Showing posts from 2015

God wears pink

I’ve always believed that a rainy day is best enjoyed by staying indoors, sitting quietly behind an open window and just watching the rain fall- like a sheet of white fabric swaying in the wind. An opinion that, much to my relief, my sister shared.

Given our natural inclination towards a warm comfortable shelter, and seeing how the night was turning out to be, I urged my sister to hurry up, but as anyone who knew my sister would tell you, she never paid any attention to my concerns. Where safety was what I insisted on, a hot cup of cappuccino was what she craved for.

And so this seemingly innocent craving found us on the streets that night- at 12.30 am, hunting for a coffee shop while the drizzle washed our faces and the loud ominous cries and glare of thunder and lightning threatened us from a distance.

The last of the movie goers spilled out on to the rain soaked street, hurrying to their shelters. The city’s neons reflected in the wet asphalt, painting a fresco in many colours that shifted and changed as the cars screeched away. Meenal and I stood at the theatre gates and surveyed the nearly empty road.

“Bru’s near” I said.

“Eww no! I don’t like their coffee” Meenal cringed.

“It’s the only place that’ll be open now, and it closes at 1 am”

“Fine! I can live on bad coffee for a night”

“You have to. I’m not indulging in your whims anymore”

“Oh but you love indulging me!”

“You keep thinking that little lady!”

A mere minute’s walk from the theatre, Bru was a quiet little café that I frequented, and contrary to my sister’s tastes, I quite liked their coffee. With nowhere else to go, we made our way to the Bru world café.

Close to the café, leaning against a silver Mercedes, stood a young man dressed in the most striking pink jacket I had ever seen. He was adequately tall and of an impressive athletic build. I presumed him to be in his late twenties.

He had an almost feminine face- delightfully charming and handsome- with high cheekbones, a sharp chin, hair combed back and a pair of glasses resting on his thin pointed nose, all the makings of a man who spared no expense in looking good- perhaps a model or someone from the very upper classes of this city.

In another time, Oscar Wilde may have written of him as Dorian Gray.

Gazing intently at the empty road, he removed his glasses and then put them back on- an activity that seemed to engage all his senses, so much so that he paid no attention to the stream running down his face, neither did our long, inappropriate stare lead him to acknowledge our existence. Perhaps it was commonplace for him. Beautiful things always earn your attention.

His face intrigued me. The street light illuminated his face with an almost unearthly glow. What was it about him that I- a completely heterosexual man, found so attractive? His face instilled in me a sense of repose; the very air around him was still. I felt at peace with everything around me. The rain and the distant cries of thunder were but trifling matters, all I wanted to do was stare at his face.

“What a cutie!” Meenal nearly squealed as we passed him by, bringing me back to consciousness.

“I know right? He’s so good looking!”

“I want to talk to him.”

“Uh he doesn’t look like he wants to speak to anyone. And what do you want to talk about anyway?”

“I just want to compliment him and tell him how good he looks. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. Please please please can we go?” Meenal started pulling my hand.

“Alright alright. Let’s go”

We turned around. The silver Mercedes stood alone in the empty street. A strange sense of panic gripped me- like I had lost someone, someone I had known all my life, someone I shared an evening’s story with. Someone who was not there anymore.

We rushed to the car and peeped inside. Empty. We looked across the street. Empty. We ran towards the theatre and peered through its gates. Empty. We stood in the middle of the road. We looked to our right. We looked to our left. All we had was an empty road that ended in darkness at both ends.

Where did he go? Oh where did he go? Was he ever really there?

I surveyed our surroundings. It had been mere seconds since we passed him on the way to the café. No vehicle passed us by. He certainly couldn’t have walked so far away from our sight. From the theatre gates to the café, we’d only been walking straight. There were no turns or detours anywhere along the road. My skeptical mind refused to believe this turn of events, yet, after eliminating the impossible, I was left with only one solution, however improbable it may seem- the man simply vanished.

We stood there, staring at the silver Mercedes. Meenal broke the silence, “Coffee?”

“Twenty five minutes until closing time”, the waiter pointed at the clock as he rushed to prepare the last order for the night.

“Don’t spoil our coffee!” Meenal shouted.

“So who do you think he was?” I asked my sister between sips of coffee.

“I don’t know. Seemed like he was dressed for a party”

“Then why was he standing in the rain all alone?”

“I don’t know. It’s just weird. I also thought the Merc was his.”

“Yeah so did I. But you know what- I think it was your Lord visiting you.” I laughed as I said this.

“Oh my God! It can’t be” Meenal was so loud the waiter thought he was done for.

“What? I’m just kidding” I said, keeping my voice down so as to not scare the waiter any further.

“No no no! You don’t know what happened today”

“Wait…you believe it was him?”

