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Fishes of Limbera

I give you another story today.

I was born in the plains,
not part of this story,
but you must know.

We have big rivers,
which carry with them
our deeds.

And I never knew,
them,
the fishes.

And these tiny
things,
also breathe.

I could never breathe
in water,
not part of this story,
but you must know.

Limbera is a small
city in north.

Not many people
like its cold
or chill.
It is said,
God created
this place
to punish a king,
who was walking backwards
and stepped
on a sapling,
killing it.
That sapling
was planted by
a child,
who then asked the God
to punish
the king.

So God took king’s
favourite city.
and said,
everybody
in this city,
will live
in reverse.

Since then,
in Limbera,
everyone
lay all day,
men,
women
use hands to
walk and
keep their eyes open
when they sleep.

Stones walk,
birds jump,
and trees creep.

We went to see
this upside down place.

Truth be told,
it is just a legend.

Nothing moves on hands
and
birds fly to unmoving trees.

How disappointing?
Isn’t it?

It is a beautiful place,
but disappointing.

Nevertheless,
we roamed and
dreamed.

You must be thinking,
What of the fishes?

I know,
fishes.

I told you,
fishes
carry our deeds,
in rivers,
and they
breathe.

Strange,
is it not?
They breathe!

Anyways,
left to cold
and chill,
we spent
many
nights
and days.

And we wandered
to find,
a reason to
this tale.

One person
believed
that,
this kingdom could
not exist,
so everything
withered away,
slowly.

Others said,
it still lives in clouds.
Or was washed away
or that it is only
an image of
the Old city,
that remains hidden.

There was this one person,
an old skinny.
A shouting saint,
he sings hymns
screaming in the
roads and ways.

He was singing
of a city in water,
a land in seas.
When God saw
that the city is
too useless
to this world.
He put them under
water and asked
them to carry
everyone’s
deeds.

I am back to my plains
and wonder
Do these fishes of Limbera,
think,
that we in air
are another penance,
in living?

Mornings from my window

From the blurry edges
of last buildings
comes strolling
a blue lustre,
unrolling
the dark carpet of
the night.

Some eager,
trifling beams of white light
run over to
peaceful eyes
like insistent waves
pulling boats
into the sea.

Winds start hissing
in the ears
asking
dreams to set out
the epilogue
of all stories.

And when life
is finally up
to embrace
the heat and warmth
of daylight,
life quivers
one last time
to the
whimsical cold breeze.

Inescapable

Inescapable,
whenever I see myself,
I look up
at stars, moon
and their glory.

How they prick
our darkness
and pretend to redeem
their limits.
They have been
bounded by
the infinite sky
and still,
pride themselves
of calming
our screams.

It gets me to think,
what do they dream?

I think, they dream
of the time after
this life of certainty,
of coldness of breeze,
and smell of green leaves.

Such wonderful is this
fanciful retreat,
that it binds them
till eternity.

Then I ask
all clutches of monotony
and every boundary,
how far can you take me?
As this distance is-
measure of my escape,
and magnificence of my leave.

Heedlessly

I was sitting,
probably a metre away,
when you figured out,
that life has different ways,
and one of them is ecstatically wondrous.

You should have
noticed me
when I leapt out of my
car seat, a moment after
you twitched and
flared a laughter,
while keeping a calm
over your wheel.

Had I not been,
few cars beside the one,
you were driving,
I would have you come
to me
and tell me,
What made you
dream,
in the middle of that road,
waiting for the light to turn green,
and what was that
you sent to me,
because I have been
laughing since,
heedlessly.

Stone

I saw it first
the day,
it was complete.

It was
a Woman, complete.
Whoever saw
couldn’t agree,
it was a woman
carved out of
only a stone.

My mother told me
she would be real,
had he prayed
enough.

So we kept it
on the gate
of our village.
For people to see,
to boast, that
one of us
created.

Processions came,
birds flew,
trees grew,
around a woman.
A woman, who stood
like only a dream.

Then the day came,
we all woke up
and wept
without the birds.
‘Cause the woman
was to pieces.

We searched all day,
made our stories,
and decided
to tell him.

He looked us coming
and exclaimed,
I asked her
what is she!
She replied,
Stone.

A morning

I am wearing blue shorts and red striped shirt. There is big area between our bed and the door, which is kept open in the mornings so that light from the facing sun can come in. I am sure my mother does this so that I wake up with all the light coming in. I get myself up from the bed which I know she is not aware of yet. I think she is getting ready. I can use this time to play with my chimpanzee.

This is a black plastic chimpanzee my father got me some days back. I haven’t had much time to play with it. I grab it and go to sit beside the door. This is the best part of the room in morning. The surface is still cold and the morning sunlight warms it a bit. And if sun gets hot later I can easily move behind the wall. There is a dark spot at the corner of the gate which is my chimpanzee’s cave. From where he can always come out to break the line of giant ants.

She is out now and packing her stuff. As soon as she came out I put my head down. I don’t want her to know that I know she is out. I want to play. But she walks beside me and doesn’t say anything. Hasn’t she seen me? If she has, then why is she letting me play? I will be late. So I ask her,

‘Ma, don’t I have to go to school today?’

‘No’, she says while she goes to kitchen to fill her water bottle.

There is a slight pinch in the area my heart should be. It is some kind of fear. I am not sure why it is there. I stand up and ask her again,

‘Why ma, why don’t I have to school today?’

‘Because you have a holiday today. Your Ma’am called yesterday and told me that school is closed today’ She is in the room now.

