Category: Fiction & Poetry Page 1 of 4

bed.

.
the chains of the morning bed,
clawing back the body of he

holding the self, snoozing away
the sounds of the chirps

of a little sun, of a little rain
of hopes that are so little

the uneventful swirl of the fan
and embrace of sheets that are cold

eyes that want some more time
to sleep in a body that’s tired still

the chains of the morning bed
pushing away the body of he.

Vulnerable or Just real ?

Post submitted by Pragya Pathak

From the top of the sky to the depth of the sea,
From the chills of winter to the trickling sweat of summers,
That much, yes that much!

There is so much inside, like an unending pool. And I so love it.


This depth which is touched so often, oh it feels so satisfying.
Like there is a black hole of emotions in the center of my chest,
So real, so pure that it is the only thing that makes me feel I am in touch with myself.


I don’t prefer shallow just because it’s apparently safe.
Trust me, when the depth of your soul gets limitless, it’s no more scary. You are vulnerable but not breakable only when it is still measured, your love, your soul, and you yourself.


Oh, I am so sick of the prevalent new-age philosophy.
It teaches you to weigh, it teaches you to test, it teaches you to find logic in love, it teaches you to remain superficial while claiming you are not and protect yourself.
It just stops you from completely being, it just tries to put you in the shape of the vessel which is being considered safe.

Who wants to be in the vessel? Not me.

I want to be in every speck of this beautiful world created by my dearest god.

I want to live so completely that it soothes the itch of my soul.

I want to love with all of my heart, not leaving even an inch of mine out of it.

I want to do everything I do with, all I can.

Oh I have started to love the vulnerability, it gets me in touch with myself.

My cute little fears, my reaction to situations make me laugh at something I am unknowingly sticking myself to which might have happened a long time or a few years back.

It’s a strength to be able to feel every feeling in totality, to be able to see yourself how you are, and to open yourself completely.

Oh dear heart, my dear soul, just be !

The Kid and the Grandfather

A Late afternoon walk towards the beach, with his grandfather, the kid walked alongside holding his hand. His grandfather towered over his tiny self. They were more than tens of thousands of steps away from the beach. He wanted him to put him on his shoulders as they did back at home, and from where they came traveling on a train.

But grandpa wanted the kid to walk. He should walk. His favorite lines included a lot of thoughts about having to walk after eating. The kid usually noticed him talking about digestion, quite often, with his old grey-haired friends. He would always dictate what not to eat. This included chocolates, Ice-creams, and Frooty. The kid liked just these things.
He disliked the opinion of his grandfather who mocked him for eating all this and spoiling his teeth. Yes, the kid had lost a few frontal teeth, but everyone says, they’ll come back. All white and new. Unlike the fake ones that the grandpa had. The kid also mocked his grandfather with the able company of the grandmother. But now, his grandmother wasn’t there. So, he had to just listen to what the grandfather told.

A dreary day this would be. The kid was sure.

As they walked towards the beach, the grandfather took a small turn, and instead, they headed somewhere else. It was like a beach but not like it. It was mostly still water. No waves and no running away from the water when it the waves came rushing. Grandfather said it was a ‘lagoon’ and he’d probably read about this when he grows older. The kid thought he was old.

There was a boat there and lots of people on it. They both went and sat in the middle of the boat. His grandfather gave money to the man and placed him next to him.

The kid was excited. Before this, he had only made paper boats and ran with them during rains. Sitting on a real boat made him happy. He was talking loud, and the other people sitting on the boat were laughing, along with the grandfather. Grandfather held him and made him dipped his hand in the water. They went around a circle and returned to the same place.

‘How was it, huh? Good?’

‘Should we do this again?’

‘Next time.’

As they headed back, the grandfather even bought two popsicles from the ice-cream guy there. Back home, these ice-creams are made from the dirty drain water and not here. That was what the grandfather told the kid while eating the other popsicle.

The Gift

“It’s the thought that counts!” She insisted for the nth time. The ‘gift’ was on the table in front of her while he stood there, with his hands in the pockets, looking embarrassed. He made an expression reminiscent of ‘Are you sure?’ by twitching his face and biting his lips.

She wasn’t sure of it herself. But she had to appear certain. He needed her to be. “This’ll be really useful; unlike so many other things they’re going to receive.” She reasoned with her smile while wrapping up the gift in a red wrapping paper diligently. He looked towards her, neatly folding the paper, and thought, ‘She’s right. As always’, as he headed towards the mirror to knot his tie.

As they headed into the glittering Convention Hall, the dressed up crowd, the lightings around was all they could see. He saw the table where all gifts were kept and they both headed to place the package. It was like getting rid of it was in both their minds. And just when they were to place it there, someone tapped on his shoulder, and a ‘Hey!’ filled the air around them. She knew it was them, but she didn’t turn around immediately. She had to make sure the hosts did not see the package in her hand.