“I was at the temple today. Feeling particularly playful, I asked him if he would ever visit me someday. And if he did, what would he look like? What would he wear? How would he present himself? He can’t possibly wear a dhoti now. It’s not really fashionable, you know.”

“I don’t think he would really concern himself with fashion.” I laughed again.

“I think he would. Anyway, I kept thinking what he’d look like, and then forgot all about it. Now, I think it must have been him”

“You and your God! I don’t know why I believe you.”

“I’m sure he’ll visit me someday. Anyway, let’s go home. I’m really tired now”

“Yeah. I’ll drop you.”

I dropped my sister at her place. A quick hug later, I was on my way home. The rain had long stopped and a mellow wind was blowing. Within minutes, I was lying in my bed.

“Kahaan. I’ve named him Kahaan”, my sister had told me on our way home.


“Yes Kahaan. It means ‘where’ in Hindi.”

“I know what it means.”

“I think it’s a beautiful name.”

“It is. It is.”

The events of the night- how fantastical it all seemed, how strange. Did it really happen? Was he really there? Is it possible for imagination to take form, come into being? To exist as flesh and blood, as surely as you and I exist? I certainly did not think of a God visiting my sister. Yet, I wanted to believe it was him.

Pale moonlight filtered through the wispy curtains and danced around me. As I lay waiting for sleep, the fantastic shapes on my bedroom walls seemed to tell me a story.

When evening sets in and the clamour and clatter of the day gives way to silence, a girl sits by her open window and lets the rain and wind tease her ever so slightly. She watches the moon- pale blue against a darkening purple sky. As night falls, she sings for the God she loves- a God she has never seen. Enamoured by his tales, she longs to be with him, anxious to be taken in his loving embrace.

In another part of the world, a mother lights a candle and begins her evening prayers. Her kids huddle around her, eager for a story- his story. Her eyes light up as she mentions his name. She speaks of him like an old friend, someone who has always been there with her. He’s seen her at her best; he’s known her at her worst. When everything is over, he’ll be the one that stays.

Somewhere, a girl dresses in her finest clothes and wears her finest jewellery; tonight, she wants to look her best for him, she is, after all, a princess. Why should she appear any less? Under the pale blue moon, she rides her horse through the forest. Each night, she goes out in search of her love. Each morning she returns alone.

She is Meera and she has devoted all her life in the name of her Lord.

Tonight, the faint note of a flute startles her. The night air trembles and she looks up. The moon casts a purplish-blue light on her face. She knows he is near. Her heart throbs in anticipation, each heartbeat a wave- rising and falling on a stormy sea. The rain and the wind stop. All around her is still and she is surrounded by silence. Out of the darkness, bathed in the purplish-blue light of the moon, a young flute player appears and asks her hand for a dance. They dance until the break of dawn.

It has been many a night since Kahaan appeared. I never saw him again and I stopped searching for answers long ago. I guess sometimes, even an atheist wants to believe in myths and legends.

-------- X --------

3 x 4 Poems

The following poems were written for the 3 x 4 poetry writing challenge on HitRecord. - [The challenge was to write a poem with four lines of three words].

1. When did we
Start our lonely
Journey to leave
Each other behind.

2. Let’s keep this
White space blank
Words will just
Tear it apart.

3. Tonight I’m going
On a date
With my thoughts
Under the stars.

4. We are storytellers
Telling our tales
To a world
That won’t listen.

5. The universe laughs
At this idiot
Splendidly screwing up
All his chances.

6. It is because
We don’t scream
That our thoughts
Will kill us.

7. There’s a girl
At the stairs
Waiting for someone
Who’s not me.

8. You are a
Summer girl dancing
And spring blooms
At your feet.

-------- X --------

Out of sight

“What follows is an incident that occurred when I was very young; my mother first told me about it when I had come of an age old enough to understand the gravity of it. For reasons I believe the reader will understand, this incident had made a particularly strong impression on her and the memory of it has been well locked up in a treasure chest, opened every now and then to be read like a storybook, to the eager ears of all the concerned grownups and kids whimpering for a good tale”. - The author

Every day around noon, dad would come home and wait at the gate of our little house. He would then call my name and I would run to open the gate, followed by a quick climb up his bike, where I would sit at the front, hands outstretched and tightly gripping the handlebars. Dad would place his hands on mine and we would ride inside. For a few seconds, I was the driver taking my dad home.

My mother agrees it was a particularly hot summer day, lazy and dull, with a dry wind blowing across the land that spread a fine layer of yellow dust on everything it touched. People generally stayed indoors and by noon, everyone in our little town was either taking a nap or preparing for one. Except for us kids of course, who never slept at the same time as the rest of the world, much to the dismay of our poor mothers.

On hearing my father call, I rushed out of the house, but only the lone gate stood burning in the bright sun. The road was empty save for a few dogs and cats being chased by the homeless kids my mother warned me about. After what they did to old Mr. J’s chickens, I believe all mothers were up in arms to protect their noble children from what they deemed were incarnations of pure evil. If only they knew our secrets.

