Perception

Our mundane becomes history
And the things we cherish
Are long forgotten.
In a decade, or two,
When you stare at
The fine lines and wrinkles
That mar your skin,
The photographs
That line your walls
Shall stare at you.
They will be but faded memories
Waiting for you to remember
The person you used to be.
Your laugh will echo around you,
While you frown
At your stretched skin.
And your tears shall cry for you,
When they see you cry
For your beauty long lost.
The grey in your hair,
A mark of your struggles,
Shall seem ever more ugly
When you try to hide it
Behind artificial colors.
And what is a life lived,
When it is a life full of regrets?
Let those photographs
Be not mere memories,
Let them be feelings and emotions
Frozen in time.
Let not those wrinkles and fine lines
Be your demons,
Let them set you free
From the shackles
Around your feet.
Let not those grey streaks
Seem like blemishes,
Make them your strength,
A sign of your survival.
And that is a life lived,
A life lived, but never forgotten.

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A Forgotten Name.

She’d write her name with yours,
Write and rewrite.
Her name, it looked beautiful in ink,
Not really understanding your betrayal,
While in reality,
It bled.
Just like her heart.
The longer she stared at the ink,
The more red it seemed to get,
Until it too turned into blood,
Seeping through
The pages of her journal.
The pages of her life.
Stained and ugly,
She tried to wash those stains away,
Not really caring
That she was washing away her existence,
Until only a smear remained
On the leather-bound exterior.
It tells stories now,
Of a how a life was exhausted,
While washing away the stains
Left by betrayal.
Of how, even on paper,
She wouldn’t let there be any signs
That’d mar your name.
Of how, she loved you so much,
She washed away her name from yours,
Just so it’d continue to look beautiful.
To be beautiful.
Without her ugly existence.
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Not a fairytale ending.

“We’re better off without each other.” Six words and it took two years for her to gather all the courage to utter those and for the first time in forever, she wanted him to disagree with her. “I think so too.” Four words and she could feel her heart cracking again.
“I found someone. We might get engaged soon.” Another crack. This one much bigger, much more painful. She smiled. “Don’t you want to know about her?” Her smile grew wider, “How is she?” “You don’t want to know what she does?” She nodded, “What does she do? How is she? Tell me all about her.” With every word he spoke, she found how the girl was so much better than she ever could be. And with every passing second, it hurt more. He showed her a picture of them both, standing together. The way they both once did. And that was it. Her heart shattered, into a million tiny pieces. Time won’t heal her this time. She smiled. “Please don’t cry,” he said. She smiled wider, “I’m not. I’m happy for you.” He hugged her, she blinked, trying to not let the tears flow and closed her eyes, trying to memorise how his arms felt around her, how she fit just right against him and how his embrace never felt wrong.
She loved him. He loved her. But theirs was not to be a fairytale ending.

Love, we know.

“I’m sorry,” I say.
“I’m sorry, too,” says he.
“I love you,” he says.
“And I love you,” I reply.
“Don’t be an ass,” I say.
“Stop being a stubborn bitch,” he says.
I cry. He doesn’t.
He hurts. I hurt him more.
He is an addiction I try to run away from. I can’t.
I’m the fire he is attracted to. Despite knowing it’ll burn him. Alive.
Love, they say. Love, we say.
Love, they think they know.
Foolishness, we know.
Desperation, we know.
That need to belong. Somewhere. Anywhere.
Emotions, as raw as they come.
Honesty, the kind that kills.
Confessions, the ugliest form of intimacy.
Souls bared, metaphorical nakedness.
Hearts thumping together, limbs entangled, scratched backs, pulling hair, hurried movements, closed eyes, souls alive. Ecstasy.
Love, they say. Love, we say.
Love, they know. Love, we know.

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Our song.

The waves, they sing to us. Songs of love, of life, of despair, of solitude, of longing, of togetherness, of every little emotion ever expressed. Let’s sing to them today. My song. Your song. Our song. Of hope. And one day, the world will hear them singing it. It’ll be heartbreaking. They’ll cry, with every crashing wave. They’ll cry for us. They’ll cry for hope. And it’ll come to them. Then, we’ll all sing our songs of hope. The waves, they’ll listen and they’ll be heard for years to come. So, let us sing to the waves today. Come, let us create a melody. A melody full of hope. For, nothing is more beautiful.

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Fiery cold.

Soul as dark as the ashes
Of those letters.
The photographs,
Shredded to bits,
Like the heart
Broken into
A thousand little pieces.
Drowning in spirits,
Trying to tear down
The countless forts
Built together.
Passing out cold,
Hoping to wake up
With no memories of yesterday,
Or life.
A love so dark,
They couldn’t let it be.
A soul so tired,
Why couldn’t they let it be?
The tears,
They continued to flow,
Hoping to thaw
The iciness within.
An iciness that blazed,
Like a fire that licked
Everything it touched.
It won’t stop,
Until everthing is
Burnt down.
It won’t stop,
Until everything is
Frozen.

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Devoid feelings.

On the greener side of the grass,
She once had lied.
On the paler side,
She’d once cried.
She stood in the middle now,
Surrounded by fallens leaves,
And broken boughs.
A web she tries to weave,
Of unspoken tales, crumpled dreams,
Dimmed hope
And silent screams.
Her forest where butterflies once flew,
And mockingbirds sang,
Had been burnt down to ashes,
A place where silence now rang.
She could see them working in the distance,
Their machines and them.
Building a concrete jungle,
On nature’s land.
A tear escaped her doe eyes,
She saw the herd mourning behind.
Casting one last glance at the sorry sight,
She led the way with doubts on her mind.
She trotted away,
With a heavy heart.
It had always hurt,
The ‘walk-away’ part.
For, animals have feelings too,
They cry when their homes are destroyed.
It is humans
In whom feelings are devoid.