She turned around in surprise, clenching her fist, to greet the hosts who were out there welcoming the guests. Thankfully they had just careened close by when someone pulled them up for a selfie. ‘Thank God!’ she thought at a minor reprieve to place the gift among a pile of others.

He looked at her with a smile. Yes, she wanted just that. He looked agreeable to her being right about ‘No Gift is small’ with the way their hosts welcomed them.

As they finished the gala dinner and headed outside to catch a taxi. She asked him to ‘take a walk’.

‘Isn’t it far?’

‘I ate too much!’

As they walked away, holding hands, she took out two crumpled name-tags of ‘best wishes’ out of her pocket and aimed at the dust-bin. Bulls Eye!

ठंड के वो दिन

आज बैठा था धूप तापते हुए बालकनी में। हवा साथ मे चल रही थी तो धूप की तपिश का वो मज़ा नही मिल पा रहा था। मैंने अपनी नीलकमल थोड़ी खिसकाई और आगे की तरफ बढ़ा। पर हाल फिरभी वही था। 

यूँ तो मैं सर्दियों का फैन नही हूँ। वैसे देखा जाए तो गर्मी या बारिश के extreme नेचर का भी फैन नही। हर चीज़ में मॉडरेशन पसंद कुछ ज़्यादा है हमें। लोग आजकल लिबरल भी कह डालते हैं। कुछ विषयो पे एक्सट्रेमिस्ट भी कह चुके हैं। अब लोग तो लोग ही हैं, काम हैं उनका कहना। 

खैर, अभी बस ठंड की बात करते हैं। आज घर वाली सर्दी को miss कर रहा था। धूप में भी स्वेटर पेहेनके बैठना , घंटों तक, कॉमिक बुक हाथ मे लिए। फिर जब वक़्त हुआ तो , खेलते रहना बिना थके। उस दौरान हुम बड़े चाव से टेस्ट क्रिकेट भी खेला करते थे। हालांकि में कुछ खास नही खेलता था पर उत्साह हमेशा ज़ोरो पर रहता था। आलम तो कुछ ऐसा हुआ करता था कि हम रमज़ान के महीने में भी घंटों खेल लिया करते थे। क्रेजी कह लीजिए। फज्र की नमाज़ के लिए न निकले पर बैट धरके सबको जागाते हुए गांधी मैदान में दिख ज़रूर जाते थे।

गरम पानी के इलावा कुछ चूना कहर हो मानो। लकड़ी के चूल्हे पे बारी बारो पानी गर्म हो चलता और नहाने की बारी लागतो। थोड़ा टालते पर कुछ डांट सुनते गुसलखाने की जानिब चल ही देते। नहाके सीधे दौड़ते हुए धूप में। ठिठुरते हुए। 

इस मौसम में बैर काफी मिलते थे। कभी कदर हम पास के एक कंपाउंड को फांदके बैर भी चुराया करते थे। और ये भी न किया कभी तो कमसेकम घर मे बुयाम में हल्दी लगाके रखे बैरों का चुपके सेवन तो ज़रूर किया है। 

रातों को बड़े की निहारी सुर सुर करके खाना तो याद है ही और साथ मे मोहल्ले के चौराहे पर अंडे के कूट से हाथ सेकना भी। फिर अम्मी के चिल्लाने पर घर आते ही रज़ाई में दुबक के दादी के साथ सोना, ताकि अब्बू डांटे नही। 

वो थे ठंड के दिन। और आज यहां पंखे की स्पीड को ताकते नींद को बुलाने की कोशिश जारी है। 

नींद से याद आया, कल मंडे है। 

कोई कह रहा है, ‘आज कहिये जनाब’।

There, but not there! 

Seeking perfection even in the camaflogue of the broken, twisted and peculiar settings, our innermost desire still remains – finding that perfect story. 

In the corners of the world, probing for boxes with that one perfect story hidden somewhere. They all look appealing. 

‘Maybe, I want them to’, the voices warn!

One after the other. Open. Each box is supposed to be: ‘the one’. 

Anticipation. 

‘Please try again’

And we move to the other.

‘Better luck next time’

The cycles. 

Boxes. Us. The stories. 

They all change. The us-es. And with them, the stories. Just like the changing boxes. 

You’re ired to continue opening another one of these. You’re tired of the disappointments. Of those stories that are there, but NOT there. Of yourself. Of them. And you so wish that it was in your hands to let it all stop. 

The myth of the choice. Hadhtag My Choice. Hashtag their choices. The puppets think they have free will. The strings are just accessories to walk around the life’s stage. Idiots. We’re all the Siri’s and Alexa’s in a parallel universe. 

Stories where cliffhangers are the norm just tend to miss out on cliched endings like.. ‘…ever after’. Lifelong happiness sure might be a myth. But even seeking the permansncy of a ‘they lived’ is a tall order. 