Perhaps it was a two-year-old’s curiosity, but, when I did not see my father, I opened the gate and went out to investigate. The boys and dogs and cats had all scurried away and vanished in the distance. Having seen my dad come home every day, I knew I had to take a right from our gate, and so I did.

My mom is largely unaware of the details of my little adventure on the road, owing to the simple fact that she wasn’t there. But she believes I must have crossed the old school playground on the way. I remember that playground quite well and all the Sunday picnics we had there, where I was allowed to terrorise old uncles and aunties for a change.

On one such fine picnic day, accompanied only by the neighbour’s kid, I’d brought home a puppy from that playground- a scrawny little stray with a pretty little brown spot on his (her?) belly. Mom hated dogs, as she does all pets, and little brownie was hastily sent for adoption to the sweet lady staying down the road. I cried like any two year old would, and only stopped after a quick trip to the toy store, where I picked the most amazing G.I. Joe action figure, and everything was roses and sunshine again.

A little farther from the playground was the grand lake. Ask any of the townsfolk what their favourite Sunday activity was and they would all chime in unison- lazily paddling a boat while enjoying a Sunday brunch that usually involved all members of the family, including cats, dogs and whatever pets there may be. Mom feared the water, so our boating excursions were rather limited, the only participants being dad and me, with mom's sandwiches occasionally making a special appearance.

Mr. H, the watchman of the lake, snored at his chair under the banyan tree. The gate was unlocked and I pushed it open. The rusty hinges creaked like a piece of chalk dragged across a blackboard. Mr. H stirred in his chair, let out a low grunt and went back to snoring. I walked inside.

I stood at the end of the steps leading down to the lake and watched the golden waters shimmering in the summer sun. The wind gently disturbed the stillness, like someone moving their hand across fine velvet. Farther out on the lake, a lone red boat rocked like a cradle.

I took a step forward. Just as I touched the water, a pair of strong, familiar hands pulled me away.

The lone red boat stopped rocking. 

-------- X --------

Stale Victory

Hours upon hours, you did toil
until the day was done,

Days upon days, you did sweat
until the years were done.

“Oh! Sweet Victory!” you cried
“Let me touch thee!”

But she withered in your fingers
A tear dropped on your cheek.

Days upon days you laboured,
blind to the world around.

Days upon days, hours upon hours
Were the labours all for naught?

“Nay” thy labour has its place

But, stale is the victory you earn,
When a life in labour is spent.

-------- X --------

The girl with auburn hair

“You are a spring breeze blowing
against a summer blaze”

She wears patched up dancing shoes
with her little toe peeking out

and pirouettes in the lonely room
with that one open window

to the sound of a roaring applause
from her estranged lover crashing

on the rocks where once
a girl with auburn hair,

stitched her dreams with rusted needles;
dreams, that never could fly.

But she dances by that window anyway
and the moonlight beams in,

teasing the girl with auburn hair

as she puts on her show.

-------- X --------

Confessions of an unknown poet

Each night,
I lie myself to sleep,
delusions of grandeur
deceiving the senses.
I veil my insecurities
behind words that please.

Hypocrisy. Jealousy. Apathy.
Reality hammers on these
makeshift defenses
guarding my weak psyche.
Negativity begets negativity.
No minstrel will sing
when an unknown poet dies.

Listen. Understand. Accept.

A comfort zone is
a fortress with a bad view.
Look for new sensations.
Give in to temptations.
Buddha was not born in a castle.

Why blame the universe?
Why dump my mistakes
on someone's front lawn?
The world is overflowing
with unclaimed trash.
I will not add mine.

I chased time and lost.
Some days, we walk together.
On most days, I follow.

Cry when you want to.
Don't stifle that sob.
The ghosts of dead tears
linger, and anger is born.

It's because we
don't scream that our
thoughts will kill us.

Late nights at the cafe.
Spilled ink, crumpled paper
and half drunk coffee.
I romanticise my life-
a 3AM melancholy story
reeking of booze and cigarettes.

Only worthy poets suffer
and starve in loneliness.

I am worthy.

I believe in lies
masquerading as
self-love and confidence.
We dance to the cry of
Wagner's Valkyries.

Confessions are cathartic.
Word by word, I spill truth
on these blank pages and
absolve me from my sins.
In the throes of deathly silence,
I am the unknown poet
redeeming his soul.

-------- X --------

Skipping stones

A ballerina dances on silent waters,
plop plop plop, she goes,
we applaud, one…two…three…four…fi…
bloop! She goes down the depths,

We laugh as she falls,
laugh as she disappears,
laugh as we throw,
the next to her death.

One…two…three…fo…we applaud,
our little ballerina,
dying for our mirth,
on a lazy summer day.

-------- X --------

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