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This is just me ranting about how pathetic I actually can be.

I remember Grade 9th when I couldn’t get enough of books. I’d only recently been introduced to the pleasures of reading (Losing sleep was a part of the package.) I read everywhere, in the bathroom, on the bus, in classes, lunch breaks, in the sports room, on the bus again. I used to stay up all night. Doing what? You guessed it right, reading. I remember dozing off while writing exams and then someone or the other would kick me under the desk and I’d have to excuse myself from the classroom to go splash some water and maybe, catch a minute or two of some much needed sleep. Damn, what’d I do to go 5 years back in time? I’d pay an arm and a leg, that’s what I’d do. (Okay, answering rhetorical questions is never a good sign. Especially, if the question was asked by yourself.) I wouldn’t mind the Double Maths on Saturdays or even Hindi and Marathi so much and that’s saying something because I absolutely hated those subjects and I wouldn’t even mind roller skating every Saturday for the Activities period and falling on my butt every so often. I want to go back to playing chess with the bestie (Pratz, I can remember a few times I could beat you, I’m not talking about going back to the times when I lost. Okay?), those usual badminton games and the once-in-a-blue-moon volleyball game, which was another thing I absolutely hated. (You would too, if you ended up getting hit by the ball far more often than you hitting it.) I want to go back to the time when I didn’t feel the need to go around singing, “Zindagi ne zindagi bhar gham diye” at the top of my voice and then later realizing that it would be too pathetic even for me, (not to mention that I’d be getting death threats from those around me for making their ears bleed) and that I’m supposed to be as awesome as Kung Fu Panda. Or not. That’s Jazzy’s work. I’m supposed to be as cool as Tigress, so then I’d instead go around singing ‘Banana Pancakes’ to myself and possibly even make some and pretend to be all fine and dandy. I want to go back to being innocent and not pretend to be it. I want to go back to the time when smiles were as easy as A-B-C and 1-2-3 and I didn’t have to force my facial muscles to twitch to form a smile that looked more like a grimace or when the only time I had to do some serious thinking was when we had to write a 200 word essay for the exam and there wasn’t enough time left. At the time, those troubles seemed to be as big as mountains and now, they seem as petty as an ant hill (empty, of course.) I’ll take those over the present ones any second of any minute of any hour of any day. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. I wish it could, I really do, but then again, I also wish that the mountains were made of chocolate and the clouds were made of marshmallows and the snow of white chocolate and the rivers of butter cream frosting and the trees of After Eight mint squares and rocks of Maltesers and mushrooms of Cupcakes. Yeah, I think we’ve already established that wishing is no good, it’ll only make your mouth water.

His Lifeline.

There they were, tattooed across his abdomen, his shoulder blades and his forearms. Some ran across the length of his spine, a nick above his left eye and the biggest of them was below his right knee, where they had to amputate his leg. These tattoos, these scars, they didn’t make him look ugly, in fact, they spoke of courage, of bravery, of the true beauty of a true soldier who gave everything he could for his country and came out alive with some proud yet painful reminders etched on his body that’d last him a lifetime. He’d lost his friends, his only brother, but they had died fighting for the nation. Their death was the welcome kind and he found himself wishing for that death, but one look at the stump that was his right leg and he knew he’d never have it. His life had no meaning. He’d failed.

Every so often, you could see him hobbling across the room to the closet where hung his prized possession. The uniform. His uniform. He’d run his hands over it, closing his eyes, reliving memories. A tear or two would roll down his cheeks and then he’d take hasty, uneven steps back and bang the closet door shut. He would then hobble his way to the river bank where the children from the village sat, waiting for him to come and tell them stories of places they’d only ever dreamt of or seen in movies.

One such evening, long after the children had left, he’d sat there skipping stones in the river and lost deep in thought when a little girl came and sat by him. He was surprised to haven’t have heard her arrival, either he was out of practice or was probably too lost in his thoughts to have noticed. Or maybe both. He stared at her and she stared back. She looked to be about 12 and he’d seen her with the other kids during their ‘story time.’ For a while, she was silent and then suddenly she admitted, “Someday, I want to be you.” He was stunned. This 12 year old, this young lady sitting beside him, she wanted to be him. He couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to be like his pitiful self, let alone this innocent little child. “Why?”, he managed to ask in a whisper. “Look at you,” she started in an awed voice, “all those scars, they tell stories of your courage. You’ve fought for the nation, you’ve fought for us, you’ve lived a life worth living and even though you’re not on the borders, putting your life on line, you’re still a soldier. One of the best ones. You’ve done your part and now, you’re doing more. Looking at you, hearing you speak of your adventures and experiences, we find some courage too.” She looked at him with fierce pride. “I’m lucky to have known you and I’m going to be you, someday.” With that she stood up and walked away, leaving him staring after her.

That was the last day that he’d cried over his fate. Now, everytime he hobbled across the room towards his uniform you could see him smiling. His life still had meaning. There was hope. He’d never have thought that a 12 year old girl would be his lifeline. Life had unusual ways of surprising him.

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