They say, there’s no correct box. The idea of that one box doesn’t exist. Unless it’s a book. A really good book. Or a movie to lend thoughts to those imaginations on 70mm. But, who listens?

‘Customize it!’ They say. ‘Weave your own story. Paint it the way you’d like the world to see. ‘ they add to their wise sayings.

‘But.. the story isn’t for the world!” I contest. 

‘No one gives a $#@*’. Their look says it all. Uncensored. 

Expiry Date

Empty rooms shout the loudest. On their own. Laced with the echoes of yesteryears. The silences shout louder from the depths of it. There are traces of your laughter. Those awkward ones with a snort as if you’re trying hard to not laugh. Failing, of course. But successfully remaining etched. Redefining what failures means.

Ever wondered how their flaws stay back while the perfections fade away? Perhaps that’s the charm.

There’s music adding to the gloom, failing to drown the noises of the past. Instead, helping it thrive. Words, I don’t know of. It probably does. As the strings caress each other and the symphony flows out like the background score of a Spanish drama, I stare out of the dark smudges of the window. Nothing.

With my back stretched on the sofa and the legs dangling out on the carpet, I stare at the ceiling. Questions. All over the carvings on top, flowing without answers. Navigating my way, forlornly, from one pattern to the other. Following the mundane routine.

‘Why it had to start?’ The question on loop since the exit.

The numbered days had already stapled an expiry date for the end. I knew it, she did too. A set timeline for it to happen. For a change, I chose the short term joy over my long-term sanity. I overlooked the pain of not looking into those eyes ever again over the laughter accompanying me for a few. But it did start something. A beautiful beginning awaiting cessation. The end was always in sight. Tick Tock. Tick tock.

‘Why it had to start??’ The question was still unanswered.

As we sat on the stairs, while the moon shone brighter, silence engulfed us both. I feared, that this is it. Did she?

Her eyes said, ‘Maybe this is for the best’. She said nothing.

‘Why it had to staaa…’

‘Ting’

A smile dangles out, effortlessly, as a message popped up.

‘Kitna roega be C%$#^? Neeche hoon. Jaldi aa’.

Maybe they all don’t come with expiry dates.

…and that’s when I knew

That look of yours. Yes, the same one were you magnify your eyes. The one which makes me feel that they’ll just pop out. That. 

That’s when I knew. 

When you blurt out the same things. And when I do the same. And then we understand, but don’t laugh. The silent high-fives.

That’s when I knew. 

When you share those uninteresting stories. Oh, sorry that’s just me. You hold them back. But you listen, to mine. And remember.

That’s when I knew. 

Your start-stop act of being funny (trying to) and thoughtful. 

That’s when I knew. 

Maybe we both know. Now. And then. Or maybe it’s just me. Again. Waving at the bus, I keep missing. 

”It’s just in your head”

‘Yes, and that’s the damn problem!’

The daily wage

A soft step walk as if he was entering someone else’s house, he placed the small packet of rice in the kitchen and walked straight into the bathroom.

Panting hard. He opened the tap and waited for the bucket of water to fill, looking passively as the water took it’s own sweet time.

“Just Rice?” She shouted from the kitchen. “We’ve been waiting since morning for this?!”

He leaned on the wall listening to her agitated voice. Sweat dripping down his temple over his muddy clothes. His tired eyes blinked in slo-mo.

As the overflowing water from the bucket brought him back to his senses, he stripped down to pour water. The soiled water went down the drain while he washed himself up along the background score coming from the kitchen.

When they all sat down to eat. A bowl of rice, a watered down dal from yesterday and pickle sent over by the kid’s grandma, he tried to read the silences. Her irritation and the kid’s helplessness of having to eat the food.

He had no answer.

As he gulped down a spoonful of rice and waited till it reached somewhere close to his destination, he uttered his thankfulness to the almighty along with a forced burp. Shukr Alhamdulilah.

His kids looked up from their plate and threw a smile at him.

He had finally received his day’s pay.

Scene

There’s so much to write about you and then literally nothing. You’re the preoccupation that refused to get off the mind space. 

Not that you’re present in the specifics. You are all so vague. Like you were. 

I’ve replayed that scene. Of how it could have been different. How my fake laughter should have given away the disappointment. And you could SEE.

When you asked rather rhetorically about him, I should have shown my disgust. Not for him. But for the question. Even thrown away the plate of canteen food that was itself hard enough to gulp down. A tantrum or a two. Or just walked away like others had done. To you. 

But there I was. Laughing. At my own misery. 

Don’t mistake me for your cliche of a good guy. I’m not. Our breed is just scared. 

 ‘… after all this, there is an Us. Of a you and a me. ‘ echoed in the noise.

As I walked back to the class where a C+ desperately wanted to be an A, it was the numbness of the lunch with you that presided over the presentation. Of watching people and reading out the slides. Next. Next. And next. 

Thank you. 

.. and Scene!

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