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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Scribble

Okay, to hell with it.

I was going to write something sensible. Pour out sufi thoughts over here in line with a heartbreaking mail that I wrote today morning. But honestly I’m tired.

Why is love tiring?

Why can’t we just automatically find our ‘soul mate’ or whoever it is that we are supposed to live with for eternity?

Why do the people you love turn out to be wrong for you?

Born in a different century, Married, Commitment phobics, In a different state of mind or perfect?

More than half the people I know are heartbroken, the other half are love sick. We all have our own issues with love, at times we don’t find our match, sometimes we do but we are scared in our own weird way and drive people away, sometimes our not so better halves run away, infatuations are mistaken for love and at times we just don’t want to.

I’ve been holed up every weekend at home with myself, sure I day dream about falling head over heels in love most of the time but I’m scared. Petrified of putting in that effort, going out on dates, finding people to date, talking on the phone and getting involved in general, new dreams with them making a regular appearance.

Hence, I have decided to not look/search/seek love, if it wants to find me, it would have to pull me out of the pile of blankets that I’m under and convince me to fall back in the trap.

And to those who have given up, its okay to not want to look at the world around in love tinted glasses, its okay to not want to believe in the book romance and its okay to leave matters to fate.

But to all of those who still have their hopes up, may you find the strength to love and not stop seeking for it, may you cage your heart behind steel enclosures and not get hurt. May you find what you are look for.

Because what you seek, is seeking you..

A handful of sunsets

Curtains close, last call, dwindling crowds,

A dipping sun at the end of the day takes count,

Number of hearts broken, smiles stolen, dreams frozen.

We settle scores, sometimes with paper, others, with ourselves.

As we flip through the pages of life,

Some chapters close, characters exit, doors shut.

They say it takes 7 years to replace every cell in your body,

As I stare into the mirror, I still find your fingertips on my skin, its faint impression,

A long sigh, trapped and lost when you bury your head and kiss the birthmark above my collarbone.

I take a part of you, of whatever remains in my heart,

Through cities, people, crowded trains, sun kissed seas, abandoned park benches.

Wondering if there can ever be an end to you, to what you mean, to who I am when I’m with you,

I’m here, still in search of my own sunset.

Point of no return

I have written a thousand words for you, stringing memories.

Of how the sun streamed in through the blue curtains, bright smiles, sipping chai in red cups, listening to the rain patter in the balcony, letting our feet dangle from the grills and arms stretched out wide.

I have waited, endlessly.

For your calls, to listen to your voice, to look at you, just once. The chance to make one last memory, a less painful one. To go back in time, apologize another time, weld, mend, and correct all those mistakes.

I have been strong, or so I hope.

For the pain to fade, tears to stop. To resist the urge to scream and shout, beg and fall, holding you responsible for all the broken pieces of my heart, crumbling into a heap. Trying to stop myself from going back to you, wandering in familiar lanes, tracing your fingertips on all that you touched.

I have left counting time, fervidly.

Days, months, years, since clocks haven’t ticked, the slow whirring of time disappearing. I hoped everything would stop, pause for a moment, acknowledge the death of my love. But neither have the hours halted, nor has the heart stopped beating.

I have learnt, agonizingly.

No two hearts beat to the same rhythm, no two kinds of love are the same. That I’ll still love you, eternally, some days fierce, and on others, you’ll make your presence felt.

You were gone, but you were always there.