Amma

I am waiting at the doorstep, Amma
A smile slowly spreads across my face
As I remember how you’d always trick me into sitting here, after the longest chase
Under the pretext of watching the bulbuls and monals and quails
You ended up feeding me with porridge, and a hundred tales

I was a difficult kid to  handle, wasn’t I, Amma?
How I’d run across the hills, into the setting sun
To return just in time only for the evening chai and bun
And remember how I took that big fall as I climbed to steal apples off Negi ji’s tree?
But you calmly came around, and helped me flee!

I have a confession to make, Amma
I never told you, but all my friends were in awe of my relationship with you
Remember how you took us berry-plucking in the spring of ’89?
And when you excitedly helped us separate the wild berries, from those which were just fine
All my friends wished that they had an Amma like you, and yet you were only mine

I realise what a great friend I had in you, Amma
Remember how you’d trek up the mountains with me, across farmlands and forests, early each spring?
And as we lay out our picnic of kafals and bilberries, even the birds would stop to hear you sing
In the autumns, we’d watch the winds take away dried leaves into the bluest skies
And gaze out of the window, to watch them look like tiny butterflies

Then I grew up Amma, didn’t I?
And just like bulbuls and the gulls, I flew away, too
Into the city life, to build a world completely new
Everything was so different here, Amma. Everything was so fast
Nobody had the time, to even watch a moment last

You’d always taught me to adapt, Amma
And like the mountain trees that survived through each season, be responsive to change
But yet without you, the new life was so strange
I called you up regularly before, but soon could not keep up
So I reassured  myself that maybe this was a part of being grownup

In all these years you kept asking me to come home, Amma
And finally I am waiting at the doorstep, Amma. I came here with you to stay
But these birds, the trees, the hills and this house – they all make me feel like a foreigner today
I am secretly hoping that this is your game of hide and seek with me, even as I wait for you from dusk to dawn
You were my home, Amma. And now you are gone.

Home. Photo credit: Samir Dasgupta

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The Dance

The stars were her audience
and the moon was her light
The sky looked over, even as it
changed from day into night.

The river’s song was
her favourite tune
The wind came alive
to watch her swoon.

The mountains stood up, in
notice of her perfect swerve
With the movement of her feet
the earth made love.

Across the greenest meadows, she
flitted with flair
The tallest of trees bent to protect her
with all their care.

With the honesty of her every move
the flowers bloomed
Even the birds woke up, to find themselves
in her grace consumed.

She moved swiftly, rhythmically
drawing circles in the air
And finally stopped to breathe
as she finished her prayer.

Even in the silence of the night
she heard the elements break into an applause
Truly in that moment, for her
time had paused.

In that moment, she was engulfed
with joy so immense, that it set her free
Because this time she had danced
only for herself and not for others to see.

Satluj

Having just returned from a fulfilling trip across the eastern regions of Himachal Pradesh, I am filled with memories, awestruck by it’s beauty and gripped with nostalgia even as I write.
A detailed post outlining our adventures in the mighty Himalayas is very much in order. However, there is something that I would like to share with you before that. Something that was symbolic of the entire trip, to me.
Most of us have our best and worst moments after every journey. But there is more to that. We also have this one thing- an experience or an object or a person- that becomes symbolic of the trip for us.
For me, that was river Satluj (Sutlej) and her tributaries.
The river managed to capture my heart as flawlessly as she changed her form – first as the mighty Satluj, then in the form of the beautiful Baspa, then as the serene Spiti and ultimately in the form of Pin. The virtuous river had so many roles to play and yet, she played each of them with unrealistic ease!
For me, the Satluj was the epitome of determination. Delicate, yet strong. She had made a place for herself in the mighty Himalayas..or rather through the mighty Himalayas, hadn’t she?
So even as I flip through the pages of a magnificent Himalayan experience, I cannot help but pen down the awe I feel for Satluj.

 

 

She appeared, almost out of nowhere
Chaste and clear, Blue and bare
She saw, she observed
She looked like she had her doubts
But faith was all we had.

She swerved, and we followed
She curved, and we wallowed
She turned, and we blundered
She danced along, and we only wondered.

She changed her form with celerity
She tiptoed away, with grace unparalleled
She returned when she felt like, with a mystic air
She touched us, almost
and then she left again with a teasing stare.

She ran at first, but then slowed down
She was fierce at first, but then she wore a mellow brown
She wavered at first, but then she never left our side
She was aloof at first, but then she also kissed goodnight.

She called us, with one flirtatious stare
She made us follow her, with a promise unsaid
She advanced slowly at first, and then all at once
She had befriended the mountains and the clouds
and also the glistening rays of the sun.

She kept her word and our hand she held
She stayed with us, right until the end
At the end of our sojourn, she stopped in her track
And then she took the final turn and never looked back.

spiti river

The glorious river!

 

PS: Detailed post coming soon!

