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.

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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…

Wither

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.

Moonshine lonesome

Tonight, the moon waxed among the garland of a million stars glimmering in the inky sky. I sat in the balcony, alone, dreading the loneliness for the first time. My coffee and my life were at parallels, dark, bitter yet strong and addictive.

The only noise was of an old owl howling and the evening egrets flapping their little wings and my noisy stream of thoughts. I wished for his balmy touch on my cold shoulders, his soft lips on the back of my head, his ticklish whispering in my ears that would make me laugh, his taking my hand in his virile hands and twirling on any song we hummed under our breaths.

After a fatiguing day, I would retire to my bed, a bed hardened with the bouts of his thoughts and incessant tears that desired for his presence. How he would curl his arms around my waist, and cup his chin in my shoulder, how I would hold his hand and feel safe. Now it’s just a dark forest where I walk alone, following my own breath, nobody to comfort me, nobody to walk along, my feet tired of walking, stop somewhere where I see him, calling me to soak me in his arms…and disappearing all the same! His illusion keeps me going! His vague presence makes me toil. He’s far…very far…but his thoughts keep me alive!