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!

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Shades….

In the cloudplay on a blustery day and dead drizzling on a stormy night, he came to my mind in shades of greys leaving me in blues. The winds whispered to my ears a thousand memories of him and I sauntered down the memory lane.

Standing on the edge of a cliff, ready to take off, his deadpan gaze at the world beneath his feet, so unflinching, so passive, his glider would unfurl and I would skip a beat, and open my eyes to see him flying, higher and fearless! Those were the times he would forget me….forget himself…..forget the world!

On the moonless nights, we would stare at the shallow sky and talk of this and that! He would warm up my cold feet under the sheets and caress my nape with his soft lips until I fell asleep! I’d wake up in the middle of the night to a balmy view of a thousand glittering lights festooning the hills and his head on my my lap, and I would feel complete!

The dark dawns would keep us in covers for a little longer, and I’d feel melancholic with the thought of letting him go! He’d hold me closer and whisper to my ears- “these mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”

And I saw him slowly and hazily disappear into a thick, dark forest, dispersing into a thousand shades of grey, swaying away with the winds, far away somewhere where he greets me when I’m lost and blue!

Chalk and cheese

We talk of being friends with like minded people, the ones who “twin” with us. On my last day in Thailand, I came across these two little ladies, one of whom was incessantly talking about the scarlet dress she got for her birthday and stories of her cousins back in India while the other acknowledging her, patiently! I paced towards them, hoping to click the light moment that they shared (without their knowing) but they received me with a grin as if already acquainted with my intentions.

Afroz, the silent listener, and the loquacious Roohi, after a couple of minutes of blushing pink, agreed to have their picture clicked. They told me stories about how they loved sharing their Tiffin’s at school, and how they loved staying over at each other’s place on weekends and how they wish to grow up old together and race in wheelchairs😄. The one thing that I could not get my eyes off was their interlocked hands. What binds them so strongly together in such a tender age, I wondered. Maybe their being on the different pages of the book of their life, doesn’t really matter. They are those pieces of the puzzle that complete each other. Their purpose isn’t to become each other or fit in according to each other but to recognise each other and respect each other’s differences. Friendships aren’t always about rejoicing in similar ways, but in rejoicing together.

Kaleidoscope of senses! 

I hear a thousand leaves fluttering as the wind blows them a kiss,

And the fallen leaves performing the same feat!

The earth’s tears make many people feel lighter! 

I see the flowers and feel earth exploding in laughter.

I see vivid emotions in the Hued sky,

And the silhouetted hills with a welcoming smile.

I hear the pages turning by themselves,

On the young writers desk.

I go closer and see the empty pages, 

‘Coz ahead of him still the whole life is waiting.

I see the sun always by the moon’s side,

Brings it to frame though it can easily outshine. 

Makes it shine much brighter as darkness falls.

That’s a love I desire for all!

I see the ripe fields swinging with a smile,

And the harversted ones standing upright.

Yes, because of the pride,

As they’ve given us the best they could provide! 

I like the raindrops racing on the window,  they compete without any fight! 

I Feel the damp window as if some goblin cried there all night!

The witches with brooms and the fairies with their wands 

I believe in the magic and the haunts! 

I taste a different world and love its bits,

It fills my voids and to it I proudly submit! 

©Picture credits: Rajiv Srivastava ✨

http://instagram.com/rajiv_srivastava📸