Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reading ‘Joining the dots’


She looks out through the window,
trying to figure out the landscape.

After flyovers spit us on the highways,
long barren lands appear,
followed by parks, fuel stations and eateries take their turn,
while dhabas, swanky restaurants and motels coexist,
sometimes almost out of nowhere a shanty colony appears and disappears,
lit by yellow neon lights.
Cars, trucks, highly-inflammable petrol tanks, buses
 and occasionally scooters and bikes pass by,
till everything becomes a blur.

Still swimming in her head,
she looks out for the crescent moon
 and tries to measure its arch.


Ghastly factories stand in no man's land,
opening their mouths to a dimly-lit night,
spewing smokes and ashes,
that rise only to melt into the dark night.

Trees lingers like ghosts,
only showing their sleepless faces,
when a drunk truck or insomniac bus passes by,
the road like an old story repeats itself.


The night slowly slips into a dark pit,
trees just stand there in silence for the night to grow old.
A reluctant sleep falls over my eyes,
I doze off,
the lights of vehicles that zoom past in the opposite lane,
break my reverie from time to time.
After a while I lose direction,
I lay my wits at night’s feet,
and fall into the dark pit.


Drenched in morning sun,
the soul rejuvenates and returners
like a fading old song that midwives sing to the newborns
on the first day of their bath.

I too feel the same,
like a thousand needles falling on my wired soul,
acupuncturing me to life again,
like cascades of water poured to wash away decades of weariness,
the night evaporates under the ocean of light,
dark pits loses their complexions,
iron rusts shades like dry leaves
and naked steel shines again.

I feel naked, yes!
I feel new
Like a seed waiting to sprout out
from a long winter in wilderness.


Sing to the mountain,
cry at its feet,
like a bird circle around the trees,
fall to sleep gazing where the clouds and hills meet.
Here even the crows croon a language that puts your mind to rest.
Listen to the trees,
they tell you stories of greens leaves,
which turn brown before shading all attachments
into an installation of death.
They know it all, they have seen it all,
much wiser now they don't speak about it to each other.
but they will whisper them to you,
you will find answers if you seek.
When the night comes to the balcony
don't scare her away with flames,
Let she be you and you be the night,
spread like the breeze and fill every corner, 
try to find what conspires between the sun and moon,
and learn to surrender to sunrise.
Sometimes walk to the river,
hear it create an opera with the stones,
the drone can heal all headaches,
and put you to sleep
where you can find out the seed that created the ocean.


The transmission tower stands there,
with a red light burning in its heart,
crows take shelter in its lap,
while dogs howl to keep the winter away,
They doze off when the sun is up,
follow perfect strangers with imperfect hearts,
before night brings shivers.
Trees pose like mannequins,
-  all broken and butchered,
mountains sleep after a day-long wrestle with the clouds,
while the river keeps humming a song.


So much a man wants,
So little a man needs.
A sun to heal the heart,
The blue sky over our head,
A land to quench hunger,
rain to calm our nerves,
a night to tell us stories,
and a river that can lull us to sleep.

Yet miles away,
everyone is busy,
breaking numbers, burning hours,
yet most can't even afford tranquilizers.


In shapes beyond borders
of design and dimensions,
Stones huddle together,
rolling out of the mountains,
breaking into pieces,
Crashing into each other or
sliced by the river,
creating newer ones,
each one of their own,
each a planet, a star and dust.
breaking, slipping, sinking and floating
they travel to different realms.

I take one in my hand,
and watch the sun glisten on its edges in my palm.
I feel small.

Whatever I hand over to you,
turn to ashes.
Every twig is on flames,
I watch them burn, 
one after another,
fire licking the woods,
while they hallucinate in
yellow, red and blue
in death dancing like a thousand rainbows.
Sometimes I wondered why you have to burn while it's me who is fearful of the night.


And then it snow,
Like white rain falling in slow mo,
blanketing the hills,
adorning the trees
With silvery hue,
Covered in a white cloak,
All memories turn to ice.
Even the crows turn into dove and croons a sigur ros song.
But then the sun shows up,
The silver melts, drop by drop,
the painting shed some of its colours
But never it's beauty.


Not a fancy restaurant
Nor a swanky food joint,
A half burnt wooden shanty
Served us with a bowl of maggi
And a cup of tea to keep the jitters away.
While our backs broke by the weight of boredom and anxiety,
an old lady standing on the pavement healed us with a bhutta.


Our feet like cold stones,
Head - heavy and high,
hallucinate about the night we had left behind.
Our spent eyes too sleepless to argue,
scan the streets for a warm bed
to unload our aching body, unwrap our capsuled bones
just then the division bell of a nearby Mandir healed us.
A cheap hotel cured our sleep.
As we kept time behind the discolored curtains
and munched on a moon-size dal kachori.

Much after we crashed at Mandi
and slipped into the snowy Manali night,
we could still hear the division bell.
They kept banging in unison,
till dawn gave way to dusk
 and time flowed like the eternal Beas.


When the strangers return home,
The two chairs will sit there,
watching the sun set behind the mountains,
The stringless guitar will hum the same folk song to serenade the flakes,
the trees will remain the same,
listening and soaking everything
like rain, snow and sun,

always watching like the tower of time.

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