This Chatty Bench

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Can you hear the lullaby

Or my mother’s touch feel.

Can you see the Alphabet

That I learned here to read.

Can you picture that first kiss,

Sense how it filled me with glee.

Can you listen the sweet warble

Of his first letter to me.

Can you tell the heartbreak

Didn’t fight shy of cutting deep.

Can you grasp the moments

Of which this bench holds memories.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

The Street

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The dawn rose and my eyes adjusted to the view, from bokeh to bright, as the sun sprinkled a golden filter across the street. Who were these people, so immersed in their preoccupations, chasing life, their hopes and anxieties all closed to me?
Do they have a special pocket in their briefcases, one in which they ensconce their dreams? Do they ever think about home, or are they happy to get by just like me, meeting new people, gleaning stories?
Who live in the thatched cottages on the mountaintop? Do they savour the sunrise and sunset as much as the tourists? Do they ever look out their windows and watch me on this bench where I sleep?
Who is the owner of the antique trinket shop? Does he know who carved the wooden camel so painstakingly?
What is the tale of this bustling anecdotal street?

I started from home with little more than an intrepid spirit and a guitar. Today, I have a bag full of memories; they can’t be distilled into a single photograph or diary entry. 

for you.

 

                                                                                                     

That lonely stump in the park

those ringing sounds of the dark

lifeless leaves on the bottom of your shoe

make up a song of fright and gloom

a rant, and maybe a terminal note

that spiral the tiny ball in your throat

that burrow far from the good-natured sky

like slouched soldiers on the sly.

 

Oh, rip that piece of paper

and don’t let those hands waver

for the fledglings of joy will soon stop by

cancel the noise like the songs that got you by.

 

I know you’ll rise from under this rock

pick up your head and walk

give me a list of all the things you like

and I’ll give you one of mine

if it is the conversations that you crave

if it will bring a smile to your face

we’ll talk about the bits and bobs you want to buy

heckle and joke, watch the time fly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spectator

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Yesterday Sam stopped by. I have known him for a long time. He used to sit by me everyday, sometimes alone, sometimes with his wife Martha and son James. James. I couldn’t know him long enough. “Slow down,” Martha used to say. “Or you will get hurt.”  They had fun playing together. How years swooshed by! When James was older, he would often drop by and spend hours with me. I heard chuckles, sobs, silence. Then one day he brought a guest. He had never brought anyone here before Navin. They held hands and gazed at the stars for hours. They held hands the same way Sam and Martha did. If only Sam understood this. “You look just like him,” Navin had said, pointing at Sam’s wide grin as James showed him a family picture. He wasn’t a guest anymore.

A few years whooshed by like they usually do, and James and Navin brought a new visitor with them this time – their daughter Sur. They loved picnics, especially the ones with grandma Martha. My branch of memories is ripe with merry ones but the one with Navin fussing over Sur, James telling him to calm down, them lovingly bickering, remains my favourite to this day.

Sometimes I find myself sneaking a peek at the house across the park which used to be my favourite home. For a long time, no one has visited. Time has neither swooshed nor whooshed, it stutters and clambers, as if chasing its normal pace. But yesterday Sam stopped by. He just sat here quietly and scanned the pinpricked  sky with a regret in his eyes, searching as if for the one star that resembled him.

Hills, hamlets, hikes

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The air ringed in her ears and with every step she grew more amused. Every time she stopped to catch her breath she smiled on spotting a multicolored patch on the hillside. Now, more than ever, she longed to meet those who always had a cot and tea ready. To talk to those with a spare lamp and many a story. She trundled on.
The ridge was coloured a wonderful green. The low warble of the cool air carried a song she could see. Of women and men, of girls and boys and children. Each new day brought with it a new tale – of courage and honesty. Of mistakes, learning, and civility. Of love and family.  This is how she became the one who fell for no boy but a vill amidst the verdant hills…and this became her story.

 

Between Daybreak and Sunset

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No day passed when she wouldn’t be

In the field, working

Without a care for a morning tea

Tilling and tending and reaping

Her hands moving with mastery.

 

Of eating and laughing with him, hummed she

Thinking of the pink aurora tapping

On the window for her to see

Rays flickering and soothing

Before they grew harsh quickly.

 

Dappled sunlight under the tree

Sitting across the patch, silencing

Occasionally her drudgery.

The tree was old, and it was green, holding

The promise of a reverie.

 

And so at dusk,

She knew not distress but she did know glee

When the sky was painted a blazing sea.

 

This piece is inspired by a trip to Kausani that I took last year, and dedicated to Mamta didi and her husband. Image is courtesy of unsplash.com

The Sakura

The beauty enraptured him, distracted him, and injected a new energy in his days. A sweet smell rode the air again. The newness had brought with it the curiosity, and a hundred different ways to unravel it. The raconteur in him yearned to chart the course, to peel off the silken layers and imbibe the splendour. He liked how he had woken up one day to find all the trees effloresced. He liked how it all happened without any warning. The wind carried contours of a melody. Sometimes the moonlight set the red trees on fire.

But the moon soon began to wane. The trees soon began to shed the frills. His interest soon began to fade and his mood plummeted. Had he anticipated this to be as graceful and fleeting as the fall? Had he only admired the exquisiteness, knowing that it was ephemeral?

The beauty enraptured him, distracted him, and injected a new energy in his days. That sweet smell rode the air again. The Sakura had bloomed again.

The Sakura or the cherry blossom flower is a celebrated feature of Japan’s spring. It is revered as a symbol of exquisiteness and transience. The bloom of Sakura is associated with the traditional custom of Hanami, or flower watching.

Photo courtesy of Timothy Ries via unsplash.com