اکثر (Aksar: Often)

I find myself being pushed out of sleep, deep at night,

A faint cry of time, an abandoned dream, a lost star.

Pulling the quilt over my head, I remind myself to breathe,

In ones, twos and threes.

One

A song I learnt long back, a decade and a half between the times,

The rhythm and words difficult to roll over my tongue,

A particular antara always managed to throw me off,

When I sang, I ran out of breath midway.

Every night I listened to my music teacher sing, on a cassette, in an old walkman,

Rewinding the tape with my fingers and letting the shruti flow.

Late one night at the ninth attempt, I figured her trick.

One sharp breath in the beginning and to pause at the right places,

The music magically took over, and she let her heart sing.

When I feel overwhelmed, I sing this song, to breathe easier.

Two

A few years back while studying I realised that no amount of cramming could help me,

The concepts flew over my head and all I wanted to do was, raise my hands and walk away.

Which is what I did.

I shut the books, made myself a tall glass of chai and looked out of the balcony,

Watched the traffic make its way through the narrow arterial lane,

Tiny marigold flowers, bright orange and yellow resting against the lazy creepers,

The sun set in all its glory, calling the birds and bread winners alike.

And for once, in a long time I slept, for fourteen hours straight.

I woke up in the morning and thought to myself, what was the worse that would happen if I fail?

I walked out in the balcony with the question, to breathe in some air and sunshine, and the question answered itself,

Nothing.

A moment of surreal clarity amidst chaos.

Three

There was a time when the pain was much to bear,

I can’t quantify the time, sometimes it seems like yesterday and during others, a previous lifetime,

One that reddened my eyes, choked my throat, brought tears and anger bubbling right beneath my skin.

Everytime I felt I couldn’t, I would remind myself to breathe and repeat,

This too shall pass.

A stab turned to sear, slowly became a dull throb and now is blue and numb.

And that’s okay, for maybe time heals all.

 

 

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