‘But you are going. Is your school open?’

‘Yes, your school is off today because there was a fire in the school yesterday. I have to leave now. There are chapattis in the casserole and Bhindi is in fridge. Microwave it for 3 minutes before eating. I have switched off the cylinder regulator; don’t light the stove when you are alone. The lock is on the table. Keep the door closed after I am gone and do not open the door for anyone. If anyone knocks the door tell them that I’ll be home in half an hour’

The pinch is spreading. It is a heavy bubble now that grows every time she begins a new sentence.

‘Will I be alone in the home?’

‘Yes, you are big boy now. Aunty has my school number. Lock the door; go to her if you feel alone. I’ll be back by 3′

The bubble has risen to my throat. And that has made it difficult for words to come out. I am putting in extra effort to speak.

‘Mummy I am frightened, what if someone comes in and… If aunty couldn’t hear me then…. I want to go to school’

She comes to me. While combing my hair she says, ‘Just play with your chimpanzee for a while. I will ask aunty; go to her after some time. You can watch TV there. I will be back early. You are big now; I think you can take care of yourself. We will go to market in the evening and by you a cycle’.

‘But… Can I come with you? I will not ask anything. I will quietly sit in the staff room. Please mummy….’

‘No beta, we have important people coming to school today.’

My eyes are wet. I can feel the heart beat in my throat.

‘I cannot stay alone. Please don’t go, please mummy.’

‘Ohh beta, I’ll drop you at your friend’s house and pick you when I come back. I know you like it there. You can play all day on his video game.’

I like video game. He has 3 different games and color TV. But the bubble is still here, in my mouth. I don’t want her to leave. More I think about her leaving, the more it hurts my throat. I cannot swallow anything.

Sobbing, I tell her, ‘I do not want to go there’.

‘You are being a child now. Nothing will happen. I told you right? You can go to aunty’s place and watch TV there. I will be back soon. You wouldn’t even realize’

I don’t want to go to aunty’s place. And I don’t want her to go. The bubble is as big as me now. I can feel my heartbeat in my whole body. Something comes from the inside to hit my head and tears come pouring out.

‘Ohh… Why are you crying? Okay, I’ll not go. Stop beta, stop. I’ll not go. Stop now.’

‘Please don’t go. Please don’t leave me’. My voice is not coming out as I want it to. Throat is not making way for any sound.

‘Okay, okay. I’ll not go. Don’t cry. Let us wash your face and go to aunty’s house. I’ll call my school and tell them that. Is it fine?’

‘Yes’, the throat is clearing now.

She puts her bag down and takes me to the wash basin.

The next thing I know is that I am waking in a bed. Something hurts on my left hand and I am feeling tired. My father later told me that I had a bike accident. A car had hit me from behind and I fell on my head. I was unconscious for 6 days and at one time they thought they lost me.

Brave

This dog had been
growling at
all the passers-by
for many days.

So today,
all the fathers decided
to thrash him.

He was battered.

He had battles,
which he won.
But this time,
he ran.

He ran afar,
and ran away.

Until behind a
hedge, he died
of hunger and wounds.

The next day,
two kids, strolling
found a dead dog
beside a hedge.

The moony kids,
marked him a tombstone, saying
Here lies, a brave dog.
He died saving his blind master
from an impetuous car driver.

The wandering saint

Long brown beard, dark shaggy hair and
bony as he was, he never wore much.
People gave him clothes,
which he denied in aberration, stating
I am fire, main aag hun. I don’t wear clothes.

Two weeks before this day,
he woke up half the village,
crying, shouting, screaming.
Few men slapped him, kicked him,
and asked him, why do you wake us at this hour?
Tomorrow, we have a life to be.

The saint stopped screaming,
but cried unstoppably.
And just as everyone was about to leave
He screeched,
Save me.
I am about to burn a child,
who is sitting on dry leaves,
and has a dark mark on his right shoulder.

The men came again,
beat him till dead,
or as they thought.

Next morning, the saint was gone
before anyone could see him leave.
And a child was burnt alive
in a forest fire, near the village.

That day all the honored men
skipped their life to hunt
naked saint.

Death spared a few days
to saint, for he has come again
to the village.

Everyone is ready.
He is to be burnt alive.

Aamna

We, as we are,
are parched.
I can bring my iron ruler
and we can draw shapes
over it.
Then we
can jump over it
or can even do a stage.
We can have it play
our game
and roll it along.
But I’ll write a PS
reminding everyone
that this one is mine
and not be thrown away.
And next time I am home
I’ll remember,
we, as we are,
are parched.

This is inspired by Aamna – a melody by Tajdar Junaid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY7qWLP8aGY

Black scar

A screen was there
as high as me
and as broad.

And there he was
in front  of the screen,
lying in his rags.
His shirt must have been green,
when it used to cover his frailty.

His trousers were torn,
and hair wiry.
If it hadn’t been his placid sleep
and a black scar on his cheek,
he would be lost in generality.

But he was different.
He was a warrior,
who had just won over a city.
His armour impaired, body battered
to the extreme.

He must have been a kinsman
of the king.
As he wore the royal green
and carried a slender physique.
The dark stains on his lower
explained how he slaughtered the militaries
with his cavalry.
And yes, the scar.
The black scar outlined the final battles
with the mighty,
and long journey from the murky and dusty
land of atrocities.

Anyone with even a
slight fondness to fantasy
could ponder
into the warrior’s dreamless dreams
on the screen, that was
as high as me
and as broad.

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