees, I feel your placental presence, your fingers locked with mine, your cologne mixes with the fresh roses in my hands, and walks with me to the cemetery, where you sprawl in the moist mud, recline in the turf of grass and whisper with the wind, lifting the strands of my hair and blowing soft kisses on my ear, giving me chills…still!

वो जो हममे तुममे क़रार था तुम्हें याद हो के ना याद हो
वही यानी वादा निभाः का तुम्हें याद हो के ना याद हो….

Here At dagshai, by your side, I too shall sleep, a sleep that lasts forever, too deep for dreams….in flesh and blood we couldn’t mingle, maybe among the shingles and mud our dust may mingle. I haven’t forgotten that promise! I wouldn’t!

Picture credits : Pinterest

Dreamy reality

My lips kept absorbing the sparkles of the rose gold firewater, my eyes kept meeting his shy eyes, my lengthy glances and his brisk denials. A rare, unmatched comfort enveloped me from all sides. A ripple of the past crossed my mind and the present woke me up to a dream that was in front of me, a dream that I wanted to wrap in a blue cloud cloth, away from the too rough fingers of the cruel world.