Sleep!

sleep

 

Every day, hour after hour
you travel, you pray, you eat, you talk, you study, you work.
But sometime, take the time
and sleep…because
that is when you meet yourself
you meet the real you..
No false promises, no fake smiles, no pretense
no worries about how you’re dressed
or if your shoes match.
sleep…because
that is the window to your soul
and you know
who you are and what you want.

 

And I think you should sleep…because
that is when your thoughts come alive
your thoughts and feelings, yes the very ones that you had buried
deep, deep inside the darkest corner of your heart.
Sleep…because
suddenly, your life has meaning
you are in your truest form
unconscious, but yet so full of awareness
and your body,
it thanks you for the love and the peace.

 

Sleep…because
that is when you dream from your heart
you dream every dream
no you don’t analyse how it is
big or small, meaningful or meaningless, happy or not
you just dream
because every dream is in its purest form
Sleep…because
it gives you the courage you always lacked
and you dream
and you hope for your dreams to come true
if not all, then at least one.

 

Sleep…because
it stops your head from racing
temporary, but it is rare
it gives you the solace you sometimes crave
Sleep…because
it teaches you
that after every night,
there will always be another day.
Live  in the present, 
for just like your dreams,
the past, no matter how good or bad,
you will always forget.

Your lotus eyes, they have a certain spark
You may not say much to me, but they speak a thousand words.

Yes, my heart yearns to see you, Oh holy one,
With your ways divine 
With the mellifluous raagas and tunes on your flute,
Won’t you make me understand the meaning of this life?

I don’t want to be your lover…No.
But I love you, as immensely as I can.
I don’t want to keep you to myself, but share you with all…with love.
I don’t know what to think of you…but this soul truly and deeply admires you.
Can I but look at you as a mentor…a teacher…a guide…or the greatest friend?

What is it about you that makes me feel so connected to you?
What kind of magnetic force do you possess?
Are you the sun..or the wind..or an ocean of kindness as they say?

I think about you with every breath I take.
Why then is it so difficult for me to express my imagination of your beautiful face?

Can I make you my universe, oh calm one with wisdom immense?
Only your smile with all its innocence is sufficient. I will worship you, all my life.
My mind wanders and my heart ponders to decipher your mysterious ways – both naughty and nice.
Oh charming one, with your skin as dark as blue
Do I still need to say how dearly I love you?

lord-krishna

…and he ran away

He ran as fast he could
So fast, that he’d begin to fly anytime.
The swiftness of his movement convinced me
that there would be no looking back.

He ran, as if to prove me wrong
I had taken him for granted long enough
He ran, to show me that he could
I hadn’t bothered about him all this while.

As he ran, I felt uneasy
Was he really going away?
What would I do now..
There was so much to do..so much to say.

I remembered how everyone said I was being naive
I thought..I thought, he’d stay
I felt like crying, but that was all I could do now
For he was long gone.

He had given me chance after chance
to mend my ways
Night and day had passed
and he had warned me that he would soon run away.

I looked at him eagerly
Expecting him to wait
I gazed ahead hopefully
Waiting for him to turn and return.

I felt guilty for not respecting him
while he was there
I felt alone..
Now I had to pave a new way. 

Had I listened to him a little more
Would he have stayed today?
Had I done what I should have
I might have not had to face this day.

I could only see the road that I had left behind
He ran to blur the road ahead
He had promised that I would be sorry
And then he ran way.

As I stand on the threshold of  a new life that awaits me outside college, I cannot help but feel emotional. To be honest, the feeling of college having ended hadn’t yet sunk into me until toady.
Gripped with nostalgia, I cannot help but look at the five years that passed so quickly. The memories will remain etched in my heart forever.
I feel a sense of nothingness. I feel guilty. I feel bad.
There were times when I’d happily declare how many lectures I had bunked in a day. But now I realize, that I won’t have lectures to attend at all..on any day! It suddenly strikes me, that nobody will give me a free lecture..ever again. Proxies, attendance, canteen and punishments will only be a thing of the past.
I wonder why I didn’t do all the things that I should have. I wonder why I didn’t realize that I’d regret that last day.
But Time had seen this coming. Time reminded me day by day. Time had given me chance after chance.
But eventually, even as I stood waiting for him, Time did run away.

She.

The tiny eyes, at night, they shine bright
Working and toiling and studying, to get that maths sum right.
In the rain or sunshine or in severe cold
The little hands plead to let them pencils hold.

‘No Ma, I want to go to school’, we hear her voice
But by birth, for her, they have already made another choice
Every day she fights her wars and battles and other pains
Praying to let her touch the sky and not tie her up in chains

She doesn’t mind taking efforts to learn the A and B
The future that lies ahead; she wants to be able to see
They tell her that she is now of marriageable age
Without her permission, they trap her in society’s cage

‘You can take some effort for me’, she silently pleads
With her fury and pain, her little heart bleeds
She would have been different had they let her be
One day, she has decided, she will break free.